Today we begin a new message series entitled “Kingdom Principles.” We’re going to be talking about the Kingdom of God, also called the Kingdom of Heaven.
Luke 4:43 (ESV) but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”’
Most of Jesus’ teaching focused on the kingdom of God. So we mustn’t neglect it. The kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom. In this age, the kingdom of God will not be a government that rules over a nation. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. Yet, human beings can become part of the kingdom of God.
John 3:3 (ESV) Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
A human being must be born again in order to see and enter the kingdom of God. When a person believes in Jesus, they are born again into the spiritual family of God and become citizens of the spiritual kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is an eternal kingdom, it will last forever. Those who are disciples of the kingdom of any age are kingdom citizens.
Today’s message is called “Should You Fear God?” We’ll be looking at some profound teaching of Jesus about how His followers or disciples are to live. If you’re a believer in Jesus today, you’ve been born again, this message is for you. If you’re not yet a believer, you will learn more today about how to become a believer.
Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Many people believe that all fear is bad, but that’s not true. The only good fear is the fear of the Lord which leads to knowledge of God. Oftentimes the fear of the Lord is explained away by timid teachers, saying it’s just a reverent feeling. Yes, we should have a reverence of God, but the fear of the Lord means exactly what it says, we must fear God, as we’ll see today.
There are two basic types of fear of the Lord. The first is the fear of the Lord regarding this life that keeps us from sinning. God’s Word teaches that if we sow sin in our lives, we will reap judgement from God. The second type of fear of the Lord has to do with the next life, eternity.
Eternity has two and only two destinations. The first is heaven, a place of eternal and unimaginable joy with God. The second is hell, a place of eternal and unimaginable torment without God. Any rational person should fear being sent to hell by God and run to Jesus. Today, we’re going to learn more from Jesus about why we should fear God. The fear of God leads to blessing in this life and for eternity.
Luke 12:1b-2 (ESV… he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you’re not, which is what the Pharisees did. They acted as if they were righteous and holy, but they were full of sin. Jesus begins to talk about eternity and what we have to fear. Leaven easily spreads through a lump of dough. So Jesus is warning that we mustn’t be influenced by the hypocrites around us. At the judgement, the hypocrites will no longer be able to hide anything. Everything that they have tried to hide will be revealed in all its ugliness.
Luke 12:4-5 (ESV) “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
First Jesus tells us whom we are not fear. We are not to fear even those who may kill us for our faith in Christ. We are not to fear them because the worst they can to do is send us to heaven. We are to fear one person alone, we are to fear God. We are to fear God, because as judge of all, he has the authority to send a person to hell. The word fear in regard to God is repeated three times in this verse. We are to fear God for the greatest tragedy that could ever happen to a human being is to spend eternity in torment out of God’s presence in hell.
Luke 12:6-7 (ESV) Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Yet, God is not a vengeful God, He cares deeply about His creation, even the birds. And he cares even more about every human being he has created. He knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head, which changes daily, doesn’t it. So, Jesus tells us to fear not, because we are more value than those birds.
So, which is it? Are we to fear or are we to fear not? Since Jesus commands us to both fear and fear not, we must do both. We must allow the fear of God sending us to hell keep us walking close to him.And as we walk close to God, we have no need to fear, for we are headed toward heaven. Fear God alone.
A lot of people get Jesus’ point exactly backwards. They have no fear of God sending them to hell because they think they’re going to heaven, no matter if they believe in Jesus, no matter if they live a life of sin. Although they have no real fear of God, they worry about everything, which is a form of fear.
Do you want to get rid of worry in your life today? Make a choice to fear God alone and walk close to Him. As you are close to Jesus you have no need to fear or worry about anything, except the Lord.In this passage, Jesus is not speaking to the crowd, He is speaking to his disciples. When we learn to truly fear God, we become fearless of anything else. When we fear God alone, we can …
Luke 12:8-9 (ESV) “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
Again judgement day in eternity is in view here. To acknowledge Jesus before men is to be a bold witness for Jesus. If you are a bold witness for Jesus, Jesus will acknowledge that you are his before the angels on judgement day. But if you fear man, are not a bold witness and deny Jesus, He will deny you on judgement day. If Jesus denies knowing you on judgement day, you won’t spend eternity with him. Now we know that Peter denied Jesus before men, but he repented and Jesus forgave him. But there is an unforgiveable sin.
Luke 12:10 (ESV) And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a sin that will not be forgiven. An unforgiven sin will send that person to spend eternity in hell. In the other Gospels, this statement of Jesus was made after the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of delivering people from demons by the power of Satan. The sin which cannot be forgiven is denying the power of the Holy Spirit and attributing it to the devil. I believe those that commit the unforgivable sin have no desire to repent. They are become entrenched in their unbelief and disrespect for the Holy Spirit.
Luke 12:11-12 (ESV) And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Jesus looks forward to persecution that his disciples would face in the future. When they were required to defend themselves before rulers, they should rely on the Holy Spirit to give them the right words. Words that would show no fear of the rulers, but would give a bold witness for Jesus. When we fear God alone, we have the power to be a fearless witness for Jesus.
Someone once asked the question, if you were brought up to trial as a follower of Jesus, would there be enough evidence to convict you? You see, most people would say that they would never deny Jesus. Yet, they go through life, fearing about what other people would think, they never tell others about Jesus. In fact, many or most of some people’s friends have no idea they are a Christian.
You can deny Jesus verbally by saying you don’t know him or you can deny Jesus simply by silence. Never speaking of him to others who are unbelievers. As we grow in our fear of the Lord, our fears of being a bold witness will decrease. We will be able to acknowledge our faith in any and all circumstances. We will boldly witness for Jesus. Finally, Jesus encourages us to consider eternity and to …
Luke 12:13,15 (ESV) Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” … And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
The man that called out to Jesus, had an issue with his brother who wouldn’t give him his share of the inheritance. Jesus perceived that the man’s concern was an issue of covetousness. He was greedy and wanted to increase his wealth and possessions. He was focused on this life and not on eternity. He feared being poor in this life.To illustrate his point, Jesus told the crowd a story.
Luke 12:16-17 (ESV) And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’
So, we have a man who was already rich, which means he had more than enough to provide for his own needs. His harvest was so great, that the barns he had were not large enough to contain it. As we look at the rich man’s thoughts, we see them focused not on God but on himself. There is no thought of giving thanks to God. No thought as to what God would have him to do. We will see where his self-centered thoughts will lead him in the next verses.
Luke 12:18-19 (ESV) And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’
In these two verses, the rich man speaks to himself about what he is going to do. God is nowhere in the mix. He uses I, my and soul ten times and looks forward to time of leisurely living. Nothing overtly sinful in his plans is there. So, what does God have to say about this rich man and his plans.
Luke 12:20-21 (ESV) But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
God calls this rich man a fool. Not because he was rich, but because he laid up treasures for himself. That very night, God would take the rich man’s life and he would not be spending eternity with God. Rather than laying up treasures on earth for himself, the man should have been laying up treasures in heaven for God.
This rich man forgot or never knew that every blessing he had in life was from God. This is true of every person on the planet, whether they are a believer or not. Since every blessing is from God, we ought to be thankful to him and acknowledge that everything we have is really God’s. God just allows us to use His resources for His purposes. And that is the key to laying up treasures in heaven.
Laying up treasures in heaven is simply using the resources that God has given to us for the purposes that God has for them. The money that you make on your job or the money you make from investing, is not yours. It’s God and He has a purpose for the resources that He has entrusted to you.The Bible says that we are stewards of God’s resources.When we use them for God’s purposes, we lay up treasures in heaven.If we use them for only what we want, we are being very foolish and not thinking of eternity. Those who fear poverty layup treasures on earth. Disciples who fear God layup treasures in heaven.
This morning we’ve learned a lot about the fear of the Lord from Jesus. The fear of the Lord sets us free from fearing anything or anyone else.The fear of the Lord gives us the power to boldly witness for Jesus. The fear of the Lord helps us to focus our priorities on eternity. When we focus on eternity, we lay up treasures in heaven, not on earth. May God help us to grow in the fear of the Lord and to not fear or worry about anything else.