THREE FOOLISH MEN
The following outline is the FIRST sermon outline this evangelist ever remembers preaching as he ponders the 65th year of his ministry that began in 1952. It was not his first sermon, but the first one he can recall. The outline was not original. He heard it first from a man who was then a Metropolitan Detroit Christian youth leader, who now is—and has been for several decades—one of the leading conservative evangelical theologians in America. Yours truly did not keep the small sheets on which he penned his notes, he only remembers the outline. He has adapted this sermon for application to the current age.
Jesus was a great user of parables during his 3½ years of public ministry on this earth. A simple definition of parable is “A heavenly story with an earthly meaning.” In Luke chapters 14-16, Christ used ten parables when speaking to the unbelieving self-righteous Pharisees. The parable of the three foolish men is the second of six parables Christ used in chapter 14. In this parable, Christ spoke about three mythical men who were invited to a great supper (feast) and who all refused to attend for separate reasons.
While we don’t know the specifics of this supper (feast), in the Jewish culture, these feast-suppers were frequently great religious festivals that often centered in wedding ceremonies. In fact, Christ declared that none of those men would ever “taste of my [wedding] supper.”
In the Jewish culture, weddings were definitely both a big religious and cultural celebration. In Matt. 25, Christ gave a parable about “ten virgins” who were all invited to a wedding, along with the midnight feast that accompanied the festivities. We must keep in mind that in the first century, oil lamps were the chief source of light in a household on a dark night. Five were wise in that they purchased oil to place in their lamps, while five were foolish and came without oil.
A PARABLE WITH MODERN RELEVANCY
Christ applied this parable to Himself and the great wedding supper, that as King of the Kingdom of Heaven, He will host at His Second Coming, with Christ being the bridegroom (Matt. 25:10) and all human beings being the invited guests. However, only his genuine disciples, his submissive subjects, who accept Him as Messiah, will be the actual invitees present (Matt. 25:1-13). In Rev. 19:7-10, the Apostle John makes reference to the Marriage of the Lamb and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb which precede his Revelation return to earth.
The great tragedy is that all three individuals in this parable REJECTED the golden opportunity to attend this great religious supper feast: “And they all with one consent began to make excuse—Luke 14:18,” a feast which Christ called “my supper—Luke 14:24.”
CHARACTER NUMBER ONE: “FARMER BROWN”—Luke 14:18
While there is no Scriptural proof, we will assume that this man may have been a farmer, so we will call him “Farmer Brown,” since his excuse was that he had bought a piece of ground and he needed to go see it. Of course, he might also have been a shepherd who was looking for land to feed his lambs and sheep. At any rate, he was rationally wrong, since he did not use good common sense or even human wisdom when purchasing this piece of land. Remember, this was not just any supper, but a “great supper.”
In Luke 14:18 Christ depicts the first individual who rejected the feast invitation: “The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.”Farmer Brown actually had no idea at all about the land’s true value. If it was grazing ground, he did not know anything about its contents, whether it was rich green grazing land or whether it was barren. If he was planning to produce fruits or vegetables, he was also totally ignorant about the land he had purchased. He was also religiously wrong since it was an important religious invitation he rejected.
FARMER BROWN’S MAJOR PROBLEM
Farmer Brown’s chief interest was FARMING and LAND, rather than religious FEASTING and the LORD. Farmer Brown is just like many individuals today whose chief concern is their stomach. Rather than eating to live, they live to eat. Their chief concern is to fill their stomachs. Many Americans today are both shiftless and they also shift their work on a regular basis, since they can’t seem to hold a job very long. Consequently, they turn to the government to meet their nutritional physical needs.
Over 42 million Americans today are dependent upon government food stamps to supplement their food supply, much of which may sometimes come from Social Security disability benefits which frequently are fraudulently obtained. America today is filled with “Farmer Browns.” They don’t need God, because they have government! This is the crowd that will vote for a socialist for President or any politician who will promise to give them something for nothing!
CHARACTER NUMBER TWO: “RETAIL JOE”—Luke 14:19
In Luke 14:19 Christ describes the second individual who rejected the supper-feast invitation: “And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee, have me excused.” This man had never seen these oxen; he didn’t have the slightest idea whether or not they were active strong animals, capable of producing any work. His purchase was not one of faith, but one of foolishness. He appears to be a man whose sole interest was to discover whether or not he could make a good profit from the use of these animals.
