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Luke 12:4-7

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 17, 2016


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words   Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Luke was a doctor and a traveling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing this book about Jesus, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.

12:4-7 Good Fears, Bad Fears

:4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

friendsphilos – friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well

Jesus is talking to His disciples (Luke 12:1).

do not be afraidphobeo – to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away); to put to flight, to flee; to fear, be afraid; to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm; to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience

killapokteino – to kill in any way whatever

moreperissos – exceeding some number or measure or rank or need

they can dopoieo – to make; to do

:4 I say to you, My friends

Jesus is still talking to His disciples.

Last week we talked about Jesus challenging His followers not to become like the Pharisees. 
The Pharisees were hypocrites.
Hypocrites are people who pretend to be one thing, but inside are really something else.
They might look like they are people who are extra close to God, but inside they were horrible unrepentant sinners.

:4 kill the body … no more that they can do

It won’t be too long after Jesus’ resurrection that the disciples will begin to experience persecution.

The deacon Stephen will be the first one martyred (Acts 7).
Caesar Nero would kill many Christians, including the apostles Peter and Paul.
 Nero had a wicked imagination and devised the cruelest ways to kill believers, including having them sown up in animal skins and then torn apart by dogs.  He also had them tied to posts, covered with tar, and then lit on fire to light up his gardens at night.
The Emperors Domitian and Trajan turned up the heat even further.
In the first 300 years of Christianity, hundreds of thousands of Christians were put to death for their faith.
One researcher has documented that since the time of Jesus, 70 million have died for their faith.
Today, if you as a believer travelled to Syria or Iraq, and managed to get captured by ISIS, you would be added to that number.

Another human being has the ability to kill your body, but is that the worst that can happen to you?

Look at what Jesus says is worse than physical death …

:5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

I will showhupodeiknumi – to show by placing under (i.e. before) the eyes; to show by words and arguments, i.e. to teach; to show by make known future things

:5 power to cast into hell

hellgeenna – this is from a Hebrew phrase meaning literally, “Valley of Hinnom”

It’s actually a shortened form of “Valley of the son of Hinnom” (gey-ben-hinnom)
Originally this term was used for an actual valley located south of Jerusalem.
Video:  Gehenna map
The map starts with Jerusalem outlined in the days of Jesus.  The older city of David is just south of the Temple Mount.  The Valley of the Son of Hinnom is south of Mount Zion proper.  It runs east to west and connects with the Kidron Valley.  Today there’s a street running through the valley that’s actually named “Gey Ben Hinom” (“Valley of Son of Hinnom”). 
How would you like to have an address in “Gehenna”?
Ahaz, the king of the southern kingdom of Judah, was the one that began to bring a wicked connotation to this valley…
(2 Chronicles 28:3 NKJV) He burned incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and burned his children in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.

He was practicing the worship of Molech where a metal idol with its arms outstretched was heated in a fire, and then a live baby was placed in its arms.

King Manasseh, Ahaz’ grandson, did the same thing. (2Chron. 33:6)
(2 Chronicles 33:6 NKJV) Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.
Jeremiah rebuked the nation for this evil:
(Jeremiah 7:31 NKJV) And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart.

The name comes from “toph”, or “drum”, because the cries of the babies were drowned out with a drum.

Another thing they would do to ease their conscience was to put smiling masks on the children so the parents wouldn’t see their tears as the babies were burned alive.

Perhaps in response to Jeremiah’s rebuke, when King Josiah began his great reforms in the nation …
(2 Kings 23:10 NKJV) And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech.

Josiah removed the idols, and the place became the garbage dump for the city where fires were kept continually burning to consume garbage, animal carcasses, and dead bodies.

This became the ideal picture of what we call “hell”, the eternal fire.

:5 Fear Him who … has power to cast into hell

to cast intoemballo – to throw in, cast into

powerexousia – authority; the power of rule or government

There is someone with the authority to cast a person into hell.

Don’t get confused with this. 

Jesus is not talking about Satan.
Satan does NOT have the authority to send you to hell.
Jesus is talking about God.
Though God will send people to hell, hell was not originally created for mankind, but for someone else.  Jesus said that hell was …
(Matthew 25:41b NKJV) …the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels


Heaven or hell?

Why does God send people to hell?
The problem is our sin, our rebellion against God.

(Romans 6:23a NKJV) For the wages of sin is death…

Hell is the ultimate death, the ultimate separation from God.

If you don’t think that eternal hell is the appropriate penalty for your sin, they you underestimate the severity of your rebellion against a holy, just God.

God is a just God.

In truth, we all are usually quite glad about this.

Aren’t you glad to know that even if a wicked person gets away with their evil while on earth, that they will one day face God and be punished for their sins?

What we don’t like is the reality that we too are sinners.

God has a solution.

God doesn’t actually want ANYONE to go to hell.

God sent His own Son Jesus to die on the cross in order to pay the penalty for our sins.

God offers forgiveness for our sins if we are willing to accept Jesus’ payment for our sins.

God did all of this because He loves us.

(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The only way you will go to hell is if you reject God’s payment for your sins, if you reject Jesus Christ.

This is why Jesus said,

(John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

He is the only One to pay for our sins.

Figuring out how to get right with God and stay right with God is what the fear of God is all about.


Fear of people

We get into trouble when we fear the wrong thing, like fearing people instead of God.
We are afraid of all kinds of things.  Some are even afraid of birds…
Video:  People with a fear of birds meet ducklings

Our fear of the wrong kinds of things can cause us to do silly things.

When we are afraid of people, we tend to do things that aren’t too healthy.
Sometimes we avoid people we have conflicts with because we’re afraid of what will happen if we talk to them about a problem.
Sometimes we put on masks and pretend to be something we’re not like the Pharisees.

Jesus has just warned His disciples about hypocrisy, and I think one of the core components about why we pretend to be something we’re really not is because of fear.

We’re afraid to be who we really are.

Perhaps we’re afraid of rejection.

Sometimes we’re afraid to stand up for what we believe and share our faith because we’re afraid we’re going to harm a relationship we consider important.
Jesus taught us the that the way to deal with your fear of people is to fix your fear of God first.
Figure out your relationship with God.

For some of you, that means facing the reality of heaven and hell, and realizing that getting right with God is more important than any other relationship you will ever have.

For some of you, it’s not a “fear of God” as much as it is a “love for God” that you need to get straight.

Jesus said,

(John 14:15 NKJV) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

David wrote,
(Psalm 27:1 NKJV) The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

In reality, if we get things right with God, we don’t need to be afraid of anyone else.

:6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.

sparrowsstrouthion – a little bird, esp. of the sparrow sort, a sparrow

soldpoleo – to barter, to sell

copper coinsassarion – an assarium or assarius, the name of a coin equal to the tenth part of a drachma; a Roman copper coin worth about 1/16 of a denarius (which was a day’s wage).

forgottenepilanthanomai – to forget; neglecting, no longer caring for; forgotten, given over to oblivion, i.e. uncared for

:6 five sparrows sold for two copper coins

In Jesus’ day, you could go to the marketplace and buy five little birds for two copper coins.

In our world, it would be about $10 for five birds.

Sparrows might not be worth too much in the eyes of men, but not one of them is forgotten by God.

:6 not one of them is forgotten


Not forgotten

Have you ever felt like you’ve been forgotten?
Noah and his family were on the Ark for six months with all those animals without any sign of land.  I imagine Noah wondered if God had forgotten about he and his family…

(Genesis 8:1 NKJV) Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.

It would be another six months before they were able to disembark.

I remember once being put on hold by company, and waiting for thirty minutes for them to get back to me, only to finally realize that I had been forgotten.

What a waste of time!

