Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
To begin our lesson let us consider two passages of scripture. Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. The Lord Jesus summarizes the law for us, and here gives the first and greatest commandment of all. But take good note of the last part of verse 37. We are commanded to love God “with all our minds!” Are we to understand that none is a true christianity except that which approaches God with a mind of love? Most of us have never considered what it is to have a love towards God that abounds with knowledge. Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
But there is another verse that may shed farther light on this. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (Charity) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; The mindset of the true believer with the love of God within, manifests itself in not thinking any evil thoughts of doubt or criticism towards God! The mind must be guided by a renewal of the Holy Spirit into not doubting God, but by living in a faithful confidence of his mercies. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Then we must also consider this verse: Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For here we are instructed that the maturing of that spiritual man in sanctification, which has been granted him by regeneration, is to be had by the renewing of one’s mind! And with these few scriptures we begin to see just how much of the christian practice we have been ignoring.
Proverbs 23:6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: 7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. A person can seem to have a gracious spirit of hospitality to invite others in to share with them his bountiful table. But his “evil eye” (compare this with the “bountiful eye” of Proverbs 22:9, and also read Matthew 20:15), has the companion of a wicked heart, hidden under the hypocrisy of outward show. But take note of that first part of verse seven: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Therefore we see that one’s inward personality is defined by what he thinks, and not by his staged actions.
This is the reason we have the Lord addressing some professing “christians” like this: Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. But how can preaching and “wonderful works” of religion be accounted by the Lord as works of iniquity? It is because the Lord considers not the outward show, but the inner character of the man! 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
When the Lord Jesus Christ invites us to come “unto Him,” he was not inviting us to participate in a religious system! He was inviting us to come to his mindset, for he continues by stating, “learn of me!” Matt. 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
He was not saying, “Learn about me!” He, most assuredly, was a historical Jesus! But just the admittance of a historical Jesus cannot provided you with salvation! For it is only Christ within us, living out his life through us, thinking his thoughts within us, that is the true and only salvation! Consider these passages: Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
As we have already said, maturing in sanctification comes in the Spirit’s developing of our minds! Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Ephesians 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation (“manner of life”), the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Think! Just for a minute! Let’s suppose that your Granny is “in heaven” at this precise moment. OK? Now, just what does she look like, and how is her life being sustained? “Well,” you say, “I see her in that rocking chair, with her glasses on, and her hair in that bun on the back of her head…” Wait a minute! The grandkids are fighting over that rocking chair, (probably wanting to sell it on eBay!), and her teeth, nose, fingers and hair are still in that casket in the ground! Once again. What does she look like? And since she didn’t take her mouth, tongue, teeth, throat, nor stomach, how is she being nourished? For without all those things, she can’t eat! Right?!?
If she is in the presence of God in her glory, she stands there in the spiritual self-consciousness that the Lord gave her in Christ Jesus at her regeneration when she was ‘born again.’ And the one who sustains her there, without her body, is the Lord Jesus also! Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (or, ‘stand together’).
And since that is the case, why do we spend so much time, energy and money on that which shall be left behind in the grave, and not strive to perfect that, like your Granny is now, which stands in the presence of the Lord? Why do we “take thought” for only those things which unbelievers seek? 2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
Isn’t it time for the sleepy virgins to awaken, and get out of the accompanying spiritual slumber of the foolish virgins, and prepare ourselves for the approach of the Heavenly Bridegroom? Concerning the world, we read in 2 Corinthians 6:17, Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, But concerning the spirit of Harlot religion, we read in Hebrews 13:12, Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Matthew 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Mark 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; Ephesians 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
And then we must take notice of the word of contrast which begins verse 33 of our text, listed above. – “But seek ye first.” For since he has laid out for us those matters of which we must “take no thought,” he now comes to instruct us as to that which is worthy of the thoughts of the spiritual mind which he has given us. And he instructs us to seek two things: the kingdom of God, and God’s righteousness. Man began in immediate fellowship with God before sin entered. He was able to commune with the Presence of God as they both walked in the Holy Spirit! And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: (Gen. 3:8).
But that fellowship was broken by sin and the mind of man was darkened. Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. And that fellowship can only be restored by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! For in it alone is the recovery of the revelation of Him that was from the beginning. 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
Therefore we are to use our spiritually renewed minds in the seeking, the contemplation, and the developing of his kingdom and righteousness within us. We are to remain in a continuous awareness of our King. For we are instructed to Pray without ceasing. (1 Thess. 5:17). Do you understand that tells us not to cease to commune with God? Religion cannot accomplish this! Constantly folding the hands, closing the eyes and bowing the head would certainly be more deadly than texting while driving! It can only be accomplished by never “sewing fig leaves” (Gen. 3:7), to hid any thoughts from the Lord! It is accomplished by thinking every thought in a consciousness of Christ! 2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And that second thing that the Lord told us to “seek first,” was his righteousness. Again, due to religious legalism, we usually are only seeking man’s morality and not God’s righteousness! But the Lord tells us that this is an unacceptable substitute! For that is but a “filthy rag” righteousness in comparison. Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Cain’s turnip is no more acceptable today than it was when he tried to offer it! Righteousness has to do with Abel’s lamb! For the righteousness of God is only involved by the sacrifice of the blood of the Lamb! 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
One must seek to discover if they actually have an interest in the atonement! We must seek to know if our sin was imputed to God’s Lamb, and if Christ’s righteousness was placed into our account! God have mercy! To do otherwise is still to seek the living among the dead! But Christ is not there in the deadness of orthodoxy! He is risen! And we shall not find him, but only as we lift up our minds by the Spirit!
Pastor Gene Breed, April 9, 2014