Do Not Worry

by Mike Ratliff

22 Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς [αὐτοῦ]· διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν· μὴ μεριμνᾶτε τῇ ψυχῇ τί φάγητε, μηδὲ τῷ σώματι τί ἐνδύσησθε. 23 ἡ γὰρ ψυχὴ πλεῖόν ἐστιν τῆς τροφῆς καὶ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ ἐνδύματος. 24 κατανοήσατε τοὺς κόρακας ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν οὐδὲ θερίζουσιν, οἷς οὐκ ἔστιν ταμεῖον οὐδὲ ἀποθήκη, καὶ ὁ θεὸς τρέφει αὐτούς· πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμεῖς διαφέρετε τῶν πετεινῶν. 25 τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ προσθεῖναι πῆχυν; 26 εἰ οὖν οὐδὲ ἐλάχιστον δύνασθε, τί περὶ τῶν λοιπῶν μεριμνᾶτε; 27 κατανοήσατε τὰ κρίνα πῶς αὐξάνει· οὐ κοπιᾷ οὐδὲ νήθει· λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων. 28 εἰ δὲ ἐν ἀγρῷ τὸν χόρτον ὄντα σήμερον καὶ αὔριον εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον ὁ θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέζει, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς, ὀλιγόπιστοι. 29 καὶ ὑμεῖς μὴ ζητεῖτε τί φάγητε καὶ τί πίητε καὶ μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε· 30 ταῦτα γὰρ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη τοῦ κόσμου ἐπιζητοῦσιν, ὑμῶν δὲ ὁ πατὴρ οἶδεν ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων. 31 πλὴν ζητεῖτε τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν. 32 Μὴ φοβοῦ, τὸ μικρὸν ποίμνιον, ὅτι εὐδόκησεν ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν δοῦναι ὑμῖν τὴν βασιλείαν. 33 Πωλήσατε τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ὑμῶν καὶ δότε ἐλεημοσύνην· ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς βαλλάντια μὴ παλαιούμενα, θησαυρὸν ἀνέκλειπτον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ὅπου κλέπτης οὐκ ἐγγίζει οὐδὲ σὴς διαφθείρει· 34 ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρὸς ὑμῶν, ἐκεῖ καὶ ἡ καρδία ὑμῶν ἔσται. (Luke 12:22-24 NA28)

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you may eat, nor for your body, what clothes you may put on. 23 For the soul is more than food and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens that they do not sow nor reap, they have neither a storeroom nor a barn, and God feeds them. How much more worth are you than the birds? 25 And which of you by worrying is able to add to add upon his lifespan a cubit? 26 If then you are not able to do as little a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow; they do not labor nor spin, but I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like on of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field today and tomorrow it is thrown into an oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you may eat and what you may drink, and do not be anxious. 30 For the nations of the world strive for these things, but your Father knows that you need them, 31 but seek his Kingdom and these things will be added to you.” 32 “Do not fear little flock because it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to charity. Make for yourselves purses that do not become old, with an inexhaustible treasure in the heavens where a thief does not come near nor does a moth destroy. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be. (Luke 12:22-34 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Over the last several days (or is it weeks?) as I have written various posts about the Sovereignty of God in Salvation, I have found myself in a crossfire of sorts. It’s been awhile since the accuser has had such a field day with so much help from his minions who are mired so deeply in their religious traditions that they are blind to Biblical truth no matter how clearly it is presented to them. I have controlled the conversation in the comments pretty well, but I still receive emails, contacts and spam comments that no one else sees and even though no one else has to deal with it, our enemy uses these things in odd ways. His tactic is to make me worry or anxious. However, God usually uses the focus of the straw-man attacks (for that is what they are for the most part) as source material for my next post or even next several posts. However, after several days of this I found myself last night wanting to be out of the battle zone. I prayed for help. I asked for prayer from friends. What happened? I got lots of encouragement and was very surprised after a very short period to not be worried about anything at all. What about the growing threat of militant secularization in the U.S? It is something we should be cognizant of to be sure, but worried? No, I would say we need to be discerning and trusting of the one who is sovereign and is really in control. What about the rampant apostasy in the visible church being run by a pack of wolves in sheep’s clothing? Again, we are to stand firm, not run away and be used by God how he chooses to use us.

The passage I placed at the top of this post (Luke 12:22-34) is amazing. If you haven’t read it, please do so now. It should be obvious to all believers by now that God’s people are called to be unworldy. Their unworldliness makes them very different than those who profess to be Christians, but who are simply religious. There is a huge push going on right now throughout the world to redefine Christianity. Rick Warren is the most visible proponent of the Church Growth movement. His Purpose Driven Church model, while professing to be Christian and Biblically based, is actually just a pragmatic model for church leaders to grasp and “franchise” at the local level. This model plays down any emphases on God’s Wrath against sin against His Holy Law as well as repentance from that sin. Instead, all focus is on the decision to come to Jesus so He can improve your life. There is no talk of a Sovereign God. Those of us who have refused to be dragged into the deception should praise the Lord for opening our eyes. However, as we look at the massive shift towards this pragmatism it can cause us to become anxious.

One of the things I find that makes me anxious is doubt about the veracity of my own stand against Rick Warren, his PDC machine, the New Evangelism, the Emergent Church, et cetera. Perhaps I’m being too judgmental. Perhaps I should just watch and see instead of pointing out the troubling extra-biblical things coming from those things. I confess, I do agonize over this sometimes. However, God always comes through and shows the truth from His Word via one of His servants.

As we carefully read the passage above we see that our focus must be eternal. If it is then we will not treasure this world or anything in it. Instead we will seek to do the Lord’s will in all things. As we do this, we will find that we will believe God and not Man. Even though there are many “ministries” that call themselves Christian or even appear to be orthodox, that does not mean they are. When a ministry is subject to God’s sovereignty, it will not function according to Man’s Reason. Instead, it will be unworldly. It will not function along the world’s lines in any way. There will be no follow-the-leader, copy-cat, pragmatism in its methods. Instead, it will be truly faith-based. I know that term is thrown around a lot and has lost much of its meaning, but in this context we are saying that not all people and ministries that call themselves Christian actually are. Those that are will be different. How different?

They will not be concerned about numbers. They will not be concerned about money. They will not be concerned about fame. They will not be concerned about image. Instead they will be based upon seeking the Lord’s will and doing it by His grace. One of the telling things about the Purpose Driven Church model is it’s emphasis on church growth. However, in v32 above we see that Jesus calls the Church a “little flock.”

13 Εἰσέλθατε διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης· ὅτι πλατεῖα ἡ πύλη καὶ εὐρύχωρος ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ἀπώλειαν καὶ πολλοί εἰσιν οἱ εἰσερχόμενοι δι’ αὐτῆς· 14 τί στενὴ ἡ πύλη καὶ τεθλιμμένη ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ζωὴν καὶ ὀλίγοι εἰσὶν οἱ εὑρίσκοντες αὐτήν. (Matthew 7:13,14 NA28)

13 “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way leading to destruction and many are the ones entering through it. 14 How narrow is the gate and constricted the road leading to life and few are the ones finding it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus tells us in His Sermon on the Mount that the way to salvation is not easy nor is it easy to find. In fact, the religious way that is made easy leads to destruction. Those who are saved are those who find the narrow gate that is hard to enter because it opens to a way of life that is not “easy” nor is it “wide.” In fact, when an unregenerate person looks at Jesus’ words about salvation, they will always reject them. However, many “evangelicals” have concocted a new message about a different Jesus that doesn’t make the way hard nor does it put any demands on anyone for repentance. Instead all that is called for is religion. Never forget, the easy way that leads to destruction is made easy by religion. The way that leads to life is not a religious way at all. It is a response to the Gospel being preached in light of Man’s utter depravity and terrible sin against a Holy God who judges. When this gospel is preached those who are effectually called by the Holy Spirit will enter the narrow gate and take on the narrow (constricted) and hard path (road) because their regenerated hearts have found that life in Christ is everything and this world is nothing. They become pilgrims on the way to the Celestial City.

On the other hand, those who make us anxious with their apostate, pragmatic religion displacing so many of Christ’s sheep from their local churches are becoming ever more visible and popular. God is not mocked though. The following is a excerpt from the prologue of William Tyndale’s The Obedience of a Christian Man.

