Pastors, Bible Study Leaders, Educators:
Would you give me a few minutes of your reading time?
Briefly explore a sample lesson of a new Christ-centered, Bible study, The Life of Christ. This 54 week study will enrich the spiritual life of your congregation. It offers a wide variety of great resources and visual aids from the Internet. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
Blessings to you this day.
Ed Markquart, Author of this website.
View sample lessons
Grace to you and peace form
God our Father...
And our Lord and Savior Jesus
The title of the sermon for
tonight is “Winning the War Over Worry.”
So, all of you who are taking notes tonight, especially those
who are in grades 5 through 9, write that in the space marked
the War Over Worry.” The text is Matthew 6:25-32
Tonight is the ninth of
twelve dialogue sermons. All these sermons are based on Jesus’
Sermon on the Mount. As we had said previously, Jesus was teaching
the crowds down on the shores of Lake Galilee. But then it came time
for Jesus to take his twelve disciples up onto the mountainsides
overlooking the lake. These twelve were intensely interested in
becoming true disciples of Jesus. Jesus then gave his first twelve
followers his basic and beginning lessons in discipleship. He talked
about personal issues that we encounter in everyday life such as
anger and revenge, sex and love, greed and money. And…worry…the
focus of the sermon for today.
We human beings worry about everything. I mean everything. We worry
Our grades in school.
Whether or not we are popular or someone likes us.
How we look?
How we act?
If we made a good impression.
If we made a bad impression.
If we have enough money in our wallets.
If we saved enough money in our bank accounts.
About the health of our body.
About the health of our mind.
If our job is secure.
If our marriage is secure.
We are forever worried about our kids.
So we as human beings are essentially “worry warts” who worry
and are anxious and are distracted just about everything in life. We
have thousands of little worrys and big worrys in our lives. One of
life’s challenges for all of us is “winning the war against
worry.” It must be human nature to worry because we all take turns
at worrying during our lives.
In this passage from the
Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lists four reasons why we human being are
not to worry. Write that down kids. Four reasons that we human
beings are not to worry.
Reason number one. Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious about
your life.” Write that down kids. Point 1. Jesus said “Don’t
be anxious about your life.” We are not to be anxious about our
life, what we eat, what we drink, what we wear. We are not to be
anxious about these important issues of life. Why? Because Jesus
said so. When Jesus says it and teaches it, we listen to him. When
Jesus speaks, we listen. Jesus is our master teacher, and Jesus
tells us that we waste a lot of time and energy worrying about food,
clothing and housing.
In eighth grade confirmation, we carefully study the Sermon on the
Mount. In confirmation, we learn that Jesus was the master teacher
and that we are disciples. Disciples are students of Jesus. There
are three characteristics of good students. The three Ls. Good
students Listen to the master teacher. Good students Learn
what the teacher says. And then good students Live Out
what the master teacher has taught. It is in the living out that we
actually learn what the master teacher said. Regarding worry and
anxiety, we listen to what Jesus said about worry; we learn
what he said about worry; and then we live out what Jesus
said about worry, and thereby learn what Jesus was talking about.
Other places in the Bible
that God says not to worry. Philippians
4:6, “Have no anxiety about anything but in prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.
And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your
hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
The Bible says we are to have no anxiety about anything and
the peace of God will rule your hearts rather than anxiety ruling
I Peter 5:7, the Bible says,
“Cast your anxieties upon God for he cares about you.” We are to
give our anxieties to Christ. We are to bring our anxieties to the
cross and lay them at the foot of the cross. So we are not to worry
because God, Jesus and the Bible tell us disciples not to worry.
A second reason not to worry
and be a worry wart is that Jesus taught that God takes good care of
the wild birds and the wild flowers. Write that down kids. Number
two: God takes good care of the wild birds and wild flowers.
What did Jesus mean, that God takes good care of the wild birds and
God makes sure that the birds
have food. God provides
plenty of bugs, seeds, and worms for the birds.
He also has given them the ability to seek out that food -- enough for their needs.
God also sends rain and provides plenty of water for the
birds to drink. God has
provided all kinds of building material and given the birds the
ability to construct their own home and shelter.
God has given the birds the knowledge to raise a family and
the proper timing to know when to kick them out of the nest.
They have been given an instinct to know to head south when
it gets cold. God has given them a basic instinct for survival.
God provided for all their basic daily needs.
God not only takes care of
the daily needs of the birds but God also cares for the daily needs
of the wild flowers. The Greek words, “lilies of the field,”
does not refer to domesticated lilies but simply to wild flowers.
God take care of wild flowers.
Now, I am not talking about the fancy garden flowers that
need human attention, watering and fertilizing.
I am talking about the wild flowers up in the mountains.
Nobody waters them. Nobody
fertilizes them. Nobody
weeds them, and they put on a spectacular color show each spring.
Those mountain flowers don’t bloom very long; but they don’t
seem to mind. The
length of their beauty is not a big issue. They bloom for a moment and are gone, just the right length
of momentary time and they vanish until another season. But God cares for them. And so it is with us human beings.
Compare to the age of the Earth and Universe, our lives are so very
short, so very brief…just like the flowers. But God cares for us
in our moments of life, just as God cares for the wild flowers in
their moments of life.
And like it says in the text,
"Even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of
these beautiful wild flowers."
The fundamental thesis of
Jesus in this text is, "If God takes care of the billions upon
billions of birds in the earth and billions upon billions of wild
flowers on the earth then God will certainly take care of you and me
who are far more valuable the birds or the flowers.
