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The Rich Fool

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
October 12, 2020 8:00 am

The Rich Fool

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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October 12, 2020 8:00 am

If you had to be either a poor fool or a rich fool, which one would you choose? Sounds like a no-brainer, even for a fool! However, the Bible has a lot more bad things to say about rich fools than poor ones in its proverbs and parables. Stay tuned now as Dr. Boice looks at Jesus parable of the rich fool...and finds some very good reasons not to be one.

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If you had to be either a poor fool or a rich fool. Which would you choose. Sounds like a no-brainer, even for a fool right. However, the Bible has a lot more bad things to say about rich fools that about poor ones in its Proverbs and parables stay to know is Dr. Boyce looks at Jesus's parable of the rich fool and find some very good reasons not to be one welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. There's nothing wrong with money we needed for life and health. And it's God's gift for us to use. But things can go badly wrong when money comes into the wrong hands the hands of a fool. Let's listen now to Dr. Boyce are studying the parables of our Lord Jesus Christ about wisdom and folly, and we, the second one which is the parable of the rich fool. This is not like the parable of the five foolish women and their friends and that it has only one side of the contrast story of the women I went out to meet the bridegroom and who had prepared for the wedding feast. Number five, four wives and five were foolish contrast is very evident between them.

In this story there is only the foolish rich man, and the contrast of there is one comes only at the very end of the parable. When Jesus says that one should be rich, not in the things of this world, but rather toward God the parable that has setting Jesus was teaching on one occasion and in the midst of his teaching, he was interrupted by somebody who was concerned about an inheritance apparently was in the hand of his brother were to think that the father had died and interrupted Jesus teaching to say Lord, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me out the request was entirely out of line. One thing it was interrupting the Lord's teaching for another thing, he wasn't a judge in Israel for the third thing the courts they could settle those things. Jesus made that very clear.

He said man who made me a judge over you, but he didn't let it go at that. He gave a warning because obviously here was a man so intent upon things and these things were so warping his outlook on life that even as he was sitting there listening to the Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, teach the greatest teacher who ever lived. He couldn't think about the teaching could only think about the things and so our Lord warned one child be on your guard against all kinds of greed. Because of man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions and then he went on till the story.

He said there was a certain rich man the ground that he farmed brought forth an abundance of fruit. One year he didn't have room to take care of it in his Barnes. He said what the world am I going to do so.

He said well this is what I'll do all tear down my old Barnes and I'll build bigger larger Barnes then I'll store up all my produce and I'll say to myself, my soul take life easy, you got it made.

Each drink and be merry. I don't have to worry about anything anymore, and God said to him you're a fool because this very night your life is going to be quiet required of you and then whose are those things going to belong to that you have taken your time acquiring when our Lord finish the parable, he said.

Now this is how it's going to be with anyone who stores up things for himself, but is not rich toward God. Very obvious that a parable like this has great bearing in our day. Certainly in any affluent society and quite obviously know our affluent society after study it carefully and see, and what this but rich fools folly consistent, very interesting. You know that God himself is not in the Bible say in very many places an individual is a fool all the Bible talks about falling in many places, but God is not quoted very often is saying an individual you're a fool is one great example in the Old Testament of the 14 Psalm verse one and then virtually the same thing in Psalm 53 verse one where we read the fool has said in his heart there is no God.

In other words, the atheist is a fool, but now here God uses said very word in describing this rich materialist and he says is materialist is a fool. In other words, God puts this kind of preoccupation with riches. This so preoccupation with riches. It is so strong that it didn't excludes spiritual concerns God puts that right up there with the God deniers and was soon as we begin to think along those lines.

We recognize that there's a connection because although this man being a Jew certainly would not of gone around saying there is no God, although he might even the been very religious and quite a bit in the synagogue but practically speaking it was an atheist because he was so wrapped up in things of this world, that he didn't give God any attention I want ask this question, we want to say where is his folly to be found or why was this man a fool first answer that question is that he was a fool because he obviously misused his wealth. Wealth is a great gift comes from God and of God gives us wealth. It's to be used in a way that honors him helps others, promotes Russian truth. There was a man who didn't see that his wealth come from God and consequently didn't see himself as a steward of God's wealth and so we use them all on himself and he was foolish for that reason. I'm sure if you would got this person sign them down and said now I want to talk to you about your wealth and I want you to understand that your wealth is given to you from God's man would've objected jury will say what you mean wealth is given to me from God. I'm the one who did it ironed. After all, God plow the fields. I plow the fields, garden plants, grain, I planted the grain God until the fields and take care of them and weave them during the period when the grain was growing. I did that God didn't harvest the grain.

