The Lord Jesus Christ is just as plain as He can be in His teaching declaring: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon,” (Luke 16:13, NKJV). While mammon represents money in applying this passage, the other master besides God can be anyone or anything! In this post as the Lord leads, I write to remind myself and other men that He “ain’t playing” about His requirement that those that would follow Him be exclusively devoted to faithfully serving Him as Master of our lives contrary to what is seen in many churches today.
Contextually, the Lord’s principle of faithfulness to one Master comes near the end of His teaching targeting the issues of the cold hearted Pharisees and scribes that had mingled with the tax collectors and sinners drawn close to hear Him beginning in Luke 15. These religious men could not understand why Jesus representing God would be concerned about sinners and were purposely seeking for an opportunity to discredit Him. So, as He said He would, He taught them in parables about God’s love for sinners (Matthew 13:10-17). Then, directly to His disciples, but with the religious leaders still listening in the Lord begins to teach on stewardship in Luke 16.
In His parable of the unjust steward, the Lord rebukes the Pharisees and scribes in their failure as stewards while warning His disciples at the same time about the requirement of God that His stewards be completely faithful to Him (1 Corinthian 4:2). Every man beginning with his life, in his home and into God’s house has a stewardship responsibility He holds them accountable for (Matthew 12:36-37; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11). In their love of money (not to mention position, power and recognition among other selfish motives), Israel’s religious leaders were unjust as stewards before God their Master just as the man in the Lord’s parable was to his (Luke 16:1-2).
As in the parable, Israel’s religious leaders had mismanaged what God had entrusted to them due to having a greater devotion to money than to Him. Blinded by their devotion to money and hearts made hard through the deceit of sin intrinsic to manmade religion, they did not even have enough fear of God in them to try to do something about their failure, day of impending accountability with and certain judgment by God (Luke 16:3-9). The Lord further teaches that if a man will be faithful with a little to manage, he will also be in more; unjust in minor matters, also those great. Proven unfaithful, such a man disqualifies himself from bigger stewardship responsibilities (Luke 16:10-11).
Moreover, if a man is unfaithful in managing another man’s affairs, the Lord would know “who will give you what is your own” to manage (Luke 16:12, NKJV)? This brings us to the famous dilemma of the one who would serve two masters. No one can successfully serve two masters at once because again the Lord concludes, “either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other,” (Luke 16:13, NKJV). While they may not have fully understood all of what the Lord was teaching up to this point, the religious leaders present got the message about the unjust steward and forthwith ridiculed Him (Luke 16:14).
Israel’s religious leaders hated, despised and persecuted the Lord Jesus because in contrast to them as unfaithful stewards, He was completely faithful! He was gathering sinners to Himself, preaching the Gospel to, teaching and serving them through mighty miracles because that was His stewardship assignment from God. And God made it known He was pleased with His stewardship to include His death on the cross (Luke 3:21-22; John 8:28-29, 11:38-44, 19:28-30, 20:11-18)! Now, that unfaithful religious stewards persecute the faithful is from the beginning (Genesis 4:1-8), why the Lord was persecuted and any of us too who will be faithful to our Master (2 Timothy 3:12). Indeed, for this reason I have been persecuted by those of manmade Christianity from my infancy in Christ!
As Joshua’s charge and the Lord’s sober instruction on being His authentic disciple have echoed down through the centuries, I heard them and made my choice to serve Him alone in the day of my wholehearted surrender (Joshua 24:14-15; Luke 9:18-26, 14:25-35).1 Since those days in 1979 until now, I have been repeatedly told in word and deed by leaders in churches divergent in geography, ethnicity and size that God’s will, way and Word does not apply in every situation. Also, religious traditions and activities are necessary to be in effect, an “opiate” to “the people.”2 Finally, I was warned not to challenge disobedient leadership or the wicked status quo or be considered what one dear Southern Baptist sister once playfully called me, but others consider true, “trouble.”
1 Read the February 17, 2019 post, Surrendering All To Jesus, under the category, Glory To God!
2 19th century Communist thinker, Karl Marx, wrote in an article: “Religion is the opiate of the people.” Biblical Christianity is far removed from such a notion being as it
is the salvation, eternal way, life and Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ and every one of His genuine “born again” followers in relationship with Him (John 3:1-8, NKJV)!
How different the messaging of the risen Christ to the churches at the end of the first century and now, nearly twenty centuries later. Seven messages to seven churches of Asia and only two were fully commended back then. Yet, in contrast, if you listen to many Christian media personalities to include mega and other church pastors today, Christ has hardly anything negative to say about what is going on in churches supposedly devoted to His Lordship. The ratio of five messengers and churches called to repentance to two fully commended has amazingly flip flopped in these latter days despite all of the same issues Christ raised being evident and far worse in countless churches!
As the Lord has had me write many times, it is as if He were in fact dead and not risen for all of the effect His written Word and living presence has among churches that profess to be Christian.1 Or else, how can you truly believe Christ is in your midst and sin in disobedience with impunity to His face as many do? Or are you actually believing the lie He has changed since what John recorded in His Revelation in spite of the fact it is written He is “the same yesterday, today and forever,” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV)? His judgment among the churches is intensifying in these latter days because He has not changed nor abandoned what He inspired His apostle Peter to soberly write (1 Peter 4:17-18).2
Thus, Jesus Christ remains as He spoke to the messenger of the Laodicean church, “the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God,” (Revelation 3:14, NKJV). He is consistently and forever the standard and measure of truth so that those that know Him cannot help but say, “Amen” to whatever He says! Too, Jesus Christ is the standard and measure of faithfulness to God to the death; the ultimate “Witness” to what God requires in those faithful to Him! Finally also, He is positioned at the preeminent Head of creation and His Church as Creator, Savior, and Redeemer to the glory of God as the apostle Paul also declares (Colossians 1:13-18)!
Jesus Christ perfectly knows what a local church is supposed to look like as His design of the Church He assembles that transcends cultures, times and trends; reaching as she does into eternity (Ephesians 5:25-27)! For this reason, knowing the works of the church at Laodicea, He announces because they “are lukewarm,” “I will vomit you out of My mouth,” (Revelation 3:15-16, NKJV). This church was neither “cold” from lack of love for Christ as the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:4) or “hot” with fervor and activity, but not through the Holy Spirit as the church at Sardis (Revelation 3:1-2) which were both painfully obvious in their need for correction and without repentance, judgment.
However, in being lukewarm the church at Laodicea like many large and suburban churches today are totally oblivious to their indifferent condition and are so sickening to the Lord in the manner of a stomach disturbance, He will violently vomit them out of His mouth! The cause of their lukewarm indifference toward the Lord and the faith is wealth. They were monetarily and materially well off and needed nothing they thought. And while being rich does not have to undercut the typical sense of dependence on Him most believers have who are not rich, the Laodiceans had allowed this to be the case for them. They could not see themselves as Christ did (Revelation 3:17).3
Speaking in the authority and infinite wisdom He presented Himself to this church, the Lord offers them “counsel” to obtain from Him “gold refined in the fire” so they might really be “rich” and other items to reverse their spiritual condition (Revelation 3:18, NKJV). Refined gold represents the faith-filled hard, but abundant life of one of His self-denying, cross bearing faithful disciples (Luke 9:21-26, 12:13-21, 18:18-30; John 10:10; 1 Timothy 6:6-16; 1 Peter 1:3-9)!4 As sick to the point of vomiting them out of His mouth as their self-satisfied indifference has made Him, the Lord acts to “rebuke and chasten” this church in “love” as He does all. He then charges them to be “zealous and repent;” to hear Him outside knocking and open “the door,” (Revelation 3:19-20, NKJV).
Once more too, the Lord speaks to him that would overcome and affirms one of His consistently made promises to reign with Him as a reward for faithfulness; the one who overcomes “granted” by Him to sit on His throne with Him as He “overcame” and sat down with His Father on His throne (Luke 22:28-30; Acts 5:27-32; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:4-6, 3:21, 5:5-10, NKJV). He then issues His standing directive to those in the church at Laodicea and where you attend with “an ear,” “to hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” (Revelation 3:22, NKJV). Clearly, a wealthy church flush in money, but spiritually indifferent does not impress the Lord. The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Read my February 9, 2014 post, Is There No King Among Us?, under the category, Call To Repent.
2 See the June 10, 2018 post, God’s Judgment Upon His House, under the category, Bible Prophecy and God’s Creatures.
3 While spiritual indifference may produce the busy works of religion, it never produces righteousness! This is why God can never be pleased with spiritual indifference
as He spoke through the prophet, Amos, to the eighth century B.C. ten northern tribes of Israel including specifically and harshly, wealthy women and judged them
(Amos 3:9-4:5, 5:10-15, 21-24, 6:1-8). It is also why Christ speaks in an attitude of revulsion toward it manifested in the first century A.D. church at Laodicea and all
that would follow them in guilt to the end. Such churches with thousands of dollars in the bank (in many cases for nothing but a rainy day to spend lavishly on them-
selves) have looked smugly at needy ministries like this one from our inception and refused to support us not realizing in their blindness that Christ ever looking and
booking, is going to judge them for this!
4 I write about the way of biblical disciples of Jesus Christ in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get a print copy or digital download of the book at
major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
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