Today my sermon is entitled
Winning over Worry
And my text is found in 1 Peter 5:v7
“Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you”
Someone has said that “Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere!” In the moments left to me today, I want to talk with you about “Worry” and its near cousins Anxiety and Fear! I firmly believe that one of the greatest weapons that Satan uses against the Church, and against the Child of God, is the weapon of “fear” – to get us to doubt Gods word, to deceive us about our position in God, and our future with God. When we walk with God and live in the continuing presence of God, believe me, we should not worry about anything. Satan was defeated, totally defeated at the Cross of Calvary, and Jesus smashed his power for ever. So we should stop allowing him to grip master and control our thinking, and ask God to give us the overcoming “mind of Christ”.
Jesus rendered the Devil powerless at the Cross, the only remaining ability he has is the ability to lie and deceive! Teresa Conlon writes “Shut him up and you’ll shut him down”. He deceives us into thinking that if we could only own certain things then our lives will be greatly enriched, or if we could frequent certain places then our lives will be greatly enhanced! Yet even millionaires worry, and billionaires worry more! Worry is a deception, – to the believer, it creates a question about the loyalty and love of our Father in Heaven, and as I’ve already said, fear and anxiety are close relations.
Now if you have any doubts that Satan is a defeated foe, just look at the resurrection. If Satan had won the battle in Hell, Jesus would not have come out of that dark domain alive, but he did, gloriously alive, and gloriously victorious, and that same power that raised him from the dead, that power destroyed and defeated the plans of our evil enemy. The apostle Paul says that the same power, (i.e. the power of the Holy Spirit) will “quicken, (or make alive) our bodies also.” Romans 8:11 So then are you being deceived, am I? Are you a worrier, am I?
Being honest, I must confess that there are times when I get anxious about things, and this is always when I am not trusting, or using my faith as I am supposed to. Yet I can testify that I am not the worrier I used to be, Praise God, and I have learned the secret of today’s text, to “cast all my care on him, knowing that he cares for me”. I don’t claim to be continually and completely free from anxiety worries and fears, but I hope that today’s message will help you (as it has me) to remove the greater portion of them, and that like me you will begin the learning process of leaning on the everlasting arms, of trusting Jesus and casting all your care on him. So then, let us examine this subject in more detail, and in order to help you remember the word today, I have split the text into two sections, (although it naturally falls into two sections) – what I will call,
“The Cares Transferred”
“casting all your cares upon Him”
And “The Cares Transformed”
“for He careth for you!”
Now, how is it that we TRANSFER our cares to Him. The word transfer means “to Hand over”, “to give up ownership, to surrender rights, and so on.
Peter reminds us that in pursuing Christ, and following after him, we will do this better, or more successfully, being freed from other “worldly” concerns. The word “casting” is typical of Peter, for it is a fishing term, used by fishermen casting their nets into the sea. If you have visited the middle east, or the far east, you will have discovered that fishermen there do things very differently, than they do here. A fisherman, even the very young, will be able to gather a great net in his hands, and thrust it away from them, across the water to a great distance, with much ease. One might suppose watching him, that he is throwing the net away, discarding it, for it will travel through the air a great way from the fishing boat. This is called “casting” the net, and yes, he is literally throwing it away!
Do you see why it is that Peter uses this very graphic term, he says “throw your cares away to Jesus” – and what a rich blessing it is to be able to do that! To be able to TRANSFER our cares, to give them up, to hand them over to Jesus. The difficulty for so many of us is “letting them go”. One Hymn writer asks … “Have you trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere, we should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.”
Yet there have been times for all of us when we have truly taken our burden to the Lord in prayer, but brought it away with us again, as soon as we had said the Amen! Its rather like saying, “here you are Jesus, I cannot sort this problem, I cannot deal with this, I cannot understand this, I cannot manage this, I cannot cope with this, I cannot live with this, please will you fix it” …. and then before he can do anything for us with the issue, we take it away from him, and worry about it, leaving him powerless to act, or step in on our behalf.
