Summary: A sermon on Luke 16:14-15 addressed to those who love religion and focusing on why man's religion can be a bad thing (Adapted from John MacArthur at: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/42-209/why-false-teachers-mock-the-truth-part-1)
GOLLUM AND THE RING Many of us are familiar with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We cannot help but remember the character named Gollum. He was a hideous, pathetic creature who was possessed by the power of the ring. In fact, the ring was the reason for his hideous appearance. His obsession with the ring robbed him of everything else in life that mattered. Only one thing mattered now: the ring. In his raspy voice he referred to it as "my precious." At the climax of the story Gollum surprises Frodo as he stands perched on a ledge in the heart of the fiery mountain to which he has journeyed so that the ring might be destroyed. Gollum fights with Frodo for the ring, but in doing so he loses his balance and falls into the hell like flames below, all the way clutching the "precious" ring. He had finally acquired the ring, but lost his life in doing so.
One of the most paradoxical things is this: that those who are greatest enemies of God are those who are most religious. The archenemy of God is false religion. The most vile and violent enemies of God are those who reject His truth and substitute anything else. Might think of Muslims, Hindus and that is true but the enemies of God might be in a pew near us. In Jesus’ day, it was some of God’s own chosen people who mocked and sneered at Jesus, and were his biggest enemies
The Pharisees were the religious leaders of Israel. The Pharisees were the leaders of the synagogues. They were the most studious of the law, the most meticulous in interpreting the law and applying the law, the most relentless in giving attention to the law, and the most eager to observe the ceremonies and the rituals that indicated that they were worshipping the true God. But as time goes on in the ministry of Jesus their hostility grows and grows until the last months of Jesus’ life are just non stop conflict between the Pharisees and the Son of God.
Vs. 14- Sneering at Jesus. This is an attitude of mockery, scorn, and derision, a kind of vile hatred that is diminishing and degrading of Jesus. From this point on it is a pattern for them with Jesus. “The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”” Luke 23:35, NIV. This sneered is the same word in Luke 16:14.
Thesis: Why do people sneer at the truth?
It goes against the desires of their own hearts.
The Pharisees loved money.
“think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:5, 6, NIV. Religion will provide their money, maybe not filthy rich but a comfortable way to make a living.
Leadership in the church is warned against this attitude. “not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.” 1 Timothy 3:3, NIV. “Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.” Titus 1:7, NIV. “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;” 1 Peter 5:2, NIV.
Many of the Pharisees were leaders only for what they could get out of it. They only gave a dramatic show, not sacrificially, not out of their own hearts.
“Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23, NIV.
Antagonistic (unfriendly) to God’s demands
What has set these Pharisees off? Jesus is not saying things directed at them. In Matthew 23 he is but here why are they upset?
Jesus in Luke 16:1-13 is saying that we need to use money to build up friends for eternity. We need to invest in the kingdom of God. Need to be faithful with using what we have for the glory of God and then God will bless. We need to love God above all else even above money.
Many of the Pharisees knew they were corrupt. People know their own hearts. “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? 1 Corinthians 2:11, NIV. The only money many of the Pharisees gave was for show.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” John 3:19, 20, NIV.