"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and Jas righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."—Mat_6:33.
Man is a compound being, formed of two parts; the one material and earthly the other immaterial and spiritual. The one requires temporal provision, the other spiritual; and both are necessary to his complete happiness The gospel meets both demands. It presents all possible spiritual good before the mind, and engages that all necessary temporal good shall be supplied to the body See Mat_6:25, Mat_6:23. But then, while both body and soul have wants to be supplied, and while both may lawfully engage our attention, reason and religion demand, that that which is most really important and intrinsically valuable should engage our first and chief attention This is the obvious meaning of the text: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Notice, I. The Direction given. And, II. The Promise annexed.
I. The Direction given.
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." Notice,
1. The objects of pursuit.
"Kingdom of God," &c. Kingdom of God sometimes signifies the Christian dispensation, Mar_1:15; sometimes the heavenly world, 1Co_15:50. It also signifies the spiritual privileges and blessings of the gospel; and it is in this sense we are to understand the declaration of the apostle, "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink," &c., Rom_14:17. Also, that saying of Christ is to be understood in the same sense, "Behold, the kingdom of God is within you;" Luk_17:21. The text is to be understood in like manner.
There is, however, a close and inseparable connection subsisting between these three kingdoms. By receiving the dispensation of the gospel with cordiality and joy, we become interested in and identified with its blessings and privileges; and through this spiritual kingdom we receive both a title and meetness for God's eternal kingdom and glory. But we are also to seek,
(2) Sanctifying righteousness; or the renewing of the mind by the Spirit of God. Eph_4:2-3, Eph_4:4; 2Co_3:18.
(3) Practical righteousness; or obedience to the commandments of God. Rom_6:13; Eph_5:9; 1Jn_2:29. Observe, these things we are,
3. To seek.
"Seek ye," &c. This implies,
(1) A consciousness of our need of them. Many do not feel this, many are totally indifferent to them. But the soul awakened to the realities of religion is deeply impressed with the necessity of them. It also implies,
(2) Earnest application for them. Application to the right source—throne of grace. In a right way—by fervent and believing prayer; Heb_4:14. And with perseverance, until we obtain them. Importunate widow. Woman of Canaan, &c.
4. These things are to be sought first. "Seek ye first," &c.
(1) In point of time we should seek them first. Religion should have the precedence of every thing; should be the foundation of the business of life. We only set out right in life when we do so upon this principle. 2Ch_28:9; Ecc_12:1; Lam_3:27.
(2) First in point of importance and attention. Our arrangements must be based here. Our chief thoughts, and cares, and anxieties must be absorbed in this. Everything else must be made to subserve it: all other things transacted in reference to it.
But why must these things be sought first?
(1) Because of their superlative worth. Pearl of great price. The excellency and end of life. All other things comparatively but as dross, &c. Php_3:8, &c.
(2) Because, whatever we possess, we can have no solid enjoyment without them Nothing else satisfies the mind, fills the void, &c. This is the only solid basis of true and lasting blessedness.
(3) Because now is the only certain time of obtaining them. Religion and its blessings are all in the present tense. "To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." "Behold, now is the day of salvation." To-day is ours, for our use and improvement; to-morrow is God's and he may either give it or withhold it from us. There is a solemn example in the case of the rich worldling: "Thou fool, this night," &c.
We should seek them first,
(4) Because of their eternal duration. All here is transient, mutable, and perishing. All beyond is sure, unchanging, and eternal. How the worth of heaven is enhanced by its connection with eternity! The misery of hell, how dreadful when viewed through the same medium!
We pass on to consider,
II. The Promise annexed.
"And all these things shall be added unto you." Notice,
1. What these things are.
See from verse 25. It evidently includes meat, drink, clothing—those things which the body requires for its comfortable subsistence. Luxuries are not included Not necessary. Often injurious. But what is necessary shall be provided. See the psalmist's experience in this matter, Psa_37:35 : "Bread shall be given him and his water shall be sure." Isa_33:16. God gives these things to the beasts of the field, and to the fowls of the air; and believers are of much higher value than these. He gives these things to his enemies, to the wicked: and surely he will not, nay, we know of a surety that he will not, forget or cast off his own children. Besides, "Godliness is profitable to all things, having the promise of the life that now is," &c. 1Ti_4:8. Observe,
2. The way in which these things shall be communicated.
"All these things shall be added." Added, as a matter of course, or thrown into the bargain, as good old Trapp has it, in the way that drapers give thread, &c., to those who purchase cloth. Then notice 3 The certainty of its fulfilment.
"These things shall be added, &c. Here is nothing doubtful; all is definite, plain, and absolute. We may confidently rely on the fulfilment of this promise. If we reflect upon the power and truth of the promiser—upon his riches and goodness—upon his faithfulness and immutability—upon his goodness to his people in every age and country—nothing that he ever promised has failed. Besides, our bodies are his created and redeemed property; and he will not allow them to perish after his infinite skill has fashioned, and his unbounded mercy redeemed them. Finally, he is our heavenly Father; and, "if our parents, being evil, give good things," &c. Mat_7:11; Rom_8:32.
1. The perfection of the Christian religion. It is adapted to meet the exigences of both body and mind. It secures all that is really necessary for this life, and reveals all that is joyous and desirable in the life that is to come. We see,
2. That the blessings of religion must be sought. We are not indolently to wait for them, but to labor to obtain them. We are to ask, that we may receive; seek, that we may find; and to knock, that the door may be opened.
3. Let each examine himself, and ascertain his true state in the sight, of God, and his prospects as regards the eternal world.
4. The careless rejectors of God's kingdom must necessarily perish