Luke Chapter Twelve
Chapter 12 puts the disciples into this place of testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost, and with the world opposed to them, after the Lord's departure. It is the word and the Holy Ghost, instead of the Messiah on the earth. They were neither to fear opposition, nor to trust in themselves, but to fear God and trust to His help; and the Holy Ghost would teach them what to say. All things should be revealed. God reaches the soul: man can only touch the body. Here that which goes beyond present promises, the connection of the soul with God, is put forward. It is coming out from Judaism to be before God. Their calling was to manifest God in the world at all costs-to manifest Him to faith before all things were made manifest. It might cost them dear before men: Jesus would confess them before angels. It is bringing the disciples into the light as God is in it, and the fear of God by the word and faith when the power of evil was present; all that evil, however secret, would be brought to light.
Nor this only. Blasphemy against the witness given would, in their case, be worse than blaspheming Christ. This might be forgiven (it has been indeed, and will be at the end to the Jews as a nation); but whosoever spoke in blasphemy against the testimony of the disciples blasphemed against the Holy Ghost. It should not be forgiven. But the Lord deals with their heart as well as with their conscience. He encourages them by three things: 1st, the protection of Him who counted the hairs of their head, whatever might be the trials of their faith; 2nd, the fact that, in heaven and before the angels, their faithfulness to Christ in this painful mission should be acknowledged by Him; and 3rd, the importance of their mission, its rejection being more fatally condemning than the rejection of Christ Himself. God had taken a step, and a final step, in His grace and in His testimony. The bringing to light of all things, the care of God, their being confessed by Christ in heaven, the power of the Holy Ghost with them-these are the motives and the encouragements here given to the disciples for their mission after the Lord's departure.
That which follows brings out yet more distinctly the position in which the disciples were placed, according to the counsels of God, by the rejection of Christ (v. 13). The Lord formally refuses to execute justice in Israel. This was not His place. He deals with souls, and directs their attention to another life which outlasts the present; and, instead of dividing the inheritance between the brothers, He warns the multitude to beware of covetousness, instructing them by the parable of the rich man who was suddenly called hence in the midst of his projects. What became of his soul?
But, having established this general basis, He turns to His disciples and teaches them the great practical principles that were to guide their walk. They were not to think of the morrow, but to trust in God. Moreover they had no power over it Let them seek the kingdom of God, and all that they needed should be added. This was their position in the world that rejected Him. But besides the Father's heart was interested in them: they were to fear nothing. It was the Father's good pleasure to give them the kingdom. Strangers and pilgrims here, their treasure was to be in heaven; and thus their heart would be there also.  Besides this, they were to wait for the Lord. Three things were to influence their souls: the Father would give them the kingdom, their heart's treasure in heaven, and the expectation of the Lord's return. Until the Lord should come, they were required to watch-to have their lamps burning; their whole position should manifest the effect of the continual expectation of the Lord-should express this expectation. They were to be as men who waited for Him with their loins girded; and in that case, when all should be according to the Lord's own heart, re-established by His power, and they brought into His Father's house, He would make them sit down, and, in His turn, gird Himself to serve them.
It is of all importance to fix the attention of the reader on the point, that what the Lord looks for here is not the holding, however clearly, the Lord's coming at the end of the age, but that the Christian should be waiting for Him, in a full profession of Christ, and his heart in spiritual order. Such, the Lord will make to sit down as guests, but such for ever, in His Father's house where He has brought them, and will Himself in love minister the blessing. This love will make the blessings ten thousand fold more precious, all received from His hand. Love likes to serve, selfishness to be served. But He did not come to be ministered to. This love He will never give up.
