Matthew chapter 6 is about being brought into the kingdom of God, knowing our heavenly Father, and having the whole of our lives transformed. It teaches us that knowing our heavenly Father is key to living in the kingdom of God. The difference this makes in our lives will be between living for ourselves and living for the glory of God. If you’d like to learn more about these things discussed in today’s podcast consider listening to the following sermons by Dr. Richard Caldwell:
Biblical Giving: https://youtu.be/OtBOI5Jp2UQ
Four Fruits of Biblical Giving: https://youtu.be/2dL-1OGzw50
Matthew 6:33 tells us, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." What is meant by this saying? What exactly are we to be seeking? What is the kingdom of God in this passage? What is it that will be added to us in our seeking? How will we know that we have received it? These are the topics of this week’s Straight Truth Podcast. Dr. Richard Caldwell and host Dr. Josh Philpot take up and discuss these questions and more as they relate to Jesus’ words from the sermon on the mount found in Matthew chapter 6.
Dr. Caldwell tells us that the kingdom of God is used in more than one sense in the scriptures. The context in which these words occur will always be key to help us understand the meaning. Here, in Matthew 6, it speaks of that which pleases God. We are called to prioritize and strive after that which would advance God’s will on the earth. Specifically, in this section of Scripture, what’s been discussed are temporal things that all people need. These are things that people worry about and become anxious over as they live their lives here on earth. What our Lord is saying is that as children of the kingdom, we don’t have to be anxious about these things because our heavenly Father knows what we need. Jesus, our Lord, Master, and King, points us to that which is eternal and on that which our emphasis should be placed. We are to seek to please God first and foremost. As we go about our daily living for Him, we then need not worry about these temporal things, we can trust God to provide the things we need for existing here on the earth.
Dr. Philpot asks about the person who would come along and say, I’ve done this all my life from the time of my conversion. Further telling us, they've been faithful to seek the Lord in this way, yet things have been difficult. Things have not turned out better for them and everything continues to be a struggle. What can be said to this person?
Dr. Caldwell says it’s important to distinguish between what we think we need and what our heavenly Father knows we need. What we are promised in this and other texts is that He knows what we need even before we ask. Our asking comes by way of prayer. Prayer is a means that God uses as He supplies for us. However, not everything we ask for is what we need. There are times that God withholds things from His children. In this passage, we’re taught that it’s in having food and clothing we are to be content. We must learn and have contentment so that we can be discerning when we don’t receive that for which we have asked. What this comes down to is knowing the character of God. Questions we need to consider are: Do I know God? Do I know His character? Do I know that He loves me? Do I know that He is good? Do I know that He’s the perfect Father? Knowing these things, can I, therefore, trust that whatever I need I will have and that if I don’t have it, I don’t need it?
Dr. Philpot tells us it’s in this very same chapter that Jesus also says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”. Is there a sense here then, that we are not to be so fixated on what we need today? How can we practically understand and apply this?
Dr. Caldwell explains that if we don’t trust our Father to supply for us then we think it’s our jobs to supply for ourselves. What this often results in is the hoarding up in this temporal realm, instead of having the freedom to serve God well, which would include acts of generosity, sharing, and giving. So then part of pursuing the kingdom of God first includes meeting the needs of other people, sometimes in the material realm. This is a way of being rich toward God and others. But we can't live our lives in this sort of fearless abandonment if we believe it’s our job to take care of ourselves. However, this is not to say that the Bible doesn’t teach and call us to wise financial management, good stewardship, and to save and prepare for the future.
- THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH