We must spend no time or energy worrying about what we need, instead we should work diligently to advance his cause in this world trusting that he will adequately provide all that we might need.
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16-02 Fear and Fears-Part 6
Fear and Fears – Part 6
The Fear of Having Nothing
Well, I gather you did not win the PowerBall lottery this last week. Of course I had hoped that you wouldn’t play at all but either way you’re back to everyday life now with all of its demands and concerns. And you don’t have a billion dollars in your checking account, right? So you’ve got everyday life before you. But what you do have in your checking account is we established last time we were together is certainly more than most people around the world. You are clearly the global one percenters, there’s no way around that. And you think having so much more than most people around the world, who make it through every day, that it might exempt us from all these financial concerns and worries and the anxieties that come along with our income and our expenditures. But of course it doesn’t, we’re not exempt from that. As a matter of fact physics bear out that the more money you have it seems we worry about what we do not have. So instead of relieving the pressure it seems that those of us that are, relatively speaking, rich as it relates to history and the present globe. We seem to have a lot of financial concerns and a lot of financial pressures.
Well, that’s the case and you can joke about them and call them first world problems but they are problems never the less, particularly not just for our mental state but for our spiritual lives. We have these issues that disrupt our peace which according to the Bible is something we should have in large measure because we are God’s children. It derails our sense of security which is the adopted redeemed people of God. We should have that in the largest measure of all. It certainly does something to corrupt our faith, our trust in God, which Jesus said we ought to have. It ought to be a sterling and resolved trust in God our Father. So knowing that we’re not exempt and not only that, we may be more vulnerable to the financial pressures that everyone experiences at one time or another. I think it’s good for us to turn back to Luke chapter 12 and know the urgency with which we should look at these instructions in Luke 12 that Jesus give us in our fight against any kind of financial stress, any kind of financial worry, any kind of concern regarding whether or not we’re going to have enough or worse case scenario thinking that we might have nothing at all. We might end up broke and penniless. We need to look into this passage and declare war against any vestige of worry, concern or anxiety in our lives regarding what we have and the provisions of our lives.
Luke chapter 12 verses 22 through 34, understanding just how destructive and antithetical worry and anxiety and fretting and panic and stress are regarding our provisions, we need to have that in view that’s antithetical to everything we are and should be as children of God. We need to read this passage with great thanksgiving that we can find in it some remedy and instructions to avoid these pitfalls in our Christian life. Now as you glance at verses 22 through 33, these some 13 verses, you can remember where we were. All of this started the interruption of a man who wanted Jesus to solve his financial concern, the debate he was having regarding his inheritance and Jesus took that as an opportunity to talk about greed and covetousness and contentment, and we dealt with that last time and now he turns to his disciples. Verse 22 and he says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.” Verse 23, “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, then why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!”
By the way, circle that word, faith. In those 7 verses we just read, it really culminates with that statement, where is your trust, where is your belief, where is your confidence? Verse 29, do not seek what you are to eat – strong word for seek by the way – why do you hunt after, why do you pursue it, why are you going after it like that? What you’re going to eat, what you’re going to drink nor be worried for all the nations of the world – there’s our verb again – they seek, they crave, they run after, they hunt after all these things. And your Father knows that you need them. Instead you want to know what to hunt after and seek after? Seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Matters of fact, sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure – there’s another word I’d like you to circle – where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Now I had you circle the word faith in verse number 28, had you circle the word treasure in verse 34. That’s a great way for us to break this passage in half. If the idea is for us not to worry, not to be anxious, not to have this stress that every one else seems to have about their finances. Well, we need a lesson in faith and we need a lesson regarding our treasure. We need something we need to understand from the first seven verses that deal with our belief and our trust in something, and then the next six verses we need to understand our priorities. We need to know something about our values; we need to know about what we’re suppose to treasure. So let’s take the first half and let’s give it this label on your worksheet if you’re taking notes and I would hope that you would. Jot this down. We need to not worry, but instead we need to trust in God’s promises.
1. Don’t Worry, Trust God’s Promises
See it’s a lesson in trust; it’s a lesson in faith. If you look at the first seven verses here, as we kind of review this a second time, we need to see that God has several things here in this passage that he’s presenting to us as truths, as promises. God keeps his promises and he makes a few promises in this passage that we need to affirm. And by the way God is always good at keeping his promises and he always keeps his promise. I think of my kids I taught to golf when they were just little tykes. And then I regretted it because they got so much better than me so quickly, but when I was a kid I remember that first tee you’re always a little anxious about that because you never know with all the people watching, the first tee, usually it’s near the club house or whatever and you’re not sure whether you’re going to make everyone roll their eyes, why did this guy bring his kids out to play golf, and they whiff the ball or they hit it out of bounds. And so I worried for a long time, well, then they got a lot better than me, then I didn’t worry. I kind of wanted to call everyone’s attention to them hitting off the first tee because I knew they were going to bomb it right down the middle, for you know, for ever. And so, I didn’t have any doubt.
Now I would step up with great confidence in my sons to hit the ball long and straight down the fairway because I’ve seen them do it so many times with very few shanked out of bounds. Now think about this, I grew great confidence as they addressed the ball that they could hit it straight down the middle and I was even willing to say, “Hey everybody, this is going to happen. I just know it is.” Imagine if they had never ever ever in their entire life ever hit one out of bounds. They never wiffed it, they never missed it, never topped it, they always hit it long and straight every single time. I would have no doubt, no doubt. When it comes to God making certain promises and then telling us in essence, “Where’s your faith in the things I just told you? Don’t you know that I do what I say I’m going to do?” Here we have a God with a perfect track record, he’s batting 1000. We need to look at the things that are itemized for us here in the first seven verses and say, “You know what? God is going to do these things. I don’t care what my feelings say. I don’t care how much trepidation I might have because the circumstances of my life. God will do what he says right here.” And because of that, it’ll affect my level of anxiety; it ought to change my mind regarding worry. That ought to do something about the emotional disposition or chaos in my heart because I know these things are true.
Now what’s the first thing he tells us in the first three verses? He says to his disciples, “Don’t be anxious about your life. Don’t worry.” Why? Well he says because life is more than food, the body is more than clothing. We got that lesson last time we talked about the life is not consisting of the things that we posses. And then he says, now here’s the lesson we need to learn. Consider the ravens, look at the birds, they don’t sew, they don’t reap, they don’t make clothes, they don’t plow fields, they don’t plant, they don’t have storehouses, they don’t have barns, they don’t have combine machines, they don’t have refrigerators or pantries. And yet God feeds them. Now here’s the first lesson. How much more – now underline this word – value are you than birds. Now that not only applied to the disciples of the first century but it certainly applies to us today. Jot it down this way, letter A, when it comes to believing the promises of God, let’s start with this one. We need to believe that God values you.
A. Believe God Values You
He values you. He values you above everything in all of creation. You are at the top of the heap in terms of the created order in this universe. I know we’re not naturalists, we’re not environmentalists in regard to philosophically thinking about our world, but you do understand you’re not just a continuum from kangaroos and apes and now you’re humans. You’re distinctly different though you’re a part of the animal kingdom. You’re really not an animal. Why? Because you were endowed at creation with the same kind of component structural parts that don’t deal with biology but deal with personality. You reflect the personality of God. You have the ability to think; intellectual. You have the ability to feel in an emotional way. You have the ability to plan and to strategize and volitionally make decisions. Intellect, emotion and will, you have the make up, the constitutional make up of God himself. You are made in his image, that’s what the Bible says. You’re not God, you’re not eternal, you’re temporal but when he made human beings he made you unlike anything else on the plant. And though there’s a lot of amazing beautiful things that God made here and none of them are stressed out about their food today. None of them are afraid that they won’t live till tomorrow, they trust God in the created order in which they’re in. You need to understand how much more valuable you are than any thing in this world that God is providing for right now. God values you above everything in all of creation.
Jot this down for homework assignment, Psalm 8. What a great Psalm. You are as it relates to God’s pecking order; you are made at the top of the corporal, the temporal, the material world that He made. You are at the top. You are crowned with the glory and honor of God himself, made a little lower than the angels. And God has now given you dominion over this earth and that as human beings. Men and women made in the image of God. Should not make us think, that God looks at what’s going on in our lives and doesn’t care. Of course he cares. And by the way we can spend a lot of time talking about us, as image bearers, how important we are to the creator. But go beyond that, many of you here have had exposure not only to conscience and creation, but the scripture, which made very clear we’ve got a sin problem with our creator. That we should have shame and guilt before our creator, but that shame and guilt can be released at the cross. And that God has provided a way to get all my sin forgiven and to be reconciled to my creator. And if that has happened for you, with a penitent heart in contrition and faith, you put your trust in the provision of Christ, now you are, the Bible says, adopted children of God. It’s one thing to be a creation of God, the best and at the top order of God’s creation, but now you’re a part of his redeemed community.
You are now a part of his adopted family. You are now according to the Bible as it says in Deuteronomy you are like the apple of his eye. Now I grew up in church, a lot of years I heard that phrase and had no idea what it meant. But the apple of God’s eye is that picture of the lens of your eye, which if you walk through the parking lot and get a little particle of dust in it, I guarantee you, your eyelid and even your whole body will respond to that at some point until you get it completely extracted, because the eyeball, the surface of the lens of your eye is so sensitive you can’t handle that. Not even a speck of dust or a grain of sand, you can’t handle it. And the Bible says that’s what you are to me. In a howling wasteland in a dust storm, Deuteronomy says, God perceives you as the apple of his eye. And as you bite your fingernails and think about, I don’t know if this deal doesn’t go through, I don’t know what we’re going to do, or I don’t know if I get a pink slip and I don’t have a job I don’t know what we’re going to do, we can’t have this retirement investment go out I don’t know what we’re going to do. And you sit there with stress and anxiety regarding the provision in your life you just need to realize, not only are you more important that all the animals God is providing for on this planet but you are his redeemed children as though that irritant in your life is not something that God feels, of course he feels it. You are the apple of his eye, he feels your concerns, he has a sense of the needs of your life, he recognizes every issue or crisis of your life and he feels it.
He is a God that cares for you. He is a God that values you. He is a God that we need to start at the very beginning of our thinking as saying, “I know I’ve got an issue that’s causing me stress but I got to stop and realize, God cares about me and therefore God has an interest in my crisis. God has an investment in my pain.” That’s why we cry out to Him. And when we do as we learned in the chapter previous to this, in Luke chapter 11, he said, “remember this, if you have your children call out to you with a need, don’t you even if you’re fallen and evil and you’ve got a lot of messed up things in your own heart? Don’t you know how to give good gifts to your children? Don’t you think God knows how to give good gifts to his kids?” And of course that’s where we throw the flag on the play and say well that’s the problem. I’ve asked God to solve this problem last month and he didn’t solve it. I told God I need this and he didn’t give it. No, I realize just like little kids often times demand things from their parents that good wise intelligent loving parents do not give them. We need to not confuse, speaking of first world problems, which first world people often do, we need not confuse needs from wants.
We need to certainly keep those distinct in our minds. When it comes to God giving us what we need, certainly when we ask for something that is a good thing, God knows how to give us what is good. That’s not a license for the prosperity gospel, that’s something that should let me at least understand the wisdom and sovereignty and intellect of God knowing really what I need and I can trust the fact that he cares about me, that he loves me. He has a value in my life and so before I let myself just go crazy with anxiety I’ve got to stop and say, “I’m not out of God’s concern, I’m not out of God’s purview, I’m not out of God’s oversight, I’m not out of God’s management. God cares for me.” How much? A lot more than the birds that I watch getting their stomach filled everyday.
Verse 25 and 26 of Luke chapter 12. The next thing he says that we need to have faith and believe is the absurdity of anxiety which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life. There’s rhetorical question that needs a rhetorical answer, and the answer is none of us, no one. Anxiety can’t lengthen my life. If you can’t even add an hour to your life, if you’re not able to do such a small thing as sixty minutes in addition to the life span of your life then why in the world would you be anxious about the rest? Now, important for us to recognize this, and I know that intuitively we could answer the rhetorical question at least on one side of our brain we could say I know that’s true, I guess it doesn’t really help. But it’s good to hear God say it and put it in front of us and say would you just believe for a second as you think about the anxiety and financial worries of your life. Can you just at least realize that anxiety is useless? Let’s just affirm that we believe that, letter B, jot it down that way, we need to believe that anxiety is useless.
B. Believe Anxiety Is Useless
It doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t help us. Anxiety is useless. I read an article in the sports magazine about, which I don’t read very often, as you know, it said something like the thirty most bizarre sports superstitions. And it talked about all these athletes that have all these crazy superstitions. And I knew about some of them, you know coaches that won’t step on the chalk, you know, foul line at the baseball field when they walk out of the dugout. And it went into all these, chewing gum, things people put behind their ears, and tennis players that won’t change socks for the whole week of the tournament, I mean it went on and on and on and on, underwear, it got weird, but it was interesting. I thought to myself, these crazy athletes, you really think, you really think that has anything to do with the outcome of the game, whether or not your cleat hits the chalk outline in the field, of course it doesn’t. Of course it doesn’t. It’s a silly superstition. And in some sense we got to recognize that though we sometimes like athletes think well you know it may not do anything but it feels like the right thing to feel when I got problems and I look at my budget and I look at my computer screen with my balance and my bank account and I feel the pressure, it just feels like the right thing to do. Like it should be a part of my, you know, emotional make up in the midst of this problem.
No it shouldn’t because here’s the thing about anxiety. It’s worse than being useless; I mean it’s really counterproductive. It would be like an athlete, a runner who says, “Well you know my superstition is I think I’ll run better and win the race and my little superstition is that I just need to put on a backpack with some books in it and then I’ll run the best race of my life.” No, you’d say that’s dumb. Or the swimmer who says, “Well I have a lucky tuxedo, and I think if I just wear my tuxedo in this next race it’ll help me win the race.” Or the dancer, you know I just have a pair of combat boots that my grandpa wore in the war and I just think if I wear those I’ll have that extra energy. No, it’s not going to help you. Anxiety is counterproductive. When it comes to anxiety, you need to realize it has no place in the Christian life at all. Matter of fact that reminds me of a verse that we ought to revisit often, in Philippians chapter 4, turn over there, call this verse up. Philippians chapter 4 verse number 6. Couldn’t be clearer than this, and it may help you, especially when you listen to the preacher say you shouldn’t feel this feeling and you think well there’s the absurdity of Christian exhortation it’s asking me not to feel something I can’t help but feel it when the budget doesn’t line up with the income. If expenditures and income if they don’t line up, of course I’m going to feel pressure. When the bills come in that I can’t pay and the transmission goes out and I get a flat tire I don’t have money to replace it. All those issues you think how in the world can the preacher say and Jesus tell me not to be anxious. Well here’s the thing, I can’t avoid the temptation to feel that as your chest tightens up, and you feel that sense of I don’t know what we’re going to do about this. Just remember this; the Bible recognizes you will be tempted to be anxious. And when the onset of that anxiety, that worry, that stress, that pressure comes into your life, the Bible would say use that as a trigger, as a platform, as some kind of catalyst in your life to do something that is a faith building exercise. Take this faithless anxiety and allow that to be the trigger or the catapult into something that will build your faith and your trust in God’s promises and that is in this passage and you know the passage it’s prayer, look at it.
Philippians chapter 4 verse 6, is that what I said by the way? It is, right? Do not be anxious about anything. And I guess that’s worth commenting on because a lot of us think, well maybe these little scenarios you’re painting I can see where you shouldn’t be anxious. But I got a real problem with a real medical bill and a real issue and this is life or death. Listen the Bible doesn’t give you the right to worry about anything. Be anxious about nothing, nothing. But in everything, here’s the response now, in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, those are three great words, I’m going to ask, supplication, I’m going to beg I’m really going to be passionate and the extent to which my emotional state seems all twisted up in my heart it may feel the best and most ardent praying I’ve ever prayed but it’s always going to be tempered with and the garnish around my supplication is going to be thanksgiving. I’ll cut you loose on that, on the questions on the back of your worksheet this week giving some thought to why that’s such an important addition to the prayers that we bring to God when we’re anxious.
And then it says this, just let your requests be made known to God, which by the way in the margin you might want to put this down, 1 Peter chapter 5 verses 6 and 7, 1 Peter 5:6-7, because there’s a great illustrative picture of handing over my anxiety. I’m letting my requests be made known to God, there’s a sense in which I feel this burden and I’m afraid of what’s going to happen if we don’t have this provision and I make my requests known to God, and when I do here’s how Peter puts it. I cast all my anxieties on him; you know the next line Sunday School Grads? What? Because he cares for you. Now back to letter A. I know I can take my concerns to God. I can even use my anxiety as an impetus to get there because I realize God is a God who does care. So, no anxiety, prayer about those things, begging God, thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to God, and here’s the promise, verse 7, should be highlighted in your Bible. Because what? God is then going to replace my anxiety with peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding.
In the non-Christian world doesn’t have this. Your non-Christian counterpart when they have the same financial problem that you have, they have stress and anxiety and worry. You’ve got first of all an affirmation that God cares about you and you know that. Not just the top of the creation heap but you’re a redeemed child of God, most of you here. And then you say well I know this, God wants me to take that tightened chest and that feeling of shallow breathing and I don’t know if we’re going to make it and he wants me to turn that into prayer. And when I start praying and laying those requests before him tempering all that with thanksgiving the Bible says God’s going to take my emotional state and he’s going to replace it with something, peace, a peace that surpasses all rational understanding. That means your non-Christian counterpart with the same exact circumstances is going to look at you and say, “I don’t understand why he’s calm and peaceful.” That’s exactly what God is expecting from us. The peace that surpasses all understanding is going to be like a suit of armor now; it’ll guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Be obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ who tells you, you should not worry and you should not be anxious. And you may say, “Well, how to I stop?” Well great, here’s the key, start praying. How does it look? 1 Peter 5, it’s like handing over my anxieties and saying these are your anxieties now. I’m not going to be scatterbrained. Which by the way the word in Greek that we translate anxiety in our passage both here and in Philippians 4 and also in Luke 12 is the root of that is the verb in Greek, meridzo. And meridzo means to scatter, to break into pieces. We don’t want our minds to be scattered, scatterbrained, we don’t want to be that. And the Bible says put your mind on a God who cares for you and tell him what your need is. Replace your anxiety with prayer. Why, because anxiety is useless, unless of course you simply use that temptation as a catalyst and a trigger to start praying to a God who does care. And as you pray, back to our passage, Luke 12 verses 27 and 28 you can be sure of this, that much like the grass of the field he’ll take care of you.
Verse 27, consider the lilies and how they grow they neither toll nor spin yet I tell you even Solomon at the height of the golden age of the united kingdom of Israel, Solomon, the richest king we’ve ever had in the Old Testament, in all of his monarchial, you know, vestiges of his regalia as a king, in all of his glory, as beautiful as he could dress himself and bedeck himself with all the jewels of the kingdom he wasn’t arrayed like one of these. God gives beauty to the field by popping this lily out of the field, look at that, if God’s going to clothe the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow, man, we just throw it into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, oh you of little faith. What’s the point? God’s saying, not only does God care about you, not only is anxiety useless here’s what you need to believe, letter C, believe that God will provide.
C. Believe God Will Provide
God will provide. Now again our problem in first world is I really confuse what I want with what I need, and what I need with what I want. I understand that God doesn’t give us everything we want; this is not a prosperity gospel message. We understand that sometimes we want a lot of things like an immature child comes to a parent and wants a lot of things that make no sense for the well being of that child to have. And so a lot of times like a spoiled brats we wave our fist at God and say, “God you don’t care for me because you don’t give me this.” And God may be saying, “What I want you to do here is to ratchet back your desires. Learn contentment.” To what extent? To the extent that I’m able to say with food and covering with these we’ll be content. So I know I don’t need all these things that I want. Now I may come to God and boldly ask him for those things but when it comes down to it the concerns that I have about living under and underpass and my kids begging for food I just need to stop with all of that and recognize God will provide. God is going to give me what I need. Believe that God will provide.
I need to turn you to and interesting passage in Psalm 37, to show you something that many of you don’t believe. I think you don’t believe this because you miss an important element of the Christian life. In other words, let me put it this way, your non-Christian counterpart that you know, they have an anxiety about their income about their provision about their retirement about their future. They’re afraid they may be penniless and living under and underpass and you are not to have that, not only because you have a clear belief and trust that God cares for you and not only because anxiety is ridiculous, but because you know God will provide and you know he will provide through a means that your non-Christian counterpart does not have. Did you follow all that? You have something they don’t have. A God that promises to provide and the means and mechanism of that provision you’ve got to have clearly in your thinking. Now let’s just start with the promise, much like our passage which may seem like pie in the sky, over promising of God’s provision but it’s not. And he tells you why in this passage. Drop down to verse 25, Psalm 37 verse 25, let’s start there.
David says, “I have been young, and now I am old, and yet I have not seen the righteous, God’s people, forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Now my fear is that if all goes bad the way that I fear that it’s going to go and my anxiety regarding my provision I might be penniless and living under an underpass and my kids will be out there with a cup saying, “Please donate to Pastor Mike Fund because we’re broke.” Now in that anxiety here’s David saying, I can tell you this, God always provides for his people. I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread. As a matter of fact the righteous is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. So now here’s the picture of the righteous, not only do they have their provision but they’ve got provision and they’re sharing, and they’re giving and they’re generous in their lending and their kids become a blessing to other people.
Now, with that you say well it’s a lot like a pie in the sky promise of Luke 12, he’s going to meet our needs, look what he does for the fields, he’ll do that for you. Note the mechanism; go back up to verse 21 of this Psalm. Let’s get the context. Psalm 37 verse 21, the wicked borrows and does not pay back. Well of course, they’re trying to get any break they can, they’re greedy, they’re grubbing for whatever they can get in this materialistic world. So the wicked they’ll borrow if they can get away without paying it back, they’ll do it. But the righteous is generous and gives. Now that’s the second time we’ve seen that, once in contrast to the picture, the dreadful picture, of the righteous begging and their kids out there begging for bread, penniless. Now here it says the righteous, the group of righteous people, they’re generous and they give for those blessed by the Lord they shall inherit the land. God provides for them but those who are cursed by him, they’ll be cut off. The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way, though he fall, there may be problems, there may be issues and bumps along the way, he shall not be cast headlong for the Lord upholds his hand. Now how does he do that? This is a great phrase, the Lord upholds his hand.
Now this may get a little too sentimental for some of you theologians, but there is something very true about that old poetic adages that when it comes to the hands and feet of Christ in this day right now who is that? Well, it’s the body of Christ. Matter of fact we call the church, the community of the righteous, we call them the body of Christ. Now here’s something I have that my non-Christian counterpart does not have, the body of Christ. And here’s the thing about the body of Christ, the value of the body of Christ is that they’re giving and they’re generous and lending freely. Now here’s the thing, I may fall but I’m not going to be cast headlong as the next verse says, begging for bread, living under the underpass with my kids out there trying to get a meal because I’m part of the righteous community. Here’s what I’m trying to say. The Lord will provide and what you have which the non-Christian world can’t always say they have is a community of people that are committed to our communal and corporate wellbeing. Therefore when the rich young ruler walks away because he’s got to keep every penny he’s ever made and Jesus says, “Look how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom. He doesn’t have our kingdom values; he doesn’t understand the call in his life.” And Peter says, “What about us? We left everything to follow you.” And Jesus responds there in Mark chapter 10, let me quote it specifically. No one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or lands for my sake or the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times as much in this life with persecution and in the next life, eternal life.
Now think about that. I now in this passage am told that Peter who left his house and his income is in now some communal righteous connection with people that provide him some kind of insurance policy that gives him a hundred more houses than the house that he left. Really? Now it’s going to come with persecutions so may be there will be a time with whatever tent you do have that someone will come and steal it, burn it down, you’ll be under persecution, but you’re part of a community now where you’ll get a hundred times as much. Well if you’re saying that sounds like the prosperity gospel, no, it’s not, because I’m not talking about some kind of signing over the deed of a hundred houses to you, you’re going to have condos in every city.” I’m not saying that. I’m saying this as I’ve often said from this platform that if in the middle of my sermon, my car gets stolen, my identity gets ripped of, all my bank accounts get cleared out to zero, my house burns down and I’m there going to the parking lot with everything gone. I’ve got no money, I’ve go no house, I’ll bet I got somewhere to stay tonight, right? And it won’t be, you know, the Travelodge, right? Am I right? Now I’m not getting the response I would have hoped, right? I’m assuming I got a place to stay tonight and I’ve got a family with some kids and they eat and they’re inconvenient and they make a mess but I’m assuming even with my family I’ve got a place for my kids to not be out there in the edge of a parking lot begging for bread tonight. I’ll bet I’ll get a hot meal tonight, right? I bet I get that. Why, because I’m a part of this community of people that are generous and lend freely. See, that’s my insurance policy, I have a hundred places, I have so many options to stay if my house burns down tonight, I might call and ask for the thread count on your guest bed, because I got a lot of places to go. And so do you, and so do you, if you’re a part of the community of the redeemed.
Now, I do this when counselees come in, oh I’m anxious I often take them down the road of the worst case scenario, which doesn’t let them feel better before they feel worse. They go, I don’t like this counseling process, but I make them think, what if, what if, what if you’re worried about this. What if it happens, what if this and let’s just say everything you fear comes to pass. At the end, you know what, they’re not without meals, they’re not without a place to sleep, they’re not without what God will provide through the community of believers. I often say and I’ve said it many times when I think about the ultimate catastrophe, if we have the hugest earthquake we’ve ever had and half of us are killed and everybody’s houses are uninhabitable, I’ve said it a million times, meet us here. Bring your sling shot and we’ll hunt for rabbits and coyotes and we will make a go of it. Even if this place is in shambles we will together as the community of the redeemed, we will share, we will lend we will make it work because we’re provided for in Christ. Now, if I’m going to believe that God will provide it’s not because I’m thinking I can go in a corner and pray and my wallet automatically fills up with money. And that’s how some people preach these passages. The Bible is very clear we have something as a part of the community of the redeemed that my non-Christian counterpart does not have that allows me to lay back and say, “You know what? I trust that God cares. I know anxiety is stupid and I realize this, God is going to provide for my basic needs.”
Verse 29 Luke chapter 12. Big shift – that’s what I need to have more faith in, at least those three affirmations of our text. Now we start talking about treasure. Now we start talking about priority. Now we start talking about agendas. Do not seek, that’s a strong word as I told you as we read this, it’s a strong word. Don’t hunt, don’t impassionately go after, don’t chase, don’t pursue, don’t strive for what you’re to eat, for what you’re to drink. Don’t be worried for the nations of the world – here’s the verb again – they seek, they chase, they hunt after all those things, your Father knows you need the basics of life, he knows that. Instead – here the verb again – here’s what you need to hunt, here’s what you need to strive for, here’s what you need to seek ardently after, seek his kingdom and all these things will be added to you that you’re so worried about or at least your non-Christian counterpart is worried about. Fear not, no fear, no worry. Fear not little flock it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Matter of fact sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide yourselves moneybags that don’t grow old, treasure in heaven doesn’t fail, thieves can’t get to it, moths can’t get to it. Where your treasure is your heart will be also. So it’s a kingdom treasure, it is not a treasure that the rest of the world treasures, which is money, materialism, greed, chasing after all these things. I want to chase after the kingdom priorities. Let’s put it this way, number 2, let’s give it this heading. Don’t worry. Going to replace worry and fear with what? With pursuing God’s agenda.
2. Don’t Worry, Pursue God’s Agenda
That’s what I want to do, pursue God’s agenda. I’m going to pursue God’s agenda. And the first contrast in the first two verses of this section, verses 29 and 30 are going to tell me this. It will stand in stark contrast to the way the world is actively pursuing what they pursue. I’m pursuing something but they’re pursuing it differently. They have a different set of values and their aiming at something different. So let’s put it that way, letter A, we need to work unlike – there’s the key word – unlike our anxious and greedy world.
A. Work Unlike Our Anxious And Greedy World
They go to work to earn a paycheck so they can get stuff that they need to make their lives comfortable and fun and pleasurable or whatever they want, the conveniences of the world. They go to work and they work hard to get all that, work, work, work to get those things. Now, I’m going to work, which I should make a statement about here, let me make this statement, I should work because the Christian work ethic that we find in the New Testament which is all throughout the Bible, is something that is part and parcel of what it means to be godly. It’s just that my work is aimed in a different direction. I don’t work for the paycheck so that I can get stuff that I want to enjoy, that may be the outcome of working and getting a paycheck and going to the store and buying some food that satisfies my stomach, that may be true but that’s not why I go about it. I do it in contradistinction to the world’s passion to get those things, I’m not aiming at those things, I’m actually aiming over those things.
My Christian work ethic, this is worth turning to, turn to the book of Proverbs. I should show you a passage on this, we’ve got some time so let’s do that. Proverbs chapter 10. I want to show you that the promise of God’s provision which is certainly the case is not leading me to being lazy or some kind of slothful sluggard to use Biblical terms. That’s not my point, as a matter of fact if you’re looking at the first half of this message you may say, “Well, God loves me, anxiety is ridiculous, God will provide, I guess I’ll put my feet up, pass the lemonade, someone in the church will take care of my needs.” That’s not at all what we should have in our thinking. As a matter of fact here’s the same principle, verse number 3. Proverbs chapter 10 verse number 3, The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, now there’s the promise again and I think oh that’s great. That’s fantastic, there’s the promise again, pass the lemonade. No, he thwarts the craving of the wicked. And the next thing he wants to make clear is, though he promises to provide for the righteous, here’s the thing, a slack hand causes poverty, and the hand of the diligent though in contrast it makes rich, it gives plenty. He who gathers in summer, well, that’s a prudent son, he’s out there in the fields with the sweat of his brow he’s working. He who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. So the lazy guy, shameful, the diligent guy, that’s an honorable son. So we know this, the Bible promises to provide and God is going to take care of our needs. He then says, but it would really be wicked for you to be a lazy person, so work, well what’s the difference then? Here’s the difference, Colossians chapter 3, jot this one down, we won’t turn there, but you know the passage, 3:23 and 24.
When I work in a diligent, sweat of the brow biblical work ethic, I’m aiming above the paycheck to the eternal paycheck. Here’s how it’s put, Colossians chapter 3, do your work hardily, whatever you do, this is not about missionaries and Bible translators and pastors, although they ought to be working hardily too. But everyone no matter what you’re called to do, whatever you do, work at it hardily as – you know the verse – unto the Lord. So I’m looking above the boss, above the manager, above the board, I’m looking above the paycheck, I’m looking ultimately to the Lord. I want to serve him in this work, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the inheritance as a reward. Therefore, you’re serving the Lord Christ. So I’m serving the Lord, I’m not serving people. Now here’s the thing. That by the way, that’s the real Christian work ethic which will prove the quality of your work probably to be a whole lot better than your non-Christian counterpart. My work ethic should be as a Christian, much better because I’m aiming at something much higher than just getting that paycheck or that bonus or that raise. I want to have the Lord say, “Well, done.” That’s the worker that’s working in the harvest in the field in the heat of summer, that’s good that’s honorable. You’d be shameful if you want to kick back and sleep through the harvest. Don’t do that. I want to say I want to please God; therefore I’m going to work hard.
So I’m all about work, you can see the subpoints here, work, work, work. I’m going to work. I’m going to trust God and I’m going to work but I’m not going to work like the world that just wants the cash, that just wants the money because they see that as the means to happiness as we said last time we were together. The idea of my work ethic is pinned on the fact that I realize that while the world chases money and pleasure and convenience and fun and comfort and ease, I’m trying to please the Lord so I can hear from him, “Well done.” So that’s my work ethic, that should be your work ethic. We should together say we’re going to work hard for the Lord and through that he often will as the text says in Proverbs 10, use that as a means to provide but it’s not what I’m aiming at. And really I gotta tell you that’s the best advice I could ever give. I give it to my kids as they were growing up, listen the idea of you is to put your hand to the plow whatever God has gifted you to do, and you work hard for God. And you know what? The paychecks will take care of themselves. And I guarantee you if you work with the Christian work ethic for the glory of God, you know what? Most people’s work ethic will pale by comparison, and God will take care of the rest. But I’m not working for the paycheck; I’m not even working for my boss. According to this text I’m working for the honor of the Lord and ultimately God is the God who rewards that kind of single focused work. Not like the greedy world, they’re chasing after that. I’m chasing after something else; and let’s get specific about what that is.
Luke chapter 12 verses 31 and 32, the next two verses. Instead of that the nations going after all those things, chasing, God knows you need certain things and he’ll provide those. Instead you want to set in the sights of your passion and your energy, here’s where you should put it, instead seek his kingdom and the other things the world is chasing God will take care of that. He’ll give you a place to sleep; he’ll give you food in your stomach. Don’t worry about that, focus on the kingdom. Seek his kingdom and all these things will be added to you. Fear not, that’s what we’re trying to prevent in this passage. Don’t fear, don’t worry, don’t be anxious, don’t fear little flock, you’re in this team, you’re in this flock. You have a Shepard and it’s your Father’s good pleasure to give you – there’s the word again – the kingdom.
Now what is the kingdom? The kingdom. The kingdom is, in short, I mean we could say a lot, big tomes on the kingdom. But the kingdom in short is the fact that God is in charge, to be very specific, in the mediatorial kingdom of God. His Son is going to sit on a throne and he’s going to lead the people. Now, right now the kingdoms of world, as I often say from the book of Revelation, they’re going about their business as it does say in the book of Revelation as it gets near the end they’re all about their stuff, all their money, all their greed, just being in a society where I’m working for pleasure, I’m working for the weekend, I’m working for fun and ease and convenience, riches and all that. Now the kingdom of God is all about us bringing all honor, all glory, all riches, all power to him. I care about him. He’s at the center of this. That’s the kingdom. Now, right now I’m a part of the flock, which is a called out group of people within this world that’s kind of this counter-distinction to the world of saying I live for Christ. Now I’m a part of the kingdom, he’s given me access to the kingdom; I’m a card carrying citizen of that kingdom because I live for Christ. The world doesn’t but I should be seeking that kingdom. I should be promoting that kingdom, and because the full expression of the kingdom is yet future, I think we should word it this way, letter B, let’s put it down because here’s where our focus should be, instead of worry I should work to promote God’s coming kingdom.
B. Work To Promote God’s Coming Kingdom
I’m working to promote God’s coming kingdom. And because that kingdom is coming filled with people that are not dishonorable but they’re diligent, it’s going to affect the way I work at my job. It’s going to affect the way that I think in my mind. Matter of fact let’s start with that. How do I promote the kingdom, the coming kingdom? Let’s start with this; it’s got to start in your own brain. You have to, in your own brain, let’s talk let’s be very specific, let’s break that down. You need to start praying for the coming kingdom. Did not Jesus tell us that in Matthew chapter 6? I quoted this all the time, after we worship God, hollowed be your name. What’s the next line in the model prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples? “Your kingdom come.” You ought to be praying daily for the arrival of the kingdom of Christ which will be inaugurated when Christ comes back physically and bodily which is exactly what he promised to do, and he’s batting 1000 on all his promises. Christ will return and when he returns the kingdoms of the world, Revelation 11, will become the kingdom of our Lord, the Father, and of his Christ, the Son, and he will reign for ever and ever. So I’m praying for that. Let’s start promoting the kingdom by first of all praying for it every day. Praying for it’s arrival.
Secondly, Colossians chapter 3 verses 1 through 4. Let’s think about it, let’s put it in our brains and begin to set our minds on it. Don’t set your mind on things below that’s short term temporal kind of thinking. Let’s set our mind on something that lasts. Let’s set our minds on the eternal coming kingdom, which means when I got a decision to make about my expenditure of effort in this area or that area I think about, let’s think about the kingdom. How is this going to relate to the kingdom? Which is a better investment of my effort, my time, my energy as it relates to something that will last for eternity. What kind of impact will this decision have 100 years from now? That is kingdom thinking. So I’m going to think about the kingdom, I’m going to set my mind on the things of the kingdom. How do I promote the kingdom? Pray for it, set my mind on it.
Here’s a third one, it’s a little more subtle and philosophical, put it this way, it’s more of a descriptive. Let me show the comparable insignificance, how did I write it down? Show the relative unimportance of this kingdom. I want to do that. In some way in my own mind I want to start to show the relative unimportance, that the contrasting insignificance of the world in which we live. As Paul put it to the Corinthians the things we can see, temporal, they’re going away. The things I can’t see, those things are eternal. I got to start in my own life, showing that I value the things that are eternal more than the things that are temporal. I’ve got to being to promote the kingdom seeking the kingdom by looking at the fact that things here don’t matter as much as things there. Here’s a great passage if you’re taking notes, Hebrews chapter 11 verses 13 through 16. Hebrews 11:13-16. Just sit back and listen to this great descriptive from the scriptures.
These people which he’s just hailed as heroes of the faith, imperfect as they were. They all died not receiving the things that were promised. But having seen them and greeting them from afar, they acknowledged that they are strangers and exiles on this earth. Now think about that, I know God’s got promises that are going to be fulfilled, I greet them in the imagination of my mind from afar and I know that here the world is not my home, exiles and strangers. For people who speak like that, who speak thus, that I’m strangers and aliens and there’s something better there on the other side, they make it clear that they are seeking, love this word, a homeland. They’re seeking their own home, an eternal home. If they had been thinking of a land from which they’ve gone out, there’s a philosophical statement, if they had been thinking about the world of this kingdom here on earth, if they had well then they would have had a chance, an opportunity to return. And I sit here as people preaching and begging you as a congregation you’ve said you want to follow Christ you said you’re a participant in the kingdom, you say you’re part of the flock and the Lord has given you access to the kingdom, you have an opportunity to live for this world if you want. You have opportunity to return, as the Bible says like a dog to it’s vomit. You can do that if you want. You can live for this world. I don’t encourage it, I don’t recommend it. Or you can say, “You know what? I’m not” as the next passage says, it is though they desire a better country. Love that. One that is heavenly. Therefore, God is not ashamed to call them their God. That’s one of the best verses in the Bible. If I just have kingdom values and I think about the reality of the eternal state more important than this temporal state, if I’m not wanting to live for this world, but I’m ready to live for the next world, doesn’t mean, you know, I go up on a mountain top in a sheet in a monastery somewhere not caring about the present world. Of course I care about the present world and I’m going to work and I’m going to do everything God has called me to do with diligence but I realize it’s about the next life not this one. Then God says, “I’m not ashamed to be called your God.” As a matter of fact it says, for he has prepared a city for them. I love that. God has got a kingdom for me; and he’s got a kingdom coming for you. What he wants right now is for you to promote that coming kingdom, first of all in your mind. How? Pray for it, set your mind on it and then show the relative unimportance of this world to the next one and that’s huge. That’s lifetime worth of things to think about how to do it.
Secondly let’s promote it our world. I’m still in the middle of the letter B here I realize, not enough room? Promote it in the world. How do I promote the coming kingdom in the world? Jot this one down, 2 Peter chapter 3. 2 Peter chapter 3 says this, that we, just to state the principal again, are seeking a world according to his promise where righteousness dwells. But according to his promises, this is verse 13, we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Now there’s the passion. Now surrounding that verse is this, how do I promote it? According to verse 9 the delay of the coming of kingdom is only there because God is patient wanting more people to come to repentance. Now think about that. The reason the kingdom didn’t come last year and Christ did arrive and the kingdoms of the world didn’t become the kingdom of our Lord. Is because God wants more people to repent and to become a part of the kingdom, become apart of this little flock, that’s what he wanting. Therefore I can promote the kingdom simply by sharing the gospel, being an evangelist, trying to get more people into the kingdom. When Christ started collecting the first tier of people for the kingdom in the New Testament, He said follow me, there it is, enter my flock, be a part of the kingdom and I will make you, fishers of men. You’ll be advocates an emissary, ambassadors to pull people into the kingdom. So I can promote the kingdom in this world with evangelism.
Well the rest of the passage says this, if everything in this kingdom is all going to be burned up. If everything is going to be destroyed in this way, it asks this question in verse 11, what sort of people ought you to be? And he names two things. To live lives in holiness and godliness. So the second way I can promote the kingdom in this world is to unabashedly, boldly with great resolve live the Christian life in front of a non-Christian world, as Paul put it to the Philippians living as bright lights in a dark, crooked and perverse generation. I don’t care if they want to mock us, I don’t care if they want to say our book is old, I don’t care if they say you guys are all crazy, I’m going to live for the values of the kingdom in this world. And in that way I promote the kingdom. Let your light shine before men so they might see your good works. And some of them perhaps through that testimony along with my verbal articulation of the gospel they might one day glorify our Father who is in heaven. In summary, I want to promote the kingdom, I do, I want to seek the kingdom. How do I do that? Promote it in my heart, praying for it, setting my mind on it, showing the relative unimportance of this kingdom and then I’m going to promote it in the world through evangelism and my sanctification.
Letter C, verse 33. Well if that’s the case, and I’m all about the next life and I’m showing the relative unimportance of this kingdom, then you know what? I said this kingdom as we started last week it runs on money so I guess the fuel of this particular kingdom becomes relatively unimportant as well. Matter of fact when there is a need I’m going to give to it. Sell your possessions and give to the needy, provide yourselves with moneybags that don’t grow old, with a treasure in heavens that does not fail, where thieves don’t approach it, moths don’t destroy it. For where your treasure is – where’s that suppose to be? the kingdom agenda – there your heart will be also. So my heart is there which means this, if I know everything I have in terms of resources will be useless at the end of my life then I might as well use those resources to advance the kingdom. That’s so important, let just think of some practical ways that’s done.
1 John chapter 3 verses 16 and 17 when it comes to a kingdom value here’s a kingdom value which will echo the first half of this message. The kingdom value is that I love my brothers and sisters in Christ so much so that if they have a need I’m going to meet the need. Here’s how it’s put, here’s the center of the kingdom value that God would love us so much that he would send his son for us, that’s John 3:16, 1 John 3:16 says he laid down his life for us, and if he laid down his life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. Therefore I know this, that when it comes to kingdom values the front of the parade is the Christ who is willing to sacrifice for the good and wellbeing of others. All of us, he died on a cross. Now I’m probably not going to be dragged out of the city and die on a Roman execution rack for the good of other people, so what do you mean John? Well the next verse explains it. Verse 17 gets real practical. If anyone has the world’s goods and he sees his brother in need and yet he closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in that person? Little children, let just go to the next verse, let us not love in word or in talk, but let us love in deed and in truth. What’s the point? The relative unimportance of my money contrasted to the supreme importance of kingdom values. I know that I can have an opportunity because my value overcomes the relative unimportance of my money to say here’s a kingdom value can be expressed by giving I’m willing to give it.
And the early church was all about this. There was a need it got met. We talk about that situation of a house burning down and a car getting stolen, an identity getting ripped off and bank accounts cleared. We don’t have to go to that extreme. If we really got serious about this, kingdom values, we can get to the place where it doesn’t take a catastrophe to open up my wallet and help someone. I mean it can be as tangible as someone in this church who you recognize takes the bus to church and there are people that do that and they’re working hard and they’re young in the beginning of their life and they don’t have a vehicle and you’re looking in your driveway and you got more cars than you really need. Think about that. It would be one thing to say, “Hey bro, you don’t have a car, I’ll pray for you.” That’s loving with word and with talk. But here, why don’t you come over let’s sign over this pink slip, let’s make a transaction, let’s give you one of these cars that I really don’t need and let’s meet a need in your life. Sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide and when you’re doing that you’re providing money bags for yourself that don’t fail. What does that mean? There’s an investment by letting go and not clutching the things of this world. I’m doing something to promote the kingdom value and God’s says I’ll reward for that. I mean I’ll store up for you a treasure in heaven that doesn’t fail, thieves can’t steal it, and moth can’t destroy it. We’ve got to work at being generous for God’s sake. That’s how I put it letter C, work at begin generous for God’s sake.
C. Work At Being Generous For God’s Sake
If there are needs we need to meet them. The early church in Macedonia was poor. The church in Corinth was rich. The church in Corinth was a lot like a lot of Orange County churches, they were at the crossroads of an abundant trade. They had all kinds of money, it was a wealthy place. Macedonians they weren’t that way. Paul writes to the Corinthians, he says you know this famine we got going on in Jerusalem, we got churches down there and they’re struggling. And you know what? I just want to tell you guys, you Corinthians, you ought to excel in this grace of giving. And let me tell you one thing that should bring you some perspective. The Macedonians over there, who have next to nothing, here’s how he puts it, 2 Corinthians chapter 8, they begged us, they begged us, earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints. They couldn’t wait. They wanted to, they begged. And he said, just wanted to let you know how the grace of God has been manifested in the church of Macedonia a sever test of affliction their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity. Love that. For they gave according to their means, more than that, I can testify beyond their means. They begged us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints. Important for us to recognize that to tout kingdom values is to realize that when there is a need, and it doesn’t have to be as catastrophic as what I painted for you early in this message, that you need to meet it. Because relatively unimportant, it’s not the whole kingdom I live in but the money in which it runs, you know what? I can pick up the check. I can look at a neighbor and say, you know what I could look at this little piece of land between us and we had some work done and I can say, well I got 60% of it, you got 40% lets get the calculator out and figure that out or I can look in the eyes of a non-Christian and say you know what? I’m going to show you that you’re more important to me than maybe I trip I could have taken this summer by paying this and telling you not to worry about it. You don’t think that gets non-Christians attention when you do that kind of thing? You don’t think they recognize as Luke 16 will later teach us in this book that we can make friends by means of money and perhaps change their eternal destiny so they welcome us into their eternal dwellings because they’ve gotten saved.
What’s the point of that passage? The passage is that you need to realize that the way we treat our money as relatively unimportant willing to generously give it can build bridges with non-Christians that can promote the kingdom in some very tangible and powerful measurable ways. Where your treasure is your heart will be also. The point is if your treasure is in the kingdom, if your agenda is promoting the kingdom. Money you’ll find is something that you will use generously to get that done whether it’s in your evangelistic efforts, whether it’s someone in your home fellowship group or whether is just recognizing as I often say around here that maintaining kingdom values in your life may call you to stay the extra hour, go the extra mile and spend the extra dollar. And you know what that shows? That I care about God and his agenda and his people and his kingdom more than I care about the bottom line of how much money I have left over to buy toys at the end of the month.
The American Psychological Association did this extensive study and they said a vast majority of Americans feel stress about their finances. I go, “well, no duh”, you know yeah, we feel a lot of stress about those things. Interesting thing about that study that I read was that 25% of the people that were a part of this study, 1 out of every 4 say they are stressed about money all the time. They put themselves in that category. I thought, how sad. Wow. A Zogby poll a different study I was reading this week said that Americans were polled as to what the worst cultural problem is that we have in America. At the top of the list was greed and materialism. I thought, okay, we can make some interesting correlations between the juxtaposition between those two facts. But the interesting thing to me was okay you’re right we live in a greedy and materialistic society, we can all see the problem. And then we look at people that are so bound up in their own hearts with frustration and stress and worry over their finances. And I thought and my Dad use to say to me, in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. Have you ever heard that old saying? It will not take much in terms of your spiritual growth in terms of contentment and generosity to be noticed as an outstanding example in our society.
We live in a society that is overcome with financial stress. You want the peace that surpasses all understanding? It doesn’t take much to have people scratch their head at you in a land that is so burdened with financial worry. If you could just, just apply half of this sermon this morning. You will be outstanding and distinctive in terms of wow, look at that person. And then if you start to not only be content but generous with what you have. You don’t think you’re going to get noticed in a world that says the biggest problem we have in our society is greedy materialistic people? It’s not as though we’re living in a different time and in a different place it may be harder because we’re a product of our culture but you do understand a just a little bit of spiritual growth in this area is going to get the attention of our world. It’s going to get the attention of your non-Christian neighbor, your coworker, your extended family member who needs Christ, or maybe just within our church, the expression of the love of Jesus Christ in our church, just because you’re not sitting on your wallet, saying, “I ain’t letting anyone touch this.” Because you don’t value those things of this kingdom the way the rest of the world does, the way your non-Christian counterpart does. God wants us to live with a sincere confidence in his provision, he’d like to see more contentment in our lives, He’d like us to live with that peace that surpasses all understanding, living in a very greedy and materialistic world. I exhort you to live that way this week for the glory of Christ. Let’s pray.
God help us in a society that makes it real hard I suppose to think that we can be like the person we would picture responding rightly to this exhortation from Luke 12 someone who doesn’t care, doesn’t worry, doesn’t fret, doesn’t brood over their finances, doesn’t ever have that stressful anxiety about their money. God it may not be that’s it’s easy for us in our day having been so conditioned by our world but I try to hold out some hope here at the end of this message that in reality it won’t take a lot to move in the direction of Christ-likeness that will start to make a real big difference. There is so much going on in our world that would make someone who’s just a generous contented peace filled person when it comes to finances, it would make them, people want to know what is going on. How did you do that? So, God fill us with your Spirit this week to be the kinds of people that show that we know what a great deal of unrattled faith that you’re a God that cares for us. Anxiety is ridiculous. You will provide for us, we have no need to worry. We care about the kingdom. We care about the next life. We’re willing to share and do whatever it is that we can do to show the relative unimportance of this world and our money. God do that so that you might be glorified. In Jesus name, Amen.