Nothing can be more exquisite than the grace expressed in these verses, 35 and 37.  On the inquiry of Peter, desirous of knowing to whom Jesus addressed these instructions, the Lord refers him to the responsibility of those to whom He committed duties during His absence. Thus we have the two things that characterise the disciples after the rejection of Christ-the expectation of His return, and service. The expectation, the vigilance that watches with girded loins to receive Him, finds its reward in rest, and in the feast (happiness ministered by Him) at which Jesus girds Himself to serve them; faithfulness in service, by having rule over all that belongs to the Lord of glory. We have seen, besides these special relationships between the walk of the disciples and their position in the world to come, the general truth of the renunciation of the world in which the Saviour had been rejected, and the possession of the kingdom by the gift of the Father.
In that which He says afterwards of the service of those who bear His name during His absence, the Lord also points out those who will be in this position, but unfaithful; thus characterising those who, while publicly exercising ministry in the church, should have their portion with the unbelievers. The secret of the evil that characterises their unbelief would be found in this, that their hearts would put off the return of Jesus, instead of desiring it and hastening it by their aspirations, and serving with humility in the desire of being found faithful. They will say, He is not coming immediately; and, in consequence, they will do their own will, accommodate themselves to the spirit of the world, and assume authority over their fellow-servants. What a picture of that which has taken place! But their Master (for He was so, although they had not truly served Him) would come at a moment whenthey did not expect Him, as a thief in the night; and, although professing to be His servants, they should have their portion with unbelievers. Nevertheless there would be a difference between the two; for the servant who knew his own Master's will and did not make ready for Him, as the fruit of his expectations, and did not perform his Master's will, should be severely punished; whilst he who had not the knowledge of His will should be punished less severely. I have added "own" to the word "Master," according to the original, which signifies a recognised relationship with the Lord, and its consequent obligation. The other was ignorant of the explicit will of the Lord, but he committed the evil which in any case he ought not to have done. It is the history of true and false servants of Christ, of the professing church, and of the world in general. But there cannot be a more solemn testimony as to what brought unfaithfulness into the church, and led to its ruin and approaching judgment, namely, the giving up the present expectation of the Lord's coming.
If it shall be required of persons according to their advantages, who will be so guilty as those that call themselves the ministers of the Lord, if they do not serve Him as in expectation of His return?
Nevertheless the Lord, thus rejected, was come to bring conflict and fire on the earth. His presence kindled it even before His rejection, in the baptism of death through which He was to pass, was accomplished. It was not, however, till after this that His love would have full liberty to develop itself in power. Thus His heart, which was love even according to the infinitude of the Godhead, was straitened until the atonement gave free course to it, and to the accomplishment of all the purposes of God, in which His power should be manifested according to that love, and to which this atonement was absolutely necessary as the basis of the reconciliation of all things in heaven and earth.  Verse 51-53. He shews in detail the divisions that would be the result of His mission. The world would no more endure faith in the Saviour than it did the Saviour Himself, who was its object and whom it confessed. It is well to note how the presence of the Saviour draws out the evil of the human heart. The state described here is in Micah, the description of the most dreadful state of evil conceivable (Micah 7:1-7).
He then addresses Himself to the people, to warn them of the existing signs of the times in which they lived. He puts this testimony on a twofold ground: the evident signs which God gave; and the moral proofs which, even without the signs, conscience ought to acknowledge, and which thus oblige them to receive the testimony.
Be they ever so blind, they are in the way to the judge. Once delivered up, they should not come out till the chastisement of God was fully executed upon them.  (compare Isaiah 40:2).
 Observe here, that the heart follows the treasure. It is not, as men say, where your heart is, your treasure is-my heart is not in it; but "where your treasure is, there win your heart be also."
 Here we have the heavenly portion of those who wait for the Lord during His absence. It is the character of the we disciple in his heavenly aspect, as service in his place on earth. Observe also that the Lord was a servant down here. According to John 13 He becomes a servant on ascending to heaven, an Advocate, to wash our feet. In this place He makes Himself a servant for our blessing in heaven. In Exodus 21, if the servant who had fulfilled his service did not wish to go out free, he was brought to the judges, and was fastened to the door by an awl which bored his ear in token of perpetual bondage. Jesus had perfectly accomplished His service to His Father at the end of His life on earth. In Psalm 40 His "ears were digged" (that is, a body prepared, which is the position of obedience: compare Philippians 2). This is the incarnation. Now His service was finished in His life on earth as man, but He loved us too much-He loved His Father too much in the character of servant-to give it up; and at His death His ear, according to Exodus 21, was bored, and He became servant for ever-a man for ever-now to wash our feet; hereafter in heaven, when He shall take us to Himself according to the passage we are considering. What a glorious picture of the love of Christ.
 It is blessed to see here how, let evil in man be what it may, it after all leads to the accomplishment of the counsels of His grace. The unbelief of man drove back divine love into the heart of Christ, unweakened surely, but unable to flow forth and express itself; but its full effect on the cross made it flow forth unhindered, in grace that reigns through righteousness, to the vilest. It is a singularly interesting and blessed passage.
 Let us here, in a note, sum up the contents of these two chapters, that we may better understand the instruction they contain. In the first (12) the Lord speaks, in order to detach the thoughts of all from this world-to the disciples, by directing them to Him who had power over the soul as well as the body, and encouraging them with the knowledge of their Father's faithful care, and His purposes to give them the kingdom; meanwhile they were to be strangers and pilgrims, without anxiety as to all that happened around them-to the multitude, by shewing them that the most prosperous man could not secure one day of life. But He adds something positive. His disciples were to expect Him from day to day, constantly. Not only should heaven be their portion, but there they should possess all things. They shall sit at meat, and He Will Himself serve them. This is the heavenly portion of the church at the Lord's return. In service until He comes-service that requires incessant watchfulness; it will then be His turn to serve them. We next have their inheritance, and the judgment of the professing church and of the world. His teaching produced division, instead of establishing the kingdom in power. But He must die. This leads to another subject-the present judgment of the Jews. They were on the road, with God, towards judgment (chap. 13). The government of God would not manifest itself by distinguishing the wicked in Israel through partial judgments. All should perish, unless they repented. The Lord was cultivating the fig-tree for the final year; if the people of God did not bring forth fruit, it spoilt His garden. To make a pretence of the law in opposition to a God present with them (even He who had given them the law) was hypocrisy. The kingdom was not to be established by the manifestation on earth of the King's power. It should grow from a little seed until it became an immense system of power in the earth, and a doctrine which, as a system, should penetrate the whole mass. On inquiry being made whether the remnant was numerous, He insists upon entrance by the narrow gate of conversion, and of faith in Himself; for many would seek to enter into the kingdom and not be able: when once the Master of the house had risen up and shut the door (that is, Christ being rejected of Israel), in vain should they say that He had been in their cities. Workers of iniquity should not enter into the kingdom. The Lord is speaking here entirely of the Jews. They shall see the patriarchs, the prophets-Gentiles even from all parts-in the kingdom, and themselves outside. Nevertheless the accomplishment of the rejection of Christ did not depend on the will of man, of the false king who sought, by the Pharisees' account, to get rid of Him. The purposes of God, and alas! the iniquity of man, were fulfilled together. Jerusalem was to fill up the measure of her iniquity. It could not be that a prophet should perish except at Jerusalem. But then the putting man to the proof in his responsibility closes in the rejection of Jesus. He speaks, in touching and magnificent language, as Jehovah Himself. How many times this God of goodness would have gathered the children of Zion under His wings, and they would not! As far as depended on the will of man, it was complete separation and desolation. And in fact it was so. All was over now for Israel with Jehovah, but not for Jehovah with Israel. It was the prophet's part to reckon on the faithfulness of his God and-assured that this could not fail, and that, if judgments came, it would only be for a time-to say, "How long?" (Isaiah 6:11; Psalm 79:5). Distress is complete when there is no faith, no one to say, "How long?" (Psalm 74:9). But here the great Prophet Himself is rejected. Nevertheless asserting His rights of grace, as Jehovah, He declares to them, unasked, the end of their desolation. "Ye shall not see me until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." This sudden manifestation of the rights of His divinity, and of His divinity itself, in grace, when as to their responsibility all was lost in spite of His gracious culture, is surpassingly beautiful. It is God Himself who appears at the end of all His dealings. We see from this recapitulation that chapter 12 gives us the heavenly portion of the church, heaven, and the life to come; chapter 13 adding to it (with verses 54-59 of chapter 17) the government of Israel and of the earth, with the outward form of that which should replace it here below.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Luke》
