Sermon: Lies Possessions Whisper to Our Souls (Luke 12:13-21)

Luke 12.13-21 Audio

Lies Possessions Whisper to Our Souls

Luke 12:13-21

**The key to being a faithful follower of Christ is to guard against self-indulgence and pursue self-denial

Jesus is still speaking to this very large crowd, some 10,000 plus people.  This crowd is mixed.  Some are on the fence when it comes to Jesus.  They are interested in the show but are still trying to figure Him out.  Then there are those who are there for the right reasons, they hang on every word of Christ and glean great wealth for their souls.  Still yet, there are those who believe the lies of the Pharisees that Jesus is coming from Satan.

Lk 11:15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,”

They believe this because they have been seduced by the Pharisee’s false religion.  They have bought in to the idea that whatever the Pharisees teach is true.

I think we can figure out how the Pharisees could manipulate the crowd into thinking Jesus was from Satan…

Traditions tend to cause trouble for the truth.  The people were used to a certain type of teaching, even though it was wrong.  The people connected the Pharisees to God, which was also wrong.  So when Jesus begins teaching the truth, something they’ve never heard, they can easily be persuaded He comes from Satan because His teaching is so different than what they were used to.  The crowds are getting more and more hostile toward Jesus.

Jesus continues to teach and preach.  As He does so a man interrupts with a demand.  Let’s listen to our Lord’s response.  In Jesus’ response, I pray there is grace for our souls today.

This is God’s Word:

Lk 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Lk 12:14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

Lk 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Lk 12:16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully,

Lk 12:17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’

Lk 12:18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

Lk 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’

Lk 12:20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

Lk 12:21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Lie #1-Our Life Depends on an Abundance of Possessions

Lk 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Lk 12:14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

Lk 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

This man in the crowd yells out in the midst of our Lord’s teaching and demands that Jesus make a ruling.  This is not a request but a command.

Let’s analyze this situation.  Jesus is in the middle of teaching about the kingdom of God, sin, repentance and salvation.  He’s teaching about spiritual issues.  This man is not the least bit concerned with his soul and cares nothing about what is being taught.  He is consumed with materialism and greed.  Greed has overtaken him.  He thinks his life depends on possessions.  He has believed the lie that his life depends on an abundance of possessions.

**The key to being a faithful follower of Christ is to guard against self-indulgence and pursue self-denial

In verses 13 and 14 we have this man blurting out a command to Jesus.  We also see Jesus’ very firm comeback, Man…in todays vernacular this would be similar to saying Mr or Stranger.  Very quickly our Lord clarifies that His concern is not with helping this man sort through his stuff but rather, this man becomes a sermon illustration on how greed can consume us.

Last week we read that Jesus told his disciples to be on guard against the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  Today, He shows us something else we are to guard against.  We are to guard against greed and covetousness.

The word here for guard against is a very important word for us today.  It more than to stand guard it is a word that is more aggressive than just guarding something.  It means to protect at all costs.

As I studied this word, I was reminded of a story in the news a couple of weeks ago.  The young mother was at home with her baby and two men were trying to break in her house.  She called 911 and grabbed the gun.  While she was on the phone, she asked if she was aloud to shoot if they entered.  The lady on the other end basically told her that she couldn’t give her permission to kill someone but if they entered her home, she could do whatever was necessary to protect herself and her baby…she shot.

There was no way those men were going to get her child.

This is how aggressive Jesus wants us to guard against greed.

Possessions whisper to us from outside and are trying to enter.  They lie to us and tell us that we will find happiness in an abundance of stuff.  Jesus tells us that our lives have nothing to do with the abundance of possessions.

Lie #2- Possessions Provide Security

Lk 12:16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully,

Lk 12:17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’

Lk 12:18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

Lk 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’

I want us to see here the mentality of a man consumed with materialism and greed.  Whenever I read this part I always think of Mr. Potter (It’s a Wonderful Life).  The thinking of this man is consumed with selfishness.  He has no thoughts of God’s Kingdom or helping others.

He thought to himself (there was no one else in the equation).  It doesn’t say he spoke to his wife or his son.  It doesn’t say he spoke to anyone else it was just him.  Notice with me the beginning of anxiety for this man…‘What shall I do.

Notice he says, My Crops…My Barns…My Grain…My Goods…My Soul.

Here’s the lie: This man believed that the success of his crops came about through hard work and sweat.  He thought he was responsible for the bumper crop.  We know that we can sow and water but it’s God who brings the increase.  The first lie he believed was the lie of hard work brought about an abundance of crop.

Another lie he believed was that it belonged to him…my…my..my.  The reality is God has placed us as stewards over our possessions.  When we are given an increase or an abundance we must ask God why and determine what He wants us to do with the abundance…I guarantee it’s not to hoard it but to give it.

