2nd Sunday before Lent – Sermon 47

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Bible References :


Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



What are our biggest fears?

– that we will lose our health
– our job
– our friends
– that we will lose control

Sometimes just thinking about such things can send us into an emotional roller coaster ride

We worry that the tightrope we call life – one day – might suddenly snap – and there will be no one there to catch us

Anxiety is distress about uncertainty – it makes us feel that something bad is about to happen – that there is nothing we can do – and there is no one to help us

But in fact as Christians – we know that the truth is just the opposite –

In reality we are very secure – we have a great helper – and He never leaves us –
but still we worry!

In the 10 verses of our NT reading Jesus sets out the arguments and the defenses against worry and anxiety

We are going to look at what He says and see how as Christian our worries can be brought under control –

First Point        So what is anxiety?


No one who reads the morning papers or watches the news on television needs to be persuaded that we live in an age anxiety

It might be a mild tension before an interview, or a worry after an examination, because the future is at stake, or it could be someone’s forehead dripping with sweat waiting to hear whether a loved one has survived an accident or a natural disaster. –

Anything from a knawing inside – to a general bewilderment or even shear terror – such as a child might experience when she is lost –

It can be the most painful emotion we experience

Someone once said that “worry is the average person crucifying themselves between two thieves – the regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow”

Jesus describes anxiety as a lack of faith – He reminds us that God gave us life – a gift beyond price – and we can trust Him to give us all we need to support it –

Its no accident that the first chapter in the Bible is about God’s word and creative power – God is at the beginning and is in control of everything – there is no description of chaos or conflict – His rule is unchallenged – everything is dependent on God for its existence – including us – everything is fed from God’s hand
As Jesus says:
“Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow and reap and store in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than birds?”

the birds – live from day to day on what God has provided for them – they know that this is all that they need –

Then Jesus talks about the flowers:
“Consider how the lilies grow in the fields, they do not work, they do not spin, yet I tell you Solomon in all his splendour was not attired like one of them”

The lilies Jesus speaks of are the wild scarlet poppies of the countryside – after a shower of rain – their colour fills the hillsides – yet these same flowers are used to fuel oven fires – if God clothes perishable plants with such beauty – how much more will we be clothed

Which of us says Jesus – by being anxious – can add a single day to our lives?

Worry is futile – it achieves nothing – Half our so called problems never actually occur – worrying about them is more likely to shorten our lives rather than lengthen them –

It wears out the mind – and it wears out the body with it. Many of our hospital beds are full of worriers – mental distress can lead to loss of sleep – headaches – heart trouble – two of the most common diseases of modern day are stomach ulcers and coronary thrombosis – and both can be caused by worry

– it affects our judgment – and can render us incapable of doing something that we should be able to do –

if we were to ask two people here this evening – to read a lesson in church – one might get up and read clearly and calmly – whereas another might show symptoms of shear panic and struggle with every word – the difference between them wouldn’t be a question of gift or ability – but the degree of anxiety within –

C.S.Lewis describes anxiety as a barracade between the human mind and God – worry is sin – and sin causes us to worry – it sucks our vital energy and enthusiasm for God’s work –
worry and anxiety could be described as the opposite to inner peace –

The message is clear – Food, drink and clothing – the material things we think we need to keep going – are seen as less important than the life and body they supply –

We know that God created on a large scale with amazing generosity – He provides for the needs of all we see and keeps on giving – responsibly. – We are the crown of God’s creation – He gave us life – so He will provide the means to sustain that life – We just have to believe in Him and trust in His power and sovereignty over all things –


Point 2  First things first


And there’s more – Jesus tells us that we also have to focus on God’s will –

“Set your mind on God’s Kingdom and justice before anything else, and all the rest will come to you”

In other words – Put God first – Let God become the dominating power in our lives – and do what is right by Him – If we do that – His love and Grace will meet our everyday concerns – and we will receive a quality of life that only He can give –

