Put First Things First :: Preach (Give)

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus, writes, “I delivered unto you that which I also received” and tells us what he received – the Gospel of Salvation i.e., Jesus Christ died for ours sins, according to the scriptures, and he was buried, and he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Jesus said, “As you go, preach” … “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8).

Those of us who have received the good news of Salvation and believed in Jesus as Lord, must preach (give) the good news freely to others who have not yet believed in the Name of Jesus. This is our commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

Putting First Things First, we must preach the good news of Jesus’ death for our sins, his burial and resurrection, but before we can do that, we must first receive.

Points to ponder:
Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord, Savior and King? If you have not, please tarry no further. If you have, are you freely giving him by preaching him to the nations? Freely you have received, freely give.  First Receive, First of all,  Preach (Give). The kingdom of heaven is at hand!

Matthew 10:7-8 (KJV)
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV)
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Put First Things First :: Know

The Apostle Peter records that “Know this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (1 Peter 1:20-21).

Many is the world have attempted and some still continue to attempt to discredit the authority and credibility of the Holy Bible, which is in reality a love story of God unto man. It is the autobiography of Jesus, from the beginning (Genesis) until the final unveiling of him in all of his glory (Revelation). I sometimes wonder how a love story can be hated so much and when vile and baseless words are spoken against the Bible, the followers of Christ need not be discouraged or dejected, but instead take solace in the fact that all Scripture (every word of God in the Holy Bible) is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and the holy men who wrote the words of God, wrote not out of their own will, but after being moved by the Holy Spirit of God (1 Peter 1:21).

While this may seem to be a point in an apologetic defense of the Christian faith, what is of importance is to first know that “All Scripture is from God, about God, a blueprint for man to conform into God’s Image and not conform to the patterns of this world” (Romans 8:29; Romans 12:2). This conformance begins with first knowing God and his Son Jesus Christ, and this knowing is eternal life (John 17:3). At the same, this is also a warning for the Christ follower, that the words of God is not for private interpretation, for anyone who adds or subtracts from the scripture will be held accountable (Revelation 22:18-19). Unless, we have the Holy Spirit of God within us, who comes upon our belief in God’s Son, Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we cannot be moved to interpret this love story of God unto man.

Putting First Things First, we must first Know Jesus Christ and upon knowing him, we can be sure that his words (Scripture) are given unto man from God, the Ultimate Authority over all the worlds, to tell us his Love Story, and we can take him at his word.

Points to ponder:
Are you assured of Eternal Life? In other words, do you know God and his Son Jesus Christ, for eternal life is defined as knowing the One Trust God and his Son, Christ Jesus, whom God sent into the world to save sinners (John 3:17). First Know Jesus Christ. Also, know this first, that the Bible is from God and it is about God. It is given unto man as a blueprint for us to conform into God’s Image. It is his Love Story for you and me and he loves us. Do you love him? Do I love him?

1 Peter 1:20-21 (KJV)
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

John 17:3 (KJV)
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Put First Things First :: Judge (self)

Christians are often branded as people who “judge” by the secular world and rightfully so, they must be. To judge someone does not mean that we are condemning someone as most mistakenly understand it to be but instead it is to form an opinion after careful evaluation of the evidence and testing of premises.

Unfortunately, for the most part, many Christians are raised with the idea that they must not judge others. This mistaken understanding stems from taking the words of Jesus partially as opposed to the totality of what Jesus expressed. Jesus said, “Judge not so that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1), but he continued that counsel by saying that “By whatever judgment you judge, that same measure will be used in your judgment.” (Matthew 7:2) and then proceeded to establish a very crucial aspect of judging, which is “First, judge yourself before judging others.” Not doing so will make us a hypocrite according to Jesus (Matthew 7:3-5).

Say someone is playing with fire. If we lack judgment, we would have no qualms of joining together with them and playing with fire ourselves, which could lead to us being burned along with them. If we exercise judgment and go and tell them that they should not be playing with fire, while holding a lighted torch in our own hands, then that advice will fall on deaf ears as they would turn back and point their fingers at us, expecting the same from us. But if we exercise judgment first on ourselves and put away the torch that can burn us and others, and then tell others that they must not play with fire, then we cannot be judged for that same reason.