He also wrongly believed he could keep it and that his life would now be comprised of rest and relaxation.  Look at all the stuff I’ve accumulated and it’s all mine so now I am set for life.

**The key to being a faithful follower of Christ is to guard against self-indulgence and pursue self-denial

I know so many people who live their lives to retire.  They think that once they retire their lives will be so much better and that all they will need to do is relax and enjoy themselves.  I’m afraid that too many people trust in the abundance of possessions rather than trust God.  They believe the lie that possession provide security.

He was so consumed with keeping it all that he began to think irrationally.  He was going to tear down his barns and build bigger ones, which would use up money to build and farmland to put them on.  He would do anything to keep his stuff.

This is like the person who pays storage fees for years only to discover that they’ve been paying to store mold and rot.

He was seeking to find security in possessions and not in God.

The truth was with this man, he was set for life… but was not set for death.  Jesus shares with us a very chilling reality…This man’s life was hours away from ending.

Lie #3- Possessions are Ours to Keep

Lk 12:20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

The reality was that this man had placed all his apples in one basket.  He banked on the fact that he had many years ahead to enjoy the life of ease.   All he really did was hoard stuff to give away after he died.

Ps 39:4 “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!

Ps 39:5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

Ps 39:6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

Ps 39:7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.  

I’m sure there was a whole lot of eating and drinking and being merry while the heirs were dividing the inheritance.  All the man had was left behind because, as they say, you can’t take it with you.  What a waste.

Jesus’ Summary

Lk 12:21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Everything the man had banked on to make his life easy and secure was now going to someone else and what he really needed he didn’t have.  He was penniless and bankrupt when it came to God.  He had nothing of any value for eternity.  His money bags in heaven were empty.

He had laid up treasure for himself on earth but had no treasure in heaven…he was a foolish investor.  He’s known as the rich fool.

He had just cashed in his 401k and had purchased a beach house and poured himself a glass of lemonade and dropped the little umbrella inside his glass and fell over dead.  He had never given God a second of his time or a second thought.  But now he was meeting God and all his wealth was worthless.  His soul was required of him.

Application-

We too must fight against listening to and believing the lies of possessions.  We live in a country that has been given an abundance of possessions.  We have a lot of stuff but do we find true happiness in our stuff?  America is the richest most unhappy medicated culture in history.  Chasing after possessions is like chasing after the wind.  People never have enough and their stuff never quite satisfies and they cannot ever find a way to keep it.  Riches are either stolen, rust out, or vaporize in the stock market.  While we have them in our power, we must use them for the most good and the most glory for God.

This man had more than he could use.  He had more than anyone could use in this lifetime and still he wanted it all.

We also see this man really wasn’t as happy as he thought he would be because he was anxious about how he was going to be able to keep everything for himself.  I’m sure he spent many a sleepless night thinking about how he could keep it all.

When we misuse our abundance we too will become anxious.  We too will spend more money to find ways to keep it.

The Bible teaches that we are to work hard and then depend on God to supply our needs.  It’s good to have some in the bank.  It’s good to have some abundance but not to keep but to give.  God has given us abundance in order for us to have extra to share not to hoard.

Biblically, we are to work hard enough so that we do have more than we need, not to hoard the extra but to give to others who are in need and to support the work of God’s Kingdom.

How are you doing?  Are you busy at work in order to have some extra to give or are you one who expects others to give to you?  Do you have an abundance that you’ve come to find security in or are you finding security in Christ?

Next week, we’ll learn that misusing our goods and trusting in them lead us to anxiety and worry.  They also come in conflict with the Kingdom of God.  We’ll learn that material goods can poison our souls.

One Whose Treasure was On Earth

Lk 18:18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Lk 18:19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

Lk 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'”

Lk 18:21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.”

Lk 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Lk 18:23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

Lk 18:24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!

One Whose Treasure was Christ

Lk 19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through.

Lk 19:2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.

Lk 19:3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature.

Lk 19:4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.

Lk 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”

Lk 19:6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.

Lk 19:7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

Lk 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

Lk 19:9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.

Lk 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Lie #1- Our Life Depends on an Abundance Possessions

Jesus says no.  Our lives do not depend on an abundance of possessions but on a relationship with God…He is our life.

Lie #2- Possessions Provide Security

Jesus says No.  Our security will only be found in God

Lie #3- Possessions are Ours to Keep

Jesus says No.  The second we die all our stuff goes to someone else.

**The key to being a faithful follower of Christ is to guard against self-indulgence and pursue self-denial

Lk 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Lk 9:24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Lk 9:25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

Guard against self-indulgence and pursue self-denial.

 

%d bloggers like this: