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Do Not Worry – A Sermon on Matthew 6:25-34

what-me-worryWe spend our lives worrying about what we’ll eat and Jesus takes bread saying “I’m the bread of life, broken to feed worriers like you.”

We spend our lives worrying about what we’ll drink and Jesus takes a cup saying “This is my blood poured out for anxious souls like you.”

We spend our lives worrying about what we’ll wear and on the cross Jesus is stripped, so that we can be clothed in His righteousness.


Sermon text

Audio (I had to re-record the last 3 minutes after the service).


15 thoughts on “Do Not Worry – A Sermon on Matthew 6:25-34

  1. Howard

    Two comments on your sermon on the sermon... 1. Jesus informs us as He begins to teach that He has not come to abolish the Law & the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). That is the good news, because there is absolutely no relaxing of the requirements of the Law outside of that fulfillment (vs 18). In fact, the actual requirements regarding righteousness are far greater than the Pharisees believed, so righteousness of any worth is clearly beyond what we would normally evaluate as making the grade in our own estimation, which is what Jesus goes on to show (verses 11-48, 6:1-7:11). Yes, the teaching does what the Law is intended to do - it shows us, clearly, what we're meant to be, but how many of us match up here - how many make it through this exceedingly narrow gate (7:13) of, as Jesus has shown, being right not only in our deeds, but in the motivation behind those deeds? I have to say, I'm with the Apostle Paul on this one... my life experience much of the time is the dichotomy he defines in regards to all of this (Romans 7:14-24), and the remedy to this is those freeing words of Matthew 5:17 and Romans 8:1 - that Christ's righteousness alone frees and saves us.

    2. I really do not think that Jesus wasn't TOTALLY focused on the crucifixion on the night before this - the Gospels make it clear that He had been thinking about nothing else for weeks before hand (and good commentators note how it was the very shadow of that which brought about the major change in His ministry). Did He worry about it? He faced an anguish in the garden we cannot possibly imagine, and throughout His life, He was 'the man of sorrows, aquatinted with grief' - the weight of a broken world. All this is part of our comfort, because He knows us intimately, ungodly and foul, and it amidst this unrelenting plight that He comes to us, takes us up, and by no more than His blood and death, carries us back to the Father.
    Christ bore this great weight (much more than we do everyday) not because He was care-free - no, He endured it for the joy that was set before Him... the wonder of the redeemed creation, in fellowship with Father, Son and Spirit, that is coming.

    Every day, the world and the devil are upon us, perhaps the more so as we draw closer to our ends, but as Luther said, we must tell him (and his devices) to go to hell, because God has loved us in His Son, and on the day that is coming, that is all that will count for anything - He has saved us, and grants us the gift of trusting in the finished work... That is why we should not worry, so long as we rest upon His work upon the cross.

  2. Glen

    Hi Howard,

    With regards to 1) I thought I was doing a law-gospel to be honest. I'm really worried if I come across as saying anything that would contradict your words here:

    "I have to say, I’m with the Apostle Paul on this one… my life experience much of the time is the dichotomy he defines in regards to all of this (Romans 7:14-24), and the remedy to this is those freeing words of Matthew 5:17 and Romans 8:1 – that Christ’s righteousness alone frees and saves us."

    I hope I too am with the Apostle Paul. I hope I too am preaching that Christ's righteousness alone frees and saves. Not sure what more I could do to say that the sermon does not describe US but CHRIST, who dies for faithless worriers.

    On 2) Yes perhaps I could have been clearer that Jesus not only lives the blessings of the fearless truster, but tastes the curses of the fearful doubter. Indeed in His hour He enters into ALL our Fears and Troubles. I think I tried to say that, - it's what I was getting at with the 'Jesus entered into Ego-Death', etc, etc. But I could perhaps have been clearer

    I think it's important though to maintain that Jesus was fulfilling His don't worry law throughout, don't you? On some level He must have been 'taking no thought for the morrow' - on *some* level, right?

