August 16, 09
INTRODUCTION – The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of lords. He reigns supreme over all; and the kingdom that He rules is supreme over all other earthly kingdoms including the kingdom of darkness, which Satan rules. Before Jesus Christ returns – He is going to establish His kingdom on the earth in such a way that everyone will know He is God, and will have opportunity to enter into His kingdom and His ever expanding family. His primary instrument to accomplish that is the sons and daughters of His kingdom, who comprise the only organization on the face of the earth, which is guaranteed to never fold or crumble – – His church.
The primary means by which His sons and daughters – His church is to accomplish this purpose is by learning to pray like Jesus did. Through prayer we are daily given the privilege of seeing what isn’t – come into being. Through prayer we can bring heaven’s reality down to earth in our present circumstances. Through prayer we can see the fingers of Satan and his demons broken off those God brings into our garden or sphere of influence.
But there are many obstacles to effective prayer that actually brings this kind of transformation about. We looked at some of them last week. Today we are going to look at one of the most daunting ones. And that is the obstacle or sin of worry!
At least partly because of an ever pervasive media – whether electronic or paper – that feels its obligation is to keep us up to date with all the bad news around the world – – earth people worry today more – about more things than ever before.
Some deal with it by joking about it such as Bill Cosby, who was told by his grandfather regarding the inevitability of senility, “Don’t worry about senility; when it hits you, you won’t know it.”
Winston Churchill – the great British leader during World War II – said of his life,
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
Laughter may provide some temporary relief from worry; But the reality is – an increasing number of people in our nation are losing their health and even their lives over it.
I read on the presidential prayer website the other day that – – Economic woes are weighing heavily on some Americans, so much so that the federal government is boosting financial support for suicide prevention centers around the nation. Richard McKeon, the lead health adviser for suicide prevention at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says calls to suicide crisis centers have increased sharply in the past year, with more than 57,000 calls in July alone. He said about a quarter of the calls were linked to economic distress.
King Solomon spoke of this – thousands of years ago when he said “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down…” Anxiety is like a yoke of lead that the longer we wear it – the more our energy and strength is drained; and the lower our head hangs.
Please note that worry is no respecter of persons. By that I mean – there is no point where one gets so financially or materially set that worry is no longer an issue. Millionaires can be just as wracked with worry and fear about provision and the future than the man who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from. If you have bought the lie that “if I just had the money, or the house, or the job, or the benefits, or the inheritance, or whatever that so and so has – – I would not worry – – you are duped. If you worry now; you will worry then.
Definition of Worry: “Worry is a small trickle of fear that meanders through the mind until it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”
To be anxious or worried is to be distracted or divided in one’s mind and focus and heart, which results in lack of focus and all kinds of other negative fall out.
Well Jesus Christ knew that for us to learn to move mountains through prayer we must first move the mountain of worry; so He devoted a lengthy part of His sermon to this topic. Matt. 6:25-34
In this very encouraging and practical passage about overcoming worry – we’re going to encounter six commands – followed by various lines of reasoning to help us obey the commands.
Have you ever had someone angrily tell you to “quit worrying” and then walk off – – giving you no recourse or resources or good reasons to help you stop worrying? Well Jesus doesn’t do that.
I. Do not be worried about your life or your body. Vs. 25 1st
A. “For this reason” “Therefore” in NIV What reason? Actually I think He could be referring to two truths He just taught in the prior passage:
1. Allowing earthly things to become your treasure is foolish because they do not last; they are in our possession one minute and gone, broken, stolen, rusted out, misplaced, outdated the next.
2. Allowing mammon – this worldly mindset that is powered by demons that causes us to live for if not worship money and the things it buys – – allowing mammon to rule over us is deadly – – it regularly turns lovers of God into haters of God, and slaves to mammon.
A. What you drink or eat – vs. 25
B. Clothing – vs. 25
C. Question: Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Vs. 25 In other words, if God can breathe life into us and sustain it; and if He can create our bodies into the miraculous machines they are – – then don’t you think He can provide the food and the clothes we need?
You may be thinking, “Well yes theologically that makes sense;….. but in the every day trenches of life, I still catch myself worrying about how I am going to make ends meet.”
A young mother of three children got on yahoo last night to check her email and one of the main articles on the home page was an article on how proper nutrition can add years to your life. After reading the article she said to herself, “I need to do all my shopping at New Frontiers; and I need to buy all organic; and I need to buy a juicer to make fresh organic drinks and smoothies for my growing children; even though the prices there are sometimes twice as high than Ralphs and then there is the gas to and fro from Los Osos, and we are already not making ends meet and leaning on the credit card more than is prudent….
