Summary: We need to heed Jesus’ cautions and steer clear of the traps of life.
A Messiah Who Gives Caution
Text: Matt. 6:19-24
1. Illustration: Several years ago at a Promise Keepers conference, Dennis Rainey placed animal traps on stage. They were big ones too. Bear traps and even an African safari large animal trap that took two men to open. There were a dozen or so traps, and he set or opened them all. Then Dennis Rainey had a father blindfold his teen-age son, the father then walked to the other side of the stage and called his son to come to him. The boy took one step and the Father called out, “Wait! I’ll keep you from stepping in the traps.” So this Dad went back across the stage, took his son’s hand and “leads” him through the difficult maze of traps.
2. This is what Jesus is trying to do for us in today’s text. He is cautioning us to stay clear of some of the traps of life.
a. He cautions us about value.
b. He cautions us about vision.
c. He cautions us about veneration.
3. Read Matt. 6:19-24
Proposition: We need to heed Jesus’ cautions and steer clear of the traps of life.
Transition: The first caution is a...
I. Caution About Value (19-21)
A. Store Treasures In Heaven
1. Jesus warns us about putting our hope in earthly treasures. He reminds us of the temporary and fleeting nature of earthly treasures when he says, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal."
a. The phrase "don’t store up treasures" might better be rendered "stop storing up treasures." It is a call to change! (France, 258).
b. Remember that the society that Jesus lived in didn’t have banks and so people would store their treasures at home in a safe place.
c. However, no matter how safe the place may have seemed, the treasure would still be susceptible to robbers and decay due to weather.
2. Jesus did not here forbid owning material possessions. Rather, He was admonishing His followers not to make them an object of their affections (Horton, 115).
a. His definition of treasure was anything that could be considered extremely valuable in itself (Horton, 115).
b. This could mean could mean money, cars, boats, stereos, tv’s, or even relationships.
3. The danger in these things is we can allow these temporary objects that are subject to decay to take God’s place in our hearts.
a. "Rust" comes from a Greek word which means "to eat or consume."
b. The phrase "break in" is literally "to dig through," and considering that most of their houses were made of mud and straw this was a real concern.
c. They were storing treasures on earth because they were not trusting God.
d. Psalm 25:5
Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
4. On the contrary, Jesus tells us, Heavenly treasure is not subject to decay like earthly treasure. He says, "Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal."
a. Rather than storing up things on earth which can decay or be stolen, Jesus counseled His listeners to find a better kind of treasure and a safer place to store it (Horton, 115).
b. Heavenly treasure alone can provide security.
c. The verb translated "store your treasures" might suggest that these treasures can be earned.
d. However, God is not sitting up in heaven with a treasure calculator counting all the things you do to credit you with heavenly treasure.
e. On the contrary, we earn these treasures by living according to the priorities of the Kingdom (France, 259).
5. Jesus gets to the heart of the issue when he says, "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."
a. The heart is drawn to what a person values most. If a person’s life is focused on the values of the Kingdom, then they will lay up treasures in heaven (Turner, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Matthew, 105).
b. The issue is not that possessions themselves are bad but that a higher priority demands our resources.
c. If we value what our Lord values rather than what our society values, he demands that we meet the basic needs of people lacking adequate resources before we seek to accumulate possessions beyond our basic needs (Keener, IVP New Testament Commentary: Matthew, 148).
d. The desires of a person, the focus of their life, what they love, depends upon what he considers a treasure.
B. What Do You Value?
1. Illustration: Have you heard of the man who claims and boasts of being the #1 NBA fan, and makes pro basketball his top priority? Listen to what he wrote in a national sports magazine recently. “April & May are not only my favorite months because of the NBA play-offs but they are my credit card company’s favorite months too. I’ll bet the credit card people think we celebrate Christmas in May instead of December at our house. Airline tickets, motel rooms, play-off tickets, meals.. All of it adds up in a hurry. But quite frankly Christmas for me can’t hold a candle to the NBA play-offs.” Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with loving sports and using them as a diversion. (I hope.) But.. if the NBA play-offs or anything else provides us more excitement than the fact God’s Son came to earth to save us.. Then something is way out of whack with our priorities. Only Jesus Christ is worthy of our primary priority.