What God Puts First
Mt. 6:33I. God’s Kingdom Before Self’s Concerns.
A. Time- 1st Day of each week; Acts 20:7- Upon the first day the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them. When Paul gave instructions about the collection he was coming to receive he told them this in 1 Cor. 16:2- Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him. The Principle here is this: God Deserves and Desires the First of our Time- Not our Spare Time or our Down Time. To make this principle work in our lives we must make certain choices: will we take that overtime, will we take that 2nd job; will we move to that city for that job? We will have to sort out our extra-curricular activities and learn to say “NO.” Every one alive has exactly same amount of Time: 7 days of 24 hours each week; 168 hours a week; 720 - 744 hours a month. How we use our time is an indicator of what we are putting first in our lives.
B. Money. Throughout the Old Testament, God claimed the “first fruits.” Ex. 23:19- the first of the first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. Num. 15- first sheaves of harvest; first dough made from grain. Deut. 18- first of corn, wine, oil, wool. Proverbs 3:9- Honor the Lord with the first fruits of all thine increase. Thank God for all those who are serious about giving to the Lord financially! However, If you are shorting God, Shame on You. God puts giving to Him and his kingdom First; Do You? So Again, we face Choices and the fact is that we all have money for what we want. What about that new outfit; new bow or gun; new car or truck; not so many toys for Christmas? Are you putting God’s Kingdom First before Self’s concerns?
II. Inward Holiness Before Outward.
Mat. 23:25,26 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
There are many categories of believers: Some believe in No Holiness at all; either inward or outward; Some say they believe it for the “inward” but not the outward; and some evidently believe in the outward but not the inward. What a confusing mess! Would you be surprised to find that God’s Way makes its all clear. God says, First the Inward, Then the Outward. Salvation is the cleansing of man’s spirit by the Spirit of God through the Blood of Jesus Christ. A person is Born Again; Saved! God Starts his Work on the Inside; Then he continues His work from the spirit of man, thru the soul of man and out to the body. Our spirit must be regenerated by the power of the Holy Ghost; Our will must be surrendered completely to God, His Word, His Way, His Will; Our Mind must be Renewed and then Kept Pure by guarding the eye gates and ear gates; Our Emotions, feelings, disposition, and attitudes must be governed by the Holy Spirit; Then God will work on the outward life of man so that our Actions, Associations, and Appearance are Holy. Inward Holiness? Yes! And First! Outward Holiness? Yes! After Inward Holiness.
III. Personal Inspection Before Public Inspections.
Mat. 7:3-5 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Look for the Beam (log, post) in your own eye- Remove it- Then help someone else with the Mote (splinter) in their eye. Paul said in 1 Cor. 11:28- let a man examine himself. 2 Cor. 13:5- examine yourselves. [POEM- Walk Around Yourselves] When you’re criticizing others, And are finding here and there, A fault or two to speak of, Or a weakness you can tear; When you’re blaming someone’s meanness, Or accusing someone else, It’s time that you went out, To take a walk around yourself. There’s a lot of human failures, In the average of us all; And lots of grave shortcomings, In the short ones and the tall; But when we think of evils, Men should lay upon the shelves; It’s time that we all went out; To take a walk around ourselves.
IV. Peace with Others Before Prayer to God.
Mat. 5:23,24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
God loves to hear his people pray- loves to hear their vows and commitments but FIRST God loves Christian Unity- Love one another. If we won’t do what has to be done to keep peace with each other, God will not be impressed with or moved by our prayers. Peter wrote that if a husband is not honoring his wife and treating her properly, then his prayers will be hindered. That leads us to our last point:
V. Home Religion Before Church Religion.
1 Tim. 5:4- learn first to show piety at home. Job was at home praying for and offering sacrifices for his children. The Delivered Demoniac begged to go with Jesus but was told to return Home and show the great things God had done. Mary was at her home sitting at Jesus’ feet. Psalm 101:1 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O Lord will I sing. 2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way...I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
So, What does God put first? God’s Kingdom Before Self’s Concerns; Inward Holiness Before Outward Holiness; Personal Inspection Before Public Ones; Peace with Man Before Prayer to God; Home Religion Before Church Religion. Since God puts these things first, don’t you think we should as well?