Luke 16:14
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all of this and were scoffing at Jesus.
Sermons
The Explanation of False JudgmentW. Clarkson Luke 16:14
God's Knowledge of the HeartSir James Simpson.Luke 16:14-18
Lovers of MoneyClerical WorldLuke 16:14-18
Men Often Highly Esteem What God AbhorsC. G. Finney, D. D.Luke 16:14-18
Taken by ForceT. T. Shore, M. A.Luke 16:14-18
The Heart-SearcherC. M. Merry.Luke 16:14-18
Violence VictoriousR. Sibbes, D. D.Luke 16:14-18
The Misuse of MoneyR.M. Edgar Luke 16:14-31
Herein is a marvellous thing, that the men who were reputed to be the best and wisest among the people of God went so far astray in their judgment and their behaviour that they treated with positive contempt the Good and the Wise One when he lived before their eyes and spoke in their hearing. It demands explanation.

I. AN APPARENTLY UNACCOUNTABLE FACT. Here we have:

1. Heavenly wisdom derided by those who were divinely instructed. The Pharisees had the Law of God in their hands. Moreover, they had it in their minds and memories; they were perfectly familiar with it; they knew it well to the last letter. They had the great advantage of the devotional Scriptures following the legal, and the didactic and the illuminating prophetic Scriptures added to both. Then, to crown all, came the enlightening truths of the great Teacher himself; yet they failed to appreciate and even to understand him. Nor did they simply turn from him without response; they took up the position of acute and active opposition - "they derided him;" they sought to bring his doctrine into popular contempt.

2. Divine goodness derided by those who were exceptionally devout. No man could impeach the devoutness of the Pharisees, that is to say, so far as manner and habit were concerned. Their outward behaviour was reverent in the extreme; their habit of life was regulated by rules that brought them into frequent formal connection with God and with his Word. Yet with all their exterior piety they saw the Holy One of God living his transcendently beautiful his positively perfect life before them, and, instead of worshipping him as the Son of God, instead of honouring him as one of the worthiest of the sons of men, they actually judged him to be unholy and unworthy, and they endeavoured to bring him under the contempt of all good men! Such was their moral perversity, their spiritual contradictoriness.

II. THE TRUE EXPLANATION OF IT. That which accounts for this radical and criminal mistake of theirs was spiritual unsoundness. They were all wrong at heart; they loved the wrong thing, and a false affection led them, as it will lead all men, very far astray. Everything is explained in the parenthetical clause, "who were covetous." For covetousness is an unholy selfishness. It is a mean and a degrading carefulness about a man's own circumstances, a small and a withering desire for an enrichment at other men's expense; it is an affection which lowers and which enslaves the soul, ever dragging downwards and deathwards. And it is also a guilty worldliness. It is not that ambition to make the most and best of the present, which may be a very honourable aspiration; for "all things are ours [as Christian men], things present" as well as things to come (1 Corinthians 3:22); it is rather the moral weakness which allows itself to be lost and buried in the pursuits and pleasures of earth and time; it is the narrowing of the range of human attachment and endeavour to that which is sensuous and temporal, excluding the nobler longings after the spiritual and the eternal. This worldliness is not only a guilty thing, condemned of God; but it is a disastrous thing, working most serious evils to mankind.

1. It distorts the judgment.

2. It leads men into wrong and mischievous courses of action; it led the Pharisees to take such an attitude and to initiate such proceedings against Christ as culminated in his murder.

3. It ends in condemnation - such severe judgment as the Lord passed on these blind guides (see Matthew 23.). If we would be right at heart and in the sight of God, it is clear that "our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees."

(1) Multiplied ceremonialism will not suffice.

(2) Perfected proprieties will not avail.

(3) Only a humble, trustful, loving heart will make us right.

A true affection, the love of Christ, will lead us into truth and wisdom, will commend us to God, will land us in heaven. - C.







The Pharisees also, who were covetous.
Clerical World.
Those "lovers of money" heard what things? As rulers of the people they heard the parable of the "unjust steward," and their own doom as men entrusted with the priceless riches of God's teaching pronounced: "How is it that I hear this of thee?" They heard, "He that is faithful in that which is least" — money — "is faithful also in much."

I. "LOVERS OF MONEY" DERIDE A STRICT SCRUPULOSITY. "Be faithful in the least." Many of the customs of trades and professions are out of harmony with the gospel teaching on strict conscientiousness.

