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Why Should You Trust God?

September 9, 2007 Pastor: Don Green Series: Escaping the Anxiety Trap

Topic: Sunday Sermons Scripture: Matthew 6:25-30

40G-41

This morning, we are returning to Matthew chapter 6 to examine Jesus’ transforming teaching about anxiety. Last week we started to examine this teaching and we said that Jesus’ teaching here is critical to you to be able to live a profitable Christian life – there is no question about it. If we think about our futures and realize all of the uncertainties that potentially lie in the future and realize that we really have very little if any control over what happens, we need to find a place to anchor our hearts where anxiety cannot assail us. We need a fortress; we need a place where we can rest, and Jesus’ teaching here definitely lays that out for us.

If you were not here last time, I can only encourage you to get the CD that complements today’s teaching because I don’t have time to review it all, simply to mention the three points that were the substance of last week’s message. We said that to overcome anxiety, there were three things that you needed to do and to recognize the root of anxiety:

1. Examine your priorities

We saw that from verses 19 to 24.

2. Examine Christ’s command against anxiety

Understand that Jesus commands you not to be anxious. Tolerating anxiety, nursing your private fears, nursing that nervous feeling in your stomach is absolutely forbidden to the Christian. This is a matter of obedience to Christ that we are discussing here – obedience that is designed for your good. Wouldn’t you like to live without that controlling fear of the future, the controlling fear of how your trials and circumstances are going to work out? This is all for our up building and all for our good, beloved. Understand that when Jesus commands it, He commands it for your good, but also understand that He commands it. Your anxiety is as much a sin as your lustful thoughts are, and so we have to obey Christ in this area.

3. Examine your thinking

We did an overview of that, and everything that I say today is going to flesh out that third command to examine your thinking. The important thing for you to realize, as you struggle with anxiety and as you deal with trials and they throw you off spiritual balance in your life, understand that Jesus does something wonderful in this passage: He doesn’t simply give you the command, don’t be anxious, and then walk away and start talking about something else – that really wouldn’t be too helpful. The negative command by itself doesn’t give you something to build a foundation of your life on. What Jesus does in this passage in an extended way is He helps you think rightly, and that right thinking will govern your heart so that those anxious feelings are dealt the death blow when you think the right thoughts about God after what Jesus has set forth before us.

Jesus’ pattern here in dealing with anxiety is to lay out before you transcendent truth about God and about His sovereignty over His creation. And this is where most people drop the ball; this is where the plug doesn’t get into the outlet in your thinking – you take those transcendent truths about God that are out there, that are independent of you, but then you realize that that transcendent truth applies to your specific situation – that these truths about God are connected to your life as a Christian.

And then when you realize that, when you hook the engine up to the caboose so to speak, you conclude that your anxiety is completely unnecessary and you are free to let it go. And in place of those anxious thoughts, those worrisome things that chop at your heels time and time again, your mind is at peace. Your mind is at rest because you are resting in the transcendent truth that Jesus has taught you about the living God – that is what we are going to see in the passage that we are going to look at this morning. This applies to every one of you; it applies to me. It helps every one of you if you will simply embrace what Jesus has to say here and think His thoughts after Him.

Beginning in Matthew 6:25 – I am just going to cover the first six verses of this passage this morning and finish the rest of it next week – beginning in verse 25, Jesus says:

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?

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? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 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!

Now, an introductory overview thing for you to keep in mind – this is a very important point: As you read through this passage, you see Jesus dealing with issues of food and clothing and such. In our prosperous Western society, that may sound a little superficial perhaps; that seems like maybe this is not so important because most of us know where our next meal is going to come from. It wasn’t like that for Jesus’ audience. At that time, existence was a day-to-day matter. But what I want you to see is that the principles that Jesus is teaching here are very broad and comprehensive in their application. Jesus is not just talking about food and clothing here; He is talking about everything that is necessary to your individual life.

Think about it for a second: Jesus didn’t simply forbid you to be anxious about food and clothing and then leave anxiety open to every other area in your life. He is looking for you to be completely free from anxiety, not simply anxiety over the simple, basic necessities of life. This goes to everything that you could possibly be concerned about – everything is covered by what Jesus says here.

If you compare scripture with scripture, you can also see that that must be the case. Couple of very familiar verses: Philippians 4:6 says,

Be anxious for nothing.

That’s pretty comprehensive. 1 Peter 5:7 says,

Cast all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you.

And so beloved, what I want you to see today is that, as we talk about these issues in terms of food and clothing, everything that you could possibly care about is under the umbrella of Jesus’ blessed teaching in this passage. Anything that you came in to this room concerned about comes under the authority of what Christ says here today. No matter how profound the problem is, no matter how long standing it is – it comes under the umbrella of this teaching because the teaching is tied to transcendent truth that covers all of life and all of eternity.

Here is what I want you to write down. We are going to look at four reasons that Jesus gives you to support His command for you not to be anxious about your life, not to be anxious about the future. This is the positive dimension of Jesus’ teaching that I was alluding to last week. We have the negative command: don’t be anxious. Here is His positive teaching that shows why that command is perfectly reasonable and should be obeyed by every Christian in every area of their life, every moment that they exist until God takes you into heaven by the righteousness of blood of Christ.

Beloved, this has the potential to completely transform your worried, anxious heart. You should be eager to hear what Christ says here today because it can transform you completely and set you on a completely different path of life and your inner man.

1. The Blessedness of God Requires Your Trust

That’s kind of an awkward thing, but I needed a “B” to alliterate with the rest of the outline. Jesus in this passage is teaching about anxiety, but the most important part of His teaching in this section of scripture is perhaps the easiest to overlook. The power of persuasion, the persuasive power of what Jesus teaches in this passage, rests squarely on the blessed character of God and the fact that God is in the position as a heavenly Father to everyone who has trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior – that is the power of persuasion in this entire passage. But it is kind of the infrastructure of it; it is not necessarily what dresses the outside of everything that Jesus says.

Follow with me here – this is really important. Seventeen times in the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7 – seventeen times Jesus refers to God as your Father. Twelve of those times occur here in chapter 6, verses 1-34. And so Jesus in chapter 6, for all of the things that we have said about practicing your devotion in private, about your priorities, and about anxiety – it is all in the great context of who God is as your heavenly Father. This lays the foundation for trust in your life – the Father’s character and His faithfulness to you as one of His children – it is the anchor that holds all of this together.

Now, what I want to do, because Jesus uses this term so frequently in chapter 6 and even in this passage on anxiety, I want to quickly show you eight attributes of God that are explicit in Jesus’ teaching about God as your Father. The character of God – when Jesus says God is your Father, what does He mean by that? Or stated differently, what is this Father like? And so under the main point where I said blessedness of God requires your trust, we are just going to in kind of bullet-point fashion list out eight attributes that Jesus ties to God as your Father.

A. God is holy

Look at Matthew 5:48. God is holy. Jesus said in Matthew 5:48:

Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

God has an intrinsic perfection of character that makes it absolutely impossible for Him to do wrong in general, and it makes it absolutely impossible for Him to deal wrongly with you as an individual believer. He is perfect – He is without sin, He cannot sin, He cannot be tempted to sin. And that means that all of His dealings with you are going to flow from His holy and perfect character.

B. God is omniscient

Look at Matthew 6:4. In His teaching on giving, Jesus says do your giving in secret, and

…your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

That is an implicit way of saying that God knows everything. He knows everything about Himself; He knows everything that is done in public, that is done in front of human eyes; and He knows everything that goes on in secret. His knowledge is comprehensive; it is exhaustive. There is nothing that He does not know, and that includes everything that is going on in your life right now – He knows it because He knows what goes on in secret.

