TRUSTING GOD WITH YOUR LIFE – Pete Bauer
This sermon was preached at Peace Hill Christian Fellowship on July 27th, 2014. To listen to the audio, click on this link – Flowers.
“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.
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, (they do not go to work, collect paychecks, or have retirement packages), and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We Must Choose Who/What We Will Serve.
Jesus Contrasts Two Kinds of Life:
~ Kingdom Life: The Kingdom is that movement in which people are being called out of the world’s system of thinking, behaving, speaking, valuing–and into the community of the followers of Jesus Christ, where each individual is called to be in a relationship of love, submission, worship and service to God through Jesus Christ.
Kingdom Life, then, is the pursuit of a relationship to God in which we experience God’s love and presence through
- worship (adoration, thankfulness, communion, fellowship),
- service (self-sacrifice and loving help to others)
- obedience (the submission of our way to God’s way).
In kingdom life we leave behind life the way the world lives and understands life–to enter into a new life as defined by Jesus and the Scriptures.
~ Anxiety Life: is the pursuit of peace, happiness and security by doing everything possible to make ourselves feel less anxious about our lives, the future, or whatever promises peace and happiness but actually devours and takes over our lives. Jesus mentions our necessary food and clothing–which are good things. However when even these necessities become the primary source of our hope and happiness, the goal of life–they distort and ruin life–changing from blessings into controlling anxieties. Other examples are: professional development–dream homes–making sure you or your children succeed–accumulation of wealth or possessions or security–prestige or fame–appearance or reputation–pleasure, convenience or luxury–the power to have one’s own way.
The above are mostly good things, which, if run after as the source of happiness and hope, become appetites that distort our lives, leaving them fractured and fragmented with cares and desires.
We Cannot Serve Two Masters: Jesus confronts us with these two contrasting/competing ways of life. He describes both Kingdom Life and Anxiety Life as possible masters (directions of life)–and he describes us as slaves. We do not choose whether or not to be slaves who serve–life demands that we serve one master or another. We are never free from the service of one master or the other.
As western Christians we are uncomfortable with this terminology. We believe we are free to choose and be and live–with power to vote away whatever government we don’t like. Government (our experience of being subject) is a passing thing for us. But spiritually speaking, we are not free from being ruled over. Jesus confronts us with this choice which we do not want to acknowledge but which, nevertheless is true.
Understand the Meaning of Life: Jesus asks, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” In another place Jesus says, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can he give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). Both of these questions are asking the same thing–what does life mean? Are the cares and anxieties we carry to have our way, to find our dream home, to be famous, appreciated, respected, beautiful, comfortable, successful–the real meaning of life? Are these things lasting? Isn’t life about more than these things?
Jesus is calling us to see that life is only meaningful–profound–real–lasting, when it consists of a relationship with the God who made us, knows us and loves us. Everything else that we have and experience are the blessings of life that come from the one who made us. If we replace God with that which he created–making the created thing, however good, the focus of life–we misunderstand and distort our lives.
Believe that the Author of Life Knows How to Create Life: Jesus gives two examples of life. The birds of the air and the wildflowers of the field. What is true about both of these images (parables), is that both the birds of the air and the wildflowers are completely insignificant, and seldom even noticed by most people–and yet beautiful and magnificent creations. No one goes through the grass staking up the wildflowers, fertilizing them. They were made to be stepped on–yet, up close, they are exquisite. No one plants them–God fills the grass with them. In the same way, birds, which we seldom notice, are beautifully colored, spectacular flyers, and almost never noticed by busy people going about their business.
What is Jesus saying about these things? That they are abundant, beautiful life. That God the heavenly creator, who spoke the universe into being, cares for them–tends them. That God knows something about how to create life that is beautiful, cared for, and blessed. The God who does this for wildflowers, which we step on and never notice, also cares for our anxieties and needs and desires–he attends to us. We, who are much more valuable than wildflowers, should trust Him not merely to provide things–but to create beautiful life in us–through us–around us.
Choose to Serve Kingdom Life!
Seek God’s Kingdom: Seek to interact with God first by praying to Jesus Christ about your anxieties, self-will, unbelief, inability to love God or your fellow man, your distrust and doubt, your past and whatever else you bring into your relationship with him–and ask him to change your heart (orientation towards God). Then sit in silence and listen, in some quiet place, to what thoughts and what scriptures God brings to your mind. Listen to God in silence.
For some of us God needs to break the chains of some addiction. For others of us God needs to show us how we have been controlled by Anxiety Life. For others still, God needs to put the spark of faith into us so that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again. Whatever the case, Jesus is calling us to ask and seek and to hear his voice (Matt.7:7-11).
Seek God’s Righteousness: Kingdom Life is not just about being in the Kingdom, it is about being transformed–changed. Jesus is calling us to become the people that God made us to be, made holy. This is a desire that God awakens in those who believe in Jesus and who receive his favor and forgiveness as a gift from God. God doesn’t automatically make us holy–but he puts the desire for a changed, holy life in us, and then gives us opportunities to ask for his help to live in a new way.
Again this happens as we both
- Speak to God in prayer–wrestling with the situations of our lives–and as we
- Listen to God in silence, and through Scripture–hearing the things he wants to say to us–instruction, encouragement, love and compassion, correction and conviction.
And All the Rest Will Be Given to You: Kingdom Life resets life into proper order. Anxiety Life is life out of order. Consequently, Jesus tells us: Put the kingdom first–pursue it first–seek it first, and all the things you are anxious about will be given to you–because God cares for you.
This morning we want to hear this call to reorient our lives towards Kingdom Life–towards relationship with our Creator–away form anxiety and towards life with and through Jesus.