This sermon was preached by Rob Rufus on Sunday 17th May 2009 at City Church International in Hong Kong.
"Open your Bibles to wherever you feel like going this morning! Matthew chapter 6. Revelation? No - we are getting to the book of Revelation at the right time. The "Benjamin Generation", Revelation and the Great High Priest. 3 series all ready to go but God has put the pause button on that because He wants us to move into the realm of peace and recognise we are His workmanship and how to work with God and partner with God. I thought my wife looked particularly beautiful when she was giving the announcements today. I felt a romantic moment there which was a bit dangerous! I have recovered and I am back in the Spirit now - I was a bit in the flesh. But I am now in the Spirit! (*sings*) - "To wake up each morning just with you by my side. To offer a prayer each day for you. To drown in your laughter ... ". Okay let's go!
Testimony: "I am shocked at just how good the good news of the Gospel is. I am shocked that it is not preached like this by every church that fears God. But I am infinately grateful that I have heard the truth of this gospel ... We have started seeing manifestations like gold dust, incense and more. I have never lived with a greater hunger to see God's people set free and for them to know just how good God is ... Keep kicking the devil and his cronies in the teeth - it is so worth it!".
We literally have hundreds of testimonies from around the world of people getting healed and delivered from the demonic, release of resources and God is giving us partnerships. They are leaving denominational institutional religion and finding relationships that are authentic, full of integrity and full of callings, giftings and commissionings. No denominational headquarters because Jesus is the Headquarters! Heaven is the H.Q and God is moving on the earth in a fresh way! How many of you believe it is appropriate to walk in humility as more and more people are thanking us and praising us? When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a simple little donkey and the people threw palm branches down and shouted "Hosannah in the highest!" - how many of you know how ugly and inappropriate it would be for that donkey to think they were doing it for him?! Roman emporers rode into cities they had conquered on big stallions with flaring nostrils and trumpets. Jesus - the integrity of His identity - did not need additions or props - He came in on a simple donkey because He knew He was the Son of the glory of God. Jesus needs donkeys to carry the glory of God!
Freedom is the freedom from being wrapped up in yourself.
The most depressed people on the planet are those who have themselves on their minds. The formula for deliverance from depression is to not be self-concious and to not be wrapped up in yourself!
People that are wrapped up in themselves make very small packages!
You cannot get depressed if you are not on your mind!
The great Corrie Ten Boom who did such great work during the 2nd World War said; "If I look at myself I get depressed, if I look at the world's state I get oppressed, but if I look at Jesus then I really get impressed!".
The worst thing a worship leader can do before a meeting is to say to everyone; "Bow your heads - we are going to have one minute's silence and you inspect your heart and investigate and scrutinise your inner being to see if there is any sinful ways there". That is Old Covenant stuff! That is the Law that is gloom and doom! Scrutinise your heart - introspect - see if there is anything there that is sinful and wrong and ugly and then you will be ready to worship God. You will NOT be ready to worship God! You will be ready to slit your wrists because you will feel so morbid because you and me are not "it" - we are not to be self-concious but Christ-concious!
Jesus was reclining at a lounger having dinner one day and a woman who was a prostitute ran and fell at His feet and worshipped Him and He said; "Daughter your faith has made you whole - you are forgiven". What came first? Morbidity? Introspection? Repentance? Or worship? Worship came first! A man with 5, 000 demons that would snap chains came running when he saw Jesus and worshipped Him and Jesus delivered him of one legion of demons. What came first? Repentance, introspection? No!
Worship comes first in all of life because worship takes our minds off ourselves and onto God! That is what worship is! When you are a worshipper you are not self-concious! Self-conciousness is the worst curse you could live under but Christ-conciousness is the blessing of God!
There are three times in the New Testament that the Bible says "Examine yourself" and the context is grace and not morbidity. Many times in the Old Covenant it is introspective, sackcloth, ashes and negativity - that is not the Kingdom of heaven!
We must never be foolish enough to think that our sins are bigger and more important than God's infinite solution in grace at the Cross!
