Sermon #87 Luke Sermons
Title: “Your Father’s Good Pleasure”
Text: Luke 12:32-40
Subject: Instructions from the Master
Tape # X-27b
(Luke 12:32-40) "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (33) Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. (34) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (35) Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; (36) And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. (37) Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (38) And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. (39) And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. (40) Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not."
What tremendous words of consolation, instruction, and hope we have before us in this passage. How well our Master knows our hearts! How quick he is to condescend to our low estate and meet our needs!
I. The first thing I see in our text is a soul-cheering assurance.— "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (v. 32).
Our Lord Jesus knew that these disciples were filled with many fears, and that we would often be tossed about with the same.
· They were few in number.
· Their adversaries were many and great.
· They had to face great difficulties.
· They were but weak, sinful men.
· They had a great work to do.
· They knew themselves unworthy and altogether insufficient for the work.
Being aware of all these fears that these disciples faced, all the fears that we must face, our ever gracious Redeemer speaks this word of grace—"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” In that one, golden sentence, he gives us great assurances to comfort our hearts and cheer our souls.
A. We are a little flock.
The word might be better translated “very little flock.” The fact is, God’s people in this world are now, always have been, and always shall be but a very little flock. There are multitudes who wear the name of Christ, multitudes who meet regularly in houses of worship, multitudes who have a profession of faith; but true believers are always but a very little flock in this world. We ought never be surprised by this fact. It is vain to expect it to be otherwise.
(Matthew 7:14) "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
There shall always be a remnant according to the election of grace; but God’s elect shall always be but a remnant, until our Lord comes again.
Yes, God’s people are but a very little flock; but we are his little flock!
· Christ is our Shepherd!
· He chose us to be his sheep!
· He bought us with his blood!
· He sought us out and found us!
· He is carrying us home!
· He will not let us go!
· We are constantly under his tender care!
B. This text also assures us that we have a great and gracious Father.
You and I are tenderly loved by God the Father, who has made himself our Father. What a privilege! The God of Glory is our heavenly Father!
· He adopted us as his dear children.
· He rejoices over us as the objects of his love.
· He sees no spot in us.
· He delights in us as he delights in Christ.
· He receives us graciously.
· He is well-pleased with us in Christ, even as he is well-pleased with Christ.
Even now, when the holy Lord God looks down upon us from heaven, with all our fears and infirmities, he sees us in Christ and smiles with approval, just as fully as he shall when he presents us before his glory and welcomes us into his kingdom (Jude 24-25).
(Jude 1:24-25) "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen."
C. Now, watch this—It is our Father’s good pleasure to give his kingdom.— —"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
There is a glorious, eternal kingdom awaiting us, a kingdom which is our Father’s pleasure, his delight to give us. Here we are troubled, tried, and tempted. Here we are mocked, ridiculed, and despised. Here we are counted the off-scouring of the earth. But that will not be the case for long.
(Romans 8:18) "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
(Colossians 3:4) "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
(Revelation 19:1-9) "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: (2) For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. (3) And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. (4) And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. (5) And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. (6) And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (7) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (9) And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."
It is our Father’s good pleasure to give us his kingdom, all of it; and that which God is pleased to do God will do!
D. Are you a part of God’s little flock?
If we are a part of this flock we have nothing to fear. Our God has given us exceeding great and precious promises (2 Pet. 1:4), and they are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus. God is ours. Christ is ours. Eternity is ours. All things are ours. The world, the flesh and the devil may oppose us; but God is for us. And, “if God be for us, who can be against us?”
II. Next, in verses 33 and 34, I see a heart searching fact.—“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
(Luke 12:33-34) "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. (34) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Our Savior’s exhortations are plain, demanding, but plain and unmistakable.—“Sell that ye have.” He says, “give alms.” His requirement is, “provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” Then, he adds this heart searching fact—“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
A. We are to sell what we have.
Without question this is a figurative thing, not to be taken literally. There is nothing in the New Testament that suggests that a person is to impoverish himself, or sell off his property to be a follower of Christ. On the contrary, we are required to faithfully and diligently provide for our families.
(1 Timothy 5:8) "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."
What, then, is the meaning of this exhortation? It is just this—We are to sell, or give up anything and everything that stands between us and Christ. This is an exhortation to self-denial. Faith in Christ involves the giving of our lives, of all that we are and have to the dominion and disposal of our Lord.
B. We are to give.
The giving of alms speaks of charity and kindness to those in need. We are to be more ready to use what God has trusted to our hands for the benefit of others, particularly for the benefit of his kingdom and the furtherance of the gospel, than to hoard it up for ourselves and to gratify our carnal lust for earthly things.
