Luke 12:21-46, Marks Of A Rich Relationship With God

Luke 12:21-46, Marks Of A Rich Relationship With God
1. You Trust The Father To Provide For Your Needs (v22-30)
2. You Store More Treasure In Heaven Than On Earth (v31-34)
3. You Keep Yourself Ready For Jesus To Return (v35-40)
4. You Are Faithful With All God Has Entrusted To You (v41-46)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching Luke 12:21-46, Marks Of A Rich Relationship With God

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Luke on Sunday, January 29, 2023 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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Well, as we look at Luke Chapter 12 verses 21 through 46 this morning, I've titled The Message marks of a rich relationship with God. The marks of a rich relationship with God. Now I know I just walked through some financial charts and things. I assure you this is not a direct relationship to that, although the word rich is in the title, this is not a request for. More funds or more money or anything like that. This is really a call for us to evaluate where we stand and and would your relationship with God be accurately categorized as rich? Do you have a wealthy relationship with God, a rich and deep and? Significant and meaningful relationship with God. Here in Luke Chapter 12 we're diving kind of into the middle of some of the things that Jesus is teaching. He was teaching about this rich fall who had a really abundant and overflowing year, and so he thought, ohh, this is great. And so I need to build bigger barns and store all of this wealth and and then next year I'll I'll even have a greater year. And so it's going to just continue to grow exponentially. And he's just making all of these plans. This one year of abundance that he received and what he didn't know is that the Lord was going to require his life of him that night, and so he would not get to execute all those plans and enjoy all of those things. And so Jesus is outlining this whole account here. But but he kind of sums it up and leads into the verses we're about to dive into and verse. 21 he says yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth, but not have a rich relationship with. He had great plans this guy that Jesus is talking about. He had really wonderful abundance, a wonderful crop and and there was nothing wrong with the ideas that he wanted to execute on except for they only factored into the picture. The temporary things of this life. And he was ignoring eternity forgetting about how temporary things are and forgetting about. The importance of seeking the Lord and having the Lord Direct his steps in what to do with those resources that God had provided, and so on the the heels of that, Jesus makes that application. And he says look, it's foolish to be focused just on the earthly wealth and and to not develop. The Rich's relationship with God and you can see that carry on in verse 22. It says then turning to his disciples, Jesus says that is why I tell you and he's going to go on to give him give some further teachings but but they're connected to this thought. That is why he says, because it's foolish to be focused on the temporary and to ignore developing a rich relationship with God. That is why. And so we're going to look at four points this morning to understand a little bit better the marks of a rich relationship with God and understand Jesus wants us to be aware of these things so that. We can work on developing a rich relationship with God as we walk through these marks of a rich relationship with God. I would encourage you to consider what is it that we are called to do when we miss the mark as we walk through it. If we see that we perhaps are missing that mark in our lives that it's not. Really, an aspect of our life or it needs some attention because it's been neglected. What do we do when we? Miss the mark. Well, of course we know the word sin literally can be translated to miss the mark and what we do with sin. What we do when we miss the mark is we confess our sin to God. We ask him for help in that area and we draw near to him so that he can enable us to walk in the life and the. Path that he has called us. Do and so make sure that as you consider these things and as you find yourself missing the mark in one area or another, that your answer to that is not legalism. That your answer to that is not well, I'm just going to be really determined. I'm going to fix this myself, but the answer to missing the mark is always running to the Lord, confessing our. Deficiencies and failures and inviting the Lord to work in our lives, transforming us to be more like him. Well, the first mark that we'll see founded verses 22 through 30. Is that you trust the father to provide for your needs. Here's the the mark of a rich relationship with God. It's faith. You trust the father and and in the face of real need the that the needs for the basics, food and clothing you trust the father to provide for those needs. Let's check out verse 22 and 23. It says, then turning to his disciples, Jesus said that is why I tell you not to worry about. Everyday life, whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to. There for life is more than food and your body