Summary: The third of a four-sermon series on the Biblical response to uncertain times.
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Scripture: Matthew 6:25-34
Idea: God will take care of our needs. In the meantime, we are to concern ourselves with his kingdom.
Unbelievers: One of the things that should distinguish us as believers is how we respond to uncertainty. If you have noticed a difference in a believer, today you are going to discover what makes that difference.
1. Uncertainty, like physical pain, has the potential to drive us toward self-centeredness. In uncertain times, I worry about ME. I become consumed with today and my needs and my wants.
2. We begin to think in terms of survival and protecting what we have.
3. When we finally take time to pray, our prayers sound like a shopping list.
"Provide this, bless that, give me this, make sure such and such happens on my behalf."
4. The problem is that we become so focused on our needs/desires and our particular situations, we lose sight of the big picture-what life is really all about.
5. We miss the fact that God may be up to something and he may want us to be a part of it.
6. Uncertainty backs us into the corner of self-centeredness; an unhealthy preoccupation with "self."
7. When Jesus showed up on the scene, he was surrounded by people whose felt needs were so pronounced that they couldn’t get past them.
8. They were being taxed by an unjust government with no means of reform/protest.
9. They were being led by hypocritical religious leaders that had sold out to Rome.
10. They had their land and wealth stolen from them. There was no justice.
11. Their children were being confused with the infusion of Roman and Greek values.
12. They were poor.
13. They felt abandoned by God. No Messiah. No promise kept.
14. Jesus came to put the uncertainty of that day in proper perspective.
And so in Matthew 6:25, he has the audacity to say to this very needy group and to us . . .
I. Don’t worry about your needs (25).
A. Passage context: He has just finished encouraging them to approach life from an eternal perspective. He focused on their money. He knew if he could get them to think eternally about their money, everything else would follow. For this reason-since we are to think eternally . . .
B. "WORRY"-be anxious, fear of the future or the unknown. Don’t let these things consume your thoughts and emotions. He is not calling for irresponsibility . . .
C. He immediately sets up two categories of need we are not to be anxious about.
1. Critical needs: your life (things pertaining to survival like eating and drinking).
* Some of us are worried at the survival level-economically and physically. Will I be able to make ends meet? Will I be able to put food on the table? Will I be able to pay the rent? Will I find a job? Will I keep my job?
* Non-critical needs-your body (things pertaining to appearance)
2. Some of us are worried at the advancement/promotion level.
* We’re concerned about reputation, acquisition, move ahead, raises, or new cars.
* Will I be recognized? Will I get married? Will I get pregnant? Will I get into my first choice of colleges? Will I make the sale? Will I get the deal? Will I ever own a home? Will I ever find a dress for an event?
D. Then he asks a penetrating question: literally-"Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" NIV adds "important."
1. What is life all about? And whatever it is, shouldn’t that be the focus of your concern?
* Is life about simply surviving and looking good in the process? Or is their something more?
* If someone were to follow you around for a week and listen in on all your conversations and have access to your checkbook and Visa statement, would he conclude that life for you is simply surviving and trying to look good in the process? Is that where your time and energy and focus are?
2. And consequently, do those two categories of things consume your worry time? Do they consume your thoughts?
While you are thinking about that . . . he offers a little perspective on our needs.
E. He gives us two illustrations to put our critical and non-critical needs in proper perspective.
1. The birds of the air (critical needs)
* They have all their critical needs met without worrying a bit.
* OUR heavenly Father feeds them. Not merely nature/instinct.
* God established the food cycle; migration patterns; etc.
* Aren’t you more important? He’s YOUR heavenly father. He is merely their creator. You don’t need to worry.