Matthew 6:25-34

Sermon on the Mount        Matthew 6:19-24
Prayer
Intro
What do you think about most of the time?  What is most important to you?  On what do you spend most of your money?  Who do you think about most of the time?  Who is most important to you?  On whom do you spend most of your money?  What or who, if lost or destroyed in some way, would lead you to feeling life is not worth living?

I believe this passage today is really not complicated to understand in theory.  But it is more difficult to understand how it works in every day life.  We may know the answer to all the questions I asked earlier.  The answer is Jesus and a personal relationship with God.  But how does this really work?  Lets try to answer this last question.

But before we get practical, lets make sure we understand the principles Jesus was teaching.  To do so we need to look deeper into a few words and ideas verse by verse.

19“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.
Jesus didn’t say we can’t collect or save money, or baseball cards, or clothes and shoes, or toys, cute little souvenirs, or even memories and experiences.  But all of these things are on earth.  These are truly the earthly thing Jesus is describing are not to be our treasures.  These are all items that moths and rust can destroy and thieves can steal.

Think for a few moments.  What are the things on earth that you collect or save?  These are things that are probably very important to you for one or many reasons.

Unless you collect or save bad things, Jesus is not saying any of these things are bad to collect or save.  If you collect “bad” pictures, stolen items, slaves, or weapons of mass destruction then you have a big problem and you are collecting truly evil things.  But if you collect figurines, stuffed animals, books, watches, old pictures, or even rocks and hello kitty items then you may not have a problem.

But Jesus taught that if these are your treasures, then you have a problem.  These treasures are not just things that make you happy, a hobby that brings you pleasure, or items that remind you of special places or experiences.  Treasures are those things that you depend on for your happiness, pleasure, or sense of value.
20But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.
Our treasures are only to be collected in heaven.  The idea of collected is literally the idea of getting as many of these treasures as possible and keeping them in a safe place.

Jesus taught that what we most rely upon or depend upon for our happiness, pleasure, or sense of value can only come from heaven.
21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Because what we treasure are those things and people that are most important to us.  Many things in our lives are important, but few things are truly in our hearts by Jesus definition.  To Jesus and the Jewish culture, the heart is not only what pumps our blood.  The heart represents our being, it defines what we can not live without, our identity, who we truly are.

What or who we most rely or depend upon is our treasure and our heart is connected to our treasure.

(An interesting fact, the word heart is used over 800 times in the whole Bible and yet not one time is it describing the organ that pumps our blood.  It is always used in the Bible to describe a spiritual principle.)
22“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.   23But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness  —  how deep is that darkness!
At first it is not easy to connect the earlier verses with these next two.  But there is a logical connection.  For now we are just trying to understand what Jesus is teaching and not yet how it works practically.

We don’t have time to explore all the details of these two verse, but here are a few.

Jesus already taught the disciples to remove their right eye if it is leading them to sin.  And Jesus will soon teach more about specks and eyes in chapter 7.

When we think of lamps we think of what shines out to spread light.  What Jesus seems to be teaching is how this is a two way principle.  An eye with a single clear focus receives the light and the body is filled.  This same kind of an eye also shines the light that is from within.

This seems to fit well with Jesus later teaches that “out of the heart the mouth speaks”  Matthew 15:18.  Our treasures indicate what is in our heart, our being.  Our heart is full of something as our being, our treasure.  So is our treasure light, or dark?

Jesus taught a totally new idea with these verses.  The eye or eyes are often talked about in the Bible, about 400 times, but not as Jesus is describing in these verses.

“If your eye is good, healthy, generous, single (KJV)”.  The word Jesus used to describe this kind of eye is based on the word meaning – being unfolded.  Theologians and translators believe this was how they described how something had a single focus or was clear.

So an eye that is good has one single clear focus.  Jesus may have had Proverbs 4:25 in mind when He taught this principle?  Proverbs 4 25Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead.

Bad eyes are based on the idea of “pain-ridden”.  Being “pain-ridden” in the Bible is nearly always related to bad or evil.  And bad and evil are characterized by darkness.  Proverbs 17 24Wisdom is the focus of the perceptive, but a fool’s eyes roam to the ends of the earth.

24“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.
Now what do slaves and masters have to do with eyes and treasures?  I am glad you asked.  But we don’t have time to answer all our questions so here are a few important details before we bring this all together and make it practical.

