Summary: Jesus wants us to say, "I will invest in things that last forever."
July 8, 2001
The Treasure Chest – Part 2
(Show Video clip from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Elsa, Indy’s girlfriend, chooses to reach for the grail in a chasm and falls to her death. Indy also reaches for it, but his father persuades him to let it go.)
It is a poor bargain to exchange the eternal for the temporary. A bad exchange to trade what will last forever to gain what will only decay.
That’s what Elsa did in that movie clip – she reached out to take hold of wealth and fortune, but lost everything in the pursuit. A very poor bargain.
Jesus doesn’t want us to throw our lives away chasing after things that don’t last. Read Matthew 6:19. That’s what we learned last week. My stuff is not safe here!
Jesus goes on to say this in Matthew 6:20-21…
He tells us to store up treasures in heaven. They are safe there. This is not some kind of storehouse for brownie points in the sky, or a tally sheet for good works. Don’t misunderstand. Jesus isn’t saying at the end of life we cash in on all the good we’ve done, and God lets us into heaven. Salvation doesn’t work like that.
A treasure in heaven is something done on earth whose effects will last for eternity.
So Jesus wants His followers to say this…
Big Idea: I will invest in things that last forever.
Most of us like finding a good deal. A great bargain. We shop around until we find one. Whether it’s in shopping for clothing, real-estate, furniture, stocks or something on E-Bay – we get some sort of euphoric thrill out of paying less for something than it’s really worth.
ILLUS – I was recently shopping for a pair of shoes. Found 2 pairs that I really liked, but they were very different styles. Made my choice and went to the sales counter. Sales person said they had a sale, buy one pair, get the 2nd at half price. Plus, he said the pair I was purchasing came with a coupon that could be used with any other pair of shoes in the store. So with half off and using the coupon, the second pair of shoes came to exactly $5. What a bargain! It was a deal I couldn’t pass up. I went home with two pairs of shoes.
When Jesus contrasts treasures in heaven with those on earth, we see that heaven is the wisest place for treasures. Those things can never be affected by moth or rust, nor can they ever be stolen.
I. Jesus says, “STORE UP for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 6:20). But how?
How do we do this? Treasures on earth are tangible items with price tags. Treasures in heaven seem more obscure, intangible. How do we store them up?
The Bible tells us that treasures in heaven get stored up by investing in some of the greatest bargains you and I could ever find. We get so much more than our initial investment that it will be foolish to pass it by. During the next few moments I’d like to show you exactly what treasures in heaven are and how to obtain them.
And you might be surprised to find that they are only obtained at bargain prices…Here they are…
GREAT BARGAIN #1: I’ll lay down MYSELF to gain CHRIST
This is fundamental to understanding what it means to follow Jesus.
In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, – If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
A follower of Jesus must lay down his or her life on a daily basis.
Here is how I’ve been doing this lately:
In the morning, first thing, I go downstairs, and get on my knees. And I pray, “God, I begin this new day by laying down my life. Your will be done today, not mine. Your kingdom, not mine. I’m your servant, forever indebted to you because of Jesus. I lay myself down. Use me.”
This doesn’t take long – a few minutes – but it focuses the rest of my prayer time, and it sets a tone for the entire day. That beginning again – I will deny myself and take up my cross daily to follow Jesus.
In Romans 12:1, Paul says – Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
He’s urging us to lay down our lives. To give them up to gain something more.
Illus – It’s been amazing to me lately how this commitment to lay down my life daily has brought about change in my life. The things that would frustrate me aren’t so frustrating anymore. Areas of pride and selfishness in me seem to show up instead of being glossed over. In fact these are the things God has been dealing with in my life the most lately.