Matthew 6:25-34

As we begin working with the very important last ten verses of this chapter this morning, let’s not forget our subject matter has not changed.  Jesus has gotten more personal, but the basic subject matter remains the same.

And that is – that the ones whom Jesus has come to save will have their minds and their eyes on their Master, in order to give Him glory, rather than on themselves and the world order.  Our focus as disciples of Christ is in the heavenlies – where the light is, where the life is, where the treasures are!  But the reprobate will have his attention focused inward – where there is only death and darkness.  He is a member of the family of the devil - Adam – and his faith is in the world order – mamon.

The disciple of Jesus sees the glory of God and His salvation in Christ – and he, therefore, mourns his own depravity, shows mercy without retaliation, lives in single-minded devotion (purity of heart) to God, and will not compromise in the midst of hardship and persecution!

But the one who is blind does good things so that people will see him, and he prays so that people will see him, and he fasts so that people will see him.  And he loves the things of the world order – and can’t relate “the way things work” with the sovereignty of God!  Therefore he has nothing permanent on which he can rely, and he is fearful of this world and the next!

So Jesus says, verse twenty-five, “Because of this I say to you…” (My disciples,…) “don’t be anxious for your person – what you will eat, neither with the body – how you will cover yourself.  Isn’t the person more than food, and the body than a garment?”

He says – “you – My disciples – you have your attention on God and His glory, have your attention of God’s salvation of His people, you have the focus of your attention on God’s righteousness – His justification of His people and His cleansing of His creation; you have your attention on the Christ Who is the covering for your sins, for that’s where the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are!  Have the focus of your attention on Christ Jesus for that’s where we share the benefits of His divine nature!”

“Do not….”  Here’s a command, people, “do not be anxious for your self – person – what you will eat, or how you’ll cover yourself….”  Do you see two opposites?

Now, before I go any further, I’ve got to say to you, that there’s no way in heaven or on earth to lessen the force of these words.  There’s absolutely no way to make the sting less.  No way to justify removing the full weight of the commands here.  I don’t care if you’re male or female, white or black, rich or poor, healthy or invalid.  The language of the command stands as is.  Do not be anxious for your person – self.

Don’t say that women have a tougher time with this.  That’s justification for sin.  Jesus isn’t a respecter of personages, so the female nature with which He created you can’t be used against Him!

Now, some women may say that Jesus is speaking to His disciples – all of whom were men!  But I say to you that most of these men were husbands and fathers.  And can you imagine God’s covenant being made with the head of household without the head being representative of the whole?  Can you imagine God making covenant with twelve or so men – originally – all of whom had households of one sort or another (and who, Paul said, were to have only believing children), and that covenant not being with their wives as well?

And can you imagine the promises to the first-fruits not being exactly the same as the promises to those who come after?  And can you imagine the promises being the same to both men and women disciples, but not the commands?  Do not be anxious for your person (self).

But, then, you may say that some have less trouble with this than others – for some other reason (no matter what it is).  And I say to you the same thing I’ve said in the past – God never promised you equality.  Having more trouble with something or another is no justification for slackening off on the requirements for obedience!  In fact, it’s just the opposite!  If your sin is especially vile in one area, than you have more responsibility for the mortification of the flesh – not less!

And, lastly, you may hear this comment:  “Well, I see what Jesus said here.  But we don’t live in that heavenly, theological world.  We live in the real world!

And I would have just two things to say about that.  First, the world in which Jesus was born was a totally barbaric world, with just a very few reserved unto Himself by God as a remnant.  The influence of the godly was zilch.  And the world has never been as unsettled and uncertain since.  So if people are filled with anxiety and uncertainty now, it was just so much worse then, when He said these things.

And secondly, if you believe that the words of Jesus have gone out of style with the times, and are no longer as true as they once were, then you aren’t a part of the body!  That’s the extreme darkness that the Church has fallen into - that the words of God have to be reinterpreted with the times. 

“Therefore I say to you – don’t be anxious for your person – what you will eat, neither with the body – how you will cover yourself… isn’t the person more than food, and the body more than a garment?”

There is probably no one sin against which our Lord so often and earnestly warns His disciples as this sin of worry about the things of the world order!  He is persistent about it!

And rightly so.  “Don’t be anxious about the self – about having those things – about losing those things – about the stuff of the world!” 

Now, that doesn’t seem like one of those “evil” sins, does it?  Worry.  After all, it’s not adultery!  Or incest – or abortion – or homosexuality – or witchcraft.  Is it?

Can we actually make light of it though?  Joke about it?  At least not take it so seriously because it isn’t in “the list” of abominable sins?

Well, just to give you one example of the seriousness with which Jesus dealt with it, you remember that in chapter six there were three condemnations of those glorifying the self in hypocrisy – compassion, prayer, and fasting.  And here in the last verses of chapter six there are three condemnations of anxiety about not having things for the self.

Now, that fact in itself is enough to jerk us back to a real assessment of the seriousness of this sin, because it’s at least as deadly as hypocrisy!  And, in fact, it goes directly to the heart of the Creator/creature relationship and breaks the first Commandment – no other gods besides Me!  What has God promised His people?  To be with us – and give us our needs as a Father provides for the needs of His children!

And one who worries about “stuff” for himself in the future denies that God is his Father, and that Christ is his Savior, and that God has promised to care for His children!  He denies it!  It’s faithlessness!  And whatsoever is not of faith is sin!

Anxiety is disquieting and tormenting – it cuts off the relationship between master and servant – the Father and child.  It eliminates hope in God.  It severs all joy in Christ.  The channel of faith is closed.  Anxiety is a distrustful and unbelieving thought.  It is fear of not having things; and unbelief in the goodness and providential care of Almighty God and our Father!  It causes sleeplessness and health problems, and makes people less productive – all because there can be no real communion with the Father in conditions of anxiety.  And when there is no communion with the Father, deterioration and death is the result!  People get sick and they die!  Families are cut off and friends are driven away – all because of anxiety about things in the future! - Things thought to be needed in the future for the self!

Jesus says – isn’t life more than that?  Where are your treasures?  And with what light is your eye illuminating your body?  Which master are you serving?  Do you have your mind on yourself, or is it on the glory of God and His Kingdom?  Why do you have your mind on tomorrow’s food and clothes?  Is that your treasure?  Security, is that your life? 

It is, indeed, a ridiculous scenario, isn’t it?  Jesus argues from the greater to the lesser, and the most elementary logic ought to place every disciple above anxiety about tomorrow.

And, then, in verse twenty-six, Jesus gives a simple illustration to drive that truth home.  Listen: 


“Look at the birds of the heavens – that they don’t sow, neither reap, neither collect in granaries; and your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of greater value than these?”


Here His logic is from the lesser to the greater – from birds to man.  And we are by far superior to birds – but they are fed.  Will God forget us and nourish birds?

The key phrase, of course, is “your Heavenly Father.”  He is the One Who has generated us and re generated us into His Own household – and He is the One Who guards us against the evils we’re exposed to.  And He’s the One Who supplies the good things we’re in need of!  And if He had been pleased to kill us, then He wouldn’t have given His angels a charge concerning us – to keep us.

He’s our Father.  And we’re His adopted children.  He even sent His one Begotten Son to the cross so that we could have life and have it abundantly.  And He’s even given it to us to share the character of His only Begotten Son!  And it is ours to judge the world and rule it!  He’s given it to us!

And though He created and keeps the birds, only we are in this kind of special relationship to Him.  And He pursued us and put us into that relationship.  We didn’t even want it – and didn’t ask for it – didn’t even know anything about it!  And He put us into it anyway – regardless of our depraved filth and hatred.  After all that – will God forget us and nourish birds?  This elementary logic from Jesus crushes any anxiety His disciples might have.

And then He says, verse twenty-seven, “But who, out of your anxiety, is able to add on one portion to the duration of his life?”  Jesus is referring, of course, to the many passages of Scripture which have to do with God’s absolute sovereignty – even down to the physical and temporal boundaries of our lives!  And there even may be a play on ideas here, because Jesus knows that anxiety can’t lengthen life – it shortens life!

And isn’t it stupid for a disciple of Christ and an adopted son of God to be anxious for the necessities of life when the very process of anxiety actually shortens that same life?

Then Jesus turns from food to dress – clothes – and uses another nature example: verse twenty-eight.  “About clothing – why be anxious?  Consider the lilies of the field how they’re growing.  They neither toil nor spin.”  It’s equally foolish to worry about clothing!  “Consider” … He says.  “Learn well!”  As the birds in the sky, the lilies (or irises, or wild flowers) grow wild in the field – without care from men!  How they grow!  Without labor from men, without planning from men, and without decoration from men – and they wear garments so exquisite that Jesus exclaims this in verse twenty-nine.

 “I tell you that Solomon in all His glory didn’t clothe himself like one of these!”  In other words no man – not even Solomon – can ever clothe himself as gloriously as God clothes even the common wild-flower!  The man-made robe of the king of Israel didn’t match one wild iris in its beauty!

As you can see, Jesus is building a case from the lesser to the greater again – from the wild flower to the adopted sons of God – and in verse thirty He says: “But if God so clothes the fodder of the field which is today, and which is thrown into an oven tomorrow, O YOU OF LITTLE FAITH – how much more you?”

How can you actually be anxious about clothing yourselves – when the plants of the field are so well decorated – so beautifully clothed by God – and they’re here one day and used for something so mundane as fuel for the kilns the next day!  If God so gorgeously clothes something so temporary and insignificant as a field of wildflowers, will He not, at least, give you common clothes – O ye adopted sons of little faith!

Just open your eyes and see!  Your faith is miniscule!  Stop looking at your self and look, for a change, at what God is doing!  Stop worrying!

Verse thirty-one – present imperative – stop the present (or continual) worrying!  Stop worrying about tomorrow’s food; stop worrying about tomorrow’s drink; stop worrying about tomorrow’s clothes; many more might be added, but these three basic necessities of life nail down the act of worrying about tomorrow!

And then He gives two commanding reasons why we are commanded to stop worrying – verse thirty-two:  first – “The heathen are anxious for all of these;” and, second, “Your heavenly Father knows that you have all of these needs.”

And when He says that the heathen are anxious for all of these, he means that worry is pagan unbelief!  That’s what they do!  They don’t know God – Who decorates the fields and feeds the wild birds and gives His people what they need!  And the pagans don’t know God our Heavenly Father in Christ Jesus!  And when God provides good things to all His creation, they don’t know where it came from!  They are anxious about tomorrow; even when they have much, they worry about tomorrow, because they don’t know how they’re going to retain what they do have!  And they worry about that!

Up in verse seven Jesus had pointed to the pagans in a horrible example.  Here He points to them again.  Do the disciples of Christ want to descend to this abominable level?  The heathen are anxious for all these things!  The pagan mind is set on, bent upon, it has set it’s affections on, providing these things for themselves.  This is where their minds are zeroed in – for themselves!

And the issue isn’t whether one is providing – the issue is “where is the mind set?”  The disciples of Christ live under God their Father!

And He knows – (here is the second commanding reason why we ought to stop worrying) – and He knows that you have need of all these things – even before you ask Him!  Being of a character which is good, and being full of love for His Own children, He will act accordingly.  So leave your worries!  Put them away!  Mortify that fleshly lust.

In verse thirty-three Jesus commands His disciples to seek.  But they will seek something far beyond what the heathen world has anxiety about.  “Be seeking” – present imperative.  “Blessed the ones hungering and thirsting after righteousness – for they shall be filled.”  Here is the distinctive mark of the true disciples of Christ - seeking the Kingdom and its righteousness.

What we seek is ours by grace, and yet the seeking is to go on continually so that the thing of our greatest desire can be ever more fully attained!  The desire of the regenerate heart is for the fullness of communion with God – both for himself and for the world.  And it is longing for the reputation of God in His creation.  His righteousness is salvation in Christ and, therefore, the right order in the world.

We are to seek (and, by the way, to seek is to look for, obtain and enjoy – and it is also to want something to occur – and so to work for that and anticipate it!) but we are to seek salvation in Christ, and right living, and justice, and the reign and rule of Christ in our lives and in society.

And we must remember that God will receive His rights!  He will have justice.  His Word says that every sin will be punished to the full extent of His Holy Law!

God is the only Potentate – King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  And He pronounces us righteous!  And makes us partakers of His Righteous Kingdom!  Now that’s ultimate Kingship, isn’t it?  Only perfect righteousness could give righteousness to another who was not righteous!

Therefore….!!  Verse thirty four.  “Therefore don’t be anxious into the morrow, for the morrow shall be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for itself is the evil (trouble) for the day.”

Very quickly, you’ll notice here that Jesus did not say that tomorrow will take care of itself – this is not positive language here from Robert Schuler or Robert Tilton!

What Jesus says is this:  we ought not go into the morrow – the indefinite future – from today, with worry.  There’s enough moral evil, there’s enough trouble and pain and burdens, for today without trying to borrow into tomorrow!  Jesus is just stating plain fact.  The world is sinful, and there’s evil and trouble.  Nothing is to be gained from worry about tomorrow!  Tomorrow will have its share of pain – don’t bring that into today!  God is sovereign and has total control over it all.  And He will be with you. 

God with us.  Our Heavenly Father.  The Lord Jesus.  The Spirit.  The Word.  Promises.  Security.  Contentment.