The Forbidden Treasure 1552
A. Every kingdom has a financial section. That’s where we are in the Sermon on the Mt.
B. We’re also in the “do not” section. v. 2—Do not sound a trumpet when you give alms. v. 5—Do not be like the hypocrites. v. 7—Do not pray like the Gentiles. v. 16—Do not fast like the hypocrites. v. 19—Do not store up treasures for yourself. —In each He says, “Do it this way…”
1. There’s a negative side of anything that is good.
2. Did you ever buy a battery with two positive poles? — it would have no spark, no power.
3. If we love cleanliness, we must hate dirt. ...God/sin.
1. I’ve been preaching for more than 2 years & I know how we like sermons on finances/giving… — we endure them.
a. They ought to be our favorite sermons… because God loves what kind of giver? — cheerful (2 Cor. 9:7, Greek ‘hilaron’, hilarious)
b. Don’t you enjoy being hilarious? ...being around people who like to give? ...like we do on birthdays & Christmas…?
2. This section tells me how to become like that.
I. Some Things Are Forbidden
...and some are not.
A. Everyone has a treasure. & that’s where the heart will be.
B. The forbidden treasure is inv. 19. The preferred treasure is in v. 20.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth & rust destroy, & where thieves break in & steal.
1. He is not teaching against savings accounts.
a. The economy of any nation is built on what its citizens save.
2. He is not teaching against storing up for the family…
a. Else He would violateI Tim. 5:8— “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
b. &2 Cor. 12:14 — “...children are not responsible to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.” c. & Mt. 6:34 — “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”
C. The prepositional phrase solves our dilemma —“for yourselves!”
1. Some must be stored or nations fall & families won’t be cared for.
2. In every way God tries to erase the “me”. Destroy selfishness. Do away with motives that advance self. This is one of them.
a. Thinking of others is the way of Jesus.
b. :., my motive for what I store up is for the benefit of God — & others.
3. “For yourselves” are the key words in God’s financial advice. There is no place for selfishness in the kingdom of God.
a. We are to store up treasures for ourselves — see it inv. 20.
b. Where are we NOT to store up treasures…? — on earth
D. The reason? They won’t last.
1. Thieves steal. Rust destroys. Moths eat.
2. Why do we find bars on windows? Thieves break in & steal.
3. Preacher in India rented a house from a Hindu. The Hindu put all his ‘gods’ in storage in the ‘god house’ in the back yard. When he came back to check on them, the white ants had eaten them all up.
4. If we store up treasures for ourselves on earth, white ants are going to feast. Inflation will kill it. Stock markets will crash. Invest- ments will go bad.
5. This doesn’t make treasures sinful — unless they’re for self on earth!
a. We’re to take care of family, children & others…j So, plan your retirement with God’s blessing.
k Prov. 6:6-8—“Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways & be wise,
7 Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, 8 Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest.”l God wants you to be industrious, but not selfish or greedy.
b.Rom. 13 says we’re to pay our taxes… so we need treasures for some things.
c. ...lay by in store for the church & benevolence, etc.I Cor. 16:1-2
6. But don’t store it up so you can check on it now & then to make sure the white ants haven’t eaten it. Or, be like Silas Marner who hid his gold under his floor & revealed it to run his fingers thru it. Or Scrooge McDuck with his room full of money to swim in.
a. If the reason is to have, then it is for self & on earth…
b. …& it takes the place of trust in God. It is an idol.
c. The proper use of treasures is to put it to use in good purposes
7. The grave robbers of ancient Egypt did more for the nation than all the Pharaoh’s did. The pharaohs buried their treasure with them. What a waste! Grave robbers found it & put it in circulation.
8. Oliver Cromwell, the first commoner to rule England, fought in the English Revolution in the 1600’s. His army was running out of cannon shells. He sent men into the churches to get gold, silver & other metals that had been formed into statues of the saints, etc.
He said, “We’ll make cannonballs of them and put the saints into circulation.”
