The First Priority of the Kingdom (Matthew 6:19-34)


Sermon by Daniel L. Sonnenberg | July 20, 2014

Audio not available. Kingdom of God, Part 2.


Text:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.  23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  25 ¶ “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?  26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  27 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span?  28 “And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,  29 yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.  30 “But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?  31 “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’  32 “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.  34 “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:19-34)

Notes:

  • What would you say if God told you in no uncertain terms you were to quit your current job or come out of retirement and go onto the mission field full-time to work with a group of unfamiliar people?
  • That was essentially the situation in which Jesus’ disciples found themselves.
  • Like you, no doubt, they wondered, so where’s the money for food and clothing going to come from?
  • And what about my house, my family, my business, my friends?
  • Throughout their training during Jesus’ earthly ministry, they asked the questions in various times and ways.
  • In this section of the sermon on the mount, Jesus describes the radically different views of life held by believers and unbelievers.
  • And he urges his disciples to adopt a view that places the values of God’s kingdom and righteousness in the position of first priority, trusting in a loving God to provide everything they will need in order to do so.

Since our loving heavenly Father knows and cares for his disciples’ basic human needs, we can live single-mindedly under his direction and control trusting in him to provide as we carry out his mission.

  • Jesus says that living as a member of God’s kingdom involves both a total commitment to the King and total confidence in the King.
  • And that our commitment to the king is dependent on our confidence in the king.
  • ILLUST: Make a list of things you need to do today in no particular order. Now go back through the list and number them in order of priority, asking “If I only got one thing done, which one would make the biggest difference? Which is the most important.”

Committed to the King: living single-mindedly

First, Jesus urges us to single-minded commitment to the King.

  • What has first place in your heart?
  • The material things of this world, or the heavenly things of God’s kingdom?
  • That’s the question Jesus asks first in vv. 19-24. But it takes the form of a statement.

21 … where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

If you spend your life gathering earthly treasure, it can be stolen or decay.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

But if you spend your life gathering heavenly treasure, it will not. It is eternal, imperishable.

20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

He illustrates this with an analogy from the human body.

  • The human eye is considered the center of human understanding – we perceive the world around us largely by the eye.

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear,(single) your whole body will be full of light.

23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

  • A good eye is single or single-minded, undistracted, by worldly treasure
  • By contrast a bad eye is double-minded, distracted by worldly treasure. A double minded man is not fit for the Kingdom.

This is summed up by the analogy of slavery.

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

  • IOW, disciples in God’s kingdom are to live in single-minded commitment to the King.
  • The materialism of the world can distract us from kingdom priorities.
  • It’s wrong to live as the Gentiles because it leads to slavery to materialism.
  • The solution is single-minded commitment to heavenly priorities

Confident in the King: living worry-free

  • Second, Jesus assures us that we can live as God’s slaves because we are also God’s children.
  • And God takes care of his children.
  • We can be confident in the King, living worry-free.
  • In verse 25 and following Jesus assures us that God knows and cares about our needs and will provide for our needs as we carry out his mission.
  • For example, God feeds the birds of the air
  • God clothes the lilies of the field
  • And because we are worth much more than they are, we can rest assured that God will provide for us.
  • Therefore, we need not be anxious about these things because God knows that we need them.
  • So we can put first things first – his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to us.

Application

  • Now this does not mean we don’t have to go to work, go to the grocery store, pay our bills and so on.
  • It just means that as long as we put living for God’s kingdom in first place on our “To Do” list for the day, we need not worry about the other things on our list.
  • We still have to do the other things on our list, but we don’t have to spend time and energy worrying about them.
  • As Jesus said, therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)


Categories: 2014, Matthew, Sermons, The Kingdom of God

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