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Kingdom Treasures | Matthew 6:19-24

August 30, 2016 Preacher: Ryan Gilbert Series: Sermon on the Mount

Scripture: Matthew 6:19–24

Preface

Thank you, Will, for leading us in worship. Children ages preschool through 2nd grade can be dismissed out this door to your right for Children’s Church. As they’re heading that way, I wan to mention Lauryn and I have been here coming up on 11 months living in Missouri and being here at Raintree, and we have absolutely loved our time here. With transition for churches, though, almost always, comes a new direction, or at least an adjustment of direction, and therefore new people. We’ve had some move on from Raintree Church and we’ve also a good number of new people, many of you here today. And the reason I bring this up is because it’s easy to feel a bit disconnected in a church that’s gone through transition, and a church that’s also growing and having new people coming consistently.

This is part of why I think our small groups are so important. Small groups are one place, not the only place, but one place where you can get to know people in a smaller format, get into the Word and learn and bounce thoughts and ideas off people and receive accountability. So, I want to heavily encourage you to consider jumping into one of our small groups this fall. It’s the perfect time, because most of our groups are starting new studies next week. You can see all of our groups in the insert in your bulletin, including what they’re studying.

For those of you who are new to Raintree, we have our Raintree 101 group starting next Sunday morning as well. This is the perfect class to see kind-of what Raintree is about and to see what your next step here might be. It’s four Sundays, 9:15am. We have children and student activities at the exact same time, and we’d love to have you. We already have 2 families jumping in, and it’s taught by myself and Jeff, one of our other elders. And we have a lot of fun, it’s very relaxed atmosphere; you won’t be put on the spot or anything like that at all. So come next week, or feel free if you have questions, come talk to me. Even if you have to miss one or two weeks, we can figure that out, so come talk to me, or just show up next Sunday at 9:15am.

 

Introduction

As we get ready to get into the Good Stuff today, I want you to think about this: If someone were to ask you, “What do you treasure most? What do you consider to be most valuable in your life?” If someone were to ask you that, I want you to think for a moment about how you might answer. Just think: What do you treasure most?

Most of us probably know what the answer should be. What should I treasure and value most highly? Jesus. Most of us know that that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Perhaps most of us would even have answered this question in that way. But, maybe there are a few of us in here who know that that’s actually not true for us. You know that Jesus isn’t what you treasure most. Maybe you’re here today and you know that you have idols in your life. Or you even know that Jesus is not your King.

But I’m guessing there are also those of us in here who have no idea that we are actually SPLIT between two treasures, or three or four or five. We’re SPLIT between two masters, or three or four or five. Some of us probably don’t realize how divided we are when it comes to our ultimate desires.

Here’s the thing: How we answer that question (What do I treasure most) with our mouths may not actually reflect the truth of our hearts. It’s easy to say that Jesus is what I treasure most and Jesus is my only Master and Lord, but the question is, Do our lives reflect that there is something else that is more important to us than Jesus?

The way we spend our time—what would that reveal about what’s most important to us? What would our thought-life reveal about what’s most important to us? Even, more specifically, what would our money, and how we spend it, reveal about what we treasure most?

If you’ve been here, you know that we’ve been looking at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which he’s preaching primarily to his disciples, though it seems likely that many others were listening as well. And he’s been talking so much about the heart, and how faith is so much more than just external things that people see, in fact it’s way more about our hearts. God doesn’t just want us to do things for him to look a certain way; he wants our hearts. And when we’ve truly given him our hearts (all of ourselves), the external in our lives naturally follows suit. We want to please Him. We want to obey Him, because we treasure Him more than anything; because the reality is that He is God, and we’re just amazed at the fact that this great God gave His Son for us, to take the penalty that we deserved, and then rise from the dead defeating death and sin altogether.

Today, Jesus is addressing the Pharisees and not just that money had become a god for them, but also that they were taking their success with money as a sign that God favored them, that they had some sort of spiritual supremacy that was apparent because of their financial success. As far as what mattered to them most: they were split. They were divided. Let’s read Matthew 6:19-24.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

 

Jesus is as clear as can be here. He’s also quite direct. He’s not messing around. The question he answers for his disciples, the Pharisees, and for us today is, “What does it mean for a Christian to be Undivided?” To have one direction, and one focus. And how do we become undivided, focused, whole? First, it means we have:

 

  1. One Treasure

I love that Jesus is so straightforward here. He’s very clearly commanding his disciples and others listening, NOT to focus on storing up treasures on earth. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.” “Lay up” is like stockpiling, stacking coins, the idea here is a bunch of unused wealth, just stored up to keep safe so that no one can touch it. Do NOT lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.

Now Jesus isn’t saying that wealth is bad in and of itself, or that it’s not good to be wealthy. He’s NOT pushing poverty as a way to Godliness. Some read this and misunderstand that, or take what Jesus said to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, “Go and sell all your possessions and give them to the poor,” some take that and say that money is bad. That’s just not true. With the rich young ruler, he was revealing that for this ruler money had become an idol! In fact, 1 Tim. 6:10, what does it say? It does not say that “money is the root of all kinds of evil.” It says, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” That’s a big distinction. In fact, that’s where this little part, “for yourselves” fits in. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.”

You see, wealth can be used in incredible ways for the glory of God. Treasures on earth can be used for laying up treasures in heaven! Jesus isn’t speaking to whether or not you’re wealthy. He is addressing where your treasure is found. Is your treasure earthly things, or is it heavenly things? Is it in Heaven, ultimately is it God, or is it something else, like wealth? Jesus isn’t just speaking to people who are wealthy. You know why we know that? Because you don’t have to be rich to have money as your god. The question is not what do you have the most of; the question is, what do you WANT the most?! What do you most desire? What do you most value, whether you have it or not?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. How do we lay up treasures in heaven? By obedience to God. This isn’t referring just to money or being good stewards and using money as best as possible for God’s glory, but it’s referring to all facets of life. When we obey God, when we treasure Him and desire to please Him above all else, we’re storing up treasures in Heaven as opposed to just storing up things on earth that won’t last. To be undivided means that we have ONE treasure, and we’re not split between Christ and something else. But how do we get there? How?

 

Realize what is permanent; Set your heart on Christ.

Treasures on earth don’t last. They are not permanent. There is no such thing as real security when it comes to possessions. Social security, even, is secure, right? Apparently maybe not! How do we really make Christ our one treasure? We realize what is permanent, and therefore we set our hearts on Christ.

Jesus says right there in verse 19 that treasures on earth don’t last. Moth and rust destroy; thieves break in and steal. (Which of those is most terrifying?) The best clothes in ancient times were made of wool, which was like a favorite food for the moth. So even rich people with really nice wool clothes had trouble keeping moths from eating through their clothes. That may not be as much of a problem for us nowadays, but we know things don’t last. They rust. That canopy I told you about like a month ago that we put up on our deck (the canopy that drove me insane because one of the screws would not fit in the hole, that one); it’s already rusting! It’s been up for a little over a month, and it’s already rusting. Granted, we got it for $10 at a garage sale, so we probably shouldn’t complain too much.

But we all know that things don’t last. If you own a home, how often are there things that need to be fixed? Or vehicles: ask Stephen, our student director, how often cars can have trouble, even brand new ones! Things don’t last, not just because of wear and tear, but also because of other people. People steal things. In ancient times, many would bury their valuables, like the non-perishable valuables, they’d bury them in the ground to protect them from thieves. In fact, the word for “break in” here in verse 19 literally means “dig through,” either the walls of the house if they’re trying to break in, or even digging up valuables buried in a field somewhere.

Whether by natural means or because of other people, possessions in this life do not last. They don’t. Even if they last your entire lifetime, you will not take them to heaven with you! One of you just told me this week the fictional story of a very wealthy man who really wanted to take at least something with him to heaven. So God allowed it, and said, “You can bring one suitcase.” So the man thought about it, realized the way to take the most value with him was to get gold bars and fill his suitcase with them. When he gets to heaven, an angel says, “You can’t bring this in with you.” And the man says, “No, no, me and God made a deal. I can bring this.” The angel responds, “Ok, even so. Why did you bring pavement?” That’s Rev. 21:21- “The great street of the city was of gold.” Maybe you’ve heard of the streets of gold.

We can’t take with us our earthly possessions, but even if we could, we would very quickly realize, it doesn’t make sense to do so. In heaven, though, heavenly treasures and rewards and ultimately, the only two things on earth that will not perish, the souls of man and the Word of God, those are the things that will never rust, nor break, nor be stolen. Those are the things that will last forever. If you spend your life focused on building a bank account or building your ego, whatever it is, the only guarantee is that they will perish.

So, what do you treasure? On what do we set our affections?! Verse 21 reveals to us even more why this is such a crucial question. This is a verse worth memorizing, and hiding in your heart: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The heart is the essence of our being, our reason, our will, our emotions. This is what is meant by “heart” throughout the Bible. So your treasures, and your heart (the essence of who you are), are inseparable! Your most cherished possessions and your deepest desires and reason for living are inseparable.

