20 September 2020 (Trinity Fifteenth Sunday Morning Prayer) Matthew 6:33
Last week, we meditated about the Old and New Testament covenants. Continuing on last week’s sermon, I would like to meditate from the Gospel according to St. Matthew chapter 6, verse 33. We are familiar with Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount where Jesus emphasised on “purity of the heart”. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. Jesus mentioned we need to seek two key things and promised “all these things shall be added unto you”. We read about seeking in Matthew 7 verses 7 and 8: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”. Let us meditate about what to seek and what will be added to us.
What to Seek?
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us to seek the kingdom of God. What did Jesus mean by ‘the kingdom of God’? Does He refer to the heaven now? Or eternal life? Or the new heaven and new earth? We will get answer to these questions if we understand the ages of the earth and God’s plan on us.
· We know that God created angels to praise and worship Him. Lucifer rebelled against God and was pushed down to the pit. This was the olden age.
· God renovated the earth and created Adam, Eve and other creatures. God created humans in His own image and gave them His own breath to live. God created humans to praise and worship Him. But the devil tempted Eve and both Adam and Eve committed sin against God and were separated from the presence of God. This first age from creation ended when Adam and Eve were sent out from the Garden of Eden. It is ‘Age of innocence’.
· The second period is ‘Age of conscience’. It is from when Adam and Eve’s life outside the garden of Eden until God made a new covenant with Noah after the flood.
· The third period is the ‘Age of human government’. It is from when God made a covenant with Noah until the Laws and commandments were given to the Israelites on their way to the promised land.
· The fourth period is the ‘Age of the Law’. It started from the time when laws and commandments were given through Moses until Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament Laws on the cross.
· The fifth period is ‘Church Age or Age of Grace’. It started from the Day of Pentecost and will end with rapture. The early church was established on the day of Pentecost. The early church was established by the love of God and the grace of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ. Rapture will happen when the Lamb of God will come to receive the church as His bride. Rapture will happen before the tribulation period. We do not know when Rapture will be. Rapture or the secret coming of Jesus is getting delayed because of the grace of Jesus Christ. We are living in this Grace period or the Church age.
· After the bride is taken, that is rapture, the whole world will be given to Anti-Christ. God’s grace on humans will end when the bride is taken. This sixth period will be the ‘Age of Tribulation’. It has three and a half years of tribulation and another three and a half years of great tribulation.
· This tribulation period will end with the second coming of Jesus. He will land on Mount Sinai for the Armageddon battle. At the end of the battle, the devil and his army will be imprisoned for thousand years and Jesus will rule the whole world. This is the 1000-year reign. This will be ‘Millennium age’. This is the seventh and last age of this world. This age will end with the Great White Throne Judgement. Satan and his followers will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. God will then create the new heaven and the new earth or the New Jerusalem which is the kingdom of God.
When Jesus said ‘seek ye first the kingdom of God’, He was talking about this kingdom of God. The kingdom where we will live our eternal and everlasting life with Jesus.
We are familiar with two births and two deaths. The first birth and death which is our physical birth and death is not in our hands. But the second birth which is the spiritual birth and the second death which is eternal death is our choice. The one who is born again will not face eternal death or condemnation. The one who has not experienced spiritual birth will face eternal death. He will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone after the White Throne Judgement. Our life is very short in this world. Psalm 103: 15 and 16 says, “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.” Although the earthly life is short, Revelation 20:10 says those who face eternal death by being cast in lake of fire and brimstone shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
God the Father created us in His own image and gave His breath to live. It is not His will for those created in His own image to be tormented day and night forever in the lake of fire and brimstone. He gave his only begotten son to save every one of us from eternal death. Jesus overcame the trials and temptations in the wilderness and preached saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. The first step to seek the kingdom of God is repentance and being washed with the blood of the Lamb. The next step is to live a holy life following the Holy Spirit’s guidance. The Holy Spirit will convict us and guide us to repent and reconcile with God. Above all, we must endure to the end.
What will be added unto us?
Many times, when we read this verse, we are focussed on the second part. We think of all the earthly blessings that we will get by seeking the kingdom of God. Jesus did not clearly mention what will be added to us in the verse. But we have the answer in Matthew 5 and 6. Matthew 5 speaks about reward for Godly qualities and Matthew 6 about reward for our day-to-day activities.
In Matthew 5 verses 3 to 11 we read, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” We have inheritance in Jesus, we will be comforted by Him, we will be filled, we will have mercy in the sight of others and God, we shall see God, we will be called God’s children. Above all, we will have our reward in heaven.
In Matthew 6, Jesus preached how we can show we are God’s children in our everyday lives. He spoke about giving alms, praying and forgiveness. When we do our alms, the Father in heaven will reward us openly. When we fast and pray in secret, our heavenly Father will reward us openly. When we forgive others, we will be forgiven. Jesus also encourages us not to worry about our daily needs, that is, food and clothing. Our Heavenly Father will feed and clothe us. Our Heavenly father knows everything that we need even before we ask. He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider. All of these promises or blessings have conditions. When we fulfil the conditions, we will receive the blessings.
In Luke 10: 41 and 42 we read about Mary who had chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her. Let us self-examine ourselves. Where is our focus when we read the verse Matthew 6:33 that says “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. Are we seeking God only to receive blessings from Him? God wants us to focus on seeking Him to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God. Are we willing to seek Him with our whole heart and repent when we fall into sin? Are we listening and obeying to the Holy Spirit’s still small voice of conviction? How are we living every day? How is our charity done? How do we pray? How do we forgive? Do we trust God to meet our needs or are we worried and anxious? Where are we laying up our treasures?
Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Where are our treasures? Where are our hearts? If we seek the kingdom of God, our treasures will be in heaven. We will inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God.
I pray we lay our treasures in Heaven and inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God. Amen!