Sermon Transcript – Scandalous Mercy

1 Year Lectionary – Ninth Sunday After Trinity – Sunday, August 14, 2022 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
Intro bumper
Time StampTranscript
0:27The holy gospel according
0:29to saint luke the 16th chapter
0:39jesus also said to the disciples there
0:41was a rich man who had a manager and
0:43charges were brought to him that this
0:45man was wasting his possessions and he
0:48called him and said to him what is this
0:49that i hear about you turn in the
0:51account of your management for you can
0:53no longer be manager and the manager
0:55said to himself what shall i do since my
0:58master is taking the management away
1:00from me i’m not strong enough to dig and
1:02i’m ashamed to beg i have decided what
1:04to do so that when i am removed from
1:06management people may receive me into
1:08their houses so summoning his master’s
1:10debtors one by one he said to the first
1:13how much do you owe my master he said
1:15100 measures of oil he said to him take
1:17your bill sit down quickly and write 50.
1:20then he said to another how much do you
1:21owe he said a hundred measures of wheat
1:23he said to him take your bill and write
1:26the master commended the dishonest
1:28manager for his shrewdness for the sons
1:31of the world are more shrewd in dealing
1:32with their own generation than the sons
1:34of light and i tell you
1:36make friends for yourselves by means of
1:38unrighteous wealth so that when it fails
1:41they may receive you into the eternal
1:43dwellings this is the gospel of the lord
1:46in the name of jesus
1:48all right this has got to be one of the
1:50most scandalous parables that jesus
1:53tells and it’s best to unpack it so we
1:55can understand what’s going on here how
1:57on earth can christ commend a dishonest
2:01manager well you’ll note in properly
2:03understanding the parables it’s
2:06necessary to figure out who’s who right
2:08so let’s make it very clear jesus is the
2:11rich guy who has the manager
2:14and you are the dishonest manager
2:18so am i by the way that’s where we all
2:20fit i know it seems a little bit odd but
2:22work with me here um i know your parents
2:26you said they’re going well have you
2:27really met my parents you know the
2:29answer is i don’t i don’t need to i know
2:32you come from some pretty sketchy stock
2:34let me explain
2:36our first parents adam and eve they were
2:38thieving gardeners i mean they were put
2:41in the garden of eden they had one job
2:43they were to basically be stewards of
2:45the garden of eden and one commandment
2:47not 10 like we have they had one
2:49commandment you shall not eat of the
2:51tree that’s in the midst of the garden
2:53neither shall you you know you get the
2:55idea you should not eat of it the day
2:57you eat of it you will surely die and
2:59what did they do
3:01they ate of it it wasn’t their tree to
3:03eat from they were told not to eat from
3:05it and each and every one of us we come
3:09from those two parents uh we’re all how
3:12do the kids say it now sus we’re all
3:15suss right
3:19but that’s the truth and so you’ll note
3:23talking about wasting possessions you
3:26came into this life naked you’re going
3:29to leave this life without being able to
3:31take any possessions with you it’s best
3:33to understand that you are merely
3:36stewards of god’s good gifts god has
3:39given you a home god has given you car
3:41god has given you money so that you can
3:43pay your bills pay for groceries and
3:45things like this and how many of us can
3:48say without blushing from guilt that we
3:52have perfectly
3:54stewarded the good gifts that god has
3:57given us
3:58i can’t neither can you right each and
4:02every one of us in one way or another
4:04has wasted god’s possessions has wasted
4:07his resources have wasted the time that
4:11he’s given us even squandered the
4:14relationships that god has brought into
4:16our life we’re all
4:17just horrible stewards and managers of
4:20god’s good creation
4:23and for this we rightly deserve to be
4:25condemned note i’m including myself in
4:28this mix but here’s where things get
4:30pretty scandals let me explain
4:32so as the story goes jesus says it was a
4:35rich man that’s who jesus is who had a
4:37manager charges were brought to him that
4:40this man was wasting his possessions so
4:42he called him and said to him what is
4:45this that i hear about you turn in the
4:47account of your management for you can
4:50no longer be
4:53and the manager said to himself what
4:55shall i do since my master is taking the
4:57management away from me now as somebody
5:00who’s worked in the corporate world
5:01something’s off here i mean really
5:03really really off all right so when i
5:05worked in the corporate world i worked
5:07in the corporate world i came up to the
5:09the marketing ranks you know director of
5:11marketing vp ceo things like this this
5:14is what i would do and there’s a
5:15standard procedure when you’re going to
5:17fire somebody and the standard procedure
