Summary: If we constantly look to our performance or the opinions of others to make ourselves feel good or worthwhile, then we will constantly chase something we can never catch. Why? Our performance varies day to day, that’s a reality, and people are fickle... t
February 10, 08 (Luke 12:15) From Success To Spiritual Significance.
While verse 15 is the focus of today’s message, I think it is important to read from the beginning of chapter twelve… for several of reasons. We can see that by this time, Jesus is well into His ministry, His presence and His message is having a profound effect on the people. (Read the first part of verse 1)
So many “THOUSANDS” had gathered so that they were trampling on one another… Think about that for a moment. Here He is, one man, One Solitary Life, remembering there was no radio, television, no satellites or the internet, no means, as least as we understand today, of local, national or international news, yet He had attracted THOUSANDS.
How could that happen unless this one man had a very special message for the people? Unless this very special man had a life changing, life saving message for His people? Unless these THOUSANDS of people were beginning to believe, this man was indeed the Son of God.
Verses two (2) and three (3) put an exclamation point to a part of what we talked about last week… the subject of hypocrisy… and a truth we all know, but perhaps wish to forget…. Jesus couldn’t be more clear…there are no secrets from God. Listen to verses two and three. (Read)
In verses four (4) through eight (8) Jesus gives us very specific instruction about whom we should be afraid and why… and at the same time, tell us of our worth to God. (Read)
In verses nine (9) and ten (10) Jesus tells us to stand firm in our belief and do not be afraid to proclaim our faith in Him and adds the consequences of denying the Holy Spirit. (Read)
Cultural Christians beware!
Jesus tells us in verses eleven (11) and twelve (12) we don’t need to be afraid about the right words to speak when challenged. (Read)
Now, Jesus begins to tell us the parable, the story of the Rich Fool. Note: There is a change here. Jesus just gave us a number of warnings and encouragements. Then someone from this crowd of thousands… we’ve all heard him… the one loud voice in the crowd that has only one concern…. The “it’s all about me” syndrome… this one voice shouts out “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Immediately Jesus responds…and you may wonder if there wasn’t a little edge in His voice when He replies with a rhetorical question: “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you? Then He issues another warning followed by a Biblical, Godly truth… (Read Jesus words vs. 15)
What do you think? How do you think Jesus’ words would be received today if He spoke to a room full of wealthy businessmen? How do you think our culture as a norm views Jesus proclamation? “Oh yeah sure, that sound’s great, but in “reality” it doesn’t work today.”
Those are the words of someone we are learning to call the “cultural Christian.” For the cultural Christian, Faith only operates within a small framework, while life is lived in a larger context. Only certain thoughts, time, resources and influences are under the jurisdiction of faith. The individual remains the master of the rest that falls outside this self-constructed box.
The cultural Christian believes in his or her heart…“Faith is for Sunday. If I meet my religious obligations, I am free to live my life as I wish.”
The cultural Christian makes a prisoner of the reality and the work of the Holy Spirit, allowing it only a very small role in his or her life. Authentic faith cannot expand and possess more of the individual’s life. The influence of the Holy Spirit becomes limited and ineffective.
When Christ is not free to possess more and more of who we are, we have a tendency over time to take even what we have placed within this smaller framework of faith and move it out into the larger context, and delude its significance. We can actually regress, go backwards spiritually instead of progressing in our authentic spirituality.
Our nature and its values of worldly “things” can press hard against what may seem restrictions of true faith. That space occupied by faith can diminish over time until it is hardly active at all. Then we become a marginal possessor of the faith we profess. And that folks is the genesis of cultural Christianity.
“Be on guard against all kinds of greed…”
A Mafia Godfather finds out that his bookkeeper has stolen 10 million bucks from him. The bookkeeper is deaf. It was the reason he got the job in the first place, since it was assumed that a deaf bookkeeper would not be able to hear anything that he’d ever have to testify about in court. When the Godfather goes to shake down the bookkeeper about his missing 10 million bucks, he brings along his attorney, who knows sign language.