A Real Fool

“And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’ Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15-21)

Some of the most basic, yet wisest lessons in the world can be learned from the life of the man in this parable. Quite possibly, we might be able to identify more with him than any other parabolic character. Jesus, in the context, showed disinterest in earthly fortunes and plainly reminds us of the vanity of trusting in riches (Matt. 6:24). Some interesting applications can be made from the teaching of this parable.

Beware of Covetousness

The original word translated “covetousness” actually means, “A desire to have more, always in a bad sense, in regard to material possessions” (W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of NT Words, p. 255). What is striking about the man in the parable is that he coveted his own things.

The New Testament relates that “covetousness is idolatry” (Col. 3:5). Contrast that with 1 Timothy 6:6 which says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” If we are content with what we have (Heb. 13:5), we will possess a peaceful countenance (Phil. 4:7) but if our possessions possess us, we are lovers of the wrong things (2 Tim. 3:4). A beautiful, thought- provoking hymn states, “Not all earth’s gold and silver, Can make a sinner whole. What doth it profit thee, O man, if thou should lose thy soul?”

Wealth Does Not Equal Happiness

Though the man in the parable seemed happy in the thought that he was set for life, his happiness, and his life, ended swiftly. Material possessions do not bring happiness.

In the Old Testament, Ahab, King of Israel, and his wife Jezebel were rich but not happy (1 Kings 21:1-24). Naboth’s vineyard haunted them and they had to have it. Ahab “sold” himself (v. 20) to get it. But getting that vineyard only brought them more unhappiness and woe.

We must learn that earthly wealth often brings misery and confusion. To be truly happy, we must acknowledge, as stated by Jesus, that it is “more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). If you were in a burning house, you would not think first of jewels, money, clothes, etc. You would think of life. We ought to have that same priority in our approach to life. Christianity provides abundant living (John 10:10). The rich fool of the parable in Luke 12 learned that a bountiful harvest can actually be a curse.

Never Forget Heaven’s Viewpoint

The man in this parable thought more of his land than he did of the “Landlord” of heaven and earth “(“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein” [Psa. 24:1]). God called him a “fool.” The original word for “fool” literally means, “One guilty of moral folly, without reason, reckless and inconsiderate, a lack of common sense perception” (Vine, 453-454).

The rich man of this parable had a foolish perception of what life was about. He gave no thought to things eternal in nature. His entire focus was on the “here and now.”

The priorities of this man were the same as the those of many today. As they so dominate the lives of millions today, material things ruled his life. He was totally consumed with them to the exclusion of all else. Additionally, he, as many today, thought too much of himself. This is evidenced by his use of first-person pronouns. He used some twelve of them in three verses.

Conclusion

How typical this man is of us and our day. Since Jesus called him a “fool,” I wonder what the Lord might have to say about us. Materialism ruled his life, ego filled his heart, and Satan had conquered his life. We would be wise to learn from this fool.

 

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The Possibility of Apostasy

This article was written by Gene Taylor

“Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:1-3)

Many denominations, especially those who embrace the teachings of John Calvin, teach that it is impossible for a child of God to fall from grace and be lost. But is that what the Bible teaches?

The Reality of Apostasy

That a child of God can apostatize, fall from grace and be lost is a certain fact. There are many Biblical examples of it.

Under the Old Covenant, consider the Israelites whom the apostle Paul cites in 1 Corinthians 10. In one day, 23,000 of them fell (vv. 1-12). Consider also Judas (Remember both Jesus and Judas lived and died under the Old Law). Acts 1:25 relates that he “fell.”

Under the New Covenant there is the case of Ananias and Sapphira, members of the Jerusalem church, who were stricken in the very act of lying to God (Acts 5:1-11). There is also Demas, one of Paul’s fellow-workers. He went back into the world (2 Tim. 4:10). The Christians at Ephesus were said to have “left their first love” (Rev. 2:1-5). Simon the sorcer, who lived in the city of Samaria, was lost, then saved, then lost, then saved again (Acts 8:4-24).

Warnings Against Apostasy

If I were to warn you about something that did not exist, you would think I was a fool. If one can not be lost when once saved, then God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are foolish because they repeatedly warn against it. Jesus, in Matthew 26:41, said, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” In Hebrew 3:12 “brethren” are warned not to depart from God. 1 Corinthians 10:12 warns the child of God who thinks he stands to take heed lest he fall. 2 Peter 1:10 warns, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble,” thus establishing beyond a shadow of doubt that the child of God can fall from grace.

Results of Apostasy

God will spew the apostate out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16). The fallen one is blotted out of the book of Life (Ex. 32:33; Rev. 22:18-19). The backslider is gathered out of the kingdom (Matt. 13:41); unfit for the kingdom (Luke 9:62); fit only to be trodden under the feet of men (Matt. 5:13); and as a pig and a dog whose latter state is worse than his first (2 Pet. 2:20-21).

When a Christian falls from grace and apostatizes, everyone loses. The church loses a member, God loses a worker (2 Cor. 6:1), his brethren lose a brother (2 Tim. 4:10), the community loses a Christian’s influence, and, most importantly, the backslider himself loses his soul (John 15:1-6).

The Cures for Apostasy

While warning against falling, the New Testament also provides help to keep one from falling. The first thing one must do is to take heed of himself and his relationship to God. 1 Corinthians 10:12 states, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” One should “watch and pray” that he does not enter into temptation (Matt. 26:41). He should meet the requirements for growth as a child of God (Acts 20:32; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 1:5-9) for if one is not progressing in the faith, he will be falling away from it for “once saved always saved” may sound pleasant, but it is not true.

Opening The Door: Repentance

Written by my friend Gene Taylor

Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, God has been calling upon mankind to repent. Brother H. Leo Boles once commented, “When God shut the gate of paradise to Adam, He opened the door to repentance.”

The Bible is filled with the command to repent. The basic task of the prophets, God’s spokesmen in times past, was to get the people to repent. Over and over again in their writings is found the command to “repent.” The message of Jesus while He was on the earth was one of repentance. “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5).

Repentance was part of the fundamental message which after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus was to be sounded out to Jews and Gentiles in every nation. “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem'” (Luke 24:44-47). The apostle Paul, while standing on Mars Hill and preaching to the Athenians, said, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). The apostle Peter, writing in 2 Peter 3:9, said, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Jesus emphasized the necessity of repentance when He said that if your hand caused you to sin it would be better to cut it off and have life than to continue to possess it and be lost eternally (Matt. 18:8-9). He was not advocating mutilation of the physical body in this text. Rather, He meant for His hearers to understand that they needed to cut off worldly things from their lives, repenting of them and then abstaining from them.

Repentance Defined

Repentance is “the change of mind of those who have begun to abhor their errors and misdeeds, and have determined to enter upon a better course of life, so that it embraces both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and hearty amendment, the tokens and effects of which are good deeds…” (J.H. Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 406). W.E. Vine defines it by stating that, “In the New Testament the subject chiefly has reference to repentance from sin, and this change of mind involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 963).

Repentance is a turning. In relation to one’s spiritual condition, it is turning from sin and the pursuit of sin and turning to God and the pursuit of righteousness. It is the change of mind that causes one to forsake living in and for sin and to desire to live for God and in accordance with His will.

How Genuine Repentance Is Brought About

Repentance is brought about through the hearing of the gospel (Luke 24:44-47). When people hear the gospel and truly believe its message, repentance, a change of life, takes place. The word causes one to come face to face with his true identity. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (Jas. 1:22-25).

Hearing the gospel beings about repentance because when the word is received into a good and honest heart, it produces godly sorrow which leads to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). Godly sorrow makes one become repulsed at sin. It makes him desire to become a servant of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18).

Motivating Factors

The motivation to repent, as presented in Scripture, is, at least, threefold. One motivating factor is the goodness of God. “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4). The goodness of God includes such things as the gift of life (Acts 17:28); the gift of His Son as a sacrifice for sin (John 3:16); and access to His grace (Eph. 2:8-9).

The second motivating factor is that one must repent or he will perish (Luke 13:3, 5). “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, ‘who will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek” (Rom. 2:5-9).

The third motivating factor is that repentance allows one to receive eternal blessings and honor from our God and Father: “Eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; …but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 2:7, 10).

The Difficulty of Repentance

Repentance has often been called the most difficult command in the Bible. As we have seen, though, it is not difficult to understand what it is, what brings it about and why it is necessary. So its difficulty does not lie in those areas.

What is difficult is getting people to do it! Brother J.W. McGarvey once wrote, “When you look through the record of the Savior’s earthly ministry, you find that he induced a great many to believe in Him… But when you search for those who repented under the Lord’s preaching, you will find but few …When you go out preaching among the people of this country, you will not find it at all difficult to induce your hearers to believe the truth concerning Christ, and, when they are prepared in mind and heart for baptism, you will not find it very difficult to persuade them to submit to that… You will find no difficulty, provided they have repented and desire to obey the Lord; but how difficult it is to induce men to repent! Sinners outside the church and sinners inside the church cling to their sins, and it appears impossible in many instances to bring them to repentance” (Chapel Talks, pp. 71-72).

Conclusion

All people need to realize that the opportunity to repent is a blessing (Acts 11:18). Every person must heed God’s call to repent by reading and hearing His word, allowing it to produce godly sorrow in their heart and by living their life in obedience to the will of God. If you need to repent, though it may be difficult to do so, do it today.