Heavenly Pursuits

Home Church Service 4/10/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”   Matthew 6:31-34 (NASB)

Deep down inside we all have something we desire with every fiber of our being. We pursue that desire relentlessly, thinking that when we finally capture our elusive dream life will finally be grand. Since the age of 16 mine has been the ’69 Camaro. As an adult I realize that obtaining that elusive dream would cost more money than I have made in my entire lifetime! So, I have come to my senses and realize that any Camaro would be acceptable. We do much the same thing with our daily needs of food, drink and clothing. Each morning we must decide what to wear for work and help us if it is something that we might have worn once too often. Then comes the decision on what to eat throughout the day. We are endlessly chasing after something whether it is a lifelong dream or the simple daily needs of our lives.

Our passage today shows a better way to approach our daily lives and those daily needs everyone seems to be chasing. This passage is found in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount and deals specifically with our anxiety over our daily needs of food, drink and clothing. Jesus teaches His disciples and those in the crowd to stop worrying over daily needs, everyone has them and everyone chases them. For those who follow Him they must have Heavenly Pursuits that will impact their lives for eternity.

Do not worry about what to eat, drink or wear, for even the Gentiles seek these things. You must seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; from these Heavenly Pursuits your heavenly Father will add these things to you. Each day has its own trouble, so do not worry about tomorrow.

There is no need to be concerned with your daily needs; everyone has them and chases after them. Instead, have Heavenly Pursuits and look for the things of God and let God see to your daily needs. So do not be concerned about the next day when each day has its own issues.

The question we seek to answer this morning is, “Why is it important to have Heavenly Pursuits?”

Our Heavenly Pursuits takes our focus from our daily needs and places it on our eternal needs.

1). The first of our Heavenly Pursuits is to seek the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is our eternal home and must be sought to be found.

In seeking the kingdom of God, we are acknowledging that a kingdom is already in existence. As such that kingdom must have a king, a reign and rules. God is the king of the kingdom we seek and in acknowledging His kingdom we also acknowledge His reign. This kingdom has been established by God and is owned by God, He alone has the power and authority to established and own such a kingdom.

In acknowledging this kingdom, we are also acknowledging the reign of God as King in His kingdom. We become His subjects. We are bound by His rule and reign as the owner of this kingdom. God alone sets the standards by which this kingdom is run; God alone sets the standards for those who are allowed to enter; God alone sets the standards for those who live in the kingdom and God alone provides the means for those who live in the kingdom to live justly and in harmony with others who live in this kingdom.

The first pursuit of the Christians life is to become a citizen of heaven and to seek others to become citizens of heaven as well. Most people make the pursuit of material things their first pursuit, but material things cannot bring fulfillment or make you comfortable. The true need for people is not external comfort but to be satisfied inwardly, that is, to be spiritually satisfied.

In our passage, when speaking of the kingdom of God, Jesus is not referring to God’s sovereignty over creation and all of history, instead He is speaking specifically of God’s rule over His own people the moment they humble themselves, repent, submit to God’s reign and rule and become born again. This is the kingdom we now seek. It is not something of mans creation or that man can manufacture, this is a kingdom that has been fully established and created by the power and authority of God.

The spiritual kingdom of God is present right now – it is at hand this very moment! This refers to God’s reign, rule and authority in the lives if His people – that is, all believers. This kingdom is offered to all people through the Son, Jesus Christ. We experience the kingdom by being born again and it must be received and entered into now. The spiritual kingdom is a life changing blessing and must be the first pursuit for believers.

God is king, He has established His reign through Jesus Christ, and He has the right to rule in the universe and in the lives of those who are His image bearing creation. God’s kingdom exists where Christ is acknowledged as Lord and Savior. To be in His kingdom we must be born again and be actively enjoying the salvation of God. The kingdom of God is synonymous with our salvation and eternal life.

Our Heavenly Pursuits takes our focus from our daily needs and places it on our eternal needs.

2). The second of our Heavenly Pursuits is to seek the righteousness of God.

The righteousness of God is the key to our eternal home – without it we remain locked out!

Righteousness is to be the characteristic of all who enter into the kingdom of God, but to have the righteousness of God we must first have a relationship with the Father. This brings up an interesting dilemma for some. In John 6:44 after having fed the 5,000 and stating, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven,” the Jews began to grumble and complain saying that He was the son of Joseph, whom they knew. How could He possibly make such a statement? Jesus goes on to explain the problem for these Jewish people, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;” The problem for these non-believers is the Father had not drawn them into a relationship with His Son.

