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 RINGMany 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.