- Sermon Notes
The Value of Your Soul
March 21, 2021
ILLUS – “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
1. What gives a soul its value or worth?
2. Or to make it personal, what is the value of your soul?
3. Tonight, we will turn to Jesus’ teaching in Luke 12 for the answers.
4. From our Savior, we will not only discover the value of our souls but also what’s truly worthy of our souls’ pursuit.
1. We noted last week that Jesus was concerned for the welfare of His disciples because knew the appeal of popularity and the potential for persecution could pull His disciples towards their ruin.
2. So Jesus warned them, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (1)
3. But as Jesus was teaching His disciples, suddenly a man interrupted Jesus and demanded that He tell his brother to divide the family inheritance with him. (13)
Transition – Jesus’ response to this man is just as relevant today as it was then for His answer gives us divine insight regarding the value of our souls. . .
I. Your Soul is Worth More than Your Toys
• Evidently, this man had not talked with Martha about what happens when you command Jesus Christ to do something for you.
• And similar to Martha’s experience, Jesus refused to get involved.
• In fact, He actually rebuked the fellow for his self-serving demand.
APPL – Unfortunately, there are many who only want Jesus to be their servant and not their Savior.
• That said, in that day it was common to ask a rabbi to help mediate a dispute.
• If this was so, then why did Jesus refuse to help the disgruntled chap?
o Because Jesus knew that no answer, not even His answer, would settle the dispute.
o The real problem was not the brothers’ need to have their parents’ estate settled.
o The real problem was that both brothers were greedy.
o They needed to have their hearts changed.
• So Jesus warned the man and those listening, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” (15)
A. Beware of all forms of greed
1. Let’s breakdown Jesus’ command.
2. The word “beware” means “to keep on the lookout for,” “to be alert for,” or “to be on your guard against.”
3. The word “greed” can also be translated “avarice” or “covetousness.”
a. In this context, Jesus’ warning must be seen as addressing more than just the love of money.
b. Jesus was addressing an attitude of the heart, where the desire to have more becomes all-consuming, like an unquenchable thirst.
ILLUS – Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory perfectly captures this attitude of the heart.
c. This interpretation is confirmed since Jesus is warning against “every form of greed,” which would include a thirst for wealth, possessions, pleasure, power, and status.
APPL – Jesus is saying that life is more than and doesn’t consist of having a lot of “. . .” you fill in the blank.
• Which means the value of our souls is not determined by how much we possess.
• Which also means our souls are more valuable than any earthly treasure because our souls will survive forever, long after our hearts cease to beat.
APPL – Now, this is not just an important reminder; it is a sober warning.
• You see, the motto, “He who dies with the most toys wins” is actually a sinister trap.
• In fact, those who are snared by greed will suffer the consequences not only in this life but in the life to come; it’s a “Lose-Lose” scenario.
4. Let me explain what I mean.
5. Beginning in verse 16, Jesus gives a parable about a rich man who owned a plot of land that was “very productive,” so much so that the barns he owned weren’t large enough to contain all of the grain.
6. So, the rich man evaluated his problem and came up with his solution; tear down his old barns and build himself larger ones.
7. Now, at first glance, it appears that the rich man is being a good steward.
a. Is Jesus condemning wealth? No.
b. Is Jesus opposed to good stewardship? Absolutely not.
Proverbs 6:6-8, Go to the ant, o sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.
c. So what’s the problem?
8. As we dig deeper into Jesus’ parable, notice how many times the rich man says “I” or “my” as he reasons to himself. There are eleven personal pronouns in three verses.
9. Also notice the rich man’s priorities.
a. Is the rich man concerned about helping the poor? No.
b. Is the rich man even concerned about standing before God someday and giving an account for what he did with his life? No.
c. You see, the rich man is only concerned about himself and his ability to coast through this life on easy street.
d. As long as he has enough to eat and drink for the foreseeable future, then his soul will be merry.
APPL – How we view the stuff of this world is important, especially in the day in which we live.
• We have so much more stuff than those in Jesus’ day and we take it all for granted.
• For instance, Solomon in all his grandeur never owned a microwave yet today it’s a common household appliance.
10. Here’s the problem, while the rich man only saw living large on “Easy Street” Jesus saw him coming face to face with death. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’” (20)
a. The lifeless toys the rich man had pursued his entire life could not save him when it was his time to die.
b. Nor could his toys buy back the opportunities he had missed when he was thinking only of himself while ignoring God and his fellow man.
APPL – Greed is a trap.
• You can’t take your toys with you when you die.
• And, if you were too busy acquiring toys, then you will have no treasures in heaven.
• It’s a “Lose-Lose” scenario.
Matthew 16:26, For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Warren Wiersbe notes, “But the greatest tragedy is not what the man left behind but what lay before him: eternity without God! The man lived without God and died without God.”
APPL – But you might be thinking, “I’m not rich like that rich man! I wish I had that problem!”
• Caution. Could your response be a window into your soul?
• Could it be that there is greed in your heart?
• Beware of all forms of greed.
• Your soul is worth more than your toys.
Transition – Jesus gives us the key for breaking free from the “Lose-Lose” trap of greed. . .
B. Be rich toward God
1. The truth is greed is committed to keeping you and me in spiritual bondage.
a. Greed will not voluntarily leave the human heart.
b. In fact, it will tenaciously try to slither its way back into our souls if we allow it to do so.
2. And you can’t negotiate a peace treaty with greed.
a. What I mean is, you can’t have a deep, spiritually mature life and also be filled with greed at the same time.
b. If you give greed an inch, a mile will not be good enough.
c. Greed won’t stop until it has all of you.
3. Jesus gives us the perfect answer for greed, be rich toward God. (21)
4. What does this mean?
a. First, being rich toward God begins with acknowledging that God is the Giver of all that we have.
James 1:17, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
b. Second, being rich toward God means that we use what God gives us for the good of others in a way that glorifies Him. Don’t be selfish or stingy with God’s blessings.
ILLUS – “Ten dollars is ten dollars.”
1 Timothy 6:17-18, Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share
APPL – But as I share this, perhaps some of you are going through a rough patch and you might be thinking, “I want to give generously but I don’t have much.”
• Let not your heart be troubled.
• Remember Jesus’ words about the widow who gave two small copper coins. . .
Luke 21:1-4, And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”
• God doesn’t look at the amount.
• God looks at the heart.
Transition – Another key to being rich toward God is to. . .
II. Set God as the Lord of Your Soul
• Life will force us to make a choice between masters.
Martin Luther once said, “What a man loves, that is his God.”
• The stuff of life, the stress of life, will ultimately reveal what we seek first, who we trust most, and where our allegiance lies.
• If your hope is in your material wealth, then your life will be preoccupied with protecting what you got and seeking to get more. This will result in anxiety and worry.
• But, if God is the Master of your heart, there is great freedom. Your faith in God will liberate you to live life to the full.
John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
A. Don’t worry because God cares for you
1. In verse 22, Jesus said, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life”
a. The word “worry” means “to be torn apart.”
b. Jesus’ point is that worry will tear you apart like a ship battered and torn by a storm.
2. Jesus said the nations of the world are preoccupied with what they eat, drink, and wear. (30) But life is more than what we eat, drink, or wear. (23)
3. If you’re looking to God, then you need to know that He cares for you and is willing and able to meet your needs.
a. It’s a question of faith.
b. We need to see life from God’s perspective and believe what He has to say about the things in our lives.
4. Without that, we can be given over to anxiety, worry, and fear.
5. Anxiety, worry, and fear have to do with what we don’t know.
6. The one who is worried and anxious says in his heart, “What if this happens, or what if that happens?”
Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
7. 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, I know I can trust God.
8. Jesus gave two examples from creation to serve as instructors to remind us to trust God, ravens and lilies. (24-27)
APPL – Jesus is saying, You are worth much more to your heavenly Father than the ravens of the air or the lilies of the field.
• Worry and anxiety will not add a single hour to your life span, though it could certainly take time away from it.
• Life is more than food, drink, or clothing.
• And Jesus set the example for us when he said in John 4:34. . .
John 4:34, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
• Worry results in a loss of testimony but faith gives you a testimony.
ILLUS – Trusting God when given an ultimatum.
• Worry results in a loss of joy but faith brings joy and the Bible tells us “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
• Faith and worry can’t co-exist, so let’s choose faith.
• Don’t worry about tomorrow.
• God cares for you.
• Set God as the Lord of your soul.
B. Seek first the kingdom of God
1. “Seek” is a present tense command which means that we are “to seek and keep on seeking,” “continually choosing to pursue what matters most.” (31)
2. “First” means it is of first importance to our lives because it is important to God.
3. “His kingdom” means God’s eternal priorities and those principles associated with God’s kingdom.
4. And “these things will be added to you” means God will supply what you need.
Philippians 4:19, And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
APPL – James Dobson is right, “He who dies with the most toys dies anyway.”
• Your soul is valuable.
• God declared it to be so when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for your sin.
• Will you trust Him with your life?
o Your soul is worth more than your toys.
o So beware of greed and be rich toward God.
• Will you set God as the Lord of your soul?
o Don’t worry about tomorrow.
o But seek first the kingdom of God.
• Your soul was made for an eternity with God, that’s why Jesus said, “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21)
• Will you give your heart to Jesus?
Luke 12:13-34 NASB
13 Now someone [a]in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But He said to him, “[b]You there—who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over the two of you?” 15 But He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one is affluent does his life consist of his possessions.” 16 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 And he began thinking to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and I will store all my grain and my goods there. 19 And I will say to [c]myself, “You have many goods stored up for many years to come; relax, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night [d]your soul is demanded of you; and as for all that you have prepared, who will own it now?’ 21 Such is the one who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich in relation to God.”
22 And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, [e]do not worry about your [f]life, as to what you are to eat; nor for your body, as to what you are to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, that they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25 And which of you by worrying can add a [g]day to his [h]life’s span? 26 Therefore if you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about the other things? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither labor nor [i]spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28 Now if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You of little faith! 29 And do not [j]seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For [k]all these things are what the nations of the world [l]eagerly seek; and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But [m]seek His kingdom, and these things will be [n]provided to you. 32 [o]Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father has chosen to give you the kingdom.
33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor does a moth destroy. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.