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God's Priorities are Enough

Practicing Gratitude and Contentment  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Content of the Sermon on the Mount
The Christian life is the center focus of Jesus sermon on the mount. The citizens of the kingdom of God are called to put God first in their motives, and their actions, in their business and their language, in their though life and their priorities. All life comes under his royal control. There are seven main sections to Jesus sermon and today we are going to look at section number five where Jesus examines our mis-placed worldly priorities in life. Instead, he demands unswerving loyalty to kingdom values and uncompromised trust.
Randy Alcorn reckons that “15 percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic—more than his teachings on heaven and hell combined” (The Treasure Principle, Multnomah, 2001, p. 8).
“One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Mark 10:21).
“Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven … Woe to you rich, for you have received your consolation” (Luke 6:20).
“Whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:25).
“A person’s life does not consist in the possessions that he has” (Luke 12:15).
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
“Sell your possessions and give alms; provide yourselves with purses in heaven” (Luke 12:33).
“Zacchaeus … said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor.…’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:8–9)
.“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44).
Jesus “saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them” (Luke 21:1).
“But God said to [the man who built even bigger barns], ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20–21).
“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head … Follow me” (Luke 9:58).
3 Imperatives or Commands
“Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven. - specifically what seeking the kingdom of God looks like.
“Do not be Anxious.” (found 3 times in the text) - this is the condition of the heart which we break free of earthly treasures and passions and give ourselves with passion to heaven-treasure.
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” - This is a large overarching command to be passionate about experiencing the saving, purifying, empowering, love-producing, reign of God in your life over the world.

Big Idea: “When you embrace the Dust you learn to Trust.”

When we remember that God made us from the dust of the earth and breathed life into the nostrils of man it reminds us of the only one we should trust with our lives and our future. Like Job said, “Naked I have come from my mothers womb and naked I will return to the dust.”

1. Unswerving loyalty of Kingdom priorities

v. 19-24

*The do not store up treasures Principle

(3 metaphors used)
Treasure -

*The Treasure in Heaven comes through obedience

Kingdom treasures come when we put obedience to God in all areas of our life; kingdom treasures are the reward of the disciple who puts God first.
Matthew 5:12 ESV
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Note: your treasure is that thing that you prize the most.
Ask Yourself:

“What do you desire, seek, aim for, pursue, and hope for?”

The answer to this question will show the true state of your heart and treasure on earth or heaven. If you desire, seek, aim for, pursue, and hope for the things that this world has to offer then your treasure is here on this earth. However, if you desire, seek, aim for, pursue to please God in all you do, then your treasure is most likely stored up in heaven. You cannot choose both, you either love and pursue God first and best, or you love and pursue this world.

*The Treasure on Earth comes through compromise

Treasures on earth are given up to moths, rust and decay. It is not so much the disciples wealth that Jesus is concerned with, most of them have already given up all earthly possessions to follow him. Jesus is more concerned with an unswerving loyalty to Him alone. The danger of amassing possessions is that the treasure will demand the disciple’s loyalty, that material affluence will breed materialism. This leads to a life of compromise, where Jesus is not the focus of your life. Jesus is not longer the waking and sleeping priority of your life.

*The Healthy light brings illumination

When the eye is functioning properly the light it perceives means illuminating benefits to the whole body. Remember that Satan is called an angel of light. There is only one true light of the world and that is the only light that can give us proper sight. The problem comes when many of us are looking to other illuminations that are not from God.
Cultural Problem: Many of us are looking to the wrong light to illuminate us. The angel of light that conceals the truth and blinds the spiritual eyes of this generation.
2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV
14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
What does it mean that Satan masquerades as an Angel of light?
Darkness and light are metaphors for evil and good. Therefore, Satan capitalizes on our love of the light in order to deceive. He wants us to think that he is good, truthful, loving, and powerful - all the things that God is. To appear as a dark devil like figure with horns would not be very appealing. Satan appears as a being of light to draw us to himself cloaked in lies and deception.
How can we discern which is light of God and which is light of Satan? Our minds and hearts are easily deceived. Psalm 119 tells us that you word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path verse 105 tells us that your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
There is is incredible power in Jesus words. Just as God’s words spoke physical light into existence. Constant exposure to His voice in His word - will help us recognize the difference between the good light of God and that which is counterfeit.
The light that is in you is greater than the Angel of light that is in the world.
1 John 4:4 ESV
4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
You are the light of the world a city set on a hill.
Matthew 5:13–16 ESV
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Kingdom people are meant to be a beacon to the world. God did not save you to remain hidden in this world. Jesus is the light that illuminates our lives. As long as we live on this earth we are meant to have influence on the people around us. Paul taught in Ephesians 5:8 that you were once children of darkness destined for the wrath of God, but now you are children of the light.
The Christian life is meant to have a visible impact in the world where we live. When we chase after the riches of this world and store up things in the closet of our lives that are destined for destruction we miss the greatest joy the world has ever known.
CULTURAL CONNECTION: We live in a Christian culture today that has attempted to separate our spiritual life from our public and private life. We are prone to leave our spiritual self at the door of the Church when we leave on Sunday. The problem with this way of living is that it is impossible to be a Sunday Christian. Those who are truly his have the indwelling of the spirit of God. This spirit compels us to do no other than to testify to the gospel of Christ. If you do not have a compelling spirit within you to do this then the scripture would say that you are lost, still walking in darkness.

*The Service of God must be wholehearted

Your service of God must be a wholehearted service. It is impossible to give your first allegiance to God and the things of this world. No one can belong completely to two masters. To be a slave meant to belong completely to another, but in this case the slave belonged to neither.
James 1:8 ESV
8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 4:8 ESV
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
A double minded person is unstable in his way of thinking, wavering in both his character and feelings. A double minded person is wrestles and confused in his thoughts, his actions, and his behavior. Such a person continually lives in conflict with themselves. One that is caught in such an inner turmoil can never truly live with confidence on God and His promises.
Those who are double minded do not have the faith that the writer of Hebrews writes about in chapter 11 of Hebrews. We cannot be both certain and doubting.
Note: It brings to mind the “pushmi-pullyu” of the Dr. Doolittle stories, an animal with a head at either end of its body who was constantly trying to walk in two directions at once. Such a doubleminded person does the same thing.
God and the things of this world are on polar opposite ends if someone is in this state they should memorize and take to heart Romans 10:17
Romans 10:17 ESV
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

2. Uncompromising trust of Kingdom priorities

“Therefore I tell you” connects these two sections together.

*The Do not be anxious principle.

The word used for trust in scripture is faith.
Faith is the knowledge of, trust in, and commitment to Jesus Christ that is required for salvation.
Trust in God
“Belief or Trust in God to do something”
Note: It all comes down to “who do you trust.” Why do Christians continue to struggle with a lack of trust in God to do something?
Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry (9 Who Do You Trust?)
Although most (or maybe all) of us don’t remember the experience of weaning from our mothers or moving from bottle feedings to mushy food served from tiny spoons, most moms will tell you the process is laced with at least some level of anxiety for everyone involved. It’s a time of transition an infant can’t possibly understand, even if her rapidly changing brain and digestive system are telling her she wants to eat what the grown-ups eat. It’s a time for essential maturation, an opportunity to learn self-feeding and self-soothing skills she will need for the rest of her life.
At the same time, her days of dependency aren’t over; she still must rely on trusted adults to provide what she needs. And if she has been treated with love and kindness, those days of absolute dependency will be a foundation for the kind of trust so critical for a healthy childhood. That trust is one of the reasons a young child can calm and soothe herself in healthy ways—she knows someone else is still concerned “with matters too great or too awesome for [her] to grasp.”For mothers, this can be a time of anxiety (and perhaps relief) as well. Along with delight, the experience of seeing her child grow in independence and capability can produce grief and fear. No mom knows what lies ahead for her child.
And every mom can be certain she will fail her child’s trust on at least a few occasions.In this way God is not like us. He knows all that is next, and his parenting skills are perfect. His vision and plans are grander than our own—even if they don’t always satisfy our longing for comfort and ease in this life. If we can’t trust the powerful, wise, generous and loving God of the universe, who can we trust? It certainly doesn’t make sense to place our faith in fragile people like ourselves.
Note: Jesus is speaking of our daily needs such as putting food on the table, providing clothing for our family. The necessities of daily life that many times catch us by surprise. Next Jesus points our attention towards His creation, how he cares for such things how much more value does he place on humanity. The point here is not to worry about the physical necessities, let alone the luxuries implied in the preceding verses, because such worry suggests that our entire existence focuses on and is limited to such things.
We Exist to do things that are Impossible without God’s Power Living in Us
We don’t exist to preach, but to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit
We don’t exist to teach, but to teach in the power of the Holy Spirit
We don’t exist to sin, but to sing in the power of the Holy Spirit
We don’t exist to do evangelism and missions, but to do evangelism and missions in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We don’t exist to be parents, but to be parents by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We don’t exist to be a husband or wife, but to be a husband and wife by the power of the Holy Spirit
Therefore, everything we seek to accomplish it’s impossible without the supernatural indwelling spirit of God.
So, why do so many people struggle with Anxiety and lack the trust.
What is the difference between legitimate fear and anxiety and what is sinful fear and anxiety.