I remember after graduating from seminary, our direction in life began to change.

I had grown up in the Baptist church, and went to seminary thinking that I’d probably end up a Baptist pastor.

By the time school finished, our pastor had left the church and I wasn’t liking my prospects in the Baptist denomination.

Deb and I felt that God was leading us to become a part of the Calvary Chapel movement.  We loved the way God was working through Calvary Chapel and we loved their style of ministry.

But that meant getting a full time secular job while we waited to see where God would put us into ministry.

It was hard getting a job.  It was the beginning of the Reagan Recession, and jobs were hard to find.  I was told over and over again that I was either underqualified because I didn’t have any experience in the place I was applying for, or I was overqualified because I was applying for a job that didn’t need a Master’s degree.

I remember struggling with feeling like God had forgotten me, that perhaps I had made a mistake in some of my choices.

I remember once going out onto the jetty at Newport Beach in between job interviews, sitting there in my nice interview clothes, and feeling so depressed.  God responded by having a large wave surprise me, break on the rocks, and soak me.  I had to laugh.

God had not forgotten me, I eventually got a job as a teller trainee at the Bank of Newport, and Deb and I became involved in ministry at Calvary Chapel of Anaheim.  Ten years after that we started Calvary Fullerton.


About seven or eight years ago I was struggling with some of the difficult things that were going on in the church. My secretary, Laurie, told me I had a phone message, and it was from some guy named Chris from Boyden Beach in Florida. I returned the phone call.  It was a guy I’ve never met. He said he had been praying and that my name came to his mind, and that God wanted him to be praying for me. He didn’t ask me for anything. He didn’t ask me to vote for anything. He didn’t try to sell me something. He just told me that God wanted him to be praying for me.

I can’t tell you how awed I was to think that God cared enough about me to put my name on the heart of a total stranger.

You are not forgotten.  He knows you by name.

:7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

:7 the very hairs of your head are all numbered

hairsthrix – the hair of the head; the hair of animals

numberedarithmeo – to number

I have always found this concept amazing.

God knows how many hairs I have on my head.

Obviously it’s easier for God to count on some heads than on others.

Did you know that bald guys used to have hair?

Greg Laurie used to have a lot of hair.

Sometimes there are other reasons folks don’t have much hair …

This was written by a gal named Christine Clifford …
from Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul
by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jeff Aubery
and Mark & Chrissy Donnelly
copyright 1999 Hansen and Canfield
Several years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. It was the most difficult time I have ever faced. I think it was my sense of humor that allowed me to hold onto my sanity. Like many people who have gone through chemotherapy, I lost all of my hair and I was bald as a cue ball. I always had enjoyed wearing hats, so when my hair deserted me, I ordered several special hats with the hair already attached. It was easy and I never had to worry about how my hair looked.
I have always been a big golf fan. In fact, I have been to twenty-three straight U.S. Opens. At one point during my cancer treatments, my husband John and I decided to get away from the cold Minnesota winter and took a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona. There was a Senior PGA Tour event called The Tradition being played, and that seemed like just the ticket to lift my spirits.
The first day of the tournament brought out a huge gallery. It was a beautiful day, and I was in heaven. I was standing just off the third tee, behind the fairway ropes, watching my three favorite golfers in the world approach the tee box: Jack Nicklaus, Raymond Floyd and Tom Weiskopf.
Just as they arrived at the tee, the unimaginable happened. A huge gust of wind came up from out of nowhere and blew my hat and hair right off my head and into the middle of the fairway! The thousands of spectators lining the fairway fell into an awkward silence, all eyes on me. Even my golf idols were watching me, as my hair was in their flight path. I was mortified! Embarrassed as I was, I knew I couldn’t just stand there. Someone had to do something to get things moving again.
So I took a deep breath, went under the ropes and out into the middle of the fairway. I grabbed my hat and hair, nestled them back on my head as best I could. Then I turned to the golfers and loudly announced, “Gentlemen, the wind is blowing from left to right.”
They said the laughter could be heard all the way to the nineteenth hole.

