Matthew 6:24-34 Seek First His Kingdom – Heaven and Hell #13


Seeking is not a onetime event. Seeking is not coming in this building or any other building one time and saying, “Yup, I don’t like it” or, “Yup, I got it” or, “I understood.” Seeking is a process of learning. ♪ ♪ ♪ Today we’re going to look at something in Matthew’s Gospel, a phrase that I’ve, I have referenced multiple times and that is “the kingdom of heaven.” And some of you are probably wondering, “What’s this big giant book sitting here? And why is it here?” And I’ll explain soon. But let me first start by saying Matthew uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven,” thirty-two times, and his is the only Gospel that uses that particular saying that many times. He has three other mentions of “kingdom of God,” and actually two of those three are kind of erroneously translated for us, we’ll make the correction today, which is why I have this big, giant book out here; some of you actually need to see proof. Ugh! All right, so the other thing that I wanted to tell you about is that when we talk about the kingdom of heaven, the phrase “the kingdom of heaven” per se is not found in the Old Testament, but there are a plethora of passages that allude to it out of Daniel 2, out of Daniel 4, Psalm 16, 29, 145. These all are, they allude to it, it’s in fact, it’s more than alluding if you read what the text says, you can see right there this concept is not a new concept. But what makes it new in the sense that I’m going to use is Jesus’ use of━in fact let’s go back. John the Baptist was the first one to say, “Repent: the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” as the forerunner to Christ. But what makes this so important for us to learn about is that Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, we’re looking at Matthew’s Gospel, so it will change in Mark and it will change in Luke and so on, but for Matthew’s sake the emphasis here is going to be something that carries essentially what is happening in the now, as it was proclaimed, “Repent: the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” That is John the Baptist saying, “Pay attention to what’s coming,” then Jesus comes on the scene and He begins to preach. His first message: “Repent: the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” So it’s important for us to learn what exactly this saying means, and something else. Within Judaism they had a certain perceptual understanding of the term “kingdom of heaven”” Jesus’ use and His explanation are the complete antithesis of what the Jews held as the definition of and the understanding of the kingdom of heaven. Now if you’re just here today listening for the first time or you’re not familiar with this ministry, my goal is to try and explain what’s here. And sometimes in the message there can be complicated things, things that are a little bit challenging. That’s why we replay them and you have access to watch them over and over again, because I’ve never seen anybody learn something and get it spot-on completely. I don’t even think I can do that. I don’t think anybody can. This is, we’re dealing with things of the divine nature and we’re just humans, so it takes us a while to process and to put the information in. So we’re talking about Matthew’s Gospel and this expression. And what I want to break down, first of all, because I’ve taught on this subject a few times out of a particular passage out of Matthew, I want to, I want to talk first a little bit about how we might, in terms of all the messages that I’ve delivered, how we might understand when Jesus is talking, He says, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We’re talking about the commencement, the beginning of something that will obviously end in the consummation of the age or time. So when He says, “Repent: the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” that’s the beginning. That’s the genesis that begins, and whatever the time allotted. We, we don’t know. People, a lot of people would like to speculate when the end of the earth, the end of time. We have certain hints, but we don’t know definitively. There’s nobody that can tell you definitively what the last day the earth or you will have. No one knows that for certain. But the one thing we know is this is the beginning, Christ beginning to preach, and the ultimate end. And if, if we kind of dig through and probe a little bit around Matthew, we see that Matthew’s drive, very interestingly enough is to speak to the Jewish population. Why do I say that, because he’s writing━now don’t think that he doesn’t use the word “God,” he does, but the Jews frowned upon using the word “God.” It was considered by them too sacred. So, many times, especially in the Jewish writing, outside of and before the New Testament, they would not write the Lord’s name. Sometimes abbreviated, I’ve told you this before, as Yah-yah, or they would not pronounce Yahweh. This is how we ended up with the so many different words in the Bible: God, Lord, that is capital L, small letters -ord, the capital, all caps LORD, because they all have a different word value in the Hebrew. So interesting, we know that Matthew is, is talking and writing to the Jewish population, because he is very careful. Although he does use “God” in his writing, he’s very careful to not use it in certain ways that would have shut the ears of the listener, because to them, for you to articulate the word “God,” remember, oral tradition and then the written word, they, it’s too sacred to utter for them. And what a travesty, because if you read the Old Testament, when Moses asked the question, “Who shall I say sent me?” He says, “You tell them I AM.” And we get our, all of the derivatives of the word Yahweh from that source. At a later point, the Jews decided, “Too sacred; we will take the vowel points of the word Adonai and we’ll put them under Yahweh,” so it becomes a word you can’t even pronounce. The very antithesis of what God said. “Who will You say sent me?” “You tell them I AM sent you.” God never said, “Don’t say My name; it’s too sacred.” That became a practice much later. So we know from analyzing the text he was writing to Jews, so he was very careful about the words he chose. And again, I’m going to repeat this because some people say, “But he uses ‘God’ in other places.” Yes, but within the framework of what I’m addressing, this is what if