I celebrated my birthday on Friday. I love my birthday, because I love how excited my kids are to celebrate
Jesus lived to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. Mark 1:14-15, “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus came with a message of the kingdom in the gospel of repentance. Jesus’s whole life was to establish the kingdom of God through his life, death and resurrection. This kingdom could not be fully realized unless Jesus died. As Jesus came to establish his kingdom, He came to die. His life was always under the shadow of the cross. Luke 9:51 says, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” That verse is the turning point of Luke’s gospel. Luke highlights the time when Jesus was “to be taken up” which is referring to the entire passion and ascension. It was time for Jesus to face the cross and death and with it the resurrection and the ascension into heaven. The time had come and Jesus resolutely set his face towards Jerusalem to fully establish his kingdom.
In one sense all of Jesus’ life was directed toward the Cross, yet in the last week of his life there is an increased anticipation for Jesus to establish his kingdom. As we come to this Palm Sunday, we want to feel this type of anticipation. The Jews had long awaited the Savior to come. They were under Roman oppression and were eager for God to establish his kingdom on earth. The Messiah had come and was finally entering into Jerusalem as the King. Mark 11:7-10:
And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went
There was a crowd in front of Jesus and a crowd behind Jesus shouting, “Hosanna!” This is taken from Psalm 118:25, which means, “Save us, we pray!” The people were walking in the Savior to Jerusalem in the hopes that Jesus would powerfully save his people. The people also shouted, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” The people were expecting that Jesus was going to save his people by establishing his kingdom on earth, but they did not fully realize that the kingdom that he would establish was not of this world. He was going to establish his kingdom, but it was not going to look like what they expected. God’s kingdom was going to be established with his death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of his people who trust in Him. God’s kingdom is where God’s people live as subjects to the King of kings living and trusting in His Word. God’s spiritual reign in our lives will one day be a physical reign when he fully consummates His kingdom in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Yet until he comes, we are called to live in anticipation of his coming. We are called to live in the power of the Holy Spirit as a new people.
In our text this morning, Jesus is going reorient how his people are called to live under His Kingship. There are two ways to live. We either live with Jesus as our King, or we live under our own authority. Jesus is calling you to live under His Rule and to be part of his kingdom. As Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem to die on the cross, he gives instruction to us in how we are to live in his kingdom. There are very clear ethical implications in how we are called to live, but those implications flow from a proper view of God. We are going to look at three aspects of God’s character in the hopes that our lives will be a reflection of his character to our world.
The Coming Kingdom of the Generous God
Jesus has just finished warning His disciples about hypocrisy and denying the work of the Holy Spirit. In the midst of teaching, a man calls out a demand to Jesus regarding an inheritance in which Jesus responds with teaching, a warning to his disciples against covetousness and greed. Luke 12:13-15,
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on
This man was valuing the inheritance more than his brother. He valued and loved the potential inheritance more than he loved and valued his own brother. This man was deceived and living in a way that was outside the kingdom of God. Jesus came to bring a new kingdom; a kingdom where people live to give to others rather than to give to themselves.
The coming kingdom is a reflection of our Generous God. God gave us His own Son. And since He gave generously to us, as members of His kingdom, we also should give generously to others. We should desire to be like Him. Listen to how Jesus illustrates this principle in verse 16 and following,
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?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store 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.”
On the surface this seems very practical. A man was blessed with an abundance of crops. He did not want to waste his crops, but wanted to store up his resources to be used at a later date. Although on the surface this seems plausible, if you listen again to his reasoning you will see how his thinking is against the kingdom of God. Listen again and see if this is how you think of your possessions and your work:
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?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store 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” (emphasis added).
The problem is that this man thought that his possessions and wealth were for his own benefit rather than the service of God. And because he believed his wealth was his own and was not rich towards God, Jesus continues the parable in verse 20,
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.
A fool is one who lives without regard to God. So if you live as if your possessions are only for your benefit and not to be used for God and the service of others, you are living as a fool. Psalm 14:1-3 says
We all have been fools. We all have lived as if there is no God. We all have lived as if we were the center of the universe and God’s gifts of possessions were to serve our own ends. Even Paul writes, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray (Titus 3:3).” Everyone has been a fool and has acted foolishly. The penalty for being a fool is the soul. Jesus said to the rich man, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you.” A fool will suffer for living without God in this life, by living without God in the next life devoid of His presence in a literal, eternal Hell. Friends, we all have been fools, and our foolishness requires our souls, but God, who is rich in mercy, sent Jesus Christ to Jerusalem to pay for our foolishness in dying on the cross. He died and was buried and on the third day, was raised satisfying God’s judgment against you. If you would turn from your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will be saved. Do not be a fool, and live as if there is no God. Repent and be saved.
