Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sermon on the Mount – Do Not Be Anxious

Sermon on the Mount

Do not be anxious

Matthew 6:25-34 – “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? 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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 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? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

In our discussion this morning we will be looking at God’s call for us to refuse to be anxious about those things that we cannot control or change. If we are to be true kingdom people, then we need to be aware of our anxiousness.

The word, anxiety, is an interesting word, and for those of you who are Latin students, you may remember that lying back of our English word “anxiety” is the word angustia, and usually found in the plural form of angustiae.  It means something like, “constrictedness,” “narrowness,” “contractedness.”  The Latin verb ungo means, sometimes, “to throttle,” “to choke,” and it is derived from a Greek word, ungko, which means much the same thing.

The concept of anxiousness is defined by Dr Gary Collins as the inner feeling of apprehension, uneasiness, concern, worry and/or dread which is accompanied by heightened physical arousal.

Psychologists Rollo May has stated that anxiety is one of the most urgent problems of our day. It has been termed the official emotion of our age. It is the basis of all neurosis and it is the most pervasive psychological phenomenon of our time.

People become anxious when one:

  • Is faced with a threat,
  • Has unresolved and ongoing conflict in their life,
  • Is full of fear,
  • Has unmet needs,
  • One responds to different stimulus.

In history, we have seen the story of kings who would attempt to cause people to surrender to their Lordship by creating anxiousness in their lives. They would withhold things so that they would look to the king to provide for them. And yet in God’s economy, things are different. Jesus does not want us to be anxious but desires that we depend upon Him for our needs because we see the value in it and not because we are forced to by some benefit of the king.

Three times in our passage today Jesus commands us not to be anxious:

  1. Verse 25 – Do not be anxious about your life.
  2. Verse 31 – Do not be anxious saying what shall we eat.
  3. Verse 34 – Do not be anxious about tomorrow.

Seven Reasons not to be anxious: John Piper in his book “What Jesus Demands From the World” noted these seven reasons to be not be anxious.

1. Anxiousness causes us to lose sight of the greatness of life. V25- 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?

  1. We become anxious because we are afraid that we will:
    1. Lose some pleasures.
    2. Lose some human praise and admiring glances if we did not have nice clothes.
    3. Possibly lose our life if we had no food at all or weren’t protected from the cold.

In essence, we become anxious out of a heart of fear of what might be or what might happen. The key here is that we remember that life has not been given simply for the enjoyment of pleasure but for the enjoyment of God and what He has given us. When we lose sight of this we begin to image that what we possess can bring ultimate enjoyment but the truly real enjoyment comes from knowing God.

2. We don’t have to be anxious because God can be counted on to work for us tomorrow just as much as for today. V26 – 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? This passage is not a lesson in laziness. Birds dig worms; they pad their nests with twigs and leaves. They are busy doing what they know to do and God watches over them. Birds don’t anxiously hoard things as though God will not care for them tomorrow. They go about their work as if when the sun comes up tomorrow, because God will still be God 

3. Anxiousness does not get us anywhere, it is fruitless. V27 – And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Worry and anxiety in itself does little to change our circumstances and the events of our lives. Whatever problem is causing you to be anxious you can be sure that worrying will not reduce the problem.

4. God delights in adorning His children… V28-30 – And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 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 lily has no power in itself to adorn or clothe itself and yet there is a great beauty that is revealed through the lily. If God finds delight in adorning the lilies of the field which are here today and gone tomorrow how much more does he delight in providing for our needs? The adornment of Jesus does not mean that we will have exorbitant clothes, but that we will have what we need. The provision of God does not mean that He will make us rich or that we will even live (some of you will be put to death) but that he will give us all that we need to do the will of God. 

5. V32 – For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Anxiety shows that we are no different from unbelievers. We do seek after things in an anxious manner because one we would stoop to the level of the unbeliever as represented by the word Gentile. And, we understand that God knows what you have need of.

6. V33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. It is a foolish thing to carry burdens which He promised to carry. God provides real things for real needs based upon what He has called us to do.

7. V34 – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Today has enough troubles without being anxious about what has not even happened yet. Do not bring today’s worries into tomorrow and do not bring tomorrow’s worries into today because each day will have its own issues and problems.

Philippians 4:5B-6 – The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

 

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For Nothing Is Impossible With God

Peninsula Community Church

VBS Closing

July 17, 2011

 Jesus had a family … we do too!

  • “For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
  • Mary was chosen to be Jesus’ mother.

What is most amazing in this story is that Mary, a virgin conceived a child. This highlights the fact that with God nothing is impossible. He is able to do anything. You see He does natural miracles, speeds up nature and at times He does the supernatural.

  1. Natural – Let’s just consider the body. The body is an amazing creation. David said that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Did you know that the body recreates itself every six month? And did you know that modern research has found that the brain can actually rewire itself even if it has been damaged. So this body which has been created by God can reform and reshape itself. In the natural process God can use doctors and medicine to be a part of this natural process.
  2. Speed up the process. God can also speed up the process of healing and change so that what might take six weeks actually only takes a couple of weeks.
  3. Or God can supernaturally do miracles that cannot be explained any other way but by supernatural intervention. This was the case with Mary and the birth of Jesus. This was nothing less than a supernatural visitation from God. God took the seed of God and the egg of Mary and united them together to form the God/man.
  4. What issues are you facing in your life right now that seems impossible? Whatever that may be to God it is not impossible.

Jesus has a name… we do too!

  • “I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
  • As a believer we have been given a new name

When Jesus calls us to be His children He gives a us a new name. A name is important because it is the thing that identifies us. So, in essence, God is changing our identity when we come to know Him. When you receive Him into your heart, He no longer sees you as you were before Christ but now He sees you in a whole new light.

