Judge Not

imagesJesus continues to teach the righteousness of the kingdom in Matthew 7. In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches kingdom righteousness in our relationship with God. In Matthew 7, Jesus teaches kingdom righteousness in our relationship with man.

The controlling principle in our relationship with others is in v. 12. Jesus said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12). It is a positive command. We are to “do” to others. It reflects Jesus’ law of love. Jesus’ law of love is that you love your neighbor as you love yourself, including your enemies. To love your neighbor as yourself is to do to them what you wish them to do to you. On the basis of this love ethic, Jesus gives the command, “Judge not” (Matt. 7:1). To love your neighbor is to stop judging your neighbor.

This theme speaks to us powerfully. We give and receive unloving criticism. We are prone to fault-finding. Jesus knows what is in our hearts. He gets to the heart of the matter.

In Matthew 7:1-5, I’d like us to note four things—the right meaning of the command, the reason for the command, the reflection of the Command, and the requirement of the Command.

Don’t Worry–Tomorrow Will Worry for Itself

imagesEighth, and last reason, do not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry for itself. Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:34).

I opened a website called “Phobia Fear Release.”[1] I discovered that people have hundreds of fears. I selected the following fears.

Peladophobia – Fear of bald people

Chaetophobia – Fear of hair

Caligynephobia – Fear of beautiful women (unbelievable!)

Gynephobia – Fear of women (for some guys)

Androphobia – Fear of men (for some girls)

Achluophobia – Fear of darkness

Phengophobia – Fear of daylight or sunshine

Thaasophobia – Fear of seating

Stasiphobia – Fear of standing or walking

Phobophobia – Fear of phobias

How about fear of wife? Asawaphobia. Fear of tithes and offerings? Tithophobia. I’d like to one more fear—Ugmaphobia—fear of tomorrow.

Are you afraid of what might happen tomorrow? Jesus said tomorrow has its own troubles. So let tomorrow worry for itself. In other words, live only for today.

The word, “sufficient” (Gk. arketos), means, “enough.” (Gingrich) It is written at the beginning of the Greek sentence. “Enough” for the day is its own trouble. Today’s troubles are enough. So don’t worry about tomorrow.

CONCLUSION

Jesus commands us not to worry. Anxiety is a hindrance to discipleship. Worry is an obstacle to commitment to God. Therefore, do not be anxious about your daily needs.

Jesus is not saying that you should no longer work for a living. Rather, Jesus is saying that you should not worry for your needs. If God takes care of the flowers, then God shall take care of you. But you must prioritize the kingdom. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Obey God’s will first in your life. Then all these things shall be added unto you.

[1] Will Oestreich, “Names Of Phobias,” Phobia Fear Release. Cited May 9, 2015. Online: http://www.phobia-fear-release.com/names-of-phobias.html

Don’t Worry–Seek First the Kingdom of God

Seventh, do not worry because God shall provide all these things if you seek Seek-first-1first his kingdom. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

In v. 32, Jesus said “the Gentiles seek after all these things.” Then in v. 33, Jesus said, “But you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Jesus is saying the Gentiles seek first all these things. But you, the Christ-follower, are to seek first the kingdom of God. Jesus is saying the Gentiles seek after all these things. But you seek only one thing—the kingdom of God and his righteousness. The Gentiles devote their energies for all these things. But you are to devote your energy to the kingdom and the kingdom alone.

The kingdom of God is the rule of God. To seek first the kingdom is to obey first the rule of God. To seek first the kingdom of God is to make obedience to God’s will the priority of your life.

When I was a young new believer, someone asked me if I would attend choir practice. I said, “No,” giving my excuse. He answered, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God.” I attended choir practice. I could never forget that.

Many people describe serving in church as seeking the kingdom. But the church is not the kingdom. The kingdom is the rule of God. Singing in the choir or worship team is not seeking the kingdom. Rather, it is the expression of the kingdom. Serving the Lord is not seeking the kingdom. But it is a manifestation of the rule of God in your heart. Going to church and worshiping God is not seeking the kingdom. Rather, it is the indication of the kingdom.

Jesus said, “Seek the kingdom and his righteousness?” What is the righteousness of God in Matthew? In the Sermon on the Mount, the righteousness of God is the righteous will of God in the teaching of Jesus. We have spent many months studying the true will of God in the Law, as interpreted by Jesus. The righteousness of God is the righteous will of God in the Law as taught by Jesus.

Therefore, do not worry because God shall provide all your needs, if you seek first the kingdom of God.

Don’t Worry–God Knows Your Needs

imagesSixth, do not worry because God knows your needs. “For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matt. 6:32).

One man was always worrying. He worried about his children, his job, his wife, his health. One day a friend of this man noted that he was extremely calm and peaceful.

“Why are you so calm?, he asked. “You always worry about every-thing. What happened?”

The former worrier replied, “I just hired a man to do the worrying for me.”

“Well, how much are you paying him?” His friend inquired.

“A thousand dollars a week,” the man replied.

“A thousand a week? You can’t afford a thousand dollars a week.”

The worrier responded, “That’s his problem!”[1]

If you worry, you are saying that God does not know. If you worry, you are saying that God does not care. But Jesus said your heavenly Father knows that you need it all.

Do not live as if God is not there. God is there! Do not live as if God does not know your needs. God knows your needs! Do not live as if God does not care about your needs. God cares about your needs!

[1] http://www.sermoncentral.com/illustrations/sermon-illustration-gerald-cornelius-humor-peace-godbringshope-guilt-1973.asp

Don’t Worry–Don’t Behave Like the Gentiles

011143966_prevstillFifth, do not worry because in worrying, you behave like Gentiles (pagans). Jesus said,

31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

To the Jew, the word, “Gentiles,” is a negative word. Gentiles are unbelievers who are outside of true faith in God.

What do the Gentiles do? In v. 32, they go after “all these things.” What are all these things? What to eat, what to drink, and what to wear. They go after all these things—food and financial security. But they go after these things without trusting God. They go after these things without following Christ. They go after these things without obeying God.

I’ve known corporate types who work, work, and work every day. They come in early and they go out late. They live stressful lives trying to deliver the deliverables. They work so hard they have no time to worship.

Do you work so hard that you don’t have time to worship? Then you behave like the Gentiles. Do you worry about these things? Then you act like people who do not trust God.

Jesus said do not be anxious about these things. Trust God for these things.

Don’t Worry–God Will Take Care of You

field-of-avalanche-lilies-inge-johnssonFourth, do not worry because God will take care of you. Jesus said in Matthew 6:28-30,

28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,

29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

In v. 28, Jesus said the lilies do not work or spin clothes. But in v. 29, Jesus said that they wear clothes more beautiful than Solomon’s clothes in all his glory (1 Ki. 10:14-27). The glory of Solomon does not match the glory of the flowers. The reason is that God Himself clothes the flowers of the field.

In v. 30, Jesus said that God clothes the grass of the field. But the grass of the field lives a short life. It is thrown into the oven as fuel for fire. It is here today and gone tomorrow. The grass of the field also lives an insignificant life. It is just used as fuel. Now if God clothes the grass that lives a short life, and is worthless, God will also clothe followers of Christ.

Jesus calls believers who worry about food, “You of little faith.” Jesus calls believers who do not trust God, “You of little faith.”

Are you anxious about your food and clothing today? O you of little faith! Do not worry about your needs. God will take care of you!

Don’t Worry–It Doesn’t Add to Your Life Span

vitruvian-man1Third, do not worry because you cannot add an inch to your life by worrying. Jesus said, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life” (Matt. 6:27)? In the NKJV, it reads, “can add one cubit to his stature.” But in the NASB, it says—“can add a single cubit to his life’s span.” In the ESV, it reads—“can add a single hour to his span of life.”

The word, “cubit” (NKJV) is from the Greek, pechus, “cubit, a measure of length, about 18 inches.” (Gingrich) Eighteen inches cover the length of your forearm to the tip of your middle finger. (Hagner) That is one cubit. The word, “stature” (NKJV) is from the Greek, helikia, which can mean either “age, time of life” or “bodily stature.” (Gingrich) Thus, the NASB is the more literal translation.

Jewish thought compares the length of a body part to the length of life. Psalm 39:5 reads, “Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths.” The Psalmist compares the length of our life by a picture of our hand. The Psalmist said that his life span is only a few handbreadths. Lift up your hand. Your days are a few fingers in your hand. Thus, I think Jesus used the cubit as a measurement of one’s life span.

Jesus said that you cannot add eighteen inches to the length of your life by worrying. So do not be anxious over your food, because you cannot add an inch to your life. It accomplishes nothing.