Sermon: Our Giving Father (Luke 12:22-34)

 Luke 12-22-34 click for audio

Our Giving Father

Luke 12:22-34

* When we are afraid or worry we are not living our lives by faith.

In this entire section of Chapter 12 Jesus teaches us about fear and anxiety.

God’s children must not fear man-

Lk 12:4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.

God’s children must fear God-

Lk 12:5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

God’s children have nothing to fear because God cares for us.

Lk 12:7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

He gives His children the Holy Spirit.

Lk 12:11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say,

Lk 12:12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Armed with this knowledge a believer should never fear anything.  We are commanded not to fear; we’re given the provisions that should drive fear away and yet Jesus compassionately knows we still, at times, are afraid.

He continues His discourse on fear and anxiety.  I pray that as we work through this section we will learn many things about God and about fear.

Last week we saw a man who was anxious about his possessions, and barns.  We learned that possessions whisper lies to our souls.  They tell us that life depends on an abundance of possessions.  They lie and whisper that possessions bring security.  Finally they lie and somehow we believe we can take them with us when we die.  Last week, we also saw a man who had many possessions laid up and stored away but he was not rich toward God.  He was so worried about how he could keep all his stuff that his stuff became a burden and fear and anxiety sat in as he thought about the size of his barns.

This man’s treasure, however, wasn’t his possessions.  His possessions were a means to his treasure.  His real treasure was eating, drinking and partying.

Money is simply currency to purchase what you treasure.  I’ve often heard that you can look through someone’s checkbook and very quickly discover where their heart is because it’s what they spend their money on.

His knowledge of God was deficient.  He didn’t really even acknowledge God in this life but cared only for his life here and now.

Based on these truths, Jesus continues to teach His disciples and us about fear and anxiety. 

Please hear God’s Word…

Lk 12:22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.

Lk 12:23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

Lk 12:24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Lk 12:25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Lk 12:26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?

Lk 12:27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Lk 12:28 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!

Lk 12:29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.

Lk 12:30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

Lk 12:31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Lk 12:32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Lk 12:33 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.

Lk 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

1. Fear Not, God Loves You

Lk 12:22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.

Lk 12:23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

Lk 12:24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

The Rich Fool from last week was afraid of loosing his abundant possessions or his wealth.  His life, that he thought would now be a life of ease, was a life of anxiety as he worried over how he could keep all his stuff.

For Christians, we can sometimes be tempted to worry whether or not God will be faithful to not so much give us an abundance but will God meet our needs?

To the man in the crowd, last week Jesus said life is more than an abundance of possessions.  Here, He tells His followers that life is also more than the bare essentials.  We exist for more than just eating.  We exist for more than just wearing clothes.

The real thrust of Jesus teaching on fear in chapter 12 is that He desires to change our thinking concerning God.  Fear, for a believer is founded on a wrong understanding of God.

Martin Luther, the great reformer, before he was saved viewed God as a harsh Judge whose desire was to send people to punishment in hell.  However, once Luther was converted and experienced God’s grace his view of God drastically changed.  He saw God now as benevolent and giving.

Jesus told us we should fear God and not man.  He also told us that if we fear God we don’t have to fear anything because God loves and cares for us, we are of more value to God than many sparrows.  He cares for the sparrows and He loves us more than them so we can deduce that He will care for us.

Jesus desires us to have a wright understanding of God and if we do we are very close to living life without fear and anxiety.

In verse 24 we see a very similar teaching.  God meets the needs of the ravens/ crows.  They neither plant crops or gather into barns (unlike the rich fool) and yet in spite of their lack of planting and harvesting God feeds them.  If God feeds those unclean scavengers, Jesus promises that He will also feed us.

The cause of fear Jesus addresses in this section is a view of God that says, He doesn’t want to provide for us so we must provide for ourselves.  Jesus is showing us the cause of fear and anxiety.

The rich fool tried to play God.  What do I mean?  He had no relationship at all with God.  He thought that everything he had was based on his ability to get it and his ability to keep it.  He thought he was his own provider.  My crops, my fields, my goods, my grain, my soul was his attitude.  Anxiety was the result and hell was the ultimate end for him.  He was playing God.

When we think we are ultimately responsible for the things we have whether they are in abundance like in the case of the rich fool, or in moderation like food and clothing we try to play God.  When we think everything is ours and everything we have came from our hard work and ingenuity we have fallen to the temptation of playing God.  The great lie of Satan is: I will be like the most high.

God alone is the Provider.  He owns everything.

Jesus shares with us why we can trust God to meet our basic needs.

Lk 12:24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

God will supply our needs because He loves us.  Fear not saints of God He loves us and Jesus calls us His friends.  Fear not, God will supply all our needs.  Fear not, we are most valuable to God.  Fear not, the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

* When we are afraid or worry we are not living our lives by faith.

