From the book: Sermon on the Mount. Vol. 5

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Sermon on the Mount, #62
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THE KINGDOM OF GOD

SERMON #155

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. MAT 6:33-34.

There is a solemnity in this text that we will never see until we understand what brought about the fall of man. The text is teaching us to seek first the kingdom of heaven. We must understand that in the Garden of Eden, when the Lord created man in the image of God, it was to reflect His perfect image. The purpose of His creation was for man to reflect God's image of righteousness and true holiness. When God put Adam on probation, it was to see if Adam would truly submit to the authority of the Word of God. Adam had nothing to gain except that he should become as God. Satan's cunning device was to tell man that he should decide what is right and wrong; that is how Satan worked rebellion in the heart of man against the authority of God.

The Lord Jesus points out in our text that we should seek first the kingdom of God, i.e., seek first to be restored under the kingship of God and His righteousness. He is teaching us the first and second tables of the law of love. This is teaching the importance of loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and loving our neighbour as ourselves. The Lord Jesus has said, "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." MAT 22:40. All of the gospel and all of the law hang upon these two tables of the law.

The first table of the law teaches our need to seek the kingdom of God; to come under His kingship, to come into subjection to Him as King. It is to honor Him with all our heart, our soul, and our mind so His will becomes our will. "...to seek...his righteousness" points us to the second table of the law.

We must understand that in this life the Lord puts you and me on probation as He did with the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had to go through His passion first before He received His reward. You and I will have times when we will say that by all human reasoning, in these circumstances, we just cannot obey the Lord.

Notice the example of Abraham. When the Lord told Abraham to offer up his son, Abraham could have reasoned that he could not do that. Abraham could have reasoned thus: In Isaac is the Messiah, and if I put him on the altar, salvation will be gone. Do you see the price Abraham had to pay to obey? He had to believe that God was able to replace whatever was lost.

We may not say that we will lose this or that so we just cannot obey the Lord in this instance. The Lord puts us on trial, and He puts us in those very circumstances to see if we are willing to pay the price. We are on probation the same as the Lord put Adam on probation. In fact, He put His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on probation. Is it not logical that we are also on probation, and we will be tried? Our first and highest priority must be to do the will of God, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness."

The lesson Jesus is teaching is that our hearts are not to be set on the future in this world, but on the things of eternity. "Therefore...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Notice how we go back to V:30 and V:31 to see the connecting words, "Wherefore" and "Therefore."

Why should we seek the kingdom of God first? The Lord wants to see if our priorities are straight. Are we able to put everything on the altar regardless of what we might gain by disobeying? If we can, we are proving we are willing to obey, sacrificing everything, even if it is a matter of putting our "Isaac" on the altar. Are we willing to obey? If we are willing, it shows that our first priority is to seek the kingdom of God.

When we seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all the necessities of life will be added unto us. He is telling us not to be anxious about nor to unduly labor for material things. We are to put our priorities straight, seeking the kingdom of God first as our highest priority.

The word seek here is a different word than the word seek in the previous verse, "(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)." In the previous sermon I explained that the original Greek word was epizeteo meaning to crave with an intensified demand or to search after. It meant to seek with much eagerness, with sweat, or with much stress.

The word seek in "But seek ye first the kingdom of God," is a different word. The Greek word which was translated as seek in our text is zeteo which means "to seek, to desire to worship." It is a hungering, desiring, seeking; it is not laboring in a sweating way. It is a matter of a hungering, desiring, worshiping spirit; it is to seek with a desire to worship.

Jesus is not teaching against lawfully labouring for our food, shelter and clothing, but He is dealing with the attitude of the heart, i.e., anxiety! What is our motive? What is the conversation of our heart? It is wrong when our priorities get mixed up, and we seek these things first. The things of time and sense must not hold first place in our heart; we must first seek His kingdom and His righteousness. In other words, our desire will be to obey the Lord; we will want to enter His kingdom, whatever the price may be in temporal things. We do not put a price on obedience. That is what Adam and Eve did; they disobeyed because they thought they could gain by disobedience.

