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The Rich Fool

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2024 4:00 am

The Rich Fool

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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May 21, 2024 4:00 am

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The final point in verse 21, so is the man who lays up treasure for himself.

He's a fool, he's mindless because he hasn't given consideration to God and he's going to face God and he could have purchased souls for eternity, as chapter 16 will point out, and he has no thought for his mortality and here he's dead. Before he could ever realize any of his greedy plans, he was gone. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. In the 1920s, an Italian-American businessman went from broke to a multi-millionaire in just a few months. With a track record like that, you might expect that man to have business schools named after him today, but instead, the name Charles Ponzi has become synonymous with fraud and deception, and his life serves as a lesson that the veneer of success is often deceptive. With that in mind, today John MacArthur continues his study, Stories with Purpose, with a look at a spiritual Ponzi scheme. It's a story about a very successful man, but one whose life was headed for disaster. Here now is John with the parable of the rich fool.

JOHN MacArthur, chapter 12, verses 13 through 21. Let me read this text to you. And someone in the crowd said to him, teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me. But he said to him, man, who appointed me a judge or arbiter over you? And he said to them, beware and be on your guard against every form of greed, for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions. And he told them a parable saying, the land of a certain rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself saying, what shall I do since I have no place to store my crops? And he said, this is what I will do, I will tear down my barns and build larger ones and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

And I will say to my soul, soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come, take your ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, you fool, this very night your soul is required of you and now who will own what you have repaired? So is the man who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. This text of Scripture has been called the rich fool.

It could be called the doom of the materialist. If they, or you, or anyone else wants to receive salvation, forgiveness, eternal life in heaven, there are two pervasive damning forces that must be avoided. Beware of hypocrisy and beware of greed. Now you might look at those and say, well, those are two sort of randomly selected sins out of a long catalog of sins that perhaps Jesus is only using as illustrative of the greater all-encompassing list that He might have given.

But that's not the case. These are not randomly selected sample sins among many. Rather these are the two essential realms which exist. There are only two realms which exist. One is the material realm and the other is the immaterial. One is the spiritual, the other is the physical. One is the natural, the other is the supernatural.

There are only those two realms. Hypocrisy relates to the spiritual realm and greed relates to the material world. Both the material and the immaterial world threaten to damn eternal souls. Beware of false religion, the love of error. Beware of material wealth, the love of money.

Here's the real issue. You either lay up treasure for yourself or you're rich toward God. You see, wealth creates all kinds of choices. It creates all kinds of choices and that's what the parable indicates. A man had more than he needed.

Okay, what am I going to do? You can be seduced right into hell from the immaterial or the material, from the spiritual or the physical, from the world above or the world below. And that's why Jesus gives this double warning of beware.

Let's turn to the text, verse 13, and the story flows fairly quickly. Someone in the crowd said to him, teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me. He said to him, man, who appointed me a judge or arbiter over you? That is an unsympathetic response.

Man, that is not an endearing expression. That is like saying mister, that's a term of distance. That's a title used for a stranger.

I don't know you and I don't know anything about you and I have no relationship to you. Who appointed me a judge or arbiter over you? Now you know from the Bible that God has appointed all judgment to Christ, but that's a spiritual judgment, right? John 5. And in the future, Jesus will be the judge of all the earth and He will judge every soul spiritually. But when it comes to economic matters, when it comes to family matters, when it comes to social matters, when it comes to the distribution of wealth, when it comes to economics and it comes to earthly possessions, He renders no decisions. You could sum it up in this expression, my kingdom is not of this world. I will render no opinion on matters social, legal or economic.

But He didn't hesitate for one second to render a decision on that man's spiritual condition. And that's where Jesus always goes. The legal and the economic and the civil and the social, all is a part of the world. Jesus says, that's not My kingdom. I'm going to speak to the spiritual. And so we see in verse 15 the admonition.

Then we'll see the anecdote and the application. The admonition, He said to them, He nailed it. Beware...says to the whole crowd...be on your guard against every form of greed. He didn't have to point to the man and say like that guy.

It was obvious. Beware. And He had just said beware back in verse 1 about the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy. Here He says, beware beyond your guard against every form of greed. And this is the admonition that exposes the real issue. Beware, orate, look, present imperative, behold, mark, observe and then guard, philoso is a military term, provide protective vigilance against every form of greed, all covetousness, plenexius, strong word, all covetousness. And the word basically means an inordinate desire for riches, grasping, extorting, scheming is included in this kind of thing.

