Seek Ye First
This year our church’s theme is found in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” What a popularized verse, used in preaching and quotes all the time, however we often fail to gather the true context of this scripture and to do that we must go back to the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in chapter 5.
Jesus starts his sermon with the introduction of the Beatitudes listed in Matthew 5: 3-12. These statements initially seem independent but they are setting up the whole message. Each of the traits that he lists are characteristics that do not come natural for us. To be poor in spirit means to have the proper evaluation of who we are which is missing from our society. We are either too proud or constantly demeaning to our self. What we are is as the Bible says, “All Sinners” and we need a Savior. If we, humble ourselves and call upon the Savior he makes us to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. And this is where it all starts. Every attribute after this is a picture of what the Savior will do within us.
Then in Matthew 5:13-16 we see the how we influence others. As salt (v. 13) we provide flavor to the emptiness of this world, we bring preservation through the gospel that saved us and we bring irritation in the form of conviction by the life we lead and the message we preach. As the light (v. 14-16) we are to dispel darkness by the putting on of the holiness, bring clarity through the light of God’s Word and show others who are going astray the way to go. These similitudes reveal our purpose.
In Matthew 5:17-48, Jesus gives us a higher standard of living by grace over the law. The law’s goal is to reveal our nature of breaking the law. Now that we are saved by grace we don’t adhere to earthly law because that standard is beneath us we live for a more heavenly approach. For instance, under the law murder is worthy of judgement (v.21), but under grace to bring hate is the new standard. Grace always promotes a higher standard of living.
In chapter 6 Jesus teaches us about service and giving. To often we serve under the wrong motives. A pastor can preach to affect offerings, popularize the church and impress people. A teacher can teach because that’s what they have always done. A person can give in order to be seen of men (v.2, 5). Our goal in service and giving is to be seen in secret by the Father (v.4).
A phrase used in (v.8) helps us see the contrast that Jesus is setting up. The phrase that he uses is, “ Be not ye therefore like unto them.” The “them” in this role is those without Christ living under the law still. Which leads to another trait a Christian should be faithful in; prayer. Prayer is the Christian’s way of focusing on Christ, building a relation with him and gaining the things we need day by day.
In Matthew 6:19-24, we get a lesson on investing. A Christian’s main goal should not be acquiring and amassing wealth to himself (v.19) but rather investing in the things of Christ. A Christian who is wrapped up in money cannot serve God, because the money will drag the eyes down to the things of this world.
Finally we get to the text. If we desire to seek first the kingdom of God we must yield ourselves wholly to things above. Starting with salvation and gaining the heavenly purpose of salt and light. As we live our life we aren’t concerned with the earthly standards but rather living in grace. We seek every opportunity to give and serve but not for men applause but the appeasement of the Father, while we constantly speak to our Father in heaven. We invest in our future home in heaven because. “Where our treasure is there will our heart be also.” If we so live this life, seeking His Kingdom, the good King will provide all these things (food, raiment, drink and faith—i.e. our necessities v.25-32).
Let’s seek His Kingdom first!