What comes into question is the authority of God's Word. The Lord will put you and me on trial throughout this life. Will the authority of God hold first place, ahead of any other privilege or any other thing we can gain by disobeying His Word? Where is our top priority? Now we are put on probation. He will bring circumstances into our lives to see if we can, like Abraham, put our "Isaac" on the altar to establish that the authority of His Word comes first in our lives.

The word first in our text comes from the Greek word proton which means "first in order or importance, first or chiefest of all, holding the highest place in all our affections." The Lord is saying the first place in the priority of our affections must be the will of God. There is much misunderstanding about what is meant by, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." Some people believe it means that one must pray for this, this, and this. That is not what the Lord is telling us here. When He is speaking of His kingdom, He is talking about our coming under His reign, setting our priorities straight so the authority of His Word occupies the first place in our lives. He is putting us on probation.

The word first is setting the place of where our treasure is, where our priorities are, and what holds first place in our lives. Jesus said in MAT 6:21, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Is our heart centered upon our bank deposit book which speaks of temporal savings, or is it centered upon the Great Book which speaks of eternal savings? The Lord is looking at our heart. PRO 23:26 says, "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." The Lord wants a heart religion. He wants to see that from our heart we are able to have the authority of His Word in first place regardless of the sacrifice, even to putting our "Isaac" on the altar.

The Lord wants our heart. Whatever takes first place in our life is our god; it becomes the place of our trust. Jesus is teaching the same single eye concept as He taught just prior to this verse in MAT 6:22. We cannot serve two masters; where our treasure is our heart will be, and now He comes to the conclusion of the matter with "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness."

God's purpose in our creation was to reflect His image, i.e., "to represent His character of righteousness and true holiness." When the Lord works grace in the heart it is a re-creation. The Spirit's work of re-creation is to re-create in us that reflection of the image of God. See EPH 4:23-24, "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

The new man is the re-creation and the renewing of the spirit of the mind. Notice that this is again speaking of what the Lord Jesus has said, "On these two commandments [righteousness and true holiness] hang all the law and the prophets." MAT 22:40. The gospel is all about restoring the image of God in man; as a new man, we will reflect that true image.

Our text says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." It is very important to notice our Saviour did not say, "Seek heaven first," i.e., to escape the consequences of your sin, but He said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness."

Many people think the kingdom of God is heaven. That is not what He means in our text; if Jesus meant heaven, he would have said heaven. To understand the gospel, we must understand what it means to enter His service under His Kingship; that must be our first priority.

The Greek word which was translated as kingdom in our text is basileia which means, "To rule--to reign, i.e., to walk under the rule or reign of a sovereign--a king." So, what does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God? It means to walk under His reign, to come under the service of the Lord. Our text really says we are to seek the authority of His Word as our first priority and observe it at all costs. We may not put a price on it. That is the trial the Lord brings us through.

When Abraham put Isaac on the altar, he did not put a price on obedience. He obeyed. What did the Lord say? "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me," GEN 22:11-12.

To fear God means to have a holy reverence for His will. That was Abraham's trial; that is what the Lord Jesus is speaking about here. Do you fear the Lord? How are you going to prove it. He will put us to a test where we will find we have a sacrifice to make in order to obey. That is putting our "Isaac" on the altar.

When Jesus' disciples were striving among themselves about who should be the greatest, as we see in MAT 18:3-4, Jesus told them their priorities were mixed up. He told them they needed to become converted and get their priorities straitened out or they could not enter into His service.

Our first and highest priority is to seek to come into the service of the King and walk under His sovereign reign. Our walk of life will reveal whose kingdom we serve. The Lord Jesus is telling us if we don't get our priorities straightened out, we cannot walk under His reign. Why? We cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve ourselves and serve Christ.