5:19pretty much goes like this you call
5:23you show up at the person’s cubicle
5:25and then you inform them that they have
5:28been sacked and you give them their
5:31final paycheck and you give them a
5:33couple of boxes and say security is
5:35going to stay here
5:37while you clean your desk out and then
5:39they’re going to escort you out the door
5:41and we need your key fob so that you
5:43can’t get back into the building right
5:45this is standard procedure
5:48what’s going on here
5:50this rich man tells his manager i’m
5:53going to sack you
5:55is going to be a reckoning
5:58and then doesn’t take away the keys
6:01leaves him
6:03able to do business in his behalf this
6:06is more of a hint that this has to do
6:08with christ because you’ll note that
6:10each and every one of us we’ve been put
6:12on notice by god’s word by the law we
6:15have been put on those we even confessed
6:17it in the creed that christ is returning
6:19in glory to judge
6:21the living and the dead and that
6:24everybody is going to have to give an
6:25accounting to christ
6:30christ has just given us fair warning we
6:34continue to be stewards of his good
6:37gifts the same way that this dishonest
6:39manager also
6:41is a steward of this rich man’s good
6:43gifts so what does he do how how does he
6:46escape fate this terrible fate and by
6:50the way
6:51we don’t have to worry about um begging
6:54or having to dig ditches like this
6:56fellow was worried about when christ
6:58returns in glory to judge the living and
6:59the dead
7:00those who do not measure up
7:03well they have an eternity to look
7:05forward to in the lake of fire so you’ll
7:07note that christ here is kind of
7:08underplaying the plight that this guy is
7:10in but in this guy’s way of thinking the
7:12worst thing that could happen to him is
7:14that he has to actually work with his
7:16body he goes from being a white-collar
7:18worker to be a blue-collar worker and
7:20that’s just too much for him to bear and
7:22so how does he avert this fate
7:25he comes up with quite the interesting
7:28scheme and this is where it’s a good
7:30idea to recognize that this parable is
7:33told in the context of an ancient near
7:36eastern honor culture
7:39yes we americans do not have a very firm
7:42grasp on the concept of honor and how
7:45important it is all right we dishonor
7:48people uh left and right and do so
7:53quite sinfully i would note it’s kind of
7:55in our dna we don’t have a thing in our
7:58body where we actually
8:00show respect
8:02for monarchy or politicians it goes all
8:05the way back to the american revolution
8:07if you think about it but all that being
8:11in an honor culture this is quite quite
8:15the scheme that this guy has come up
8:16with what does he decide he’s going to
8:18do he’s going to make his boss look like
8:23the most generous
8:25the most kind the most merciful and the
8:28most gracious dude ever
8:31how so well he goes to all the people
8:34who owe him things and he asked them how
8:38much they owe and he takes debts and he
8:41slashes them in half or takes away a
8:44portion of it so he says to one fellow
8:47how much do you owe my master and he
8:48says well i owe a hundred measures of
8:50this of oil quick take your bill and
8:54write down 50.
8:56now think about how smart this is
8:58because now the master is going to have
9:00to come to grips with the can the master
9:02come to the fellow and say
9:04the who who had his bill reduced say to
9:07him listen i was going to sack the guy
9:10and i know he’s making me look good
9:13you still owe me you still owe me the
9:16whole amount there’s no way he can do
9:18that right so what has he done he has
9:21made his master look like the most
9:24amazing fellow
9:27let me ask you a question
9:29isn’t that exactly what jesus is like
9:33you think about it for a second here
9:34isn’t he not loving
9:42actually cares about people and their
9:44well-being that’s jesus to a t
9:47in fact this guy is banking on what
9:51the good gracious nature of his master
9:54and by his actions he’s going out and
9:57letting the whole town know how amazing
10:00this master is because you imagine the
10:02talk of the town did you hear what
10:04happened ah that that rich fellow i owed
10:06him 100 measures of oil and he reduced
10:09my bill down to 50. what an amazing
10:11thing and that steward of his that
10:13manager oh he’s just the best person
10:20but here’s where it kind of comes into
10:22play then
10:24that’s exactly what jesus is like
10:26except for one exception
10:28when jesus forgives you of all of your
10:31sin all of your mismanagement all of the
10:35debt that you have racked up
10:37that you owe god
10:39in one version of the lord’s prayer goes
10:41forgive us our debts
10:43as we forgive our debtors debt is a good
10:45way of talking about sin does jesus
10:48slash your bill in half
10:52does that sound like christ
10:53no not at all does jesus take a third of
10:57it off
10:58not even close how many of your sins did
11:01jesus die for on the cross
