SERMON TOPIC: Priorities

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 10 April 2016

Topic Groups: PRIORITIES

Sermon synopsis: Priorities, the simple dictionary definition: Something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first.

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.

To procrastinate shows that you have no sense of urgency, and it displays the fact that something is not a priority and can be put off to a more convenient time.
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"The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern than the destruction of millions of our fellow men." -- William Wesley N Hazlitt


Priorities, the simple dictionary definition.

Something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first.

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.

To procrastinate shows that you have no sense of urgency, and it displays the fact that something is not a priority and can be put off to a more convenient time.


Luke 16:16-24.

Jesus replied: A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, Come, for everything is now ready. But they all alike began to make excuses.

The first said, I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.

Another said, I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.

Still another said, I just got married, so I can’t come. The servant came back and reported this to his master


Luke 16:16-24.

Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. Sir, the servant said, what you ordered has been done, but there is still room. Then the master told his servant, Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.

The priority of Salvation.

NB: Today is the day of Salvation.

Hebrews 3:7-19.

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation;

I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.

The priority of Salvation.

Hebrews 3:7-19. (continued)

As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?

And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness?

And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?

So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

Lack of Faith is seen by lack of action and lack of urgency...

The priority of Salvation.

Felix had the wrong priorities.

Acts 24:22-27.

Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. When Lysias the commander comes, he said, I will decide your case. He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs. Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, That’s enough for now! You may leave.

When I find it convenient, I will send for you. At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favour to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

See NOTE 1

Following Jesus must be our priority.

Luke 18:20-30.

You know the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother. All these I have kept since I was a boy, he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. Those who heard this asked, Who then can be saved? Jesus replied, What is impossible with man is possible with God. Peter said to him, We have left all we had to follow you! Truly I tell you, Jesus said to them, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.

A rich young ruler who responded .

A young man boarded a ship about one hundred years ago headed for China. He had been waiting and preparing and it was finally his time to go to the mission field. Henry Borden was from Chicago, a graduate of Yale University and filthy rich. In fact, he was a member of one of the richest families in America. He stood to inherit the family enterprise and fortune. His father was terribly upset and he wanted his son to remain in Chicago and build their business. I would also guess that his father feared for his son’s health and even his life, as sailing China at that time, before antibiotics and modern health advances, was fraught with danger. But Henry Borden had surrendered to Jesus years before. His Lord had called him to China and so answered the call. Family disapproval, a fantastic job, loads of money and social status could not sway him. Sept 21 1912 Chicago Tribune.

Following Jesus must be our priority.

Luke 9:57-62.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus replied, Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. He said to another man, Follow me. But he replied, Lord, first let me go and bury my father. Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. Still another said, will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family. Jesus replied, No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.

Our needs should not be our priority.

John 6:1-3 &24-26.

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee, and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick....

Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, Rabbi, when did you get here? Jesus answered, Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.

When you go to Jesus in prayer, does he say “I know what you want and it’s not me - it’s something else”?

Our needs should not be our priority.

Matthew 6:25-33. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Little faith = wrong priorities)

Are you looking for healing or looking for Jesus?

Our need may not be food or a job, perhaps it is healing.

Luke 17:12-19.

As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, Jesus, Master, have pity on us! When he saw them, he said, Go, show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus feet and thanked him, and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner? Then he said to him, Rise and go; your faith has made you well.

Are you looking for healing or looking for Jesus?

Paul looked to the Lord for healing/ deliverance.

To Paul, his “Thorn in the flesh was a priority, but this was not God’s priority, He wanted Paul to be kept humble.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

Because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me,

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

A need is not a call.

Our priorities should not be determined by the needs or demands of others, but by time spent in the presence of the Lord.

Jesus was abrupt and offensive at times, the following is one incident, but we don’t have record of all He did and said.

Matthew 15:21-18.

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly. Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us. He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. The woman came and knelt before him. Lord, help me! she said. He replied, It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs. Yes it is, Lord, she said. Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table. Then Jesus said to her, Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted. And her daughter was healed at that moment.

A need is not a call, learn to say no.

Do you know your calling, if not your will run around trying to satisfy demands and meet needs.

Steve Jobs (Famous quote)

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

Steve Jobs was well known for always wearing the same black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers to reduce decision fatigue and increase his focus. Plenty of women could save a lot of time here!!

Money and worldly success should not be priorities.

Steve Jobs died of cancer and I don’t know if he was born again, but if not, his priorities were wrong.

If we die rich and go to an eternal damnation what use is that?

Luke 9:23-25.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their soul?

A need is not a call, learn to say no.

I used to do that I no longer do.

The Effective Pastor: His first priority is his own personal life. As a spokesman for God to man and as a representative of his people before God, he must be a man of prayer and a man of the Book. These priorities must be safeguarded at all cost.

Acts 6:1-4. In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.

Giving our best to God should be our priority.

Malachi 1:6-14. A son honours his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honour due me?

If I am a master, where is the respect due me? says the LORD

Almighty. It is you priests who show contempt for my name. But you ask, How have we shown contempt for your name? By offering defiled food on my altar. But you ask, How have we defiled you? By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you? says the LORD Almighty. Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you? says the LORD Almighty

Giving our best to God should be our priority.

Malachi 1:6-14.

. Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar!

I am not pleased with you, says the LORD Almighty, and I will accept no offering from your hands. My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD Almighty. But you profane it by saying, The Lord’s table is defiled, and, Its food is contemptible. And you say, What a burden! and you sniff at it contemptuously, says the LORD Almighty. When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands? says the LORD.Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king, says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.


Tithing is one way to establish correct priorities in the area of our finances.

STEWARDSHIP-- By George Wiseman It is not what we EARN that makes us rich, As riches are really known,

But how HONEST we are as we lay our hand, On what we call our own.

