#369 - TWO ATTITUDES (10/6/21)
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. Today, we consider the choice between two attitudes regarding our needs: worry or trust.
Would you go on a rollercoaster if you were told that one of the five cars falls off every time!? In winter I regularly walk past a pond with the sign ‘danger thin ice’ displayed in the middle. Would you walk on it? Many of us go through life worried and fearful that something bad might happen to us. Fear robs us of peace and generosity.
We’re not really convinced that God’s love is enough. Jesus tells us,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)
What is this ‘therefore’ there for? Jesus is urging us to come to a right conclusion in light of what He has been saying earlier in this chapter; in light of God be your loving Father, you need to stop living in fear and stop idolising money.
Consider the birds
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:26-27).
Jesus illustrates His point by urging us to consider the way that our Heavenly Father cares for the birds. When was the last time you sat down and watched or listened to the birds? In our busy lives, we can often rush past all of the signs of God’s power and goodness that are all around us.
Consider the flowers
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:28-32)
Jesus uses a second illustration from nature to show how the Father will meet our needs. Recently, I planted some seeds in the garden. Every day - more than once a day - I check on them. I water them. I will do all that I can, with my very limited skills, to ensure that they flourish. Our Father is like the Chelsea Flower Show professional gardener when it comes to looking after our needs!
How are we doing at saying ‘therefore’? Are we meditating on the love of the Father in His word and in nature and then applying it to our own lives? The antidote to worry and idolising money is the Love of God.
Jesus tells us that,
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - TWO PATHS
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What is the most enjoyable or memorable walk that you've been on and what makes it so memorable?
Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount.
Through Matthew 6:19-34 we will see that Jesus presents two choices using four different metaphors (two treasures, two ways to see, two masters and two attitudes). Each of these ways to live have the same basic idea: we can serve the Father or we can serve or be mastered by wealth, we cannot serve or be mastered by both!
i) TWO TREASURES - Please read Matthew 6:19-21
Knowing God as Father revolutionises what we treasure and how we use money. Jesus wants us to be clear, it's how we use our wealth that stores treasure in Heaven. Every Christian is to pray regularly "Your Kingdom, your will..." regarding their possessions, time and talents.
ii) TWO WAYS OF SEEING - Please read Matthew 6:22-23
Knowing God as Father transforms how we see life. As we come to know the Father, we see life through the lens of serving His Kingdom and will rather than money.
iii) TWO MASTERS - Please read Matthew 6:24
Knowing God as Father means that we no longer serve money as our master. In a slavery situation, one could not serve two masters. You cannot serve the demands of wealth whilst saying that you serve the Father. Wealth says, “Take this educational route… take this job…marry this person…live here…invest me like this…and you will be happy and safe!” The Father must be given rights over every decision and this may not make financial sense.
iv) TWO ATTITUDES - Please read Matthew 6:25-34
Knowing God as Father means we are free from worry about our needs. A poor view of God fills us with worry. When we know the Father, His perfect loves casts out fear. We are free to trust and be generous.
A simple application is to invest in your relationship with the Father through prayer out of His word. Making time to meditate and pray will deepen our relationship with the Father.
Secondly, pray about your use of money. A very practical application is to pray about your giving to your local church.
1. Did God Speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?
2. Which of the four metaphors do you find most challenging and why?
3. Why does knowing the Father revolutionise our relationship with money?
4. Please read Matthew 6:33. In light of what we've seen in this chapter of Matthew, what does this mean?
5. It might be good to pray for one another out of the message of this week's text.
Serving, Investing and inviting
1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting that you'd like to share?
2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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