While watching a pre-game football show on Thanksgiving, I heard about a fantastic play for the New Orleans Saints. On the very first play of their very first game they returned the punt nearly the length of the football field to score their very first touchdown! That player had only one thing in mind when he was running downfield...that was to cross the goal line! That is exactly the way that God wants every Christian to live! With the goal line in view, giving our all to be successful for Him. If a person wants to make a success of anything, they must put that thing first. I read about Indiana's own Larry Bird. As a boy he would eat, drink, and sleep basketball. All champions are like that. Charles Lindbergh made the first solo flight across the Atlantic because he concentrated on one thing. Thomas Edison seldom slept at night, spending long hours in his laboratory perfecting hundreds of inventions. The list could go on and on, but the key to being a success at anything is to put that first in your life.
In our text this morning Jesus instructs those who believe on Him to focus on what is necessary to be a success as a Christian. Not material things, but "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness".
I. Many People Put Other Things First.
A. Some will put job or profession first.
1. I think that it is important for a Christian to be a good worker.
2. Regardless of where a believer works, their employer ought to be able to see a difference in them!
3. If you are a business man, then you ought to work hard to make your business a success!
4. But never...never...allow your job or your business to come first in your life!
5. Examples: Del Lewis, Gerbers, others.
B. Some will put the accumulation of wealth first.
1. Many spend their time and energies gaining and getting.
2. But they often lose their sense of God.
3. The more we seek earthly things, the less of the things of God we can see.
4. One famous singer who had risen to the top, gave it all up. When asked why she pointed to a beautiful sunset and replied, "My success made me think less of that and it made me think little or nothing of God's Word."
C. Some people put pleasure first.
1. Many tell me, "But Sunday is my only day off...I need that time to relax!"
2. God isn't opposed to a person having a good time and enjoying life!
3. But pleasure should not be our chief aim of life, and nothing should come before God!
4. Jesus is clear in this verse, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteous- ness".
D. Some people put their family first.
1. Now don't get me wrong, family is important.
2. They are not more important than God!
3. I know a lady who moans and groans nearly every time I see her about her children and the fact that they aren't in church today.
4. And yet when they were still at home, she taught them by example that going to Grandma's and Aunt So-in-so's was more important that going to church, and serving God!
II. What Does It Mean to Seek First the Kingdom?
A. Putting God first in our life means that we conform our live's to His principles.
1. Romans 12:2 tells us to "be not conformed to this world:"
2. In my hip pocket I carry a wallet, note that it is curved and conformed to the shape of my hip.
3. That has happened because of how close I carry it to me and how long I have carried it.
4. How close we are to the Lord will impact how closely our lives will conform to His!
B. Putting God first means serving in His kingdom.
1. 2 Co. 5:20, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ..."
2. An ambassador is supposed to serve his king.
3. Unfortunately, God has many ambassadors who poorly represent Him to this lost and dying world.
4. If the lost is to hear the Gospel and be saved, we must be actively serving our King and seeing that Gospel preached at home and around the world.
C. Putting God first means putting His church first.
1. The local church is the only organization Christ left down here to do His work!
2. If we are to serve Christ it needs to be through the local church!
3. We owe the church our presence. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." cf. Hebrews 10:25
4. We owe the church our prayers.
a. Paul asked the church to pray for him on many occasions.
b. James 5:16 tells us to "pray for one another".
c. Who knows what mighty things this church could do if everyone was praying together?
5. We owe the church our power, by this I mean that we ought to totally give of ourselves to the ministry of this church.
III. God's Reward to Those Who Seek First the Kingdom.
A. "All these things shall be added unto you"
1. He is talking here about material needs.
2. Is God a liar or did Jesus mean what He said?
3. Putting God first means that we will have our needs met.
4. It is hard for me to understand how someone can say they trust God's promises for eternal life, but they simply cannot trust Him to take care of their needs!
B. Note: Psalm 37:25
1. Here is an observation of King David.
2. "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging for bread."
3. I have seen a number of people come to this church looking for a handout, and I have heard all sorts of stories about how they don't have this or they don't have that, (and without a doubt many of their needs are real!) but not one of them have been living for the Lord!
4. God is faithful! He keeps His promises! Put Him first and then just watch Him bless you!
Conclusion: Before one can seek first the kingdom, they must be a part of it. The only way to become a part of God's kingdom is to be born again. To put your faith and trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and accept Him as your personal Saviour! Once you have done this, then you can begin to put God first in your life and reap the benefits of His promises to His own.
We are entering the time of year when things get really hectic and confused. Let's keep our focus clear! What is most important for us is to put God first in every area of our lives. We need to seek to conform our lives to His principles and, to serve Him through His church as a faithful ambassador to this lost and dying world.