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Matthew 625-34 sermon

By Curtis Adams,2014-07-10 17:51
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Matthew 625-34 sermon ...

Matthew 6:25-34 sermon

    (some credit to Dr. Ed Dobson‟s sermon on worry) Dear Friends of Jesus Christ,

     This week I was reading about this psychiatrist, Dr. Edward Hallowell, who has a

    practice in Boston. He‟s written many books. He‟s been on Oprah and Dr. Phil and other

    television shows. In 1997, he published a book entitled Worry. He argues that there is a bad kind of worry and a good kind of worry. I was thinking about what he was saying

    about a good kind of worry that can lead to constructive behavior. Humanly speaking, he

    has a point. Worry about failing a class can motivate you to study. Worry about

    displeasing your boss or getting fired from your job can motivate you to work better.

    Worry about being late can lead us to be on time. Worry about your child‟s safety can motivate you to keep watch. Humanly speaking, you could argue there is a good kind of

    worry. And I think that most of us intuitively believe this argument It‟s good that I

    worry sometimes because that leads me to get done the things that need to get done and

    avoid danger.

    You won‟t see Jesus making that argument though that there is a good kind of worry; not here or anywhere else in his teaching. You won‟t see it anywhere in the Bible.

    I looked up every reference to worry in the entire Bible and there is no place where worry

    is communicated as a good thing. Perhaps the Apostle Paul says it most clearly when he

    uses another word that is a synonym of worry. In Philippians 4:6 he writes, “Do not be

    anxious about anything….” We have to get past this common sense stinking thinking that

    there is a good type of worry there is not! It is one thing to be concerned about a difficult

    or dangerous situation. But worry is different. Worry is rooted in fear and in a lack of

    trust in God. And there is nothing good about fear and there is nothing good about a lack

    of trust in God. Fear and a lack of trust in God and worry are from the kingdom of

    darkness, not the kingdom of Jesus.

     There is no place for worry in our lives, but we all do it. One scholar argues that

    worry might be our most frequent sin. We all worry from time to time. Some of us are

    worried right now about something. “Do not worry about your life or about tomorrow….”

    This is a difficult teaching, Jesus!

     “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or

    what you will wear…” The “therefore refers back to the previous verse where Jesus said, “You can only have one master.” Jesus is saying, “If God is your master you will have no reason to worry. He‟ll take care of you.” And then, I would add, if you do worry, it will

    be because at that moment you are not being mastered by God, you are being mastered by

    a circumstance. Jesus says, “Have one master – God and then don‟t worry about your life

    anymore….” Jesus gets specific. He zeroes in on the things that the listeners of his day

    (much poorer than us) would worry most about. He says, “Do not worry about what you eat or drink and do not worry about what you wear.” We are much wealthier than the listeners of Jesus‟ day and yet we still worry about our basic needs being met. I don‟t

    know that I‟ve ever worried about having enough food or enough clothes, but I have

    worried about having enough money. In college I used to worry about having enough

    money to pay the bills. I used to have anxiety. I don‟t know why. The money always came. My needs were always met. Some of the ladies at Wescourt Retirement Home,

    where I visit on Thursdays, tell me that there are a lot of the people there who worry about

    outliving their money. Maybe you worry about your basic needs being met one day when

    you are too old to work.

     Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air. Your Father feeds them. How much more

    valuable are you than they are? Won‟t he also meet your needs - You who are everlasting

    creatures made in the image of God and in the image of Christ. You, who are children of

    God far superior to the birds of the sky won‟t he also meet your needs, if he feeds the

    birds?

     Martin Luther wrote, “Jesus is making the birds our schoolmasters and teachers. It

    is a great and abiding disgrace to us that in the Gospel a helpless sparrow should become a

    theologian and a preacher to the wisest of men.” And then there is this poem:

    Said the robin to the sparrow:

    „I should really like to know

    Why these anxious human beings

    Rush about and worry so.‟

    Said the sparrow to the robin:

    „Friend, I think that it must be

    That they have no heavenly Father,

    Such as cares for you and me.‟

    How much more valuable to our heavenly Father are we than the birds of the air?

     “And why do you worry about clothing. See how the lilies of the field grow. If

    that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown

    into the fire, will he not much more clothe you…?” In the first century, grass was used as

    fuel for people‟s ovens. Jesus says, “If God clothes the grass that is used for oven fuel,

    will he not also meet your needs when you are way, way more valuable to him?” Of

    course he will. In Genesis 22, the Lord provided Abraham with a ram to be sacrificed

    instead of his son Isaac. And then Abraham named the place Jehovah Jirah, which means “The Lord will provide.”

    “Who of your by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” This is another worry how long we‟re going to live. Worrying about how long we will live can actually reduce life. Charles Mayo of the famous Mayo Clinic once said this: “Worry affects the

    circulation of the heart, the glands and the whole nervous system. I have never met a man

    or known a man to die of overwork, but I have known a lot who die of worry.” Do you know where the English word “worry” comes from? It comes from a German word

    meaning “to strangle or choke.” That‟s what worry does. It strangles and chokes us emotionally and mentally and spiritually. It does not make us live longer. If anything it

    hurts our lifespan. Jesus states the obvious: “You‟re not going to live any longer by worrying about it.” My cousin Mark Stevenson died a week and a half ago. He was 24

    years old. He suffered from Hunter‟s Syndrome basically since he was an infant. When diagnosed, he wasn‟t supposed to even live this long. I don‟t want to in any way trivialize

    his death or the horrible loss for his mother and father and brother and others. But all of

    my family‟s worries about him over the past 24 years did not extend his life even one hour.

    God knew the number of his days before he was born and God decided to take him home

    last Tuesday night. Our worries were not going to change that. It almost sounds

    insensitive, but it‟s true: When it‟s our time it‟s our time. That‟s not a reason to avoid

    health care or to abuse our bodies. But it is a reason to not worry about bodies and how

    long we‟re going to live. Are you worried about anything today? Jesus says, “don‟t worry

    about your life….”

     “Oh, you of little faith.” That is the issue. The issue is trust or faith. Who do trust

    in? Who do you believe in? Yourself or your heavenly Father? If you trust yourself then

    you are going to worry because you cannot control every threatening situation that comes

    your way. If you trust your heavenly Father, if you have faith in him, then you won‟t

    worry.” Faith is the antidote, the only full-proof cure for worry. You say, “Easier said

    than done. How do I get more faith?” Ask for it and in your heart make a decision to trust.

    You say, “Easier said than done. You don‟t really know my situation that is causing me

    worry.” Perhaps I don‟t. I was listening to a sermon on this passage this week by a pastor

    in Grand Rapids who has ALS Lou Gerig‟s Disease - Ed Dobson. He talked about how

    he has a terminal disease that he has never seen healed by God in anyone. Even as he is

    preaching you can hear his speech slur somewhat because the disease is weakening the

    muscles in his tongue. He said that people come up to him sometimes and say, “Just trust

    God!” And his response is, “Hey, man, I‟m trying.” He said that some days he has great

    faith. He trusts God and the peace of God invades his life. And then there are other days

    where he is worried about the latest muscle that no longer works and what the future might

    be. And he said that sometimes in the same minute he can have both worry and faith. It‟s

    a constant struggle; a constant spiritual battle: worry verses faith. And he perseveres in the

    battle. Jesus says, “Believe. No matter what you‟re going through – trust your Heavenly

    Father.” Verse 32 – He knows what you need. Ask God for faith. Make a decision in

    your heart to trust him. Persevere in the struggle to trust.

     “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given you

    as well.” Worry is rooted in a lack of faith. Related to that, worry is rooted in a lack of

    proper priority. This goes back to what we said last week. “Seek first his kingdom and his

    righteousness” is the same thing as “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven and be

    mastered by the chief treasure Christ himself. People who treasure Christ above all and heavenly treasure above earthly treasure are much less likely to worry. To put it more

    simply: When we really seek God and seek to do what he wants us to do, we are less likely

    to worry. We worry when we treasure the wrong things. We worry when we seek the

    wrong things. We worry when we prioritize the wrong things. A lot of this has to do with

    control. When we are seeking God and his kingdom and his righteousness and his treasure

    what we are basically doing is surrendering our hearts and wills to him. We are

    surrendering control to him and trusting him with that control. No reason to worry then

    because he is sovereign and trustworthy. But, when we insist on having control ourselves,

    what happens? We soon find out that we cannot control everything we want to control and

    that makes us anxious and worrisome. It‟s about grabbing onto Christ and his agenda and

    surrendering control.

     Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

    Each day has enough trouble of its own. Ed Dobson, the preacher with ALS, said that when he looks at tomorrow he sees wheel chairs and feeding tubes and breathing assistance.

    And yet, Jesus is telling him, “Do not worry about tomorrow.” Yup. Dobson says that

    sometimes he goes on the internet and does research on the disease and he just come away

    depressed and he has to ask himself, “How do I get myself out of tomorrow?” What he

    does is he reminds himself of Bible passages where the Lord says, “I will never leave you.

    I will never forsake you.” And then he reminds himself that obsession with the future gets in the way of living in the present for the glory of God. I listen to him and I think, “Wow,

    if he can persevere and advance in the struggle to not worry, then I sure can too.”

     Brothers and sisters, Jesus gives us a command today. The command is simply

    this: “Do not worry about your life.” How can we obey this command? Three keys:

Trusting God, Prioritize properly God and His kingdom, and live in the present. Think

of this every time you are anxious this week. Amen.

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