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October 18, 2022 8:00 am
Hello and welcome again to the truthful with Don green founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio where Don teaches God's people can't work ideal right we've been immersed in a series titled escaping the anxiety track you learn why you should trust God with every fiber of your being at all times no matter the circumstances when you do so. The result is enduring's the kind that transcends human understanding. Today tile ribbon around the series, we present a live Q&A session done conducted with his church congregation. Following the conclusion of his last message on the subject of anxiety. You so much during that session right now on the truthful Matthew chapter 6 verse 25 Jesus says, 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. Look at the birds of the year 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, and who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life 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.
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, 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 but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Now before we get into the questions I just wanted to kind of just very quickly just summarize a couple of the main points that we made as we were going through this teaching and the first one was to recognize that Jesus is teaching here in this passage is connected to his teaching on life priorities in verses 19 through 24.
That's not by accident or anxiety's flow out of that which we value out of that which we consider important were not anxious about stuff that we don't care about and so when we find ourselves being anxious. We should step back and say what is it that I'm concerned about here is this something that involves earthly matters, or is this something that involves kingdom matters and it when you see that your anxieties are almost always tied to temporal things, that takes you back into the teaching in verse 19, where Jesus said don't store up for yourselves treasures on earth. Verse 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, so your anxieties immediately expose what your priorities and what you love our and that that immediately is just very searching and very humbling. Frankly, when you see the things that we get all uptight about secondly that I wanted to emphasize here is were starting out as Jesus speaks here is to realize when Jesus says don't be worried. Don't be worried. Don't be worried at least three times in that passage and is reinforcing his teaching. He is giving you a command.
Jesus here is giving you a moral imperative. This isn't a thought for the day. This is to govern all of life. It's the idea of stop worrying and don't start again and sold our whole attitude toward this brings in our attitude and our submission to the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we see the Lord saying don't be worried, then that's not a suggestion, that's a command that we have to respond to the glory of it is is that he gives us the means to get out of the anxiety. Anxiety is basically an anxious feeling to be over overly simple about it. Anxious feelings of apprehension about what the future holds. And the funny thing is is Jesus doesn't tell you to feel differently. He tells you to think he tells you to look at the birds of the air in verse 26 and and observe the grass of the field in verse 28. He goes on and tells you to think about what the Gentiles do, in verse 32 and wrapped all into this is the whole character of God. And so the the cure for anxiety starts with you thinking not trying to engender different feelings in your heart, your anxiety flows from the fact that you're not thinking rightly about God. You're not rightly thinking about his character and his certain care for his children and so that's where all of the starts and it all kind of flows from from there so that's kind of real quick overview of what we've been talking about. I got a lot of good questions in email and in private conversations and all of that so I'm looking forward to whatever's on your heart today with regard to Matthew 633. In light of Christians across the world, not just American Christians were Christians in other parts of the world who really are seeking first the kingdom of God and yet they don't find sometimes all these things added to them as well.
They find themselves persecuted without food put in labor camps. This kind of things. How do we understand that in light of what Jesus said. The question really. It seems to me is this is how do we vindicate God's righteousness in light of this promise. When there is human suffering that seems to contradict you know when Jesus says seek first his kingdom is righteousness and all these things will be added to you in that blanket promises made that unconditional promise is made.
How do we reconcile that problem with the reality of suffering and lack in poverty in the world.
There are several things I want to say about this. First of all is to recognize that Jesus's promise here in the whole context of the sermon on the Mount.
He is making a promise to the true children of God, not to all men indiscriminately. He speaking to his disciples, and so general hunger in the world does not disprove this promise at all. It has nothing to do with this promise. Jesus is talking to his disciples about how God cares for his own, and when most of the world does not love the true God is actually antagonistic toward the true God. They have no claim on what he says here and so there's that aspect of it.
Secondly, I would want to distinguish between those people who call themselves Christians who take the name of Christian, maybe even in a self deceived way. They're not trying to be imposters. But they're just deceived.
We need to distinguish between them and true Christians. True Christians are the recipients of this promise, not everyone who applies the name to themselves for those true Christians that are living in what we in the West would consider poverty. First of all, Jesus promises that necessities will be provided food and clothing.
Those kinds of things, not luxuries. And for all of us. We need to be very careful about the way that we think about our own needs and our own standard of living. We should not impose our standard of living which we enjoy here in the West, upon the promise of Jesus makes here the fact that some people live at levels that we think would be hard to live by that a subsistence level doesn't negate this promise because were simply defining our luxuries as necessities. Almost every one of us here lives at a higher standard of living than probably 98 to 99% of the world population and so the fact that they don't live in our level is not a statement about God's promise here at all.
In first Timothy six verse eight Paul says if we have food and covering with these we will be content. And so the standard that we apply to that promise needs to be considered, but more importantly, getting into the spiritual nature of Jesus is teaching here.
I would rather think that if you actually went to those places and found true Christians living in those what we would consider difficult situations. I would rather think that you would not find them complaining that God wasn't meeting his promise. I rather think that you would find them in the midst of inexplicable joy because of the hope of heaven that is theirs and the love of Christ that is within them, and the fact that we would complain under their circumstances doesn't mean that they would raise accusation against God, that he was not meeting their needs in second Corinthians 8501 read this one. One.
Verse maybe the passage here. Second Corinthians 8 verse beginning in verse one, Paul says now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which is been given in the churches of Macedonia.
Listen to this verse to that in a great ordeal of affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality in deep poverty. They were the most generous people that you could ask to meet Paul says in verse three I testify that according to their ability and beyond their ability. They gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this not as we expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. And so the fact that we recognize our own weakness in which a man if I was in that situation, I'd be grumbling. I would not be wondering what God was doing in all of that doesn't mean that our brothers and sisters in Christ and those difficult circumstances are responding in a carnal way and so what I would say is that Christian in that circumstance tell you that God is been unfaithful to him, rather than making that conclusion form. I think you'll get a different answer. I remember being down in Mexico several years ago visiting a an orphanage and II was speaking to the director of this orphanage and it's out in the middle of nowhere.
We drove for hours to to get there and the place was clean but it was very sparse, Spartan by our standards. No one that is in my circle of friends comes anywhere close to living that way. Yet they were trying to take care of these children in rule areas and so forth. I spoke to the director of it trying to get through my broken Spanish in his broken English II said what do you think living here.
There's very little that he has in a material sense not only for himself but for these children around.
I'll never forget his answer still affects me even when I think about it today. He looked at me and with total sincerity of heart.
He said glory to God, glory to God.
He was just giving glory to God that he was saved that he had this opportunity of ministry and that these children had a place to stay. Instead of being on the streets of Mexico Nessie.
What I really really think if you brought some of these people that we look on with pity in their poverty. These Christians I think if they came and lived amongst us for a while they would have a certain sense of pity on us and they would say you say you know you guys missed so much because you're so materialistic you think you need so much in an earthly way that you really don't. You guys are more like Martha you're busy and distracted with so many things yet just a few things are necessary. Jesus said really only one in so I wouldn't I wouldn't call God to the bar of our justice. In light of those circumstances when I think through it in all of these different aspects there's just a couple of other things to say about it, even if after all of that, you still find a Christian suffering like that I would go in terms of thinking through it in my own thinking to Matthew 510 but say that they're being persecuted because the government is trying to drive out the Christian church in silence the testimony of the true God through his chosen servants in their area.
I would go to Matthew 510, where Jesus says blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The apostle Paul suffered hunger and thirst in the midst of his ministry, but he didn't complain that God was being untrue to his promises. What did he say in second Corinthians 12 nine and 10 in the midst of all this suffering. He says the Lord said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness, even after all of that. You look beyond the immediate suffering to see the blessing that awaits us when were with Christ in his kingdom and ultimate sense Jesus is going to fulfill this promise that every one of his disciples. There may be ups and downs during earthly life.
