Storing Up Treasure in Heaven

Jan 14

Storing Up Treasure in Heaven:

3 Ways Following Jesus Changes Our Approach to Money

Matthew 6:19-24

Our Problem: We try to store up treasure (that won’t last) on earth

Propsition: Since Jesus is our ultimate reward, we must store up treasure in heaven, rather than on earth

  1. When we start following Jesus our priority changes
  2. When we start following Jesus our perspective changes
  3. When we start following Jesus our practice changes
  1. Our Priority changes (v. 19-21)
  • When you start following Jesus, your priorities regarding ‘money’ change.
    • We stop prioritizing treasure on earth
    • We start prioritizing treasure in heaven
  • Read Text: Matthew 6:19-21
    • We stop prioritizing treasure on earth
    • We start prioritizing treasure in heaven

ExplanationPriority

  • V. 19 – two problems with treasure on earth
    • Treasures that fade away (moth and rust destroy)
    • Treasures that can be taken away (where thieves break in and steal) (wall diggers)
      • Stop prioritizing these kinds of treasure!
  • V. 20 – treasure in heaven does not fade and cannot be taken away
    • What is treasure in heaven? (i.e. eternal blessings, heavenly rewards, etc.) If I am in heaven, why would I care about having treasure? (Will I need money in heaven?
  • We need to understand what Jesus means about ‘storing up treasure.’
    • Why do people store up treasure on earth?  (What difference is $1 vs. $1mil?)
      • Because they want security, comfort, and joy
      • Jesus is saying no treasure on earth can actually give you those things
    • We need to change our priorities, and start storing up treasure in heaven
      • That means finding our security, comfort, and joy not in how many dollars we have, but in how awesome a Savior we have
  • V. 21 Then Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  This is incredibly important because God is in heaven. So when Jesus says this, what he is saying is that if you find your security, comfort, and joy in all your stuff then your heart is not in heaven, which means your heart is not with God. 
  • 1 Timothy 6:9-10 “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
  • 1 Timothy 6:17 “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches,( The way Eugene Peterson says this is:  (“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow.”))  but (set your hope) on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
  • When we follow Jesus we stop storing up treasure on earth, and we start storing up treasure in heaven because Jesus changes our priorities

Illustration – Priority

  • The rich young man – Matthew 19:16-22
    • “What must I do to inherit eternal life” i.e., what must I do to go to heaven?
    • Jesus said, “Keep the commandments.” He said, “Which ones?”
    • Jesus then picked a few of the ten commandments and summarized them saying love your neighbor as yourself.
    • The young man said, “I have kept all those, what do I still lack?”
  • Matthew 19:21 “Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’”
    • Jesus didn’t tell everyone that they needed to go and sell all their possessions, why this man?  This man needed his priorities to change
    • What Jesus identified in this rich man is even though he had worked hard to live a morally upright life and keep God’s commandments, he found his security, comfort, and joy in all of his stuff. 
      • If your heart is with your earthly treasure, then your heart is not with God
    • V. 22 “When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” 
      • The truth is this rich man didn’t have his possessions, his possessions had him
      • Until we change our priorities to stop storing up treasure on earth, and start storing up treasure in heaven, we will be just like him
  • When we follow Jesus we stop storing up treasure on earth, and we start storing up treasure in heaven because Jesus changes our priorities

