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From Worry to Worship

Raw Faith for Real Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:05
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The knowledge of Father God permits us to exchange worry for worship as we trust in His provision.

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So yesterday morning I faced a dilemma. My sermon for today was not finished, but the text of that sermon teaches “Do not be anxious about tomorrow”
My study earlier in the week had already shown me that the word translated as “worry” or “anxious” is used elsewhere in the New Testament to describe the “concern” that a husband has for a spouse in 1 Cor 7.
As I was thinking about the difference between “anxious” and “concerned” I was reminded of the 5 Ps – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. I then heard some noise and looked outside the window to see 4 birds gathering seeds.
As we will see later, our Father feeds the birds, but He doesn’t deliver worms and seeds to the nest—they have to gather what God has provided. We should not take Jesus’ words here as an excuse for inactivity or laziness, but they do speak to our peace of mind.
Transition: Jesus begins by describing the person who frets and worries due to an unawareness of our God who has been called Father 10 times in this chapter already.

Worry defines man with no awareness of God (vv.25-30)

Matthew 6:25–30 (ESV) — “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Explanation

1. Food & Fluids are essential to sustain life (psyche)
2. Fashion is essential to shelter/protect the body (soma).
3. Awareness - Concern – Passion – Worry - Obsession
4. V.25 life/body - There were some 40 words the New Testament language uses to describe life or death. The first one in v.25 (lit. psyche) deals with the thinking, feeling, choosing nature of life. The second deals with the physical body. Jesus tells his listeners don’t “stress over” your mental abilities or your physical being.
5. “Are you not more value than they?” (v.26) “Will he not much more clothe you?” (v.30) reveals a hierarchy in the created order that some of our vegan and environmentalists friends should consider. I am not saying we should abuse animals or our planet, but that there is a priority of one over the other.
6. Worry presumes that God, our heavenly Father, is either unaware or unconcerned for our emotional or physical needs.
7. Worry does no good in extending or enhancing our lives. (v.27)
8. The flowers in vv.28-30 teach us that God takes something that ultimately becomes cooking fuel and draws our attention to the fact that God doesn’t only make it survive, He makes it magnificent! One commentary provided this picture as a comparison of the purple of Galilee’s wildflowers as a picture of Solomon’s royal robes.

Illustration

1. There have been many times that I have had no idea what my family would eat for dinner. But, thank God!!, I’ve never wondered if we would eat dinner. I don’t say that to brag, because sometimes dinner has been cold cereal or Ann made a one-of-a-kind “cupboard casserole” with a box of macaroni, a can of tuna and some stewed tomatoes, but I offer it as a testimony to God’s watchful care and goodness that I have had no need to be anxious about if I would eat or what I would drink.
One of our church members has told me about growing up here in Chase County when the menu was often quite limited; But he told me that between the dairy cow and the chickens, they always had milk to drink and eggs to eat.
Another member was telling me just a week ago about a time recently when she put Sunday dinner in the crockpot, only to get stopped by a parked train from getting home. Fortunately, a man from our church was stopped on the other side of the train so she walked down the track, around the back of the train and back up to the road where he gave her a ride home to turn off the slow-cooker.

Application

1. In addition to the rhythm of rest, I believe the main reason God instituted so many feasts and festivals for the Israelites, was so that they would remember His greatness and His goodness so that they would not be prone to the anxiety in these verses.
2. Often, we parents try to shield our children from the times when our faith is tested. When we do this, we rob them of the memories of God’s faithfulness that can sustain them during their own times of testing.
3. When I tell my kids of the unexpected check that arrived in the mail the day before tuition was due, it packs their parachute for the times they will encounter unmet needs.
4. My kids have heard me say often that “God’s promises are rarely early, but they are never late”.
Transition: Today’s text not only tells us of the worry that befalls the person who ignores God, but also of the…

Worship flows from the trusting Child (vv.31-33)

Matthew 6:31–33 (ESV) — Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Explanation

1. The worrier is the person who is unaware of God’s greatness and His goodness. There is significance to the childhood prayer, “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food.”
2. Back in Deuteronomy 11:14-15 the land God provided for His people would supply grain, wine, oil & grass.
Deuteronomy 11:14–15 (ESV) — he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full.
3. In a couple of weeks, we’ll look at Mt 7:11 where Jesus says,
Matthew 7:11 (ESV) — If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
4. The worship and provision in v.33 flows out of a confidence that “God is able, He is more than able to handle what concerns you today”.

Illustration

1. Just as the worry of the agnostic in my first point is described with the 3 Fs of food, fluid and fashion, the worship described in this point also includes 3 Fs – Faith in Father First.
2. We don’t need to worry like the gentiles, because we know we have a loving Father.
A song that our teens sing frequently reminds that He is a good, good Father, it is not just what he does, it is who he is. And we are loved by Him, that’s who we are.

Application

1. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (6:33). “This climactic admonition draws the listeners back to the key verse of the sermon, where Jesus declared, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (5:20).”[i]
Transition: Verse 34 moves us from the paralysis of worry and the presence of worship into a response of faithful obedience. As we saw in the Lord’s prayer, our desire is that His name would be honored, His kingdom would be expanded and His will would be done.

Walking by Faith and Obedience is a Proper Outflow of Worship (v.34)

Matthew 6:34 (ESV) — “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Explanation

1. We are commanded to exchange worry about tomorrow into obedience today.
2. “Trouble” is a word that was used to describe Hail damage to a crop. It is something very real that may happen, but it is not the type of thing that one worries about every day.
3. “Worry over tomorrow’s misfortunes is nonsensical, because today has enough to occupy our attention and because tomorrow’s feared misfortunes may never happen.”[ii]

Illustration

1. This command to be free from worry is not a call to inactivity or ignorance.
2. It may be likely to make wrong application to the lesson Jesus is teaching:
“First, believers are not exempt from earning their own living…Secondly, believers are not exempt from responsibility for others...Thirdly, believers are not exempt from experiencing trouble”[iii]

Application

1. God’s awareness of each human’s need should both comfort us and compel us to engage with those around the globe who are suffering from severe drought through no fault or lack of faith on their part.
2. While God’s perspective is eternal, it would be extremely calloused and cold-hearted for us to turn a blind eye to those starving from malnutrition and unsanitary drinking water around the globe.
This is why we financially partner with Open Doors (supporting persecuted believers around the world), Christian Aid Mission (resourcing indigenous people in some of the poorest parts of the world), International Missionary Fellowship’s Haiti Hospital (in NW Haiti), and one of our newest ministry partners, Handlebars of Hope.
3. To many of our brothers and sisters around the world, “what will we eat?” and “what will we drink?” are not questions of worry or anxiety, they are genuine questions of survival and we have opportunity to faithfully and obediently offer cups of cold water in the name of Jesus to those in despair.

Conclusion:

Jesus challenges those who worry about the material things of this life to remember that our Father God is aware of them and that they are important to Him.
Jesus calls us as trusting children to worship our Father God and seek His righteousness.
We share in His righteousness when by trusting faith our sin is transferred to Christ who died, was buried and rose again so that and His righteousness is imputed to us.
We then seek His righteousness to be evident to all as we align with His desire for justice to be proclaimed to all.
[i] Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 49–50.
[ii] D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 182.
[iii] John R. W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7): Christian Counter-Culture, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 167.Concern or Worry
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