#5 (The “Forgetting” Series)
TEXTS: Luke 12:4-7 Rom. 8:35-39
INTRO: For most people life is filled with insignificant stuff! Much of our time and energy is spent dealing with day to day stuff that really doesn’t have earth shattering significance. If we are not careful we will easily find our lives cluttered by all this insignificance and we’ll discover that the truly significant things of God get easily crowded out!
It often takes powerful demonstrations of what is truly significant to draw us back to balance in our lives!
ILLUS: ONE OF OUR
In our world of so many superfluous things it is easy to get hung up on insignificant stuff and miss the really important things!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us to guard our spirit against the torrent of insignificant things that can really sidetrack our relationship with God and prevent us from growing in significant ways, one of Satan’s most effective tools in a rich society is to fill us with so much insignificance that we are too busy for the really important stuff that is eternal!
I. ULTIMATE ISSUES! Lk. 12:4-5
A. Limited Powers! Lk. 12:4
1. The question of persecution was being addressed by Jesus with His disciples. A huge crowd (an unruly one at that too! see 12:1) had gathered to hear Jesus.
a. Jesus turns His attention first to His disciples!
b. He wants them to know what is really significant!
c. These are words meant to be encouragement and direction for the rest of their lives and ministry, to know what to focus on as life goes on!
2. Jesus instructs them here as FRIENDS, one of the few times Jesus used this term with them; this was not just a TEACHER – STUDENT moment, it was the advice of a dear friend who cares about the struggles in life He knew they would face!
3. Jesus recognizes the common reality of everyone, to have fear against the backdrop of life’s struggles!
a. Even the best of Christians can and will experience fear!
b. Because life is full of surprises and threats we can easily be drawn into being fearful!
4. These great men of God were no different; Jesus knew they would be struck with paralyzing fear from time to time!
a. The question then in Jesus’ mind was “How do I prepare them for the times when fear will come, when they will be afraid!?”
b. Jesus’ starting point was very basic ... to tell them what the most significant truth for all believers of all time should remember: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more…”
c. Jesus’ statement here was meant to instruct them about the limited power that man in his worst moments of hatred and evil can do, the limit of evil’s most horrible thing, that evil’s power has a limit on believers!
5. What Jesus is really doing here is laying the foundation of significance: that eternal life is so much greater than temporal life and that evil’s influence is limited only to our temporal reality, it cannot touch the eternal in those who belong to Christ!
6. History is replete with examples of saints who have come to understand this very significant truth!
ILLUS: SUCH AS SAINT BONIFACE WHO LIVED 680-755 A.D. – AS HE WAS BEING PUT TO DEATH, EVEN AS THEY POURED HOT LEAD INTO HIS MOUTH HIS FINAL WORDS WERE RECORDED AS, “I THANK THEE, LORD JESUS, SON OF THE LIVING GOD!” OR THE THIRD CENTURY BELIEVER NAMED SAINT LAWRENCE WHO WAS BROILED ON A GRIDIRON ALIVE LIKE A PIECE OF STEAK DURING THE PERSECUTION OF THE WICKED RULER VALERIAN. HE WAS ASKED TO GIVE UP THE TREASURES OF THE CHURCH, AND SO HE BROUGHT FORTH THE POOR AND THE SICK THAT WERE IN HIS CARE, FOR THIS HE WAS COOKED ALIVE AND AS HE BURNED HE YELLED OUT, “THIS SIDE IS ROASTED ENOUGH, TURN UP, 0 TYRANT GREAT; ASSAY WHETHER ROASTED OR RAW THOU THINKEST THE BETTER MEAT.” HE HAD NO FEAR OF DEATH OR THE TYRANT VALERIAN! OR MEN LIKE SIR WALTER RALEIGH (1552?-1618) THE ENGLISH POET, HISTORIAN, NAVIGATOR; AS HE WAS LED TO THE CHOPPING BLOCK TO HAVE HIS HEAD CUT OFF IT WAS RECORDED THAT HIS FINAL WORDS WERE: “TIS A SHARP REMEDY, (THE AXE) BUT A SURE ONE FOR ALL THAT ILLS.” WHEN ASKED HOW HE WISHED TO PLACE HIS HEAD ON THE BLOCK HE SAID, “SO THE HEART WILL BE RIGHT, TIS NO MATTER WHICH WAY THE HEAD LIES ... WHAT DOEST THOU FEAR? STRIKE MAN, STRIKE!” -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
7. These were men who understood the words of Jesus; Satan and His minions have limited power over any believer, evil can’t touch the significant stuff in us!
