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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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The Sermon On The Mount

What Is Your Treasure?

Matthew 6.19-24

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[Throughout this study on the Sermon on the Mount our Lord Jesus Christ has challenged us to think about many of the core characteristics that mold who we are and what we do.  Our Lord has challenged us to consider who we are from the inside out.  He also challenged us to think about why we do the things that we do.  Ultimately our Lord is challenging us to be salt and light in our world.] 

[It seems as we have studied through these great lessons, taught by our Lord, that nothing in our lives is too sacred for our Lord to address.  Today is no different.  Our Lord now turns our attention to an issue of growing importance in our day.  Our text now brings us face to face with our treasure.] 

In our Text our lord is telling us to have, 

A.     A Rightly Discovered Passion in Life (vs 19-20) [- Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: - What is your life’s passion?  Your life’s passion is the thing in your life that you live for.  It is that thing that when everything else is gone that you continue to cling to.  This is the ultimate question of these two verses in our text.  Those things that you are passionate about are the treasures of your life.] 

[So, Just what are you laying up for yourself in this mortal life?  Notice the phrase “Lay [not] up for yourselves” in verses (19-20).] 

[Lay Not Up  - Μὴ θησαυρίζετε (Gk) - from thēsaurós (2344), treasure. To lay, store or treasure up goods for future use (Matt. 6:19, 20; Luke 12:21; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 12:14; Sept.: 2 Kgs. 20:17; Amos 3:10; Zech. 9:3). Metaphorically, to treasure up wrath or future punishment (Rom. 2:5; James 5:3 [cf.James 5:5]; Sept.: Prov. 1:18). By implication, to keep in store, reserve, in the pass. with a dat. noun (2 Pet. 3:7)[1] ] 

[This phrase comes from the word from which we get our English word Thesaurus, and it generally means a collection.  So our Lord is asking us to consider what we are collecting for ourselves.  There are essentially two collections to which our Lord draws our attention.  There is,] 

1.      Your Earthly Collection (vs 19; Psalm 62.10; Prov 23.5;Eccl 5.10-13; Col 3.2) [- Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: - Everyone has some kind of earthly collection or earthly treasure.  These are those things that you call your own.  You know what your earthly collection really is by how you react when somebody violates your collection.  These are those things that when someone takes them you say, “Hey, that’s mine, what are you doing?”  Even homeless people have their treasures,] 

[Illustration – Church Reaches Out To Homeless – I recall hearing a pastor speak about how their Church got a vision for the homeless in their area.  They felt compelled to go and reach out with the gospel to those who were rejected by everyone else.  They found where the homeless were sleeping in boxes and rough shelters under bridges and invited them to come to Church.  The homeless said, “You don’t really want us in your Church, and anyways if we go someone will steal all our stuff.”  The pastor said, “Jesus wants you to get saved and be in our Church, so we will bring someone down here to watch your stuff while you come to Church.”  Many came and got saved. The point is that everyone has some kind of earthly collection or treasure.] 

[God loves wealthy people too - Clearly, the wealthy and prosperous have their collection.  Some assume that the Lord Jesus Christ is opposed to the wealthy.  They think that to be a Christian one has to be poor.  God is not opposed to earthly stuff.  God points out many rich and godly people in the Bible.  Abraham was a very rich man (Gen 13.2) and Joseph of Arimathaea was rich also (Matt 27.57).  The point is that God is not oppose to wealth, and Jesus is not confronting wealth.  Jesus is confronting your attitude towards wealth or how you feel and think about your earthly treasure.] 

[Notice what Jesus says about earthly treasure.  Jesus said,] 

[(vs 19) . . . where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:] 

[Jesus reminds us that this earthly stuff is temporary and corruptible.  Your clothes will wear out, go out, and be eaten out.  Your clothes will not last forever.  Your car will wear out, break down, and rust out.  Your car will not last for ever.  Your treasures will be stolen, spent up, and taken away through taxes and by thieves.  Jesus is not telling us anything that we don’t already know. ]  

[What Jesus is really trying to say to us is if you don’t have the right attitude about this worlds stuff then you will find yourself in discouragement and despair at some point because this earthly collection will not last and can make your life a continual struggle.]   

[Jesus is saying, don’t base your reason for living on this worlds stuff.] 

ˇ        [Your Job should never be your reason for living.]

ˇ        [Your Bank Account should never be your reason for living.]

ˇ        [Your House or Car should never be your reason for living.]

ˇ        [Your Family should never be your reason for living.] 

[All of these things can and likely will bring despair into your life if they are your treasures or reasons for living.  All of these things are a part of your life and have varying levels of importance in your life, but they should not be your reason for living.  ] 

[Throughout the Bible God has warned,] 

[Psalms 62:10 10 . . .  if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. ]

[Proverbs 23:5 5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. ]

[Ecclesiastes 5:10-13 10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. 11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? 12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. 13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.]

