Sermon #105                                                 Luke Sermons


     Title:          Living For Eternity

     Text:          Luke 14:12-15

     Subject:     Eternity

     Date:         Sunday Evening—October 5, 2001

     Tape #       X-82a

     Readings:   Ron Wood & Merle Hart



My text will be Luke 14:12-15. Before we look at the text itself, let me remind you of the background.


It is Saturday evening, the Jewish Sabbath, and the Lord Jesus has been invited to dinner by one of the leaders among the Pharisees (14:1), the most zealous of the zealous law-keepers among the Jews. There is no indication that I know of that our Savior was ever invited back a second time to a Pharisee's house. And it is not hard to see why.


It seems like every time he opened his mouth, he undressed someone's hypocrisy. There never was another man whose words were so penetrating and so exposing. When our Lord spoke, he opened and exposed the hearts of men.


(Heb 4:12-13)  "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. {13} Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."


When our Lord spoke, he spoke as one having authority, divine, penetrating, omniscient authority. The Pharisees once reported of him, “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).


It seems that every time our Lord spoke in a crowd, large or small, there was a division because of his words. Those who are "of the truth" listen and obey. He tells us, "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me" (John 10:27,4). Those who are not of the truth do not have ears to hear or eyes to see. The Lord says to them, “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word…He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:43,47).


The Healing


The first thing our Lord did at this Saturday dinner was heal a man of dropsy. He asked the law-experts and Pharisees if they thought healing on the Sabbath was lawful. They did not answer, but their silence clearly meant, No it is not lawful.


Back in Luke 13:14 the synagogue ruler had said, “with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.” Our Lord responds to their silence here the same way he responded to that.


(Luke 14:5)  "And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?"


Again, no answer.


Hypocrisy Undressed


The Master leaves it for them and us to draw the inference. It is unmistakable.—Religionists, legalists, and self-righteous Pharisees have a keen interest in their own welfare. When the things of God seem to stand between them and their personal interests, they have no difficulty bending the Word of God and the things of God to accommodate their interests. The preservation of their own interests is clearly more important than the will of God the Word of God, and the worship of God.


But when it comes to another person's need, whose illness, pain, or loss is no skin off their noses, they become conveniently rigid their hardness, that is to say, in their spirituality! The meanest, most wicked, hard-hearted people in this world are religious people who have no idea who God is, “whose god is their belly!” Our Lord held such men in utter contempt; and I do, too. The first lesson for us to learn from this event in the earthly life of our Lord is this:—Religion without Christ makes men and women twofold more the children of hell than they were before.


The first thing our Lord did at this dinner party was heal that poor man with the dropsy, exposing the hard-heartedness of his religious host. He publicly undressed the man’s hypocrisy. Not the most ingratiating thing to do to your host, but certainly the most gracious.


Pride Undressed


Then, the second thing did must have been even more shocking. Our Master publicly undressed the pride of the dinner guests, right there in front of everybody. He has been sitting there watching them come in. And what does He look for? How they are dressed? Where they are from? What are their jobs? No. He looks for what they love. The keen eye of omniscience knows where our treasure is. Sooner or later, he will expose it. Where our treasure is there our hearts are, So the Lord watches and sees what the treasure of these religious men is. Here it is—they love the praise of men. They love to be esteemed for occupying the seats of honor. He watches as they move in and out of conversations, weaving their way, unnoticed by other


What does the Son of God think of this love of honor and esteem, this love of distinction? Turn back to Luke 11:43, and see.


(Luke 11:43)  "Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets."


(Luke 20:46-47)  "Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; (47) Which devour widows' houses, and for a show make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation."


Two things go hand in hand with loving the place of honor: exploitation of the weak and condemnation of those deemed less honorable. If crave the praise of men and a widow's house stands in your way, you will devour it without a thought. But in the end your own house will collapse in the flood of God's judgment. If we pursue the seat of honor on earth, there will be no seat for us in among the redeemed in glory (Luke 14:11; Matt. 5:3, 5, 7; 18:3).


(Luke 14:11)  "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."


(Mat 5:3)  "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."


(Mat 5:5)  "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."


(Mat 5:7)  "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."


(Mat 18:3)  "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."


Motive Undressed


You might think the Lord has ruffled enough feathers for one evening. He had publicly undressed the hypocrisy of the legalists and their pride. Our Lord knew how to spoil a dinner party. But he is not done. Up to this point, he has been talking in general to the guests at the party. Now he turns (vv. 12-14) to address the host. Here, he undresses the man’s motive, the motive of his heart, before all his guests.


(Luke 14:12-14)  "Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. (13) But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: (14) And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."


What an unusual way of thinking! What strange reasoning! The Lord says, “When you have a lavish dinner party, don’t invite your relatives, friends, and rich neighbors, who can repay you, but those from whom you can expect no gain or advantage of any kind.”


Our Lord could not have been more coarsely blunt if he had put his finger right in this proud Pharisee’s face. He said, “You, sir, hope to go to heaven because of your goodness, and there’s no goodness in you. You are motivated, in all your displays of goodness, by your own, personal interest. Everything you pretend to do for others, you really do for yourself. And that shall be your eternal ruin.”


Who on earth would talk like that? Probably someone whose Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36); someone who knows that 1000 years on this earth are like yesterday when it is gone (Psalm 90:4); someone who knows that our life is but a vapor that appears and in a moment vanishes away (James 4:14); who knows that he who saves his life now will lose it and he who loses it now in love will save it (Mark 8:35); and who knows that there the resurrection, the day of judgment, and eternity are real. That Someone is the Son of God, our Savior. No man ever spoke like this man.


Lessons Intended


But why did our Lord speak as he did at this dinner party? Why did he do the things he did? Was it merely to show up these men? Was it simply to expose their condemnation? Was it just to publicly humiliate them? Of course not! Our Master’s purpose in his behavior and in his speech, here and always, was to teach and instruct us in very important spiritual things, to set forth the, gospel of God’s free grace in him. Let me show you some of the obvious lessons our Lord would have us learn from this passage.


I.       The first thing to be learned from our Master here is the fact that the Son of God came into this world to seek, serve, and save poor, needy sinners from whom he could never receive any recompense.


Be sure you do not misunderstand me. There is no doubt that our Lord teaches us, indeed the grace of God experienced in the heart teaches us as well as the whole of Holy Scripture, that we ought always to care for the poor and needy among us, particularly for those who are numbered among the saints. “The poor shall never cease out of the land” (Deut. 15:11); and those who are able ought to be forward in assisting them. Not to do so is to hate and despise them; and those who do not love their brethren do not know God (1 John 3:14-17).


(1 John 3:14-17)  "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (15) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (17) But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"


As we ought to care for the poor, so too, we ought to give particular care and attention to our weaker brethren. Bearing one another’s burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:20.


But out Lord is not teaching this Pharisee a lesson in moral uprightness. His aim is much higher. Like the man described in verse 2, who had the dropsy, you and I are poor, helpless, perishing sinners. We could do nothing for ourselves. We could not help ourselves. And no one else could help us, if they were so inclined. When the Lord first begins his work of grace in us, it is not because we want him, or have come to him, or have prayed for help. Not at all! This man apparently expected nothing from the Lord Jesus. There is no indication that he even looked at him. But the Master took up the rich Pharisee’s invitation to dinner because that poor man with the dropsy was there for whom the time of mercy had come.


·       A Certain Man

·       In A Certain Place

·       At A Certain Time

·       For a Certain Purpose


II.    The second thing that is obvious here is the fact that in order to save such poor, needy sinners as we are, the Son of God took the lowest place among men.


Again, humility is a gift of grace. The grace of God humbles men. But our Lord is not teaching this crowd to make themselves humble, that they might be exalted and recompensed in the Day of Judgment. Indeed, such self-serving humility is not humility at all, but a mere show of humility. Our Lord is describing true humility, his own (Phil. 2:1-11). His humility is exemplary. We ought to be of the same mind. But he is the pattern. His humility was voluntary. He humbled himself unto the very lowest, not that he might be exalted, but for the love he has to us and to the glory of God. For that, he has been exalted and shall be recompensed in the Day of Judgment.


(2 Cor 8:9)  "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."


(Phil 2:1-11)  "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, (2) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (3) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (4) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (5) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


(Isa 45:20-25)  "Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. (21) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. (22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. (25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."


(Isa 53:9-12)  "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. (12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."


III. The third thing our Redeemer teaches us here is that there shall be a Resurrection Day and a Judgment Day.


Everything our Savior did in this world he did with eternity before his eyes. He lived in the constant awareness of eternity. Oh, may God give us grace to do the same!


(2 Cor 4:17-18)  "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (18) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."


(2 Cor 5:1)  "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."


A.   You and I are immortal souls.

B.   We are all dying creatures, moving rapidly to the grave.

C.   There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust, a resurrection of life and a resurrection of damnation.


(John 5:28-29)  "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, (29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."


D.  There shall be a Day of Judgment, at which we shall all be recompensed for all that we have done forever.


(Acts 17:31)  "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."


(Rev 20:11-15)  "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."


·       The Judge shall be that Man who was crucified at Calvary, that Man who is seated on the throne in heaven, that Man who is God, the God-man, our Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

·       The basis of judgment shall be the record in heaven, the books of God’s remembrance, and another book called, “the Book of Life.

·       All shall perish, all shall be forever damned, whose names are not found written in the Book of Life.

o      Just Recompense!

o      Exact Recompense!

o      Eternal Recompense!


Let us learn to live every day in the immediate prospect of the last great day, when the dead shall be raised to meet God in judgment. There shall be a resurrection after death. Let this never be forgotten. The life that we live here in the flesh is not all. The death of these bodies is not the end of our existence. The visible world around us is not the only world with which we have to do. All is not over when the last breath is drawn, and men and women are carried to their long home in the grave.


The trumpet shall one day sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. All that are in the graves shall hear Christ’s voice and come forth: they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.


Let us live like men and women who believe in a resurrection and a life to come, and desire to be always ready for another world.—So living, we shall look forward to death with calmness.—So living, we shall take patiently all that we have to bear in this world. Trials, losses, disappointments, ingratitude, will affect us little. We shall not look for our reward here. We shall feel that all will be rectified one day, and that the Judge of all the earth will do right (Gen. 18:25).


But how can we bear the thought of a resurrection? What shall enable us to look forward to death, the resurrection, the judgment, and eternity without alarm? Faith in Christ! Believing him, we have nothing to fear. Our sins will not appear against us. The demands of God’s law will be found completely satisfied. We shall stand firm in the great day, and none shall lay anything to our charge (Rom. 8:33).


·       All whose names are written in the Book of Life, all who stand before God in Christ, washed in his blood, robed in his righteousness, shall be forever blessed.

o      Just Recompense!

o      Exact Recompense!

o      Eternal Recompense!


(Jer 23:6)  "In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."


(Jer 33:16)  "In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness."


(Jer 50:20)  "In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve."


Illustration: Rowland Hill’s Dream


There seems to have been one man in that crowd who heard and understood our Lord’s words. Perhaps everything recorded in this passage came to pass specifically because the Lord had come to seek and find this one sinner, whose time of love had come. Look at verse 15.


(Luke 14:15)  "And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God."


I agree with him.—Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.”