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Seek First the Kingdom of God

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January 28th, 2015 | Filed Under: Author, Kingdom, Mitch Kuhn, Topical Studies2 Comments | Author:

(Mat 6:31) “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
(Mat 6:32) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
(Mat 6:33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
(Mat 6:34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The Gentiles are contrasted with God’s people the Jews, and are a symbol of
disobedience, rebellion, and seeking after the idols of this present evil age.

*updated January 28, 2015 part 2

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Study Notes

You can read the study in pdf format: Seek_First_the_Kingdom-Part1.pdf
You can read the study in pdf format: Seek_First_the_Kingdom_of_God_(Final)-Part2and3.pdf

Study Notes Part 1

(Mat 6:31) “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
(Mat 6:32) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
(Mat 6:33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
(Mat 6:34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The Gentiles are contrasted with God’s people the Jews, and are a symbol of
disobedience, rebellion, and seeking after the idols of this present evil age.

What should we seek?

Seek:

G2212
ζητέω
zēteō

(Mat 7:7) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
(Mat 7:8) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Does this mean that we can just ask for anything we want and God will give it to us?

Christ says this just a few verses later:

(Mat 7:13) “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
(Mat 7:14) Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

What is this narrow way? What should we ask for?

(Luk 17:33) Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

(Jas 4:1) Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
(Jas 4:2) You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
(Jas 4:3) You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss (G2560), that you may spend it on your pleasures (lusts).

Amiss:

G2560
κακῶς
kakōs

Total KJV Occurrences: 16
sick, 8
Mat_4:24, Mat_8:16, Mat_9:12, Mar_1:34, Mar_2:17, Mar_6:55, Luk_5:31, Luk_7:2
diseased, 2
Mat_14:35, Mar_1:32
evil, 2
Joh_18:23, Act_23:5
amiss, 1
Jam_4:3
grievously, 1
Mat_15:22
miserably, 1
Mat_21:41
sore, 1
Mat_17:15

Pleasures:

G2237
ἡδονή
hēdonē

(Luk 8:14) Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures (G2237) of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

(Heb 11:24) By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
(Heb 11:25) choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures (G2237) of sin,
(Heb 11:26) esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

Let’s continue in James 4.

(Jas 4:4) Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

(1Jn 2:15) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(1Jn 2:16) For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

We cannot serve two masters.

(Mat 6:24) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money, riches).

If we are going to serve God first, then these are the evil thoughts we will have to take captive. It’s the very next verse.

Mat 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you
will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is
not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Practical applications:

Seeking first the kingdom is a general principle that has many applications in our lives. We will confront countless temptations to do things the world’s way, and we must learn in time to overcome those temptations and obey the Lord.

Family:

We must seek to serve God and not please the flesh of our families.

(Luk 14:26) “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
(Luk 14:27) And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Our own families will persecute us, which will manifest who we love more, God or man.

(Mat 10:35) For I have come to ‘SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW’;
(Mat 10:36) and ‘A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THOSE OF HIS OWN HOUSEHOLD.’
(Mat 10:37) He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Jesus does not mean that we should neglect our families and not provide for him, he is saying that God must come first.

(1Ti 5:8) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

(Eph 6:1) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
(Eph 6:2) “HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,” which is the first commandment with promise:
(Eph 6:3) “THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU AND YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.”
(Eph 6:4) And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

(Mar 7:9) He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
(Mar 7:10) For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO CURSES FATHER OR MOTHER, LET HIM BE PUT TO DEATH.’
(Mar 7:11) But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God),
(Mar 7:12) then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother,
(Mar 7:13) making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Work:

(2Th 3:10) For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
(2Th 3:11) For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.
(2Th 3:12) Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

(1Ti 6:6) Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
(1Ti 6:7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
(1Ti 6:8) And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
(1Ti 6:9) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
(1Ti 6:10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
(1Ti 6:11) But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

(Pro 30:8) Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me;
(Pro 30:9) Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the LORD?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.