you went through Matthew’s Gospel you would really take notice of. He’s really, really careful in writing, unlike Mark or Luke or John, which all have different angles. Now what I want to talk about before I get to this big book, which keeps staring me in the face, it’s like, “Hey, I’m here,” is what Matthew’s concerned with. Matthew’s concern is with the kingship of Christ. So with a king, a king must have a kingdom and he must have subjects in his kingdom, so you’re going to read through Matthew’s Gospel and find the Kingly Christ is at the forefront. That is Matthew’s drive. Now Mark will have a different drive, John will have a different drive, and of course Luke says, “I’m going to set out to set all things in order.” So what I find interesting is when Matthew is writing he starts off with a genealogy, and he does that deliberately to show that the lineage to, from which Christ descended, is from a royal, kingly line, because his emphasis again: King. And you remember at a later time when the wise men were traveling and they, they were looking for “Where is this child that was born King of the Jews?” So we not only have John the Baptist heralding out, who was proclaiming the coming of Christ, we have these wise men looking for the child born, who was born and they specifically say it this way “born King of the Jews,” and then ultimately we, we start studying Matthew and we see how Christ speaks. He speaks with authority. He doesn’t say, “Well, let me check. I’ve got to check with the Big Boss and I’ll get back to you.” When He speaks, it’s definitive. He is declaring something. When He says He forgives sins, all right, He doesn’t say, “Well, let me think about it. I’m not sure.” It’s definitive, it’s authoritative; He speaks as one that has the right and authority to say certain things. If you remember another place where He says, “You’ve heard it said unto you”” He’s referring to the law, and He says, “But behold, I say.” Now tell me, who could speak higher than the law? If the law came, let’s go back to the Old Testament, if the law came by God through Moses, who would have the right to say, “You’ve heard it said in the law, but behold, I say unto My word surpasses the law.” Now Jesus was either a nut or He was who He said He was. So these are the interesting things that as you comb through Matthew you see the angles, the dimensions that are being pointed out. And I think that once we get that right it carries straight through to Jesus’ final authority on the judgment and the destiny of humankind. I was teaching the last few weeks about the wheat and the tares; all of these different messages in their; their design is to talk about what is now and ultimately what will be and where we’re going. Whether a person is destined to go to heaven or hell, and as I said, there’s, this subject is so big we might be on this for a while. We might━“When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing”━because it may take me that long, but I am determined. All right, so kingdom; we talked about a King, let’s talk about the kingdom for a minute, because I touched on this briefly, but I don’t think I touched on it enough. In Jesus’ day, being born into the faith, and we’re only talking now about Judaism, being born into that and being a citizen of the nation essentially guaranteed you being a part of the kingdom. Jesus comes on the scene and He, He completely wipes that off the table. If you look at John 3, He completely wipes that off the table when Nicodemus comes to Him and he says, “What must a man to basically enter into the kingdom?” And He says, “Well, the first thing, you’ve got to be born again from above.” So the first thing that flies in our face is the understanding of how people would enter the kingdom. Judaism held if you were born in the nation and if you were born into the family and these were practicing, therefore you were considered as part of the kingdom of God. Jesus says, “Not so. There’s a way into the kingdom, now let Me tell you what it is,” and He proceeds to do that in John 3. So we’ve got this clear instruction, we also have something else lest people get a little uppity about who can or cannot be saved. Do you remember that Jesus commended the individual, the Gentile with great faith, and He said, “Many will come from the east and from the west and they will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”” So that tells you that Jesus’ kingdom is not limited to a certain group. In fact, if you comb through all of Matthew and you get to the end, He says clearly to His disciples, “Go into all the world, all the nations and make learners, disciples.” That’s what a disciple is, someone that’s being taught this word, the good news. So it’s crucial for us to look at the kingdom and understand one thing. The kingdom was not reserved for people by natural birth. The kingdom itself when we talk about the kingdom, Jesus emphatically says, “This is the way in,” but if we’re still not sure, the forerunner says it first. He says, “Repent.” Now let’s talk about that and I’ve done this many times, but for the sake of those who, who may be listening for the first time or you’re not familiar with my teaching, the word “repent” in the Greek, metanoia. It is meta: “with,” noia: “the mind,” to change the mind that is simply to go from the direction I was heading in to turn from my way. Now I’m turning and I’m following God. Repentance is not, and I’ve covered this before from the Latin we get the flagellanti, the weeping and the crying. But the Greek makes it very clear this word is a change of mind. Now there’s another word in the Greek for a change of heart or great sadness that comes over us when we look at what we were doing that might have been so offensive to God, but this word repent simply is a call to say, “Hey, follow Me,” which is exactly what Jesus said to His disciples. But the following part must be understood as a change of mind. In the Old Testament we have the prophet Isaiah saying, “This is the definition of ‘sin.’” “Sin” isn’t “I drink, I smoke, I cuss, I’m blah, blah, blah, blah,” but rather, “All we like sheep have gone astray; everyone does what’s right in their own eyes”” That is the true definition of “sin,” which then Paul picks up in the New Testament and he says, “All have fallen short.” So don’t let anybody tell you, you know, they’re an exception, they haven’t sinned since they were sanctified. Everybody’s a sinner, everybody sins; it’s on each individual to bring your issues to God every single day. You talk to Him about it. Talking to me about it or talking to a priest or a pastor or a minister is not going to help. We call that spiritual gossip. That’s all we call it, all right. And usually the people who are listening, they’re just perverts. I’m serious. They are enthralled to hear about you most embarrassing or your worst nightmares, but I, I guarantee you, these individuals would not be speaking out and sharing some of these things. It’s, it’s a strange thing when we talk about our communication. You know, I’ll ask it this way. There’s certain things you keep under your roof in your household, correct? You wouldn’t, like we say families usually don’t air your dirty laundry, correct? So it’s kind of like that. If you belong to the family of God I don’t know why you’d be taking your, your dirty laundry to somebody else. You take it to God. You talk to Him about it, and that’s the faith that we proclaim here and it’s biblical faith. I have much to back this up by. All right, we’re still on the kingdom and what makes subjects of the kingdom. There’s only one criteria, and only one. In Matthew’s Gospel you will not really find, although we find the word “faith” throughout the New Testament, but Matthew’s use and choice of words tend to be like this. They, they lean towards “trust” or “confidence” in Christ, not complete faith. Though he does use the word multiple times, but his, the direction or the influence that he’s using the word has more to do with trusting confidence or complete confidence in what Christ is saying. So when Christ declares something, it is faith that says “Amen” to it, not wishful thinking or a delight in following a cool master around. But it’s faith that says “Amen”” not anything else. So, let me talk to you a little bit then about what I set out to do here, and I’ll kind of come back. I’m going to start going back and forth now. I want to take you to a familiar passage that I’ve dealt with before, Matthew 6:33, because it’s about good time for me to make the correction that I probably have not made. All right, the King James, Matthew 6:33, which I’ve taught on many times, but, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Now the context, if you go back just a little bit, and if you have a Bible like mine, and I’m not trying to be comical now, but if you have a Bible like mine, a lot of your Bibles will have headers. There’s that bold, big font. On the previous page, I kind of like what they’ve done here, because they, they’ve titled this and I don’t really like the titles that they put most of the time, but this one’s good: “Put God’s Kingdom First”” So I’m going to read from verse 24 all the way down to the end of the sixth chapter. It’s just to verse 34, and then I’ll tell you why I’m highlighting this and the correction that needs to be made. So let’s start first with verse 24, “No man can serve two masters: for he will either hate the one, or love the other; else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Now this has been taken by people through the ages to mean all kinds of things. But it’s simply focusing on the fact that you can’t love and be so “I’m attached to the world, I’m passionate”━you can be passionate in life, but it’s essentially saying you can’t have the two masters. Why, because this is as, it’s the knowledge or the mind of God knowing how we are, we tend to; we’re in the world, we tend to focus on things in the world. We tend to want to gravitate towards the tangible. Well, what does the Bible say? We walk by (faith), not by (sight). Thank you. Somebody’s doing good this morning, all right. “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. It not the life more than meat, and more than clothing, raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are you not much better than they? Which of you taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?” Now you, I wish sometimes we’d think on that. You know, you can’t add, whatever the, whatever your days are; I don’t know what my days are, but whatever my days are, He knows them; I don’t. I can’t add to them. I can try and take care of the temple, that’s perfectly fine, but I can’t add to them. No matter what I do it’s not going to bring one more day. If I have so many days allotted, that’s the time, then that’s the time. So it’s almost like why focus on the thing that you can essentially do nothing about versus the things that God basically says, “Trust Me, I will take care of for you.” That’s a scary thought for some people. He goes on to say, “And why take ye thought for raiment?” for clothing, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all of his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)” in other words, everybody seeks this thing. It’s the same thing that He says about, “Well, if you love people that love you back, what’s so special about that? Even,” He says, “even the Gentiles do that.” So he’s making a hard comparison for something. And again, I’m underscoring once more, even in this here, you can see he is addressing a certain audience. And I said this before. He’s speaking primarily and writing primarily to Jewish, a Jewish audience. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Now let me first do this. This is my handy-dandy Contemporary Parallel New Testament, with eight versions in here. And these eight versions, when we read this verse 33, some of them omit. For example, let me read one that’s probably more common, NIV. The NIV reads, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Let’s take a look at the NLT, “And He will give you all you need from day to day, if you live for Him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern.” They changed that a little bit. So when somebody says, “What’s the difference? What’s the big deal?” The big deal is that one word, if you’re really wanting to know, one word can change everything. One word can alter the meaning of a phrase. Now listen, I’m not asking you to be a linguist or a grammarian, but I am asking to you to hear why I’m doing what I’m doing. So you can see between even these English versions, some keep in “the kingdom of God,” some completely omit it. Let’s look at The Contemporary English. The Contemporary English version, “But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. The