Now, along those similar lines, look at Matthew chapter 6. We will just pick it up and see how Jesus emphasizes this and put a different perspective on it. In Matthew 6:6, as He is talking about prayer, Jesus says:

Go… and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

C. God is omnipresent

Your heavenly Father is omnipresent. He is holy; He is omniscient; He is omnipresent. David in Psalm 139 said, “Where can I go to flee from Your presence? If I go to the highest height, You are there; if I go to the deepest part of the sea, You are there.

Everywhere that you can possibly go, God is already there. He is present in every location throughout the universe. Stated differently, His presence fills all of creation – He is omnipresent. Beloved, you are never beyond the watchful eye and the care of your heavenly Father.

D. God is omnipotent

Staying in Matthew 6:6 – it is amazing the theology about God that is present just in this one chapter – look at those words again at the end of verse 6. Jesus says:

Your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

He will reward you – He is omnipotent. God is omnipotent. He has the power to reward you according to His will. The Psalms teach that whatever God pleases, He does. There is absolutely no restraint on God carrying out any of the plans that He has for creation or for your individual life. God will accomplish His sovereign will without exception, without diminishment. He is omnipotent, and Jesus wraps what He says here about anxiety around these attributes of God.

E. God is love

God is a God of love. If it was simply a matter of God having this raw, unrestrained power, we might fear Him. We should fear Him, but it could be the kind of craven fear that is afraid of what someone will do to you. With your heavenly Father, that is never the case because God is a God of love. Look at this again in Matthew chapter 6 when Jesus says:

When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Listen, what could be more magnificent than that kind of love – that the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator of the universe, when you go into your private closet and you kneel down to pray, would be there to listen, to listen attentively, and to receive what you have to say? That is an expression of the incomparable love of God that is just laid out here in this passage.

When you add to that, that the Bible says [1 John 4:10]:

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

When you understand that God’s love is what motivated Him to send Christ into the world to accomplish the plan for your redemption, that your sins were taken into the body of Christ because He was motivated out of God’s loving plan for those that He calls to Himself – when you think about that, listen: You never, ever have a legitimate reason to question the love of God.

If He would love you in your sin and send Christ to redeem you and purchase your salvation through the blood of His own Son – all at His own initiative, all in the hands of Jesus Christ who said, “No one has taken My life away from Me; I voluntarily lay it down” – beloved, we are in the presence of a width and a breadth and a depth and a height of the love of God that words simply cannot do justice to. God is a God of love. He sent Christ to save you from your sins, and now as you are a believer, He welcomes your prayers and is favorably disposed to you – wow! This is your heavenly Father.

F. God is wise

He is wise. Look at Matthew 6:8. This is wonderful – this is absolutely wonderful. Jesus says:

Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

It has been a great advance in my spiritual life to stop trying to tell God what to do and try to figure out what I want Him to do so that I can pray and ask Him to do it. I have no idea what the best thing for my life is and neither do you. Your confidence in prayer is not that you can figure it out and then ask God to do it. Your confidence in prayer, your confidence in life, is that God is wise – He knows what you need.

The purpose of prayer is for you to go before Him and express your dependence on His wisdom and care for you – not to help Him figure out the solution to your dilemma. That takes a world of weight off of your shoulders and lets you rest in His sovereign love and care, knowing that He is perfectly wise and whatever He does in your life is not going to be a mistake. He not only knows your need, He knows what is best to meet it and in His power He can deliver when His time deems it best.

Not only that – this blessed character of your heavenly Father – not only those prior six things but:

G. God is merciful

He is merciful; He is forgiving toward your sins. Look at Matthew 6:14. And notice how all of these things are tied up into Jesus describing God as your heavenly Father. Jesus says in verse 14:

If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Your sin is paid for at the cross, and as you grow in your sanctification and continue to deal with sin issues in your life, Jesus says your heavenly Father will forgive you. He forgives your sin as you go through life with a forgiving spirit. If you are holding grudges, you are going to feel a divine spanking on your life at some point. But the overall disposition of your heavenly Father towards you is one of forgiveness.

