Seeking The Kingdom First

Last night both campuses gathered to worship together in lieu of RL-Groups meeting, and we met at Restoration Rome to worship, recognize the people involved in foster/adoptive care…every person from bringing meals to transportation to respite to foster and adopting. Jeff, Mary Margaret and Lynne did a great job. Adam and the band were on point. We also talked about Matthew 6:33 and the entire passage in which Jesus talks about how we are to seek his kingdom and righteousness above everything else.

I’ll post the outline below (its not a full manuscript), but due to multiple reasons I did not want to take the extra time to unpack exactly “how” to seek the kingdom just that we must seek the kingdom and that is the key to supernatural provision. This is particularly important regarding our work in foster care and adoption. We don’t continue to grow Restoration Rome and our global work through Global Impact by seeking more foster care and global work. We seek the kingdom and Jesus will increase our influence in these areas. We didn’t get to where we are by seeking to be where we are. We got here because we came after Jesus and his righteousness first, and he supplied the opportunity he has given us. That’s miraculous, supernatural and a result of coming after him first.

So, what are some ways we can seek the kingdom and Jesus’ righteousness pecifically?

Value and operate out of the attitudes of the kingdom. Matthew 5:3-11

We have to value poverty of spirit…humility not arrogance.

We have to value mourning over sin and the curse and rejoicing in the cross and the healing of the nations. We can’t love sin and rebellion or stick up for it.

We have to value meekness.

We have to seek righteousness like we seek after food.

We have to be the most merciful people on the planet.

We have to seek after purity in heart not just the outside appearance.

We have to be peacemakers not peacekeepers. This looks like loving those others may say are your enemies.

We have to be ok with being persecuted for the above value shifts.

Our righteousness must come from a transformed heart not a mere physical adherence to a law. 

Jesus went to lengths to show folks in Matthew 5 that the religious elite who made righteousness simply about adherence to a law were sadly mistaken. The promise of the new covenant was that Jesus would give new hearts and new desires. The leaders of Jesus’ day thought that just doing the law was good enough. Jesus told them that it’s not simply refusing to murder, but that murder at the heart level is anger. It’s not just avoiding adultery, but killing lust.

Righteousness is deeper than the skin. Righteousness is a heart desire that has been changed and will work itself out in right and repentance when our skin gets the best of us.

Laying up treasure in heaven by investment in eternal things. 

2 Corinthians 9:10 (ESV) He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

Paul says here that God gives seed for sowing and bread for food. This passage is right in the middle of the address to the Corinthians about being cheerful givers regarding their offering for the saints in Jerusalem. The principle is that God gives all things to us but some are not to be consumed by us. Some of what God gives is “seed” and some is “bread”. We don’t eat seed. We eat bread. Therefore, we are to know what is for our consumption and what is to be reinvested in the kingdom.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-24 that where our treasure is our heart will be also, so we should lay up treasure in heaven because we can’t serve two masters.

My hunch is that most of us eat a lot of the “seed” God gives us along with the bread. Notice Paul said that the harvest we get from sowing the “seed” is righteousness. This is the error is prosperity theology. They say you get riches. The bible says you get righteousness. Maybe the reason we struggle with overcoming sin is that we are eating the “seed” we should be investing in the kingdom.

Jesus then turns around and tells us that if we seek the kingdom we’ll get the bread too.

If we simply did these three things we’d go a long way to seeking the kingdom.

Here are the outline notes from last night. May you be enriched with all the “seed” and “bread” you need as you seek the kingdom first.

Seek the Kingdom First

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV) 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

1. Our work is to be anxiety free.
Anxious means: take thought of, to be troubled by, consumed in thought of

2. Anxiety and blood, sweat and tears are not the same thing.
Anxiety gets too far out in front of God’s daily way.

B, S & T should be the normal application of gospel ambition in going after the rule of Christ over all things as Jesus makes his way.

(See Hudson Taylor, See Adoniram Judson, See George Muller)

Anxiety has its root is where our treasure lies.
How do we know this? Jesus says “therefore” at the beginning of verse 25.

3. We need to check on where our treasure is.
Our treasure is either in God or anything else but God. Usually for me its the things I want God to give me and if he doesn’t I go get them myself…

4. We need to begin learning to seek the kingdom (rule of Jesus and his righteousness) over everything else.
Tim Keller defined the kingdom as “…the renewal of the whole world through the entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under the rule of Christ’s authority they are restored to health, beauty and freedom.”

The promise of the kingdom is that God is supernaturally at work. Until we submit to the rule of Jesus in all things we may cut ourselves off from the supernatural.

If Hezekiah marched out an army, which may been prudent, rather than spread the warning letter before the Lord, he may have brought down more hardship than they were already experiencing.

By taking things to the Lord, which didn’t seem prudent at all, Hezekiah was enacting the most supernatural force on the planet and the Lord took out thousands and sent the rest home packing without Hezekiah so much as raising a sword.

Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

5. Seeking the Kingdom simply is not practical. There is no practical way to do this with worldly efficiency.
This is the conflict every one of us in this room faces.

6. We must become willing to accept the opportunity cost of seeking the kingdom first.

7. Seeking kingdom first will be costly.

8. Seeking kingdom first will guarantee the supernatural supply of all that is needed to seek the kingdom first!!
If we seek Jesus rule and righteousness first then he promises to give us the things we thought we needed to seek first.

9. The key to getting what you need to seek the kingdom is tied up in treasuring the kingdom above what you need.

10. The results of seeking the kingdom first may not be seen for 10 years.
It’s been 10 years since Jennifer and I entered the fray of this work with skin in the game and our church began to come around this work.

Today this is part of the culture of our church, Father has brought more skilled people to lead the charge, and all of us are seeing the fruit of our seeking the kingdom first.

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