TRANSFORMATION #5: SEEKING FIRST GOD’S KINGDOM
(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)
- To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.
CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK:
GOD REWARDS: Generous Giving, Powerful Praying, and: FAITHFUL FASTING:
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18, NKJV).
WHAT IS FASTING? Richard Foster defined fasting as “the voluntary denial of a normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity.”
- You can fast food, but you can also fast TV, movies, computer or social media for extended periods of time.
- “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7).
QUOTE: “If we don’t feel strong desires for God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things and there is no room for the great.” (John Piper, Hunger for God).
- STORY: Of a man who brought his son to Jesus’ disciples but they couldn’t heal him.
- “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matt. 17:21, NKJV). Sometimes we need to add fasting to our prayers for a breakthrough!
INTRO TO TODAY’S TOPIC:
We are living in a world where people worry about everything from the economy to the threat of terrorism and war. The world’s solutions to worry: Take pills!
A LOOK AT WORRIES:
- A.J. Cronin, author-physician, analyzed patients’ worries this way:
- Things that never happen (40%), things in the past which can’t be changed (30%), health issues (12%), miscellaneous, petty problems (10%), Real, legitimate troubles (8%).
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus gives us three keys to overcoming worry in our lives: Refuse to worry, meditate on God’s love, and put first things first – seek God’s kingdom.
1. REFUSE TO WORRY:
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matt. 6:25, NKJV).
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.” (v. 25, The Message).
- Jesus commands us: “Do not worry.” Therefore worry is a choice.
- In our society today, we’ve bought into the lie that life IS all about food, fashion & stuff!
- To decide “I will not worry” does not mean you don’t care. It doesn’t mean you don’t make dinner for the kids. “No worries!”
- It’s not a Hakuna Matata philosophy that grabs a surf board and a latte!
- WORRY: to be anxious; to be troubled; to torment oneself with disturbing thoughts; to seize with the teeth and shake or mangle. Why would you do that to yourself?
- Worry has physical consequences: headaches, neck pains, ulcers, and even back pains.
2. MEDITATE ON GOD’S LOVE:
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matt. 6:26-30).
- v. 26 – Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air, and the flowers of the field.” Why?
- He is saying: “You are more valuable to God than the birds and flowers!”
- God loves you and cares for you. The more we know how much our Heavenly Father loves us, the more we will trust Him. Faith trusts God, worry doubts God.
- v. 27 – Jesus said, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” In other words, worry doesn’t help you at all! In fact, worry makes things worse!
3. PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST – SEEK GOD’S KINGDOM:
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Matt. 6:31-32).
“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.” (v. 31-32, The Message).
- When you worry, Jesus says you are like the Gentiles – people who don’t know God.
- God, your Good, Loving Heavenly Father, knows what you need!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt. 6:33-34).
- The cure for worry is to seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness.
- When we do this, we are trusting God, and as we trust Him, He meets our needs.
- My first pastor preached a message once, “Why borrow sorrow from tomorrow?”
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (v. 34, The Message).
HOW DO WE SEEK GOD’S KINGDOM FIRST?
- The Daily Disciplines: Prayer, Worship and Bible Reading. Use a schedule!
- Church Attendance: Commit to regular involvement on Sundays and a small group.
- Serving: In the church and in your community (being salt and light).
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”” (Luke 10:38-42).
CLOSING TEXT: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21).
CHALLENGE: Is Jesus first in your life? He is calling you to surrender to Him today!
- Beausejour Community Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca
- Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/