Summary: Conquering the fear reflected in our What If’s.
SERMON NOTES: May 31st, 2009 – Paralyzing What If’s – Matthew 6:25-34
Illustration: Missionaries new post– husband missing – wife worried - hears native drums – fear/what if’s – husband returns with friendly natives bearing anniversary gifts - wife was so worried about negatives she forgot about anniversary.
Why was the missionary wife so worried about the unknown? Why did she jump to conclusions? “Do not worry” is Jesus’ command in today’s scripture from Matthew 6:25-34. What are some of our What if’s?
What if…car accident, lose job, hurricane, certain laws pass, kid drops out of church, mate is cheating on me, my parents can no longer take care of themselves. What if I am not hearing God’s call on my life? What if Pentecost never happened?
Why do we put ourselves through the paralyzing What If’s?
We do this because fear is the opposite of trust, and fear is the weapon of choice of the forces of evil, those who oppose the kingdom of God.
Fear is used by those with a platform to move us in the direction they desire. Fear sells (magazines, news papers, TV ratings/ads…). Fear wins political contest. Fear is used by parents. And all too often fear is used by the church.
Illustration: (1) Print articles add up to $543M Americans seriously sick, U.S. population only 270M.
(2) Church – If you do this or that you will go to Hell, or God is watching you! You better act like we tell you.
What If’s are unhealthy, physically and spiritually. Concern and fear produce stress and we have all heard about the negative effects of stress on our health. What If’s move us away from God. They distract us from Jesus and become obstacles to spiritual growth in our relationship with God. By the way, the definition of Sin is anything that separates us from God.
Let’s think about this. Do you think the people of Jesus’ day ever worried about paralyzing “What if’s”? Based on the scripture we shared this morning from Matthew we can answer that question with a big YES they did. What if we are never freed from Roman oppression? What if I can’t afford the exchange rate at the temple? Will I be able to worship? What if the promised Messiah never comes?
What can we do? How do we cope with fear and worry?
Here are a few suggestions:
(1.) Listen to Jesus’ words in vs. 27, 31, and 34.
27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
31Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?”
34 ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Do you hear the words of hope? We can find comfort in the words of Jesus.
(2.) Visualize a “No Trespassing” sign. Do not enter a place god does not want you to be!
(3.) Form habits to unlearn the fear culture we are currently subjected to. Two examples of new habits are:
a. take worries to God in prayer. Lay everything on the line and tell god you trust him to take care of you and your family. Learn to recognize god’s voice in the quiet of unhurried intimacy. Paul Tournier wrote, “The Christian is not exempt from fear, but takes their fears to God. Faith does not suppress fear; what it does is to allow one to go forward in spite of it.”