Sermon Notes: Matthew 6:25-34

Don’t Worry.

I’ve fought with and lost more than my share of worry battles since age 3 to my own hurt. 

NOTE: Jesus’ use of the word translated “worry” also means anxiety etc. These two words can be used interchangeably in case you are wondering if what Jesus says applies to anxiety.

I’m that kid that looked like nothing was bothering him, but my cortisol levels were through the roof. 

I learned fight/flight/freeze (even though I didn’t know what any of those meant) early and was super familiar with all of those responses whether the threat was existential or non-existential. 

If you fight worry and can’t seem to wrestle it to the ground and make it tap, you are not alone. 

If you don’t have any worries and Jesus’ words seem foreign to you, then great. Bear with us for a little bit. 

After becoming a Christian, I was immediately attracted to the Bible’s teaching that God is completely sovereign over all circumstances for our good. This truth brought me a level of comfort to me that I had never experienced before. 

Genesis 50:20 was and continues to be a great help to me. 

However, knowing God is sovereign over me and all my circumstances have not yet fully assimilated into all areas of who I am. 

I believe every word of the Bible, and yet my mind and body don’t always follow suit. 

NOTE: Striving for theological orthodoxy does not always produce completed sanctification (partly because some folks tend to make fringe things tier 1 orthodoxy when it is really a tier 3 hobby horse while they are in the “cage stage” of their faith). We have to practice faithful disciplines growing from sound doctrine to grow into optimal performance. 

I have had to learn to consciously fight for the Sabbath peace of my mind and body that I believe Jesus has made available. This takes considerable time and energy, and it is worth the fight. 

If you wrestle with worry like me, you are not alone. 

Now, we can’t avoid hard things, and hard things can tend to generate worry. 

Either by choosing to engage in hard endeavors in vocation or chosen service or having circumstances we don’t choose forced on us, there will be hard things that come our way.

And as we do the work God has given us to do and navigate hard circumstances, it will be a challenge to rest in the peace Jesus promises.

I believe that Jesus’ sleeping in the stern of the boat in the middle of the storm is available to us, and by faith, we can live in that kind of peace. 

We can’t “not care”. I don’t believe that is the answer. Godless people can just “not care”. 

And we can’t carry the weight of worry about it all on our shoulders as sovereign humans. 

I believe Jesus wants us to care about seeking his kingdom and righteousness and trust him to be the Chief Shepherd, to be God, and to be the Provider who takes care of our needs.

I believe we can care correctly and trust Jesus while we rest in trusting Jesus. 

The distinction between proper care and worry is a tough line to navigate. 

Jesus’ intent here is to rescue us from crossing that line into worry, and for us to beware that worry is a deceptive thief that we must kill for our own good. 

Jesus wants to take us to a place of Sabbath rest while getting after the Great Commission. 

So, how do we operate as healthy, on-mission disciples while not being crushed by the weight of worry?

