Matthew 6:25-34 closes this piece of the Sermon on the Mount with Jesus teaching about worrying. Indeed, even to the extremely poor, Jesus says not to stress over food or garments. God takes care of the birds and garments the lilies in a beautiful manner, and God’s children are definitely more important than the birds. Restless worrying cannot add even an hour to an individual's life. Jesus advises the listeners to trust God to give them what they genuinely need. Nonetheless, the setting of what we really need is the desire of God which could appear to be exceptionally unique from what we would like (Matthew 5:3-12).
In light of the ill impacts of worry on our lives, Jesus tells us to “take no thought” concerning those needs that God has promised to supply. Worry might harm our wellbeing, make the object of stress consume our thoughts, upset our efficiency, contrarily influence the way that we treat others, and diminish our capacity to confide in God. What number of ill impacts of worry would we say that we are encountering? The distinction among worry and certifiable concern is that worry brings us to a standstill yet having a concern for others directs us toward activity.
Jesus is not advising the people to stop working. Nor is he advising them to just sit inactively by in anticipation for God to extraordinarily give. He is not recommending that it is inappropriate to earn a living in order to support their families. He is not telling the believers that they ought not shrewdly put something aside for future necessities. With regards to the remainder of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is telling his audience members to assume responsibility for what is in their hearts and minds.
Christ says that believers should not live in tension with regards to these essential necessities of life. Life is about something beyond clothing and food. There is significance and reason regardless of whether we have these things. To live in stress over wealth that we do not have is living heavily influenced by wealth, rather than the control of God. Living to serve God incorporates confiding in him to give us what is required without living in dread and uneasiness.
Presently Jesus speaks about the natural world by giving an illustration. Birds do not plant, reap, or store crops. They have no coordinated framework for accommodating themselves past the second they are in. Yet Jesus says, they do eat since God takes care of them.
Jesus poses a sharp inquiry to the people: Are they not more important than the birds? The inferred answer is obviously yes, they are more significant than the birds. Now if God takes care of the birds, he will likewise take care of the people who are worth more than birds. Rather than living in tension with regards to these fundamental necessities, Jesus asks his followers to trust God to give them what is required in his timely manner and with the amount that is needed. Philippians 4:19
Here Jesus mentions one more issue with uneasiness, dread, and stress: that they are pointless. They do not help, nor do they work. Those feelings are undoubtedly feeble regarding the concern for actual needs. Uneasiness is a characteristic human reaction, particularly while we are considering how to take care of our loved ones. Given the circumstances, it is obviously true that worry all by itself cannot add a solitary hour to anybody's life. Stress is incapable of doing anything.
Obviously, many know that uneasiness is not just something we can eliminate. God knows this and sees that it can be hard to place trust in God when times are troublesome. Truth be told, for this reason Scripture is here to remind us of this. If being a Christian made every one of our feelings of trepidation and questions vanish, then there would not be an obvious explanation for God to remind us not to stress.
Clothing and food are a fundamental human need. In many parts of the world, even those that society considers poor, seldom have genuine worries concerning where to get garments or food. That was difficult for the poor in Jesus' day, and it remains so in many areas of today’s world. It is normal to anticipate that somebody in that position will encounter nervousness. It is something we will more often than not identify with.
Lilies sit idle, in contrast with how individuals obtain food and shelter. The lilies of the field develop without accomplishing any work or creating any garments for themselves. In any case, as Jesus will say, they are clothed with extraordinary magnificence. They are dressed precisely as God wants them to be.
Jesus' Jewish audience members would have known about Solomon's incredible and luxurious abundance from Israel's days of glory (2 Chronicles 9:3-4). In addition to the fact that Solomon was dressed in the best clothes of the world, his realm likewise streamed with gold and silver. He lived in extraordinary extravagance. Jesus affirms that the quality of the lilies' magnificence outperforms even Solomon's although they never do anything. Jesus brings the point home in the accompanying verse, God can and will give what is needed. That may not particularly be what we want (Matthew 5:3-12), however it is enough for us to achieve God’s will.
God cares more profoundly about his people than he does about the birds or blossoms. The wild lilies are viewed as if it were grass. They spring up, blossom in quality, and die, prior to being raked up and consumed. If God gives clothing for the flowers, Jesus says, would we not say that God will dress us? Christ has as of now called attention that God's favoring does not constantly mean common solace (Matthew 5:3-12), so his providing can oftentimes include doing without the things that we consider as needs.
