Parable of the Rich Fool (Upside Down Kingdom series #7)
Jason White



What are the things that we should value? Money? Possessions? Treasure? While the world tells us to acquire more and more stuff for our happiness and fulfillment, God warns us against such greed.







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*This transcript was auto-generated by a transcription service and may differ from the originally spoken content*We're continuing in our upside down kingdom message series, where we've been looking at the parables of Jesus and talking about the kingdom values, the kingdom of God values we find in these and how a lot of times they're upside down from the world's values and how Jesus wants to manifest the values of the kingdom in and through us into this world that we live in to turn our world upside down. And so, again, today, we're going to look at one of those parables, Luke chapter 12. We'll be looking and starting in verse 13, in just a moment. So I heard about a man who literally wanted to die with all of his money. And so he came up with a plan for him to be able to do that he decided that he was going to take a third of his money and give it to his priest, he was going to take another third of his money and give it to his doctor, and the last third of his money and give it to his lawyer. And he asked them to put it in the casket with him at his funeral when he died. Well, they all agreed, and this guy's day came, and he did pass, and it was time for the funeral. And each one of them showed up with a bag. And at the funeral, the priest walks forward at the end of it, and he leans over to the casket, and he whispers something and he drops a bag in the casket and he walks off and the doctor comes up, and he does the same thing. He leans over and he whispers something and he drops the bag, and then he walks off, and then the lawyer comes up, and he just drops the bag in and walks off. And then they all lined up car pulling together as they were leaving. And the lawyer said, guys, I gotta know, what is it that you said to him when you dropped off your bag. And the priest said, Gosh, man, I just felt really guilty. I had to confess to him that I took some of his money, I was working with these kids at an orphanage and they didn't have any food. And they were starving to death. And I had his money. And so I used some of it to buy them food. And he said, I just had to confess that to him in that moment. And lager said, Well, what about you to the doctor? And he said, Well, I came across this kid who had to have this emergency surgery, and I needed some help. And I had to use some of the money to save this kid's life. And I just had to confess that to him and the lawyer. I mean, he just began to scold them. How could you guys do that you, you know betrayed a dying man's last wish to take his money with him when they looked at him and said, So you gave back all of his money when you dropped the bag in there? He goes, You're darn right. I did. I wrote a check for every last penny. Wait for it, some of you will. Or you go, you might have to explain it to the person next to you. We know we can't take our money with us when we die. But apparently it doesn't keep some of us from trying. Right? I mean, this is the kind of thing that we think even though we know isn't ever really going to be able to happen. It sure would be nice sometimes for us to be able to do so. Well, Jesus one day was asked about money and he was asked to settle a dispute about money, which led him to tell the parable that we're going to look at today this guy walked up to him and said, Hey, Jesus, could you settle this dispute between me and my brother, tell him to share the family inheritance with me. And, of course, we all know how nasty those things can get right? You take a normal, good family that has great relationships, and all of a sudden there's an inheritance to have to divide up. And there can be some nasty dirty things that begin to happen that destroy relationships and families for ever. So this guy was obviously concerned having a problem with his family. And he asked Jesus to take care of it, which wasn't that uncommon in this day and age to ask a rabbi to settle disputes like this. But it was that question that led Jesus to tell the parable that we're going to look at today. This is how it starts off in verse 13. Someone in the crowd said to him, Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. Jesus replied, man who appointed me a judge or arbiter between you. Then he said to them, watch out, be on your guard against all kinds of greed. life does not consist in an abundance of possession. So we already see again what this parable is going to be about before Jesus ever even starts to tell the parable. He says, Watch out, be on your guard for all kinds of greed. Some translations, yours may say covetous. pneus, the word that's used there is playing Ixia and it means a strong desire to To acquire more and more material possessions, or to possess more things than other people have all irrespective of need. So greed covetousness are certainly good words to use here. And Jesus says, Be on your guard against those things. And then he dives into the parable in verse 16. He told him this parable, the ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. Well, we already learned a couple of things about this guy, even right here, as Jesus starts off the parable, right, first of all, Jesus tells us that he's rich. He was rich, and he was wealthy before, he was blessed with more abundant a more abundant harvest, but now he's got the abundant harvest, he's got even more Riches on top of the riches that he already had. So we know this to be true about the man. The other thing that I don't want us to miss here is what a lot of the original audience would have picked up on pretty quickly, because a lot of them in this particular day and age and the audience that Jesus was talking to, would have viewed this guy that Jesus was bringing up in this parable is someone who