The whole idea is as ludicrous as taking your TV to the repair shop, booking it in, and walking out with it under your arm! Yet many of us live like that every day. Worry is like a monster that controls our thinking, robs us of our peace and destroys our general well-being! Our body’s efficiency can quickly be brought to nil, by aggressive and excessive worry! Worry and anxiety can add to our stress, and stress can lead to heart disease and many types of cancers! That’s why we must transfer our worries to Jesus. Let me read what he has said about worry in the Sermon on the Mount: ….. Matt 6:25 …Jesus said: “take no thought (that means no anxious thought) for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold (or consider) the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory – was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Therefore take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matt 6, 25-34)
When Jesus says “take no anxious thought” it is not an option, but rather an obligation, for he knows that anxiety leads to unbelief, and unbelief leads to backsliding, and backsliding leads to Death! (a spiritual deadness that renders us powerless for God.) I am not denying that there are many of life’s issues that in the normal run of things could cause us worry. Faith however can help greatly in lessening these worries and fears. We may sing “…give me the Faith that can remove mountains” and realistically while it would be wonderful, most of us would be happy to have the bumps on life’s road removed, never mind the mountains.
We must learn to put our faith into action, learn to trust God for impossibilities, learn to take him at his word. Yes he can remove mountains, yes he can enable us to walk on water, yes he can do it, whatever “it” may be, but first we must prove to him that we believe he can? This is borne out wonderfully in the story recorded in all 4 Gospels of the feeding of the 5000, which we read a moment ago (its in all 4 gospels, Matt 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 & John 6) It may surprise you to consider that most of these people had followed Jesus for days, they were clearly a hungry group. When a little Boys lunch of 5 loaves and 2 fish was produced, the question arose “what is this among so many?”
Anxiety and worry often question Gods provision, even a miraculous provision. But faith gives “thanks” for even the little, as Jesus did, and then when God was glorified in the little, it became a lot! Not only were they all fed, and fed to their fill, but 12 basketsful of left-overs were saved at the end. Faith had not looked at the little, but looked at the Lord, and what he can do with a little. Transfer your worries to him now, and then wait in faith to see how he can work them out, to your good and to his glory. All things (even the bad things) are working together for your greater good and Gods glorious praise.
That’s what the Bible says in Romans 8:28.
So this leads us on from The Cares Transferred,
to The Cares Transformed.
Peter reminds us that the reason why we may “cast” all our cares upon Him, is simply because “He cares for us” Just as Jesus transformed that little boys lunch to feed 5000, he too can transform your worries and cares, – and you may be surprised to discover the miracles he can bring out of your most testing and trying situations. Perhaps today you are in need of a miracle of your own? Then by faith that miracle can be yours. The only times when miracles are hindered or prayer unanswered to our understanding, is in those times through life, when God is disciplining us as his children, then the purposes of God in us
and for us, take precedence over our requests, otherwise it is always “the Fathers good pleasure to give us the kingdom.”
Unless you are being disciplined for a greater good, then God is poised to act on your behalf, he just needs you to release that care to him, and then (by faith and patience) wait on Him to transform your situation. Remember that it is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises. (Heb 6:12) Tears and prayers alone cannot get the job done! Some may argue, “but he wouldn’t do that for ME!” These regularly expect God to respond positively to the Preacher or the Pastor, to the Church Elders or Deacons, to the Religious, or Pious, but not to them! This is most likely why God does not, and cannot, act for them. They are listening to, and living in the Devils Deceptions, that “God has his favourites” one of his most subtle and destructive lies! Let me assure you that God has no favourites, (he loves us all equally) and he will do for you what he will do for me, and more, if you can trust him for more.
Is it a miracle in your relationships, or in your marriage that you need? Do you need a miracle for your Son or Daughter? Do you need a miracle of Healing, a Financial miracle, a miracle in your Farm or Business? A miracle in your Church or in your Community? There is absolutely no point in you worrying about it, fretting and fearing will get you nowhere – (remember that Rocking chairs move but don’t advance) The situation or problem can only be transformed as you release it to the Saviour, in the same way that that little boy in the Gospel story, gave up his lunch. Give it up to Jesus!
Give up the worry, give up the fear, cast it all away to Him, and do it now, ….. Why? Because he cares for you. How do I know he cares for you? How can you know he cares for you? And if so, how much does he care, and is it an unconditional care, an unconditional love? Again, I must refer you to the words of Jesus, we have just read that although the little birds “do not gather into barns, yet the Heavenly Father feeds them” and Jesus adds, “not one sparrow falls to the ground but your Heavenly Father knows it” Matt 10:29 Jesus adds “you are of much greater value,” and “even the hairs on your head are all numbered”.
