Introduction: Do you want others to have a high opinion of you? I do.
When I’ve made mistakes, my main concern was about my reputation.
During my years of Bible study, I’ve learned that I should be more
concerned about God’s opinion of me. Part of being concerned about
what others think is good, if the goal is to influence others towards
God. But, this week I had a conversation with a Godly man who told me
that he was worse than I thought. I’ll bet you would say the same
thing – you are worse than your reputation. What does that say about
your concern regarding God’s opinion of you? Let’s explore what the
Bible teaches us about this!

  1. No Fear

    1. Read Luke 12:4-5. Who is this person who can throw us into
      hell? (I think Jesus is speaking of God.)

      1. Who can only “kill the body?” (Other humans.)

      2. What is Jesus’ point? (We should fear God more than
        we should fear humans.)

    2. Read Luke 12:6-7. Does God know you? (Yes! God does not
      forget even the sparrow. He knows how many hairs are on my

      1. Why would Jesus tell us to fear God who can throw us
        into hell, and then tell us “don’t be afraid?” (Jesus
        is building an argument against fear. He says that if
        we are going to fear anyone, it should be God. But,
        God loves and cares for us.)

    3. Let’s go back and pick up Luke 12:1-3. Who knows what we
      have said in the dark and in the inner rooms? (God!)

      1. Why is hypocrisy so foolish? What does this have to
        do with fearing humans?(Hypocrisy is saying one thing
        in public and doing another thing in private. Jesus’
        argues that this is foolish because God knows how we
        live. Why would we hide it from other humans – those
        who cannot send us to hell, but be content to have
        God know?)

      2. One answer is that it feels good to have other humans
        think we are better than we actually are. What does
        Jesus say to that? (The bad things will come out.)

    4. Read Luke 12:8-9. Let’s revisit the last question. If i
      feels better to have other humans falsely think we are
      better than we are, who are we saying is most important:
      God, other humans or us? (Other humans and us.)

      1. If I think that I am more important, and the opinion
        of humans more important than the opinion of God, how
        does this relate to Jesus’ statement that we should
        acknowledge God before humans? (I think Jesus’ point
        is that our priorities are backwards.)

    5. Read Luke 12:9-10. Do you recall times in the past when
      you did not speak up for God because you did not want to
      be embarrassed? Is that “disowning God?”

  2. The Right Fear

    1. Look again at Luke 12:10. Can you see the pattern of
      Jesus’ argument? Hypocrisy is preferring the opinion of
      humans over God’s opinion. Disowning (or failing to
      acknowledge) God is putting the opinion of humans before
      God. This mind set shows that we fear humans more than we
      fear God. Jesus teaches that this attitude is irrational.
      Is Luke 12:10 a warning or a comfort? (If you find, as I
      do, that Jesus’ comments speak to our sins, the good news
      is that Jesus says that can be forgiven.)

      1. Is there any warning? (Blasphemy against the Holy
        Spirit will not be forgiven!)

    2. Read Matthew 12:30-32 and Mark 3:28-30. What do you think
      it means to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? (I think
      Jesus is saying that certain attitudes are hopeless. In
      Luke, the problem is thinking that the opinion of others
      is more important than the opinion of God. In Matthew and
      Mark the problem is calling the work of the Holy Spirit
      the work of Satan. I don’t think Jesus is drawing a line
      in the sand and saying “If you step over this, you can
      never be forgiven,” rather, He is saying, “If you have
      everything reversed, you have no hope of arriving at the
      right answer.”)

  3. Greed

    1. Read Luke 12:13-15. What if the brother is violating this
      fellow’s inheritance rights? (Jesus says this is not the
      main point – He is here to save our souls not our

      1. Is this another one of the “upside down” views of
        life? Our focus is on things and not God?

    2. Read Luke 12:16-20. Is being rich wrong? Should we prepare
      for our retirement? (Deuteronomy 28 and the heroes of the
      Old Testament suggest that being rich is related to right
      living. Numbers 8:23-26 suggests that God believes in

    3. Read Luke 12:20-21. What is the problem? (If this rich
      fellow dies that night, he will have lost everything for
      which he worked and planned.)

      1. What does this have to do with hypocrisy and
        blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? (I think this is
        another example of having things turned upside down
        in our mind. This fellow is more concerned about his
        financial future than his future with God. It is
        appropriate to be concerned about what others think,
        it is appropriate to fear humans, it is appropriate
        to prepare for old age, but we must have the right
        attitude: God’s opinion is the most important.
        Fearing God (who loves us) is the most important
        aspect of life. This means our relationship with God
        is the most important part of our plan for the
        future, not our relationship with money.)

  4. Capitalism

    1. Read Luke 19:11. Were the people right about what would
      happen? (Jesus was present, but the Kingdom of God was not
      appearing immediately.)

    2. Read Luke 19:12-14. Why does Jesus add this detail about
      the subjects hating the future king? What has this to do
      with the false expectations of the people about the
      Kingdom of God? (They wanted Jesus to assert His power,
      overthrow the Romans, and establish the Kingdom of God.)

      1. Anything about upside down thinking seem familiar
        here? (Once again, the people are focused on the
        wrong thing.)

    3. Read Luke 19:15-19. Is Jesus a capitalist? Why didn’t he
      say to the ten minas fellow that he should give 2.5 minas
      to the five minas fellow so that they would have the same
      amount: 7.5 minas?

    4. Read Luke 19:20-23. What complaint does the one mina man
      have about the king? (He complains that he is a capitalist
      and that he is afraid of the king.)

      1. If this is a parable about God, does this fellow fear
        God? (Yes, but this is the wrong kind of fear.)

      2. Notice that he carefully kept the mina in a cloth.
        What does this suggest?

    5. Read Luke 19:24-25. Do you agree with the objectors?

      1. Notice that the successful guy is entitled to the
        money of the one mina guy who does not handle his
        money properly. How can you reconcile that to the
        story of the rich fellow (we just studied) who has
        decided to retire and enjoy his wealth? The rich guy
        would enjoy his own money.

    6. Read Luke 19:26-27. Here is a story! The lazy guy who
      hates capitalism has to give his money to the very rich.
      The enemies of the king are brought in and killed. Not
      exactly what you are used to Jesus saying, right?

      1. What is a mina? (It is money according to Luke 19:15.
        It is about three months wages.)

      2. Do you think this parable is about money?

      3. Who do you think are the king and the enemies in the
        parable? (Jesus appears to be the King and the Jewish
        people His enemies. They thought Jesus would
        overthrow the Romans, and when He did not, they
        became the enemies of what He had in mind. Note that
        Jerusalem was destroyed a few decades later.)

    7. Let’s see if we can put this together. If Jesus is the
      King, and those who rejected Him are His enemies, do minas
      truly represent money? (I think they might. But, I don’t
      think that is the main point. They represent talents used
      to advance the Kingdom of God.)

    8. Friend, can you see how the different stories in our study
      have a common point? The most important aspect of life is
      our relationship with God! Will you determine today to
      develop your talents to advance God’s Kingdom?

  5. Next week: The Kingdom of God.