It is not evil to have riches, it is just very rare for someone to be chosen of God and have wealth. Yet there are a few.

(1Ti 6:17) Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
(1Ti 6:18) Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
(1Ti 6:19) storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

(1Co 1:25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(1Co 1:26) For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

There are countless other topics that God will try us with. This is just a very basic introduction to the concept of seeking first the kingdom.

Study Notes Part 2 & 3 (Final version)

We’ve all heard these verses and understand that God must come first in our lives, but what does that mean?

(Mat 6:33 NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
(Mat 6:34 NKJV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The Lord has given us the physical creation to help us understand what he means when he gives us commands (Romans 1:20). If we just read the verses above and apply our own understanding we’re going to fall off one side of the narrow way or the other (Prov 3:5-6).

We are certainly commanded to study God’s word, to fellowship with others, and teach others the truth, but what if that is all we do?

(2Ti 2:15 NKJV) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

(Psa 1:2 NKJV) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

(Heb 3:12 NKJV) Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
(Heb 3:13 NKJV) but exhort one another daily, while it is called “TODAY,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

(Mal 3:16 NKJV) Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name.

Let’s use marriage as an example since it is a shadow of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

(Eph 5:31 NKJV) “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.”
(Eph 5:32 NKJV) This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Your spouse should be your first priority in this life after serving God, so how important is it to put them first? When you first meet your spouse you’re infatuated and all you want to do is talk to them, spend time with them and learn about them. That’s all well and good for a season, but what happens if it continues year after year? Well, you can’t provide for a family if you spend all your time staring at your wife or husband, can you? There are other issues in life that must be done in order to properly serve your spouse and do what is best for them.

The same is true for us serving God, Christ, and his body. It’s certainly good that we spend time studying to know the word and to get to know other members of the body, but there are also many other important things that we have to do in this life to provide for others and ourselves.

(1Ti 5:8 NKJV) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

What does it take to provide for our own? Well we certainly must know the word of God so we can teach others.

(Pro 22:6 NKJV) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

(Eph 5:25 NKJV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
(Eph 5:26 NKJV) that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
(Eph 5:27 NKJV) that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

Let us now study Matthew 6:31-34 so that we can understand for ourselves and in due time be able to instruct others in the narrow way.

(Mat 6:31) “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
(Mat 6:32) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
(Mat 6:33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
(Mat 6:34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The Gentiles are contrasted with God’s people, the Jews, and are a
symbol of disobedience, rebellion, lack of faith, no fear of God, and
seeking after the idols of this present evil age.

What should we seek?

Seek: G2212
Ζητέω zēteō

(Mat 7:7) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
(Mat 7:8) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Does this mean that we can just ask for anything we want and God will give it to us?

Christ says this just a few verses later:

(Mat 7:13) “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
(Mat 7:14) Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

What is this narrow way? What should we ask for?

(Luk 17:33) Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

(Jas 4:1) Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
(Jas 4:2) You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
(Jas 4:3) You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss (G2560), that you may spend it on your pleasures (lusts).

Amiss: G2560
κακῶς kakōs

Total KJV Occurrences: 16
sick, 8
Mat_4:24, Mat_8:16, Mat_9:12, Mar_1:34, Mar_2:17, Mar_6:55, Luk_5:31, Luk_7:2
diseased, 2
Mat_14:35, Mar_1:32
evil, 2
Joh_18:23, Act_23:5
amiss, 1
Jam_4:3
grievously, 1
Mat_15:22
miserably, 1
Mat_21:41
sore, 1
Mat_17:15

Pleasures: G2237
ἡδονή hēdonē

(Luk 8:14) Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures (G2237) of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

(Heb 11:24) By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
(Heb 11:25) choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures (G2237) of sin,
(Heb 11:26) esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

Let’s continue in James 4.

