Today we are continuing our new teaching series entitled…
The Stories that Jesus Told
During these summer months, different members of the Victory Church teaching team will be leading us through a study of the parables of Jesus. Pastor Guy got us started two weeks ago and then Pastor Selwyn had a great word for us last week. If you missed either of those two messages, you can get caught up by going to the website VictoryChurchMA.com and click the media link. You will find the current teaching series there.
In the gospels we have a record of some of the teaching of Jesus. A large part of the time, his teaching consisted of stories called parables. I used to think that Jesus spoke in parables to help make it easier for people to understand the principles of the kingdom of God. But during the Parable of the Sower, Jesus told his disciples the reason that he spoke in parables. After telling the parable to the crowd, Luke 8:8b-10 says,
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’
After saying this he explained the parable fully to his disciples. We see this in many parables: Jesus would speak a parable to the crowd. Sometimes the meaning was clear, other times it required explanation, which he reserved only for his disciples and would tell them later.
Today, we will be looking at
The Parable of the Rich Fool
Open up to Luke 12:13-34
Shared with Public: Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”
Jesus was commonly regarded as a rabbi by the people. Rabbi’s, at times would be called upon by the people to settle disputes of both religious and civil matters. It is not surprising, then, that his opinion was sought in a legal dispute over property. Possibly the younger brother was claiming that he was being defrauded out of a share in an inheritance. Jesus, however, refused to settle the matter. He was not an ordained rabbi, and he preferred to go to the root of the matter. Jesus refuses to be drawn into the sibling rivalry over money and uses the question to teach an important truth about wealth.
In teaching the pubic, Jesus first issues an….Alert
15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Jesus identifies a problem that exists to some extent in all of us: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
There is an Alert here! Watch out! Be on guard! Why? Because everyone of us own money, but for some of us, our money owns us! You and I are called to control the finances that God has placed in our lives, but for some of us, our finances control us!
Materialism is a preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects or material comforts.
Jesus issues a warning to his followers: Watch out! Paul issued the same warning in 1 Timothy 6:9-10. He said that people “who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Notice he said the LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all kinds of evil. He didn’t say MONEY WAS THE ROOT of all kinds of evil. You see money is only a tool to accomplish God’s will. But if you fall in love with it, then you can’t love God’s Will. Jesus warned of his very thing when he said in Luke 16:13, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
The Apostle Paul went one step further and said that increased greed will be a sign that we are in the last days. In 2 Timothy 3:1–4, he said, “In the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud . . . unloving, unforgiving, . . . despisers of good, . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”. This description of social conditions in the last days of earth’s history emphasizes the selfish qualities of our human nature.
So be warned… You can’t live for God and your money or material possessions!
Next, in his public teaching, Jesus talks to the crowd about their….
Let’s look at Luke 12:16-17
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
Let me explain how an agricultural society operated. In Spring, a farmer would sow his seed in the ground. Once planted he would care for it by supplying eater and wedding the fields to make the crop it’s most productive. This would take place from Spring through the Summer. In the Fall, a farmer would harvest his crop. He would pay first fruits to the temple off of the first crop harvested, he would store some in his barns to last him through the winter. Once he had enough put away for the winter, he could sell the rest to others and use that money for other things he needed.
This man was blessed with an amazing harvest. He had an over abundance. He had much more produce than he could ever use in one year. He asks himself, “What should I do? I have no place to store the abundance.”
Then he comes up with a plan….
Look at verse 18-19
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
His plan is to tear down his old barns, which up to this year served him just fine. They got him through the past years providing storage for the grain that he needed through the winter. But instead, he says, let’s tear down the old barns and build up new barns. Bigger barns. Barns that will hold more produce.
Notice what he didn’t say? He didn’t say, “I have so much. I have more produce that I can eat this winter. Maybe I can give some to my neighbor whose crop wasn’t very good this year.” He didn’t say, “Wow, God has blessed me so abundantly. Maybe I can give the extra to the temple for the priests or they can distribute it to the poor.” He didn’t say these things. His plan was surrounded around his pleasure and his comforts.
Listen, it was not his plan to build bigger barns that was looked down upon by Jesus, it was the attitude of his heart. “I will have plenty for many years, therefore, I will take life easy! I will eat, drink and be merry. Gonna be livin’ large!!!!”
