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Seek First the Kingdom of God

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
January 24, 2022 12:13 pm

Seek First the Kingdom of God

The Verdict / John Munro

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January 24, 2022 12:13 pm

Dr. John H. Munro January 23, 2022 Matt. 6:33; Isaiah 55:6; Jer. 29:11-13; Col. 3:1

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Well, this morning, we're dealing with the final theme of our four themes for 2022. And although this is the last theme, in a sense, it's the umbrella for all of them.

Get this one right, and everything will fall into place. So I ask you to open your Bibles to Matthew chapter 6, and we're going to read the verse that we've been singing about. It is in the section of Scripture that we call the Sermon on the Mount, the greatest sermon ever preached. And it's part of that, and we're first just going to look at one verse. We're going to look at various Scriptures, but first of all, this one verse coming from the words of the Lord Jesus.

He says, but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Notice the verb seek. It is an active verb. It is an imperative. It is a command, and it's in the present tense. The force of the verse is this, keep on seeking the kingdom of God.

This is not something you just do once and you get over it. No, we are to keep seeking the kingdom of God, not in order to be saved, but because we are saved. We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Now, in life, all of us seek certain things. Some seek to be well educated, to be rich, to be accomplished, perhaps in a particular sport or endeavor or in a musical instrument.

Some seek to be popular. Many people seek to be happy, to have a wonderful marriage. All of us can be seeking different things. Let me ask you, what are you seeking in life? In Jeremiah chapter 45 verse 5, the question is asked, and do you seek great things for yourself? Jeremiah 45 verse 5.

How would you answer that? Are you seeking great things for yourself? That's the question. The answer is, seek them not.

That's it. Our tendency is to seek things for ourselves. It's not that we are not concerned about other people, we want to be helpful to people. It's not that we don't want to glorify God, we do, but often when it comes right down to it, our dreams, our ambitions, our ideas of success are generally about ourselves. And God is saying to us, don't seek great things for yourself. That's what the unbeliever does. Life is about them.

They're seeking great things for themselves. Now I refer to Jeremiah 45 verse 5. Turn in your Bible, if you have one, and if you can find it, to Jeremiah chapter 29. Jeremiah in the Hebrew text is the longest book in the Old Testament. And if you know anything about Jeremiah, you know the verses I'm going to read.

They're very, very popular. Many people have them as a kind of motto or theme verse for their lives. Let's read them. Jeremiah 29, now we're thinking of this word seeking. Jeremiah 29 verse 11, for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Notice it's the Lord who has plans for us, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Now this is given to the nation of Israel.

They've been in captivity for 70 years and God's going to bring them back to the land, the promised land. And you say that's wonderful. It would be wonderful to know that I have a future and a hope.

Yes you do. God has a plan for your life. That is true. But notice verse 12, which is often forgotten. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. Verse 13, you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I've driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

How wonderful to think that God has a plan for us, not for evil. There is a future. There is a hope. How terrible to be in a place of hopelessness as many people are. They don't know where to go. They feel so hopeless. And here's the word of God saying to us, no, God has plans for you, a future for you, a hope for you, but you, I, are to seek God with all of your heart.

Did you notice that word, all? Don't seek God half-heartedly. Don't seek God on a casual basis. Don't seek God just when it suits you. Don't just seek God when you're in a tight situation.

No, seek God with all of your heart. Now, that's one of our themes for 2022 this year. I don't want you to forget it. The other themes, in a sense, come under this one.

This is the great umbrella. Do you listen to Jesus? You are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Now, in seeking God, not wonderful that you can do that, our Savior comes to seek and to save the lost. He finds us.

He saves us. I trust you're saved by the grace of God. And now, I am to seek God with all of my heart.

But in doing that, I'm to turn from my selfishness, my self-desires, and indeed my sin. Now, if you're in Jeremiah chapter 29, go back a few pages and you'll come to Isaiah. You say, I don't have a Bible. Well, if you don't have a Bible, listen to me. But next time, come with your Bible. It's one of the things at Calvary Church we believe in preaching the Bible.

It's important you have a Bible. Isaiah chapter 55 verse 6. Isaiah 55 is a wonderful chapter. If we had time, we'd read it all. But read it this afternoon. Read it this week. It's a wonderful chapter. Isaiah 55 verse 6.

Notice this. Seek. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. There are times when we don't want to seek the Lord.