other things will yours as well,” kind of a weird translation. So why I brought this, this big tome here, this dates back to probably the middle early part of the fourth century. And when we talk about the oldest manuscripts, we still have and I still collect, avidly collect manuscripts. And this is why can go back and say “The oldest manuscripts say” with my own eyes, because I’m like you, I’m hardheaded and I want to see it with my own eyes. I don’t want to take somebody’s word for it. So as I reached into this I thought it might be fun to show you, but it’s very hard to, to read. But one thing that’s very clear is within this version, which is probably the most extant, the most complete that we have from Matthew’s Gospel in terms of what is intact, all right. We know that the words “of God,” or actually “God” from verse 33 are not there, okay. Now I’ve taught on this many times. I’ve written out translations, but here, we’ll see if I can get the cameraman over and I need a pointer, so people can see where I’m looking. And hopefully we can see this is in the━it seems kind of dark over here. I don’t know… and take a look at what’s in the brackets there. There, right above my pen you’re going to see two words in Greek in brackets, tou Theou, “of God.” And if you look right down there in the small print, “Other ancient authorities lack of God,” all right. Now what does it do? Does it, does it completely wreck the essence of the text? No. But if we’re trying to kind of glean what’s here we have to understand Matthew’s mind. And as I said, if he’s writing to primarily and predominately a Jewish audience, he wants to use the words “of God” as little as possible, therefore in this text, and I as I said, I don’t really think you’ll be able to see it. I’m going to hold it upside-down for you. The text is quite faint, but from this source it clearly tells me it is not there. So you can make the correction, but it does no disservice, because what it is saying is “His kingdom.” I don’t know that there is a vast difference, except for the fact that if we’re taking into consideration who he’s writing to, whoever made the changes, and we’re talking about probably early fourth━sorry, late fourth century into the fifth century, usually scribal issues would come up. Sometimes people who were scribing, who were actually copyists (and I’m going to talk about that in a minute), would take it upon themselves to do a gloss, which is to kind of make it flow, because in their mind, it all has to be one flowing body. Now the Sinaiticus is kind of an interesting thing. This, say if you’re interested I’ll give you a real brief, quick, two-second history on this, because I think it’s fascinating. We could have been standing here today and had none of this. The individual that found what was going to be kindling paper for a fire in a monastery, Saint Catherine’s monastery at Mount Sinai. And obviously the discovery was made. If you’re interested, there’s a great introduction to the find that was found at the monastery through this, which was produced by my late husband. It’s Tischendorf’s New Testament, but what it does is it tells you the story of a young man in his early thirties, who set out as he was a brilliant scholar, set out to a monastery in the desert and was looking for, he had heard of these incredible manuscripts that had been essentially buried and locked up. And when he was at the monastery he actually was talking to a monk who was taking these pieces of paper and throwing them into the fireplace, pieces of this which became known as the Sinaiticus. Now he managed to tell one of the monks, “What you’re burning is so valuable; don’t do it!” And managed to talk him into giving him━they were going to burn them anyway━into giving them these few that he took and he began to copy. He realized what he was looking at, by the way. He realized that this had to be a very important work that looked a lot like the Septuagint, that that Greek version of the Hebrew text done about three hundred years before Christ. So he sees this, anyway he now takes this back to the university, he studies it, he goes back to the monastery; they’re suspicious of him. So they say, “Nope, you can’t see anything anymore.” He ends up going to a neighboring monastery in a hierarchy and he asks, “Can I have some folios? I will diligently bring them back.” And so he’s given eight at a time and they begin to copy them. And even here, he reviewed what the copyists copied, because there’s no photocopy. The photography is still in its very early stages. We know, by the way, that I’ve told you the story about the two sisters that went to the monastery just a few years after Tischendorf did, and their discovery. They actually had a camera with them, so they could begin photographing everything that they saw, but he did not, so they had copyists. And this is when people say, “Well, how can you trust the transmission of the Bible?” I’d say to you somebody like a Tischendorf who went over, I’m sure that there could be one word that might have been, or one letter even that could change the essence of the text, but by and large they diligently wanted to preserve what they had found in making these copies. So when somebody says, “How do I know that my Bible is accurate?” It’s not. I keep telling you that. And don’t worry about it because it’s English. Unless you are proficient in Greek and can read the Greek ancient text, I; this is why I do what I do, because it makes no sense to try━somebody said, “Well, why don’t you use a different Bible?” Well, they all have some translational and linguistic issues. Now I’m sorry I got on this little sidebar, but I’m trying to tell you that I’m reaching back. This book here, I’m not talking about the actual “this book” but the King James Bible dates back to 1611. And there are many, many versions from this Codex all the way until the time of the printing of this book, the King James Bible. In fact, somebody asked me, “What’s before this Sinaiticus? Is there anything before?” And I’ve said, yes, of course there is. We have papyri. And you’ve heard me mention many times the Chester Beatty Papyri, the Bodmer Papyri, and these papyri that if you are into this type of stuff you’ll see it says p with a number. And we can recognize the collections of fragments, which look a little bit like this. I’ll show you in case you think I’m speaking Greek to you. Let’s