“What Jesus Said About My Problems”
Welcome to “Key to the Kingdom.” My name is Bret McCasland. Problems: oh, problems seem to follow us wherever we go. We experience problems with our cell phones, automobiles, office equipment and houses. Problems happen at work, in our relationships and within our families. Yes, problems are common to all of us, and they seem to never go away. We may even have problems handling the problems that do come our way. Oh, dealing with the problems of life is not something new. That issue has been around for a long time. In fact, it goes back to the people we read about in the Bible. Questions like these are often asked: How can I handle my problems? Where can I find a solution? Is there an answer in the Bible? Jesus’ disciples dealt with all kinds of problems and they looked to Him for some answers. He gave them answers and some very reassuring words. Jesus knows that we, too, experience problems on a daily basis and that we need help dealing with them. In today's lesson we will look at what Jesus had to say about how we can handle the problems of life. The good news is we do not have to handle them on our own. Jesus is willing and waiting to help us. He offers His love and support during times when we need it the most. In a very important statement, Jesus says something that applies even in the midst of all the problems we face today. I hope you will join us for today's message, as we now open our Bibles and study together.
Several times in the New Testament, authors of the various books and letters provide summary statements of Jesus’ life and ministry. They take what He said and did and write out some concluding remarks. One of my favorite summary statements is found in the gospel of Matthew chapter 9. Let's begin reading with verse 35. <Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”> Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He went everywhere teaching the good news and proclaiming the gospel message of the kingdom of God. He went into the towns and the villages, in their synagogues, and He shared that wonderful message. He also went everywhere showing compassion upon people. He would heal them of their sicknesses and diseases. He would feed them when they were hungry, and He ministered to them in a variety of ways. But basically, Jesus offered solutions to the people's problems. He helped them overcome their burdens. He gave them some hope and provided answers. And Jesus is still doing the same thing today, as He offers answers to our questions and solutions to our problems. And some of those, obviously, are similar to what the people experienced in the day of Jesus, and many of them, of course, are not. But all over the world people are struggling with things that affect everyday life; health issues, unemployment, injustice, and racism, and poverty, and many more issues which weigh heavily upon us. Those problems are real; they affect the lives of millions of people everywhere. And many do not know how to handle those problems or those uncertain and challenging times. Resources are limited and options are a few. Some people do not have family members or friends or even neighbors who can come alongside of them and offer a word of encouragement, help, or assistance. And such situations bring about anger and depression or other emotions that lead people to look for a way out. Yes, for many, life is hard. For many, there was nothing to look forward to; there is no hope and there are no real solutions. And it's sad, but that's the way it is for many people in the world today. We may know some people who are struggling with such problems and issues, and we might even be struggling with such things ourselves. Yes, those challenges and those hardships affect many people, everywhere. Well, when we face such problems and challenges, we want some answers. We want those issues to go away. We seek some immediate help. And the solutions that work for other people hopefully will work for us. We might even want to try something that sounds too good to be true. But when we reach our limit and we feel as if we have no other option, it seems that only then do we reach out to the Lord. That's always concerned me a little bit. Why do we make God our last option? Why do we try to come up with all of our own solutions to our problems; and when all of those fail, then do we turn to God? Well, certainly God wants us to turn to Him first and foremost. And whenever we do turn our hearts toward Him, we know that He will see our needs and hear our prayers. We pour out our hearts to Him. We tell Him about what's going on in our lives. And, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. He wants us to do that. In fact, we notice a couple of passages here in Scripture that remind us of the importance of turning our problems over to the Lord. Listen to these words from Paul in Philippians chapter 4, verses 6 and 7: < Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.> When we reach a point when we cannot handle the problems and the concerns of the day, the apostle Paul encourages us to lay them at the feet of Jesus Christ. And as we take our problems and concerns, our anxieties, to the Lord, we do so with a spirit of thanksgiving. We thank Him for the help He has provided in the past, and we thank Him in anticipation of the help we will receive from Him in the future. And when we don't have the strength or the wisdom or even the resources to figure out a solution on our own, we are reminded that the Lord cares about us more than anybody else. He knows the needs in our life. He sees the problems and He provides a solution. So it is then that we put our trust in Him. We rely up on the Lord to provide what we need. The apostle Peter puts it this way, in 1st Peter chapter 5, verse 7: <Cast all your anxieties on the Lord, for He cares for you.