Summary: What happens when we don't fear God as we should but instead focus our fears on the things of this world?
MISPLACED FEAR: We are often scared of the wrong things.
- Luke 12:4.
- Now, what exactly do we mean when we talk about “fearing God”?
- It’s not a cowering-in-the-corner type of thing. It’s awe, a respect, an awareness of how great He is. It’s also awareness that God has enormous power and authority over us.
- In verse 4, Jesus tells them not to be scared of those earthly consequences.
- Jesus here notes that our fear is usually focused on the wrong things – those who can hurt our earthly lives.
- Thankfully we live in a country where we have minimal fear of someone killing us. Still we have many fears that have to do with our earthly life.
- We usually focus our fear on the negative consequences that impact our earthly lives:
a. Potential job loss.
b. Health scare.
c. Marital strife.
- We spend a lot of time in fear and worry about things of this world. Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t things that are legitimately worth some concern on our part. But the point Jesus is making here is that we tend to focus all our fear in those areas instead of thinking of the bigger picture and what we need to really be concerned about.
WHAT'S YOUR PLAN?
- What’s my plan for facing God?
1. “HOPE FOR THE BEST.”
- For many, their “plan” (if you can even call it that) is just to hope that everything turns out ok.
- This strikes me as an incredibly foolish thing to do. This is eternity we’re talking about! This is something that you need to ponder and think about.
- Some people have put more thought into their next vacation than they have into their eternal destination.
- I respect the person who has thought about this and come to a different answer than I have (although I obviously disagree with him). I do not respect the person who have put no thought into something this big.
- Why would people do something so foolish? Some reasons:
a. They don’t want to think about dying.
b. They believe (correctly) that thinking about it would lead to some significant changes in their life – bad habits to give up, changes in behavior, a difference in attitude.
c. Old-fashioned stupidity.
- Like the person who knows they should be studying for the final exam but instead sit there and play X-Box, choosing the ignore the consequences, sometimes stupidity rules the day.
d. They think it’s unknowable and so choose to shrug their shoulders.
- Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but it’s obvious that I think this is a ridiculous choice. This is too important an issue to let go with only a passing thought.
2. “I’M A GOOD PERSON.”
- Luke 12:5.
- Jesus thinks this situation is fear-worthy.
- Our lack of fear now is not evidence that we’re safe; it’s evidence that we’ve assessed the situation incorrectly.
- This is important in a time where many (most?) would argue that “a loving God would never condemn someone to hell.” Jesus is not only saying that such a place exists – He’s also saying that we’re fully justified in being fearful of that judgment to come.
- Most people like to think of themselves as “a good person.”
- The problem with that is that we come to that conclusion with some false presumptions:
a. First, we usually ignore or justify the sin in our lives.
- We are naturally sympathetic to the reasons why we sin.
- “I don’t have an anger problem! My kids are just aggravating.”
- “I don’t have a porn problem! I just watch a little now and again.”
- “I don’t have a gossip problem! Everything I say is true.”
- “I don’t have an envy problem! I just don’t make enough money.”
b. Second, we presume that we should compare ourselves to those around us, not to Jesus.
- We think that the standard is: can I be in the top half of people around me?
- That’s the wrong measure. God doesn’t take the top half to heaven and send the bottom to hell. We have all fallen short of God’s standard and are in need of salvation.
- The measure is not those around me, but Jesus. He lived a perfect life. That’s what’s required to be justified on my own before God. Can I say that I am perfect? Not in the least.
- We’ll dwell more on this in the next sermon, but it’s significant that He immediately follows what’s in verse 5 with a discussion about how we’re more valuable than many sparrows and how the hairs on our head are numbered. That’s an odd juxtaposition.