Do Not Worry!

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

INTRODUCTION

Did you note the highlighted verses. Three times in this brief discourse, Jesus says “Do not Worry.” The Greek word translated “worry” here means to be anxious; to be troubled with cares; to care for, look out for (a thing); to seek to promote one’s interests; or caring or providing for. Interestingly, the English words worry and anxiety find their origin in the words struggle [worry] and anger or torment [anxiety]. Anxiety is certainly tormenting and is definitely a struggle for most of us. Dallas Willard says both English words anxiety and worry are related to being choked. Worry and anxiety can choke the life out of a person; certainly the happiness. Jesus makes a clear prohibition–“Do not worry.”

If Jesus commands us not to worry, then it is a sin to worry. Most of us have some form of anxiety. The ideal that Jesus lifts up is to be worry free. Lets begin with the question, “Why do we worry? Today, I want to focus on the source of our anxiety.

I. OUR MISPLACED TREASURE

We have to go back to verses 19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Connect these verses to verse 24, No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” If you treasure wealth or money, you will be cursed with anxiety and worry.

Since money is not my treasure, I am tempted to stop here but there are other things that we treasure here on earth that cause anxiety just as much as our love for money. Some people treasure their reputation. They treasure success. Failure frustrates them; it worries them to no end. They are more concerned about what people think than they are about what God thinks. This is especially true of preachers. I don’t know that many greedy preachers but I know very few who are not vain. They worry incessantly about what people think of them.

Your treasure may not be money or your reputation: it could be your life, your physical life. You may be one of those who does not want to leave this world and you worry about dying. You take every measure to add years to your life. Some people do not smoke, drink or over eat simply because they want to live longer. Some are fanatics about exercise because they want to live long and healthy lives. Many people are be strangled by the fear of death.

If you get your treasure right, you will get your heart right at the same time. When you get your heart right, you will not worry about physical death. My treasure is not money and that is a good thing. I lost hundreds of thousands by not checking my IRA for more than a decade. I am a poor business person. Really ‘poor’ is an understatement, actually, I am horrible. My greatest treasure is Jesus. I am not trying to say the right thing here, I am trying to be honest. I don’t think of rewards. I can’t think of much that I should be rewarded for. My greatest treasure is Jesus and He is in heaven. I’m like Paul, physical death is a promotion; it is a gain. This world is not my home. I do not like or approve of the way this world treats Jesus. I am anxious to live in a world where everyone loves HIM. The only thing I owe in this world is a burial plot at Friendship Cemetery. We do have a couple of vehicles and some furniture. I do love my kids and grandkids but I am assuming that they are going to join me in heaven. This world is not my home and I do want to go home.

You locate your treasure and if it is misplaced, that could be the source of your anxiety.

II. OUR LACK OF FAITH

Why do we worry or why do believers worry? Jesus answers this question in verse 30, “You of little faith.” In the Greek, this is one word ‘oligopistos’ [little faiths] and it is a nickname that Jesus used in reference to His disciples. Ten times Jesus calls His disciples “Little-faiths”…”You bunch of little-faiths, how long am I going to have to hang out with you before you trust Me.” [Paraphrase]

It sounds so simple but it is true, our unbelief creates needless anxiety. Jesus gave us a great illustration when He took a child and sat him on His lap and then said… “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Little children are trusting and as a result they have very little anxiety. My children never came to me before bed and said, “Daddy, what are we going to eat tomorrow? Where are you going to get money to buy groceries? How are you going to pay the light bill this month? What about the car insurance, is it due?” June and I worried about those things I’m sure but they didn’t. A small child does not worry. They trust their moms and dads to provide. We see a lot in the eyes of our 8 month old granddaughter Chloe but anxiety is not one of them. We can see her displeasure when she doesn’t get what she wants. We can see her happiness when she is pleased. We can even see mischief but I’ve never seen worry or anxiety.

That is the kind of faith we are to have in our Heavenly Father. Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows what you need.” If we put our complete trust in God the way a small child puts their trust in their parents, we would not struggle with anxiety. Anxiety and worry stem from a “Small Faith”.

III. OUR ILL ADVISED PRIORITIES

Jesus said, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. How many people do you know that put God’s kingdom first? Can you think of one? Can you think of more than one? It is almost like finding a righteous man in Sodom. How many churches put God’s kingdom first? I will answer that one for you, “Not many.” Most church are self-seeking because they are lead by pastors who are self-seeking. They do not think in terms of the kingdom, they think in terms of “Their Church” or “My Church”. Our church has the best children’s program: our church has the best youth pastor; our church has the best Wednesday night supper; our church has the best Senior Adult ministry; Our church has the best pastor, etc.

If you don’t believe that churches promote themselves, look on twitter or Facebook. There are not promoting the KINGDOM or the KING, in a very subtle way, we are promoting ourselves, commending ourselves. We could care less what the small church down the road is doing. We glory in the fact that our numbers are increasing while theirs are diminishing. Even when we go on Mission Trips, we brag about our church. I am fairly certain that the people in Iraq, Africa and Guatemala can not be edified, helped or encouraged by our talking incessantly about our church.

One of the most liberating things that has happened to me in my 44 years of ministry is to discover the truth that God has a Kingdom approach. Jesus did not say, “Seek ye first your local church and praise its leadership and you will have greater numbers than all the other churches in your area” did He? I was really discouraged with myself and the church I was serving and I took a two-day sabbatical. A friend in another part of the State invited me to come and stay in his home for a couple of days. I carried Gene Mims book, “KINGDOM PRINCIPLES” and read it while I was visiting with my friend. They gave me their guess room in which to study and rest and it was there on the very first night that the lights came on and I saw clearly for the first time that Christ is the head of a KINGDOM of local churches. All my life, I had been wrapped up in the local church, especially the one that I was serving at the time. I had no concern for other churches. I was visiting with my friend because I was discouraged about what was happening and not happening in “Our Church”. There was a copy of COMMISSION magazine in my brief case and I read about our Missionaries baptizing 400,000 people is West Africa. The truth of the KINGDOM hit me like a ton of brick and I began to rejoice because our  rural village church had been giving to LOTTIE MOON. I gave God thanks that we were a part of this great work. This truth literally set me free. When Danville Baptist is not doing good, praise God, there are others in the kingdom who are and I can rejoice in what they are doing. I have two adopted sons in the ministry and both are serving vibrant churches that are doing very well. I helped with a Celebration Of Life Service just last week in the first church that I served while I was in college back in 1970. This church ran 33 in SS the first Sunday I was there and now they run 300. Since I left they have prospered. They have a totally new campus and all new buildings and I think they are paid for. They have a young pastor and he is as excited as a fox in a hen-house.

Unfortunately for me there are times when I feel sorry for myself and I’m like the old sour preacher that Bro. Inman use to talk about…A fellow pastor called him and asked him how the work was going…he said, “We are doing anything but Praise God, no one else is either.” The proper response would have been, “We don’t seem to be accomplishing much but praise God, others seem to be and I thank the LORD that it is a KINGDOM work and not just a local endeavor.

Our anxiety and worry is self-inflicted: if we will subject ourselves to Jesus Christ and His teaching, we can be worry free. “Look at the Birds” Jesus said, “Observe the lilies” [wildflowers]: God takes care of them. Birds don’t work nor worry and the wildflowers don’t do a thing except rest in the sovereign grace of their Creator. Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Folks, God loves you. Jesus death of the cross is all the proof you need. He did not die for Sparrows, He died for you. Give Him your life; make Him your LORD; make Him your greatest treasure and your highest priority. You will never regret it if you do: you will regret it for an eternity if you don’t.

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Six P’s in A Pod

Matthew 6:16-24

16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Introduction

It is a rather lengthy text and I know you are wondering how the part relates to the last. At first glance, one would assume that Jesus is speaking about three totally different things: fasting, material possession, motives and priorities. As I studied the text, I did see a connection. Our passion is determined by our perspective and priorities are determined by our passion. Jesus said, “Where the treasure [priority, what you value most] is, there will be the heart [passion also]. We actually have a row of P’s in this passage: Performance, Possessions, Perspective, Passion, Priorities and our Purpose. I will pass over most of them lightly because I want to concentrate on two primarily.

Performance

The world puts a lot of stock on performance. The world judges us by our performance but Christ is not impressed with performance and especially when it is just that, a performance or an act. Jesus used the word “hypocrite” and the word comes from the theater, it is a person who wears two faces or more than one face. A person who can plays more than one part by simply changing his/her costume and mask.

Possessions

The worldly man thinks that success is bound up in the things we possesses. Thus he is wrong is his first principle. Jesus said, “Life does not consist in the abundance of things that one possesses.” The worldly man puts far too much emphasis on acquiring things, amassing things and he will never get anything right because he has missed the first principle. It is like missing the first button on your shirt: all the others button are going to be wrong because the first one is wrong. We don’t usually notice that we got the first wrong until we get to the top.

Perspective

Jesus said, “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.Usually, the first thing I do when I set down to read is clean my glasses. I do that so I can see more clearly. The word perspective comes from a latin word that means to see through, like a window or a lense. Mr. Webster says, “Perspective is the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. Jesus said, “If you eye [perspective] is bad, your mind will be filled with darkness.” Everything depends on your perspective. The blind man saw Jesus as a healer, a Man sent from God but the Pharisees and Scribes saw Him as a law-breaker because He healed the blind man on the sabbath.

Passion

Jesus said, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Did you get that? Where your treasure is, there is where you will find your passion.

Treasures are things we try to keep because we place a lot of value on them. They may not be valuable in the grand scheme of things but they are valuable to us because of the affection we have for them. Seth and I torn down an old barn a couple of months ago and it was filled with treasures. I suppose they were treasures to the old man who owed the place some years ago because he saved them but his treasures became our trash. It is quite possible that you treasure things that others don’t treasure. He is very possible that you and I treasure things that have no eternal significance.

When we thing of treasures, we generally thing of money and we want to pounce on the greedy, the misers, the hoarders of material wealth but your treasure may be something other than money. You may treasure your reputation. You could possible treasure a relationship. Everyone has treasures. You will not meet a human being that does not treasure something. Our treasures are the things that we put is safe or protected areas and when someone invades or intrudes into that protected area, we get really upset and defensive.

Priorities

As Jesus said, it is impossible for us to love two masters equally. We cannot value two treasures equally. You cannot love God and money equally. All of us have priorities, we have things that we put first and if we fall in love with money, we will make it a priority. If we love Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind and body…we will put Him first. Our priorities come out of our passions, our passion comes out of our perspective

Purpose

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Our purpose is to serve Christ. We were created to be servants and to have a Master. My purpose in life is to be obedient to the LORD Jesus Christ, to serve Him, to do His will and bring glory to His name. My purpose in life is not to pastor a church, that goal could be blocked but no one can keep me from being obedient to Christ except myself.

Obviously, if our perspective is tainted, it is going to effect our values, our treasures and when we began to treasure the wrong things, we fail to accomplish our mission which is to honor and obey Christ. When you first read the sermon on the mount, you think that Jesus is teaching from the cuff and that he is moving randomly from one subject to the next but nothing is further from the truth.

  1. The Pharisees and Scribes were not real: they were performers, hypocrites. Our first step is to get real.
  2. We have to see things from Christ perspective. We have to clean the lens, clean the window so we can see clearly what is reality and what is not.
  3. If our perspective is right, we will treasure the right things. We will want what Jesus wants. Our will and His will, will be one.
  4. Once our perspective is right and our values are right, we will have the passion, the desire to make Christ our greatest treasure.
  5. Our passion will guide us into our purpose.

Our Purpose

  1. It is not to promote ourselves
  2. It is not to promote our church. People who promote their church are invariably promoting themselves and they are using the church as a cover. They can boast about what their church is doing and people don’t see it as a personal boast but that is exactly what it is.
  3. Our passion is to be our relationship with Christ and our love for Him is the motive for our obedience. Jesus said in John 14…”If you love me, obey my commandments.”

Our purpose is fulfilled out of our passion and our passion is determined by what we treasure most.

Dr. James Kennedy who I think founded Evangelism Explosion once said: “There are many reason why Christians do not witness but the two primary reasons that we do not share our faith is [1] A compromising life-style [2] Fear. The reason I bring this up is that I think Dr. Kennedy hit the nail on the head. We don’t want to be performers like the Pharisees, we want to be real but unless we are excited about Jesus and talk about Him from the overflow of our daily walk with Him, we will be hypocritical. So the number one reason why we don’t share our faith is not fear, it is that we are not passionately in love with Jesus. When we talk about our church or our ministry, we are really talking about ourselves. We need to return to our first love.  We need to get our priorities straight and put Christ first where He belongs. He needs to the topic of our conversation.

Have you ever bumped into a grandparent and all he/she could talk about were grandkids. What about a football fan that wants to talk football 24/7. We may not want to admit it but our conversation and the way we spend our money will always point to our passion.

I love the story about the preacher who was going to be fired right after the Summer Revival. He knew it, the congregation knew it but the visiting evangelist did have any idea that the pastor was on the verge of being dismissed. After a revival service, the evangelist got engaged in conversation with one of the senior adult women. She told the evangelist that they were going to fire the preacher as soon as the meeting was over. The evangelist was shocked and he ased, “Has he done something immoral?” “Oh, heavens no” said the dear lady, he is a good man. “Well” said the evangelist, “Is he neglecting his family?” “No, no, no,” she exclaimed, “He is a good husband and father.” The evangelist then said, “Why on earth are you about to fire a good man?” “It’s a long story,” said she, “But to put it in a nuts shell, he is just to hung up on Jesus. All the man ever talks about is Jesus…every time he gets into the pulpit its Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and frankly, we are sick of it.”