Sermon preached on Sunday, February 28, 2016 at Grace Community Church in our Joint Heirs Fellowship group based on Matthew 6:25-34.
Father in heaven, our lot for us today is to approach Thee with godly fear and humble confidence.
We are unworthy, but You do welcome; We are guilty, but You are merciful; We are indignant, but Your riches are unsearchable.
Thou has shown boundless compassion towards us by not sparing Thy Son, but giving us freely all things in Him;
This is the foundation of our hope, the refuge of our safety, the new and living way to Thee, the means of that conviction of sin, brokenness of heart, and self-despair, which will endear to us the gospel.
Now as we come to Your most precious Word, endear our hearts to Thee. Show us Thy glory. Teach us Thy precepts. Open our eyes to see the eternal truths in Your Word and write them upon our hearts we pray, Amen.
Take your Bible if you will and open it to the sixth chapter of the book of Matthew. I trust this message will yield a greater love and affection for the wonderful truths contained in the most masterful of all sermons, the greatest sermon every preached by the greatest preacher who has ever lived, that great Sermon on the Mount.
Today we will be studying in chapter 6 verses 25 to 34, but in order to establish the context for this morning’s message, allow me to read this passage to you. Follow along beginning with verse 25 in your Bibles.
Read Matthew 6:25-34.
Now you will notice that the repeated phrase from the words of our Lord is “do not be worried” (ESV “do not be anxious”). This is the central theme of this passage. It is the heart and soul of this passage, a verb that appears 5x, three of which in a command form.
v. 25 “do not be worried” Present Imperative
v. 27 “being worried” Present Participle
v. 28 “why are you worried” Present Indicative
v. 31 “do not worry then” Aorist Subjunctive
v. 34 “So do not worry” Aorist Subjunctive
All along, God in Christ is calling us to cease from worrying.
In fact the Greek tense in v. 25 is unique (i.e. Present Imperative), giving it the meaning, “Do not have this bad habit” or “If you have already fallen into it, then break this habit: stop being anxious.”
In v. 31, the tense is different, the exhortation there is (i.e. Aorist Subjunctive), “do not become anxious” or “don’t start worrying.”
So either way you cut it, He has you cornered. “If you’re doing it quit and if haven’t started, well…don’t.”
The actual word that Matthew records for us is a very interesting one.
The Greek word is μεριμνάω and it simple means “to be apprehensive, have anxiety, be anxious, be (unduly) concerned.”
But the original meaning for this word was “being distracted,” as was, for example, Martha, whose attention was divided to such an extent that our Lord has to say to her on one occasion, “you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary” (Luke 10:41-42).
*I wonder if that is true of us today, “you are worried and bothered about so many things” and you have forgotten about “the one thing needful.”
In our old English to worry was defined as having a “care for something,” but that word no longer seems to carry the meaning for this Greek term which speaks of more of the “anxious care for something.”
Now all of us would agree that worry is a part of life. Even the psalmist spoke of his “anxious thoughts” multiplying within him (Ps 94:19). There they are distracting thoughts which literally “divide.”
It is what humans do. Thoughts trouble their hearts and they spend an absorbent amount of time and energy fretting over things they simply do not have control over. Is this not so?
It is why the KJV reads, “take no thought” or in other words do not spend so much time in troubled thought about this or that or the other.
This is the habitual attitude of our fallen state toward the problems and difficulties of life. It is what humans do in their fallen state.
It may not surprise you that “Americans are a pretty anxious people” – so wrote a professor of anthropology at Stanford University for the New York Times, some months ago. But you don’t need to have a degree to come to this conclusion.
What you may not know is that in 2002, the World Mental Health Survey found that Americans were the most anxious people, according to this article. That includes people from Nigeria, Lebanon, and Ukraine.
And this is a country of great abundance, compared to other countries.
The truth is that worry is with us and ever so with our society in this day and age.
Yet as common as it is, the Bible tells us as believers, as children of God, worrying is a sin.
We commit sin when we worry. For we do not trust God when we worry, we are not thinking right about His character and nature.
It is disbelieving in God’s capacity to take care of the situation or circumstance that is troubling someone. “I know that you mean well, but this is beyond you.” It is no wonder our Lord will say, “You of little faith!” (v. 30), “do you not know who I am?”
Granted, these “burdens” and “troubling thoughts” multiply in the heart of man. As Proverbs 12:25 reads –
25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down…
They multiply and weigh the heart down and for a believer, it causes sin to take place for it ultimately shows a distrust in the providence and power of God to sustain you in all things.
It is no wonder that the Psalmist writes in Psalm 55:22 –
22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Peter speaks of “casting all your anxiety on Him” (1 Pet 5:7).
Which is the very thing the enemy does not want you to do. He would rather you hold on to them and be consumed with every bit of this world.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones does well to remind us of Satan’s subtle schemes –
“His one concern is that we should keep our minds on these things instead of centering them upon God and holding them there.”
That is why our Lord teaches us to be devoted to Him alone, to serve Him alone, and to treasure the eternal.
It is about total devotion to God, single focus upon Him, even in our dealings with the mundane part of life, our world.
That is what is covered in this larger section from v. 19 to the end of the chapter (vv. 19-34) because He cares about your life, even the mundane part, and calls you to total devotion to Him, single focus upon Him.
Over and over He calls those who hear His voice to trust Him and to trust Him with all matters of life. David even wrote a song about this truth in Psalm 68:19 –
19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah.
He daily bears your burdens. Do you know that? You can trust Him. Do not resort to worrying. “Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing” (Ps 37:8).
Those listening to this most masterful sermon from our Lord needed to hear this as do we. We too need to be told, “not to fret, not to worry, not to be anxious, not to be troubled in thought” but to give thought to His goodness, His care, His lovingkindness, His righteousness – to the character and nature of God.
My beloved, I am convinced that the greatest cause of all our failure (e.g. the failure to trust Him and the failure of worry/anxiety) is that we constantly forget our relationship to God.
And so to instill the heart of Jesus’ message here “not to worry,” our Lord reminds us of our relationship to Him and gives us three (3) reasons why we are not to worry. He gives us three reasons not to worry that lead our heart to this singled-mindedness of our devotion to Him and who He is.
1. We are not to worry because of our relationship to God as our MASTER – Master over every part of Life (v. 25).
2. We are not to worry because of our relationship to God as our FATHER – Father over each one of our Cares (vv. 26-30a).
3. We are not to worry because of our relationship to God as our KING – King over the entire Future (vv. 30b-34).
25Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (KJV)
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