Piper: Not being afraid magnifies 5 great things about God


John Piper, in a sermon “Magnifying God With Money” from Luke 12:32-34-

The first point of the text (in verse 32) is that God commands us not to fear when it comes to money and things. Don’t worry, don’t be afraid. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” But there is another way to say the point that goes deeper. The reason God wants us not to be afraid concerning money and things is because that would magnify five great things about him. Not being afraid would echo how much we treasure these five things about God. In other words, not being afraid would become a beautiful inner act of worship.

First, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as our Shepherd. “Do not be afraid, little flock.” We are his flock and he is our Shepherd. And if he is our Shepherd, then Psalm 23 applies: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” – that is, I shall not lack anything I really need. Not fearing magnifies the preciousness of our Shepherd.

Second, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as our Father. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” We are not only his little flock; we are also his children, and he is our Father. The significance of that is clear from verse 30, “All these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things.” In other words, your Father really cares and really knows what you need and will work for you to be sure that you have what you need. (Beware of dictating to God what you think “need” is instead of learning what he thinks “need” is!)

Third, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as King. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” He can give us the “kingdom” because he is the King. This adds a tremendous element of power to the one who provides for us. “Shepherd” connotes protection and provision. “Father” connotes love and tenderness and authority and provision and guidance. “King” connotes power and sovereignty and wealth. So if we will trust God as Shepherd and Father and King, and not be afraid about money and things, then we will show how real and precious God is to us in all these ways. God will be worshipped.

Fourth, not being afraid shows how free and generous God is. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” Notice, he gives the kingdom. He doesn’t sell the kingdom or rent the kingdom or lease the kingdom. He gives it. He is infinitely wealthy and does not need our payments. Anything we would try to give him would already be his anyway. “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). So God is generous and free with his bounty. And this is what we magnify about him when we are not afraid but trust him with our needs.

Finally, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as happy. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” It is “good pleasure.” It “pleases” him to give you the kingdom. He wants to do this. It makes him glad to do it. Not all of us had fathers like this – who loved to give us things, who were made happy by giving instead of getting. But that does not matter, because now you can have such a Father, and Shepherd, and King. Trust him as your Father through the reconciling work of Jesus, and you will find him to be your Father.

So the first point from this text is that we should treasure God as our Shepherd and Father and King who is generous and happy to give us the kingdom of God – to give us heaven, to give us eternal life and joy, and everything we need to get there. If we treasure God in this way – if we trust him – we will be fearless and God will be worshipped.