money really?worship

Mastering Materialism

Matthew 6:19-34


money and stuff why?

Matthew 6:19-24 is the setting for these lessons: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The lamp of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be healthy, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and money.”

A. The Society of Things

The question that arises out of this text is very simple: Where is your heart? According to verse 21, your heart is wherever your treasure is. Now, when I say, “Where is your heart?” I am not talking about the heart’s physiological location; I am not talking about the person you are hopelessly in love with and have given your heart to; but I am talking in terms of the investment of your life, motives, attitudes, and thought patterns. Where is the concentration and the preoccupation of your life? What particular object do you spend most of your thinking, planning, and energy on? Chances are, you are like most people and spend your time thinking about some thing (e.g., a house, a car, a wardrobe, a bank account, a savings account, a bond, a stock, an investment, furniture, etc.). We are creatures committed to things — that is part of the curse on the society in which we live. Some societies are too poor to have things. But we are a society of things.

1. Consuming the Things

Listen to this analysis: “Mr. and Mrs. Thing are a very pleasant and successful couple. At least, that’s the verdict of most people who tend to measure success with a `thing-o-meter.’ And when the ‘thing-o-meter’ is put to work in the life of Mr. and Mrs. Thing, the result is startling.

“There he is, sitting down on a luxurious and very expensive thing, almost hidden by a large number of [other] things…. Things to sit on, things to sit at, things to cook on, things to eat from, all shining and new. Things, things, things.

“Things to clean with, things to wash with, things to clean and things to wash. Things to amuse, things to give pleasure, things to watch, and things to play. Things for the long, hot summers, things for the short, cold winters. Things for the big thing in which they live, things for the garden, things for the lounge, things for the kitchen, and things for the bedroom. Things on four wheels, things on two wheels, things to put on top of the four wheels, things to pull behind the four wheels, things to add to the interior of the the thing on four wheels.

“Things, things. things, and there in the middle are Mr. and Mrs. Thing, smiling, pleased with themselves, thinking of more things to add to their collection….Security in a castle of things!

“Well, Mr. Thing, I’ve some bad news for you. What’s that? You can’t hear me? The things are in the way?…But then, that’s the problem with things. Look at that thing standing outside your house. Whatever its value to the secondhand thing dealer, it means a lot to you. But then, an error in judgment, a temporary loss of concentration, and that thing can be a mass of mangled metal being towed off to the junkyard.

“And what about all those things in your house? Are they any more secure? Yes, time for bed. Put out the cat, but also make sure you lock the door, and don’t forget the windows. Watch out! There’s a thief about….”

That’s the way life goes. Someday, when you die, they only put one thing in the box — you. As someone said, ” There are no pockets in shrouds.” In spite of how stupid it sounds, we are basically committed to acquiring things.

2. Corrupting the Things

Sadly, the leading religionists of Jesus’ day had the same problem. They were totally consumed with things. This must also be included among all of the other problems of the Pharisees: they were thing-oriented, greedy, avaricious, covetous, manipulative, and they moved toward grasping more things. As we approach this element of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus directs some statements to the Pharisees who were abusing this whole matter of possessions.

B. The Summary of the Sermon

The thrust of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) is to sweep aside the low, inadequate, insufficient standard of the Pharisees and reaffirm God’s divine standard for life in His kingdom. They had invented a system of religion that was substandard, man-made, inadequate, inefficient, and ineffective. The key to the sermon is in Matthew 5:20b where the Lord says, “…except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” In other words, “To be in My kingdom you must live up to this standard.” So, He affirms the standard in contrast to the Pharisees.

1. The Right View of Themselves

For example, in Matthew 5:1-12 He said, “To be in My kingdom you must have the right view of yourself.” The Pharisees were proud, egocentric, and self-sufficient. But you need to be broken in spirit, mourning over sin, meek, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

2. The Right View of the World

You must also have the right relationship to the world (Mt. 5:13-16). The Pharisees were part of the corruption and the darkness, but you must be salt to retard the corruption, and light to dispel the darkness.

3. The Right View of the Word of God

You must not only have the right view of yourself and the right view of the world, but you must have the right view of the Word of God (Mt. 5:17-20). The Pharisees had developed their own system, but you must be committed to the Word of God and not one jot or tittle shall pass from that law until it is all fulfilled.

4. The Right View of Moral Issues

You must have the right view of moral issues (Mt. 5:2l-48). The Pharisees were only concerned with the externals: don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, and so on. Moral issues are not just what you do or don’t do, they are what you think or don’t think.

5. The Right View of Religious Issues

Then in Matthew 6:1-18 He says, “You must have the right view of religious issues.” The Pharisees were fasting, praying, and giving, but it was all hypocritical. You must fast, give, and pray, but with a right motive. In other words, the sermon is set in contrast to the system of religion of the day dominated by the thinking of the Pharisees and the scribes. Jesus is saying that God’s standard exceeds their standard and it is His standard that is required for being in His kingdom.

6. The Right View of Wealth and Necessities

Now, in Matthew 6:19-34 He says, “You must also have the right view of wealth and luxury (vv. 19-24), then you must have the right view of necessities” (vv. 25-34). First, He deals with the wealth that we have, and then with our necessity to eat, sleep, have a place to stay, and have some clothing to wear. In both cases the Pharisees had the wrong perspective. So, in every element of Christ’s message, He sets Himself and His Word in contrast to the Pharisees: “Your view of wealth and luxury must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees if you want to be a part of My kingdom. They have the wrong perspective. They are laying up for themselves treasures on earth — consumed with greed and coveteousness. That is not the standard.”

So, our text in verses 19-24 deals with how we view our luxuries and our wealth. We live in a society where all of us need to learn to deal with this because all of us are wealthy in comparison to the rest of the world. Our text shows us how to handle those luxuries and possessions of ours that are beyond the simple necessities of eating, drinking, sleeping, and clothing. If we are in His kingdom we must face what He says.

C. The System of Greed

1. The False Religion

Since Matthew 6:1-18 showed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees’ religion, it follows that wherever you have hypocritical religion you will have greed. So, our Lord deals with their view of wealth and money. Wherever you find a false teacher, invariably you will find that he is in it for the money. That is why the Bible says that we are not to discharge our ministry for the sake of filthy lucre (I Pet. 5:2). The Bible characterizes hypocritical religion in two ways: it is greedy of money, and it is immoral in its lusts. Those two things follow in the course of false religions and false religious leaders.

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