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Matthew 6:24-34 – Worry/fear and its Cure

December 25, 2008

Matthew 6:24-34
Worry/fear and its Cure
–Intro: the political landscape of today, gas prices, job losses, value of dollar depreciated, our future-retirement, health, how will my kids turn out, will I get married, will I stay married, …
–Worry/fear, are about danger, perceived needs, and being out of control. So what is it we want through these heart responses? It indicates that we know we live in a world that is not safe. At times, it is very chaotic and dark. We want perceived safety, fulfilled needs (self-preservation), and to be able to control our lives. (My will be done: I am god of my life) Worry/fear is heart desire, that produces an emotion—it needs redeemed…it wants control for safety reason, but it also wants immediate relief.
–Note vv 1-18 with 19ff…Hypocrisy, then talks about anxiety…why the seemingly different subjects after each other? Both are kind of the same in the sense they have the same source: focus on self and not on God and His kingdom…”the biggest idol of all is self” The hypocrite’s desire is to be seen by others and the anxious person’s goal is to provide their own resources/answers and supply their own needs. Compare this to what a ‘mental breakdown’ is: “I’ve run out of resources and I don’t know what else to do, so I am going to shut down.”

A)    Your heart is shown in what you treasure vs. 19-21
a.    Fear and worry say something about us…they reveal what we love and value (our treasure, our manna). What do you dream, fantasize about? What do you think about? These reveal what you treasure!!
b.    Symptoms – distraction, disorder, divided attention/heart, strong urge to seek immediate relief/refuge
B)    How you interpret/view life sets the course of how you live out life. Vv 22, 23 Cf Psalm 18:25-28
C)    What you see as your goal in life will be the one/thing that you serve, and this is your God whom you worship whether it’s the creation or the Creator. Illust. – I’ve heard people say “I don’t like to read, etc’ but they will have the latest hunting/fishing/sports/gossip/clothing magazine. Cf. Rom. 1:25
D)    Vs 24 – Worry is an attempt to be in rich in the area you are worried about. However you define rich, whether it be financial comfort, physical prosperity/protection, security against your ‘enemies’, pleasure, etc.  Cf. vs. 24 to vs 25 “for this reason I say”
E)    How to cure your fears, worries, anxieties, etc.  VV 25-34
a.    Renew your mind and be transformed to living in light of God’s design –vs 25
i.    Example 1 – birds – vs 26 – look above look…heavy migration area .. Note Jesus’ lesser to greater argument
ii.    What do the magazines, shows, ads, stores tell us? Life is NOT more than food, clothing, basic essentials of life….cf Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory…we’ve adopted it.
iii.    Don’t let life’s servants – food, clothing, – become your/our masters!
iv.    Example 2 – flowers – vs 28-30 – look below…science of photosynthesis, colors, hues, etc. – greater in beauty be/c God creates we (including Solomon) can only imitate…note: the futile, temporary life/end of flowers
-Whether you look above or look below, you should see abundant evidence of God’s presence, provision, and protection. Learn how to study creation and see the glory of God…cf. Romans 1 with what we can know about Him….Illustr. me driving home from Humana the reality of God’s creation/kingdom hit me very real-like. Cf. Ps 8 . “when I consider the heavens, the works of your hands, what is man that you think of him?” …Creation/natural theology is a lost art in the church. Could you encourage yourself, humble yourself, etc by just reflecting upon the creation in seeing God’s wonder, intelligence, power, wisdom, tender care, etc? This is what Jesus appeals to here” How about this? When life seems to be overrunning, why not take a walk through the woods and see God’s glory in His creation and let it point you back to rest/trust in Him!
v.    You live with consequences by not seeing a God centered life – vs 27 Cf also w/ vs. 30c a) Prepare for physical effects as well of worry: “None of these diseases” —many who come in with common problems is because they’ve not dealt with sinful patterns in their lives and it’s affected them spiritually. b) vs. 30 c – “you of little faith”
vi.    Realize what this may indicate and what it lowers your life to if you are saved – vs 32
b.    Live by faith for what God has designed you to live for: Himself! VV 31-34
i.    Vs 30 – if God cares for short lived grass will He not care for you who are destined for eternity, made in His image, and bought by His blood?!—Note: Grass that died was used to kindle fires in ovens for cooking, making pottery, etc.
ii.    Don’t worship/pursue/idolize ‘gifts’ in place of the Giver. -31
iii.    “Do not worry!’ Most oft repeated command in scripture! Read some!  Note uses in this passage 25, 27, 28, 31, 34
iv.    Lit. “stop worrying” – it’s a command…also is hope because if it’s a command then it is a possibility by the grace/strength of God! Paternal vs. judicial command…I think it is both…cf. vs. 30c w/ vs 32 ‘heavenly Father’…NOTE: You can and must, by God’s grace, control your thoughts. He’ll show you the way if you heed His instructions
v.    6:33 – means we are to seek God’s rule (in rest, in life) and a right relationship with Him (His righteousness which is given to us by His son and worked out in us by His Spirit-note diff. between sanctification/justification!) Worry ultimately doubts God at 2 points a) His sovereignty  b) His goodness …“what about the phrase of ‘being so heavenly minded you are no earthly good”—what about Jesus? Was anyone more heavenly minded than Him? Did He do any good?
vi.    Put off, put on principle here: “Put off pursuing earthly treasure, Put on pursuing His kingdom and His righteousness.” Vs 33
vii.    Vs 34 – Borrowing tomorrow’s troubles like borrowing money …always charges you interest…here it takes away your interest invested in heavenly things and makes you pay interest through worry about temporal, earthly things…Surrender your plans to His sovereignty cf. Proverbs 19:21 “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of YHWH will stand.”  Wory about tomorrow is an attempt to control your desired outcome by manipulating/planning a response today to get tomorrow’s desired result