He was a total materialist and secularist. This man obviously did not have any interest in that religious supper-feast. He was totally consumed with the secular. His sole interest was FINANCES and LOOT, not the FUTURE or the LORD. This man apparently lived for what we would call today “the dollar bill,” a bill that has lost most of its monetary value and that is worth only a fraction of its value in prior generations.
This man’s spiritual eyesight was sorely defective. In Luke 14:15, Christ severely warned against trusting in material riches when He frankly stated: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth.”
ANOTHER MAN WHO RESEMBLES “RETAIL JOE”
Christ then presented the parable of the rich man who was always seeking to build bigger barns to store his latest material possessions. However, God called him a “fool,” and that night his soul was “required” of him in death and he lost everything he owned. Jesus warned about individuals who possesses the same incorrect priorities as that rich man when He said: “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God—Luke 14:21.”
In Matt. 6:19-21, Christ presented two perspectives concerning riches: two contrasting “trusts” concerning material wealth: Christ forthrightly declared: “Lay not for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through or steal. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”
James also strongly warns against trusting in material riches in James 5:1-3: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” The “treasure” about which James warns is the eventual treasure of judgment!
Christ’s declarations and James statements do not mean that it is wrong to possess riches. In the Scripture, in their times, both Abraham and Job were some of the wealthiest men on the face of the earth, but they NEVER placed their trust in material wealth.
This writer has discovered that it is sometimes difficult to witness to individuals who have a measure of material prosperity, since their trust is in GOLD not GOD. This man in Luke 14:19 was foolish because he was placing his trust in his hoped-for eventual riches which could appear and disappear at a moment’s notice.
CHARACTER THREE: “HANDSOME HARRY”
In Luke 14:20 Christ discussed the third foolish man whom we shall simply call “Handsome Harry,” since his excuse was “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” Now, in the Scripture courtship, marriage and a family occupy places of prime importance. However, these excellent moral qualities can NEVER displace the most important relationship, that of supreme love for God.
When a Pharisee in Matthew 22 sought to trip up Christ with a rigged question and asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment in the law, Christ did not state anything about human courtship and marriage. Christ responded with the infallible answer in Matt. 22:37: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
This man’s misplaced emphasis was upon human LOVE and the FAMILY when it should have been upon the LORD and FIRST RESPONSIBILITIES. Now love and marriage are certainly important concepts in Scripture, but they must come in their proper order. Admittedly today in our Americana society, it seems that “everything that has been mailed is coming loose” from a moral viewpoint. Sensual lust has replaced sacred love; sinful mockery has replaced sacred marriage and the family has become an immoral shambles
A MODERN PARALLEL THAT CLOSELY RESEMBLES “HANDSOME HARRY”
About 50-60 years ago, the Christian Day School and the Home School movement were instituted to help counter these evil trends that were also greatly affecting Christian families. Now, 60 years later, the CDS is swiftly numerically retreating, while home schooling is booming with its variant ideologies and formats. However, there is one form of home schooling that this writer CANNOT endorse or support. It is the house-church school where the father serves both as the permanent priest and pastor, as well as the household head.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with a church meeting in a home, which is how the early N.T. churches operated—in homes (and caves, catacombs and forests, etc.)—since they did not have any buildings. However, in this type home church-school format, the father holds the reins with a rigid command system in which he acts like an O. T. priest, who is virtually infallible in his edicts.
In this unscriptural house-church, there is NO evangelistic outreach or soul-winning activity, and the family is virtually totally isolated from the outside world, with the family having virtually no ministry contact with the unconverted world. In this unscriptural system, an O. T. oriented priestly type based family supplants the local church, an entity which the Apostle Paul called the “pillar and ground of the truth—I Tim. 3:15.”
A COMMON DENOMINATOR OF ALL THREE MEN
All three of the above men in this parable were pre-occupied with selfish concerns, concerns that in their proper perspective may have been valid, but should not have absorbed their time when the supper-feast invitation was extended. The priorities of all three of these men was distorted and incorrect. The meaning of this parable is obvious: Individuals of all ranks have been invited by Christ to a Salvation feast. All sinners should give up their wrong priorities and immediately accept Christ’s salvation supper-feast invitation—Rom. 10:8-13, Rev. 22:17.
