God First

Good morning everyone,

Every week we come here to remember the commitment we made when we were baptized. We try to re-dedicate ourselves to walking the walk in Christ Jesus. This morning’s exhortation will be about our walk, and possibly how to make it easier.

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Jesus gives us a clue to happiness in our life in the Truth. In fact it is the main thing. God must come first in all things. I have had it proposed to me that the following is the order in which God comes first:

  • In your family
  • In your ecclesia
  • In the world

Let’s take a look at each of these aspects:

  1. God first in your family. This applies if you are single or married, have children or don’t have children. God must be the focus in your family life. Read God’s word, pray, teach your children God’s ways. And live like you believe Him (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

  2. God first in the ecclesia. By regular attendance at the ecclesial meetings we become associated with those who “a faith just as precious as ours” (2 Peter 1:1). Our association with each other will help us to “spur one another on to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). If we abandon “our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing”, we “deliberately keep on sinning” and have “contempt for the Son of God” who died for us (Hebrews 10:25, 26, 29).

  3. God first in the world. We need to live our lives in the world uprightly. People need to see we are different. For many of them, you will be the only Bible they will ever read. Some of us have lived like them in the past. Our change should be so great that, “they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness” (1 Peter 4:3). We must also “always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess” (1 Peter 3:15). The apostle Paul also tells us “preach the message, be ready whether it is convenient or not” (2 Timothy 4:2).

There are many things we can do in this life. The 21st Century is very exciting. Yet, if we focus on these things, the “worldly cares” as Jesus calls them, the world will take the truth from us and choke out the word of God in our lives (Mark 4:19).

To help us in our walk, Jesus gave us the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7, which I recommend you read when you get home today) and also instructed his apostles, after he ascended to heaven to give us things to fill our lives with. Let’s look at a few of these things.

Galatians 5: 22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Most of us are really good with at least one of these, if not more. But Jesus wants us to be good at all of them. Look how we are instructed by the apostle Peter.

2 Peter 1:1-8 – “From Simeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and (our) Savior Jesus Christ, have been granted a faith just as precious as ours. May grace and peace be lavished on you as you grow in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!

“I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. Through these things he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love.

“For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately.”

See that? It’s a process throughout our lives. We don’t get there all at once; we develop these characteristics over time by applying God’s word to our lives. We are again told by the apostle Paul what things are necessary.

Philippians 4:4-9 – “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Reflecting on God’s word and the sacrifice Jesus made for us isn’t just a Sunday morning thing; it’s an everyday thing. We need to think about these things, apply these things and share these things. Or as the Psalmist puts it, “How happy is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of arrogant fools! Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the LORD's commands; he intently studies his commands day and night. He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts.” (Psalm 1:1-3 NET)

Jesus lived like this, and he is our ultimate example. He told us to follow him, and so we should.

Let us go from here endeavoring to fill our lives with God’s word and let us pray for strength to develop those characteristics we are lacking in so that we may put

  • God first in our families
  • God first in our ecclesias
  • God first in the world

Written by Matthew Smith