In your Bibles, if you would look with me to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter number six, and when you find your place, if you would honor God's word as we stand to read verse 25 down to verse number 34. Such a wonderful time of year to sing about the birth of Christ. And we were just talking about in our small group in the last hour in our life group, how you can have some places and stores and groups that have nothing to do with Jesus all year. And then you walk in and they're playing Christmas music. And it's like, how awesome that Christ's music of him could be sung. You know, you walk in, oh, holy nights being sung in some of these places that would have nothing to do with Jesus otherwise. And they can't stop the influence that he has on the world. Amen.
It's neat to see. But Matthew six, verse 25 says, Therefore, I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat and the body more than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Are ye not much better than they? Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit into his stature? And why take ye thought for your raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin. Yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat?
Or what shall we drink? Or wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
You'd read verse 33 with me. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. He concludes by saying, Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil or the trouble thereof. Father, your word is a joy and honor beyond words to have. We thank you and rejoice in the word. We praise you for grace and mercy this morning. We celebrate the resurrected Christ. We anticipate the return of our Lord.
As we look across the landscape of America and the world, we see such despair, such brokenness, such loss in darkness. But God, thank you that we have the light and the truth through Jesus Christ. And we pray today that our minds would be captivated by you, that we would be enthralled and consumed with the glory of God, that we would see everything that we pursue in this world as worth nothing compared to knowing Christ. God, draw us to yourself. May we live for the glory of God above everything. And if anyone doesn't know Jesus Christ, may today be the day of salvation for them. We ask it in Christ's name.
And God's people said, Man, you may be seated today. Anybody feel like maybe over the last two or three years your stress level has perhaps increased just a little bit? Anybody feel like in the last five or ten years there's more things to be worried about than perhaps there were back then? Some things in the world that has changed, some things that have perhaps increased the worry and stress of people's lives. The past couple years we faced the coronavirus. Many people faced incredible stress and a life change because of this.
Some of you are still working from home because of the remote working process. People were forced into isolation. Many family gatherings were canceled even the last couple years. And maybe this is the first year you're able to get your whole family together, which is a blessing. As a pastor, I dealt with funeral homes that would say you can only let ten people come to the funeral and they had to be socially distanced. And that was a very difficult season. That was very hard when people need to come together and hug and cry upon one another. Some funerals were even canceled or postponed. Weddings were delayed and put off at times.
We had people that were in nursing homes that were told that you can't have family come and see them. And it was a very tough time. It was a dark time in our culture and society and history. And never has there been, I've seen a society that has promoted and propagated fear like our culture does. I don't know that it's ever been this way in history. I mean, if you want some stress in your life, just turn the news on for five minutes.
Are your days going well? Turn the news on, right? We live in a country that's no longer the United States, but it's the divided states of America. Those who supposedly promote tolerance and diversity, I found to be the most intolerant, hateful people I've ever witnessed in my life. It is exhausting sometimes to see how much hate and division there is.
We're also dealing with high levels of corruption at the highest levels in our nation. Censorship to free speech. The level of hypocrisy is incredible, I find. Somebody wants free speech and people attack them for it. Anybody feel you can really trust the FBI these days?
CIA? Isn't it sad when we laugh in response to those kinds of questions because of what they've become? People today are worried about the economy. Inflation has skyrocketed. Cost of living has gone up 5.9% this year. It's on a 40-year high. House prices have skyrocketed. Everybody likes what their house is valued at, but then if you stay at your house, you've got to buy somebody else's house. Vehicle prices are up 31.4%.
I've heard of people buying new cars and selling them for more than what they bought them for. Groceries have shot up. Things such as eggs went from $1.67 to $3.42 this year. We saw gas go from $2 in 2020 to now $4 this year, and we're so thankful that it hit under $3 for at least a little bit.
What a joy. Hotel costs went up 25% this year. Many businesses are struggling to find people to work. Many are worried about their retirement. Many retirements of people even in this room, you've seen your retirements go down anywhere from 15 to 30% this year. That's a big, big drop. I was talking to a mechanic this last week, and they said, you know, I can't even quote people break jobs anymore because just the brakes themselves can change $20 in a week. I said, I've never seen anything like it.
I'd had a vehicle in my shop for three months because the parts wouldn't come in. What's happening? At the same time, we're seeing a record number of border crossings with 200,000 border encounters every month. What happens when 200,000 people are trying to enter into your country every month? At the same time, we're worried about the borders. While we're not worried about the borders of America, we're worried about the borders of Ukraine. I don't think most people understand what Ukraine is. It's not a democracy.
It's more like a dictatorship in Ukraine. I do not support Zelensky at all. Did you hear that, YouTube? You say, what do you mean?