Last week a young husband and father had to go on a business trip with one of his co-workers – – and this guy is always dressed to kill. Their business seminar was to be held in Seattle, where everyone tends to wear high fashion clothes. So he told his wife – I need a whole new wardrobe! And she said, “But we have no extra money beyond paying our most basic bills.”
Josephine Pirate woke up one morning and realized School starts in just 2 weeks – – and I have no new clothes. My best friend – Wilma – just facebooked me last night and showed me pictures of all the clothes her rich aunt just bought her in Santa Barbara. My dad just sat us all down last night and told us he is having to take a reduction in pay due to the economy. So there will be no spending for a while for anything that is not absolutely necessary. How can I go to school with these old out of date clothes….
Friends often lead to fretting; but fur and feathers can lead us to faith.
II. Look at the birds of the air – vs. 26 2nd command
A. They do not sow, reap, nor gather into barns
B. Yet God feeds them every day with what they need for that day. Now they do work, but they sing while they work; and they don’t worry about what might happen tomorrow or next week or next year. They don’t go to bed after a 30 minute barrage of worst case scenarios being painted by various melodramatic media personalities, and sit in their little nest sweating bird bullets for what could happen tomorrow to their family if all these awful things take place.
C. Question: Are you not worth much more than they? Vs. 26
Worry diminishes worth. Worth diminishes worry.
D. Question: And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? Vs. 27
Worry results in subtraction not addition. It leads to loss, not gain.
Someone said that “worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.”
E. Question: And why are your worried about clothing? Vs. 28
Solution: next nature command
III. Observe how the lilies or other flowers grow. Vs. 28b 3rd
A. they do not toil or spin
B. but they out do King Solomon when it comes to dress/glory vs. 29
C. Back to clothing – look at how God clothes the grass of the field: not talking about grass in our lawns – – same green year round. Talking about tall wild grass that grows on hillsides and in valleys that feeds much of the livestock and wildlife of the world. And that in the spring time blossoms with such a brilliance that people flock to see it.
Several years ago anne and I drove out to pozo after reading an article in the newspaper about the unusual splendor of the hillside grasses and wildflowers out there.
1. It is alive today and tomorrow is destroyed in the furnace vs. 30 people back then cut the dead ones and used them to heat up their furnaces usually for cooking.
2. Question: Will not God much more clothe us? Vs. 30
3. Rebuke: You of little faith! Vs. 30 By the way – what is the opposite of worry? Faith! So it’s not enough just to say “I’m not going to worry anymore.” We must build up our faith and trust in the Lord – our Provider.
IV. Do not worry then about food or clothing vs. 31 4th
A. Reason: For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; (eagerly because they believe it is all up to them; and they have bought all the lies of the god of this world system) vs. 32
B. Reason: For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Vs. 32
V. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness vs. 33 5th
A. His kingdom
1. seek the King
2. seek the expansion and establishment of His kingdom (His rule and reign) in your own life and family; then in your sphere of influence through: a. prayer b. proclaiming the gospel or good news of the kingdom of God c. demonstrating the reality of the kingdom by the way you live – – and be being a conduit of miracles for people in need.
B. His righteousness – His way of living. His way of handling relationships. His way of responding to life’s challenges and trials.
C. Its priority – “First”
Navigators – topical memory system at 19 ½ – – Prov. 3:9,10 “Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase: So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.” K.J.
Many get their pay checks and first take care of all their financial and material needs and sometimes wants; and then if there is anything left over – – give that to God.
D. His promise – “and all these things will be added to you” So will all these things be added to every child of God?
E. Example of our project expenses sheet
VI. So do not worry about tomorrow – vs. 34 6th
A. Reason: for tomorrow will care for itself. Tomorrow’s challenges always come with tomorrow’s resources.
B. Reason: Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tackling the challenges of today trains and prepares us for tackling the challenges of tomorrow.
“OUR MAIN BUSINESS IS NOT TO SEE WHAT LIES DIMLY AT A DISTANCE, BUT TO DO WHAT LIES CLEARLY AT HAND.” THOMAS CARLYLE
“No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today, that the weight is more than a man can bear.” George MacDonald – “Better than Gold.”
Does this mean we never plan? No, but we don’t plan out of worry and anxiety.
CONCLUSION – If God commands us very clearly in the Bible to not do something – – and we are aware of those commands, & claim to know and love Him and want to follow Him – – and we choose to go on and do what He has commanded us not to do – – what would you say about that?
John Wesley said, “I could no more worry than I could curse or swear.” That is not a proud statement. He just came to a point in his life where he realized that worry is a sin as much as lust or stealing is. And it robs us of valuable energy and focus and faith. John Wesley resolved by the power of the Spirit to be done with the sin of worrying. We must have this kind of resolve if we are to overcome it as well.
2. Models – – King David in his old age said, “I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:25