Be on your guard against all kinds of greed…

Passage: Luke 12:13-34

The Story

•    You can tell a lot about a person from their questions
•    Take the question in verse 13 for example.

o    The questioner is clearly in a position where he wants Jesus to solve the problem
o    He is in the middle of a dispute with his older brother

*    I say “older” brother as the law of the time dictated that the eldest brother would be in charge of the estate after the father died
*    This, therefore, would be the younger brother who wants Jesus to force the older brother into giving him some of the property and/or coin

o    The question also reflects how this man saw Jesus

*    Not as someone who came to change lives, but as a legal expert
*    We do this sometimes in our prayers when we pray, not for changed hearts – our and others – but for Jesus to force others to do what we want them to do

•    Jesus responds in a way that cut to the heart of the questioner

o    He told the man that he wasn’t going to go down the path of forcing people to do anything
o    He also warned the man about his soul and about chasing things

•    The parable

o    There was a rich man whose crops produced a great yield

*    Notice that the man is already rich

•    This wasn’t a man who was trying to get rich
•    But a story about the abundance given to him by God

o    In other words, being rich is not a sin
o    It is a state of one’s heart and what one does with the wealth that matters, as well will soon see

*    I say, “given to him” because the wealth came from his crops,

•    Crops that he did not cause to grow
•    God is the one who causes all living things to grow

o    The rich man debated with himself in what to do

*    He didn’t even consider given some of it to his workers
*    Or to the temple
*    Or to the poor….
*    Instead, he decided to tear down his current barns and build bigger ones

o    Greed…

*    If there is one thing in our culture today that God hates it is greed
*    A simple Bible search on the word “greed” will bring back tons of results:

The greedy stir up conflict,
but those who trust in the LORD will prosper. –Proverbs 28:25

I was enraged by their sinful greed;
I punished them, and hid my face in anger,
yet they kept on in their willful ways. –Isaiah 57:17

12 Their houses will be turned over to others,
together with their fields and their wives,
when I stretch out my hand
against those who live in the land,”
declares the LORD.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit. – Jeremiah 6:12-13

9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. -1 Corinthians 6:9-10

*    1 Corinthians brings to mind something else.

•    Most of you know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah…

o    Two cities whom God destroyed with fire because of their wicked ways

•    Most folks assume from the text in Genesis that the evil they did was homosexuality…
•    Yet Ezekiel 16:49-50 tells us differently

49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

•    The city was destroyed because of greed….
•    This should wake us up if nothing else will….

o    Get it while you can so you can be happy later…

*    This is what the man in Jesus’ parable was thinking…
*    That way he can eat, drink and be mercy
*    The problem was that he forgot about the ending of Ecclesiastes
*    Ecclesiastes, if you remember, we written by King Solomon in all his riches
*    The book talks about Solomon’s chasing after things of this world
*    The end of the book confirms that nothing in this world is worth chasing except God.

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
-Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

o    God calls in His loan

*    Our lives are not ours
*    They are on loan from God who created us
*    One day each of us is going to have to give an account of our lives to God Almighty
*    What did we do with the gifts He gave us?

•    Did we throw them away?
•    Did we use them for our own gain?
•    Or did we use them to further His Kingdom?

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Luke 12:32-34

•    God will take care of us

o    Lest we get worried and start questioning how we are going to live, Jesus tell His followers that God will take care of them
o    People are worth more to God than anything
o    We do not have to chase after wealth or things,

*    We just have to chase after Jesus and His Kingdom
*    If we do so, everything else will fall into place
*    Even through trails and sufferings, God will be there with us

29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. –Luke 12:29-31

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