This is as damning as false religion. This is the thirst...plenexius is the thirst for more. It's like drinking salt water, the more you drink, the thirstier you get. In Ecclesiastes it is wisdom. What Solomon says in chapter 5 verse 10, He who loves money will not be satisfied with money nor he who loves abundance with its income. People who worship money and who love money and who love abundance and love possessions are never satisfied when they get it, it's just like drinking salt water. The sin is not in having more. The sin is being discontent. The sin is not in having wealth, the sin is in what you do with it.

It's not the amount, it's the attitude. Abraham was wealthy. Job was wealthy. Solomon was wealthy. Even in the New Testament, no doubt Joseph of Arimathea was wealthy. And there were wealthy people in the New Testament who had the church in their home because they had a large enough home to have a church.

It's not about what you have, it's about how you feel about what you have. And that's what the Scripture warns about. It warns about greed and covetousness and the lust for more so as to consume it on your own desires. To define life as an acquisition of material possessions is to commit the deadly sin of serving the creature rather than the Creator, Romans 1.25. Beware of this, Jesus says, back to verse 15, and here's why, for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions. Not even when you have and the word abundance means more than enough, more than sufficient. It could be excess.

It could be surplus, that's the way it's used three other times in Luke, Luke 9, 17, Luke 15, 17, Luke 21, 4. Even if you have more than enough, it still doesn't provide real life. By the way, the word life in Greek can be one of two words, bios which is simply life as opposed to being dead, biological life.

It might translate it existence. Then the word for life which is used here, zoe, encompasses all that makes life worth living, all that is real life, satisfaction, fulfillment, enjoyment, meaning, purpose. And he says even when you have surplus and you have excess, that doesn't make really living. That doesn't take care of giving you real life. In fact, the life he's referring to here is eternal life because that's the only kind of life that is fulfilling, satisfying, meaningful, purposeful, producing peace and joy and hope and blessing. You're never going to get that real life from the material world, even if you have more than enough. So he's saying to this guy and everybody who thought that way, you're going down the wrong path, man. You're going down the wrong path.

You're drinking salt water here. You're never going to have your thirst quenched because the life that you need, the life that satisfies, the life that fulfills, the life that is eternal and lasts forever is the life of God in your soul and it's not going to come through acquiring possessions. Greed is idolatry. It's worshiping the creature, not the Creator. So says Ephesians 5, 5 and Colossians 3, 5. Jesus said in John 10, 10, I'm come that they might have life, the real life and have it more abundantly.

He wants to give you the life that truly is abundant and it's that eternal life. That's the admonition. Look at the anecdote. The story is simple. He told them a parable, parabole, the second part of that word, bole, from balo, to place , para, alongside, to place alongside. That's what a parable is.

It's a story placed alongside a principle to illustrate the principle. So He said, the land of a certain rich man was very productive. Now that's good.

No dishonesty here, no extortion, no crime, nothing. He just had a great crop. By the way, I love that verb where it says very productive, that is the verb euphoreo, and it means to yield a good crop. And we get an English word out of it, euphoria. Now for us, euphoria has nothing to do with a crop.

Euphoria is elation, being filled with joy, kind of over the top satisfaction, fulfillment, feelings of happiness, feelings of well-being. But how interesting that that came in an agrarian culture from having a good crop, being successful. And He had this crop. It was just absolutely huge. No dishonesty, no ill-gotten gain, no extortion, no evil, no immorality, no illegality, He came to honest wealth.

That's fine. And you know what? If you're a farmer, of all things that human beings do, that one is most dependent upon circumstances and factors that are outside your control, right? If ever you should thank God, you should thank God for a good crop since providentially He controls all the elements and the factors. And so, verse 17, this man began reasoning to himself saying, What shall I do since I have no place to store my crops? Well that's a good question.

I mean, that's a reasonable one, isn't it? He faces a dilemma about what to do with this massive harvest. Oh, he could build more storage, but if he built more storage, he'd use more land and that would take up the land that he grows the crop on.

Maybe that's not the good way to go cause this is good productive land. What am I going to do? Where am I going to put all this?