READ IT: Matthew 6:25-34

  1. Believe that worry is a lying thief that robs us of peace and the experiential knowledge of God. V. 25, 27, 28, 31, 34
    1. Jesus uses the word “worry” 6 times in verses 25-34.
      1. Therefore, worry is what Jesus intends to address. 
      2. The word for “worry” is the same word throughout, and it translates as worry, anxiety, troubled, and taking thought of.
        1. So, when Jesus says “worry” here, he is covering the gamut of emotive and physical responses to all perceived threats.
          1. You might use anxiety, fretting, or some other word, but it’s all rooted in the word Jesus chose to use which is translated as “worry”. 
      3. The leaders of the day were so bent on seeking the kingdom of Rome and Rome’s standards that they had taken to themselves the concerns of the world system rather than the concerns of God, and they lost their peace through worry over the basics that God promises for his people.
        1. Be sure, food, drink, and clothing are not unimportant.
          1. These good items are vital for human flourishing. 
          2. However, in the garden, God graciously gave them food, water, and provided clothing as he sent them from the garden. 
          3. God wants his people to love him and seek his righteousness.
            1. Adam and Eve sought after what they believed God was holding back from them, and it cost them everything.
        2. Rome had turned a world economy into the apex of existence, and rather than being concerned with God, the people caught up in the Roman world were following after the economic basics of the day as though there was nothing more important.
          1. Jesus promises our needs without us having to sacrifice our peace and knowledge of God to have them. 
        3. Some may ask about people in places where there are few Christians and a well-ordered and functioning church is not yet present and the powers that be withhold necessities from Christians and they go without.
          1. The answer to that is the established local church being GLOCAL!
            1. God’s provision of need might come through local churches that are organized and obeying the Great Commission being God’s means of supplying his people in developing places.
              1. This is why we keep our eyes and hands on the world and do our part. 
              2. This is why, personally, I am constantly challenging local pastors and churches to get their hands on the nations. 
    2. If worry is then Jesus’ point, and he’s clear that it does not have a place in our experience, then we have to evaluate ourselves gently, and take stock of what, if anything, is causing us to worry and thus robbing us from peace and knowing God to be enough to give us that peace. 
  2. Don’t worry. V. 25
    1. We have to eat, drink, and be clothed. 
    2. Jesus is not advocating for laziness disguised as trusting God for supply and apathy about “things” in general and calling it faith. 
    3. Jesus is not advocating for naive foolishness. 
    4. Jesus IS commanding that we not worry about necessities and set them up as something we must procure on our own at the expense of our trust in and experience of God as Provider.
      1. Jesus’ first use of the word “worry” is a negative command (“don’t worry”), and the command carries on through the other uses of “worry” that are verbs. V. 25
      2. Jesus is completely clear that worry has no place in the lives of his people.
        1. Among many reasons Jesus would give us this command, is that worry has in it the hiss of Satan’s whisper to Eve in the garden, “Did God say?”
          1. Worry calls into question God’s good intent for his people.
            1. Will God really take care of that?
            2. Does God really love me enough to do me good rather than play a dirty trick on me?
            3. Is God out to even the score for that time I said a cuss word?
      3. How do we fight against worry and exercise an active faith, and how can we fight for this together?
        1. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Conviction is the Greek word pragmaton.
          1. That means that there are actions to take that are full of assurance and hope in God. 
      4. What are some of these faith-filled actions we can engage in together?
        1. Believe that it is those who don’t know God who worry about necessities. V. 32
          1. This is a vital place to begin mastering worry.
            1. I don’t want my worry to be an indicator of where my hope is.
              1. If I can’t trust God for life necessities, how can I trust that my sin debt is paid in full?
              2. Jesus said that “Gentiles” worry about this stuff, and we are not unbelievers, so why do we act like them?
            2. Worry is a dangerous place to be. 
            3. So, let’s fight it together.
              1. Colossians 2:6-7 (CSB) 6 So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, 7 being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.
            4. We fight worry together by reminding ourselves and each other that God so loved the world that he gave Jesus so that we could be saved and become his children. 
        2. Fight for peaceful trust in God with the church family.
          1. There are people I do this with who know me and are proven faithful and trusted friends.
            1. Confess to one another when we are worrying, and respond to each other with the hope of the gospel and God’s good care for his people.
            2. The Bible is clear that we need to belong to a local church and be accountable to each other and for each other.
              1. One of our great joys as a fellowship is being able to confess when we are struggling and have someone counsel us, lift us up and pray for us. 
              2. If you are not a member, Jim will be leading a class in February. 
              3. If you are a member, get in a RL group.
                1. We know groups are full, and Mark, your MD of RL groups is working on that.
        3. Fight for peaceful hope in God with the word of God as your guide. 
          1. Feed yourself more Bible than the words of men about the Bible. 
          2. If you are going to read extra-biblical stuff, be careful that you choose wisely and that you don’t let the volume of that intake overwhelm the volume of your Bible intake.
            1. Don’t make little popes of Christian sub-culture’s multitude of marketplace hacks and ideas who are out for fame and a payday under the shroud of “ministry” or out to advance some 3rd tier theological agenda and who hide behind keyboards and ideas and classrooms but never enter the arena of the public square except to throw a verbal rock at people they disagree with. 
            2. Feed yourself on the Bible until you uncover gold veins like Genesis 22:1-19. 
          3. Genesis 22:1-19
            1. Yahweh-yireh – The Lord sees
            2. It will be provided – He will be seen
              1. We translate that with the beautiful compound word “pro-vide”.
                1. To see before. 
          4. We must fix our minds and thus our entire being on the rock-solid faith that what we need, God has already seen it in one moment in eternity past, and because he has already seen it, it will be supplied at just the right time because he is the Good Father who delights to supply is people from the riches of his garden.
        4. Watch creation and learn how it trusts the all-wise Creator Jesus and imitates creation’s trust. V. 26, 28-31
          1. Actually slow down long enough to observe creation. It’s therapeutic. 
          2. Watch creatures flow and work with the cycle of days, weeks, months and seasons.
            1. Learn to live in that kind of long-term trusting and diligent working dependence on God. 
        5. Believe that worry is actually futile and a waste of energy and refuse to ruin today by worrying about tomorrow. V. 27, 34
          1. Worry will not destroy tomorrow’s trials, but it will sabotage our strength. R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 224. Citing George Macdonald, Better Than Gold (publishing information unknown), p. 45.
            1. I would argue that refusing to worry is harder than just about any physical labor you can undertake. 
        6. Set your eyes (lamp of the body) on the kingdom of God and God’s standard of righteousness. V. 33
          1. Kingdom of God:
            1. “The kingdom of God is the reign of God. It is Jesus Christ, the Lord over all things in action. Wherever the will of God is being done, that’s where the kingdom is being manifested.” – Bob Roberts
            2. “The kingdom is the whole gospel message of the bible that reveals who God is through Jesus Christ, witnessed to by the Holy Spirit, and it has invaded God’s creation in power bringing salvation to people and restoration to all of creation, and will be fulfilled upon Jesus’ return.” – Mitchell Jolly
              1. Seek after the salvation of the nations through the preached gospel.
                1. This means we are practicing evangelism. 
              2. Work in your created domain of society to make disciples and see that sphere of your influence transformed and brought to wholeness and restoration in Jesus’ name.
                1. This is how the whole church becomes the missionary. 
              3. Fight sin in your own life. 
                1. Romans 13:14 (CSB) 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.
              4. Worship!
                1. Heartfelt worship somehow causes things not driven by faith to run and hide for a bit.
                  1. Let’s make those things run away from us for a while as we sing.

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