by Alan Carr
Scripture: Luke 12:32
For several years a woman had been having trouble getting to sleep at night because she feared burglars. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, he did find a burglar. "Good evening," said the man of the house. "I am pleased to see you. Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting 10 years to meet you."
Many of us act as this woman did. We spend so much time being anxious that we seem almost eager for bad things to happen. But when we worry, our faith is diminished. Solomon must have been speaking of the uselessness of worry when he wrote, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:1-2). People tend to worry! When something occurs in our lives that we cannot control, we worry. When something appears on the horizon of our lives that looks bad, even though it may or may not happen, we worry. We worry about big things, and we worry about little things. The point is, we worry!
A lot of us are like the fellow who raised chickens, and among them was a rooster that occasionally crowed and greatly annoyed the next-door neighbor. Early one morning, disturbed and angry, he called the owner of the flock and made this complaint, "That miserable bird of yours keeps me up all night!" "I don't understand," was the reply. "He hardly ever crows; but if he does, it's never more than two or three times in a whole day." The man quickly retorted, "That isn't my problem. It's not how OFTEN he does it that irritated me! It's not knowing when he MIGHT that keeps me awake!"
In the verse that preceded verse 32, Jesus had spend some time telling His disciples that they did not need to be eaten up with worries and fears. They were children of the King and He would see to the needs that arose in their lives. Jesus pointed out God's gracious provision for the birds of the air, and then He reminded His disciples that they were of more value than the birds, v. 22-24. Then, He reminded them of the folly of worry, v. 25-26. In verses 27-28 He compares them with the flowers of the field, that are so lovely, and He reminds them that they are more precious than the flowers. Then, in verses 29-31 He tells them that the secret to having their need met is to live for the Lord! If they will only love God, then they can rest free from the worries of life. God will see to the need of His people!
Jesus concludes His words of encouragement with verse 32. In this little verse, He speaks some much needed words of peace to a people who are prone to worry. He open this verse with a command. Notice that He tells us to "fear not". This is a commend for us not to live in a state of continual worry. It is the same word from which we get our word "phobia". We should not allow ourselves to live in a worried state concerning the affairs of life.
In this verse, Jesus gives His precious people three precious words of encouragement as we face the trials that will come in life. I would like to share them with you this evening.
I. HE SPEAKS TO US AS HIS FLOCK
A. By using this term, Jesus pictures the people of God as sheep and Himself as our Shepherd. While there isn't enough time this evening to discuss all the similarities between us as His sheep and Him as our Shepherd, there is time to say a word or two about how good Jesus is to His children!
B. Like sheep, the people of God are often dumb, they do not possess a good sense of direction and they are utterly defenseless. Like sheep, we must have a Shepherd to provide for us and to lead us along.
(Ill. All the trouble we get ourselves into during the course of our lives. Imagine how difficult life would be without a shepherd to love us and guide us along.)
C. One of the most precious passages in all the Bible is the 23rd Psalm. In that great passage, we are told about how Jesus, the Good Shepherd, cares for His flock. Let's turn there for a moment and notice some if these blessed truths.
1. V. 1 We see that the Lord is the Shepherd.
2. V. 1 He takes care of every need!
3. V. 2 He allows His sheep to find rest and contentment.
4. V. 2 He allows His sheep to be refreshed.
5. V. 3 By the things He provides. The sheep are restored and they are healthy. He sees that they have all they need in their lives. They are cared for completely!
6. V. 3 He gives His sheep perfect leadership.
7. V. 4 His sheep have no fear, for their Shepherd is ever with them as they journey.
8. V. 4 With His rod and staff He fights off our enemies and He helps us when we stray.
9. V. 5 Again, we are reminded that our Shepherd provides all His sheep need!
10. V. 5 Our Shepherd binds up His wounded and cares for them graciously.
11. V. 5 He gives His sheep more than could ever wish for.
12. V. 6 His sheep can rest in the knowledge that as long as they journey, the blessings of their Shepherd will follow close behind them!
13. V. 6 His sheep are not just sheep for the pasture of this world. But, like precious pet lambs, they have access to His House at the end of the day!
D. We are His flock! Therefore, we need not fear anything life brings our way. He will see to the afflictions that threaten His flock!
I. He Speaks To Us As His Flock
II. HE SPEAKS TO US AS HIS FAMILY
A. The use of the word "Father" tells us that we are more than His sheep, we are also His sons! That is a precious truth! It is made even more precious because the Bible says right here that God is "YOUR" Father! That makes it personal! That makes it precious!