Now that begins to give you a little bit of a giveaway. I can think of a lot of options at that point. But the one that he came up with in verse 18, he said, This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build larger ones. And there I will store all my grain and my goods. You know what strikes me about that?

Two verses, eight I's and four my's, I-I-I-I-I-my-my-my-my-my. And here you get the insight into the materialist. You mean there...this is an imaginary story, but I mean, wouldn't there be in the minds of the people standing there listening to this, an imaginary group of people who went out and pulled in the harvest and maybe you might say to those hard-working people, I'll share some with them. And wouldn't there be an imaginary village with some widows and some orphans? And wouldn't there be an imaginary village with some poor people? And isn't there a temple? And isn't there a synagogue? And isn't there the work of God?

And wouldn't He be up for consideration for some of this stuff? I-I-I-I-I-my-my-my-my-my. What's wrong with this picture? Oh, he's a smart guy. He is crafty. You say, well he could just sell it all and make some money.

No, no, no, you don't want to do that. You flood the market with too much stuff and the price goes down. So what do you do?

You restrict what? Supply. So you build bigger barns on the same pad, higher ones so you don't take up any more of your fields and you store it all and then you let it out at whatever pace you want and then you become the fat cat, you become the Middle Eastern local guru. You're going to control the prices. By the way, he didn't just store his grain there, he stored his goods there and my goods.

What's that? This is the only biblical storage unit I know of. This guy's got a lot of other stuff he's storing up. I would have thought he would have said, you know, God, You're the one that makes the rainfall. You're the one that makes the earth warm. You're the one that makes the seed to grow. I need to take some of this that You've given to me and give it back to You because I know I'm to love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and I cannot be restrained in my giving to You because my love commands me to be generous with You.

Love gives, it cannot give. And then I know the second law is to love Your neighbor as Yourself and because Your love abides in me, I love these people and I want to share this...there's none of that here. And look at verse 19, and I will say to my soul...you want to know how much of a materialist this guy was? He lived alone. And when he had a conversation, it was with himself.

I mean, it would have been a little window into something good about this guy if he had said, I said to my wife, or I said to my family, this is the miser, I will say to my soul, soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come, take your ease, eat, drink and be merry. You're set for life, man. You are set for life, leisure.

All you have to do is control the spout at the bottom of the silo and let out only as much as you want and control the price and you are fixed. Soul is in the singular. The man lived in the singular, thought in the singular, had a conversation only with himself.

He has it all. Take your ease, means retire. Eat, drink and be merry, blatant hedonism. Eat, drink, party.

That's it, just eat, drink and party. The materialist motto, you only go around once, so grab all the gusto you can get. Jesus telling the story, I'm trying to think about what's this guy in the crowd thinking? My guess is he's salivating about the fact that he would like to be that man. That's why he asked the question, but he wasn't alone. The problem with this man in the story is he forgot three things...God, others and his own mortality.

Ooh, those are bad things to miss. He forgot God, he forgot others and he forgot his own mortality. And then comes the surprise which is so common to Jesus' stories, verse 20, that God said to him, you fool, you have from friend, the mind, ah negative, you mindless, thoughtless ignorant destitute of knowledge and truth, you fool, this very night your soul is required of you and now who will own what you have prepared? Oh, the materialist's worst nightmare.

Somebody else gets it all. This night your soul is required of you, in the actual Greek says, this night they demand your soul. That's an old rabbinic expression, a common plural construction used by the rabbis to refer to an act of God cause God is plural, elohim, they God, the Trinity, the very Trinity he had been referring to a few minutes before this, are going to require your soul. How foolish to make all your grandiose plans. Forget God, forget others, forget your own mortality. James says, come now, you who say today or tomorrow we'll go such and such a city and spend a year there, engage in business, make a profit, you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow, you're just a vapor that appears for a little while and vanishes away like steam off coffee. You ought to say if the Lord wills, we'll live and do this or that. You ought to say if the Lord wills. And then if you're going to say the Lord wills, you better be careful to know that you're right with the Lord. He says, Jesus in the story, to the imaginary man, God said, tonight, this very night your soul is required of you and now who will own what you have prepared? And Jesus there shows probably His memory of Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes 2, 18 and 19 says this, thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he'll be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun.

This too is vanity. And so He says, I despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun. As I said, it's the materialist worst nightmare. And that was Solomon saying, I've got all this wealth and you know what's going to happen? I'm going to leave it to some fool.