> Now that's some good news, isn't it, that we take our anxieties and the burdens and the problems that we experience and we just transfer them to the Lord. That's what God wants us to do. He cares for us. He will take those anxieties, He will lift the weight of them from our shoulders and He will bear that on our behalf; and so, we don't have to carry our burdens alone. Well, that leads us into what I believe to be one of Jesus’ most important and greatest statements that we find recorded in Scripture. He personally offers an invitation for us to come to Him with our problems and our concerns. That invitation is found in Matthew chapter 11, beginning with verse 28: <“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”> We find the word rest two times in that passage. And sometimes that's what we need, isn't it? We need some rest from the burdens and the concerns and the problems of life. Yes, these words are inviting. And as we come to Jesus, He helps us bear the problems and the challenges and difficulties of life. He gently offers that rest and that help because He knows we are overwhelmed and overburdened by what this world presents to us. The wooden yoke Jesus refers to here is a tool that brings two oxen together, and it makes them into a team. And those two oxen walk in unison. They walk step in step with each other as they travel down a road, pulling a cart, or as they walk across a field, pulling a plow. And the burden is not too heavy for one or the other, but they share that burden. They share that load because that yolk ties them together. Likewise, Jesus wants us to join together with Him and learn how to solve the problems of life. In other words, Jesus would say to us today, work with Me and watch Me and learn from Me; and when you do, the task will seem so much lighter because I will help you bear the burdens of life. In most challenges we face, we take matters into our own hands. We look for and we find solutions, and there is great value in that. God has given to us some good minds and common sense. Oftentimes our motive in finding those solutions is to pursue and to get what we want in life. For example, we might want good health and plenty of money and a secure job. And when we face those health problems, we want an immediate solution. When we have financial problems, we want God to give us plenty of money. And when we are unemployed, we want God to give us not only a job, but the very best job out there. Yes, some believe that if they can get what they want then life will be just fine. And that suggests everything revolves around me. It all revolves around my life and my plan and my goals and my desires. And whatever problems we face, we want God to provide the solution that we already have in mind for ourselves. The people's problems and issues of the day, in Jesus’ time, revolved around finding some temporary solutions. They wanted daily bread. They needed some immediate healing. They were looking to receive some kind of instant help. And on many occasions, that is exactly what Jesus provided for them. He fed the multitudes, of both 4,000 and 5,000, with just a few small fish and some loaves of bread. He healed people of their diseases and sickness. He even raised someone from the dead, while not even being present. And yet that was not His only goal. He wanted people to find in Him an even greater solution. He wanted people to find in Him that He was the answer to all of life. And He wanted them to follow Him not just for the food and healing, but for that life eternal. Oh, the people wanted a temporary savior, yet Jesus wanted to be their eternal savior. And Jesus offers the same thing today. He sees the needs in your life and in mine and He sends His blessings. He hears our prayers and He answers them according to His good will. And yet, He still longs for us to find in Him a solution that will last forever. Jesus shared these words with us. According to John chapter 6, verse 35; <“I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty..."> Jesus simply states that I am the spiritual nourishment you need. In Me you find the bread and the water to sustain your spiritual health. In Me you will find the strength you need to move ahead, as you not only deal with the problems of life but also as you look for something even more important. He adds then these words in John chapter 7, verse 37: <“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”> Now, those streams of living water, refer to the Holy Spirit living in and through those who belong to God, through a relationship with Jesus Christ. And that Holy Spirit, those streams of living water continually nourish and strengthen and bless us as we receive that spiritual nourishment from Jesus. Yes, He is our spiritual bread and water that sustains us in times of great need. You know, some people whom Jesus helped found in Him both a temporary and an eternal savior. They found both temporary and long-term solutions. They found Him to be, indeed, God's one and only Son, the Savior of the world, the Holy One of God. And we too can find in Jesus the same thing, a savior who not only sees and knows about our needs, but also one who gives us hope for the future. Sometimes in our desperation to satisfy our immediate needs, we tend to overlook Jesus’ offer of eternal salvation. In other words, we want Him to bless and take care of us more than we want to become His disciple. But it really doesn't work that way. Jesus wants us to reach out to Him and to receive more than just a temporary fix. Oh, we look for solutions to that which we believe to be important, and perhaps it is. While in reality, what we really need is a savior. The greatest gift that God gave to mankind was the gift of His one and only son, Jesus Christ. And Jesus came to this world and He ministered to people's needs, as we have seen. He showed compassion to people everywhere. But then He went to the cross and He died for all of mankind. And with His death, He removed the curse of sin. He broke down that wall that keeps us separated from God. And by His resurrection, we now have the hope that we can be right with God, that we are no longer separated by sin and Satan, but we can be joined together with the Lord Almighty. And in Him, we find solutions to both our immediate needs and life eternal. According to John chapter 10 and verse 10, Jesus came to offer a full and abundant life. And yes, it is in Jesus that we find that fullness and that abundance. We receive all of the spiritual blessings and promises that come from Him when we are connected to Him. We recognize that He does care about our daily needs, and He does provide a solution for our future. You know, one of the most challenging things we will ever do in our lives is to give