Morning Bible Study
Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just
at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.
We are in the middle of one of Jesus’ time of teaching, and there have been
large crowds coming out to hear Him.
12:13-15 The Inheritance
:13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to
divide the inheritance with me.”
:13 one from the crowd
Apparently this isn’t one of Jesus’ disciples.
This is just one of the people from the crowd that has gathered around
:13 tell my brother to divide the
inheritance with me
It seems the situation is that a parent has passed away, and there’s some
sort of problem over how the inheritance is being divided.
This man from the crowd wants Jesus to step in and solve the problem by being
the one to force the brother to divide the inheritance.
I wonder if the brother of this fellow might even be one of Jesus’
It’s not uncommon a stranger to come to me and ask me to deal with one of
you. Somehow people outside the church
seem to think that I control the people inside the church. Amazing.
When a person dies, the questions about what happens to their possessions
can be a big problem.
This last week the world was kind of surprised when Prince died that he apparently
didn’t have a will.
You can only imagine what kinds of court battles are ahead as people will
try to lay claim to an estate currently thought to be worth around $300 million.
I wasn’t all that glad that my parents made me the executor of their estate
(because of the amount of work involved), but I very, very glad that they had
made all the decisions of how to handle everything ahead of time.
I’ve seen other families torn apart by issues of what will happen to the
:14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over
:14 who made Me a judge …over you?
This might sound kind of cruel for Jesus to respond in this way, but He
actually knows what’s going on in this man’s heart, and this is what He’s going
to respond to.
Some of you live with or know people who are addicts. Some of you are addicts.
One of the particularly difficult traits of an addict is that of
An addict knows what to say or do in order to manipulate those around them
in order to get things they want.
Sometimes it is not a good thing to do what an addict asks you to do.
I’m not trying to say that this man talking to Jesus is an addict, but I do
find it instructive that Jesus did not do everything that anyone would ask Him
Sometimes, like Jesus does with this man, the better response is to say
:15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s
life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
:15 He said to them
Jesus directs this next thing to the people that are watching all this discussion
This man’s problem is a “teachable moment” for the rest of the crowd.
:15 Take heed and beware of covetousness
beware – phulasso – to
guard; to watch, keep watch
You need some kind of “early warning system” because a big storm called
“covetousness” is coming your way.
Today, people living in the Midwest have a sophisticated warning system to
give them a heads up when a tornado is coming their way. It wasn’t always so. You all know what happens if your farmhouse
gets caught in a tornado …
Taking A Bath
In one tornado, a house was completely whisked away leaving only the
foundation and first floor. A silver-haired farm lady was seen sitting dazed,
in a bathtub, the only remaining part of the house left above the floor. The
rescue squad rushed to her aid and found her unhurt. She was just sitting there
in the tub, talking to herself. “It was the most amazing thing... it was the
most amazing thing.” she kept repeating dazedly. “What was the most amazing
thing, Ma’am?” asked one of the rescuers. “I was visiting my daughter here,
taking a bath and all I did was pull the plug and dog-gone-it if the whole
house didn’t suddenly drain away.”
Even more than tornadoes, we need to be on the alert for greed in our
lives. It won’t just sweep our house away, but everything. It will turn the nicest person into the
covetousness – pleonexia –
greedy desire to have more, covetousness
It’s simply wanting “more” and “more”.
Some people see the hunger for “more” as a good motivation to work hard.
God thinks it’s a serious problem.
It can keep you from heaven. In
listing things that will keep you from heaven, Paul wrote,
Corinthians 6:10 NKJV) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor
extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
It is something that should not even be connected to Christians –
5:3 NKJV) But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not
even be named among you, as is fitting for saints
The ad agencies on Madison Avenue want you to “want” more.
They work overtime to make you feel that you can’t be
happy unless you have
that next new fashion
that newest phone
that cooler car
Video: Edsel Commercial – “Tunnel”
(BTW – the Edsel was Ford’s most famous boondoggle. It lost the company $250 million)
100 years ago, J.D. Rockefeller was one of the world’s wealthiest men, was
asked how much money would make a man happy.
He replied, “Just a little more”.
Illustration – Monkey Treats
Monkey trappers in North Africa have a clever method of catching their
prey. A number of gourds are filled with nuts (or other kinds of monkey treats)
and firmly fastened to a branch of a tree.
Each has a hole just large enough for the unwary monkey to stick his
forepaw into it. When the hungry animal discovers this, he quickly grasps a
handful of nuts, but the hole is too small for him to withdraw his clenched
fist. And he doesn't have enough sense
to open up his hand and let go in order to escape, so he is easily taken
We too get ourselves into trouble when we don’t learn to “let go” of our
Why is greed so dangerous?
:15 one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he
literally, “life is not in the overflowing of things you possess”
Bigger than stuff
We think that if we just had a little bit “more”, or better yet, a LOT
more, then life would be better.
Jesus would tell you, “No”.
Your life is way bigger than the stuff you own.
life – zoe – life;
This isn’t simple biological life (bios),
but the fullness of life that includes your body, your soul, and your spirit.
You are not your stuff.
The “real you” is not defined by your “stuff” or even your lack of “stuff”.
Jim Elliot was a young pilot killed on
the mission field in 1956. He wrote,
“He is no fool who
gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
In one of his journal entries he wrote,
I walked out to the
hill just now. It is exalting, delicious. To stand embraced by the shadows of a
friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing
your heart, to gaze and glory and to give oneself again to God, what more could
a man ask?