You may feel at times that your sins and your mistakes are so bad but they are nothing compared to God's answer through Jesus Christ at the Cross - you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!
The Bible says in 1st John 4:17; "As Jesus is in heaven, so are you in this earth". As He is so are you in this earth! God doesn't examine you to see whether you are good enough or holy enough - He looks at Jesus to see if Jesus is good enough and holy enough and He says; "Yes You are and as He is so are you in this earth!". He looks at Jesus to see if He needs to repent of any sins and says "No - He doesn't!" and THAT is how He sees you! As He is - so are you in this earth!
It's awesome isn't it!? Today I want to talk about "Stress-Free living!". Stress-free working in Hong Kong! I want to talk about living worry-free, anxious-free! "Rob I have faith for raising the dead but I don't know if I have faith for that!". No! Stress-free living is the will of God! Jesus had no special advantages over you and me. His divinity was fully restrained within His humanity and He came to the earth as last Adam with no more advantages than you and I had except that He was born righteous from a virgin and never sinned once but He gave us the gift of righteousness and we have a co-equal righteousness with Christ because we are now in Christ and positioned in His righteousness. He did not live stressed but He faced abuse, He was overlooked, He wasn't appreciated, the religious crowd kept criticising Him and accusing Him of casting demons out by Beelzebub. He never got stressed - He stayed at peace - He is the Prince of Peace and Isaiah chapter 9 says; "Of the increase of the government of His peace there will be no end!". The Kingdom of heaven is righteousness in Christ, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!
How do I know someone is walking with God? The level of joy, peace, confidence, boldness, the amount that they are not consumed with themselves but they are Christ-concious and are aware that as He is so are they in this world! There is no condemnation, no guilt, no remorse on them, no regret on them, their past has gone and God turns their future into good - using bad experiences to make those bad experiences stepping stones to good steps into success. You are condemned to success, you are a victim of victory! There is an attitude that you and I need to have! I believe that my temparament is most vulnerable to depression. I am a melancholic, I am introspective, I am poetic and have natural highs and lows but I have not been depressed for 30 years because you see I have learnt the secret! That I am responsible to monitor my moods! No guru will do it for me! Even the Holy Spirit won't do it for me! No one can alter your moods, no one can make you angry! "That person makes me angry!".
You have given too much control to someone who can make you angry. They have become your boss and your lord. No one can make you angry!
You have control over your life! "Well I am waiting for the Holy Spirit to give me the power!". No no - you do not sit behind a power steering wheel and come in at a 180 to an S bend and say "I am waiting for the power to kick in on that power steering wheel!". No! You will be polyunsaturated margarine through!
The power kicks in when you take the sovereign thing that God has gifted you with called "free will" and with your free will you take the steering wheel and then the power kicks in! When I choose I am going to be happy and choose when I am going to live with joy! When I choose I am going to depend on my God and no one can make me happy and no one can ruin my life - I am the destiny of my life in Christ Jesus! I am not a victim of circumstances or a victim of other people's betrayals and criticisms and they are not my god - I don't put my faith in man! My faith is in God!
One of the worst things you can do is to be self-concious. The second worst thing you can do is put your faith in man. The United Nations is looking for the brotherhood of man in the absence of the Fatherhood of God. There is no brotherhood of man unless we have the Fatherhood of God. We do not put our faith in one another and we do not put our hope in man. Man will always disappoint you. No one can replace God - only God is eternal and unmoving and eternal permament grace, love and absolute solution to all of life. I would love to put all of my hope and trust in all of you. Don't do it to me! It is not fair. I am not God and I don't have the goods. I can't put my faith in you. It is not fair, you are not God! If I rely on you and you rely on me then we will have friction and problems. But if you and I rely on God and God gives me favour then He will put favour on me to want to love me and favour on you to want to support me and favour on you to support one another. Don't look to man for answers! Look to God and He will bring the answers through man - through a crow if He needs to as He did with Elijah or a donkey as He did with the prophet and Old Covenant and the answers through people but don't put your hope in your husband, wife, children or pastor or boss or nations - God is our hope and when God is our hope He manifests favour and energy and faith on people to support you and resource you and love you and be faithful and to stand with you. But no one is capacitated to replace God.