The New Testament teaches nothing about tithing; but it teaches us much about giving. All of I Corinthians 9, 2 Corinthians 8 and 2 Corinthians 9 are taken up with this subject. But there are no commands to the people of God anywhere in the New Testament about how much we are to give, when we are to give, or where we are to give. Tithing and all systems like it are things altogether foreign to the New Testament. Like all other acts of worship, giving is an act of grace. It must be free and voluntary. But there are some plain, simple guidelines laid down in the New Testament for us to follow.
1. Christian giving must be motivated by love and gratitude towards Christ (2 Cor. 8:8-9). Love needs no law. It is a law unto itself. It is the most powerful and most generous of all motives.
(2 Corinthians 8:8-9) "I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. (9) For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
2. Our gifts must arise from willing hearts (2 Cor. 8:12). If that which you give arises from a willing heart, if it is given freely and cheerfully, it is accepted of God. The Lord is not concerned with the amount of your gift, be it great or small; he looks to the motive behind it.
(2 Corinthians 8:12) "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not."
3. We should give to the work of the gospel in proportion to our blessings from the Lord (I Cor. 16:2). We are expected to give generously in accordance with our own ability.
(1 Corinthians 16:2) "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
4. All of God’s people should give (‘everyone,’ I Cor. 16:2; ‘every man,’ 2 Cor. 9:7). Men and women, rich and poor, old and young - all who are saved by the grace of God are expected to give for the support of God’s church and kingdom.
5. We should be both liberal and sacrificial in our giving (2 Cor. 9:5-6). We have not really given anything until we have taken that which we need, want and have use for and given it to the Lord (Mark 12:41-44).
(2 Corinthians 9:5-6) "Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up before hand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. (6) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
6. Our gifts must be voluntary (2 Cor. 9:7).
(2 Corinthians 9:7) "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
7. We are to give as unto the Lord (Matt. 6:1-5). We give, not to be seen of men, but for the honour of Christ, hoping for nothing in return.
(Matthew 6:1-5) "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. (2) Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (3) But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: (4) That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. (5) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
8. This kind of giving is well-pleasing to God (Phil. 4:18; Heb. 13:16).
(Philippians 4:18) "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God."
(Hebrews 13:16) "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
C. Our Lord here tells us to provide ourselves treasure in the heavens.
That is to say, we are to make our calling and election sure, to lay hold of eternal life, to make certain that Christ is ours. This is true wisdom. This is true prudence. As J. C. Ryle put it—“The man who does well for himself is the man who gives up everything for Christ’s sake. He makes the best of bargains. He carries the cross for a few years in this world, and in the world to come has everlasting life. He obtains the best of possessions. He carries his riches with him beyond the grave. He is rich in grace here, and rich in glory hereafter. And, best of all, what he obtains by faith in Christ he never loses. It is that good part which is never taken away.”
This much is certain—“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where is your treasure? If we will be honest, that question will be easily answered. What do we love? What occupies our hearts and minds? Upon what is our affection set? It matters nothing what we say, what we profess to believe, how orthodox our creed is, or how highly respected we are by others. Where is our treasure? That is where our heart is. If our treasure is here, our hearts are here. If our treasure is in heaven, our hearts are in heaven.
III. Third, our Lord sets before us a readiness to practice (vv. 35-40).
(Luke 12:35-40) "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; (36) And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. (37) Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. (38) And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. (39) And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. (40) Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not."
We have here a picture of what we ought to be at all times. We ought to be a people watching for Christ’s return.
(Titus 2:11-14) "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
A. We must gird up our loins, ready always to do our Master’s bidding.
B. We must ever have our lights burning, watching for and welcoming our Lord.
C. Here is one of the most remarkable passages to be found in all the volume of Holy Scripture (v. 37).
(Luke 12:37) "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."
There is much in this verse.
1. Christ is coming again.
2. He is coming now.
3. When he comes, he will gird himself, make us sit down at his table, and serve us! What can that mean?
We have a hint of this in Luke 22:18.
(Luke 22:18) "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."
There is reference to it back in Isaiah 25:6.
(Isaiah 25:6) "And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined."
The meaning of this promises is indescribably beyond the scope of my comprehension; but of this I am sure—There is no degree of honor, glory, happiness, and bliss that the Lord Jesus Christ will withhold from those who love his appearing.
(John 14:1-3) "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (2) In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
(Revelation 1:7) "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
(Luke 12:32) "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."