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Mar 22, 2020

Sound Bites of Today

Sound Bites of Today

Speaker: James Gallaher

Category: Sunday Morning

Seeking answers from sound bites or from the context!

Last week's message focused on finding peace - Philippians 4:5-7 ... The Lord is Near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Even though we are physically separated during this pandemic, God is near wherever we are. Are we listening to sound bites? Do we settle for sound bites instead of looking into the whole story? Do we hear with minimum engagement - just assuming the context of what we hear? 

Content without context only produces confusion. We need to know the hows and whys. Context requires more effort. The good that has come out of this time is that we have more time to understand context. We can get discouraged in our faith relying on consuming easier sound bites instead of seeking the context.

Are you asking what is going to happen with this pandemic time? Are you encouraged by God as He draws us to relationship with Him?

One sound bite we hear today is from Matthew 6:34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Sound bites can be misleading and make us tend to focus on what's ahead and maybe to ignore what is in front of us. We need to ask - Is there more to this sound bite? Who said it? Jesus spoke these words in the Sermon on the Mount. When we hear a sound bite, dig into the source! 

The second challenge with a sound bite is that we can miss important words. Matthew 6:34 starts with "so." "So" points to something more than our effort. Without "so" it's left to my ability. If looking at just these words, the context gets missed. Do we feel like everything we are trying to do rests on our ability to accomplish it? Does our Christianity seem based on doing more right than wrong? Does our surviving something difficult we're going through depend on gifts that we have or don't have? Do we feel that the weight of the world rests on our shoulders and that everyone around is relying on us? This one small word can change how we view the promises that God has for us.

Spiritual sound bites are like having to assemble a bike without instructions. The value of understanding Matthew 6:34 is found in the first word -"so." It points back - back to Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Verse 33 points back to verses 25 - 32 which talks of worrying about provision. Have we been concerned about the provision for today? Is Jesus saying for us to not worry? How can we live a life consumed without worry?

Matthew 6:33: Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness - these two things.

1) Seek first His Kingdom. What do we find when we seek His Kingdom? We find God's provision; a provision that is abundant! He cares about the birds, flowers, and how much more He cares for our provision. We serve a God of abundance and all the provision that we could ever need. His provision takes away the uncertainty of whether there will be enough (worry). How would our lives be different if we had no concern about whether there was going to be enough? Would it change the anxiety within? This doesn't undermine that there is uncertainty and struggles today, but we need to rest in His promise not in our own effort. Look inside His Kingdom and find His abundant provision. Matthew 7:7 Seek and you will find. This seeking has a finding! We don't have to do spiritual posturing to attain - it is easily accessible and reachable. It is a crying out to our Father. He will be present. 

2) Seek His righteousness. Righteousness is the quality of being morally right or justified. Jesus is not saying to "seek righteousness" as that produces working hard and religion. Seeking "His righteousness" produces relationship. The overarching context of God's Word is REDEMPTION! A price being paid for us that we cannot gain on our own - that we might share in the promises of God. 

Philippians 3:9 ... not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.

Isaiah 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation. He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. The righteousness that we have is not earned but it is given and paid for by the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we seek God's righteousness we see our position in the Kingdom of God. The Father clothed us and justified us by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. This then removes the pressure to perform. 

Verse 33 Seek first His Kingdom - His provision - His abundance - His all-encompassing care. At His throne, we find His provision and we can come boldly before Him. The context of relationship changes everything. We seek Him as a child that knows His Father. 

Today, in this pandemic situation, we tend to be hiding and hoarding, being pushed away from relationship as though there may not be enough. The context of God's Word is not about hiding and hoarding - it's about going and giving - of taking the message of verse 33-34 to the world. "So" because we rest in God's provision and our position as a child of God, then we don't need to worry.

The Kingdom of God calls us to go and give - to not pull back but to press in! Press in to the hurting, the worry, the concern, the fearful - knowing that the "so" provides the means to eliminate the worry. The going will look different but we are still going. The giving will continue because we know the source. This will be our story: when the world stops, the Kingdom advances! 

Where are you right now? Have you first sought the Kingdom of God? Are you looking for context from a sound bite? Jesus is the answer to our concern.

If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would spend eternity? Make Jesus Lord of your life - surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Peace comes in the person of Jesus. Prayer for salvation:

Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I believe that on that cross You took my guilt, my sin, and my shame and You died for it. You faced hell for me, so I wouldn't have to. And You rose again to give me a place in Heaven, a purpose on Earth, and a relationship with Your Father. Today, Lord Jesus, I turn from my sins to be born again. And now, God is my father, Jesus is my Savior, The Holy Spirit is my helper. And Heaven is my home. Amen.

What sound bite have you listened to in the past few weeks? Did you dig into the context? 

What does it mean to seek first His Kingdom? and what can we find? 

How does seeking His righteousness remove the pressure to perform?

How does the Kingdom of God call us to press in? and how can we do that today?