Life Verse! - “Let His Word direct your life!”
My Life Verse - Matthew 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Do you have a role model or hero or someone you at least look up to? Humor me for a moment and let’s do some basic math calculations in your head. 1) Pick your favorite number between 1 and 8 -- 2) Multiply your choice by 3 -- 3) Add 3 -- 4) Multiply again by 3. 5) Right now you should have a 2 digit number. 6) Add those two numbers together. With that number let’s see who your ROLE MODEL is from the following list:
1. Albert Einstein -- 2. Mother Teresa -- 3. Lebron James –
4. Condoleezza Rice – 5.Tony Dungy -- 6. Gandhi –
7. Jackie Robinson -- 8. Taylor Swift -- 9. GREG BONDURANT –
I am stunned. Am I really your actual role model? Let’s face it folks – you’ve got to love math tricks! The truth is all of these calculations add up to 9 and if you want to have a little fun email me and I’ll send you these instructions and you can put your own name in the #9 slot and then you can send it off to your friends. Now fortunately or unfortunately this little exercise got me thinking? Just what does it mean to be a role model? I think the Apostle Paul knows. Turn in your Bibles this morning to 1 Corinthians chapter 11. Do you need a Bible today? If you do we happen to have a bunch of extra copies and would be delighted to give you a Bible for your very own! You don’t have to answer a single math problem - just raise your hand and someone will bring you a Bible. In my opinion Paul lays out one of the most convicting passages in all of his 13 letters. Find verse 1 of 1st Corinthians 11. (Read) Say that with me now “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul is literally saying, “Imitate me as I imitate Jesus. Model me as I model Jesus.” Now how does one do that? Go back one verse – read 1 Cor. 10:33b. When you review chapters 8-10, Paul is saying, I’ll sacrifice “my rights and pleasures for the good of others.”[i] If I eat a certain food or drink a certain drink and that messes you up. That is my actions encourage you to wander from God, well; I won’t eat that food or drink that drink anymore. My goal is to model the life of Jesus – who sacrificed his rights and pleasures to not save some, but to save everyone. In my head I hear Paul saying, I’m going to put God first by being an example of Jesus’ life and teachings. Jesus said the same thing. Go now to the Gospel of Matthew. Find Matthew 6:33. So far about 60 people have turned in their life verses. Now if you are new today you might not know what a life verse is? A life verse is a verse of scripture that directs your life. We have spent the last five weeks in Acts 13 studying a sermon preached by the Apostle Paul. In that sermon Paul reviews Israel’s history so he refers to people like Samuel, David, Jesus and John the Baptist. Samuel’s life verse was 1 Samuel 3:10: “Speak, your servant is listening.” David’s life verse was 1 Samuel 17:47: “the battle is the Lord’s.” Jesus’ life verse was Luke 19:10: For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." John the Baptist’ life verse was John 3:30: He must become greater; I must become less.
Now not every verse of scripture makes for a great Life verse. I have to thank Autumn Dowdle for directing me to Christian Comedian, Tim Hawkins.[ii] People will ask Tim for his autograph. So he signs his name and then Ps. 34:8 which says, Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. One time Tim couldn’t remember Ps. 34:8 so he wrote instead Psalm 38:7 which says…: For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease… That’s not the message he was trying to convey. Mark Siebert has a better Life Verse. Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. Terry White’s Life Verse is Matthew 7:12: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” Nancy Braughton’s Life Verse is Isaiah 40:31: “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Have you located Matthew 6:33? Matthew 6:33 is my life verse. Jesus said - (READ)
Now there’s a worthwhile sermon topic. Honestly, what does it mean to seek God first? Paul would say, it’s a willful choice to follow the example of Jesus. Listen to Jesus’ words and follow Jesus’ commands. Jesus said – putting God first means seeking a better kingdom and better righteousness. Go back to verse 33. Right now – this very moment my Cleveland Browns are in first place. They may not be by the end of the day, but right now they are #1. To put God in first place – to make him the highest priority of your life you must choose to crown him KING! Matthew loved the phrase “kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God.” Look at Matthew 5:3. What exactly is the “kingdom of heaven?” You can’t have a kingdom without a king. Whether it be OT or NT when the word kingdom is used it’s in reference to “rule and reign.” Have you dubbed God the king of your life? Have you crowned Jesus the King of all kings? The truth is someone or something rules, reigns or runs your life. We can’t blow past this moment. Who calls the shots in your life? (Pray?)