II. "LOVERS OF MONEY" DERIDE THE TEACHING OF THE GOSPEL ON SELF-DENIAL. Self-denial and a race for wealth are incompatible things: "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

III. "LOVERS OF MONEY" DERIDE THOSE WHO CALL THE PURSUIT OF RICHES THE WORSHIP OF "MAMMON."

IV. "LOVERS OF MONEY" NEED ROUSING BY A STERNER TEACHING. Was not the Saviour impelled to the utterance of the parable of "Dives and Lazarus" — look at it — by the looks of contempt implied in the word ἐξομυκτήριζον, the distended nostril and curled lip of these Pharisees? Does this help to explain our Lord's unusual severity: "In hell he lift up his eyes, being in torment" "Nothing will shake "the lover of money" but stern teaching, and not always that.

(Clerical World.)

Ye are they which justify yourselves before men
Show how and why it is that men highly esteem that which God abhors.

1. They have a different rule of judgment. God judges by one rule; they by another. God's rule requires universal benevolence; their rule is satisfied with any amount of selfishness, so it be sufficiently refined to meet the times. The world adopts an entirely different rule, allowing men to set up their own happiness as their end. But God's rule is, "Seek not thine own." God regards nothing as virtue except devotion to the right ends. The right end is not one's own, but the general good. Hence God's rule requires virtue, while man's rule at best only restrains vice. Men very inconsiderately judge themselves and others, not by God's rule, but by man's. Here I must notice some of the evidences of this, and furnish some illustrations. Thus, for example, a mere negative morality is highly esteemed by some men. Again, a religion which is merely negative is often highly esteemed. So also of a religion which at best consists of forms and prayers, and does not add to these the energies of benevolent effort. Again, the business aims and practices of business men are almost universally an abomination in the sight of God. Professed Christians judge themselves falsely, because they judge by a false standard. One of the most common and fatal mistakes is to employ a merely negative standard. The good Christian in the world's esteem is never abrupt, never aggressive, yet he is greatly admired. He has a selfish devotion to pleasing man, than which nothing is more admired. Now, this may be highly esteemed among men; but does not God abhor it?

(C. G. Finney, D. D.)

God knoweth your hearts
I. This truth is eminently calculated to deepen our sense of the unapproachable greatness of the God with whom we have to do.

II. This truth illustrates, not the greatness only, but also the forbearance and mercy of God.

III. This truth should teach you, my brethren, the folly, not to dwell on the guilt, of formality and hypocrisy.

IV. This truth is adapted to console and encourage the often misjudged and afflicted people of God.

V. This truth assures us beforehand of the equity of the Divine awards at the judgment-day.

(C. M. Merry.)

At the present day many persons have photographs of their faces taken, which they present to their friends. But if it were possible to have an album of photographs taken of our sinful souls, revealing and blazoning forth all the evil deeds they had each done, all the evil words they had ever spoken, and all the evil thoughts they had ever thought, how hideous and horrible would such pictures be! Would any man dare to give his true soul-photograph to any brother man? I think not; and far less to his friends. Yet the things and thoughts we would thus conceal from others, and even from ourselves, are all known to God. He has full and faithful photographs of all; for He is perfectly cognizant of every single one of our evil deeds, and words, and imaginations. Nay, possibly we unwittingly carry about with us complete photographs of our own souls. May not the unsaved soul carry this record with it at death? May not unsaved sinners be thus both their own self-accusers and witnesses before the judgment-seat of Christ? Nor can anything except His blood, "which cleanseth from all sin," blot and wash out the record of our iniquities, and prepare the soul, by the grace of God, to receive the image of His Son.

(Sir James Simpson.)

Every man presseth into it.
I. THE STATE OF THE CHURCH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

1. A kingdom.

2. The kingdom of heaven.

II. THE DISPOSITION OF THOSE WHO SEEK THIS KINGDOM. Violent.

1. Between us and the blessed state we aim at there is much opposition; and therefore there must be violence.

(1)The means of grace and salvation are opposed from within us.

(2)There is also opposition from the world.

(a)Snares and delights, to quench our pleasure in the good things of the Spirit.

(b)Fears, terrors, and scandals, to scare us from doing what we ought.

