Worry Offends Your Father

Steve Viars May 23, 2009 Matthew 6:26,32

- One of the saddest stories in the Old Testament involves one of God’s finest and best known servants, a man by the name of Moses…

- if you’re familiar with Scripture, you know that Moses was the one who was chosen by God to lead the children of Israel out of the country of Egypt and into the Promised Land…

- Moses was a wonderful leader in many ways, and he enjoyed a level of intimacy with God that few others enjoyed under the Old Covenant…

- the final words of the book of Deuteronomy and therefore the closing the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the OT) read like this…

- Deuteronomy 34:9-12 – Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, for all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land,and for all the mighty power and for all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

- what an incredible summary of a man’s life – “since that time no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face…”

- the Scripture also tells us that… Numbers 12:3 - (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)

 

- however, you may also know that Moses was not permitted to actually cross over into the Promised Land because of his sin…

- It occurred at a place called Meribah, and the children of Israel had been complaining about their lack of water again…grumbling and complaining was something that Moses had dealt with constantly in the leadership position to which he was called…it was like a steady drip of a faucet and apparently it wore on his soul…

- on this particular occasion, God gave Moses very explicit instructions…

- Numbers 20:7-8 - and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.

 

- so the next verse and a half reads… Numbers 20:9-10a - So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him;and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock…

- so far, so good…but here’s where the problem starts…

- Numbers 20:10b-11 - And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?”Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.

- the irony of this event is saddening, because at the very point he is accusing others of rebellion, he himself is disobeying the clear instructions of God…

- and in so doing – the attention was taken away from God’s power, and focused instead on Moses anger…amazingly the Lord allowed water to come out anyway…

- I’ve always thought that would have been a great time for God to withhold the water and then give kind of an “ahem” from heaven after Moses was done with his fit…

- something like – “would you like to try that again?”…but apparently God wants the people to have water, so he gives it to them in spite of his servant’s disobedience…however…

- Numbers 20:12-13 - But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the Lord, and He proved Himself holy among them.

- you can imagine how shocking and disappointing that news must have been to Moses…in fact you might think that God was being a bit tough on his servant…

- but that would actually prove the point…

- too often God’s people do not take the issue of preserving and promoting His glory nearly as seriously as we should…

- that’s why we read in Isaiah 42:8 - I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.

- in other words, offending God and robbing Him of the glory due His name is a really bad idea…

 

- now, I realize that you might say – and that is exactly why I would never do that…really?...

- this morning we need to talk about how Worry Offends Your Father…

 

- let me invite you to open your Bible to Matthew chapter 6…later this morning we’ll look at several other passages of Scripture…but we’re going to start here this morning…[page 4 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…]

- we’re in the 5th week of a 7 part series on the subject of Finding Hope in Handling Worry...

- it’s a verse-by-verse study of Matthew 6:25-34…

- Introduction - so far, we’ve tried to make four primary points…

1. Worry Tears You Up.

- that idea comes from the meaning of the term “worry” in this passage…that’s the Greek word merimnaw – [which occurs 5 different times in this short text] -- “To divide, rip or tear apart.”

- so any time you are thinking about some possible problem or difficulty in the future to the point that your focus is divided, and your heart is divided, your allegiance is divided…that’s worry…

- it takes your eye off the ball – the challenges God has given you to face and overcome today…and as a result, it tears you up inside…

-  the second week we saw that…

2. Worry Makes You Small.

- that comes from Jesus’ question in Matthew 6:25 – Is not life more than ______?

- isn’t life more than that item, or that problem, or that issue, or that possibility?

- sure it is, unless you let worry put blinders on your brain…reducing your field of vision and in so doing, make you small…

- then we saw that…

3. Worry Steals Your Hope.

- even the birds and the lilies prove that God can do His job of caring for our needs…birds are well fed…lilies are well clothed…in God’s plan and in His time..

- and when we fail to factor such theological lessons into our hearts and lives, worry has stolen our hope…

- the point 2 weeks ago was that…

4. Worry Wastes Your Time.

- that comes from Jesus’ question in verse 27 - Matthew 6:27 - And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

- and the answer is – none of us – worry is an absolute waste of time…it accomplishes nothing…and worse, it takes our energy and our attention away from activities that can help us accomplish God’s purposes today…

 

- now, I realize that you might say – but doesn’t the tragedy of last weekend nullify everything we’ve studied?...after hearing of a devastating fire – I’m likely to worry more…

- the point of this series has never been that if you don’t worry – everything will go well…

- instead the point is – worry does not accomplish anything---it does not help…

- in fact it is counterproductive because it takes our focus off of the privileges and responsibilities God has for us today…

- we’ll develop some parallel ideas later this morning…

 

- now let’s read our key text again [read Matthew 6:19-34]…

 

- this morning we’re going to especially think about the phrase in both…

- Matthew 6:26 – your Heavenly Father

- Matthew 6:32 – your Heavenly Father

 

- what is the significance of that phrase and how does it fit into this discussion?...