B. Lifelong Perspective Lk. 12:5
1. Rather than be afraid of evil we need to have a healthy fear of God. This fear here is not a panic type but a reverence type!
2. Since evil’s powers are limited we would do better to have a healthy respect toward the one who has the real power over both the temporal and the eternal, the only one that qualifies here is GOD!
a. This is meant to be a lifelong perspective for the disciples!
b. If they would keep this perspective they would avoid falling into insignificance.
3. A healthy respect toward God can keep us from demeaning what is really important in life!
a. Proverbs states it like this: “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
b. Those who fail to develop a healthy fear of God will not take spiritual realities seriously!
c. Notice the last line of verse 5 “...yes, I tell you, fear him!”
d. God is much more than our Santa Claus in the sky! … He is GOD!
4. Those that have no fear of God in their hearts will have no respect for spiritual realities!
a. It is important to understand that this fear is not the same as panic; it means respect, reverence, awe!
b. While we serve a personal God ... He is also a mighty God, a Holy God!
5. A healthy fear of God will help pull us back in line for what is really important and what is really insignificant in life! A healthy fear will keep us focused!
ILLUS: IT IS QUITE INTERESTING TO KNOW THAT ONE OF THE GREAT ENEMIES OF CHRISTIANITY, CHARLES DARWIN AND HIS THEORY OF EVOLUTION IS NOT THE ENEMY MANY OF US THINK ... FOR AT THE END OF HIS LIFE HE TURNED TO CHRIST AND EMBRACED THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. AS HE WAS DYING IN ENGLAND HE CONTACTED LADY HOPE OF NORTHFIELD AND MADE THIS REQUEST: “I WANT YOU TO COME TO THIS PATIO AND HOLD YOUR GOSPEL SERVICE. I WILL HAVE THE WINDOW OPEN. I WANT YOU TO TALK AND SING ABOUT JESUS AND HIS SAVING POWER.” HE DIED ONLY DAYS LATER. HE DISCOVERED BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE WHAT WAS REALLY SIGNIFICANT IN LIFE. WHILE THE SCIENTIFIC WORLD STILL HOLDS TO EVOLUTION AS THE GREAT SIGNIFICANT DISCOVERY OF SCIENCE IN THIS MODERN AGE, DARWIN IS SITTING BEFORE THE THRONE OF THE CREATOR IN WORSHIP RIGHT NOW REALIZING WHAT WAS REALLY SIGNIFICANT, ALL HIS THEORY EVER DID FOR THE WORLD WAS MAKE A MONKEY OUT OF MAN! JESUS MADE A SAINT OUT OF MAN! IF HE COULD TALK NOW TO THE WORLD WHAT DO YOU THINK HE WOULD EMPHASIZE? -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
II. UNLIMITED IMPORTANCE! Lk. 12:6-7 Rom. 8:35-39
A. Love’s Priority! Lk. 12:6
1. As if to make the point clear that Jesus didn’t mean the kind of fear that brings us to be scared of Him He adds these next two verses to inspire us with how great His love is for us ... the idea was to show us how great His Love is so that our fear would be that of deep respect!
2. Jesus uses this following illustration to demonstrate how great God’s love is toward them: “are not 5 sparrows sold for 2 pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.”
a. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that the going rate of sparrows was 2 sparrows for 1 penny!
b. This means that they had bargain deals back then much like we do today, if 5 sparrows sold for 2 pennies, you were getting one free bird by buying a larger number of them!
c. It also shows how cheap sparrows were considered!
d. Jesus’ point is simple: though they are nearly worthless and cheap not one of them, even the free one is forgotten by God!
3. God does not lose tract of the really significant things, especially us! Though we are good at getting sidetracked by the insignificant stuff God does not turn away from us!
a. We might forget but God won’t!
b. We might get focused on stupid little things, but God won’t be sidetracked!
4. How often we get worked up over really unimportant stuff, how easy to be emotionally crippled over the insignificant stuff of this world!
a. It is only too easy to get side tracked over insignificant issues to the point that we miss the really important stuff!
b. History is full of examples of tragedy because of a wrong focus!
ILLUS: A GOOD EXAMPLE OF SUCH A TRAGIC FOCUS ON SOMETHING SMALL THAT COST A HIGH PRICE WAS THE CRASH OF EASTERN’S FLIGHT 401 IN THE EVERGLADES SEVERAL YEARS BACK THAT KILLED DOZENS OF PEOPLE AND INJURED MANY OTHERS. THE PLANE WAS BOUND FROM NEW YORK TO MIAMI WITH A HEAVY LOAD OF PASSENGERS. AS THE PLANE APPROACHED MIAMI AIRPORT FOR ITS LANDING THE LITTLE LIGHT ON THE DASH THAT INDICATES THE LANDING GEAR IS DOWN AND LOCKED FAILED TO COME ON. THE PLANE FLEW IN LARGE CIRCLES OVER THE EVERGLADES WHILE THE COCKPIT CREW CHECKED TO SEE IF THE GEAR WAS ACTUALLY DOWN OR IF INSTEAD, IT WAS SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS THE LIGHT BULB BURNED OUT ON THE CONSOLE. WHEN THE FLIGHT ENGINEER TRIED TO REMOVE THE LIGHT BULB, IT WOULDN’T BUDGE, AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CREW TRIED TO HELP HIM. AS THEY STRUGGLED WITH THE BULB, NO ONE NOTICED THAT THE AIRCRAFT WAS LOSING ALTITUDE, AND THE PLANE SIMPLY FLEW RIGHT INTO THE SWAMP. DOZENS DIED WHILE HIGH PRICED PILOTS AND CREW FIDDLED WITH A 75 CENT LIGHT BULB! THEY GOT DRAWN AWAY FROM THE MORE SIGNIFICANT ISSUE OF THE ENTIRE PLANE! -- SOURCE UNKNOWN
5. God never is sidetracked by what is really significant – WE ARE WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO HIM!
a. How it must hurt God’s heart when we get sidetracked and forget how important people are to Him by our actions of neglecting others or getting worked up over unimportant issues!
b. God doesn’t even forget the one free bird thrown in on this deal ... nothing is insignificant about life to God!
c. The point is well made, if this is true about sparrows with God how much more important are we to Him!?
B. Love’s Promise! Lk. 12:7 Rom. 8:35-39
1. Jesus now makes the issue of what is really significant very clear ... He even knows the very number of the hairs on our head! ... He misses nothing! (For some this is easier than others of course!)
a. Love’s promise is really important!
b. Jesus now adds, “don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows!”
2. God’s love for us drives Him to stay focused on what is really significant against that which is really insignificant!
a. The Lord doesn’t get sidetracked on issues of insignificance ... love makes clear what is really important – people!
b. God’s love in us should do the same, it will drive us to overlook the things that are really insignificant and drive us to focus on what is really important.
3. Man is great at missing the real issues and settling for side issues, man usually focuses on peripheral issues, God gets to the heart of the matter.