“Neverthelater in very deed, after the preaching of God’s word, because it is not truly received, God sendeth great trouble into the world: partly to avenge himself of the tyrants and persecutors of his word and partly to destroy those worldly people which make of God’s word nothing but a cloak of their fleshly liberty. They are not all good that follow the gospel. Christ (Matthew in the thirteenth chapter) likeneth the kingdom of heaven unto a net cast in the sea that catcheth fishes both good and bad. The kingdom of heaven is the preaching of the gospel, unto which come both good and bad. But the good are few. “Christ calleth them therefore a little flock (Luke 12). For they are ever few that come to the gospel of a true intent seeking therein nothing but the glory and praise of God and offering themselves freely and willingly to take adversity with Christ for the gospel’s sake and for bearing report unto the truth, that all men may hear it. The greatest number come and ever came and followed even Christ himself for a worldly purpose. As thou mayest well see (John 6) how that almost five thousand followed Christ and would also have made him a king, because he had well fed them. Whom he rebuked saying: ye seek me now, because ye saw the miracles, but because ye ate of the bread and were filled: and drove them away from him with hard preaching.”- William Tyndale

Tyndale published this book in 1528. If we modernized the English a little, wouldn’t it describe what we are seeing in the American Church today? Should we, then, be anxious about those false Christian leaders who seem to be “taking over the world?” No, we should not. Yes, we should pray for God to open the eyes of the deceived, but God’s will is being done. I say that we need to seek the Lord’s face and obey Him in all things. We must pray for those who have been blinded by all false religions that call themselves Christian. We must diligently preach and protect the gospel, never allowing it to become sullied and “religionized.” We must understand that the net of the Gospel draws in God’s people as well as those who are false professors. We must not compromise the gospel in any way to appease them. The truth must be preached hard no matter who it offends. Jesus’ flock is small. He is in control of it. Who are we to try to come up with solutions based on Man’s Reason to try bring into the flock those who are not His sheep?

We must not allow these trying times to make us anxious to the point of despair. Instead, let’s stay on the narrow way, preaching and teaching the gospel to everyone, but never compromising or adjusting it to make it palatable to fleshly people. The true Gospel slices, cuts, hacks and injures even unto death, but those who die are made alive again unto eternal life by grace through faith. That is why the way is hard and its gate is narrow. Man’s Reason rejects this.

God is allowing these apostate false professors to become seemingly powerful and famous. They seem to be drawing the vast majority of Christians to them. While we anxiously perceive this as tragic, we must simply take to heart Jesus’ words to trust Him and live our lives here and now with our treasure in Heaven where it does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

Soli Deo Gloria!

20 thoughts on “Do Not Worry

  1. Amen Mike, as always in a timely manner God is teaching me something through your ministry, I should just sit, listen, then obey.🙂 I see how the struggles are different on each brother/sister. I for one struggle, once again, with the anxiety of financial ruin as I am unemployed and having a small company that barely pay the bills. Yet, I see the liberal, the “christian” and the secular ones, and how they grow fat and powerful, and it makes me angry.

    The same ones who go to these so called churches and who teach contrary to scripture, who are are evil in their workplace, and mock the One who blessed them, are made fat in all things. And honestly I struggle with this, but like the preacher said, it’s only for their final destruction. They are blessed in worldy endeavours just to be destroyed in them, and that is sad. They, like R. Warren, may have fame and power now, but oh how terrible that is! when the Judge of the world comes to punish the wicked!

    I appreciate your labor brother, and for your obedience, as the Lord can use a humble internet page to teach a sinner like me.

    Keep up the good work!

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  2. Joao, thanks for sharing that brother. Right now we are trampled on and looked upon as those who are the lowest of the low, but Jesus makes it clear in these passages that our focus must be eternal not on this age that is passing away. I know of so many friends (now you) and relatives suffering financially or with illnesses or both or having very massive family problems because of their Christianity. However, God is with us all through it all. I know of no genuine believer who is not suffering in some way. The first 30-45 minutes of our Bible Study every Sunday morning is prayer time and it is incredible. Our group is made up of those who have grown children and so we have generational issues to pray for. I know of no couple in the class who isn’t going through something in their family. There is also not one couple in there who doesn’t have lost family members. This fallen world just tears at us and is destructive to the max. The false religionists you mentioned try to make it look like they have the solution, but it is really just a way for them to get rich and I agree completely with you that when our Lord does return things will turn rapidly.

    Please let us know how to pray for you brother.

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  3. Thank you Mike. Amen, you are right, reading about so many in your church who are going through the same tribulation, or worse puts things in perspective. I would appreciate your prayers indeed, mostly for my father, who is not a believer, who was diagnosed with parkinson disease. I’ve shared with him the gospel often, but he’s still blinded. I believe the Lord has allowed this diseased, not sure what, but I hope it is for his own good and hopeful salvation if the Lord wills.

