Share This Episode
The Truth Pulpit Don Green Logo

Contrasting Doubt and Faith #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
October 11, 2022 8:00 am

Contrasting Doubt and Faith #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 795 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


October 11, 2022 8:00 am

TheTruthPulpit.comClick the icon below to listen.

        Related Stories

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Because for you, beloved, the call is different.

The standard is higher. Anxiety-free living is what your Christian life should look like. As Christians, we are wealthy beyond imagination. And we're not talking materially, but spiritually in Christ. You'll get further reminders of that fact today on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green. I'm Bill Wright, and on this edition of the program, you'll hear part two of a message titled, Contrasting Doubt and Faith. Don, you'll be finishing up a look at the Sermon on the Mount, and it really is the very best set of promises that a person could ever hope for. It may be the most practical outworking of our salvation, Bill. Beloved, Christ actually commands us not to be anxious.

That sounds striking until you remember this. Controlling worry isn't a disease, it's sinful. And that's a wake-up call for you and me. Jesus says that trusting God is one way to distinguish an unbeliever from a true Christian. There's freedom for you just ahead on The Truth Pulpit. Here is Don coming your way from The Truth Pulpit as he continues teaching God's people God's Word to help you further combat anxiety and doubt.

You must love your enemies. Here in Matthew 6, Jesus says, Unbelievers worry about their future. You have to be different.

You must go beyond. You must trust God instead. Matthew 6, go back to verse 32 here. Jesus says, The Gentiles eagerly seek all these things. He's using a word that denotes an overly intense or an anxious seeking. They're just totally preoccupied with these things of material life. They're totally preoccupied with their immediate problems.

They're consumed with the gratification of their carnal desires, and they worry about it when they can't achieve what they want. And when you look at the way they frame their questions in verse 31, What will we eat? What will we drink?

What will we wear for clothing? Look at that and understand that they are framing all of their questions about the future totally apart from the living God. They're just looking at the future in purely material terms. Jesus is helping you see by pointing out the way Gentiles think. He is helping you to see that you have to think in a different realm. There is more to life than your earthly problem. You as a Christian believe in a God who orders the affairs of your life even when you face adversity.

A God who is intimately involved in every detail. And therefore, here's the bridge, therefore don't fret like an unbeliever. Don't deny by the attitude of your heart what you say you believe with your mind. Your heart has to follow what you say you believe. So, beloved, do you believe in this sovereign God who is over all of creation, whose eye is on the sparrow, and you say watches you? Do you believe that?

If you do, then your anxieties are out the window. They are no longer justified. And you, in your thinking, no longer even permit them. Because for you, beloved, the call is different, the standard is higher.

Anxiety-free living is what your Christian life should look like. Let me give you a positive illustration of what I'm talking about here. I remember talking with my friend several years ago. Mac was probably in his 70s at the time. Mac and Nancy were starting to get the bad news from the doctors. It didn't look good. If I recall right, it was cancer for both of them.

It may have been something else. But the point is, is that when I was talking with Mac on this particular day, he knew the situation was serious. He knew that he was facing terminal illness.

The course that was to follow in his medical treatment, he knew was not going to be pleasant. I remember standing with him in the old Grace to You building in the doorway between fulfillment and the break room that we had back there. And with utter serenity in his voice, Mac looked at me and said, We're getting ready to walk through the forest, no fear. His life on earth was in jeopardy, and he knew it, but his trust in Christ was intact. And he was winning spiritual victory, even as earthly life was being taken away from him. It's just a matter of a few months later that we buried first Nancy, and then 24 days later we buried Mac.

September 14 and October 8 of 1999. But I've never forgotten that. Never forgotten the living example of what trust in the midst of adversity looks like. Beloved, in the midst of the trials that you're facing today, that's what I want for you. When you're looking at how serious the life issues are that you're facing, rise to the occasion. Say, Okay, Lord, if you're going to take me through the forest, as long as I'm walking behind you, as long as I'm walking with you as I go through these trees, everything's okay.

Because that's the reality of Christian life. When you think about the words of Jesus about anxiety, when you see it lived out in a life like Mac McCurdy, you can get excited about the opportunity to move to higher spiritual ground. You don't have to live in the muck anymore. It's time to get out of the muck. It's time to wash it off of your feet and walk in glory like something that befits a child of God. And in that perspective, some of the rest of us have some spiritual growing to do, don't we?

Including myself in that group. Beloved, what I want you to see is that you betray the state of your heart with your anxious questions and preoccupations about your uncertain future. Listen to what Jesus says here. Unbelievers act that way. An unbeliever could be anxious about the same kinds of problems that you're facing. The question is, How are you different? How does your faith in Christ result in something different in the way that you live it out? You are different, beloved.

You have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Live that way. Think that way. If you are a true Christian, you can live differently. No, you must live differently.

Not with a change in your external behavior, but by having Christ transform the fundamental attitudes of your heart. You say, I've got more important things that I'm living for. My Heavenly Father cares for me, and I'm not a Gentile.

This is completely different. How can you live with that kind of trust? Well, contrast the worries of the unbeliever with point number two, the wealth of the believer in Christ. Or we could say point number two, your wealth in Christ. When I say wealth, I'm not talking about material wealth. I'm talking about your spiritual wealth. If you've put your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, there are three aspects of your spiritual wealth that Jesus points out here in the next two verses that you can draw upon to move from anxiety to trust.

These are very practical. They are living spiritual realities that when you appropriate them, they change your whole view toward life and your incidental anxieties. First subpoint here. There's three subpoints under this wealth of the believer in Christ. The first one is the Father's person.

The Father's person or the character of God, let's say. Look at the end of verse 32. Jesus is still expanding on the reasons why you cannot worry and you should not worry. He said the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, but notice the next clause beginning with the word for. He's giving you another reason why you don't have to be anxious, and it's the flip side of the life of the Gentile. He says, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

He's picking up on a theme that we've seen repeatedly through chapter 6 here. Your Father sees in secret. Your Father knows your need.

And He's going back to this same theme again. This God who is sovereign over all creation, who is sovereign over birds and flowers, Jesus says that God is your heavenly Father. That God lovingly protects and provides for you, no matter how desperate the circumstances may seem to be. Your heavenly Father knows what your needs are.

He is in absolute control. And He absolutely loves you. And He absolutely will provide for you. And His grace is absolutely sufficient for you. Your Father's person, your Father's character, His immutable faithfulness to those that He has called to Himself means that your anxiety is totally unnecessary. Beloved, it does not matter that you don't know how this is going to turn out.

It doesn't matter how much is at stake. If you belong to Christ, your heavenly Father has it all under control. Your heavenly Father loves you. Your heavenly Father is going to take care of you. Now, it may not work out the way that you think it should.

It may be contrary to your desires. But look past the immediate situation and see the great big picture. God rules over all. He's called you into fellowship with Himself through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And He says, I'm going to accomplish my purposes in your life to the uttermost.

Wow! You hear that and if you're truly getting the point, I'll give you a hint on how you can tell if you're getting the point. When your mind enters into that realm, you should find yourself saying, what was it I was anxious about?

What was it I was worried about? Because the surpassing greatness of who God is and the greatness of His care for His children just drives out everything else. And you're just totally consumed with the utter exuberant joy of belonging to Christ.

And that's enough to satisfy your soul. Not only do you have that wealth of the Father's person, secondly here in this teaching on anxiety, in terms of what you occupy your mind with, you have a wealth that's not only the Father's person, but also the Father's priorities. The Father's person, the Father's priorities are part of your wealth in Christ. Look at verse 33, where Jesus says, but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Throughout this passage, Jesus has been saying, don't be anxious, don't be worried.

He said it three times, commanded it directly at least three times. Do not be worried, verse 25, verse 31, don't be worried, and on it goes. And so what you have here in verse 33, kind of getting the main structure of his thought here, he says, don't be worried, but verse 33, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. A total transformation of priorities is what he's calling for. This word first here, Jesus is saying, make the kingdom of your Heavenly Father, make His righteousness your clear number one priority in life. Life and death, careers and futures, education, children, loved ones, health, all of that stuff.

It is secondary. There is a number one on your priority list. It is the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It is loving and worshiping this blessed God for all of eternity.

That's number one on the list, and there is no number two. There is nothing else that matters in comparison to that. All that you have in your life are the circumstances that God has ordained for you to worship Him through. You take these circumstances, you obey Him, you love Him, you trust Him through all that He's given to you, good and bad, and you say, but Lord, these are incidental to the main priority of your kingdom and your righteousness.

God, if I know you, if I can approximate the righteousness of Christ somehow in my life, that is all I want. If no one notices, so be it, God. I don't care. I never go any further in life than where I'm at right now. I don't care. Can I know you?

Can I be blessed in knowing you? That's great. That's all I want, Lord. That is my number one exclusive priority.

That's the idea. Seek His righteousness. Seek His kingdom.

The nature of the command is that it should be an ongoing life priority. So, beloved, what I want you to see here is when Jesus says, don't be worried, but seek first the kingdom of God, He's not simply commanding you to avoid worldly anxiety. He's saying, replace it with a clearer understanding that the kingdom is your priority. To seek the kingdom is to pursue the priorities of God in your life. To seek the kingdom is to fulfill its duties and share in its privileges. And so, in this context of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus isn't talking about seeking the imputed righteousness of justification. He's talking in this context about the practical living out of righteousness as God works out His plan of sanctification for your soul. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount, He's talking about the inner righteousness that we studied in chapter 5.

That righteousness that transcends that of the scribes and Pharisees, that goes to your inner desires, that righteousness that you practice with a view to the approval of God rather than the praise of men, as we saw in the first 18 verses of chapter 6. So if you want something to grip your heart instead of your anxiety, let this grip your heart. Let this question grip your heart. How can I please God right here, right now, no matter what the future holds? That's the most important thing to you. And how the circumstances play out?

Secondary. Not to say it's unimportant. Not to say that if I had an earthly loss today of one of my children or something like that, that I wouldn't be overwhelmed with sorrow. But beloved, what you have to settle in your mind, the starting point in dealing with anxiety, is settling in your heart that I love God and I love Christ and I love His righteousness more than anything else. And if I lose some of these incidentals in the process, my main love, my main focus is completely unaffected. Because the grace of God will be sufficient even in that.

It's pretty challenging, isn't it? That is the kind of claim that the Supreme Son of God can make on your heart. Because that is His right by prerogative. He has the right on all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength. And you direct all of that energy to loving Him.

And how He plays out the circumstances in your life, you trust Him for. The final thing that I want to point you to is the Father's promise at the end of verse 33. We've looked at the Father's person, the Father's priorities, now the Father's promise at the end of verse 33. Jesus says, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. What a blessed promise of God. This is a divine passive.

All these things will be added to you. Who is it that's doing the adding? It's your Heavenly Father. It's the one who's been the focus of this entire chapter. He is the one who will add these things to you. He is the one who feeds the birds.

He is the one who gives flowers their color. And Jesus says, He is the same one who will provide for all of these earthly needs. By the sovereign might of His power, by the gracious love of His designs for His children, He says, relax, God is going to take care of it.

Just make the first thing first. And when you sin against that, when you try to do it your own way, when you stray into patterns of sin and you start to suffer want and start to suffer pain, don't blame God for that. Jesus has made it clear that if you would just seek Him first, this life of peace and the provision that you need for your life will be provided. I hate it when preachers go overboard in using their personal lives as illustrations in their life, but there's something that I want to share here just to emphasize the point that even if you are a brand new Christian, this applies to you. Wherever you're at in your spiritual life, this is the blessed privilege if you're just a couple of days old in Christ for you to live and to act upon and to appropriate as your own promise from God. I got saved in law school on November 20th.

Now you've got to understand something. Law school finals started like December 9th or something like that. There's a two or three week period here and I get saved right at the tail end of law school. And in the law school that I went to at that particular time, and it's probably that same way, you get one exam at the end of the semester.

Your whole grade depends on that particular exam. And so it's a pretty high pressure event when you're taking law school finals and walking into that. And I got saved and God poured out His new life in me and I started to read the Bible, saying, oh man, this is true, this is great. And I was reading in Matthew and reading the Sermon on the Mount, Proverbs and all that. And I was so totally captivated by what I was studying that I had no desire to study for my exams whatsoever. I just wanted to read the Bible. Now from an earthly perspective, that is not a good career move. And trust me when I say, I say all of this to the glory of God.

This isn't about me. But I just put my books aside and I just read the Scriptures and drank in the living water that was so much needed in my thirsty soul at that time. Somehow I found time to do a little bit of study in all of my work. This was kind of my second semester in law school. Do you know with much less study, by putting God's kingdom first, I did worlds better that semester than I did in that first semester before I was a Christian. That is just one example among thousands that all of us could share if we thought about it. When you put the priorities of God first in your life and He takes care of the rest.

How He did that, I have no idea. I was an idiot in law school. Understand, and this question has come up, that when we say all these things will be added to you, that's not an excuse for laziness. That's not an excuse to avoid your responsibilities. You still live out your responsibilities and still do what you can to meet them.

But they're not the consuming, overriding idea and passion of your life. You've got a supreme priority of the character of God, and under that, okay Lord, here's what I've got to do today. Bless it to your end, would you? One other thing I would say about this, Jesus doesn't tell us how the Father will fulfill this promise. He doesn't tell you how to what extent it will be done. He just says it will be done. For some of us, the provision is a little smaller than it is for others who have more.