Application

  • What we need to learn from this is HOW to store up treasure in heaven, and how to NOT store up treasure on earth
    • The first, and most fundamental step that you can take is to prioritize giving to your local church
      • When I say prioritize, I mean ‘put it first’
      • Submitting to Jesus as the Lord of our stuff means he comes first
      • Let me tell you what that looks like for me and Brittany:
        • The first line item on our budget is our giving to our church
        • Mortgage, groceries, insurance, savings, retirement, all that takes a back seat to the priority of giving to our church.  Why?
          • Because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, and friend this fickle heart of mine wants to find security and comfort and joy in all the treasures earth has to offer, so unless I prioritize storing up treasure in heaven by giving it away FIRST, I am in danger of having my heart be with my stuff instead of with God.
      • The natural follow-up question is ‘how much?’ How much should you give?
        • Throughout church history, and even back into the OT, the principle for giving to the church that people have followed is called the tithe. 
          • The word ‘tithe’ literally means ‘tenth’
          • My parents taught me to give ten percent of whatever I earned back to God, who had given me all of it
        • If you don’t know how much to give, my pastoral recommendation to you, as a starting place, is to give ten percent of what you earn back to God.
        • As we’ve seen from the rich ruler, the less you want to give your stuff away, probably the more you should
          • Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money,”
    • Show me someone’s bank statement and I’ll show you what they prioritize
      • Following Jesus changes our priorities when it comes to money
    • The point of this all, is so that you might find your security, comfort, and joy in heaven that will never fade away, and can never be taken away. 
      • When we follow Jesus our priorities change
  • When we follow Jesus we stop storing up treasure on earth, and we start storing up treasure in heaven because Jesus changes our priorities
  1. Our Perspective changes (v. 22-23)
  • When you start following Jesus, your perspective of ‘money’ changes.
    • We stop seeing through the eyes of greed
    • We start seeing through the eyes of generosity
  • Read Matthew 6:22-23
    • We stop seeing through the eyes of greed
    • We start seeing through the eyes of generosity

Explanation

  • V. 22 – These two verses seems confusing to us because they are using an ancient expression about the eyes that don’t make sense to us.  But during those times, the way you looked at someone or something represented not only how you felt about that person, but your internal disposition in general
    • “The eye is the lamp of the body,” Jesus is referencing the ancient expression, like we say “the eye is the window to the soul,” He’s not making a scientific statement, it’s just an expression
    • “So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” That word for ‘healthy’ comes from the word ‘generous.’  So ‘If your eye is generous, your whol body will be full of light.’
      • In other words, if you see things through the eyes of generosity, the rest of God’s truth will permeate your soul.  Your whole body will be full of light.
      • Jesus is saying that a generous perspective is a key to grasping truth
  • V. 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.” 
    • Jesus uses another ancient expression, and we have a similar one. He says “if your eye is bad,” another way to say it is, “If you look at others with an evil eye,”  You know the evil eye? 
    • Deuteronomy 15:9 “Take care lest there be an unworthy though in your heart…and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother,”
    • Proverbs 23:6 “Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy (has an evil eye)”
    • Proverbs 28:22 “A stingy (evil eye) man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.”
  • So Jesus is saying if we see through the eyes of greed, then we are filled with darkness.  We don’t possess spiritual understanding, we haven’t grasped how God is, we lack enlightenment as to God’s values if we see through the eyes of greed.
  • When we follow Jesus, our perspective of money should change
    • We can either see money through a perspective of generosity
    • Or we can see money through a perspective of greed
  • When we follow Jesus we stop seeing through the eyes of greed, and we start seeing through the eyes of generosity because Jesus changes our perspective

Illustration

  • Imagine if we turned all the lights off in this room so it was pitch black, rearranged all the furniture, and then told you to get out of the building as fast as you could. 
    • Everyone would be bumping into each other, tripping over chairs, and getting trampled
    • A perspective of greed is a perspective of darkness, and people get trampled in the darkness. 
    • But when there is light we can see clearly, we can move safely, and we can help each other
    • When we follow Jesus we have a new perspective of money, no longer scrambling around in the darkness, but we see clearly, and have a perspective of generosity
  • When we follow Jesus we stop seeing through the eyes of greed, and we start seeing through the eyes of generosity because Jesus changes our perspective

Application

  • A perspective of generosity sees money as a tool to care, not as a treasure to keep
  • Seeing with generous eyes means seeing the needs of others as opportunities to give, rather than as obstacles to be avoided.   
    • The ministry that we are partnering with in India is a perfect example
    • We see the needs in India not as obstacles to our financial independence, but as opportunities to show the love of Jesus. 
      • Seeing with generous eyes extends the reach of our love
      • I might not be able to actually educate children in India, or rescue women from cult prostitution, but I can give my money to enable others to do those things.  What an amazing opportunity!
  • As a church our perspective of money should be that money is a tool to be used in caring for others, not a treasure to be kept for ourselves. 
  • When we follow Jesus we stop seeing through the eyes of greed, and we start seeing through the eyes of generosity because Jesus changes our perspective
  1. Our Practice changes (v. 24)
  • When you start following Jesus, your practice with ‘money’ changes.
    • We stop serving money as our God
    • We start serving God with our money
  • Read Matthew 6:24
    • We stop serving money as our God
    • We start serving God with our money

