Our kingdoms and the Kingdom of God are not the same.
We buy land, houses, cars, trucks, boats, and 4-wheeled toys all the time. As we get older, the toys just get a bit more expensive. All of the things we have give us a sense of accomplishment. There is some safety with having all of our stuff around us. For a brief time period we may even feel content. Then we see an advertisement for another toy we must have. It seems our kingdoms are growing larger.
This idea of our growing kingdoms’ makes us wonder about our lives as Christians. Are we ready to receive the Kingdom? Do we followers of Jesus need to grow our own kingdoms? Or is there something else we can be doing as followers of Jesus? I think Luke records a good lesson from Jesus. As we hear the story, we can ask ourselves: “Where is my heart?” When we discover the answer to that question, we see how ready we are for the Kingdom of God.
A. How do we get ready to receive the Kingdom? (12:32-34)
1. God has good stuff planned for us!
2. He is giving us his Kingdom!
3. The kingdom in which we live with God himself!
4. Do not be afraid
5. Sell your possessions & give alms
a. Jesus had told us to give God what is God’ – the tithe of our increase
b. We render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s
c. Get rid of things in your possession and give so that who don’t have possessions can at least have food, clothing, and shelter
6. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out – in heaven!
7. We can each ask ourselves: “Where is my heart?” If we find our hearts are lined up with our own kingdoms and not God’s Kingdom, then we are not ready to receive the kingdom of God. Our possessions will wear out, get stolen, or get broken. But what God has for us will not wear out, get stolen, or become broken. So, if we are not to acquire many things, what are we to do? We are to be obedient. Why would we want to be obedient?
B. The Son of Man will come at an unexpected hour. (12:35-40)
1. We need some clothes and some lamps
2. Otherwise, we sell what we have and give alms
3. When the bridegroom comes, he will come and serve a meal to his slaves
4. What a blessing!
5. We cannot wait to be obedient!
6. Are our treasures in our kingdoms or are our treasures in God’s kingdom?
7. John Wesley taught the early Methodist some important truths in his sermon on money. He encouraged the Methodist to Gain all you can. This was so they could care for their families and not be dependent upon others. John Wesley then encouraged the Methodist to Save all you can. This allowed them to store up goods for the last truth of his sermon. The Methodist were to Gain all you can, so you can save all you can, so that you can give all you can. That’s right, we don’t hoard all we have gained so we can be like the rich fool we read about in Luke 12. We give all we can because we will always have the poor among us. Besides it is a command of Jesus! John Wesley emphasized this fact at the end of his sermon called, “ On the use of money”:
Brethren, can we be either wise or faithful stewards unless we thus manage our Lord’s goods? We cannot, as not only the oracles of God, but our own conscience beareth witness. Then why should we delay? Why should we confer any longer with flesh and blood, or men of the world? Our kingdom, our wisdom is not of this world: Heathen custom is nothing to us. We follow no men any farther than they are followers of Christ. Hear ye him. Yea, to-day, while it is called to-day, hear and obey his voice! At this hour, and from this hour, do his will: Fulfill his word, in this and in all things! I entreat you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, act up to the dignity of your calling! No more sloth! Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with your might! No more waste! Cut off every expense which fashion, caprice, or flesh and blood demand! No more covetousness! But employ whatever God has entrusted you with, in doing good, all possible good, in every possible kind and degree to the household of faith, to all men! This is no small part of “the wisdom of the just.” Give all ye have, as well as all ye are, a spiritual sacrifice to Him who withheld not from you his Son, his only Son: So “laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that ye may attain eternal life!”(http://www.umcmission.org/Find-Resources/John-Wesley-Sermons/Sermon-50-The-Use-of-Money)
We cannot receive God’s kingdom unless we are found to be obedient when Jesus returns. When we are found to be obedient, we will be blessed.
Where is your heart? If your heart is wrapped up in your kingdom, then repent. Seek the blessing that God has for your, namely his kingdom.
If you are delaying doing good to those who need it, then repent. Sell your possessions and give alms.
By our living we let God know that our treasure is with him. Otherwise, we won’t be ready when Jesus comes at an unexpected hour.
(I am indebted to http://www.umcdiscipleship.org for a reference to John Wesley’s sermon, “The Use of Money.”)