Pursuing the Kingdom - Matthew 6:33
August 10, 2022


Pursuing the Kingdom - Matthew 6:33

Pursuing the Kingdom – Matthew 6:33

Sermon: Pursuing The Kingdom of God found in Matthew 6:33.

In the sermon he delivered on August 7, 2022, Pastor Eric emphasized the importance of seeking the Kingdom of God. Jesus spoke extensively about this subject and the willingness of many to lay down everything, even their lives in order to attain it. It contrasted sharply with everything the people of Israel had seen and heard. Jesus referred to it as Good News, which is why Pastor Eric shared it with us today.

Read Matthew 6:26, 31-33

Christ instructed us to pray for the Kingdom of God and to seek it as our foremost goal in life. In a time when people feared their food and drink supply, Jesus said “do not worry about having enough food and clothing, because your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to.” In an age when people are worried about rising inflation, mortgage rate increases, rising gas prices, labour shortages, and potential lockdowns, Pastor Eric reminds us to seek first the Kingdom of God and the Lord will take care of the rest. The word seek in the original language means to investigate, to search, to desire. As such, the Kingdom is to be investigated, sought, desired, and pursued. It is therefore essential that we place our eternal home at the forefront of our daily lives, even in the midst of adverse circumstances.

Still to this day, it remains a mystery why, at the outset of the pandemic, when goods were expected to be in short supply, the general public rushed to the store to purchase toilet paper as opposed to canned goods. Also, prior to Covid-19 spreading to Canada and North America, there was a report that toilet paper had been stolen from skids and pallets in Hong Kong. What led us to this point? Pastor Eric believes that Jesus is telling us not to worry about tomorrow, but rather, to pay attention to the birds in the sky. They do not plant, harvest, or store their food; nevertheless, the Lord provides for their needs. In the eyes of our Saviour, we are worth much more than birds. In light of this, is it any wonder that our provision from God will be far greater if we seek first His Kingdom? If we give the Lord first place in our lives and live in accordance with His will, our needs will become His priorities.

Read Matthew 6:1-13

Jesus states in Matthew 6:5, that we should not emulate hypocrites when we pray. They pray so they can be seen by others. Although Christ is referring to the Pharisees, He does not identify them as such. He calls them hypocrites.

Christ extended grace to a prostitute as well as to a criminal on the cross. In Him, tax collectors also found mercy. Yet, the Lord did not hesitate to expose the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, as they enjoyed demonstrating to others their godliness and the ungodliness of their neighbours. There was a sense of self-righteousness among them. Most of the good deeds they performed had nothing to do with the Kingdom of God, but everything to do with how others perceived them. Their actions were motivated by the desire to be seen by those around them. For instance, when they made an offering, they made a lot of noise to convey their generosity, or they stood in synagogues or on street corners to pray so as to be seen. The issue does not lie in the fact that we pray in a synagogue or on a street corner, or that people know we give, but rather in the motivation behind our actions. Their objective was not to be seen by God but to be seen by others. The show was of utmost importance to them and people’s opinions were all that mattered. That is what Jesus calls out.

As a Church, we need to let our light shine so that others may see it, but at the same time, our motives should not be to gain attention from those good deeds (acts of righteousness) or to be seen by others. Our motives should be to be seen by God and rewarded by Him.

Read Matthew 6:10 and 2 Timothy 4:1

Pastor Eric then focused on Matthew 6:10, the portion of the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught His disciples when they asked Him to teach them how to pray. Whenever we speak of the Kingdom, we must keep in mind that it is a concept with a multifaceted meaning. Paul speaks about the coming of Christ and our eternal home in a futuristic sense, while Daniel states that the life to come will endure forever. Furthermore, Jesus said God’s Reign is near; therefore, we should repent and believe the gospel.

Read Romans 8:18

One day we will enter God’s glorious Kingdom, and what a glorious day it will be! According to Romans 8:18, the sufferings we endure today will pale in comparison with the glory that awaits us in heaven. A glorious hope awaits the believer in these desperate times. As children of God, we should aspire to see the Kingdom come. In the meantime, while we preach the gospel, pray and await its arrival, we prepare ourselves to enter our new home. At His First Coming, Jesus was a suffering Saviour, but at His Second Coming He will appear as a conquering King who will rule and reign over all.

Read Luke 17:20-21

There is also a sense in which God’s Kingdom can be understood: as a reality that exists within our own lives. Thus, the next life has both a futuristic aspect, and a present-day aspect.

The Pharisees believed, as did most Jews in the first century, that the Kingdom of God would be inaugurated in splendor: A great and magnificent leader would overthrow the Roman government. They also believed that the Messiah would raise up an army to defeat foreign powers, restore Israel’s independence, and ensure its economic prosperity. They viewed the Kingdom as a means of restoring political power. Jesus dispelled their erroneous beliefs. God’s Kingdom would come silently, without any visible signs. It would act in the hearts of men in the same manner as it does in a batch of dough. In the Pharisees’ ignorance, God’s Rule had already begun. Even though the Pharisees were blind to this fact, God was ruling in the hearts of some people and the King was standing among them. Jesus described them as living in the midst of the Kingdom of God.

What happens when we are seeking first and praying for God’s Kingdom to come?

1 – We pursue the King.

Every throne is ruled by a supreme ruler; thus, when we pray for God’s Kingdom to come, we are seeking its highest authority. Regardless of where a sovereign leader resides and holds dominion, he is the ultimate authority of the kingdom.

