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Gospel of Luke Chapter 12
THEME: Jesus warns of the leaven of the Pharisees; parable of the rich fool; parable of the return from the wedding; the testing of servants in light of the coming of Christ; Jesus states He is a divider of men.
The 12th chapter of Luke is the turning point of the Gospel. The self-manifestation of Jesus to the world now ends, and from this point forward to the close of the chapter we shall see the results of that manifestation. Jesus hides Himself from the unbelieving, allowing their unbelief; while He makes further revelations of Himself to the faithful few. The entire Gospel is an orderly exhibition of the method in which the deeds, words and claims of Jesus produced . . . on one hand, there was a growing belief and interest; while on the other hand, there was a steady hardening of the heart bringing about unbelief and hostility. See the end of this chapter; I have some thoughts on the Gospel.
In this chapter the conclusion of these conducts is carefully illustrated by three particular incidents.
#1. Evidence is given that there was a close circle of friends in whose love Jesus was enclosed, and His work and His memory insured against decay. There is a readiness of love which reveals the permanent place which Jesus has won for Himself in the hearts of men, and a maturity of alienation which predicts that His end cannot be far off.
#2. Luke shows that on the whole, the popular Jesus had made a deep impression, and that many Jewish people acknowledged Him as King.
#3. The influence He was destined to have and was already to some extent exercising beyond the bounds of Judaism is illustrated by the request of the Greeks that they might see Jesus.
Jesus Warns of the Leaven of the Pharisees (Luke 12:1-15)
Luke 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. (KJV)
In the mean time . . . while Jesus was speaking with the Pharisees, and they were using Him in the vile ways, hurling their attacks against him in order to draw the people away from Him.
When there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people . . . the meaning is that there were several thousands of people.
Insomuch that they trod one upon another . . . it was a jumbled mess, for everyone was trying to get near Jesus, either to see Him, or hear His sermons, and especially hear what He would say to the Pharisees, who had fallen upon Him in such a violent manner.
He began to say unto his disciples first of all . . . Jesus directed His words, NOT to the Pharisees, nor to the multitude, but to His apostles; at least, largely to them; for whom He had affection and respect, and who were His dear friends, and who were going to be the preachers of His Gospel everywhere. Because of this, it was proper that they should be aware of the deceptive tricks of the Scribes and Pharisees, and have their minds fortified against approaching dangers, persecutions, and even death itself.
Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy . . . conveyed both in their doctrines, and in their lives; which carried a great show of piety and holiness, but was in an outward appearance only. Jesus very properly compared their hypocrisy in doctrine and manners, to leaven; which at first is small and little, but gradually increases and spreads itself, and lies hidden and covered, and is not easily detected, nor is its influence and effects easily seen; but in time, it infects and corrupts the whole of men's principles and practices, and puffing and swelling them up with a vain, prideful opinion of themselves. The Lord warns His disciples to beware of this ever present evil, He means not only that they take heed that they were not infected with it themselves, but not to pass on the false shams of these artful and designing men to others.
Luke 12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. (KJV)
For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed . . . no sin, be it ever so secret or privately done, cannot be hidden from Judge Jesus, ALL sin shall be revealed! Consider, that nothing is more covered than hypocrisy, but it shall be detected sooner or later; if not in this world, which is often the case, on Judgment Day.
Neither hid, that shall not be known . . . no matter how careful a person is, sin and their vices may be hidden from others, BUT . . . they are known to God; who will bring everything into clear view at the judgment, and make manifest the secrets of all heart! (Mat.10:26).
Luke 12:3 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. (KJV)
Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness . . . in the most private manner, to one another,
Shall be heard in the light . . . which makes all things manifest, the day shall declare it.
And that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets . . . whispered to persons in their places of the most secret lives;
Shall be proclaimed upon the housetops . . . declared in the most public manner (Mat.10:27), what was told the disciples by Christ, in the most private place and way, should be published by them, in the most free and open manner.
Luke 12:4 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. (KJV)
And I say unto you, my friends . . . those whom He dearly loved, and had taken into the greatest intimacy and closeness, making known to them whatever He had heard from His Father; giving them the best instructions, the most faithful and friendly advice, and proper precautions; all of which, and more, showed them to be His friends, and for whom He after laid down His Life.
Be not afraid of them that kill the body . . . although He would have them to be careful of the Pharisees, He did not want them to be afraid of them. He wanted them to know them, and avoid their hypocrisy, and guard against it; but not fear them. He wanted them to know that the worst they could do unto them was to kill the body; and that they had no need to be afraid of this, for at death, their souls would be immediately happy, in the enjoyment and vision of God; and their bodies would sleep in Jesus, and one day be raised and be united to their souls, and be both forever blessed. (1 Thes.4:13-18).
And after that have no more that they can do . . . it they killed the body, they would have nothing more to kill, nothing more which they can put to pain or misery; because the soul is out of their reach, and is an immortal spirit that cannot be hurt or destroyed by them.
Luke 12:5 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. (KJV)
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear . . . I will be your watchman, and direct you to the proper object of fear and reverence, and whom you should be careful to displease and offend.
Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell . . . the only One to fear is Almighty God, who after the body is killed, can separate soul and body asunder, and to destroy both body and soul in Hell, as in (Mat.10:28).
Yea, I say unto you, fear him . . . and none else, not with a submissive, but with a loving and devoted fear.
Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? (KJV)
Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings . . . as two were sold for one farthing, (Mat.10:29), a farthing, with the Jews, was a very small coin, perhaps like our penny, meaning worth very little. This shows they were of little account.
And not one of them is forgotten before God . . . a single sparrow, a bird of little value is noticed and cared for by God; it has its life from Him, and is provided for with food by Him, and is under his protection; nor does He ever forget it, nor can anything be done to it, without His permission; it cannot be struck, so as to cause it to fall on the ground, or be taken in a snare, or be killed in any shape, without the knowledge of God: his providence reaches to the tiniest creatures and much more then to His dear children, ministers and disciples.
Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (KJV)
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered . . . not only their persons had passed under the hands of Him, even the very hairs of their head, and not one of them could fall to the ground, any more than a sparrow; or be plucked off by men, without the knowledge and will of God. So careful is the providence of God, of all His people.
Fear not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows . . . for if the hairs of their heads are as much regarded as sparrows, their persons and their lives must be of more account, than an infinite number of sparrows.
Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: (KJV)
Also I say unto you . . . the same as He did in (Mat.10:32).
Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God . . . only instead of I, He here calls Himself "the son of man"; and instead of "before my Father which is in heaven", here it is, "before the angels of God"; who will accompany Christ when He comes to judgment, and will be present, when He shall acknowledge His true followers as the blessed of His Father, the chosen of God, His redeemed and sanctified ones; and reject others before His Father, and the whole universe of rational beings. This Christ Jesus, the Eternal Word, will do at the great day.
Luke 12:9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. (KJV)
But he that denieth me before men . . . anyone that continues to deny Jesus, lives and dies a denier of Him; for it is possible for a person to deny Jesus to be the Son of God, or the Messiah, and afterwards confess Him. A TRUE Christian may deny Him and His Truths for a while, and then afterwards truly repent, and are saved, such as Peter; but they that deny Christ publicly, and persist in it to their death,
Shall be denied before the angels of God . . . they shall be denied by Christ as belonging to Him; they shall be denied admission into Heaven; they shall be covered with shame and confusion publicly; they shall be condemned and sent into everlasting burnings (Isa.33:14), and be ever tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels (Rev.14:10.
Luke 12:10 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. (KJV)
And whosoever shall speak a word against the son of man, it shall be forgiven him . . . these words, though introduced by Luke among the sayings of Christ, recorded in Mat.10, yet were said by Christ, on occasion of the Pharisees, ascribing His works to diabolical influence and assistance. (Mat.12:32).
But unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost . . . as the Pharisees did, by charging the miracles of Christ with being done by the help of the devil, when they were wrought by the finger of the Spirit:
It shall not be forgiven . . . as in Matthew, "neither in this world, nor in that which is to come" (Mat.12:32).
Mark 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: (KJV)
But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness . . . to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is to give credit to the works performed by Jesus, to diabolical power and influence of Beelzebub (Satan), as the Scribes did. There is NO pardon provided in the covenant of grace (Rom.6:14-15), neither can it be obtained by the Blood of Christ for such persons (1 Pet.1:18-19; Eph.1:7; Col.1:14), or ever be applied to them by the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:1-27).
But is in danger of eternal damnation . . . is guilty of an eternal sin; a sin which can NEVER be blotted out, and will NEVER be forgiven, but shall be punished with everlasting destruction (Mat.12:32). Christians often wonder if they have committed this sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. No TRUE Christian need worry because this sin is attributing to the devil the work of the Holy Spirit. This sin reveals a heart arrogant, bold and defiant with unbelief and unrepentance. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the deliberate, ongoing rejection of the work of the Holy Spirit, and is blasphemy because it is rejecting Almighty God Himself.
No TRUE born again believer can commit the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. . . because the Holy Spirit resides in all TRUE believers. Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (KJV) 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (KJV)
It is impossible to commit that unpardonable sin today, because Jesus is no longer on Earth in Person. Christ died for all sin, not just some sin. He did not die for every sin except the unpardonable sin. There is no such thing as being able to commit a sin today that He will not forgive. The arrogant boldness of the unbeliever’s heart is unpardonable . . . NOT the act. When a person blasphemes with his mouth, that is not what condemns him; it is the attitude of his heart, which is a permanent condition . . . unless he STOPS resisting. THIS is the sin against the Holy Spirit today . . . rebelling and resisting the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in the person’s heart and life.
