Back to Basics - Our Focus

Bible Book: Matthew  6 : 33
Subject: Priorities; Focus; Christian Living; Finances; Stewardship; Materialism
Series: Back to Basics
Introduction

The Christian's Priority of Priorities: Today, we are looking into a life of focus. We wish to consider the graciousness of God, certainly born out of His grace, and how a proper view leads to gratefulness in our life.

Mike Thomas, “It causes us to realize that every decision about what we do with the resources (God has given us) - time, talents (ability/gifts), and treasures that He has provided become a spiritual decision.”

Jesus gives us not only the privilege of knowing Him, but also the opportunity to serve others.

MAJOR CHALLENGE: Focus – a center of activity, attraction, or attention; a point of concentration; directed attention

1. TO BE SELF-FOCUSED

Means that we seek first our agenda and this becomes our priority as opposed to God’s plan for us.

2. TO BE GOD-FOCUSED

Means that we seek first His agenda and every part of our life is in the process of engaging His purpose for our life. These two focuses beg the question: Who is on the“throne” of your life? Self or Savior!

God’s Word brings unbelievable change in our lives as we obey its truth.

Psalms 37:4: “Delight yourself also in the Lord,

And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson, who wanted to be just like him, tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, ‘Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you, but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?’

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, ‘Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.’ The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The Grandfather laughed and said, ‘You will have to move a little faster next time,’ and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his Grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, ‘I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough,’ and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his Grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got very far. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his Grandfather the basket was again empty.

Out of breath, he said, ‘See Papa, it’s useless!’

‘So you think it is useless?’ The old man said, ‘Look at the basket.’ The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean.

‘Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out. That is the work of God in our lives – to change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His Son.’”

For this change to come and to be a reality we will have to trust God.

John 15:3: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

When God called an old man named Abram into the desert- He didn’t show him a map or a family tree. He told him to obey and follow. When He called Moses through a fiery plant, He didn’t lay out a plan of escape or attack, He told him to go and speak. When Jesus asked rough handed (and I’m sure rougher mouthed) fishermen to leave their poles and nets, He didn’t give them a prospectus on how to change the world- He just called them to follow.

You know why we have heard these stories? Simply put; these ordinary characters did what they were asked and as a result became a part of something extraordinary.

I can’t help but think that I have rarely experienced life-changing, mountain-moving, no-explanation-other-than-God kind of FAITH simply because when He has come a calling – I have pulled out a notepad and responded with a list of questions…Sometimes He answers because His patience is everlasting, but sometimes I wonder if He simply moves on to someone else…

Worth considering…”

I. SEEK THE RULE OF GOD 33a

“seek first the kingdom of God” – kingdom does not refer to a geographical territory but to a dominion or rule. God’s kingdom is God’s sovereign rule and, therefore, to seek first His kingdom is to seek first His rule, His will, and His authority.

A. IMPLIES SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP

Seeking God’s kingdom is loosing ourselves in obedience to the Lord to the extent that we can say with the Apostle Paul –

Acts 20:24

“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

To seek first God’s kingdom is to pour out our lives in the eternal kingdom work of our Heavenly Father.

FACT: The life, abilities, gifts (all resources) that God has entrusted to us are wasted on worldly pursuits that have no kingdom significance; if we are not seeking His rule in our life.

We need “God-centered life management”; a new way of decision making; moving from making decisions based on what will benefit me the most to what will honor God and benefit others the most.

B. IMPLIES SPIRITUAL LORDSHIP

1. SELF-DETHRONED

Self will put up quite a fight.

Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

2. SAVIOR-ENTHRONED

It is now a matter of trusting Christ for whatever comes your way. He is in charge: Master Charge

II. SUBMIT TO THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD 33b

“and His righteousness”

A. REVEALED WILL OF GOD

Instead of longing after the things of this world, we are to hunger and thirst for the things of the world to come which are characterized above all else by God’s perfect righteousness. It is more than longing for something out there in the future; it is also longing for something present and practical.

Randy Alcorn: Heaven - Earth

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

1. ACKNOWLEDGE HIM

“Lord, is this your decision?”

2. OBEDIENCE TO HIM

B. REQUIREMENTS TO BE IN GOD’S WILL

1. THAT WHICH IS REQUESTED IN HIS WORD, WHICH IS RIGHT.

2. THAT WHICH IS REQUESTED OF MY LIFE IN HIS WORD, WHICH IS BEST.

III. SUBJECT YOURSELF TO THE RICHES OF GOD 33c

“and all these things shall be added to you” - This passage is undoubtedly a call to faithfulness. This text begins with a series of rebukes; how not and how to:

6:1-4 How to Please God with Charitable Deeds

6:5-15 How to Pray

6:16-18 How to Fast

6:19-21 How to Have Treasures in Heaven

6:22-23 How to Be Full of Light

6:24 How to Serve God as Master

6:25-31 How to Live Without Worrying

All this reminds me of the promise that enjoins faithfulness – Luke 16:10-13: “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? ‘No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.’"

TRUE RICHES – Money can’t buy; death can’t steal.

What areas are to be subjected to God? ALL!

A. PHYSICALLY 25-31

Emphasis v.26 “more value”

What you eat, wear, or how long you live.

B. MENTALLY 27

v.27 Dr. Charles Mayo (Mayo Clinic) “Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, and the whole nervous system. I have never met a man or known a man to die of overwork, but I have known a lot who died of worry.”

C. SPIRITUALLY 32

We are often guilty of responding without a trust in God, even as an unbeliever.

A Christian’s contentment is found in God, and only in God, in His ownership, control, and provision of everything we possess and will ever need. In Matt. 6:19-33, we are looking at having a proper perspective of everything we need and who to look to in order to supply it. W.W. Wiersbe says of Matthew 6:19-24 that he sees these truths of the warning of materialism that will enslave the heart. We can become shackled by the material things of life, but we ought to be liberated and controlled by the Spirit of God. When we put our earthly gain above heavenly investments, then the result can only be a tragic loss. The treasures of earth may be used by God. But if we gather material things for ourselves, we will lose them; and we will lose our hearts with them. Instead of spiritual enrichment, we will experience impoverishment.

THE FACT OF MATTHEW 6:33 - If we put God’s rule and God’s righteousness first (priority of priorities) in our lives, He will take care of everything else. What a testimony to the world when a Christian desires to practice Matt. 6:33.

CONCLUSION

When I give the Lord my (His) time, talents, and treasures, they glorify Him and serve others. It takes money to buy food, clothes, shelter; plan for retirement; all mentioned in today’s study.

Money Matters: (M.T.) “Money is a tool to be used to carry out God’s plans for you and others. If not surrendered to God, money has the power to control our lives.”