see, at the beginning of this we’ve got a couple of scant images that look very fragmented, very much like you would find━I’m sorry you have to see it upside-down, but kind of like this. They’d be fragments where we have one or two words and that’s it; we can’t make out anything more. So the Chester Beatty Papyri, which is recognized as the Chester Beatty Papyri and the Bodmer Papyri, which are recognized as some of the oldest papyri. For example, I couldn’t go to look at Matthew’s Gospel, although we have plates, we have the complete plates for the Chester Beatty Papyri, I could not go to the Chester Beatty Papyri to find my answer on what the text looks like way back when. Why, because Matthew’s Gospel is so badly fragmented, most of the pieces are smaller than this. I think there’s only six fragments of Matthew out of the Chester Beatty Papyri. So I’m, I’m sharing this with you to say that when, when we talk about making changes, they’re not changes because I think they ought to be made. They’re because the oldest versions dictate those changes. The last question somebody might ask is, “Well, could there be errors in those changes?” Well, they’re going to be more accurate because when we go back to the Greek, the Greek allows us to be more precise than the English language, which as you know has evolved since the writing in 1611, or actually before; it was published in 1611, the writing of the King James. Our language has changed. I’m not saying that is has evolved in a positive way, but you get what I’m saying. Now back to where I was. So the only change I want you to make here, and it doesn’t define, it does no damage to the text, if you will, to make these changes. But what I, the reason why I’m having you make the change in here, although habitually you’ll probably hear me quote this and say “the kingdom of God” because it’s engrained in my brain. I’m very; I’m going to apologize in advance. But what it should say is “his kingdom.” And the reason why, let me just show you this real quick. You don’t have to be a Greek scholar, but let me just show you so you, some of you people are saying, “Well, what is she talking about?” Take a look at this. So if you, if you were reading the Greek, which━and again, I’m just going to do this really fast because I want to talk about the text as well, which gives us some great insight, different than previously when we looked at this. So this is what Matthew 6:33 would look like, except I’m writing a little bit crazy because I’m trying to go fast━tou Theou. So when people say, “I speak Greek” or, “I read and write Greek” tell them, “Show me; prove it.” All right, so you see the brackets I’ve put there. I’m not, I’m not going to take it away right now, but I do want to make the point. And of course, I’ll just put “continuing.” All right, so the first word, zateite, which is “seek,” which I’ve done before, is a verb and imperative. That’s all I’m going to do in grammar-wise. It means even Count Tischendorf was seeking. He was seeking to find. And the Bible makes it very clear. If, if we seek, we shall find; the problem is most people are lazy. That’s the truth. They don’t want to press, they don’t want to ask, they don’t want to have to put in the work. And that’s what the seeking, this kind of seeking is about. If you think about it, Christ is not giving some, “If you like, if you think it’s a good idea.” He says: “Seek” imperatively, “this do,” with great urging, if you will, imperatively. That’s what it means. “First the kingdom,” and you can see here because even my Greek text has it in brackets. It’s an addition. It doesn’t do damage to the text, but in the, as I’m trying to explain, the audience that he’s writing to does not allow, actually, this to be in the equation. That’s how we know it was added and it’s a gloss for the text. So if seeking is what we are trying to press on I want to talk about this then, because that’s where I want to camp out a little bit. I don’t know why, but I feel like a lot of people have great interest in the church, but how far are you willing to go in your quest to find the truth? How far are you willing to go and how much work are you willing to put in? Because this is the thing that I really wrestle with. I see a lot of people and they’re super interested, but when it comes down to the wire and I say, “Go check it out. Go do the work yourself. Do a little bit of research. Probe into this thing.” “Oh, yeah. That’s a great idea,” but do people actually do it? Do most people━I’m not talking about you, but do most people actually do it? No, because they’re lazy and they don’t, it’s, it’s almost seen as a “I’ll get to it when I get to it.” And this is the most unfortunate thing. I’ve told you many times my pet peeve is people are coming into the church every day, or they’re turning on the program or the radio every day seeking. All right, they’re desiring, they want to understand. They’ve got tons of questions. Seeking is not something that you do, you know, “Yeah, I’ll look into that.” Seeking is you are showing, essentially you’re showing God the desire of your heart when you begin to look. Now there’s different stages of seeking. I’ve shared with you many, many, many years ago, before I came to this ministry I was seeking, and I didn’t really know that I was seeking, but I was definitely seeking, because I knew one thing. I knew that I didn’t know who God was. I knew I did not know anything about the Bible. That’s right. Some people think; some people who don’t know my story or know me think I was born and raised in the church. I was not! But man, did I have questions. And I still have questions. Isn’t that awesome! I haven’t stopped being a child of God and asking questions, because I’m not, I’m not to the place where, “Okay, I’m good. I don’t have any more questions.” I want to know! And if this thing about heaven and hell is true, then I’d better make sure that I know. So when we talk about this type of analysis, what I want people to focus on, if we’ve talked about the King, and that’s Matthew’s focus, and we’ve talked about the kingdom, and we’re talked about even how to get into the kingdom, faith, then let’s talk about what the essence of this passage, because I always like to do that. Let’s put the text back in there and take a look at something. And if you go back to my header that I referenced, “Put God’s Kingdom First,” Jesus through His