Summary: The Fourth and Final Sermon of the Fall 2008 Series, ‘Overload: Saying ‘No’ So That You Can Say ‘Yes.’
In the past month, we have taken time each Sunday to think about the issue and reality of overload on our lives. (Slide 1) We spent time with 1 Peter 5:7, ‘Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.’ How to deal with worry was our main topic of discussion.
Then we looked at Matthew 16 and processed the parable of the sower in light of contentment and discontentment and its relation to overload. On Communion Sunday, we walked through Mark 14 and Jesus’ moments in the Garden of Gethsemane and we were encouraged to remember these three important points from the pen of A. Philip Parham:
God believes in me; therefore, my situation is never hopeless.
God walks with me; therefore, I am never alone.
God is on my side; therefore, I cannot lose.
(Slide 3) Finally, we examined Ecclesiastes 3 last week and took time to think about our season of life and the challenge of overload as we did some comparison with a busy mom named Patty and examined King Solomon’s life and choices.
(Slide 4) Today, we conclude this series on two fronts:
1. A look at the need to simplify.
2. Why addressing overload is a very important issue.
Our text for this morning is Matthew 6:25-34 and you can follow along in your Bibles or with the words projected on the screen. Let us hear the word of God this morning:
(Slide 5) So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.
(Slide 6) Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not.
“And why worry about your clothes? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!
(Slide 7) So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
(I simply remind us this morning that good Bible Study includes (and perhaps even begins with) context.)
The context or background setting of this passage is what has come to be called ‘The Sermon on the Mount.’
Now there is a parallel section of this passage in Luke 6:17-26. It is much shorter in length whereas Matthew includes a larger amount of material in this segment as it actually begins with chapter 5 and goes through chapter 7.
One might consider it a complete sermon but it could also be a composite of a group of sermons or messages from Jesus to the disciples given over the course of a couple of days. However, we note that the placement of these remarks in both Luke and Matthew indicated that Jesus gave them at the beginning of His time with them.
I think that the reason Jesus did this is that He was beginning to contrast the long held way to God of law keeping and ritual with the new way (new covenant that Jesus would speak of) that He was about to proclaim. He also, I think, was preparing the twelve for the challenges they would face while with Him and for the rest of their lives.
Jesus gives the twelve and us, a good lesson here, about preparation for serving God and He demonstrates good leadership as He orients the twelve to what is necessary to follow Him.
Jesus is not talking about rules and rituals here. He focuses on character and the internal aspects of following God. He is setting forth God the Father’s expectations as to how one is to see truly and live out the Kingdom of God.
Chapter 6 begins with a word of caution about developing pride from one’s performance of good deeds. This is part of the contrast between what He expects of the twelve and the example set by the religious leaders who ‘strut their stuff.’
Then He teaches them about prayer and again cautions them about their attitude toward and ways of prayer as He tells them not to pray ‘like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them.’ It is in this context that Jesus gives what we call the Lord’s prayer.