Sermon Text: Luke 12:22-40
Sermon Day: August 11, 2013, Proper 14 (12th Sunday after Pentecost)
In the Name of Jesus! AMEN!
Beloved in the Lord,
The story is told of a preacher coming over to visit a certain family unexpectedly. Wanting to make a good impression, the lady of the house instructed her little girl, “Please run and get that good book we all love so much and bring it here.”
The daughter tottered off and then returned in a minute with triumph on her face . . . and the Sears catalogue in her hands!
So much for that good book they all loved. So much for making a good impression with their pastor. While this anecdote is certainly humorous it is also quite revelatory. To some degree, we behold our own hearts. Where your heart is there is your treasure.
We don’t realize how much we love the things of this world or how much our hearts are attached to that which we call our own until for whatever reason they’re gone. Our possessions give us a sense of security and power, even status among colleagues, friends, and family. Without this mammon the heart trembles and begins to despair, not only of humanity but also God. Therefore, the heart, which must cling to something, which must have security, must have a god, is seized with FEAR! It is fear, because when we loose our treasures our hearts have nothing to grasp. Fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and despair all take hold of us. Why? Because we’ve lost our treasures. We’ve lost our little kingdom. As with Laban, Rachel has stolen our household idols and we cannot find them. (Genesis 31:19 ff.)
A. Have no fear Little Flock
Now, beloved, take note of our Lord’s kind words to His disciples in our text this morning. These same words are spoken to you and me as we are tempted to be anxious and worrisome about the treasures of this world. He says, “Fear Not little flock, for your Father wills to give you the Kingdom.” Jesus speaks as a tender savior to anxious souls like you and me. The One who says “You shall be a treasure to me” (Exodus 19:5-6), speaks to take away our fear and to lead us to that which is truly a treasure. He speaks these words in order to address the real issue at hand; namely the faith of our hearts. For you see, beloved, our Divine Master knows that fallen hearts like ours must cleave to something for hope, security, sustenance, certainty, and salvation. We have been created for as much. The heart of humanity must have a god to trust in for these things. Whether its Laban’s icons carved out of wood or the liquid crystal dazzling with Hollywood’s best dressed, because of the sinful condition of our heart we are tempted to cling to the wrong things. Mammon promises us fulfillment, we’re told that riches add cubits to our status in this world, delectable foods and fine clothing give the appearance of refinement and superiority. But what does Jesus say, “Life is more than food and the body more than clothing!” Look at the ravens, behold the lilies of the field. Are you not worth much more than these? If you cannot trust your Heavenly Father to provide the little things in this life, how can you trust Him to save you?
B. Have faith little flock!
Jesus says, “Fear not O Little Flock for the Father wills to give you the Kingdom.” Instead of anger and wrath, instead of death and torment, we receive a kingdom of joy and gladness, fulfillment and salvation. That’s the Father’s will for you and for all. Hewants to give you the Kingdom! He wants you to be in fellowship with Himself. He wants you to be where He is! He wants you to have the right treasures, the right hope, the right faith.
Fear, which is the opposite of faith, results from unbelief and leads to anxiety, uncertainty, and despair, emotions we all suffer in this life. But Faith is the certainty of things unseen. Faith receives that which you truly need from the only One who can give it. Therefore in our text, we are not only called away from the false treasures of this world, away from the desires of our heart, which seek after certainties and securities in all the wrong places, but instead we are called to seek after the Kingdom of God through Jesus, His Son.
Even father Abraham was called to walk by faith. For when, in our old testament text he feared his future and doubted the promises of God, the Lord came to Him and said, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” You see, the Lord turned Abraham’s heart away from the world and towards not just the Lord Himself, but more importantly towards the birth of a son; “One shall come from your own body and be your heir.” Though this was initially fulfilled in Isaac, it was ultimately fulfilled in Christ Jesus. First God gives a promise, then He fulfills His Word, then His Word becomes flesh.
As Abraham’s son, Jesus carried the weight of this world’s sin, idolatry, insecurity, uncertainty, and damnation, like Isaac bore the wood for the sacrifice. Ascending the Mountain in obedience to His Father Jesus laid His flesh upon the altar of the cross. There God provided fully for your salvation when He put to death all sin in His flesh and rose in victory over all that leads to death and hell!
C. Where your heart is there is your Treasure!
This morning you and I are directed towards this Son of Abraham that we may find our true treasure, our true God and Savior! In Jesus we find the forgiveness of our sin. In Him we find a righteousness of God that exceeds anything we could obtain on our own. In Him we find the certainty and security for which our hearts long. In Him we find a refuge from moth and rust that constantly seek our destruction in this world. In Him we find salvation.
Therefore our hearts ought to be found where this precious and kind Shepherd has promised to be for us. That our hearts may be in Him and He in us, the Lord of All has directed us to find Him in His means of grace. These provide true joy and happiness as we are united to our God and He provides nourishment for the soul and raiment for the body. If we look anywhere else, we loose certainty and perhaps salvation itself. If we look anywhere else fear no doubt will creep in and steal us away once again. But, if we take Him at His Word we rejoice with the Psalmist who says, “I rejoice at your Word as one who finds a treasure.” If we believe the Savior’s instructions to “fear not,” and to “believe” then we shall follow His voice. “My sheep know my voice” and knowing His voice we shall follow His Word. We follow His Word preached! We follow His Word immersed in the Waters of Baptism. We follow His Word hidden under the forms of bread and wine! Through these and through these alone can we be certain that the Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep and took it up again is really and truly present for us, for you!
D. Be Ready
And . . . we must be ready. We must be vigilant! We must be awake! “For our adversary the Devil prowls about as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We do not know the day nor the hour of our Master’s return. The thief seeks after the weak and the ignorant, those who have too often bound their heart and minds to the treasures and pleasures of this world rather than the Word of God. He seeks after you, to destroy your faith in Christ Jesus. He longs to break into the House of God and madly seeks your overthrow. At times he seemingly triumphs over the saints of God. He makes every attempt to bring fear back to your heart that you may dread the loss of this world’s things.
O Little Flock of Christ, heed the admonition of the Lord and fear not this foe! His seeming triumph, His blasphemous threats, His raging lies last but a short hour. And they have no power over you! Therefore the Apostle says, “’Awake you who sleep and rise from the dead and Christ will give you light.’ See then that you walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:14-16). In other words, Be ready, Be vigilant, Be awake! See to it that your heart is where your treasure is. See to it that you are found where Christ has promised to be for you and your forgiveness. See to it that your heart does not cling to your own life: neither “goods, fame, child and wife. For though these all be gone, they yet have nothing won. The kingdom ours remaineth!” Conclusion:
Therefore beloved, let these little words fill your hearts to the brim with joy and peace and salvation. The Father has provided you with His Son. He wills to give you the kingdom. And what a glorious kingdom it is; a kingdom of peace, fulfillment, joy, resurrection, eternity, life and salvation! “Fear Not O Little flock. For your Father wills to give you the Kingdom.” AMEN!
The Peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!