own words is saying, “If you have in your heart, if you have things that are of a greater interest, they’re vying for attention,” and He uses “mammon.” And I understand because the Bible says money’s the root of all evil; really it’s the greed or the coveting after where “It’s never enough, I have to have more; it’s never enough, I have to have more.” But what is interesting is it can be anything that basically comes in the way, something you may, you may say, “Well, I, I love and I’m interested in God, but here’s this other thing that I, I’m more interested in; it’s my passion. I’m, I’m really interested in it.” And the two become in conflict, and I’ll give you a perfect case in point about that. I’m really impressed about what I see here today, because most people are probably home getting out their nachos and their dip, because that’s their priority. They’ve waited all week, they’ve waited all year. I’m not, listen, I’m not saying enjoying life is a bad thing, but get your priorities straight, because ultimately, and I’m going to say it this way and it may sound crass. And I don’t mean to sound crass, but I’m going to say it this way. Ultimately you don’t have a guarantee on tomorrow. You don’t. Neither do I. What if I spend every day living for me and I never give a thought; I only give a thought to God one day a week or one hour or maybe on a special holiday and I’m wanting to turn around and say, “God, I want You to take me into Your kingdom. I want to be a subject in Your kingdom, but basically I’m still out here as a subject of the world. I want the best of both.” Now here’s what’s interesting. The minute I choose to follow Him and desire to come into His kingdom, I find something out about myself that God doesn’t want me to stop being me. He doesn’t want me to stop living. He doesn’t care if I like sports or I have hobbies or if I like other things. But what He does care about is that these two things do not become where now I have this fight. I have to choose between which one will win out. If your Master is not you master, and you’re not looking unto Him as your Master, then He’s not your master. There’s another master that can come in the form of anything or anyone. And you know, it’s a hard thing to handle, but this is exactly what Christ is saying. A lot of times we spend most of our time complaining what we don’t have, what we need, how we could━and we, it’s a lament. In this text Jesus is saying, “If you will trust Me, I’ll take care of you.” That passage of 6:33, when it says, “Seek first His kingdom, His righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you,” it’s basically making an important statement that most of us, even me, who has studied this passage probably more than most, and repeated the Scripture more than most. Something very clear, not just that the tangible things or the things that I need to get by will be added to me. Jesus doesn’t say, “I’ll give you in excess of what you need.” He says, “I’ll give you what you need.” He doesn’t say, “I’ll give you what you want.” Let’s call it the, the bare necessities. He says, “I will get you that, but you do one thing: you put Me first. And it’s not you put Me first and then I’ll do that.” God is basically saying, “I want to see your heart.” Now if I said that to you, you’d be, “Oh, well, that’s offensive.” But God’s saying, “I want to see your heart. I want to see where you’re at.” See, too many people make the kingdom of God some, this is; I’m sorry, but I’m just going to say it like this. Too many people make the kingdom of God some cheap, you know, you can get in when you want, get, “Ah, how much does it cost to get in? That’s my giving. How much does it cost to get in?” You want to make it that cheap? Because my Bible tells me it’s not cheap at all. The only thing my Bible tells me about is making it in like the ones that came to Him, and I keep referring to this passage because it is a little bit mind-boggling. When they said, “Didn’t we do this in Your name? And didn’t we do this thing in Your name?” And He says, “Depart from me; I never knew you.” They never had a relationship with Him! They were only going through the motions. They were playing church, they were playing spirituality, but they never knew Him! And I’ve said this before. Can you imagine being in a relationship with somebody that’s supposed to be intimate, but you don’t know them? Can you imagine being with somebody and you don’t even know; I’m; now I’m going back to the flesh for a minute. Say you’re, you’ve got a girlfriend. I’m looking at somebody over there. I don’t know. I’m not wearing my glasses. It doesn’t matter. I’m looking over there. “Yeah, it’s my girlfriend of five years.” What’s her favorite food? “Gee, I don’t know. I think she likes peanut butter, but I’m not sure.” You’d think if you really love this individual you’d know that she doesn’t eat peanut butter; she’s allergic to peanuts. Who knew? That’s the same kind of idea I want us to apply about the kingdom. We claim to be subjects of the King and part of the kingdom, then we ought to know who God is. And I know I’ve been saying this in simplicity for many, many weeks, but this is the thing that really has a big burden on my heart. Can you imagine the bulk, and I’m sorry, I again will apologize for saying this, because it hurts me, and I’m sure if it hurts me and I’m a little microcosm, it’s got to hurt our God to see how little interest, how people treat God. God’s an afterthought. God’s the person you pray to when your derrière’s in the slinger and the stuff’s about to hit the fan. But that’s an afterthought. It’s not a daily thought. And why is that important? Let’s go back to the natural again. And the natural always brings up some wonderful imagery. I’ve had people do this to me: “I’ve got your back!” You know, have you ever had anybody tell you they’ve got your back? “I’ve got your back; I’ll take care of it. I’ll do it. I’m on top of it. I’ll get it. I’ll━I’m doing it!” And come to find out they haven’t done nothing, and they won’t do anything because that’s their M. O., they like to tell you they’ve got your back. God’s not like that! When God says in, from this book, “I’ve got your back,” He’s got your back. He’s got you covered. So when He says, “Seek ye first His kingdom,” it’s His kingdom. Essentially you begin a journey searching out to know Him, to understand who the King is, what His kingdom is about and ultimately who will enter the kingdom. These three topics, if you will are Matthew’s drive and they should be ours as well, and it should be the drive of the church. God is not asking any of us to be perfect. This is why when people say, “Well, what about you, Pastor Scott?” I say, hey listen, I am as messed up as any of you there, okay. I haven’t arrived. And I’m not saying that to be falsely humble. I’m saying that in all honestly. It’s very rare that you find people that will stand here, all eyes looking at me: yes, I’m a mess up! Thank you very much. But you see, He already knows it, and the fact is I get to come to Him every single day and say, “Father, help me up.” I’ve got to move past my mistakes or past my issues or past whatever it is that I’m dealing with. Maybe it’s past people doing things that are offensive to me or that bring hurt to me. But it’s my responsibility as a child of the kingdom to bring these things to Him, to discuss them with Him. That’s where I see my citizenship of the kingdom beginning to develop. This is how I know I am a part of the kingdom. I’m not going somewhere else to seek for help and talk. I’m not saying that seeking help is bad, but I’m saying as a child of God I’m going to talk to Him first. I’m going to bring what it is. And when we talk about this word “seeking” by the way, it’s interesting that many people in the Bible came seeking. I mention one more time the rich young ruler, and in that passage he came to Him, saying, “Master, what must I do to inherit life eternal.” And He basically says to him, well you know, He talks to him about the law and the rich man says, “Well, all these things I’ve done from my youth up. I’ve kept the law,” which, I don’t know, I don’t even know if that’s possible. He says, “I’ve kept the law.” And Jesus says, “One thing you lack,” because this man was very rich, He said, “Go, and sell all that you have, give it to the poor and follow Me.” And the man went away very sad because he had great riches and he wasn’t willing to part with them. Don’t make that Scripture the Scripture that says, “God wants everybody to be a pauper”” He asked of that man to do that thing. Jesus is going to ask of each and every one of us, and it will be by shades in different degrees when we confront Him in the Scriptures of things that He knows for me to break through my issues He may ask of me. And I’m saying through the Scriptures, it’s like a mirror. I’m reading this and I, I’m seeing maybe I haven’t forgiven or maybe I haven’t asked or━this is the mirror that I’m looking into. And finally I understand as, as I actually see myself now; these are not words on paper anymore, but I’m looking in here and I see a mirror of me, I can begin to understand that God is saying, “There is something wrong with you. There is something that needs to be fixed. And if you’ll come to Me and you’ll trust Me, I can do that.” Now I take these baby steps and I, I tentatively step out the first time to trust Him, and I realize, yeah, it actually was okay and God was there. And I take the next step. And that’s what faith is, is I build faith and faith comes by hearing. The seeking part of this is what I want to drive to because so many people out there, especially in TV-land are seeking, but they stop at something. Do you know what they stop at? They stop at what they identify with as the church. I’ve got to take a second to do this. Sorry. What if your idea of spiritually was a room full of candles and angelic voices, like an angelic choir. And you could sit in a room and you could be serenaded by these angelic voices that made you feel spiritual and the candles gave the atmosphere, but what would you have learned about God? Nothing. What if I said to you we’re, we’re going to listen to twenty minutes of spiritual music. It’s got some kind of spirituality in it, but what did you learn about God? You may say; well, maybe you learned something if it’s good theology in the words, “I learned a little bit.” And this is my problem. If you’re not digging into this book and trying to process, take in, and apply there’s no learning. Now I ask you, because many of you have been to other churches or you’ve seen other churches, you’ve watched other things. There’s got to be something you take away. There’s got to be━it can’t just be something that is wrapped up in a nice little package. That’s why I will present to you. Today I gave you a little, just a little bit of history, a little bit of language. Sometimes I’ll try and weave those in because it adds color to what I’m doing, but it also gives substance. And I’m not wanting you ever to take my word. I’ve always said to you go check out what I’m saying. In this case go seek and you will find. And when, it’s interesting, when Jesus talks, more times He’s referencing or He’s pointing people in that direction. I think about, I referenced Nicodemus, I think about Nicodemus. Nicodemus was part of that elite Jewish group, yet he was seeking. Why, because he came to talk to Jesus and ask Him these questions. Seeking can come in different ways and different forms. It can be in the form of a question. Somebody who’s already of the faith, who’s saying, “But I need to know this.” Like in my case, I’m talking about heaven and hell, and the kingdom of God, why, because I want us to know! We’ve covered a plethora of subjects over this forty years of ministry here. And I find this is the one subject we haven’t spent any time on. It’s the one subject we should be focused on! It’s the one subject that gives substance to everything else. Why, if we don’t have this subject knowing that there’s something else beyond here, all we can focus on is what we have in the here and now, which then brings you back to focusing on “How much money can I have? And how many things can I get?” and it’s all about the now. There’s nothing else; but there is something else and my Bible tells me clearly. Now it’s a big subject as I said, and I don’t think that I could in one message sum it up. This is why it’s taking me so many, and there are dimensions. This particular, what we’re doing now is out of Matthew, and we’ll move through the New Testament, but imperative to today’s message and what I want to make sure you leave here with, is a good understanding of something. Seeking is not a onetime event. Seeking is not coming in this building or any other building one time and