"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
This past month of January 2021 began with an extended preaching series that focused on a single verse: Jesus' command found in his "Sermon on the Mount;" Matthew 6:33.
Originally presented as a conference message back in June of 2020 in Millington, our Sunday lessons unpacked aspects of the theology and application of "seeking first God's kingdom and righteousness" (all of the messages can be heard at our church website, found under the "Our Service" tab, scroll to "Sermons").
The first mention of the word "kingdom" is mentioned in Genesis, connected to "Babel." Of course, we know what Babel represents for us today: A people well organized for the purposes of exalting themselves! This seems to be the root of many of our problems today.
During the lives of the Patriarchs, the children of Abraham were often harassed and oppressed by the kingdoms of the world. Yet before there was ever the occupation of the Promised Land, before there was ever a judge or a monarchical dynasty, God describes His people in this way: '...therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' (Exodus 19)
Perhaps Jesus, from his Sermon on the Mount (which has direct connections to Moses and the law of Mt. Sinai), was asking us to recall the covenant promise first delivered through Moses; that the God of heaven and earth would rule through the hearts, lives, and intentions of a people who love holiness. In fact, whenever the people of ancient Israel abandoned their covenant commitments with God, their kingdom was taken away! But from the start, it seems that it was never really about maintaining a plot of earthly real estate because, "all of the earth belongs to the Lord." What God was preparing us for was a future people who would fill the earth with the glory of the Lord -- regardless of what kingdom they resided. God is making a royal priesthood and holy nation in and amongst, and out of, every nation of people -- it's a counter-revolution!
The last mention of 'kingdom' is obviously from the book of Revelation. In chapter 17, we seem to find a recapitulation of Babel: It is another empire aligned against the holiness of God and His saints, "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
What a wonderful reminder of Who is really the King of God's people! Here's a reminder of what is our true calling! Here's a concluding reminder that the kingdoms of this world are often warring against God's purposes! But the Good News is that we are, "Called, Chosen, and Faithful" in Christ! His Kingdom shall have no end!
Let's live like it!
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