If your real treasure, what your life reveals to be most important to you, is on earth, then your heart is set on earthly things. What you value and your heart are either on earth, both of them together, or they are both together set on heavenly things, ultimately set on Christ. Our treasure and our heart; They can’t be separated.

A few great ways to know where your heart really is, and therefore what you value most: Look at your bank account. Look at how you spend your time. Look at your thought-life. Faith in Christ affects every part of our lives. I know sometimes we think we can categorize and separate things out and maybe keep things from Jesus. But it does, it affects everything, including what we would consider the most private parts of our lives, the most sensitive. We don’t want to talk about money, especially in church; I don’t like talking about money. You probably will never hear me give a message just on tithing, unless it’s just there in the Word. But, just because it’s a sensitive topic doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it, especially when Jesus Himself brings it up so often! Whether we consider it completely private or not, we must know that it matters how we spend our money!

What does our money reflect about our hearts? Do we help people in need? Are we generous to those around us who need our help? Do we support the ministry of a local church with our finances? I know there are many things to consider, that we should use our discernment with, as far as giving to the needy. And even when it comes to the church, it does matter knowing where money is going that you’re giving. There are churches out there both small and large that are taking advantage of people, which is why we are working on being 100% transparent with where every penny that you give to the ministry of this church goes. And, I know this is a bit of a tangent, but I think it’s worth bringing up.

We haven’t had a working budget for a little while. Transition is often hard on churches in that way. But now, we have, by God’s leading, made some difficult decisions to be able to start living within what God is so graciously providing us, AND now, it’s exciting we’re able to start planning to budget for things that have had Zero budget for a little while now. It’s exciting. Janitorial services and very good children’s and youth curriculum starting THIS week. And we’re hoping, by January, to be able to have a budget for the youth ministry, children’s ministry, outreach ministry, things like that that haven’t had a budget for some years now. But the reason I mention all that is to say that we want you to know where everything is going, and we want you to know where we hope to go, say, in the next five years, so that when you give, you can know that you’re not giving to, I don’t know, the status quo, or just to help an organization survive. You’re giving toward the Great Commission. You’re giving to a Church that wants to make the absolute best of the money that God provides. That’s why I bring up that up. You’ll hear a bit more about that tonight at our Family Meeting. Even if you’re not serving in any capacity, you are welcome to come for the Family Meeting portion and then leave before the actual Volunteer Training starts.

So, the reason I mentioned all of that, back to the question that Jesus brings up: Where does your money reveal your heart to be? I’m not just talking about giving to the ministry of Raintree; I’m talking about giving to the needy; I’m talking about being generous with the people in your lives! Does your money reveal that your heart is set on Christ, on heavenly treasures, or does it reveal that your heart is distracted with money itself. Do you see money as the goal, or money a way to reach the goal, with is heavenly treasures. Again, nothing wrong with possessions or money, but possessions have no spiritual value in and of themselves. How we use possessions, though, can have incredible spiritual value. Again, this is for all of us! Not just those who are better-off financially, but for all of us! How can we be leveraging our possessions for the kingdom of God?

The truth of the matter is that if our treasure is in a place that it can be damaged or stolen, then our hearts are in a place in which they can be damaged or even stolen. We have One Treasure. Let’s remember what is permanent; let’s set our hearts on Christ. Two other ways that a Christian can become undivided, and these two are much briefer, because they go right along with this first one. Number 2:

 

  1. One Vision

Look at verses 22 and 23 with me: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” This is a somewhat difficult passage to understand, but I think mentioning a few things will help us fully grasp it.

When it says, “The eye is the lamp of the body,” “eye” is referring to the heart. Jesus is continuing to express the incredible importance of the heart. So he uses this illustration. In the same way that the eye is the only channel of light we possess as human beings, the heart is the only channel of real spiritual light. Our heart being fully God’s is the only way for us to see reality, to see as God sees! So if the eye is healthy, or if the heart is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. The word “healthy” means clear, complete, sound. So if the heart is clear, and soundly God’s, then we will be able to see with clarity. If not, if we’re split between two treasures, then our hearts are bad, and our whole bodies, our lives will be full of darkness. We won’t be able to see clearly, like having scratched glasses or contact lens.

Jesus, once again, is calling to absolutely undivided loyalty. Clear vision means complete devotion to God. Unclear vision means your devotion is split. So HOW do we move to ONE vision. How do we do this?

 

Realize what is real; Set your eyes on God’s Kingdom.