more than clothing. Jesus again says that is why I'm telling you these things I'm telling you not to worry because it's foolish to be focused on earthly treasures and to neglect a rich relationship with God. You need to be more focused. On your relationship with God. Then even your needs for everyday life. Jesus says that's why I tell you. Don't worry about those things, whether or not you're going to have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. I would guess everyone of us has been in those situations and times in seasons where we know what it's like to worry about. Whether or not we have enough food, or whether or not we're going to have clothes to wear. But Jesus here is saying in verse 23 life. Is more than. There's more to life than this life. There's more to your body than the clothing that will cover it there. There is a need for us to look beyond the temporary and the physical to the eternal and to make sure. That we are developing a rich relationship with God and that will result. In a trust of the father. So I tell you not to worry about everyday life. Pastor Warren Wisby says the word translated worry means to be pulled apart and that is what worry does to you. If your heart is centered on Christ, and trusting holy in him, you will have an A united heart that fears. Alone worry pulls us apart. It weighs us down. It burdens us. We all know what it's like we all know how to worry. We've all experienced times and seasons of worry, and perhaps we battle and struggle with worry to this very day. So what if? What if? We miss the mark on this. What if we find ourselves we can't help it? There's just no way around it. Worrying about how we're going to pay the bills, worrying about how we're gonna eat and how we're gonna provide for our family. What if we find ourselves in that situation again? I say, what do we do? When we miss the mark. We confess it to God. We draw near to him and invite him to work in us that the the reality of worry is that it's not about a lack of faith necessarily. It indicates more a lack of relationship. When you know the father. And you know his hearts, and you know his capability. Well, then there is not much occasion to worry. It's about our relationship with the Father that enables us to lay aside worry now Jesus here in the next few verses is going to walk through some reasons, not to worry. Reason #1 here's what you need to know. You are valuable. Check out verse 24. Look at the Ravens. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns. For God feeds them and you are far more valuable to him than any birds. Jesus says. Think about the Ravens. Think about the birds. There are some animals, of course that store up food for the winter, but not the Ravens, not the birds. They don't have barns and storehouses. They rely upon the continual ongoing provision of the father. And God feeds them. Now the point here is not so much about the birds, but to say, look. If birds are provided for by the father. And he feeds them and cares for them, and you understand that you are more valuable to the father than any birds. When you understand you, you're so valuable to him. Then you can take hearts. You can have faith. That God will provide. He sees your every need. He knows your every concern. He understands the worry and and anxiety that plagues. Your heart and mind. And he says, I want you to remember, you're valuable to me, I know and understand. I care about all of my creatures. But none of the other creatures aside from humanity, none of the other creatures measure up in value. As far as I'm concerned, God says as you do, you are the most valuable thing. To me in all my creation. So don't worry. You are valued by the Lord Reason #2 not to worry is you know it's really not effective. Verse 25 can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can't accomplish a little thing like that, what's the use? Of worrying over bigger things. By worrying you can't. Grow yourself a couple of inches taller. Otherwise, I mean we would all be playing basketball, right? We'd all be competing in the NBA because we worry enough to grow ourselves up if we could. But it doesn't work that way. If worry could extend your life. By weeks or months, years or decades we would all live incredibly long lives because we have enough to worry about, but. Jesus says it. It can't even add a single moment to your life. And and so if. Worry is so ineffective in in such little things. What's the use of worrying? It's not effective to allow yourself to get caught in that track and continue down that path. And allow that worry to pull you apart. As you are anxious and stress. Over those little. Things that stress has no power over anyways. Well, the third reason Jesus gives is that you are eternal. Verse 27. Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or. Make their clothing. Yet Solomon, in all his glory, was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? He says, look at the lilies. Think about the flowers, how God clothes them. He makes them beautiful. And then in comparison to Solomon why compared to Solomon? Well Solomon, you can think of him as having unlimited resources. Anything Solomon wanted he could have and he walked through a pursuit of that in the Book of Ecclesiastes. You can read through that. But the idea here is you if. You had all the money on the planet. And you could hire the best designers and get the best materials and have the best clothing made for you. You would not compare. To the beauty that God has already provided in his own creation. So the flowers are infinitely more magnificent than all of. The fashion industry can produce. And yet the flowers are only here today and thrown in the fire tomorrow. We've had lots of rain. You notice all the foothills around us. They're all nice and green. For a couple of months, they're going to be brown and dead before you know it. They're just temporary, they're just short lived, they're. They're not long lasting. But you are, and so if God puts so much effort to make these temporary things beautiful. Jesus says he will certainly care for you. Not, maybe not. There's a good chance, but certainly he's going to take care of you. You are eternal. You have so much value and worry doesn't actually help you. So don't worry. Finally, reason #4 God knows your needs. Verse 29 and don't be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don't worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world. But your father already knows your needs. Your father, who loves you, who is the creator of the heavens and the earth, who has all wisdom and all power, all knowledge, past, present and future your father. Knows your needs. So don't worry. Unbelievers worry, that's not surprising. They don't have a loving heavenly Father who knows all things and can do all things and can provide anything he wants to at any time they. Don't have that. If you don't have that kind of father, then you should worry. By all means stress yourself. Out and be worried because. It's up to you to provide. But when you know your heavenly Father. How much he loves you, how much he cares for you. Will you learn to trust? You learn to trust. And again, this is a mark. Work of a rich relationship with God. You trust the father to provide for your needs. You see, the issue is not here, that if you're tempted to worry, you need to really work hard to earn God's favor so that he gives you what you need. That's not what the Lord is saying at all. What the Lord is saying is. If you're tempted to worry if you're struggling with worry, what you need to do is reconnect back and re understand who it is that. Is your father. And where you're tempted to worry and you're struggling. In those things. You need to understand it's. A symptom. Of your disconnect from the father. That puts you in. The position to worry. When you have. A rich relationship with God. You trust the father to provide for your needs. That doesn't mean you don't have a ounce of worthy worry or a moment of worry, but but that as those. Times of worry come upon you. You run to the father and you trust in him and you continually place your trust and lay your cares upon the Lord, knowing that he cares for you. So if you find yourself missing the mark, confess it to God. Ask him for help to teach you how to trust him. Drawn near to him so that you can know him to a greater degree and trust him to a greater degree. Well, the next mark of a rich relationship with God will see in verses 31 through 34 years point #2 you store more treasure in heaven than on Earth. When you have a rich relationship with God, you store more treasure in heaven than you do on Earth. Let's read verses 31 through 34. It says seek the Kingdom of God above all else. And he will give you everything you need, so don't be afraid. Little flock for it gives your father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven and the purses of heaven will never get old or develop wholes. Your treasure will be safe. No thief can steal it, and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is there, the desires of your heart will also be. This is Luke's version of that famous verse in Matthew Chapter 6. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Luke says that this way seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. The call to us is to put God and his. Will his purposes first. And So what matters most is not whether. Or not I have. Food on my table. What matters most is. Whether or not. I am seeking the Kingdom of God. And God's promise is that as I seek the Kingdom of God and seek to walk in his will seek to live out that relationship and fellowship with him, his promise is that he will provide the food on the table. He will give everything that I need. So here he says, don't be afraid. Now he's not just talking about. Don't be afraid of lacking. He's also saying don't be afraid to give. Because he goes on in verse 33 to say sell your position possessions and give to those in need. So it's not just. Being fearful. About not having enough. It's don't be fearful about being generous, because as you respond to God working in your life and speaking to your heart, God is saying I will provide and sometimes I'm going to call you. To stretch yourself and to step out in faith and trust me in those. Little things, those financial things. But don't be afraid. Don't be afraid because verse 32 it gives your father great happiness. To give you the Kingdom. Think