A third reason that Jesus
tells us not to worry is that worry doesn’t do any good. Write
that down kids. “Worry does not do any good.” Worry is
intellectual activity and busyness of the mind. Worry is associated
with nervousness, inner anxiety, butterflies in the stomach, nerves,
being fidgety. Ultimately, nervousness does nothing except being
As Jesus said, does worrying about your length of life help you to
live longer? Ed, does worrying about how long you are going to live
As Jesus said, does worry about how tall you are add inches to your
You can worry a lot about how long you will live and you can worry
about how tall you may be, but your worry changes nothing. People
waste so much time and energy worrying about things in life that
just are…that cannot be changed.
We need to make a distinction between concern and worry. We are
legitimately concerned about our health and so we take action and go
and see a doctor and make changes the doctor recommends. That is
good. Concern leads to action. But worry just stews in its juices
and does nothing.
We are legitimately concerned about our marriages or our children
and so we take action. We go and talk to our family member or with a
counselor and make the changes that need to be done in our marriage
or family. That is good. Concern leads to positive action. But worry
just festers and does nothing.
We are legitimately concerned
about our jobs, especially in this economy with so much unemployment
here in the Pacific Northwest. We are rightly concerned about our
jobs and out of concern, we take actions. We talk to our
supervisors; we develop more skills; we develop relationships that
may lead to other jobs. This is good. Concern leads to positive
action. But worry fidgets in its juices and does nothing.
It's important to realize
that this text is connected to last Sunday's text about storing up
connecting word here is "therefore."
You cannot serve both God and Money "Therefore"
don't be anxious about your material , earthly , treasures.
Those are the things we tend to be anxious about.
God on the other hand will provide for the basic needs.
The essentials, not the desires; the needs, not the wants.
So in the story for today about the wild birds and wild flowers,
Jesus was teaching his true disciples not to worry. Why are we not
to worry? There are three reasons that we are not to worry:
1) Jesus, God and the Bible said not to. 2) God, in God’s
providential compassion, will take care of us. 3) Worry does no good
but is simply a waste of time and energy.
The four reason that worry is not helpful is that it hurts our
bodies. We all have read the correlations between stress and
illnesses. Statistics tells us the 85 % of the people who visit a
doctor are ill because of stress and worry.
85% of all illness is caused by stressful emotions and not
germs or viruses.
There is a research study by
a physician from the University of Washington. His name is Dr.
Vernon Riley. Dr. Riley divides cancer prone groups of mice into two
groups. He puts one group of cancer prone mice under high stress and
another group of cancer prone mice under low stress. In the high
stress group, 92% of them developed cancer; in the low, stress free
group, it was 7%. 92% verses 7%. Stress had resulted in the
suppression of the immunity system in those mice. Yes, worry
actually hurts our physical bodies.
Ed, let’s go in a
different direction. I have a couple of questions for you. How does this text relate to someone who is about to lose his
or her job at Boeing? Doesn’t a person naturally worry when and if
you may be losing your job?
Of course. It's natural to
be worried about loosing our jobs.
But sometimes I think we are more worried about the
loss of our middle class life style with boats, cars and houses than
the actual loss of the job. We are to trust God that our basic
essentials in life will be taken care just as God cares for the
wild birds of the air and the wild flowers of the fields.
Well, how about the people of
Iraq and Israel/Palestine? Shouldn't
they be worried about food and shelter and safety in the midst of
Of course people worry during
wars. It is awful to live in war torn countries and it is natural
for them to be worried and anxious about what's happening. But worry
does nothing but worry. Even in warfare, people learn to trust God
with their lives. …..
John, I have a couple of questions for you.
What about someone going in for a biopsy and thinks they may
have cancer? Aren't
they supposed to be a little anxious?
Of course. It is certainly
normal and natural that a person will be worried and anxious about
their physical health in a situation like this.
It would be surprising is someone wasn't a little worried.
This kind of concern is expected.
But again, Jesus is talking about not being anxious about
material things, your wallet, your bank account, your safe deposit
box. Personal health is
a different issue. Jesus
knows that we will be concerned about that when it is threatened.
It's also to note here that even in the midst of our worries
and positive attitude and trust in God will help.
What about out families?
Aren’t we all worried about our children?
Of course. That's perfectly
OK. Parents should be
worried about the safety of their children today.
The world is a pretty rough place these days and parents
should have a healthy concern about the safety and welfare of their
children and other family members.
We have made the distinction between worries and concerns and
that distinction is helpful. Worrying about our children is to just
fret and stew and do nothing except more fretting and stewing. On
the other hand, concern for our children leads to action and
Instead of worry, we are to
seek first for God to rule our lives so that we would lead lives of
goodness. Write that down kids: Instead of worry, seek first for God
to rule our lives so that we would live lives of goodness. This is
Jesus’ most important teaching in the first three gospels: the
kingdom of God. We are to seek God’s reign, his rule, his lordship
over our lives. God and the ways of God are to be number one in our
And then …
all these things will be yours as well. Seek first God and
the ways of God and God will bless you with food, clothing and
shelter, the basic necessities of life; and there will then be a
peace of God which passes all understanding.
Yes, we want our hearts
filled with peace and not with anxiety. Jesus said, “Don’t worry
about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”
We, as God’s children,
worry way too much about way too many things.
Instead, Jesus wants us to
trust God for all of our needs.
As we trust God, God will
help us win the war against worry.
Trust God. Your tomorrow is
in God’s hands.