One of the nicest Hymns in my hymn book reads ….
“The Love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell, it goes beyond the highest star,
and reaches to the lowest hell”
“Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the sky of parchment made, and every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.”
If we have ever questioned the love of God and the Love he has for us, then we have only to look at Bethlehem, at Calvary, and at the Cross. Love came down at Christmas, love was born at Christmas, love moved him to Die, love motivated him to lay down his life for you and for me. Is this love then an unconditional love? Think of it, what is it that you have done, that makes you think he could not, or would not love you? Then think with me for a moment about those who dragged him to that place of crucifixion, those who pulled the beard from his face, those who spat at him, and on him, those who stripped him naked, those who hammered the nails into his hands and feet, those who whipped him, those who lifted that cross high and dropped it unceremoniously with a thud into its socket …
think of these, and did he love them? Yes he did,
a hundred times yes, for he prayed even in his pain for them “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
If Jesus could love them, then he can love you, if Jesus could forgive them, then he can forgive you. If Jesus can turn the world around, can transform the pain for a paradise, the agony for the ecstasy, the manger for a mansion, the water for wine, then what he has done for others he will gladly do for you! Give him your worry, give him your heartache, your pain, your tears, your fears, and allow him to transform it all today. If you don’t give it away to him, you will never know just how much he truly loves you and cares for you.
It is one of my chief concerns that the Church has taken so long to grasp the benefits and blessings available to her by Faith. Much of the apologetic theology and much of the division and dissention within her walls nowadays, is largely due to the fact that for too long we have failed to embrace simple childlike faith and trust in a wise and loving Father, and a tender forgiving Saviour. I am sure that God weeps over our lack of faith, our lack of willingness to surrender our all to him. The sinful selfish nature wants to hold on, wants to be in control, wants to have the freedom, when God longs to be in control, to reign and rule over our emotions, our thoughts and our plans.
To put it simply, God wants to be LORD, and if he is not Lord of all, then he is not Lord at all! Calling Jesus Lord, and living with worry is simply not compatible. When we make Jesus Lord, it is then that we really do come into “Freedom” for he frees us from the worries, the fears and the anxieties of life!
And “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed” John 8:36 One old preacher used to say “if you worry you die, if you don’t worry you die, so why worry”… I think he had the right idea!
Now this final Word
It would be impossible for me in this 20 minute message to describe in detail all of the issues that trouble and worry the believer, but there is one very obvious worry, that has deceptively crept into the lives and make-up of so many within the Church, and even in the world, yet in the Church it is a great hindrance to blessing.
Have you heard it? The little phrase “What will people think, and what will people say?” Many of us spend our entire lives worrying about what people think of us, and of what people say of us, and make great strides at “people pleasing” in order to influence them for Christ! This is sheer folly, a foolish deception, and a compromising position to take, with regard to our walk and witness. Let me say it long and let me say it loud… IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT PEOPLE THINK.
It matters only what God thinks of you.
People will always think, and people will always say, ….. They did so in Jesus day, calling him a “wine-bibber, a drunkard and the friend of sinners” What others think of you, what they may say of you does not change you, it adds nothing to you, and takes nothing from you, you remain you. Let go of your insecurities, and lay hold on the word of God. confident in who you are, and confident in what God says of you in his word.
People are entitled to their opinions, but usually they are uninformed, and they rarely understand what God is doing in anyone’s life! Many have formed a dislike for someone, whom they admit they have never even met? What utter folly! God deliver us from the need to be accepted,- so long as we are accepted by Him, that is all we need. So long as God thinks highly of me, so long as God is pleased with me, it does not matter what others think. Don’t allow someone else to hold
you back in your progress with God.
Many are afraid to say “Amen” or “Praise the Lord” out loud in the Church, just because of what others might think! Perhaps you don’t raise your hands, or clap your hands because of what others might think? You won’t get down on your knees to pray, because of who may notice you, you don’t wear a hat, or you do wear a hat, to please others. You won’t speak in tongues even though you know you can, and God is denied the sincerity and reality of your worshipping heart, just because the “devil” beside you in the next pew, holds you down, or keeps you back!
Purpose from today to set your sight on God alone, and aim to please him alone, and the Bible says, that “When a mans ways please God, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs. 16:7. Do not worry about people, focus your thinking on God, for only if God is displeased with you, should you worry?
God Bless you …. AMEN.