The bible calls this covetousness. It is the desire to have more than one actually has or needs. It expresses a fundamentally wrong attitude to life, in which possessions are all that really matter.
Let’s keep reading. Look what God says about this heart attitude in verse 20-21,
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
ILLUS - There was a man who had worked all of his life and has saved all of his money. He was a real cheapskate when it came to his money. He loved money more than just about anything, and just before he died, he said to his wife. "Now listen, when I die I want you to take all my money and place it in the casket with me. Because I want to take all my money into the after life." So he got his wife to promise that when he died she would put all the money in the casket with him. In time the man died. He was stretched out in the casket, the wife was sitting there in black next to her best friend. When they finished the ceremony, just before the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said, "Wait a minute!" She had a shoe box with her, she came over with the box and placed it in the casket. Then the undertakers locked the casket and rolled it away. Her friend said, "I hope you weren't crazy enough to put all that money in there with that stingy old man." She said, "Yes, I promised I would. I'm a good Christian, I can't lie. I promised him that I would to put that money in that casket with him." "You mean to tell me you put every cent of his money in the casket with him?" "I sure did," said the wife. "I got it all together, put it into my account and I wrote him a check. If he can cash it, he can use it!"
I have a sticker on my motorcycle helmet that reads, “He who dies with the most toys, still dies!
It becomes apparent how useless possessions can be when we stand at the end of our lives looking into the abyss of eternity. Money cannot buy everything. The rich man had failed to gain the true riches of a right relationship to God, thus he was a fool.
Why is this man called a “fool?” Two reasons: (1) Because he thought that abundant possessions, secure living, and earthly enjoyment was the pinnacle of a man’s pursuit. (2) Because he thought he could sit back and relax, living his life without any responsibilities laid to his charge.
Jesus finishes saying, This is how it will be for those who store up possessions only for themselves and are not rich toward God!
This was all spoken in the public teaching time of Jesus. In the next few verses, Jesus explains the meaning of this parable to his disciples.
Shared with Private: Luke 12:22-34
Jesus, in private, tells his disciples to take…
Look at verse 22-34,
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The disciples should not worry about food and clothing (the two essential requirements for the body) as if they were the most important things. If God feeds even carefree birds and clothes the flowers, surely he will all the more provide what is necessary for his children. In any case, worry cannot make a person live any longer. In a world in which people are set in a race to keep up with the Jones’, disciples are to first seek out God’s will; then they will find that their bodily needs are taken care of. Let them sell their possessions and give to the needy, and set their desire on a heavenly treasure that will not pass away.
Jesus is not encouraging laziness. ‘God will provide; therefore, I do not need to do anything!’ No. That’s not it!
Jesus is not talking to lazy people, but to worried people, and to those who are tempted to join in the race to keep up with the Jones’. They should trust in God and get their priorities right.
To seek God’s kingdom is to set one’s aim in life on God himself and the accomplishment of his purpose of bringing all life under his rule.
We must have food, drink, and shelter to survive, but Jesus challenges us not to be anxious about these necessities and gives us two vital insights. (1) We need not be anxious because we have a Heavenly Father who cares for us. And, (2) we must not be anxious because that would shift the focus of our attention from God to the things of this world.
Treasure is that to which we give priority in our lives. Material treasures are fleeting and unreliable. But putting God’s kingdom first stores up treasures that outlast eternity.
How can you tell if money is in control of your life? If you have ever thought or said something like this, “Man, I would love to tithe but I just can’t because I am so afraid there won’t be enough to pay the bills." Money is controlling you.
If you have ever felt like God was calling you to do something, like go on a mission trip. And you really, really want to go, but you knew you didn’t have the money for it. Money is controlling you.
If you say, "We want to get married, but we don’t have enough money.” Money is controlling you.
If you say, “We want to start a family. We believe children are a blessing from the Lord, but we can’t afford kids right now.” Money is controlling you!
God wants your hearts on him. He doesn’t want your hearts on getting more stuff, that you can’t afford, to bring you happiness that it can’t give. Seek first the kingdom!
Take inventory today:
Are you looking at your possessions to bring you happiness? Godliness with contentment is great gain!
Are you worried about finance or material possessions? Your heavenly Father loves you. He knows what you need and he has your back.