47 Luke 12.22-34
Ø In 1966 cigarette warnings began to be printed on the packs
§ It read…
· Caution: Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health
Ø Updated in 1970
§ Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined that Cigarette Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health
Ø The surgeon general has determined that:
§ Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy.
§ Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.
§ Smoking By Pregnant Women May Result in Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, And Low Birth Weight.
§ Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide.
v The reason there is a warning on cigarettes is that they are
Ø Highly addictive and Slow killers
§ And so is the subject Jesus deals with in our text today…
v Worry or anxiety is a lot like a pack of cigarettes (Pick up “Worry” pack)
Ø It should come with its own warning…
Ø READ Cigarette pack with worry on it
§ God Almighty warning:
· Worry causes Soul Cancer, Heart Disease, inactivity, And May Complicate spiritual growth.
· Quitting worrying Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Faith.
· Worrying By New Christians May Result in spiritual growth defects, leaving the faith Prematurely, And Low evangelism rate.
· Worrying Contains Lack of Faith
v Knowing this…
Ø Jesus turns from the crowd to his disciples and says…
v There is a danger in having too much as well as too little
Ø Jesus just taught on the dangers of having too much
§ The Rich Fool
Ø Now he turns and gives a warning to those who have too little
§ And tells them to “Beware” of worry / anxiety
Ø The word translated “worry” in Luke 12:22 & 29 means “to be torn apart,” or “to be held in suspense.”
§ It is the picture of a ship being tossed in a storm.
Ø Our English word worry comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word that means “to strangle.”
§ And that is what worry does to a believer’s faith…
· It strangles it
Ø Corrie Ten Boom
§ “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Ø E. Stanley Jones
§ Worry is the interest we pay on tomorrows troubles
Ø Kent Hughes
§ Worry loads the present with the weight of the future
Ø Worry, it is said, is the great inhibitor of action
v And that is why Jesus focus in on worrying
Ø Because it neutralizes a disciple, makes him or her spiritually ineffective
The United States Public Health Service issued a statement some time ago about the tendency of worry to weaken and shorten life. It reads in part:
"So far as is known, no bird ever tried to build more nests than its neighbor. No fox ever fretted because it had only one hole in which to hide. No squirrel ever died of anxiety, lest it should not lay up enough for two winters instead of one, and no dog ever lost any sleep over the fact that it had not enough bones laid aside for the declining years."
Worry wreaks havoc. It makes you ineffective and inefficient. It weakens you for the long pull.
v And that is exactly what Satan wants…
Ø Ineffective, stunted, preoccupied, unproductive, fruitless, anxiety-filled, worry ridden disciples
v Remember, Jesus is addressing this section to his disciples! (v. 22)
Ø He knew that they gave up everything to follow him
§ They would need this teaching in their calling
· So he gives them 3 reasons not to worry and a way to overcome worry
v Realize Your Value
Ø Jesus helps us realize our value by way of two examples…
Ø Consider the Ravens (v. 24-26)
§ Jesus goes to bottom of the creature barrel
· Unclean animal (Lev 11)
· Despised bird
¨ Yet God Feeds them!
Ø V. 24 ~ They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them
§ Idea is…
· If God cares for them, how much more will he care for you!
|Said the Robin to the Sparrow, “I should really like to knowWhy these anxious human beingsRush about and worry so.”||Said the sparrow to the robin“Friend, I think that it must beThey have no heavenly fatherSuch as cares for you and me.”|
Ø That is what we are saying when we worry
§ Our heavenly father does not care for us
· Scripture tells us that that is not true at all!
¨ 1 Peter 5:7
Ø Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Ø We have to realize that the Lord cares for us and values us
He then turns to a second example…
Ø Consider the Lilies (v. 27-28)
§ Jesus turns from unclean birds to another extreme example
· The basic, simple, short-lived plants
¨ Lilies = scarlet anemones
Ø Bloom after rain, live one day and then die
§ Yet God Clothes!
· V. 27 ~ Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these
Ø Illustration: Talk about Rose
§ M. Luther…
· It seems that the flower stands there and makes us blush and becomes our teacher. Thank you, flowers, you who are to be devoured by the cows! God has exalted you very highly, that you become our masters and teachers.
¨ If God takes the time to dress a flower like this…
Ø How much more will he dress you and me?
§ We have to realize our value
v God goes to great lengths to make us realize this
Ø Jesus taught just a chapter earlier how much he cares for us
§ READ 11:11-13
· We have to realize that we are the apple of his eye
¨ Ps 8:4-5
Ø What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
· We have to realize that we are the crown of his creation
¨ After he created us he exclaimed “It was very Good”
Ø The REASON for creation was to house us!
Ø We have to realize that he would do anything for us
§ New movie out “8 Below”
· “At the bottom of the world in the middle of a storm 8 heroes will count on each other and one man will not stop until they are home”
· We are blown away by the dedication of the owner of these 8 dogs that he would risk anything to get them back
¨ He valued the dogs so highly
Ø That is nothing compared to the value God places on us!
§ He sent his one and only son
v Realize it does no good
Ø READ V. 25-26
§ The idea Jesus is trying to get across to us is that worrying is an exercise in futility
· Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere
§ It is the picture of the mouse on his exercise wheel
· That is what worry does to us…
¨ The apple of God’s eye…!
Ø Reduces us to the level of a mouse!
v I love what Mickey Rivers, an outfielder for the Texas Rangers in the 70’s, said about worry…
“It Ain't no sense worrying about things you got control over, because if you got control over them, ain't no sense worrying. And there ain't no sense worrying about things you got no control over either, because if you got no control over them, ain't no sense worrying."
v Simple, but wise!
Ø Jesus said it another way…
§ Matt 6:34
· Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own
Ø Why worry about the future when you can do nothing about it today!
§ So much of what we worry about cannot be dealt with today
· Our children’s future
· Our retirement
¨ Market go up or down
¨ Company Pension (GM)
¨ Social security
· Your and my death
Ø It does no good to worry
§ This does not mean that we shouldn’t be responsible and plan
· We should not approach life like a dandelion seed on the wind
¨ Floating and caring not
Ø In fact the Bible encourages us to plan
§ Prov 21:5
· The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
§ Prov 20:18
· Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance
§ Prov 16:1
· To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.
§ Prov 16:9
· In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
v Scripture encourages us to plan
Ø But then leave it in God’s hands
§ Worrying about your plans does absolutely no good
When Lincoln was on his way to Washington to be inaugurated, he spent some time in New York with Horace Greeley. Lincoln told him an anecdote that was meant to be an answer to the question everybody was asking him: Are we really going to have a civil war?
One day, Lincoln and his companions, riding to the next session of court, had crossed several swollen rivers, but the formidable Fox River was still ahead of them. They said each other, "If these streams give us so much trouble, how will we get over the Fox River?"
When darkness fell, they stopped for the night at a log tavern, where they fell in with a Methodist pastor who rode through the surrounding country in all kinds of weather and knew all about the Fox River. They gathered around him and asked him about the present state of the river. The pastor replied, "I know all about the Fox River. I have crossed it often and understand it well. But I have one fixed rule with regard to the Fox River - I never cross it till I reach it.
v That is how we have to approach life and its worries
Ø Worry won’t change the state of the river
§ Worry does not good!
v Realize that it is an expression of faithlessness
Ø V. 28b-30
§ Victor Hugo
· Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have finished your daily tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake!
¨ Very simply…
Ø That is the truth
§ We must trust God
· Have faith that God has it all under control
Ø Because when we worry, we are really saying to God
§ “I don’t trust you”
§ “I don’t have confidence that you will be faithful to me.”
· And that is what the Pagan say in their hearts
Ø You see…
§ When we worry, we are behaving exactly like unbelievers!
· The Scriptures say that we should look wholly different!!
