God First Spiritually

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See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

God First Spiritually

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Matthew 6:19-34


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Sunday, May 12, 2019 am                             

LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD (17)
PUTTING GOD FIRST IN EVERY AREA OF OUR LIFE (1)

We have devoted numerous lessons to the importance of shining as lights in a dark world.   We have talked about what it means to be an example by noting various descriptions of how we are examples – light, salt, an epistle, leaven, a pattern, etc. We examined several examples to consider in scripture, including Jesus as our ultimate example, and others whose example influenced others. We have also talked about what different looks like.     Then the past several weeks, we have talked about what the darkness around us looks like.

That brings us to our next section that we want to consider – being examples in every area of our lives.   Over the next several weeks we are going to look at various areas of our lives and discuss how God’s word ought to influence us in everything we do. We are going to focus on both various actions (such as our finances, health, moral decisions, etc.) and relationships (family relationships, responsibilities at work, socially and civilly).

We will begin by addressing our spiritual relationship.   We begin with this because it has an impact on every other area of our lives.

I.    Understand the Nature of the kingdom –

  1. it is a spiritual kingdom. We need to be preparing for that.
    John 18:36 – My kingdom is not of this world.   It was and is no threat to worldly monarchies.
    It is not eating and drinking – Romans 14:17, rather it is of such character as righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.   It is manifested by the way we live our lives, our demeanor and trust in Him.

    • Luke 17:20-21 – Jesus noted that it does not come with observation, but it is within you.    Hebrews 12:28 – it is a kingdom that cannot be shaken or defeated by worldly forces.
    • 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, describes the nature of our warfare – it is not carnal, but might in God…
      It is an eternal kingdom and the one that will win –
  2. Jesus is your King and you are subject to Him –
    Matthews 28:18-all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
    Acts 2:36 – as Peter concluded the sermon on Pentecost, he declared Jesus is now both Lord and Christ.
    Ephesians 1:18-23 – Christ was raised and seated at the right hand of God.   He is head over all things, to the church, which is His body…
  3. Where is your citizenship?
    Philippians 3:20 – our citizenship is in heaven
    Ephesians 2:19 – we are fellow citizens
    1 Peter 2:11-12 describes us as sojourners and pilgrims, therefore we abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.
  4. Do we struggle with this, as the apostles and disciples of Jesus did?
    Consider the difficulties the disciples had grasping the kingdom.
    Jesus spent much time trying to emphasize the nature of the kingdom of God both in statements and in His parables.
    Yet over and over, His disciples were wondering when the physical kingdom would come. Matthew 20:21-22 is just one example where the mother of James and John made special request for her sons in the kingdom.
    Even as Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, they were still asking – “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).   And in His typical, loving fashion, Jesus answered the question and told them to go to Jerusalem and wait.
    It was after being filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-4, that they finally and fully grasp the nature of His kingdom.   And they begin preaching Jesus as reigning in heaven (Acts 2:30-36) in His Spiritual kingdom.  Are we any different in action?

II.    Putting God first

  1. Matthew 6:19-34 – in the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught us many valuable lessons.   He addressed the nature of our walk with Him.   In the middle of that sermon, He addressed the Kingdom of God and called for us to seek it first (as our priority, over everything else).   Notice some of the things He addressed leading up to that.
    1. Where is your treasure? Matthew 6:19-21 –Jesus makes a comparison between earthly and heavenly treasures. He notes where our treasures need to be – in heaven.   And why: It is everlasting.
      THE POINT: Do we really grasp the nature of His kingdom? And what impact does it have in our life? Are we living our lives with a view toward the spiritual kingdom of God?
      Like the apostles of Jesus’ day, many today are still looking for a physical kingdom. That is what the doctrine of premillenialism is about.   Others see worldly prosperity as the reward of righteousness (health & wealth gospel, etc.).   Are many professed believers and Christians living as if what matters most is this life? Pursuing the pleasures of life, laying up for themselves earthly treasures, etc.?
      But the Bible warns us about such treasures – 1 Timothy 6:17 speaks of trusting in uncertain riches; Hebrews 13:5 tells us to be without covetousness, and to be content.
      Where is your treasure?
    2. What are you bringing into your life? Matthew 6:22-23 – the lamp of the body is the eye? This is not just about things, but whatever we let motivate our soul – lusts (1 John 2:15-17), attitudes, influences, etc. This addresses our entertainment, those we associate with (are they an influence for good or evil?), our philosophies (what are we allowing to determine how we view life?), etc.   Whatever we bring into our heart that shapes who we are is included in this. Are we letting the darkness or light shine within us?
      Remember what Jesus taught about what comes OUT of the heart – Mark 7:20-23.
    3. Who is your master? Matthew 6:24 – Make up your mind who you will serve.   This basically gets to the heart of the matter.   We must realize that in the spiritual realm, we only have 2 choices – follow God or don’t.   There is no middle ground.   Yet this is where so many struggle today with their light.
      We want to profess loyalty to God, but we don’t want to let go of the world. It affects beliefs (why are many advocating theistic evolution?), our moral standards, what we stand up for and what we will ignore.
      If we are going to let our lights shine, we have to understand this and make up our minds WHO our master is going to be.   Remember that Satan owns the fence.
    4. Who do we trust? Matthew 6:25-32, 34 – Jesus talks about worry.   He challenged His audience to put their trust in God and not worry about the things of this life.   Even things that we need (food, clothing and shelter), God knows it. The promise is that if we trust Him (e.g. put Him first, make our treasure in heaven, make Him our master, only bring good into our eye, etc.) He knows how to take care of us. 5 times in this text Jesus says, “Do not worry”
      Do I really trust God the way that I ought to? As I am living my life and letting my light shine, is it with compel trust in Him?
    5. His kingdom has to be the priority of your life!     Matthew 6:33 is what Jesus is leading up to in this section.   His point is that in everything we seek Him first, and then we trust Him to take care of us.
  2. When we understand this, it will impact every area of my life – every relationship – family, social, economic, civic and spiritual.   It will affect everything we do in our lives – how we spend our money, how we take care of ourselves, how we interact on social media, out attitudes and actions everywhere, etc.
  3. 1 Peter 4:1-2 – let us live the rest of our time for the will of God, and not in the flesh for the lusts of men
    2 Corinthians 5:9 – we make it our aim, whether present or absent to be well pleasing to Him
    Colossians 3:2 – set your mind on things above
    Philippians 3:14 – I press toward the goal.

This is where letting our light shine begins.   So in all that we do and all who we associate with, let us determine that God’s will is at the center of it.     Think about it.