But when his kingdom is consummated, and we gather around his table. The fullness of what Jesus has promised all these things will be added to you is going to be manifest to us and then there won't be a single dot of God's promise. It goes unfulfilled in the meantime. If we become aware of that kind of suffering, then we have the responsibility to use our means to alleviate the need of our brothers and sisters, God gives us abundant means that we might be able to share with others. So there's a whole lot that goes into answering that question. I think, and hopefully that's helpful right next question. How do you know what is the Lord we will you pray for something you wanted so much he wanted to happen in July.
Well I think it's a couple of things in response to that question is as I understand it is when you're earnestly seeking God over an issue or some need in your life and your praying about a 10 seems to be withheld and you still wanted.
How long do you pursue it. How do you know what God's will is in your life, keeping it in the context of Matthew six, I think there's a couple of things I would say about it. Will see if I am able to articulate it with any degree of coherence. First of all, the most important thing that we can pray in as worth considering the things that we want go to Matthew chapter 6 verse 10 as part of his teaching on prayer in the pattern for prayer. Jesus said, your kingdom come, your will be done. So if there are things in there have been in my life.
Just as there are in all of yours things that I've wanted that seem to been withheld.
The place where we have to go to is is that we so trust our heavenly father are good heavenly father who knows all of our needs are gracious heavenly father who sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins are powerful heavenly father who rules over all we have to. So trust him to know what is good for us that we say that ultimately we don't end our prayer with saying and I'm just this will sound crass but I don't mean it that way. We don't end our prayers by saying God. This is what I want. Amen. What we say is God hears my heart desire, but as my Lord Jesus prayed. Nevertheless, not as I will but thy will be done. God I want what you want from me more than I want for myself. That is the heart of true Christian praying.
Secondly, I would say, but we have to remember that God is the author of our circumstances. God is the one who has ordained the circumstances of our life. He is so omnipotent he is so powerful he so rules and governs over his creation that there is nothing in our life. No obstacles in our life that has an in want in in either a direct or immediate sense come from his hand. And so when you understand that God is your heavenly father and that he is in control of your circumstances, then that gives you a whole different perspective on things that have been withheld from you. You say perhaps what I want isn't the best thing, and God. I will defer to that and when you really play this out.
This affects the way you approach all of life.
You know you have your desires and your dreams for what you wanted your life to be and you see God steering your life in a different direction in those kinds of circumstances we can only superficially deal with this. You need to remember the, the teaching of Proverbs 16 nine.
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and so we plan out what we want. We have our desires and we plan those things out. But as we continue on in life. We have to be willing to see God direct our lives in a different direction providentially and rejoice in his different direction just as much, as if he had given us the desire of our heart because God is worthy of our full contentment.
God is worthy of our full worship God is worthy of our unconditional love and obedience. Whether we get what we want in prayer not right. This is independent of our circumstances and that I think is a big part of what Jesus means when he says seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, seek first as your supreme unchallenged unparalleled heart priority to know God and to live out the righteousness of Jesus described in the sermon on the Mount in the daily life. Everything else is secondary.
And if that it marks your life, then God is going to providentially guide you to the fulfillment of what he wants and when he does that, you can rest in joy that a good God is doing what. Not only is good for you, but that which we use your life to bring glory to his name. Okay, thanks for that question. I'm looking understand the bill.
The distinction between his or seems to be a relationship between the two.
Fear and anxiety and also the distinction as well as the interrelationship can help us with a relationship with that. So, we can also help you help with the temptations away from others where you cross the line into forbidden territory where you cross the line is is where you start to wonder whether it's going to work out okay for you in the end, and you start to say you know what bad things may happen to me and that starts to consume your thinking and distract you from a true trust in the Lord where you where you start to say you know I may lose my job here if I lose my job and then what's going to happen. How my going to provide for my family and these things that I have responsibility for what if I can't get my job back. What if I can't ever find anything. What if they turned me down for food stamps. You know, and that the anxieties to start to tumble over you so that you completely lost sight of this certain loving providential care of your heavenly father in the midst of it.
It's where your your fears are viewed your anxieties are viewed. Apart from the searching care of your father and you don't bring the loving care of your father to bear on your circumstances. Stated differently, it's when you start your thinking with your problem rather than starting your thinking with God. When you start your thinking out. How is this problem that I have going to work out.
