Cornerstone EPC Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734 November 6, 2016
“God’s Promise: His Full Provision”
Text: Matthew 6:25-34
We have noted, these past weeks, just how wonderful and matchless the promises of God are. We have noted how precious His promises, as Peter, led by the Spirit, notes at the outset of his second letter, “…by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises…” (2 Peter 1:4). We also have noted the unfailing nature of His promises, as we noted in this place three weeks ago, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are, ‘Yea,’ and, ‘Amen,’ in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20). We too have now how wide in scope God’s promises are, as Luke, led by the Spirit, reproduces Peter’s words, “For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to the ones far off, as many as the Lord our God may call” (Acts 2:39).
How our hearts indeed have rejoiced and rested in the promises we have examined in the earlier weeks. We treasured both the promise of eternal life to him who believes (John 3:16) and the never-failing presence of Jesus Christ with His redeemed people (Matthew 28:20). Today we come to another precious promise of God: His full provision. Let us give attention to His Word read and expounded in this place.
(HERE READ THE TEXT)
Our text for today occurs in the larger context of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-7:27), which both describes and prescribes the ethics of God’s New Covenant people. Our text also occurs within Matthew 6:19-34, which applies these ethics to possessions. Our text follows hard after Matthew 6:19-24, in which Jesus teaches His hearers then and now not to love possessions to the degree rightly reserved for God alone. With this context now established, we note that today’s text, Matthew 6:25-34, teaches us to be not anxious for God’s provision for us.
Jesus introduces a number of things over which we must not feel undue worry. He forbids us worry concerning what we shall eat, what we shall drink, and what we shall wear—in short, our fundamental material needs. We are to give these proper attention—and we are not to neglect them, either for ourselves or for our dependents. However, as just noted, we are forbidden undue worry concerning them.
Though our primary teacher be Christ Himself, through the Holy Spirit, our secondary teachers—our object lessons, if you will—be birds and lilies. First, let’s look at the birds. Birds neither reap nor gather. They do what they do—fly, hop, feed, and so forth—with apparent blithe unconcern for anything that weighs so heavily on our minds. Yet God, in His goodness, feeds them. Jesus later tells us that we are of much more value than they—even more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). Therefore, if God so feed the birds, valued at two sparrows for a penny, He indeed shall feed us for whom He shed His precious Son’s blood.
Consider also the lilies of the field. They neither toil nor spin. They are here today and gone tomorrow—and that via the oven. Yet Jesus tells us that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like these. If the Lord, then, so clothe the wild flowers of the field, which bloom for an instant and then fuel necessary fire, will He not much more clothe us? Indeed, He will—but we at times doubt this. Jesus then gently rebukes this in us. When He calls His hearers O ye of little faith, Matthew translates this (likely from Aramaic, a late Hebrew dialect) into Greek with a single word, oligopistoi (oligopistoi, the plural of the singular oligopistos, oligopistoV). My wooden translation of O ye of little faith is little-faiths. May God increase our faith to the point that we are no longer little-faiths, as the apostles themselves requested of Jesus, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).
Therefore, let us not be not anxious. Let us not be anxious about present provision, for God knows what we need. Neither let us be anxious about future matters, because sufficient unto this day is the evil thereof. In place of anxiety, let us seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness. Let us pray for and labor in behalf of His almighty, joyous Lordship over all things. Let us participate in and encourage His redeemed society, the Church. Let us seek to know and to conform to His righteous outlook and conduct. In so doing, we seek the Kingdom of God and its righteousness, and by faith we receive these other needful things as God promises to supply.
The Apostle Paul, writing by the Spirit to the Philippian Christian households, encourages them (and us) with these words, “And my God shall supply your every need according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). What a wonderful promise from God this is—and it squares with what we’ve heard today. Note, however, its context. The Philippian church, out of its relative poverty, gave again and again to relieve Paul’s material need—in order that he may more fully devote himself to preaching the Gospel where Christ was not known. The promise held in Philippi ca. A. D. 62—and it holds for us today. As He calls us to give in His service, we may be sure that our God will supply our every need—and not only then, but at every other time also.
In fact, God’s promises to supply our needs hold in a variety of contemporary contexts. We may trust God to provide fully for us, even as we struggle through economic uncertainty and difficulty. We may trust God to supply our need as we obey God’s call to give of self and substance. We even may trust God to provide for us, even when we have need of intangible things as well (peace, e. g.). Therefore, let us rest in the promise—and let us labor filled with hope—that God shall supply our needs, and may this banish anxiety from our souls.