Deeper Christian Life Ministry – Search The Scripture 5 December 2021 (Lesson 1029)
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Topic: Rediscovering The Forgotten Path To Blessing (STS 5 November 2021)
MEMORY VERSE: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
TEXT: Ezekiel, Matthew 6:33
God has given promises and prophecies in the in Scripture that show His willingness to enrich all people with spiritual, physical, material, academic and marital blessings. Many people know and believe that God is omnipotent, kind, loving and merciful and can grant them increase, fruitfulness, restoration, renewal, greater glory, cleansing, sanctification, Spirit baptism, healing and deliverances. While some of these do not know the path to obtaining divine blessings, others who knew it before have forgotten it, necessitating a rediscovery of the path to blessing. God’s design is to cleanse man from moral dirt and defilement before enriching and empowering him to live to please and glorify Him. “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” This is called salvation, which comes with conversion. Those who profess to be saved but are not righteous must first be cleansed from sin in preparation for the better things God wants to do in their lives. The reason is, sin or unrighteousness in heart, thought, speech, action and inaction dispel divine favours and blessings. “Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you” (Jeremiah 5:25). For instance, when Jacob called his twelve sons to pronounce parting patriarchal blessings on each of them, Reuben, Simeon and Levi missed out for sins of immorality, anger and murder (Genesis 49:3-7)
Question 1: Explain why divine blessings elude many people today.
Righteousness attracts divine blessings (Matthew 6:33). Interestingly, God has made provision of redemption through Christ’s sacrifice for everyone to be saved from sin, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost. Though He has made the provision and given us His promises concerning these spiritual experiences and other blessings, we must pray to obtain them. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a mock” (Ezekiel 36:37). Saved, believers continue to seek His face in prayer and set their priorities right in order to claim and enjoy His promised blessings.
PRIORITISING THE REIGN OF THE MOST HIGH KING (Matthew 6:33; 2 Chronicles 1:7-12; Luke 12:15-21; Psalm Ruth 1:15-18; 4:13-18; Proverbs 23:26; Acts 5:29)
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, has given us a blueprint on a God-pleasing priority that attracts fullness of divine blessings. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Solomon had a blossoming relationship with God. He was righteous and the Scripture affirmed that, “the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly” (2 Chronicles 1:1). When God appeared to him in a vision and told him to make his request, he neither asked for riches nor wealth. Instead, he asked for “wisdom and knowledge” to reign over God’s people in a proper and perfect way that will satisfy Him. Because he put God first, the Lord said, “I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee…” Believers should prioritise their relationship with and submission to God. However, the worldly-wise who prioritise earthly possessions above the kingdom of God and the spiritual experiences of its citizens will suffer on earth and in eternity. The folly of the rich man whose singular preoccupation was acquisition of wealth teaches us the need to make amend to avoid a similar fate. “…God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:18-21). Believers should not idolise material things that will soon fade away. The Scripture affirms that we brought nothing into this world and we shall not leave with any. Thus, we should pray, “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity…” Ruth’s consecration and vow that “thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” reveals her priority as well as her understanding of the pathway to blessing. She knew if she was to get the greatest of blessings from the Lord, she must give Him the first place in her life and decisions in spite of the challenges of widowhood. Ruth made a deliberate choice to have God reign in her life. The apostles’ courageous response to persecution and intimidation also showed that God and His cause in the world was their preoccupation. They knew that sinners live without Christ and God in the world; that they will perish if they do not hear the gospel, repent of sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. God wants to reign without a rival in the heart of every believer. His unchanging and irretrievable demand is, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26). Those who have received Christ as Lord and experienced His gracious and peaceful reign in their hearts wants others to enjoy the same by their dogged commitment to gospel preaching. They do not allow opposition and persecution to hinder them from doing the will of God. So, when a member of the family or church pressurises us to go contrary to God’s will and word, we must resolve “to obey God rather than men”. All the material things of this world will be destroyed someday, soon. The human body, no matter how gorgeously adorn in life, will return to dust from where it was originally fashioned. It is unwise to neglect the care of the soul and spirit that will return to God at death, and be condemned and cast into unquenchable eternal fire. Everyone should make entrance into the kingdom of God and expansion of it a priority. Where there is a kingdom, there is a reigning king. Jesus Christ is the reigning King of kings and Lord of lords.