Tricia and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last Tuesday. Out of those 25 years 23 of them have been good! If you ask Tricia she might say, 20 have been good. I love my wife and she says she loves me. I know she does because she willingly hangs around. To be perfectly honest – marriage is hard, but marriage is not nearly as hard when you both crown Jesus king! You can’t make your spouse do that, but you can! Have you? Say something like – “Jesus, I am no longer king. My appearance is no longer king. OSU football is no longer king. My job is no longer king. My pride is no longer king!
Jesus said, To put God in first place – it comes down to kingdom & righteousness. To seek God first – to make him the highest priority of your life you must choose to love him from the inside out. Find Matthew 5:20! We studied these verses this past summer in a series called, “Did Jesus really say that?” (READ) The Pharisees were all about the outside. Their focus was about rule keeping. Jesus’ focus was the heart! Jesus proceeds to give six examples. The first being murder in verse 21. Most of us draw this conclusion – murder is bad, but anger isn’t as bad. Anger is no big deal! So get off my back about my short temper! I don’t know if this was James life verse, but James said, My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. A constant angry heart – a spewing of hurtful words is an obvious sign that Jesus is not KING! If you want to be less angry – listen more! Anger is one sign - Jesus gives us another. Go back to Matthew 6:33. (READ) According to Jesus the most practical demonstration of seeking God first is to stop worrying. (Look at verse 34 and now verse 25) I would like you to answer a survey question for me. Go to our website and you’ll see this question posted. Presently, what is my greatest fear? The reason I want to know your fears is because we worry about what we’re afraid of. Fear breeds worry. In your life right now what are your top two worries? Recently many people in Beijing were worried they’d never get out of a traffic jam that spanned 75 miles and contained nearly 10,000 vehicles. Are you worried about getting caught somewhere and you can’t get out? Yesterday the City of Westerville held its annual 9/11 Observance at the First Responder's Park. Are you worried about terrorism?
Jesus places our worries into two categories: the present - your life - and the future – tomorrow. No matter your concern – traffic, job, health, the economy, worry is an affront to God. Worry according to Dr. Mark Moore is allot like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.[iii] The biggest two concerns for people in Jesus’ day were food and clothes. Whether it’s the basics or something extreme – when we worry Jesus said we live like there is NO God. Find verse 25. People who do NOT believe in God would naturally worry because they know they are their sole provider - but not a Christ follower. If God created us – he promises to take care of us or send someone who will do the job.
Tell me if this happens to you. A natural concern comes my way. So I start thinking this way. 2 kids – Worry #1 and worry #2. Stop worrying about my kids. Stop thinking about that while I wring my hands. But the more I think the more I worry. The Bibles says the better way is to take captive or replace the thought. How do I do that? By praying! Read this with me: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Worry about nothing – pray about everything!
Jim Killiam is a free lance writer for several Christian publications. He wrote a little article entitled, “Advice for My Son’s Wedding.” Jim provided his son Ben with tips on how to navigate marriage: If you give a compliment, mean it.
Criticizing your wife is always a bad idea.
Live on less than you make.
Tithe. It honors God and brings focus to the rest of your money decisions.
Wanting a pet is a lot more fun than owning a pet.
Bubble gum is not an advisable electric fastener.
No marriage is bulletproof. Entrust it to God.
Can I take that one step farther? Entrust your entire life to God. What does it mean? Crown Jesus king!
[i] Richard E. Oster, Jr. College Press NIV Commentary, I Corinthians, 252
[iii] Mark E. Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 190