March 28, 2021 Who Enters the Kingdom Part 12 (Anxiety)

Who Enters the Kingdom?

Part Twelve (Anxiety)

March 21, 2021


Read Matthew 6:25-34.



This section begins with the word, “therefore.” This means what the Lord is about to say has to do with the previous passage about serving money. There are two main reasons why people serve mammon (money). One reason is greed. Some people, including Christians, have a tendency to accumulate wealth. This was addressed in our lesson last time. The other reason people serve money is simply to provide the necessities of life. Indeed, this is the more common reason that people, including Christians, serve money. That is, many expend their thoughts and energy in earning a living. This is what Jesus warns about in this passage.


We can easily have anxiety (worry, excessive concern) about the necessities of life. Robert Govett observed this in the 1800’s:


“For by means of this anxiety, many of the poor are kept toiling beyond their strength, and devoting to labor hours which are necessary for the service of God in prayer, the reading of his word, and meeting his people in their assemblies for worship.”[1]


Besides being an unpleasant and unrestful state of mind, anxiety over the necessities of life leads one into working too often or working at the wrong times and will, thus, rob a person of their devotions to God. A job should never keep one from the assemblies of the church. The reason for this is because in every workplace there are usually more non-Christians than Christians. The ones who are not believers have no moral compulsion to avoid work on Sunday (or Saturday for Sabbath-keepers). Therefore, administrators can choose them to work on Sunday (or Saturday) rather than those who are obligated to not forsake the assembly.The Christian can inform their employer that they are not able to work on Sunday mornings even during the hiring process. This may be a factor in getting passed over for a position. So be it. We put God first. God will bless those who put the kingdom of God over earthly considerations, even the necessities of life.


Our Lord then gives five reasons why we should not be anxious.


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?[2]


This is an argument from the greater to the lesser. Our life (our “soul” in Greek) is more valuable than food. Our physical bodies are more important than what we put on them. Who gave us our souls? Who gave us our bodies? God did. He who gives the greater will not withhold the less. If we buy an electronic toy for our child, will we not provide the batteries for it? Of course we will. The one who provides the greater thing will also provide the lesser thing.


The second reason is an argument from the lesser to the greater.


26 Look 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?[3]


This verse is self-explanatory. God cares for birds. He cares for birds more than bird lovers do. Some people are very kind to birds. They will put up bird houses in their yards. They will put bird seed in feeders so that the local birds will have food in the winter months. They care for the birds in their yards. But God cares for the birds all over the world! He feeds them all! Now, if God cares for birds, will he not care for you? Of course he will! Because you are more valuable than a bird!


Let us move on to the third reason why we should not be anxious:


27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[4]


The third argument for avoiding oppressive care is that it is useless. It adds nothing to the business of life. Why bother with something that has no use whatever? It should be dismissed as a burden without profit.


Not only is anxiety useless but, research has shown, it is a causative factor in disease processes. We recognize that anxiety, worry, and stress are all synonyms. They are interchangeable terms.


A peer-reviewed article in the Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences revealed that chronic stress has a significant effect on the immune system that ultimately manifests in illness.


  • It raises catecholamine and suppressor T cells levels, which suppress the immune system.
  • This suppression, in turn raises the risk of viral infection.
  • Stress also leads to the release of histamine, which can trigger severe broncho-constriction in asthmatics.
  • Stress increases the risk for diabetes mellitus, especially in overweight individuals, since psychological stress alters insulin needs.
  • Stress also alters the acid concentration in the stomach, which can lead to  ulcers and ulcerative colitis.
  • Chronic stress can also lead to plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis), especially if combined with a high-fat diet and sedentary living.
  •  The correlation between stressful life events and psychiatric illness is stronger than the correlation with medical or physical illness. The relationship of stress with psychiatric illness is strongest in neuroses, which is followed by depression and schizophrenia.
  • recent studies found a link between stress, tumour development and suppression of natural killer (NK) cells, which is actively involved in preventing metastasis and destroying small metastases.[5]


Thus, not only is anxiety useless, it is detrimental to our health, both physically and psychologically.


28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.[6]


As the Lord was teaching his disciples on this grassy hill, he likely pointed to the wild lilies that were common in Palestine at this time. These would have not been white lilies but martagon lilies which are a bright red and even prettier than the white variety.[7] Although beautiful, flowers are a lesser creation than birds. Thus, the Lord returns to his second reason: if God provides for the inferior, he will provide for you, the greater.


30 But 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?[8]


Now Jesus gets to the root of anxiety. It is because we lack faith. He doesn’t mean faith that God exists. Every Jew believed that. He means faith that God cares for us and is intent on seeing our welfare and needs fully met. This is a temptation that many face. I experience it when things go wrong in my life. When things do not turn out well, I [CR] begin to suspect that God does not love me much. This is a lack of faith on my part. Although I only have this experience when things go south, some have it frequently whether things are bad or good. Jesus reassures us that the Father truly cares for us. Because he does, we can be at peace and enjoy his love and care for us.


