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True Ownership, 1 of 6

Notes & Transcripts

 TEXT:  Luke 12:13-21

TOPIC:  True Ownership

Message 1 of 6 from the 33 Days of Stewardship Emphasis

Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point, Alabama

September 16, 2007

            This morning we are beginning a series of messages on Christian Stewardship as a part of our upcoming 33 Days of Stewardship.  If you will open your bible to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12.  I’m preaching today on the subject, “True Ownership.”

(READ THE SCRIPTURE)

13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." 14 But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" 15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' 18 So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." ' 20 But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Luke 12:13-21 (NKJV)

            Luke tells us at the beginning of this chapter that thousands had gathered to hear and see Jesus teach.  There were so many people that they were literally trampling over one another.  (Kind of like the crowds at the Alabama game I saw last night.)

            Jesus began to speak to His disciples about a number of confrontational subjects.  First He warned against hypocrisy, then He described God’s judgment.  He preached about God’s omniscience, and the empowerment of the Spirit.  He even touched on Hell.

            In the middle of Jesus’ teaching, someone suddenly blurts out a random request.  "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."

            In what that man said, how Jesus reacted, and what Jesus told, we learn some powerful truths about stewardship.

I. AN INTERRUPTION TO JESUS' TEACHING, 12:13

Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."

A.    The Demand:  “Tell my brother to give me what’s mine!”  This man had more problems than sibling rivalry.  Jesus turns this man’s awkward interruption into a teachable moment. 

B.     The Reason for the Interruption

This man was thinking only about himself.  He had reached a place of desperation.  He seemed to see Jesus as the only solution to his crisis.

C.     The Lesson we can learn

Like this man, many Christians today are only able to think of their own problems or needs.

Some Christians reach the point of desperation because their focus is on external pressures rather than the internal presence of God’s spirit.

a.       They walk by sight, not by faith

b.      Their actions are prompted by the wrong attitudes

Some Christians look at the Lord as some great problem solver rather than as Lord and Owner of all.

II. AN INSIGHT FROM JESUS' RESPONSE, 12:14-15

14 But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" 15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."

A.    The Purpose in His Question - 14 But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?"

1.      Jesus wanted the man to recognize that He is not some sort of Divine referee.

2.      Jesus wanted the man to focus on the root cause rather than on the symptom.

B.     The Warning in His Words - 15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness

1.      Jesus’ warning focuses on the root cause which was greed.

a.       Greed is the same thing as covetousness.

b.      Greed is the root problem that can lead to all kinds of other sin.

C.  The Insight in His Declaration - for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."

1. What Jesus declares is diametrically opposed to what the world says.

2. The world says, "Get all you can.  Can all you get.  And sit on the can!"

The world believes that life does consist in the abundance of one's possessions, so you should get all you can and own all that's possible.

He who has the most toys wins.

a. This notion is based on a distorted and unbiblical view of life

b. In reality, we don't own anything!  We are stewards--a word that means "manager."  We are managers or stewards of all that God has entrusted to our care.  So greed to have more to which we must give a greater accountability doesn't really make much sense.

2.      Our affections, that which we feel most profoundly, are to be set above, not on the things of this world. 

Colossians 3:1-2, 1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

1 John 2:15-17, Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

III. AN ILLUSTRATION OF JESUS' WISDOM, 12:16-21

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' 18 So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." ' 20 But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

A. The Purpose of Jesus' Parable

1. To illustrate spiritual truth

2. To reinforce an important principle

3. To stimulate people to think

B. The Point of Jesus' Parable

1. Beware of Success, 12:16-17 - "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?'

The Man in the parable:

a.       Saw only himself, not God.

b.      Forgot that he was a steward.

c.       Failed to realize that his harvest was not because of his ability but that God had been kind and gracious to him

d.      Missed the point that wealth is no measure of worth.

2.Beware of Self-assurance, 12:18-19 - So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."

a. The man in this parable had “I” trouble.  (Personal pronouns are used here 13 times.)

b. This man thought only of himself, not others or God.

c. Rather than being humbled he was haughty.

d. Rather than see himself as a steward he saw himself as the owner.

3.      Beware of Self-security, 12:18-19

a.       Many people go through life thinking that possessions bring happiness and contentment, when in reality they can often create more anxiety and concerns.

b.      God is not against our enjoying things, but He doesn’t want us to depend on them.

4. Beware of Self-satisfaction, 12:19 - take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."

  1. If you’re into self-focused ownership rather than God-focused ownership, then you’re on the wrong track.
  2. If your peace is based on things rather than the will of God, you have a false peace.
  3. As stewards, we’re accountable to the Owner not for our enjoyment of His riches, but our investment.  We must invest in eternal things.

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