    Thank you brother

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  4. I suggest we take the 5th chapter of James to heart with this. It nails the coffin lid on those described above. Not that I wish to condemn any but the thought that the ‘fat cats’ with heavy purses doing all the shouting are heading into ruin (as per James) sort of relieves me of any concern. God will Judge and He will Punish, even in these times. They will suffer a misstep and their error will be exposed like a leprous sore

    I’m not saying we should ignore, but rather we should PRAY fervently that God handle things. This reminds me of Israel in the time of Amos. Only one out of ten survived the Assyrian’s attack and exile of those of the Northern Kingdom. Only after 70 years did they return. Those that were left behind in Israel were the Samaritans that were so hated by Jews.

    James also noted the we should ‘let things be’ and let God’s Judgment fall upon them. So, Leave it firmly in God’s Hands!

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  5. Amen Mike, this is an excellent post brother. I am a new follower of your blog. I haven’t read one post yet that I wouldn’t be proud to re-blog. We each have our burdens and trials to contend with. Some of our burdens are ours alone Brother, they are between us and the Sweet Holy Spirit, and some that we are to share with others. I have added you to my prayer list, in asking God to continue to bless you with His Word of Truth and an overwhelming boldness to proclaim these wonderful Truths openly, without fear, and all to His Glory.
    Thank you Mike for all that you do in the realm of blogging, and I thank God that he has raised up men like you to minister to others through this type of ministry. Your blog is truly a breath of fresh air and has ministered to my soul greatly. Keep up His Good Work Brother.

    GOD BLESS YOU & YOUR HOUSE ALWAYS
    Dale G. Nampa, Idaho

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  6. Amen Mike. I don’t know whether you like to read Christian biographies, but there are three books that I highly recommend. In each case, you will be amazed to find that these men faced very similar situations as we do today, including being maligned and persecuted by the “church.” It is very enlightening and strengthening to realize that men in every age faced this. And to read how the Lord helped them and brought them through it as The Good Shepherd.
    Anyways here are the books:
    The Forgotten Spurgeon by Iain Murray
    Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones (there is a larger two volume set but also a smaller condensed version which is what i read 496pages) also by Iain Murrary
    George Whitefield by Arnold Dallimore (2 volumes)

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  7. Praying for the folks in my family,..Joao’s father, and in your family, Mike…who are not yet saved.
    I used to worry, once…But no more, knowing that those who are His, He will bring to Himself..in His good time!
    So blessed by your last few posts, Mike.

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  8. Dear Mike,
    Grace and peace in Christ Jesus!
    It is interesting how Jesus refers to His “little flock”. (Just as an aside I would love to see a series on the remnants throughout the Bible).
    I heard a segment on Christian radio today about the PCUSA wanting to take “the wrath of God” out of the Getty’s song “In Christ Alone”. My thought was “Why go through the trouble of getting the “wrath” out. Why not just embrace another religion–Universalism. In the long run it would save a lot of time and trouble.” That’s the funny thing. Why do people try to dismantle Christianity. There are a plethora of other religions and plenty of cults that will fit the bill so WHY go through the aggravation of destroying Christianity? Well, the gates of hell will not prevail against the true church (Matthew 16:18). God has providentially placed us for such a time as this and He is equipping His people with spiritual discernment and readiness with the ultimate goal keeping us faithful till His return.
    May God continue to give you strength and endurance to fight the good fight and run the race staying true to our calling in Christ Jesus!
    Kept only by His Sovereign amazing grace, charisse

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  9. I visited yours yesterday Dale and was spiritually fed and I thank you for that great resource. Be blessed in the Lord brother and I deeply appreciate your prayers.

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  10. Charisse, Yes, I saw that deal about the PCUSA as well. I suppose there are still some in that “denomination” who are not totally sold-out liberals, but it is certainly fast circling the drain. Yes, we are a “little flock” or a remnant within what appears to be a large religious group. Over time we are huge, but in one specific point in time the apostates and pretenders and those wanting to dismantle Christianity from the inside far outnumber us. However, we are not to worry, Christ is in full control. Yes, we are kept only by His Sovereign amazing grace!

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  11. Amen and grow not weary in well doing, Mike. More and more, those who stand firm on the Word and do not shrink back from proclaiming the unsurpassed power of our God are being harassed and hated by false brothers. I have been comforted by the Lord’s words in John 16 – “Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.”

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