Beloved, Jesus is helping his disciples see that those in the kingdom of God do not live as this world is their final home. If you lay up treasure for yourself, when you die, you cannot take it with you. John D. Rockefeller was one of the wealthiest men in American History. His death was national news. Upon his death, someone asked his accountant, “How much money did Mr. Rockefeller leave behind?” She replied, “All of it.” She was reiterating the same point of the Lord Jesus. You cannot take any of your wealth with you. Do not make that mistake and live as if this was it. If you are not rich towards God, your soul will be required of you. Living as one who is rich towards God means that we live in view of God’s riches in the coming kingdom. One’s life does not consist in the abundance of one’s possessions, but in the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Beloved, we live for the coming kingdom. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:4-7,
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved—and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus (emphasis added).
We live for the age to come where God will show the immeasurable riches of his grace to us in Christ Jesus. Beloved, live as if your life does not consist in the abundance of possessions, but be rich towards God.
The Coming Kingdom of the Loving God
Luke 12:22, “And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you…” What Jesus is going to say next is directly connected to what he has already said. Those in the kingdom serve a generous God so we, likewise, should be generous with our resources to serve God and his people. A very natural thought after God calls us to be generous is “How then will I be able to take care of my own needs? Aren’t I being a poor steward if I give my possessions away?” Luke 12:22-31,
Jesus reminds his disciples how the Lord cares for his Creation. He cares for those things that are of lesser significance than humanity that was created in the very image of God. He cares for the ravens that have neither a storehouse or barn, yet God feeds them. He asks us to consider, to think on, to reflect in how, God clothes the lilies of the field. God loves you more than the birds and God loves you more than the grass of the field. Look at how God cares for them!! Do you not think that if God cares for them, that He will not take care of you?
Jesus makes the argument that you should not worry because if God cares for things of lesser value, then he will care for you. Jesus also encourages you not to worry because worrying does no good. Verse 25-26,
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?
If you can’t add a second to life by worrying, then why worry about the other things you cannot control? Worrying is fruitless. It does not produce any positive results. A few months ago a man got his truck stuck in the field next to the church. The mud was half way up the tire. The truck was stuck. Imagine him pushing and pushing and pushing the truck. Imagine him pushing the truck for hours, but it never moved and inch. If you watched hour after hour trying to push the truck, you would think that he was crazy. He needed to try something else because what he was doing was not working. Beloved, if you are one prone to worry, you are like that man pushing his stuck truck. You can worry and worry and worry hour after hour after hour, but it will not produce the results you want. Do not worry about what you cannot control. It is a fool’s errand and it is a sign of little faith. Once you discover your anxiety does not work then the next step is to try something else.
Jesus connects worry with little faith and then, he connects that little faith with the way of the world, rather than the way of the kingdom. Verses 28-30,
But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things. (emphasis added)
The world can cause worry and anxiety to fill our hearts, but how we handle our worry is an indicating of which kingdom we are serving. Jesus says a life characterized by worry is for those in the world, for excessive worry is a sign that we do not have enough faith in the gracious love of God the Father. But what does the end of verse 30 say? “Your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” The cure for anxiety is to pursue the kingdom of God by faith. The cure for any of our struggles is to seek the kingdom. Everyone has their struggles for one it may be anxiety, another it may be greed. The problem is not in having the struggle, but not fighting against the struggle by faith. We must fight against anything that will keep us from the Lord. We all have struggles, but by God’s grace we have the power through the Spirit to overcome them. So instead of giving yourself to worry, seek the kingdom. Meditate on the very great and precious promises God has given us.
Beloved, remember we serve a gracious and loving Heavenly Father. He knows what we need and he knows what is best of us. He will give us what we need, when we need it. We need to continue to trust our loving Father so we can be like Paul, who “learned in whatever situation to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil.4:11b-14). Regardless of the circumstances, Paul knew that through Christ he was able to make it. Romans 8:32 should be a verse we all memorize, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things.” When we think and reflect about all that God has given us in Christ it causes are our hearts to probably value Him.
The Coming Kingdom of the Valuable God
After Jesus tells his disciples to seek the kingdom of God, he reassures them of the Father’s good pleasure. Luke 12:32-34,
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
If you want to be rich forever, be willing to give up your money and your possessions now. Your generosity stores up for you treasures in heaven that will never spoil or fade, where no thief can approach and no moth destroy. When investing money there is always a risk, except when you invest that money in generosity towards God. When we invest in the kingdom of God by serving others and giving to God’s mission, we get a guarantee that our treasure will last forever. And even more importantly, our hearts will grow in treasuring our generous and loving God. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” God wants your hearts. God wants you to long for his coming kingdom. God wants you to loosen your grip on your possessions here on earth so your heart will be on heaven.
Beloved, we must live for the coming kingdom. We live in expectation for God to finally and fully establish his kingdom on earth. We want to treasure the doctrine of God our Savior. Jesus has established his spiritual kingdom through the gospel of Christ so we now live as kingdom citizens with our hope set on heaven. Titus 2:11-14,
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (emphasis added)
Jesus gave himself up for us. He bled and died and rose again to redeem us from living for this world. Set your hearts on our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.