What do you mean? You know Zelensky literally arrested the opposition party to him He arrested them. He's not allowing any news stations who oppose him to say anything.
He's cut off the airwave to all of them. And just this last Friday, he said he is shutting down and banning the Christian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. That's being run like Stalin.
And we're going to send billions of dollars over there to protect that border. Does that make any sense? Does anybody notice the amount of violence in our society? We see and hear stories in the news that's horrifying mass shootings, family violence. I was talking to somebody the other day that said one of the kids they found out at school that's having a lot of trouble, the kids in junior high and has already been the victim of a shooting. They got bullet holes in them. We wonder why some of the kids act out, right?
Kids tell me that their school fights nearly every year, kids tell me that their school fights nearly every day, if not multiple school fights in their school every day. The last letter Paul wrote actually at the end of his life was the young pastor named Timothy in second Timothy three. He says this, no, also than the last days, perilous times will come.
That word, it's fascinating the word perilous. It's only used one other time in the New Testament. And it's used in Matthew's Gospel chapter number eight. And it talks about a demon possessed man of Gadara who came out and was exceeding fears. The word fierce is the same word used in second Timothy three. Literally the same word Jesus talked about as being the demon possessed man's fierceness is the same way Paul describes what it will be like in our world in the last days.
He says, men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection. Are we seeing people without natural affection? Are we seeing laws passed to protect sin? Truth breakers, are we seeing people breaking their covenant vows with their spouses? False accusers, are we seeing false accusing going on at the highest levels?
Incontinent, fierce? Are we seeing people that are despising those that are good? Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Paul's literally defining the United States of America. You say, do you not like America, Pastor Josh?
I love this nation. And that's why I preach in America, because there's nothing greater I could do for America than to herald the word of Jesus Christ. And Paul goes on to say, a few verses later in verse 12, he says, yay, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. And he says in verse 13, but evil men and seducers shall wax or grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. The definition of the day will be deceived people that get worse and worse and worse. And what you find in the Bible is things aren't going to improve, they're going to increasingly get worse. Sexual perversion is run rampant in our nation.
We have leaders who literally think you're wicked and immoral. If you think children in elementary school should not be educated on sexual orientation and gender identity. And when you say that I don't think a drag queen should be teaching these children inside of libraries. Number one, why would you want a drag queen teaching children? Number two, why would a drag queen want to be talking to kids anyway? The sin of our nation is extremely upsetting and disturbing, to say the least. If the previous culture is one of the feminized men, stick all of men in skinny jeans and make their voice high.
I'm sure I'm offending people, that's whatever. Then our generation is wanting to turn men into girls, literally. Even the YMCA that is across the street from us of greater Dayton has taken the position that biological men who identify as women are now allowed to go into the women's locker room. There are minors in our church, girls, little girls in our church, minors at lighthouse who've shared with me that they have seen this individual fully undressed, walking up and down in the locker room, undressed. We have filed a police report.
There is prosecution that's moving against that. Praise the Lord. Paul was right when he said the mystery of iniquity is at work. People in our culture think you are somehow unkind or unloving if you say you don't want full-grown biological men in girls' locker rooms. I say America doesn't define truth, God does. I say let God be true and every man a lighter. America has effectively taught this nation you can be whatever you want to be, and now we've created 60 plus genders that you can choose from. And the one being promoted now across our nation is gender, non-binary gender. So basically you're gender neutral.
You're not a man and you're not a woman. I find this fascinating from the same people who say they believe in science. Isn't it interesting? We believe in... Oh, really? Sounds to me like you believe in whatever you want to believe, to line up with your own sexual mores.
If you want to know what's produced this, it's the pornography, lust-driven, sinful, sexually deviant culture that we live in. As long as you have people who love each other, Pastor Josh, that should be all that matters. Well, God doesn't say that's all that matters. He says in 1 Corinthians 13 verse 6, love rejoices not in iniquity, but it rejoices in the truth. The world's love is not what God calls love. He calls it perversion and lust.
And the most loving thing I can ever do for someone is with a heavy heart, look at them with grace and in truth and tell them what God says. I was speaking to our teens this last Wednesday, spent some time with them. And with a group of about 60 teenagers, one of the questions they asked me was, Pastor Josh, what do I do when a kid at school says, and they're a boy and they want to go by he or she, feminine pronouns?
And I said, well, you call them what God would have you call them. You don't lie to them. It would be a lie to call a girl a boy. It's not true. It's not true. Does that make sense? If I stood up and said, I am a 15 year old Chinese girl, that doesn't make me a 15 year old Chinese girl.
And we laugh. But I'm telling you, that is the level of insanity we're living in. And you don't support that kind of a mindset. You bring them to the truth, right?
