"SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM"
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6.33)
INTRO.: A song which exhorts us to do what Jesus tells us and seek first God’s kingdom is "Seek Ye First The Kingdom." The text was written by Eliza Edmunds Hewitt (1851-1920). Some of her best known gospel sings are "More About Jesus," "There Is Sunshine In My Soul," and "When We All Get To Heaven." The tune was composed by John Robson Sweney (1837-1899). The song is listed as copyright 1901 by William J. Kirkpatrick. Either Sweney, who also provided music for other well known gospel songs such as Fanny Crosby’s "Tell Me The Story of Jesus," produced the melody sometime, perhaps shortly, before he died and it was not published until a couple of years after his death, or possibly it was originally published in 1873 and the 1901 date is the renewal.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 (chorus only) both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and some editions of the 1943 Standard Gospel Songs edited by Tillit S. Teddlie. It is not to be confused with the 1972 "Contemporary Christian Music" song of the same name, based on Matt. 6:33 and other passages and beginning "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, And His righteousness," by Karen Lafferty, which is found in many of our newer books.
Mrs. Hewitt’s song encourage us to put God’s kingdom and His righteousness first in our lives.
I. Stanza 1 tells us what to seek
"Seek ye first the kingdom, Not the things of earth;
Priceless are the treasures Of immortal worth.
Like a flitting shadow, Time will pass away,
But the heavenly riches Change not, nor decay."
A. We should seek things above, not the things of earth: Col. 3.1-2
B. The reason why this is important is that the earth, and all the things in it, are bound by time and like a flitting shadow will pass
away: Jas. 4.14, 2 Pet. 3.10
C. However, there are heavenly riches which we can seek and be assured that they will never decay: Matt. 6.19-20
II. Stanza 2 tells us why we should seek it
"Seek ye first the kingdom; Everlasting love
Woos you to the blessings From the land above:
Pardon and renewal, Righteousness and peace,
Grace for every trial, Joys that never cease."
A. It is the everlasting love of Christ that woos us to seek after God: Rev. 1.5-6
B. By seeking God’s kingdom first, we have access to all spiritual blessings in heavenly places: Eph. 1.3
C. Among those blessings is pardon or salvation by the grace of God: Eph. 2.8-9
III. Stanza 3 tells us from where the thing we seek comes
"Seek ye first the kingdom; seek the ‘gift of God.’
‘Tis the Savior’s offer, Purchased by His blood.
Seek ye first His glory; Be it life’s sweet aim,
Him to serve and honor, Trusting in His name."
A. What we are to seek is "the gift of God": Rom. 5.15-18
B. This gift is offered through the Savior and purchased by His blood: Matt. 26.28
C. As He came from glory to save us, so we must seek His glory that we may have eternal life: Rom. 2.6-7
CONCL.: The chorus repeats the importance of seeking first the kingdom of God.
"’Seek ye first the kingdom:’ ‘Tis the Master’s voice;
In His precious promise Evermore rejoice.
‘All things else,’ His word is true, ‘Shall be added unto you,’
In His precious promise true Evermore rejoice."
Jesus made the supreme sacrifice, leaving His home with the Father in heaven, coming to this sin-cursed earth, being tempted in all points as we are, and dying on the cross as an atonement for our sins in order that He might seek and save the lost. In view of this great expression of God’s grace and love, we should admonish one another to "Seek Ye First The Kingdom."