- today’s point is – Worry Offends Your Father

- let’s spend the rest of our time thinking about 3 ways the Fatherhood of God can help you overcome worry.

 

- first of all, understand that…

I. Having a Heavenly Father is a Wonderful Privilege.

- please think about how this phrase would have impacted the One who was using it…

- this position was…

A. Cherished by Christ.

- frequently in the gospels Jesus spoke about the wonderful privilege of having an intimate relationship with the Father…

- just for sake of time – look at how many times this issue comes up in just one chapter in the Bible, John chapter 5…

John 5:17 - But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

John 5:18 - For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

John 5:19 - Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

John 5:20 - For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.

John 5:21 - For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.

John 5:22 - For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,

John 5:23 - so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

John 5:26 - For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

John 5:36 - “But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.

John 5:37 - “And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.

John 5:43 - “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.

John 5:45 - “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.

- the point is – Jesus did not think about/speak about His existence apart from His cherished relationship with the Heavenly Father

 

- that’s why we would read verses like…

John 1:18 - No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

John 3:35 - “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.

- that’s why Jesus would have never done what Moses did – He had too high a view of the privilege of having God as His heavenly Father – He would never do anything that would offend Him or rob Him of His glory…

- and that’s the same phrase that Jesus chose to repeat in our key text in Matthew 6 when instructing people like you and me about the issue of worry…this sin impacts the nature of your relationship  with your …heavenly Father…

 

- and please keep this in mind…that position was…

B. Made possible by His blood.

- do you remember what Paul said in Romans 8?...

- Romans 8:14-15 - For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

- Jesus knew that people like you and I could never be adopted into the family of God were it not for His shed blood…

- without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin, we learned from the book of Hebrews…

- and without the complete and final remission of sin, there is no relationship with a Holy God…

- You cannot have God as your Father until you have His Son as your Savior…

- and here’s the point – worrying instead of trusting is an offense to the Father…

- and that is not to say that everything that occurs this side of heaven is going to be easy…

- but it is to say that we will never be called upon to face anything alone, or in our own strength, or wisdom…

- or to experience something in our lives or of those we love that would not be for our eternal good…

- the question is – does the attention you give to overcoming worry demonstrate that you are convinced that having God as your Father is a wonderful privilege?...

- see, it would be one thing if God had chosen to relate to us a landlord, or a boss, or a distant relative…

- that’s not the term He chose – instead it’s “Father”…what a wonderful privilege…

- [develop the gospel – for those who could not yet say that God is their Father…]

 

- this term would also cause us to conclude that..

II. Having a Heavenly Father is a Sufficient Provision.

- if you’ve never done so, I would strongly encourage you to read the book Trusting God by Jerry Bridges

- this is one of those books that many of us should probably read about once a year—it’s that good, and that important…

- it certainly goes right along with what we’re studying in this series…because the opposite of sinful worry is godly trust…

- Bridges uses this outline in his book…God is…

A. Completely Sovereign.

B. Infinite in Wisdom.

C. Perfect in Love.

 

- and the point is, a Father like that is worthy of our trust…

- let’s think about those three aspects of God’s provision for us for a moment…

 

A. Completely sovereign.

- Jerry Bridges – This is the essence of God’s sovereignty: His absolute independence to do as He pleases and His absolute control over the actions of all His creatures.  No creature, person, or empire can either thwart His will or act outside the bounds of His will, Trusting God, p. 34.

- that is clearly the teaching of the Word of God…literally hundreds of verses of Scripture would make such claims…like…

- Psalm 33:10-11 - The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.

- Proverbs 16:9 - A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

- Proverbs 19:21 - Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.

- Lamentations 3:37 - Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?

- the point is – that is the character of your Father…a God like this is certainly worthy of our trust and when we choose to worry instead, we are offending His name…

- I understand that some people here today may really struggle with this doctrine…God is not offended by people who wrestle with His Word to try to understand and apply it…so around here, you’ll never hear the words – “don’t ask questions – we’re in church – God might hear you…”

- but if you reject the doctrine of the sovereignty of God – where does that leave you, and what impact does that have on your ability to overcome worry?

- you may be familiar with the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold Kushner…it was a national bestseller and sold over 4 million copies…

- I plan to talk to you about this book in more depth in a series we’re doing this summer – but let me at least start that conversation in light of all that’s occurred and its relationship to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty…

- Kushner says that it is impossible to believe in three concepts simultaneously…

1. Human beings are good

2. God is good

3. God is powerful…

 

- the reason he says that you cannot believe in those three concepts simultaneously is that otherwise, bad things would never happen to good people…

- so his position is that you have to reject one of the three ideas…

- do you know which one he rejected in this best-selling book?...

- the third one – that God is powerful…

- he says that we shouldn’t expect justice in this world because God does not have the ability to bring it about…

- [incidentally, we would say that we shouldn’t expect complete justice in this world, but for an entirely different reason…]

 

- what is surprising is that Harold Kushner is a Jewish rabbi…presumably very familiar with the Old Testament…

- you can’t get through the first three chapters of the book of Genesis without learning that God is both good and powerful, and human beings and fallen angels have chosen to reject God and His Word…

- that is not to suggest that people are as bad as they can possibly be, but that compared to the holiness of God, we all fall short…

 

- therefore, any breathe that we take, or blessing we enjoy – is not because we deserve it, or we’ve earned it…or God would be unjust if He didn’t supply it for us…

- we are living solely and entirely by grace…

 

- after the fall of man, God could have dealt decisively and completely with the problem of sin…but that would have canceled out the possibility of our existence…

- the other choice was to allow the world and His creation to be impacted by the effects of the fall of man and then to provide a redeemer who could restore those who trusted in Him to their eternal purpose and design and thereby glorify the Father…

 

- one of the results is that the creation is groaning as Romans 8 says under the effects of the fall…and the fact that we don’t have complete justice in this world is a demonstration of His patience and longsuffering grace – not his impotence or inability to finish the story now if He chose to do so…

- that is why the proclamation of the gospel is so central to all we do as a church because we believe we are living on borrowed time…

- [develop why it was such a cause of rejoicing to Brian and Leah when Harrison and Sophia trusted Christ…]

 

B. Infinite in wisdom.

- Romans 11:33 - Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

- Psalm 147:5 - Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.

- many of us would say that the older we grew, the smarter our fathers became…

- that is one of the signs of maturity…coming to the place of saying – “I don’t have to understand everything, and I’m certainly not going to worry about the things I don’t understand…as long as I am convinced that my Heavenly Father’s wisdom is sufficient, that is all I need…”

- Isaiah 55:8-9 - For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.

 

- does the way you are seeking to overcome worry show that you agree?...

 

- what else can we say about the provision of the Father?

C. Perfect in love

- if you take the first two qualities and place them in the hand out of a mean spirited despot, there would be a lot to worry about…

- that’s why the Father’s love is so important…

Psalm 103:11 - For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

Romans 8:35-37 - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

1 John 4:9-10 - In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

- what an incredible provision…the possibility of having a personal relationship with a Father like this…

- when we worry…we’re saying that…

1) We’re not particularly thankful for the privilege.

2) We’re not particularly confident in the provision.

 

- so how do we wrap this up?...perhaps by saying that…

III. Having a Heavenly Father is a Responsible Position.

- If there’s been a definite time in your life when you’ve admitted your need and trusted Christ as Savior and Lord…having God as your Heavenly Father brings with it certain responsibilities…and obeying Jesus’ command to not worry is fairly high on the list…

 

- another excellent book to read while we’re doing this series is Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book – Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety

- she uses a chart based on Philippians 4:8 that I thought might be a helpful way for us to conclude our time this morning…

- you probably remember the verse…

- Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

- Elyse encourages her readers to use this verse to adopt certain thought filters…

 

Thought Filters:

Ask Yourself:

True

Is what I’m thinking true about God, particularly His fatherly care for me?

Honorable

Do my thoughts honor God? Do they reflect the knowledge that He is wonderful, kind, loving, wise, and powerful?

Right

Are my thoughts holy, righteous, or just? Are they the king that the Lord Himself would think?

Pure

Do my thoughts cast doubt on God’s goodness or the truth of His promises? Do they elevate my own importance or desire?

Lovely

Do my thoughts flow from a heart filled with tenderness and affection for the Lord? Would my thoughts bring Him pleasure?

Of Good Repute

Are my thoughts of good repute? Are they grounded in faith?

Excellent

Do my thoughts case me to be fearful, or do they fill my heart with courage and strong commitment to virtuous living?

Praiseworthy

Would the Lord commend my thoughts? Would they bring Him glory?


 

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

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