Summary: Our priorities are defined by where we focus our eyes and our hearts and by what he hold on to as most dear. Christ-followers should set their priorities on the eternal and not the temporary.

(adapted from Southeast Christian Church’s series: “Living a Life of Integrity”)




INTRODUCTION: A. A husband and wife were attending a county fair where, for twenty dollars a

person, a man was giving rides in an old airplane. The couple wanted to go up but they

thought twenty dollars a person was too expensive so they tried to negotiate a lower

price. “We’ll pay you twenty dollars for both of us,” they said to the pilot. “After all,

we’ll both have to squeeze into that tiny cockpit that was built for only one person.”

The pilot refused to lower his fare, but he made a counter offer. He suggested, “Pay

me the full price of twenty dollars each, and I’ll take you up. If you don’t say one word

during the flight, I’ll give you all your money back.” The couple agreed and got into

the plane.

Up they went and the pilot proceeded to perform every trick he knew, looping and

whirling and flying upside down and lots more. Finally, when the plane had landed,

the pilot said to the husband, “Congratulations! Here’s your money back; you didn’t

say a single word.” To which the man replied, "Nope, but you almost got me when my

wife fell out.”

B. When we think of sin and temptation typically the first two areas that come to

mind are the temptations of lust and pride.

1. While those are really deadly there is another that may have wrought more damage

for both men and women in our culture (and even in this room).

--It’s not as obvious and blatant, in some ways it is easier to hide and, in our

affluent culture, it has become more acceptable.

2. I’m speaking of materialism.

--It’s very similar to greed or envy, both of which are areas we are commanded in

both the Old and New Testament. to avoid

3. This message is not about tithing, or about how much our church needs your


--This is a message about what Jesus said our material possessions can do to us if

not handled properly.

4. I read an interesting statistic a few months ago that said that researchers have

determined that the average American spends up to 80% of his or her waking hours

making money, spending money, or worrying about money.

C. I started in professional ministry while I was a sophomore at Milligan College in 1979.

--In all that time in the ministry, I’ve had people sit across a desk or table with tears in

their eyes and say that they’ve committed adultery, or they’re addicted to something,

or they stole money from their company…but I have never had a person

brokenheartedly confess “I’m greedy.”

1. We tend to look at materialism and greed on kind of a sliding scale

2. We have problems pinning this particular down in our lives

a. For that reason, it’s almost become an acceptable sin for Christians

b. Perhaps that’s why it’s so deadly

3. But as we continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses this

issue and again, elevates the standard for His followers.


--Mt. 6:19-21 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where

thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not

destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be


A. The World’s Temporary Perspective

1. 1 Tim. 6:6-9 – “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world,

and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires

that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”

2. Prov. 23:5 – “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings, and fly

off to the sky like an eagle.”

3. It is amazing the way greed and materialism can consume us.

--James Patterson and Peter Kin, The Day America Told the Truth, reveal how far people in the United

States are willing to go for money. They started with what would you do for $10 million and then

asked people if they would do the same for $5 million and then $2 million. After $2 million the

percentages came down drastically. However for at least $2million, people responded they would do

these things for money:

a. (25%) Would abandon their entire family

b. (23%) Would become prostitutes for a week or more

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Philip Olson

commented on May 19, 2008

Detailed survey of the text; great variety of illustrations

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