Ah, but there's times, aren't there? When the Holy Spirit works on us. We're to seek the Lord while He's near. We're to call upon Him. Let the wicked forsake His way and the righteous man his thoughts.

Let Him return to the Lord that He may have compassion on Him and to our God. For, listen to this, He will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. We are to seek the Lord, but in seeking the Lord, I am to turn from my sin. Verse 7, let the wicked forsake His way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Is there any evil in you?

Any unrighteous thoughts? I am to seek the Lord with a pure heart and to do that I am to forsake all wickedness in my life. That is, as I seek the Lord, as I seek first the kingdom of God, I am to do it with repentance, with humility, with a daily turning from my sin. You can't seek the Lord and continue to live like the devil. That's what we want, isn't it?

We think we can do that. We think we can live as we like and then occasionally put on a cloak of righteousness, come to church on a Sunday, occasionally read our Bible. That's not seeking the Lord with all of your heart. And there is no doubt, as Isaiah tells us, there is no doubt that God will pardon you.

He's a God of compassion, isn't He? When we come to the Lord with humility, turning from our sin, there is no doubt that God will forgive us. But notice, Isaiah also tells us something very important as we seek the Lord, that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. Yes, it's true, as I seek the Lord, He's going to guide me through life. He has a future for me, He has a hope for me, but I don't always understand the ways of God. But I am always to seek Him. I'm always to follow Him, particularly when life seems dark, when life seems confused, when life is difficult, when I don't understand God's ways, when I don't understand God's thoughts, I'm still to seek Him with all of my heart.

Do you understand that? I can still hear my parents and my grandparents saying to me, John, put the Lord first in your life. That was a very biblical lesson, wasn't it?

One which I needed to hear and still need to hear over and over again. John, put the Lord first in your life. That's what I'm saying to you. Whoever you are, put the Lord first in your life. Parents, I want you to teach this to your children.

Children, I want you to remind your parents about it. Life group leaders, hear me. Pastors, elders, deacons, whoever you are, make sure that this is in front of you this year. Indeed, for every year, seek first the Kingdom of God.

Now, to underline this theme, I want to ask two questions and try to answer them. First, why should we seek the Kingdom of God? You're saying, John, you're telling me to seek first the Kingdom of God.

Why should I do that? Secondly, what does this seeking the Kingdom of God look like? So the first question, reasons to seek first the Kingdom of God.

And I want to mention three. Why should we seek the Kingdom of God? Well, number one, this is a command. Matthew 6, verse 33, Jesus is saying, seek first. It is an imperative, a present imperative for the grammarians here.

It is a command. Jesus is commanding you to seek Him first. Of the Ten Commandments, what was the first commandment? You shall have no other gods before me. The great confession of faith of the Jewish nation in Deuteronomy 6 is that there's only one God. And because there's only one God, the pagans have many gods, but we have one true God. And because of that, I am to love that God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. There is to be total and supreme allegiance to this God.

Why? Because He's God. He's no rivals. He's supreme. He's the Creator of the heaven and the earth. He's the great eternal God. He is the only true God. He is the only rock. And because of that, I'm to love that God supremely and totally.

There's a command. Why seek first the Kingdom of God? Because the Lord Jesus is saying it, and God created you. You didn't make yourself.

Psalm 100, know that the Lord, He is God. It is He who made us, and we are His. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. God made you. You're made in the image of God. You are a creation of God.

You really think that you can live your own life independently? God says no. You've got the very stamp of God on you. You're made in the image of God. You belong to God.

He is your Creator. Furthermore, for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, not only is God my Creator, He is my Redeemer. I am bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. I am redeemed. Once I was in slavery of my sin, and my Lord Jesus Christ has come and has paid the price of my sin on the cross, He has liberated me, He's freed me, and now I belong to Him by creation and by redemption. So Paul says, you're not your own. You're bought with a price. Do you ever think of that?

You think of yourself as a free agent? No, we are servants of God, slaves of God. He has made us.

He has redeemed us. This God, who is my Lord, now says to me, John, I know there's many things that you could seek. You have many different desires, many different passions, but I want you first to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

It's a command. Secondly, to seek first the kingdom of God is an investment on that which is eternal. You can spend your life on things at the end of the day that don't matter anything at all.

