Summary: A sermon from a series on the Sermon on the Mount, this message is a call to check one’s priorities, one’s level of commitment to the Lord.
What are Your Priorities?
Matt. 6:19-24, NIV
One Tin Soldier(Lambert-Potter)
“Listen children, to a story, that was written long ago. About a kingdom, on a mountain, and the valley folk below. On the mountain, was a treasure, buried deep beneath a stone and the valley people swore they’d have it for their very own. Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend, do it in the name of Heaven, you can justify it in the end. There wont be any trumpets blowing, come the judgement day. On the bloody morning after, One Tin Soldier rides away. So the people of the valley, sent a message up the hill, asking for the buried treasure, tons of gold for which they’d kill. Came an answer, from the kingdom, with our brothers, we will share, all the secrets, of our mountain, all the riches buried there. Now the valley, cried with anger, mount your horses, draw your swords, and they killed the, mountain people. So they won their just rewards. Now they stand, beside the treasure, on the mountain, dark and red. Turned the stone, and looked beneath it . . . "Peace on earth" was all it said. Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend, do it in the name of Heaven, you can justify it in the end. There wont be any trumpets blowing, come the judgement day. On the bloody morning after, One Tin Soldier rides away.”
I remember the first time I heard that song—it was the theme to the movie Billy Jack. The movie thrilled me because it was a challenge to authority, a cry for an end to violence, that saw violence as an act of last resort. The song itself seemed to cry out in the face of greedy corporate America, and seemed an indictment against a church that had grown rich in money, and poor in love.
Wow, that song stirred up strong emotions in my young heart. And now, I’m part of the generation in control. I am the establishment now. I hear our music played in the halls of hospitals. I’ve lived to see baby boomers occupying the oval office. We are in control. And is the world any better because we are? No, of course not. Why not? Because we’re still fighting for the treasure beneath the stone—we’re still struggling to be number one. Folks, we are a people whose priorities are shot to pieces, and we don’t even know it. As we continue our look at the Sermon on the Mount, we come to a very challenging passage for our times. In our text, Jesus told his disciples to focus their lives on the Kingdom of God. Friends, even as the church in our land, we’ve forgotten to stress what is truly important. I believe today that our text teaches us something very important—if we will listen. Our priorities in life reflect our walk with God. Now, what should our priorities look like? What is truly important in my walk with God? Consider the following truths.
I. Our Fortunes Should be Made with Heaven in mind.
A. Jesus gave a two-fold warning concerning the treasures of the heart.
1. Treasures on earth are perishable.
2. One shares the fate of that to which he gives his or her heart.
B. Understand that this teaching does not suggest material needs should be ignored.
C. But, we must never surrender to what has been called the “tyranny of things.” (Stagg, Broadman, Matt., 117)
D. Therefore, the chief treasure of our heart should be to serve the One who made us.
II. Our Hearts Should be Focused on Living for Christ.
A. Jesus used a parable about eyes to teach his followers the need of right priority.
1. To have a sound, or single, eye meant to have an eye that can bring things into sharp focus.
2. An unsound eye cannot focus on the sights around it.
3. So, the eye, as lamp of the body either gives the body light or leaves it in darkness.
B. Double-vision in life will distract you from the task of living the Christian life.
C. The meaning of this parable, I believe is found in the beatitude, “blessed are the pure in heart”—it speaks of having one over-arching goal in life.
D. For the child of God who is determined to grow in his or her walk with God, there is but one place to focus the eyes of our heart—on Jesus.
1. Everything else must become secondary.
2. He must be the one that commands our attention.
3. Keeping our eyes on the Lord is the only way we will stay afloat in this world. (Peter walking on water)
III. Our Loyalties Should be Sworn to the King of Glory.