December 17, 2017

What Is First In Your Life? – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 NASV)

“But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NET)

My grandmother “bribed” me to memorize the “sermon on the mount, at about age 12. Some would say she motivated. Whatever…it worked, and no doubt had a profound impact. I did the same with my children.

Of course, the passage quoted above is included in this Lord’s sermon. It has become a favorite memory verse for millions and has even been set to music by a number of musicians. Its truth is foundational. Let’s carefully look at what it says.

First, we must know what we are talking about. Most don’t understand the kingdom. Most of the time in the New Testament, the kingdom is a rough equivalent of the church. Notice the interchangeability in the following passages.

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him…‘upon this rock I will build My church; …I will give you the keys of the kingdom…’” (Matthew 16:16-19)

“…transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. …He is also head of the body, the church;” (Colossians 1:13, 18)

“John to the seven churches that are in Asia:… your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom…” (Revelation 1:4, 9)

Many depreciate the value of the church today. The Bible presents a very different view. Paul said that Jesus died for the church (Ephesians 5:25) and Jesus says you should put the kingdom and God’s righteousness first in your life.

Greek “tenses” speak less about the time than the kind of action involved. The Greek word translated “seek” is present tense, which typically implies continuing action. This would imply a command to establish an ongoing habit or lifestyle of “seeking” the kingdom and righteousness. We are commanded to put first things first on a continual basis, then watch Him take care of the items of secondary interest.

The “seeking” Jesus commands specifies “His righteousness.” Many today are seeking to be righteous, but at the same time consider the principles of righteousness taught by the Bible to be nuts. The attitude is similar that Paul described on the part of his brethren, the Jews.

“For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3)

They seek diligently, as long as they get to seek what seems righteous in their own eyes. It should not surprise us that God’s standard of righteousness is different from our own. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Jesus teaches that we must continually “seek” to make His priorities our priorities—to mold our thinking by the Word of God so that we think as He does. Our lives should exhibit the purity and righteousness that He exhibited when on Earth. While it is true that we never completely achieve such perfection this side of heaven, we are commanded to be “seeking,” to do so by the power promised to us (Philippians 4:13).

If we reverse the proper order, not only will we not attain His kingdom and His righteousness, but we will probably miss the secondary “things” as well. The word “added,” a mathematical word, implies the prior existence of something to which other things can be added. We enjoy bountiful physical blessings, but Jesus knows how to add. The assurance of “all these things,” the physical things we need, are not as important as the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” (Ephesians 3:8), but how nice to know he cares and promises…when “above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness.”

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

 

 

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