Read Mark 15:2, John 18:36, Revelation 17:14, and Matthew 2:2

The Merriam Dictionary defines a kingdom as “a country, state or territory ruled by a king”. Therefore, when we pray about a kingdom, we are also praying about its highest authority. Jesus informs Pontius Pilate in John 18:36 and Mark 15:2 that He is indeed the King of the Jews and that His Kingdom is not of this world. The book of Revelation describes Jesus as the “King of kings and the Lord of lords”. And in the book of Matthew, a revelation by an angel convinced the Magi, who were not Jewish, that Jesus was the King of Israel.

Read Luke 1:30-33

In the above passage, an angel appears to Mary and tells her that she will become pregnant and give birth to a son. He will be known as the Son of the Most High, and His Reign will endure forever.

Our prayer for the coming of God’s Kingdom is an invitation to Christ to enter into every aspect of our lives and to accompany us throughout our spiritual journey. The prayer expresses to Jesus our desire for Him, our need for Him, and our eagerness to have Him use us.

2 – We seek that the King Exercise His Dominion.

In seeking first the Kingdom, it is important to realize that we are also seeking the One who exercises authority over it. The word kingdom in the original language means rule. We are called to submit to Jesus, our King, because a king has authority over his people.

Read Matthew 4:19

The Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples, “Come follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He used fishing as a metaphor for our mission.

When fish are caught, they are not cleaned before leaving the water. They enter the boat as they are. Likewise, we come to Christ in our current state, and He cleanses us from sin.

Read James 4:8 and John 16:24

The thought that the all-knowing, all-powerful God of the universe would ask us to pray for the establishment of His Kingdom on earth is truly humbling. What an important responsibility we have! A person is not forced to follow God’s will. However, the nearer we draw to Him, the nearer He will draw to us. “Ask in My name”, Jesus said, “and it will be given to you”. In order to receive something from the Lord, we must first ask Him for it.

There are times when we are unsure of how to pray, but God will guide us through the process. In response to our sincere desire to follow the Lord’s will, He will redirect our prayers in such a way that will enable us to pray more precisely in line with His will in a given circumstance. The more we ask, the more we will receive.

Read Luke 19:10

Each of us is responsible for determining the extent to which Christ manifests Himself in and through our lives and our nation. In the words of Pastor Jamieson last week, “The state of the nation reflects the state of the Church.” As God’s representatives, it is our responsibility to help establish His Reign on earth. Thy Kingdom come is the Church’s prayer for the expansion of God’s Rule in the world and the conversion of souls to Christ.

Jesus did not come to heal the healthy, but to save sinners. He came to seek and save the lost. In seeking God’s Kingdom on earth, we are seeking lost souls. The ultimate goal is to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and to bring about revival in our nation and in the world. It is possible for us to bring about real change for the Kingdom. In praying faithfully for God’s Rule on earth, the Church moves from the role of a thermometer to that of a thermostat. The Church was not saved, empowered, and commissioned by Christ for us to serve as thermometers. He called us to be thermostats. The Lord has provided believers with tools and weapons that can be used to transform the spiritual climate of the world. We are called to enhance and communicate God’s goodness in our everyday lives, and our faithfulness is to be evident to all. Thus, Christians are to be the light of the world — a beacon for others to see. It is our responsibility as the salt of the earth to pray for the Reign of God to come in order for the Lord to transform the spiritual climate in which we live. As we strive to establish God’s Rule on earth, we are opposing the works of the prince of darkness.

3 – We oppose the kingdom of darkness.

Read Luke 4:5-7 and 11:18  

Our commitment to pursuing God’s Kingdom on earth ushers in a spiritual war. Jesus reveals in Luke 11:18 that Satan holds a kingdom as well. We are reminded of this fact when Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil. Satan said to Him, “I will give you all these kingdoms along with all the power and glory they entail. All of it has been given to me, and I am free to give it to anyone I choose. It will all be Yours if You worship me.” When we pray for the Reign of God on earth, we are requesting that darkness be replaced with light.

Read Revelation 2:12-13 and Luke 7:21

The above passage informs us that Satan has a throne. He may also have control over a particular area in our lives, our homes, or our families. Our prayer for God to rule on the earth is an appeal for a change of authority.

Luke 7:21 states that when God’s Kingdom comes, people will be cured of their diseases, they will be set free from evil spirits, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the crippled will walk, the dead will be raised to life, and the gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached to all who need it.

Read Luke 11:20

While Jesus was exorcising the demoniac, he was accused of using Satan’s power. In response to the accusations, Jesus stated that He was casting out demons with the finger of God. If the Lord’s finger can drive legions away, let us pray for God’s full hand to be upon us in our daily lives. Light and darkness cannot coexist simultaneously. Therefore, when God reigns, the devil flees.

4 – We shift our focus to the Kingdom of God.

When we seek God’s Kingdom first, our focus shifts to what is pleasing to the Lord. This is not what many were expecting, but it is how we are called to live. Someone said, “We become less worried about our own rights.” Someone else said, “Whenever we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we indicate our desire for the dominion of God and the success of the gospel. We have a kingdom worth praying for. One day, yet in the future, the forces of evil will be finally rooted by the host of heaven. In the meantime, we pray, “Thy Kingdom come”. The purpose of prayer is not to inform God of our plans, but rather to request that He fulfill His. It is a plea that forfeits our desire to build our own kingdom in favor of His.

Does Jesus Christ rule over your kingdom?

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