THE SAME MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE TODAY BEFORE CHRIST’S RETURN
In Luke 17:26-30, the character traits that human beings will display in the days just before His Revelation return to earth will be virtually similar to the actions they manifested in the days of Noah and Lot. Christ made it plain that when he referred to the “days of Lot,” he was referring to the actions of the citizens of Sodom.
Please note their actions: Jesus said the residents of Sodom: “did eat.” Is there anything wrong with eating? No! They also “drank.” Is there anything wrong with drinking wholesome beverages? (though Sodom’s citizens undoubtedly drank alcoholic beverages as well!) No! They also “bought.” Is there anything inherently wrong with “buying”? No! They “”sold.” Is there anything in itself that is bad about “selling” No! They “planted.” Is it wrong to plant in the springtime? No! They “builded.” Is there anything with building structures? No!
THE BASIC ERROR AND SIN OF SODOM
Then what was so wrong with the activities with which Sodom’s residents busied themselves? How did this city become so morally evil that God had to destroy it? What caused “sodomy” to develop and envelop this entire city? Simply this, There is NO mention of God in all these activities! Sodom was a materialistic secular dominated city. Just like the three men in Christ’s parable in Luke 14, Sodom’s residents had time for everything the human mind could portray, except they had NO TIME FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP—THEY HAD NO TIME FOR GOD. Sodom’s residents were totally consumed WITH THEMSELVES!
And that is how the evil, ungodly, sensual, wicked and unspeakable activities developed in that humanistic culture! Any human society that is totally consumed with itself, with only materialistic and secular interests is going to produce SODOMY! Homosexuality is an automatic consequence of a society that is consumed totally with materialistic and secular interests! The sad tragedy is that professing Christian families who live similar materialistic secular lives may experience the same consequences as the residents of Sodom. They will reproduce materialistic secular oriented children, who, in many instances, will eventually choose SODOMITE lifestyles as they mature and become young adults/adults.
Ezekiel 16:49-50 describes the negative traits that led to Sodom’s downfall: “Behold, this was the INIQUITY of thy sister Sodom: PRIDE, FULNESS OF BREAD AND ABUNDANCE OF IDLENESS WAS IN HER. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination [sodomy—homosexuality, lesbianism, etc.] before me; therefore I took them away as I saw good.”
THE PATHETIC TRAVESTY OF TODAY’S SOCIETY
A materialistic, secular oriented society that is consumed with itself will automatically produce HOMOSEXUALITY, and that describes almost perfectly America’s present condition. How long will it be before God brings judgment upon America? This writer has heard it over and over again many times. “If God does not judge America soon, He is going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Or could it be that God will simply leave America to morally rot by itself? These are the abhorrable conditions that Romans 1:18-32 delineates. The atrocious horrible morally depredating actions that Paul depicts in that passage were NOT God’s judgments upon those wicked homosexuals and lesbians. They were the RESULTS of God’s judgment! God simply left those ungodly degenerates to face the automatic consequences of their actions. Sadly so, today, the average age of a male homosexual sodomite when he dies is 42!
This writer is NOT trying to boast, but as he approaches the age of 80 this month--Feb. 2016—he will be nearly twice that age limitation. By God’s grace, the only woman he has never intimately physically known in 55 years of marriage is his beloved spouse and marital mate!
A FERVENT PLEA
America! Repent! Christ plainly exhorted: “…except ye repent, ye shall ALL likewise perish—Luke 13:3.” Dear reader, if you are not yet saved, trust Christ NOW and be converted. Dear Christian friend, if you are backslidden, get right with God NOW before it is too late—“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment--Heb. 9:27.” Christ has invited EVERYONE to his salvation wedding feast-supper—Rom. 10:13, Rev. 22:17: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” “And the Spirit and the bride say Come. And let him that heareth say Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.”
DON’T DELAY! “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation—II Cor. 6:2b.” “…To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts—Heb. 4:7b.”
Also in this issue: