Sunday, October 2, 2011
Why Are You Anxious?
If you would like to hear the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, "Why Are You Anxious" click on this MP3 audio link. The audio includes the Hymn of the Day, LSB #760, "What God Ordains Is Always Good." The sermon begins at the 4:40 mark.
Have a blessed, anxiety free week in the Lord as His righteous ones in Christ Jesus.
A servant of the Word and His folk,
Here is the preaching manuscript if you prefer to read along or read instead.
TEXT: Matthew 6:24–34 24[Jesus said:] “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 25“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But 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? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Dear beloved Son[s], with [whom God your Father is] well pleased--and that is what every one of you is baptized to be,
Why Are You Anxious?
This is a powerful and important question our Lord asks His disciples up on the mountain. Notice He doesn’t ask “if” the disciples are anxious. He asks them, Why Are You Anxious?
It is one He asks every one of His baptized children. Why Are You Anxious?
And it is one He asks of you, His beloved ones gathered at Trinity today. Why Are You Anxious?
Well? Why are you?
• Because some ancient calendar runs out and the end of the world is near?
• Because of our continuing economic woes?
• Because of Islamic terrorists or other enemies?
• Because of our own militaristic endeavors?
• Because Pres. Obama might get re-elected?
• Because Pres. Obama might not get re-elected?
• Because of global warming?
• Because of creeping socialism?
• Because of greedy capitalists?
• Because of health concerns?
o Cancer? Heart? Flu?
Do you need any more proof that you are a sinner? Which one of us isn’t anxious about something?
I cannot remember a time in my life when there wasn’t something I was anxious about personally.
Neither can I remember a time when our political leaders and social activists weren’t giving us something to be anxious about.
It’s all about control.
It’s all about who your master is.
It’s all about little faith.
O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“The Lord will never allow a righteous soul to perish of hunger.” – St. Jerome on Matthew 6:33
“The earth would have to run out of bread or the heavens would have to run out of rain before a Christian would die of starvation.; indeed, God Himself would have to starve to death first." [Luther's Works, Vol. 21, p. 207 on Matthew 6:33]
As Christ’s apostle, Paul, quotes the psalmist: “None is righteous, no, not one; 1no one understands; no one seeks for God.” [Romans 3:10-11]
So, “if none is righteous, no not [even] one, wherein lies the hope and certainty that neither you nor I need ever fear starving to death and perishing of hunger? Paul continues: “there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” [Romans 3:22-25]
In other Words, you as a sinner, a worrier always anxious about something are nevertheless a righteous one in Christ by baptism into faith.
Faith prays THE FOURTH PETITION of the LORD’S PRAYER, “Give us this day our daily bread”-- not in order to persuade God to do it, but so that we cast all are cares and anxieties about our bodies and earthly life on Him. As Luther explains, What does this mean? God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked people; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. What is meant by daily bread? Everything that belongs to the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
Dear beloved Son[s], with [whom God your Father is] well pleased, Why Are You Anxious? Not only does God our Father who art in heaven give us this day our daily bread, He also forgives us our sins for the sake of His beloved only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. And in this forgiveness is our daily bread of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven, for it makes us righteous ones who live in the very body of Christ.
Once again, Luther speaks great words of comfort in this regard.
"When you are baptized, partake of Holy Communion, receive the absolution, or listen to a sermon, heaven is open, and we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father; all these works descend upon us from the open heaven above us. God converses with us, provides for us; and Christ hovers over us--but invisibly. And even though there were clouds above us as impervious as iron or steel, obstructing our view of heaven, this would not matter. Still we hear God speaking to us from heaven; we call and cry to Him, and He answers us. Heaven is open, as St. Stephen saw it open (Acts 7:55); and we hear God when He addresses us in Baptism, in Holy Communion, in confession, and in His Word as it proceeds from the mouth of the men who proclaim His message to the people."--Martin Luther (1/19/1538 [LW 22:202])
So, Why Are You Anxious? All of your sins are forgiven. The kingdom of God has sought you and continues to seek you to make and keep you righteous and well fed--in the name of the Father ,and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen