Summary: Thanksgiving Day(Soll) - Jesus teaches believers how to live thankfully by declaring: Do not worry about this world and seek first the kingdom of God.
THANKSGIVING DAY - November 24, 2005 - MATTHEW 6:25-34
INTRO: What is Thanksgiving? Sadly, for too many Thanksgiving is considered as a great day for food, football, family and early Friday morning sales. Fact is it has become a forgot-ten day of the true meaning of thankful living. In today’s text Jesus reminds the believer how to live thankfully. As believers, our lives are lives of thankful living. We cannot simply have only one day to remember what God has for us in this life for the next life. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe"(HEBREWS 12:28). We consider these words in Mat-thew with the theme:
JESUS TEACHES HOW TO LIVE THANKFULLY. Jesus says:
I. Do not worry about this life, and:
II. Seek first the kingdom of God.
I. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS LIFE
A. Jesus emphasizes the most important points by repeating them.
1. Verse 25 and verse 31 Jesus says, do not worry.
2. People at Jesus’ time had the stress of daily living.
3. Much of their day was spent just providing food and clothing.
B. Look at Jesus’ examples to put to rest the worry of God’s people.
1. Verse 26 tells how the Father takes care of the birds of the air.
2. Verses 28, 29 describe the beauty of the flowers of the earth.
3. Man is much more valuable than both. Verse 30.
C. Only one conclusion in verse 27. Worry cannot add to life at all.
D. Believers today are not exempt from worry in this life. Our society has a hand in promot-ing worry. The news is constantly filled with the fear of the future. We can become overly concerned and worry too much about the economy, our savings, gas prices, wars, disasters, etc. Jesus warns in Luke: "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature"(LUKE 8:14).
E. Just talking about not worrying does not take worry away. What is our guaranteed solu-tion for earthly worry? One is not to get too caught up in the worrisome works and ways of this wicked world. Another is the encouragement that the God of all creation is there to listen – anytime, anyplace – all the time, everywhere. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"(PHILIPPIANS 4:6). Our God promises to hear, listen and answer.
F. Our God is not just a god far off sitting in heaven, but he is our gracious Lord and Savior who is everywhere. In the midst of worry our Lord is anxious to help. In the torment of earthly living our Lord loves to help. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand"(ISAIAH 41:10). In these words of Isaiah you can picture the Lord himself reach-ing down with his righteous right hand to take hold of our hand and pull us up from whatever has trapped us. The reality is that our gracious God pulls us up from the very depths of hell right into the heights and joys of eternal life in heaven!
TRAN.: Jesus teaches how to live thankfully by reminding the believer do not worry about this life. One way not to worry is to follow Jesus’ next words of encouragement:
II. SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD
A. These words of Jesus are the midst of the Sermon on the Mount (chap. 5-7).
1. This sermon is well worth reading whenever you have the chance.
2. This section emphasizes the believers’ blessing not to worry.
3. Verse 34 says tomorrow will worry about itself, how true.
4. The original Greek emphasizes that each day is evil enough.
B. Jesus wanted his hearers to remember that they were different.
1. Believers are not like the rest of the world.
2. They should not act like the rest of the world. Verse 31.
3. Unbelievers pursue worldly things. God knows believers’ needs.
C. In verse 25 Jesus reminds believers life is more important than worldly things.
1. Jesus’ solution is in verse 33. Jesus takes care of earthly needs.
2. Seeking God’s kingdom first is the answer for thankful living.
D. Today we do not worry about what to eat or drink but how much. We are not short of clothes but have to debate what will look best on us from our many choices. Jesus’ words to seek first his kingdom are just as important today as they ever were. What is God’s kingdom? "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit"(ROMANS 14:17). Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit are God’s gracious gifts to us that this world cannot provide.