John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (KJV) . . . The Holy Spirit was sent into the world starting at Pentecost (Acts 2). The Holy Spirit IS God, the third Member of the Trinity (Mat.28:19; Jn.14:26; 15:26; 2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:2; 1 Jn.5:7), and He has ALWAYS been in the world, but when Jesus ascended to Heaven, He and the Father sent Holy Spirit (Jn.14:26) to teach us the Truth about Jesus.
Besides teaching us about Jesus, a very important part of His work is convicting the hearts of unbelievers. IF a person does not quench the Holy Spirit, He brings misery to our hearts, in that we realize that we are sinners.
Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (KJV)
Psalm 73:21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. (KJV)
John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (KJV)
The Holy Spirit also stings our conscience.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? (KJV)
Acts 16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, (KJV)
A person CAN indeed commit a sin today that shall be punished with everlasting destruction. . . and that happens when a person rebels and restricts the work of the Holy Spirit; NOT believing what He is trying to tell them about the eternal salvation that is available ONLY through Christ Jesus (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12).
Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. (KJV) . . . Do you see what this states? “He was turned to be their enemy” . . . IF and or when a person provokes (vexes) the Holy Spirit, He becomes your enemy! Do you want Almighty God as your Enemy? Surely you do NOT! Please do NOT grieve Him, provoke Him, quench Him or displease Him! The result of grieving the Holy Spirit will be eternal . . . unless you have a change of heart! BEWARE!!!
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (KJV)
1 Thes. 5:19 Quench not the Spirit. (KJV)
IF the Holy Spirit brings a person under conviction of their sin, and they humbly come to God in repentance, God WILL forgive them. IF you believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and trust and accept God’s only begotten Son (Jn.3:16) to give you eternal salvation (Heb.5:9), you are a TRUE believer and a child of God (Rom.8:17; Gal.3:26; Eph.5:1; 1 Jn.3:10; 5:2).
Luke 12:11 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: (KJV)
And when they bring you unto the synagogues . . . of the Jews, to be examined and scourged by the rulers of them,
And unto magistrates and powers . . . Heathen ones; "princes and kings" (Mat.10:18).
Take ye no thought how, or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say . . . be not anxiously concerned, neither about the manner, nor the matter of your answer (Mat.10:19).
Luke 12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. (KJV)
For the Holy Ghost shall teach you what ye ought to say . . . shall give both words and matter: in the same hour; immediately, what will be proper to be said, for the honor of Christ, the defense of the Gospel, and the confusion of enemies. (Mat.10:20).
Consider: When we firmly believe in the doctrine of God's universal foresight, and that it will satisfy us when we are in peril, and encourage us to trust God more fully with each passing day, our faith increases. His Providence provides for the meanest creatures, and even the tiny sparrows, so therefore, it even includes the smallest interests of His children. Those who confess Christ now, shall be owned by Him on Judgment Day, before the angels of God. It should discourage us from denying Christ, and forsaking His Truths and ways, when we are assured that ALL those who deny Christ, and reject His Gospel, shall be pathetic and pitiful losers on that day, because Jesus will NOT know them, will NOT own them, and will NOT will not show them any favor. This is indeed sad, my friend! But we may rest assured that no humble, trembling, penitent backslider can have any doubt of obtaining forgiveness. This is far different from the determined enemies of God; please stay far away from the hostile enmity that is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall never be forgiven, because it will never be repented of.
Luke 12:13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. (KJV)
And one of the company said unto him . . . not one of the disciples of Christ, but one of the multitude, or crowd, about him (Lk.12:1).
Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me . . . the firstborn, according to the law (Deut.21:17), had a double portion: but the elder brother here, it seems, was for keeping it all, and would not divide any part to his younger brother; so he applies to Christ, to intervene in his authority, which he imagined would have great weight with his brother,
Luke 12:14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? (KJV)
And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge, or a divider over you? . . . or "friend", as the some versions render it, referring to the words of one of the Hebrews to Moses, when he intervened in a difference (Ex.2:14).
Luke 12:15 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. (KJV)
And he said unto them . . . either to the two brethren, or to his disciples, or to the whole company,
Take heed, and beware of covetousness . . . of all sorts of covetousness, and every degree of it, which of all vices should be avoided and guarded against, being the root of all evil (1 Tim.6:10).
For a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth . . . a man's natural life cannot be extended by all the good things of the world which he is possesses, nor can they cannot prevent diseases or death; and neither does comfort and happiness of life, lie in these things.
So many Christians in this age of gross greed and materialism, seem to think that "things" are very important. Covetousness, GREED, is one of the worst sins of this day. This is not a sin that others can see you commit, and at times you may not even be aware you are committing it. Men confess to God every known sin EXCEPT the sin of covetousness.
Christ's Kingdom is spiritual, and not of this world. TRUE Christianity does NOT meddle with politics. It pleases God for all to do justly, but worldly dominion is NOT founded in the grace of God. Covetousness is a sin we need to be constantly warned against! My friend, 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.
Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21)
Luke 12:16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: (KJV)
And he spake a parable unto them, saying . . . Jesus made brought forth this parable to illustrate what He had just said.
The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully . . . plentifully . . . his land was very fertile, and produced even beyond his expectations, and beyond what he had provided for, but who apart from his riches, was a fool. Rich men are not always wise in natural things and very few of them, if any, are wise in spiritual things, things which relate to the welfare of their eternal souls. And it seems to me that the more education a person has, the less common sense they have. I have seen this quite often during my many years.
Luke 12:17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? (KJV)
And, he thought within himself . . . and very foolish thoughts they were; he did NOT think of God, or even that there was a God, and much less that He alone was the One responsible for all his outward prosperity and plenty. He certainly was not thinking of giving thanks to God for it: or of asking advice from Him, of what he should do with it . . . he consults himself only, and thought only of himself; never of his poor neighbors, or for the good of others. Nor did he ever think of his own soul, just his worldly substance. I have known several extremely wealthy people personally in past years, and this is true of all of them! Me, me, me!
Saying, what shall I do? . . . this “fool” does not say what shall I do for God? His interest was NOT for the service, and glory of God! It was NOT for the poor, the hungry and thirsty and naked! Nor was it for his own soul, that that may be eternally saved? It was: what shall I do with all my goods?
Because I have no room where to bestow my fruits . . . he had gathered in his harvest, and filled his barns so that there was no more room, and yet he still had much left to store, and about which he was impatiently concerned; not once thinking of the empty bellies, barns, and houses of the poor, where he might have stowed much.
Luke 12:18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. (KJV)
SO . . . what did He do? This was the decision that he came to, and which he did, without consulting God, or asking permission of Him . . .
I will pull down my barns, and build greater . . . which was a very stupid decision; for he might have let his present barns stand, and added new ones to them.
And there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods . . . he gives credit to the increase of his substance to himself, and counts them as his own achievements, entirely owing to his diligence and hard work; and therefore calls them my fruits and my goods; and accounts them as his good things. Worldly men place all good and happiness in outward enjoyments, having no idea of spiritual and eternal good things. He decides to lay up ALL he has in his barns, for his own use and service, with NOTHING for God and his interest, nor anything for the poor and their relief.
Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. (KJV)
And I will say to my soul . . . his soul or to his sensual appetite, which he sought to indulge and gratify, for he was a completely sensual and carnal man. Psalm 49:17-19 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. 19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. (KJV)
Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years . . . NO one can promise himself a long life, NO one can boast of tomorrow, NO one knows what the present day will bring, NO one can assure himself he shall live a day, an hour, or even a moment longer than what God has planned for that person.
Take thine case, eat, drink, and be merry . . . this fool is like millions today! They want to spend their life in ease, luxury and fun. So many of these do it at the expense of the government: people in the higher offices of government who spend OUR money like there is no tomorrow, and those people who are able bodied and fit to work and support themselves, but instead depend on the government to support them. They do not want to work. That is beneath them! 2 Thes. 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV) SO many LAZY people in the world! It shall NOT be like that it Heaven! THERE people shall work. Isa. 65:21-22 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (KJV) Isa. 62:8-9 The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: 9 But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness. (KJV) In my opinion, ANYONE who is able bodied and fit to work to support themselves, and is supported by food stamps, child support, Medicaid, etc, cannot be a TRUE Christian. The government does NOT owe able bodied sluggards a living. If the shoe fits, wear it! That is how I feel. Yes, I am allowed to judge those who call themselves Christians (1 Cor.5:11-12). I think these people are covetous or extortioners. Yes I say what is on my mind, and I do not apologize. There are many elderly and disabled who need support and should have it, but NOT able bodied lazy people!
This foolish man in this parable depended upon the safety of his goods, which he had laid up, not thinking that his barns might be consumed by fire, or his harvest be devoured by insects, or plundered by thieves, and by many other ways not protected by his hands . . . for riches are very uncertain things, making themselves wings to fly away! Pro. 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. (KJV) Mat. 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (KJV) . . . Very wise words of Jesus!
Luke 12:20 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? (KJV)
But God said unto him . . . God decided that this man should die that very night; for the time of a man's death, as well as of his birth, is fixed by Almighty God. God can send the messenger of death, some disease or another, which means immediate death, or death in a very short time; here it means that he should die that very night, and not live any longer.
Thou fool: this night thy soul shall be required of thee . . . Thou fool. If there is any extreme folly, it is this, thinking that riches could prolong life, or hinder even for a moment the approach of pain and death. This night, you shall die, to go to God and to give up your account. This night. (Job 20:20-23; 27:8; Ps,52:7; Jam.4:14).
Then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? . . . not his own, for he can carry nothing with him; nor does he know whose they will be, whether the persons he planned them for, or some others whom he hated. Then whose, but they are often left to heirs that squander them away much sooner than the father had gathered them.
Luke 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (KJV)
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself . . . this is the meaning of the parable. Just as this fool, is the one who devotes all his thoughts, and spends all his time, in amassing to himself worldly riches and wealth, in laying up treasures on earth for himself, for the future, and makes no use of his worldly substance to be used in the good of others; nor shows any concern for spiritual and eternal riches; but places ALL his hope, trust and confidence in uncertain riches,
And is not rich towards God . . . not rich toward God . . . has NO inheritance in the Kingdom of God, NO riches laid up in Heaven (Mat.6:20). His affections are all fixed on this world, and he has NONE for God.
From this instructive parable we learn:
#1. Wicked men often prosper, their ground brings forth plentifully. God gives them their desire, but sends leanness into their souls.
#2. Worldly riches bring with them always an increased load of cares and anxieties.
#3. The worry of a covetous man is not what good he may do with his wealth, but where he may hoard it, and keep it secure from doing any good.
#4. Riches CANNOT secure their proud owners from the grave. Death will come at God’s appointed time, in the very midst of their brightest hopes . . . in a moment . . . in the twinkling of an eye . . . it may come, and all the wealth that has been accumulated cannot relieve one pang, or drive away one fear, or prolong life for one even one moment.
#5. The person who trusts in his riches in this manner is a FOOL in God’s Eyes! And eventually, he/she will be a fool in his own sight, and will go to Hell, realizing that his life has been one nonstop folly.
#6. The path of TRUE wisdom is to seek first the kingdom of God (Mat. 6:33), and to prepare for the coming of death, for we know not when it shall come. IF we are be ready to die, then it matters little what our portion here is, or how suddenly or soon we are called away to meet our Judge. IF our affections are not fixed on our riches, we shall be able to leave them without any regret.
#7. IF our treasures are laid up in heaven, death will simply be going home, and happy will be that moment when we are called to our rest. 2 Cor. 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (KJV)
Rich toward God: (1 Tim.6:18; Jam.2:5; Lk.12:33).
Habakkuk 2:9 Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil! (KJV)
Worry Will Not Help . . . (Luke 12:22-34)
Luke 12:22 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. (KJV)
And he said unto his disciples . . . having finished the parable which He spoke to the whole audience, He now directed Himself to His disciples, who were poor, and apt to be overly anxious about their living in the world.
Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat . . . Do NOT be worried. Being anxious, having doubts and misgivings are what is here condemned. In Luke 12:29, Jesus adds, neither be ye of doubtful mind (unsettled, restless).
Philip. 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (KJV) Careful = anxious, take no thought, don’t worry. In everything . . . pray! Prayer guards both our feelings and our thoughts from unfounded agitation, and keeps us calm. When we commit our whole temporal condition to SELF, we start getting into that worried state against which our Lord warns. Jesus tells us: do not worry about whether you have enough food, drink and clothes. Life consists of much more than food and clothing. If our Provider gives us the life, the body . . . WHY would He withhold food to sustain life and clothing to clothe the body?
Life is very near and dear to man; all that a man has, he will give for it; and it is his duty to be careful to preserve it, and to make use of means for the support of it; but then, he should not be picky about the food he eats, and should refuse no good creature of God, but receive it with thanksgiving (1 Tim.4:4), so he should not distress himself for fear of wanting bread, nor distrust the Promises of God, and a supply from Him; but should cast all his care upon the Lord, who daily cares for him.
Neither for the body, what ye shall put on . . . it is highly proper and necessary that the body should be clothed, partly for decency, and partly to secure it from the harshness of the weather; but then persons should not be difficult and overly fussy about what they wear, nor be distressed, fearing they should be clothed with rags; but should trust in the Lord, who gives food and raiment, and all things richly to enjoy.
Luke 12:23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. (KJV)
The life is more than meat . . . what in Matthew is put by way of question, is here strongly affirmed; and these words contain a reason or argument to discourage us from anxious and distressing thoughts and care about the necessaries, conveniences and comforts of life. Seeing God is the Author and Giver of life, it should not be doubted that He will give meat for the upkeep and continuance of it, so long as His pleasure should exist.
And the body is more than raiment . . . it is of more worth than the richest clothing that can be had; the finest piece of embroidery is not comparable to the curious workmanship of the body (Ps.139:15-16), and He that has so curiously wrought that, will not fail to provide suitable and proper clothing for it; and therefore there should be no worry on this account. (Mat.6:5).
Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? (KJV)
Consider the ravens . . . in Matthew 6:26, it is the "fowls of the air" in general are mentioned. Ravens in particular, are fowls of very little worth, and disregarded by men, and as well as unclean by the law; and yet these are taken care of by God. One version reads, "the young ravens"; and these are which are said to cry unto God, who provides food for them, and gives it to them (Job 38:41; Ps.147:9).
For they neither sow nor reap, which neither have storehouse nor barn . . . and yet they are provided for, and therefore, WHY should God's own people, distrust His providence for them, when they both sow and reap, have the seedtime, and harvest in the appointed seasons. They cast their seed into the earth, and it springs up and brings forth much fruit, which they reap when ripe, and gather into their barns and storehouses, from where they are supplied till another season comes; wherefore they have no reason to be distressed.
God feedeth them . . . their young ones, as the above Scriptures show. The Jews have the idea, that the old ravens are cruel to their young, and hate them, and the Lord has pity on them, and feeds them.
How much more are ye better than the fowls . . . than these ravens, or any other fowls (Mat.6:26).
Luke 12:25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? (KJV)
And which of you with taking thought add to his stature one cubit? . . . can any of us add even one inch to our height, by anxiety, worry, stress? We cannot! Neither can we add even one day to the length of our life. Not all the worries in your entire life can add even a single moment to your life? No way! (Mat.6:27).
Luke 12:26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? (KJV)
If ye then be not able to do that which is least . . . as to make the smallest addition to a man's stature, or rather to add one moment to his days,
Why take ye thought for the rest? . . . which is much greater, as to preserve the body in all its parts, or for the feeding and clothing of it, or rather for the continuation and preservation of life to any length of time. If it cannot be by man’s care and time lengthened out one moment longer than is the pleasure of God, WHY should it be that your worry continues for months and years?
Luke 12:27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (KJV)
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not . . . "the lilies of the field", as in (Mat.6:28). The roses and lilies of the field, any flowers of the field do not worry! I think the flowers illustrate total freedom from worry. We should be more like these wonders!
And yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these . . . all throughout Solomon’s glorious reign, at any time; whenever there was an occasion when he was dressed in the finest and richest apparel, even then . . . a lowly lily far outdid him, for its glory was natural whereas his, at best, was artificial, and an imitation of nature. (Mat.6:29).
Consider: Why do you worry about what to wear? “I can’t go tonight, I don’t have anything to wear.” Ever hear that? Jesus says to consider the lilies of the field. They don’t work, or make their clothing. God takes care of it for them. I will say that a Christian should dress as well as he can. To be sloppy in dress or in any action is not honoring God. Our Lord called attention to the beauty of the flowers. I wonder if you have ever taken notice as to how many natural things Jesus uses in His teaching. In this lesson so far, it has been birds, now lilies. I really do think that our Lord was a Person who loved nature, and spoke of it often (Mat.8:23-27; 13:31; Mark 4:28; 13:28; John 3:8).
THINGS OF WHICH HE SPOKE
Common things, He spoke of, while on Earth,
This humble Man, of such great worth!
He spoke of birds, barns, lilies and grass, . . . Mt.6:26,28-30
And treasures that most folks do amass. . . . Mt.6:19-21
He spoke of fair weather; also storms, . . . Mt.16:2-3
And lives of evil, we should reform.. . . Mk.7:18-23
He spoke of fig trees, tares and wheat, . . . Lu.13:6-9; Lu.21:29-31; Mt.13:24-30
And He taught meekness, by washing feet. . . . Jn.13:4-15
He spoke of wolves, shepherds and sheep, . . . Mt.10:16; Jn.10:1-16
He told of how He would care and keep. . . . Mt.28:20
He spoke of goats, ravens and sparrows, . . . Mt.25:32-33; Mt.10:29; Lu.12:24
And serpents and doves; as Him we follow. . . . Mt.10:16
He spoke of branches; and a Great Vine, . . . Jn.15:1-6
And of the wind, as us it entwines. . . . Jn.3:8
He spoke of rain God sends in His time, . . . Mt.5:45
And eternal Water, O, so fine! . . . Jn.4:13-14; Jn.7:37-38
He spoke of famines, disease and earthquakes, . . . Mt.24:7
And how God’s children He’d ne’er forsake! . . . Heb.13:5
He spoke of mansions in Heav’n above, . . . Jn.14:2-3
And praise be to God, He spoke of love! . . . Jn.3:16; Jn.14:15,23; Jn.15:12,17; Mt.22:37-40
By: His servant, Connie Kramer Feb.10,1998 # 456
Luke 12:28 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? (KJV)
If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven . . . lilies and all flowers, are nothing other than grass; weak, frail, fading, short lived flowers, which have all their cheerfulness and beauty from the Creator of them. The grass is one day in the field, in all its freshness, glory, and beauty; and being cut down before evening, the next day it is withered and dried, and made fit to put into an oven, or under a furnace to heat them with.
How much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? . . . beautiful wild flowers cut with the grass, withered by the heat, were so short lived (James 1:11), cast into the oven.
I remember once in Arizona there was an ugly stick-like cactus just off the patio. Why we didn't chop it out . . . God knows! He wanted for us to see its amazing beauty! One morning we looked out and there were three of the most beautiful flowers we'd ever seen! Absolutely breath-taking! It would have put the most gorgeous rose to shame. Before noon, they were gone! Such a short life for such magnificence! How many times I have thanked God for allowing us the privilege of seeing those flowers. Someone said they were night-blooming Cyrus. (Mat.6:30).