It is not what we KEEP that gives us peace, In the age when peace is rare, But how TRUTHFUL we are as we lay aside, Our own and the Master's share.

It is not what we SPEND that brings us joy, For life can't be bought with gold, But how CAREFUL we are that nothing we buy, Will tend to destroy our soul. So it's not what we EARN or KEEP or SPEND, that gives us an honest glow, But how RIGHTEOUS we are in the face of each, When only ourselves will know.

Sharing the Gospel with others should be a priority.

It was David Livingstone who said, “I'd rather be in the heart of Africa in the will of God, than on the throne of England, out of the will of God.”

Story of CT Studd.

CT Studd came from one of the richest families in England. He studied law at Cambridge University, and was the outstanding cricket player in England. He had everything a young person in England could desire except the throne. Yet, the will of God for this great athlete was to go to China, India, and finally to the heart of Africa.

CT Studd grew up in a Christian home and he loved the Lord. However, he also loved cricket, the national sport in England. He was also very, very good. In 1881 he was chosen as what would be called today-cricketer of the year. His cricket career at Cambridge was described as one long blaze of cricketing glory. No one could stir the English as CT Studd could with his play.

Sharing the Gospel with others should be a priority.

CT Studd was simply England's most exciting athlete. He said later that he never regretted his love for the game, but he did regret that he made an idol of it. What he did learn was self-denial, self-control, endurance, and a willingness to sacrifice for a cause.

These traits were later evident and very useful in missionary service. His service for Christ was not a priority and he always regretted this time in his life when Jesus was not first. He was quick to warn others not to follow his steps. In China he would later write his younger brothers: I don't say, don't play games or cricket or so forth. By all means play and enjoy them, giving thanks to Jesus for them. Only take care that games don't become an idol to you as they did to me. What good will it do to anybody in the next world to have been the best player that ever has played? And, then, think of the difference between that and winning people to Jesus.

Sharing the Gospel with others should be a priority.

One of the greatest joys that we can have as Christians is the joy of leading someone to Christ. Think of it! You and I can be God's instruments in the salvation of others.

Who can have the privilege of leading people to Christ? Any believer! This is not the work of just a few select people. Every Christian is called upon to witness for Christ, and every Christian can be a soul-winner. The Lord Jesus said,

"Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

Why is it so important to learn how to win others to Christ? Because of the value of a human soul. Why is the human soul of such great value? Because it will live forever. Every person you meet has a soul that will live forever—either in the blessings of Heaven or in the miseries of hell. Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the gospel to every creature, He also promised them the power of the Holy Spirit.

"You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…" Acts 1:8


I had walked life's path with an easy tread, Had followed where comfort and pleasure led; And then by chance in a quiet place -- I met my Master face to face.

With station and rank and wealth for goal, Much thought for body but none for soul, I had entered to win this life's mad race -- When I met my Master face to face.

I had built my castles, reared them high, Their towers had pierced the blue of the sky; I had sworn to rule with an iron mace -- When I met my Master face to face.

I met Him and knew Him, and blushed to see, That His eyes full of sorrow were fixed on me; And I faltered, and fell at His feet that day, My castles vanished and melted away. Melted and vanished; and in their place, I saw naught else but my Master's face;

And I cried: "Oh, make me meet, To follow the marks of Thy wounded feet.” My thought is now for the souls of men; I have lost my life to find it again Ever since alone in that holy place, My Master and I stood face to face.. UNKNOWN


Sometimes there is so much to do and so many responsibilities that we don’t know where to start.

CBN Devotional: God honours us when He is honoured as our top priority. He’s jealous of us (Deuteronomy 4:24). For so much of my life I was scared of letting go; I wanted control. But I at last understood that I just need to trust Him. Plain and simple. No, it’s not as if God doesn’t want us to try at anything in life. He just wants us to do it His way the first time, all the time. Of course He wants us to succeed, but He wants to prove that it is His strength in each of us, because we are nothing on our own. So I encourage you: Let Jesus Christ be at the forefront of your thoughts and the guide of your heart. He’ll put everything else into place.

Jesus is coming back in the midst of everyday activity.

Matthew 24:38-44.

For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come......

So you also must be ready,

because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

The purpose and priority of the Church.

Written by Gary Gilley:

The new gospel is a liberation from low self-esteem, a freedom from emptiness and loneliness, a means of fulfilment and excitement, a way to receive your heart's desires, a means of meeting our needs.

The old gospel was about God; the new gospel is about us.

The old gospel was about sin; the new gospel is about needs.

The old gospel was about our need for righteousness; the new gospel is about our need for fulfilment.

The old gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing; the new gospel is attractive. Many are flocking to the new gospel, but it is altogether questionable how many are actually being saved. In a moment of reflection on the validity of the methods used at ............

himself asked the audience, "How many of us have been vaccinated with a mild case of Christianity? How many among us have the real disease" (as quoted by Pritchard, p. 316)?

The purpose and priority of the Church.

"Nothing in Scripture indicates the church should lure people to Christ by presenting Christianity as an attractive option. …

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (I Cor. 1:18). There is no way to make it otherwise and be faithful to the message. … The gospel itself is disagreeable, unattractive, repulsive, and alarming to the world. It exposes sin, condemns pride, convicts the unbelieving heart, and shows human righteousness -- even the best, most appealing aspects of human nature -- to be worthless, defiled, filthy rags.

The Purpose of the Church has been turned on it’s head, the Church does not exist to meet people’s needs thus turning God into a benevolent genie who pops out of his lamp to deliver goodies and help us cope. The purpose of the Church is to glorify God and instruct people how to please Him (beginning with Salvation)


Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

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