Is that right? And isn't that what Jesus did? Didn't he go to people? And sometimes people say, well, Jesus didn't talk about these kinds of things. He didn't talk about homosexuality.
Oh, really? So Jesus is not the God of the New Testament and the Old Testament. So the same God who wrote the Old Testament is not the same God who wrote the New Testament. You better step back and understand who the God of this book is. People get angry with preachers for speaking the truth in love. But friends, Galatians 4 16, Paul says, Am I your enemy?
Because I tell you the truth. And as Christians and here in America, we're feeling the pressure increasing. We live in a broken world.
A recent poll showed that more than three out of four adults, literally 77% of Americans see the future of America as being bleak right now. Outside of all of this, we deal with the pressure of our own marriages, our kids, bills, neighbors, work, family members who get cancer, hospital visits, heart disease, sickness. So the question is, how do we navigate through the myriad of problems, doubts, fears, and worries and stresses life produces? The good news is today that we have the word of God to give us clarity on this.
We're not left without truth. What you find in the trials of our life and worldly situations are no different really than what Jesus faced. We face sexual perversion, but you need to understand in the day the Lord Jesus was living, it was incredibly rampant, the sexual perversion of his day.
You study Greek and Roman cultures, which I have. The perversion was I can't even speak about how wicked it was. Pedophilia was acceptable among Greek and Roman citizens, grown men taking young boys.
It was allowed to happen. If your wife was raped in those cultures, you had the right to rape the man who did that to your wife, and then you were called to kill her. Homosexuality was rampant in those cultures. Corinth, the First Second Corinthians was written to to Corinthicize someone literally meant to go to bed with a prostitute.
That's how sexually wicked it was. We have sinful leaders who make evil decisions, but that's no different than what Jesus faced. He faced spiritual leaders who were putting people to death. Jesus said they will think they're doing God's service by killing you. We face financial strain, but we're no worse off than they were, and Jesus' day was very difficult.
People were living day to day. Many of the Christians lost their jobs because they were believers. Nobody in Rome among the Romans and nobody among the Jews wanted to hire Christians. Today, friends, we can come to the word of God that is transcendently true, and we can receive what Christ has for us today in the word of God that was not only true 2,000 years ago, but it's just as true for us today. Psalms 119 verse 165, God says, Great peace have they which love thy law. Nothing shall offend them.
So today, if maybe you're struggling with stress, anxiety, worry, fear, you're not alone, and you don't have to carry that. And I want to show you some truths from the word of God this morning from our blessed Lord. The first thing we find that Jesus teaches here is that he tells us that we don't have to live with worry. He tells us very clearly in verse 25 31 and 34.
He directly makes the statement. Therefore, I say unto you, take no thought for your life. It's the Greek word may marimnao and may means no and marimnao means worry or anxiety. So no worry or anxiety. Be not troubled with cares is the idea. And he repeats this not only in verse 25, but notice verse 31. Therefore, may marimnao take no thought or do not be filled with worry and anxiety. Verse 34, take therefore no thought. He also questions people's worry in verse 27 and 80 says, which of you by taking thought? And in verse 28, and why take you thought?
Why are you worrying? And notice here what Jesus says we don't have to worry about. First of all, he tells us in verse 25 that we don't have to worry about the necessities of life. Verse 25, he says, take no thought for your life or do not worry about your life.
Like what? What you shall eat or what you shall drink or for your body, what you shall put on. So Jesus telling us, we don't have to worry about the necessities of life. Like to keep ourselves alive because God is our provider.
And then he tells us in verse 27 that we don't have to worry about our lifespan. So often people can worry about how long they're going to live. You know, I have an ache in my shoulder. Not sure if that's a, you know, I'm in the stomach problem. Not sure if I'm going to live through this. You know, I know there's been a lot of sickness over the last month people have dealt with. It seems like the flu came back out of somewhere, didn't it? It's kind of weird.
Don't make me rabbit trail that one. Verse 27, he says, which of you by taking thought or worry can add one cubit into his stature? Now, what does this mean? The word stature is, is from a Greek word, helikia, which is, is actually translated most often in the New Testament is age, your age. It's the primary meaning, the length of your life.
And I believe that's the meaning here. It's not talking about the height of a person. He's talking about the length of their life. And so he's saying, which of you by taking thought can add one cubit?
A cubit is the distance from your elbow to the tip of your finger. Is it normally 18 inches? He's like, which of you can add 18 inches to the end of their life, to the length of their life, to their helikia?
Look, because 18 inches, is there anybody here that would want to grow 18 inches? Okay. A young man over here is like, I'll take that. All day, baby. I'll take that.
Okay. I think in the early service outside of Jackie and Phil Worthington, there was not very many people that raised their hand. Phil's not short. He just wanted to be tall enough to do 360 dunks or something.
I don't know. But most people don't want to add 16, 18 inches because that would be massive, wouldn't it? But an 18 inch addition to the end of your life would be very small.
And even in Luke's gospel account of this, he says, if you can't do that, which is least, which is talking about the length of their age. We have people that are health fanatics today, people so worried about taking care of their body and they're consumed with this. We pill ourselves, we cream ourselves, we exercise ourselves, we do everything to extend the length of our life. But you can die healthy. You can die healthy. Exercise can help the quality of life, but it doesn't force God to extend the quantity of our life. Being healthy is good, but being holy is better, isn't it? Healthy people die young, holy people die right. Then why not eat like a glutton preacher?
Then why not eat like whatever you want? Well, because the Bible clearly rebukes gluttony and it rebukes laziness. And we need to take care of our bodies.
Those are important and right things. And sometimes those kinds of sins can cause people to die early. And then he says, don't worry about your clothing in verse 28 and nine.
And why take you thought for your raiment? He talks about Solomon, who was arrayed in the finest apparel, but he says, hey, even Solomon and all his glory was not arrayed like one of these flowers. I mean, if you took the greatest garment that Solomon ever made or King ever made, and you put that under a microscope, it would look like sackcloth and rags compared to what a flower, a common flower in the field would look like.
You put it under the microscope and you would see the amazing design even in that micro level. The glory of God revealed. And then he says in verse 31, we're not only to not worry about clothing, but not worry about food. And he reiterates these basic provisions. He says, therefore, take no thought saying what we'll eat or drink or what we'll be clothed with. And then finally he tells us in verse 34, not to worry about the future. He says, take no thought for the morrow. The morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. There's enough trouble today to worry about.
Don't worry. Don't bring tomorrow's potential problems into today's real problems. And the point is, Jesus is constantly telling people not to live with worry anxiety. So if the ruler of heaven and earth, the God of all the alpha and omega says, do not worry.
What should we respond with? He doesn't say, he doesn't say don't worry unless or you're allowed to worry. If rather, this is a unqualified statement.
It's an absolute. He's saying you do not ever need to be in a state of worry. Now question if God said not to live with worry and anxiety and we choose to do that, is that sinful? Is that wrong for us?
Well, the Bible tells us sin is disobedience to God, according to 1st John 3, 4. And God doesn't tell us not to do something because it benefits us. Has anybody ever been benefited by worry? You ever worried and said, boy, I got a good worry in today. I just feel so much better. Just really dwelling on that. It makes me feel so good right now. Needed a good worry.
Like going out and running exhausts you. Have you ever viewed worry as something that's wrong? One way you can tell if you have ever viewed it as a sin is you have repented of it. If you've never got on your knees and said, God, forgive me for worrying, then it evidences that you don't see it in the right light. Have you ever repented of such a repetitive sin that can so often happen?
Now, if your heart would be grieved to take God's name in vain or speak angry in a vile way, should we not also be sorry and repent of something that Jesus repeats not once or twice but three times in this passage? One reason worry is offensive to God is because worry is produced from fear. And one thing that is true of fear is fear is controlling. Fear produces control. Was that true of COVID? The COVID control a nation, a world. Do you think our world leaders know that? Yeah, I'll answer that for you. Because the world is godless, the world only knows fear.
Perfect love casts out fear, doesn't it? I mean, I remember looking around, not that I'm some spiritual giant in any fashion, I'm not, but I looked around the world and thought, why is the world so scared? I mean, have you ever read about the Black Death in the 14th century? Have you read what happened in those days? Where they would take wagons down through cities and towns and just pile the dead bodies every day on the wagons to bring them out to mass graves and dumping them. They talked about rabid kids, little children running around with nobody to watch them. They literally thought humanity was coming to an end. And in America, we have people scared literally to death to go out and see anyone with the disease that 99.98% of people lived if they extracted the disease.
It's an incredible thing. Well, should I have no concern for anything? Should I be a worryless person preacher?
What if my child is facing an unsecure world? If my parents get sick, if a loved one gets cancer, should I not worry? Doesn't worry reflect care and concern? And I believe the natural response that we should all have to life's challenges, hardships and trials should be some kind of a worry is produced. But the great joy for the believer is this friends, we don't have to carry that. We don't have to hold that on our own. The Bible teaches us, we can take those fears and those worries and give them to Christ. I've seen parents literally crippled Listen to me, mentally and physically and financially crippled because they were over concerned with worry over their kids. You know, the great joy of a parent is you can turn your kids over to Christ.
You can give them to the Lord. First Peter five seven says, casting some of, is that what it says? You better straighten me out, church.
I'm not the final authority here. Isn't the word of God? Okay, let's all read that together.
Ready? Casting all your care upon him for he careth for you. Is that good news? Is it good news that the God who holds the world up by the word of his power cares for us? Should that produce in us like a smile? Like, wow, he actually cares for me.
Like he genuinely cares for my soul. That should produce something in us. What is very interesting is the very next verse. What it says, be sober. That doesn't mean don't be like, that's not talking about alcohol sober. That's talking about like having a sober mind, like a peace filled mind.
Like be at peace with yourself about this. So because God cares for you and you can cast your care upon the Lord, you can have peace and sobriety of mind like a peaceful mind. But then he goes on to say, but also in that peaceful mind in that state, be vigilant. Be alert.
Why? Because your adversary as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour. What's very fascinating is the context of that well known verse is in the setting of one who cast their care on the Lord. And if you don't do that, the roaring lion comes after you. He pursues the one whose worry is controlling them.
That's who he's going after. He's pursuing you. Because I can tell you, he fills you up with fear.
He's owned you. Whatever you fear most controls you most. Perhaps that's why God says the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Notice what Peter says we must do to overcome Satan in verse nine, whom resist steadfast in the what?
And what did he say in verse 30 in Matthew six? Oh ye of little faith. Instead of worry, we are called to respond with faith.
Instead of doubt, we respond in trust. Instead of carrying the weight ourself, we get to turn that over to the Lord. And so we are not called to live with worry.
I mean, this is freedom, isn't it? This is freedom that God offers us. Now, secondly, it's important to understand that Jesus teaches here that worry will produce a carnal fleshly life. Notice back in verse 25, the very beginning, what's the first word Jesus says in this transition of teaching? He says, therefore. Now, whenever you see the word therefore, you ask the question, why is it therefore?
Okay. Jesus had just finished discussing not storing up treasure on earth, but rather investing our lives, our resources into heavenly and eternal things. He talks about how the faithful believer is a good steward. They don't spend their lives on what doesn't matter. Rather, they spend their lives on what matters for all of eternity. Our investments, Jesus teaches, reveal what we value. Then the Lord spoke about having a evil eye versus a single focused eye, a healthy eye versus a unhealthy eye in verse 22 and 23.
And in a single, he said, have one who is a single focused eye that lets the light in. It's your devotion is to Christ, and it's not to materialism, not to the world, not to the things of this life, which makes you spiritually unhealthy. Then in verse 24, he goes on and says, no man can serve two masters. Either you serve God or you serve money.
You can't serve them both. Jesus here is saying, therefore, because you're a wise investor, because you've elevated eternal things over temporal, the spiritual over the physical, because you have a healthy single eye devotion to Christ, not possessions, because you serve God and not money. Therefore, you don't have to worry about the necessities of your life. Worry is not the byproduct of a faithful servant of God. Notice here that the first thing Jesus speaks of after telling people about making sure you put God in front of your possessions is worry. He connects spiritual health to healthy views of our possessions and healthy views of worry.
There is a high price that is paid to put possessions over God. Notice there must be a surrender of our possessions to God before we can surrender our worry to God. Right choices with your life will result in right response to worry.
Charles Spurgeon said this, therefore, in order that our one master may be served, we must cease from serving self and from the care which self seeking involves. You know, worry really reflects what masters you. If God is your master, you will live with peace. It will be the byproduct of one who is mastered by God. Isaiah 26 verse three says this, thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. On the other hand, if you're mastered by possessions, it will cause you to be filled with earthly concerns. We see even in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 verse 22, it says he that receives seed among the thorns is he that hears the word and the care of this world, the deceitfulness of riches choke the word. The word cares of this world is the same word. It's where we get that word worry from the worry of this world, the cares of this world. You're consumed with concern about the world. It chokes the word of God.
You become unfruitful. Turn with me to Luke chapter number 12. We look there to the other week and I just want to highlight something important there again. Luke chapter number 12 if you would flip over with me. Luke chapter 12 is later in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. Back in verse one through 12, Jesus had preached on eternal life, which is offered to all who would call upon Christ, confess him as Lord and surrender their life to him. He spoke of the reality of hell and God's love for them that they could be made right with God and, and he's given them these eternal weighty troops. At the end of this, a man stands up in verse 13 it says, and one of the companies said into him, master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me. That is the dumbest thing I've ever read from someone.
I mean, you don't get more ignorant than that, do you? Jesus just offered you heaven and you're begging for earth. Instead of saying, Jesus, could you give me eternal life? He says, tell my brother to divide the money with me.
Really? He was so mastered by his possessions, he could not get his thoughts into the truth. This man reflected the clear truth that where your treasure is there will your heart be also. Jesus goes on to teach that you're a fool if you lay up treasures on earth. Look at verse 20. But God said in him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, whose shall those things be which thou has provided. So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. You can be earthly rich and heavenly poor. Now look what, look what the next verse says in verse 22. And he said unto his disciples, therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, neither for your body, what you shall put on the life is more than meat. The body is more than Raymond.
Consider the rave. Seems like we've read that somewhere before, doesn't it? You know what's happening? Jesus is literally preaching the same sermon later on. These are the same things he said at the beginning of his ministry. Matthew five through seven is the launch of his ministry.
Luke chapter 12 is later on in his ministry. This was so critical that he kept preaching it over and over because people need to understand worry is not yours to hold. You and I can't handle it. The worrier is playing God.
They're holding it as though they can hold it. That they can change things with their own abilities. That if I worry about this enough, if I strain my mind about this enough, if I carry this long enough, maybe I can do, you can do nothing with it. You'll make it worse.
We'll take two problems and turn them into 12. Well, should I not concern myself with lost souls? Yes, you should be burdened over lost souls, but you don't carry that way because you can't carry salvation. You can't save them.
You can plant, you can water, but God gives the increase. So you beg God to take that soul and bring them to salvation. You can share the truth with your children.
You can't save your children. And who's better hands to carry all that yours or God's? It doesn't benefit you any.
It makes you worse and it makes God one who is very small in the eyes of the person. You know, worry casts a big shadow, doesn't it? Earthly minded people get consumed with earthly worries.
You, you get around them. They're always talking about concerns and worries and fears and doubts and how true this was of COVID. I think COVID put a lot of people on display. I think COVID revealed people's faith or faithlessness. Some people were so controlled by fear of COVID. I mean, they isolated themselves. They shut down.
They were scared to death. I can tell you, God does not call us to survive. He calls us to live. You say, but you don't understand. No, I do. I think I do understand the problem. I think I do understand that God has called us not to live with fear of man.
You know, it's fascinating. You read the New Testament where Jesus Christ takes them out on the Sea of Galilee, intentionally puts them in a difficult situation. There's waves literally coming into the boat. They're scared for their life.
They wake Jesus up. These are seamen. These are guys that are used to being out on the sea. They fish all night.
They were not afraid to jump in dark water at night and fish all night. I mean, they're out there when they're scared to death. I can tell you, you and I would be really scared to death. It's so bad that they wake Jesus up and said, Lord, save us. We perish. He gets up and it's like, where's your faith?
Why are you so fearful? They had to think, what? This is crazy.
There's water. We could die out here. There's we didn't wake you up because it's raining.
And if Jesus rebuked them for a very present danger that seemingly would have killed them, what do you think he would have said to us when we huddled down with our mask and are putting all this sanitizer all over our bodies and scared to death and listen to this little short guy up on the TV from the White House telling us we all have to do this and we were mastered more by Anthony Fauci than by the Lord Jesus Christ. What a shame. I'm not going to live with fear. I'm just not going to do it.
I do know this. I will not live one day longer than God wants me here. I don't want to live one day longer than God wants me to live here and no one and nothing will take my life until God's ready to take it. Oh, you think your life's in your hands, really? Nothing wrong with being safe.
I said, don't walk in front of during the whole season, didn't I say don't walk out in front of cars, don't lick handrails. You don't tempt the Lord, right? But you don't have to live with some kind of fear. That's what to God. We had a greater fear of being unholy than unhealthy. What to God, we had a greater concern for our spiritual well-being of our neighbors who needed Christ than our own physical well-being. I think a lot of churches needed to be shut down. And I think they're no longer in existence.
Some of them because they were run by fear and people were so sick of it. They're like, I don't want to follow a pastor who's scared to death of the flesh. We had several families who came to Lighthouse and said, I said, where'd you come from? They tell me. And I say, why do you come here?
Because our church isn't having church. For how long? For the last six months. I'm like, well, come here. Amen.
Well, if they're not going to have service, we'll have service. You know what everybody, oh, do we have to wear masks? Do we have to? Yeah. I said, you have to wear a full gown when you come in here, right? I better clarify that because people listen online.
That's not the case. Okay. Again, I think it's good and right to be healthy.
If you're sick, stay home. You know, if you take care of those things, but don't live with some kind of needless fear. It creates carnality. It controls a person. They can't even hear the word of God because they're so controlled by the concern. Sometimes people come to Lighthouse, the word of God's preached.
They're so worried about what's going on. They can't even hear the word of God. Like the man in Luke 12. You know, when you're controlled by God, you know what he gives you? He gives you Galatians 5 22, but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, and what? Peace.
It's Isaiah 26 three. That will keep him in perfect peace. His mind stayed on the, I want my mind so focused on God. I live with perfect peace. So in one 19, one 65, great peace have they, which love thy law. John 16, which is the day before Jesus dies, he says, in me, you will have peace in the world.
You'll have tribulation, but be of good cheer. He says, I've overcome the world guys. In John 14 27, the day before he dies, he says, peace, I leave with you.
Really? You're about to be crucified. Disciples scattered everywhere and you're leaving us with peace. Yeah, absolute peace. He says, peace is the world doesn't even understand. It's incredible.
So awesome. You know, the peace of God causes you to transcend the worries of the world. Don't be filled with worry. You'll become a carnal, fleshly focused person and thirdly, and we'll be done. Worry produces waste in our life. Look what he says in verse 27, which of you by taking thought can add one Cuba to a stature verse 28. Why take you thought for your Raymond?
You know what he's saying? You can't change it. Your worry doesn't change it and you're not powerful enough to change it.
Ask yourself today. What good has worry ever produced in you? What great outcome did you have by living with worry?
Did your testimony get increased in front of your family and friends? Did they say, boy, I really want to know your God because the way you worry really enhances my desire to know Jesus. The truth is worry produces stress and anxiety. The result of stress is inflamed conversations and frustration, faithless conversations, a great lack of elevating the greatness of God. And so instead of elevating God, worries elevated instead of exalting God, worries exalted instead of making God great, worry becomes great. Remember that Jesus had just spoken of having a single minded devotion in verse 22 and three, having a healthy eye that stayed focused on what really matters and not an evil eye that focuses on the temporary and fleeting things. What you find in the single minded devotion to God, it creates an absence of what is unnecessary.
Let me say that again. What you find in the single minded devotion to God, it creates an absence of what is unnecessary. How incredible the life that is not wasted on Earth will not be wasted on worry.
The life given to God will also be the heart and mind given to God. On the other hand, the life wasted on Earth will be wasted with worry in the Bible. Waste and worry go hand in hand. The wasteful life is the worried life.
They are consumed with the flesh, the world, the home, the close life. This is one thing that is always true. Worry brings waste and it's wasteful to worry. You know the average person's anxiety is focused on studies have shown 40% of things that never happen. 30% of things about the past that they can never change. 12% of things about criticism by others, mostly untrue.
I know you'll be shocked by this, but even your pastor gets criticized usually every week. I can't be controlled by that, right? You don't want me coming up here and griping about those things. 10% about health, which gets worse with stress. 8% about real problems that will be faced. Only 8% are real problems that we will face.
And that's something we can be controlled by these things and only 8% actually happens. If you want to waste your life, if you want to live with a very small impact in the world and a small impact for God, then focus all of your energies on small things. Small things like what you will eat, what you'll drink, what you'll wear, how long you'll live. Think often of the set necessities of your physical life. Be consumed with little frail, small fleeting things. But if you want to have a big impact on the world, if you want to not waste your life, then you need to be consumed with very few things that are truly great. The wasted life is consumed with the fleeting, the life that really makes an impact that's not wasted.
It's consumed with very few things that really matter. There is one thing that is the greatest and highest pursuit the living person can go after. There is one thing that should drive you to wake up in the morning with excitement and joy. It should cause you to go to bed with such peace.
It should be the cause of your laughter. It should be the fuel of your motivation in the day. That one pursuit of life is that you would know God, that you would pursue him with a, with a burning passion that you would long for his glory above all things. That's why he says in verse 33, but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
All these other things are, they'll be added. Think about Paul and Philippians three after he gives all his list of credentials. He says, but what things were gained in me, those I counted loss for Christ. Everything that I accumulated that the world around me told me was really valuable.
I found out it was worth nothing. I count a bit lost that I may win Christ. And he goes on to say in verse number eight, yay, doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them, but tongue that I may win Christ and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but the faith, which is through Christ, the righteousness, which is of God by faith. And he says in verse 10 that I may know him. Paul was so consumed with the greatest thing in life and his, and his life is still splashing all over the world with influence because there was very few things that Paul was consumed with, but he was consumed with the greatest thing that really mattered. Is your life consumed with what is very great, very great. He goes on and says in verse 13, brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended. I've not yet arrived, but this one thing I do, I forget the things which are behind. I reach forward to the things which are before I am pressing. I am, I am longing.
I am going after that. Second Timothy two for he says, no man that wars and tangles himself with the affairs of this life. He had to tell Timothy, don't get caught up in foolish debates and all these other things.
Stay your course. I think about Mary and Martha and Luke chapter 10 verse 38 through 42. Martha was covered about worried about many things. And Jesus says, Martha, Mary has chosen that one thing that is needful and it will not be taken from her. I think about how foolish and wasteful so many, so many Christians could give you all the stats over COVID and in sports teams and this and that nothing wrong with that in itself.
But what is wrong is when they can't give you the information in the Bible about how God is so great and how could we not be consumed with God? I mean, I was watching a documentary this last week on the Hubble telescope and, and I'm so fascinated by the sky. I look for one thing in heaven. I just, I just want to gaze upon the glory of God's creation and, and have a greater comprehension of its magnitude. I look at the sunset, I look at the sunrise and I'm just so, I just stop sometimes and thank God is amazing. I look at the trees in the fall and I'm like, and this is just, I go to the ocean and I just, I gaze at the sky and I just stand there sometimes and just say, God, you're, you blow me away with this. Look at this.
You're doing this and it changes by the moment. It's just incredible. You didn't make everything gray and brown.
You made it beautiful. You, you give us taste and, and then the Hubble telescope went up. It took about 10 years for us to get it where it needed to be. And when they fine tuned all the camera systems and it shot out, they said, let's shoot the greatest, most powerful camera that we have and the darkest recesses of space. Let's see in that little vacuum of darkness in the sky where we can see nothing with the naked eye in our cameras that we have here. Let's go out in the deepest recesses and see if there anything out there. And when the photos came back in a little inch size diameter area, they found thousands of galaxies inside of the darkest recesses of space.
Thousand, did you hear that? Thousands of galaxies, each galaxy having hundreds of billions of stars. How great must this God be that we serve? How magnificent must he be that not only does he uphold the world by the word of his power, not only does the earth go around the 580 million mile orbit, not only is it on 23 to 24 degree axis, so everything fits in perfect order.
Not only is the gravity so fine tuned that if, if, if it were changed just a little bit, everything would be destroyed. God is so we, we should wake up in the morning and say, I want to know more about God. I want to know who he is. I, I need to be consumed with him.
How could I worry about what CNN or Fox News or MSNBC or whatever else is going on in the world? Let me look at Psalms two and be consumed with the God who sits on his throne and laughs at those people. Have you been enthralled by him recently? Have you been consumed with him to where you go to work and people say, boy, worry about this and this. And you're like, well, man, I just, I don't know. God just is amazing.
Isn't he? And it just pours out of you and you can't hold it in. Some of you are so excited about the things of God. You're splashing that excitement on everyone else and they think you're crazy. And God says, that's normal. Jesus says, you wait till I rip open the Eastern sky and I show my glory and I show the multitude and myriad of angels and their glory and my father's glory. You'll never worry again. You'll see me in my magnificence. What are you so consumed with this week? More than the glory of God.
If you have been more consumed with other things, I would say, friend, you're being mastered by other things. How do we live without worry in a fearful world? Well, Jesus tells us we don't have to worry.
That should be comforting, shouldn't it? It's like driving in a car and your dad says, Hey, there's nothing to worry about. Okay, dad, I trust you.
I don't know about you, but I can trust my dad on that. Okay, dad, are we going to run out of gas? Don't worry, son. Mama seems a little nervous right now. Daddy said, don't worry.
Worry produces a carnal flesh of life, friends, and worry also produces waste. You know, Augustine rightly said, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you, God. And I pray today that there will be a heart that can understand that they've been worrying about, concerned about the fears of this life, maybe health issues, maybe children, maybe finances, whatever it is. And today you can say, God, thank you that I get to turn that over to you.
Thank you. I don't have to carry that anymore. I can cast all my care on you because God, you care for me. I mean, just, just study the cosmos and then come back to earth and say, what am I really worried about? If God's doing all of that and created all of that, can't he take care of me? He feeds birds, feeds the birds. Praise God for his grace.
Isn't it amazing? If you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ today, you can come and be saved. If you are saved, maybe you just want to come and just kneel down before the Lord, whether at your seat or at an altar, and just praise him.
Cast your care upon him. If you don't, Satan's like a roaring lion. He's walking about seeking whom he may devour. During the invitation, we also invite you, if you're saved and in right standing with God, to come and take the elements back to your seat and we'll all partake together. Let's all stand this morning. Father, your word is our joy. We are humbled before the greatness of our King. We stand, Lord God, before you today and just ask you to search us.
Are we allowing the world to control us in any fashion? Lord, help us to elevate your greatness over any trial that we face. Some people are dealing with some difficulties, heavy things. Let them understand they don't have to carry that alone. God, I pray that if anyone today doesn't know Christ, they don't know Jesus as Lord, that today would be the day that they would come and trust the repentance of Jesus Christ. You are amazing. Call, save, justify, and glorify your saints. In Jesus' name.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-14 10:22:52 / 2022-12-14 10:44:03 / 21