Opening Heaven's Windows Through Focus

Bible Book: Matthew  6 : 33
Subject: Faith; Vision; Focus on Jesus
Series: Opening the Windows of Heaven

Opening the Windows of Heaven Through Focus

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

Matthew 6:33

In the passage before us we discover a promise, a promise that involves the integrity of God Himself. Jesus has declared that a proper focus will result in the necessities of our lives being met - no question about it. He said it and that settles it!

Just before the verse we have read tonight, Jesus has told all of us as His disciples not to worry. Now don't misunderstand this. Jesus did not tell us not to work. He did not tell us to avoid planning. He did not tell us to fail in putting forth effort both mentally and physically in order to provide for our families and our future. What he did say is that we are not to worry, or as we used to say in North Carolina when I was a boy, we are not to "fuss over the things of the world". When we put Him and His works first, God will see to it that what we need will be added to us.

Actually, the way the world works is sometimes contradictory. Like the man who was about to make a trip by plane. He bought a $100,000.00 insurance policy from one of those machines at the airport. Then he noticed a scale nearby that would tell his fortune. He stepped on the scale and out came his fortune card. It read, "A recent investment is about to pay big dividends."

That is like the boy who asked his dad to do a frog imitation. The dad asked his son why he wanted him to imitate a frog. The boy said, "Cause mom said as soon as you croak we will be rich." Well, a problem may have erupted in that marriage following that statement.

Sadly, the world is looking for a quick way to get what they want, but God desires that we look to Him and allow Him to make our lives what He wants them to be. We must not get out of line in asking for things that God never intended for us to have. At a cemetery in one state there are said to be two gravestones with the following on them. On the woman's stone it reads: "She died for want of things." On the husband's stone it reads: "He died trying to give them to her."

Not knowing how to focus properly in life can be devastating. It can lead to sickness, sorrow and early death. God would have us enjoy life and grow in grace at the same time. He would open the windows on heaven upon us and grant us that which He knows is best for us.

The Principle here is Focus -focusing by faith on the Lord and His promises and leadership. What you think about is what you become.The thoughts contain your mission in life. Jesus required that those who follow Him actually focus on Him.

I went to a city in Georgia to speak at a church, a church I had never been to before that day. The pastor said he would meet me at an intersection and lead me to his church. He was driving a silver car, like many of its kind on the roads today. I began follow him, but was also destracted by some of the buildings and places in the city. I looked back to find him and saw that the silver car had gotten somewhat ahead of me. I sped up and followed the car till it pulled into a service station. I got out to speak to the pastor and then realized that I had followed the wrong silver car. The distractions had caused me to lose my leader. A quick call from the cell phone got me back on track. Dear friends, we all take our eyes off Jesus and when that happens we are led astray. A quick call to heaven (a sincere prayer containing repentance) will get us back on track. That is the point of this message.

Note how important it is for us to concentrate on following Jesus...

I. Salvation Is Found In This Principle

How is one saved, except by looking unto Jesus? We are told to Look and Live. It is not what we do but what He has already done that brings about our redemption. He said, "And I, if I be lifted up, shall draw all men unto me." He also said, "As Moses lifted up the Serpent in the Wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up."

(At this point in the sermon I rehearse the story of the Wilderness experience when the rebellious Hebrews were being bitten by fiery snakes.. All one had to do to overcome the venom of the snake was to look to the serpert Moses had placed on a pole at the command of God.To do so mean one was to live an d not die - to live just because he or she looked by faith to God's remedy. Jesus is the remedy prophetically portrayed in this Old Testament incident. We see this story in numbers 21 and Jesus reveals that the story is all about Him in John 3. In fact, we might say that where one 'goes in the hereafter' depends on what 'one goes after here.' Redemption requires that we look to Jesus and He becomes our priority in life.

Note also that ...

II. Progression Is Found In This Principle

In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are told that we are being changed into His image so we will be more like Jesus. This can only occur when we are focused on Him. We see this as well in Ephesians 4:22-24: "...that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness."

We are to be made like Him. How? Only by our focus upon Him! In fact, we are told in Matthew 6:32 that pagans run after the things of the world. The believer seeks a nearness to and likeness to Christ. This is our greatest endeavor. When we think upon Him and concentrate upon Him, we become more like Him.

When we focus on Christ, we are relieved of the problem of focusing on life's problems. I read about one man who said to another, "Man, I've got so many problems and things to worry about that I hope nothing else goes wrong today. If it does, it will be two weeks before I will have time to worry about it!" Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus takes away the debilitating strain of anxiety. Jesus will lead you through the valleys and over the mountains, as long as you and I are keeping our focus on HIM.

We can only make progress when we concentrate on Him! Our Lord does not want us to worry, He wants us to worship. Remember, the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Thirdly, note that our ....

III. Gratification Is Found In This Principle

We are told by the Lord that true joy and gratification comes when we set our affections on things above, when we seek His kingdom and righteousness. Let's define those terms. The Kingdom of God is the government of God, or rule of God - the righteousness of God is Christ ruling in our hearts. So, the two are in essence similar, almost the same. I must seek His rule over my life. I must not act like a pagan or use the ideologies of the world for my guide. I must seek His government. He has promised me that this will lead to receiving all the things I actually need and that it will keep me from chasing after those things that the world is scratching and scraping to get and will never actually find them satisfying their lives.

There's a delightful painting that depicts a Christian farmer who has left his plow and turned aside in the early glow of morning to pray. The outstanding thing about the picture, however, is that while the man is lifting his heart to God, an angel is going on with his plowing for him. It is a "parable in paint" that teaches us that the time we spend concentrating upon our Lord are never lost moments. When we spend time with God each day, he enables us to accomplish more in that day. This is a truth that every Christian needs to know and to emplement this practice, for the moments we spend looking up are not lost time!

That must be our theme. Keep your eyes, your heart, your mind, your will, and your passions fixed on Jesus. He will make our lives fruitful if we will but practice this principle. Have you been looking at your labor instead of looking at your Lord? Have you been peeking at your problems rather than peering at the King? Now is the time to renew your commitment to keep your focus on Christ.

Conclusion

A champion football game was being played not too long ago and the great quarterback for the team stood in the pocket and threw a pass with a perfect spiral to the receiver. The receiver was in the perfect place to make the catch and give the great team yet another win; however, in a split second before the ball arrived, the receiver tilted his eyes to see where the defender was. When he looked back to catch the ball it had already arrived. It hit him in the chest and bounced away. The game was lost, not for lack of skill but for a lack of FOCUS. The players had proven in the past they had the skills. The game was lost not becaues the team had not practiced. The play they failed to complete had been practiced a hundred times and they had it down to perfection. No, the problem was a lack of concentration - just a moment of taking his eyes off the ball - and the game was lost.

Christians, there are many things today that can take our eyes off Jesus. No matter how committed we are, or how many places of service we fill, or how devoted to Christ we feel in our hearts, once our focus is distracted, Satan will use it embarrass us and the kingdom.Tonight, let us here and now recommit our hearts and minds to be devoted to HIM - not just devoted to my place at work in the church - but devoted to the ONE for whom I am working. A new focus on Jesus can lead us to be champions on the field of play  - the earth - so that we bring Him glory to Christ and see many souls enter the kingdom of God.

Now let us come tonight and pray here at the front of our church. Come and ask God to help you not become distracted by the world. Come and pray here with us for a moment and let us re-enlist as good soldiers of the heavenly Captain of our souls.

There was a love song sung back in the 1970s that was written by Little Peggy March. Though it is about her devotion to her boyfriend, some of the words can become a hymn when they are thought of as being our words to Jesus. Just listen to them:

"I Love him, I love Him, I love him

And where he goes I'll follow, I'll follow, I'll follow

I will follow Him, follow him wherever he may go

There isn't an ocean too deep

A mountain so high it can keep him from me

He is my destiny."

Other words follow, but you get the point. Oh, that we might have such an attitude toward Christ. We will follow Him. We love Him, because He first loved us. Nothing can keep us from Him. He is our destiny!

Now let us come to the altar tonight. I want to pray over all who will come and gather with me. Now is time for a new commitment to set our focus on Jesus anew.