We see the statement “O ye of little faith.” Christians too often go to the altar with a problem but get up still holding onto the problem, as if the problem were attached to them with a bungee cord (Matthew 8:26; Matthew 16:8; Psalm 23:1). We need to learn to let go and let God manage it.
It is critical to see two things about what Jesus is teaching here. In the first place, he is not promising that God will give luxurious ways of life on this side of paradise, but that God will address their issues. That need is with regards to God's will for our lives, which is not always simple (Matthew 5:3-12). God will provide us what we need, in respect to his plans, which probably will not be what we want to be secure or at ease. Reliance on God's providing includes an extreme rethinking of what needs are.
Second, Jesus is not advising the people to quit working or planning for the future. His instructing here does not mean we ought to sit idly by and trust that the world (government) will take care of us. God regularly gives work and insight to address our issues. What people ought not do is fixate on riches, either by storing it or living in dread over neediness. God feeds and garments his people precisely as they really ought to be.
To “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” means that we should first go to God for help, to fill our thoughts with his longings, to take upon us his character as an example to live by, and to serve and submit to him in all things. What is essential to us? Material items, various individuals, objectives, and different cravings all compete against each other for first place in our lives. Any of these can rapidly knock God out of the lead position if we do not effectively decide to give God the lead of all aspects of our lives (Psalm 34:9).
Making plans for the future is time that is utilized well. However, agonizing over tomorrow is time squandered. Once in a while it is hard to differentiate between the two. Planning cautiously is preparing about any issues and trusting in God's direction. If we make plans in a correct manner, it can assist with reducing stress. On the other hand, the one who worries is consumed by dread and finds it challenging to confide in God. The worrier allows his plans to disrupt his relationship with God. We are not to let stresses over tomorrow influence our relationship with God today.
We need to learn to turn our worries into prayers (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2). While we are in prayer and with thanks in our hearts, give it to God (1 Peter 5:7). Worry less and pray more! God will answer in his time. Do our duty while we wait upon the Lord (Psalms 27:14; Luke 11:9).
Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34
What is salt used for and for what is it good for?
In Matthew 5:13, assuming a seasoning has no flavor, it has no worth. On the off chance that Christians put forth no attempt to influence their general surroundings, they are of little worth to God. If we are like the world in an excessive amount, then we have become useless. Christians ought not mix in with every other person. However, we should influence them in a positive manner, similarly as a seasoning draws out the best flavor in food.
In Mark 9:50, Jesus utilized salt to represent three characteristics that ought to be found in Christians. In the first place, we ought to recollect God's faithfulness, similarly as salt when utilized with a sacrifice reviewed God's covenant (Leviticus 2:13). Second, we should have an effect in the flavor of the world that we live in, similarly as salt changes meat's flavor (Matthew 5:13). Furthermore, we ought to counteract the ethical rottenness that is in the public eye, similarly as salt preserves food from going bad. At the point when we lose this longing to salt the earth with the adoration and message of God, we become futile to him.
In Luke 14:34, salt can lose its flavor. At the point when it gets wet and afterward dries, nothing remains except for a boring buildup. Numerous Christians mix into the world and stay away from the expense of defending Christ. However, Jesus says that if Christians lose their unmistakable saltiness, they become useless. Similarly, just as salt flavors food and can preserve it, we are to save the positive qualities on the earth, assist with holding it back from ruining, and rejuvenate new flavor. This requires us to plan, to be a willing sacrifice, and have an unswerving obligation to Christ's Kingdom. Being salty is difficult, however on the off chance that Christians fall through in their work, they neglect to present Christ to the world.
To treat or to prepare for use, to give more flavor.
Spiritual saltiness - Do not blend in.
You add salt to enhance the flavor of food. We are the salt that God uses to lead a hungry people to food. But if we are not ‘salty’ enough we are of no-good use. We have become worthless. If we begin to become unsalted then we need to get back in the Word. If a person has an injury or an illness, it may require intravenous (IV) fluids of sodium chloride to aid in his recovery. If Christians suffer a similar spiritual ordeal, they may need a spiritual IV.
1 Peter 3:15, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
To clean from imperfection.
Salt is used to clean from imperfection. Just as medical professionals use normal saline (salt water) to clean out a wound, we are to be that salt to the world. We cannot clean the world, but the world should see Christ in us which leads to cleaning. It will and does sting, but it is necessary. Sometimes we Christians need a little cleaning to remove the impurities that we have allowed to come in our lives. In some cases, salt is added to water to make it able to drink.
James 4:8, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
To reserve for exclusive use, to save from harm.
