November 14, 1993
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Matthew 6:19-34

The Lord Jesus was not afraid of any subject. He was not one to beat around the bush. He got right to the point, and He drew clear, distinct lines between right and wrong. To the Lord, everything was either black or white.

Someone told my daughter that one thing that was wrong with her dad was that to him everything was black or white, right or wrong, and things are not that simple; the world will always have wrong in it, so we should not work to straighten things out? Now, the one who said that makes no profession of being saved, so we cannot expect anything else from the person.

The purpose of preaching the word of God is to draw a clear, distinct line; it is to make black very black and white very white. By doing this, God's people are equipped to make proper decisions, Heb 4:12.

For the word of God [is] quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I believe many of our problems today can be traced to preachers who are afraid to follow Christ's example and make things black or white in their preaching.

Christ, as the representative of the Heavenly Father, drew a sharp, clear, distinct line between the genuine Christian and the hypocrite. Now He will draw the line between earthly and heavenly treasure.

The rest of this chapter deals with a subject that people do not like to here about from the pulpit: MONEY, and a Christian's proper attitude toward and use of worldly wealth. Actually, the Lord now attacks the god of this world, mammon. Obviously, His words will offend those who serve the world's god.

There was only one petition in "The Lord's Prayer" which dealt with personal needs: Give us this day our daily bread. But now the Lord takes16 verses of the total 109 verses in His sermon to expand on the one petition about personal needs, vv. 19-34. Therefore, 15% of His message deals with earthly treasure, worldly wealth or proper attitude toward and proper use of money.

The length of this section about money shows us 4 things:

1) there is no way around it, money is the primary motivator of all that takes place in this world. The life-goal of the vast majority of those around us is to lay up as much worldly goods as possible. Thus there is no way to avoid the issue of money. The issue of money must be confronted head on, and that is just what Christ does here; He wasted no words, He did not beat around the bush, and He spoke so clearly that the people were astonished at his doctrine, 7:28.

2) Christ well realized the dangers of riches.

1 Ti 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

We taught some time ago about covetousness, and defined it as "The willingness to compromise God's will or word for us in order to gain worldly treasure or wealth." Covetousness for earthly treasures causes one to violate what is required of him by the Lord.

By Christ spending so much time in this sermon on the subject of money, we see that the love of money is one of the greatest danger we face. In fact, one book of God's 66 books to man is dedicated to the danger of the love of money: Ecc.

3) basically, what Jesus says here is that the children of God are NOT TO be controlled by the concerns of this world as are the Gentiles. Rather, they are to be controlled by concerns about the things of God, and God will supply all their needs.

Ho 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Christians have forgotten God's word in regard to their attitude toward the god of this world, mammon. Therefore, God forgot their children. We can not count the number of Christian's children that have been sacrificed to the god of this world, mammon.

4) the Lord did not ignore the personal side of Christianity, but He sure did not deal with it as does modern theology. Christ preached personal responsibility, not personal peace and prosperity.

His message did not emphasize the individual Christian and his needs; rather, Christ's message placed the individual's needs behind their greater calling in the cause of Christ on earth.

Rather than exalt the individual's needs, Christ exalted the Father's needs.

Rather than present the beneficial side of Christianity, Christ presented responsibilities to the Father.

People want to know what Christianity will do for them, not what Christianity demands of them. Christ's sermon emphasizes the demands of Christianity upon the people of God. Actually, Christ only gives one benefit of Christianity: if the child of God will place the requirements of the Father first and foremost in his life, then the Father will supply all his needs.

In other words, Christ was not a self-esteem preacher, and no doubt He would not have been invited back to speak in the average church. It is for sure that if He was an Electronic Evangelists, He would have no listeners.

Although the second half of this chapter has one major theme, money, we will try to take it a small section at a time.

Vv. 19-21:

I) the Lord presents the importance of laying up heavenly treasure, vv. 19-21, then He explains what He said and why He said it in vv. 24-34.

The Lord condemns here in His message those who place more interest in worldly goods than they do heavenly riches.

Note what the Lord told the rich man, Mat 19:23-26

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard [it], they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Men have a natural desire to depend on their riches to take care of them, even in the final day before the Lord. Only the Spirit of God can reveal to man the fallacy of trusting in his riches.

Thus this section is a sermon by Christ against covetousness; it exposes the god of this world, money, for what it is: worthless and useless vain.

The Jews of Christ's day expected great, earthly wealth to flow into the Messiah's kingdom and, therefore, under their control. In order to counter the Jews' false idea of the Messiah's kingdom, the Lord opens this section with Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth...

The Lord did not say what they wanted to hear about the Messiah's kingdom then, nor does the natural man want to hear it today. What the Lord says in this section is as contrary to human nature as anything can possibly be. The world exalts to high places of importance in the kingdoms of men those who are able to accumulate large amounts of money and property.

In fact, so does the church far to often. Many time the qualification for church leadership is being a success at laying up large amounts of earthly treasure.

The Lord here tells us that if money and wealth is our goal, we live a very vain and empty life.

The Lord presents nothing new. Rather, He presents a summary the Father's teaching concerning riches. I will only give the following outline of the Father's teaching on riches, and you will have to follow it up:

A) God condemns placing our confidence in the things of this world. Job 31:24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, [Thou art] my confidence; Ps 62:10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart [upon them]. Pr 11:4Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.

B) riches are very insecure. Pr 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for [riches] certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

C) God warns against revolving our life around the accumulation of worldly wealth Pr 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

D) Riches cannot satisfy. Ec 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this [is] also vanity. Ec 5:11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good [is there] to the owners thereof, saving the beholding [of them] with their eyes?

E) Riches will not provide peace. Ec 5:12 The sleep of a labouring man [is] sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. Ec 5:13 There is a sore evil [which] I have seen under the sun, [namely], riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

F) The Lord warns of the dangers of riches. Ec 5:14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and [there is] nothing in his hand.

Lu 12:16-21 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

G) The Lord warns against the sin of covetousness. Heb 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Some time ago, we preached on covetousness, and we identified covetousness as the willingness to compromise the will and word of God for our lives for worldly gain.

H) riches will not help in that day when we must meet God. 1 Ti 6:7 For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. Jas 5:1 Go to now, [ye] rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon [you]. Jas 5:3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

I) we are warned against the desire to be rich. 1 Ti 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

J) The love of money or earthly treasure. 1 Ti 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Ti 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

K) the uncertainty of riches. 1 Ti 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

L) the danger of love for the things of this world. 1 Jo 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 Jo 2:16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Several of the above warnings are clearly against gambling in any form: love of money, covetousness, desire to be rich, false confidence ("If I can only win the lottery, all my problems will be solved.")

can leave out to here.

Our Lord's instructions concerning earthly riches would also condemn any idea that society's problems can be solved through "earthly means," including laws and political action of any kind. God's people are to be involved in earthly matters only because it pleases God and advances the cause of Christ on earth.

Vs. 19-21.

Three things the Lord is not prohibiting:

1) hard work in one's profession whereby a man provides the needful things for those under his responsibility.

2) enjoying the fruit of our labours in the possession of goods and riches, provided, of course, they are gained honestly and used properly. In fact, the Lord may indeed see fit to give to His servants earthly wealth, but even at that, that wealth is for a propose, i.e., finance the cause of Christ on earth.

3) nor is the Lord prohibiting the accumulation of worldly wealth, and the laying up in store for our own future use or for our family. Did not the wise man tell us to consider the ant, Pro 6:6-8?

Godly wealth carries both responsibility and danger:

responsibility to use it properly in the work of Christ on earth

danger of forgetting where it came from and miscuing it upon our own desires.

The Lord is forbidding covetousness, the desire for more than is necessary to support our God-given station in life. How much is enough? This varies considerably in different cases. Covetousness is evident when we lay aside our responsibility to the cause of Christ (including responsibility to the poor) so that we can have more to satisfy our personal desires.

Our primary concern must be on the cause of Christ. But in saying this, the Lord did not exclude earthly activity.

The goal of God's people must always to be God's Glory and the advancement of His kingdom, and this chapter makes it very clear where that kingdom is located, vs. 10, 33, i.e. on earth. Certainly, the Lord promises an everlasting, heavenly reward, but that reward is earned by very earthly and practical action.

heavenly treasure defined

1) the treasure is Christ,

Mt 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

2) we add to the treasure we have in Christ by doing righteous works that advanse the cause of Christ.

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Christ does not call what the Christian has waiting for him in heaven a reward; rather, He calls it a treasure: something of value. In other words, the Lord tells us that whatever this treasure is, it is something physical that must be stored up by the individual this side of death; it is stored by investing time, effort and finances in advancing the cause of Christ here on earth.

V. 21, the heavenly treasure is stored as we place into practice what we profess we believe. The heavenly treasure is the true treasure, and consists of transferring things of value from the physical realm to the spiritual realm.

But the word treasure is not necessarily restricted to gold and silver; it could refer to anything of value. Thus anyone can make deposits into this heavenly treasure which can then be drawn out when he gets to the place where that treasure has been laid up.

Mat 10:42, 42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold [water] only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

1 Cor 3:11-15, For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

This heavenly treasure is deposited on this side of death to be used on the other side of death by His people. Our heavenly treasure is laid up when we obey the word of God on this side of death with a motive to glorify God in all we do.

It is laid up as we do those things which are pleasing in His sight.

It is laid up as we faithfully use the gifts, talents and abilities given to us by the Lord for His service.

1 Ti 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich inthis world, that they be nothigh minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they berich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

The whole of the Lord's SERMON ON THE MOUNT, including this section, deals with what is in the heart and what the heart is attached to. The Lord is not at all condemning involvement in "earthly things," but He is soundly condemning the love of earthly things which prevents His people from pleasing Him first of all.

The Lord condemns whatever interferes in our investment of time, effort and/or finances into the cause of Christ. The central theme of the Christian's life must be do all things for the glory of God, 1 Cor 10:31.

The word of God defines the true gain in this life, 1 Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

As we have pointed out, the Lord is drawing clear, distinct lines.

First, He drew a sharp, clear, distinct line between the genuine Christianity and hypocrisy.

Then, vv. 19-21, He drew the line between earthly and heavenly treasure.

Next, vv. 22, 23, He will draw the line between earthly and heavenly wisdom (single or evil eye). We will see that next time.

Where is our heart? Is it on the things which please the Lord and advance His cause on the earth? or is it on the things which the world holds important?

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