Keeping Jesus “first” in your Life
Keeping Jesus “first” in your Life
William Stout / General
Pre-eminence of Christ
Exodus 20:1–3 NKJV
1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
Seek Him First
Matthew 6:31–33 NKJV
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
- Keeping Jesus in first place in our life is to seek first His kingdom
- Seeking His Kingdom, and His righteousness
- This is a point that is often forgotten by Christians, and even many preachers today
- So many people seek His benefits and His blessings, without seeking Him
- For many people, Jesus not only doesn’t have first place, HE doesn’t have any place in their lives
- That is until catastrophe or poverty or other great needs arise
- So, today I want to discuss the concept of Keeping Him First – Seeking first His kingdom (His rule)
What does it mean to put Jesus First?
- This is a good question –
- Does it mean going to Church every Sunday?
- Does it mean paying tithes and giving in the offerings?
- Does it mean obeying a list of dos and don’ts?
- Or keeping other rituals, like praying over our food, singing in church, or such things?
- For some people have lists of priority in their lives to help them keep order:
- often as Church first, then Family, then Work
- Or Some would say, Family first, then God, then Work
- Actually, God first could mean the order of these priorities varies depending on circumstances
- Keeping Jesus first starts with recognizing the Preeminence of Jesus Christ
Colossians 1:16–18 NKJV
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him, all things consist.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
- Preeminence = Supremacy
- Jesus Christ is Supreme over all creation – Visible, invisible, thrones, dominions, principles, powers
- As Christians, we are His body, He is the head
- Keeping Jesus first is to live our life with this in the forefront of our thoughts:
- It may include going to church – but that does not make Him 1st
- it may include paying tithes and offerings (or more)
- may also include giving of oneself, of prayers, of fastings, of time, of compassion.
- It does not mean obeying a list of does and don’t although there may be a number of things that Christians “don’t” do.
1 Timothy 1:9–10 NKJV
9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,
- So, all the lists of does and don’ts (laws) are not made for people seeking Him, but for those who are not seeking Him
- Laws are not made for the righteous, but for the lawless —
1 Timothy 1:5 ASV 1901
5 But the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned:
- “The End” of the commandment – we all know what the end means right?
- So the key is “love” out of a pure heart
- If I love you, I don’t need a law to tell me not to hurt you
- If you love me, you don’t need a law telling you not to steal from me
- this is true even among those who obey no laws –
- To Keep Jesus first means to keep love first
- Love for Him
- Love for His people.
- If I love Him, then I will find it easy to keep Him first
Matthew 10:37–38 NKJV
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.
38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
Who needs to think about keeping Jesus First?
- We all should be concerned with keeping Jesus first in our lives
- Of course, non-Christians need to think about putting God first in their lives – (Acts 4:12)
- and many of them are aware of this
- We who are Christians must also be concerned about this:
2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
- It doesn’t matter where you were last year, what about today?
- Jesus spoke a parable of the sower and his seeds
- he described seeds that were thrown among weeds, that grew at first, then were choked out
- So many Christians are like this – like my koi pond garden
- David said “I see the Lord always before my face”
Benefits of Keeping Jesus First in your life
Psalm 103:1–2 NKJV
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
- There are benefits!!
- In the text today, Jesus said “seek first. . . And all these things will be added”
- Father God is a good God!
- He knows the things we need. He wants to help us. if we will seek Him
- He did not say to seek Him first so that we could “pay” or “earn” our salvation
- He said that He wants to give us good things, even all things
- He didn’t tell us to pay our tithes so that He could exact some hard penalty from us, but rather so that He could separate us for His benefits
Malachi 3:10–11 NKJV
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts;
- He has more good for you than you even have room to receive
- The bible says that His eyes are searching the whole earth looking for those to show Himself strong in
- Looking for someone seeking Him
- Looking for someone to bless! (through faith)
- Looking for someone to show His preeminence
- Looking for You – Keeping Him First
- He is a good God, and He wants to do good things for you!
Romans 8:32 NKJV
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
How to keep Jesus first
- Once we have decided to put Christ first, we find it easy to fall away –
- There is an adversary, the devil, who tries to hinder us
- There are many people who will try to deter us (all men have not faith)
- There are the cares of the life which so press upon us
- But you are more than a conqueror – in all these things
- Start by keeping Him first in your prayers
- have definite time each day that you speak to him
- David said “seven times a day do I praise you…
- Don’t let that be the only time you talk to Him (ritual)
- Keep Him first in our thoughts
- This does not mean that we don’t think about the things of life that we deal with
- But we should include Jesus in our thought process
- Oh, how different many of our decisions would have been had we done so.
- Think good thoughts
- Be a positive person
- Keep Him first in our giving (our finances)
- So many people worry about money –
- many people, even Christians, do so to the point that money becomes first place
- shake that off, and put Christ first again.
- Our giving is more than money
- Keep His love first in our heart
- This is by far the most important, and easiest
- Love never fails,
- If we walk in love, we are born of Him – that is Him first
1 John 4:7 NKJV
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
- We put Jesus first, by putting love first – God is love
- This means forgiveness, humility, others first
- We show God love by loving whom He loves –
1 John 4:10–13 NKJV
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
- If we love one another, God lives in us!
- Anyone can choose to love –
- how very different this is from what so many of us were taught
- How very different we become when we allow God to teach us His love.
- God, show us your love –
- Give us a heart to love as you love
- to forgive as you forgive
- To seek love as we seek you!