Week One: The Competition
This series is designed to help us process our world of distractions and idols; who we need to be and what we are to keep first priority in our lives. Remember whatever is first in our lives is what we worship and what matters most to us.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
God’s plan for the kingdom of God to be made known – calls Christians to live as citizens of heaven first, obedient to our King.
THE BIBLE IS FULL OF STORIES OF MAN NOT KEEPING GOD FIRST
Genesis 3:6 (NIV) When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
– Man’s approval/praise first, God’s second.
Acts 5:1- 5(NIV) Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.
– Family first, God second.
1 Samuel 2:29 (NIV) Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’
– Work first, God second.
Ezekiel 20:16 (NIV) because they rejected my laws and did not follow my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths. For their hearts were devoted to their idols.
– Our houses and possessions first, God second.
Haggai 1:4-6 (NIV) “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? 5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
GOD WANTS TO BLESS US WHEN WE KEEP HIM FIRST.
Blessings in Christ can be temporal and eternal, material and immaterial things.
Blessings are not necessarily having or receiving possessions.
The greatest blessing we have is God Himself! (Psalm 16:5)
Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
We all have treasures in some form or another. It may not be money. No matter what it is, or how small it is, if it’s everything to you, then it’s an idol.
KEEPING JESUS AND HIS KINGDOM FIRST
If we are to keep Jesus first, we must start with having a correct view of ourselves in this world.
Hebrews 11:13-16 (NIV) All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
If Jesus is your treasure, all things fall into place. If this world, work, kids, your name is your treasure, you will never keep Him first.
When we live out this principle of God 1st, our priorities and possessions take the right place in our lives as we partner with God to build His Kingdom.
As a church, we are committed to move forward in this crazy time. We believe time is short and there is much to do! Let’s keep God FIRST, and see what God can do through each of us!
LIFE GROUP QUESTIONS:
Which of the Bible stories above challenge you most? Why?
What are your earthly versus heavenly treasures?
What will you adjust in your life to put God back in His rightful place? How will you do it?
What would people close to you say are the priorities in your life?
Share about a time in your life when distractions were costly.
What distractions in life can tempt you to not put God first?
What habits/ routines/ people help you to keep God first in your life?
What will it look like to put God first in your life this next week?