Two masters. Are we trustworthy, or are we dishonest? How we manage the resources – worldly wealth – we have determines the answer. Who’s your master? Is it the Lord God, or is it Mammonas? If crunch time and Mammonas has you in conflict with what you should do, what’s your reflex reaction? Do you sneer? How does your heart react?


Two Masters (Luke 16:10-18)

By Pastor Delbert Young

Two Masters – Luke 16:10-18

Scriptures: Luke 16:10-12 , Luke 16:13, Luke 16:16, Matthew 5:21-22, Matthew 5:27-28, Luke 16:18, Luke 16:17-18, Matthew 5:17-18

Last time we studied the perplexing parabolic story told by Jesus regarding a dishonest, but shrewd manager. The primary thought was using the resources availed to us to ensure our welcome into eternal dwellings – heaven. Jesus said the people of this world are wiser in their generation – life time – than the enlightened people – people of God. God’s people do not plan for eternity. We hoard and waste resources God, our master, gave us to manage. Jesus continued in this vein of thought.

Luke 16:10-12 “Whoever can be TRUSTED with very little can also be TRUSTED with much, and whoever is DISHONEST with very little will also be DISHONEST with much. So if you have not beenTRUSTWORTHY in handling WORLDLY WEALTH, who will trust you with TRUE RICHES? And if you have not been TRUSTWORTHY with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

Jesus sees not using worldly wealth correctly as being dishonest. Again, how we manageworldly wealth has tremendous implications concerning the true riches of the kingdom and ultimately eternity. People say if they had more they would give more. Really? Jesus said we will be dishonest with much if we’re dishonest with little. Our circumstances do not determine our being trustworthy. Our character does. Are we honest in managing our resources – worldly wealth? I know people who have nothing and give everything. I know people who have everything and give nothing. Which one will receive the true riches?

Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve TWO MASTERS. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. YOU CANNOT SERVE BOTH God and Money.”

Please notice the word “Money” begins with an uppercase “M.” The reason is it’s personified. The word translated Money and “mammon” in the KJV is – mammonas {mam-mo-nas’} – treasure, riches. Would everyone say “Mammonas.” Jesus said Mammonas is a personified powerfully alive master. It’s more than only money. Mammonas includes things we treasure and our personal riches. Jesus wants us to see and understand how in our lives, Mammonas is a living false god causing us conflict with the true God. You’ve heard it said, “He/she worships the almighty dollar.” Mammonas is the god of greed. The word originated with the ancient Chaldeans who thought of Mammonas as a demon. In my research I interestingly found Mammon is the “arch-devil” ruling over one of the nine layers of hell in the game Dungeons and Dragons.  We can’t serve two masters.

Luke 16:13 “…Either he will HATE the one and love the other…

We studied the hate thought in Luke 14:25-35 “Estimate the Cost.” It doesn’t mean there is a psychological emotional hatred toward one. It’s a Hebraism expression showing preference. Onemaster has the preference. Jesus didn’t hate money. His preference was always God. When Mammonas causes us conflict with God which way do we go? You can’t go both ways? You will preference one. It’s impossible to serve both when we must choose one. You will go with your stuff – Mammonas, or you will go with God. It’s impossible to go both ways. This determines our being trustworthy or our being dishonest.  We can’t serve two masters.

In our society, as was in theirs, Mammonas is god. There is no two ways about it. Money is god to most people. Jesus said Mammonas is a test of our character. Will we be honest and trustworthy, or will we be dishonest? We can’t serve two masters. Our love of God is shown by how we manage our resources. I cannot serve God and Mammonas. Do you agree or is something inside sort of sneering?

Luke 16:14-15 The Pharisees, WHO LOVED MONEY, heard all this and were SNEERING AT JESUS. He said to them, “You are the ones who JUSTIFY YOURSELVES in the eyes of men, BUT GOD KNOWS YOUR HEARTS. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

Sneering is ekmukterizo {ek-mook-ter-id’-zo} meaning to deride by turning up the nose, to sneer at, to scoff at. The attitude of the Pharisees was now mockery and degrading. Have you ever sneered? Something was so distasteful to you your nose turned up such as a really sour lemon? You may have said, “Yuck!” It was reflex and a knee jerk reaction, or in this case a heartreaction. This was their heart-felt response to the “You cannot serve God and Money” – exactly what many “Christians” do. We can’t serve two masters. It’s a very sour tasting statement to many coming from the heart – God knows your hearts. Why does this happen? People love money more than God. It’s a tremendous display of being trustworthy or dishonest.

Luke 16:16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed UNTIL John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.

From where did this come and how does it connect? The Law and the Prophets are what we call the Old Testament. The Law is what Moses received including the Ten Commandments. The Prophets refer to everything else in the Old Testament. They were preached until when? Until John the Baptist! What happened after John the Baptist? Since John, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached. What should I and every preacher after John the Baptist preach? Into what are we to be forcing our way? Kingdom/New Covenant or Judaism/Old Covenant? What does this mean? It means there is a New Covenant with a new message. It means the Old Covenant is over.

Delbert, are you saying we don’t have to keep the Ten Commandments? Do you keep all the feasts? How about the dietary laws? Ate pork lately? How about the Sabbath (Saturday) laws? Animal sacrifices? Did you bring your goat today? What’s the difference between keeping those and keeping the Ten Commandments? I’m going to help us, so don’t freak or leave. The standard isn’t removed. It’s raised. I’ll give two quick examples.

Matthew 5:21-22 “YOU HAVE HEARD THAT IT WAS SAID TO THE PEOPLE LONG AGO, ‘Do not MURDER, and anyone who murders will be SUBJECT TO JUDGMENT.’ BUT I TELL YOU that anyone who is ANGRY with his brother will be SUBJECT TO JUDGMENT.

The Law and the Prophets from the sixth commandment said, “You shall not murder” (Exo 20:13) until John. Since that time Jesus preached and what should be preached by every preacher is the message of how anger receives the same judgment as murder. What!

The next commandment in the Ten Commandments, #7, is “You shall not commit adultery” (Exo 20:14) and was preached until John, but here’s what Jesus preached and should be preached today in the kingdom.

Matthew 5:27-28 “YOU HAVE HEARD THAT IT WAS SAID, ‘Do not COMMIT ADULTERY.’ BUT I TELL YOU that anyone who LOOKS AT A WOMAN LUSTFULLY has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

What! How many adulterers are here? So, no, we don’t keep the Ten Commandments today. We keep the kingdom of God – something far higher.

This may be a good place to show you what next week’s lesson will be about. I want to warn you. It’s actually in our text today two verses from where we are. I could hit it and run, but I’d leave half of us feeling condemned and confused. Here is next week’s text.

Luke 16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

How’d you like to have my job? This is perhaps the most outrageous statement Jesus made. So, call your friends and enemies and tell them, “You won’t believe what my preacher will be preaching about Sunday.” Didn’t Jesus understand we preachers would have to explain what he said one day – or attempt to? Or, did he know preachers would do as we’ve done for two thousand years, just skip it? Answer: Yes, yes he knew. And that’s part of the problem – we’ve skipped it and people don’t understand marriage and divorce. I admit, unless doing this exponential teaching we are doing with Luke, this is a passage I would never teach, and in thirty plus years I’ve never spoken or written about. You need to know and your children need to know about this. The way I look at this is not how awful it is I must, but the honor it is to teach it. You must admit, you likely would never hear it anywhere else. Also, all the preachers and people who read, see, and hear my teachings online will have another resource to help them. Maybe they can make it better and help someone.

If we can, let’s get back to today’s lesson. Jesus said things have changed since John the Baptist. The Pharisees, in their self justifications and evil hearts, were missing it and causing others to miss it with their muttering and sneering. Next two verse.

Luke 16:17-18 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for THE LEAST STROKE OF A PEN to drop out of the Law. “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

What in the world? I read verse 18 again to show us exactly the context Jesus said this outrageous statement. However, he said it in other context in other places. We will talk about this next week. Let’s focus on what he said about the fulfillment of the Law.

The least stroke of a pen to them would be what dotting an “i” or crossing a “t” is to us. The Pharisees claimed to believe the least stroke of a pen concerning the Law and Prophets, but were muttering and sneering as they looked eye to eye with its fulfillment.

Matthew 5:17-18 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I HAVE NOT COME TO ABOLISH THEM BUT TO FULFILL THEM. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, NOT THE LEAST STROKE OF A PEN, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is ACCOMPLISHED.

Either Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, or he didn’t. Everyone, especially every preacher, knows Jesus fulfilled every feast, every offering, every sacrifice, and every prophetic utterance. We are forcing our way into the kingdom, or we are not. Jesus said he did and we are. I’m going with Jesus.

Are we trustworthy, or are we dishonest? How we manage the resources – worldly wealth – we have determines our answer. Who’s your master? We can’t serve two masters. Is it the Lord God, or is it Mammonas? If crunch time and Mammonas has you in conflict with what you should do, what’s your reflex reaction? Do you sneer? How does your heart react? Are you forcing your way into the kingdom of God living at a higher level? If you can be trusted with little, true riches are yours now and in eternity.

Other Related Sermons:

2 Marriage Divorce Remarriage and Adultery – video audio notes Luke 16:18

Parables of the Kingdom Intro – sermon video audio notes

Mustard Seed – sermon video audio notes