And to someone who has been here or someone that is here now, feeling the weight of a recent sin perhaps, feeling the weight of conscience of having violated the law of God, but being here in Christ – beloved, I invite you to look at this passage and see the mercy and grace of your heavenly Father. You have it on the authority of His own Son: your heavenly Father will forgive you. That’s a blessed thing; that is a blessed aspect of this great character of your heavenly Father – He is merciful. How wonderful is that; how tender is that – that as your conscience throws fiery darts against your soul, to realize that your heavenly Father is forgiving, and in the highest court of heaven, the “not guilty” verdict is declared.

That’s all a matter of grace, beloved; that’s all the matter of your heavenly Father that Jesus is calling you to trust in His teaching about anxiety. You can trust Him so much that you can trust Him to forgive you when you have deliberately violated His commands if you approach Him on the merits and the blood of the righteousness of Christ. This is wonderful teaching that Jesus gives us.

Finally – eighth attribute that I want to call out to you, just from the Sermon on the Mount:

H. God is good

Notice, I haven’t gone anywhere else in the Bible except here in the Sermon on the Mount. And Matthew 7:11 perhaps sums a lot of it up – Matthew 7:11 – Jesus says:

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Your Father is good – He gives what is good to His children. On an earthly level, a father does his best and his desire – if he has got his head on straight at all – is to be good to his children. Jesus says, look at that imperfect example of an earthly father and realize that in perfection your heavenly Father is even better – He is good and He gives what is good to His children.

Now beloved, follow with me here: The character of God is high and exalted and blessed. That same God, this high and lofty God over all of the universe, is your heavenly Father. If you have put your faith in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, He is your heavenly Father.

Now, watch how Jesus connects His command against anxiety to the blessed character of your heavenly Father. The character of God is tied to your victory over anxiety. These references in this passage on anxiety are brief, but they are the heart of Jesus’ argument, the heart of His teaching – this is really cool. Look at Matthew 6:26 – Jesus says:

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?

Verse 32:

The Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

He is tying all of His teaching and summarizing it all up in the fact that you have a relationship with your heavenly Father that destroys any need or any justification for anxiety. And in verse 33, He alludes to the character of God with what is known as a divine passive – verse 33 – He says:

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Who is it that is going to be adding these things to you? It is your heavenly Father.

And so throughout this entire passage, the spine, the structure, the thing that upholds everything that Jesus teaches in what we are going to look at in more detail now, is the blessed character of God who is your heavenly Father.

Now listen, in what we are going to look at here more closely in these six verses I read earlier, Jesus is going to be teaching and drawing out and pointing out that God is sovereign over all of His creation. He so controls even minor events that birds eat and flowers grow as a direct result of what His hand provides – He reigns over all. But beloved, what I am about to say right now is the most important point of this message. If you don’t get anything else, get this. When Jesus commands you not to be anxious, His argument is not just that God is sovereign over His creation – that is part of His argument, but that is not the full extent of it. The fullness of His argument is only understood when you realize that Jesus is saying to you that the God who is sovereign over all of creation is your heavenly Father. So His powerful providence, His powerful sovereignty, is directly connected to your relationship of intimacy with Him.

Beloved, God’s sovereignty in your life – get this – God’s sovereignty in your life is not an impersonal force. God is intentionally and consciously good towards you in a way that is consistent with all of the attributes that Jesus has taught you about Him being your heavenly Father in the Sermon on the Mount. He is intentionally good towards you. He exercises His sovereignty to your benefit. As your Father, God, lovingly protects and provides for you. He knows your need.

You may think that He doesn’t, as the trial continues to go on and gets deeper and the water is rising up to your chin. You may think that something has escaped His attention because of the burden on your heart. But beloved, your feelings are absolutely deceiving you at that point and you have to recognize that for the self-deception that it is. God is your heavenly Father; He is in control of every aspect of your life – everything that you consider good, everything that you consider bad, it’s all in His good and omnipotent and gracious, loving, faithful, merciful hand, directing it to the end for which He appointed your entire life.

Therefore – this is the bridge between theory and application; this is the bridge between theology and your application in your own personal life – “therefore” is the bridge – therefore, you can rest assured that He will take care of you in every matter of life.