*God has promised to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Philippians 4:6–7 ESV
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Note: When does peace and comfort come into our lives, when we take it to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving.
When is fear and anxiety the Strongest
Matthew 8:23-26 Remember Jesus in the boat with his disciples when the storm was upon them they ran to Jesus in fear for their lives. Jesus questioned their faith or trust in Him. When do we settle into fear and anxiety the most, when we are in the middle of the storm.

*When we choose to let our mind focus on fear and anxiety we are sinning.

What do you choose to let you mind focus on?
“do not be anxious.” (this is a command to be obeyed, not a request)
Ecclesiastes 7:14 ESV
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
NOTE: Whatever you choose to set your mind on in those times of anxiety is what is going to guide you in those moments. The battle field for Satan is the mind.
In The Face Of Fear
Our brains have chemical reactions to fear. The amygdala is a part of the brain that activates when we sense a threat stimulus and prompts the body to have a physical response, like the “release of stress hormones and sympathetic nervous system.” The hippocampus is closely related to the amygdala and helps our brains interpret the threat. For example, seeing a lion is likely to provoke a fear response in the brain, but that response is tempered by the existence of a thick glass wall in a zoo (Arash Javanbakht and Linda Saab, “What Happens in the Brain When We Feel Fear,” Smithsonian, October 27, 2017). That tempering is what our faith in God is supposed to do, operate as an instinctive grid through which we view fearful events or circumstances, reining in our responses with the knowledge that he is in control

3. Unceasing pursuit of Kingdom priorities

*The Seek First Principle

The Bucket Principle
When it comes to classroom management of children, a common tactic is to teach the “bucket principle.” This bucket principle instructs kids that everyone has an imaginary bucket above their head, and when we do good things for them, we can help fill their bucket. This might sound silly, but imagine that there is an imaginary bucket above your head and that the fullness of that bucket represents your satisfaction right now in this life. How full is it? Is it overflowing? Is it empty? Do you feel like there’s a hole in the bottom, and no matter how much you pour into it, it never gets close to being full? The psalmist declares in Psalm 23:5–6, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” In the presence of our enemies—when things seem as though they are at their worst— our cup will overflow. But it’ll only overflow if the right thing is being put into it. Being a Christian in the twenty-first century means we are seeking God and his kingdom first. When we do so, we will experience joy and gladness
NOTE: To seek first the kingdom of God is to desire above all to enter into, submit to, and participate in spreading the news of the reign of God, and His messianic kingdom already inaugurated by Jesus, and to live as to store up treasures in heaven in the prospect of the kingdoms consummation.

*What are you pursuing with your whole heart?

NOTE: Seeking God first and best is all a matter of the heart. Remember last week we talked about heart idols we build up that keep us from seeing God and his plan in our lives. God does withhold his greater blessings when we are living in a disobedient way.
Jerry Bridges
“To set the Lord before me is to recognize His presence and constant help. But this is something we must choose to do. God is always with us, He has said, never will I leave you, and never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 There is no question of His presence with us but we must recognize His presence. We must set Him always before us. We must choose whether or not we will believe His promises, constant protection and prayer. We must know, that God is sovereign, loving, and wise. But having been exposed to the knowledge of the truth we must then choose whether to believe the truth about God which He has revealed to us or whether to follow our feelings. If we are to trust God, we much choose to believe His truth. We must say I will trust you though I do not feel like doing so.”
Note: We are all prone to fall pray to our feelings and attitudes. We can trust the God of the universe with our eternal future but we cannot trust him with the next 5 minutes in our lives. What is wrong with this picture?