11:04all of them how much of the debt did he
11:06pay for you
11:08all of it
11:10and so you’ll note here this is the
11:11scandalous bit and i assure you
11:15that in heaven there are forgiven low
11:19lifes like you wouldn’t believe i we’re
11:23really really sketchy sus people
11:25including well farmers
11:28and cobblers
11:30and people who used to work in the
11:31medical industry oh lawyers and
11:37there’s even airline pilots in heaven
11:39can you believe this there are guys who
11:42work in business development in heaven
11:45to this right now
11:46forgiven by christ there are
11:50and retirees and people well you have
11:53what a sketchy lot and someday someday
11:58when i arrive
12:00the pearly gates and christ welcomes me
12:02into his kingdom and shows me my
12:04heavenly and eternal abode oh
12:07man i can tell you that it’s going to
12:09the buzz is going to be going on because
12:12here’s the thing
12:13the people who are there now the tax
12:15collectors the prostitutes the drug
12:17addicts they’re going to see me coming
12:19in and go oh my goodness christ is
12:21letting anyone in now
12:24anyone they even let in rose bro
12:27and that’s
12:28the scandal of this all you see the the
12:31the forgiveness of sins is that
12:33scandalous so scandalous that christ
12:35commends this dishonest manager for his
12:39shrewdness and are we not shrewd
12:42in averting the wrath of god by trusting
12:45in the mercy of christ
12:47you see and like i said christ doesn’t
12:49forgive some of our debt he forgives all
12:53of it and yeah you you can legitimately
12:55say of yourself you are not a good
12:58steward of god’s resources if you were
13:00to have to really truly give an
13:02accounting oh man you would be in
13:05trouble but the book of colossians talks
13:07about things in a most amazing way
13:10in colossians it says that god the
13:13father has delivered us from the
13:14dominion of darkness the god the father
13:17is the one who is qualified each of us
13:20to share in the inheritance of the
13:22saints in light and then in colossians
13:25chapter 2 verses 14 and 15 it
13:28legitimately says that we
13:31god has made us alive together with
13:33christ and has forgiven us of all of our
13:36trespasses by cancelling the record of
13:39debt that stood against us with this
13:40legal demands this he has set aside
13:43nailing it to the cross why it’s because
13:46christ has paid the debt for all of your
13:50mismanagement of his good creation
13:53and he has qualified you so that you
13:56would never have to worry about not
13:59being welcome into heavenly abodes
14:02and so that being said there is a second
14:05level to our parable and it’s important
14:07to note the second level to our parable
14:09deals with actual with actually with the
14:12concept of money itself because note
14:15that christ says
14:17that i tell you make friends for
14:18yourselves by means of unrighteous
14:20wealth so that when it fails they may
14:23receive you into eternal dwellings seems
14:26like kind of an enigmatic statement but
14:28think of it this way
14:30our attitude towards the good money that
14:34god provides for us yes god is the one
14:36who’s given you the abilities so that
14:39you can have the job that you have so
14:41that you can earn the paycheck that you
14:42earned and we are commanded as
14:46christians this is a new testament
14:47command that we are to work with our
14:50hands diligently to provide for our own
14:53needs and we are also required by christ
14:57to set aside a small portion of what we
14:59earn so that we can help meet the needs
15:01of those who are down and out who are
15:04poor or not able to pay their bills and
15:07so you’ll note here i’m not saying we’re
15:09supposed to set aside a portion of our
15:10money in order to tithe
15:13that’s not a new testament command we
15:15are instructed to set aside a portion of
15:17our money in order to help people meet
15:21their needs so christ is making it very
15:24clear when it comes to the resources
15:26that god has given us a portion of that
15:28must be used to help people so that
15:31their financial debts can be lowered or
15:35alleviated so that they can see the
15:38gospel in action and the idea then is is
15:41that we don’t earn our salvation in this
15:44manner christ has earned it for us and
15:47because of that we can now have an open
15:49hand and be generous just like christ is
15:54giving to the poor is a visible
15:58of the forgiveness of sins
16:00and those who have been in financial
16:02binds and straights and have been not
16:05able to pay their bills they feel well
16:08that they are in captivity that they
16:10have no means to help themselves out of
16:12the problems that they are in and so in
16:14this way when we use unrighteous wealth
16:17to help others
16:20to show the graciousness of god
16:23it leaves a mark
16:25a good one it’s like i said a visible
16:28manifestation of the gospel itself
16:31and in this regard
16:33note then that each and every one of us
16:35we forgive because we have been forgiven
