Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 101611
Your Heart is Where Your Treasure Is.
We looked at the principle of not living to attain material possessions. The flip side of that coin is, “lay up your treasures in heaven”.
MAT 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon 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 or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
We saw that this is the beginning of Our Lord’s great teaching in Mat 6 on anxiety caused by material concerns. Jesus wants us to be: Free from anxiety, especially about finances. Jesus spoke of treasure or money quite frequently. By faith in His Word and His promises God frees us from anxiety. He wants us to live in this freedom so we won’t crave treasures on earth anymore.
Jesus also wants us continually seeking his kingdom, pursuing God and his righteousness is the fundamental occupation in the Christian way of life. Do not make material things first on your list of priorities. If you make your fortune on the earth, you have made a fortune, and stored it, in a place where you cannot hold it. We also saw that material things will not make you happy without the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus used three examples to illustrate the principle of the uncertainty of earthly treasures: moths, rust and thieves.
Moths and rust destroy that which is valuable changing their very make-up. Thieves can steal that which is still valuable. Either way, valuable earthly possessions can be lost. There is no absolutely firm, unshakeable security to be found in material things. Jesus Christ says of treasure laid up upon earth: Earthly treasure is insecure. Man can never guarantee his hold on anything he may possess. He has it today; he is never sure of it tomorrow. We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. No amount of money will bring genuine security and contentment; God alone gives that.
Earthly treasure is temporary. When you set your life to store up the wealth of this world, you are setting your life after that which cannot last. You may amass a fortune, but you won’t be able to keep it, eventually the money you worked so hard for will slip from your hands and into the hands of others. At the point of death the only thing a person can take with them is their soul. Everything else stays behind. But death cannot touch the soul – it lives forever. The content of your soul is part of your eternal treasure.
LUK 12:15, And He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
What folly to store your treasure in the place you must soon leave! We are not to live as if this world is the only world there is, for it is not.
Earthly treasure is enslaving.
Materialism promises so much but cannot give us what we need most. Our consumer society is constantly telling us that life at its best consists of having more and more possessions and pleasures. As Christians, we know this is patently false. But, the tug is so strong that many of us try a balancing act between what the Bible teaches and what this world bombards us with. We struggle between the spiritual riches God offers us in Christ and the worldly treasures that cannot feed our soul. Sadly, some of us lose our focus, and the results are devastating. We become slaves to that which we seek and possess.
We saw the story of how to catch a monkey – Where hunters in the jungles have a clever way of trapping monkeys. They slice a coconut in two, hollow it out, and in one half of the shell cut a hole just big enough for a monkey’s hand to pass through. Then they place an orange in the other coconut half before fastening together the two halves of the coconut shell. Finally, they secure the coconut to a tree with a rope, retreat into the jungle, and wait. Sooner or later, an unsuspecting monkey swings by, smells the delicious orange, and discovers its location inside the coconut. The monkey then slips his hand through the small hole, grasps the orange, and tries to pull it through the hole. Of course, the orange won’t come out; It’s too big for the hole. To no avail the persistent monkey continues to pull and pull, never realizing the danger he is in. While the monkey struggles with the orange, the hunters simply stroll in and capture the monkey by throwing a net over him. As long as the monkey keeps his fist wrapped around the orange, the monkey is trapped. The poor monkey could save its life if it would only let go of the orange. It rarely occurs to a monkey, however, that it can’t have both the orange and its freedom. That delicious orange becomes a deadly trap.
Maybe a simplicity, but Jesus is warning us not to be trapped by the things of this world. In the Day of Judgment, nothing of our earthly riches shall remain.
Let us not stand there trying to explain why we idolized them and let them distract our minds from Him. Worldly ambition has a strong fascination for us.
The lure of materialism is very hard to break. The popular bumper sticker which reads: He who dies with the most toys wins! There is a deadly plague reigns everywhere throughout the world – many men have an insatiable desire of gain.
There is nothing wrong with riches in and of themselves; you must have food to eat and clothes to wear. But if they spend all their days thinking about what they shall eat, or what they shall wear, they are missing the purpose of the Christian life. But, if they recognize the Father’s faithfulness to supply all of their needs, then they are living in the light of eternity. Jesus is not advocating financial poverty as a means of attaining spirituality. The problem He is addressing is when we allow wealth to become our god or idol, or our main priority. Jesus is not teaching that believers are to be careless in handling their money. It is the duty of all persons to provide for those who depend upon them – children, aged parents or relatives, those under our care. Solid financial plans produce good stewards of the earthly resources that God has entrusted to us. Jesus does not say we cannot have a financial plan but is saying that the financial plan is not to be the object or goal of our life’s work. It is not a sin to have the things that money can buy as long as you don’t lose the things that money can’t buy (eternal life).
MAT 16:26, “For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Don’t have any false confidence because the bank account looks good. Wealth can’t be trusted. Money cannot take us to heaven. Money cannot rescue us from death.
Money cannot conquer death, and money cannot go with us, but we can use it wisely while we have it. Although a powerful resource, its power is limited to this world.
Unfortunately, this world is all many people think of.
A well-known pastor was invited to dinner in the home of a very wealthy man in Texas. After the meal, the host led him to a place where they could get a good view of the surrounding area. Pointing to the oil wells punctuating the landscape, he boasted, “Twenty-five years ago I had nothing. Now, as far as you can see, it’s all mine.” Looking in the opposite direction at his sprawling fields of grain, he said, “That’s all mine.” Turning east toward huge herds of cattle, he bragged, “They’re all mine.” Then pointing to the west and a beautiful forest, he exclaimed, “That too is all mine.” He paused, expecting the pastor to compliment him on his great success. However, the pastor placed one hand on the man’s shoulder and pointed to heaven asking, “How much do you have in that direction?” The man hung his head and confessed, “I never thought of that.”
How many souls have lived with this attitude? The real measure of a man’s wealth is what he shall own in eternity! A heart designed for God and eternity is degraded by being fixed on those things that will not last. We, as Christians, have desires as passionate as those of any man. Passions are the story of human life. It is all right to have passions and possess wealth. But the method by which we possess and the purpose we desire to possess make all the difference.
It is most wise to fulfill that passion for possession by making your fortune, not for the present; but for the future, the eternal.
MAT 6:20, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;”
This is a positive command from our Lord to do something as opposed to a command to stop doing something. Make it the habit of our lives, day in and day out, to store up eternal treasure in heaven.
Day by day we should seek to increase our eternal account, because it is only worth having that which we can have forever. Our time, talent and treasure are given to us from the Grace of God. Therefore, they should be held subject to God’s will and used according to His purpose. Do not hold the earth’s treasures with too firm a grasp.
He who is in touch with eternal realities will consider earthly possessions of secondary importance. The concentration of our efforts and the desires of our hearts will reveal where our real treasure is. Our life is measured by our motivation.
The whole teaching of Matthew 6:19-21 may be summarized in six simple words: Invest in that which lasts forever!
COL 3:2, Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
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