Sermon Notes from 11/14/21: Bringing God Our Very Best
Matthew 6:33: 33 But [s]seek first [t]His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be [u]added to you.
Jesus says these words about not worrying about tomorrow
For Christ has told us to seek first the kingdom and His righteousness
Our lives are based on priorities
Where we spend our time, talents, and money speaks greatly to what our priorities are
The word priority means a thing that is regarded as more important than another.
When Jesus says seek first that word first in the Greek means firstly in time, order, or rank
When God created Adam He gave him to be steward of all of his creation
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
In Verse 26 the Lord gives Adam dominion over all creation
Man was created in the image of God
Once again in verse 28 God says again for Adam to rule
Nothing in the garden belonged to Adam
Adam was called to rule over and have dominion
God made Adam a steward of all that God created
15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.
16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
Adam was placed in the garden to cultivate and keep the garden
The Lord God gave Adam the responsibility and the authority to name all of the Living Creatures that God had created
God gave and equipped Adam with the wisdom and understanding to do this according to God’s design and purpose
But all of this was before the fall
When the fall happened and Adamed sinned the very nature of Adam sinned
8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Everything changes when Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge of Good and evil
Before they sinned they knew God intimately
But after sin they hide from the presence of the Lord
The sin within Adam and Eve changed their very nature
When Adam is confronted about his sin instead of taking responsibility Adam demonstrates self-preservation
12 The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
Adam’s life is no longer God centered
Every person born from the line of Adam and Eve have a sin nature
When you examine children one thing you learn is you never have to teach a child to be selfish
A child by nature is selfish
What you have to teach a child to do is share
But the question is how does salvation and a relationship with Jesus change everything?
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Because of Jesus we are brand new creations
Verse 21 tells us that He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf
Jesus took our sin and the wrath we deserve and took it upon Himself
In exchange our Father in Heaven gives us forgiveness
He gives us the precious Holy Spirit
As we grow in Christ The fruit of the Holy Spirit is produced
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
All of the things mentioned here by the Apostle Paul is the character and nature of God
It is produced in the life of a believer as a result of the work and person of the Holy Spirit
But some of you may be wondering what does this have to do with Stewardship?
Stewardship is defined as The process of being responsible with someone else's property while it is entrusted.
A steward was a household servant who managed the household affairs for the head of the family (usually the father but sometimes the mother; Managing the family involved delegation, discipline, encouragement, and, most important, accountability to the head of the household.
Paul often in his letters referred to himself as a bondservant
All of us have been redeemed and bought by the precious blood of Jesus
If you have accepted the free gift of salvation than all of your life and mine simply belong to Jesus
Our time, talents, and finances belong to the Lord
A right understanding of this will release great blessing into our lives now while we are on this earth and someday great rewards will await us in God’s kingdom
Over the next two weeks we are going to examine stewardship of our time, talents, and money
I believe if all of us examine these three areas and how we use them will reveal what is the true priorities in our lives
Here is an example: If I claim God is the priority of my life and I love Him with all my heart but little or no time is devoted to prayer, time spent in His word, or fellowship with other believers, than I am simply deceived
One of the things I truly believe breaks the heart of God is when parents have their children in many activities but those children have little or no time for church related or God related activities in their lives
I am not saying a child must spend every waking moment with God related activities, but anything if we are not careful can become an idol
But today I want to examine bringing God our very best
1 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.”
2 Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground.
4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering;
5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
Many people are very familiar with this passage of scripture
It is the story of Cain and Able
What I want to look at today is the sacrifice of Cain and Able and God’s response to their sacrifice
Both of these men were sons of Adam
Both of them brought a sacrifice to the Lord
Cain we are told is a tiller of the ground while Able is a keeper of the flocks
Both of these men would bring a sacrifice to the Lord
But we see that it is God who looks with favor upon the sacrifice of Able over the sacrifice of Cain
Many have speculated on this point
Some believe that God looked with favor upon Able because it was a blood sacrifice
But I personally believe it was the quality of Able’s sacrifice
In verse 4 we are told that Cain brought an offering, while Able brought his first born and the fat portions
We are also told in the book of Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
Able brought the very best that he had
He didn’t bring leftovers
Often times our attitude with God is that we bring the Lord leftovers
We spend our lives on so many things and come with the attitude if I have time maybe I will get involved
Or I am gifted and God has given my those gifts but I have simply spent time in other areas
Or I have bills to pay and if I have any money left over than God you can have some
But I believe for us to experience the abundant life that Jesus spoke about requires obedience on our part
Jesus said to seek first His kingdom and righteousness
If we are seeking first His kingdom it means it is our number one priority
Next week we are going to take a look at being wise stewards of our time and talents
All of us have time
All of us have gifts and talents given to us about God
But God has given us a freewill and has given us the ability to decide how we will indeed live our lives
But if we truly desire God’s blessing
If we desire to walk in the destiny He has for us
If we desire to one day receive great rewards in His kingdom it is all based on stewardship
I believe that many Christians fail in this area because they simply don’t understand
No one has ever explained it to them
Some people truly believe that to be a Christian means simply showing up one day a week, singing a few songs, listening to somebody preach, and then going on with their lives
But if we are to unlock everything God has for us we must live according to His word
The moment we begin to not only be hearers, but actually doers of God’s word is when everything changes