- Sermon Notes
Faith for How to Live
Here in Luke 12, Jesus is speaking to a great multitude. The conversation began back in chapter 11 when Jesus cast out a demon and the multitudes marveled at the power of God . The Jewish leaders at that point interjected themselves in the conversation in an attempt to sway the crowds away from Him. They were concerned because Jesus was widely being proclaimed as a prophet and there was even talk of making Him king.
In an incredibly bodacious move, the Pharisees interjected and proclaimed, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons." In other words, they accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan, knowing full well that He was sent by God.
Jesus answered their accusations and used it as an opportunity to teach the crowds saying, "Beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees." In other words, they wanted to give the appearance of great spirituality, but they were just acting, the Jewish leaders had neither the fear of God, nor the love of God in their hearts.
After warning them about hypocrisy, He talked to them about eternity, He talked to them about God's heart after them saying, "Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows." He also taught them about the Holy Spirit explaining that the Holy Spirit would be with them even when they stood before synagogue rulers and authorities and would even give them the words to speak saying, "The Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."
As Jesus was teaching the multitude someone in the crowd interrupted Him and asked for Jesus to tell his brother to divide the family inheritance with him. Apparently they were having a dispute over the will or how to divide the assets of the inheritance. Jesus responds by giving them a warning; and in fact there are many warnings in this chapter that correspond to how God wants us to live our lives. And as we look at each of these warnings we’ll see that they all have to do with faith for how to live our lives before God.
I. Here is a Key to Finding Life
- Can you imagine? This may be their one opportunity to ask Jesus a question and what is the pressing matter of highest priority? Their inheritance.
- The answer that Jesus gives is even more relevant for our lives today because the degree of stuff and the degree of wealth available today, especially in our country, is much greater.
A. Be on guard against every form of greed
- There are two parts to what Jesus is saying, be on your guard and secondly, against every form of greed. Apparently, there are many forms of greed.
Illus – You’ve no doubt heard the expression, where there's a will…
- Jesus put his finger right on the problem; the issue is not about fairness, the issue is about covetousness, it was about greed.
- One of the best definitions of immaturity is favoring oneself at the expense of others. But godly maturity is seen in those who favor others even at the expense of self.
Philippians 2:3, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
- The truth is that covetousness wars against spiritual life. In other words, you can't have a deep life spiritually and also be filled with covetousness and greed at the same time.
- "Be on your guard," Jesus said. The words can be interpreted; you must constantly be on your guard. Why? Because covetousness and greed will not voluntarily leave the human heart. In fact, it wants to keep creeping back in again.
- Covetousness and greed is like a thirst that cannot be satisfied, it always thirsts for more.
- Then, in verse 15 Jesus said, "For not even when one has an abundance does his life consists of his possessions." In other words, if possessions possess your heart, your heart is filled with lifeless things.
- Jesus then gives a parable to explain the dangers from someone filling his heart and looking for life from lifeless things.
- That then leads to the question, what does life consist of?
- Paul wrote that he found the secret of being content; he was content because God was the strength of his life.
Philippians 4:12-13, I know how to get along with humble means, that I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
1 Timothy 6:6-12 Godliness with contentment is great gain.
B. Be rich toward God
- This is one of the most important insights we can have for the fullness of spiritual life.
- Jesus gave an amazing insight in the Gospel of Matthew when He talked about treasures.
Matthew 6:20-21, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is there your heart will be also."
- There is an aspect of course that asks the question if you want to know where your heart is then simply look at where your treasure is.
- But there's another insight here for us. Being rich toward God has two aspects; what exactly is it that you find valuable, and secondly, how much of it do you have?
Illus – Some people find value in things that others simply cannot understand. Why? Because they value different things. Some people value old cars, some people value old books, some people value baseball trading cards, other people see nothing in them at all.
As believers, we should value the things which are eternal; the things of this world are on shifting sand.
Illus - Shortly after we started working in Russia, their currency went through a terrible crisis. Inflation soared out of control and the ruble crashed. I remember having to carry huge wads of money just to buy basic things. Life savings were lost overnight.
- But God tells us the things that are the most valuable and we should set our heart on these things.
Proverbs 3:13-18 Wisdom is more precious than jewels.
Proverbs 4:5-9 The beginning of wisdom is: acquire wisdom!
- So what are the things God wants us to treasure? Wisdom, stronger faith, the favor of God, blessing others around us, etc.
Illus - I remember seeing a program about a man who had been accidentally electrocuted and died. He was eventually revived and he later gave an account of God giving him an opportunity to go back, which he wanted to do. The point is that he became a changed man. Earthly stuff wasn't his priority anymore, it was his relationship to God and the people in his life.
- Once we understand what God wants us to treasure, the next question is how much of it do we have, because that is what truly makes us rich toward God.
II. Faith is the Answer to Worry
- Jesus then said to His disciples, "Do not be anxious for your life…"
- A few verses later He said, "How much more will He clothe you, O man of little faith!"
- In other words, Jesus is telling His disciples not to be anxious, not to worry, and the answer is to have stronger faith, to trust God in all things.
A. In all faith believe that God cares
- Last week we saw that our perspective will make all the difference in our lives, if we can see life from the perspective of faith it will answer the problem of being anxious.
- Worry is a very common part of life, but Jesus is telling the disciples that by worrying nothing is gained. Notice verse 25, "Which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his lifespan?"
Illus - there are many phobias that are common to many people and some that are somewhat uncommon. There is claustrophobia, the fear of closed spaces, or arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, there's agoraphobia, fear of going out in public, there are also unusual phobias like ergophobia, the fear of work, there's phronemophobia, fear of thinking, there's pentheraphobia, fear of your mother-in-law, there's Euphorbia, fear of good news, and my favorite, phobophobia, fear of fear itself.
- Without faith we can be given over to anxiety, worry and fear. Anxiety, worry and fear have to do with what we don't know, it’s about what might happen. The one who is worried and anxious says in his heart, “What if this happens, what if that happens… I don't know.”
- Faith says, "Whatever happens in my life, I know that God will be with me, caring for me, and walking with me through it all."
- In other words, whatever happens, I know I can trust God. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow.
- Jesus then gives several reasons why we shouldn't be anxious:
- Life is more than food. Jesus said that of Himself as well.
John 4:32, 34, He said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about… My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work."
- You are worth much to your heavenly Father.
- Worry and anxiety will not add a single cubit to your life span. (Although it could certainly take away from it.)
Illus - I heard the story of a guy who was consumed with worry. He was always biting his nails and drinking Maalox and worry lines became imprinted in his face. Then one day a friend noticed that he was completely free from worry. He was the picture of peace. His friend finally asked, “What happened?”…
- God will give to you the things you need.
- Each day has enough trouble of its own.
B. Seek first the kingdom of God
- This is the answer that Jesus gives; "Seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you."
- If things are right with you and God, your faith is being established on solid ground, and you can know that "your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom."
- In verse 33 Jesus said, "Make yourselves purses which do not wear out, and unfailing treasure in heaven." The purses of this world have holes in them, but there is an unfailing treasure in heaven.
- Seek first the kingdom of God and all the promises of God will be added unto you.
- life to the full
- peace that passes understanding
- he will give you the desires of your heart
- that you will gain new strength and rise up on wings like eagles
- you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you
- he will surround you with songs of deliverance
- you are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus
- ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened unto you
- the prayers of the righteous man will be very effective.
Luke 12:13-34 NASB