Whether you have a little bit of hair or lots of hair, God knows all about you.

:7 of more value than many sparrows

are of more valuediaphero – to bear or carry through any place; to carry different ways; to differ, to test, prove, the good things that differ,; to distinguish between good and evil, lawful and unlawful, to approve of things that excel, to differ from one; to excel, surpass one

How do we know that God values the sparrows?

He takes care of them.

Our hummingbird

A few weeks ago I began to notice something strange happening to a wire-framed wind-chime that hangs outside our kitchen window.
A hummingbird kept flying up and landing on the top, sometimes plucking out it’s chest feathers and wrapping them around one of the wires.
Eventually we realized that the little bird was building a nest.
The other day when the bird was off flying around, I snuck outside and took a picture of what was inside.
The momma bird doesn’t spend too much time now flying around, but she’s usually on her nest.
Even though this momma spends most of her time on her eggs, I don’t have to worry about what to feed this bird, nor the babies when they are born.
God will take care of that.

Jesus said,

(Matthew 6:26 NKJV) Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
If God takes care of the birds, don’t you think He can take care of you?

:6 Do not fear therefore


Fear of the Future

I imagine there could be lots of things that fall into the category of our fear of the future, but I want to just talk about two:
Sometimes we become very concerned about our finances.
Money is one of the top sources of conflict within marriages.
I found this in an article about conflict in marriage:

Allow us to say it straight: Money fights between couples are rarely about money. So if you want to minimize a currency conflict, trace it back to the fear that’s fueling it.

Instead of fighting over the amount of money that was spent on who-knows-what, shift the focus toward what really matters:

(1) your fear of not having influence in important issues impacting your life

(2) your fear of not having security in your future

(3) your fear of having no respect shown for your values

(4) your fear of not realizing your dreams.

Did you notice how much conflict comes from “fear”?

Address these issues with your spouse and get on the same page.

When you’re working to get on the same page with your spouse, make sure you’re also on the same page as God with your finances.

I think it’s important that we do our part and act responsibly with our finances.

Learning to trust God about your financial future doesn’t get you off the hook from doing your part, like working.

(2 Thessalonians 3:10 NKJV) For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.


It’s important not to get caught in the trap of comparing your finances to others and ending up always wanting “more” than God thinks you need.

(Philippians 4:11–13 NLT) —11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.


If you are doing your part in handling your finances, you need to remember my hummingbird.

God will take care of you.

(Isaiah 12:2a NKJV) Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid;

Sometimes our fears for the future are about whether or not we are headed in the right direction with our lives.
Yesterday’s reading in the devotional book “Streams in the Desert” were based on:

(Hebrews 11:8 NKJV) By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Sometimes we have to step out in faith like Abraham, even when we don’t know exactly what’s up ahead.

Regarding this verse, F.B. Meyer wrote,

Whither he went, he knew not; it was enough for him to know that he went with God. He leant not so much upon the promises as upon the Promiser. He looked not on the difficulties of his lot, but on the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, who had deigned to appoint his course, and would certainly vindicate Himself. O glorious faith! This is thy work, these are thy possibilities; contentment to sail with sealed orders, because of unwavering confidence in the wisdom of the Lord High Admiral; willinghood to rise up, leave all, and follow Christ, because of the glad assurance that earth's best cannot bear comparison with Heaven's least.

Missionary L.B. Cowman wrote,

It is by no means enough to set out cheerfully with your God on any venture of faith. Tear into smallest pieces any itinerary for the journey which your imagination may have drawn up.

Nothing will fall out as you expect.

Your guide will keep to no beaten path. He will lead you by a way such as you never dreamed your eyes would look upon. He knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing while He is with you.

Don’t be afraid of the future because you are quite valuable to God.