Christians must judge i.e., form an opinion after careful evaluation of the evidence and testing of premises, between what is Godly and that which is not, for unholiness has no part with God. We must judge so we can discern between what is of God and what is evil and we must shun evil and not be partakers of it. But when we judge, let us first remember to judge ourselves so that the sin that we warn others about is not the same sin that we are captive to. For if we judge ourselves, then we should not be judged (1 Corinthians 11:31), but if we judge others without judging ourselves first, then by that same measure will we be judged. When we are judged by God, it is not for condemnation but for chastening (1 Corinthians 11:32). We must introspect and repent first and sin no more (as Jesus asked the adulterous woman) so that the beam of sin is removed from our own lives first, before preaching the good news of the Salvation in Jesus Christ and trying to remove the mote of that same sin in someone else.

Putting First Things First, we must first introspect and judge ourselves so that there is no sin within us that displeases God. Only then can we preach Christ. Remember, David’s words when he committed the sins of adultery and murder that displeased God. Before he could say, “I will teach transgressors (sinners) your ways to convert them”, he had to pray “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” In other words, he judged himself and was found wanting of a clean heart and a renewed spirit and asked God to judge (chasten) him. Only then could he judge others and find them wanting of Salvation. (Psalm 51:10-13)

Points to ponder:
People are playing with hell fire and before we take to them the message of Salvation found solely in Jesus Christ, let us make sure that we are ourselves not playing with sin that will put us in hell fire, but let us first introspect and put away every sin that can so easily can beset us by repenting before preaching. Let us judge (ourselves)  first before judging others.

Judge others first and you will be judged (by that same measure)
Judge yourself first and you will not be judged.

Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (KJV)
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Psalm 51:10-13 (KJV)
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Put First Things First :: Seek

Jesus said that one must first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness and not seek after the things that may seem to be needful but which really aren’t for these things that are needed are already known to God the heavenly Father.

We ought to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness first. A kingdom implies that there is a king and there are those who belong to the kingdom and those who don’t. Those who belong to the kingdom cherish the provisions, protection, and pleasures of the king. The kingdom of God asserts that God is Sovereign and he is The King and those who belong to his kingdom enjoy his provisions which are satisfying, his protection which is solid and the pleasure of his presence (the joy of the Lord) which is Salvation. To seek his righteousness is to seek Jesus, the righteous Branch, whose name is THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS  (Jeremiah 23:6). To belong to this kingdom means we need to be born again i.e., we should believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be born of the Spirit (John 3:5).

Putting First Things First, we must first be seek to be born again i.e., make THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, for all of our own righteousness are like filthy rags in the sight of a Holy God (Isaiah 64:6). We must seek to be part of God’s kingdom, meaning that we must seek to let God the Sovereign King, be our King and when we do so, all of his provisions (food and clothing that we think are needful), his protection and his pleasure (the Joy of Salvation) will be added to us to enjoy and cherish.

Points to ponder:
You may have been running away from God seeking the provisions that the world has to offer, the wealth, the fame, only to find out that the happiness that comes from these things is short-lived. You may have sought protection in the defenses of man only to find out that the fortress and refuge you received were like egg shells. You may have been seeking the pleasures of companionship with other people only to find out that apart from being with Jesus Christ, everyone is lonely and only in Him is found real peace. Stop running after what the world has to offer and seek Jesus today. Seek the Kingdom of God, letting God be your King, first.

Jesus Christ is The Seeking Shepherd, seeking those who are lost (Luke 15:4; John 10:10-15) and he is seeking you. Seek him when he may still be found (Isaiah 55:6). Putting First Things First, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and Jesus, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

John 3:5 (KJV)
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Put First Things First :: Reconcile

Jesus said that when we worship God and are offering our gifts to God, if there is a brother with whom we need to be reconciled with, we must leave the gift at the altar and first go and get reconciled with that brother before returning and presenting our offering to God (Matthew 5:24).

Merriam-Webster’s defines the word ‘reconcile’ as ‘to restore to friendship or harmony’ or to ‘settle as in resolving differences’. Jesus called his disciples brothers (Matthew 28:10) and as co-heirs with Christ, is there a follower of Christ (a brother) we ought to be reconciled with? In order for us to be able to reconcile with men, we must first be reconciled with God. In other words, we must have believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, to be part of the brotherhood for in believing and in receiving him, do we get to be adopted as children of God (John 1:12).

Putting First Things First, we must first be reconciled with God and we must reconcile with other believers who may have offended us or whom we may have offended. What a friend we have in Jesus, for while we were still sinners and enemies of God, he willingly laid down his life for us, so that we can be restored into friendship and harmony with God, settling the debt of sin once and for all, by defeating death and Satan, once and for all.

Points to ponder:
Are you reconciled with God? Are you reconciled with men/women? If not, stop your worship and first get reconciled before returning to worship. This is the best gift you can give God.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (KJV)
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Matthew 5:23-24 (KJV)
23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.