saying, “Yup, I don’t like it” or, “Yup, I got it” or, “I understood.” Seeking is a process of learning. And it’s first learning about who this Jesus is. Who is this Master? Who is this Rabbi? Who is this miracle Worker? Who is this Person who claimed that He would resurrect, and He did? Who is this Individual? When I come to understand and encounter Him, I begin. I begin my relationship. It’s like meeting somebody and saying, “What’s your name?” And you begin to learn and you, you have a discussion, you begin to know somebody’s interests; you begin to find out about them. This is the same thing I’m asking you when I say “Seek.” Now many of the people in my listening audience have been seekers for a long time, seekers that have found, but still wanting to dig deep. But there’s a whole host of people out there who are seeking, but they don’t even know what they’re seeking after. They’re seeking after an experience. Well, let me tell you about the experience. The experience will go away. The experience tapped into the emotive feeling, which is great; I’m not negating that. I’m not saying, “Don’t have feelings,” but it tapped into that which made you feel good, but nothing can substitute from the book. And that, that is what I’m wanting people out there to do, to seek, to actually avidly, with a mission seek to understand. So for those who are out there seeking today, you’re not going to get the answers in one day. I have been, I’m coming up on my fifteen year anniversary in the pastorate and I, who spend a lot of time in the word, and I have ten years above that, so twenty-five years in this ministry. And I still can tell you I don’t know. I mean I have a lot of information, but I’m still seeking, I’m still digging, I’m still learning. And I’ll continue to do that until the day I die. Why, because I want to know everything that I can know about the One I’m going to spend eternity with. I want to know that when I get in His presence, I know Him and He knows me. It’s not a one-way street. I want Him to know that in my lifetime it was important, not just because I’m Pastor Scott, because remove me out the pastorate, but just as an individual just like you sitting in the pew, my time will come. You’re time will come. Now I’ve got, I don’t know what the time is in front of me, but I am going to use that time seeking, digging in, learning, growing in knowledge, and when I get to the point I think when I think that I have taken in as much as I can, I believe that will be the day that God says, “Come on, you’re coming with Me.” Until that time I too will keep seeking and I too will keep digging. And that’s what I’m asking you to do. But Matthew’s drive for us today is a wonderful way of kind of stringing this series together to say, don’t think that you can learn something in one message in one hour. This is ongoing. We’re building blocks and as we keep building up the blocks, let’s keep building up our understanding to where we go back and we read a passage like this from 6:24 to 6:34, reread it now with the eyes of maybe messages that I’ve touched on or words that I’ve explained, and you realize something. There’s a lot more in the Bible that is beyond the here and now. We can read something in the moment and it brings us comfort, but what about the comfort of the future that we often say is unknown? Well, I can’t tell you how Melissa Scott’s life is, how long it’s going to go, how many years and how it’s going to end, but I can only tell you about what I’m told about for my faith, not for works, not for anything else. He says for my faith, “Enter in” into His presence with the statement, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That should be in the heart of every individual who calls upon the name of Jesus Christ. I want to know who my heavenly Father is. I’ve spent a lot of time here on earth kind of in the family-less state; no longer. I want to know who my heavenly Father is and who the family of God should be celebrating every single Sunday while we reach into this word and pull out things that can encourage us to not only keep going, but to keep pressing, to keep seeking. Because why, I will know more next week than I did this week and I’ll keep growing. And as time goes on, what have I been doing, seeking to grow, to understand. And then this promise comes right in front of me. As I seek about the things concerning Him and His kingdom, His righteousness; mine is filthy rags, but His covers me and clothes me so that when God looks down at this sinner, He doesn’t see a filthy sinner. He looks down with the covering of Christ that I wear by faith and says, “This is My daughter, washed and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb that even imperfect has set her heart upon Me, and that’s all I care about.” I pray that’s the same sentiment for you in your heart. And like the book of Ecclesiastes says, when it says He has placed eternity in their hearts, He has indeed. And I’m so grateful that He has, because my eyes are fixed there to know what a glorious thing eternity will be. I can’t wait until, you know, it, it unfolds. And as I said, we don’t know. The people who said they were going to be there, maybe they won’t be there. And the people who we thought would never make it in, they’ll be the first ones in line. Remember, the Bible says the first will be last and the last shall be first. I don’t know except to trust Him and to keep pressing on and to keep seeking. And that’s what I’m urging you to do. That’s my message. You have been watching me, Pastor Melissa Scott, live from Glendale, California at Faith Center. If you would like to attend the service with us, Sunday morning at 11am, simply call 1-800-338-3030 to receive your pass. If you’d like more teaching and you would like to go straight to our website, the address is www.PastorMelissaScott.com

5 comments

  1. Praise God. Praise His Holy Spirit! Ive been meditating on this. “Seeker friendly” has become a source of hatespeach in the Church. While it refers to worldliness in churches and this may have some merit, the seeker has become an enemy by this saying, and thats not good at all. People must always seek the Kingdom of God continually. We must be hospitable to those who are lost and graceful to them who have a desire to know the Lord. We must be graceful and not to condemn. Love your neighbor!

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