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TRUE SUCCESS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lords Day Morning, June 11, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

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


The Lord Jesus Christ laid down this axiom for success in the Christian life. No one can be a successful Christian who does not follow this simple formula laid down by Him. It is a very simple formula, not difficult to understand, even by an unconverted man or woman. Jesus said, in effect, If you want to be successful as a Christian, you must seek the things of God and the righteousness of God. But you must not seek them halfheartedly, or as second choices. You must make these things the first priority in your life. If you do, the material things in life will come to you naturally from God. That is the gist of what Jesus said to His Disciples, and to all of us through the pages of the sacred Scriptures.

Let us break down this saying of Jesus into three parts and look at them, and think deeply about them.

I. Number one, Jesus said seek the kingdom of God first.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).

My son Robert Leslie Hymers III gave a brilliant speech at his commencement, when he graduated at the top of his class at Cal State Northridge a week ago. I have never heard a more well delivered and thoughtful commencement speech. It was easily by far the best speech given at that commencement. He stood tall, spoke plainly and forcefully, and made a deep impression on the large audience which had gathered to hear him. I have never been more proud of him in my life. Tears came to my eyes as he boldly said, I would like to say that without the help of Almighty God, I would not be standing before you this evening. You could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet in the auditorium when he said that.

Then my son extolled the virtues of his mother by quoting Lincoln, All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. And then he went on to say a few words about me, [My father] taught me to respect and listen to my elders [and to] put God before everything else. Those are wise and good sentiments, [and to] put God before everything else in life. I do dare to hope I taught him that, because that is the very essence of what Jesus meant when He said, Seek ye first the kingdom of God.

Further on in that great speech, my son said that people often ask him, What is the secret to success? He said, I usually respond by posing a question: How do you define success? Then, he said, the individual usually engages in a long monologue defining what their view of success is. Only a few people extend the conversation beyond this point All they really wanted was an opportunity to spout their own views of success, and didnt want to hear his answer. But, my son said, to those [few] persistent people [he gives his] answer. And here is the answer he gives them to the question, What is the secret of success? My sons answer is this: My friends, once you define what your goals are in life, stop at nothing to achieve them. Good answer and only slightly incomplete. Once you define what your goals are in life, stop at nothing to achieve them. His answer was only slightly incomplete because it did not say what those goals should be, for which you should stop at nothing to achieve. He left it slightly incomplete because he was speaking to a secular audience, and so, he could not make it clear in that situation.

But our Lord Jesus Christ supplied very pointedly what a Christians goals should be, and why he should stop at nothing to achieve them. Christ gave us the only worthy goal of a true Christian life when He said,

Seek ye first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).

That is your goal in life, and you should stop at nothing to achieve it. Seek the things of God first, not second, or third. Put God above everything else in life. That was Christs formula for true Christian success!

Let me give you a few examples of people who have taken the words of Christ in our text seriously.

One of our deacons came back to church three days after having a kidney transplant, with a draining tube protruding from his back, to stand behind this pulpit, and pray and read the Scriptures. That man knows what Christ meant when He said, Seek ye first the kingdom of God. His entire life shows that the things of God are more important than all else in life to him. He lives out in his life the words of Christ, Seek ye first the kingdom of God.

Another of our deacons rushed back to church less than a week after major cancer surgery. With sweat running down his face, he sang a marvelous solo before I preached and then turned and barely made it back to his seat behind the pulpit. He reminded me of that good man, George Beverly Shea, who at 96 years old is still, to this day, brought on to Billy Grahams platform to sing before the evangelist preaches. I love to hear that wonderful old man, even when he sings from a wheelchair. Our deacon has that same spirit. He knows what Christ meant when He said, Seek ye first the kingdom of God. He knows why he should stop at nothing to achieve it, stop at nothing! Seekfirst the kingdom of God!

Sergio is a young man in our church who stops at nothing to achieve it. He got mugged  a gun put to his back, his money stolen. But the very next week he was back on the street winning souls through zealous evangelism. He brings in 20 to 30 names every week to be followed up on. He stops at nothing to achieve the goal of a soulwinner! He knows full well the meaning of Christs words, Seek ye first the kingdom of God!

I could mention my wife who continued without slacking off in telephone evangelism right up to the moment that she gave birth to twins. I could mention Mrs. Cagan who was actually on the phone arranging rides for new people to come to church from the labor room, moments before she gave birth to her son, John Samuel. I could mention one of our deacon candidates who went through a terrible experience and suffered great personal loss. He, too, stopped at nothing to achieve Christs goal Seek ye first the kingdom of God!

We often give attention to those who are less than heroic, but we ought to focus on, and follow the example, of those who serve the kingdom of God most, suffer the most, and have the highest Christian character those who literally Seekfirst the kingdom of God. Let them be your examples of what it means to be a success in life in the highest Christian sense!

