This message was preached by Austine K at Word of Grace Church on November 17th , 2019. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and propheticcontributions please click here
Matthew 6:25 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?
“THEREFORE” This word always takes us back to the previous thoughts.
The thought here is laying up treasures on earth where moth and rust can destroy it or in heaven where it is indestructible. The context of this passage is on giving. Jesus also talks about the two masters - God and money and man cannot love both masters, he must despise one and be devoted to the other.
Do you think Jesus is telling us not to save money? Or not to invest? Or that we have to be poor? Absolutely not! We know from the parable of the talents and other places in the Bible that we are expected to be wise with our money and God has given us the ability to produce wealth. What this passage is really talking about is putting money before God. When we don’t give into the kingdom of God we allow our money to be the first priority before God and money becomes our idol. But sometimes when we give, it causes us to be anxious because of our circumstances.
Q) Who doesn’t get anxious?
I’m sure everyone does in different phase of life. They may get anxious about exams, jobs, marriages, children, house rent, taxes and other bills.
Jo and I were anxious few months ago about job, finance, children, buying a home, car. She was getting an opportunity to work with the UN in the UK and Dubai and they were willing to offer me a job. It was an easy way out to go there, earn money and get all these things that we want.
Now God is not against all these things for us because He likes to bless but we felt God asked us to put our roots down here, serve the church and we know that in time to come God will bless. When You devote yourself to love and serve God, anxious thoughts will also come. That’s why Jesus emphasizes “Do not be anxious” 5 times. But there is a peace that comes with obedience and with obedience comes the security of God’s blessing. This is a security we don’t have to work or strive for, it comes from knowing that when God asks you to do something he will also Provide.
Last Sunday Colin spoke about the wise and foolish builder. The wise man listens to the word of God and puts it into practice and by doing so he builds his house on the rock, the foolish man listens to the word of God and doesn’t do anything about it and he builds his house on the sand. They both face the same problems in life and during these trials the house that was built on the rock stands and the house built on the sand crashes down. Similarly we’ve got to build our life like the wise builder by being obedient to the word of God so we can build a house on the rock by giving into God’s kingdom without worry or anxiety or we can keep our treasure for ourselves and build a house on the sand.
Q) How can you overcome anxiety?
1) Look to the creation
2) Ponder upon God’s faithfulness
3) Seek first the Kingdom of God
1) Look to the creation
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?[a] 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?
The birds don’t plant gardens or fields, nor do they harvest crops, they don’t store food in the barns, yet our Heavenly Father feeds them.
They are not his children, nor is He their Father. He is their creator.
If He feeds the birds which are not His children, how much more will He feed His child? You are more valuable than they. They only have a creator – that is creation relationship, you have a father – that is a son or daughter relationship.
What good does anxiety do? Secondly, which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life. Anxiety leads to health problems like Depression, Panic attacks, cardiovascular disease, High BP, breathlessness; and so much more. Instead of adding, anxiety can reduce our lifespan.
Jesus asked, why are you worried about clothing when the cure is look to the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not toil, they do not raise a cotton crop, they do not spin. The ladies used to have to make their own material before they could even make their clothes. They used to have what was known as spinning wheels, where they would spin the wool or cotton into yarn or thread then weave the yarn in the loom to make the garment they were proposing to make. Lillies are beautiful red and white and so many beautiful colors. Consider this: Solomon in all his glory and wealth was not beautifully clothed as the lilies in the field.
So when anxiety starts to overcome you, look to the creation and ponder on how God cares for everything he has created.
This brings me to my next point and that is
2) Ponder upon God’s faithfulness
Last year, before our wedding Jo and I were anxious about a lot of things. We were concerned about finances and finding a flat, visa and families coming together and furniture and everything that we had to manage. This year we have a new bunch of things that we are concerned about, but we know that God was more than faithful to us last year. He blessed us abundantly and we know that he is the same God and he will take us through once again. Anxiety is a never ending cycle but when you look back on your life, you will be able to see God’s faithfulness.
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.
So our Father knows what we need and has known it through all the generations. He is a good Father and has always provided. So when Satan tries to make you anxious, remind him of how he’s been defeated in the past and what his future is!
- Seek first the kingdom
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
This means above everything else - seeking the Kingdom should be our highest priority.
What is the Kingdom of god - it is the will of God being expressed. It is Gods government, his rule and his authority and seeking the Kingdom of God is simply being obedient to the will of the Father. It often means dying to yourself and being obedient.
So what does this mean?
It means putting God’s will above your own.
Let’s look at the example of Moses. He constantly sought the will of the Lord. God told Moses to take the Israelites out of Egypt. Now this was an insecure path looking at the physical realm. They are walking away from security into an unknown land but Moses understood that His security came from obedience to God and not life in the palace and so for every need big or small he would run back to God and say God, what would you have me do? So when there was no way and enemies were behind them God parted the seas. When there was no water, God gave it from a rock. When there was no food God sent quail and manna in the desert. When there was no compass God himself went before them in a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
“In modern day Moses would say i can’t find parking, please show me a parking spot. One day he will say my gps is not working then God will say look to the clouds”
Moses was seeking the will of the Father in every decision he had to make.
We need to ask ourselves this question What is the will of the Father in my life?
*I want to get married to this person, what is the will of the Father?
*I want to relocate to another city, what is the will of the Father?
*I’m struggling with my colleagues and I want to change my job, what is the will of the Father?
*I believe in Jesus but I don’t want to get water baptized? what is the will of the Father?
*I’ll come to church but I won’t connect with people,
what is the will of the Father?
*I’m struggling this month so I won’t tithe, what is the will of the Father?
So we’ve got to a people who love God and obey his commands.
What do you mean by seeking His righteousness?
When you seek the will of the Father, you chase righteousness. Seeking the kingdom of God and righteousness goes hand in hand.
Proverbs 15:9 “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves him who pursues righteousness.”
So we’ve got to be people who pursue righteousness in everything we do.
We see this example in Jesus life.
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Jesus went about doing the will of the Father and proclaiming the Kingdom of God with signs and wonders. Jesus knew that he was going to die a painful and horrific death and yet he prayed to the Father let not my will but your will be done. He was obedient to the will of the Father to the point of death even death on the cross.
Jesus daily spent time conversing with the Father and that’s how he was able to imitate Him. God calls us sons and daughters and Jesus is our role model, just like Jesus we need to spend time conversing with the Father so that we can know in our lives what his will is for us.
So for example when Jesus says give and do not be anxious, irrespective of the circumstance, give in faith that He will provide for all your needs. There’s no need to be anxious about your provisions when you’ve been obedient to the will of the Father.
Anxiety is faith in the wrong Kingdom. When you are anxious it is difficult to seek the kingdom of God. It stems from a lack of faith in God and from A wrong focus on the things of this world instead of on the things God. We need to set our mind not on the things of the world but on the things of God.
Colossians 3:1-2 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek first the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
As you feed on God’s word, you will be freed. Faith will eliminate anxiety. Faith comes from hearing and meditating on the Word of God. Are you feeding on anxious thoughts or Gods word?
So to summarize, you can either seek the kingdom of God and store up treasures in heaven or serve the master of money and store up treasures on earth. So when you feel anxious, look to the creation and his providence - how he has provided for them from the beginning till now. Ponder on his faithfulness and how he has been good to you all these years and most importantly prioritize seeking first the Kingdom of God.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.
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