Christ reproves the interpreters of the law. (1-12) A caution against covetousness The parable of the rich man. (13-21) Worldly care reproved. (22-40) Watchfulness enforced. (41-53) A warning to be reconciled to God. (54-59)
Commentary on Luke 12:1-12
(Read Luke 12:1-12)
A firm belief of the doctrine of God's universal providence, and the extent of it, would satisfy us when in peril, and encourage us to trust God in the way of duty. Providence takes notice of the meanest creatures, even of the sparrows, and therefore of the smallest interests of the disciples of Christ. Those who confess Christ now, shall be owned by him in the great day, before the angels of God. To deter us from denying Christ, and deserting his truths and ways, we are here assured that those who deny Christ, though they may thus save life itself, and though they may gain a kingdom by it, will be great losers at last; for Christ will not know them, will not own them, nor show them favour. But let no trembling, penitent backslider doubt of obtaining forgiveness. This is far different from the determined enmity that is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall never be forgiven, because it will never be repented of.
Commentary on Luke 12:13-21
(Read Luke 12:13-21)
Christ's kingdom is spiritual, and not of this world. Christianity does not meddle with politics; it obliges all to do justly, but wordly dominion is not founded in grace. It does not encourage expectations of worldly advantages by religion. The rewards of Christ's disciples are of another nature. Covetousness is a sin we need constantly to be warned against; for happiness and comfort do not depend on the wealth of this world. The things of the world will not satisfy the desires of a soul. Here is a parable, which shows the folly of carnal worldling while they live, and their misery when they die. The character drawn is exactly that of a prudent, worldly man, who has no grateful regard to the providence of God, nor any right thought of the uncertainty of human affairs, the worth of his soul, or the importance of eternity. How many, even among professed Christians, point out similar characters as models for imitation, and proper persons to form connexions with! We mistake if we think that thoughts are hid, and thoughts are free. When he saw a great crop upon his ground, instead of thanking God for it, or rejoicing to be able to do more good, he afflicts himself. What shall I do now? The poorest beggar in the country could not have said a more anxious word. The more men have, the more perplexity they have with it. It was folly for him to think of making no other use of his plenty, than to indulge the flesh and gratify the sensual appetites, without any thought of doing good to others. Carnal worldlings are fools; and the day is coming when God will call them by their own name, and they will call themselves so. The death of such persons is miserable in itself, and terrible to them. Thy soul shall be required. He is loth to part with it; but God shall require it, shall require an account of it, require it as a guilty soul to be punished without delay. It is the folly of most men, to mind and pursue that which is for the body and for time only, more than that for the soul and eternity.
Commentary on Luke 12:22-40
(Read Luke 12:22-40)
Christ largely insisted upon this caution not to give way to disquieting, perplexing cares, Matthew 6:25-34. The arguments here used are for our encouragement to cast our care upon God, which is the right way to get ease. As in our stature, so in our state, it is our wisdom to take it as it is. An eager, anxious pursuit of the things of this world, even necessary things, ill becomes the disciples of Christ. Fears must not prevail; when we frighten ourselves with thoughts of evil to come, and put ourselves upon needless cares how to avoid it. If we value the beauty of holiness, we shall not crave the luxuries of life. Let us then examine whether we belong to this little flock. Christ is our Master, and we are his servants; not only working servants, but waiting servants. We must be as men that wait for their lord, that sit up while he stays out late, to be ready to receive him. In this Christ alluded to his own ascension to heaven, his coming to call his people to him by death, and his return to judge the world. We are uncertain as to the time of his coming to us, we should therefore be always ready. If men thus take care of their houses, let us be thus wise for our souls. Be ye therefore ready also; as ready as the good man of the house would be, if he knew at what hour the thief would come.