Luke 12:29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. (KJV)
And seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink . . . we should not start worrying about: Where will my food come from? Will I have enough? Where will I get money for clothes? God supplies ALL our NEEDS!
Neither be ye of doubtful minds . . . we should never question and distrust that we shall have anything to eat or drink, that would be indecisive, unstable and changeable, and wandering in your thoughts about these things. Our minds should not be disturbed and distracted about them, or be anxiously worried for them. (Mat.6:31).
Luke 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. (KJV)
For all these things do the nations of the world seek after . . . that is, the Gentiles, as in (Mat.6:32), are frequently in the Jewish writings, called, in distinction from the Jews, the nations of the world. This is an argument used to discourage from an immediate and anxious concern for food and raiment, because it is Heathenish, and therefore very unbecoming the disciples and followers of Christ.
And your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things . . . therefore it is needless to be so anxious about them. (Mat.6:32).
Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV)
But rather seek ye the kingdom of God . . . some versions adds, "first", and also, "and his righteousness", as in (Mat.6:33).
And all these things shall be added unto you . . . While I was still the devil’s child, I did not realize the power of this verse. But when I finally came to my senses and opened my heart’s door to Jesus, it became SO clear! What wisdom! What a Friend we have in Jesus! These words mean nothing to an unbeliever! They are foolishness to him. 1 Cor. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (KJV) Also see: 1 Cor. 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:14. UNLESS we seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; God’s blessings and provisions do NOT apply to us. When we do seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; ALL these things (our needs) shall be added unto us.
The right state of the heart, in the supreme pursuit of which all things needed for the present life will be added to us. The precise sense of every word in this wonderful verse should be carefully weighed. "The kingdom of God" is the primary subject of the Sermon on the Mount . . . that kingdom which the God of Heaven is erecting in this fallen world, within which are all the spiritually recovered.
When our Lord says they shall be "added," it is implied, that the seekers of the Kingdom and its righteousness shall have their needs supplied. (Mat.6:33).
Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (KJV)
Fear not, little flock . . . these words were particularly directed to the immediate apostles and disciples of Christ; but they are true of all the saints in all ages of time, who are compared to a "flock of sheep", being separated from the rest of the world in election, redemption, and the effectual calling, and being in the fold of a Gospel church; and also for their patience, meekness, humility and harmlessness. These are a "little flock"; few in number (Mat 7:13-14), when compared with the wicked of the world.
For it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom . . . not only the Gospel, and the knowledge of the mysteries of it; and a right to all its ordinances; not only the kingdom of grace, which cannot be moved; but the kingdom of glory which is a gift to them, not obtained by any wages or works of theirs; it is their Father's gift to them, who is their Father by adopting grace, and through Christ Jesus their Lord; and which He gives according to His sovereign will and pleasure.
Luke 12:33 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. (KJV)
Sell that ye have, and give alms . . . since they had a Kingdom willed to them by their heavenly Father, they should be far from worry about food and raiment. This is a much more vivid expression of (Mat.6:19-21). The early apostles did sell what they had and gave to the poor (Acts 2:45; 34-35).
Provide yourselves bags which wax not old . . . by bags which wax not old Jesus means that we should lay up treasure in heaven; that our aim should be, to be prepared to enter there, where all our wants will be forever provided for. Wealth takes to itself wings. Riches are easily scattered, or we must soon leave them; but that wealth which is in Heaven abides forever. It never is corrupted; never flies away; never is to be left.
A treasure in the heavens that faileth not . . . while treasure on Earth is either taken away from the possessors of it by various ways, or they from it.
Where no thief approacheth . . . can come near to steal it away, which is often the case here on earth.
Neither moth corrupteth . . . as it does the best of garments, wore by men: but the robes of glory and immortality can never be corrupted. (Mat.6:20).
Money quickly traps us and cuts us off from both God and the needy. The key to using money wisely is to use it for God's purposes, not amassing it for ourselves. Does God's love touch your wallet? Does your money allow you to help others? If so, you are storing up lasting treasures in Heaven.
Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (KJV)
For where your treasure is . . . whether in Heaven, or on Earth, it is THERE where your heart will be! The natural heart is always set upon worldly treasure, and only the love of Jesus can change your outlook on life. For, as is a man's treasure, such is his heart! IF your treasure is only here on Earth, you have NO true riches, because your heart is only worldly and carnal . . . BUT if your treasure is heavenly, your heart and lifestyle will be heavenly. (Mat.6:21).
All people will one day stand before the imposing and magnificent Presence of Almighty God, totally stripped of the "things" that occupied this life on Earth. Millions will have absolutely NO treasure up there. Anyone who lived without God; shall also die without God.
Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. (KJV)
Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him . . . not as God, with that special love, with which He loves His people, who were given to Him by His Father (Jn.10:29), who are redeemed by His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19), whom He calls by His grace (Eph.2:8-9), justifies by His righteousness (Rom.5:1), forgives their iniquities (1 Jn.1:8-9), and lastly, glorifies . . . He loved him as Man, He had a human affection for him. Even though the young man revealed much vanity, pride and conceit, Jesus did not treat him crudely, but kindly and tenderly. I think that Jesus looked at him in sadness when He said the above words to this rich young man. Did Jesus believe that he had perfectly and completely kept all the commandments? NO! But He did not reproach him and charge him with pride and arrogance, but gave him good words, and spoke kindly to him. I think that as far as He could, Jesus commended him for his diligence in observing the commandments.
He said unto him One thing thou lackest . . . Matthew says: "if thou wilt be perfect" (Mat.19:21), before the next words,
Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me . . . this young man's worst sin seems to have been an overconfident affection for the things of this world. His riches were his idol, on which his heart was set, and in which he trusted . . . because of this, he was FAR from keeping all the commandments. Since he knew the commandments, he knew the first One: "thou shalt have no other gods before me". There was MORE than one thing lacking in him, but Christ takes notice of this as the main one. That clause, "take up the cross" is omitted by Matthew (Mat,19:21).
Parable of the Return from the Wedding (Luke 12:35-40)
Next we find two parables which Jesus gave in connection with His Return. My dear friend, He shall return! Are you ready?
Luke 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; (KJV)
Let your loins be girded about . . . with the girdle of truth, (Eph.6:14), keeping close to the doctrines of the Gospel, abiding faithfully by them, even unto death. This means be ready for what tomorrow may bring. You do not know when Jesus shall return.
And your lights burning . . . this expresses the same meaning. Be ready at all times to leave the world, for you know not when your Lord shall call you. Let every obstacle be out of the way; let every earthly care be removed, and be prepared to follow Him into His rest. Servants were expected to be ready for the coming of their lord. If in the night, they were expected to keep their lights trimmed and burning. When their master was away in attendance on a wedding, as they knew not the hour when he would return, they were to be continually ready. So too are we, as we know not the hour when God shall call us, we should always be ready to die. (Mat.25:1-13). The allusion is to Jewish persons waiting at a wedding in the night, with torches in their hands.
Luke 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. (KJV)
And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord . . . who either was at a wedding, or was the bridegroom himself; so be in readiness, waiting for the coming of Christ, the Bridegroom of the church:
When he will return from the wedding . . . from the marriage feast, or the marriage itself, to the bride chamber. When Jesus has, by the preaching of the Gospel, and the power of His grace, espoused, adopted all His elect, He will descend from Heaven, and take them to himself (1 Thes.4:13-18). They shall then be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and enter with Him into the nuptial chamber, and be forever with Him.
That when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately . . . are you ready to let Him in without any delay, as soon as He comes to the door; and at the first knock? If you are wise, you will open to Him at once, willingly, here in this life on Earth, being ready and in constant expectation of Him. So are they who have believed in Christ, and have been faithful to His cause and have held fast the profession of their faith without wavering. BUT . . . if you do not open willingly here in this life, when Jesus shall come and knock at your door by death, the alarm of it, shall NOT be with the greatest cheerfulness, for you shall meet Him with the utmost displeasure and fear.
Luke 12:37 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. (KJV)
Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching . . . Mark says: Watch ye therefore (Mk.13:35) . . . against false Christs, and false prophets; the words seem to be particularly addressed to the apostles of Christ . . . but it goes for us too. We must WATCH!
For ye know not when the master of the house cometh . . . we do NOT know when He shall return (Mk.13:34). When Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and in Earth is named, who is a Son in His own house, is a High Priest over the house of God, and Lord of His church and people, whom He has purchased with His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:18-19), and provides for with His grace (2 Cor.12:9), and by His Spirit (Jn.14:16), when He will come and bring His wrath upon the unbelieving to the uttermost.
Verily I say unto you that he shall gird himself . . . not that Jesus shall really do this, or appear in the form of a servant; but that He shall readily, cheerfully, and at once introduce His servants into His joy, and make them partakers of all the glories of the other world.
And make them to sit down to meat . . . at His table in His Kingdom. (Mat.8:11; Lk.13:39).
And will come forth and serve them . . . will feed them Himself, and lead them to fountains of living water (Rev.7:17).
Luke 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. (KJV)
And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch . . . after nine o'clock, or any time between nine or twelve; for the second watch was from nine o'clock till twelve; and this was coming early from an entertainment or a wedding, which were commonly kept in the night, and late. The third watch was from twelve o'clock to three, which was late. (Mat.14:25). And find them so . . . with their loins girt, lights burning, and they watching for their Lord's coming.
Blessed are those servants . . . for they shall be treated as stated in verse 37. Blessed indeed!
Luke 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. (KJV)
And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come . . . if the owner, or master of the house, whose the goods in the house are, could by any means know what time of the night the thief would come to break into his house, in order to plunder it, and carry off his goods:
He would have watched . . . either himself in person, or he would have set a watch around his house, or in it.
And not have suffered his house to be broken through . . . the door would not have been broken, or the wall dug through, because a guard there, would have prevented that. And so, my friend . . . IF we knew what time Christ would come, either to the destruction of Jerusalem, or at death, or to judgment, every thoughtful, cautious would be upon his guard, that he might not be surprised with it. Even though the precise time could not be known, yet because His Return is absolutely certain, it greatly benefits all the servants of Christ to be watching! (Mat.24:43).
Luke 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. (KJV)
Be ye therefore ready also . . . we must be prepared for the Coming of the Son of Man; which is said to be like a thief in the night, not knowing when He shall appear. This expresses the suddenness of it, and may motivate us to be watchful (careful how we live).
For the son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not . . . this is true of His Coming in power to destroy Jerusalem, and of His Second Coming to judgment. The Jews say much the same of the Coming of the Messiah, whom they expect . . . there are three things, they say which come without knowledge, or thought or unexpectedly; and they are these; the Messiah, anything that is found, and a scorpion. (Mat.24:44).
When the figure changes from the "bridegroom" to the "thief," it is to emphasize the element of an unexpected appearance. Paul used the same figure of speech for Christ's Second Coming: 1 Thes. 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. (KJV) The Lord does not come as a thief to Rapture the church. True, we do NOT know the hour, but when He comes, we shall arise to meet Him in the air.
The Testing of Servants In Light of the Coming of Christ (Luke 12:42-48)
Luke 12:41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? (KJV)
Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or unto all? . . . Peter was in doubt whether the above speech was especially directed to them, the apostles, as containing special instructions to them in the discharge of the ministerial work; or whether it was designed for all His disciples and followers, both in the present age, and in time to come, to the end of the world, meaning the parables of the master at the wedding, and his servants waiting for him, or of the housekeeper watching that his house be not broken up, or both.
Luke 12:42 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? (KJV)
And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward . . . Christ does not directly, and in certain words, answer Peter's question, but suggests, that although He intended it as a caution to all His people, and in it spoke to them all to be upon their watch and guard (Mk.13:37), yet He had a special regard to His apostles, and succeeding ministers of the Gospel, whose characters, office, work, dignity and honor, are here described. Such are stewards in Christ's family, they are entrusted with the stores and provisions of His house, and faithfulness and wisdom are necessary in them. They are not to corrupt and contaminate the Word of God, nor mix it with human doctrines. They are to deliver it pure and sincere as it is; rightly dividing it, and wisely distributing it.
Whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household . . . Christ's "household", or family, is His church, over which the ministers of the Gospel are appointed "rulers", to govern the house according to the laws of Christ, and keep everything in good order; and especially their work, which agrees to their character as stewards is,
To give them their portion of meat in due season . . . by the behavior of a faithful and wise servant He means a faithful Christian, a servant of God. This has no reference to God. It is applied to Christian teachers, and in the spiritual meaning of the parable, it refers to Christ, who has appointed them as teachers, and who is their Lord and Master (Jn.13:13-14). Over his household . . . Christian pastors and teachers are the servants of God serving the church, the family of Christ (1 Thes.5:12-13; 1 Cor.3:5; 4:1-2). To give them meat in due season . . . meat here means food of all kinds. When the Bible was translated into English, it included, as the original does, all kinds of provisions necessary to support and nourish life. In due season . . . at the proper time, as they need it. This was the office of a steward. Among the ancients this office was often filled by a slave . . . one who had shown himself trusty and faithful. The duty was to have a general superintendence over the affairs of the family. Applied to Christian ministers, it means that they are to feed the flock of God, to minister to their wants, and to do it as they need it. Stewards: (Gen.39:1-6; 43:16-17; 44:1-2; Isa.22:20-24). (Mat.24:45).
Luke 12:43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (KJV)
Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh shall find so doing . . . whoever is faithful and wise, rules well, and discharges his trust with integrity, and disposes of the provisions of the house, in his hands, with great discretion and caution. Blessed will be these servants who are wise and faithful steward. (Mat.24:42-44).
Parables teach us our responsibility in light of our Lord's Return. Again, this parable is primarily for Israel, but the principle also applies to us as believers, as we consider the Rapture. Many people feel that the Lord is coming soon, so they are waiting instead of working. That is not wise, for we do NOT know when He shall appear! We should work as though the Lord was not coming for another thousand years, but live as if He were to come today!
Luke 12:44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. (KJV)
Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath . . . NOTHING is of a greater truth, more certain, or to be depended on, than the Word of God. This does not mean that ministers shall have a higher rank or office, but is a circumstance of the parable or story, intended to show the effect of faithfulness. ALL faithful servants of Christ shall be rewarded, not only the pastors. This will be done by His approval, and by the rewards of the heavenly world. So much of a person's usefulness can be lost by his doubt and lack of faith especially a pastor who serves as a shepherd. This, with Jesus, was a strong way of proclaiming the truth of anything; and the sense is, you may rest assured, this will certainly be the happy case of such a servant, just as Joseph was made ruler by Pharaoh. Such as these shall reign with Christ on Earth a thousand years (Rev.1-4), and then in Heaven with Him for all eternity, where he shall enjoy all things. (Mat.24:47).
Luke 12:45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; (KJV)
But and if that servant say in his heart, my Lord delayeth his coming . . . this is not the same servant before spoken of as a wise and faithful steward, that gives to all in the family the portion of meat in due season, and shall be found working, and be made ruler over his master's goods . . . this is another, who also, as he is made by his Lord ruler over his household, and is in a like office, but this one is an "evil servant", as Matthew calls him, to distinguish him from the good one. Even though this one is a wicked servant, he still calls Jesus my Lord . . . BUT . . . he is not saying Lord, Lord that will be of any benefit to him, for that is possible only by doing the will of God, by believing in Christ Jesus and obeying His commands. This evil servant had an idea of the coming of Christ, even though he did not want it; and because Jesus tarried longer than was expected, thought Him to be slack concerning His Promise (2 Pet.3:9), and began to think, and hope and soon believe that He would not come at all, and therefore gave himself up to a wicked and immoral way of living:.
And shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens . . . to persecute the preachers and teachers of the Gospel, and the TRUE disciples of Christ (Mat.5:11-12), that follow the Lamb where ever He goes.
And to eat, and drink, and to be drunken . . . to live a carnal and immoral life, to give himself over to overindulgence and wickedness. My friend, any time that professors of religion (hypocrites), regress and turn apostates, they are the most violent persecutors of the saints, so that such persecutors of Jesus’ faithful followers are commonly drunkards and immoral. (Mat.24:48-49).
Luke 12:46 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. (KJV)
The Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him . . . not coming as was expected, he concludes He will not come at all; in which he will find himself misguided and mistaken, for He shall come on the very day which has been appointed, although men know not when that is, and forgetting all about looking for it. BEWARE!!
And at an hour when he is not aware . . . neither the day, nor the hour of Christ's coming is known to any man! It is absolutely stupid to try to predict it. The predictions of many in the past have made many look like fools! As God’s children, we should look for it every day and every hour, lest it come upon us unawares, just as it will on such evil servants before described.
And will cut him in sunder, and appoint him his portion with unbelievers . . . all evil servants shall be allotted their portion with unbelievers, which is the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Rev.21:8). By these are meant, not only the Heathens, who never heard of Christ; nor just the Jews who refused to accept the Messiah, and rejected Him when He came; but all atheists, who deny the Truth of the Gospel; and all doubters and scoffers at the coming of Christ, and who TRY to put away the evil day far from them. Job 20:29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God. (KJV) . . . Compare with this verse with (Mat.24:50-51).
Luke 12:47 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. (KJV)
And that servant which knew his Lord's will . . . not His secrets, but His revealed will; the will of God, which clearly lies in the statements of His grace and His mercy in the Gospel, and in the commands and ordinances expressed in His Word. These are the good, perfect and acceptable will of God; the knowledge of which is necessary, in order to practice and obey. Jesus here distinguishes between wicked servants, some knowing while others are ignorant; and accordingly the aggravations of their guilt are more or less.
And prepared not himself . . . wicked people take no thought about eternity. For them, there is no preparation, no making ready for the will of God. In reality, no man is totally prepared or ready to do God’s will unless he is regenerated, or is made a new creature; made a child of God by the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn.1:12-13), who has the laws of God written on their heart, and who has the Spirit of God put within him (Rom.8:9). Only the Holy Spirit can cause us to keep the laws of God, only those who have faith in Jesus, and strength from Him (Phil.4:13) can observe them.
Neither did according to his will . . . the will of God is done correctly when that which is done, is done according to the command of God, in the strength of Christ, with love to Him. We must exercise our faith in Him, with a view to His eternal glory.
Shall be beaten with many stripes . . . representing the law of the Jews, by which a wicked man was to be punished, by beating him with stripes, not exceeding forty, according to the nature of his fault, (Deut.25:2-3), and here it signifies, that persons who have light and knowledge of the Gospel, and do NOT act not according to them, shall be punished with the greatest severity, and endure the greatest degree of torments in Hell. (Mat.11:21-24). Many stripes . . . shall be severely and justly punished. They who had many privileges, who are often warned, who have the Gospel, and do NOT repent and believe, shall be far more severely punished than others. All those who were taught early, in Sunday school, or by pious parents, and who grew up in sin and impenitence, will have much more to answer for than those who had no such privileges.
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (KJV) . . . This verse concerns me. So, WHY do I teach? Because He told me to teach! I trust Him to do right by me. All I desire is to have wisdom and words to better serve my Master and His people.
Luke 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (KJV)
But he that knew not . . . his Lord's will; either not having the way of knowing it, as the Heathens; or through utter neglect of them, not paying attention to them, and making use of them, which is the case of SO many, where the Gospel disclosure is.
And did commit things worthy of stripes . . . or punishment, such as the Gentiles, by sinning against the law, and light of nature; and those who might have the advantage of a divine revelation, but neglect it. These people are worthy of stripes (Deut.25:2), but they . . .
Shall be beaten with few stripes . . . since they knew not, their punishment shall be less, and it shall be more tolerable for them on Judgment Day, than for knowing professors. The Jews did not always inflict forty stripes, save one, upon criminals; but did according to their crimes. Shall be beaten with few . . . for minor offenses the Jews many times inflicted as few as four, five or six stripes. From this and the preceding verse we find that it is a SIN to be ignorant of God's will; because to everyone God has given light. Rom.1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (KJV)
Those who have had much light, or the opportunity of receiving much, and have NOT improved it to their own salvation, and the good of others, shall have punishment proportioned to the light they have abused. BUT, on the other hand, those who have had little light, and few ways of improvement, shall have few stripes, shall be punished only for the abuse of the knowledge they possessed.
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall, much be required . . . the more knowledge a man has, the more work is expected from him; and the greater his gifts are, the more useful he should be, and the more diligent in the improvement of them.
And to whom men have committed much, or to whom much is committed, of him they will ask the more . . . Christians are to appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Our judgment will NOT determine whether or not we will be saved. This will not be a criminal court, but a circuit court where our works will be in danger. He will judge us in order to see if we are worthy or not to receive rewards. There will be degrees of rewards for the believer just as there will be degrees of punishment for the unbeliever. Degrees of rewards and punishment: (Ps.62:12; Mat.5:11-12; 10:41-42; 16:27; Lk.7:41-47;12:43-48; Gal.6:7-8; 1 Cor.3:8,12-15; Heb.6:10; 10:35; 1 Pet.5:4; 2 Jn.1:8; Rev.2:23; 3:11; 22:12)
Maybe He will not come today or tomorrow, but He IS going to come. Our tendency is to let things slip because He has not yet appeared. We feel like we can get by with things, but in reality we get by with nothing. In that day when He comes, we shall be judged. 2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (KJV)
Jesus States He Is A Divider of Men (Luke 12:49-56)
Luke 12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? (KJV)
I am come to send fire on the earth . . . at this very hour, the world is experiencing the deepest darkness we have seen in centuries, because the Lord Jesus Christ is being blasphemed and His Holy Word is being disobeyed! The fire (Gospel) has been thrown out on the earth today. That fire that gives both light and heat, which warms the hearts of God's people, and causes them to burn within. BUT that same fire is very troubling and torturing to wicked men. The Word of God is compared to fire (Jer.5:14; 20:9; 23:29).
And what will I? if it be already kindled . . . Jesus came for the purpose to kindle the human heart. Matthew 10:34 says: Think not ye that I am come to send peace on earth . . . until ALL unrighteousness is put down and suppressed, the Person of Jesus will cause trouble because the hostility of Satan will continue to bring battles in this world. Jesus did NOT come to bring peace at His First Coming! Sin still exists and God says that there will be no peace for the wicked (Isa.48:22; 57:21). The Jews had thought there would be great outward peace and prosperity in the days of the Messiah. Matthew continues: I came, not to send peace, but a sword . . . I think that the "sword" here means the Gospel, which divides and separates the people of Christ and their principles and practices, from those of the world, and from and one member of a family from another. 1 Cor. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (KJV)
Consider the following:
#1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can be expected to produce many battles and bitter feelings.
#2. The heart of man is very wicked, or it would not oppose the Truth of the Bible.
#3. Although God does NOT look on evil with any approval, still for the sake of the benefit which may possibly come from it, He is willing to permit it, and allow it to come into the world.
Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! (KJV)
But I have a baptism to be baptized with . . . NOT water baptism, for Jesus had been baptized with water already (Lk.3:22); nor the baptism of the Spirit, which He had also received without measure (Jn.3:34) . . . His sufferings and death are here meant, which are here compared to a baptism, because of the size and abundance of them; Jesus was, as it were immersed, or plunged into them.
And how am I straitened until it be accomplished . . . this expresses the distress Christ was in, at the anxiety of His sufferings as Man; which were similar to the distress of persons, diligently overwhelmed by an enemy; or like that of a woman, whose time of travail draws near, when she dreads it, and yet longs to have it over with. This means Jesus’ restless desire was to have the end come. Since these sufferings of Jesus must be endured, how anxious He was that the time should come! Such were the feelings of the Redeemer in view of His approaching death.
Consider the following:
#1. It is not improper to feel deeply at the prospect of dying. We all must one day die a physical death unless Jesus comes and calls us home at the Rapture (1 Thes.4:13-18). BUT, death is a sad and terrifying event to unbelievers; and it is impossible that they can look at it without fear and trembling.
#2. It is not improper to desire that the time should come, and that the day of our release should draw nigh (Phil.1:23). To the TRUE Christian, death is simply the beginning of eternal life in Heaven; and since the pains of death must be endured, and since we must walk through that valley of the shadow of death (Ps.23:4), and since they lead to the bliss of Heaven, it matters little how soon we pass through these sorrows, and rise to our eternal rest.
Luke 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: (KJV)
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? . . . the Jews thought that the Messiah would set up a temporal kingdom, in great splendor, with outward peace and tranquility. Jesus came to make peace with God for men, and to give the Gospel of peace, and spiritual and eternal peace to men! NOT temporary, external peace, but SPIRITUAL peace!
I tell you, nay . . . whatever guesses they had made, or whatever ideas they had in their minds, He is telling them that He did not come into the world to establish outward peace among men.
But rather division . . . Jesus goes on . . . He came to bring division! In Matthew 10:34, He calls the Gospel a "sword". My friend, the Gospel is the sword of the Spirit, which divides asunder soul and Spirit (Heb.4:12), separating a man from his former viewpoints and sets him apart from others, even the closest relations.
Luke 12:52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. (KJV)
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house . . . the five are mentioned in the next verse; the father and the son, the mother and the daughter, and the mother-in-law, they would be,
Divided, three against two, and two against three . . . from one another, three that did not believe in Jesus, against two that did believe in Him; or two that did not believe, against three that did.
Luke 12:53 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. (KJV)
The father shall be divided against the son . . . . . . . . Matthew 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (KJV) . . . if a father believes in Christ, embraces His Gospel, and submits to His leadership, he is contradicted, opposed and persecuted by his own family. In reality, families have been divided by the preaching of the Gospel, and family members have been separated. The Gospel brings unity to believers, and that unity brings a division with the unsaved world. Matthew 10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. (KJV) . . . this is possibly the strongest pressure. When Jesus advises His apostles about counting the cost of commitment to Him, He mentions family members. Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (KJV) . . . As a rule, no one can influence you like a deeply loved mate or family member. Jesus has dealt fairly and faithfully with His apostles, in telling them (and us) the worst we can meet by serving Him. They and we, must count the cost. Persecutors are worse than ravishing beasts, because they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, has often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relatives are very hurtful; cutting to the bone. It seems clear that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution in some form. “Hate not his father” . . . hate here means to love less. We cannot love anyone more than Jesus.
When a person believes God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and by faith accepts Christ Jesus as their Saviour, he is immediately separated from the unbelievers around him. This is true whether the unbelievers are his relatives or his friends.
The people determine physical things. But not spiritual things!
Luke 12:54 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. (KJV)
And he said also to the people . . . what Jesus had before said, was mainly directed to His disciples; but now He turned to the multitude that was around Him, and especially spoke to the Scribes and Pharisees that were there.
When ye see a cloud rise out of the west . . . the watery vapors being attracted by the heat of the sun, out of the Mediterranean Sea, which lies west of the land of Judea, and formed into a cloud, and driven by the wind,
Straightway ye say there comes a shower . . . as soon as it is seen, it is determined that a very heavy shower will soon fall, it having been frequently observed so to do.
And so it is . . . and most of the time, there usually follows a large shower after such an appearance. They were rarely mistaken in their conclusions.
Luke 12:55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. (KJV)
And when ye see the south wind blow . . . from the hot countries of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Arabia, which lay south of Judea,
Ye say there will be heat . . . hot stifling weather, scorching heat, which such a wind brings with it.
And it cometh to pass . . . and generally speaking, it happens.
Luke 12:56 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? (KJV)
Ye hypocrites . . . a name often used of the Scribes and Pharisees by Jesus, and which suggests, that there were such in company, to whom Christ more especially directs His speech; and this may be rather thought, since much the same things are said by Him to the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Mat.16:1-3), and the same name is given them there, as here.
Ye can discern the face of the sky, and of the earth . . . they could tell what the weather would be like, from the appearance of the sky.
But how is it that ye do not discern this time? . . . that this is the time of the Messiah's coming, and that it is the accepted time, and day of salvation, IF you receive Him, and believe in Him; and a time of vengeance, IF you deny and reject Him. HOW could they have discerned this? By the prophecies of the Old Testament, which reveal the characters of the Messiah, and the time of His coming; and also describe the manners of the men of that generation. (Isa.7:14; 9:7; ch.53; 61:1; Jer.23:5; Zec.9:9; Ma.3:1).
Luke 12:57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? (KJV)
Yea, and why even of yourselves . . . from their own examination, as in discerning the signs of the weather; in a rational way, by the light of reason, and according to what they themselves saw and heard; by the signs and wonders which were done, they should have determined, that NOW was the time of the Messiah's coming; and that He had come, and that Jesus of Nazareth was He! This should have been just as easy to determine for them and the weather.
Judge ye not what is right . . . the truth concerning the present time, the coming of the Messiah, and the fulfillment of the Promises and prophecies of the Old Testament about Him.
Luke 12:58 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. (KJV)
When thou goest with thine adversary . . . this and the next verse are a part of our Lord's sermon upon the mount in Mat.5:25-26. This clearly shows that even though the language is taken from human disputes and legal procedure, Jesus is speaking of a higher than human quarrel, higher than any human court, higher than any human and temporary sentence. In Jesus’ explanation of the 6th commandment, He reminds us that the offender (us) has Another (GOD) to deal with besides the person we have wronged here on Earth. Jesus assures us that any/all worship offered to God by anyone who knows that a brother has just cause of complaint against him, but refuses to take any steps at all to remove it, is in vain (Ps.44:24; Isa.1:15; 58:9; 59:1-4; John 9:31). We must remember that there is One (GOD) whose reason of complaint against us is far more deadly than what any man can have against us. We must remember that with God as our enemy, we are already on the way to judgment. Jesus gives us fair warning. IF we are wise, we should make up the quarrel without delay, lest sentence of condemnation be pronounced upon us, with our sentence to be carried out immediately. IF our offense remains un-expiated, we shall be in great trouble. Jesus paid our sin debt! Expiate means to condone, to placate or cancel , to appease, make an atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge, reconcile make it right. Matthew says: Agree with thine adversary quickly . . . agree means to be well-minded, reconciled. IF we do not agree with God, Jesus warns us we shall be cast into prison until our debt is paid to the uttermost farthing. My friend, we CANNOT pay our sin debt! NO way!! Jesus paid our sin debt! But, those who refuse to accept this payment, reject what God has to say (1 John 5:1-12), and shall be cast into prison (Hell) for eternity. The unending duration (eternity) of future punishment (Hell), that is elsewhere so clearly expressed by our Lord Jesus, Himself, as in Mat.5:29-30, 13:42, 50; 25:41,46; Mark 9:43, 48; Rev. 19:20; 20:10, is the doctrine with which His words here agree.
Luke 12:59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite. (KJV)
I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence . . . Matthew prefixes a "verily", for the sake of the stronger affirmation. (Mat.5:26). You shall not get out of prison . . .
Till thou hast paid the very last mite . . . of the sum in the argument, there is no mercy showed him in judgment, but his debt is demanded of him, to the last penny! IF you do NOT accept what Jesus did on the cross for you, paying the total penalty for your sins, you shall pay it on your own, which you CANNOT do! SO, you will spend eternity in the prison of the lake of fire (Rev.20:15).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that the grave is NOT the end of life. We cannot study the life of Jesus without seeing that His views of Earth were NOT the views of men in general. To most people, this world is everything; and to possess it, even in some tiny little bit, is their supreme ambition. Even in their more clear moments when they catch a glimpses of worlds other than their own, yet to their far off vision these worlds were like twinkling stars so far off out in the blue that they soon lost themselves in the haze of unreality.
To Jesus Earth was just a very small piece of a much bigger whole, a small fragment whose materials were just the shadow of higher, heavenly reality. These outlying spaces to His mind were not voids of silence, without life or thought; they were occupied with personalities and whose movements, were intelligent and swift as thought itself.
With one of these worlds Jesus was flawlessly familiar, this being Heaven, which was the dwelling place of His Father, and immeasurable hosts of angels, with Whom He was in close and constant contact, with frequent prayer, and the frequent words telling us how near and how very real the heavenly places were to Him. In the Mind of Jesus this highest part of happiness and light had its opposites of woe and darkness, a strict realm of fearful shadow, and which, borrowing the language of the city, He called the fires of Hell (Mat.5:22; 10:28; 25:41; Mk.9:47; Lk.12:5). Jesus is so clear that there are TWO invisible realms, far away from Earth, yet closely touching it from totally opposite directions, and to one OR the other of which ALL the paths of human life are headed, to reach their goal and their self-chosen destiny.
The switch from the seen to the unseen was NOT to Jesus the abrupt and total change that it seems to mankind. To us the dividing-line is both dark and foreboding. It seems to us a migration to some new and strange world, where we shall have a whole new life. But, to Jesus the line was narrow, like one of the imaginary roads of Earth. Jesus did not often speak of "death"; that was too human a word. He preferred the softer names of "sleep" or "departure," thus making death the beginning of life, likening it to a triumphal march from bondage to liberty. "The Valley of the Shadow" to Jesus, was NOT a strange, unfamiliar place. He knew all its secrets, all its windings. It was His own territory, where His will is supreme. "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living," and as we see Moses and Elias coming to the Mount of Transfiguration, we see that the departed have NOT departed so far away as to take no interest in earthly things, and as not to hear the strike of earthly hours. How clearly this is seen in the resurrection life of Jesus, with which this Gospel closes! Death and the Grave have done their worst to Jesus. So insignificant is the blank it makes in His Divine Life! The few hours in the grave were but a brief rest in His Life; for the Resurrection morning brought Him to the higher spaces. And so is it with all human life . . . the grave is NOT our goal. Conditions will of necessity change, as the mortal puts on immortality, incorruption (1 Cor.15:53-54).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ shows us in what respects the conditions of the after-life will be changed. In Luke 20:27, we read how that the Sadducees came to Jesus, tempting Him. This religious group denied the existence of spirits and the resurrection. They put before Him an extreme, though not impossible case, of a woman who had been the wife, successively, of seven brethren; and they ask, "In the resurrection therefore whose wife of them shall she be?" Jesus answered, "The sons of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: for neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection."
Consider how Jesus plays with the word around which the Sadducean mind revolves. To them marriage was the key-word which locked the gates of an after-life, and threw back the resurrection among the impossibilities and absurdities. But Jesus unlocks and opens the inner soul of these men, showing how, in spite of their intelligence, their thoughts were wrong. Marriage has its place in the life whose boundaries are birth and death, here on Earth. It exists mainly for the perpetuation and increase of the human race. It has to do with the lower nature of man, the physical, the earthly; but in the world to come birth, marriage and death will be gone.
Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (KJV)
And exactly the same truth is taught by the three following appearances recorded in this Gospel. When they appeared upon the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elias had been residents of the other world, the one for nine, the other for fourteen centuries. But while possessing the form, and perhaps the features of the old body of Earth, the glorious body they wear now is under conditions and laws altogether different. How easy and aerial are its movements! Although their bodies possess no wings, it has the lightness and buoyancy of a bird, moving through the air swiftly and silently as the light pulses through the atmosphere. And too, consider the Body of Christ’s resurrection life. It has not yet become the glorified Body of the heavenly life; it is in its transition state, between the two: yet how changed it is! Lifted above the needs and laws of our earth-bound nature, the risen Christ no longer lives among His own; He dwells apart . . . where . . . we know not. When He does appear He comes in upon them suddenly, giving no warning of His approach; and then, after the bright although brief appearance, He vanishes just as mysteriously as He came, and finally passing on the clouds to Heaven.
I am certain that there is therefore some kind of communication between the body of the old and of the new body, though how far the similarity extends we know not. We can only fall back on the apostle Paul’s words: 1 Cor.15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (KJV) . . . It is no longer the "natural body," but is now a supernatural one, with a spiritual instead of a material form, and under spiritual laws.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that our character determines our destiny. Luke 12:15 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. (KJV) . . . A man’s life does NOT consist in the abundance of things he possesses. Earthly wealth should NOT be our goal in this life, and it certainly is NOT the proper wealth according to Jesus! ALL worldly wealth shall be left behind as sediment, when they reach the obstacle of the grave, if not before. A man’s possessions do NOT create the true life, nor do they make the real self! It is NOT what a man HAS, but what a man IS, and a man IS exactly what his heart makes him. The outer life is simply the revealing of the inner soul, and what is called character. The meaning of character, is the elusive and silent influence, the fragrance which the soul unconsciously throws out . . . this fragrance can be either a fragrant (a good smell) or otherwise (a rotten, stinking odor).
In this world, character is more than a just condition, for it gives aim and direction to the whole life. Men do not always reach their goal in earthly things, but in the moral world each man goes to his "own place," the place he himself has chosen and sought; he is the negotiator of his own destiny. What we find to be a law of Earth, is also the law of the Kingdom of Heaven, as Jesus was constantly affirming. Our destiny would be our harvest of our earthly deeds, the hereafter would be the after-here. Jesus shows us how while on Earth we may lay up "treasures in the heavens." He draws a vivid picture of "a certain rich man," whose one estimate of life was "the abundance of the things which he possessed," the size and affluence of his barns, and whose soul was required of him just when he was congratulating himself for the years of plenty, saying: "Take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry". (Lk.12:16-22). Jesus does not give us the destiny of such a soul. He does this in another parable . . . but He pictures it as suddenly torn away, and eternally separated, from all it had possessed, leaving it, possibly, to be squandered or consumed by the fires of lust. In the eyes of this world, such a man would be thought to be wise and happy, but to Heaven, he is the "foolish one," committing the great, the eternal folly.
The same lesson is taught in the parables of the House-builders (Lk.6:47), and of the Talents (Lk.19:12). In each, there comes the unavoidable test, the reckoning of the Lord, a test which leaves the obedient ones secure and happy, the faithful promoted to honor and rewards, but the disobedient, if not buried in the ruins of their false hopes, with no shelter from the unforgiving storm, and the unfaithful and slothful servant stripped of even the little he had, and condemned to eternal dishonor and shame.
In another parable, that of the Rich Man and Lazarus, (Lk.16:19-31), we have a light thrown upon our subject which is very bright. In a few graphic words Jesus draws for us the picture of very strange contrasts. The one is rich, dwelling in a palace, whose imposing entrance looked down upon the poor and lowly beggar. The one was clothed in garments of purple which only great wealth could purchase, and faring lavishly every day. With his perpetual banquets, the rich man lived his selfish, sensual life. His thought was centered upon himself alone. He had no thoughts or sympathies for anyone outside his own little world. His thoughts certainly did not travel the short distance to the poor beggar who is cast daily at his gate, in hopes that some of the crumbs of the banquet may fall within his reach. Such is the contrast . . . extreme wealth, and extreme poverty. One with hordes of friends, the other friendless . . . for it is most likely that the hands which laid him down by the rich man’s gate were not the gentle hands of affection, but the rough hands of duty or of a cold charity. The one clothed in splendid attire, the other possessing not even enough to cover his sores; the one gorged to near bursting, the other shrunken and starved. Such were the two characters Jesus portrayed in the parable . . . and then, lifting up the veil of what was to come, He shows us how the contrast reappears in the other world, but with a very strange reversing of facts.
Now the poor man is blessed, but the rich man is in utter distress; the one is embraced in Abraham’s bosom, the other enclosed in flames; the one has all the abundant delights of Paradise, the other begging for just a drop of water with which to cool the parched tongue.
So many say that this is just a parable, and must not be taken literally. I strongly disagree! The parables of Jesus were NOT simply word-pictures; they all held an essential Truth. And when we eliminate all this symbolic coloring, there is still left this remaining and basic Truth, that being . . . our character determines our destiny! Our eternal future, my friend, is the shadow of our present selves . . . the good shall be blessed, and the evil shall be unblessed, which means accursed or cursed. Heaven and Hell are tremendous realities, whose pleasures and whose pains lie deep beyond the sound of our weak words.
When the rich man forgot his duties to humanity; when he expelled God from his mansion and forbid mercy from entering his thoughts; when he left Heaven’s orphan to the dogs, he was writing his book of doom, and passing sentence upon himself. The tree lies as it falls, and it falls the way that it leans. There surely is a place for the unforgiving, the unregenerate, the sensual, the selfish, the unjust and the unclean, but somewhere out there in the outer darkness, they themselves have helped make that place for themselves. Evil can NEVER compromise or blend with the good, the pure can NEVER be in the same eternal place with the abominable. Wherever and whatever our final heaven may be, no one is an outcast except the one who casts himself out.
Could there not be an after test, so that character itself could be transformed? Isn’t it possible that the "great gulf" will one day disappear, or at least be bridged over? Isn’t there some way for the then repentant to pass out of its purifying fires? Isn’t there a purgatory of something like some religions teach, so that Hell need not be permanent? My friend, such indeed, is the belief or hope of millions! BUT . . . "the larger hope" as they call it, as far as this Gospel is concerned, is NOTHING but a beautiful but deceptive dream! Jesus Himself was/is the "Resurrection and the Life," and ONLY He holds in His own Hands, the keys of death and of hades, and He NEVER, ever gives any hint of such a subsequent happening. The Bible speaks again and again of a day of test and inspection, when actions shall be weighed and characters examined, and when men will be judged according to their works. According to works: (Ps.62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Isa.59:18; Jer.21:14; 25:14; 32:19; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:8-9; 18:30; Hos.12:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Rom.2:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).
The "Coming" of the Son of Man, in the glory of His Father, and with a entourage of "holy angels" shall be the returning of the Lord, and His reckoning with His servants; while again it is at the end of the age, as the angel-reapers separate the wheat from the tares; or as He Himself, the great Judge, with His "Come ye," passes on the faithful to the heavenly kingdom, and at the same time, with His "Depart ye," drives from His presence the unfaithful and unforgiven into the outer darkness. Jesus does NOT say one word to suggest that the judgment is not final. The unfaithful servant is "cut asunder" (Mat. 25:51), the enemies who would not have their Lord to reign over them are slain (Lk.19:27), and when once the door is shut, it is all in vain that those outside cry, "Lord, open to us (Mat.25:11)!" They HAD an open door, but they slighted and scorned it, and now they must abide by their choice, OUTSIDE the door, OUTSIDE the Kingdom, with the "workers of iniquity," where "there is weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Lk.13:28).
Do you see any larger hope in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man? Do you see the "pains of hell" being lessened? Or, in due course escaped altogether? NO! NO! NO! We listen in vain for one tiny bit of hope. In vain the rich man makes his appeal to "father Abraham"; in vain he pleads for the good of Lazarus; in vain he asks for a brief lessening of his pain, for the benefit of one drop of water! Between him and any help or hope, is a "great gulf fixed that none may cross," (Lk.16:26) . . . that NONE may cross! These are the words of Jesus, although here put in the mouth of Abraham. My friend, IF this is not final, what is?
We do not know what the judgment may be, that is passed upon those who, although erring, are ignorant. We cannot tell, although Jesus clearly indicates that the number of the stripes will vary; according if they knew, or they did not know, the Lord’s will. BUT, for ALL those who had the light, and turned away from it, who saw what was right, but did it not do it, who heard the Gospel of love, with its great salvation message, and rejected it . . . for these there is only an "outer darkness" of eternal hopelessness according to the Holy Word of Almighty God! And what is that outer darkness, but the darkness of their own inner blindness, a blindness which was willful and persistent in their stubborn hearts and minds?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ therefore teaches that death does NOT alter our character, that our character defines our destiny, and that our destiny once determined is unchangeable and eternal. Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (KJV)
The Master's Return
What about the Master's return? My dear friend, Christ Jesus shall one day come in the clouds (1 Thes.4:13-18). He will NOT come to the Earth at that time, but stay in the clouds and call His people to come to Him. The Rapture is the first part of His Second Coming, this being for the church. The second part of His Second Coming (Zec.14:2-5; Rev.19:11-21) will come at the end of the Great Tribulation Period. This is the goal of our Christian hope and longing desire. He has waited long, but He will come. I think that He is very close to coming. The signs of His appearing are everywhere. The Rapture is the next scheduled event on God’s time clock! http://lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_end_times_events.htm
The Accounting (Luke 19:12-27)
Like the earthly master, when Jesus comes back, there SHALL be an accounting. His Return means our accountability to God and His reckoning with TRUE believers for our life work and our eternal reward. This is NOT the judgment of the Great White Throne, that day of wrath and doom (Rev.20:11-15). This is the Judgment Seat of Christ where His servants shall pass in review of their earthly work, and to receive according to what they have done and be assigned their places in the coming Kingdom. This was the great motive of the apostle Paul in his ministry. He was always looking forward to that time when he would present his work and receive his crown (1 Cor.3:8,10-15; 4:5; 1 Thes.2:19; 2 Tim.4:7).
And so the servants come before Him with their several accounts. The first two servants have a happy reckoning. They have wisely used the trust committed to them and multiplied their talents, the one tenfold, the other fivefold, and their recompense is first the commendation of their Lord, and secondly a higher trust and a nobler service. The reward is proportioned to the measure of service rendered. For every talent, there is a city in the empire of the skies. The reward is distinguished honor and noble employment. The Heaven of the Bible is NOT a luxurious easy ride, but will be a most glorious activity. The WORK we love to do here below will be continued with more honorable capacities and larger range throughout the ages to come. The preacher, the teacher, the missionary and the supporter of his fellowmen, all will all have pleasant work, but on a higher plane and with unbounded resources and the wonderful addition that there will be no night to close the working day and no dark grave to stop us. The whole Creation will be the territory of our eternal employment.
My friend, WHY do you want to go to Heaven? WHAT do you think you will be doing there? I think the parable here in Luke 19:14-27, and the parable in Matthew 25:14-30, gives us a very good idea. We shall be serving the Lord! How exciting is the prospect! How beautiful is the vision! Today, we are simply students learning the trade, we are being prepared for the future and the sovereignty of the ages to come.
But there was one servant who had no such object or reward. He simply brought his pound carefully wrapped up in a napkin, well preserved but utterly unimproved. He had done nothing with his trust. The reason which he gives shows how wrong his heart had been and reveals the secret of all our failures in the sight of God. "I feared you because you are an austere man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow" (Lk.19:21). He had very wrong ideas of his Master. He did not know God. He did not love God. He did not trust God, so there was no reason to serve Him. Nothing but the love for Christ can inspire TRUE service to Him! And IF we are come up short, it is because we do NOT know the love of God. What a surprise it must have been to the faithless man when he saw the glorious rewards of his fellow-servants. I am sure that he wished that he could live his life over again. How we will wish sometime in the future that we had better understood the abundantly generous heart of our great Master and had better used the resources and wealth which He had entrusted to our hands! The punishment of this faithless servant was the loss of the reward he had received (1 Cor.3:14-15). The pound was taken from him and given to the one that had used his trust more wisely.
Negligence and unfaithfulness rob us of what we have. If we are not growing, we are regressing. There is no suggestion of any other judgment upon this unfaithful servant than the rebuke of his master and the loss of his money and reward. There is a very clear difference between the unfaithful servant and "those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them" (Lk.19:27). The "enemies" are slain. The faithless servant is overthrown. That is the judgment of loss for the unfaithful Christian, but it is very different from the judgment of perdition that awaits the wicked. Both are sad indeed, but the condemnation to Hell (Jn.3:17-18,36) is permanent.
The two most serious lessons which this parable teaches us are:
#1. Our power for service must come from God, and He has equipped us with everything necessary for His work. The Holy Spirit is our marvelous Gift, and He is given to every child of God who will give Him right of way and yield himself to His direction and control (Rom.8:9). This makes our responsibility for service extremely great. We cannot plead our innocence. We cannot excuse ourselves because of our inability, because we ARE able!
#2. We must remember both our accountability and liberty. The most astonishing thought that can come to us is our accountability to God. We ARE responsible to Him! If we want to be selfish, we can be so. If we allow opportunities to pass by, we may do that. We are left to the motives and impulses of our own hearts, and meanwhile the recorder up in the skies is recording silently, constantly, EVERY act and influence (good and bad) of our lives for Judgment Day. Then will come the review and the reward, or loss of reward OR divine vengeance. How utterly serious it is to have such liberty and such accountability! May the Lord help us to keep this in mind.
Gospel of Luke
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