Further, Jesus is the One whom we must enter through to gain access to the Father. In John 14:1-6 Jesus explains to His disciples that He must now return to the Father and they know the way to where He is going. It is Thomas who raises doubt, “How will we know the way?” It is in 14:6 that Jesus makes the following statement, “…I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus makes it clear to Thomas, and those of us who now follow Him, that He, Jesus, is the Way to gain access to the Father and this to the righteousness of the Father that is required to enter into the kingdom of God.

While righteousness is not natural for people who have a bent towards sin, it is natural for God and thus the reason we need His righteousness to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus teaches that the righteousness of the Pharisees is not enough to gain entrance into the kingdom of God and Paul argues that no man is naturally righteous. Even after his conversion Paul speaks of his struggle to follow the law of righteousness rather than the law he finds in his own body. This is true for all of us, we all struggle with the selfish desires of the flesh as it competes against our desire to be righteous in the sight of God.

This is a holiness of heart and a purity of life that is required of all those who profess to be believers and subject to Christ Jesus. The business of our salvation should consume us; all of our desires, cares and wants should be focused on our holiness. If we are not holy there is no kingdom to be found. How many of us have shuddered to the words of Jesus in Matthew? “…Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” For most of us those words are hard to take. This is not perfection as we think of in today’s world. This is maturity or completeness. Our holiness is to be perfect holiness found only in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone can make us complete and mature, and He alone makes our holiness complete and mature.

Finally, seeking the righteousness of God requires some effort on our part. Because He is a righteous God, God desires righteousness in every human community, not just the church or Christian communities but every community in which we, as Christians, walk, live and take an active part in. Simply put God hates injustice and thus loves righteousness everywhere. So, there is work that must be done as we walk by faith in this ever-darkening world.

This helps explain one of the purposes of the church and the Christian community and sheds new light on the mandate given to the church, and individual members, by Jesus, right before His ascension. The Christian community is to make the righteousness of God attractive to all people. Thus, people will see it, be drawn to it and the righteousness of God’s kingdom will spill over and spread throughout the world. We know this as The Great Commission.

Our Heavenly Pursuits takes our focus from our daily needs and places it on our eternal needs.

Deep inside we all have this one dream we chase that will, supposedly make our lives complete. Since the age of 16 mine has been the Camaro. I have moved from something very specific to knowing I would be happy with any Camaro. The same is true for our every day lives. We all make decisions on what to eat, drink and wear…every day…we chase after these same daily needs.

We all have the same basic needs every day of our lives. We must have food and drink and we must put on clothing to protect our bodies from the weather and to maintain some sort of modesty. We all have them and we all chase them. But for those who are called Christians and follow Jesus Christ, we are to have different pursuits. We are to have Heavenly Pursuits that impact our lives for eternity.

There is no question that time is growing short. In my opinion, God is in the process of calling out His church. He is preparing to cleanse the church and its members and to gather together a remnant that will walk faithfully no matter what might come. If you are a believer, if there is any sense of urgency within you right now, then now is the time to repent and seek the face of God while He can still be found. Put aside those things that have kept you from the Father. Begin with prayer. Read, study and meditate on His word.

Understand that God is calling you out and you have been resistant. Stop resisting His call and embrace what He is doing in you and through you. Come to the Lord Jesus for He is the only way to the Father. God has created you for something only you can do, and He is now drawing you to His Son. Come running, as fast as you can and allow the Lord Jesus to begin working to make you complete and mature.

For those of you who may not have a relationship with Christ Jesus, there is still time. It is never too late to call on the name of Jesus to be saved! Repent of your sins and acknowledge that you have sinned against God and in the sight of heaven. Turn from your former life of sin and walk straight towards the open arms of Christ. If you sincerely desire to start anew, to leave behind the old person you had crafted and created, to walk away from the selfish and sinful desires of your flesh, God will draw you to His Son who will then give you access to the Father and the righteousness required to enter the kingdom of God.

I want to finish by reading a passage from my devotional this morning, Saturday, April 10, 2021. It comes from Paul’s writing to the church in Philippi and is found in chapter 3, verses 7-11, of his letter to the church. It states,

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

To the glory of God the Father may He find you among those who truly seek to be made righteous in Christ Jesus.

Amen and Amen.

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