Program Air Date - 4-8-01



Thank you for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. We are excited to have you with us for this time of offering and encouragement, as we participate in the things of God. We are glad that you have joined us for this worship to our God.

Our commitment this morning is to give glory to God through the singing or songs of praise and through the study of His Word. I hope each of us will do our part to make this service acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer.

How many watching this morning want to go to Heaven? That's a crazy question isn't it, because we all want to go to Heaven. I often like to think about the many wonderful things which the Bible says about Heaven. In fact, if it was only half of what the Bible says - it would still be beyond my wildest dreams. This morning we want to begin our praise through song, with a beautiful hymn about that celestial city. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time, as we together sing, "When We All Get To Heaven."
(SONG # 1)


I read a great story the other day about a visiting minister who got up in the pulpit and used the following illustration. As he stood before the audience he began to say, "a father, his son, and his son's friend were sailing off the Pacific coast, when a fast approaching storm took them by surprise. The waves were so high that tragedy was inevitable, and finally the boat capsized and the three were swept into the ocean."

By now, everyone was very interested in the story and they were all paying very close attention. He then continued the story - "grabbing on to a rescue line, the father regained his composure and was then faced with the most difficult decision of his life. That is, to which boy should he throw the other end of the lifeline? With only a few seconds to decide, he considered - first his son, a good boy, a Christian, safe in the arms of Jesus. On the other hand, his son's friend, a sinner, without Christ, alone in the world, and without hope.

By now, everyone was on the edge of their seat thinking the answer was obvious, but the minister continued, "And then the father yelled out 'I love you son,' as he threw the other end of the lifeline to the son's friend. By the time the father got the boy to safety his son was no where to be seen. He had succumbed to the raging sea - his body never recovered! 'But why would he do this you might ask' - well the father realized that his son would step into eternity with Jesus, but the friend still needed more time to respond to the saving grace of our Lord.

After the lesson two young teenagers were anxious to speak with the visiting preacher and to tell him how much they had liked his story. However, in their discussion, they also told him that really it wasn't very believable because anyone would have saved their own child first. The ministered smiled, hoping for this response and told them, "well, it may not be very realistic, but it sure gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like when God gave His only Son for someone like me." This was followed by an obvious silence as the boys walked away with a new perspective on the love God has for us.

Maybe you have forgotten or didn't realize what a great sacrifice God made for you - through the gift of His own Son. However, today I hope you have been reminded that God does love you enough to throw you the life line, instead of to His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Have you responded by grabbing hold and obeying His Will?

Today, our specific topic is considering the question, "Who Can Add One Cubit To His Statue?" This is our next lesson in our series called "The Lord's Response." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Have Thine Own Way Lord!"
(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for continuing with us this morning. It's great to have you with us during The Living Word so that we might study God's word and grow together. We appreciate so much the good comments and all the things which come through the internet on e-mail, as well as also through cards and letters concerning the program and we really appreciate you always tuning in with us so that we might grow together for the sake of Christ to know more what He would have us to do.

Before we get into our lesson, as I've already announced the title, I did want to remind all of you who had been involved in our TV tapings before that on April 22nd we will have our next taping. So that's in just a few weeks and we hope that all of you who have helped before and who are willing to help will be present at the Kansas Expressway church of Christ. That again is on April 22nd, Sunday afternoon, from 2:00 to 4:00 so that we might be able to sing together and praise God and be able to tape our singing so that we might use it every Sunday here on our program. So we hope you will be a part of that.

Now as we've already mentioned, our topic this morning is found in the book of Matthew chapter 6 where we actually have some discussion by our Lord from one of the greatest sermons, probably the greatest that was ever made because it was from God, the son of God, Deity Himself. And as we see this sermon, we see here that He had many great lessons and instruction that really bear on what we should do today as children of God in order that we might be even better than any who have ever come before under any other law. God expects more of us than He did before. He expects us to go even farther than He asked in the past. So we must strive to do all that we can to be like Christ, therefore, being more like God and therefore, being better.

In these things then, we are reminded here in Matthew chapter 6 of a very familiar passage, but a passage nonetheless that is important because it is here we find that through questions again, the Lord gives great thought and gives great meaning. In fact, causes us to think about things and in His own questions, answers the questions so that we might truly understand the amount of faith that we can have, especially in this particular passage.

If you'll notice then there with me, we'll want to begin by reading in verses 25 through 27. That's again of Matthew 6. As Jesus Himself said, Therefore, I say to you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not your life not more than food and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more of value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to your stature?

Now as you notice here in the things that are said by the Lord again, we see some points that are made. In fact, notice the series of questions that are given here in relationship to worrying about what will happen tomorrow, in relationship to what we will eat, in relationship to what we will wear. Now, all of us probably in our lives at some point or other maybe have had some of these questions in our mind. We have wondered, "Well, how will I pay that next bill?" or "How will we go to the grocery store and get the food we need to make it until the next paycheck?" or "How will we be able to maybe get those shoes that my child needs or the clothing?" And because of that, we often are able to fall back on our family, on our family members at church or maybe different groups or organizations throughout Springfield that help us in these different areas and in different ways so that we might accomplish and have the things that we need in this life. But here we see, why worry about it? Why worry about it?

And then, we really see in the outcome of that that He uses a great example in verse 26 that there are birds in the air, birds that many of us enjoy watching. I know my wife has a bird feeder that we like to put the seed in and allow the birds to come and they really enjoy it and we enjoy watching them because there are so many kinds, so many beautiful ones that come and that we are allowed to see and realize that God made them, and has made all of these great creations around us. But they come there and it is these birds that are provided for by who? By God. They are fed as they need food. They are sheltered by being provided the things that they need to make nests. They have all that they need.

And then the question is asked there also in verse 26, Are you not more of value than they are? What about your worth? What about my worth as a human, one with a living soul, one created by God and given the ability to be over all other creation, given that authority by God Himself as He placed it there on Adam there in the garden that he would have dominion?

And then we have the question, If God cares for birds, why wouldn't He much more care for us as His children? And then the question comes, Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to your stature? Sometimes we feel it seems that if we'll just worry or think about something or try and try and try to work it out in our mind then somehow we're going to make it go away. We're going to make a problem dissolve or we're going to be able to figure something out. When really you and I are unable to do that as far as being able to have complete control in life to not need anyone else or to not even need God. We can't do that. We can't add height to our stature. Why is it that we grow? When we are born, why is it that we move from being a baby into a child, from a child into a teenager, from a teenager into an adult? What is it that moves us and makes us to grow not only physically but mentally? Well again, it's the help of God. It is that which He has put into motion as far as a human being not only being created and delivered by Him through the seed of a woman but also rising up to become an adult in the life that we live. Now then as this question comes, He follows on. He's used several ideas already. He said that we shouldn't worry about these things in life, what we eat and drink. We shouldn't worry because God cares for all animals. He will better then care for us as those with souls. And then He says, "What does it matter anyway? Can you yourself do anything about it? Are you the creator? Are you able to make yourself grow on your own without the help or the strength from God and the things that He has provided on this earth?

Now go on with me in our readings and we'll continue in verse 28 and find some further examples here about what is said in relationship to not worrying but having faith in God. It says there in verse 28, So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. And yet I say to you that even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now as God so clothes the grass of the field which is today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, oh you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry saying, "What shall we eat?" Or "What shall we drink?" Or "What shall we wear?" for after all these things the gentile see, for your heavenly father knows that you need all these things.

I love these verses and they are so powerful, probably my most favored verses throughout all of the Bible because here I'm reminded that God does care, that God not only cares for me in a spiritual sense, but God cares for me physically and He is going to see as it says here that I have those things that I need. He knows all my needs. "Don't worry about it," He says there in verse 32, like the gentiles. Don't worry about it as those who have no hope or those who don't have somebody on their side. You have God on your side. That's why in verses 28 through about 31 that we just read that He again gives further examples about the grass, about the lilies of the field, how they grow, how they are provided for, how the sun comes and how the rain is given to nourish them and how the soil gives them the nutrients that they need again to grow and to be healthy and strong. Who gives those things? God. God provides. God allows these things to be so. In fact, even here another comparison is made that in relationship to what God does for these things of the earth, these flowers, and this grass, even Solomon was not arrayed like one of them, even in all of his glory, all of his wealth. Even Solomon wasn't able to match what God does in these great things of creation, these great again beauties of roses, and flowers and lilies and all of these things that are so nice for us to look at and to smell.

That's why He goes on here in verse 30 and says, "Why worry about it? Why about your clothing? Why worry about your food? Why worry about all of these things, you of little faith? Will not God provide?" If God cares so much for the earth and the things of it, that He eventually as we read throughout the Bible, that He will someday destroy with fervent heat, even as it mentions here in this same verse, verse 30, then how much more will He care for you? Why do we have little faith like that? Why is it that we allow ourselves to be caught up in this type of a faith and to feel that maybe somehow yes, we can care for ourselves and we can add cubit to our stature. We can grow ourselves without the help of God. That's why Jesus asked the question and reminded through the question that really the point is and the answer is that we can't do it alone. We need God, that we need Him to help us to become physically and spiritually what we need to be before Him and as long as we are His, He's going to care for us. He's going to let us know that He is there. He knows what we have need of.

Then in verse 33, one of the most familiar that is used probably in the Bible, as there Jesus says, But seek first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.

Notice there in verse 32, He had just said, Your heavenly Father knows what you need. Then He says, But seek first His kingdom and all these things you need will be (what?) added to you.