[Colossians 3:2 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. ]

[Be careful my Christian friend, don’t let this world’s mortal stuff get a hold of your heart and life.  Do not lay up earthly treasures of yourselves.]

2.      Your Heavenly Collection (vs 20; 1 Pet 1.3-5) [–  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: - Did you know that you can save up an eternal collection for yourself while you are still living this mortal life here on earth? ]  

[Mortal Retirement - At some point in our lives we start thinking about saving for our retirement.  When we are younger, retirement seems a long way off and it is seldom thought about.  But a wise young adult will plan for their future retirement.  However, there inevitably comes a time when all of us begin to think about retirement and many of us think, “Boy, I wish I had thought about this retirement thing when I was younger.”  ] 

[Eternal Retirement - Well, Jesus is saying there is a retirement that you need to think about that is far more valuable than anything you will ever lay up for yourself in this mortal life.  If you are a born again Christian, then you have everlasting life, and one day soon you will live forever in the glorious city of God called New Jerusalem or Heaven.   A wise Christian will hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and will build His eternal retirement account in Heaven.  This is a collection that will never decay, never diminish or loose its value, and can never be stolen.]   

[Of Heaven’s glory and treasures Peter wrote,] 

[1 Peter 1:3-5 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ]

[I had someone say to me once, “Preacher, I don’t serve Jesus for eternal rewards, I just want to serve Him because I love Him and I want too.”  Certainly, we ought to serve our Lord because we love Him, but God tells us about the eternal rewards in heaven and Jesus tells us to lay them up because God wants us to have them and these eternal rewards give us direction and purpose in life.  God wants you to discover the eternal rewards He describes in Scripture and wants you to lay them up for yourself in heaven.] 

[Where Will I Find The Time?  I can almost hear someone thinking, “Wow, eternal rewards.  But how will I find the time?  It takes every minute I’ve got to just take care of my worldly concerns, how am I going to add eternal concerns into my day?”  The truth is that the eternal rewards are linked to your mortal concerns.  Getting focused upon your eternal rewards deals more with how you approach and live your life than anything else.  Eternal rewards are all about the why in our life.  Why you are doing what you are doing.] 

[So what are some of these eternal rewards?] 

[The crowns include,] 

ˇ        [The Incorruptible Crown won for mastering this Christian Life (1 Cor 9.25-27)]

ˇ        [The Crown of Life won for enduring persecution (Rev 2.10)]

ˇ        The Crown of Glory won for being an example for God’s people (1 Pet 5.2-4)

ˇ        [The Crown of Righteouness won for loving and longing for Christ’s appearing (2 Tim 4.8)]

ˇ        [The Crown of Rejoicing won for witnessing and win the lost to Christ (1 Thess 2.19-20)] 

[The privileges are awarded to the overcomers and include,] 

ˇ        [A privilege awarded for loving Christ’s appearing (Rev 2.7)]

ˇ        [A privilege awarded for maintaining a sound witness (Rev 2.11)]

ˇ        [A privilege awarded for maintaining your integrity (Rev 2.17)]

ˇ        [A privilege awarded for keeping yourself spiritually pure (Rev 2.26-29)]

ˇ        [A privilege awarded for being faithful (Rev 3.5)]

ˇ        [A privilege awarded for cleaving to God’s Word (Rev 3.12)]

ˇ        [A privilege awarded for holding a fervent and pure heart (Rev 3.21)] 

[There are many eternal rewards revealed in scripture.  How do you find them?  You search them out in your Bible and then as you live out your life you make these your goals in life.  You use this world’s mortal and corruptible treasures to help you set up your eternal rewards and treasures in Heaven.] 

[The Interesting Thing About Eternal Rewards – The interesting thing about eternal rewards is that there is no worldly treasure in the list.  There is no gold, silver, or jewels.  There is no house, car, or boat.  Nothing of worldly mortal material finds itself in the list.  Therefore, we must come to understand that this world’s material goods are of no eternal value at all.  Material goods are but tools designed to help us lay up our eternal treasures.]  

[Therefore we must learn to take what this world thinks are treasures and convert them into eternal treasures.  We do this by giving and sowing with this worlds material goods.  Worldly treasures are but tools used to secure eternal treasures.] 