Commentary on Luke 12:41-53
(Read Luke 12:41-53)
All are to take to themselves what Christ says in his word, and to inquire concerning it. No one is left so ignorant as not to know many things to be wrong which he does, and many things to be right which he neglects; therefore all are without excuse in their sin. The bringing in the gospel dispensation would occasion desolations. Not that this would be the tendency of Christ's religion, which is pure, peaceable, and loving; but the effect of its being contrary to men's pride and lusts. There was to be a wide publication of the gospel. But before that took place, Christ had a baptism to be baptized with, far different from that of water and the Holy Spirit. He must endure sufferings and death. It agreed not with his plan to preach the gospel more widely, till this baptism was completed. We should be zealous in making known the truth, for though divisions will be stirred up, and a man's own household may be his foes, yet sinners will be converted, and God will be glorified.
Commentary on Luke 12:54-59
(Read Luke 12:54-59)
Christ would have the people to be as wise in the concerns of their souls as they are in outward affairs. Let them hasten to obtain peace with God before it is too late. If any man has found that God has set himself against him concerning his sins, let him apply to him as God in Christ reconciling the world to himself. While we are alive, we are in the way, and now is our time.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Luke》
 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
But I say to you, Fear not — Let not the fear of man make you act the hypocrite, or conceal any thing which I have commissioned you to publish.
 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Fear him who hath power to cast into hell — Even to his peculiar friends, Christ gives this direction. Therefore the fearing of God as having power to cast into hell, is to be pressed even on true believers.
 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
Are not five sparrows — But trust as well as fear him.
 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
And whosoever — As if he had said, Yet the denying me in some degree, may, upon true repentance, be forgiven; but if it rise so high as that of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven, neither is there place for repentance. Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:28.
 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
Who made me a judge? — In worldly things. His kingdom is not of this world.
 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.
He said to them — Perhaps to the two brothers, and through them to the people.
A man's life — That is, the comfort or happiness of it.
 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
What shall I do? — The very language of want! Do? Why, lay up treasure in heaven.
 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?
Thou fool — To think of satisfying thy soul with earthly goods! To depend on living many years! Yea, one day! They - The messengers of death, commissioned by God, require thy soul of thee!
 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Rich toward God — Namely, in faith, and love, and good works.
 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
Which of you can add the least measure — It seems, to add one cubit to a thing (which is the phrase in the original) was a kind of proverbial expression for making the least addition to it.
 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
The grass — The Greek word means all sorts of herbs and flowers.
 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
Neither be ye of a doubtful mind — The word in the original signifies, any speculations or musings in which the mind fluctuates, or is suspended (like meteors in the air) in an uneasy hesitation.
 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom — How much more food and raiment? And since ye have such an inheritance, regard not your earthly possessions.
 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
Sell what ye have — This is a direction, not given to all the multitude: (much less is it a standing rule for all Christians:) neither to the apostles; for they had nothing to sell, having left all before: but to his other disciples, (mentioned Luke 12:22, and Acts 1:15,) especially to the seventy, that they might be free from all worldly entanglements. Matthew 6:19.
 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
Let your loins be girt — An allusion to the long garments, worn by the eastern nations, which they girded or tucked up about their loins, when they journeyed or were employed in any labour: as also to the lights that servants used to carry at weddings, which were generally in the night.
 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
He will come and serve them — The meaning is, he will show them his love, in the most condescending and tender manner.
 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
The Jews frequently divided the night into three watches, to which our Lord seems here to allude.
 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
Speakest thou this parable to us — Apostles and disciples: Or to all - The people? Does it concern us alone? Or all men?
 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Who is that faithful and wise steward — Our Lord's answer manifestly implies, that he had spoken this parable primarily (though not wholly) to the ministers of his word: Whom his lord shall make ruler over his household - For his wisdom and faithfulness.
 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Happy is that servant — God himself pronounces him wise, faithful, happy! Yet we see, he might fall from all, and perish for ever.
 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
The Lord will appoint him his portion — His everlasting portion, with the unfaithful - As faithful as he was once, God himself being the Judge!
 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
And that servant who knew his Lord's will shall be beaten with many stripes — And his having much knowledge will increase, not lessen, his punishment.
 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
I am come to send fire — To spread the fire of heavenly love over all the earth.
 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
But I have a baptism to be baptized with — I must suffer first, before I can set up my kingdom. And how I long to fight my way through all!
 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Suppose ye that I am come to send peace upon earth — That universal peace will be the immediate effect of my coming? Not so, but quite the contrary. Matthew 10:34.
 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
There shall be five in one house, three against two, and two against three — There being an irreconcilable enmity between the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of the world.
 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
The father against the son — For those who reject me will be implacable toward their very nearest relations who receive me. At this day also is this scripture fulfilled. Now likewise there is no concord between Christ and Belial.
 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
And he said to the people also — In the preceding verses he speaks only to his disciples.
From the west — In Judea, the west wind, blowing from the sea, usually brought rain: the south wind, blowing from the deserts of Arabia, occasioned sultry heat. Matthew 16:2.
 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
How do ye not discern this season — Of the Messiah's coming, distinguishable by so many surer signs.
 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
Why even of yourselves, without any external sign, judge ye not what is right? - Why do ye not discern and acknowledge the intrinsic excellence of my doctrine?
 When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.
When thou art going — As if he had said, And ye have not a moment to lose. For the executioners of God's vengeance are at hand. And when he hath once delivered you over to them, ye are undone for ever. Matthew 5:25.
 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.
A mite — was about the third part of a farthing sterling.
── John ‘Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Luke》
Chapter 12. Follow the Holy Spirit
I. Fear God the Trinity
II. Do Not Worry about This Life
III. Watch in Serving God
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
The Rich Fool (Lk 12:13-21)
1. It is amazing sometimes how spiritually dense, and worldly minded,
people can be...
a. I've known some to habitually fall asleep, not during a long
sermon, but at the beginning!
b. On one occasion, I was sharing the gospel of Christ with a
1) After presenting the gospel message and reviewing examples of
conversion in the NT, I asked if he had any questions
2) He only had one: "In that passage where the Spirit caught
Philip away (Ac 8:39), do you think that could have actually
been a UFO?"
2. A similar thing happened to Jesus on one occasion...
a. He was teaching on the importance of fearing God, and confessing
Him before others
b. When someone from the crowd interrupts with a request for Jesus
to resolve a family dispute over an inheritance!
-- This prompted not only a terse response from Jesus, but a warning
and parable to the crowd about the dangers of covetousness and
placing one's confidence in earthly riches
[The parable, known as "The Rich Fool", is recorded in Lk 12:13-21.
In our materialistic society, what Jesus has to say is especially
relevant today. Let's start by taking a closer look at...]
I. JESUS' RESPONSE TO AN UNTIMELY REQUEST
A. JESUS HAD BEEN TEACHING A LARGE MULTITUDE...
1. Warning them about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees - Lk 12:1-3
2. Teaching them about the fear of God - Lk 12:4-7
3. Instructing them on the need to confess Him before men - Lk
B. WHEN ONE FROM THE CROWD MAKES A REQUEST...
1. He wants Jesus to resolve a family dispute over an inheritance
- Lk 12:13
2. The question reveals where the man's attention has been...
a. Not on the spiritual truths being taught by the Son of God
b. But on how he can get his share of the inheritance from his
-- This is as incongruous as thinking about a football game
during a sermon!
