Good News Week 41. Good News of Kingdom Values

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The Good News Of Kingdom Values

Alright, this morning we are going to look at the good news of kingdom values.
And we are going to do that by looking 2 parables sandwiched around a challenge by Jesus to the pharisees.
The first parable we are going to look at is confusing without context. But that’s often the way Jesus spoke. He spoke in ways that challenged his hearers, that required careful attention to the details and the context of the parable.
So, before we dig in to the text this morning I want us to come to a better understanding of the use of parables by Jesus.
On Wednesday's we are looking at an in-depth bible study by the Bible Project on How To Read The Bible.
I want to share some from that study this morning to help us better read parable generally, and this morning text particularl.

The Bible Project - How To Read Parables

One of the most well-known and common ways that Jesus communicated was through stories, or in Greek, parabole. Let’s dive in to learn more.
Defining the Term
In Greek, para means “alongside” and bole means “to set.” Therefore, the word parabole refers to something that is set alongside another for comparison and contrast. However, the meaning of our English word parable doesn’t quite allow us to understand what Jesus’ parables are all about. Let’s take a look at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition:
Parable: A usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle.
This definition views parables as “illustrations” or “explanations” relating to morality or religious truth. It assumes that there is a basic abstract idea that the parables illustrate, but this doesn’t capture how and why Jesus used parables.
Modern preaching further contributes to this misunderstanding. The goal of preaching today is to take the listener (with a desire to learn) from a place of non-understanding to comprehen- sion. Therefore preachers often utilize illustrations that take something unclear and make it more clear and relatable through a story. However, parables are more than short fiction stories that Jesus used to clarify his point.
The assumption that parables are moralistic tales or theology lessons has produced wide- spread misuse of the parables in Christian teaching. Let’s explore a few examples before we discover the true nature of parables.

Parables Are Not Short Moralistic Stories

The parable of the good samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is most often assumed to be a moralistic tale. But is there a deeper meaning intended?
What’s the main point of this parable? Many would summarize the passage as a story about being a good person who doesn’t neglect the hurting. But this simplistic summary neglects the actual context and content of the passage. What is actually going on here?
First, notice that it begins with a Torah scholar debating about the greatest commandment with Jesus. He wants to undermine Jesus’ authority by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus goes on to tell a story where a Samaritan, someone considered despicable by the scholar, is the hero and the religious elite figures are the villains.
It is precisely not a story about being a good person. It’s a story meant to challenge our as- sumptions that “we” are the good people and “they” are the bad ones. However, our lens of parables as moralistic tales may prevent us from seeing the main point.

Parables Are Not Theology Lessons

Let’s look at another parable that is often interpreted solely as a theology lesson. The parable of the talents is found in Matthew 25:14-30.
Is Jesus trying to illustrate a theology of salvation? Does this teach us about how we can either go to heaven or hell after death? If we attempt to fit this parable into that grid, all kinds of theo- logical problems arise. For example, is my salvation entirely dependent upon my performance? Also, why does God act so harshly toward someone who is simply afraid?
This theological interpretation of the parable of the talents neglects the actual context Matthew has provided in the surrounding chapters. This parable is actually about Jesus’ confrontation with the leaders of Jerusalem, who have squandered their chance to lead Israel toward cove- nant faithfulness. It’s also connected with two other parables, the ten young women at the wedding and the sheep and the goats. These parables are all about his confrontation with Je- rusalem and warning of the Day of the Lord that is coming if they don’t accept his offer of God’s Kingdom.
If we come to Jesus’ parables with this conception of “explainer stories,” we are setting our- selves up for disappointment and misunderstanding.

The Main Point Of Parables

Jesus’ entire mission was to announce and inaugurate the Kingdom of God as the climax of the covenant story between God and Israel. The arrival of God’s Kingdom both confronted the Isra- el of Jesus’ day and comforted them after their long period of exile and oppression.
The parables are one among many ways that Jesus confronted Israel with his offer of the King- dom of God. This is why so many of Jesus’ parables begin with the phrase “the Kingdom of God can be likened to” or contain the phrase “the Kingdom.”
Jesus is offering a kind of commentary on his own mission, clarifying what his offer of the Kingdom means, what’s at stake, and the particular moment within the long drama of Israel’s history.
Jesus’ parables are all expressions of his announcement of the arrival of God’s Kingdom and the challenge that it brought to the Israel of his day. They are not meant to explain general theo- logical or moral truths. They do explain Jesus’ behavior in going about announcing the arrival of God’s Kingdom, but they do so in a very cryptic and indirect way that often confused or frus- trated people.

Balanced Reading

A More Balanced Approach
Parables are extended metaphors, symbolic stories with two levels of meaning. But the chal- lenge is in discerning what symbols are most important. A balanced approach to reading para- bles involves developing the skill of identification of crucial and non-crucial details.

Practical Steps For Reading Jesus’ Parables

1. Pay Attention to Context
It is important to pay attention to the narrative context provided by the Gospel authors and the context of Jesus’ Kingdom of God announcement to Israel.
2. Identify the Main Characters/Objects or Indispensible Plot Elements
The most important symbols of any parable are the main characters. Each “character” embod- ies one of the “main points” of the parable (Blomberg). Parables typically have three, two, or one characters.
3. Discern the Parable’s Meaning vs. its Significance
The meaning of a parable is determined by Jesus’ intention as far as we can discern it given the literary, historical, and cultural context provided by the Gospel authors (E.D. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation). Jesus’ meaning is focused on a specific historical moment: his inauguration of God’s Kingdom and his confrontation with Israel. The significance of a parable is about how specific aspects of the parable’s meaning strike later readers as especially important and rele- vant.
4. Brainstorm the Parable’s Significance for Audiences Beyond the Original
We should pay attention to the original context of the parables, but this does not mean they do not have wisdom to offer us today. Take for example the prodigal son (Luke 15). Jesus is address- ing Israel’s religious leadership accusing him of unfaithfulness to God by including sinners, tax collectors, and outsiders into his “new covenant people.” Jesus’ response fits into his historical mission to Israel. However, Jesus’ portrait of God can provide wisdom for later generations who deal with other socio-ethnic boundary lines. These boundaries can still prevent Jesus’ followers from allowing God’s grace to extend to others, and the message of the parable still rings true today.

Luke 16

Alright, now that we have a basic and better understanding of how to read Jesus’ parables, lets dig in.
There are two parables in Luke 16 and the sandwich a challenge by the Pharisees.
Lets Go.

The Dishonest Manager

Now, this one, without context can be confusing.
So lets read and unpack it.
Luke 16:1–13 CSB
Now he said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who received an accusation that his manager was squandering his possessions. So he called the manager in and asked, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you can no longer be my manager.’ “Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do since my master is taking the management away from me? I’m not strong enough to dig; I’m ashamed to beg. I know what I’ll do so that when I’m removed from management, people will welcome me into their homes.’ “So he summoned each one of his master’s debtors. ‘How much do you owe my master?’ he asked the first one. “ ‘A hundred measures of olive oil,’ he said. “ ‘Take your invoice,’ he told him, ‘sit down quickly, and write fifty.’ “Next he asked another, ‘How much do you owe?’ “ ‘A hundred measures of wheat,’ he said. “ ‘Take your invoice,’ he told him, ‘and write eighty.’ “The master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the children of this age are more shrewd than the children of light in dealing with their own people. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of worldly wealth so that when it fails, they may welcome you into eternal dwellings. Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much. So if you have not been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with what is genuine? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
So, is Jesus actually praising a dishonest manager?
Is Jesus actually encouraging cheating and dishonesty if you gets you ahead and saves your bacon?
I mean, that would go against everything we know about Jesus.
That would go against His teachings, Hi sermons, His religious challenges.
It would align him with the wicked.
It makes no sense.
So what is the point?
Jesus is again, challenging the hypocrite religious leaders.
Isn’t of being honest that look for ways to cheat the system so they can live how they want to.
They’re too weak or lazy or unconcerned to live righteously that they cheat and make excuses for their sin.
Twisting the trust.
He’s saying if your faithful in little you’ll be faithful in much.
However is unfaithful in little will be unfaithful in much.
You can’t serve two masters.
Jesus actually makes this about money.
He is challenging their unfaithfulness in regards to their money and power.
Jesus is not concerned with worldly power.
Jesus is not concerned with worldly wealth.
Luke 16:12–13 CSB
And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Theres the trap.
It’s still a trap.
Making excuses for sinful behavior to win power and accumulate wealth.
But you cannot serve God and Money.
You cannot serve two masters.
There’s a lot of discussion is certain circles of the American church about the need for political power and Christian Nationalism.
Listen, as believers we should be involved in politics, both locally and nationally, but if our political engagement causes us to compromise Kingdom Values and Christian Ethics, we have begun to serve two masters and eventually the god of the age will be the one we worship.
We can be like the dishonest manager looking for ways to get the rewards thru compromise and acting shrewdly according to the world.
Or we can live faithfully.
Jesus is flipping the script in this parable.
If it’s doesn’t make sense yet, hold on.

Lovers Of Money

Look at Luke 16:14-18 with me
Luke 16:14–18 CSB
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and scoffing at him. And he told them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight. “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urgently invited to enter it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the law to drop out. “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and everyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
The Pharisees were lovers of money.
Like the dishonest manger they justified themselves in the sight of others.
They cheated, but make excuses.
They stole, but made excuses.
They took from others, but made excuses.
They served money and power about God.
Jesus says, God knows your hearts.
What is highly admired by people is revolting to God.
Admired by people.
Revolting to God.
See they used their position of authority and power to get away with their own wickedness.
They used their power and authority to manipulate the system and the law to justify their own wicked behavior.
Unjust scales.
Cheating on their tithing and offerings.
taking from others.
They had built a system of unrighteousness
They had built a system of injustice.
They had built a system of unrighteousness.
And Jesus called them out.
Anytime sinful people create systems to perpetuate thier sin those systems are sinful.
Anytime a sinful people create systems to perpetuate their power and wealth those systems are unjust.
It’s interesting that these Religious Leaders would make a big deal about sexual sin in others but excuse their own systemic wickedness and justify there own breaking of the marriage covenant..
Here’s what Jesus does.
In verse 17 he elevates all of it.
Our moral uprightness isn’t only found in our sexual morality but also in our posture towards wealth and power.
It’s an echo of the Prophet Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 16:49–50 CSB
Now this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters had pride, plenty of food, and comfortable security, but didn’t support the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable acts before me, so I removed them when I saw this.
God judged the people of Sodom and Gomorrah not just for their detestable acts (the sexual sickness) but also for their posture towards wealth and power and how that intersects with the poor and needy.
You can justify your sin but God does not.
God judges your sin.
The Law and the Prophets point to what God requires of His people.
Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Love you neighbor as yourself.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.
You have been urgently invited to the Kingdom.
The good news has been proclaimed.
Come into the Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Jesus has come to open the door into the Kingdom.
What will it take for you to repent?

