Thursday, April 01, 2021

2021.04.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 16:14–31

Read Luke 16:14–31

Questions from the Scripture text: Who heard all these things (Luke 16:14)? What did they love? What did they do to Jesus? What did Jesus say that they do, and before whom (Luke 16:15)? Why aren’t they able to do this before God? What does God think of that which is highly esteemed by man? What were until John (Luke 16:16)? What has been preached sine then? What are people doing to the kingdom? What is easier than what in Luke 16:17? What is an example of this unfailing law (Luke 16:18)? How is Luke 16:19-23 an example of Luke 16:15? Where is Abraham in Luke 16:23? What does the tormented (no longer rich!) man do to him (Luke 16:24)? For what does he ask? What does Abraham call him in Luke 16:25? In what way could he be Abraham’s son if he is in Hades? Why couldn’t Lazarus come if sent (Luke 16:26)? Where next does the tormented man ask that Lazarus be sent (Luke 16:27)? To do what (Luke 16:28)? How does Abraham respond (Luke 16:29)? Why does the tormented man think sending Lazarus would be better (Luke 16:30)? What does Abraham say about this theory (Luke 16:31)?

The Pharisees loved money (Luke 16:14). This is bad news for them, because it means they’re immune to having God as Master (cf. Luke 16:13). It also means that instead of bowing down to Christ, they looked down on Christ (verse 14b). 

Things are often the opposite of what they seem (Luke 16:15). We might justify ourselves, when the Lord is condemning us. We might esteem highly what the Lord hates. We need to realize that the coming of the kingdom (Luke 16:16) means bowing to the law of the King (Luke 16:17)—and certainly not that the law can be watered down or set aside!

The Mosaic code had tolerated divorce (cf. Deuteronomy 24:1–4). But the Lord Jesus makes clear that the Israelite law-code was helping to restrain and manage sin among God’s people (cf. Mark 10:1–12). Christ’s kingdom maintains a more rigorous standard (cf. Matthew 5:17–48).

The same is true in the case of money, with which the Philistines were so in love. The Lord doesn’t condemn wealth in Luke 16:19-31, but He does expect us to notice when He drops someone on our doorstep (Luke 16:20) with at least as much compassion as a stray mutt might offer (Luke 16:21). There’s no Marxism or social gospel here: just an expectation that we would recognize that we are God’s, our wealth is God’s, and the providence that connects us to others is God’s.

The parabolic rich man didn’t recognize those things, even though he was an upstanding church member. After all, he addresses the patriarch as “Father Abraham.” Father Abraham had many sons, and the poor rich man thought he was one of them. But you can be a wealthy, upstanding church member and go to Hell.

Moses and the prophets had warned him (Luke 16:31). But he hadn’t repented. He thought fancy undergarments and rich food (Luke 16:19) was the good life (cf. Luke 16:25), so he had no use for trusting in the Christ for the good life to come. The Pharisees have now made the mistake. John announced that what the law and prophets looked forward to has arrived (Luke 16:16), but they’re too busy admiring themselves to repent and too busy enjoying themselves to trust in Christ for an eternal joy. They’re already home. Why use what they have in view of an everlasting home to come (cf. Luke 16:9)?

How about you, dear reader? Is your view of the kingdom one that demands wholehearted obedience to God’s law as a subject of Christ? And a recognition that all you have and all you are belongs to Him? 

If you’re waiting for Him to send a great sign to shake you up, you may well perish before it comes. You already have the Bible, after all (Luke 16:31). Let it warn you into repentance with the Hell that Christ threatens and tempt you into faith with the reward that Christ offers.

Whom has the Lord dropped on your doorstep (or put in your home) to love? What aspects of godliness are you tempted to water down or be self-satisfied with, rather than pursuing purity and sincerity of heart? What are you loving so much in this world that it might be dulling your desire for the next?

Suggested Songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH72A “O God, Your Judgments Give the King”

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