Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousnesses; and all these things shall be added unto you." An important study is the use of the word "first" in the New Testament. I think it would do us all some good to consider the priority of items mentioned by the word "first."
1. The Priority In Our Understanding Of What Is Real Unconditional Love:
Concerning the world and His love 1 John 4:19 tells us "We love Him, because He first loved us." John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that He have his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Concerning our relationship with God in Mark 12:30 Jesus said, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all the mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment."
2. The Priority In Having Our Lives Clean Inside As Well As Outside
Matthew 23:26 says, "Cleanse first that which is within the cup and the platter, that the outside of them may be clean also."
It seems the Lord wants us to understand that the thoughts of our heart will inevitably controls the words that comes forth from our mouth and the actions of our lives.
3. The Priority In Our Awareness Of The Times In Which We Live
The primary opposing doctrine is the anti-god philosophy which is mentioned in 2 Peter 4: 3-4. "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last day's scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."
4. The Priority In Our Sharing The Gospel
1 Corinthians 15: 1-5 "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:"
That same gospel that was "delivered" unto Paul first then others is the same gospel that you and I are commanded to take to a lost and dying world.
Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
5. Priority In Our Prayer Life And Thankfulness
1 Timothy 2:1 "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;"
In the day and age that we live in, most Christians spend less time with God in His Word, praying and simply thanking the Lord for His blessing than any generation before us.
6. Priority In Our Giving
2 Corinthians 8: 1-5 "Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."
I believe the context of this passage is talking about Grace Giving or as we used to call it, Faith Promise Missionary Giving. Our gifts are acceptable to God when offered by first giving ourselves to Christ that enables us to give by faith. In fact, all that we are and all that we have including our time, talents, and treasures all belong to the Lord.
7. Our Priority In All Of Life's Decisions
Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, commanded that our first priority in every decision of life should be to do that which honors the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." It must be Christ first in every nook and cranny or our lives.
Paul says in Philippians 4:20 "Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Let me close with this illustration from an unknown source.
Surprised to see an empty seat at the Super Bowl stadium, a diehard fan remarked about it to a woman sitting nearby. "It was my husband's," the woman explained, "But he died." "I'm very sorry," said the man. "Yet I'm really surprised that another relative, or friend, didn't jump at the chance to take the seat reserved for him." "Beats me," she said. "They all insisted on going to the funeral."
In closing, may the Lord have the priority in our lives and the ministries He has entrusted us with.
- Pastor David Carroll, Senior Pastor, Sharon Baptist Church
Sharon Baptist church is an independent, fundamental Baptist church located in Hampton, VA.
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