2. God will have this violence and striving, to test the truth of our profession.

3. God will have us get these things with violence, that we may value them more when we have them.

4. The excellence of the thing requires violence.

5. The necessity requires it. The kingdom of heaven is a place of refuge as well as a kingdom to enrich us.

III. THE SUCCESS OF THIS EAGERNESS. The violent take the kingdom by force. Why?

1. Because it is promised to the violent (Matthew 7:7; Revelation 3:19-21).

2. The spirit whereby a man is earnest is a victorious spirit. The Spirit of God possesses them; and with His help they cannot fail.

3. Only the violent take it, because God offers it on this condition alone.

4. Only the violent can prize it when they have it.

(R. Sibbes, D. D.)

Let us look in a large way at this important truth. Everything great on earth has to be achieved by long, earnest, persistent toil. If you seek to become master of any art, any literature, any science, any accomplishment, you do not sit down and say, "God is the giver of all good, and I shall not be so arrogant as to strive for that which He alone can bestow." You know very well it can only be had by meeting every obstacle and conquering it. The very value of the thing is estimated often by the straining endeavour, the unconquerable zeal, and the cease. less labour which are requisite to its attainment. We so often see only the results in certain lives, and not the long processes which have been leading up to those results, that we are tempted sometimes to forget this. A poet writes some verses that cause the whole nation's soul to burn and glow; an orator makes some speech that thrills his country to its very heart's core; a philosopher observes some phenomena which open up a whole field of scientific truth. We are dazzled with the success; we are forgetful of the long, patient hours of study and of thought which have gone before. Millions had seen apples fall before Newton did, and it revealed nothing to them; millions had seen the kettle lid blown off by steam before Watt did, and it suggested no thought to them; millions had lost their dearest friend before Tennyson lost Hallam, and they wrote no "In Memoriam"; millions had watched nations reeling with the shock of revolution before Burke gazed on the shattered throne and the polluted altar of France, and no burning words of eloquence fell from their lips or from their pen. To the souls trained in patient thought the revelation of great truth comes — or rather, what are common facts to others are revelations to them. Don't call these things accidents. "The accidental falling of an apple was the cause of the discovery of the laws of gravity," says a popular treatise. A fearful untruth. The cause of the discovery was the long period of deep self-sacrificing thought which Newton had given to Nature. "What a lucky man Newton was to have that apple fall before him!" said a young man once, in my hearing. "Rather," said a thoughtful man, standing by, "what a lucky apple to fall before Newton!" There is a world of truth in that. So one might go through the whole range of human experience and culture, and everywhere the kingdom that you want to become master of has to be taken by force. The door is opened to the persistent knocking. The bread is given to the unwearied demand. The treasure is found by the one who has been seeking. Now we come to the highest life of all — to the culture of that part of our nature which transcends all else. Is it not this great principle which pervades all the physical and mental world; which we see in every tiny plant as it struggles through the earth towards the light, in every mighty oak scarred with the lightnings and storms of ages, in every torrent that fights its way towards the ocean; which we see in every achievement of physical science, in every path she has constructed across mountain or morass, in every railroad for which she has torn and blasted a way through the granite of the earth; which we see in every great painting that has glowed with beauty on the canvas, in every great work of the sculptor who has made the cold marble breathe and live; which we see in every page of every great book in which Science records her facts, or poet, or historian, or philosopher has penned his researches and his thoughts — is not, I say, this great principle, which thus meets us everywhere — in all noble results, and all great achievements, in every department of human thought and life — to be found anywhere in the grander life of the immortal soul? Surely it is, brethren, and we ignore the teaching of Christ and of His apostles if we regard Christ's religion as merely a means by which we are to be saved from all trouble and responsibility about the future. There are people who tell you that all you have to do is to "accept Christ," "believe in Him," and then He has done all for you — you need have no more anxiety or trouble. All through those Epistles, which are so full of the gospel of the grace of God, and where Christ and Him crucified is the central fact of the Christian faith, the apostle, in words which thrill with the living power of deep personal experience, speaks of the Christian life as a ceaseless, protracted, fearful struggle. Be exhausts things sacred and profane to find imagery to depict and to impress this truth. The Christian life is a race for which no previous preparation is too careful; in which every nerve is to be strained, and on which all our force is to be concentrated, that we may " obtain the prize" (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

(T. T. Shore, M. A.)

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