#370 - SEEK FIRST (11/6/21)
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. Today, we think about what it means to ‘seek first the kingdom’.
Around 8 years ago, James Howells, a 35-year-old software engineer, from Newport in Wales, accidentally threw away his hard drive containing bitcoins which is now worth more than $280 million. The resident of Newport, Wales is prepared to spend millions on the search of the local landfill sites.
When something is worth it, we are prepared to search through whatever rubbish stands in the way to find it. This is the kind of attitude that Jesus wants us to have in our Christian lives.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (25-34) (Matthew 6:19-34)
To seek first the Kingdom and righteousness is to Pray ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done’ and then do His will as we apply the teaching of Jesus. To seek the Kingdom is to live like a citizen of the Kingdom of God. This is to be our priority. It’s to be our dominating passion.
To seek the Kingdom means:
Firstly, to seek the Kingdom and His righteousness means to seek to know the King. To quote the Shorter Catechism,
‘what is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever’.
Jesus tells us that the first and greatest commandment is to,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37).
We come into a relationship with the Father when we put our faith in Jesus. ..and have a new relationship with God which we are to nurture through prayer, worship, bible intake, fellowship etc.
If we don’t seek to know the Father, we will be like those in this chapter who are full of worry and seek wealth as their priority.
Secondly, it’s the endeavour to know and do the will of God in everything. In Matthew 6, Jesus specifically warns us to seek to do God’s will in regard to money, but it affects every area of our lives. Paul prays,
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,” (Colossians 1:9).
Thirdly, to seek the Kingdom and righteousness is to live as a citizen of heaven. When we receive Jesus, we are transferred into God’s Kingdom. As Christians we are to learn what it means to live as a citizen of the Kingdom whilst in this world. Peter speaks in these terms,
“God’s elect, exiles, scattered...live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.” (1 Peter 1:1, 17). Paul writes, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:20).
Citizenship transforms our identity and values. It transfers our allegiance.
Perhaps the best response is prayer. Seeking the Kingdom and righteousness of God begins and is sustained through prayer. Perhaps you might want to meditate on the words of The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13) which contains all the elements of what it means to seek God’s Kingdom and His will.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - TWO PATHS
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What is the most enjoyable or memorable walk that you've been on and what makes it so memorable?
Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount.
Through Matthew 6:19-34 we will see that Jesus presents two choices using four different metaphors (two treasures, two ways to see, two masters and two attitudes). Each of these ways to live have the same basic idea: we can serve the Father or we can serve or be mastered by wealth, we cannot serve or be mastered by both!
i) TWO TREASURES - Please read Matthew 6:19-21
Knowing God as Father revolutionises what we treasure and how we use money. Jesus wants us to be clear, it's how we use our wealth that stores treasure in Heaven. Every Christian is to pray regularly "Your Kingdom, your will..." regarding their possessions, time and talents.
ii) TWO WAYS OF SEEING - Please read Matthew 6:22-23
Knowing God as Father transforms how we see life. As we come to know the Father, we see life through the lens of serving His Kingdom and will rather than money.
iii) TWO MASTERS - Please read Matthew 6:24
Knowing God as Father means that we no longer serve money as our master. In a slavery situation, one could not serve two masters. You cannot serve the demands of wealth whilst saying that you serve the Father. Wealth says, “Take this educational route… take this job…marry this person…live here…invest me like this…and you will be happy and safe!” The Father must be given rights over every decision and this may not make financial sense.
iv) TWO ATTITUDES - Please read Matthew 6:25-34
Knowing God as Father means we are free from worry about our needs. A poor view of God fills us with worry. When we know the Father, His perfect loves casts out fear. We are free to trust and be generous.
A simple application is to invest in your relationship with the Father through prayer out of His word. Making time to meditate and pray will deepen our relationship with the Father.
Secondly, pray about your use of money. A very practical application is to pray about your giving to your local church.
1. Did God Speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?
2. Which of the four metaphors do you find most challenging and why?
3. Why does knowing the Father revolutionise our relationship with money?
4. Please read Matthew 6:33. In light of what we've seen in this chapter of Matthew, what does this mean?
5. It might be good to pray for one another out of the message of this week's text.
Serving, Investing and inviting
1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting that you'd like to share?
2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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