Monthly Archives: August 2016

Luke 16: A Lesson In Economics


Luke Chapter 16

Luke chapter 16 gives us Jesus’ teaching about economics. Verses 1-13 are about the unjust steward. Verses 14-18 are about the sin of covetousness. Verses 19-31 are about the inequity between the rich man and Lazarus.

The Shrewd Unjust Steward

In the story of the unjust steward, when he had been caught at wasting his lord’s goods, went to the lord’s debtors and offered them a compromise on what they owed. His scheme was to make them indebted to himself so that when he got fired, they would take him in. Well, the lord became aware of his cheating and “commended him” for his shrewdness. But Jesus said that this kind of shrewdness would land you into the “everlasting habitations” with those who dealt in unrighteous mammon, verse 9.  Compromise does not work.

The Everlasting Habitations

Was Jesus recommending such “shrewd” business deals? No. In the following story of Lazarus and the rich man, we see that this rich man was received into the everlasting habitation of hell, verses 22-23. Both the rich man and Lazarus died, but their eternal destiny was reversed from their earthly conditions.

The Hopelessness of Hell

The rich man, in hell, prayed that someone be sent to his brothers who were still alive to warn them not to come there. However, the answer to him was that they already had their warning in the Scriptures, that is, Moses and the prophets. In hell, the rich man thought that surely if one returned to life and warned his brothers, they would repent. But no, Jesus said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead,” verse 31.

This was proven true when Lazarus had been raised from the dead, but yet the Chief Priests failed to believe, John 12:9-10.

Foundations of Theology

Basic Doctrinal Principles

Hebrews 5.12: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (13) For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (14) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

(6.1) “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [maturity], not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (2) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (3) And this will we do, if God permit.”

Elementary Truths

Here the “first principles of the oracles of God,” are the “foundations” of the structure of right doctrine.  The RSV translates them as “elementary truths.” These are for beginners in the study of the Word, and for “babes” in Christ who have not yet reached maturity. So these should be taught and learned before the deeper doctrines which actually depend upon these “first principles” for understanding.

These are the six principles:

(1) Repentance from dead works

(2) Faith toward God

(3) Laying on of hands

(4) Doctrine of baptisms

(5) Resurrection of the dead

(6) Eternal judgment.

(1) Repentance

The first thing a sinner needs to learn is repentance. RSV translates it as “the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death.” He must be convicted by the Holy Spirit of his sinful condition before he can truly repent.

To repent means not only to change one’s mind, but also must include a change of the heart and even of one’s identity. It is not merely a mental, logical, change of one’s opinions, but rather is a change of what one loves and hates. It is not merely a change of one’s will, but a complete rebirth, a new creation.

(2) Faith Toward God

Faith in God is a prerequisite for understanding Biblical doctrine. Without faith, one cannot believe in the doctrines and teachings of the Bible. All of the historical, archaeological, and scientific facts will not compensate for a lack of faith, – pure, simple, childlike faith that there is a God, that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, and that He has given us His Word, Hebrews 11:6.

(3) Doctrine of Baptisms: (Scripture references are not exhaustive; you may find more.)

A. John’s baptism was “unto repentance,” Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24.

B. Water Baptism in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is commanded: Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 10:44-48.

C. Baptism symbolizes Death, Burial, Resurrection and Exaltation: Romans chapter 6;     Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:9-3:11; I Peter 3:18-22. Therefore, the young believer should  understand that water baptism indicates his total unconditional surrender, dedication and commitment to Jesus.

(4) Laying on of Hands

This is one of the “first principles” to be taught and learned by the babes in Christ.  It is one of the gifts of the Spirit which was in evidence in Acts 8:17-20, where the disciples laid their hands on the people and they received the Holy Ghost.

It was also evident in I Timothy 4:14 where it is stated that the laying on of hands of the presbytery and prophecy imparted to Timothy a spiritual gift.

Mark 16:18 says: “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

(5) Resurrection of the Dead:

We must teach the resurrection of Christ. Romans 19:9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  I Corinthians 15 gives a full exposition of the importance of this doctrine.

It is also important to teach that Christ raised some from the dead during His earthly ministry. Ephesians 1:20 and 2:6 show that, in Christ, we are raised from the dead with Him, and exalted with Him.

(6) Eternal Judgment:

Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

These basic principles underlie the more advanced study of the Biblical doctrines. For example, eschatology. Much confusion has resulted from the prominent and predominant teaching of “end-times” and “prophecy” without these basic principles.