The Word “First” is mentioned more than 400 times in the Bible and referred to in various other terms and ways several hundred more times. God definitely takes note of and has respect for the first. From the first day of creation to the first day of the week and from the first ripened fruits to the firstborn - Firsts are important to God.
Throughout the Bible God makes it clear that He has laid claim to those things which come first. The city of Jericho is a clear example of God’s claim. He guaranteed victory in every future battle if the Children of Israel would only give to Him all of the increase from their first victory. When it did not happen the armies of Israel lost the next battle. It was only after they corrected themselves that they began once again to win against their enemies.
Proverbs 3 NKJV
9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
Jericho represented a type of firstfruits of the land to God. He considered Jericho a tithe given in faith to sanctify the coming increases He had planned for His Children. God wanted to partner with Israel and be treated with respect. He was and still is unwilling to accept second place.
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
God wants to be first place in our lives. There is only one throne and room for only one god in every life. Who or what controls, convinces, conquers or commands us is our god. Every person decides this for themselves.
We empower those things which have power over us. If Jesus is your Lord it is because you have made Him so. God has given you the power to choose. Certainly we receive instruction and encouragement from the Holy Spirit but the decision clearly rests with each individual. Who or what will be or become your Master? That’s the eternal question … Our text for today comes from:
Matthew 6 NKJV
19 ¶ "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
25 ¶ "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29 "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ’What shall we drink?’ or ’What shall we wear?’
32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Imagine what it would feel like to be free from worry and stressful thoughts concerning your daily needs. What if you never had to worry about money ever again or where you were going to live or work or retire. Those are the common blessings which come to a person who is sold out to God and has put first things first by first making God the absolute Lord of their lives.
This is the first day of the first week of the first month of the New Year 2017. Today God will give you the chance to begin this new year blessed, covered and protected from the enemies which desire to destroy you.
God is offering you a partnership with Him that can begin right now and last all of your life here on planet earth and then for an eternity in heaven beyond. All He is requiring from you is that you put Him first. Remove whomever or whatever else is sitting on the throne of your life, including yourself, and install Jesus as your King.
You can do that this morning by simply realizing that you need a Savior, repenting of your sin and receiving Jesus.
We will use 2017 as a Church Family to set our lives in order. God wants us to experience the best in our families, our finances and our future. This will be an eventful year for each one of you. God is going to supply you with clear answers to every situation you face. The difference between you having a successful year of a year filled with compromise and failure will be the simple act of application.
As I said, God will supply you with the answers however you are the only one who can successfully apply those answers to the situations of you will face. The first step you need to take today is to stake your claim in God and commit this year to Christ. Do this with me in prayer right now …