God didn't gather it in God laid up in the Barnes I'm the one who did that what you mean gone, has entrusted me with a wealth thing is very common way of thinking and if you ever talk with people about money, especially if there upset with God about something you know this is a very common way of talking God may be out there somewhere, but he certainly had nothing to do with me getting to the peak of affluence that I have achieved. I did that by myself.

Therefore, what I have is mine and I have the right to use it in any way I please and if I give something to Don I'm doing God a favor rather than God doing something favorable to me know, our Lord, and think that way that's not the way Jesus tells the story. I think there's a very subtle teaching here when Jesus described how it is that the man became affluent. He says in verse 16 he told them this parable. He said the ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop.

They didn't have to say it that way he could've said was certain rich man was very diligent he worked harder than all his neighbors. He went out early in the morning and he worked long hours way into the evening after the sun set and he kept it up all summer and he works so hard that he had more fruit at the end of the growing season for his labor than anyone else and he laid it all out and he said I want to do all this profit. That's not the way the Lord told it. He said the ground of a certain rich man brought forth an abundant crop puts it very choice, select use of words but I think what he saying is God made the ground and God makes things grow and so from the very beginning God's law and was the source of the affluence that's a problem when we think along those lines. We say all look what we've done by our hard labor. It is true that our labor enters into it. We think that way.

We just laugh and realize God is given us the strength labor to begin with God's given us the field in which to labor and God is blessed labor for the boiler many places in the world where people labor not only as hard as we do been harder and are far more trying circumstances and are not blessed in this way is is recommend site look what I did and here's our Lord saying to you mean to tell me that there were not places in the world where there were farmers who worked every bit as hard as he did, but because of dropped her blight. Some other un-expected circumstance.

Repo harvested all they were starving. Here's this rich man who has profited by the grace of God, and he doesn't even acknowledge it. I was God blessed you have a talent that is been profitable as you exercised it, whether it's in business or the arts or some such thing.

You say, look what I've done. I've done it all by myself. I worked hard. Yes, you have worked hard, but who gave you the talent but did worked in business God is prospered your business and your fairly well-off, maybe very well-off, you say well I did that all by myself. I work real hard. Yes you did work hard but you didn't do it by yourself.

So God is blessed you and that way and because you by the grace of God have a certain measure of affluence. You're not to think that somehow your favorite person because of your own effort.

Someone who is not been prospered and that way measures any less of the scale. God's favor. Rather, your to recognize God is giving you these things to be used in a way that is honoring to him. This is what the rich man did not do misused his wealth and he was a fool for that reason, we have to say something else about affluence and want to be very careful what we say here because I do not want to suggest that affluence is wrong. God has certainly given us this world and its riches to enjoy long before the fall, God created a whole universe of this earth and all the abundance of the garden for Adam and Eve to enjoy was all there. God gave it problem is and in the things themselves. It's in the people who use them.

There is this tendency. Unfortunately, because we're not creatures who stand upright and holy before God with sinful men and women, misuse, wealth, and unfortunately we must also say to be entrapped by I think that's why God doesn't let more of us become rich. God prospered us all to the point that we all become rich.

She probably ruin 85% of the Christian work that needs to be done because Christian work can be strangled by concern or possessions are easy to find that in the Bible so many examples of that in the Bible that we ought to be worn by the examples along you go back to the Old Testament when the Jews were conquering the promised land, and they had gone forth into battle at AIN. They were defeated. The reason they were defeated.

Today I is that when they conquered Jericho the previous battle there was a man named Aiken who disobeyed God and taking to himself spoils that God had told her not to take when he had gone into the city, he discovered a beautiful Babylonian garment and some gold and silver, and although all the spoils of this first battle were to be dedicated to the Lord at the end he hid it in his tent. He buried it on the ground and the Israelites were defeated in the second battle and Joshua went before the Lord and said, why is this happening. God explained that there was sin in the camp. They searched out.

They found what was done it that he was judged for the sin little further on in the Old Testament comes.

Solomon Solomon was a great king and possessed an enormous amount of wisdom which God given and nevertheless allowed love of affluence and women to ruin his spiritual life, but he was far less, getting at the end of his life that he was at the beginning you come to the New Testament, you have the case of Ananias and Sapphire go a little further on in the New Testament to come to Paul. He talks about this young man Dimas.

He says as he writes to Timothy Dimas have forsaken me because he loved this present world center. Many, many examples of people who allow love of possessions to strangle their spiritual life they get so wrapped up in things that their concern in life is to preserve and increase their things and they are worthless were spiritual things are concerned, I am convinced one of the greatest things that can happen to some people I know is that they would lose everything very least, it would get their minds off the possessions on the God of God might be able to do something in their life brought them back to him.

Now we have to say that there are no evil. There is no evil and possessions themselves. I hope I made that clear. God even in the Bible recognizes the right of private property.

There been times in history of the church were Christians of gotten so carried away with the idea pooling resources and sharing them take an example from the early church in Jerusalem where this was practice for a time that they've said is not right that private possessions that is true Bible recognizes the right of private possessions in the 10 Commandments. For example, says thou shalt not steal. Well, that's a word for me were somebody else's possessions are concerned, but it's also a word for the other person or my possessions are concerned, you see command like thou shalt not steal, doesn't mean anything unless you have a right to certain things. We have to get clear in our minds is that property is from God and is to be used for God in a responsible way and more affluent we become, the more care we should give to that particular problem on the second reason why this rich materialistic price parable is called a fool and the reason is that he allowed his concern for wealth to exclude far more important concern that he should've had for his soul even argue this in business terms and say what kind of a bargain is that again all these things in this world are going to perish and loose your soul, which is going to live forever and is in imperishable thing. Why even the hardest nose businessman to be able to understand that a person that takes something that's going to perish in exchange for something that's not going to perish in the pool.

Indeed, I said when we introduce these parables of wisdom and folly that it says striking characteristic of our Lord's teaching that he comes down to our level. When he talks of wisdom and folly. He could've pitched his appeal on a very high level saying this is what God requires.

This is the nature of God, and you should be obedient to him, and he's a sovereign in such things, but again and again comes down our level and he says look to profit you to do that.

Think about your own self-interest.

What's it going to benefit you if you do so himself and failed to do something else. He says look I want to communicate with you on your level and if you won't listen to any of these spiritual arguments at least listen to this, you're going to die and who's going to get the things that you left behind is nothing else would get through to him. Maybe the thing that would get through to him was the knowledge of somebody else was going to enjoy all the things that he'd spent his life acquiring couldn't take it with Spanish of a proverb is kinda grim that it makes the point. They say there are no pockets in a shroud is another story that makes the point. Two men met on the streetcar one day in the newspapers suggests reported that morning that a billionaire in the city of died and one man said to the other, how much did he leave and the other answered all he had all the time is coming, whether when you have much or little you're going to leave it all and nothing else gets through to you at least think that is all to be left behind.

The man or the woman is wise in this world's as well is in the eyes of God. Instead of laying up treasures on earth, where thieves break through and steal and where laws and rust corrupt. Such a one will lay up treasure in heaven. That's the point at which the parable ends. Jesus said this is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself and who is not rich toward God as a being to be rich toward God is a phrase could be developed great length, but it means at least this to be rich in spiritual things I think of verses in the Bible talk about being rich in such things. For example, were to be rich in faith. James 25 says it has not God chosen those who were poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him. We can be rich in good deeds, Paul writes to Timothy saying that he's to instruct those under his care to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share in this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age exactly the opposite of what he described in first Corinthians. We talked about those who build a life of wood, hay and straw were saved if they are saved, as though by fire. See, we would only get our mind off of things we would see the value of using both things at all that God is given spiritual things as well for his glory and the good of others, or couple prerequisites of her to do that. Let me just say quickly what they are.

I think first of all, we must determine that we really want these spiritual riches more. We want our material possessions and maybe the God will give us the material possessions to I think were Christians are concerned, you tend to give them to those weather priorities right.

But the most important thing is that we decide in our own mind that we really want to be rich toward God. If not, things will take control of us as they took control of this rich man. The second thing I think we have to do is be willing to empty our lives of anything that keeps us from the spiritual blessing was spending all our time and have all our energies wrapped up in the foolishness of acquiring things that and there's just no room for the blessing that God would give but we empty ourselves of these things if we let go.

If we open our hands. Then our hands were empty to receive what God will give and God will give abundantly whatever hymns talks about being an empty vessel.

One of my favorite hymns. It goes like this. I am an empty vessel, not one thought to look like ever to the block.

I may calm and come again today with this empty sitters only plead out lobbyist empty vessel is what we need to be because we are that God will fulfill its overflowing that which he gives us, whether it's material or spiritual or any other blessing become a blessing not merely for us but for other people as well be rich to God rather than foolish things of this world. Let us pray our father, bless this parable to our hearts in the plant. We pray especially the officer were caught up so much of this materialistic culture to direct us to Jesus Christ who emptied himself of everything became poor. To really an order that he might be like us and even died in our place for our salvation and start as we pray on that track so that whatever we are given, whether that's great possessions are few possessions or talents or spiritual blessings in whatever area. Those might be recognized as having come from you and something to be used, give us grace for our good, but for the good of others. Send the praise of your glory. Rather, we might be faithful and effective servants of Jesus Christ in this area. We pray in his name.

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