Trouble stress free living is possible! You can have trouble and stress all around you but inside here you can walk in peace. Is it the will of God? Absolutely. The book of Hebrews says "Labour" or "Strive" to enter His rest. Why do we do everything to enter into this rest? Because rest is your position of power in this earth. If you are not in a place of rest or peace then everything you sow and do will reap a harvest of corruption. The book of James says in James 3 that those who have God's peace sow in peace and reap a harvest of righteousness! Anything you sow out of agitation - any decision you make out of agitation or any decision you make out of irritation and out of frustration will cause you to sow a harvest you don't want. What you sow in peace has the victory of God all over it. What you sow in peace into your marriage and into your relationships - there are times when I want to sow something back to Glenda (and I know she feels the same) when I want to sow something back to her that isn't peace! Don't say it! Walk away and find peace and then say what I needed to say even though it is difficult and say it in peace. Many doctors are saying today that as much as 90% of diseases and sickness can be traced back to stress.
In a university they took two groups of pigs and they injected them with a substance that would cause immediate blockages in their arteries to induce heart attacks. One group of pigs began to die very quickly - in fact they all died! The other group of pigs - their arteries also blocked up but none of them died. So what they had done was subject the first group of pigs to a very intensely stressful environment. The other were subject to a very peaceful environment. So friends it is not what you eat but it is what is eating you! I have read many books on diets but the fear of saturated fats is overrated! There are many people dying of heart attacks with very little cholesterol in their arteries. I think the way you eat is important but 90% for the quality of your life and longevity.
We have people around the world and you can say it is genetics but look at how they live. They lived over 100 and eated saturated fats every day and smoked big cigars and drank a bottle of vodka! It is not what goes in but what is eating you! There are people writing books on how to eat and making millions of dollars - especially the Mediterrean diet. What they forget was that Jesus healed thousands of people of debilitating diseases who were all on the Mediterrean diet! It was Galilee and Jerusalem! They were eating olives and fish and yet they had every kind of disease. It is not what you eat but what is eating you. They took a bunch of monkeys and put them in cages and I don't agree with this - it is very cruel and I mean that. I hate these kind of experiments! But they subjected the cages to a violent electrical shock on the hour every hour for a couple of days and then took the monkeys out and found that the quality of their skin had deteriorated terribly, their blood vessels had been terribly conscricted and their kidneys were affected and when your kidneys go a whole lot of pollutants and toxins are released and they were extremely unhealthy.
I want to tell you that I believe the major killer on our planet is not HIV or mosquitos or malaria but stress that destroys the immune system and the psyche of the human being.
I could tell you all the things that I believe cause stress and I have read all the books and could list the priorities - losing a loved one or moving house are big ones. Children leaving one school and going to another, getting fired, pressure on marriage, relationships - but I want to tell you this and I really believe this. We are not pigs or monkeys. We have a will and we have choices to make and we are not victims.
The number one ultimate reason for living with stress and worry and anxiety in your life - and I got this revelation by worry and stress in my life and learning over years! - it is not lists that you get in books but it is simply this (and I say this tenderly and without judgement) stubborn, arrogant pride and a refusal to trust the awesomeness of God.