They're absolutely futile. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us it's like chasing after wind. People spend all of their life on that which is utterly futile and is gone, is gone in the wind. No, Jesus says, I want you who follow me to make an investment in that which is eternal. Matthew 6, look at your Bible there, Matthew 6 verse 19. I'm saying, first, you seek the kingdom of God, it's a command.

Secondly, it's an investment in that which is eternal. Let me tell you, you will never ever regret putting first Jesus Christ. Have you got regrets in life? You've messed up. You've gone the wrong way. Many regrets.

Things you'd like to redo, you will never ever regret. This, to put first the kingdom of God. Matthew 6, 19, do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure 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. Now, Jesus is not anti-money. I've said before, God wants you to have money. But notice, you do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.

Verse 20, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. This is the point. Some people, their view of money is save, save, save. They're kind of the miser's type, right? Some of you are married to people like that. There's others who like to spend, spend, spend. Some of you are married to people like that.

So, if you've got one who wants to save, save, save, and the other spends, spends, spends, you have an interesting dynamic in your marriage, right? Why are you laughing goodnight? I could have been a very rich man. That's all I say. But in both cases, seriously, what's happened? Money, stuff becomes an idol in your life. No other gods.

We could talk of many different gods that people have. One of them, one of the most common, is stuff, money, resources. Laying up for ourselves treasures on earth. Where's your investment? Again, I ask you, what are you trying to achieve in life?

What do you want? I've met people, many, and their goal, their idol is riches. I can understand that as a young man.

That was a temptation for me. To make a lot of money is exhilarating when you see the money coming in. And it's very, very easy, isn't it, to have a love for money, to lay out for ourselves treasures on earth. Are you trusting in your resources, your money, your savings, your earning capacity? Or are you investing in that which is eternal? For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. You say, well, this is not for me.

I don't have much money. That's not the point. You may be very poor, but your idol can still be money. The point is, the stuff of life doesn't last. Treasure in heaven is immune from stock market failures, loss of employment, theft, devaluation, deterioration, and decay. Thomas Fuller said, riches may leave us while we live.

They certainly do. We must leave them when we die. So, if you're a wise person, you are investing, whether you think yourself rich or poor. That's not the point.

Money is not the point. It's your attitude to it. It's where your heart is, how wise it is to invest in that which is eternal. You say, how do I do that, John? Seek first the kingdom of God. Paul says, Colossians 3 verse 1, seek the things which are above.

Where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things which are above, not on things on the earth. So, here's a good test.

What do you think about? What's your focus of your conversation? Is it on that which is here on earth or are you focused on Christ? Seeking first the kingdom of God. Here's the third reason why I'm to seek first the kingdom of God. When you seek first the kingdom of God, there's a life of faith and an absence of worry. If you put the kingdom of God first, you will live a life of faith and have an absence of worry.

Notice Matthew 6, look with me, verse 25. Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious. Verse 31, therefore, do not be anxious. Verse 34, therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself, sufficient for the day is its own trouble. I think Jesus is telling us stop worrying, do not be anxious. Verse 32, for the Gentiles seek after all these things. They're warriors.

Their life is falling apart because the market goes down or they lose their job. No, their world, the unbeliever's world is concerned with the things of this world. We understand that.

But you're to be different. Verse 32, for the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. This is wonderful, isn't it? But as I seek first the kingdom of God, I realize that I have a heavenly Father who knows all that I need.

This is huge, isn't it, a life? You see, if I'm seeking first the kingdom of God, that is a life of trust, a life of faith in God, that I believe that my heavenly Father knows my situation, not only knows it, but is going to guide me and provide me as I go through life. We have many fathers here this morning. You want to guide your children, don't you? You want to provide for them. You don't want them to be worrying.

You don't want little Johnny who's six years old worrying what he's going to eat for breakfast, and he doesn't. He's got a father. He's got a mother who watches over him. We have a perfect heavenly Father who watches over me. Verse 26, look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor weep nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Do you get the force in the argument of the Lord? God takes care of the birds. God takes care of the flowers. We had an orchid in our home, beautiful orchid, and eventually as flowers do die, it withers, and there's just a kind of a knuggly stick, and Goodness said, well, we'll keep this.

I thought, no, I'd throw the thing out. To my surprise, after some time, this thing started to grow again. Not only grow, but to produce a beautiful bloom again of an orchid. Think how wonderful.

What a great God that can produce from a dry stick this beautiful flower. Do you know that the Carolina wren, you see that wren up around? Do you know how many songs it can sing? It can sing 40 different songs. Now you say, how do you know that? Well, one day I listened to it, and I counted them.

No, I read them. Not only can it sing 40 different songs, that's more than some of you can. It can sing, this is incredible, up to 3,000 times a day, ornithologists say. Look at that little bird. It's tiny. Look at his little head. Can you imagine the size of his brain?

God made it. When that little bird is singing one of his 40 songs, it's not worrying, is it? It's so joyful, it's singing up to 3,000 times in a single day. You're of much more value than that little bird. Think of it. You see, when I seek first the kingdom of God, that gives me a single focus in life. When we trust the Lord, and the more I trust God, the less I fret about my difficult circumstances, isn't it? The more I look up, the less I look down. When I look down, there can be difficulties, there can be troubles. It's not that we're Pollyanna.

No, we face the reality of the situation, but we do it in a context that my Heavenly Father is in control, and He's watching over me. One ship drives east and another drives west with the self-same winds that blow. Tis the sed of the sails and not the gales which tell us the way to go.

You know that. Do you know anything about the sea? Here is a beautiful boat with a sail. The wind goes. Does the wind direct where the boat goes? No, it's the sed of the sails.

The sailor sets the sail in a certain way to go in the direction he wants it to go. The gales and storms come into our life? Yes. Are you going to allow the gale and the storm to determine the direction of your life? Are you going to allow the darkness to put you into a dark hole and a dark place?

No. Jesus is saying, set your sail to the kingdom of God. The problems will come.

Yes, they will. There will be difficult circumstances, unexpected disappointments and problems, but when we seek first the kingdom of God, there is a reliance on our heavenly Father and an acknowledgement that all these things will be added to me. God's going to take care of me.

That little wren doesn't have a care in the world. And here we are, made by God, redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, guaranteed of an eternal home in heaven. And meantime, as I await the return of my Lord Jesus Christ, we are to seek first the kingdom of God.

Isn't it interesting? Jesus says, O ye of little faith. Verse 30.

And as I write it, I thought, yes, that's often me, of little faith. But the more we look on Christ, the greater and greater our faith grows. Three reasons then for seeking first the kingdom of God. You say, well, John, how do I do it? Well, I have three of these as well.

You'll be surprised to know. I believe in the Trinity. I believe in past, present and future, and I believe in threes, and there we have it. Three ways to seek first the kingdom of God.

This is very basic. First, humble prayer. That's one of our themes, isn't it? Pray without ceasing. Those who are seeking first the kingdom of God will be people of prayer.

We sang that. Look at Matthew 7, verse 7. Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you'll find.

Knock and it will be opened to you. Why are you not praying? James says you don't have because you don't ask. Here is a 17-year-old young man who's got himself in a bit of a mess, and he's so proud that he won't ask his father for help. His father can solve the problem in an instant, but that young man may struggle in his pride and try and get himself out of the predicament rather than humbly saying, Dad, I've messed up.

Can you help me? Isn't that true of us as believers? How slow we are to ask. What are you asking God for? Seek and you'll find. Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you'll find.

Knock and the door will be opened to you. Humble people pray. Are you praying? As you seek first the kingdom of God. Now as I was thinking about this, I thought of a great king in Judah.

His name is Jehoshaphat. Can you find in your Bible 2 Chronicles? That's the unused part of your Bible. Now, I love history, so I do love kings and chronicles. And we're going to dip into 2 Chronicles 17. You say, John, we're opening the Bible a lot today. I know we are. Isn't that wonderful? Can you hear the pages turning?

Some of you are looking at the index to get the page number. That's okay. Don't be embarrassed. We're not going to judge you well.

We really are, but we're not going to say we're going to judge you. If you've been following Christ for 10 years and you still can't find 2 Chronicles, you've got a problem because we've got five-year-olds here who can do that, as they're taught in children's ministry so well. 2 Chronicles 17. Here's a king.

He's a great king. His name is Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 17, verse 3, the Lord was with Jehoshaphat. When you want that said about you, that the Lord was with, put your name.

Why? Because he walked in the earlier ways of his father. He did not seek the Baals. That is, he did not seek idols. What did he seek? He sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments and not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore, the Lord established the kingdom in his hand, and all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord, and furthermore, he took the high places and Asherim out of Judah. What a wonderful man. Notice, he did what we should be doing. He didn't seek the false gods.