The Rich Man & Lazarus

Which bring us to the second parable.
Luke 16:19–31 CSB
“There was a rich man who would dress in purple and fine linen, feasting lavishly every day. But a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, was lying at his gate. He longed to be filled with what fell from the rich man’s table, but instead the dogs would come and lick his sores. One day the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side. ‘Father Abraham!’ he called out, ‘Have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this flame!’ “ ‘Son,’ Abraham said, ‘remember that during your life you received your good things, just as Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, while you are in agony. Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those who want to pass over from here to you cannot; neither can those from there cross over to us.’ “ ‘Father,’ he said, ‘then I beg you to send him to my father’s house—because I have five brothers—to warn them, so that they won’t also come to this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said. ‘But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
Let’s identify the characters.
The Rich Man.
The Rich Man would be anyone who justifies his own sinful behavior.
Lazarus would be those who are looked down on by the self-righteous.
Abraham would be the spiritual father.
The Rich Man is in torment because of his wicknedness.
Lazarus is in a place of comfort.
The Rich Man realizes his sin and begs for someone to go to his brothers and warn them.
Hear the words of Abraham in the parable, its a throw back to Jesus words in verse 16-17 but it’s also a foreshadow of something yet to come.
Luke 16:29–31 CSB
“But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said. ‘But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
Jesus is saying that the Law and the Prophets should be enough to convince us to live justly, righteously, and morally upright.
But if those children of Abraham who have the Law and the Prophets reject them, they will also reject Jesus when he is raised from the dead.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
And every promise of God finds it’s yes and amen in Christ Jesus.
They reject Him because they reject God.
They choose to live for self rather than for God and others.
Jesus was raised from the dead, what will it take for you to believe?
Jesus was raised from the dead, what will it take for you to trust him?
Jesus was raised from the dead, what will it take for you to obey him?
Jesus was raised from the dead, what will it take for us to abondon self-righteousness, and power, and hypocrisy, and injustice, and unrighteousness, and sexual sin, and pride and arrogance?
Jesus was raised from the dead, what will it take for us to embrace Kingdom Values?

Kingdom Values

Luke 16:16–17 CSB
“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urgently invited to enter it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the law to drop out.
The Good News of the Kingdom
It will not pass away.
It will not die.
It will not be cancelled.
It will not be erased.
It will not be defeated.
The truth of the Kingdom is unstoppable.
The Kingdom is
Romans 14:17 CSB
for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Rightteousness, peace, and joy.
The Kingdom isn’t about eating and drinking.
It’s not about earthly things.
It’s not about material wealth and power.
Its about things that can’t be destroyed or taken away.


Moral rightness and justice.
Psalm 33:5 CSB
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love.
Psalm 37:6 CSB
making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.
Psalm 72:1–2 CSB
God, give your justice to the king and your righteousness to the king’s son. He will judge your people with righteousness and your afflicted ones with justice.
Psalm 89:14 CSB
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; faithful love and truth go before you.
Psalm 97:2 CSB
Clouds and total darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Psalm 99:4 CSB
The mighty King loves justice. You have established fairness; you have administered justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Psalm 103:6 CSB
The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
Justice is built into righteouness.
They are two sides of the same coin.
When we love righteouness, we do justice.
They are both moral actions.
Our righteouness has to do with our moral standing with God.
Our justice has to do with our moral standing with others.
Are you righteous before God?
Have you been made righteous before God by obedient faith in Christ Jesus?
If you have been made righteous by faith, than justice should be a concern for you.
Righteouness is a Kingdom Value.


This is shalom - making things right.
It also has to do with justice.
It has to do with Jesus making all things new.
It has to do with Jesus bring order into our chaos.
It has to do with our sin being dealt with on the cross.
It has to do with eternal wholeness.
It’s the picture of God wiping away every tear and restoring every broken thing and redeeming everything that stolen.
Peace is a Kingdom Value.

Joy in the Holy Spirit

Zechariah 4:6 CSB
So he answered me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of Armies.
Nehemiah 8:10 CSB
Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
There is a joy that is only possible in Kingdom Living.
It’s a joy that is stronger than the strongest army.
It’s a joy that sustains in a famine.
It’s a joy that lifts your head when you are helpless.
It’s a joy that carries you thru the darkest valley.
It’s a Holy Spirit sweetness that gives hope and comfort and rest and rejoicing.
Holy Spirit Joy is a Kingdom Value.

Kingdom Values What The World Does Not

Wealth and power cannot bring true righteous, peace, or joy.
The Kingdom is not of this world.
We don’t fight like this world.
The Law and the Prophets point us to Kingdom Values.
Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated the Kingdom.
Jesus invites us into the Kingdom.
Jesus is the Door into the Kingdom.
It’s a Kingdom that meets our deepest longing, the longing for connection with our creator.
We can try to fill that longing with wealth, power, sex, but until we connect with our Creator we won’t understand the joys of the Kingdom.
Live in the Kingdom.
Live out the Kingdom.
There’s no better way.
and there’s no way that could be better.
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