Explanation

  • V. 24 – Jesus uses another ancient expression here that “No one can serve two masters.” 
    • He is not saying that you can’t work two jobs or have two employers, the point he is making is that if someone is truly your master, then you can only be devoted to them.  Otherwise, they’re not really your master.
  • What Jesus is saying is that if you are truly following Jesus, not only does he change your priorities and perspective regarding money, but your practice will change as well. 
    • If you are a follower of Jesus, what you do with your money will be different than what others do with their money. 
    • If your practice of spending and investments look exactly like the practice of people who don’t follow Jesus, then you are serving the wrong master.  You can’t serve both God and money. 
    • Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
      • Following Jesus should radically change our practices of spending and investing
      • When we follow Jesus, we stop serving money as our God, and we start serving God with our money because Jesus changes our practice

Illustration

  • Zacchaeus – Chief tax collector
  • Luke 19:8-9 “And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor.  And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house,’”
    • When we follow Jesus, we stop serving money as our God, and we start serving God with our money because Jesus changes our practice

Application

  • We can’t just say that we follow Jesus, and it not affect what we do with our money, Jesus is either Lord of all, or he is not Lord at all
  • So how should your practice of spending and investing money look different?
    • First of all, you should use your money to advance the kingdom of God
      • That means you should use your money, to the best of your ability, to accomplish God’s will on earth as it is heaven.
        • That means use your money to support the work of missionaries
        • Put your money towards agencies that sponsor children and families in impoverished countries
        • Use your money to support widows and orphans
        • Use your money to richly bless others as God has richly blessed you
      • Your money is a tool to care for others, not a treasure to keep for yourself
  • When we follow Jesus, we stop serving money as our God, and we start serving God with our money, because Jesus changes our practice

Conclusion

  • Jesus’s encounter with the rich young man in Matthew 19 ended with the young man going away sorrowful because he had great possessions.
  • In verse 23 Jesus says, “‘Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.’”
    • By most world standards we are rich.  Which should cause us to ask the very same question that Jesus’s disciples asked him, “Lord, who then can be saved?”
    • Verse 26 says, “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
      • Many of us read this sobering story with sorrow and regret in our hearts as we see a man so possessed by his goods that he refused to give them up
      • Here was a man enslaved by his financial freedom.
      • Here was a man who was seemingly impossible to save
      • But Jesus says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
      • And there is only one thing that can ever give any of us freedom from our enslavement to money.  For us to be free, an even bigger debt need to be paid, a debt that could only be paid by the blood of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
    • Because you see, 8 chapters after Jesus encounter with this rich man, he would die a death on a cross that we deserve, to give a life to us that only he deserves.
    • And it was by the death of Jesus that God would transform sinners enslaved to their money, to saints who give generously. 
    • And after his death on the cross Matthew 27 records that a rich man came to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus.
      • And it says that the rich man took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which had had cut in the rock.
      • And according to church tradition this rich man, known as Joseph of Arimathea, was the very same rich man who had asked Jesus, ‘what must I do to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ 
      • And he who had once refused to give up any of his possessions to the poor, now gave his own burial place to a man crucified on a cross.
    • Because you see, it took the death of Jesus on the cross for the rich man to be transformed, so that his relationship with Jesus outweighed his relationship with his stuff, and his possessions, and his money. 
    • And Jesus died on the cross, not for you and I to accumulate treasures here on earth that can fade away and be taken away, but so that our hearts might be with God in heaven.
  • Perhaps you came into church today as the rich young ruler.  My prayer and my hope is that you do not leave sorrowful because you have great possessions, but that you leave as Joseph of Arimathea, who was remembered not for his great possessions, but for his great generosity that he used for the kingdom of God.