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8-11-19 Sermon

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost  Luke 12:22-34

 

Heavenly Father, please remove any idolatry that we have about earthly things, and encourage us to love things of heaven. Please help us to hold to the things that are eternal rather than those things that are perishable; through Jesus CHRIST our LORD, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Don't be anxious. Don’t be worried. Don’t be afraid.” That’s what Jesus says to his disciples in our Gospel reading for today. He says we shouldn’t worry or obsess about things that have no eternal significance.

Hmmm… I’ve got a nice place to live. I’ve a good supply of food at hand. I’ve got clothes in the closet–actually, in two closets, in the dresser and chest of drawers—which I probably should go through one of these days. be anxious. Don’t be worried. Don’t be afraid.”

But suppose all those things just mentioned were suddenly taken away? We’re only a storm or fire away from having nothing. How would we respond to the words of Jesus: be anxious. Don’t be worried. Don’t be afraid” ?

Are you an anxious person? How much do you worry? Are you constantly seeking after the things of this life to make yourself happy—to give you more security? What happens if you don’t get the things you want? How do we apply Jesus’ words to our lives?

 

Jesus isn’t talking about extravagance. He’s talking about the basics: food, clothing, shelter-- just keeping body and soul together. But he says don’t be like the people of this world who obsess over things.

As Christians we are called to be different. But it won’t happen by our willpower or self-determination. Jesus’ call to not worry or be anxious is based on whom we know.

 

The answer: It’s our Heavenly Father. Jesus points us to His Father and ours. Our faith and trust and confidence come from knowing our Heavenly Father through CHRIST. Then we can overcome our fears and worries and anxieties—because we know our Heavenly Father loves and cares for us.

 

Jesus points us to the provisions God makes for the birds, the flowers—all of creation. Are you not of more value than they?

 

So many people are always seeking after things of this world, thinking it will bring them happiness. Some of the wealthiest people on earth are destitute in faith. C. S. Lewis made this observation: “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”

 

If you want something to seek after, seek after God’s kingdom. Be thankful for what is, not envious for what is not, and all these other things will be added to you.

 

God’s kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. If you don’t have that, all the food and clothing in the world will never satisfy you. You could have the most expensive meals on earth piled up to the year 2037, and it wouldn’t do you any good in the end. You could wear all the big name designers on your pants and fill 50 closets, and where would it get you? None of that will get you into the kingdom of God. But if you aren’t wearing the garment CHRIST provides to the heavenly wedding banquet, you’ll be tossed out.

 

God's kingdom of peace and joy and righteousness, through CHRIST is yours! Free of charge! All by grace. but it’s not without cost.

God's kingdom was purchased at the highest price of all: with the very blood and life of God’s own Son, Jesus. His shed blood on the cross, purchased our redemption. Jesus rescued us by the ultimate sacrifice of his own sinless life. And God raised him from the dead, that we might have eternal life in heaven in his kingdom, in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.

That's what Jesus means when he says to us: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” We don’t earn it but we must receive it. And when we do, our perspective on life changes. When you know that Jesus Christ is your Savior you will share in his righteousness and his resurrection.

When you know that the Holy Spirit will keep you in the one true faith you will be confident about life now and in your future.

When you know you are a child of God under His care you’ll know where you’re headed.

Worry turns into prayer.

Fears give way to faith.

Your trust in God becomes greater than your seeking after stuff.

We become instruments of God’s blessing and mercy.

 

The promises of God, in the words of Jesus, produce faith that is greater than our fears--a faith that reflects his character of compassion and love. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”