Luke 12:13-21

“Hey Preacher, Settle This Dispute …”

of course in my favor!

Luke 12:13-21

Every preacher has had this experience. You are approached by someone who essentially says, “Hey preacher, I need you to fix this problem for me. Settle this dispute in my favor.”

Wise preachers refuse such requests. We deliver the gospel message. We are not to function as mediators of financial or estate disputes. Jesus didn’t touch it!

Listen now to Luke 12:13-21.

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

In the first place, Jesus was clear about his role; He did not come to earth to serve as “a judge or arbitrator” in such matters. But Jesus knew what the underlying problem was: Covetousness. He said, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Then Jesus told a story about a man who thought his life consisted in the abundance of his possessions. The man wound up being a barn builder instead of a life builder. The point for us? Lay up the kind of treasure that will make you “rich toward God.”

Truth Connection: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry,” (Col. 3:5).

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Time for a change?

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…,” (Acts 2:42)

There are churches in this country on the move, active and energized. But they are moving at the speed of the culture. They have let the culture around them guide them away from God and His Word. It may well be (and can be hoped) that the readers of my blog are members of local churches where devotion to the Scripture remains steadfast and the call of the world is resisted.

If you are not certain that is the case for you, what should you do?

  • Read and study Scripture objectively to be specific in your concern.
  • Speak to the preacher/elders/brethren with your Bible open and your tongue guarded.
  • You may need to do this more than once, but always speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
  • If you become convinced your association with that group must end, be clear to them and specify where Scripture is being violated or ignored.
  • Search for a group where Bible authority is upheld faithfully.
  • Make your wishes to become a part of that group known.
  • Walk in a manner worthy of God.

Turned, Served, Waited

1 Thess. 1:9,10

There are passages in the New Testament that vividly describe conversion. When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians he brought up how those people received the gospel. He calls it (ESV), “the kind of reception we had among you.” They had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

Conversion is like what we may call a “180” or U-turn. Because of what Christ did on the cross and where He is now, sinners can turn from sin to God. But observe how specific this is. “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” It is more than just getting away from sin (idols specified here). The responsive sinner turns from sin to God, to serve Him – the true and living God. Turning from sin must wholly embrace the new direction. Serving the true and living God.

With a view toward what? “…to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” Conversion isn’t complete without all of this: Turning, Serving and Waiting.

Have you turned? Are you serving? Are you patiently waiting for the good outcome?



The Context of Matthew 19

Children Matt19 for Jan. 5pm

The context of Matthew 19 Re Children

On a recent Sunday evening I preached (by request) on Matt. 19:13-15, which documents the warmth and care of our Lord for children. In my preparation for that sermon I noticed something. The text about Jesus and children has bookends.

Before that narrative, His strict teaching about God’s law of marriage. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder. Jesus quotes the law of God back before Moses, “from the beginning.”

Then there is the passage about children. What’s after that?

The story of a man who was possessed by his possessions, the rich young ruler. Perhaps I’m inclined to make too much of this. You decide.

Two of the greatest tragedies that damage children are here in Matthew 19. Unlawful divorce and materialism. Read the entire chapter. What do you think?

Having God

Having God In Your Life

“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son,” 2 John 9

What does it mean to “have God” in your life? Everything before and after this verse informs what it means. From the whole counsel of God, this is clear.

  • It doesn’t mean you never get sick.
  • It doesn’t mean financial prosperity.
  • It doesn’t mean smooth relationships.
  • It doesn’t mean you will never be a victim.
  • It doesn’t mean no natural disasters.

It means God is your Father and the highest sense. It means you have been redeemed and are becoming closer to the Father and the Son with each step of growth. It means when you must navigate illness, poverty, conflict and unexpected tragedy, your faith in God upholds you and your reliance on His Word guides you in your reactions. Having God and the Son

in your life means you partake of every blessing the Holy Spirit has revealed in the written Word. And it means you are headed toward a perfect eternal dwelling place with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and all the saints.

What does this require? Abiding in the teaching of Christ. Where can you find the teaching of Christ? In the New Testament.

Having God in your life is much more than a claim, an emotion or a dream. It is the reality enjoyed by those in hear, believe and obey the teaching of Jesus Christ, knowing He gave His life for us to be saved and guided into righteous living.

Jesus said, “everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock,” (Matt. 7:24).

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Heb. 11:32-40

Hebrews 11:32-40

“What More Shall I Say”

Hebrews 11:32-40

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,[a] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

– Heb. 11:32-40

This is the final section of Hebrews chapter eleven. This might be called the writer’s “wrap-up” introduced by his question, “what more shall I say?” He acknowledges there isn’t sufficient time or space to document all those occasions where people acted on faith: Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. The point is not that all these people were sinless or perfect. But there were occasions, events and responses where these people illustrated the good activity of faith.

And, as to activity of the and victory granted by God to the faithful, listen again to this:

“…faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight….”  This adds emphasis to the knowledge we’ve already acquired from the chapter, concerning the activity, the obedience faith produces – and God’s response of commending and giving victory to the faithful.

Christians have something even better. Verse 40 affirms that God “has provided something better for us.” We have the full reality of what those people had only in prospect. We have Jesus Christ. We can fix our eyes of Him, as we run the race God has set before us.

The Peace of Christ

The Peace of Christ

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Photo by Bri Schneiter on

We’ve been doing something where I preach for several months now, that at first, I thought wouldn’t last but a few weeks. In the fall I said to the church, “text me your favorite passage,” and I’ll schedule a sermon on that passage on a Sunday evening. Before I left the building that morning, I had text messages with Biblical text suggestions. Over 12 Sunday evenings now, that has continued.

Tomorrow night I preaching on Col. 3:15. “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

When Christ died on the cross He purchased peace with God. I receive that exceptional benefit when I obey the gospel. What then? Life after baptism should mean, that peace governs or rules my life from the inside out.

But we want to know what that means specifically. Just look closely into the context of Colossians three and the answers are there, as to specifics: Put on garments of righteousness (verses 12-14). Be thankful (verse 15). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…,” (verse 16). Do all in the name of the Lord (verse 17).

Yes, this is how Bible reading and study works. And this is how you preach from a context. Just stay where the verse is, explore what surrounds it and learn more about how you need to apply it.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” this year and until the Lord comes.


Judge Righteous Judgment

Warren E. Berkley

People get all mixed up about “judging.” As soon as you point out some sin or error, the charge is made, “You are judging. The Bible says judge not.”

Let’s clear this up. In Matt. 7:1-5, Jesus did say, “Judge not,” but there are more than these two words in the passage! If Jesus had said nothing but “judge not,” we might be warranted in drawing the popular conclusion. But that isn’t all He said. Jesus was prohibiting the kind of one-sided, hypocritical judging that was common from the hypocrites of His day. And what He actually taught is – Before we judge others, we need to judge ourselves. It is wrong to constantly look for faults in others when we have major spiritual problems. Jesus teaches – after we take the plank out of our own eye, we are to do something: “remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Now think about this. Jesus did not say, “leave the speak in your brother’s eye.” He said – HE COMMANDED US to remove it. So the commonly quoted passage does not prohibit all judging.

And in fact, Jesus tells us in another place: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment,” (Jno. 7:24). There is a type of judging that we should refrain from: judgments based on appearance. Jesus would not do this. Neither should we.

A good example of this is given in James chapter two. A man comes into an assembly and appears to be rich. He is given special treatment. Another comes in, “a poor man in filthy clothes,” and he receives no warmth, welcome or hospitality. James says this is wrong. “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality,” (Jas. 2:1). This is an example of judging based on appearance. Jesus never did this, and we ought to follow His example. We are to judge “righteous judgment,” but snobbery and partiality is not justified. James illustrates the sin of partiality – then says it is not compatible with faith in Christ; is prompted by evil thoughts; is disrespectful to God; is dishonoring the victim; is in disobedience to the royal law; and manifest no mercy.

This is based on the fundamental truth that God “shows no partiality,” (see Acts 10:34 & Eph. 6:9). Jesus showed no partiality either. If we are children of God and followers of Christ, we will shun hateful, exclusive attitudes of prejudice. We will not make judgments about people based on any morally neutral characteristic (skin color, size, ethnic group, cost of clothing, etc.). This is something Jesus would not do.

Representing Our Faith

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

As we face the modern world with all its trouble and turmoil and with all its difficulties and sadness, nothing is more important than that we who call ourselves Christian, and who claim the Name of Christ, should be representing our faith in such a way before others as to give them the impression that here is the solution, and here is the answer. In a world where everything has gone so sadly astray, we should be standing out as men and women apart, people characterized by a fundamental joy and certainty in spite of conditions, in spite of adversity.

Source: Ortlund Jr., Raymond C.. Isaiah (Preaching the Word) (p. 407). Crossway. Kindle Edition.