What is 'mammon'? In Luke 16, it is talking about the steward who wasted his master's goods. I don't fully understand this chapter. Please help.
Also, I would like to say that I truly appreciate your website. I am a person who fell away from the church a very long time ago, and now see what and where I was wrong. I live in a town, very small, and it does not have a church of Christ congregation here. Nor is there one close by. So, I have been doing my own Bible studies on my own, using church of Christ websites. One, the Christian Courier, I have gone through almost all of it's articles. Other sites trouble me. I am beginning to understand that there is a great deal of division out there. Which concerns me since at some point in the future, I hope to move to a town with a congregation. I pray that I find a congregation that doing the correct thing.
My point is this. Your site seems to be one of strict adherence to the teachings of the Bible, New and Old Testament. I have found that this is very uplifting to me, and I have repeatedly come back to your site for more information. I get excited when I find so much to learn, and sit here for hours reading what the articles and sermons have to say.
I just wanted to say, in light of all the 'stuff' I have found in other sites, you seem to be doing just exactly what God said to do, and I for one, appreciate it. I have already done enough harm in my life, I only want to learn and do good now. And your site is helping me with this. Thank you very much. I hope you will be here for a very long time, so I can continue to learn.
I'm glad to hear that the website has been of use to you in your studies. I'm sorry to hear there is no sound congregation near you, but keep in mind what the early Christians did: "Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). Even without a nearby congregation you can still tell your neighbors about the truth you have learned. You never know where those seeds will take root. I know of congregations which started in just such a fashion.
The Parable of the Unjust Steward in Luke 16:1-13 is a difficult parable, but there is a sermon outline available. Take a look at "The Parable of the Unjust Steward" and see if that answers some of your questions.
In the passage, "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), "mammon" is an Aramaic word for wealth. Because the New Testament is written in Greek, the translators transliterated (gave an English spelling) the Aramaic word so that we would have the same feeling a Greek reader would have to the text. Wealth is being seen as a person, or possibly even a deity, that a controls a person's life.
This is not to say that all wealth is bad. In Luke 16:9 "mammon" is qualified, "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home." Wealth and property, material things of this world, are lousy substitutes for God and righteous living. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21). When a person happens to be blessed with wealth he is to use it in serving God and his fellow man. "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life" (I Timothy 6:17-19).