about that. You're asking God for provision. You're asking God to come through in a time of need. And sometimes in our minds it can kind of feel. Like the Lord's Asking again, Are you sure you need to eat again? I'm sure you could. Afford to skip a meal or two, Jerry? Why are you? Asking again for for provisions of food. Sometimes we can feel like. God's tired of us requesting and God's tired of us leaning on him and needing from him. But here the Lord tells us it gives your father great happiness. To give you the Kingdom. It gives him great joy. To provide for your needs. And so, as you rely upon him and call upon him, and walk with him in. That way it's. It's the father living his best life. Working to provide for you the things that are necessary in your life, commentator FB Meyer says, do not think of God as grudging. It is your father's good pleasure to give nothing delights him more than to be able to give good things to them that ask him. He loves To give to provide to work in your life. In the. Ways that you need. And so again, Jesus says, let that be an encouragement to you to be generous, sell your possessions and give. To those in need. Now, that's not a legalistic command to always sell all of your possessions and never own anything, but the idea is you can. Be a little. Bit loose and free. To yes even sell things that you need. Sell things that you own in order to give to those who are in need and and what Jesus is saying here is that this soothes seeds that will be rewarded in eternity. He says this will store up treasure for you in heaven. This generosity. You might experience the loss at the moment as you're losing that which you are giving away. But you're storing up treasure in heaven. There's a diminishing here, but there's an increasing storing up in heaven that is developing. And and he says, the. Persons of Heaven will never get old or develop holes. You never have to. Worry man, if I store up too much treasure. In heaven it might wear out the purse and it'll get the hole in the bottom and then all my. Queens will drop out and I'll miss out because I I overdid it. I'm sorry, Lord, I was too generous and I overdid it. I over obeyed you. You can't over obey the Lord your treasure in heaven is safe. It can't be stolen it it can't be lost. It doesn't, doesn't get diminished. It doesn't get destroyed or corrupted over time. And so he says, where your treasure is, they're the desires of your heart will be also. There is a Union here. Of your treasure and your heart. What you value is demonstrated. By where you store your treasure. Your heart and your treasure are aligned. And so this is a mark of rich relationship with God. When you know the father. You're well connected to him. You store up more treasure in heaven than you do. On earth because. And walking with him, but he's got some assignments for you and he's providing you things so that you can be part of his work and other people's lives. But but also there is that focus on eternity and and you're valuing the things that are to come more than you're valuing the temporary things. Of this life. I like the way Thomas Constable talks about this. He says material possessions cannot provide the quality of life that intimacy with God can. Christian disciples should live with what God has revealed about life beyond the grave. Specifically with reward or loss of reward. Clearly in view rather than living for the present so many times, we're trying. To experience that abundant life that life and life more abundantly than Jesus promised. But we're trying to experience that through material, possessions, achievements or accomplishments here in this life and in the temporary. But here we need to be reminded. Material possessions cannot provide. The quality of life that intimacy with God can. A rich relationship with God. Provides a far better quality of life than anything in this life can provide. Are you missing the mark? Again, what do we do? Confess it to God. Ask him for help and draw near to him. Invite him to work in your life to help transform you. And the one who stores more treasure in heaven than on Earth. Point #3 as we move on to verses 35 through 40. Of a rich relationship with God is that you keep yourself ready for Jesus to return. Verse 35 and 36 says be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The mark of a deep relationship with God is a readiness for the return of Jesus. Jesus goes on to give this illustration. Pretend you are a servant of a master who is getting married. And so your job as a servant is to. Take care of the house. So that after the wedding, when the master comes, he's bringing his bride. All he needs to do is knock. And the moment he arrives at Knox, whoosh, you open the doors. Is that how you open the doors when someone? Knocks on your door. I'm usually pretty. Reluctant to talk to anybody at my door? So I kind of like take my time getting up off the couch. Look through the people. Oh good, I took long enough the person already left. When it comes to a servant waiting on the master. There is to be a readiness. So that the. Master doesn't even have to finish knocking. Because the servants. At the door, waiting not at the back of the complex. Did I hear something