One treasure. ONE vision. How do we get there?! Realize what is real and what is not! If you remember back a few minutes ago. How do we move to ONE treasure? We realize what is permanent. In the same way, to move to ONE vision as opposed to more than one, we must realize what is REAL. Things that are not permanent, aren’t really all that real! Things that are eternal, that have lasting significance, that are clothed in truth and not façade, this is what is real.

God’s Kingdom, even though it’s not an earthly kingdom, and even though it may not feel as real as earthly kingdoms and earthly power, it is as real as it gets. By focusing on God’s kingdom, we focus on things that have eternal purpose.

Now, one thing that I think worth mentioning is that this word, “healthy” (“if your eye is healthy, then your whole body will be full of light), is usually used to mean clear and complete, BUT it is also used in the New Testament to refer to generosity, or not being too worried about material things. And with the context here, it makes a lot of sense that Jesus was likely speaking to this reality as well. The healthy eye of generosity helps us to see reality, which is what? Earthly treasures will be gone one day. The bad eye of materialism, of selfish indulgence, it gives off no light! It misleads us into thinking that these earthly things really matter.

Yet again, this does rehash the sobering thought that the way we understand our money, and the way we spend our money, can tell us a lot about our spiritual condition—like where our treasure is located, like what our vision is set on. The third way that a Christian can be undivided, that goes right along with the first two:

 

  1. One Master:

Verse 24: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” This illustration is an excellent one because it just makes so much sense. A slave is the sole property of the owner. This is different from an employee, who chooses to be there and has responsibilities for a certain amount of time, and may have another job or two or three jobs! A slave, though, has one owner, and that owner owns him.

Jesus’ point is simple: No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. Now obviously, none of us would say we hate Jesus, even if we are split between two masters or two treasures, but it’s worth noting that the word “hate” is often used in the Bible as a comparative feature. Kind of like when Jesus said you must hate your mother and father to be his disciples. Obviously, Jesus didn’t mean that we have to hate our families, but that we’re so devoted to this higher loyalty toward Jesus that it in an expressive sense could make your love for your family seem like hate.

It’s just a fact that, as human beings, we were made to worship one thing. We’re all wired in such a way that we can’t have two ultimate loyalties. We can’t! There are so many different things in our lives that we can have split our loyalty, our ultimate worship. Our jobs, entertainment, food, comfort, even family! But perhaps the biggest one that so many struggle with is what Jesus mentions at the end of verse 24: “You cannot serve both God and money.” The word for “money” is “mamona,” which can also means possessions. How, then, do we make sure we have one Master:

 

Realize who is King; Set your devotion on Him.

We know who is King. He’s the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. But thinking about everything we’ve talked about this morning: is Jesus truly your King, your Master, your only Treasure? Because there are plenty of things in our lives vying for the title of Master. But the main one that Jesus focuses in on in today’s text is possessions.

Is money your Lord? Are possessions your King, or Master? What do you think about most often? What do you strive for most tenaciously? There’s nothing wrong with working hard in our jobs and to earn money and take care of ourselves and our families; we SHOULD do those things. BUT, has that endeavor become a controlling interest in your heart? As I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to have a lot of possessions for possessions to be your Master. John Calving puts it this way: “When riches hold the dominion of the heart, God has last His authority.” The question is, who or what holds the dominion of your heart? There IS something. It may not feel as if there is one thing that holds the dominion of your heart, but there is. So who or what are you serving?

 

Conclusion

We cannot have more than one treasure! It’s impossible. I don’t think that we struggle with saying that Jesus is valuable. We struggle, though, with believing that Jesus as our treasure is enough! We want Jesus and pornography. We want Jesus and greed. We want Jesus and idleness, or laziness. We want Jesus and something! Here’s a quick warning and quick encouragement.

The warning is this: There is no such thing as having Jesus as your treasure, truly, and something else. It’s called idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:21-22 says, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy. Are we stronger than he?” The warning is this: As far as your ultimate treasure and Master; Jesus + anything = not Jesus.

The encouragement is this: Jesus is sufficient. He is enough. In fact, he’s infinitely more than enough for our salvation, our joy, our identity, our purpose. Colossians 1:16-17- “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” THAT’S our Lord! That’s our Master, our treasure! He’s so infinitely more than enough for us. That’s my encouragement.

The truth of the matter is that when each of us come to the end of our lives, we’re not going to wish we had spent more time accumulating wealth. We’re not going to wish that we would have spent more time having fun, even. We will probably have more of a heart and vision for eternal things than ever before. But why wait until then to focus on the things that matter most? My question for you now is, does your life, your priorities, your time, your money, does it all reflect that Jesus is your one treasure, your one vision, and your one master? Or, are you divided?