14 March 2021 AM – Luke 12:13-21 – Parables21 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Your gold may impress others, but not God. He uses gold as bitumen on the streets of heaven. There is more to life than money!
Transition: In our text, I find three important statements about life that Jesus said or implied, which can be of great help to us today.
First, Jesus said,
1. Beware of Covetousness
a. A greedy man spoke with Jesus (v.13-14)
1) He wanted Jesus to persuade his brother to give him more of the inheritance. The law said that the eldest brother was to get a double portion. Evidently, this younger brother was jealous that his older brother got more.
2) During His earthly ministry, Jesus was not a judge. The day will come when He will be the Judge of all, but not at that time.
3) Instead of mediating the disagreement, Jesus addressed the real problem in the greedy brother’s heart.
b. Take heed and beware! (v.15)
1) See with your eyes! See with your mind! Perceive! Know! Pay heed! All these are summed up in the words “take heed”. Jesus is warning us not to miss the danger of covetousness. We get so accustomed to it that we do not see it when it is right before us.
a) As children, we coveted the biggest piece of cake, the prettiest doll, the new toy, the first place in line.
b) As youths, we coveted our peer’s approval, the latest styles, the top mark, the praise of our achievements.
c) Adults covet the better job, the new car, the work promotion, the new clothing, the big bonus and another look at sensuality.
2) Of such covetousness, we must beware! We must guard against it. Keep watch for it. Avoid it!
c. Wanting more than God gives us is sin.
1) God often lists covetousness among wicked sins.
a) (Romans 1:29) “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,“
b) (Colossians 3:5) “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:“
2) Achan stole and he and his family lost their lives. Gehazi lied to get riches and received leprosy for his sin. Ananias and Sapphira lied to keep part of what they dedicated to God and they both died.
3) Wanting more than God gives is a real problem. (Proverbs 15:27) “He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10) “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” (1 Timothy 6:9) “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.” (1 Timothy 6:10) “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.“
4) Take heed, and beware of covetousness. We must not ignore these two commands from the lips of Jesus.
First, beware of covetousness. Second, Jesus said,
2. Life is not in the Things We Have.
“… for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15)
a. What is life?
1) Life is not external it is internal. It is our feelings, our emotions, our joys, our happiness and our relationships. Life is having peace with God. It is seeking to please God.
2) In Matthew 16:25, Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Albert Barnes explains, “The topic before us is not the saving or losing of the soul, but the life reckoned as gained or lost, according as it is yielded up to the Master’s service, or withheld from Him and kept for selfish ends. A life ‘lost,’ as the world names it, is really saved, gained and kept; whilst the life spent for worldly advantages, earthly profit, and selfish ends counts but as pure loss, and is worth nothing in His sight.”
3) Life then is not about getting possessions; it is about using what you have to serve the Lord and others. It is living for eternity.
b. Possessing things will not satisfy.
1) Note the parable Jesus gave the man (v.16-20).
2) Money cannot buy happiness. Being rich does not produce loving relationships. Having much does not increase marital sweetness. Getting a top-paying job will not draw you closer to God. It will not fill the emptiness of your soul. It will not give you a more contented and joyful family. Possessions do not satisfy.
3) Possessions do not last. Fire may destroy them. Rust will corrupt them. Storms may damage them. One day, you will die and leave them all behind. (Psalms 49:16-17) “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.“
4) Possessing much often does more harm than good. If you are not truly godly, material possessions may replace God on the throne of your heart, causing you to lose peace and fellowship with God. That is the very reason Jesus said, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness.” (v.15)
5) The Holy Spirit had Paul address this very topic in 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; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.“
6) Solomon wisely pointed us to find durable riches in God’s wisdom (Pr 8:18). He also said in Proverbs 10:22, “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” If you will search the book of Proverbs for the words “rich” or “riches”, you will find an abundance of wise counsel.
First, Jesus said beware of covetousness. Second, life is not in the things we have.
3. Seek to be Rich Toward God
a. This is Jesus’ implied statement in verse 21
1) Jesus called the rich man a “fool” (v.20).
2) The rich man was laying up treasure for himself. He had his retirement all planned out. He was going to take it easy for years to come.
3) He had not thought about death. He had made no provisions for eternity. All his riches could not purchase one second in heaven. He was about to enter eternity with nothing – not even eternal life!
b. How can we be rich toward God?
1) Humble yourself and receive God’s gift of eternal life. (Romans 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.“
2) Once you have eternal life, focus on things that last for eternity. Jesus said in Matthew 6:20, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” Witness. Serve. Give. Pray.
3) (Colossians 3:2) “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.“
4) (Matthew 6:33) “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.“
5) (1 Timothy 6:8) “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.“
Conclusion: Read v.15 again. Covetousness is a temptation to both the poor and wealthy. The world, the flesh and the devil want us to focus on earthly possessions and ignore eternal preparations. What does God see when He looks at your life? Are you seeking to be rich toward God? Have you asked God to save your soul? Is your life about success or service? When is the last time you witnessed for Christ?