9. A church of Christ near here has $250,000 dollars in the bank. Not being used. Men will answer to God for such profligacy.
10.Lk 16:10 — “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; & he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? ”
E.“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,” — What did they count as treasures in the 1st century? 3 things: grain, garments, & gold.
1. Remember the rich man in Lk.12? Stored up his grain & goods. & said to his soul: “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; & now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, & is not rich toward God.”
2. Garments — remember Achan inJoshua 7. Everything in Jericho was dedicated to God. But he took a Babylonian garment, some silver & gold for himself & hid it. & Israel was defeated at Ai.
3. InMt. 13 :44 — Man found treasure in a field. Spent all he had to buy the field. He buried it again. Worthless to the man who buried it. Be worthless again to the new owner who buries it.
4. Gold, grain, & garments come in many forms.
5. Question is: Are you rich toward God?
6. Any other treasure will be devoured by time.
F. Time is rust. & the word for “rust” here is always translated “decay”.
1. Means: “that which gnaws, eats, or corrodes”
2. If something wears out, that’s good. It was used. If it decays, that’s bad. It is a witness of your sin.
3.James 5:2-3 — “Your riches have rotted & your garments have become moth- eaten. 3 Your gold & your silver have rusted; & their rust will be a witness against you”
4. I’ve stood in temples that cost millions of dollars to build, & they stand decayed. Nobody’d give $10 for them.
5. Occasionally someone asks of a dead man, “What did he leave?” The answer is always the same, “All of it.”
a.I Tim. 6:7-8 — “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
b. We will leave everything that earth gives us.
c. But this is good news! Don’t despair!j He is helping me get my priorities straight. Earth’s treasures will perish. Death is inevitable. k Devotion to getting decays devotion to God. Treasures tend to become the master & not the servant.
d. But there is eternal security somewhere. & eternal treasures.
Now for the good part.
II. Some Treasures Are Blessings
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, & where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
A. Store a treasure that you can’t lose. Does God love us or what? He always wants the best for us.
1. I grew up poor. Once when dad bought a suit, I wondered why he spent so much for it. He bought the best. He said, “Only rich people can afford to buy things that constantly need to be replaced.”
a. He wore that suit for the rest of his life.
b. God wants the best for us. The best lasts.
c. God wants you to have what lasts forever.
2. He is telling us make our big investments in eternal things, things that will outlast the big bonfire at the end…
B. So, how do I do that? Only one way: give.
1. Give yourself to God.
2. Give yourself, your heart, your head, your goods, your gold, your time, your talents.
3. Use yourself up in the service of God & others.
“Others, Lord, yes, others — Let this my motto be.
Lord let me live for others — That I may live like Thee.”
C. You store up treasures in heaven by sending them on ahead.
1. Jesus tells me how in Luke 16. Rich man had a steward that stole.
2. Fired him but gave him time to give an accounting.
3. Steward went to his Master’s creditors:
a. one owed 100 measures of oil. He wrote 50.
b. ...100 measures of wheat — wrote 80
c. He did that, so that when he was thrown out, he would have somewhere to go.
D.16:8-9 — “And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. 9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.”
1. Not praising his dishonesty, but his wisdom in using the short amount of time he had to secure his future
2. & He makes a spiritual application. We should be that smart in regard to our eternal future.
a. Use this world’s goods for a heavenly purpose.
b. When I use the wealth God has given me to get the gospel to people in darkness… Those saved souls will welcome me into the eternal dwelling of heaven.
3. Which would you rather? Be praised for having a fortune when you die? Or be welcomed into heaven by thousands of people that your funds have helped get the gospel to?
4. Oh, I’ll put aside some for my family. & my nation. (But I will never use that as an excuse to not glorify God.)
a. But I will spend and be spent in the service of God & others.
b. Everything He gives me I will use as He intended.
E.Mt. 6:24—“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (mammon).”
1. Mammon is just all the other stuff. Not just money.
2. Choose this day whom you will serve.
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