¨ In the ambitions we cherish
¨ In the goals we try to achieve
¨ In the we reactions to disappointments and adversities
¨ In the way we conduct our social events and parties
¨ In the kind of literature we read
¨ In the songs we prefer to listen to and sing
¨ And in the way we approach the concerns of this life
v The Scriptures also exhort us that worrying is serious
Ø It not only makes us look like unbelievers…
§ But if we worry long enough…
§ If we practice faithlessness long enough
· There is an inherent danger
¨ We can become unbelievers ourselves
Ø Parable of the seeds (Path, shallow soil, thorns, good soil)
§ 3rd seed ~ Thorns of world grew up
· Mark 4:18-19
¨ Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful
Ø That is scary!
§ We have to let go of our worries and trust God
One dark, pitch-black night a man was walking down an unfamiliar road. On either side was a deep ravine. Suddenly he stepped into space and began to fall. Thinking he was falling to certain death, he began flailing his arms and clutching for anything he could get his hands on. He finally was able to grasp a bush along the side, and he held on for dear life.
As the seconds became minutes and the minutes became hours, the pain of holding on was agonizing. His hands and arms became numb and throbbed. At last in weakness, pain and despair, he let go…
…and dropped-six inches to the bottom of the ditch. Think of the needless agony he went through because he didn't let go sooner.
v Now think of the “bushes” in your life that you hang on to and worry about needlessly
Ø Just because you cannot see that God’s hand in 6” below you
§ But it is!
· Ready to catch you
¨ Think of the agony you go through in the midst of your worries because you don't let go and trust God
v After giving us these three reasons to stop worrying
Ø Jesus gives one piece of advice on…
How to stop worrying
v READ V. 31
Ø But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well
§ In other words…
¨ Make God, not the world, the focus of your life
v But this is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Bible
Ø You see “Luke 12:31” emblazoned on the hulls of boats or “Matt 6:33” on license plates of expensive cars
§ Cannot miss what is being said
· “I made God the center of my life and God has given me this. If you do like me, you would have one too.”
¨ Sometimes he does overwhelmingly bless us
Ø 1 Kings 3:10-14 ~ Solomon asks for wisdom and God gives him everything else!
· But that is not the promise given here
¨ That is not what is being said here at all!
Ø Jesus is not talking about the luxuries of life…
§ But about the essentials, the basics
· Food & clothing
§ To presume that we are promised bounty by seeking God’s kingdom is a wicked delusion!
v The point of seeking God’s kingdom and everything will be given to you is actually very simple…
Ø Jesus is asking us to Re-prioritize
§ Make seeking the kingdom of God your foremost aim
§ Seeking the development of God’s rule in your life all important
v You see…
Ø Liberation from worry about the things of this life comes from making the things of God of utmost importance in your life
Ø Release from the worry of this life comes by being more and more about your Father’s business and less and less about yours
Ø Emancipation from the worries of today comes by keeping your eyes focused solely above on the author and perfector of our faith
Ø Freedom from this life’s anxieties is accomplished by reprioritizing and putting God at the center of our lives
In the Berlin art gallery there once hung an unfinished picture by Adolph von Menzel. The picture is of Fredrick the Great talking to his generals. There was a small bare patch in the center of the picture where a charcoal sketch indicated the artist's intentions. He had painted in all the generals, but he had left the king to the last. He never got around to painting him in.
That is so lifelike for so many of us. We carefully put in all the generals and leave the King to the last, with the hope that grows ever more faint that some day we may still get the King in the center.
Poor Menzel died before he had finished his picture. Let’s not delay! Get the King into the center of the picture now, and the rest will follow.
· Security comes from a relationship with God
¨ God is committed to caring for us
Ø Illustration:GM pension
§ GM committed to caring for their employees in retirement
Ø 1 Kings 3:10-14 ~ Solomon asking for wisdom and God granting everything else
v In fact…
Ø Middle of “5 Bewares”
§ Beware the yeast of the Pharisees
§ Beware the temptation of Greed
§ Beware the draw of worry
§ Beware the trap of Carelessness
§ Beware the snare of Spiritual dullness
Ø Phil 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus