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Reset // Matthew 6:25-34 // Week 8

CityRise November 23, 2020 sermons, cityrise, Reset, Roger Patterson, sermon on the mount,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Roger Patterson on Sunday November 22, 2020 at our Crosspoint Church – Bellaire Campus and in our Online Experience on youtube.com/cityriseorg. To view the sermon in full, please visit our YouTube page.

I want to take the first few minutes today and ask you to grab a piece of paper and something to write with. You can take out your tablet or phone and go to the notes section.  Here is what I want you to do for just a moment. Write out 3 to 5 things you are currently worried about.

Just take a moment…what are the first 3 to 5 things you are worried about.

Today, I am worried about…

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

I could probably list four or five for you very quickly.

Today, I am worried about…

  1. The Virus and My Health
  2. The Economy, Potential Shut Downs & Employment
  3. The Education System
  4. Family Gatherings over the Holidays
  5. The State of the Houston Texans

There are so many things we are presently worried about.

And then when you watch the news, and you hear the headlines, if you aren’t careful, you will be weighed down by everything before you.  And the irony of the situation is that we are headed into the Thanksgiving Holiday, and we consider 2020 and we feel we don’t have much to be thankful for.

Today’s message is called, Taking Worry to Another Level.  And my hope is that you will do just that.  My hope is that at the end of this message, you can take your worry and put it at the feet of Jesus, and you can exchange anxiety for peace, despair for hope, and worry for joy.

I want to read our text today, as we close out this series, and then dig into what our Lord is saying to us.

Matthew 6:25-34

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? 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Context: Now, as we begin, I want to point out a few things…really, one thing.  It’s the first word of this section.  It’s the word, “Therefore.”  When you see that word, “Therefore,” what are you to ask? 

What’s that “Therefore,” there for?

That’s the big question we ask, because we don’t start new ideas with the word therefore.  We don’t start new conversations with the word, “Therefore.”

“Therefore,” is our hinge statement. It’s the pivot word. It’s the application that is going to be followed by all that has just been said.

If you study the book of Romans, which we will do in 2021, you will see Romans 12:1 that begins, “Therefore, I urge you in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.”

Romans 12:1 is one of the biggest therefore statements in the Bible.  It’s the pivot of the first 11 chapters. And when you come to the 12th chapter, everything turns.  In light of all of this incredible theology on the mercy of God, here then is how you are to live. 

In Matthew 6, Jesus offers us a therefore statement in light of what he has just said.  Last week we saw the words just prior to this section.  These words were a call to invest in the kingdom of God. They were a call to lay up treasure in heaven. They were a call to not bow down to the God of mammon – the false god of wealth and prosperity, but to instead serve the Lord Jesus as your master and invest your resources where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

The concluding statement was this:

Matthew 6:24

“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.

From here, Jesus says, “Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life.”

You see…

Those who have Jesus as their Master are to be…

  1. Freed from Worldly Anxiety
  2. Confident in God’s Love and Provision
  3. Pursuing God’s Reign Before Anything Else

Let’s walk through these for a moment.

Those who have Jesus as their Master are to be…

I. Freed from Worldly Anxiety

Notice I said here, “worldly anxiety.”  There is an anxiety, a weight, a burden that is of God.  But the difference in what is of the world and of God is that which he places on you and that which the world places on you.

Notice verse 34.

Matthew 6:34

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Our days will be filled with trouble. They will have:

  • problems,
  • challenges,
  • disappointments
  • and setbacks

Just ask Chris DeArman how disappointed he was that Alabama didn’t get to beat up on LSU last week.  He was downright disappointed, because they would certainly have dominated LSU.

In all seriousness, we are living in a very challenging time. And we are striving to steward the moment we are in for ourselves, our businesses, our employees, our employer, our children. 

There is a lot riding on the line. 

But, one of the best things that leaders can do right now is focus on the next best decision.  We need to navigate well our next best moment. But, we don’t need to be bound up in anxiety about decisions down the road.

Now, let’s notice a few things about Worldly Anxiety.

Worldly Anxiety…

Is ruled by a Scarcity Mindset that makes one scared.

In other words, it affects our Psyche so that our Actions or Inactions are Fear-Based.

What is your mindset right now? Is it one that is captured by fear?

Look again at verses 24-25.

Matthew 6:24-25

“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? 

The word life that we see here is not the more common word for life, Zoe.  That is our physical lives. The word that is translated as life here, is PSYCHE.

Definition of Psyche – the inner-self, mind, thoughts, feelings, heart, being.  The sense here is our “state of life.”

Jesus says, “Don’t be anxious about your ‘state of life.’…Isn’t your state of life more than food and clothing?”

You see, Jesus wants you to be freed from the wordly mindset of scarcity that cultivates fear.

In verses 31-32, it states…

Matthew 6:31-32a

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things…

The NIV translates the word Gentiles as Pagans.

Matthew 6:32a, NIV 1984

For the pagans run after all these things…

I’m referencing the word pagans here because I believe it best encapsulates the religious mindset, the religious pshyche, that this speaks of.  The pagans were folks who offered sacrifices to the sun god, to the moon god, to the rain god.  By the time of Jesus, we have the mythology of the Greeks and the Romans built in and invading the world of Palestine.

All of these religions have at their core a mindset that you must offer sacrifices to appease the angry gods so that you might at some point get a blessing from them.

Quote: Craig Blomberg states…

“Anxiety was a characteristic of Pagan Religions, which were dominated by fears of a capricious diety who constantly had to be appeased.”

The result is that fear ruled the lives of the majority of the population. Fear ruled the PSYCHE.

As I taught last week, here online and at our West U Campus, when Jesus says, “You cannot serve two masters…you cannot serve God and money,” he actually uses the Aramaic word, “Mammon,” for the “god of wealth and prosperity.”  The pagans bowed down to the false god of wealth and materialism named Mammon, and the people of Israel were tempted to do the same.

Application: The people of the USA have also bowed to this false god of wealth and materialism, and we have bought into the lie that if we give ourselves to Mammon, we will always have enough. 

  • The pagans lived in fear.  And we do to!
  • The Pagans had a fear based psyche, and that is what we are being sold today.

But, when Jesus is your master, you don’t have to be bound by worldly anxiety, because you are taught and trained by him.  You hear him say…

Matthew 6:8b

…your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Matthew 6:4, 5, 18

And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Jesus has been saying to us for weeks…

“Look up. There’s another way. There’s a kingdom way. You don’t have to be bound up in fear. No, turn and look around and see the heart of the Heavenly Father.  In him there is no lack.”

You see, our Lord wants to change the fear of scarcity to the joy of abundance so that we can be…

Confident in God’s Love and Provision.

Those who have Jesus as their Master are to be…

  1. Freed from Worldly Anxiety
  2. Confident in God’s Love and Provision

II. Confident in God’s Love and Provision

This is so transformative for your life. Let me begin by saying to you, God is not a god of scarcity, but of Abundance.  In him there is no limit. He is not bound.  He has no constraints and it costs him nothing to provide for you.

Notice that there are two parts of nature we are to look at to conclude this…birds and the grass of the fields.

Matthew 6:26-30

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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  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? 

  1. Let’s first consider the birds:

Look at how our Lord provides for his creation.  Birds neither sow now reap nor gather into barns, yet they are fed every single day.  And Jesus is saying that you and I need to look intently into this.

This week, when the reports of more and more covid cases were up and the county judge was coming out with an update on Tuesday, I was taking my daughter to a gymnastics lesson. After I dropped her off at the gym, I did what I usually do, and made my way to Sam’s Club, to re-stock a few things. 

And I thought…you know, there is a threat out there of more shut-downs…I’ll grab some toilet paper while I’m here, because apparently, that’s all that is needed to get through a pandemic shut-down.

But do you know what I discovered? 

I discovered that you all had beaten me to Sams!  You all had already bought it all up!

Again, Jesus is saying, look at this.  Look at how the world operates and look at how the Heavenly Father operates. 

The world operates with a scarcity mindset that there is a lack. And that leads us to hoard. 

But the Heavenly Father is generous. He feeds the birds in beautiful ways.

Quote: Stanley Hauerwas states…

Slide: Stanley Hauerwas

Abundance, not scarcity, is the mark of God’s care for creation.  But our desire to live without fear cannot help but create a world of fear constituted by the assumption that there is never enough. This sort of world cannot help but be a world of injustice and violence because it is assumed that under conditions of scarcity, our only chance for survival is to have more.

  • Let’s now consider the Lilies of the field.

If that wasn’t enough to help his hearers, he says, “Look at the lilies of the field.”  Remember, they are up on the side of a big hill that overlooks the Sea of Galilee.  I’m sure that there was an abundance of field grass there.  And Jesus says, look at how beautiful that is!  Notice the lilies. The word, “Consider” here means to look intently at and learn carefully from it.

Craig Blomberg says…

“Uncultivated vegetation does much less to provide for itself than do birds, yet God adorns it with beauty that at times surpassed the greatest splendor of human raiment.”

You see, these grasses would be used as fuel in ovens for the baking of bread.  And this logic is one of lesser to greater.  In essence conveying the ides that…

If God lavishes such concern over the rest of his creation, how much more does he love us?

You see, you can be confident in God’s love and provision. 

But all too often, we choose worry. We choose anxiety. We choose to be weighted down deeply by the concerns of this world. 

In verse 27, Jesus asks…

Matthew 6:27

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

He is asking, “Who, by pondering, meditating on, and by being burdened down with anxious thoughts and an anxious scarcity mindset, can add a single hour to his life?”

Then, in verse 30, the charge is levied at those who live this way.  He states…

Matthew 6:30

O you of little faith…

Quote: You see, I think D.A. Carson says it best when he says…

D.A. Carson

The root of anxiety is unbelief.

Application: My friend, you are more valuable than the birds.  You are more valuable than the lilies of the field. You are more valuable than all of this because you have been made in the image of God.  And it is his joy…his delight…his obligation to provide for you.

Application: Do you trust this?  Do you believe this? Those who have our Lord as their master are confident in God’s love and provision.

Transition:  And so, you have a choice to make.  You can be weighed down by anxiety and fear and unbelief and a scarcity mindset…or do you want to lift those anxieties to him and live a different way.

You see…

Those who have Jesus as their Master are to be…

  1. Freed from Worldly Anxiety
  2. Confident in God’s Love and Provision
  3. Pursuing God’s Reign Before Anything Else

III. Pursuing God’s Reign Before Anything Else

You see, it’s one thing to be told not to worry. But it’s another to know what to do instead.

Notice Matthew 6:33.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

What does it mean to seek His kingdom first? 

It means to desire above all, enter into, submit to and participate in spreading the news of the saving reign of God and to live so as to store up treasures in heaven in the prospect of the Kingdom’s consummation.

And we aren’t just telling the gospel to others, we are living it out. 

Quote: Hauerwas states…

Stanley Hauerwas

“…followers of Jesus are taught that we have time to care for one another through small acts of mercy because God’s mercy is without limit. The abundance of God’s kingdom must be made manifest through the lives of a people who have discovered that they can trust God and one another – a witness to the very character of God’s care of creation.”

You see, we are called to a different way. We are called to a life that is qualitatively different from those who have no trust in God. We are called to the way of generosity, knowing that our Lord will provide for us.

And we are called to pursue it…to seek it…to chase it…to run after it.  There is to be no mistake or confusion as to what is first and foremost in one’s life.

I’ve been parked in Psalm 34 for a few weeks. I’ve made sure over the past few weeks to read it over and over again.  It’s so beautiful.

Notice what it says.

Psalm 34:3-9

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are
 radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the
 Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the
 Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the
 Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!

Look at this testimony!  Look at this invitation to thanksgiving.

Here, David is saying…

  • I was in a bad spot and so I sought God…he delivered me from my fears!
  • I cried to the Lord and he heard me and saved me from my troubles
  • God’s angel is around us…we who fear the Lord
  • Our faces are radiant…we who look to him and will never be ashamed!  No…we will be confident…not ashamed, not disappointed, not embarrassed…our faces are radiant.

David then says…you got to try this.  You have got to get in on this…

  • Taste and see that He is good.
  • Take refuge in him and be blessed
  • If you will fear the Lord… you will have no lack! 

Friends, we have so much to be thankful for.  And so little to worry about. 

We have so much to be thankful for…and so little to worry about.

God’s plan to satisfy us is to seek him…pursue him…find him…taste of him…trust in him…fear him!

And when you do, your fears…your list…your weights are lifted and carried by him.

I’ll close with this scripture from 1 Peter 5.

1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

I want to go back to that list that we made at the beginning of this message.  And I want to encourage you to put it before the Lord. Cast it upon him.  Give it to him.  And as you do it, tell him, “Lord, you are bigger than my concerns.  I trust you and seek you first.” Then, I want you to rip up that list and throw it away.

Prayer – May our Lord bless you and keep you.

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