Faithlife Sermons

Do Not Be Anxious

The Sermon on the Mount  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro
Let’s talk for a moment about a few unreasonable requests:
And for a moment these are going to sound absurd… but I’m going somewhere with this so bear with me!
If I were to tell someone to change their height… that would that be reasonable
If I were to ask someone to not perspire when they go for a run… that would be unreasonable…
because it is how your body responds to exercise
Now, if I were to tell you not to be anxious about your life would that be reasonable?
and that’s exactly I am telling you to do tonight…
Actually, I’m not the one who is telling you not to worry… God is doing so through his word:
Matthew 6:25 ESV
25 “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?
Matt 6:26
This seems like an unreasonable request for a number of reasons:
for one no one desires to anxious
that feeling of having a knot in your stomach
for most of us, our stress is likely related to school
for most of you it is likely related to school or family
Could be that exam that is coming up
That grade you have in a class that needs to be improved
maybe it’s thinking about graduating in the near future and having to transition into adulthood
or just the heavy load of work that needs to be done
other sources of anxiety comes from relationships
whether it’s a relationship that you have in your family
or a relationship with peers…
The reality is, most of us likely are anxious about something
and furthermore anxiety is an increasing problem:
when students were surveyed it was reported that nearly 2/3 of students struggle with “overwhelming anxiety”
And it’s not just students who struggle with anxiety
Reports show that anxiety affects even 4 to 5 year olds that are in preschool
And so how are we to obey the command from Jesus to not be anxious:
Let’s go to the word and find out:
Matthew 6:25 ESV
25 “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?
First let’s look at that first word: therefore
“do not be anxious”
who knows the preacher’s
When you see the word “therefore” you have to ask “what is it there for”
The word therefore is a preposition that is connecting the subject of anxiety to the
You don’t a conversation with the word therefore…
you connect ideas with the word therefore
So we need to look at what came before this section of Scripture to best understand what Jesus is getting at:
look at v 19-24 what is the subject
Matthew 6:19–20 ESV
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matt 6:19-
Matthew 6:24 ESV
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Matt 6:

Anxiety is directly related to treasuring earthy possessions.

If fact that’s what this whole chapter has been about:
Anxiety does not produce life.
from the very beginning of the chapter:
valuing the approval of of man (a kind of earthy treasure that can produce anxiety) over the approval of God (a heavenly treasure that we will talk more about in just a moment)
But when we worry about what people think of us… we become anxious:
Listen carefully: again, studies are showing that your generation is one of the most anxious generations
and experts contribute the increased anxiety to the increase of pressure to be approved of on social media
so much so that there has been a petition to remove the like button from social media platforms such as instagram.
But here’s the deal: it is human nature to desire the approval of man… and this is a sin… and it leads to the sin of anxiety.
So here this: while Jesus is telling us to not be anxious (something that feels completely out of our control)… he is telling us that our anxiety is a result of misplaced treasures
but it’s not just worrying about what people think of us:
what Jesus has directly in view is the material matter that we worry about possessing
Matthew 6:24–25 ESV
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 25 “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?
Matt 6:
The reason we serve money (material possessions), is because we are trying to improve our quality of life,
but what Jesus is showing us is that by serving money (or our grades, or what people think of us, or being loved by someone), we are actually destroying our life.
because our life is dominated by anxiety
skip to v 27
Matthew 6:27 ESV
27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
if anything we know that anxiety causes heart problems and shortens a persons lifespan…
but that’s not what Jesus is getting at is he… the point is this: God is the one who has your life in his hands
Job 14:5 ESV
5 Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,
Psalm 90:12 ESV
12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
So do not worry about money
don’t worry about food or clothing…
Don’t be crippled by anxiety about school and the approval of others… for life is not found in those things!
Let’s continue:
Matthew 6:26 ESV
26 Look 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?
Matt 6:26
Now let’s not twist what God is saying to be used for our own selfish gain:
What Jesus is not saying is that we should be lazy and not work, because God will provide
The reformer Martin Luther famously said:
God provides food for the birds, but he does not drop it into their beaks.
Or better yet:
God provides food for the birds, but he does not drop it into their beaks.
Proverbs 6:6–11 ESV
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
Jesus is not promoting laziness, so then what are we to learn from the bird who does not plant fields nor builds barns to store food…

If God cares for the least valuable creatures, we can be confident that he will care for us.

