Summary: Lesson 28

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In verses 1-18 of Matthew 6 it’s as if we have been in the sanctuary of the Lord communing with Him who "seeth in secret." Beginning in verse 19, we leave the safety and security of communion with the Lord, and immediately find ourselves combating the temptations and trials of the world. It is no mistake that the order is first communion then combat. The amount of time we are willing to spend in secret with the Lord will determine the amount of victory we enjoy over the world, the flesh, and the devil.

We are living today in what is perhaps the most materialistic society that has ever existed. Today more than ever, Christians need to heed these final words of Matthew 6. It seems that when we are materially prosperous we are most in danger of spiritual poverty.


A. Jesus speaks Negatively v. 19

Generally speaking, when we speak of "treasure" we tend to limit the term to money. But the Lord’s use of the word "treasure" in intended to mean anything that is of value to man and that is perishable or can be lost in one way or the other (houses, lands, fame, position, power, clothes, cars, etc.)

While we need to understand clearly what is condemned in this verse, we also need to know what is not condemned. In the words of verse 19, the Lord is not condemning hard work which results in man’s provision for both himself and his family.

Something else that the Lord is not condemning is the possession of goods and riches, provided they are acquired honestly and used rightly.

A third thing that goes without condemnation by the Lord is saving for the future.

What is being condemned is:

1. Excessiveness

a. When the Lord speaks of laying up treasures for ourselves on earth, He is addressing the sin of excessively pursuing worldly wealth and material possessions.

b. Many today are possessed with an insatiable appetite for "treasure" that drives them to many types of excessive behavior.

c. 1 Timothy 6:8-10

2. Covetousness

a. Colossians 3:5

b. In this verse Christ condemns the act of putting our trust and confidence in worldly things that we have treasured up, which is nothing less that idolatry.

c. Job 31:24-28

d. Ecclesiastes 5:10

e. Hebrews 13:5

3. Selfishness

a. Selfishly laying up treasure for ourselves without any intention of using the same for the support of the gospel or the praise of God is condemned by the Lord’s words in this verse.

b. Ezekiel 28:4-5

B. Jesus speaks Positively v. 20

1. Instead of making the things of this earth a priority and excessively pursuing those things, we would do well to pursue things that are of eternal value (2 Corinthians 4:18).

2. Instead of trusting confidently in the material things we possess, our trust and confidence is to be in the living God (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

3. The best way to "lay up ... treasures in heaven" is to invest in the Lord’s work (1 Chronicles 29:3, 11-14, 16-17).

4. The sad thing about all of the excessive, covetous, selfish behavior is that it comes as the result of pursuing things that will never satisfy in the first place. All of our earthly possessions are things that possess a certain element of decay. They will all eventually perish. The only things that will last will be the rewards we gain by our godly living and heavenly pursuits.

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