Seeking The Kingdom of God

Matt 6:19-34 (HCSB)
19 “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness! 24 “No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money. 25 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the sky: they don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Question: What is the promise that Jesus makes to us in the above passage?

Answer: The promise that Jesus makes to us in the above passage is that if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, God Himself will provide all the necessities of our lives.

The purpose of this study is not to delve into the hundreds of passages that talk about the kingdom of God and is not to try to determine all of the details and specifics about the kingdom of God, such as when the kingdom of God came, etc . The purpose of this study is simply to determine how a person can practically obey the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33:

“33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”

A general definition of the ‘kingdom of God’ will help us determine how to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. The word ‘kingdom’ in Greek means to reign or rule. So overall, wherever God is reigning or ruling, there you will find His kingdom.

1. God reigns over everything and everyone.
Some people recognize God’s reign over them and some people don’t but God still reigns over everything and everyone, including those who don’t recognize His rule over them.

Psalms 103:19 (HCSB)
19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.

Psalms 93:1-5 (HCSB)
1 The Lord reigns! He is robed in majesty; The Lord is robed, enveloped in strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be shaken. 2 Your throne has been established from the beginning; You are from eternity. 3 The floods have lifted up, Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their pounding waves. 4 Greater than the roar of many waters— the mighty breakers of the sea— the Lord on high is majestic. 5 Lord, Your testimonies are completely reliable; holiness is the beauty of Your house for all the days to come.

2. God reigns in a special way over those who acknowledge His reign.
Again, God reigns over everything and everyone, but those who acknowledge God’s reign have a special relationship with The King.

Psalms 47:1-4 (HCSB)
1 Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with a jubilant cry. 2 For the Lord Most High is awe-inspiring, a great King over all the earth. 3 He subdues peoples under us and nations under our feet. 4 He chooses for us our inheritance— the pride of Jacob, whom He loves. Selah

There are many other passages about ‘the kingdom of God’, which is sometimes phrased, ‘the kingdom of heaven’. To determine what a particular passage is referring to when it does mention, ‘the kingdom of God’, or ,’the kingdom of heaven’, one must look at each passage in context.. So lets look at the context of Matthew 6:33 in order to determine what Jesus meant by, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.’

The main theme that Jesus seems to be expressing in Matthew 6:19-34 seems to stem from verses 19-21:

19 “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Question: What do you think the main theme of Matthew 6:19-21 is?

Answer: The theme that Jesus seems to be expressing in Matthew 6:19-21 is that our hearts should be set on heaven and on the things in heaven, rather than on earth and on the things on earth. In other words, Jesus is saying that we should focus and live for what is eternal, rather than focusing and living for things that are earthly and temporary, and as we do that, God Himself will provide the things we need in our lives.

Question: So with the following ideas in mind…

1. God reigns over everything and everyone.
2. God reigns in a special way over those who acknowledge His reign.
3. The theme of Matthew 6:19-34 seems to be that we should focus and live for what is eternal, rather than focusing and living for things that are earthly and temporary, and as we do that, God Himself will provide the things we need in our lives.

…What do you think Jesus is saying in Matthew 6:33 when he says:

‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. ‘

Answer: After looking at the context of Matthew 6:19-34, it appears that when Jesus says ‘But seek first the kingdom of God’ in Matthew 6:33, that He is referring to heaven. So when Jesus says, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you’, it seems as though He is saying that everyone should first make sure one is right with God, or in that special relationship with The King, so that one will make it to heaven after one dies instead of first making sure one obtains treasures on earth, and as one does that, God Himself will provide the things one needs in one’s life.

I believe the following passage of scripture is equivalent in meaning to what I believe Jesus meant by, ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness’:

Matt 7:21 (HCSB)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Question: So what are some practical ways one can seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?

Answer: I used to teach (and some still do) that when Jesus says to ‘seek first the kingdom of God’ that he was referring to the church. So I would teach that the way one practically seeks first the kingdom of God was by putting church above everything else. I would then challenge whoever I was studying with to come out to every service and gathering our church would have. Now, however, I don’t believe Matthew 6:33 really has anything to do with putting church above everything else. Instead, I believe that the way that we practically seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness is by doing God’s will. Yes, part of doing the will of the Father in heaven is to encourage each other daily and to continue to meet together, etc. but that is just a part of God’s will, and therefore only a part of seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness, just as taking care of one’s household is also a part of doing the will of God, and taking care of the poor and needy, etc. etc. Review the other studies to review the specifics of doing the will of God.

Decision: I challenge you to decide whether you are going to live in a way that acknowledges God’s reign over you by seeking to do His will or if you are going to live in a way that does not acknowledge God’s reign over you by seeking your own will.

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