*If you are seeking God and His kingdom first He will take care of you.

We are to seek God’s priorities over the things of the world.
We are to seek the Salvation that is at the center of God’s Kingdom.
Christians should have a different attitude towards our daily lives. (work, school, hobbies)
If we are taking care of God’s priority seeking His salvation, living in obedience, sharing the good news of the kingdom, then He will take care of our business as He promised - and if that is the arrangement why are we worrying.
God has promised to supply for His own.
Note: We are to seek the kingdom of God not in time but in importance; the kingdom is not one among many competing things in our lives but that which is first.
Philippians 4:19 ESV
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Note: We are to differ from non-Christians not only in our devotions, but also in our ambitions. In particular God changes our attitudes towards material wealth and possessions. We do not have any pictures in the New Testament of Believers who were not generous and did not see everything that they had as belonging to God.
Notice that the last people he mentions are the Gentiles. Those who are not a part of the family of God should be anxious and ask questions like these. They try to supply answers in their own power. But worry should not characterize God’s children.
The Human Heart is a perpetual idol factory
Culture is currently engaged in an idolatry act of self-worship, from selfie to the golden calf of ethnicity. We must have a transformation of how we see ourselves and the world around us.
True transformation see’s other more significant than ourselves, we seek to honor God’s priorities first and best in our lives. We must tear down the idols in our life that we continue to build up in the form of self-worship. It continues to become all about us. We wallow in our selfish acts of pride.
Matthew 6:34 ESV
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Note: Jesus is making a point almost like a question, why are you so anxious about what is going to happen tomorrow, tomorrow will have enough anxieties. Jesus is saying let me deal with tomorrow, you are called to trust me right now, today. You have a heavenly father who knows all things. Since God knows them all, there is not the slightest reason for anxiety. Believers must expect their needs to be met, but not necessarily their desires.
Prayerlessness is Unbelief
Prayer is essential for the Christian, as much for what it says about us as for what is say’s what we believe about God. The simple act of getting on our knees for 5 minutes or 50 minutes every day is the surest sign of our humility and utter dependence on God. There are many reasons for prayerlessness in peoples lives - time management, busyness, lack of concentration - but most fundamentally, we ask not because we think we need not, or we think God can give not.
Deep down we all feel secure when we have money in the bank, a healthy report from our doctor, and powerful people on our side. We do not trust in God alone. We tend to think that we need to help God out. So, we justify our lack of trust when we justify our fear and anxiety.
When we struggle with prayer we focus on the wrong things. WE focus on praying better instead of focusing on knowing better the one to whom we pray. We focus on our need for discipline rather than our need for God.
You do not need to have everything in order before you come to God.
You need to know that you are disordered so you will pray.
you don’t need your life to be fixed up.
You need a broken heart.
You need to think of yourself: “Tomorrow is another day that I need God.”
I need to know Him.
I need forgiveness.
I need Help.
I need protection.
I need deliverance.
I need patience.
I need courage.
Therefore, I need prayer.
If you know that you are needy and believe that God helps the needy, you will pray.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, present your request to God.”
R.C. Sproul
“There is a difference in believing in God and Believing God.”
Note: When we look back at James 1:5-8 tells us that we are to go to God in faith without doubting, if we fail to do this why should we expect anything from God.
Nothing I have told you today will do you any good apart from believing God’s word to be true in your life. If we were to get completely honest this is the bigger issue. People fail to take God at His word. If your mind and heart are not their then you may need to pray Mark 9:24 “Lord Help my Unbelief.”
Whatever struggles we have here on earth do not compare to the magnitude of our sin.
“Just Thinking Podcast”
Darrell Harrison.
“Our Problem is not the fear of man, it is the Love of Self.”
(if we could ever truly live crucified lives for Christ and get rid of the love of self we would truly learn what it means to live in freedom from fear and anxieties that this world puts on us)
*Our culture worships at the alter of Feelings.”
We want God to take us from point A to point B, but, have you noticed that God never works that way. He took the nation of Israel on 40 something stops on the way. What we want is for Jesus to be like Amazon Prime, we punch a button and the package arrives at our door. The problem is that we do not believe that God is sufficient to meet all of our needs according to His riches and glory.
Isaiah 26:3 ESV
3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
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