November 2018   
SMTWTFS
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 
     
Bible Search
“How Then Shall We Live? As Seekers of God First”

August 21, 2016

“How Then Shall We Live? As Seekers of God First”

Matthew 6:25-34

 

Intro: I’d like to take a little survey.  How many of you here today would say you worried about something this month/week/24 hours?  Where did that worrying take you? Did you imagine the worst in the situation?  Did you lose sleep?  Did you have stomach problems?  Did you sit in anticipation of the phone ringing with bad news?  Did you miss out on the joys of life as you sat in a state of fretting?

 

I looked at several dictionary definitions of the word “worry”.  PPT1 Dictionary.com had the most dramatic:to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret”. I also think this definition comes closest to the way Jesus used the word in the Matthew 6 passage we’re going to read today. PPT2 I liked this unofficial but true definition as well: “Worrying is using your imagination to create things you don’t want.”  PPT3  It looks something like this.

 

Matthew 6:25-34 is a portion of the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus spoke to the general population, those who were interested in hearing what this new teacher had to say.  As you listen or follow along, pay attention to the truths Jesus calls out.  And pay attention the anti-worry instruction he gives.  READ  (PPT 4,5)

 

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

 

PPT 5

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 

How many of you have ever heard or read that Scripture before?  Did you quit worrying? To experience release from worry Jesus says you have to do two things. 1) Don’t worry and 2) Seek God and his kingdom . . . first.  Jesus is teaching about the transformation that takes place in the lives of those who are followers of God.  Let’s spend our time on verses 30-34 that I’ve given you in your bulletin.  This is Eugene’s paraphrase from The Message and these words have been haunting me for the past few weeks.  I think they can be life changers if we let them and that’s why I’m sharing them with you today.  They help to answer the question “How then shall we live?” with the answer, “As those who seek God first.”  What if that was how we were known in our family and community?  What an incredible reputation.  Pull out your card and feel free to write on it as we go.  It’s yours, all yours.  PPT6

 

As we read this together, think about your condition when you are most worried.

 

Matthew 6:31-34                                                               The Message

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—

            don’t you think he’ll attend to you,

                                          take pride in you,

                                          do his best for you?

 

What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax,

            to not be so preoccupied with getting,

            so you can respond to God’s giving.

People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.

Steep your life in God-reality,

                          God-initiative,

                          God-provisions.

Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

 

One of my good friends and spiritual mentors accidentally led me to this verse.  She was struggling with a decision.  Had been seeking an answer from God for months.  Confesses that God probably told her the answer several times but she didn’t want to hear it.  And finally one day she asked God, “What do you want?” and his answer was, “Come to me”.  That was not the yes or no she had been looking for, but that answer changed everything.  It brought peace to her struggle and a focus to her day.  Her words spoke to me (this is why we need to share with one another what God is doing in our lives) and sent me on a pursuit that led me to this passage.

 

That first sentence.  “Don’t you think God will attend to you?”  Who do you know God to be?  Do you pray to him and ask him to act?  Do you expect him to care for your needs?  He tells us we can.  How many of you have ever put your kids art work on the fridge.  Why?  Because you are proud of your kid!  God has a really big refrigerator!!!  Your picture is on it!  And his desire is to give you what is best for your life.  You might say, “Well it doesn’t seem that way!”  Hang on! As we read on, that perspective might have more to do with your attitude than with the truth about how God is working in your life.

 

Look at what Jesus says next: What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax,

            to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.

What does Jesus say he’s trying to get us to do?  Relax!!  Can you relax when you are worried?  When you worry you are anxious and stress, you lose sleep you are tense your are snappy!  Jesus wants us to relax and here is how: quit focusing on getting and look for what God is wanting you to receive. 

 

Let me share how I’ve tried to live this out over the past few weeks.  Things have been stressful at our house.  Kirstyn has had a really difficult housemate situation that has needed to change.  At first this involved her moving out, getting out of a lease that was just renewed in July, perhaps some encounters with law enforcement.  As things have been worked out, there have been emails with housemates and landlords and apartment hunting and financial worries and DRAMA! Which is what you get when your kid goes to drama school.  I admit that at first I was caught up in it, worried, anxious, trying to fix it.  But then came this Scripture and the words about letting go of trying to “get” and being in a place to “receive” what God was giving.  I quit joining in the anxiety –which frustrated my daughter – and I began to pray, “Lord, you are at work in this situation.  I can’t see what you are doing but I know that you love Kirstyn and are wanting to give her what is best. So show us what you want to give us and let us receive it.”  The situation is almost resolved with Kirstyn not having to move and new housemates moving in.  The papers should be signed today.  Thank you to those who have walked with me through this hard time and been prayer warriors.  Don’t stop just yet!! I’ll let you know when the resolution is complete.

 

And here’s the thing too.  In the midst of all this, God gave to Kirstyn a huge blessing that she had not been seeking or even thinking about.  This weekend she was given the chance to sing on stage with Kristen Chenoweth, Broadway superstar, in Atlantic City and we were able to watch this star – who happens to be a Christian – speak to Kirstyn and her seven friends about being true to your faith and then hold Kirstyn’s hand while they sang this huge gospel song.  That was something God just wanted to give.  Are you looking for what God just wants to bless you with?  You have to shift your focus from seeking to get to receiving.

 

The next sentence is the one that convicts.  Be brave.

People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, (what to eat and wear, etc.) but you know both God and how he works.

 

Saaamack!!!  “People who don’t know God and how he works fuss.”  My first reaction to this was, “Lord, are you calling me a heathen?!”  His answer, “Well you’re acting like one.” Ouch.  When we worry we are flat out saying we don’t believe in who God says he is.  No “buts” about it.  Now this may have something to do with growing in maturity like we talked about last week, but the truth is, if we profess faith in God but don’t live like we have faith in God, we are acting like unbelievers.  That’s just painful to me. 

 

But the next two sentences tell us how we can know God better and be reminded of his goodness and faithfulness.

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.

Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Simple.  Feed your mind on what is true about God.  Seek after what God is doing, ask him to show you what he has started on your behalf and is inviting you to participate in.  Accept the ways God is giving to you, even if it doesn’t look like what you were asking for.

 

This last bit:

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Give how much of your attention to God?  Give your entire attention to who?  And don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. I think this is a great way to say, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.” 

 

What worry do you need to surrender this morning?  What are you trying to get?  How is God trying to get your attention. Use your card and respond to God on the back as we enter into a time of silence and prayer.

Let God speak.