Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20120926.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part XI: Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Surpassing Righteousness
O. The Biblically Consistent Righteousness Of Christ's Subjects On Livelihood Concerns
Lesson: In accord with His call that we serve Him versus wealth as our master, Jesus urged us not to worry about our livelihood needs that we meet by spending money, for God fully knows what we need in this realm, and He meets these needs as we focus on fulfilling His call that we seek His kingdom.
- When Jesus said that one's righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees if he were to be a part of the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20), He had to clarify to His Hebrew listeners how that could be, for the Pharisees adhered to the principle of Halacha, "concern for every jot and tittle of performance" regarding the Mosaic Law, Zondervan Pictorial Ency. of the Bible, volume Four, p. 748.
- Matthew 5:21-7:6 provides many illustrations of Jesus' point, with Matthew 6:25-34 exampling how His kingdom righteousness on the subject of livelihood concerns far surpassed that of the Pharisees:
- The Biblically Consistent Righteousness Of Christ's Subjects On Livelihood Concerns, Mtt. 6:25-34.
- After Jesus stated that one could not serve both wealth and God since they were mutually exclusive masters, Christ knew He had opened the door of concern that constantly occupies the nations of the world (cf. Matthew 6:32a), let alone individuals locally, the concern of meeting their livelihood needs.
- Accordingly, Jesus introduced God's solution to the concern, directing His listeners to a way of viewing their livelihood needs that was not practiced by the Pharisees, that way being "living by faith" as follows:
- Due to God's call that we serve Him and not wealth (dia touto = "because of this," the need to serve God and not wealth in verse 24; U. B. S. Grk. N. T., 1966, p. 20; Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Engl. Lex. of the N. T., 1967, p. 178-180), Christ directed us to "stop (present tense) being anxious" (merimnao, Ibid., p. 506) about our needs of physical nourishment and covering, Matthew 6:25a.
- This command reveals He knew of the ongoing battle His people have regarding the matter, explaining why He further very extensively developed this theme in Matthew 6:25b-30a (as follows):
- God knows that life is more important than physical things, and the body than clothes, Matt. 6:25b.
- For this reason, He has built within nature itself the upkeep of such things, Matthew 6:26-29: (1) For example, birds do not sow, reap or gather harvested crops into barns as do we humans, but God feeds them as He has created in them the drive constantly to look for food, Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 33. (2) Since humans are more valuable than birds, God will surely care for our food needs, Matthew 6:26. (3) Besides, worry never adds an hour to our life span, so it is futile, Matthew 6:27 NIV, ESV. (4) Regarding clothing, Jesus asked why His disciples worried about it, for the lilies of the field that neither toil or spin to make clothing are yet arrayed with greater glory than the very wealthy King Solomon, Matthew 6:28-29. (5) Thus, Jesus argued that if God thus clothed the grass of the field that is so transitory and worthless that it blooms on one day and is cast into the oven to be consumed on another day, how much more will He clothe His people, Matthew 6:30a.
- Thus, Jesus called His disciples to live by faith, critiquing their small faith, Matthew 6:30b-31.
- The rationale behind relaxing enough to live this way is the fact that God the Father in heaven knows that we have need of such livelihood supplies, so it is futile for us to worry about them, Matt hew 6:32.
- Rather, God wants us to seek as our first priority the kingdom of God and His righteousness, serving Him as our ultimate Master, and all of these livelihood provisions will be added unto us that we might fulfill our divine callings in His kingdom assignments for us, Matthew 6:33.
- As a closing admonition, Jesus charged that we "not start to be anxious" (merimnao in the aorist tense; Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N. T., p. 21) about tomorrow, for the today's issues offer enough problems to occupy our attention and efforts without our having to fret about another day's concerns, Matt. 6:34.
Application: May we make God, not wealth, our Master, and focus on heeding Him regarding His Kingdom calling of us, letting Him bear the care of the meeting our livelihood needs.