God's Priorities For Our Life
Matthew 6:25-34, "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof."
A. There is a certain excitement about "first things":
1. Baby --- first words --- first steps,
2. First day of school,
3. First time you saw your need of Jesus Christ as your Saviour,
4. First soul you won to the Lord, etc.
B. All these experiences come first in order of time --- but this message is about things that come first by virtue of our deliberate choice.
C. God says, "Seek ye first ..." --- for they are His priorities.
D. We need to know how to assess their value --- so as not to give first place to secondary things.
1. The "Soul" is more important than the "Body".
2. Things of "Eternity" are more important than things of "Time". --- (Heb. 9:27)
3. "Life" itself is more important than "Possessions".
4. "Moral Strength" is more important than "Physical Strength". --- (Eph. 6:10)
E. Much of our trouble arises because we have reversed the order --- majoring on the minor --- minoring on the major.
F. The Bible tells us What God Wants us to put first:
1. The first and greatest commandment.
(Matt. 22:36-38 --- Love God)
2. Why we love God.
(1 John 4:19 --- He First Loved Us)
3. The prerequisite to discipleship.
(Luke 14:28, 31 --- Counting The Cost)
4. Where giving must begin.
(2 Cor. 8:5 --- Giving of Self)
5. Where piety (consistent living) must begin.
(1 Tim. 5:4 --- At Home)
6. Where soul-winning must begin.
(John 1:41 --- At Home)
7. Where judgment must begin.
(1 Peter 4:17 --- At The House of God)
(( The Gospel of Matthew records our Lord's Five-Fold Law of Priorities: ))
I. In Matt. 5:23-24 --- First Your Brother, Then Your Gift.
A. Notice how clear God's Order is:
Matthew 5:23-24, "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
B. The devil loves to sow seeds of discord among Christians --- However, the Lord gives us a way of victory --- not an easy way --- But, it is the way of God's blessings.
C. To worship God --- bring gifts to Him --- enter into His service --- are all in vain if we fail to obey God's requirements in Matt. 5:23-24.
D. God's work is often paralysed --- His servants are powerless --- because of an unwillingness to seek the reconciliation that God commands.
E. No Christian can be Right With God and Not Right With His Fellow Man.
I John 4:20-21, "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
I John 3:14, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death."
F. This includes showing Spirituality At Home.
I Timothy 5:4, "But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite (reward, recompense) heir parents: for that is good and acceptable before God."
II. In Matt. 6:33 --- First The Spiritual, Then The Temporal.
A. This is a Wonderful Promise.
Matthew 6:31-33, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
B. Give God First Place In Your Life!
I Kings 17:12-13, "And she said, [As] the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I [am] gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go [and] do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring [it] unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son."
C. Paul taught the same thing.
Philippians 4:15-19, "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
When God Has First Place --- Miracles take place --- Needs are supplied ...
D. If we put God's kingdom first and seek to do His will first --- we need have no anxiety about anything.
1. It is possible to be in the kingdom of God --- yet not really seeking His righteousness.
2. It is possible to be justified and to disregard God's call to sanctification.
I Thessalonians 4:3, "For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:"
E. Thus, this promise of Matt. 6:33 is made to the Christian who is willing to have God's Priorities For His Life.
Psalms 34:9-10, "O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for [there is] no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good [thing]."
Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
III. In Matt. 7:3-5 --- First Judge Yourself, Then Your Brother.
A. Matthew 7:3-5, "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
B. This shows:
1. The danger of self-love,
2. An attitude of unkindness,
3. The need of getting right yourself ...
C. How blind we often are to our own faults --- how quickly we observe the faults and failings of others!
D. Nearly every time we criticize someone else --- we unconsciously criticize them for something of which we ourselves are guilty.
Romans 2:1, "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things."
E. If a brother is overtaken in a fault --- how do we handle it?
Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
IV. In Matt. 8:21-22 --- First What Christ Wants, Then What I Want.
A. Matthew 8:21, "And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead."
B. A "Me-First" disciple is of little value to the Lord.
C. "Me-First" - the only answer to the following questions:
1. Why do you allow that doubtful habit?
2. Why do you always put yourself first?
3. Why do you pursue that harmful friendship?
4. Why do you allow that crooked method in business?
5. Why do you still attend worldly places?
6. Why do you not try to win souls?
7. Why do you not obey the voice of the Lord?
V. In Matt. 23:25-26 --- First The Inside, Then The Outside.
A. Matthew 23:25-26, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. [Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also."
B. The Christian life is Not just an Outwardly Reformed Life --- primarily it Is an Inwardly Cleansed Life.
1. Reformation only takes care of the outside.
2. Regeneration takes care of the inside and outside.
C. I Samuel 16:7, "But the LORD said unto Samuel, ..... man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."
D. God does not want outward profession --- He wants inward possession.
I John 5:11-12, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."
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