31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.[9]


Our Lord now gives the fourth reason why we should not be anxious. He once again tells us not to be anxious, repeating himself. Pay attention! When the Lord repeats himself it means what he is saying is important and we need to heed. When he presents these three questions, he does not mean them as if selecting among choices. “Should we have spaghetti tonight or steak?” “Should we have water or wine?” He means, “How will we buy our food tomorrow?” “Where will we get our drinks? We didn’t get paid and our tap water is awful.” The reason we should not be anxious is that Gentiles (unbelievers) are worried about these things. They don’t know the true God. We have a heavenly Father. We do believe so we ought to know that he will provide. The fourth reason, then, is because anxiety is the mark of ignorance and unbelief of the heathen.


Notice, too, that Jesus says, “your heavenly Father…” The subject of the sentence is Gentiles. One might expect Jesus to say, “their heavenly Father knows…” But he does not. He confines the Fatherhood of God. He restricts it to those who follow Christ. Do you follow Christ? Then God is your Father!


34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. [10]


Here is the final reason our Lord gives for not being anxious. This is also the third time the Lord tells us not to be anxious! Do you think he wants us to be at peace? Every day has its own burden of duty, of toil, of endurance, quite sufficient for it. But he who is anxious about tomorrow, adds to today’s care a burden not properly belonging to it. Don’t borrow tomorrow’s problems!


So, the Lord has given five reasons why we should not worry:


  • Because our lives are more important than what sustains them, he will provide what sustains us.
  • Because God cares for flowers and birds, he cares for us more!
  • Worry is useless. Don’t bother with useless things! (And, it is even detrimental!)
  • Worry shows that we lack faith, that is, trust in our God. We must trust in his great love for us!
  • Finally, every day has its own trouble. So, don’t look ahead and borrow tomorrow’s trouble!


We have yet to consider the most important verse in this whole section of Scripture. That is verse 33:


33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. [11]


The kingdom of God! We ought to be familiar with this subject at this time. It has been our Lord’s theme throughout this famous sermon from the very beginning. The kingdom to which our Lord refers is neither heaven nor is it the church. It is true that the church represents the kingdom in a hidden sense, what has been called “the kingdom in mystery.” The kingdom to which our Lord refers is the kingdom in glory, which he will establish when he returns to the earth. We are to seek this kingdom! We must seek it! For, if we do not seek it, we will not find it!


I tell you, there are many who name the name of Christ who are not seeking the kingdom. They are simply plodding though life, content in their own spiritual condition, content to know that they will not end up in the lake of fire. There is so much more to the life to which we have been called than simply escaping the lake of fire!


Jesus says to seek the kingdom of God! Are you seeking it? I am not asking if you are saved. I am asking if you are seeking the kingdom!


Then our Lord adds three words: “…and his righteousness…”


There are two kinds of righteousness to which the writers of the NT refer. There is the righteousness of Christ which we must have to stand before the throne of God. If you belong to Christ then you have this already and it is the most marvelous gift that a person could ever receive! Corrupt sinners, like you and I, can actually receive the righteousness of Christ! Indeed, that is what it is…a gift. It is a gift we receive simply upon faith. Thank you, Lord, for this marvelous and unimaginable gift!


Here, our Lord is not referring to his own righteousness which, when we receive it, is also known as imputed righteousness. He means a practical righteousness also called our personal righteousness. Robert Govett describes it thus:


the practical, difficult lessons of holiness, taught in this Sermon are intended. Here is something which may well exercise us all the time of our life. The perfection which belongs to our Father on high, is not attained in a day. This is a righteousness beyond that of the scribe and Pharisee: and needful for him who would enter the millennial reign.[12]


I like his definition. This righteousness consists of difficult lessons of holiness.  By nature, we are not very holy. So the Lord must teach us lessons. These lessons are sometimes difficult because we are slow to learn. Don’t run away from the difficult lessons. Receive them.


Not only receive them, but seek them! How do we seek righteousness? In order to seek it we must know what it is. If a person were searching for gold in the days of the gold rush, they must know what it looks like and what it weighs. They must know what it really is. They must distinguish it from fool’s gold. Fool’s gold is actually a naturally occurring compound called iron pyrite which, of course, looks like gold but is worthless. True righteousness is found in God’s word. We must seek it first in Scripture and then in the practical outworking of our lives.


The necessity of reading and meditating upon God’s word cannot be overemphasized. After we have done this we, in the power of the Spirit, do what we have read.


Who will enter the  kingdom? Those who are not anxious, but trust in the Lord’s love and care for them.


Who will enter the kingdom? Those who seek it.


Who will enter the kingdom? Those who seek the righteousness that is needed for entrance.


The Lord is saying to us today, “Do not be concerned about your food, your clothing, your needs in this life. Rather, seek the kingdom and seek God’s righteousness.”


When we do this we will discover that, not only will the things we need be provided, but the door will be opened wide to us in the coming kingdom!






[1] Robert Govett, Sermon on the Mount (Schoettle Publishing Co., Hayesville, NC, 28904; 2001) p 217.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:28–29). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7]  Govett, 223.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:30). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:31–32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:34). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[11] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 6:33). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[12] Govett, 230.