They were there in Israel and they're here now. No, he sought the Lord. And as he sought the Lord, as he put first the kingdom of God, God blessed him, he became very rich. We read in verse 5, that's true, I've known men and women who truly seek first the kingdom of God, and God blesses them tremendously, materially.

Jehoshaphat was like that. He put first the kingdom of God, and God blessed him. And I love verse 6, his heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. Don't be a spiritual wimp, please, please.

As you live your life, what do we need? See, if you're seeking first the kingdom of God, one of the things that happens is that you become strong, you become courageous as Jehoshaphat did in the ways of the Lord. Turn over to chapter 20, because on one occasion a great army which outnumbered Jehoshaphat came against them.

What did he do? What do you do when problems come? What do you do when the enemy attacks you? What do you do when Satan comes against you? 2 Chronicles 20 verse 3, then Jehoshaphat was afraid. But notice this, he set his face to seek the Lord, that's it, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to do what?

To seek help from the Lord. From all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. Verse 13, meanwhile, think of it, the great army is against Jehoshaphat, he's outnumbered, he's afraid, but then he seeks the Lord. People are seeking the Lord. Verse 13, meanwhile, all Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, their wives and their children. Here they are, not just the men, not just even the children, but the little children. It's a responsibility to those of us who are parents and grandparents that we live our life openly so our children and our grandchildren and our families know that we're seeking the Lord.

Don't be a secret disciple or a picture. And then verse 12, here he is, O God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. You've been there haven't you?

I've been there. Circumstances are tough and we just don't know what to do, but in a sense we do know. It's time to seek the Lord. It's time to get on our knees. It's time to admit our inadequacies and our powerlessness. It's time in great humility to cry out to the Lord.

Are you there? The enemy is against you. You seem helpless.

Don't panic, cry out to the Lord for help. You see, seeking first the Kingdom of God is a life of prayer. It's a life of humility.

It's a life of trusting God. Who made the mountains? Who made the trees?

Who made the rivers flow to the sea? Who hung in the moon in the starry sky? Someone bigger than you and I when I'm weary, filled with despair. Who gives me courage to go on from there and who gives me faith that will never die?

Someone bigger than you and I are wonderful. I'm reminding you that God is big, that God is awesome, that God loves you, that God is well able to take care of that situation that you're facing. Humble yourself, cry out to the Lord. Humble prayer is a way that we seek the Kingdom of God. Number two, obedience to the Word of God. Chapter 17 of 2 Chronicles, this great King Jehoshaphat, as he seeks the Lord, what does he do? Verse 7, in the third year of his reign he sent officials Ben-Hael, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nathanel, and Micaiah to teach in the cities of Judah. And with them the Levites and these honorable men are mentioned. Verse 9, and they taught in Judah having the book of the law of the Lord with them.

They went throughout all of the cities in Judah and taught among the people. Here is a man who is seeking the Lord. He's a man of prayer and he's a man of obedience to the Word of God. Those who are seeking the Kingdom of God will be people of this book. This book will be opened, will be read, will be meditated on, and will be obeyed. One of the things God does, as we seek first the Kingdom of God, we have a greater and greater desire for the Word of God. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness, Jesus says.

See, without reading and studying and obeying the Word of God, you will not seek first the Kingdom of God. You say, why is that? Well, as you live your life in this society, there's a lot of loud voices. Have you noticed that? You know, there's the loud, insistent, belligerent, pugnacious voices there are with social media and all of that. People telling you what to believe, people wanting you to fight this, people wanting you to wear a mask or not wear a mask, and all of this. And we hear these loud, loud, insistent voices. And if we're not careful, what you hear on CNN or Fox News or the internet or wherever you listen, that will become more powerful than the Word of God.

There's a lot of voices out there. Now, what do you need? You need, what I need, is to hear the Word of God. Thank you for coming this morning.

Thank you for going to one of the live groups. Thank you for encouraging your children to sign up for Awana, to be part of youth ministry, but also in our home. Do you have a quiet time? That's difficult for some of you in busy homes with large families, but to spend time in quietness, listening to God.

Turn off the social media. Stop listening to some of that stuff which is polluting your mind. And say, Lord, speak to me. Humble prayer, obedience to the Word of God. Third, the filling of the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit.

