The Leaven of the Hypocrites

July 19, 2019 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Hypocrisy & Grace

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Matthew 23:14–15, Luke 12:13–21

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 18 July 2019

Text: Matthew 23:14-15; Luke 12:13-21

Opening Discussion: “Once there was a selfish king who wanted only one thing - cow milk. Gola was the only cow in the village. She kicked anyone who went near her. The king sent everyone in the village to milk the cow. Only one boy didn't get kicked. He was Uha. Uha milked the cow dry and the cow was happy about that. The king asked Uha to hand over the milk or face punishment.” Did Uha hand over the milk? And if he refused what was the punishment? In a few short sentences, complete the story….


Continuing with the theme of hypocrisy and covetousness, Jesus says to his disciples in Luke 12:1 that they were to "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Jesus goes on to explain this further with a famous parable. The Parable of the Rich Fool can be found in Luke 12:13-21. The key to understanding this parable is in verse 15 (and later summarized in verse 21). Luke 12:15 says, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Jesus says this to the man who asked Him to arbitrate between him and his brother. In ancient times, the firstborn was guaranteed a double portion of the family inheritance. More than likely, the brother who was addressing Jesus was not the firstborn and was asking for an equal share of the inheritance. Jesus refuses to arbitrate their dispute and gets to the heart of the matter: Covetousness! Jesus warns this person, and all within earshot, that our lives are not to be about gathering wealth. Life is so much more than the “abundance of possessions.”

The point of the Parable of the Rich Fool is twofold. First, we are not to devote our lives to the gathering and accumulation of wealth. The second point of the Parable of the Rich Fool is the fact that we are not blessed by God to hoard our wealth to ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing in the lives of others, and we are blessed to build the kingdom of God. The Bible says if our riches increase, we are not to set our hearts upon them (Psalm 62:10). The Bible also says there is one who gives freely and grows all the richer (Proverbs 11:24). Finally, the Bible says we are to honor God with the first fruits of our increase (Proverbs 3:9-10). The point is clear; if we honor God with what He has given us, He will bless with more so that we can honor Him with more. We are blessed by God, so we can in turn “abound in every good work” and be a blessing in the lives of others. So, if God has blessed you with material wealth “set not your heart on it” and “be rich toward God.”

Investigation & Interpretation:

  • Read: Luke 12:13-21
  1. What are the similarities between 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 and Luke 12:15-21?
  2. What does Jesus response in verse 14 show us about the man’s heart attitude in his request in verse 13?
  3. In verse 15, who is Jesus speaking to, who are referred to by “them”?
  4. The farmer in the parable reveals his problem and the plan which will solve them. What words reveal the man’s motives and goals? v.16-21

Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

The rich fool in our parable is a man who would likely be praised by our culture, and perhaps in some of our churches. He was a wealthy man after all. Why do you think the farmer is referred to as a fool in verse 20, when it seems like he was being responsible and preparing himself for the future? How could such a man be called a fool?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

The term “life” is used a number of times in our text, and in the verses that follow. Would you agree or disagree with the following statement: ONE’S DEFINITION OF WHAT CONSTITUTES LIFE IS CENTRAL AND CRUCIAL TO THE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES. Explain your reasons.

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

The expression “eat, drink, and be merry,” which we find in our text, is one that is based upon the rich fool’s perception of what the future held. Would you agree or disagree with the following statement: ONE’S VIEW OF THE FUTURE DETERMINES ONES PRESENT CONDUCT. Explain your reasons.


How easy it would be here to think that this principle, the principle which Jesus taught to the two brothers (first) and to the rest, applies only to those who are rich by our definition. We need not be wealthy to be in danger of loss (jeopardy). The problem is not the man’s wealth but his selfishness.

Jesus ends this parable in Luke 12 with a practical application. He said in v21, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God”. A fool lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. But the wise person lays up treasures in heaven and is rich toward God.

What does it mean to be rich toward God? First, it must surely mean being thankful to God for our blessings. Second, it must mean stewardship that returns God’s portion to God. Thirdly, it must mean generosity toward the neighbor whom Jesus has charged to love (10:27)—and to our enemy, whom Jesus has also charged us to love (6:27).

We are rich toward God when his glory is our highest goal. Jesus is saying, “Be rich towards God. That's the kind of wealth I want all My disciples to have. Value the riches of God above all other riches. Value what you have in Christ. Value what you have in the Gospel. Value what you have in the lavish grace of God poured out on you. Value it more than earthly stuff. Long for God, long for grace, long for the glories of heaven more than the things of this earth.”


Prayer Points:  

  1. Pray we would grateful and thankful to God for all our blessings.
  2. Pray we would take care, and be on guard against all covetousness,
  3. Pray we will be rich towards God and value his glory above all else.

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