With our brethren who are in third world countries, it's even less for them. But for those who truly know Christ, for example those who have been saved out of Catholicism, and are living in poverty, I will guarantee you that if you go to a true Christian in that kind of environment who's been saved and knows the forgiveness of his sins, you're going to look at his utter meager poverty and he's going to be rejoicing in how good God is, because he's seeking first the kingdom. And he's going to say, you know what, God's added everything besides.

Here, you want to share this can of beans with me? Verse 34 is the conclusion. Jesus concludes this whole blessed section.

I hate to leave it, but we must. Verse 34, Jesus says, So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough of its own, enough trouble of its own.

Jesus brings it all together. He says anything that might make you fearful about tomorrow, rest today. God has the present fully under control. Don't worry about what tomorrow's troubles might be today.

Take care of your responsibilities today and trust God for what tomorrow has. Beloved, we say and we believe and we affirm with the Apostle Paul that God's grace is sufficient for us, for power is perfected in weakness. Not all of us often enough think in this term, God's grace is sufficient for today, yes, but in the uncertainty of the future, God's grace is going to be sufficient then as well. You know, whatever kind of difficulties that have troubled your mind, just and say, what's the future going to hold with this important situation? Beloved, take God's grace and apply it to that as well. And say, you know what, even if the worst thing happens, God is going to be gracious to me in the middle of it because it's not about my circumstances. It is about the immutable, unchanging, faithful, gracious nature of God that He sustains His children no matter what comes. Even if the worst thing comes to pass, you will still be under the protection and care of your Heavenly Father. Listen, I'm going to close with this. Ultimately, I want you to understand something really, really important.

A couple of things. When we talk about trust in the Christian life, trusting God in the Christian life is more than saying, well, it may never happen. That's not Christian trust. That's true and that's a reason not to be anxious, but that's not the heart of what it means to trust God in the midst of the Christian life.

It's not the anchor of your soul. Christian trust is more than a fatalism that says, well, whatever will be, will be. And I'm just going to stand like a rock and I'm going to be unmoved. No, beloved, your Christian trust, your power to overcome anxiety, comes from an active, believing trust in your Heavenly Father and His promise to care for you.

It's not just saying this may never happen. It's saying even if it happens, God's going to be good to me. God's grace is going to be sufficient.

He's going to be with me. And mercy and loving kindness are going to follow me all the days of my life. Psalm 23 verse 6. The Lord will accomplish what concerns me. My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.

It's true now, it's true tomorrow, it's true every day of your life until you go to glory. Beloved, rest in that. Don't be worried. Don't be anxious. Take those cares.

Put them in the context of the great grace of God. Trust Him and relax and glorify Him with your life. Let's pray. Father, this kind of trust is the birthright of all true Christians. May it be true of us that we've appropriated it. May you transform our lives, transform our decisions about the future, Father, so that we would bank all of our trust, all of our hope for what this life would have on the living reality that you are a good God who is sovereign over all things and you design our blessing in everything that happens to us.

And you're actively involved. Father, what a blessed privilege. What a blessed position is ours. We can't thank you enough for it. We're grateful that we've got all of eternity, Father, to try to express the gratitude that should spring from our heart for your goodness toward us. And we understand that as we're with you and as we see the face of Christ, that our gratitude is only going to deepen and that this gratitude is an eternal gratitude owed to an eternal God.

Thank you, Father, so much. If there's an unbeliever here who recognizes in his anxiety the root cause of his unbelief and that he's not saved, Father, lead that one to Christ that he might be saved and enter into this life of joy and to know the joy that is in the journey, the joy that loves Jesus and would rather have Jesus more than anything. Give us grace to that end and help those of us that know you to live this way every day until you call us home. In Jesus' name, amen.

Amen. And today, Don Green has brought you part two of a message called Contrasting Doubt and Faith here on The Truth Pulpit. Next time, Don will give us the keys to gaining peace. But, Don, the peace you'll be talking about is not some New Age concept of inner tranquility, is it? Knowing God and his providential control is the key to escaping the anxiety trap. My Christian friend, your Heavenly Father is the person who rules over all of creation.

And Jesus said that when you make his kingdom your highest priority in life, that he'll provide all you need to sustain yourself through this earthly life. Our next broadcast may change your life, and our website has resources to set the stage for you to receive it. To prepare, just visit us at thetruthpulpit.com. There you'll also find a link to Don on Facebook and much more. That's all at thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you to join us again next time when Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-19 18:59:40 / 2022-12-19 19:10:08 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime