OceanSide church of Christ
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THE ABUNDANT LIFE:
A Life Free from Anxiety (1)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Four times in Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus instructed His listeners to “take no thought.”
On the storm ravaged seas of Galilee, Jesus asked His disciples, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” (Matt. 8:26).
Jesus spoke to the troubled Martha these words of comfort: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41).
In the Philippian epistle, Paul exhorted the church, saying: “Be careful for nothing” (Phil. 4:6).
B. The moment we hear the word “anxiety,” we have a twinge of anxiety swell within us.
1. Inner feelings of worry and dread
2. Tension and uneasiness
3. Usually involving something in the future
C. To have an abundant life, we must conquer anxiety. Tonight, therefore, we want to begin a two-part series entitled: “The Abundant Life: A Life Free from Anxiety.”
I. FACTS ABOUT ANXIETY
A. Not all anxiety is bad for us.
1. A certain level of anxiety or apprehension keeps the mind focused and alert.
2. II Corinthians 11:28
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily the care of all the churches.
a. Thayer gives two definitions to the word “care.” He says it means “care” and “anxiety.”
b. As a founder of churches, a father of Christians, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and a faithful Christian, Paul had concerns about his brother and sisters in Christ.
c. These concerns caused him to
1) Pray for them
2) Keep up with their affairs
3) Write to them
4) Assist them in whatever ways he could
B. Anxiety can be evil.
1. Fear and worry can indicate a lack of faith.
2. Anxiety can harm an individual’s health.
3. Anxiety can destroy one’s relationships with others.
4. The Greek word translated “concern” or “anxiety” carries with it the idea of destruction.
C. Anxiety is the number one health issue in the United States.
1. Some need professional help and medication to deal with it.
2. If you have severe anxiety as a Christian, do not be ashamed of it. Don’t ignore it, or, hope it will go away. Seek assistance so you can live your life successfully and fruitfully in the service of God.
D. Three groups prone to anxiety
1. Type A personalities: high performers, perfectionists
2. Firstborn children: demands of parents and the role of the firstborn in the home
3. Christians: perfectionists, high achievers, do not like to admit their faults and weaknesses
II. THE CAUSES OF ANXIETY
A. The past
1. Relationships, circumstances, beliefs
2. Most do not suffer from this type of anxiety.
B. Providing the basic elements of life
1. We often refer to this as “paying the bills” or “putting bread on the table.”
2. Jesus addressed this in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:25).
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
3. Many of us have experience this anxiety.
a. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
b. Children are expensive.
c. The bills will always be in the mail.
d. Debt is a cruel taskmaster.
1. Busy schedules, going in all directions, can’t say no.
2. Our middle names should be “busy.”
3. Martha’s anxiety was due to busy-ness (Luke 10:38-42).
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?
1. Jesus asked His apostles: “Why are ye fearful?” (Matt. 8:26).
2. The servant of Elisha
a. The city of Dothan was surrounded by the Syrian king (II Kings 6:15).
And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do?
b. Elisha’s response (II Kings 6:16)
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
3. We’ve all suffered from fear in our lives. Danger threatens. There seems to be no escape. We think our enemy is more powerful than we are. Fear rises within our hearts.
1. In sin, the Christian’s practice no longer matches his profession.
2. Galatians 5:17
The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
3. Anxiety and guilt fill the heart until sin is removed from one’s life or until the heart is hardened against the sin.
F. The desire to be perfect
1. Some Christians believe that they must be perfect because they are taught to be like Jesus (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:21), and He was perfect.
2. Anxiety arises when asked about going to heaven. They say such things as: “I hope I have been good enough,” or, “I hope I have done enough.”
3. Death and judgment also can cause anxiety because they know they are not perfect.
G. Lack of self-worth
1. Not good enough. Don’t know enough. No capable enough.
2. Anxiety arises when a person is put in a position he is asked to perform or produce results.
3. The anxiety increases for the Christian because he/she feels that he should take on responsibility.
A. Anxiety takes away man’s inner peace. It keeps one from having the abundant life.
B. We must learn how to overcome anxiety. This we will study in our next lesson.
C. Pray is one of the most powerful tools that we have against anxiety (Phil. 4:6-7).
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all under-standing, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.