The Kingdom, part 2
Luke 4:40-43 [NLT], As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one. 41 Many were possessed by demons; and the demons came out at his command, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But because they knew he was the Messiah, he rebuked them and refused to let them speak. 42 Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them. 43 But he replied, "I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent [purpose]."
Colossians 1:13-14 [NLT], For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
John 10:9 [NKJV], "I am the door."
Jesus spent three and a half years not only demonstrating the kingdom, but also teaching us how we should live once we entered into it.
"Discipleship is all about learning to think, speak and act like the King."
Matthew 6:19-33 [NLT], "Don't store up treasure here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store up treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. ...24 No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. 25 That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your Heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflower that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."
Kingdom Living begins and ends with the principle of seeking first the kingdom of God.
The word seek implies "being absorbed in the search for, to be constantly seeking after [pursuing] that which is important."
The word first means; "first in rank and value, that which is before anything else."
Q: Why do we have a hard time keeping the most important thing the most important thing in our lives?
1. We are addicted to tomorrow
The distractions of today cause us to delay in what is most important.
Luke 9:57-62 [TPT], On their way, someone came up to Jesus and said, "I want to follow you wherever you go." 58 Jesus replied, "Yes, but remember this: even animals in the field have holes in the ground to sleep in and birds have their nests, but the Son of Man has no place here to lay down his head." 59 Jesus then turned to another and said, "Come be my disciple." He replied, "Someday I will, Lord, but allow me first to fulfill my duty as a good son and wait until my father passes away." 60 Jesus told him, "Don't wait for your father's burial. Let those who are already [spiritually] dead wait for death. But as for you, go and proclaim everywhere that God's kingdom has arrived." 61 Still another said to him, "Lord, I want to follow you too. But first let me go home and say good-bye to my entire family." 62 Jesus responded, "Why do you keep looking backward to your past and have second thoughts about following me? When you turn back you are useless to God's kingdom realm."
"Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least."
Q: What is causing you to be distracted and delayed today?
2. We don't let go
Matthew 19:16-22 [NASB], And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" 17 And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." 18 Then he said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You shall not commit murder; you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness, 19 honor your father and mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." 20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" 21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete [without lack], go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.
Q: What are you holding onto today that you need to let go of?
3. We are too independent
Have we sought His counsel...
Proverbs 16:3 [AMPC], "Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed."
Seeking first the kingdom is...
seeing life God's way [perspective]
giving God the highest place
hungering after God
wholly following God
is communing with God first
following and honoring Jesus in all things
removing all clutter
being ambitious for God's purposes
giving God the priority due to Him
seeking His rule, His will, His authority
submitting completely to the Holy Spirit
Revelation 2:1-5 [TPT], Write the following to the messenger of the congregation in Ephesus. ...2 I know all that you've done for me - you have worked hard and persevered. I know that you don't tolerate evil. You have tested those who claimed to be apostles and proved they are not, for they were imposters. 3 I also know how you have bravely endured trials and persecutions because of my name, yet you have not become discouraged. 4 But I have this against you; you have abandoned the passionate love you had for me at the beginning. 5 Think about how far you have fallen! Repent and do the works of love you did at first.
Matthew 22:37-38 [NKJV], Jesus said..."You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.