Conclusion
1)    3 factors that lead to anxiety: a) treasure in the wrong place – the more we gather possessions, acclaim, etc to feel secure the more we feel we need them…notice how simple ‘behavioral problems’ become obsessive compulsive, low self esteem etc. b) Thinking about life in the wrong way, or interpreting life in man centered, even God-less (without God involved) way.  c) serving the wrong kind of master – a divided hearts brings tension, anxiety, worry
2)    Jesus is NOT advocating a) you won’t have any problems, or if you do it’s because you don’t trust God  b) a ‘let go, let God’ irresponsible mentality…the birds do work for their food…they don’t just sit there with open mouths. We, like them, are to be dependent workers
3)    Anxiety is never cured by getting more of what we already have: life, health, wealth, people’s approval, material goods, be/c eventually they all fade. As a matter of fact, fear/worry is futile and spends all your energy, resources, and even your health
4)    The reason we are not free to serve others is because we are worried about preserving our lives:…how much energy, time, resources, health of life is the person going to absorb! What are they going take from me? What is going to cost me to minister? I can’t and won’t pay that high of a price for someone else, I barely do well enough to look after myself! Love of self!! Question: Where did God say you ever had to have the innate ability within yourself to do what He calls you to do? What about the role of the Holy Spirit empowering you, living/ministering through you? What happened to the supernatural element of living for Christ and serving others?
5)    Cf Jesus’ cure to worry/fear to the positive thinking teachers of today! It’s not that people just think negatively, they think untheologically about life! Washer, “You don’t want to study theology? It means theos – God  ology – study of, word “ You don’t want a word about God, you don’t want to understand who God is?! Re: Pink “Attributes of God”
6)    Overcoming worry is done by seeing the goodness AND power of God in the absolute mundane of everyday life. Cf. vs. 26, 28 – Look above -birds, look below –flowers…no matter where you look in life, you should be able to see AND REFLECT on God’s daily, moment by moment involvement with His creation, and yet you are more important to Him…start learning a creational theology, take a walk today, this week, and reflect on God’s care in His present day creation… Peace! Be still!’ slow down, let’s work through this. You are to control your emotions, not let them master you. Cf. Romans 6/8… Recall over and over God’s sovereignty in ALL of life. Let that functionally rule your heart.
7)    2 Cor. 5:14, 15 “no longer live for themselves for Him who gave Himself for them.  Romans 8:15 ‘not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
8)    We trust for relief in that which we belief has power/dominion over the thing that we worry about or fear!! So, what are you trusting??
9)    Nothing sinful about wanting peace/rest, problem is where do you seek it? Do you drink from broken cisterns that hold no water? Or, do you look to the Good Shepherd?
10)    Don’t confuse wants with needs All that we need, He provides. Ultimately, He, above food and life, is what we need. Cf. Ps 16:11
11)    Contentment, peace, joy, and love towards God and man will be the fruit of righteous trust/hope in who God is and His promises to us.
12)    If you are not a child of God, you should be paralyzed by fear: of God’s holiness, righteous judgement against your sin, and your eternal destiny and apart from the glory of God.

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