Summary: Jesus teaches in Matthew 6:19-24 that my heart always goes where I put God's money.
Two weeks ago I began a series of messages that I am calling, “Lay Up Treasures in Heaven.”
In today’s lesson, I want to examine Matthew 6:19-24. Two weeks ago we examined verses 19-21. So, we won’t spend a lot of time on those verses, but will spend more time on verses 22-24.
Let’s read about treasures in heaven in Matthew 6:19-24:
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, 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. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:19-24)
Pastor Kent Hughes tells the following story:
Mrs. Bertha Adams was seventy-one years old when she died alone in West Palm Beach, Florida on Easter Sunday 1976. The coroner’s report read, “Cause of Death…malnutrition.” After wasting away to fifty pounds she could no longer stay alive. When the state authorities made their preliminary investigation of her home, they found a veritable “pigpen…the biggest mess you can imagine.” One seasoned inspector declared he had never seen a dwelling in greater disarray. Bertha had begged food at her neighbors’ doors and had gotten what clothes she had from the Salvation Army. From all appearances she was a penniless recluse—a pitiful and forgotten widow. But such was not the case! Amid the jumble of her filthy, disheveled belongings were found two keys to safe-deposit boxes at two different local banks. The discovery was unbelievable. The first box contained over 700 AT&T stock certificates, plus hundreds of other valuable notes, bonds, and solid financial securities, not to mention cash amounting to $200,000. The second box had no certificates, just cash—$600,000 to be exact. Bertha Adams was a millionaire and then some! Yet she died of starvation. Her case was even more tragic if she was destitute spiritually.
Her life is an extreme parable of the lethal dangers of materialism, which promises so much but cannot give us what we need most. Our consumer society is constantly telling us that life at its best consists of having more and more possessions and pleasures. As Christians, we know this is patently false. But the tug is so strong that many of us try a balancing act between what the Bible teaches and what the admen say, between the spiritual riches God offers us in Christ and worldly treasures that cannot feed our soul. Sadly, some of us lose our balance, and the results are devastating.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught his disciples a most important lesson about laying up treasures in heaven.
Jesus teaches in Matthew 6:19-24 that my heart always goes where I put God’s money.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. Two Treasures (6:19-20)
2. Two Visions (6:21-23)
3. Two Masters (6:24)
I. Two Treasures (6:19-20)
First, notice that there are two treasures.
A. Treasures on Earth (6:19)
First, there are treasures on earth.
Jesus gave a negative command in verse 19, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal….”
Jesus was teaching in a way that was easily understood by his hearers. Jesus was teaching that earthly treasures are easily lost in all kinds of ways. And that truth still holds for today.
Now, Jesus was not forbidding possessions in themselves. Nowhere in Scripture is there a prohibition against owning property. Nor was Jesus forbidding providing for the future. Saving for a rainy day is in fact encouraged in Scripture. And finally, Jesus was not forbidding the enjoyment of God’s good gifts. God richly provides us with everything to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17), so long as it is done for his glory.
John Stott summarizes the point of Jesus’ negative command. He states, “In a word to ‘lay up treasure on earth’ does not mean being provident (making sensible provision for the future) but being covetous (like misers who hoard and materialists who always want more).”
B. Treasures in Heaven (6:20)
And second, there are treasures in heaven.
Jesus gave a positive command in verse 20, “…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”