Whole Living with Our Treasures

Be Attitudes  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:12
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Now in looking at Matthew 6:19–34, we have a very practical portion of Scripture which our Lord outlines for us. He gives principles to eliminate the love of money, principles to remove our affection from moving in that direction. There are four of them. Let me suggest them to you at the outset and then we’ll look at them individually.

Have the proper treasury.

Matthew 6:19–21 CSB
19 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Our Lord is saying your perspective must include the proper treasury. In other words, where do you put your deposits? Where do you invest? Where do you put your money? The principle simply stated in verse 19 is treasure not up for yourselves treasure. It’s the Greek verb from which the English word “thesaurus” comes from which has to do with a treasury of words. The word means to lay aside, to store, to horde, to keep, to actually stack up. In fact if you look at some of the lexicons it indicates that it has to do with a vertical stacking rather than a horizontal kind of stacking. It’s an interesting word. And what the Lord is saying is this, He’s not forbidding us from earning money. He’s not forbidding us from keeping money for good purposes. He is forbidding us from storing money to be wasted on self indulgence.
That’s the whole issue here. That when you perceive life as mainly involving the gaining of money to be stored and then used for your own indulgence, you have a wrong perspective. The key words here are the words “for yourselves.” You might underline that or make a note of it in your mind because that’s the issue. He doesn’t say, “Lay not up treasures on earth,” He says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth.”
John Wesley himself said, “I have three great principles when it comes to money. Principle number one, earn as much as you can. Principle number two, save as much as you can. Principle number three, in order that you may give to God as much as you can.” It is never a question of how much you have, it’s always a question of what you’re going to do with it. And the key here is “for yourselves.”
Somebody said there’s no smaller package than a man wrapped up in himself. Very true. The sin here is not earning money, the sin is not even saving money. The book of Proverbs tells us to save money and Jesus in a parable said you would have been better to have put your money in the bank and earned interest on it. The issue here is the accumulation of wealth for self-indulgence, that’s the issue. Extravagant luxury with hard-heartedness toward the cause of God, materialism in a word. A sinful habit that is very hard to break and very prevalent in our society. The Lord never condemns money itself. The Lord never condemns the possession of money. In fact it is God who gives you the power to get wealth, it says in Deuteronomy 8. And it is God who has made men wealthy and made other men to be poor. It is God, it says in 1 Timothy 6:17, who gives us all things richly to enjoy. IAnd so there’s no question that God allows and even grants a certain amount of wealth to people.
The sin comes in where you put that. If you invest it in the kingdom of heaven, you’ve made the right choice. If you invest it in self, you’ve made the wrong one. So in verse 20 He says, “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven.” And again the key is “for yourselves.”
What do you mean by that? How can I be giving money to God, investing in eternity and have it reap dividends for me? Well that’s the whole point, that’s exactly what it does. That is exactly what it does. And I’ll show you how as we go along. You lay up for yourselves treasures on earth and they will remain here. You lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven and they’ll be there to greet you when you arrive. But we tend, don’t we, to horde things for ourselves, like the farmer who said I have two calves, one I’m going to grow for myself to feed the family, one I’m going to grow and sell and give the money to the Lord. And some months later came in to announce to his wife a terrible thing has happened, the Lord’s calf died.
Well that’s a rather arbitrary choice, isn’t it? But that’s pretty typical of so much of our thinking. Make your fortune but store it in the right treasury. That’s the issue. A proper treasury where it will be drawing eternal dividends. All our efforts and all our gifts to the Lord’s work to advance His Kingdom and glorify His name constitute heavenly treasury.
And He says further, let’s go back to Matthew 6, that if you do lay up treasure on earth, you’re going to run into problems. Let me give it to you very simply, in ancient Palestine treasure basically came in three forms. One was garments, your clothes; two was grain, your crop; three was gold. That’s basically it. Garments, your clothing; grain, your crops; and gold, your monetary fortune. He says regarding your garments, “Moths eat them.” Regarding your grain, the word “rust” is a poor translation really of brosis, the word literally means eating. It’s never used to be a reflective of rust, it has reference to rats or other things that eat stored grain. So He says, first of all, moths will eat your clothes and then rats will eat your grain and then thieves will steal your gold. The word for thieves is interesting, mud diggers. Most of the houses were made out of mud and so a thief was somebody who dug a hole in a mud wall. They’ll break in and steal.
So if you put your fortune in worldly things, it is subject to worldly corruption. We say, “Ha, but I’m covered, I have moth balls, rat poison and burglar alarms. And there’s no way they can get at me.” Yeah, well as I said last week, you’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul. There will come a time when it all ends and you’re not taking it with you.
Where’s your treasury? That’s the question. If you love money, it’s here. If you love God more than you love money, it’s there. Very simple.

Have the proper vision.

Matthew 6:22–23 CSB
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!
Now what is He saying here? Let me give it to you simply. Just as your eye effects your physical perception, so where you fix your heart determines your spiritual perception. In other words, a seeing eye floods the body with light, you see, you are filled with light, light is everywhere, your eyes can capture it. And so it is with a spiritually clear eye that has its focus on the kingdom of heaven, it has a heavenly vision of treasure and therefore spiritually is lighted. The heart that is set on godly things is lighted, it is lit with spiritual sight. Blind eyes bring only darkness. An earthly perspective, an earthly vision that is selfish and indulgent plunges one into spiritual darkness.
The point is this, if your focus is continually on money and on accumulation and on materialism and self-indulgence, you will be blind to spiritual reality. Your spiritual eyes are dark, your vision is clouded and it is a severe darkness, it says at the end of verse 23 … a severe one. Greedy people become blind to spiritual reality. They can’t see spiritual reality. They can’t see spiritual need. They can’t see the joy of spiritual investment. Their focus is really on the wrong thing and they therefore become blind.
“If your eye is healthy,” is actually the word that is translated at least three places I found in the New Testament by the word “generous … generous.” And so this tells us really what he means here. The word for “evil” in verse 23, poneros is translated with the idea of grudging, or ungenerous. So what he is saying is if you are characteristically generous in putting your treasure in heaven, you’re going to see clearly spiritually. If you are characteristically ungenerous and put your money in your own self-indulgence in the world, you are going to be characteristically blind.
Generosity forms a clear understanding of life, grudging selfishness distorts everything and it distorts the spiritual dimension most of all. So the call here is for a heavenly vision. And a heavenly vision is a corollary to a generous heart.
So, first of all, if we’re going to be free from the love of money we want to make sure we’ve chosen the right place to invest, and secondly, we want to make sure we have a perception of spiritual reality and that our viewpoint is that which pertains to the kingdom of God not to self. One who is consumed with his own self aggrandizement becomes blind to the things of God and if we can sharpen our focus on the Lord and on His Kingdom, then we can really see spiritually.

Have the proper allegiance.

Matthew 6:24 CSB
24 “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Thirdly, and this is so important, the right allegiance … the right allegiance. And these really run parallel to each other. Verse 24, “No man … and that’s inclusive, no man.… can serve … what?… two masters.” It’s impossible, that is axiomatic, it is impossible. “Either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.” And so the conclusion is you can’t serve God and at the same time serve money. So the love of money is exclusive and therefore eliminates the love of God. On the other hand, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength is then to set aside the love of money. You must have the proper allegiance. You ask yourself the question: do I love God or do I love money?
John Calvin said, “Where riches hold the dominion of the heart, God has lost His authority.” That’s true. Because where riches hold the dominion of the heart, when the Spirit of God prompts someone to give money to the Kingdom to invest in the Kingdom, the person resists that in self-indulgent prideful protection of his own investments and therefore the authority of God in that life is blunted and ignored.
The orders you get from God and the orders you get from self-indulgent love of money are diametrically opposite. One commands you to walk by faith, the other to walk by sight. One calls you to be humble, the other to be proud. One to set your affection on things above, the other to set your affection on things on the earth. One to look at things unseen and eternal, the other to look at things seen and temporal. One to have your conversation in heaven, the other to cleave to the dust. One to be careful for nothing, the other to have all anxiety. One to be content with such as you have, the other to enlarge your desires as big as hell. One to be ready to distribute, the other withhold. One to look at the things of others, the other to look at your own things. One to sing … to seek happiness in the creator, the other to seek happiness in the creature. They’re mutually exclusive and so you have to determine your allegiance.
The love of money is inseparably related to where your treasury is, what your vision is, and to whom your allegiance is given. The safest place, by the way, I feel, for my money is in God’s hands. You feel that way? He’s the safest steward of all. And sadly we live in a world that is gone mad over the matter of accumulation, for selfish purposes, indulging itself under the illusion that that brings happiness, joy, peace and contentment. It doesn’t. Contentment comes from being attached to the right master … the right master.

Have the proper confidence.

Matthew 6:25–34 CSB
25 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
After all … have you thought about this?… who owns everything? Class? God … thank you. Who owns everything? God owns everything. That’s good. The earth, Psalm 24:1 says, belongs to God. Anything in the world is His. First Chronicles 29:11 says, “Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord.” It all belongs to Him. I was reading John Wesley some years ago. His house burned down. And he said simply this, “The Lord’s house burned, that’s one less responsibility for me.” That’s the spirit.
Do you realize that there’s only really been one nation in the history of the world that understood the proper relationship to possessions and that was the nation Israel? Because they understood that God owned everything, that God owned everything. They were a theocracy and God owned everything. They were just managing it as a point of stewardship by which they could be spiritually evaluated. But God owned everything. We are victims not of a legacy of the culture of the Old Testament but of the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans who believed they owned everything and that mentality dominates us.
Not only does God own everything, He controls everything. He controls everything. First Chronicles 29 again 11 and 12 says, in effect, that God controls everything. Therefore if God owns everything and God controls everything, then God provides everything. Is that not so? Everything we have … absolutely everything that we have is given to us by God. There is nothing that we possess, even the most mundane things of life that God has not allowed us to possess. For believers particularly, Luke 12:31, “Seek ye the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added to you.… Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom so sell what you have, give alms, provide yourselves bags which grow not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Basically the same ideas with the added thought that you can give it all away because God is in charge of providing what you need.
The point is, we don’t have to control our destiny. We don’t have to control everything. We can’t say, “Boy, I dare not give that to God because what’s going to happen to me in the future,” etc., etc. If the Spirit of God prompts your heart, respond to the Spirit of God with the confidence that God owns everything, God controls everything and God promises to provide everything needed by His own. If God gave you life, God will sustain that life, won’t He? So we’re anchored to that confidence.
Now what is it He says? “I say unto you,” by the way, He says stop being anxious in this verse, the form of the Greek, don’t start being anxious in verse 31, so He hits it from both angles. But He says, “Don’t be anxious for your life.” psuche, your physical earthly life. Don’t be anxious for your physical life. Don’t worry about that. Because, you see, people are going to say, “Well I’d love to give to the Kingdom and I’d love to open my spiritual eyes and have that perspective, and I would love to have this allegiance that invests in the glory of my God who is my Lord, I want that, but I’m concerned about providing for myself …” and so forth and so on. Now it’s not a question of giving away what you need to live. It’s a question of that stock piling mentality that says I’m amassing my fortune to cover all my bases. And when the Spirit of God prompts your heart to give, you don’t do it and you’re disobedient to that authority because you feel you have to have it to indulge yourself in whatever way you’ve decided.
But what our Lord is saying is since heavenly treasure fully satisfies and sets the heart in the right place, since generous giving brings mental, moral, spiritual vision and since allegiance to the Lord puts us under His loving authority and care, therefore we can have confidence and not worry about our physical life. Don’t be preoccupied with that. Even the basic necessities of life are in God’s control.
Number one, the first reason you don’t worry about this is because you have confidence in your Father. That kind of anxiety is unnecessary because of who your Father is. And He promises to take care of these necessities. First of all, food … He says in verse 25, “Don’t be anxious for your life, that is the physical part, what you eat, what you drink, nor yet for your body what you shall put on. Isn’t life more than food and isn’t the body more than its clothing?” In other words, don’t get preoccupied with mundane things … material things. Boy, that seems so obscure to us and so hard to interpret and understand because we’re so locked in to that kind of preoccupation.
Now this is not an excuse for idleness. You don’t see the birds lining up at some God-centered distribution point. They do their work. They don’t sit on the branch waiting for food to drop in their beak, they search for it. They gather insects and worms, they prepare their nest, they care for their young, they teach them to fly and pursue their own food. And so it is with man. We do our work. In fact, the Scripture says in 2 Thessalonians if you don’t work you shouldn’t … what?… eat. So there’s work to do but the provision is made by God. And to say that God will provide your food is to say also that God will provide a means for you to earn your food. And that’s the promise. Our Lord’s argument from the lesser to the greater. Birds don’t overdo a good thing like the rich fool, they don’t build barns and keep more than they need. They don’t store up, stock up, and add to what they already have unnecessarily. They simply gather enough and they’re satisfied. No stock piling, no stuffing, no hording and that’s what the Lord is saying. The birds can’t plan ahead, they have no reason to worry. You have no reason to worry either, you’re more important than they are. Are you not more valuable than them? What a beautiful thought.
So, first of all, it’s pretty silly not to have confidence in God because of who our Father really is, He is the provider of our food. Look at verse 27, and this is quite interesting. He is the provider of our life span, verse 27, “Which of you by being anxious or worrying can add a cubit to his stature?”
Now people have misunderstood this. A cubit is basically 18 inches … 18 inches. Now that wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Which of you by worrying can add 18 inches to your stature? That would make me about seven foot ten … that’s … that’s at best hyperbolic at that point. What you have to understand is the word helikia basically means not so much your stature as your span of life. And the idea is somewhat metaphorical. He’s saying which of you can worry yourself into a longer life. The converse is true, you worry and you’re likely to have what? A shorter one. Worrying isn’t going to do you any good. You cannot add to your span of life by anxiety, in fact what you’ll do is shorten your span of life by anxiety.
So we’re not going to give ourselves to something that shortens our span of life. Worry … Charles Mayo, the Mayo Clinic says, “It effects circulation, the heart rate, the glands, the nervous system.” He said, “I have never known of a man to die of overwork, but many die of worry.” That’s right. You can worry yourself to death but you’ll never worry yourself into longer life.
Such a sin of mistrusting God is so foolish. God has given us life and God has given us food and God will give us the fullness of the span of life that He wants us to have, His sovereignly designed life plan. I can’t lengthen it. I could shorten it by my sin, 1 Corinthians, 1 John 5. He might just take me out because of sin, but I’ll live that full span that God sovereignly designed. And why not live it to His glory? Do you understand what I’m saying? You don’t need to control your destiny. You need to invest in God’s Kingdom as prompted by the Spirit and let Him take care of the results. And I’ll tell you, that’s the only wonderful way to live. And you will see that God will keep providing more and more than you can possibly use because He is a God of grace.
See, the sum of it is very clear. God takes care of all the necessities of life in a grand and glorious way so what are you worried about? And so He says your real problem at the end of verse 30 is you have little faith. And remember what we called the disciples, the little faith association. Inevitably He was giving them this speech at some point or another. Don’t you worry about those things, just trust Me. Boy, it’s really wonderful to live by faith. That doesn’t necessarily mean you live by poverty, it just means you live by faith and you accept what God gives and you invest in His Kingdom. So you know where your treasury is, you know where your vision is, you know where your allegiance is, therefore you know where your confidence is. And I’m not going to distrust God because I know who my Father is and I know what His resources are.
So, your task is to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be … what?… added unto you. I’m not anxious about what I eat, what I drink, what I put on. Why? Because that’s typical of unbelievers. They’re worried about that. It’s needless for me because of God’s bounty. It’s senseless because of God’s promise. It’s useless because of man’s inability. And it’s faithless. It is uncharacteristic of Christian faith to worry about that.
What do we seek? Well first of all we know our Father knows we have need of all these things. He knows we need food. He knows we need clothing. He knows we need to care for our families. He knows all that. But we seek first the Kingdom and all of that He adds. That’s the way to live. So you don’t love money, you love God. You don’t seek money, you seek God. You don’t seek to be rich, you seek to do your best. And He knows you need these things.
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