B. It is interesting to note that the Jews had dozens of names for God. What they needed at any given time usually dictated the name that they used to call on God. For instance:
1. If they had a need in their life, they would call on "Jehovah-jireh", Gen. 22:14, which means, "The Lord will provide."
2. If they were anxious, they would call on "Jehovah-shalom", Judges 6:24, which means "The Lord our peace."
3. If they were lonely, or afraid, they might call on "Jehovah-shammah", Eze. 48:35, which means "The Lord is there."
4. If they need leadership, they would call on "Jehovah-rohi", Psalm 23:1, which means "The Lord our Shepherd."
5. If they were sick, they would call on "Jehovah-rapha", Exodus 15:26, which means "The Lord our healer."
There are literally dozens more, but you get the picture. When these people needed to get a hold of God, they referred to Him by these various names. However, for those who are in Jesus, there is a different name that we can use to speak to God. This name was revealed to the Disciples in Luke 11:1-4 in what is known as "The Lord's Prayer", but is more correctly "The Disciple's Prayer." Here, the disciples, who have witnessed the amazing prayer life of Jesus and who want the same access to God what to know how to pray. I can imagine them waiting to hear which name He would give them to use in their prayers. Imagine their surprise when Jesus spoke the word "Father." Which, in this passage, is the Aramaic word "abba", which translates to the English word "daddy."
Jesus is telling these men that when they pray they are to call on God as their Father! He is not some far away God Who is removed from their difficulties, but He is an adoring Father Who is more concerned about what His children are facing than they can ever imagine!
C. Here is the point! If you are saved, you are a child of God, 1 John 3:2. Your Heavenly Father loves you and He is concerned about what you face in life, Heb. 4:15. Therefore, He has opened the door of access into His heavenly throne room and He invites you to come to Him and make your requests known, Heb. 4:16. He will not turn you away!
(Ill. I don't know how it is with you, but when my children have a need, I want to make sure that need is met. There may be times when I have to say no to their wants, but if I can provide even that I will. Every parent in this room is the same way! We love our children and we want to take care of them. If we, as human parents, can love our children to the point that we will give them anything, within reason, why should we believe that Jesus would do any less for His children? In fact, the Bible tells us that God is even more likely to be good to His children that any earthly parent, Matt. 7:7-11.)
III. HE SPEAKS TO US AS HIS FAVORITES
A. The last part of verse 32 tells us that God delights in giving His children the kingdom. You see, we are His sheep and we are His sons, but this portion of Scripture leads me to believe that we are spoiled too. God will meet the needs of His children, Phil. 4:19. He will see to it that His sheep are properly pastured and that Hid sons are well taken care of.
B. Notice verse 31. This verse teaches us that seeing our needs met hinges around this business of seeking first "the kingdom of God.", Matt. 6:33. That is, when we place the Lord and His business ahead of our own, He will see to it that our business is taken care of. In the simplest of terms, this means that if I want God to meet my needs, then I need to put Him first in my life and attend to the business He has called me to. Primarily, I am to seek His kingdom! I am to place His work and will ahead of my work and will. He must come first!
When this happens, I have the promise and the assurance that He will meet the needs that arise in my life. Now, here is the blessed truth of verse 32. We may wonder how we can seek His kingdom. We may feel that it is a hard thing that the Lord requires. However, verse 32 promises us just the opposite! This verse teaches us that "It is our Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." That is, God places His kingdom within our reach! He doesn't make it a hard thing, but He hands us the kingdom and gives us the opportunity to join Him in His work here below. When we join Him in what He is doing, we are on God's payroll, so we do not have to worry, for every need will be met by our Father!
C. God, like a loving Father, places everything we need right at our feet. He makes it easy for His children to serve Him and, as a result, to get their needs met. When this really dawns on us, we will finally realize that we do not have any needs as long as we are where the Father wants us to be. It may appear that needs exist, but they are mere opportunities for the Father to manifest His love and grace toward His children!
It is a medical fact that over 51 diseases can be traced directly to worry! Don't let worry eat you alive! Instead of worry, learn to look around and see what opportunities God is giving you to serve Him. Seek His kingdom and He will see to your needs.
I will close with the great words of wisdom from Mickey Rivers, former New York Yankees outfielder, "Ain't no sense worrying about things you got control over, 'cause 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, 'cause if you got no control over them, ain't no sense worrying about them."
That's good advice! I would challenge you to remember this evening that you are a precious people in the eyes of God! Let these precious words help you in the day of your worry and fear!
Copyright 2003 by Alan Carr
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