2.  Fear Not, God has Your Life in His Hands

Lk 12:25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Lk 12:26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?

Lk 12:27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Lk 12:28 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!

Fear and worry can set in if we are overly concerned with the length of our lives.  We should eat right and exercise regularly but ultimately it’s God who determines the length of our lives.

Again, Jesus argues from the lesser to the greater.  God cares for ravens and because He loves you more He will also care for you.  He clothes the lilies with extravagant beauty so, it stands to reason because of the superior love God has for His children, He will also clothe you and hold your life very tenderly in His hands.

Jesus deduces, if God dresses the flowers whose days are short will He not clothe and care for you?  Don’t worry about your life.

Many people have various fears.  Some folks are afraid of crowds, bridges, tight places, spiders, heights, and so the list goes on.  In each case, the reason they are afraid is that they think they are in control over their life.

If I have a panic attack going over a bridge then I think I’m God and in control of the length of my life.

Then Jesus really gets specific…

Lk 12:28 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!

O you of little faith…

Mt 8:26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 

Mt 14:31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 

Mt 16:8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?

Every time you are afraid or worried about something there is a deficient understanding of God dictating your behavior.  You are thinking that God is uncaring and stingy and so if you’re going to have the things you need then you must be the Creator and Sustainer of Life yourself.  Or if you do believe correctly about God and you’re still afraid, then you’re not putting that belief into practice.

You suffer from LFD- Little Faith Disorder.

* When we are afraid or worry we are not living our lives by faith.

Jesus is teaching us that God is kind and caring and can be trusted to meet our needs.  By faith we live in peace knowing that if we fear God we have no good logical reason to fear anything else.  Does a nursing newborn fear that his mother will not feed and clothe him?

God’s love for His people is greater than the love a mother has for her children.  God is for you, God cares, He will meet your needs.

3. Fear Not, God Knows Exactly What You Need

Lk 12:29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.

Lk 12:30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

The next logical reason Jesus gives us as to why we should not fear is because God is omniscient.  He knows exactly what we need.  He knows exactly what we need to sustain our existence and what is needed to conform us to the image of Christ.  He is orchestrating all circumstance for the good of His people and for His glory.

God knows exactly what His children need physically and spiritually.

Paul teaches the exact same thing in Romans 8…

Rom 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Rom 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Rom 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Rom 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Rom 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Rom 8:33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Rom 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Rom 8:36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Rom 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Rom 8:38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,

Rom 8:39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

* When we are afraid or worry we are not living our lives by faith.

4. Fear Not, It Pleases God to Give

Lk 12:31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Lk 12:32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Here we have the climax of Jesus’ argument.  Rather than be preoccupied with providing for your physical body, eating, drinking, clothing, shelter, etc concentrate your efforts on seeking God’s Kingdom and His righteousness.

Another point Jesus makes is that our task as children of God is to seek or pursue the Kingdom.  The way we do this is by seeking to treasure God more than money and seek holiness rather than material goods.  When we seek the kingdom, low and behold, God gives us all the things we need to live.  His promise is to keep us alive by giving us what we need to live so we can seek His Kingdom.  So we understand the purpose of food and clothing is to maintain life in order to chase after God and His Kingdom.

Yet another point is that our heavenly Father is pleased or happy to give us the Kingdom.  God doesn’t give us the Kingdom because He has to or it is His duty to or because some outside force is making Him.  He gives it because it is His joy to do so.  God is a giving God not a stingy and withholding God. 

When we are pursuing something that God is pleased to give, we will receive it.  Our lives will be free from anxiety and fear as we seek the things we were designed to seek.  Don’t chase after money chase after righteousness and God promises to give you all the money you need.

* When we are afraid or worry we are not living our lives by faith.

5.  Worry Free Living

Lk 12:33 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.

Lk 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Please notice the shift.  Before the disciples were worried about their needs being met and fear and anxiety were the results.  Not Jesus basically says, rather than hoarding like the Rich Fool and being anxious like one who tries to provide for themselves, Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.

Releasing your grip on earthly treasures and using them to help others is how someone actually stockpiles treasure in heaven.

We must notice, Jesus doesn’t say sell all your possessions.  He says, get rid of the abundance and be happy with your needs being met because earthly stuff is only useful to your soul as it keeps you alive to pursue the Father.  When money becomes our pursuit we have believed the lie of the devil that our lives are to found in the abundance of our possessions.

There are basically two types of people:

-Those who live for possessions because they think they are the end of life.  To stockpile possessions will lead to fear in this life and ultimate destruction in the life to come.

-Those who live for Christ and see possessions not as the end but as a means to sustain life while stockpiling treasure in heaven.  Theirs will be a life of peace and never ending joy with God in heaven.

Jesus tells us, you have one heart and it can only be fixed on one treasure.

* When we are afraid or worry we are not living our lives by faith.

Live a life of faith and trust.  This leads to peace and to heaven.

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