Do you get anxious, worry excessively about life's cares? Jesus Christ shows us how to put them in perspective.
Bill Faith: Said Jesus: "Do not worry saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:31-32)
Jesus advises us that we should first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. So, where would you start? If you were to find His righteousness where would you look? Many do not even know what the kingdom of God is, neither do they understand that it is to be established on the earth and not in heaven. Nevertheless, the place to start would be to find Christ.
Jesus said, "I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9). To find the kingdom of God and His righteousness, we must first realize that Jesus is the door that we must first go through. In fact we are told in Acts 4:12 that, "There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved."
One of the most vivid examples in the Bible that helps us to understand that we must go through Jesus Christ to enter the kingdom of God is found in the account of the original Passover. The congregation of Israel was instructed to kill an unblemished lamb for each household on the fourteenth day of the first month (on the calendar they used at the time) and to have its blood painted on the lintel and two door-posts of the houses where they were to eat it. The animals were to be roasted by fire and eaten that evening while they were dressed and ready for departure. Then at midnight the Lord passed through the land of Egypt and killed the firstborn of both people and animals whose family did not have the blood of the lamb painted on their door-frame.
Then early the following morning Pharaoh called for the Israelites to leave Egypt immediately. So that night the Israelites departed for the promised land. When they left their homes, they had to walk through their doorways that were painted with the blood of an unblemished lamb (Exodus 12).
At the time, the Israelites did not understand the reason for what they were asked to do. Today, however, we can look back and understand the significance of why God asked them to do what He did. The Promised Land represented the kingdom of God. And when they departed for the Promised Land they first had to walk through that doorway which represented the shed blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. Christ is the true lamb, and when we depart for the kingdom of God we must first walk through that door which is Christ.
The Right Way
Jesus stated that if anyone enters through Him they would 'find pasture'. The definition of the word pasture (Gk. nome) is quite interesting. From Strong's Exhaustive Concordance we find that the word not only means, "To parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals" but that it is derived from law (Gk. nomos). No wonder the apostle Paul asks, "Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law" (Romans 3:31). God's Law is the road that leads to His Kingdom. The conclusion is that when we seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, we first must seek Christ, and by doing so we establish righteousness. The righteousness that is defined by God's law.
The righteousness that God expects us to establish is sometimes different than what the world defines as righteousness. For example, the world is trying to have same-gender-cohabitation accepted as a normal alternative lifestyle. In fact, some corporations are now offering health care coverage to their employees' same sex partners. And at least one state in the United States has accepts marriages between same sex partners. God, however, condemns this and gives a twofold reason for the cause of it. Because the world worships the creation more than the creator and because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge (Romans 1:21-32).
Black Equals White
Just what is right and what is wrong? Too many of us are confused!
Consider an unborn child. Is it a human life? A baby that is almost full term is pulled feet first out of its mother's womb and killed by piercing the back of the head and neck with scissors. And this is legal. Yet if a woman who is carrying an unborn child is hit by a car and the baby killed, the driver of the car can be tried for manslaughter. Can you have it both ways?
When it comes to defining righteousness many people have lost their way. A huge number of American citizens thought it was all right for the previous President of the United States to sexually misbehave-right in the sanctity of the Oval Office, the heart of government.
The truth is. the righteousness that God expects from us is far different than what many people think it is. If Christ were to come today many would deny Him-just as they did two thousand years ago. They would consider Him to be too harsh and far too conservative. If they could, they would kill Him all over again!
When we realize how far the people have drifted off course from what is truth, we can then understand why the time is coming when they will deliver up the true Christians to tribulation and kill them all the while thinking that they are doing God a service.
In Matthew 13:31-32 Jesus spoke an interesting parable concerning the kingdom of God:
The kingdom of heaven [or, of God] is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which is indeed the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.
The kingdom of heaven, in other words, began with one man, Jesus Christ. He was a man of sorrows, a man despised and rejected by men, a man acquainted with grief, a man thought to be an illegitimate child, a man who began His life being born in a manger. Yet because he overcame the world, died for our sins and was resurrected to eternal life, we now have a Savior in whom we can find rest and peace. A Savior who said that if he were to be lifted up from the earth (to heaven, by a resurrection), would draw all people to Himself (John 12:32).
For you and me, the kingdom of God also begins on a very small scale. We repent of our sins, are baptized and have hands laid on us to receive God's Holy Spirit. God's Spirit is His down payment and assurance that we will have eternal life and be in the kingdom of God (Ephesians 1:13-14). We were purchased with Christ's own blood (Acts 20:28). And we can look forward to changing from mortal to immortal at the resurrection (I Corinthians 15:51-53).
And what is our inheritance? Here's the apostle Paul again: "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ..." (Romans 8:16-17). Jesus is to inherit all things, and because we are joint heirs with Him, then we will also inherit all things!
The promises of God cannot fail. The future that He offers us is beyond human imagination But we must put Him first in our lives. And when we find ourselves worrying about the future, about what we shall eat, drink or wear; just remember what Jesus said, "Do not worry about your life ... but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
To make your life a success, to make it work positively for you - and to secure your eternal future - you must through Jesus Christ put first the things of the Kingdom.
To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.
For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Volume 5 Issue 4, July/August 2001. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.
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