Sermon #84 Luke Sermons
Title: The Parable of the Rich Fool
Text: Luke 12:13-21
Tape # X-13a
(Luke 12:13-21) "And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. (14) And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? (15) And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (16) And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: (17) And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? (18) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. (19) And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. (20) But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (21) So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
We have before us the parable of the rich fool. It sets before us a striking example of man's readiness to mix wealth and godliness, as though the two were inseparable. We are told that a certain hearer of our Lord asked him to assist him about his temporal affairs.
1. Here is a man who wanted what God had given to his brother.
(Luke 12:13) "And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me."
"Master," he said, "speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me." He probably had some vague idea that the Lord Jesus was going to set up a kingdom in this world, and would reign upon earth. He certainly regarded him as a rabbi, a respected religious teacher. Therefore, he sought the Master’s help in securing an earthly inheritance. He tried to get the Son of God to cater to his covetousness. He should have set his heart on the world to come; but his heart was consumed with greed for this present, perishing world and its wealth.
When David envied the prosperity of the wicked, his very soul was horrified by his covetousness (Ps. 73).
How many there are just like this man! Multitudes are incessantly plan and scheme about the things of time, even under the very sound of the things of eternity! The natural heart of man is always the same. Even the preaching of Christ did not arrest the attention of all his hearers. Those who preach the gospel of Christ in the present day must never be surprised to see those for whose souls they labor consumed with worldliness, too.
2. Here is a man who tried to get Jehovah’s righteousness Servant involved in the affairs of state.
(Luke 12:14) "And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?"
It would be a good thing if every gospel preacher would imitate our Master’s conduct in this. Let us walk in His steps. The less preachers have to do with secular things, the better. That applies most particularly to political and civil matters. The Gospel preacher has no business involving himself in such drivel! When the preacher of the Gospel undertakes any work except the preaching of the Gospel, it is that work and business that suffers. God’s servants must be men of one thing! Let them confine themselves exclusively to that one thing! "Give thyself wholly to these things!"
3. Here is a man who was very covetous.
(Luke 12:15-18) "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (16) And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: (17) And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? (18) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods."
· He looked upon all he possessed as his—“My.”
· He thought upon his treasure!—It was the consuming thought of his heart.
· He looked upon his wealth as the fruit of his labor.
· He bestowed his goods to his barns.—A Hole in the Ground!
In response to this man’s request, the Lord Jesus pronounced a very solemn warning against covetousness.—"He said unto them, take heed and beware of covetousness."
I am sure I am safe in saying that there is no evil to which our hearts are more prone than covetousness.
· It was covetousness that to cast down the angels who fell. They were not content with their first estate. They coveted something better.
was covetousness that drove Adam and Eve out of the garden and brought death
into the world. Our first parents were not satisfied with the things God gave
· It is covetousness that, ever since the fall, has been the cause of misery and unhappiness in this world. Wars, quarrels, strifes, divisions, envyings, disputes, jealousies, hatreds of all sorts, both public and private, may nearly all be traced to this foul fountain.
Let us hear the Master’s warning. Let us seek wisdom and grace to be content with such things as we have. Strive to learn the lesson that Paul learned, when he wrote, "I have learned in whatever state I am therewith to be content." (Phil. 4:11.) Pray for a thorough confidence in God's wise and good providence over all our earthly affairs, trusting his perfect wisdom in all his arrangements concerning us. If we have little, it would be not good for us to have much.
If that which we have is taken away, there is a needs be. Happy is the man or woman who is persuaded that whatever is is best, and has ceased from vain wishing. That person and that person alone is "content with such things as he has." (Hebrews 13:5.)
Idolatry comes in many packages and wears many names, but none is more deceitful, dangerous, and destructive than covetousness. How often the Word of God warns us to "beware of covetousness!" (Col. 3:2-5; Eph. 5:5; I Tim. 6:10-11).
Covetousness is an ardent desire for the things of this world, an undue affection for and attachment to the riches, pleasures, and comforts of this world. Some covet the world's money, others its applause. Some covet the world's fame, others its' comforts. Some covet the world's honor, others its' pleasures. But all covetousness is idolatry.
What fools they are who love and seek this world! I cannot warn you enough of the danger of worldliness, that is of loving, seeking, and living for this world! "The fashion of this world passeth away!" Trying to hold to this world is like gripping sand.—The tighter you grip it, the faster it slips away. If you love and seek the things of this world, you cannot love and serve the Lord God (Matt.6:24; James 4:4; I John 2:15-17).
Nothing is more likely to ruin our souls than "covetousness, which is idolatry!" Nothing will more effectually keep a person from faith in Christ than "covetousness, which is idolatry" (Lk. -26). Nothing is more likely to turn the hearts of men away from Christ and the gospel than "covetousness, which is idolatry!" "The care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word" (Matt. ). May the Spirit of God inscribe these words upon our hearts—"Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth!"
If we would avoid this snare of Satan, we must set our affection on things above and get our priorities in order. Seek grace to honor God in the use of those things with which you have been trusted. Use what God has given you for hospitality and the thoughtful care of others. Be generous. Out of our abundance, let us ever minister to those who are in need and generously pro- vide for the preaching of the gospel around the world.
True happiness comes not from wealth
Real peace you can never buy;
The contentment that you long for
Is in Christ who reigns on high.
our Lord displays the folly of worldliness.
He gave this parable a rich man who was a fool. His heart and mind was set on earthly things. He schemed and planned for his wealth, and ways to secure it. He acted as if he was master of his life, as if had but to say, "I will do a thing," and it would be done.
Then the picture changes. God required the worldling’s soul, and asked, "Whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?"
"Folly," nothing less than "folly," is the right word by which to describe the conduct of the man who thinks of nothing but his money. The man who "lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God," is the man whom God declares to be a "fool."
The character our Lord brings before us in this parable is very common. Multitudes in every age of the world have lived continually doing the very things that are here condemned. Multitudes are doing them at this very day. They are laying up treasure upon earth, and thinking of nothing but how to increase their riches. They continually add to their riches, as if they were to enjoy them forever, as if there was no death, no judgment, and no world to come.
These are the men who are called clever, and prudent, and wise! These are the men who are commended, and flattered, and held up to admiration! Truly, “the Lord seeth not as man seeth!” The Lord declares that the rich man who lives only for this world is a "fool!"
Nothing is more dangerous to the souls of men than riches. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” He who is given wealth is in great danger.
A very eminent, wealthy man, said on his deathbed, "Heaven is a place to which few kings and rich men come."
Even those wealthy men and women who are converted by the grace of God carry a great weight and run the race to heaven under great disadvantages. The possession of money has a hardening effect upon the conscience. We never know what we may do when we become rich. "The love of money is the root of all evil. While some have coveted after it, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. 6:10.) Poverty has many disadvantages. But riches are dangerous.
4. Here is a man who speaks to his soul.
Oh, how sad it is to read of a man speaking to his soul in such a way!
(Luke 12:19) "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry."
Someone said, "If this man had only had the sense of a hog, what other thing could lie have said?"
· Apply Materially
· Apply Spiritually
5. Here is a man God calls a fool.
(Luke 12:20) "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
5. Here is a question for my soul and yours—Are we rich toward God?
(Luke 12:20-21) "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (21) So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
Blessed are they who are rich toward God!
O my soul, Seek to be rich toward God! This is true wisdom. This is truly providing for time to come. This is genuine prudence. The wise man is he who does not think only of earthly treasure, but of treasure in heaven.
6:31-33) "Therefore take no
thought, saying, What shall we eat? or,
What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be
clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of
all these things. (33) But seek ye first the
(Colossians 3:1-3) "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
When can it be said of a man, that he is rich towards God?
· Never till he is rich in grace, and rich in faith, and rich in good works!
· Never till he has come to Christ, and bought of him gold tried in the fire (Rev. 3:18.)
· Never till he has a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens!
· Never till he reads his name inscribed in the book of life, and is an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ!
He that is rich toward God, acknowledges that he receives all his riches from God.—He gives up all into the hands of God.—He depends upon the providence of God.—He seeks to use all he has for the honor and glory, the furtherance of the gospel, and the good of men’s souls.—He who is rich toward God is principally concerned for the riches of God’s grace and glory in Christ.—He who is rich toward God has Christ!—Such a man is truly rich!
· Rich with Grace (Eph. 1:3)
· Rich in Grace (Gal. -23)
· Rich with Forgiveness
· Rich in Righteousness
· Rich in Glory
Such a man is truly rich! His treasure is incorruptible. His bank never breaks. His inheritance fadeth not away. Man cannot deprive him of it. Death cannot snatch it out of his hands. All things are his already—life, death, things present, and things to come (1 Cor. ). Best of all, what he has now is nothing to what he will have hereafter.
The eternal riches of God’s free grace in Christ are within reach of every sinner who comes to Christ. Never rest, my friend, until they are yours, until the Son of God says to you, "Thou art rich" (Rev. 2:9).
(1 John 2:15-17) "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
(1 Timothy 6:6-11) "But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
(1 Timothy 6:17-19) "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (18) That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; (19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
(Proverbs 21:26) "He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not."
(Ecclesiastes 5:10) "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity."
 The rich man talks of "my" barns, "my" fruits, "my" goods, with all the self-sufficiency and petty importance of one who knows no will but his own. and no master but his own selfishness. It should remind us of Nabal's language, in 1 Sam. 25:11. Of him too it is written, "Fool is his name, and folly is with him." (1 Sam. 25:25.)