Don’t Worry Because God Cares for You

Dr. Steve Viars May 31, 2020
Outline

Matthew 5:6 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Matthew 5:20 - For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:48 - Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

3 steps to connect the gospel to the worries of life

I. Have Faith to Trust Your Master

v. 25 - …for this reason…

Invictus…

Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.

A. Choose your master wisely

Matthew 6:24 - No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Romans 10:3 - For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

Romans 10:9–10 - …that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

It matters much how straight the gate, because of the justice of the punishments of the scroll

Which is why I have chosen the crucified and risen Christ to be the master of my fate, and the captain of my soul.

B. Jesus empowers us to avoid sinful worry

merimnaw – “To divide, rip or tear apart.”

“to feel distressed in the mind, be anxious, troubled, or uneasy.”…“A inappropriate concern about something in the future that you cannot control or that you cannot be sure will truly come to pass.”

v. 25 - Do not be worried…

v. 27 - And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

v. 28 - And why are you worried about clothing…?

v. 31 - Do not worry, then…

v. 34 - So do not worry…

Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

1. Do not be worried about your life

v. 25 - Do not be worried about your life…

Philippians 1:21 - For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

2. Do not be worried about what you will eat or drink

v. 25 - …as to what you will eat or what you will drink…

3. Do not worry about your clothes

v. 25 - …nor for your body, as to what you will put on…

C. Your life is more than these things

v. 25 - Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

II. Consider Why Worry is Unnecessary

A. Because God cares for His creation

Matthew 6:26 - Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

Matthew 6:28- 29 - And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

1 Peter 5:7 - …casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

B. Because worry is ineffective

Matthew 6:27 - And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

Psalm 57:1 - Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by.

III. Use Your Faith in Christ to Fight Your Worries

A. Worry is a sign of living for the kingdom of this world

Matthew 6:31- 32 - Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

1 Peter 2:4- 5 - And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:11- 12 - Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

B. Seek the kingdom of heaven

Matthew 6:33 - But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

C. In the power of God, focus on addressing today’s problems today

Matthew 6:34 - So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

- I can’t tell you how glad we are for at least the modest beginnings of our return to public worship services…

- we’re also thankful for those who will continue to join us on-line and we are committed to serving you with excellence in every way we possibly can…

- but I’ve never had such an extended period of time where I was not around a lot of people…

- I don’t think I’ll ever see crowds the same way again…a crowded airport…a crowded athletic event…a crowded church service…

- and I understand that we have a long way to go before we can comfortably be that close to one another again…but even one step in that direction is nourishment for the soul…

- however, there is no question that there are worries and fears that go along with re-opening public services…

- we love every member of our church family, and we would never want to do anything that could jeopardize anyone’s health or life…

- and there are just enough stories circulating around the internet about something bad that happened at a choir practice, or a church service…that if you’re not careful, you’ll be consumed with fear and worry and paralyzed from accomplishing even the basic responsibilities of life…

- but it goes much further than a church service…

- most of us would say that we have faced fear and worry over the past 3 months at higher levels than most other periods of our lives…

- there’s the basic worries about your health…where can you go, who can you touch, how close can you get to another person…

- the worries about even fulfilling the basic activities of life – all of sudden there are all sorts of new questions about getting groceries…or getting gas…or going out in public…

- there are worries about the economy…the security of your job…re-starting your business or keeping it going…

- if you are caring for older parents or young children, you have concerns about their safety…

- then there are those on the front lines of this pandemic with our health care workers and other first responders…Anna’s testimony this am gave us a glimpse into what that world has been like for her…

- when you watch little boys and girls growing up in this church, you don’t even envision them on the front lines of a dangerous battle…but here we are…

- the good news is that God has given us a book filled with promises, and direction, and hope…which is why this summer we are looking forward to our series on Overcoming Worry and Fear

- with that in mind, let me invite you to open your Bible to Matthew chapter 6…

- if we were going to make a list of the top 10 passages that address this subject, surely Matthew 6 would be on it…

- this is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount…and in it, He describes the conditions in His coming kingdom…

- the relationship between this passage and what we’ve been studying this year in the book of Romans is delightful…

- it’s so marvelous to see the ways the Word of God fits together…

- for example, there is the theme of righteousness…

- in the early verses of the Sermon Jesus says, Matthew 5:6 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

- perhaps some of the hearers might have begun comparing themselves in their minds to others to prove or justify their own righteousness before God…but then Jesus says…

- Matthew 5:20 - For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

- that narrows the field for sure…and then he makes this startling affirmation…

- Matthew 5:48 - Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

- the book of Romans makes that clearer, doesn’t it…this isn’t hungering and thirsting for a kind of righteousness we conjure up on our own…

- Christ was offering Himself as a king who would die for their sin and then be resurrected so they could enjoy new life in Him…where their righteous stand before God would give them the power to begin growing in practical holiness…He would be the vine and they would be the branches…

- That would even affect the way they thought about their material possessions…so picking up the conversation in chapter 6, verse 19…

- read Matthew 6:19-24…

- one effect of receiving the righteousness of Christ is that it narrows our focus…we see Jesus Christ as our rightful Savior, and Lord, and King, and Master…

- so if that is true, what will be different on a day to day basis?...the powerful answer in the remaining verses of chapter 6 is – the way we handle our worries…

- please look for the ways that’s true in Matthew 6:25-34 – READ

- we’re talking this morning about Don’t Worry because God Cares for You.