I did you hear? I don't know. Let's just keep going about our business. No, I'm expecting the master to return and so I'm ready. And and I'm going to be here and available and as soon as he's at the door, I'm going to open for him. This picture of a servant anticipating the master's return, Jesus says that's a good picture of what it is to be like for you. I'm going to come back. Jesus is telling his disciples he's telling us. We look forward to the rapture of the church, where we will be caught up to meet the Lord. In the air. We we look forward to the second coming of Jesus, where he will set foot on Earth and establish his Kingdom for 1000 years. We look forward. For the return of Jesus. But we're not always ready for the return of Jesus. We're not always ready so. That if. There was a knock right now. We would have everything in order. Sometimes we are so carried away with the things of this life. That we know there's things that God has put upon our hearts, but we've left them undone. Because other things take priority, there's other things to do and things that we need to focus on, and so we set aside those things that we know God is called us to. And we intend to get to them at some point. We one day, we'll do those things and serve in that capacity and reach out in that way. Hopefully one day. But but there's this delay. There's this pushing back because. There's other things that have crept in and have become more important and more valuable to us. Verse 37. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them. Put on an apron and serve them as they. Sit and eat. Jesus says, look if you are ready if you keep yourself in a state of readiness. So that your heart's never in a condition where you're saying Lord please don't come back I'm not done yet. I haven't, you know, got to those things that you have called me to do or I'm involved in things that I know you don't want me involved in. Don't come back right now, Lord, please don't come back right now because I I would be in trouble if you came back right now. Like no no. Keep yourself out of those situations. And keep yourself in a. Position where you're ready and Jesus says, look if you're ready. The master will do something unthinkable. He will sit down the servants. Put on an apron and serve. The Master will serve the servants. There's going to be reward Jesus is saying. For the servants who are ready for the masters return. But it's not an easy thing to do. To be ready for the master's. Return verse 38. Because he may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he. Comes he will reward the servants who are ready. There there's going to be those occasions, those seasons, maybe even those long durations. Where it feels like. The Master's not coming. It's going to be hard to stay awake. You ever tried to stay awake? I mean, listen, I guess I'm getting old now. When we were young. It was no problem to stay up all night. I don't know. I'm thinking about it, but I'm thinking about it so I'll say it out loud. I remember being living at the Norco house past Tom's Old house right and and me and Lester. We would stay up till like 3:00 o'clock in the morning playing video games and I would play over and over and over again because. I was always convinced I could beat him the next time. So stay up till three, get up at 6 and go to work. I didn't need drugs and alcohol for this like I just was foolish and young. Now if I was to try to stay. Up all night. It would be very painful and I. Would have to work hard at it. This is what Jesus is saying. It's not going. To be easy to keep yourself ready, there's going to be your eyes going. To get heavier. And be like oh man, it just be so nice to just slip into the the comfortable pattern of this world like oh, just let me just get cozy under this blanket and just enjoy. This life. That's easy to do. But he may come in. The middle of the night or just before dawn? And so you need to be ready. Don't let yourself fall asleep in this world. Don't let yourself fall asleep in this life in the temporary because. He's coming back. And he will reward those who have kept themselves ready. You know, sometimes we wonder, what if I keep myself ready, but you know then Jesus doesn't return in my lifetime. It doesn't diminish the reward you see keeping yourself in that state of preparedness. There is the promise of reward, and so whether the rapture happens in your lifetime or not, there is the reward for being ready for the Lord's return. At any time. This is a mark of a rich relationship with God. You keep yourself ready for Jesus to return. Are you missing the mark? Have you fallen asleep? It's high time to awake. Confess it to God, ask him for help, and draw near to him. Well, finally point #4 finishing it up in verses 41 through 46. You are faithful with all God has entrusted to you. Verse 41. Peter asked, Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone's good question Peter and the Lord replied, a faithful sensible servant is 1 whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household. Servants and feeding them. Here's one time where Peter asks a really good question that helps us understand takes our mind right to where we need to be. Is this question or is this teaching for everybody? Or is it just for us 12 disciples or us few disciples that are here with you, Jesus? Now Jesus doesn't give a direct answer. Instead, he gives another illustration. I suggest to you. It's no stretch of the imagination to say Jesus's answer is this teaching is for everyone. This teaching is for every believer. That we are all called to be faithful, sensible servants that the master can give responsibility to. It's the good and faithful steward. And every one of us is a steward of God. God has given us. Things people resources, energy, time, spiritual gifts. I could spend a lot of time on this. In fact, many years back 2. 