The jar of flour and the jug of oil

“The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” (1 Kings 17)

The Lord provides!

He made the brook at Cherith from which Elijah drank, and he commanded the ravens to feed him day and night.

And when the brook dried up he commanded a widow – of all people! – whose food supplies were about to run out, to feed him.

And even in the worst of times, a severe drought, “The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.”

Why, then, do I worry?

Forgive me, Lord, for the many times I’ve worried about provisions in life. Help me to trust that you will provide for all our needs even in the worst of times. Amen.

Faith is Refusing to Worry

…a large part of faith…consists of just refusing anxious thoughts…refusing to think about worrying things, refusing to think of the future in that wrong sense… [Having] faith means that I shall say: ‘No; I refuse to be worried. I have done my reasonable service; I have done what I believed to be right and legitimate, and beyond that I will not think at all’… When the devil comes with his insinuations, injecting them into you – all the fiery darts of the evil one – say, ‘No; I am not interested. The God whom I am trusting for today, I will trust for tomorrow. I refuse to listen; I will not think your thoughts.’ Faith is refusing to be burdened because we have cast our burden upon the Lord.

— D. M. Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, pp. 156-7

Combatting Anxiety

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A sermon preached at Massebah Christian Church, Bacolod City on March 17, 2013.

TEXT: Matthew 6:25-34

INTRO: Our choice of treasure, eye and master will determine whether we will be anxious or not (see verses 19-24).

I. ULTIMATELY, WHAT MATTERS IS NOT YOUR ABILITY TO CARE FOR YOURSELF BUT GOD’S COMMITMENT TO CARE FOR YOU (c.f, Psalm 127:1-21; 1 Peter 5:7).

A. The argument from the greater to the lesser: “Is not life more than food, the body more than clothing?” (c.f., Romans 8:32)

B. The argument from the lesser to the greater: “God cares for birds and lilies. Are you not more valuable than them? Surely, he will also care for you!”

DIGRESSION: WHY WORRY IS WRONG

1. It is unproductive: “Who among you by worrying can add one hour to his life-span?” (v. 27)

2. It is unnecessary: “Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things.” (v. 32 b)

3. It is unworthy: “For the pagans run after all these things.” (v.32a) “You of little faith!” (v. 30b)

II. GOD IS LOOKING AFTER OUR INTERESTS; WE SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR HIS.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (v. 33)

This teaching is meant to free us from anxiety so that we can devote our time and efforts to building up God’s kingdom.

“To concentrate on the doing of and acceptance of God’s will is the way to defeat worry.” (William Barclay)

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done!

Paul wasn’t worrying in prison because he was rejoicing that the gospel of the kingdom was being preached! (Phil. 1:12-18)

“God’s kingdom is Jesus Christ ruling over his people in total blessing and total demand. To seek first this kingdom is to desire as of first importance the spread of the reign of Christ.” (John Stott, Christian Counter-Culture)

Seeking first God’s kingdom is not escapism from the world but embodiment of God’s heavenly will on earth. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

It also includes praying for Christ’s Second Coming, for only then will God’s Kingdom be fully established on earth.

CONCLUSION:

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (v. 34)

Live one day at a time. Jesus taught us to pray for our daily, not tomorrow’s, bread. “Give us this day our daily bread.” “According to thy days so shall thy strength be.” To worry about tomorrow is to double your troubles!