- Sermon Notes
Seek First the Kingdom of God
As we continue our study through the book of Matthew, we find Jesus giving one of his most famous messages called the Sermon on the Mount. This was in the northern region of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had settled into a town called Capernaum and just behind that town there is a large incline that moves up to the Golan Heights. Jesus had sat down on that hillside and began to teach the large multitude that had gathered because of all of the miracles that he had done amongst them.
The people were amazed at Jesus's teaching. They had been taught by the scribes and the Pharisees and had heard that the way into the kingdom of heaven was by how you wash your hands or by how you lived on the Sabbath, then Jesus came teaching that God wanted to transform their lives by transforming their heart.
He then described what that transformed heart looked like. He began with what we call today the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He also gave them a purpose and mission when he told them that the world needs salt and they were the salt that God was sending. The world needs light and they were the light that God was sending.
When we come to chapter 6 verse 19, Jesus began to speak about how they viewed their own life and the stuff of their lives. To have a heart that is transformed by God means that the way they see their lives will also change.
And that's the point of this section that we are studying, God wants to change their perspective. They need a godly view of their lives and it has great practical application for us as well.
I. We Need a Godly View of Life
- The way we view the stuff of the world is very important, especially in the day and age in which we live.
- We have so much more stuff than they ever could have dreamed of and we take it all for granted. Solomon in all his grandeur never owned a microwave oven yet today it’s a common household item. And what would we do without microwave popcorn?
- If Jesus wanted to change their perspective of the stuff of life, imagine how much God would want to change our perspective.
A. Have a heart set on heaven
- In verse 19, it literally means, "Do not treasure for yourselves treasures upon earth."
- The question that comes out of this is, "Where is your heart?" In other words, what is it that you value, what is important to your life?
- Some people look at the stuff of the world to satisfy their longings and desires. Other people look to the stuff of the world for their security.
- Either way, Jesus pointed out the trouble with such a perspective. Moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal.
Illus - Shortly after we started working in Russia, their currency went through a terrible crisis. Inflation soared out of control and the ruble crashed. I remember having to carry huge wads of money just to buy basic things. Life savings were lost overnight. At one point they decided to simply take three 0’s from the value of everything.
- Don't put your heart in those things. They won't satisfy your soul and they won't give you security.
- Treasure for yourselves treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
- If moths can destroy your god, you have the wrong god. If rust can destroy your god, you have the wrong god. If thieves can steal your god, you have the wrong god.
Illus – We were just studying on Wednesday that when Israel had a king over them, God gave instruction that the king should not lay up for himself things of this world, either for pleasure or for security.
Deuteronomy 17:16-17, “Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself… He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.”
- Instead, that king was to write out, by his own hand, a copy of the word of God for himself. He was to carry it with him and read it all the days of his life. In other words, he was to set his mind and heart on the things of God.
- God never condemned having wealth, but he did make sure we understood that there was danger in it.
- If you have stuff, make sure that your stuff doesn't have you.
Illus - I remember seeing a program about a man who had been accidentally electrocuted and died. He was eventually revived and he later gave an account of God giving him an opportunity to go back, which he wanted to do. The point is that he became a changed man. Earthly stuff wasn't his priority anymore, it was his character and it was the people in his life.
- How do you lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven? By getting involved in what God is doing. And what is God doing? He's transforming lives because that's what makes a difference for eternity.
B. Perspective is everything
- In verse 22, Jesus continued, “The lamp of the body is the eye…” In other words, how do you see life? Your perspective, your view has everything to do with your heart.
- Perhaps a modern illustration might be that people wear different glasses by which they filter and interpret what happens in their lives.
- In other words, it's not only what we see, but how we perceive what we see that make the difference between godliness and ungodliness, between light and darkness in our lives.
- If the eyes are good, the whole person will be illuminated by the glory of that light.
- It also has to do with what we are looking for, longing for, seeking after, and desiring in our lives for that is what we will set our eyes toward.
- This is what David meant when he wrote…
Psalm 121:1, I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.
Hebrews 12:1-2, Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.
- God said something similar but in the opposite way to Israel through the prophet Ezekiel…
Ezekiel 23:27, “Thus I will make your lewdness and your harlotry brought from the land of Egypt to cease from you, so that you will not lift up your eyes to them or remember Egypt anymore.”
- It makes perfectly good sense then why Jesus said in verse 24, “No one can serve two masters… You cannot serve God and mammon.”
C. Look to God and trust Him more
- Notice then that Jesus said in the very next verse, “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life.”
- If you're looking to God, then you need to look to him with more faith. That's the meaning of this part of his sermon.
- Faith is a question of perspective. I need to see life from His perspective and believe what He has to say about the things in my life.
- Without that, we can be given over to anxiety, worry and fear. Anxiety, worry and fear has to do with what we don't know. The one who is worried and anxious says in his heart, “What if this happens, what if that happens.”
- Faith says, “Whatever happens in my life, I know that God will be with me, caring for me, and walking with me through it all.”
- In other words, whatever happens, I know I can trust God.
- Jesus then gives several reasons why we shouldn't be anxious:
- Life is more than food. Jesus said that of himself as well.
John 4:32, 34, He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about… My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.
- You are worth much to your heavenly Father.
- Worry and anxiety will not add a single cubit to your life span. (Although it could certainly take away from it.)
Illus - maybe you've heard the story of the guy who was consumed with worry. He was always biting his nails and drinking Maalox and worry lines became imprinted in his face. Then one day a friend noticed that he was completely free from worry. He was the picture of peace. His friend finally asked, “What happened?”…
- God will give to you the things you need.
- Each day has enough trouble of its own.
II. We need a Godly View when Others Fail
- At first this section may seem to have nothing to do with chapter 6. But when we look closer we see a direct relationship. Here again, Jesus is talking about the eye.
- What if someone's eye is not clear, what if there's something in their life that needs to change?
- Here, Jesus is helping them to see that transformation of the heart has everything to do with how we view those around us.
- Jesus wants us to see people as God does; with grace, with love, and the desire for reconciliation.
A. Begin with the log in your own eye
- First, we should understand what he's not saying.
- He's not saying that we should not use judgment to discern good and evil or that we can't call sin for what it is. There are many scriptures that tell us we are called to use careful judgment in our relationship to others. There are several examples in this very chapter (verse 15).
James 5:20, Let him know that he who turns the sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
- What Jesus is talking about is that we should not have an ungracious, critical spirit that looks down upon others for issues in their lives.
- There are some people who seem to specialize in finding fault in others, but criticism is not a gift of the Holy Spirit.
- “Be careful,” Jesus is saying, “because others will start finding fault in you as well.”
Illus - beware the double standard; like the guy who gets upset when others cut him off in traffic, but does it himself on a regular basis.
- God is most certainly willing to confront sin. But his desire is to restore.
Galatians 6:1, If anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;
Illus – When I was in Bible college I used to be chronically late to my first class. One day that ended…
Illus – I saw a youth pastor talking to a kid with punk spiked hair with shaved sides and then he prayed…
2 Corinthians 5:20, We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Matthew 6:19-7:6 NASB
1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. 6 "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.