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Seek First the Kingdom of God

“Selfishness looks first at home, but godliness seeks first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, yet in the long run selfishness is loss, and godliness is great gain. It needs faith to act towards our God with an open hand, but surely he deserves it of us; and all that we can do is a very poor acknowledgment of our amazing indebtedness to his goodness.”
 
Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).
 

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A Few Thoughts As We Enter the New Year

Occasion: Sunday Worship 29th December 2013

Illustration: If you have a watch that loses one second every day, is it really serious?  Will you notice a big difference each day?  After one week, your watch will have only lose 7 seconds.  After 1 year, you will only lose around 4 minutes, but after 15 years, your time would lose an hour and 31 minutes, and in 30 years you would lose over three hours.  Here is the principle: we must take time to consider where we are and where we are going based on God’s perfect standard, or like the watch loosing time, we will one day find ourselves very far from the standards God has established in his word.

Text: 2 Peter 3:17-18

Purpose: Peter wants his audience to grow in their knowledge and practice of the truth, rather than being distracted by false teaching, therefore he commands them to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

Proposition: God wants me to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

Interrogative: How can I grow in grace?

I.  Evaluation: Am I spiritually healthy?

What I am doing?

  • Am I seeking to present Christ to the lost?
  • Am I daily studying the Scriptures systematically?
  • Do I have a disciplined daily prayer life?
  • Am I walking in obedience to God’s moral will in my daily life

Where am I going?

  • Was I more consistent in my evangelism than last year?
  • Was my study of the Bible more consistent than last year?
  • Has my daily practice of private prayer been more consistent that last year?
  • Have I been walking in greater obedience than last year?

What am I becoming? (This is the most revealing series of questions we will ask!)

  • What do my reactions to pain, suffering, and challenges reveal about what I am becoming?
  • What do my reactions to promotion reveal about what I am becoming?
  • What do my reactions to demotion reveal about what I am becoming?
  • What do my reactions to opportunities to take advantage of others reveal about what I am becoming?

II.  Execution: How do I grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Recognize the command: This is not a suggestion.  It is a command and God expects us to obey His commands.

2 Peter 3:17-18 Beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Recognize your limitations:

John 15:4-5 The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me…for without Me you can do nothing.

1 John 4:7 Love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Galatians 5:22 Love is a fruit of the Spirit…

Understand God’s moral will: Before conversion, the law condemns us, but once we are in Christ, there is now no condemnation.  The righteous requirements of the law have been met in Christ and Christ has received God’s holy wrath for us.  Now the law reveals God’s moral will for all believers.  If I want to know what God wants me to do in any situation, I must search the scriptures.

Diligently seize God’s sanctifying instruments of grace:

Illustration: Every occupation has tools to accomplish the work.  The doctor has medical instruments. The teacher has books.  The carpenter has wood working tools, and God has the following items to shape us into the image of Christ.  Ephesians 2:10 says, we are His workmanship.

      • Meditate on the nature of the Gospel

1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.

      • Study and internalize the Word of God

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD converts the soul.

2 Timothy 3:17 The word of God was given that we might be fully mature, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

      • Have a consistent Biblically prioritized prayer life

Philippians 1:9 Paul prayed that their love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,

      • Do not neglect the local church

Ephesians 4:12-13 The church body and all the gifts is for the equipping of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

      • Practice and observe ordinances with understanding
        • When we witness baptism, our hearts are drawn to the nature of the gospel and conversion
        • When we dive at the Lord’s Table, we commune with God and remember the nature and implications of the gospel.

Conclusion:

  • Are you a genuine believer?  Have you received the gift of Christ’s righteousness through faith in the finished work of Christ our risen savior on the cross?
  • We have probably seen growth in certain areas, as well as failure in other areas.
  • Let’s recognize once again freshly the gospel and what God has done for us.
  • Let’s once again seize the powerful tools God has given to bring us to spiritual maturity.
  • God has given us everything we need to stand righteous before Him in Christ.
  • God has given us everything we need to grow up in spiritual maturity.
  • Let’s purpose through the grace of God to seize these sanctifying instruments of grace, so we can grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in 1 Peter Sermons

 

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9 Reasons I Reject the Common Prosperity Gospel

  •  God tells us not to love this world or the things in the world.
  • Some of the godliest saints in the history of the church have suffered intense persecution and deep poverty for the cause of Christ.
  • The rich are often viewed as the most difficult to reach with the gospel.
  • Riches tend to control us.
  • Riches often become idols to us.
  • Riches often turn our hearts away from God.
  • Ease has a tendency to destroy a godly sense of dependency upon God.
  • Christ tells us that the world will hate us and persecute us.
  • Suffering is a necessary part of our Christian growth.

Enjoy the good gifts of God with humility loving Him not because of your portion in this life, but because He is your portion both now and forever. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Updates

 

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