Jesus taught this is just how things work, how God made things.  “no one can be”, this is based on not having enough power or ability, it is the same word from which we get dynamite.

Love in this verse is God’s love, agape.  This is sacrificial love, the love that is given freely as God did to us through Salvation.  Hate is not necessarily what we commonly think.  Hate in the Bible is often a word based on comparing one thing or person to another also found in Luke 14:26,27.  Hate can mean that we love one thing less than another.

Lets try to act this out for a few minutes.

Last is this word money, you may have heard in the past this is the word mammon, and it is.  This word is nearly always translated as money as it should be.  But not all money is mammon because this word is based on the root word trust.  Literally our treasure is our mammon when it is things on this earth.  Money that we depend upon to make us happy, bring us pleasure, or define our identity will be our treasure, our mammon.  When our treasure is stolen or disappears our life collapses.

But when our treasure is in heaven, there is no possibility that our lives will collapse.  As a mater of fact, our lives will never end if our treasures are in heaven.

19“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness  —  how deep is that darkness!
24“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.
Application
Ok, lets put this together and make is practical.

What or who are your treasures?  I hope you have a pretty good idea what treasures are earthly treasures.  If you don’t then I strongly suggest you read Galatians 5:16-21 later today and call me or someone else who can help you this week.

The following are ways I believe we can collect treasures in heaven, lets call them Heavenly Life Disciplines.  There are many more, but here are some ideas.

Heavenly Life Disciplines
Salvation                Orienting the eye
It all starts with a personal relationship with God through Jesus.  If you have never repented of your sins and placed your faith in Jesus then you need to start here.  Please come and see me after the service or ask someone else you know who can lead you to follow Jesus.
Love God with everything
Prayer                Reorienting the eye constantly   (1 Thess. 5:17)
Personal Bible Study    Focusing the eye
Obeying God’s will        God’s slave
Love people by serving
Obeying God’s will        God’s slave

References: Matthew 22:36-40, Matthew 25:31-46.

I believe heavenly treasures are collected as we grow in our relationship with God and when we obey His will.  John 14:14  “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.
1 John 5: 1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah has been born of God,a and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him. 2This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. 3For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden, 4because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. 5And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

If we will focus our eyes on God through Jesus and serve people, we will be building treasures in heaven.  Serving people both in their physical and spiritual needs.  See James 2.

How this works in daily life.
Starting right        being filled, power source
Prayer and Bible study
Seeking God’s will at all times
People        putting others needs first     Philippians 2:4
Decisions        Yes and No
Representing the Kingdom of God well
This all come from our being.

Is there anything that is holding you back from serving God totally?  Are there treasures you have on earth that keep you from gathering treasures in heaven?

I have many things that I continue to try to give totally to God.  These are things in my life that are too much like treasures in my heart.  They are not necessarily bad things if I let God have control of them.

Starting Monday I tried to identify my treasures.  I found this wasn’t as easy an experience as I had expected.  It was difficult to not try to answer what I knew was supposed to be true.  It took prayer and honest searching to find the danger areas in my heart.

One is pride as the pastor of a successful new church.  This is partially true as I realize my worth as a missionary is too dependent on being successful in the eyes of the world.  I like too much to eat.  I also like to rest.  Ok, I like being a bit lazy.  I like not being busy all the time and like doing things I want to do and sometimes not what maters most.  I also want people think I am a great man and spiritual leader.  Back to another area of pride I guess.  I want people to think I can do nearly anything and everything well including that I am an insightful spiritual leader.

I did find two treasures I am proud of, but I realize I deserve no credit for either treasure.

The first is a treasure that I too often fail to value as God expects, is the gift of Denise.  She is truly a heavenly treasure that I both don’t deserve or treasure enough.

The second treasure is also a gift.  This gift was given to me by my Father.  It was a gift I did not deserve.  It is a gift that I can never give back, give away, or loose.  It is the gift of salvation because of my Father’s Grace.

Pray

Psalm 25 12Who is the man who fears the LORD?  He will show him the way he should choose.  13He will live a good life, and his descendants will inherit the land.  14The secret counsel of the LORD
is for those who fear Him, and He reveals His covenant to them.  15My eyes are always on the LORD, for He will pull my feet out of the net.
Psalm 123 1I lift my eyes to You, the One enthroned in heaven.  2Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand, like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand, so our eyes are on the LORD our God until He shows us favor.