Oh, the fullness,
pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth. I care not if I never raise
my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Perhaps, in mercy,
He shall give me a host of children that I may lead through the vast star
fields to explore His delicacies whose fingers’ ends set them to burning. But
if not, if only I may see Him, smell His garments, and smile into my Lover’s
eyes, ah, then, not stars, nor children, shall matter—only Himself.
Do you want your life (zoe) to be
There is nothing greater than knowing, loving, and following God.
12:16-21 The Rich Man’s Barns
:16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich
man yielded plentifully.
:16 He spoke a parable
Jesus is going to tell a story to illustrate what He’s been saying.
The man was already rich before his fields bring forth this huge bumper
:17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have
no room to store my crops?’
:17 What shall I do
How would you like a problem like this one?
Too much money! Wow! Greed Alert!
:18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build
greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.
:18 pull down my barns and build greater
It actually sounds like a pretty good idea on the outside. Hey, they guy is simply trying to save all
this money he’s just made.
The problem is, where is God in this whole picture? Where does God figure into this man’s
:19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many
years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’
:19 eat, drink, and be merry
This phrase is actually found a few times in the Old Testament (Ecc. 2:24;
12:13-14; Is. 22:12-13)
Paul talks about how the resurrection impacts our view on life and quotes
the prophet Isaiah:
15:32 NKJV) If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus,
what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us
eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
As believers, we can face the difficult times in life because we know that
there is something greater for us in heaven.
The person who has no hope and no God can’t find anything better to do with
their life than live for pleasure.
:20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of
you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
:20 your soul will be required of you
required – apaiteo – to
ask back, demand back, exact something due
Accountable to God
The idea is that God has originally given us our “life”, our “soul”, and
one day He’s going to ask for it back.
He is going to want to know what you’ve done with your life.
Jesus told another parable about a wealthy land owner who entrusted his
finances to his servants while he went on a long journey.
NKJV) —19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled
accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other
talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained
five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.
Enter into the joy of your lord.’
The “talent” was an amount of money, perhaps equivalent to about 75 pounds
This parable can sound as if God is wanting you to make a lot of money for
Him, but the point isn’t the money or the amount of money.
The point is that God has given each of us something.
It may be finances.
It may be abilities.
It may be personality qualities.
It may be certain life experiences.
It may be spiritual gifts.
There will be a day when we each stand before God and He
will want to know what we did with the things He entrusted to us.
Are you using what God has given you to further your
kingdom or God’s kingdom?
Is your goal in life to “take your ease”, or is it to
serve your King?
It starts by following Jesus and giving Him your life.
:20 whose will those things be which you have provided
All the “stuff” you’ve worked so hard for all these years will someday be
left behind for someone else.
:21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich
:21 rich toward God
Though it’s true that you “can’t take it with you”, it is also true that
you can “send it on ahead”.
(Matthew 6:20 NKJV)
lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Let me spend a few minutes of your time this morning to talk about “wealth
I’m not actually going to talk about IRAs or purchasing stock.
But I do hope to answer some of your questions about building your
treasures in heaven.
The Bible has some specific advice when it comes to heavenly wealth
(1 Timothy 6:17–19
NKJV) —17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty,
nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all
things to enjoy. 18
them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
19 storing up
for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold
on eternal life.
If you have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to
sleep, you are “rich in this present age”.
Do good with what you have. Be willing to share when God prompts you (not
when others guilt you). Do good things
Check your motives
13:1–3 NKJV) —1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not
love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I
have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all
knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but
have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and
though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
You will find no benefit (profit) in your heavenly bank
account if you are not doing things for the right reasons.
Doing good to others is easy.
Actually having the right motives and loving those same
people is not so easy.
I can do great things without love, but in the end there
will be no “profit” for me if I don’t learn to love.
:20 This night your soul will be required of you
We never know when God is going to say, “Your time is up”. For this man, it happened at a time when he
only got as far as “dreaming” of his bigger barns.
a story from all the way back in 1983, back in the days when personal
computers were just beginning to hit the market…
Dennis Barnhart was president of an aggressive, rapidly growing company, Eagle
Computer Incorporated. From a small
beginning, his firm grew incredibly fast.
He finally decided they should go public. The forty-four-year-old man, as a result of
this first public stock offering, became a multimillionaire virtually
overnight. Then, for some strange
reason, while he was in his red Ferrari only blocks from the company
headquarters, he drove his car through twenty feet of guard rail into a ravine
and died. All on the same day he became a multimillionaire.
Are you ready?
If you were to die tonight, how would your discussion with God go?
There is no purgatory in the Bible.
There is no chance to work your way into heaven after you die. The Bible says,
(Hebrews 9:27 NKJV)
as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
When you die, you will stand before God.
If God were to ask you why He should allow you into heaven, how would you
A man dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the Pearly
Gates. St. Peter says, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it
into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a
certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you
reach 100 points, you get in. “Okay,” the man says, “I was married to the same
woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.” “That’s
wonderful,” says St. Peter, “that’s worth three points!” “Three points?” he
says. “Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my
tithe and service.” “Terrific!” says St. Peter. “That’s certainly worth a
point.” “One point!?!!” “I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a
shelter for homeless veterans.” “Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,”
he says. “Two points!?!!” Exasperated, the man cries. “At this rate the only
way I’ll get into heaven is by the grace of God.” “Bingo, 100 points! Come on
We are only saved because of what Jesus did for us, dying
for us on the cross.
All of our sins are washed away when we come to trust in God’s
Are you ready to trust Him today?