You better take into account your mortality. And the application of the story, the final point in verse 21, so is the man who lays up treasure for himself. He's a fool, he's mindless because he hasn't given consideration to God and he's going to face God and he hasn't done anything to help others and he could have purchased souls for eternity, as chapter 16 will point out, and spent all eternity enjoying the fruit of that generosity and he has no thought for his mortality and here he's dead. Before he could ever realize any of his greedy plans, he was gone.

You never saw a hearse pulling a U-Haul. You can't take it with you. It doesn't go. And if you haven't sent it on ahead somehow, you're a fool. If you haven't used what God does give you for His glory and for the benefit of others, and if you haven't dealt with your own mortality and prepared for eternity, you're a fool. If you give it to God, it will be there to welcome you. If you've invested in His Kingdom, Jesus said, lay not up treasure for yourselves on earth, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt and where thieves don't break through and steal for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

You can reverse that. If your heart's there, that's where your treasure will go. It'll go...it'll invest in your family, it'll invest in the Kingdom work, it'll invest in the needs of others because that's where your heart is. How foolish to be a materialist, be greedy, covetous, self-indulgent, to hoard what you have and leave it all behind. So is the man who lays up treasure for himself.

It's not about how much you have, it's what you do with it. Pursue contentment and lay up treasure in heaven. Important lessons from John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary.

The title of John's study here on Grace to You is Stories with Purpose. John, today you identified two of the greatest temptations we face as believers, and those are religious hypocrisy and greed. And with that said, I'm wondering, how can Christians arm themselves most effectively against those sins? Yeah, really it may seem complex to some people to think about how you can overcome sin, but the fact is that sin is a product of how you think.

That's what it says in the book of James that sin conceives in the heart and eventually produces itself on the outside and then of course it leads even to death. So it's about guarding your heart. Guard your heart for out of it are the issues of life.

And how do you guard your heart? The psalmist said, your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Being familiar with the word of God, having it in your mind at all times, understanding what it teaches and understanding the God that it reveals is the defense against sin. So the key to your ability to overcome sin and to live a victorious and righteous life is to effectively learn scripture. And along that line, I want to let you know that we have a copy of a booklet How to Study the Bible that we want to offer to you free of charge. The Bible was written over thousands of years by dozens of authors, everyone from kings to prophets to fishermen. On the surface, it's wondrous, but when you dig deeper than just the surface, it's life transforming. How do you grasp the deep meaning?

How do you understand the correct interpretation? Well, this booklet titled How to Study Your Bible will help you with that, show you how to maximize the time you invest studying the word of God. And it lays out a plan for doing just that, one that I've used for decades. It also shows you how to interpret what you read and better understand the history, culture, and language of biblical times. A practical booklet for sure, and especially for new Christians, young Christians still learning how to study the Bible to defend themselves against temptation. Again, the booklet How to Study Your Bible free of charge for a limited time. All you have to do is let us know you'd like a copy. Contact us and ask for a copy of How to Study Your Bible, and we'll be glad to get one to you right away. That's right, and thank you, John.

Friend, when you read the parables or any part of the Bible, you want to make sure you're understanding and benefiting from what you're reading. The booklet How to Study Your Bible will help you do just that. As John said, it's free to anyone who wants a copy.

So don't miss out on this helpful resource. Contact us today and request your free booklet. Email your name, address, and request to letters at gty.org, or you can let us know you'd like a copy when you call us at 855-GRACE or when you visit our website, gty.org. Again, we'll send you John's booklet How to Study Your Bible free of charge.

Just ask for it today. And in addition to the free booklet, let me recommend a resource that can help you dig deep into virtually every passage of Scripture, the MacArthur Study Bible. It's our flagship resource, and it has introductions to each book of Scripture, dozens of maps and charts, and in particular, about 25,000 study notes that help make the meaning of the Bible clear, verse by verse, page by page. To order the MacArthur Study Bible available in the English Standard, New King James, and New American Standard versions, as well as several non-English translations, call us at 800-55-GRACE or shop online at gty.org. Now for John MacArthur and our entire staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for joining us today. Be back tomorrow as John shows you how you should conduct your life knowing that God's patience is not permanent. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-21 05:45:55 / 2024-05-21 05:56:03 / 10

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