INSTANCE, SEVERAL YEARS AGO THE BARBERS IN AMERICA PROPOSED A NATIONAL
CONVENTION IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK. THE STEERING COMMITTEE DESIRED TO SPEND A
GOOD SUM OF MONEY IN ADVERTISING THE GATHERING. THEY HIRED A PUBLICITY GENIUS, AND TOLD
HIM THAT THEY WANTED TO USE HIS SKILL. THEIR GOAL WAS TO MAKE AMERICA CONSCIOUS
THAT THE BARBERS WERE MEETING IN NEW YORK. THEY PLACED A GOOD SUM OF MONEY AT HIS
DISPOSAL, AND THE YOUNG MAN WENT TO WORK. THIS IS WHAT HE DID, AND IT MADE NATIONAL
NEWS AT THE TIME. HE WENT TO THE
BOWERY OF THE CITY AND FOUND A WRECK OF A MAN, A YOUNG MAN WHO CLEANED UP WOULD
BE QUITE HANDSOME. HE ASKED THIS
WRECK OF A MAN IF HE WANTED TO MAKE SOME EASY MONEY. THE YOUNG DERELICT SAID “YES.” HE ASKED HIM TO COME WITH HIM AND DO
WHATEVER HE ASKED. HE TOOK THE
UNSHAVEN, MATTED HAIR, DIRTY AND ALL AND HAD A PICTURE OF HIM TAKEN. THEN HE HAD THE MAN GET A DECENT HAIRCUT
AND ANOTHER PICTURE. THEN, HE
HAD HIM GET A SHAVE WITH HIS NEW HAIRCUT AND ANOTHER PICTURE. THEN FOR THE THIRD PICTURE HE HAD HIM
SHAVEN, HAIR CUT; THE MAN HAD THE WORKS. FOR THE FINAL PICTURE THE MAN WAS TAKEN
TO A FANCY STORE AND A WONDERFUL NEW SUIT WAS BOUGHT THAT FIT HIM TO A TEE.
THE 4TH AND FINAL
PICTURE WAS TAKEN AND THESE 4 PICTURES WERE BLOWN UP AND PLACED IN THE LOBBY OF
THE CONVENTION CENTER WITH THE MAN HIMSELF STANDING NEARBY IN A SUIT OF CLOTHES
AND GROOMED TO THE TEE! THE
TRANSFORMATION WAS SO DRAMATIC THAT IT GOT NATIONAL ATTENTION IN THE PRESS!
THE CONVENTION SLOGAN WAS CREATED,
IT WENT LIKE THIS: “THIS IS WHAT THE BARBERS OF
4. “Don’t be afraid...” love’s promise is that God will always keep us in His focus no matter what goes on in this world of ours!
a. God doesn’t lose focus on what is significant, He can’t, that’s love’s promise!
b. And if we love like God loves then we won’t get lost on the more insignificant stuff either!
5. Paul expresses this same truth in ROMANS 8:35-39.
a. Shall any NATURAL DISASTER separate us from God’s love 8:35-36? Paul’s answer is NO!
b. Shall any SUPERNATURAL THING separate us from God’s love 8:38-39? Paul’s answer is NO!
6. In fact, Paul says that we are “MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loved us.” 8:37
a. The word translated “conquerors” here is HUPERNIKOMEN, literally “hyperconquerors” or “SUPERCONQUERORS!”
b. There is no way for us to lose against Satan ... not with God keeping us in perfect focus!
c. And things will go better for us if we can learn to forget the insignificant stuff and stay focused by His love too!
7. Forget what is unimportant or insignificant in life, focus on the important things!
CONCLUSION: Most of the frustrations and stress in our lives are founded on things of minor significance! There really are but a few significant things to be concerned about! We would all be healthier if we could learn the difference between “truly significant” and “insignificant” issues. Focus affects mood, and mood affects behavior and priorities. What do you really consider “significant” in life? FORGET INSIGNIFICANCE...