Gamma 15 – Sermon on the Mount (Study 13)

Study 13



John Goh012 207
Dr Lee Fook Sin019 230
Moh Ee Lin019 273
Ng Cho Hoo012 878
Susanah Ng012

Kindly contact any of these Gamma Facilitators. They will be hosting Zoom meetings for Discussions every Wednesday starting from April 1, 2020.


Please look at the questions and discuss the answers. The case histories are designed to let you apply what theoretical knowledge you have gleaned from the study. There are intentionally many more questions and case histories than you can manage in one session but this is designed to
cover the many and varied needs of the individuals in the church hence please pick and choose which ones to discuss as long as it gets people sharing and applying the Word to real life situations. Never feel obligated to finish all the questions. The answers will be posted on the web the next day

In this verse Jesus concludes his rebuke of greed as idolatry that it is incompatible with serving God.

Matt 6:24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.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

Then because one cannot worship God and money at the same time….the word used is “therefore “ which is the conclusion or natural implication of the incompatibility of idolatry and worship of God. Therefore we are commanded not to be anxious The Greek tense in the word not to be anxious is in the present imperative tense which means it is a command. Hence wallowing in anxiety is prohibited by Jesus because at its root as its cause if idolatry

There are two commands in this passage of Matthew 6:19 -34

Do not lay up for yourself treasure and do not be anxious and both these are commands as they are both in the present imperative tense in Greek

Verses 19-23 explains the rationale against greed and verses 25-34 explains the rationale against anxiety and right in the middle of the section is verse 24 which tells us we cannot worship God and money.

Greed is the idolatry of the worship of things and is what fuels our foolish attempt to make money our treasure and hoard it excessively and Anxiety is the poor cousin which also foolishly frets about hanging on to what we have or what we need for the future. Both at its core are symptoms of idolatry of money

1.Life is more than things v25
2.We are more valuable than the rest of creation v 26-30
3. Anxiety brings no tangible benefit v 27
4. God knows what we need v 31-32

Life is more than things v25 (ESV) Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
The one who is constantly anxious about the basic necessities of life is betraying an ungodly underlying conviction that this life is all there is. There is no real conviction of an eternal life or spiritual dimension of our lives, even if there was it is never factored in our thinking so we operate on the same plane as lesser forms of life. Man is the highest form of life in creation because we have been built with a spiritual dimension in the image of God with a divine purpose. Jesus is rebuking those who worry daily about just how to “cari makan” that they are really not really living as God would have meant them to. Life is meant for so much more to live in communion with God, to please and glorify Him that will being peace and joy to our hearts.

Instead our anxieties are focussed on the wrong things. It is on either the accumulation of things or the fear of loosing our things but the problem is there is a life span to all our things. The food does not last it goes bad, every electronic appliance that we buy will become obsolete and as a society just focussed on this life we are accumulating so many things which we once craved, saved for and treasured but within 6 months yesterday’s treasure becomes todays junk No .,Jesus tells us life is more than this and our anxiety is the symptom that we are living as if this life is the only life that matters and we risk our grave stones reading “It was good while it lasted”

2. We are more valuable than the rest of creation v 26-30 (ESV) 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?

Jesus is saying we are more valuable than the birds that is God bothers to feed even these tiny creatures how much more will he look after us He then gives another illustration

((ESV) 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. 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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ He applies the same argument to clothing.

Jesus is using an a fortiori argument which is structured as “If this how much more that “Like if a father gives his son a brand new BMW that costs RM 500,000 should his son worry that he won’t buy him lunch? Just like if a mother can give up her career to look after the child, should she worry if she will cook diner for her tonight?

Jesus uses the same kind of argument later on in Matt 7: 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Romans 8: 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?

So anxiety over the basic necessities of life betrays a lack of faith in a loving and faithful God. We can easily see that He amply supplies the birds and clothes the flowers but despite that evidence, we are not convinced He can provide for us. Our anxiety is rooted in our distrust in either His ability or His love or willingness …there is no other conclusion.

Let’s look at the third argument against anxiety

3. Anxiety brings no tangible benefit v 27 (ESV) 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Just as we cannot grow taller by being anxious anxiety adds nothing the solution of our problems.
Anxiety is an expansion of the problem and obscuring of your perspective so you can see nothing but your worries and your worry does not bring any benefits.

4. God knows what we need v 31-32

The final reason is given in this verses (ESV) 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

First of all we need to clarify what Jesus means by these things because there are those who would distort what Jesus means Anxiety over the basic necessities of life betrays the feeling that deep down we either believe God doesn’t know or doesn’t care. This is so ironic because even non believers know that these are common every day necessities of life that every one needs hence it is not unreasonable to expect God to provide them for us.
If even Non Christians know you need them your anxiety says you dont even believe your God knows you need them

If the root of anxiety is the same as greed which is the worship of money or mixed motives in worship then the relief from anxiety must come from a decision to worship either God or money. If we worship money we will be anxious and if we worship God we will not.

So when Jesus tells us to seek first His kingdom he is asking us to worship God as He will play second fiddle to no one. When we worship Him alone we will naturally prioritise His interests and His desires above our desires for money. Not only does this distract us from worship but it is the only naturally way in which human life was designed. We are a made in the image of God and our prime direction and purpose is to reflect God’s glory and values and any movement from that direction will result in consequences of which anxiety and greed are obvious ones being addressed here.

To seek God’s kingdom and righteousness is what the Sermon on the Mount is about as the beatitudes outline His values..cast as blessings and the Lord’s Prayer immediately says we should ask for His kingdom to come hence it is central to our vision and aspirations and this passage is a natural flow on from that. We not only pray for His kingdom to come on earth, for justice to be re-established as we mourn the pain that injustice and sin is oppressing the community in which we live, we also share the gospel as the only spiritual weapon that will transform our world and bring the reality of the kingdom on earth as the gospel is the good news of what the King has done for the world and now invites the people of the world to receive and be blessed.

Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Notice: it does not say, “I never struggle with fear.” Fear strikes, and the battle begins. So the Bible does not assume that true believers will have no anxieties. Instead, the Bible tells us how to fight when they strike.

1 Peter 5: 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be soberminded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Here is an answer from John Piper which is helpful

“The answer to that question is: we fight anxieties by fighting against unbelief and fighting for faith in future grace. And the way you fight this “good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7) is by meditating on God’s assurances of future grace and by asking for the help of his Spirit.

The windshield wipers are the promises of God that clear away the mud of unbelief, and the windshield washer fluid is the help of the Holy Spirit. The battle to be freed from sin — including the sin of anxiety — is fought “by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

The work of the Spirit and the word of truth. These are the great faith-builders. Without the softening work of the Holy Spirit, the wipers of the word just scrape over the blinding clumps of unbelief on the windshield. Both are necessary: the Spirit and the word. We read the promises of God and we pray for the help of his Spirit. And as the windshield clears so that we can see the welfare that God plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11), our faith grows stronger and the swerving of anxiety straightens out.”
John Piper

How can prayer address anxieties ? Look at Phil 4:4-7. Can you share with the group some of the anxieties that you are dealing with and how you are managing it? What are the strategies that you have found to be useful. How can we in church and in Gamma help each other address these anxieties?

Answers are available now.