MAT 18:3-4 says, "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Until we give up all in total submission to His will, we cannot enter into His service. We cannot serve the Lord and serve mammon. We cannot serve the Lord and serve self. Jesus is telling us to seek first His kingdom, to let that be our highest priority and greatest desire. It is to do what is pleasing to the Lord, to do the will of God, and to come under His kingship.

The word ekzeteo in the Greek was translated as seek in HEB 11:6, but the meaning is much richer, and much more intensified than in our text. The word seek in our text comes from the Greek word zeteo which means "to seek, to desire to worship," but the word ekzeteo as used in HEB 11:6 is more intensified. "But without faith [the obedience of faith] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Even though this use of seek has a much richer and deeper meaning than that used in our text, it comes to the same conclusion. Here the word "seek" means, "To search out, to investigate, to crave after, to demand, to worship, to require, to seek after carefully or diligently." This richer meaning is more than just desiring something.

The Lord is saying that faith is composed of believing two things: One, that He is God, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Take a good look at this reward which Adam lost through disobedience, but which Jesus obtained for His church by His perfect obedience. It is so important that we understand what the Lord is teaching us in these verses. Remember what He did with Adam. He put the reward of eternal life in front of Adam, but He put him on probation. Would Adam pass his probation for the reward?

When the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, He was on probation. Through the obedience of faith He entered into death, and "...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God," HEB 12:2. In other words, He endured the probation period through the obedience of faith to obtain the reward. "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," PHI 2:8.

It was through this obedience of faith which was so well pleasing unto the Father that the Father was moved to grant His Son the reward as we see in the next verses! "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father," PHI 2:9-11. The Lord is telling us that if we do not walk in the obedience of faith, He will not give us the reward after the probation; it is impossible to please our heavenly Father without the obedience of faith.

Through this obedience of faith we "...search out, investigate, crave after, demand, worship, and/or require to seek after carefully or diligently," to enter the kingdom of God, i.e., "to walk under the rule or reign of Christ as your Sovereign and King." To "diligently seek" in such a way is to strive with all our might, our substance, and our heart and soul to find out and do the will of God, to seek to do that which is pleasing to God.

This seeking, i.e., hungering and thirsting after serving the Lord and His righteousness, is the fruit of being "...renewed in the spirit of your mind [it is the fruit of God's grace in the heart]...put[ting] on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," EPH 4 23-24. This hungering and thirsting is the fruit of being renewed.

By nature we are born under the power of sin, and have no desire after the knowledge of His ways. We see this in ROM 3:10-12, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Our text tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, yet the Scriptures say that by nature there are none who seek after God, i.e., until there is that renewing of the mind by putting on the new man of the heart.

The heart of the old man of sin, man by nature, is well described in the verses that follow: "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God [reverence for His will] before their eyes," ROM 3:13-18. The Lord is telling us that this is the old man of sin by nature; this is the consequence of the fall. There is no fear of God, i.e., there is no reverence for the will of God in the heart of man by nature.

In our text Jesus is talking about the work of regeneration, the new nature, which enables us to become a God-fearing people who will seek first the will of God. It becomes our hungering, craving desire to do that which is for the glory of God, to fulfill the purpose of our creation, and reflect the image of God in righteousness and true holiness. The will of our heavenly Father becomes the uppermost, first desire of our heart.

Jesus' admonition in our text is to search out our priorities. They can get so mixed up. What is it that holds first place in our hearts? Who is on the throne? Who do we serve? This is the all important question which shall separate the sheep from the goats in the last day. MAL 3:16-18 says, "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD [for them who reverenced His holy will, who sought to walk under the reign and rule of Christ as their Sovereign and King.], and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."

Why should we seek to enter the kingdom? Why should we seek to walk under the service of Him who is our King? It is because in the day of judgment He will sort out those who served Him, those whose desire was to seek the kingdom of God, and those who did not.

Certainly we cannot merit anything by serving the Lord, but our text teaches there is a reward in this life as well as an eternal reward for serving the Lord. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness [Now here is the reward]; and all these things shall be added unto you." What things? They are all the things the Gentiles seek and strive for with the sweat of their brow. The Lord is telling us not to worry about those things. Just walk under His banner, and He will provide them; we do not need to strive for material things. There is the reward in this life. Also, there is an eternal reward on the day of judgment when those who served Him are separated from those who did not serve Him. This is the reward for the obedience of faith spoken of in HEB 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

We must understand there is a difference between a reward and a merit. We are not able to merit anything, but the Lord is so pleased with righteousness, and one who has a heart tender for His will, that He gives a reward. It is an undeserved blessing, something to which we have no right or title. The Psalmist spoke of this reward in PSA 58:10-11, "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth." He has a reward for walking in the fear of the Lord.

Moses gave up all the treasures of Egypt through the obedience of faith to serve the Lord. Moses was in the house of Pharaoh as the son of Pharaoh's daughter which put him in line to possibly inherit the throne. He gave it all up to serve the Lord. Why? The reproach of Christ was far greater wealth than all the riches of Egypt because Moses had "...respect unto the recompence of the reward." He saw that the reward the Lord promised was greater by far than all the treasures of Egypt. He did it for the reward, and that is what you and I must understand; there is a reward! The Lord rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Let's examine this truth found in HEB 11:24-26, "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season [Now notice this]; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward."

We must understand here that we do not earn anything. The Lord wants us to become reconciled to His will, to fear Him, and to have a holy reverence for Him. He wants us to be able to give up, at any cost, everything in this life that comes against His Word. He wants us to put our "Isaac" on the altar. For what reason? The angels spoke from heaven to Abraham, "...for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me," GEN 22:12. He wants us to stand the test so we may gain the reward.

Our text not only admonishes us to "seek ye first the kingdom of God [but also], and his righteousness." This means to seek to serve the Lord's will not only under the first table of the law of love, but also under the second table of the law of love.

I have very carefully searched the Greek to confirm, unquestionably, that my words echo what Christ was saying. The word righteousness as used in our text, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," comes from the Greek word dikaiosune, which means, "equity of character or act," i.e., according to the second table of the law of love, preferring our neighbour before ourselves. ROM 13:9-10 says, "For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

So we are to seek first, ahead of ourselves, equity to our neighbour. We are to set our neighbour ahead of ourselves. That is seeking God's righteousness "first." It is seeking equity of character and act.

The Lord is wroth with sin. He is so wroth with sin that He put His own Son in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross to take away the penalty of sin rather than let one sin go unpunished. However, let us not get the wrong picture of God, He is glorified with righteousness. Why? It is the habitation of His throne! Therefore, He promises a great reward for those who walk in the obedience of faith serving Him under the second table of the law as well as under the first. The reward is for those who reverence His will, honoring God and reverencing Him through righteousness or in the way of equity of character and actions to our neighbour. Don't forget righteousness is also walking under the authority of God because He has commanded it.

See how the Lord is glorified with righteousness; the promise set forth in our text, "...and all these things shall be added unto you," is the great reward for those who walk in the obedience of faith. ISA 33:14-17 says, "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Now see V:15, "He that walketh righteously [with reverence for the second table of the law of love; he that is honest in character and act to his fellow man.], and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil." In every instance that refers to our right character towards our fellow man, walking in righteousness.

See the blessed reward in V:16-17, "He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off."

What does it mean that he "Shall see the king in his beauty"? It means that he is walking in the footsteps of the King; he is walking under the reign, the rule, and the sovereignty of the King. He will enjoy the presence of the King, and he will see the King in His beauty. Why? He is seeking first the kingdom of God. What a priceless reward for walking under His reign! This is so precious.

The reward was the object of Jesus' faith when He was obedient unto death, enduring the cross, despising the shame, and so became the Author and Finisher of our faith. In HEB 12:2 we read, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy [for the reward] that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Without faith it is impossible to please God. What is faith? It is to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder. Do we realize that our faith must look to the reward as our objective.

As set forth before, Jesus' reward of obedience was described so beautifully in PHI 2:8-11. He "...humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." The Father was so pleased with such humble obedience of faith that He "...also hath highly exalted him..." with all honour and authority.

This reward for Christ's obedience, i.e., His reverence for His Father's will, is set before us as an exhortation unto obedience, with the full realization of our need to look unto Jesus as the Author and Finisher of that faith. When Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed, "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done," LUK 22:42. He had a holy reverence for the will of the Father, and for this reverence He received His reward. PHI 2:8- 11 is an exhortation which realizes that we must look unto Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our faith. We are not able to do it within ourselves. We are exhorted to seek first His will to walk under His Kingship.

Now see the verse which follows the blessed declaration of Christ's exaltation as the reward for His obedience. PHI 2:12- 16, says, "Wherefore [see that connecting word], my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear [with a holy reverence for the will of God] and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. [He recognizes we are not able to do this in our own strength, but Christ looks at our heart. Is it our utmost desire to do these things?] Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."

All of this comes back to the central pivot point of entering the kingdom of God. It is what we must seek first; if we missed this central theme, we have missed everything. We will not have a second chance after this life. God's reward is unspeakable to those who diligently seek to do His will. Serving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Sovereign and King under the second table of the law of love is the fruit of seeking to serve Him under the first table of that law of love. When we truly desire to serve God with our heart, our soul, and our mind, the fruit of such desire is serving Him under the second table of the law.

The Lord is greatly pleased with a right attitude toward our neighbour as the fruit of entering the kingdom. Walking under the service of the King brings us to want to do what is right to our neighbour. We can see this in ISA 58:6-11; watch to see how pleased He is when we seek first His righteousness, i.e., we seek first equity of character towards our fellow man. "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. [The Lord is so pleased when we do these things; now, see the reward.] Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul [The Lord is so pleased when we seek first His righteousness! Then we see how richly He rewards for such service under the second table of the law.]; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."

The reward is unspeakable. We are to look to that reward if we are to walk by faith. We must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him diligently.

It is noteworthy how the Lord revealed His reward for those who reverence the second table of the law of love ahead of the first table. In ISA 58:13-14 we are told of the reward for serving Him by reverencing His will for His honor and His glory under the first table of the law. "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words [Now see the reward]: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." You see, there is a reward, and we must learn to understand that concept. If we understand the obedience of faith, we come into His service, and the reward is so much greater than any sacrifice we might make.

Faith is believing, not only that God is, but that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek to walk according to both tables of the law of love under the rule or reign of Christ as their Sovereign and King. We must understand that if He says we must seek first to enter the kingdom of God, He is saying we must seek first to serve the Lord. Put your priorities straight; whatever is His will, the authority of His Word stands above every other authority.

Do you know what is wrong in modern Christian society today? They gainsay the Word of God. If they don't like what the Lord says, they alter it. Women are in the pulpit because in the new movement, women want to be equal with men. This choice is not spoken of in God's Word. We put human reasoning ahead of the Word of God. Just the other day I saw a piece in the local paper where they were trying to decide whether or not to ordain women into the ministry. They decided not to do it because they could not find any place in Scripture which authorized it. They concluded the Scripture was silent in the matter.

The Scripture is not silent. 1TI 3:1-5 teaches that in order to be a bishop one must be the husband of one wife. What woman can be the husband of one wife? In order to be a pastor, i.e., a bishop or overseerer of the flock of God, he must have "... his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)" The Scriptures clearly speak of the office of a pastor, a bishop, or a deacon as the office of the male gender.

The Bible tells us in 1TI 2:12-14, "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." We also read in 1CO 14:33-35, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."