That’s the point that Jesus is teaching!
He cares and provides for the birds who are of such little value!
did you know that you have more value to God than birds?
human beings are the crown of creation!
Genesis 1:26–28 ESV
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Listen to the way David expresses his amazement of how God values humanity
Psalm 8:3–4 ESV
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
ps 8:
And it’s not just David who is amazed by God’s care for humanity…
1 peter 1:12 tells indicates that even the angels marvel at God’s work of salvation to humanity
Are you aware of how great God’s love is for you:
So many of us are so concerned with how others view us… and so we work and work to impress them
And yet God set his love on us before the foundation of the world
And even while we were sinners, Christ died for us
we did nothing to earn his love but he gave it freely
is there such thing as a greater love than this?
And all the while we become so anxious about what how others view us
Girls: you worry about your looks so that a boy might be attracted to you
Guys: let’s be real, even though most of you act like you don’t care, you do the same thing
But here’s the deal, God loves you even though you have nothing to impress him with.
It is no wonder that David said:
“what is man that you are mindful of him
the son of man that you care for him.”
Are you convinced that God cares for you? And that he loves you?
If not Jesus depicts another creation of even lesser value:
Matthew 6:28–30 ESV
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But 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?
Matthew 6:28–29 ESV
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Matt 6:28-
We know of the riches of king Solomon from 1 kings 10
listen the they way Solomon’s riches amazed the queen of Sheba
1 Kings 10:4–5 ESV
4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5 the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her.
The riches of Solomon amazed the queen of Sheba, but Jesus says that
“even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these”
did you see that… even one lily has more splendor than Solomon in all his glory
and yet God does not care for just the one lilly… he cares for the field of lilies
Matthew 6:28 ESV
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
matt 6:
and then what happens to those fields of lillies?
Matthew 6:30 ESV
30 But 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?
Matt
Are you convinced of God’s love and care for you?
or are you gripped with anxiety:
because if so listen to what Jesus says
Matthew 6:30 ESV
30 But 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?
O you of little faith

Anxiety is a result of a lack of faith in God’s care for you.

this is not the only place that we see the phrase “ you of little faith”
When the disciples were in the boat on the sea during a great storm:
Matthew 8:26 ESV
26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
When Peter started to sink in the water after walking on the water
Matthew 14:31 ESV
31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:31 ESV
31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Even when the disciples are concerned about not having food after they saw Jesus feed the five thousand
Matthew 16:8–9 ESV
8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?
amtt 16:8-9
Do you notice that each time Jesus uses this phrase it is in relation to his disciples
who have seen amazing things
and yet they are still filled with anxiety
What do you need to do in order to increase your faith…
you need to know of the power of Jesus over all of creation!
and you need to know of the love and care that Jesus has for you.
So what do you need to do to be rid of anxiety?
Your faith needs to increase
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not telling you to increase your faith
Now do hear this: faith is a gift from God
Ephesians 2:8 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
So if you lack faith… ask and it will be given to you
Because it is not something you can do by yourself!
none of salvation is a work that you do in your own strength
as are none of the fruit of the Spirit
and so if you desire to be free from
Abide in the true vine… that is Jesus
know him
as he has revealed himself through his word
and by his Spirit

Anxiety is a result of a lack of faith in God’s care for you.

and when we lack faith we effectively act like the pagans or the gentiles
those who do not believe in God
Matt 6:
Matthew 6:32 ESV
32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
(as do the Pharisees and the religious people who do not love Jesus)
and notice the similarity here to the what we learned about prayer
Matthew 6:7–8 ESV
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
so if we are not seeing all these material things and the approval of man, what do we seek?
Jesus tells us:
Matthew 6:33 ESV
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
again do you notice how similar this is to the Lord’s prayer
Matthew 6:9–10 ESV
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
matt 6:
is this how you pray?
or are you still praying about all the things that you are anxious about?
Yes phil 4:6 says
Philippians 4:6 ESV
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Notice even in the way we are to pray, it is a prayer that is made without anxiety!
Matthew 6:33 ESV
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
all these will be added to you!
Matthew 5:6 ESV
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
and when we hunger and thirst for rightesousness and we seek first his kingdom
we are storing up treasures in heaven
where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal
Matthew 6:20 ESV
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
matt
Let’s finish with the last verse:
Matthew 6:34 ESV
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Being free from anxiety is not about being free from all troubles

Remember earlier in the sermon on the mount when Jesus said
Matthew 5:10–12 ESV
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
this is why Paul writes
Philippians 4:11–13 ESV
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:11–12 ESV
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
This Scripture is so often abused and taken out of context:
we ask God not for all that we need in the coming month of week… but we ask him just for what we need today:
give us this day our daily bread...
Paul is saying this:
I don’t need food in my stomach
because Jesus is the satisfaction that I need for he is the bread of life that satisfies the soul
I don’t need clothing
because he clothes me in his righteousness
And so Life comes not from food or clothes rather it comes from Jesus who is the way the truth and the life
for he himself is the resurrection and the life
who is the bread of life
And so how can we know that he will care for us?
Rom 8:
Romans 8:32 ESV
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
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