Beloved, that kind of trust is not an elusive goal; it is not an attainment that only a few select people reach in the Christian life. That kind of trust where you rest in the sovereign, heavenly Father to do all things that concern you, to take care of every aspect of your life – that kind of trust is not only attainable, it is a required part of your Christian life – this is not optional!

I get animated about that to shake you out of your slumber for your own benefit. If you live life in that anxious, troubled spirit, beloved, you are missing the point and I want God to free you up from that so that you could live in the kind of tranquility that Jesus calls you to in this passage. I’m not upset with you – I’m just trying to let you see that this is necessary, it is required, and it is a blessed opportunity that Jesus calls you to.

Hebrews 11:6 says – listen to this carefully:

Without faith, it is impossible to please Him. For he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him.

As you go through your life, as you seek God in prayer, uppermost in your thoughts should not be, “I wonder how this is going to go. Ah, man, I hope it helps; maybe it will, maybe it won’t.” If that’s your approach in prayer, get up – get off of your knees and do some thinking before you go back to prayer, because your thinking has to be uppermost in your mind – what has to be motivating you according to this verse that I just read that says, “God rewards those who seek Him” – that you are going to find a favorable audience with the high King of heaven when you go to Him and that all of your life, as you seek Him and “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,” is going to be met in one way or another with His gracious abundant reward upon you – we are honoring Him in that way.

So, beloved, for you as a Christian, you have got to take the totality of your life – this is absolutely comprehensive. All that remains ahead in your days here on earth, every little niggling problem that troubled you this morning, for some of you the major trials that are legitimately heavy on your mind – you have to take all of that anxiety and put them into the context of the blessed character of your heavenly Father. You must trust this blessed God for every aspect of your unseen and uncertain future. You must trust Him every time anxiety wells up in your heart.

Beloved, you cannot – as a believer in Jesus Christ – you cannot let your life crumble into cries of desperation, cries of despair. No! Out with your discouragement! Out with your doubt! Out with it all, because the blessed character of God leaves no room for anything but trust and peace in your heart – it drives out anxiety like light drives out darkness.

Beloved, your heavenly Father – your holy, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, loving, wise, merciful and good Father – is with you. He sent Christ to save you. It can only come out well for you in the end – that is the only possible conclusion if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. The blessed character of God guarantees it, and therefore it requires your trust. So relax – trust Him.

We are going through the rest of these points a little more quickly. As you overcome anxiety, consider this second point.

2. The Body of Your Life Reinforces Your Trust

Look at verse 25 – Jesus says:

Do not worry 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?

Jesus here in verse 25 is making a particular kind of argument. He is arguing from what is called making an argument from the greater to the lesser, in order to prove the certainty of God’s care for you as a believer in Christ. The idea is this: if the greater thing is true, if the bigger thing is true, then the lesser thing must also be true.

Think about it this way: if I promised my son that I was going to take him to a baseball game, a major league baseball game, included in that greater promise would be the lesser promise that I would provide the transportation to get there. I say, “Daniel, I’m taking you to a ballgame” – that would include the fact that I’m going to get him there, not just the ballgame itself. Without the lesser thing, the greater thing would be meaningless.
Now, as Jesus commands you not to worry, He in this verse gives you a compelling reason to show that you have no legitimate cause for anxiety. He says listen, God gave you life, God gave you a body – that’s the greater gift. Now follow this: if God gave you a life and a body, don’t you think that He will give you what is necessary to sustain that life and body for every day that He has ordained for your life here on earth? It’s absolutely unanswerable – that has to be the case. It would be absurd – from a God who does not deal in absurdities – it would be absurd for God to set you up with life and a body and then say, “I’m not taking care of anything else” – it’s ridiculous.

No, no – if God has given you life, He is going to give you what is necessary to sustain it. So what Jesus is doing here is He is putting obvious truth before your mind, letting you logically work this out, so that you can be freed from an unhealthy obsession and a simple obsession with the daily needs of your life. Beloved, look to the future with confidence: God gave you life and He will give you what you need to sustain it. So relax – trust Him.