It's very interesting. When Jehoshaphat cries out to the Lord and he doesn't know what to do, notice what happens, chapter 20. So they're all gathered, they're seeking the Lord. Jehoshaphat, the great king, is a bit afraid when he sees the great army. We're powerless, we're outnumbered, we're going to be defeated.

Lord, we don't know what to do. Chapter 20, verse 14. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, and so on. And he said, verse 15, listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat, thus says the Lord to you. Here's the Word of God.

He's filled with the Spirit. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's. Verse 17, you will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf with Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.

There it is. Jehoshaphat, there's nothing to worry. In fact, you're not even needed to fight. God's going to deal with this. This is not your battle, it's the Lord's.

You're wrestling with the devil. You feel harassed. You feel discouraged.

You feel down. You hand it over to the Lord. If you're a believer in Jesus Christ, you're indwelt by the Spirit. But not all of us are filled with the Spirit. Paul says in Ephesians 5, 18, don't get drunk with wine. We're in the success, but be filled with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit. Surrender everything to the Lord.

I'm helpless. I need you, Lord. And this man comes, the Spirit of God comes upon him, and he tells everyone, including the King, don't be dismayed. Don't be frightened.

The battle is not yours by God. How wonderful. To be filled by the Spirit. One of the characteristics, or part, should I put it this way, part of the fruit of the Spirit is joy. Joy. I think sometimes we've missed that, don't we? Let me tell you, the Lord Jesus Christ didn't save you to live a miserable life and make everyone else's life miserable.

Right? The joy of the Lord. You say, John, but my circumstances are very difficult.

They may well be. But difficult circumstances doesn't mean that you don't have the joy of the Lord because the joy of the Lord is independent of your circumstances. When your focus is on Christ, he doesn't change.

He's the rock. He'll help you. He's steadfast. Yes, you can still sing his praises in the difficulties with the filling of the Spirit. When we're filled with the Spirit, there's an understanding that is well with our soul.

There's an understanding of the presence and the power of God with us. There's an understanding that God will give us all of the help, all of the wisdom, all of the guidance that we need because I'm surrendered to God. Oh, I want to control things. I want to do things my way.

I want to solve my own problems. God says, no. Stop.

Stop. See the salvation of the Lord. Put your focus once again on God. Seek first the Kingdom of God. This is my burden for you today, for our children, for our students, for our singles, young couples, all of us. Put the Lord Jesus first. Not you.

Not your dreams. And don't allow a political ideology to shape who you are. Seek first the Kingdom of God and break from the insidious, plastic, superficial pseudo-Christianity which is so prevalent around us. Do you believe that Jesus is Lord? Do you believe that He's the Savior? Do you profess to follow Him?

Well, why are you dabbling? Seek first the Kingdom of God. Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

And if you don't know Christ today, begin a personal relationship with Him by abandoning your sin and embracing the Savior who loves you and who died for you and who rose again. C.T. Studd, who died in 1931, was an English cricketer. Most of you don't know much about cricket. It's a kind of sophisticated version of baseball. Some of you say boo, but there are some people here who love cricket.

I played a little bit at school and say great sport. C.T. Studd was a very wealthy man, played cricket for Cambridge University and then played for England and was one of their best players. Later, he gave away everything and went as a missionary to China.

Very famous cricketer. Some of you know one of his famous quotes, only one life will soon be passed. Only what's done for Christ will last. Well said, C.T.

Studd. But here's another quote. We have it on the screen. Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil, don't you love this, will hold a thanksgiving service in hell when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle. In other words, make your life count. And as you understand the foe against us and you understand the great need for men and women and boys and girls to seek first the kingdom of God, you'll live for that.

And C.T. Studd is saying, when you finally die, the devil is saying, well I'm really glad that person is now gone from earth because he was a real nuisance for me. He is sounding the trumpet loud and long. Will you do that? Will you blow the trumpet for the Lord Jesus Christ, loud and long? Stop living a life of self-indulgence. Stop living a life of self-absorption. Listen afresh to Jesus who says to you and to me, do you hear Him? Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Father, help us to do that this morning. We feel so helpless and we're drawn to the things of this world often.

We're drawn to our own desires. Thank you for this reminder that we will be clear-cut in our testimony for Jesus Christ, that we'll live lives of holiness, of purity, being light and salt in this world. Help us to glorify you in all we do. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-18 06:35:33 / 2023-06-18 06:52:16 / 17

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