16:39we pay others debts because our debts
16:43have been paid and i find it ironic in
16:46this week’s readings that the gospel is
16:48not in the gospel text the gospel is
16:50actually in our old testament
16:53old testament text second samuel note
16:55then talking about how god what his
16:58disposition is towards us
17:01second samuel chapter 22 verse 26 states
17:05with the merciful god shows himself as
17:08merciful you know we forgive because we
17:10are forgiven and this is not what we
17:12pray in the lord’s prayer forgive us
17:14our trespasses as we forgive those who
17:17trespass against us with the blameless
17:19man god shows himself as blameless with
17:22the purified note the past tense with
17:25the purified you deal purely and this is
17:28what christ has done for you he has
17:30shown you mercy in christ he has made
17:33you blameless and by the shed blood of
17:36christ who has suffered in your place on
17:39the cross and paid your debt in full
17:42you have now been purified but with
17:45those who are crooked with those who are
17:47arrogant god
17:49makes himself to seem tortuous
17:53god saves a humble people
17:55but god’s eyes are on the hottie for the
17:58purpose of bringing them down so he
18:01the author here says you are my lamp o
18:04yahweh and my god lightens my darkness
18:07for by you i can run against a troop and
18:10by my god i can leap over a wall this
18:13god his way is perfect and the word of
18:16yahweh always proves true he’s a shield
18:18for all those who take refuge in him so
18:21take comfort you have taken refuge in
18:24christ and he is your great forgiver of
18:27all of your debts and your mismanagement
18:29i can think of no greater example of
18:32somebody mismanaging god’s good gifts
18:36than i could think of king david if you
18:38think about know the story of king david
18:40he starts off as a humble shepherd boy
18:42right and god calls him from the
18:45shepherd from shepherding has him
18:47anointed as the king of israel although
18:49the current king was still quite alive
18:52and well and god delivered him from all
18:56of the attempts to take his life and to
18:58kill him and finally establishes his
19:01kingdom and no sooner is david’s kingdom
19:04established by god he’s the king of all
19:06of israel what does he do he squanders
19:11the good kingdom that god has given him
19:14to steward by well casting his eye on
19:18the wife of uriah the hittite bathsheba
19:21he committed adultery with her
19:23impregnated her and then when found out
19:25that she was pregnant and that he was
19:27the father
19:29he killed murdered uriah the hittite i
19:32can think of no
19:33greater example of somebody squandering
19:35mismanaging the things that god has put
19:38into his care even abusing those whom
19:41god has put over whom god has put him
19:44over to care for and to minister to
19:47and yet when confronted with his sin
19:50what does
19:51what does god do
19:53for david
19:54did he say off to hell with you you’ve
19:56mismanaged my kingdom how dare you no
19:59god forgives him
20:01when confronted with his sin david says
20:03i have sinned against the lord
20:05and then he pens these wonderful words
20:07which are the actual psalm that is the
20:08sign for today psalm 51 where david says
20:12have mercy on me o god
20:14according to your steadfast love
20:16according to your abundant mercy please
20:18blot out my transgressions
20:21wash me thoroughly for my iniquity
20:23cleanse me from my sin for i know my
20:25transgressions and my sins are ever
20:27before me and against you and you only
20:29have i sinned and done what is evil in
20:31your sight so that i may be justified
20:33you may be justified in your words and
20:35blameless in your judgment behold i was
20:37brought forth in iniquity and in sin did
20:39my mother conceive me
20:41and behold you delight in truth in the
20:43inward being and you teach me wisdom in
20:46the secret heart so purge me with hyssop
20:48and i shall be clean wash me and i shall
20:51be whiter than snow let me hear joy and
20:55and let the bones that you have broken
20:59hide your face from my sins and blot out
21:02all of my iniquities
21:03created me a clean heart o god and renew
21:06a right spirit within me cast me not
21:08away from your presence and take not
21:10your holy spirit from me
21:12restore to me the joy of your salvation
21:15and uphold me
21:16with a willing
21:19and how does god answer such a prayer
21:22with forgiveness
21:25pardon and grace
21:27it’s very shrewd of david to cast
21:29himself on the mercy of god and show god
21:32to be merciful after he a miserable
21:34manager mismanaged the stewardship that
21:36was given to him by god
21:38and you and i are no better than david
21:40we’re all just as sinful and wicked
21:42don’t believe me consider our epistle
21:46let me explain
21:47the law
21:48the law shows us our sins paul writes in
21:51first corinthians 10 now these things
21:53talking about the stories that are
21:55recorded for us in the old testament