And if you are a Christian and your days come to an end and God says it is time for your life to be over, that’s the best part because then He welcomes you into His palace of heaven; then you enter into the fullness of your salvation – you cannot lose. While you have this life here, God will sustain it, and when it is over, He welcomes you into something better.

3. The Birds of the Air Reinforce Your Trust

Jesus here is going to reinforce His command to trust God, His commandment against anxiety, with an illustration that is so simple that even a child can understand it. Look at verse 26 – He says:

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.

This is so simple – this is absolutely humbling to somebody who has a great intellect, someone with a great mind who thinks he has got to figure everything out. Jesus gives an illustration that shows the certainty of God’s care that a three-year-old can understand. He is saying, look, just take a minute to look at a bird. That bird doesn’t plant, it doesn’t harvest, it doesn’t store up for tomorrow – it doesn’t have a 401K plan. Okay, I added that last part just to kind of expand. And yet, without fail, these birds, that in one sense are utterly defenseless – without fail, the One whom you as a Christian call heavenly Father feeds those insignificant birds.

Now Jesus is arguing from the lesser to the greater: He says if the smaller thing is true, the greater thing must be true. And He says if God does the lesser thing of taking care of birds, will He not certainly take care of His own children, the ones that He chose before the foundation of the world to be joined heirs with Christ? This is unanswerable. Your anxieties simply cannot stand up at all to Jesus’ teaching here – they have to go.

Notice how the argument presupposes the sovereignty of God: He comprehensively cares for all aspects of His creation so that even an unknown bird in an unknown location comes under His watchful care, provision, and concern.

I saw one estimate that said that there are about 100 billion birds on the earth at any given time. It seems like 10% of those birds know where to find my car at any given time, but that’s beside the point [laughter]. One hundred billion birds need to eat several times a day. The Bible says that the sovereign God who is your heavenly Father is wise and powerful and active, and He Himself provides what they need to eat. Some birds get their food from people at the beach – God uses different means – some birds eat road-kill on the highway; some birds eat from the feeder in your back yard. In each of those means and ten billion like them, God is using those means to feed those birds. They are under His care. He is sovereign so much so that He can feed 100 billion birds and not have it distract His attention from you – wow!

Now, what Jesus is saying is that when you see a bird eat, you should be strengthened in your faith, because if your heavenly Father will feed that little creature, and that sparrow won’t fall to the ground apart from His hand, certainly He will care for you. Look at verse 26 again – look at the end of it with me – He says, “Are you not worth much more than they?” If He takes care of the insignificant creature, He is going to take care of you – there is no other way to come out on this. To say anything different, to feed your anxiety, to tolerate your anxiety, is to engage in an absolute absurdity.

Beloved, you have to deal with yourself firmly on this issue for the sake of the health of your soul. Your anxiety directly contradicts what Jesus says here; it directly contradicts the certainty of God’s care. And not only that, your anxiety is utterly irrational. If you say that you are a Christian and you believe in the God of this Bible, and you believe in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, then you have dealt the death blow to anxiety in your life. Common birds disprove your fears every single day, every single moment of every day.

Beloved, I say this in great love for you: the best thing that some of you can do is to go outside and spend ten minutes in your backyard or spend ten minutes in a park and just watch birds eat, and see in that the sovereign, providential care of God for such an insignificant creature and then say, “If I’m one of His children, how much more is He going to do for me!”

In verse 27 Jesus says that not only is your anxiety unnecessary, it is useless. Look at verse 27 – we will touch on this very briefly – He says:

And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

Some translations will say:

Who of you by being worried can add a cubit to your height?

A cubit is a term of measurement, about a foot-and-a-half. Probably what Jesus is saying here is that you don’t have the ability to add one hour to your life when your time of death comes. When your time is up, you can’t extend it. When death comes knocking, you have to open the door, so to speak. Death will come in whether you want it to or not.