God is going to provide. He's going to again give you the clothing mentioned there in verse 31, the food, the drink, whatever you need to physically grow in this life, whatever you need to survive in this life from a physical standpoint and then spiritually, also. We know those things are ours because why? Because God gives them to us. He blesses us with these things. We can't do it alone. We need Him. We can not add to ourselves.
And because of all this, He sums up in verse 34, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

He says don't worry about tomorrow and why? Because you've got faith. Faith to know that as a child of God, God is going to care for you. He's going to provide for you. He's going to let you know that He is there because He gives you what you need physically to strengthen you, to grow and to cause your body to grow in stature. Why again? Because He can do it and He can help. Not because we are able to do it of our own selves.

Now a few things that we might want to consider in relationship to our thoughts this morning. Someone asked the questions, "What are some of these things that we shouldn't worry about?" Well, that's very easy to answer because we shouldn't worry about anything. That's basically what it's telling us here. There are things in life that we can do nothing about. But how many nights do we stay up sleepless, worrying about things that there's nothing we can do anything about? What about that child who maybe is involved in something who won't listen to us or that one who's gotten involved in a relationship that they won't hear anything that you have to say about it? Here again, what can we do about it? Usually by trying to react, we cause just the opposite and cause it to be even tighter and closer and they want to do it even more to go against what the parents sometimes say. Well, here again we find that if there is nothing we can do about it, why worry about it? And even if we can do something about it, why worry about it? On either side of the coin, why worry about it because God will provide. He will care. He will protect. He will give us everything that we have need of.

I want to make just a few points in closing this morning to help us understand how we can overcome worry. How can we overcome this concept that Jesus now has introduced about worrying?

One is to forget the past things, those things that are behind us. Paul had to do that. In fact, Paul told us there in Philippians 2:13 that it was only by forgetting the things of the past that he can move forward. That's what I suggest to you this morning. Don't worry about it. God is there. Leave the past in the past. Yes, we've all done things that are wrong in the past. Paul did. He killed Christians or allowed them to be killed. He imprisoned Christians. He did many things against God, against Jesus Christ. He had to forget it. He had to put it away. What if Paul everyday would have just focused on that? Would he have been effective in the Lord's service? Certainly not. We've got to put the past in the past. We've got to look at today and say, what am I today and what does God want of me on the days to follow?

Another idea is that we must realize that we must live life one day at a time. We must look at today, see what we can do today. Yes, tomorrow brings many things. It's not wrong to plan to a certain extent, but let's focus on today. And why? Because we don't know about tomorrow. We don't know what will happen. Even the Lord Himself could come again. Tomorrow may never come, as the Bible tells us. Therefore, today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to be ready. Watch today for the coming of the Master. Now if we are like that as children of God, again, we must be willing to live one day at a time. We must be willing to again do as Jesus has asked us and worry about today and accomplish as much as we can as if there were no tomorrow, and as if we had made no mistakes in the past.

Another idea is we must accept ourselves. In Matthew 25, we have the story of the talents. Individuals had five talents, some two, some one, but the point was before God was that each one who was given something in order to be pleasing to God, had to use what they were given. In other words, the five talent increased again with five talent. The Lord was pleased. The two talent increased again with two new talents, again having four total. The Lord was just as pleased as with the one who had increased to ten. Why? Because he did the best with what he had. But the one who had one talent, who did nothing at all, the Lord was displeased. He was not satisfied. Accept who you are. Don't worry about what we can be or what we were. Again, worry about where we are today, who we are, what we can accomplish and do the best with what we have, not saying, "I've got to be like him before I can be like God", but, "What can I do today where I am in order to accomplish those things for God?"

And most importantly as Christians, making sure that faith always overcomes worries. We have so many verses in the Bible that encourage us to help us to know that God is always there, that Christ is always there, that we can depend on Him. If we can increase our faith, as He said here in our text this morning, and not have a little faith but a great faith, then we will know as it says in 1 Peter 5:7 that we can cast our care on Him, that is Jesus, because He cares for us. We will know just as Paul told the Philippians in 4:19 that again we can have faith and that faith will lead us to great and mighty things and anything can be accomplished with God on our side as long as we again have faith. That's what God wants. That's what He expects and He doesn't give it with empty promises. He doesn't say, "Just have this faith for no reason at all." But He says, "Have this faith because first, I love you. I showed you the greatest love by giving you my Son and furthermore, I just told you I will give you all blessings physically and spiritually and finally the great reward and hope of heaven." You see, with great faith, overcoming worry in this life knowing that God is always there and that He will always give us all that we have need of. He finally tells us that heaven is ours and that we can have every confidence in it if we will only do what He has asked us to in our daily lives.
(SONG # 3 - "Holy, Holy, Holy!")


Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

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May we be reminded every day that without God we are truly nothing and that it is only through Him that we are able to be who we are and able to do what we do. Praise be to God!

(Program closing)