Monday, March 26, 2012

Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday: Priorities 2/26/2012

So last week in Sunday school we talk about obedience to God... If you need a review here is that link. This week in Sunday school, we learned about setting our priorities straight as a christian. Here is my reflection on what we learned:
*** WARNING this is kind of a long post. :)***

  • Our First Priority is: To seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness (aka Jesus).

Matthew 6:31-33

English Standard Version (ESV) 
 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

  • Our other First Priority (which goes with the other first): Love the LORD with ALL we are!

Matthew 22:35-40

English Standard Version (ESV)
And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.   

  • Our 2nd Priority: To love others! 

Matthew 22:39-40

English Standard Version (ESV)
 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.   On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
  • It is hard for us to keep our priorities straight. 

Matthew 9:11-13

English Standard Version (ESV)
11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The pharisees wanted Jesus to eat with them rather than the sinners. We need to recognize that we are sinners as well as others. The pharisees missed this. Mercy First.

Matthew 23:23

English Standard Version (ESV)
23  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

The pharisees were tithing and not showing mercy, justice and faithfulness which are worth more to God than tithe.  The pharisees tended to focus on the little thing that they could do rather than the whole picture. 

Matthew 5:23-24

English Standard Version (ESV)
23  So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Reconciliation is more important to God and must come first before sacrifice. 

  • Jesus Showed that when we think we have our priorities right, we really don't.

Matthew 23:25-26

English Standard Version (ESV)
25  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

We must be clean inside before we do works. We can only be clean by the Holy Spirit/God cleansing us. 

Mark 7:5-13

English Standard Version (ESV)
And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)[a] 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

In this passage we find the pharisees putting their own made up rules in front of the rules God put in place. Their original priority, soon became their own opinions and what they wanted.  
 Luke 9:59-61
English Standard Version (ESV)
59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus[a] said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”

Here we find two different people not putting what God wants first, first.... instead they were putting others first. 
  •  Jesus through his parables showed examples of what our priorities should be. 

Matthew 10:41-42

English Standard Version (ESV)
41  The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

One of our priorities should be taking care of other believers. 

Mark 10:2-9

English Standard Version (ESV)
And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

If one is married, their priority should be to care for and support their spouse.

Luke 6:35

English Standard Version (ESV)
35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Yet another priority we should have as Christians is to love our enemies.

  • Jesus taught us what our priorities should be when dealing with others.

Matthew 7:1-5

English Standard Version (ESV)

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

James 2:1-13

English Standard Version (ESV)

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

We shouldn't be judging one another.... We need to remember, that we are SINNERS!  Yes, Christ now lives in us, but we were just like those who are lost before Jesus called us and revealed himself to us. Why are we judging others?

So a quick recap:
If we have our priorities straight Jesus/God is Number ONE in our Life. We put him FIRST.
If we have our priorities right, Loving others is Number TWO.
We show that God is number ONE by loving our spouse, showing mercy, loving others, being faithful
Only through the help of the Holy Spirit can we succeed in keeping these our priorities.

To Think ABOUT:
What are you priorities today?
What should you have first instead?
Who should be second after God in your life?
How can you change you priorities?
What would having the priorities God has look like in your life? 


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