ourselves completely to Jesus Christ. And yet that is what He invites us to do. That is the path of discipleship. True followers of Jesus do not just plead for answers to their physical problems, but they also seek the One who provides eternal solutions. And that is the answer that Jesus provides for us in the gospel of Matthew chapter 6. In three chapters, there in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, Jesus is doing some very basic teaching about what it means to be His disciple and follower. And toward the end of that 6th chapter, beginning in verse 25, He states these words: “Do not worry,” or as another translation puts it, “Do not be anxious about your life.” And we might ask the question; why? Why not worry? Why not be anxious? And Jesus gives the answer. Have you ever thought about the birds of the air? They fly around and they have plenty to eat, they are not worried about where they might nest at night. Have you ever considered the lilies of the field, those flowers in the field that are just absolutely beautiful? God provides the sunshine and the rain, and they are a blessing to all who see them. He points out that if God takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field then don't you think He will take care of you, also, because you are of greater value than all of that. And so don't worry; don't be anxious about your life. God knows what you need and He will provide, and therefore do this instead: (Verse 33) “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Well, that is part of the process of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. He sees and He knows what we need, according to those passages there in chapter 6, and yet He invites us to look beyond all of that and to seek first God's kingdom. Jesus does not want us to be overcome with so much stress we cannot handle and deal with life. He offers so much more than a temporary fix. He offers eternal life when we commit ourselves to following Him as our Lord and Savior. And so He invites us to focus on Him. And whatever causes us stress, whatever brings about anxiety and worry is to be replaced with seeking first God's kingdom and His righteousness. No matter who we are or where we live, no matter what our status might be in life, we all have problems that we deal with on a regular basis. Some of those problems are big, while many of them are small. And that's just the way life is. It is full of problems. And we constantly face the challenge of how do we deal with them, how do we overcome them, what are some solutions and answers to our situation? Well, Jesus knows those things weigh us down. He knows they cause a great deal of anxiety, stress, and worry. And that is why I believe He shares with us this most important statement, in Matthew chapter 11: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Oh, I love those words! Whatever burdens, anxieties, problems, difficulties we face, we can go to Jesus and know that He cares about those things; and He offers a solution. My prayer today is that you will look to Jesus to solve the problems in your life. But I also pray that you will find in Him the ultimate and the eternal solution for your life. Receive that free gift of salvation by becoming a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, and allow Him to bless you, not only now, but also for all eternity.
In 1st Peter chapter 5, verse 7, we find these words: Cast all your anxieties on the Lord, because He cares for you. Peter wrote that statement in regards to Jesus. Jesus, in fact, invites us to cast our anxieties and burdens on Him, because He knows they are too heavy for us to bear. The invitation is there, but sometimes the willingness for us to do that is not. We think we can bear our problems, our anxieties, on our own and we don't need any help from anybody. And so we refuse that invitation, even though Jesus makes it available to us. At this construction site there are all kinds of pieces of equipment, cranes and front end loaders and trucks and various other things. And those pieces of equipment are used to carry things like wood and concrete and metal and dirt and various things, from one place to another. And no doubt, the workers here at this site are grateful for such equipment, because they know that those loads would be too heavy for them to carry by themselves and they need this equipment. Well, that same principle applies to us. Jesus knows that the anxieties and the worries of this world weigh us down. They are too heavy for us to bear by ourselves. And so He makes that invitation; let Me take that for you. And Peter reminds us of that. Give Jesus the burdens, the anxieties, of your life. And remember, we do that because He cares for us. Yes, Jesus sees the needs in our life. He is aware of the burdens we carry and He wants to relieve us of those burdens, because of His love and care for each of us.
Thank you for being our guests today on “Key to the Kingdom.” Hopefully this message gave you some encouragement as you deal with the problems of life. Remember, Jesus is more than willing and more than able to assist you in dealing with the issues and the problems that seem so heavy. This message can be viewed again through our website. It is keytothekingdom.com. Now, this message, along with several others, can be downloaded in audio, video or written format. To do does not cost anything and you will not be asked to make a commitment of any kind. They are all free, and hopefully they will assist you in your study of God's Word. On the website you can also find more information about our ministry. Our statement of belief, along with other Bible studies is available. You might even be interested in our ministry efforts in India. Another option is to watch the program on our dedicated channel through Roku® television. Every Sunday night we make a post on our Facebook® page; a short one or two minute message is uploaded, which offers a word of encouragement for the week. And finally, by downloading the free “Key to the Kingdom” app, you can go directly to our website. Oh, I do hope you will take advantage of these media options. We appreciate you taking a few minutes to watch today's program and I invite you to join us again next time, as we continue to study the Bible on “Key to the Kingdom.”