Preserves are good on a nice hot buttered biscuit, especially homemade preserves. Have you ever opened up a jar and found that wax ring on the top? That was placed there to preserve the fruit. With that thought in mind, Christ puts that salt or wax around us to preserve us for an exclusive use, to reach the world. Unfortunately, some Christians ‘wax’ are a little thin and the preserves do not last.
Meat that is hung in a smokehouse has a layer of salt on it as a preservative. It acts as a barrier. God always places that barrier of saltiness around us to preserve us now and for future service. However, like the meat in a smokehouse, that barrier can wear thin if we do not continually apply the salt (keep in the Word).
Isaiah 49:8, Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
To provoke displeasure, impatience.
Put salt in a wound and what happens? Salty Christians always sing, worship & praise the Lord wherever they are or regardless of circumstances. Salty Christians study the Word, and they witness. Sinners do not like that; it irritates their lifestyle. That means the Holy Spirit is convicting their hearts.
Some churches and Christians have lost their saltiness, they soothe rather than irritate. Their saltiness has become watered down. They have turned the church into a social club, a place for people to network. Instead of winning souls, Christians have become politically correct. Christians have set aside their differences form the world (their Christian life) and they do not want to offend anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings. They want to get together and do good works, show how good they are, and increase their societal standing.
2 Timothy 4:2, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (Whether it is convenient or not.)
Types of salt:
Salt may come in different forms, but it is still salt.
Rock salt melts ice (cold heart).
Table salt is used in food preparation (prepared heart).
Epsom salt, although not a true salt, is used for health reasons (condition of the heart).
Substitute salt is not healthy because it contains chemicals that can cause other health problems.
Seasoned salt is a blend of salt, herbs, and spices.
What does it mean to be good for nothing? Are we of little worth? Are we useless?
If I am not doing good, then I must be doing wrong, I must be counterproductive. If I am not drawing people to Christ, I must be pushing them away. If I am not showing the right way, then I must be showing them the wrong way.
How will we stand before God with nothing to show for our salvation? We do not work for our salvation. It is a free gift from God; but we must work after receiving the gift. Has our spiritual saltiness gotten wet? How salty are we?
Today’s sermon is about Jesus calling four fishermen to follow him. We can find this story also in Mark 1:16-20.
Jesus advised Peter and Andrew to leave their fishing business and become “fishers of men.” That means they were to help other people to find God. Jesus was calling them from their useful business to be spiritually useful. How many of us have heard the call and answered? We as a whole need to be fishing for lost souls. Assuming that we are practicing the teachings of Christ's and offering the Gospel with others, the Holy Spirit will actually be able to attract everyone around us to Christ, similar to an angler who uses nets to maneuver fish into his boat.
These men definitely knew Jesus. He had conversed with Peter and Andrew already (John 1:40-42) and had been preaching in the area nearby. At the point when Jesus called them, they realized what sort of man he was, and they were motivated to follow him. They were not in a mesmerizing daze (hypnotized) when they followed Jesus, yet they were completely persuaded that their lives would change for all eternity when they started to follow after him.
James and his sibling John, alongside Peter and Andrew, were the disciples that Jesus called to work with him first. Jesus' call inspired these men to get up and relinquish their jobs right away. They did not concoct any reasons or excuses concerning why it was anything but a suitable time to do as he called. They left immediately and followed him. Jesus calls every one of us to follow him. When Jesus calls to us serve him, we should do as the disciples did and do it without a moment's delay.
Look at what they did when they were called. Did they ask permission from anyone to go? Did they stop to ask their spouses if they could go? That is if they had wives. Did they ask the local rabbi at the synagogue for permission to go into the ministry? Then again, why did they go? These guys undoubtedly had good paying jobs, or their work was enough to keep them comfortable. I doubt that they had a union to deal with.
So, as a Christian, we should ask ourselves a couple of questions. First, what type of fisherman are we? Secondly, we could ask ourselves, what type of fish are we fishing for? Any fisherman can tell us that fishing takes practice. We have to learn the style of fishing that we want to do and learn the type of fish that we want to go after.
Types of Fishing:
The following are a few types of fishing.
There is Fly fishing. This type of fishing uses a lightweight lure. It is called an artificial fly. It acts like the real thing, but it is fake. Fly fishing skims surface. Then there is Bass fishing. You can see a lot of people out on a lake in their boats. They cast their lines and then they sit there and wait around for something to happen. Many bass fishermen may use a bobber, a floating device that is attached to the line. It sits on top of the water so the fisherman can just watch and see if anything bites.
Next there is Trout fishing. Now this type of fishing looks exciting. The fishermen may get out into the water and hunt for fish. They can look really busy. There is Spearfishing. This involves impaling the fish with a straight pointed object. These fishermen are jabbing at the fish trying to catch one. Or there is a Casting Net type of fishing. Here the fishermen use a net that they throw out into the water and try to catch fish. Sometimes the load is too heavy, and the fishermen cannot pull the net in. If the net is broken, the fish will get away.
Types of Fish:
Now let us look at some diverse types of fish. Are some Christians like this?
There are some questions that we need to ask ourselves as we go about our daily Christian life. Have we examined our spiritual “boats” and our spiritual “tackle boxes?” Are we using the right line, bait, etc.?
And as the title of this sermon suggests, have we become keepers of aquariums? That means are we swiping fish from other fishbowls (other churches), and not reaching out for lost souls? Are souls not being saved because our nets are torn?
We may not have ability to “fish” in the natural sense, but the question is, are we willing to go fishing for lost souls? Do we have a willingness to serve in whatever capacity that God calls us to do? What have we been called to do? We are to let our light shine, the light of Jesus, before everyone that we come in contact with (Matthew 5:16). We are to be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). We are told in Matthew 28:19 to go and teach. We are to go into the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15).
What Fruit Do I Bear?
Matthew 7:15-20, Luke 6:43-45
In this passage of Scripture, Jesus teaches about fruit in people’s lives.
False prophets were recurrent in Old Testament times. They forecasted just what the king and the local people wanted to hear, asserting that it was God's message. False teachers are similarly as frequent today. Jesus says to be careful with those whose words sound religious however who are inspired by popularity, power, or prestige. We can tell who they are on the grounds that in their instructing they limit Christ and laud themselves.
So, if a tree is known for its fruit, how do you know one piece of fruit from the other? We are taught from an early age what each fruit looks like, how it tastes, how it smells, and for what it is used. When you consider fruit, you are likely to consider something sweet and delicious to eat. Apples, berries, and oranges are all fruits. In any case, researchers consider fruit a piece of a plant that contains seeds. The fruit probably will not be sweet. Indeed, it probably will not be edible by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, it is a fruit.
Fruit is generally delicate and succulent, however not always. Some of the time it is covered by a hard, defensive shell. Consider a watermelon, for example. It is delicate and delicious within; however, the outside is intense. Some fruit may be bitter, and some fruit may be sour.
Some of the fruit characteristics could be considered characteristics of a Christian. Does the Christian have a fruitful appearance? If so, that Christian may be spiritual on the inside; or the Christian may be spiritually barren?
We ought to assess the teachers’ words by analyzing their lives. Similarly, as trees are predictable in the sort of fruit they produce, good teachers reliably show appropriate conduct and high moral fiber (character) as they endeavor to experience the certainties and truths of the Scripture. This does not mean we ought to have witch hunts, toss out Sunday teachers, ministers, and other people who are not exactly great, or less than perfect. None of us mere humans are perfect. All of us are liable to sin, and we should show the very kindness and mercy to others that we need for ourselves. When Jesus discusses degenerate and corrupt trees, he implies teachers who are intentionally teaching false doctrine. We should look at the teachers’ thought processes, their motives, which way they are taking, and the outcomes they are looking for.
Real fruit verses fake fruit. Fake fruit looks good, but it has no substance. How do we know good fruit? By the actions, the words, the ministry, and the lifestyle. You can clean a car but if the spark plug is not correct, the car will not work. We are not to judge but to examine the person’s life.
People watch us every day. Does God get the glory or do we?
When the fruit has been plucked from the tree, it begins to die. The fruit must stay connected to the tree so that it can get its nutrients from the tree. As such, we must be connected to Christ, if we are not, we slowly begin to die spiritually. If the tree is not growing, it is not productive, therefore it is not bearing fruit. If the tree is not productive and produces fruit, then the tree is not growing.
We must stay prayed up and studied up or we will grow cold and indifferent to God’s Word. If not, our spiritual fruit will begin to rot as natural fruit lying on the ground or on the countertop. Has anyone seen a banana going bad, or any piece of fruit for that matter? That piece of fruit is dying. It is decaying.
Is our Christian life like a piece of fruit that is going bad?
I received an email from someone stating an interest in seeing an article about home church groups that shun members because they did not vote for a particular political candidate, and regarding the politicizing of the recent pandemic.
My first thought is this, if professing Christians actually put Christ first in their life, and instead of looking at self and what he or she thinks, they should put their mindset as to what Jesus might say or do about a particular social issue.
In Matthew 22:15-22, it talks of a particular issue where the religious leaders question Jesus about paying taxes. The Jews were expected to pay taxes to help the Roman government. They loathed this tax collection on the grounds that the cash went straightforwardly into Caesar's depository, where some of it went to help the agnostic sanctuaries and the wanton way of life of the Roman gentry. Caesar’s picture on the coins was a consistent sign of Israel's subjugation to Rome.
Jesus detected a trap, so He questions why they are trying to tempt Him. He kept away from this snare by showing that we have double citizenship (1 Peter 2:17). Our citizenship in the state expects that we pay cash for the administrations and advantages that we get. Our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven expects that we promise to God our essential compliance and responsibility. This does not mean that we compromise our Christian conscience. We are to live according to the law of the land to which we reside.
But Acts 5:29 states, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” The apostles knew their most important needs and issues. While we ought to attempt to keep harmony with everybody (Romans 12:18), struggle and conflict in this world and the authorities is around us and is sometimes inescapable for a Christian (John 15:18). There will be circumstances where we cannot submit to both God and man. Then we should submit to God and trust His Word.
Let Jesus’ words give us encouragement.
Not all Christians will agree together on every topic.
There are basically two types of Christians, liberal and conservative. We could say that these are the Christians who fall into a mentality of following a fellowship distinction or that of morality. You could also look at this as a matter of being accepted by all, which means one may compromise their views, or one who may hold a bit firmer in their religious convictions.
I am not trying to insinuate or convince anyone to follow a particular political party. That is a matter between the individual Christian and his or her relationship with the Lord. As I have stated in my recent books, it is up to the individual Christian to dutifully study God’s Word, talk to the Father in prayer, and listen for the Holy Spirit to speak revelation of the Scriptures to you. I only present what I believe that the Lord has given to me during my time in study and prayer. We need to get back to the basics of God’s Word and what Christ has done and is doing for us. True Christian prosperity comes from a right spiritual relationship with the Lord, not in how big our church may be or in how financially wealthy we are. Lay up your treasures in Heaven, not here on earth.
Unfortunately, it is very apparent that too many Christians are becoming more concerned with pleasing self and others instead of pleasing God. I would recommend taking the time to read a book entitled “In His Steps,” by Charles M. Sheldon. His book is about a pastor who gave a series of sermons to his congregation revolving around the need for Christian’s to act regarding social issues. He based his sermons on 1 Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” Some of the characters in the book took a pledge, that before they decided about something, they would pray and ask, “What would Jesus do?” (WWJD) regarding their personal situation.
There is also an online article regarding the WWJD topic, “What Is the Origin of the Phrase ‘What Would Jesus Do’?”
Other views regarding politics and religion.
Here are a few online sources regarding religion and political issues.
Faith and Politics: The Influence of Religious Beliefs on Political Participation*
How Christians reconcile their personal political views and the teachings of their faith:
Religion and Politics
Americans Have Positive Views About Religion’s Role in Society, but Want It Out of Politics
What would America be without Christ?
What would America look like, if we were a nation without Faith?
Underwhelmed by “America without God”
Where are we without Christ?
An America Without Christ
A World Without Jesus
Some may question why I have posted those links. My answer, to question ourselves and our personal walk with Jesus. I had previously posted a blog about witnessing. What I did not write in that blog was, what a witness is. A witness is a person who sees an event. A witness means to have knowledge of (an event or change) from personal observation or experience. Now why do I mention that? If we Christians would live our lives as Christ would have us to live, then there would be little to no reason for such hate and discontent in our society.
Christians have allowed the sin and transgression in our society to run rampant and get worse over the years. Here are my questions to all Christians, regardless of race, creed, or national origin.
If you can truthfully answer those questions according to God’s Word, the Holy Bible, then you who profess to be Christian, a person who follows the teachings of Christ, does your answer to those questions differ from those of Jesus? If so, then why? I am not judging anyone. It is not my place to do that. I am only trying to point you toward God’s Word.
Pray! Do your Bible research. Look at various Christian Biblical commentaries. What does the Word of God tell you?
God called me into the ministry over 20 years ago and I have had the blessed opportunity to preach for a church radio broadcast, served as a Sunday School teacher, served as a youth director along with my wife, as a music director, as an Associate Pastor, and as an Interim Pastor.
Copyright © 2023 Rev. Chris Swanson
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