was being especially blessed by God. I mean, he was blessed to be rich, already, by God, he was blessed with the money that he had. And now he was blessed with even more on top of what he had already been blessed with. So he was especially blessed, right? And so they would have picked up on this as soon as Jesus began to tell this parable. But as Jesus continues, look at how many personal pronouns we see, in the next few lines, verse 17, Jesus picks up and says, he thought to himself, What shall I do, I have no place to store my crops, then he said, This is what I'll do, I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones in there, I will store my surplus grain, count them, I'd counted eight of them. I mean, there's a lot of I in my in my crops, my barns, mind surplus, God isn't mentioned anywhere. In this man's speech. It's all about him. It's all about his acquisition of stuff than what it is that he's going to do with his own stuff. mentioned earlier how we've titled this series, the upside down kingdom, because the values of the kingdom are generally opposite or upside down of the world. And the value of money or the value in this world with money is certainly what we see in this guy. It's my personal stuff. It's my money, it's my wealth, it's my life, and I can do whatever I want to with my money and my stuff. The value in the kingdom of God is certainly upside down from that. It's God's world. He is the creator of it. It's all his stuff. It's his money, and even you were gifted life by him. And so as you and I live on the other side of the cross, as we put our faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, He forgives us completely. And he already spiritually seats us in heaven, we become a citizen of his kingdom. And then he sends us out as ambassadors of the kingdom that we're now from, to manifest this value of the way we see money into this world, but it's not my stuff. It's his stuff. And I become a steward of those things. And certainly, as the world sees that kind of thing, and US viewing it differently than the rest of the world, then they will take notice of that. And it can be one of the things that God uses to turn our world upside down. But this guy was wrapped up in the values of this world and himself, and it was his stuff. And he was blessed with even more of it. So he says in verse 19, I'll say to myself, you have plenty of grain laid up for many years. take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry. There's this one time where Natalie and I were invited to a house to be able to rest and relax. It was a nice house just to be able to get away, spend some time recharge the batteries, and I mean, really nice house, multimillion dollar home, we're sitting out on the back patio, and I'm thinking man, this back patio and everything that's out here probably cost more than our entire house kind of area. Right? And so we're, we're sitting there we're enjoying this incredible view, the incredible amenities I mean, like great food, I mean everything was just amazing. And I remember saying to Natalie, wow, this is the life, isn't it, honey? Honey, just think if we had access to this stuff, if this was our home, if we could enjoy this view and this stuff every single day of our lives, this would be the life that have so much life. If we had this stuff, I think that's what this guy was saying, when he says, I just take life easy, I'll eat, and I'll drink. And I'll be Mary. He's saying, this is going to be the life this is what life's all about, I'm finally finally going to be able to be contented and truly happy because of how much stuff I have. And I'm going to just be able to enjoy it all. While Jesus continues in verse 20, VO and here's, here's what he says. 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. Again, you can't take it with you when you go. And you really don't even know if you're going to ever get to the place where you can start to enjoy the oh, this is the life kind of moments, right? Because you don't know if you're guaranteed tomorrow. Of course, Jesus is saying much more than that. What he's saying here is much bigger than you can't take it with you when you go. He's certainly not saying, oh, man, you just that was really bad timing you you got really unlucky there on dying as early as you did. If you'd have just held out and made it a little bit longer. You could have really enjoyed the life and had your while this is the life kind of moments because all the life has found in those particular things that certainly not what Jesus was saying here, Jesus was trying to show that the life that we're all ultimately looking for, that this guy was looking for, isn't found in stuff. It's not found in money or material, possessions, which is what Jesus begins to say. Last in verse 21. He says, This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves, but is not rich toward God. What does that mean? What does it mean to be rich toward God? I've read a lot of commentaries on this particular parable, I've listened to a lot of sermons on this particular parable. Many of you have studied this parable, you've heard it before, you are probably like me, and I'd say 99% of the time, if not 100% of the time. This is the point in the message where we're told that to be rich towards God means to give all your money to him, right? Or at least to invest it in his kingdom work. That's what it means to be rich toward God. And listen, I certainly believe that that is a value of the kingdom of God that if we've again said yes to Jesus, it's his money he provides for us we become stewards of it and and part of being a steward of it, and him expressing His life in us and through us, is going to be seen in the way that he leads us to give to invest it in his kingdom work. But I don't think that's the main thing that Jesus is saying here. I don't think that's what he's saying when he says that that's what it means to be rich in God ultimately, because we really have to take what Jesus said here with what he said even before he began to tell the parable. Remember verse 15, I don't know if you remember what he said before he started let's, let's look at it again. He said, Watch out, be on your guard against all kinds of greed. But then he said, life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. In other words, Jesus is talking about what we ultimately try to find life in, in this world will try to convince us that one of the things one of the ways that we find and experience life in this world is found in money and in possessions. It's found in the security that it can bring us the life is found in the status that you have if you are someone that has money the life is found in the in the power that you can have over other people. If you have a lot of money and wealth and riches. The life is found in the pleasure that you get from having a lot of money or the things that you can buy or experiences that you can have Have with at all, which again is exactly what this guy was saying, my stuff, my possessions, equal life. They are what equal the abundant life. And certainly it's true of the world and was true of the world back then it's true have the world today if not even more. So I mean, this consumeristic world and culture that we live in is all around us just screaming, if you buy this product, if you get this experience that your money can buy, you'll finally have the life that you feel like you're missing. Or it's going to be even better than the one you have now. And we see it all around us. And a lot of us feel that I mean, we'll watch, you'll scroll through social media and the stuff that people are buying or the the experiences that they're having with the things that they purchased. And we'll start to think that we're missing out. They're having all the life and all of the experiences, if I could go there and spend my money on those kinds of things, if I had access to all the stuff that they had to, I would end up having the life that it looks like they're having at this particular time. And then that becomes the goal, the pursuit of those things, we're all looking for that life. And one of the ways the world will try to convince us of the life that we can have is that it's found in money and possessions. But Jesus says that being rich toward God, is where the life is. Now, again, that doesn't mean that the life is found in giving money to God's kingdom. That's an expression of Jesus's life through us. But Jesus is the life he is the abundant life. He's the only one that can fill that emptiness inside of us. I really kind of think that the message paraphrase of the Bible, it's certainly not a translation, but a message paraphrase of the Bible captures what Jesus is saying really well in verse 21. In what it says he says, that's what happens when you fill your barn with self, and not with God. That's the message paraphrase of this. That's what happens when you fill your barns with self, and not with God. And I think that's right. I mean, when we're putting our hope and money and possessions or anything else in this world, that's, that's us filling our barns with self right, with our flesh, trying to, to look for life in a way to bring us the life that we feel like we're missing on the inside sometimes, and I get it, I understand why. And I think in some ways, it's really helped me and I've shown these diagrams to several of you before you've seen them in teaching, don't worry, we're not going way in depth, I'm going to use a lot of them. Maybe you're tired of seeing them. But it's just for me this morning, I helps me see a lot of what's going on here. But again, this is our Spiritual Anatomy. And again, we know that because of sin in this world, that we're all separated from God, and apart from him that we're spiritually dead. I mean, we know that we were meant to be in union with God who, who is life itself, who breathes life into us who is the source of all life, and if you're separated from him, and you're not able to experience that union, because a holy and perfect God can't be around that sin, it's going to leave us spiritually dead, it's going to leave us spiritually empty. And guess what, you're going to feel that if you're meant to be spiritually alive, and you're spiritually dead or empty on the inside, you're going to feel that deadness, you're going to feel that emptiness in your life, where you're going to go looking for the life out in the world, or whatever you can acquire or do for yourself out of your own flesh. And so again, if we're missing the life and we look out into the world, and the world is screaming, hey, you can find the life that you're missing through the money or through the possessions or the things that you can get with it, then this is what a lot of us go in search for and we try to end up filling in and stuffing that inside that emptiness. If you think of that inner core, that circle that we looked at that spirit that we have is kind of our barn, if you will, and we're trying to fill that emptiness with sell for we're trying to fill it with money can you imagine trying to stuff money take all your cash and your you're pushing it into that spiritual sphere that you saw in the diagram there to feel that emptiness that's there what's going to end up happening, you're gonna be ultimately satisfied. Of course not you can't take money in cash and stuff it into a spiritual sphere of your life that is causing the emptiness and expect it to bring you the life that you were missing. Now, you may feel some pleasure and experience it in some way. But it's all. It's all counterfeit, if you will, right, you're going to fade away, it's not going to provide lasting life for you. And so if we're trying to stuff, our barns, with anything, our spirit with anything besides God, it will never ultimately satisfy which we see in the parable that this man, even parishes without ever figuring that out without understanding that he was trying to fill his own need in the life that he was missing with his stuff, rather than God. And so I think part of the application when we see that is, maybe for those of you who are here, you're watching online, and you've never said yes to Jesus, and you find yourself going to money to try to stuff that emptiness and fill the hole within you. Or you just see yourself trying to stuff it with anything else in this world is to not be this guy, and get to the end of your life and have missed it completely, where Jesus is the true life and what you're ultimately missing on an eternal life with Him. And so my hope and my prayer for you is that you would begin to see that if that's true about you, and that is God reveals that to you, and opens up your eyes to see how you're trying to find life and meaning and status and fulfillment and satisfaction in this world outside of God that you would turn to Him and receive him and the forgiveness that Jesus purchased for you on the cross and the life that he's wanting to give you because here's what happens. The moment you put your faith and trust in Him, He forgives you completely through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. And as you see, in this next diagram, he puts his life in you, He takes the there God, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of you, because he's cleaned up your spirit had a dead sinful nature, and he's cleaned that up and made it an acceptable dwelling place for the Holy Spirit to live. So the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in unites with your dead spirit, bringing your dead spirit to life, as long as it's united to him. And since God is the source of life, then you have life in that moment in him, your barn is now full. It's full of the abundant life that was missing. It's so full, it's over flowing. That's what happens when we put our faith and trust in Jesus. Now, here's the thing with those of us who have said, yes to Jesus, this is true of us. But Satan, of course, knows that he's lost you to Jesus, he knows that you have all the life that you ultimately ever really need in him. But he's the deceiver. He is the One Who robs and steals and kills and destroys, and he doesn't want you to experience the life that you now have. And so what's he going to do? Well, he's going to try to convince you help make sure that you don't ever see that you are that full of life, right? He's going to try to convince you through the feelings of emptiness and being down every now in this world, that you're still empty, you're still missing something, you still need to find something to fill that hole and that void in your life, even though now you've said yes to Jesus in the world. He Satan is going to work in one way again, money, possessions. And the problem is, is we ended up having a ton of Christians in this world whose barns are completely full of God, and completely full of the abundant life that Jesus came to give. But we're all running around trying to fill money and other stuff in the barn that's already completely full of life to bring us more life. No wonder we're frustrated. No wonder we're not satisfied. No wonder we're continuing to search because we fall in for a lie. And we need to recognize that this is what Satan is up to. And one of the ways that he works in our lives to rob us of the life that we have. And so, again, the application for those of us who have said yes to Jesus is don't let that be you know what you have in Jesus, know the abundant life know that you're born is full and that you will still experience emotions and feelings of emptiness from time to time. But don't let Satan take those in deceive you into going Well that means that God's not really providing for everything that you need, and you need something more and go chasing after it with money and possessions or anything else. Be aware of what you have you know how Satan works to deceive and to rob you of the life that you have, and don't let it happen to you experience the real abundant life that You already have in Jesus, and don't fall for the counterfeit stuff, that Satan is selling you through all of that. Let's pray. Father, thank You for Jesus, thank you for these parables that you used him to tell to help. Show us more and more about who you are and what's valued in your kingdom. And Jesus, I just thank you that because of your finished work on the cross, you've completely forgiven us and filled us with your life and that we have it. And God so for those of us who have said yes to you, Jesus, for those of us you are dwelling in and providing abundant life in May we just experience it today. And each and every day, made the expression of that life come pouring through us, change people's lives. Lord, for those who may be here watching online today and never said yes to Jesus, they're recognizing even in this moment, because you're showing it to them that they're empty, and they're searching and they've been trying to use money and possessions or other things to fill that spiritual void in them. When they're saying that those things are never going to work now, they're never going to satisfy. Would you just continue to open up their hearts to reveal your love and your mercy and grace that you're extending to them right now in this moment? And if that's you and you're tired of falling for the counterfeit life, things of this world that you're chasing after you're ready to say yes to Jesus, you could just say a simple prayer of faith right now. Just say, Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Thank you for coming to die on the cross for me and my sin. Right now, in this moment, I put my faith and my trust in you to be my Lord to be my savior. Please forgive my sin. Come dwell in me and change me. Fill me with your life. Save me rescue me. Bring me that eternal life. That your word says you came to give. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for rescuing me right now in this moment. make myself available to you to express this new life that I have in me and threw me into this world to produce much fruit and change other's lives as well. In Jesus name, Amen.