- with the time we have remaining, let’s think about three steps to connect the gospel to the worries of life.

I. Have Faith to Trust Your Master – vv. 24-25

- the words – v. 25 - for this reason at the beginning of verse 25 are a very important link to what’s already been said…

- you and I can never overcome worry unless we finalize the question of who’s running the show…who’s in charge…who’s the Lord and Master of our lives…

- one of the silver linings to the pandemic was that graduating classes all over the country were spared endless renditions of the poem Invictus…

Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.

- what a terrible message to communicate to high school or college graduates…

- the poem was written by William Ernest Henley in 1875…it’s a sad story where he was facing the amputation of his second leg after he had lost his first to tuberculosis at age 16…

- the beginning of the 4th stanza is a reference to the Sermon on the Mount…Matthew 7:13, and Henley suggests that it doesn’t matter how straight the gate is, because he’s the master of his fate and the captain of his soul…

- friend, where do you stand on that issue?...because Jesus instructs us to…

A. Choose your Master wisely – v. 24

- Matthew 6:24 - No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

- another important way this dovetails with the book of Romans is that the gospel is in part, a matter of submission…

- who decides both the definition and path of righteousness?...

- remember - Romans 10:3 - For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

- that was William Henley’s point – it matters not how straight the gate…and he and others who have quoted that poem since it was written could not have been more incorrect…

- that’s the context of Romans 10:9, a verse that many of us have memorized over the years…Romans 10:9–10 - that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

- you’re trusting Jesus as your Lord, including allowing Him to both define righteousness, and then be the One who provides it perfectly (and exclusively) through His death, burial, and resurrection…

- do you see how that changes Henley’s poem…

- It matters much how straight the gate, because of the justice of the punishments of the scroll

- Which is why I have chosen the crucified and risen Christ to be the master of my fate, and the captain of my soul.

- but friends, when we truly believe He is our rightful Master, we have no legitimate reason to worry…

B. Jesus empowers us to avoid sinful worry

- merimnaw – “To divide, rip or tear apart.”

- so when you worry, your focus is divided, and your energy is divided, and allegiance is divided

- we’ll talk more about all of that in a minute…but worry always divides a person in a way that makes it harder for you to concentrate on what God wants you to concentrate on today…or accomplish what God wants you to accomplish today…

- this definition also focusses on the effect of worry…worry tears you up…it rips you apart…

- sometimes to the point that a person has trouble sleeping…

- or you have troubling focusing --- you’re staring at a blank computer screen with the deer in the headlights look…

- or having an upset stomach, or cramps, or ulcers…all of that can result from worry…it tears you up…

- the dictionary definition -- “to feel distressed in the mind, be anxious, troubled, or uneasy.”…“A inappropriate concern about something in the future that you cannot control or that you cannot be sure will truly come to pass.”

- the word occurs 5 times in this brief section…

  • v. 25 - Do not be worried
  • v. 27 – And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
  • v. 28 – And why are you worried about clothing…?
  • v. 31 – Do not worry, then…
  • v. 34 – So do not worry…

- in each case, it’s the word merimnaw…

- don’t let your mind, and your heart, and your energy, and your focus, and your allegiance become so divided…and don’t allow yourself to be torn apart as a result…you have to learn how to overcome worry…

- now, does this mean we should never be afraid?...of course not, because Scripture affirms repeatedly…Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

- there is such a thing as having a healthy fear or concern…

- does this mean we should never plan…again, of course not – God plans all the time…we’ve seen that emphasis too in the book of Romans about His sovereign plan for the redemption of man…

- so there is nothing wrong with having a healthy fear of COVID-19 that leads you to properly plan ways to avoid getting the virus or spreading it to someone else…

- but here’s the point this am – you can do all of that without falling into the trap of sinful worry…

- of being so scattered and divided in your focus on what might happen in the future that you are unable or unwilling to fulfill your biblical responsibilities today…this is why Jesus said…

1. Do not be worried about your life

- v. 25 – Do not be worried about your life

- on its face, that seems like a rather odd statement for people who are unapologetically pro-life to embrace…

- but please be sure to make this crucial distinction…Jesus doesn’t say – don’t be concerned for your life or the life of others…or don’t take proper precautions for your life and the lives of others…

- He says – Don’t be worried about it…don’t merimnaw it…to be so focused on what might happen in the future that you miss the opportunities and the responsibilities you have today…

- that is a very important difference…Christians do think differently about the issue of life and death…

- Philippians 1:21 - For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

- this is why there are differences out there about the pace at which states should reopen their economies…and Christians are being hammered on this issue by some on the far left…

- perhaps most starkly by Katherine Stewart’s March 27th Op-ed in the New York Times - The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals

- and we should never come off cavalier or unconcerned for our own lives or of those around us – our pro-life convictions and our belief in the stewardship of the body demand something better than that….

- but we don’t worry about our lives…why, because our Master is in charge of the number of our days…that’s why having the right master is so crucial…

2. Do not be worried about what you will eat or drink

- v. 25 – as to what you will eat or what you will drink

3. Do not worry about your clothes

- v. 25 – nor for your body, as to what you will put on

- and what is the reason given at the end of verse 25?

C. Your life is more than these things

- v. 25 – Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

- think back to Anna’s testimony…if she allowed herself to be sinfully worried, she would miss the opportunity to grow in Christ and serve those around her in need of her compassionate care…

- you can’t have a divided mind and be a skilled health-care worker…

- you can’t have a divided mind and be a skilled mother caring for your children at home with needs like never before…

- you can’t have a divided mind and re-start your business…or re-open the church…

- you let the Master take care of the Master’s responsibilities…and find satisfying life each day by growing in and serving Him…

- now, for some of us…worry might be like Linus’ blanket in the Peanut’s comic strip…it may not be rational, but I don’t want to let it go…unless what?...unless there is a better replacement…that’s what we have next…

II. Consider Why Worry is Unnecessary – vv. 26-30

- did you notice the two strong reasons in our passage?...

A. Because God cares for His creation.

- Matthew 6:26 - Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

- you might say – you know, I’ve been so focused on all of these pandemic issues, I haven’t even thought much about the birds this spring…

- that proves the point – even if we haven’t, who has?....our God…and here’s the great news – you’re worth more to Him that a bird…

- and puff out your chest and say – take that you little sparrow…the point here isn’t how important we are …it’s how loving and kind our God is…

- and I’ve spoken with quite a few of our church members the last few months…and a constant refrain is – I know God loves me and will take care of our family’s needs…

- every time you choose trust instead of sinful worry – you’re saying something about how reliable you consider your Master to be…

- [if time – develop how this is even true of the bird flying around inside Wal-Mart this time of year]…

- it’s not just the birds, but what else?...

- Matthew 6:28–29 - And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

- my wife Kris pointed out some lilies growing out behind our house the other day…they are absolutely beautiful…but they didn’t have to toil or spin…God took care of them…

- do you believe we have an apologetic opportunity here?...to explain to others how we are trying to process all the potential worries during this pandemic?... 1 Peter 5:7 - casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

- what the second reason?...

B. Because worry is ineffective

- Matthew 6:27 - And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

- see, if worry had some kind of a pay-back, it might make sense…

- if I worry about this long enough, then the bad event won’t come to pass…is that the way it works?...

- all of this has certainly factored into the way we have thought about re-opening…

- we’ve tried to listen to our health-care professionals, to our medical/community leaders, and our church family…

- we’ve tried to craft a cautious plan…we’re trying to protect everyone the best we can…

- but ultimately we are not trusting in our plan…and we’re trying not to sinfully worry…

- Psalm 57:1 - Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by.

- of course all of this assumes that you have taken your place under the shadow of God’s wings…are you sure you’re chosen Him to be your Master – [develop the gospel, our hope/prayer is that many will turn to Christ during this pandemic…]

III. Use Your Faith in Christ to Fight Your Worries – vv. 31-34

A. Worry is a sign of living for the kingdom of this world.

- Matthew 6:31–32 - Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

- I realize someone might say – but PV, there is so much to worry about regarding the future…

- what about when school starts, what about when all these Purdue students return, what about the predicted second wave in the fall…etc., etc.…

- I really believe we have a marvelous opportunity to model for those around us who don not yet know the Lord how Jesus empowers us to face uncertainties with peace and trust…

- you may remember in our study of Romans, Paul explained that the Jews had stumbled over the stumbling stone…what Jesus said about their lack of righteousness and their need to trust Him as Savior and Lord was offensive to them…

- Peter picks that theme up in his first epistle…and we can’t read it all for sake of time…but here’s the gist…

- 1 Peter 2:4–5 - And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

- 1 Peter 2:11–12 - Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

B. Seek the kingdom of heaven

- so, what do we do with all this time saved from not worrying?...

- that’s what Jesus meant in verse 25 when He asked – Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing?...

- Matthew 6:33 - But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

- that’s what a Christian does when he/she opens their Bible in the morning and feeds on God’s Word…and cries out to Him in prayer…

- I’m not going to waste time in worry---I’m going to invest time in seeking first the kingdom of God…

- that’s what Anna is doing as a nurse when she says – what are the kingdom opportunities with my patients today?...no time to waste on worry, too many opportunities to serve the Lord right before my eyes…

  1. In the power of God, focus on addressing today’s problems today.

- Matthew 6:34 - So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Conclusion – why in the world would you want to be the captain of your fate, and the master of your soul? That’s exhausting. Thank the Lord for the possibility of having a divine, compassionate Master. Trust Him with your present and future needs.

Dr. Steve Viars

Roles

Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation

Bio

B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video