PRIORITIES – PUTTING FIRST THINGS FIRST
A. There are priorities that must be set in the affairs of life.
1. Earning a living takes precedence over recreation.
2. Schoolwork takes precedence over sports.
3. In dispensing medical treatment in a disaster or battlefield situation, those with the most serious injuries that can be treated are given priority.
B. As we shall see, there are certain priorities which apply in the spiritual arena of life.
A. MATTHEW 6:33
1. This is the key verse in the context of Matthew 6. If one wants to have the essentials just named in the above verses, let him meet the requirements of this verse.
2. “Seek” denotes an active, diligent search and inquiry, which is required of both alien and saint.
a. This disposition and commitment characterized our Lord.
1) Matthew 26:39
2) John 9:4
b. Christianity is a taught religion; one cannot be born by the natural birth into it; a process of teaching and learning is necessary in order for one to become a Christian.
1) Matthew 28:18-20
2) Mark 16:15-16
c. To practice the religion of Christ, one must put forth diligent effort
1) 1 Corinthians 15:58
2) Matthew 10:37-38
d. The effort of living the Christian life is illustrated by several well-known activities.
1) It is depicted as waging a spiritual war.
a) 2 Timothy 2:3-4
b) 1 Timothy 6:12
2) It is pictured as running in a foot-race.
a) 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
b) Hebrews 12:1-2
e. Determination is required to live the Christian life successfully.
1) Luke 13:24
2) Luke 9:23
3. The object of our search is plainly stated.
a. Many seek for the wrong things – money, material goods, fame, position, worldly honor.
b. We are told to seek the kingdom of God.
1) John 3:3
2) No one can stumble into the kingdom; it must be sought … Isaiah 35:8
3) We are to seek to obtain the benefits it offers and for the privileges it bestows.
c. We are told to seek the righteousness of God.
1) Psalms 119:172
2) Ecclesiastes 12:13
3) 1 John 3:7
4) Romans 10:1-3
5) We obtain the righteousness which God bestows on us when we obey the Gospel of Christ! … Romans 1:16-17
4. The order of our search is stated: we are to seek the God’s kingdom and righteousness First.
a. Nothing is to equal or to surpass their importance
b. The kingdom of God is the church of Christ (Matt. 16:16-19; Dan. 2:44; Isa. 2:2-3; 1 Tim. 3:15; Acts 2; Col. 1:13-14; Eph. 1:3).
1) The common notion of modern religious men is that the church is unimportant.
2) They fail to see that the church and the kingdom are one and the same.
3) If they could learn this truth, then the Lord’s statement would become as meaningful to them as it is to us.
4) It is of such great importance that it must be placed first in our priorities.
5) If one puts the church first:
a) Will he stay away from the assemblies?
b) Will he refuse to give?
c) Will he work for the church?
c. God’s righteousness is placed on the same plane as the kingdom.
1) They are joined by the conjunction – “AND”
2) It is in the church that we are able to work righteousness and be fully obedient to the will of God.
3) To seek righteousness is to do those things which result in obtaining the righteousness of God.
d. In cases where we have a choice between an act of obedience [worship or service] or some worldly entertainment, which is more important to us?
1) If we could be in a Wednesday night Bible class, but we choose to attend a ball game or go fishing, which have we shown is more important to us? Which have we
2) If we could attend a service in a gospel meeting being conducted by the local congregation, but we choose to go camping, or attend some secular function, or take a
trip, which have we shown is more important to us? Which have we placed first?
e. Many attend only one service weekly, when it would be possible for them to attend all of them.
1) If every other member attended only once weekly, what would become of the local congregation?
2) If all attended every service possible, how greatly would the church prosper!
f. Some give only a token amount to the Lord, while spending a great portion of their income on their selfish pleasures. If all did that, what would become of the local
5. If we put the kingdom and righteousness of God first, then all these things (food, clothing, etc.) will be thrown in as an added blessing. The primary blessings are spiritual;
these material essentials are given to boot.
B. ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE REQUIRED BY THE GOSPEL?
1. The price for pardon was great.
a. Although salvation is free to us (Rev. 22:17), yet it cost the Father, the Son, the Lord’s apostles, and our first century brethren more than can be estimated.
b. To receive pardon brings upon us a heavy price; it might cost us some of our family and friends; it will cost us a great deal of our time and effort.
2. The price for knowledge is great.
a. Ecclesiastes 12:12: “… study is a weariness of the flesh.”
b. Much effort is required to learn, but the reward is greater!
3. The price for spiritual strength is great.
a. As physical strength requires exercise and time, so spiritual strength demands time, effort and activity.
b. 1 Peter 2:1-2
4. The price of reaching Heaven is great.
a. We are required to imitate the life of our Lord – an easy prospect (1 Cor. 11:1)
b. We are to abide in Christ (John 15:6).
c. We are to die in Christ (Rev. 14:13).
d. To obtain Heaven, we must give up the world; to have the world, we forfeit Heaven.
C. ARE YOU READY TO DO THE WILL OF GOD?
1. Are you ready and able to give a reason for your hope? – Peter 3:15
2. Are you ready and able to teach the lost and weak brethren?
a. Matthew 28:19
b. Galatians 6:1
3. Are you ready and able to support every good work? – us 3:1
4. Are you ready and willing into die for the Lord? – 2 Timothy 46-8
5. Are you ready for the Lord’s return?
a. Matthew 24:42-44
b. Matthew 25:1-13
D. ARE YOU CONTINUING STEADFASTLY?
1. Are you steadfast in the apostles’ doctrine? (Acts 2:42).
2. Are you steadfast in the fellowship of the saints? (Acts 2:42).
3. Are you steadfast in the breaking of bread? (Worship – Lord’s Supper Acts 2:42)
4. Are you steadfast in prayer? (Acts 2:42)
E. IF ANY MAN WILL, HE CAN PARTAKE OF THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY
1. Revelation 22:17
2. The final choice is up to the individual (Luke 9:23; Rev. 22:17).
3. Are you following Christ?
4. Are you exercising self-denial?
5. Do you daily bear his cross?
A. We are now living in the time of probation.
1. We can pick and choose what we wish to do.
2. We are free to exercise our free moral agency; God respects our right to choose; He gave us this right.
3. Will you elect this day to seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God?
4. If you have not, will you begin now to put the Lord FIRST?
B. How much does the Lord mean to you?
1. With your life providing the answer, what is most important to you?
2. Do you love him with the entirety of your heart, soul, mind, and strength?
[Gleaned from Bob Winton]
Park Heights church of Christ
P. O. Box 107
1300 East Boynton Street
Hamilton, Texas 76531
“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.”