1012 I believe we. Did about 8 weeks looking at the faithful steward. So I'm not going to go into all of that because. We don't got 8 weeks today. But you're a steward. You have been entrusted with much from the Lord. And when you have a rich relationship with God. What's important to you is faithfulness. To those things that God has entrusted to you. Verse 43 if the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, that master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. Again, Jesus is pointing ahead and saying work now for the reward that is to come. You're going to be having your mind focused on the eternal. When you have a rich relationship with God. And you're gonna sacrifice now you're gonna take. Temporary hits. For eternal reward, in order to be faithful. With what God has entrusted to you. Verse 45 but what if the servant thinks my master won't be back for a while? And he begins beating the other servants, partying and getting drunk. The Master will return unannounced and unexpected. He will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful. So he gives the contrast. And unfaithful servants will be dealt with harshly. The unfaithful servant loses sight of the soon return of the master and thinks, hey, all of these. Things entrusted to me by God I can. Do with what I want. I'm not going to have to give an account to God and so I can exploit my family for what I want and use them for my purposes and just make sure that I get what I want out of life at their expense. And it costs them a lot, but it doesn't cost me anything, and so that's great. And so I'm going to get what I want. I'm going to use my resources and spend my money the way that I want to and do what I want with it. I'm going to use my time and invest myself and focus on things that I want unfaithful. With what God has entrusted to us. If we are not looking at what we do in life and how we spend our time and how we. Utilize what he has provided. And make sure that those things are in line with his will and his purposes and his plan. The mark of a rich relationship with God is that you are faithful. With what God has entrusted to you. Do you find yourself missing the mark? Where do you find yourself trusting the father to provide? For your needs. Do you find yourself storing up more treasure in heaven than on Earth? What do you miss the mark? And get focused on the temporary rather than the eternal. Are you keeping yourself ready for Jesus to return? Making sure that you are faithful with all that God has entrusted to you? Or have you kind of fallen asleep? And you're getting just real comfortable and cozy in this life. Losing sight. Of the mission. Of the purpose. Of the instruction that God has given. When you find yourself missing the mark what? Do you, do you confess it to God? You draw near to him. And you ask him. To do a transforming work in your life. To help you. To become more like him. Develop a rich relationship with God and you'll find yourself trusting him. You'll have faith he will provide for your needs. You'll find yourself storing up treasure in heaven and having an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God. You'll find yourself ready for Jesus to return. Looking forward with anticipation. To your reunion with him. And you'll find yourself managing your life and all that you have. With God's plan, his purposes in mind. Managing it well. To accomplish his glory. With the promise of. Great reward. As you meet with him. Are you missing the mark? The Lord invites us. To come. To be washed and cleansed. When we miss the mark is the time to draw near the enemy wants to use the missing the mark as a condemnation. You should stay away, get your life in order. Work hard at these things and give your best you know. Discipline yourself so that you do these things already and then you can you know. These are the the outflow. Of a rich relationship with God, so pursue him. Get to know him. Seek him with all of your heart. Lord, I pray that you would help us to do that. Help us Lord to recognize these areas that you've given to us as indicators. Lord of where our hearts are with you. What may we see clearly what is happening? May we see clearly your call and your desire for us? And I pray that you would help each of us. To learn how to develop. And immense wealth in relationship with you. But nothing in life can satisfy. Like knowing you can. And so Lord help us to know you. Help us to wake ourselves up. To keep ourselves out of slumber. Or that we would continue. To draw near to pursue your heart. We pray this in Jesus name.