Any person who tries to pervert God's Word to say a woman can be ordained into the ministry is bartering the authority of God's Word for human reasoning. There is a movement for women to have equal rights, but the Lord has placed a clear distinction between men's and women's roles in the church. Are we willing to make the sacrifice to submit to the authority of the Word of God for the reward He offers?

The ministry of a women is clearly set forth in TIT 2:3-5 as a ministry of example. "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

Faith is believing, i.e., coming under the authority of the Word of God. I hear occasionally a pastor who cites this old father or this doctor or theologian as an authority. Do you know what they are doing? God's Word tells us in MAT 28:18-20 that all authority was given to Christ. Do we need to quote an authority other than Christ? Is there anyone with a higher authority than Christ? The Lord is jealous of this. We should not quote a human being from the pulpit. If we want to quote an authority, we must quote the Lord Jesus Christ for there is none higher. If what He says is not sufficient, how do we add to it by quoting another authority? "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power [all authority as it is in the Greek] is given unto me in heaven and in earth," MAT 28:18. People lose sight of this. When we submit ourselves to the kingship of Christ, then we understand the authority of that King, and we will not barter, under any circumstances or for any price, the authority of the Word of God.

Unbelief says, "Give me all the necessities of life and I'll believe;" Jesus says, "believe and I'll give you all the necessities of this life." Our text says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." We are not to be anxious about the necessities of life like the Gentiles. We do not need to add anxiety to our labors. We must "...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," and then we will have all the necessities of this life which He will provide.

Unbelief will not be able to submit to the fact that tomorrow we must go out and gather the manna God will provide. They want it right there in front of them, enough to last a lifetime. If they don't get it, they must get burrowed into the things of this life like the Gentiles and strive with might and main. There is a difference between that and faith. By faith we are able to give over everything into His hand, walking under the authority of the King, and trusting that He will provide.

That doesn't mean that we sit back and do not need to make a lawful effort to provide. We must lawfully labor, but it must not take first place. "Seek first..." in other words, our priorities must be straight.

We must see the perfect harmony these things have with the preceding verses because Jesus started the admonition of our text with the connecting word "Therefore." When we see "Therefore," we must see the connection with what He said before this statement. MAT 6:31-33 says, "Therefore...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." We must fix our hearts and minds on the preparatory language of preceding verses.

Let's look at MAT 5:20, "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." The scribes and Pharisees were self-centered; they had no thought or love for their fellow man. Righteousness is the second table of the law. Do you see the connection between this and our text "...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness"? In other words, it is that right character, the right attitude towards our fellow man that must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees or we will not enter the kingdom. That means you cannot enter into the service of the Lord otherwise.

You cannot serve two masters; you can't serve self and serve the Lord. Remember the connecting word "Therefore" in our text as we read MAT 6:24, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." We cannot have it that our heart is so buried in the things of this earth and serve the Lord. So He is admonishing us to get our priorities straight by seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. He is not saying that we should not seek our food, or do not labor for an honest living, but get those priorities straight. We can't serve two masters. It is impossible to serve self and serve God. You must serve your fellow man doing everything in your power to put your fellow man before yourself.

Our text says, "Therefore...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." If you understand the elements referred to in "Therefore," you will understand how one must seek first the kingdom of God by seeking to come under His reign and rule as a Sovereign and observe the authority with which He speaks. The rebellion of our heart must be broken so we can walk under His kingship, His righteousness, and the second table of the law. Why? Because "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets," MAT 22:40.

What is the gospel for? The gospel is to save His people from their sins. The purpose of the gospel is so we might be restored with the new man of the heart after righteousness and true holiness, that we might reflect the character of God as Christ is formed in us. Our text says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," MAT 6:33-34. As we walk in His footsteps, we begin again to reflect His image. It is not with perfection, but God looks upon our heart. He looks upon the thoughts and intents and desires of the heart to know if it is our desire to reflect that perfect image of God. Amen.


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