21:57contrary to what andy stanley may say we
21:59christians need that old testament don’t
22:01you dare throw it out or stop reading it
22:04these things that are written in the old
22:05testament were written for as examples
22:07for us so that we might not desire evil
22:11as they did but that’s the problem
22:16if you’re honest with yourself
22:18you can legitimately focus on the fact
22:21and confess rightly
22:22that you do desire evil the things that
22:26god commands you desire the things that
22:30forbids you desire the things that god
22:34doesn’t want you to do you want to do
22:37that’s because we all have a sinful
22:40nature and so these things are written
22:42so that we may not desire them and first
22:45thing on the list do not be idolaters as
22:47some of them were as it is written the
22:49people sat down to eat and drink and
22:50they rose up to play and you sit there
22:52and go well i attend a good faithful
22:55church how could i possibly be an
22:57idolater ah yeah that first commandment
23:00you shall have no other gods that’s a
23:02little bit of a thorny one here because
23:04you’re going to note every other sin
23:06flows from that one every time you break
23:10any of the other ten commandments you’ve
23:12also broken the first
23:14so when you are trusting in anything
23:16other than god to meet your needs
23:19you are an idolater you can turn
23:22anything into idolatry and i know that
23:25in the past i’ve taken a swipe at things
23:28like etsy and stuff like this this week
23:30i’ll take a swipe at myself
23:32you know me i like to photograph things
23:34i like posting my photographs on
23:35instagram and you know it’s really
23:38tempting to turn those little heart
23:40emojis that people put on my photographs
23:42into a type of idolatry oh my day can’t
23:45possibly be that bad because i got 112
23:47likes on that photograph that i took the
23:50other day at the museum right
23:52ah yes anything can be
23:54an idol
23:56and it’s this that we must all take into
23:59consideration and confess rightly when
24:02we do so photography can be an idol
24:06drugs alcohol sex money power
24:10ah shopping sprees can be an idol right
24:14and there are people who go on binge
24:15shopping sprees in order to make them
24:17feel better because of the stresses in
24:19life and that
24:21is idolatry you’ll you’ll know we’re all
24:23capable and we’re all guilty of such
24:26paul then says this we must not indulge
24:28in sexual immorality some of them did
24:30and twenty 000 fell in a single day
24:33let’s be blunt since christ in matthew
24:36chapter 5 takes well sexual immorality
24:40and ramps it up to 11 each and every one
24:43of us we’re guilty in this regard
24:45because if you even look at another
24:47person lustfully you’ve already
24:49committed adultery with that person that
24:52being the case i don’t think any of us
24:54can say that we’re all perfectly
24:56sexually pure not a single one of us and
24:58we must not put christ to the test each
25:01and every one of us do this regularly
25:03and and then also none of us should
25:06grumble but how many of us do
25:09so taking a look at that little list how
25:11do you all work how did y’all work that
25:12out you looking good
25:16no neither am i
25:18and so you’ll know
25:19we like i said
25:21are all that that horrible manager who
25:25has to give an account who’s been told
25:28pack up his stuff and bring the
25:31accounting books and have well
25:34christ look them over
25:36but because christ has bled and died for
25:38our sins
25:40he has cancelled the record of debt and
25:42christ doesn’t see in us anymore because
25:46of what he’s done all of our sin our
25:48debt and our mismanagement he’s paid all
25:50of that for us he’s taken care of it all
25:53by bleeding and dying for your sins and
25:55mine on the cross and instead we are
25:57clothed in the righteousness of christ
26:00and we are well promised that we would
26:03be the stewards and those who rule and
26:06reign with christ in the world to come
26:09all of this because christ has qualified
26:12us he’s the one who is gracious and kind
26:15and i would note i have this wonderful
26:17job week after week after week after
26:20week you come in and confess that you
26:21are by nature sinful unclean sinned
26:23against god and thought word and deed
26:25and i get to see the debt that you’ve
26:27racked up week after week and one of the
26:29greatest joys that i have and it is a
26:31joy is to announce to you that all of
26:34your debts are canceled because of
26:36christ so yeah you’re all miserable
26:39managers so am i
26:41and we deserve
26:43so much worse than what we’re getting
26:46but rather than getting what we deserve
26:48christ took that for us so take heart
26:51you will be welcomed by christ into
26:53eternal dwellings because of what he has
26:56done for you it’s scandalous if you
26:58think about it and yet at the same time
27:00is wonderful in the name of Jesus
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