That's the wrong approach. That's absolutely the wrong approach because when you say how is this going to work out your looking into the future that you don't know that's filled with uncertainty and and you start calculating what the different options are to make your problem work out that's entirely the wrong approach. Although it's what most of us do when were not thinking about it you know when were not conscious of the way were thinking the way you should started out if I could put it this way with some kind of variation of this question is who is going to work this problem out. Not how. But who because when you ask this question, then you're driving your mind back to your heavenly father, especially if you been listening to the teaching on anxiety and what Jesus said about this.
The who question makes you stop and say there is a person involved in this. It is my heavenly father is my omnipotent father who loves me. Who cares for the birds who causes the flowers to grow and close them with great beauty. He is the one who is over my circumstances. He has promised to care for me and therefore my anxieties can be put to rest. That's the way that you deal with your heart on these things would you say that that the terms are synonymous and for purposes of our discussion here. I would treat them the same. You know whether it's a sudden fear you're in a plane that's looks like it's going to go down or just the ongoing nagging anxieties of trying to make ends meet in an expensive place to live, whether it's sudden.
Bible says do not fear sudden fear or the onslaught of the wicked when it comes either either way. Either way, your mind and heart should be so trained in the goodness and sovereignty of God, that you say. This circumstance cannot be the end of me. Under no circumstances will this circumstance be the end of me. Even if this playing those down this ends up with me being in heaven and being face-to-face with my Savior. I went either way. And so I would treat the terms of synonymous and not try to not try to press the difference too much. Okay one point does thinking or planning for the future. For tomorrow turn to be worn.
That is an absolutely great question and I'm so glad that it came up one of the things that you have to understand about the nature of God's providence and the nature of God's sovereignty is that his primary way of working is that he uses means to accomplish his ends when he save souls for example from Romans chapter 10 is not that apart from any thinking or anything else that he just immediately transforms a soul he uses the means of preaching to convert the soul and and that's why Paul says, how can they believe if they don't hear how they hear. If they don't have a preacher and so God uses means to accomplish his ends to accomplish his purposes.
You know he can work directly or he can work indirectly. Let me give you an illustration that I was thinking about God's direct work would be if I held my hand out and a $100 bill just miraculously appeared. II just that man I'm I'm really you know things are tight. You stick your hand out you come back and is still empty. That's one way God could do it in the world that he has ordained. He uses means he uses are planning he uses our work and and he's ordained work, even before the fall for man to work to sustain himself.
For example, I'm just using an illustration here and so we have to understand that our planning are good and righteous planning is part of the means that God uses to add all things to us, get this, it is much an act of God when your boss hands you your paycheck as it would be if you held out your hand in $100 bill automatically appeared that is as much as an act of God because he is working in all things to accomplish his purposes in your life. And so the fact that it's not some big spectacular miracle like $100 bill appearing in your hand doesn't mean that it's any less God's provision.
When you do your work faithfully and you get paid for doing God is still to be given thanks either way you been listening to a Q&A session that pastor Don Greene held with his church congregation to ramp up a series called escaping the anxiety trap you're on the truth pulpit next time Don begins a brand-new series. So plan now to be with us when we want to thank you for tuning into this broadcast. And speaking of.
Thanks, Don. There's also people on your end, without whose efforts. This program would not be possible will bill. There sure is I have a loyal friend named will moneymaker who is the technical genius behind the program on our end. Will has been a loyal friend to me for over 10 years.
He is recorded every single message that I preached from my home pulpit done technical editing and without his skill and without his loyalty. This program would not exist. So if you're listening today and you hear the name will moneymaker I would just encourage you to stop for a moment, thank God for will and ask for God's blessing and protection on his life. You wouldn't be hearing this program without will moneymaker and so will on behalf of the truth pulpit in our audience we say thank you for your skill and loyalty that makes this broadcast possible friend. Please visit truth pulpit.com can also hear today's program or any in the escaping the anxiety trap series again at your convenience when you log on to the truth. Pulpit.com now for Don Greene.
I built right. See you next time when Don Greene continues teaching God's people.
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