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First Things First

Scripture: Matthew 6:25-34; Text: Matthew 6:33

We usually list our priorities in the order of their importance. First, we list the most important objective and then the second most important and on and on to the least important. Jesus was helping His disciples and us, understand what our most important pursuits should be that we might priortize our activities according to their importance.

When we really think about it, they were to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, because they are two of the most important things we could ever do. Why? Because they are spiritual and enduring. Think about it, why is the kingdom of God so important? Because it belongs to God, right? After all, God is the most important person in our lives and whatever belongs to Him should be important because it is His. But there is another reason the kingdom of God should hold a place of such high importance. It blesses and enriches the lives of God's people as nothing else can do.

Throughout this passage, Jesus talked with His disciples about not worrying about what they would eat or drink or wear. He told them that birds do not gather into barns and yet God takes care of them. Jesus said the lilies were more beautiful than Solomon in all his kingly apparel. Yet it is God Who cloths the grass with their covering. Jesus said that they did not have to worry about such things. People without faith, the unsaved may worry but we should not, because He is still on His throne. In Psalm 37:25, the Psalmist of Israel said that he had never seen the righteous forsaken or begging bread. That verse seems to connect with our text and suggests that not all people, not even all God's people have this wonderful care. Only those who are righteous. God is simply not going to make such provisions for those who walk contrary to His will. In our text Jesus told His disciples, that if they were seeking His kingdom and righteousness, they would not have to worry about food and clothes. He promised to take care of them and He really did.

(1). It must have been wonderful to receive such good care. When they were hungry He could perform a miracle to feed them. When they were thirsty, He could quench it. If they were cold, He could clothe them to warm their bodies and speak to them to warm their hearts. He gave such wonderful care. (2). Don't you know those disciples were also richly blessed to walk with Jesus every day and know that as they enjoyed His fellowship, He would care for them? He walked with them along the roads and talked with them about life and its mystery. He had all the answers to all of life's questions. (3). Added to those blessings was the privilege of seeing His hand at work in the lives of others. They heard Him speak calming words, forgive people of their sins, cast out devils, heal the sick, raise the dead and do many other miracles. They personally witnessed His power. I am sure that it was a great blessing to those disciples.

Many of you may be thinking, I wish I could have lived then and shared in those blessings. The good news is that you can. No you can not go back and live then, but you can enjoy the same kind of blessings today. Yes it was wonderful for those disciples, but it is equally wonderful for the disciples of the Lord today. I want you to know that Jesus is able to do such things today. He is working mightily as He was then. He still has all His power. He is still touching people and blessing them with His power. They felt it but so can we today!

If we have out priorities in the same order as theirs, we can enjoy the same kind of blessings. That should be good news to all of us. Yes, we must be disciples of the Lord Jesus and yes, we must put first things first. But if we do so, His care of us will equal or surpass His care of them. He is more powerful than the government, so that if it fails He will not. He has more money than all the governments combined, His resources will never be exhausted. Crops may fail, but not His care. Jesus Christ is the same as them (Hebrews 13:8). How can we enjoy such blessings? By obeying His words as they did. That is the reason James said to be doers of the word (James 1:22).

Let us take a few minutes to be sure we understand what Jesus was saying to His disciples and us. He told them to do two things and then made them a promise. Look at what He said. First, Jesus said to seek the kingdom of God, to put it first in our lives. Second, Jesus said to seek His righteousness also. Then He promised, and all these things will be ADDED to you. The food, the drink, and the clothes. Do we believe what He said? We should because He is the very essence of truth (John14:6).

1. Seek the kingdom of God. It is called the kingdom of heaven, because it came from heaven in its origin. A key word here is SEEK. Does it mean to just casually look around to see if you can see it and if so, you then progress toward it. No, of course not, it is much more than that. We all know what it is to 'seek' for something we have lost. We seek by expending every available asset and energy we have. Ladies, if you lost your diamond ring, what would seek mean? I dare say you would get on your hands and knees to find it if you had dropped it. You would likely ask help of anyone standing nearby. What about you men, if you lost your wallet with cash and credit cards. Would you just take a casual look and around and say "Oh well, I don't see it anywhere." Or would you look in the car and call the office to see if you had left it there? You see, to seek the kingdom is to read the road map to it, the Bible. It is to ask directions of those who have found it and it means you really are trying to get there. It is that important. So Jesus uses the word seek as He does in Luke 15:8. So let us not stop until we have found it.

What we are looking for is the kingdom of God. It is not the kingdom of men. It is not business and free enterprise. It is not the kingdom of this world, it is a kingdom that belongs to God. You know for a kingdom to exist, there needs to be three things. (1). There needs to be a power, authority, a ruler. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; govern this special kingdom. This kingdom BELONGS to God. God OWNS it and God RULES it. That is the reason it is called "the kingdom of God." (2). There must be subjects under the rule of the Kings. Subjects of this kingdom are the children of God, those who have been saved. Now we need to realize that not every child of God is in this kingdom, if they were they would all have these blessings. Jesus is speaking to those of us who are saved and telling us about this kingdom. (3). There are laws of a kingdom. The commandments of God our Father and Jesus Christ, are the laws of this kingdom. Spiritual LAWS for a spirtual PEOPLE in a spiritual KINGDOM. This is the point Jesus is making, if we are making this kingdom our first priority, seeking His presence as our Ruler, desiring to live by His laws and as subjects of His kingdom, not those of men. Then we have fulfilled the first requirement.

