What Are You Seeking?
Matthew 6:33 July 8, 2001
1. As many of you know, in my secular work I am an adult educator. Specifically, I am involved in educating farmers. My doctoral training was primarily in agricultural economics and business administration.
2. One program that I have been involved in at Michigan State University is a program that we call AMAP. AMAP is an acronym for Agricultural Management Advancement Project.
3. This program is designed to help farmers become better businessmen. The AMAP program contains many modules to accomplish the task of helping any kind of farmer (e.g., grain/row crops, dairy, swine, beef, etc.) become a better manager of every aspect of their farm business (production, finances, marketing, personnel, etc.).
4. Regardless of the type of farm, every farm, before they can take any of AMAPs advanced modules, must take what is called the core module.
5. The core module is one that teaches business management skills common to every business, whether that business makes chewing gum or jet airplanes: strategic planning.
6. Strategic planning sounds complex, but really it is pretty simple. At its heart, strategic planning involves only four things:
A. Determining your businesss basic purpose and core values (mission statement).
B. Determining the goals of your business.
C. Determining the priority of those goals (i.e., which ones are most important).
D. Formulating a plan to meet those goals according to their priority.
7. In my six years with MSU-Extension I have been involved in teaching several of these core modules. Here are some of my observations:
ü Every farm needs to take the core module, everyone needs it!
ü But, it is very hard to get anyone to take the core module!!
ü Some who start the three-session course dont finish it!!
ü Most who finish the core module fail to truly follow through and implement their plan to reach their prioritized goals!!
8. In this regards, Christians are no different:
A. One of the biggest problems plaguing Gods people are priorities.
(1) Sin and error are not always involved.
(2) What Christians are doing may not necessarily be wrong or unscriptural.
B. The problem lies with inverted or misplaced priorities!
9. Lets think a minute about priorities. According to Webster the word priority carries with it the meaning of precedence or superiority.
A. Priorities are things that should take precedence, that is, they should precede or come before other things.
B. High priority items come first because they are important, because they are superior to competing alternatives.
10. Did you ever stop and think: How does something become a priority to us? It does so simply by the value we place or do not place on it!
A. If we place great value on something, it becomes a high priority.
B. If we place small value on something, it becomes a low priority.
C. If something slides down our priority list, it is because in our minds it now has less value than other things.
11. That brings us to the text of our lesson: Mt. 6:33: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
A. This statement by Jesus succinctly and completely addresses the question of priorities for one claiming to be His disciple.
B. This morning, let us briefly analyze this verse and see if our priorities are in the right place.
II. Discussion: First, Jesus statement tells us our priority insofar as
1. What We Are To Do: Seek
A. Seek means:
(1) Vines: To seek or strive after, endeavor, to desire of seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, in the sense of coveting earnestly, striving after, Matt. 6:33 (III:340).
(2) From epizeteo: (The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon) epi=before zeteo=require, demand, crave Therefore, seek here means that before all else, we are to require, demand, or crave the kingdom of God and His righteousness
B. Notice some other usages: Mt. 12:46-47: While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You." Jn. 7:19: "Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?"
C. The the kingdom of God and His righteousness is something we must go after!
(1) We cant sit and wait for it to come to us!
(2) Neither does God force or push it upon us!
(3) It is something we must be actively pursuing! Mt. 13:44-46: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 "who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
D. Our seeking of the kingdom of God and His righteousness must be done as epizeteo suggests before all else it is a craving that surpasses all others! Mt. 5:6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Acts 2:41: Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. Mt. 13:44-46!!
E. Thus, we are to eagerly, earnestly before all else strive for the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We must be willing to sacrifice anything and everything otherwise we cannot obtain it! Lk. 9:23-24: Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. Phil. 3:8b: I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 1 Cor. 15:31: I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. Second, Jesus statement tells us our priority insofar as
2. What We Are To Seek: The Kingdom of God and His Righteousness
A. We are to seek the kingdom of God (seek the rule of God in our hearts): cf. beatitudes, Mt. 5:3-12 Lk. 17:20-21: Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 "nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." Its not easy! Consider Paul: Rom. 7:22-24: For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Gal. 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Consider Jesus: Lk. 22:44: And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Lk. 22:42: "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Lk. 14:25-35
B. We are to seek His righteousness:
(1) We must seek Gods plan for making men righteous: Jer. 10:23: O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. Prov. 14:12: There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Mt. 15:8-9: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (cf. Mt. 7:21-23) Rom. 1:16-17: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (cf. Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 4:11) Rom. 10:1-3: Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
(2) Seeking Gods righteousness also means putting it into application in ones life. This is where the rubber meets the road! 2 Cor. 5:7: For we walk by faith, not by sight. Rom. 14:23b: for whatever is not from faith is sin. Rom. 10:17: So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Zacharias and Elizabeth: Lk. 1:6: And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 1 Thes.5:22: Abstain from all appearance of evil. (KJV) (Contrast this with Frank Sinatras famous song, I Did It My Way)
(3) Must seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness over and above the material world. (see context, vs. 24-33) Jn. 6:27: "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." Eccl. 12:13: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. Third, Jesus statement tells us our priority insofar as
3. The Place We are to Give It: First
A. No priority is higher! No priority even comes close! 1 Pet. 3:15: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; Deut. 4:24: "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. God is jealous, because He always has our best interest in mind! 1 Jn. 5:3: For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
B. Seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness precedes or is superior to:
(1) The things of this life: Mt. 6:30-33: "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Phil. 3:7: But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. (careers!!)
(2) The dearest relationships: Mt. 10:37: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Mk. 10:29-30: So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30 "who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.
All spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3),
No temptation too strong for us to bear! (1 Cor. 10:13),
Sympathetic High Priest! Heb. 4:15-16: For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Fellowship and familial relationship with those of like precious faith (Eph. 2:19; 2 Pet. 1:1), (fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,),
As children of God (Rom. 8:16; 1 Jn. 3:1) we have a kinship, a relationship that CANNOT be duplicated or even approximated by any earthly relationship! Rom. 12:10: Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; (KJV)
(3) Service to God is not a part of our life. It IS our life!! Fourth, Jesus statement tells us the result of having the right priority
4. The Blessings We Receive: all these things shall be added to you.
A. God promises the daily necessities of life: Context (vs. 24-34). v. 30: "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? v. 32: For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Mt. 7:8-11: "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 "Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 "Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Psa. 34:10: The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. 1 Tim. 6:6: Now godliness with contentment is great gain. Phil. 4:11: Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
B. True discipleship provides freedom from worry: v. 31: "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' Do you think you have a problem too big or too hard for God to solve? Eph. 3:20: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
C. True discipleship brings ALL of Gods spiritual blessings to bear upon us! Eph. 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, Eph. 2:1-7 Col. 1:18-23 Rev. 22:14: Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (cf. Rev. 21) Heb. 5:9: And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
1. What are your priorities? Remember 2 Cor. 13:5!
2. Very importantly ponder this: What we put as our top priority is what we value the most.
3. What value do you place on seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness? First? Second? Third? Mt. 6:21: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Mt. 16:26: "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Phil. 1:21: For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is
For to me, to live is __________, and to die is_________ .
If we put anything else in the first blank besides Christ, we cannot put gain in the second blank!
By Craig Thomas based, in part, on a sermon by Donnie V. Rader
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