The person who lets the mundane things in life interfere with his service to the kingdom of God may appear to be wise, but he has failed to follow that exhortation of Christ, Seek ye first the kingdom of God.

II. Number two, Jesus said to seek the righteousness of God.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

The person who is a true success in life is not only one who seeks the kingdom of God. He is also one who seeks his righteousness first, for there can be no real service for Gods kingdom until a person has sought after the righteousness which only God can give. Dr. Gill said,

And his righteousness; the righteousness of God, which is revealed in the Gospel[s], and is what gives a rightto the kingdom of heaven. This is not the righteousness of man, but of God, and so is no other than the righteousness of Christ; so called because itimputes [righteousness to the sinner] which only can justify in his sight, and give anentrance into the kingdom and glory. Christs righteousness is to be sought for, and laid hold on by faith, as the way and means of entering into the kingdom of heaven (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, p. 66).

Dr. Gill is telling us that no real entrance to, or service in, the church can happen until a person has sought for the righteousness which only Christ can give. The prophet Ezekiel said,

The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him 
      (Ezekiel 33:12).

Your own righteousness and goodness cannot save you. Thats why the Apostle Paul said,

That I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through...faith [in] Christ, having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is throughfaith [in] Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Philippians 3:8-9).

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

You must come to Christ by faith and be clothed in His imputed righteousness, or you will never enter the kingdom of God. When a lost sinner is at the end of all his good works, he may then come to Christ Jesus, and be clothed in His imputed righteousness, which alone can save him. He will then be able to sing without hypocrisy that old song,

My hope is built on nothing less,
   Than Jesus blood and righteousness.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
   Faultless to stand before the throne.
(The Solid Rock by Edward Mote, 1797-1874).

Have you sought to put on the righteousness of Christ? Have you been clothed in His righteousness alone? Are you saved by the Blood of the crucified Saviour? Has He clothed you with the clean white robe of His own righteousness? Are you saved by the gift of the righteousness and perfect goodness of Jesus Christ? If you have not, you are a failure, and not a Christian at all.

Why do you put off coming to Christ? Is it because you think you are good enough and clean already, and do not need His cleansing and His gift of righteousness? If this is true you will always remain nothing but a miserable failure in the Christian life for you have no salvation at all until your stubborn heart is broken down and you come by faith to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

My hope is built on nothing less,
   Than Jesus blood and righteousness.

May your hope be built on nothing less.

The Devil comes to you in all his subtlety and tells you that you are good enough as you are. But my text reveals the true way to obtain salvation. Salvation comes only through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

III. Number three, Jesus said that all you need on earth will be added to you.

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

Ah, no, says the Devil, you will lose precious opportunities for success if you put the kingdom of God and his righteousness first!

What the Devil says is partly true. He loves to tell a half-truth to capture souls and enslave them. Yes, you may lose some opportunities for human success if you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Yes, you may not make it to the very top of your profession if you pay attention to Christs words.

You may not reach the top of your company if you take a stand like Eric Liddell, the Chariots of Fire man who would not run in the Olympics on the Lords Day. Instead of becoming a professional athlete, he went off to be a poor missionary in China, where he died alone, without his family, at the hands of the Japanese army in World War II.

But who would call Eric Liddell an unsuccessful man? He was the most successful of all his teammates in the end. Why? Because he believed these words of Christ, and recited them often.

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

His family did well after his martyrdom by the Japanese army. His name gained great glory and honor on earth, and continues to do so. And his soul went straight to God, where he now lives forever in Christs glorious kingdom.

Throw your fears aside. Venture on Christ. Throw your life upon the Saviour. Be washed clean by His Blood from your sins. Be clothed in Christs beautiful white robe of righteousness.

Let worldly honor and glory be counted unworthy for a life goal. Say with the Apostle Paul,

I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Philippians 3:8).

I think that is why some of you refuse to come to Christ by faith. You want to be a great success in this world but God wants you to count all that to be as dung, that [you] may win Christ.

I am asking some young people here this morning to change your view of success.

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

Will you do it? Like Eric Liddell, will you accept a different view of success from that of this world? Will you throw yourself on the mercy of Christ, even if it means you get a lower position in your career? Will you count all things as dung that you might win Christ? I pray that you will, for there is no true success in life unless a person obeys Christ Jesus, who said,

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

Come and throw yourself on Jesus Christ. Trust Him. Make Christ and His church the most important thing in your life. In the end, you will not regret having done so. You will be a true success in the sight of God. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 6:25-33.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
All For Jesus (by Mary D. James, 1810-1883).


THE OUTLINE OF

TRUE SUCCESS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


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

I.   Number one, Jesus said seek the kingdom of God first,
Matthew 6:33a.

II.  Number two, Jesus said to seek the righteousness of God,
Matthew 6:33b; Ezekiel 33:12; Philippians 3:8-9.

III. Number three, Jesus said that all you need on earth will be
added to you, Matthew 6:33c; Philippians 3:8.