Since it is an invisible kingdom, being spiritual; some may wonder how to know when we have found it. That is really very simple. Jesus tell us us about the state of the kingdom. It is spiritual benefits, not temporal ones (Romans 14:17). Do you possess these blessings? Do you feel them deep inside? Then you are in the kingdom of God.

2. Seek His righteousness. Is there righteousness in your life? I know we have an imputed righteousness from Christ. Jesus has given righteousness to every object of His grace. He gave us His righteousness when He took our sins and died for them on the cross of Calvary. That righteousness is eternally important because you will never get to heaven without it. It is essential or fundamental righteousness. Isaiah prophesied of it in Isaiah 61:10. Paul mentioned it in a number of places, one of which is Romans 4:6. It is totally of grace. We did nothing to deserve it, it was freely given to all God's elect.

But if that was the righteousness that Jesus was talking about, all the saved would have it and would not need to seek it. No, this is not our essential righteousness, it is a pursuit of righteousness. It means that we seek with the same intensity as previously described, for this righteousness. Apart from God's grace, none will have it, because we must have His grace and help to acquire it. Listen to Titus 2:11-12. We should live soberly (not intoxicated on the things of this world), righteously (to do things that are right in God's sight), and godly (to imitate God in our walk and talk of life). We are to do so in this present evil world. The more evil the world becomes, the more needful for us to live this way as the objects of grace.

These righteous deeds cannot save us (Titus 3:5). But they are called the paths of righteousness and we are to walk in them (Psalms 23:3). The problem is that some ignore God's standard and substitute their own (Romans 10:3). So if you are convinced that you know what I am talking about, but you are not free of worry, and do not feel peace and enjoy the blessings Jesus spoke about; then perhaps you need to reflect upon the fact that you may need to study the Bible and learn about His righteousness.

You know, one of the principle benefits that Jesus was teaching about is that it would free us from worry and bring us peace in the Holy Spirit. Worry plagues us all at some time or another. However, it is not to be the principle day after day disruption of our lives that it is to some. Jesus began and ended the passage talking about "take no THOUGHT," in the original Greek the idea set forth is the same thing as worry to us. Think about why Jesus used the word THOUGHT. When our thoughts are troubled, we call it worry. When we stop thinking during sleep, we do not worry, do we? When our mind is filled with happy and beneficial thoughts, we are not worried. Worry is when our mind are filled with thoughts that bring anxiety to us and make us afraid.

Three things can be said about worry. (1). Worry is useless. It really is, has it ever solved any of your problems? It has not solved any on mine. What does it accomplish, but make us miserable. What Jesus told the disciples, can free us from worry. (2). Worry is blind. It has no logic nor reason. It forgets the times in the past that God has cared for us and it cannot see into the future. So why worry? (3). Worry is irreligious. It distracts our minds away from God and His providential care. It leaves God out of the picture so as not to count on His help. Worry overides our faith, we do not need it. Someone once said, "Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday." Think about it.

I believe we would all agree, we would like to be free of the suffering of worry. Jesus told them and us how to do it. This is the solution. It not only blesses us with God's provisions, but brings us closer to Jesus, affords us the opportunity to see the power of Jesus in the lives of others; but it also frees us from the cruel clutches of worry. My, what a deal..No one on EARTH can make you such a deal. I want it , don't you? Well, Jesus told His DISCIPLES how to have all these blessings. Keep in mind that disciples are those who are learning from Jesus how to live (Matthew 11:28-29). No one who is drifting away from the Lord, who is pursuing the world, who is cutting back on His service; will find these blessings. I have to tell you, that disciples who are seeking the kingdom of God and the righteousness of Christ are the only ones who will ever experience these special blessings.

Jesus spoke these wonderful words to His diciples as they listened to Him preach this great Sermon on the Mount. To another group of "religious" folks He said something quite different. Listen to Mark 7:6. He spoke those words not to disciples, but to Pharisees. How sad, they knew nothing of the joys and blessings that Jesus promised in our text. Many today know nothing of it either. They are religious, but not obedient to Jesus Christ.

May each of us listen carefully to these words Jesus spoke so long ago. May we have a hunger for that which He told them. Today, we can make a committment to Jesus Christ, that we will do what He commanded. We can begin the journey that will bring us the discovery of greater joy and peace than we have ever known. It will take turning to Him, living near Him and each day remembering His words and trying a little harder to do them. I know we can by His grace and I know, I KNOW, it will be wonderful to enjoy those special blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I realize that we are pulled in every direction for our time. However, this should be placed today, at the very top of our list of priorities. What could possibly be more important to the glory of Jesus Christ and the quality of our lives? If you take time to really think about it, you will understand

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014