Lesson 104—March 6, 2016
The Clock is Ticking
Scripture: Matthew 6:33-34
Lesson Goal: Seeking first the Kingdom of God.
Introduction: In the mid1980s, I was introduced by my son Daniel to Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo. Since that time, I have become quite familiar with each of them, their individual tools of trade and their ongoing struggles against evil and crime. Before I lose you all, let me explain. The Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo I make reference to are not four Renaissance Italian artists. They are four fictional anthropomorphic turtles who were trained in the martial art of ninjutsu by their anthropomorphic rat sensei. Wikipedia says, “From their home in sewers of New York City, they battle petty criminals, evil overlords, mutated creatures and alien invaders while attempting to remain hidden from society.” During Daniel’s childhood we were quite familiar with these masked heroes. In fact, I still enjoy watching them from time to time. In addition to watching the movie and television series of the eighties and nineties, Daniel collected quite an assortment of Ninja Turtle memorabilia.
One specific thing I have in common with the Ninja Turtles is the enjoyment of pizza. During those days, delivery pizza was just coming on the scene in small cities and towns across the United States. On many occasions the turtles would take time from their busy lives of crime fighting to phone in a pizza order which they would have delivered to their residence in the New York sewer. One of the marketing tools of those early pizza deliveries was they offered a prescribed time for delivery, or a deduction was made for each minute the delivery was later than that prescribed time. After placing each order, the Ninja Turtle would add these words: “The clock is ticking, dude.” These words served as a reminder to the pizza delivery person that there was no time to waste. I have used that simple phrase literally hundreds of times through the years. “The clock is ticking, dude”
As we come to the Scripture passage of today’s lesson, we learn that there is no time to waste for the clock is truly ticking for all of us.
(V33) “But”—Greek “de,” which is primarily a conjunction of contrast. It also carries the idea of “rather than” or “instead of.” We must remember that throughout our study of the “Sermon on the Mount,” we have observed Jesus’ emphasis on the contrast and distinctions between true religion and false religion, between spiritual truth and spiritual hypocrisy, true righteousness and false righteousness.
“Seek first the kingdom of God.”
“kingdom”—Greek “basileia.” The word does not mean, or refer to, a specific geographical ground or territory. The word basiliea refers to rule or dominion. As followers of Jesus Christ, our greatest priority in life should be to seek to live under the rule and reign of God. Our lives should be lived in daily surrender to His lordship. The number one, and most important, priority of the believer’s life is to live in daily obedience to the Lord.
The word “seek” is a present imperative which is a command with continuing fulfillment or continuing results. The priority in a believer’s life is simply to please and honor God through loyalty and obedience to Him.
What are you seeking first?
What has the priority of your commitment?
What is the first, or central, priority of your life?
“Disciples of Jesus must understand the action (seek, strive), the priority (first) and the objectives (the Kingdom of God and His righteousness) (Life Application Bible Commentary).
The Life Application Bible Commentary also offers some very practical advice concerning the seeking of God’s Kingdom:
When we attempt to assign the appropriate amount of time to the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, so that we can figure out how much time we have left to do other activities, we reduce Jesus’ words to a lesson in sequence and planning rather than a command about the whole of life. But if we think of “seek first” as consistently look for, honor throughout, represent constantly and remember always, then the way we deal with family, friends, work, leisure, etc. will all be transformed. The rule of God and God’s rules will determine and direct our efforts in every area of life. If this is not the case, we are not seeking first God’s Kingdom of righteousness.
Please explain what it means to “seek first the Kingdom of God.”
In a personal, literal way, how are you seeking first the Kingdom of God?
Please give details of how seeking first the Kingdom of God affects your many different roles of life.
For example: as a student, mom, brother, employee, employer, teacher, friend…
John MacArthur explains: “Seeking God’s Kingdom is losing ourselves in obedience to the Lord.”
(V33) “and all these things shall be added unto you.”
David Platt offers this insight:
Those that have a righteousness that flows from the heart of God should no longer be consumed with the things of the world. Now, this does not mean that if we ever struggle or give in to the pull of the world, that we are not disciples of Jesus. There is an “already—not yet” aspect to the Christian life. We are already saved, but we are not yet in heaven. We are not perfected. We are not glorified. There will always be a struggle in this life. Nevertheless Jesus’ point is that even though we will still battle these ungodly ambitions, and even fail many times, there ought to be at least a competing desire in our hearts for the glory of God and for the Kingdom of righteousness.
The cause of much of our worry, anxiety and frustration is that we are living life constantly seeking things of this world. We, as believers, are not to have the same priorities as the world. We understand that true contentment and peace does not come as a result of things or “stuff” in our lives.
(V34) We are told that we are not to worry about today and certainly there is no need or benefit about worrying about tomorrow. I have heard it said that we labor in this life worrying about two days—yesterday and tomorrow. Jesus assures us that we can rest upon His promise and the assurances of God’s Word. We should focus our lives on daily obedience to God. The priority of our lives should be to please Him in all that we are and in all that we do. Each day that the Lord blesses us with the gift of life should be a day we live honoring unto Him with our actions, attitudes and behavior. With pure hearts, we should surrender daily to His role in our hearts.
How great is our God! The cool thing is—We get to live for Him today! What can be better than that?