And so it is fruitless for you to worry about provision for this life because you can’t extend it anyway. God has ordained the days that you have, and when those come to an end, your worrying is not going to stretch it out any longer. So it is useless and fruitless to worry about it. Jesus’ point here is not one of fatalism; it is one that is calling you to relax and to trust your heavenly Father. Final point for today:

4. The Blossoms of the Field Reinforce Your Trust

Look at verses 28-29 – Jesus says:

Why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

He is pointing to another aspect of God’s providential care over His creation; it is another lesser to a greater argument. These wild flowers that grow up for a day, that wilt and then are just gathered up and thrown into the furnace to be burned – those wild flowers, God gives a beauty that exceeds anything that Solomon knew in his own personal wardrobe at the height of his reign. The gorgeousness of the flowers, Jesus says, shows that your anxiety is unnecessary. God’s sovereign care is so extensive that He makes even them to be beautiful. Now, He says, if God clothes temporary plants with splendor, if He will do that for a plant, don’t you think He will take care of you as one of His children? This is unanswerable!

Only the high fist of rebellion shaken in the face of such a good, gracious God could respond to this argument, and that would be irrational. You as a believer in Christ, you who say you trust the living God, your heart has to bow before this truth and say, “Yes, Lord, I have no reason to be anxious – none whatsoever.” End of story. Take it to the logical conclusion.

Look at what Jesus says in verse 30 – and with this we will close; give me just another couple of minutes – Jesus says:

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!

Ouch! For those of us that take a certain manner of unspoken pride in our spiritual lives and yet have anxiety in it: “Ouch!” – because what Jesus just said here exposes your soul. Beloved, I say this in love – you have to believe me, and if you don’t believe me, believe that Jesus Christ the Son of God is speaking to you in love – if you are anxious, beloved, if you deal with anxiety and struggle with anxiety in your life, understand this: Your problem is not with your circumstances. Your circumstances have nothing to do with the reason that you are anxious; your problem is little faith. You are anxious because you do not know and trust God like you should, in spite of everything that is so obvious right in front of your face every day of your life. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said this:

It is a poor type of Christianity that has this wonderful faith with respect to salvation, and then whimpers and cries when confronted with the daily trials of life. We must apply our faith. Little faith does not do this.

Here is what you need to see, beloved: If God saved you, He will keep you – no qualification. Therefore, the things of this life need not and should not oppress you. Anxiety is an indefensible absurdity in light of your relationship to your heavenly Father and His demonstrable care over all of His creation. Relax – trust Him.

Now a word of encouragement as we close: Jesus here, as we’ve said throughout this series on the Sermon on the Mount, is speaking to true Christians. He doesn’t say you have no faith; He says you have little faith. But He is rebuking you to eliminate this inconsistency in your faith so that you could go from little faith to great faith – the faith that looks at life with courage and confidence, that looks at trials coming down the road and says, “I’m going to stand like a man because I know who my heavenly Father is.” That kind of faith says, “God will care for me no matter what an uncertain future brings.” That kind of faith says, “My earthly life is going to simply yield into eternal life in heaven with Christ; any trouble in the meantime is just temporary.”

Beloved, think it through. Come to the inevitable conclusion that this passage leads you to. As a Christian, you have nothing to worry about. Put your anxieties to rest and walk in peace toward your heavenly Father.

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus, what can we say except thank You for this kind of teaching that You have given to us in Your Sermon on the Mount. We thank You that You have laid it for us in such clear terms and recorded it for all of the ages for us to read and contemplate. Yes, Lord, our heavenly Father is good. He feeds birds, He takes care of flowers, and Lord, we trust that You will take care of us as well.

And so we lay our anxieties aside and affirm Your greatness and Your goodness and simply ask You that those would be the pillars that would undergird all of our spiritual life throughout all of our days until You call us home. Help us trust You in a way that will bring glory to You no matter what life might hurl at us in the process. We pray these things to the glory of Christ and trusting in His name, amen.

This transcript was prepared by Shari Main.

 

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