But Seek His Kingdom

by LA UBF   02/18/2006     0 reads



 But Seek His Kingdom

Luke 12:22-34

Key Verse 12:31

1. Read verses 22-30. About what does Jesus say not to worry? What does "worry" mean? Are all "worries" bad? Why should we not worry about these things? 

2. Think about Jesus' words in verses 22-30 again. Although Jesus says, "do not worry", why do people (Christians included) keep "worrying"?

3. Read verses 31-32. What does it mean to "seek his kingdom"? Why should we seek his kingdom? 

4. Read verses 33-34. How are the following statements related to one another? 1) Sell your possessions and give to the poor; 2) Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out...; and 3) Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

** Write a Bible testimony incorporating one thing you learned and share it with your friends.  



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 But Seek His Kingdom

Luke 12:22-34

Key Verse 12:31 

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Today we would like to think about the blessed way of life. God is the God of blessing. God’s children live a blessed way of life, not a cursed way of life.  

A quick review of Genesis 1-3 will help us better understand what we mean by a blessed way of life. In Genesis 1God created the heavens and the earth.  In Genesis 2 God planted a Garden of Eden. There Adam and Eve could enjoy a perfect relationship with God the Father. But since the fall they lost the relationship with God. Instead of living under God’s blessings, they came to live under God’s curses, for God’s curses fell upon them. But God did not abandon them in a cursed condition. God sent Jesus to recover them and all of their descendants back to the blessed relationship with the Blessed Father in the Blessed Garden. Having come from the Father, in the passage for today, Jesus taught his followers, the blessed way of life. But before we think about this blessed way of life, let us first think about the cursed way of life, for in verses 22-30a Jesus describes the cursed way of life, and then in verses 31-34 Jesus invites us to the blessed way of life. 

I. A cursed way of life adopted by the pagan world (22-30a)

Let us read verses 22-30a responsively. In this passage we see three characteristics of the pagan way of life. 

First, pagans have little or no faith in God (28, 30)

Miriam-Webster On-line Dictionary defines the word “pagan” like this: ‘a follower of a polytheistic religion as in ancient Rome; one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods; an irreligious or hedonistic person.’ This definition gives us some ideas about the pagan world. In view of Jesus’ words we can say that pagans are those who have little or no faith in God. God is the God of the living. God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is the living God who lives and is with his people each and every day, protecting and providing for them. When Jesus came he demonstrated the work of the living God in his messages and miracles. His messages had the power to give life to men. By his word he healed the sick. By his word he raised the dead to life. With five loaves and two fish Jesus fed people numbering more than five thousand. But the pagans have little or no faith in the living God.   

Second, pagans are filled with worries (22,26,29)

In the passage we see the word “worry” repeated three times (22, 26, and 29). “Do not worry about your life…” (22) “[W]hy do you worry …?” (26) “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry.” (29) In verse 28 Jesus says, “O you of little faith!” This indicates that when one loses faith in God, naturally one ends up worrying about what to eat or what to wear. In this respect then pagans are worse than animals because at least animals do not worry. But because pagans do not have faith in God, they are worried about almost everything. As a result they suffer from all kinds of worry-related problems like hair-loss, insomnia, anxiety attacks, muscle pains, or heart attacks.   

Third, pagans set their hearts on what is perishable (22; 29-30a)

In verse 30 Jesus says that the pagan world runs after things like food or clothes. This passage indicates that the pagans focus on what is perishable. Jesus says that life is more valuable than food, and the body is more valuable than clothes. Yet pagans set their hearts on perishable things like food or clothes. God created man to serve God. Because God created man to serve God, man must use his life and body to serve God. But the pagans serve things like food or clothes. They do not live for God but for perishable things like food or clothes. What then will be the end of their life? They perish as they set their hearts on what is perishable. 

II. A blessed way of life which God’s children are called to live by (30b-34)

We are told that God is love. Love desires to give what is best to the one whom it chooses to love. As God is true love, God wants to give his children all that he knows as best. Practically then how does this love become manifested in the life of his children? In view of Jesus’ words, it becomes manifested in seven stages. 

First, knowing the will of our Heavenly Father (32)


In verse 32 Jesus disclosed what he really wanted to say: “Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” The will has been there from first to last. It was so in the Garden of Eden. And it was so in the day of Jesus. And it is so now. He is “pleased” to give his children His kingdom. Knowing this will of God, the Father is the first key to living a blessed life. Many of our human fathers are not righteous. Not all of them are generous and kind. In fact as the Bible says like all of us they too are evil. But it is not so with our Heavenly Father. And he is pleased to give us not just some goodies such as nice cars, fashionable clothes, ranch houses, suitable helpers (I mean marriage partners), beautiful mountains and rivers, but also a “kingdom”. 

Yes, a kingdom! In Jesus’ day the people of the world didn’t know what a nation or a country was, but they did know these as kingdoms. Consider then the kingdoms people of Jesus’ day knew, like the Egyptian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, and the Roman Empire. They are all kingdoms. Nowadays according to Jesus’ phraseology you and I are living in a kingdom called the United States of America. British people like the way Jesus calls a nation, that they still call their nation the “U.K.” – the United Kingdom. So let us stop and think about a kingdom. A kingdom is more than a village or a town. It is more than a campus or a fellowship. It is more than a city, a county, or a state. It consists of a vast number of people and all different kinds of assets such as banks, credit unions, manufacturing facilities, car dealers, ranch houses, office buildings, golf courses, mountains, and rivers. The other day in prayer for future generations growing up in the ministry I was checking in the Internet to look for a bigger site for the Bible center. Then I saw a lot of ranches, office buildings, and other commercial spaces that are available in the market. Most of them are more than 20 acres. The prices were also affordable – more than 20 million U.S. Dollars! And they are all located within the range of one hour drive from Downey. If I say, “They are all affordable”, you may say, “Finally Missionary Isaac Kim went crazy.” But this was what people of Jesus’ day used to say about Jesus. In fact those who were close to Jesus like Jesus’ mother and his half brothers thought that finally Jesus went out of his mind. But was Jesus insane? Did he go nuts? No. 

Yet, listen to what Jesus says: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom!” Let us stop for a moment and think about why Jesus might have prefaced his word with “Do not be afraid.” Why? It is because we always think that what Jesus promises is too good to believe, so we do not believe. But we should not be afraid. Consider also the word “your” located just in front of “Father.” “Your Father!” God is not just Jesus’ Father, or Abraham’s Father or Isaac or Jacob’s Father. He is not just the Father of Joseph or the Father of Abraham Lincoln or the Father of Billy Graham, but also He is my Father and your Father! If you are not convinced, think about what our missionaries in the Middle East believe: God is the Father of Ishmael! This is true. And think about how much God gave to Ishmael and his descendants – black gold, zillion of gallons of it. Thus we all must be convinced of this: our Father in heaven is pleased to give each of us far more than we can possibly imagine receiving! 

Second, seeking his kingdom (31a)

Look at verse 31a. “But seek his kingdom…” Knowing the Father’s will is one thing and seeking is another. If one knows the Father’s will for sure one will then go for it with assurance. This is what the word “seek” is all about. 

So let us seek it until we find it and take possession of it. In order to seek His kingdom then where do we start? Do we go to the Internet and try all the search engines like Google or Yahoo? Oh, no. Once upon a time Job asked, “If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwellings!” Job 23:3 Job continued to say, “If I go to the east he is not there, if I go to the west, I do not find him.” Job 23:8 So do not go to the east or west. In search of peace of mind, Richard Gear went to the east even as far as Tibet, and met a religious guru named the so-called “his holiness” the Dalai Lama. After going through some traumatic experience such as a near fatal car accident, joblessness as a result of his diabetes, George Lucas turned to a world of his own, and with his imagination created the Star Wars Sequel, and a lot of Americans fell down into the ditches he dug up. In order to find a sense of identity, peace of mind, or to just fit in, many teenagers try romantic relationships such as the ones found in the mega-hit movie, Titanic. I did not watch the movie, but one of the themes the movie advocates the saying, “don't follow your head, follow your heart; don't do your duty, follow your instincts; don't think, listen to your feelings.” 

But one cannot find God’s kingdom in cyber space, physical spaces such as the physical universe, in the space of your own imagination, or by following your emotions. Where then can one find the kingdom? 

We find an answer to this question in the Bible. For example, the Apostle John says in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” He then says in John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.” By definition, God’s kingdom is the place where God is the king. And in order to seek God’s kingdom, one must first go and find who God is, for it is logical that without knowing who God is, or where he lives, it is impossible for one to be in His kingdom, much less take possession of it. Thank God however. God sent Jesus to show himself. Later the Apostle Paul learned of this and said, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will go into heaven?’ or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” But rather we must say with our mouth, “Jesus is the Lord” for Jesus Christ is the exact representation of God’s being. (Romans 10:6,7; Hebrews 1:3) 

Therefore “But seek his kingdom” literally means “seek to know Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Paul found this to be true through his personal experience. In the past he did not know where to find God’s kingdom. But through God’s grace he found all he was looking for – peace of mind, joy of life, the hope for his blessed future, all put together in Jesus Christ. Then he said in Philip. 3:7-9, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” This is the discovery of discoveries. In fact it is the greatest discovery of all. Have you discovered it? 

Third, learning to receive from Him (31b)

“But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” God is not the God of hyperboles. Unlike worldly businessmen who tend to exaggerate what they sell, Jesus never exaggerates; rather in all modesty and humility he proposes God’s kingdom to the people by simply saying, “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Here “these things” refer to things like food, drink, or clothes and much more. But, first things first. What should come first? The relationship with Him must come first. The question then is, “Do you truly know God?” “Are you truly in the living relationship with God the Father?”

Some people seem to seek Jesus Christ and come to church diligently. But in fact what they are interested in is not Jesus himself but something else. The man who asked Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance is a good example. This man followed Jesus even with great enthusiasm. But why did he do that? He did it all to get some quick benefits. And Jesus refused to entertain his selfish desires. This kind of person will never be able to experience the abundance of God’s provision. 

“But seek his kingdom, and all these will be given to you as well.” Joseph in Genesis illustrates this truth. While young, he loved the Lord God and obeyed Him in practical life. Like his step brothers he could have chased after things of this world. But instead in love for the Lord, he learned to walk with the Lord. He did it in his father’s house, at his work (in Egypt at the house of Mr. Potiphar) and in a prison cell. Then at God’s right time the Lord promoted him to the position next to the Pharaoh. The Lord put the whole world at his disposal – all the money in all the banks, all the food, drinks, clothes, camels, donkeys, sheep, and people. Even Mr. Pharaoh and his dependants depended on Joseph. 


Fourth, giving to the poor (33a)

The next station of the cycle of the blessings for the children of God is giving to the poor. Look at verse 33. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor…” Here ‘possessions’ include not just physical possessions but also spiritual possessions such as love, kindness, and most importantly the word of God. By the same token “the poor” denotes not just the physically poor but also the spiritually poor. We know that people like the Sudanese are poor financially. So we donated $20,000 towards purchasing a Sudan UBF Bible center. After the worship service I will show you a video clip of the future center’s location. But, before one becomes financially poor, one first becomes poor spiritually, for what is physical comes out of what is spiritual. For this reason when Missionary Andrew Kim went to Sudan he first gave the gospel to the local students. Knowing that the gospel is the storehouse of all the wealth, he went out to Khartoum University, fished one sheep, Oyor Moses, and taught the Bible. Then after ten years of Bible study, the Lord God made Shepherd Oyor Moses so rich that he decided to give what he received to the poor, that is, to the Egyptians. He himself is a professor teaching environmental science at Khartoum University. As a professor he could have enjoyed his family life in Sudan. But because God’s kingdom grew in his heart, he prayed to go to one of the Muslim countries as a permanent missionary. Then God opened the way for him to go to Al Shamsi University in Cairo Egypt with a full scholarship supported by Khartoum University so he could study at ASU on a PhD program, still teaching the Bible. 

Before I went to Sudan a month ago, I saw a lot of Sudanese refugees encamped at the Refugee camp at the outskirts of Cairo demonstrating against the Egyptian government. They cried out to the government asking for governmental support such as food and medical services. But, Missionary Oyor Moses is doing things the other way around. Although he is a typical Sudanese person, because he has Jesus in his heart, he went to Cairo to share God’s blessings to the Egyptian students. And this is what happens to everyone who sincerely repents and believes in Jesus. 

Fifth, providing real purses for yourselves (33b)

The next station that comes in the cycle of the blessed way of life for God’s children is providing purses that will not wear out, for in verse 33 Jesus continues to say, “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out…” This statement is kind of interesting. So, let us stop and think about the meaning. What is a purse? We know the answer. A purse is a small bag of money. It is a receptacle (like a wallet) for carrying money. The word “wear” means “diminish”. We know that purses like wallets quickly wear out, and the money inside of a wallet diminishes fast. In my case, the money in my wallet disappears so quickly that I am afraid to keep more than $20 in my wallet. But, Jesus says, “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out.” What is Jesus talking about? He is talking about a money bag where the supply of money will “never” run out. Imagine, you put $20 bills one hundred of them and you know you used them all up, and then lo and behold, the next day you pulled out your wallet, and still your wallet is full of money! Wow, what happened? If this happens to you indeed, how good would it be?! But still Jesus says, “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out!” 

Notice the word “yourselves.” Jesus is not talking to someone else, but to you! Here is another point to consider: it is NOT God who is to provide this purse for you. It is “you” who should provide the purse for yourself. Notice also that God never asks you to do anything without first providing you with the ways in which for you to do what you are asked to do. 

What then is the means? How are we to provide the purse for ourselves? We already know the answer. We must first take care of the purpose – the purpose of our life and the purpose of the provision. The purpose of God’s children is to seek God’s kingdom. The purpose of God’s provision is for God’s children to share it with the poor. So here is the rule: the purpose proposes to provide the purse with provisions. In other words, the right purpose provides you with the right kind of purse – that is, the purse that will never wear out. What then is your purpose of life? Or what do you do with what you already have?  

Sixth, providing a treasure in heaven (33c)

The next station in the cycle of the blessed way of life for God’s children is opening a treasure account in heaven. Look at verse 33. “[Provide] a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted.” This is also kind of interesting. So let us think about it for a moment. What is a treasure? A treasure is, “wealth (such as money, jewels, or precious metals) stored up or hoarded; wealth of any kind or in any form; a store of money in reserve; something of great worth or value; a collection of precious things.” What does “in heaven” mean? Obviously it is not “the safe deposit box at the Bank of America or the Home Savings Bank”. “Heaven” as used in verse 33 denotes the world of God which is different from the world of the creation. Hebrews 11:1-3 affirms the existence of two different worlds: the world of God and the world of creation. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” God is invisible, but the physical world we are living in is visible. But the world of God is as real as (if not more real than) the world we are living in. In fact according to Jesus, God’s world (called “heaven”) is without a limit (and therefore cannot be exhausted, i.e., free from wear and tear); whereas the physical world we are physically living in is limited (and therefore ‘exhaustible’ meaning subject to wear and tear). 

The great thing is that in Jesus Christ we can have a full access to “heaven” (or “God’s presence” if you will) each and every day. I maintain a checking account at Washington Mutual. This checking account is linked with a credit card issued by WAMU. So I am a “customer” of WAMU. As a customer, I have a full access to my checking account at WAMU. But in order to access my account at the Auto Teller Machine I must use my PIN number. The same thing is true with the way to do the spiritual banking business in maintaining a spiritual treasure account with God. To the children of God then the PIN number is FAITH. By faith we can have access to the kingdom of God. The most fabulous thing in our business relationship with the treasure accounts in heaven is that you can do the businesses all “on-line” and it is fully “wire-less.” Nowadays what is in fashion is “Wi-fi” or “Hi-fi”, because we believe in cordless everything – cordless cell phones, cordless speakers, cordless mice, etc. But still in order for you to go cordless or wireless, you need a lot of expensive gadgets such as a laptop geared with an Ethernet card or wireless router. But it is not so with the banking relationship between God the Father and his children, for with or without these gadgets, they can have full access to the heavenly accounts maintained by God the Father. 

“[Provide] a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Again, it is each of us who should “provide” a treasure in heaven. How do we do that? We know the answer. In the previous passage, the rich man failed to provide anything for himself. The account balance in his heavenly treasure account had a zero balance. Why? It was because he was not rich toward God. And he lived selfishly and he died selfishly. 

Seventh, keeping your heart at the right place (34)

The last station in the cycle of the blessed way of life is placing your heart in the right place. Look at verse 34. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This statement is also kind of interesting. What kind of message is this? What is Jesus talking about? Is he talking about salvation or eternal life or what? Yes, he does, but not in an abstract way, but in a practical way. Jesus knows how he made our heart. He knows how our heart operates. And by the heart Jesus means not just the physical heart which pumps up the blood 24/7, but the spiritual heart which he created as his personal dwelling within us. 

Pagans do not know God the Father. Naturally at the inner-most sanctum of their lives, they seek, worship, and chase after all the mundane things, so when their search after these perishable things is over, they also perish. The rich fool in the parable of the rich fool ended his life that way. Jesus saw that the disciples such as Peter and James might end their lives that way. In fact, Judas Iscariot ended his life that way. So Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” To us, the real treasure then is Jesus Christ. So when we dearly love Jesus and give our hearts fully to Him, then, he will provide us with all we need for life. 

One word: But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 




 But Seek His Kingdom

Luke 12:22-34

Key Verse 12:31

In this passage Jesus teaches his disciples to seek what is best for them, that is, God's kingdom. 

1. Read verses 22-30. About what does Jesus say not to worry? What does "worry" mean? Are all "worries" bad? Why should we not worry about these things? 

** About: 1) life, what to eat (this could take on different types of worry, such as paying the bills)

2) body, what to wear (such as where to live, when to buy a house, etc.)

** Worry -
1 dialect British :  HYPERLINK "http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/choke" CHOKE,  HYPERLINK "http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/strangle" STRANGLE
2 a : to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat b : to shake or pull at with the teeth <a terrier worrying a rat> c : to touch or disturb something repeatedly d : to change the position of or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling
3 a : to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment :  HYPERLINK "http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/torment" TORMENT b : to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort
4 : to afflict with mental distress or agitation : make anxious
intransitive senses
1 dialect British :  HYPERLINK "http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/strangle" STRANGLE,  HYPERLINK "http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/choke" CHOKE
2 : to move, proceed, or progress by unceasing or difficult effort :  HYPERLINK "http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/struggle" STRUGGLE
3 : to feel or experience concern or anxiety :  HYPERLINK "http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/fret" FRET

** All worries are bad if they hurt you. 

** 1) v. 23: life is more than food, body more than clothes.

2) God feeds (as he does ravens) and clothes (as he does lilies) you. 

3) By worrying we cannot add a single hour to our life.

2. Think about Jesus' words in verses 22-30 again. Although Jesus says, "do not worry", why do people keep "worrying"?

** They do not trust God. [Little faith is no different than no faith.] 

3. Read verses 31-32. What does it mean to "seek his kingdom"? Why should we seek his kingdom? 

** Kingdom = king's domain; domain - a place or territory such as our heart, mind, or any physical space. King = the sovereign ruler; His kingdom means God's kingdom. So seeking his kingdom means seeking to build the rule of God. It denotes all efforts to ensure that God rules in your life, both inside out. 

** It is better for us because as we seek God, God provides for us. It denotes the life that acknowledges God as the boss, so we serve him, doing managing our financial or spiritual concerns all according to God's precepts. The bottom line is God knows better than we do.  

4. Read verses 33-34. How are the following statements related to one another? 1) Sell your possessions and give to the poor; 2) Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out...; and 3) where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

** There is progression of an idea, that is, the statement no. 1 is to serve the purpose (providing purses), which in turn is  designed to serve the ultimate stage of purpose mentioned in the statement no. 3. 

Consider the flow that begins from the previous verse, that is, v. 32. 

1) One seeks God's kingdom; 2) God provides you with everything in abundance; 3) you share what you received with the poor; 4) God provides purses for you (life-security), and 5) life overflows. 

** Write down one thing you learned (especially about Jesus' emphasis on the importance of 'life') and share it with others.