Today, I would like to return to our study of the sermon on the mount concentrating on Matthew Ch. 6: 33. The title of my sermon is ďWhat are my real priorities?Ē
We have tackled this passage two weeks ago, but we havenít yet said all there is to say on this subject. So, please be patient if some things in here seem familiar. In spite of all there will be new thoughts, and reviewing good subjects such as this never hurt anyone.
Read with me Matthew 6:33
Letís look first at what Jesus said!
He speaks here of establishing certain priorities. If these priorities are in their respective place, according to Him, our lives will be blessed. The opposite can also be true.
If today, this lesson doesnít sit well, itís probably due to misplaced priorities.
Does world have a need to hear this? The Wall Street Journal reported that since 1960, (in the USA):
The politicians thought, in the course of this last decade, that if the country spent more on social aide, then the social problems would decrease. They also thought that if the population earned more, everyoneís life would improve. However, in the end that didnít work.
In the same article it was found that illegitimate births increased by 419%. It said also that the divorce rate quadrupled and the number of suicides doubled in the States.
They didnít thinking that they were sending a message to those living in France. The hexagon follows the United States in its progression towards immorality.
Our view of human worth speedily disappears as this phenomenon progresses, and likewise our priorities become ridiculous. As we go along in this fashion, our problems become much worse and more damaging.
However, Jesus in his sermon gives the solution to having a complete life. He says ďSeek first the kingdom and all things will be given to you.Ē
I would like today to invite you to consider our priorities and do this by looking together at the principle established by Jesus.
I. What are we to seek ?
First we observe what Jesus invited us to seek.
In order to follow his advice and obtain happiness, itís important to understand what he said to the crowd about what they should seek.
Itís not money according to Matthew 5 :19-20
Nor food or clothing as seen in verse 25
Nor is it better physical health, as in verse 27.
Itís the kingdom that Jesus advised us to follow, before all else, and along with it we should seek his righteousness.
Letís take a small look at the kingdom:
Usually a kingdom is made up of three things: a territory, a king, and a law.
The kingdom of God isnít literally a small piece of land for Jesus. The aspirations of Christ were not political or geographical. Look with me in Luke 17: 20-21.
We find that the territory of the kingdom of God is found in the heart of man. He wants to reign in our hearts, in our spirits, in our body, and in our emotions. He doesnít care for a geographic territory. The earth already belongs to him, there is no need conquer it again.
However, God has a need to conquer our hearts.
The important question in this case is: Do we seek the reign of God in our hearts?
Whoís in control on the inside of us?
Is it me along with all my selfish and carnal desires? Or is it God who leads?
Let me tell you, in each heart there is a throne and a cross. Maybe most people donít realize it, but itís true. Perhaps there is Christ on the throne and me on the cross, or maybe itís me on the throne and Christ on the cross. In this case, he will remain until I do the will of God.
God wants the preeminence in our lives and if he attains it, do you know on who he wants to carry all our looks? On Christ! Turn to Phil. 2: 10-11
II. Why should Christ be my main focus?
God wants Christ to become our main focus of our existence. Why?
By each drop of blood that fell on the ground, by each glob of spit in his face, by each handful of his beard hair that was pulled from his cheek, by each cut to his back by the whip, by each painful gasp of air he breathed until his heart finally cried: ďMy God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Ē He paid the price for our freedom from the hand of Satan, and his cunning.
Without a doubt these reasons show that Christ deserves to have first place in our hearts.
Would you like to know the name of someone who lived a life understanding this? Paul. Look in Galatians 2: 20 and shortly after in Philippians 3: 13-14. Jesus was the very passion of Paul. Jesus was the reason for all that he did in his life and in doing so put him first.
I dare say, that today just like Paul, for us Jesus must be our only goal in life.
III. Letís evaluate the application of this principle in our lives:
Alex, you come up to me and say: ďDaniel, shouldnít I have other goals? Donít I need to drink, eat, work, and take care of things at home? Daniel, itís important to be realistic, I canít serve Jesus all the time.Ē
Alex, God knows that you have needs and that you canít be in prayer 24 hours a day. However, all that you do in this life can be redirected to and be pleasing to Christ.
Paul understood this well and for this reason he wrote what he did in 1 Corinthians 6: 12. Paul said that all is good, but not all is useful.
I like the way some English Bible have translated the text. They say: ďall is not expedientĒ. From the word ďexpedientĒ you also have the word expedition. As the Bible says, we are on this earth making our own expedition or journey. On this journey, all that surrounds me is attracting my attention. But not all of it is useful for my goal, and all these things are not all worth my time or effort.
We can interpret this passage like this: ďMy work, my food, my entertainment, my family, my boyfriend, my girlfriend, all these things are good if they bring me closer to Christ.Ē
I say then, seek first the kingdom of God and not constantly wondering whether or not something is sinful. Seeking the kingdom is always the first step. The second follows after which is wondering if the things I desire will bring me closer to God.
So we need to ask ourselves questions like:
Will my vacations refresh me to better serve Christ?
Will my relationship with my boyfriend/girlfriend encourage me to become a better Christian?
Will my relationships with my friends help my attitude toward Christ or will it influences me otherwise?
Will my sleep improve my productivity for Christ?
Will my work help bring me or others closer to Christ?
If the response is yes to these questions, then thank God! Keep practicing all these things without guilt. Again if itís yes, then you can say I did well in seeking to put Jesus and His kingdom first.
IV. How can we put Christ and His kingdom first?
Before we end, I would like to give some practical advice that could help us all give up the throne of our hearts to Christ.
Does the Bible tell us how we can do this? The answer is yes!
David was truly a man who put God first.
Maybe it would be advisable to begin our days just as David did, and it would bring us to put Christ first daily.
In our morning do we give God our first thoughts? When the alarm sounds, do we say, ďGood God, Itís morning!Ē or ďGood morning God!Ē
What are our thoughts when we open up our eyelids? If I choose to meditate on His word, his kindness, and if I begin the morning in prayer, it will be easier to live with good priorities.
If the first Christians were able to keep their priorities in line, itís probably because they chose to not neglect the opportunities to meet together.
This afternoon I would like to end in telling you of a church that existed 2, 000 years ago. This church was known in the entire region surrounding it, because of its good works. The members were devoted and exemplary in their words and actions. However, during the course of time this church lost something important. So, Jesus decided to write them a personal letter in Rev. 2: 4.
The problem with this church wasnít that the members began loving another god nor were they drunk with sin. They simply didnít love God as much they loved him at first. The flame of their hearts had lost its intensity.
Today, we study the principle that Jesus gave us, so itís important to ask ourselves this question. Has our love for Him lost its intensity? Do we love Him more today than we did yesterday?
If yes, Christ calls us to fan the flame and dive deeper into a relationship with Him. ďSeek first my kingdomĒ he says and then you will not have a need to worry, because he will be in control.
So, lets give Him the first place in our hearts and in each decision, let us seek what glorifies Him rather than what suits us.
Letís love him passionately, letís seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, above all letís allow him have the number one place in our lives!