  3. Howard

    Good morning, Glen. Yes, it's spot on to be 'preaching that Christ’s righteousness alone frees and saves' - I know that's your intent, and I'm certain that many will find comfort about this in what you preached. My concern was raised because, as I read your message (and this was probably because I merely read it), it's work of exposure (regarding our little faith) may have sparked a response that I've encountered numerous times - 'Jesus tells us to stop worrying and to be obedient, so I must, I must, I MUST!', and before we know it, we're back into our ability to do. Perhaps it's just me being over-sensitive to this, but after spending years in situations where the general offer is law, law and, oh, more law, I'm very aware how many pick up and run with this kind of material - and the running isn't to Christ. Yes, you have shown there is a better life for the believer who is truly trusting in Him, but the 'background music' in the sermon on the mount is the mistaken understanding of the Scribes and Pharisees with regards to righteousness (5:20, 21, 27, 31, 38, 43, 6:2, 5, 16), and we can easily jump through that hoop as well if we become focused upon anything other than Christ.

    I'm probably being over-sensitive here, so please forgive my outburst if that is so.

    With regards to Jesus and the cross, it may well have been the thought of 'the day after tomorrow' which comforted Him in the suffering of the hours before Golgotha, I don't deny His deep love for those who were His friends, but John's depiction of the time and teaching of Jesus prior to Gethsemane convey a focus on what was to come through and beyond the cross... certainly a theme worth further consideration.

    Thank you for the opportunity to unpack some of this. I apologize again if my response was a tad extreme!

  4. Rich

    Very timely. I'm reminded that today is about abiding in Christ. Thanks Glen.

    Howard, I know what you mean about law being offered week after week instead of Jesus. I think often it's accidental but it's exhausting and fruitless. Thankfully my first response to this sermon, and your comments, was to come to Jesus. I needed the reminder.

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  6. Glen

    Thanks James and Rich.

    Hi Howard, I'm so sorry that this sermon has come across as legalistic. I have definitely preached law here - and preached it to kill. I have done so because I'm convinced that the only way to avoid legalISM is to preach the full demands of the law, conclude everyone and everything under sin and then point to Christ 'extra nos.' I'll be much more careful with my wording in future.

    God bless

  7. Howard

    No worries, Glen - I think it was, as I've said, the fact that I read it rather than heard it that made a lot of difference. Yes, the law is certainly needed to kill, but my concerns regarding how many pick this up, I think, are something for further thoughts. Sounds like you had a good time with Paul. All my best, Howard.

  8. John B

    Hi theoldadam,

    Is your understanding that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches his hearers an impossible ideal? Is it that which exposes us all?

  9. Dave K

    I'm a left scratching my head a little at the comments, but it was helpful to think through the passage though.

    i suppose 'don't worry' is a command, and the law can provoke sin by making you worry about worrying - which is ironic, crazy and normal in my experience.

    I've heard distinguishing/preaching law/Gospel described both as an 'art' (Luther) and a matter of 'pastoral discernment' (Paulson?). I think this is particularly the case in considering how much time you spend exposing us before you move onto exposing Jesus. One reason I don't envy preachers is that for one person you may need to really explore the former for the penny to drop, where as someone else (e.g. you Howard?) have already had the penny drop on the first as soon as the passage is read.

    The passage is beautiful though because there is no IF...THEN. The command is there exposing, but the promise of what we have in the Son (i.e. the Father's care) is not made dependant on the not worrying. Even a 'little faith' shows we are the Father's.

  10. Rich Owen

    Mr Kirkman once again proves, that layman's theology is where it is at. You are sir, a genius.

    We salute you.

    And then we rebuke you. For not blogging more. And for moving to York.

  11. Brian Midmore

    Legalism leads to worry since this makes us entirely responsible for our lives. A protestant work ethic can be beneficial but can degenerate into law. I find it helpful to chat to the lord about all my worries. When we are upset with or afraid of someone it is helpful to pray Gods blessing upon them. When we fear poverty meditate upon the birds of the air.

  12. Brian Midmore

    I like to look at the command 'dont worry' as more of permission not to worry. Many (including my mother when she lived) believe that it is their duty to worry and consider it irresponsible to stop worrying. Most christians want to stop worrying but at 3am in the morning it can seem impossible. Devotional practice like renouncing anxiety in Jesus name has helped me and also supplication and thanksgiving as Paul encourages. There is a place of supernatural peace that is ours if we percevere.

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