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Luke Chapter 12:1-34

Memory verses for this week:  1 Cor 10:12  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 

Introduction: We continue our study of the book of Luke this week as we continue in chapter 12.  Last week, we studied the last half of Chapter 11 where Jesus taught the people that there would be no sign given unto them, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.   He taught on the parable of the lighted candle, and closed pronouncing woes upon the religious lawyers who were not helping the people, but rather lading them with greater burdens.    We begin this weeks study with a warning about the leaven of the Pharisees.

I.   Jesus Warns of the Leaven of the Pharisees 

Luke 12:1  In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Luke 12:2  For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

Luke 12:3  Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 

Chapter 12 opens with a large number of people (an innumerable multitude is says) coming out to hear Jesus teach.  He tells them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.   We know leaven speaks of sin, and the Pharisees were people who spoke correct religious words, but inside were full of hypocrisy.   God wants us to be both pure on the outside and the inside.   He wasn’t us to first clean out the inside (which takes salvation through Jesus Christ), and then to live the Godly life day by day.   He warns them that nothing will be covered one day.   All shall be revealed and nothing hid.   All of our negative words and deeds will be known one day.  This should give us a reason to temper our tongues and be careful.    Even negative thoughts should be put from us.   It says that what was spoken in darkness will be heard in the light, and what we said in the closet will be proclaimed upon the housetops. 

Luke 12:4  And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

Luke 12:5  But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. 

Why did Jesus call these people ‘my friends’?   It was because he cared about those people and they were truly his friends.  God has a personal interest in every one of them, and he cares for you and I with a GREAT, GREAT love.  Jesus is that friend that sticks closer than a brother. 

Prov 18:24  A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. 

John 15:15  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 

Jesus warned the people to not fear the one who could kill the body, but rather fear the one who can cast your soul into hell.  In other words, fear God.   Don’t be overly concerned with the people around you.   Even those who are mean and may persecute you.  They may can destroy this earthly tabernacle, but they can’t touch the soul.   To die a martyr’s death would be the greatest way to leave this world. 

Luke 12:6  Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

Luke 12:7  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 12:8  Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: 

So many times we forget that God takes care of even the sparrows.   I have a bird feeder and a bird bath in my back yard, and I really enjoy watching the birds flock in there to get food and water.   This time of year we get a lot of doves and crows to go along with the sparrows and blue birds.   And the humming birds are the most adorable of birds to me.   As you watch those wings flutter at tremendous speed, it makes me realize how marvelous are God’s creations.  And God takes care of those little animals.   If the very hairs of our head are all numbered, then we need to know that God truly loves and takes care of us.  Verse 8 has a promise that if we confess Jesus before men here on earth, one day Jesus will confess us before the angels of God. 

In the King James Study Bible, they had a good comment about the security of the believer in Jesus Christ. 

But the child of God is secure in Christ, both now and forever. Nothing can ever harm a believer in thus life, apart from the permission of God according to His perfect will. [i]  

Luke 12:9  But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

Luke 12:10  And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. 

It is a serious thing to deny Christ before men.   He says if we deny Christ before men, that one day he will deny us before the angels of God.   Verse 10 speaks of the most horrible sin recorded in the Word of God.  Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the one sin that can not be forgiven.   This means that when we hear the Gospel preached, and our heart is pricked with our sin, and the Holy Spirit draws us to God to be saved, that we reject that calling and refuse to be saved.  That means we are turning against the Holy Spirit, and there is no forgiveness of that sin.   If you are lost, and you hear the Gospel and the call of the Spirit, you need to turn to Jesus to be saved while there is still time.   In this life, there is no sin that can’t be forgiven.  We can be the worst thief, a person who has murdered others and still have our sins forgiven.   We may have been a drunk, spoke evil of others, took God’s name in vain, but the these are all things that can be atoned for by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  But to reject the testimony of God is to deliberately sin against the Holy Ghost.   Going out of this life without Jesus means to be separated from God forever.   Don’t be guilty of blaspheming the Holy Ghost. 

Luke 12:11  And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

Luke 12:12  For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. 

Jesus tells His disciples that the same Holy Spirit would be the one that enabled them to speak in that hour.    They might not know what to speak when brought before the authorities, but through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they would be able to speak boldly. 

Matthew Henry said this about verses 11 and 12. 

Whatever trials they should be called out to, they should be sufficiently furnished for them, and honorably brought through them, v. 11, 12. The faithful martyr for Christ has not only sufferings to undergo, but a testimony to bear, a good confession to witness, and is concerned to do that well, so that the cause of Christ may not suffer, though he suffer for it; and, if this be his care, let him cast it upon God: "When they bring you into the synagogues, before church-rulers, before the Jewish courts, or before magistrates and powers, Gentile rulers, rulers in the state, to be examined about your doctrine, what it is, and what the proof of it, take no thought what ye shall answer,’’ [1.] "That you may save yourselves. Do not study by what art or rhetoric to mollify your judges, or by what tricks in law to bring yourselves off; if it be the will of God that you should come off, and your time is not yet come, he will bring it about effectually.’’ [2.] "That you may serve your Master; aim at this, but do not perplex yourselves about it, for the Holy Ghost, as a Spirit of wisdom, shall teach you what you ought to say, and how to say it, so that it may be for the honour of God and his cause.’’  [ii]  


II.  The Sin and Danger of Covetousness 

Luke 12:13  And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

Luke 12:14  And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? 

One in this company comes to Jesus and asks him to speak to his brother about dividing the inheritance with him.   Jesus appears to note a spirit of covetousness in the man, and says that he is not a judge or a divider of property.   While things of this life many times seem so important to us, these are minor things in the overall plan of the Lord.   Certainly God will help us through all matters of life, but we are not to be overwhelmed by the things we face.   And most of all, we should not covet what others have. 

Luke 12:15  And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 

Jesus warns against covetousness.   Covetousness means we have a desire to grasp something that God has withheld from us though he may have given it to others.   We need to be content with our situation as it is and be content with the things we have.   Paul told the Philippians that he had learned to do that. 

Phil 4:11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Phil 4:12  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Phil 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

Jesus says that a man’s life is a lot more than the abundance of things that he acquires in this life.  The happiest person is not the one with the most possessions, but the man who gives the most.  A person who has learned to share with others the good things God has entrusted to him is a happy person indeed.   We won’t take anything with us, but we can sure give in this life and be blessed when we come to God one day due to the rewards.  I am reading an excellent book, and the author said the happiest man is the one whose pleasures are the least expensive.    Perhaps that is worldly thinking to some regard, but when the things God gives us satisfy us, it is Godly thinking.  Nothing is greater than the pure and perfect gifts from above. 

Luke 12:16  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

Luke 12:17  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

Luke 12:18  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

Luke 12:19  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

Luke 12:20  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Luke 12:21  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. 

This fellow had a lot going for him, and his plans were not so bad except for one major failure.  No where did he consider God in his plans.  This man had been blessed with so many worldly treasures but he never seemed to ever think about how these things should be used to the glory of the Lord.  There is nothing wrong with making plans to have proper provision for the future.  But we should consult the Lord in all of our decisions.  Because the man left God out of his plans, God calls the man a fool.   Any time we lay up treasures for ourselves and are not rich toward God, we can be like this man.   Are we all giving our tithes and offerings like we should?   One tenth of our income truly belongs to the Lord, and we need to give cheerfully and out of a heart of liberality.   Are we laying up treasures for ourselves down here on earth, or do we give like we should and build up treasures in heaven where there is nothing that can take away the reward.  We truly should give our tithe and make special offerings for things like missions. 

Mat 6:19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

Mat 6:20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

Mat 6:21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

III.  Living Without Anxiety 

Luke 12:22  And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

Luke 12:23  The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 

In this hour, so many men are concerned only for what there is in it for them.   Jesus wants us to not worry about our life, but let Him provide our daily provisions.   We so many times worry about what we are going to eat and what we are going to wear, but life is much more than food and clothing.  Jesus tells us to not worry about what we will eat or wear. 

Luke 12:24  Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

Luke 12:25  And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

Luke 12:26  If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 

Christ tells us to look at the ravens as an illustration of how God will provide for us if we will but look to him and be obedient children.  I’ve never seen a raven out with a hoe digging up the ground to plant some seed.  But while he never sows a thing, nor reaps the harvest, God provides for him.   It says “God feedeth them.”   I have marvelled in the winter when a pickup may go down the road with bales of hay, and some will fall out and the seed scatter across the ground.  Then here come the birds.   How do they happen along just where that feed falls off the truck?   I wonder?  Smile…   I think we know, it is God that feeds them.   And God asks us a simple question,  “How much more are ye better than the fowls?”  MUCH MORE is the answer.  God loves His children just as you and I love our children and grandchildren.   Verse 25 points out that we can’t add an inch to our height.   We grow according to the Lord’s plan as we grow from a child to a grown adult.   If we can trust him in our growth, why can’t we trust him for his provision?   If he takes care of the big things, he will sure take care of the small ones too. 

Luke 12:27  Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Luke 12:28  If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 

Jesus uses the lilies of the field as an example of God’s ability to provide for us.  David said in the Psalms that he had never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread.   How about you?   I have not.   

Psa 37:25  I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Psa 37:26  He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. 

J. Vernon McGee made these comments about these verses. 

Our Lord said, “Consider the lilies, how they grow.” Flowers are saying a lot to us today: “My, you human beings certainly go to a great deal of trouble to take care of your bodies. You use lotions, sprays, ointments, and perfume, among other things upon your bodies, and then you clothe them. Even after you are all perfumed and dressed up, you cannot compare to the beauty of a flower.” What a message, friend. Some of us need to depend upon God a little bit more. 

If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? [Luke 12:28]. 

This is not to encourage indolence. Birds cannot build barns; flowers cannot spin. But man can. God intends him to use the ability He gave him—but not to live as if the exercise of these abilities is all there is to life.

Our world is engaged in commerce. Half of the world will spend its heart’s blood in building a better mouse trap while the other half will go to the ends of the earth to buy the mouse trap. Both groups are forgetting there is a God in heaven and that all men have an eternal soul.

All men will one day stand before the awful presence of God, stripped of the “things” that occupied his life on earth. He will have no treasure up there. He lived without God; he will die without God.  

Luke 12:29  And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

Luke 12:30  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

Luke 12:31  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Luke 12:32  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Luke 12:33  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.

Luke 12:34  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

If we would seek first things first, we would have peace of mind when it comes to our daily provisions.  God knows all about our need for food and clothing.  If we are willing to put Him first in our lives, be sure God will provide all the things we need.   Many times we go all out for what we want instead of using the money with which God has blessed us for what we need.   He warns us to put our treasures in heaven.   Where is your treasure?  Is down here on earth, or do you invest for the day to come.   What efforts we put into God’s work will last into eternity.    For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge.  The lessons may not be sold without consent.   If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343. 

Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 

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[i]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[ii]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.