C. JESUS' RESPONSE...
1. The Lord's displeasure is evident - Lk 13:14
a. By His use of the term "Man" - "The very form of addressing
him puts him at a distance. 'Man' is about as frigid as can
b. By refusing to become an arbitrator in this matter
2. The Lord knows the true nature of this man's problem - Lk
a. It is covetousness, or greed, the constant desire for more
b. It is problem that all need to heed, so He warns not just
the one man, but the entire crowd (cf. "them")
3. The Lord's warning is grounded upon an important truth - Lk
a. "...for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the
things he possesses."
b. From what follows, "life" includes both physical and
1) For material abundance did not prolong the rich man's
2) And it certainly did not ensure that one would be rich
[To illustrate the need to heed this warning, Jesus proceeds to
II. THE PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL
A. THE PARABLE SUMMARIZED...
1. A rich man is richly blessed with large crops - Lk 12:16
2. As he considers his situation, he makes plans for the future
a. To build greater barns to store his crops - Lk 12:17-18
b. To retire and enjoy the fruits of his labors for many years
- Lk 12:19
3. Yet God tells him he is a fool! - Lk 12:20
a. Because that very night he is to die, and his soul will be
required of him
b. And the things he had provided, whose will they be?
B. THE PARABLE ANALYZED...
1. The man assumes that his life consists in the abundance of
things he possesses
a. The crops are his
b. They will provide for his soul for many years to come
2. The foolishness and selfishness of the rich man is seen in
a. He does not know himself
1) He fails to realize that his "body" is mortal, and will
not necessarily live on for many years
2) He does not consider that his riches really can't
satisfy his "soul"!
b. He does not consider the needs of others
1) The needs of the poor are not even taken into
2) He thinks only of self (note the "I's" and "my's")
c. Nor does he thank and glorify God
1) For all practical purposes, he is an atheist
2) One who truly believes in God would respond like the
Psalmist in Ps 116:12
C. THE PARABLE APPLIED...
1. Jesus makes the application in Lk 12:21
2. Those who lay up treasure for themselves, and are not rich
toward God, are like this rich fool!
3. If your plans for the future focus on self, and not on God and
others, you are no different than the rich fool
-- This ought to encourage serious reflection in those planning
[Not that it is wrong to plan for the future, but we need to keep in
mind the brevity of life, and the will of the Lord (cf. Ja 4:13-16).
How can we be sure that we who may be rich in this life are also rich
III. BEING RICH TOWARD GOD
A. BEING IN CHRIST IS CERTAINLY REQUIRED...
1. For all spiritual blessings come through Him - Ep 1:3
2. The exceeding riches of God's grace will be shown only through
Christ - Ep 2:4-7
B. BUT PROPER USE OF MATERIAL RICHES CAN HELP...
1. Notice the words of Jesus, spoken soon after this parable - Lk
a. He tells them to sell what they have and give alms
b. To provide a treasure in heaven that does not fail
2. Helping the poor is often connected with "laying up treasure
a. As Jesus counseled the rich young ruler - Mt 19:21
b. As Paul told Timothy to command those rich in this present
age - 1 Ti 6:17-19
3. Not that one can "buy their way into heaven"...
a. But to ensure that their heart is in the right place
b. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart will be
also." - cf. Mt 6:19-21
-- As we use material wealth to help the less fortunate, we
become rich toward God!
C. NOTICE HOW JESUS ENCOURAGED HIS DISCIPLES IN THIS MATTER...
1. He followed the parable with a reminder of God's loving care
- Lk 12:22-30
2. The key is to make the kingdom (or rule) of God the focus of
our life - Lk 12:31
3. For then God will do two things:
a. Provide "all these things" (i.e., things necessary for life
and body) - Lk 12:31
b. Give you "the kingdom" (i.e., things necessary for the
soul) - Lk 12:32
4. So they are exhorted to give alms and provide for treasure in
heaven! - Lk 12:33
1. From the parable of "The Rich Fool", we learn that we can:
a. Lay up treasure for oneself
b. Yet not be rich toward God
2. To do the first without the second ignores the soul, and has no
guarantee for the body
3. To focus on being rich toward God saves the soul, while providing
for the body!
Where is YOUR treasure? Are you storing up for yourself a good
foundation for the time to come? - cf. 1 Ti 6:6-10,17-19