(Jas 4:4) Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

(1Jn 2:15) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(1Jn 2:16) For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

We cannot serve two masters.

(Mat 6:24) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money, riches).

If we are going to serve God first, then these are the evil thoughts we will have to take captive. It’s the very next verse.

Mat 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what
You will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will
put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Practical applications:

Seeking first the kingdom is a general principle that has many applications in our lives. We will confront countless temptations to do things the world’s way, and we must learn in time to overcome those temptations and obey the Lord.

Family:

We must seek to serve God and not please the flesh of our families.

(Luk 14:26) “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
(Luk 14:27) And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Our own families will persecute us, which will manifest who we love more, God or man.

(Mat 10:35) For I have come to ‘SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW’;
(Mat 10:36) and ‘A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THOSE OF HIS OWN HOUSEHOLD.’
(Mat 10:37) He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Jesus does not mean that we should neglect our families and not provide for him; he is saying that God must come first.

(1Ti 5:8) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

(Eph 6:1) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
(Eph 6:2) “HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,” which is the first commandment with promise:
(Eph 6:3) “THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU AND YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.”
(Eph 6:4) And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

(Mar 7:9) He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
(Mar 7:10) For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO CURSES FATHER OR MOTHER, LET HIM BE PUT TO DEATH.’
(Mar 7:11) But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God),
(Mar 7:12) then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother,
(Mar 7:13) making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Work:

(2Th 3:10) For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
(2Th 3:11) For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.
(2Th 3:12) Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

(1Ti 6:6) Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
(1Ti 6:7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
(1Ti 6:8) And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
(1Ti 6:9) But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
(1Ti 6:10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
(1Ti 6:11) But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

(Pro 30:8) Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me;
(Pro 30:9) Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the LORD?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.

(Col 3:22 NKJV) Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.
(Col 3:23 NKJV) And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
(Col 3:24 NKJV) knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
(Col 3:25 NKJV) But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.

(Pro 18:9 NKJV) He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.

(Pro 12:27 KJV) The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

It is not evil to have riches, it is just very rare for someone to be chosen of God and have wealth. Yet there are a few.

(1Ti 6:17) Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
(1Ti 6:18) Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
(1Ti 6:19) storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

(1Co 1:25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(1Co 1:26) For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

The most important principle I want to emphasize is that we cannot use a desire to serve God, study the word, and fellowship as an excuse to neglect our work, families, and other physical things in this life.

(Mat 5:14 KJV) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
(Mat 5:15 KJV) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
(Mat 5:16 KJV) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

(1Pe 2:11 NKJV) Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
(1Pe 2:12 NKJV) having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
(1Pe 2:13 NKJV) Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,
(1Pe 2:14 NKJV) or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.
(1Pe 2:15 NKJV) For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—
(1Pe 2:16 NKJV) as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
(1Pe 2:17 NKJV) Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king

In Genesis it was Joseph’s diligence in his physical work, coupled with the wisdom God gave him to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams that brought him to the place that he could save many people alive and be a light to the world. We need to be diligent in both spiritual and physical matters, always keeping in mind that our treasure is to be in heaven and not on earth. If we fail to be diligent in the physical matters of this life, God will not trust us with the true riches.

(Luk 16:10 NKJV) He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
(Luk 16:11 NKJV) Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
(Luk 16:12 NKJV) And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?
(Luk 16:13 NKJV) “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

We should labor with our whole heart and should be diligent in all physical matters, not to store up treasure there, but to serve God and be a good example to others. The physical things in our life will prosper at times and will be taken away and be destroyed at times; if our heart is set on serving God, then we will be content in the good times and the bad.

(Php 4:11 ESV) Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
(Php 4:12 ESV) I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
(Php 4:13 ESV) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

We Welcome Your Comments

  • Mary

    Thanks you for sharing this me.

  • MitchellKuhn

    You’re welcome!

    Mitch Kuhn
    214-676-0933