In man the reason he has to be dependent on God means he will lose his independence. And human beings because of satanic deception hate the idea of being dependent on God or anything! We want to be independent, self-made men! That is the number one cause of stress, worry and anxiety. We want to be king! And that is fine and not a problem! The Bible says in Revelation 5 that God has anointed us to be kings and priests unto our God! There isn't a priestly, clergy class! There isn't a priesthood and then the clergy! The Bible says in the New Covenant that everyone who says I believe in Christ is a royal priest! That is what Peter the apostle clearly teaches in 1st Peter! We are priests and kings Revelation 5 says! But Jesus is the King of Kings! So we can be kings reigning and ruling in life under the authority of the King of Kings! We partner with God and every part of our life is focused on what God wants for me. Not about what are the principles and laws here and the religious rules here! No - we are focused on the Presence of God and partnership with God and what is the purpose of God. Does He want me to stay here, to go there, is that His will? When you are in His will and things go wrong then you stay focused that God is bringing me through and I am trusting in my God to turn this around together for good! And I am not a victim of circumstances, I am not a pig or a monkey - I can respond with a will that can choose to depend on God!
Now how many think that Jesus had a lot to say about worry? If stress is the number 1 killer then our Lord and our King would have a lot to teach about worry and anxiety. So have you got Matthew 6? You may as well enjoy this message! Really enjoy it! You are allowed to get up and walk out and that won't offend me - but if you chose to stay then chose to enjoy this and get something out of this! Respond! Shout! Do something! The number one cause of stress is a stubborn pride and a refusal to depend on God. We will depend on men occasionaly when it is really getting bad but to depend on God?! Let's read what Jesus says about worry and stress! Matthew 6:24. I get comforted by just hearing Jesus say these words!
And Father I pray that as I read these words - the Holy Spirit will speak them into every person's heart in this room and address us with supernatural grace and wisdom that will help us live stress-free work and lives in Jesus Name!
(v24); "No one can serve 2 masters - either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you - do not worry about your life or what you will eat or drink or about your body and what you will wear". This is the key phrase that I am going to comment on in a moment; "Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air - they do not sow or reap or store away in barns - yet your heavenly Father feeds them! Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow - they do not labour". The Greek there is; "Hard, harsh labour". "Or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you - oh you of little faith?". Isn't it good that Jesus says God will clothe us even when we have got little faith?! Thank God He didn't say only those with big faith! "So do not worry saying, 'What shall we eat? Or what shall we drink or wear? For the pagans run after all these these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them!". He is a good Parent! He knows that you need those things! (v33); "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself - each day has enough trouble of it's own".
So here Jesus gives the absolute answer to the issue of stress and worry that has absolutely saturated modern-society today. Seek first the Kingdom! And His righteousness and all these things the pagans run after and seek will run after you. Clothing, food and blessings will run after you! So unless Jesus was lying and was a charlatan and maybe He was confused like Napoleoan or lying - but! If He was telling the truth then if you don't seek first the Kingdom can you have a stress-free life? You can if Jesus was lying! But looking at the world with empirical evidence and taking an overview of society today then I would say no - if you don't seek first then Kingdom then you cannot live a stress-free life. I will tell you why in a moment! If you don't seek first the Kingdom and are seeking Him when it is convinient and really you are not putting the kingdom of Jesus first then I have to say to you with all love and compassion that you cannot qualify to live a stress-free life. You will live a life with some happiness and moments of joy but most of it will be characterised by stress, unhappiness, depression and self-conciousness. So psychiatrists can't help you - they will help you manage some principles and ideas and philosophic insights but Jesus gave the best truth above any guru or psychiatrist. "Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you".
Now "His righteousness" is not you "behaving righteously". It is not you earning or being good enough in your righteousness! It is the righteousness that He gave you as a gift! Right standing with God!
What is the Kingdom that we need to seek first? What is the Kingdom of God? Jesus said; "Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven". What is heaven like? Are angels going to psychiatrists for nervous breakdowns? Is Jesus having to have a break because He had a burn-out as our great High Priest interceding for us? No! Heaven is a place of undiluted glory, absolute serenity, tranquility and perfect peace! So why does Jesus say; "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"? What is it to seek first the Kingdom? What is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God is the government of God's peace. It is the supernatural authority of a living God who created the heavens and the earth who says; "Seek first My Kingdom! It is the answer to all stressful living, worry and anxiety! If you do not want to seek first My kingdom then there is nothing I can do except send My Spirit into the earth and pull on your heart and conscience until one day you will get free from that stubborn pride and learn dependance on Me and seek My Kingdom first! Until that day - enjoy your pride and enjoy your stubbornness but you will just live eating food and passing it through your body and growing old and leaving no footprints of destiny in human history! Or you can be a Kingdom man or woman - putting the Kingdom first! And seeking the government of God's peace and the rule of God which is a gracious kind and loving rule!".
Let me put it this way - because of first Adam's fall which people call "original sin" - first Adam rebelling against God - this earth has temporarily been overrun by a counterfeit, illegitimate, illegal kingdom called the demonic. It is a satanic deception and the Bible says Satan is the god of this world and this time and this season. It is a temporary overrunning of the planet through first Adam's disobedience. So what is ruling in the philosophies and ideologies of political systems around the world but demonic lies and a lying fantasy and a corrupt wisdom of people pursuing priorities that will only lead to pain for all of their life! It is a pseudo-kingdom that is illegitimate and Jesus defeated it at the Cross and when He rose from the dead He said "ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me now go and preach the Kingdom to all nations".
So by the end of the age the Kingdom will have broken through and it is increasing throughout the earth - the government of His peace!
You get a gift of righteousness so that God sees you as perfect all the time when you walk by faith!
In a casual reading of Matthew 6 you could think that Jesus was saying to us and that all He is interested in is making sure that we will have clothes and we will have food. Nothing could be further from the truth. This thing is not about food or clothes. How pathetic to reduce the wonder of eternal grace and everlasting Kingdom - we are here for a short time on earth and will one day have resurrection bodies that will be immortal and live in Christ for eternity or we will spend it outside of the kingdom lost for all eternity. What a thing to think all He is talking about is just food and clothes! He is guaranteeing in Matthew 6 that food and clothing is a given - it is the Father's will to give you food and clothing! He wants to give you lots of food and the best food, wine and clothes! That is the Father for us! Extravagant abundance! That is His will! But is not the priority here! There is a much more gracious loving important priority here! The real priority is this; "Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?". In other words He is saying that the quality of your life - a stress-free, happy, peaceful, rested, serene, tranquil life is more important than food! And your body is more important than clothes! He is saying He will give you clothes but your health is more important than having the right name brands!
I was at the airport last night waiting to pick up Bonnie and was looking for a shirt to wear today and couldn't find one and she said "Don't get that one - it's got the label on it and everyone will know it is cheap!". I said "I couldn't care less! If it fits me and suits me I am wearing it!". But if I can afford a $50,000 suit then I will wear that too! I believe my Father wants to dress me in the best robes! But the body is more important than clothes! Hear this - it is no use wearing the most expensive clothes if the body inside is so diseased and run down by nervous anxiety and stress. He wants us to have a quality of life that is stress free and physical bodies that are healthy and not broken down by worry! It is an amazing thing in our information age that we think that there is something clever in our corrupted wisdom to half kill ourselves to earn enough money to buy a life that is stress-free! You cannot buy a stress-free life with all the money in the world! It will come by seeking the kingdom and government of God first and breaking out of a corrupted illegitimate satanic illegal government that has temporarily overrun the world affecting politics, economics and education and the way that people think. They don't think - they think humanistic and secular survival pride and arrogance against God. So they don't want to seek the kingdom first but a religion that is like a social club so they can pop into church on Sunday and have a happy little meeting that lasts only an hour because we don't want more than an hour because we have got more important things to do out there.
No! We need to be equipped to seek the Kingdom because if you want to live a stress free happy peaceful life in marriage and if you want your marriage to go like ours and longer or blessing on children then you need to seek the Kingdom first! This isn't for pastors! I am not a pastor! I am a Christian and a son of God! I never see myself as a pastor! I am one but I have never thought of myself like that! I am just a man that likes to surf and have fun and go to movies! But something in me seeks the Kingdom! He says; "The birds of the air don't sow or reap but your Father cares for them! Aren't you much more valuable than birds!?". I want to turn to someone and say "You are much more valuable than birds bird-brain!". Jesus is speaking to an agricultural/fishing society and they understand sowing and reaping and sowing up in barns! So they knew the process - you sow and clear the field and plough and sow the seed and water and pull the weeds and finally a harvest and then you reap the harvest and put it into your barns and wait for buyers! He isn't saying that we have to sit at home and wait and we won't need banks or that - what He is saying is that birds know better than us that we don't need to work in a pseudo-illegitimate economic system that is based on the fall of Adam and the curse of the earth. We can seek the Kingdom and find in the Kingdom that our sowing and our reaping and our storing in barns will happen with the acceleration of kingdom economics so there are many people that understand what I am preaching today who work LESS and are paid MORE!
They enjoy what they are doing! I am very concerned about people who come to church and say they are interested in church unity but are not interested in theology! If you don't have theology - then you are an idiot! You are! Jesus said in John 8; "My followers who follow whether they feel like it or not ...". We need to know we are not on a religious addiction to a hormonal religious high. We are not addicted to experiences! We are servants and sons and daughters of the most high God! The King of Kings and we are in partnership to release the advancement of the Kingdom of God to invade this earth as it is in heaven and to come into this earth and topple evil influences, illegitimate governments that are bringing stress and cancer and blindness and crippled disease on mankind and the church is sitting on little assurances on it's blessed behind and to hell with the world and we will live our lives for ourselves! No! We are kings! Under the King of Kings in partnership to reign and rule with the King of the Kingdom which is first in our lives before our wives, children and job! The Kingdom is first! I will chose the Kingdom before my career as a pastor!
If I am in any pressure in any group of people to surrender the Kingdom first to preach a palatable message that is more acceptable to secular, humanistic modern man then I will resign my position and keep the Kingdom first! I will go without my salary! But I will live on the economics of the Kingdom because that is the way to keep a good marriage and good family, health and run up mountains and be strong because there is a way to live in the freedom of the kingdom of God - by putting it first!
Don't ask the question why we don't see more miracles! Don't ask the question why we don't see more results! Ask the question are we seeking first the Kingdom - in integrity! Until you and whole congregations seek the Kingdom and His righteousness in integrity - and let's not bluff and say we are seeking it first unless we really are! When we really are THEN the Kingdom breaks in!
When first Adam was walking with God in the glory and hearing the voice of God before original sin - God came to first Adam and said "I will bless your work" and God gave Adam a work assignment. In the earth! He gave Adam authority and dominion in the earth! And He gave Him work and it actually uses the word "work" in the book of Genesis! Adam was given work by God before the Fall! So work is not a curse - it is the blessing of God. But when Adam fell and turned in rebellion against God and sought himself first not God then the Bible says that the earth was subject to frustration and God said to Adam, "You will work by the sweat of your brow" and that is stressful work! That is the way that people labour under the dominion of Satan today. They are stressed out and they are working hard and they have big holes in their pockets. They earn a lot but it just seems to fall away to pay for this arrangement or that arrangement - and they are working by the sweat of their brow not by the transcendance of God's Kingdom but their own wisdom.
God says in the Bible that in Christ we are redeemed from the curse that came on the earth through first Adam and we are the new creation in Christ Jesus. You and I are part of the new creation order in the earth! We are part of a Kingdom people citizens not of earth but of heaven and we are all going to be there in Christ maybe very soon! The longest here maybe 30-40 years. But some of us will be there sooner! Not me - I am going last and living till Jesus comes again.
What do birds do most of the time? They sing! But I thank God that I have the privilidge of living in Hong Kong and being woken up by birds. I would rather have that than not hear any birds. In those moments when all the stress is off you and you don't need the valium or substitutes to calm you down and all that stress has gone - what is the first thing you do? Sing! You don't try to sing to get rid of the stress! If the stress goes then you sing!
I am not saying stay at home and sing and don't go to work! I believe we have to go and sow and reap and have banking but there is a heart that sings on the way to work! There is a seeking the Kingdom first! I am not a product of an evolutionary random chance but I am the design of a creator that loved me and put His signature in my soul and made me in His image and put eternity in my heart with a purpose not to eat food, pass it through my body, make money and pay off some building and then die!
He made me to change history and He made you to change history! We are called to affect the politics, economics, medical, educational world of Hong Kong and we are called to affect it with kingdom life!
As you start seeking the kingdom first and go to work start singing! As you go to work start singing! Don't sing the sad country and western songs! Try and keep away from melancholic songs! Sing like a bird! If you don't believe Jesus or you - let me encourage you how to worry better. Go to a worry seminar and train and learn from people who have got nervous breakdowns and stress in their expensive clothing and write expensive books! Go to Jesus! He really knows what He is talking about! Seek first the Kingdom! He says you can worry as much as you like but it won't make you grow! Look at the lilies! They don't toil and spin! Even Solomon in all his splendour was not dressed like one of these! Jesus!? Are you saying that the lilys of the field are greater than Solomon, the king of Israel and the king of wisdom!? Lilys have got greater wisdom that Solomon?! And Jesus will say to you "Yes". But God didn't you clothe Solomon?! No only some. The second half of Solomon's life was a disaster - it was a tragedy. He walked away from God and got independent and proud. The first half of his life - God came to him and said what do you want - wealth or long life or fame? Solomon said; "No - I want wisdom from You God". He got wisdom from God that gave Him such governmental legitimacy to rule Israel as a great king and Israel prospered under his rule!
But in the second half he walked away from God and walked away from putting His Kingdom first and it was an absolute mess in his life! He lived in a sick body with wealthy clothes and he had piles of gold and silver but was a broken and destroyed man. In the first half the Queen of Sheba came up for an interview with Solomon and asked him questions about his creativity and his kingdom because he lived with the kingdom first and God's kingdom and the Bible said that he answered with such wisdom that she gave him 120 talents of gold. 120. That is the number of God! That is millions! Billions! How many priests were in the Upper Room in Chronicles in Solomon's tabernacle when the glory fell? 120. 1000 years later when the glory fell how many were in the Upper Room? 120. How many talents of gold did she give Solomon? 120. In the 2nd half of his life he began to get harsh and walked away from God and didn't seek God on a daily basis and began to tax the people that were so far and above and rebelled against God and the Bible says that the talents came to 666 talents of gold every year. 666. The mark of the beast - the number of man's idea that man is the measure of all things. And we have the strength without God to do things and build towers and go to the moon.
Solomon started off with kingdom and ended terribly. So Jesus says look at the lilys! If these things here today and gone tomorrow get God's attention how much more you who are made in the image of God. He cares about you and wants you to work in the economics of His kingdom and put Him first and on your way to work be singing! Sometimes we think we know what is causing our stress and making us agitated! How many sometimes feel stressed and don't know why? Sometimes just an agitation - a stress and we think there is a reason! But I hope I can convince you today to not rely on a guru but on God and on a regular daily basis spend enough time in God's Presence to identify any areas of stress and see what's causing it. I can have something stressing me and think I know the cause of it and as I pray and wait on God an inward impression and an idea comes and I see that is the reason for that stress and can immediately say "okay! I deal with that and break that in Jesus Name!". Demonic presence manifests with agitation and stress and lying fantasies and overwhelming feelings that it is too big! That is a demonic presence! And that is why the apostle says; "Be alert, be vigilent, your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion" and the very next verse says "Casting all your cares on the Lord who cares for you".
Why does he connect the devil prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour to you taking the responsibility to cast your cares on Him who cares for you? Because Satan can't mess your life up at all unless he can insinuate thoughts into your mind of lying fantasies and feelings of being overwhelmed and lies about people and thoughts. Until you are in the Holy Spirit and pick up what is causing you to be stressed and then you can cast this onto Him and cast this and belly laugh by faith and rebuke the devil and sing like the birds!
I am trusting God that everyone will get some change that will so bless you and your family but more than that - others will see your life and say "Give me the answer!". If people are stressed, sulking and depressed and wanting to suck all the energy out of you - Jesus didn't allow that! You can say that is harsh and He wasn't. But the first time someone comes to you and says "I am stressed" you need to listen to them with such open ears and don't interupt and honour and care but the greatest show of love you can give someone is to stop talking and listen to them! When they have finished talking about their problems then you are going to have to say as a royal priest of God who is putting the kingdom first; "Okay I have the answers for you and they are not cliches and I am not insensative or glib but unless you seek the kingdom first then there is nothing that can help you. You will have to help yourself and it doesn't look like your self-help has gone very far". Somewhere you must realise my self-help principles are not working! And you must say; "I love you and God loves you but if you do not put His Kingdom first then He cannot help you while you are living under that pseudo-illegitimate false king called the devil". They say they try and go away and come back and say it didn't work and go away and try again and on the third or fourth try you begin to realise that they don't want HELP they just want SYMPATHY. And then they become a plot of the enemy to phone you just as your husband and wife are about to have a romantic dinner!
Do people a favour - don't dump your sulking on people over the phone! Say I am feeling a bit down and know you need to seek the Kingdom first and say you are phoning just for some advice - don't keep phoning just to get sympathy! Sympathy is like a nice warm bath and it gets cold after a while and it doesn't help you! I want to keep the bath warm all the time and know how to equip people to deal with depression, heartache, problems not by psych-analytical problems but a King who cares for every area of your life!
After someone has phoned you the seventh or eighth time you are going to have to say "Listen I cannot listen to all this again - I have heard it eight times! I am asking you - are you putting the kingdom first?". "No it doesn't work! It isn't working!". "Well Jesus was a liar then and I am deceived because I am happy and stress-free and you know it doesn't work so I am deceived and Jesus was a liar". Well it is easy for you to say because you get a good deal with a great wife and it is easy for you!". The trouble with that argument is that there is always someone in a worse situation than us who is happy! So the argument that you have a better deal is rubbish! You are not a monkey or a pig and you can make a choice and keep seeking until the feelings kick in and you are not a victim! You turn the steering wheel and then the power kicks in! Even though hell and rejection comes at me every day I make a choice! I will lead year after year with faith and enthusiasm but I will never be a person that sulks year after year! I will live for His honour! Two prisoners look out of the same prison and one looked out and saw mud and the other saw stars!
God authorised 12 men to spy on the Promised Land and come back and give a positive report. 10 came back and saw giants. 2 came back and saw grapes! The 10 died on the same day. The 2 waited for 40 years to lead a new generation into the Promised Land! I am going to be a Jacob or a Caleb and lead a generation of young people to their destiny! And any older person above 40 like me has a choice to become a grumpy old person who gets worse as you get old or seek the Kingdom first or set a model for young people so that when they get to 50 and 60 they are not going to be cynical and skeptical but get bold and confident that your life has purpose! The spies all saw the giants and the grapes! 2 decided what they would focus on! All 12 were spies! And they were married to Spice Girls! I am talking about eternal things here and time is going by! What is the legacy we are leaving and what awards await us in heaven? Are you serious about putting the kingdom first knowing that eternity is waiting with awards and the praises of a God for a people that chose the kingdom first and didn't give in to an easy route! The way of the kingdom is the easiest route! In that pain and troubles you have a peace that surpasses all understanding! You are walking with God every day! You can walk with a conciousness of God every day! You can pray early or late - no legalism! No have-tos! But just to spend time in the Presence of a living God who's burden is easy and His yoke is light..
God wants a people so strong that we build strong local congregations! We are building a community that incarnate an eternal truth called grace and called to be a model to every nation around the world! We will touch millions of lives and if we don't do it then others will come! We must break out - and be honest and ask "Help Me to put the Kingdom first!". Ask for help! Be honest! But if it is all self-pity then you are draining resources that could be deployed elsewhere! I am going to finish my race with my chest held high and we will never give up!"