 Jesus had a home… we do too!

  • “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.” John 14:2
  • He has prepared a place for us in eternity.

 In John 14 Jesus tells us that He was to go away so that He could be building us a home. One day whether by death or by rapture we will get to go to our new home. The idea here is that this earth is not our real dwelling place but God has prepared a place for us in heaven where we might live Him forever.

 Jesus went to church… we do too!

  • “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

 Jesus knew the joy of being in church for it is church that we learn to serve as we coexist with others. In the venue of church we learn how to live out our Christianity in ways that can only happen when we fellowship and rub shoulders together.

 Jesus served others… we do too!

  • Serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

 As believers we are not be seat warmers but we are to be active in serving Him. This is not so that we can get Him to love us more but we do so because we love Him and have a desire to honor Him with our talents and gifts.

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Sermon on the Mount – Where do you Bank?

Sermon on the Mount

Where Do You Bank?

July 10, 2011

 

Matthew 6:19-24 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “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.

 

The verses in this passage are interconnected. These passages teach us about what our priorities in life might be and what our focus in life might be. We begin here today looking at the thought of where is our treasure? Next week, we will look at Christ’s command of being anxious for nothing and the effects of worry upon our lives.

Jesus in this passage before us today makes the following statements:

  1. Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth…
  2. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven
  3. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…
  4. Values resonate from within…
  5. No one can serve two masters…

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures one earth … but in heaven.

  • This is not about being rich or poor; it is about one’s attitude, focus and values.

Too often we make any discussion about finances into one about being rich or poor but in reality it is a matter of stewardship and trust with our finances. You can be poor or you can be rich and still have an unhealthy attitude toward finances and one’s possessions.

 

You see one’s attitude, focus and values will direct how one lives their life. I could tell you many stories about people that I have encountered who were poor financially but were rich in eternal riches because of their heart for eternal things. Their perspective was one of eternity and recognizing that this is not their home. I have also witnessed those who had wealth beyond anyone’s imagination and who were miserable and discontent.

The idea expressed through this passage is that where your focus and values steer and guide your decisions in life. Is your focus on accumulating earthly wealth or is it in making deposits in heaven? He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life filled with worry and concern and despair (cf Mt 6:25f). He who lays up treasures in heaven spends his life filled with and anticipating joy.

There is a popular saying that goes something like this: “We’ve Only One Life ~ It Soon Will Be Past ~ Only What’s Done For Christ Will Last. How true this is.

Where your treasure is; there your heart will be…

  • The heart is the seat of all emotion but our emotions can be deceptive and misleading.
  • We choose to serve God and invest in the things that have eternal value.

 

It is difficult to trust our heart as it is above all deceitful (Jer. 17:9). Trusting our heart alone is not enough we must make the decision to follow after Christ with our whole hearts. Your emotions follow your treasure. When we chose to do the right thing our emotions will follow. We are living in an emotionally driven society. So much of what is done is to solicit an emotion. But God’s helps us understand that emotion alone will not get us to where we need to be. People say trust your heart. In essence what that are saying has some validity to it but the heart can deceive and distract us from God’s perfect will.

 

The eye is the lamp of the body…

  • What are the thoughts and attitudes that direct or misdirect you?
  • What ideas and concepts about your possessions need to change?

 

No man can serve two masters…

  • Too often we are duplicitous in our thinking; we battle the pull of the world’s ideologies and God’s truth.
  • To be effective we must focus on God’s plan and His will.
  • To do so is to learn to trust Him to provide all that we need.

 

The story of the rich man in the New Testament relates this issue to us. The rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked Him about what good deed must be accomplished to inherit eternal life. Jesus stated that he should obey the commandments. Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matt. 19:16-22). Please note that Jesus is not calling us to go and sell everything but he is referring to the rich young ruler’s heart that he was unwilling to let go of Hi possessions.

The more sacrificial you are on earth, the greater will be your enjoyment of heaven. Therefore, since Jesus loves us and summons us to maximize our eternal joy in heaven, he demands radical freedom from the love of money and radical generosity, especially to the poor. The value of a gift is not measured by its size but by its sacrifice. The reason for this is that the sacrifice is a greater measure of one’s heart.

The love of money is the root of all evil… It is not evil but it is the root or foundation of all evil. Look at the mess that our country is in… Almost every problem is moral as it is founded in greed and selfishness. It has often been said that

Are you despairing or rejoicing? Are you making regular deposits in heaven or are all your deposits here on earth?

Points to ponder:

Where is your focus? What are your priorities? What do you value? What you focus on, you will support. What you treasure will guide your heart to action. Do you value wealth, success, fame, and fortune?

  1. What is most important to you?
  2. What do you stand for? What is the principle of your life?
  3. What are the things that you are willing to pay the price for?
  4. Do these things line up with God’s desires?

Are you a giver or a taker? Giving people are the happiest people on earth. Do you find yourself on the receiving end of things or are you on the giving end. Too many in life are in the taking mode where as God calls us to be in the giving mode. We are living in an entitlement age where we believe that we do not have to work for anything or pay our dues so to speak.

A true giver is one who gives without any expectation of anything in return. We give freely because it is the way that God would have us do that.

It is more blessed to give that receive.

An unconditional giver is someone who gives from the heart because they want to, not because they have to, or because they feel obligated to do so. Whatever you sow (meaning whatever you plant, disseminates, scatter, disperse, or put out), you will also reap (meaning you will also receive, gain, harvest, accumulate, or get back). —Galatians 6:7

For every action (meaning for everything you do, every act, effort, or transaction), there will always be an equal or even opposite reaction (meaning there will be consequences and/or repercussions). —Isaac Newton’s Law of Motion.

A right attitude of giving releases an avalanche of mercy, missions and financial means.

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