[Illustrate - An old, rich man with a cranky, miserable attitude visited a rabbi. The rabbi was a simple man whose heart was right and who lived a simple life. They weren't together long before the rabbi got a wonderful idea on how to illustrate to the man what was wrong. He took him by the hand, led him to his window and said, "Now look out the window and tell me what you see." The man stood there and said, "Well I see some men and some women and I see a few children." The rabbi took him by the hand and led him across the room to a mirror and said, "Now look here and tell me what you see." The man frowned and said, "Well obviously I see myself..…Interesting," the rabbi replied. "In the window there is glass, in the mirror there is glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little bit of silver. And no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others, and only yourself." Maybe our troubles started when just a little bit of silver was added and we stopped looking through and started looking at.[2]] 

B.     A Rightly Directed Vision In Life (vs 21-23) [- For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 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! -  Your passion in life is extremely important for your life.  What you set as your purpose or reason for living will determine your vision in life or what you are looking for and toward for direction in your life.  In these verses our Lord reminds us that we can have,] 

1.      A Fulfilling Vision (vs 22; Prov 4.23; 3.5-7) [– The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. – Notice that Jesus says your eye is the light of the body.  What you are looking at or towards will become the direction of your life.  If you are looking at your earthly treasures, then you are looking for them to give you fulfillment in life.  You look at them because you expect them to fulfill the needs of your life.  You won’t have to look at this world’s stuff for very long to realize that those earthly treasures just won’t bring fulfillment into your life.] 

[So, our Lord says, be careful about where you are expecting to find purpose and fulfillment in your life.  “If your eye be single” means if your eye is on your Heavenly Father.  The Bible says,] 

[Proverbs 4:23 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. ]

[Proverbs 3:5-7 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.]

[Everyone is looking to someone or something to give them guidance, direction and purpose in life.  This is your vision.  Is your passion set on earthly things, then your vision will be directed toward worldly counsel.  Is your passion set on eternal things, then your vision will be directed toward God and godly counsel.] 

2.      A Faulty Vision (vs 23; Matt 15.14; Eph 4.17-20; 5.6-8) [- 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! – Set your passion on mortal, corruptible, earthly things and your vision will look toward worldly, lost, and corrupt people and counsel.  There is no sadder place to be than where these blind, lost people are.  The Bible says,] 

[Matthew 15:14 14 . . . they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. ]

[Ephesians 4:17-20 17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; ]

[Ephesians 5:6-8 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: ]

[My Christian friends, is your eye set on the light of the Lord Jesus Christ.  What is your Vision?  Your Vision is directed by your Passion, what is your Passion?  What is your treasure?  What is it that you think will satisfy and fulfill your life?] 

C.     A Rightly Determined Mission In Life (vs 24) [- 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 mammon. Your Passion in life will direct your Vision in life which is reflected in your Mission in life.  What is your Mission in life?  Your Mission in life is revealed by what you actually choose to do in your life.  You can say that all kinds of things are your mission in life, but your actions speak far louder than your words.  Jesus brings two things to our mind as we think about our Mission in life.  ] 

Jesus asks you to consider, 

1.      Your Service (Rom 6.16-18) [- No man can serve two masters:. . . – Your service or actions reveal who you really serve.  So how do you know who you are serving?  Paul wrote,] 

[Romans 6:16-18 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.]

[All you have to do to understand who your real master is, is look at your life.  If your life is permeated with sin and immorality then your master is sin.  You might say the devil is your master or your flesh is your master or in the context of our text darkness is your master.  These are all essentially the same things.]

[John wrote,]

[1 John 1:5-2:6 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.]

[Don’t try to say you love God and you are serving God if you are living in darkness and walking in sin.  If sin marks your life and desires then your treasures are not heavenly or eternal they are worldly and corruptible.  Your life declares that your mission in life is clearly not God’s mission for your life.]

[However, if your life is marked by righteousness, purity, and a desire to be holy like your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  If you find that you hate sin, although occasionally you fall to it, as all of us do from time to time.  Yet, you are sincerely striving to live a life that reflects our Lord Jesus Christ, then give God the praise and glory because your life reflects that you are the servant of the one true living God.  ] 

2.      Your Submission [- . . . 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 mammon. – Understand my dear friend if you love sin, then you cannot say you love the Lord Jesus Christ.  If you love the Lord Jesus Christ then you will hate sin.  These are both contrary one to the other.  Christ in you will compel you away from sin; sin in you will compel you away from Christ.  You must submit to your master, so to whom do you submit?] 

[If you find that you are submitting to sin in your life, then glory to God Jesus is your answer.  If you will choose Jesus.  If you will call out and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior then your master can and will be changed.  You need the Lord Jesus Christ as your master today.  There is no master like our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus is always good, merciful, faithful, and kind.  He will never let you down and He never makes a bad decision.  You need the Lord Jesus Christ in your life today.]  


[1]Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G2343). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[2] Sermons Illustrated (Holland, Ohio, #2810, 8/89.21).


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