Question 2: Explain the steps to obtaining God’s blessings.
PURSUING THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM (Ezekiel 36:25-27; Matthew 6:33; Zephaniah 2:3; Jeremiah 45:5; Isaiah 51:1,2; Genesis 13:5-15; Matthew 5:6,20; Colossians 3:1-6, 14-16)
All who enter God’s kingdom through repentance and faith in Christ’s sacrifice obtain His righteousness. So, aside putting God first, we are commanded to seek or pursue “his righteousness” so that His blessings will be added to our lives. Our righteousness should be practical, active, personal and behavioural. God who is the Source of all the blessings that we need knows how we can obtain them. Those who neglect or deviate from divine blueprint for blessing by downgrading righteousness which God approved to be “first” to a second or third position in their thinking and pursuit misplace priority. They seek “great things” for themselves but the Bible says, “seek them not”. They fail to understand that God has created them for a purpose. The Lord wants us to seek inner righteousness and holiness through sanctification. The experience of holiness makes our soul, spirit and personality fully surrendered to God to fulfil His purpose for our lives.
Question 3: What are believers commanded to “seek” in the Scripture?
The Scripture instructs believers to “Look unto Abraham” whom God “called… alone, and blessed him, and increased him.” After Abraham left his native land with Lot, his nephew, in obedience to the call of God, he continued to seek God’s righteousness. For instance, when there was strife between his herdsmen and those of Lot, he said, “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left”. After this separation, Lot and his family were raided and taken captive by marauders. Abraham showed he possessed God’s righteousness by rescuing them. He remained righteous and free from grudge, malice and hatred when Abimelech, king of Gerar seized Sarah his wife. “So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife” (Genesis 20: 17, 18). We must not emulate Lot who failed to pursue God’s righteousness and eventually lost everything in Sodom and Gomorrah. There is need to follow the path of repentance, restitution and righteousness before we can have the blessings of the Lord. Righteousness at all times should be our pursuit. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” God wants us to thirst and hunger after righteousness and “seek those things which are above”. We must allow His doctrines on repentance, restitution, righteousness, holiness and sanctification dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:14-16).
Question 4: Explain the practical life of righteousness that attracts divine blessings.
POSSESSING THE RICHES OF HIS HOLY KINGDOM (Ezekiel 36: 11,25-27 ,37; Matthew 6:33; Daniel 4:.34-36; 2 Kings 20:3-6; Proverbs 3:1,2,9,10; 1 Kings 17:11-16; Malachi 3:10-12; Isaiah 58:8-11; Hosea 10:12)
To those who heed His counsel and command to make entrance into His kingdom and possession of His righteousness a priority, God’s unfailing promise is, “all these things shall be added unto you”. So, believers need not run after material things. The ‘addition’ comes as we continue to pray, centre our affection on God and pursue the expansion of His kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar’s sincere acknowledgment and praise brought blessing into his life. His kingdom was established “and excellent majesty was added unto [him]”. Hezekiah also got additional fifteen years because he “walked before [Him] in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in [His] sight”. When we keep God’s commandment and make Him the priority of our life, He adds many good things to us. The woman of Zarephath attended to the needs of the man of God and the Bible affirms that “she, and he, and her house, did eat many days”. God wants every believer to place righteousness above riches, purity before prosperity and holiness before healing. We must, therefore, be faithful in all things to avoid a similar fate like Ananias and Sapphira who lost their lives because of unfaithfulness. When we give our tithes, offerings, talent, time and other resources to propagate the gospel and advance God’s kingdom, He will bless us. He says, “…I will …open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3: 10, 12). Divine illumination, healing, health, answer to prayer, guidance and prosperity will be the portion of those who live by God’s priority for their lives. He will also answer our prayer for spiritual revival by fulfilling His promise to “rain righteousness upon [us]” and take us to heaven at the end of life.
Question 5: Highlight the numerous blessings believers who prioritise God’s kingdom and righteousness will enjoy.
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