Everything in society to day points to self – we have to look after number one – because if we don’t then know one else will – the T.V. and media encourages us to believe and trust only in what we see or touch –

Such and such a hair shampoo will make us feel like a new person – if we use a certain after shave – or perfume we will be irresistible to the opposite sex – if we buy that new car we will be magically transported to some exotic place – every time we drive it –

It all serves to increase our dependence on the material things –

But Jesus tells us we must focus on the treasures of heaven – the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness – we need to be responsible, give generously and lovingly and care and support others –

Love can drive out all our concerns – overcome our fears and equip us for the challenges that God puts before us –
Through the love of Jesus Christ one of our darkest fears – death – has already been overcome – because Jesus rose from the dead – we know that our death is not the end –

Jesus was crucified for our sake – He freed us from guilt – through Jesus we can confess directly to God and receive forgiveness –

Through Jesus we can face anything and face it confidently


Point 3 One day at a time


And now we come to the punch line –

“Do not be anxious about tomorrow – tomorrow will look after itself, each day has troubles of its own”

Jesus tells us – we must learn to live a day at a time – No – He doesn’t mean forgoing all planning in our lives – many of us live for years with diaries packed with engagements even a year ahead or more – and if we don’t do our financial planning with all the pressures on us to spend our money as soon as we receive it – it wouldn’t be long before things would break down. – but what we mustn’t do is try to live in – and through – the days ahead – now – not even tomorrows

Maybe you’ve heard the story of the clock that had a nervous breakdown –

One day it began thinking about how often it would have to tick in the coming year –now let me see – taking two ticks a second – that’s 1200 a minute, 7200 an hour – 172,800 a day – 1,209, 600 ticks a week –Gosh – the clock suddenly realised it would have to tick nearly 63 million times during the next 12 months just to keep going – “I can’t do that” said the clock – the more the clock thought about it – the more anxious it became – until suddenly it became so upset – that it suffered a nervous collapse.

The clock then confided in a clock doctor – “what shall I do” asked the clock – “well” said doctor clock – “tell me – how many ticks must you tick at a time ?” –the clock answered “Oh er Only one – just one” – “well!” said the doctor – “that’s it – simply go on ticking one – at – a – time – and don’t worry about the next one – and you’ll get along fine” – and that’s what the clock did – and it carried on ticking – like all good stories happily ever after – one tick at a time –
Jesus wants us to live and enjoy our lives to the full – one tick at a time – to meet the challenges He puts before us – one day at a time –

The last part of Jesus’ words serves to remind us that we will not necessarily be free of troubles – but we shouldn’t multiply them by worrying about them before they occur – Jesus can be trusted to help us – and deal with them when they arrive –

Jesus believed that God’s grace and power would come when He needed it – He didn’t worry – not even the night before His crucifixion – which He knew was coming – He relied on His heavenly Father – and that’s what we must do – seek God’s help – plan tomorrow then leave tomorrow until it comes –



Next month the Wider Concerns Committee of the PCC will be putting up a display in church on mental health – providing information on local, national and international organisations helping in this area. There will also be an article in next months magazine – Please have at look – and pray for the work of the organisations – and those in need.

Anxiety and stress can affect us all

It was Franklin D Rosevelt that said “ The only thing we have to fear – is fear itself”

Jesus can release us from our fears – if we take His path to freedom – In this passage He shows us three ways top do it –

Way of faith – we must live by faith anchored in God’s word – and really believe in the reality of His person, His promises and His sovereignty

Way of truth – we know that we can count on God’s love – He will come to our aid and provide all that we need – when we need it

Way of First things first – God’s will must be the number one thing in our lives – if not we will waste the opportunities that we are given
One of the best things about the future is that it comes one day at a time

Our prime responsibility is to trust God and give Him our whole hearted devotion free from anxiety about the details of our life – and with God’s help we will find peace – and all our greatest fears will be lost forever


In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit