Our Father’s World

Passage: Matthew 6:25-34

Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

Sermon Summary

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus repeatedly commanded his disciples: “Do not be anxious”. Never has this message been more needed than now, and nobody embodied this message more than Jesus himself. It is striking that, as many reasons as Jesus had to be anxious, and as invested in this world as he was, he was remarkably free from anxiety—never overwhelmed by life. So, how can we too be free from anxiety?

Jesus teaches us that we should not be anxious, first, because we are living in our Father’s world. Our Father in heaven is a good and generous God, and the world he created is a world teeming with abundance and life. We should resist the lie of scarcity, therefore, which says that there isn’t “enough” (time, money, attention, etc) to go around, that God is holding out on us, and that we must “grasp” for what we really need, at whatever cost. This is the same lie that Adam and Eve bought into, and it has spread throughout the whole biblical narrative, and is rampant in the world today. Jesus, to the contrary, knew the truth about his Father’s abundant world, and urged us to believe it, illustrating his Father’s generous care for the world by pointing to his care for even the birds and the lilies. If God so consistently gives his creation what it needs to flourish, how much more will he give us, his very children, all we need?

Jesus also teaches us that we should not be anxious because we have a much greater reality to seek after—our Father’s kingdom. Rather than battling anxiety by simply trying to “stop worrying” (which we know doesn’t work!), Jesus calls us into a greater pursuit. To “seek first” the kingdom is to make it the object of our ambition. Our ambition will lead us to pursue whatever our heart treasures the most—whatever our vision of “the good life” is. If we treasure possessions, we will make it our ambition to pursue them, and we will inevitably be anxious, always aware of how under threat they are. But if we treasure the coming of God’s kingdom above all else, and labor for the righteousness that corresponds with it, we can experience a deep freedom from anxiety, because his victory is certain, and his reign will never come under threat.

So, we should “seek first” God’s kingdom and invest in it with our whole heart. Ultimately, only Jesus can set our hearts free from their enslavement to a scarcity mindset. Jesus knew the abundance of his Father more fully than anyone, and yet he came to earth and gave himself away completely—even to the point of utmost scarcity on the cross, all so that we could know and be invited into the abundant provision of God. Truly, we can trust his intentions…we can follow him as Lord and live for him and others with the abundant generosity he so modeled.

Sermon Outline:

• Do Not Be Anxious…This Is Our Father’s World (6:25-30)
• Do Not Be Anxious…Seek First Our Father’s Kingdom (6:31-34)

Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide

Re-read the passage(s): Matthew 6:25-34

Do Not Be Anxious…This Is Our Father’s World (6:25-30)

INTRO) Spend only a few minutes considering these opening questions—it doesn’t need to be a long discussion: Do you consider yourself an anxious person? What would people who know you say? Is there one thing that you consistently find yourself being anxious about? AND: On a broader scale, what are some things that people in your stage of life are typically most anxious about? What is our society anxious about right now?

1) Re-read Matthew 6:25-30 and mediate on these verses together. Consider:

• What reasons does Jesus give not to be anxious?
• What illustrations does Jesus use to illustrate God’s provision? Which one speaks to most to you?
• Why do you think Jesus uses examples from creation to illustrate his point not to be anxious? Why are these examples particularly effective?

2) In the sermon, Pastor Bobby said that we tend to live in a “scarcity mindset”, which is the mindset that “there isn’t going to be enough, so I need to grasp at what I really need, because God isn’t going to give it to me otherwise”. Where do you see a “scarcity mindset” in Scripture? What lies does a “scarcity mindset” tell…about God’s character? About God’s world? About God’s children?

3) We can buy into a “scarcity mindset” more than we think. Is there an area of life where you’ve found yourself operating out of a “scarcity mindset”? If so, how has it affected you? In particular, how has it caused you to be anxious?

4) How does having a “scarcity mindset” hinder our practical ability to love others? Give some examples.

5) What examples can you think of from the Scriptures that illustrate that God is a God of abundance? How is Jesus illustrating this in the passage for this week? Is there another Christian you know who lives out of an abundance mindset? What is their life like?

6) What are some practical ways you can more regularly remind yourself of God’s abundance and generous provision?

Do Not Be Anxious…Seek First Our Father’s Kingdom (6:31-34)

7) Re-read Matthew 6:31-34. What further reasons does Jesus give not to be anxious? What is Jesus’ point in reminding his disciples that “the Gentiles seek after all these things” (6:32)?

8) What does it mean to “seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”? In what sense will “all these things be added to (us)” if we seek God’s kingdom? What does this not mean? And how does seeking first God’s kingdom actually help our anxiousness?

9) Is there an area of your life where you haven’t been seeking first God’s kingdom? What would it look like to repent, trust in Christ freshly, and seek first his kingdom in this area?

10) How did Jesus live out of a trust in his Father’s generous care? How does looking to Jesus help us trust our Father’s care for us?

Additional Application Questions

Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?
Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?

Prayer

Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.

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