“Store Up Treasure in Heaven”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.19-24
Matthew 6. For our family devotions, my family and I are reading through Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, written in the 1600s. It is an allegory of the Christian life and is one of the most widely translated and best selling works in the history of the world. It is very instructive and every Christian should read it.
For those who have read it, my family and I have just finished the part where Faithful dies at Vanity Fair. And now Christian has gained a new companion, named Hopeful. And they meet with a man named Mr. By-ends. Mr. By-ends believes religion to be a way to get ahead in this world. Mr. By-ends wants to join Christian and Hopeful in their journey to the celestial city.
Mr. By-Ends is from the town of Fair-Speech and he has many wealthy friends that live there. He knows Lord turn-about, Lord Time-server, Lord Fair-speech (from whose ancestors the Town first took its name). Also there is Mr. Smooth-man, Mr. Facing-both-ways, Mr. Anything, and the pastor in that town is named Mr. Two-tongues. He speaks one thing to one and another to someone else. Mr. By-ends prefers the rich church culture and he is married to Lady Pretender’s daughter. He believes religion should be comfortable, pleasurable, entertaining, and popular.
Mr. By-Ends asks to join them, but Christian says, “You must also welcome religion in its rags as well as when it wears silver slippers, and accompany pilgrims bound in shackles as well as when they walk the streets and are applauded.”
Mr. By-Ends would not have thought to well of our passage properly applied.
Matthew 6:19–21 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Mr. By-Ends wanted his wealth and the praise of men, treasuring the things of this earth. His religion was simply something to get him ahead in this life. He was one who uses religion simply to store up treasures on earth.
That’s the same with the modern day-prosperity gospel, the most popular form of christian -religiosity that is being peddled today, with the likes of Oral Roberts, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagin, TBN and the Crouch family, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Paula White, Kenneth Copland … all of these are false teachers who want you to pursue storing up treasures for yourself on earth. “Give to get rich!” they say.
How many people have been duped into thinking that that is godly teaching? They’d have a date when they were converted, like you…they’d talk about Jesus like you, they’d rejoice in someone getting trusting Jesus, just like you. So would Mr. By-ends! Have we bought into lie of living for this life?
NEED: You need to recognize that you, without thinking about it, you listen to our culture. The world, in all its pomp, pleasure, and pride, is telling you that the good life, the enjoyable life is made up of possessions and pleasures. And you’ve constantly heard that deceitfully happy tune: on TV, the radio, instantly buy this … the internet and social media when people post stuff about their stuff… talking with others about their stuff… through that, you constantly here… “I need stuff.” And for many, that tune has lulled them to sleep, and little do they know but that the lethal injection chemicals are then injected, and now their spiritual life is dead.
TRANS: We need to take a fresh look at Jesus teaching on where to store up treasure: not on earth, but in heaven.
And we are going to look at how exactly to store up treasure in heaven. So you’ll want to make a few notes so that you can take something home with you from the message this morning.
Where to store up your treasure: Not on earth
ILL: When my wife and I were first married, I remember distinctly feeling the pressure to provide. I remember blowing leaves at the end of the driveway of the home in SC that we were staying at for free for taking care of the property.
Both of us going to grad school and working less than part time.
In those moments I realized something good: I needed to provide. In those moments as well, there was temptation: to live for the things of this world. Ever since, there’s been a battle: treasuring earthly things vs treasuring heavenly things.
This passage directly addresses this battle that I will constantly fight against until the day I die.
You need to realize with me that…If I treasure earthly things, my treasure will be trashed: eaten, destroyed, stolen.
Where is your treasure?
And so the big issue in the passage is this: where could we go today to find your treasures? Where could I go, where could you go and find what you truly treasure?
EXP: Look right at verse 19, you can see it there if you look at it… mark the word: treasure. You could note that word treasure in all three verses of our text: treasures on earth, treasures in heaven, and then v. 21, where your treasure is.
But the big question again is, where are your treasures?
v.19 … “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…where … moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.
v.20, But treasures in heaven, that’s a different story. That is where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break and or steal.
V.21, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The issue is “where” your treasure is.
So you can see that the question is, “Where is your treasure?”
If your treasure is on earth, your treasure will be trashed!
So where is your treasure? If you are asking the question to people in Jesus’ day, they would say clothing, food, and jewels or jewelry.
If your treasure is clothing, you need to know, the moth doesn’t have a taste only for cheap clothing or rags. We’ve all had experiences of opening our closet or drawer, only to discover holes in our favorite garments.
What about if your treasure is food? ILL: My family and I recently visited the Ukrainian historical village east of Edmonton. We were impressed with the hard work that it took for these people to settle the land. When the Ukrainians first settled, one man dressed in his late 19th century clothing said, “At this time, your riches were not found in how much money you had, but how much food you had.” That is totally foreign to us! But it’s a reality in Jesus’ day as well.
When Jesus talks about rust in verse 20, that word “rust” is literally the word “eating.” And so it likely refers to the destruction that a worm or insect causes when it eats your feed. Today, when worms or insects eat your garden produce, you don’t panic. But back in the first decade of last century in Alberta, if you were settling the land that and you did not have a fruitful garden your first year here, you would go hungry during the winter. And that was only 120 years ago.
And what about if your treasure are valuables like gems or jewelry? The thieves break in and steal it, especially in the first century. It wasn’t like they could call the 1st century Jerusalem police department.
Think of the tragedy of all of this! You didn’t just get that clothing from the store for a few measly bucks. You didn’t just buy that food from the grocery and have it go bad. You need this these things to survive! And think of the tragedy of getting robbed, in the first century! All of your possessions are on your property or in your house and none of them are in a bank. And the thieves come and take it all! And that was all your valuables! Your livestock, your jewelry, clothing. GONE!
Jesus can say to people in the first century, do not treasure that stuff! Don’t place great value on it!
You say, “Well, I don’t place that high of a value on food and clothing, check.” Fine, what about any jewellery, vehicles, equipment, or money?”
“Well, is it really wrong to save money?” No no, not at all. That’s not that point.
Jesus isn’t condemning saving money. In fact, Pro. 6 tells you to look to the ant, who gathers food and stores it away for the winter.
The issue is this: are those things your true treasures? Are things in this life your ambition? Have you set your confidence on the things of this world?
You say… “Well, is it wrong to be wealthy?” Of course not, Jesus and the disciples received financial support from wealthy people, Luke 8:3 says. Jesus isn’t condemning simply having wealth.
The point is: are you really treasuring that wealth and you’re not “rich toward God?”
Are you like the man in Jesus parable who, because he was so wealthy as a farmer, said, “I will tear down my barns and build larger ones and I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods that’ll last you for many years: relax, eat, drink, and celebrate!” “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
Or is that wealth simply an avenue to earn treasure in heaven? If your treasure is what you see, know this: your treasure will be trashed.
ILL: Your earthly riches are temporary and they, in themselves, will not matter for eternity! … It will not matter how successful you are in your business or your farm or your job…none of that will matter in the end, because you can’t take any of it with you. It’s only how you use those things for the glory of God that’ll matter in the end! Are you using your vehicles and equipment for God’s glory?
In Nov of 2008, if you were to take just $1000 over to Zimbabwe and exchange it into their currency, guess how many Zimbabwean dollars you’d have? $1000 equals $669 Trillion! In fact, you would have been issued a few $100 trillion bank notes.
So, you could take $1000 over there convert it, and ship it back to Canada and you’d have trillions of dollars, right? No, you wouldn’t be rich, because that money is worthless here. Canada doesn’t recognize the Zimbabwean dollar. In fact, nobody does. The Zimbabwean dollar has been totally abandoned. They use other currency today.
In Zimbabwe at that time, it seemed that that money was worth something. But when you try to travel with it, it doesn’t work well. Nobody accepts it anymore!
Could you imagine someone and they knew that the Zimbabwean dollar was going to be abandoned and yet they amassed that currency as much as they could? We’d consider them fools! If you try to exchange it for Canadian dollars today, you’d be too late!
That is the same with your treasures on earth. Your possessions seem like they are of value here, but if you treasure them and give them great value, you’ll find that for all eternity they have no worth. Like it would have been foolish to amass the Zimbabwean dollar and then try to exchange it for Canadian dollars when it was too late, you can’t take your riches to heaven and exchange them for heavenly riches. It’s too late! The exchange rate would be worthless. Naked I came from the womb, naked I’ll return to God: no clothing, no money, no worldly success will every matter! Only what I’ve done for Christ will last!
What are you really living for?
And so, look at the tragedy of following the prosperity of this world! The American dream and the Christians who buy into it! How many of us here today don’t care if our life really counts for eternity? You’re ok with a nice house, nice car, annual holidays to Timbuktu, grow old healthy…die easy without the flames of hell…if that’s you, you’ll be severely disappointed when you realize you’ve only been amassing the dollars of this world and it’s too late to do anything about it!
Do not value your earthly treasures! That’s the takeaway! Do not value your earthly treasures!
So, check yourself…If someone totals your vehicle, if your house burns down, or if while you’re at church today somebody robs your house of all of its valuables, or if the stock market or housing market crashed, how would you respond?
Would you say, “They took everything!” Or, “It’s all gone!”
Or will you respond as Job, a very wealthy man when he was robbed and bereaved of his children, “The LORD gave, the LORD has taken away, blessed by the name of the LORD.”
Where is your treasure? Is it on earth or in heaven?
TRANS: If we just walked out of here right now, we’d only know what not to do: Don’t place a high value on the things of this life. But you must know what to do to live a life worth living.
Where to store up your treasure: In heaven
If you store up treasures on earth, your treasures will be trashed. But if you store up treasures in heaven, you’ll be eternally rich.
If you follow Jesus’ direction in verse 20 and you store up for yourselves treasures in heaven …. That’ll last for eternity! Heaven is free from the corrupting influences of this world!
And if you do store up treasures in heaven, you’ll have an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom…
Somebody says, “Well, this sounds like I must earn my way into heaven.” No…, that’s not true at all. Receiving eternal life is a matter of truly coming to Jesus… Jesus Himself says in another place, “Whoever comes to me I will by no means throw them out.” Come to Him, “Repent” He says, trust in Him, deny yourself, follow Him…This is what is a saving response, good works don’t save.
If you have trusted Christ and He has saved you, what Jesus is talking about is if you want rewards in eternity, it will come from how you live your life.
And if you live your life in a way that Jesus says is storing up treasures in heaven, then you’ll be truly eternally successful.
Storing up eternal riches that will never go away! No thieves, no recessions, no accidents, nothing can take away from me what I store up in heaven.
Do all things for His glory, not yours. Hold loosely to the things of this world. Use your wealth for eternal purposes, like getting involved in discipleship in some way, either being discipled or discipling, and helping believers in need. Invest your time, energy, resources in people who are headed to heaven. Store up treasures in heaven!
TRANS: Now I can hear you say …. “How can I tell if I am doing this?” And there is an easy way to tell if you are storing up treasures in heaven or earth. Just take a look at your heart.
Your treasure reveals your heart (v.21)
Matthew 6:21 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Your heart, your ambition, your desire, your drive, your pursuits will be wherever your treasure is. If you store up treasure on earth and money is your treasure, and you were given $1 million, you would give great attention to that million dollars. You would have desires for that money, you have plans for it, all to satisfy your own selfish desires with it.
If heavenly treasures are your true treasures…treasures like…salvation, eternal life, power of the resurrection in your heart, justified, cleansed, redeemed, washed, adopted, reconciled to God, given peace, sanctification, regenerated, power of the resurrection of Jesus, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, fruit of the Spirit, redemption, forgiveness of sins, and inheritance to come, sitting with Jesus on his throne, fellowship with him every day, divine comforts beyond measure … if those things are what you treasure, you’ll give great attention to that, even if you were given a million dollars.
You have desires for those things, you have plans for what God’s doing in your life, all to satisfy and please Him.
If you were given a million dollars, you’d try to figure out how to use that million dollars for eternal profit.
“for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” You will follow after what you treasure. What a treasure, you follow.
ILL: Our 3 goats … We are hobby farming right now, and these creatures are good for milk and for sermon illustrations. When we bought our goats, there was a momma and two kids. We learned early on that if you want to move the kids, just move momma. Because those kids value their mama, they will follow after their mama. They thought about their mama, they get upset when she’s too far away, these kinds of things.
What you treasure, you’ll follow … in fact, you’re a human being, so what you treasure, you’ll make plans for, you’ll have ambitions for, you’ll get creative in how you can increase your bottom line, either for your own selfish desires or for eternity.
People can get really creative when it comes to increasing their bottom line. But what about Christians … are you a lazy eternal business owners who cares more about living comfortably in this life than the next?
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Matthew 6.19-24
Let me ask you some questions to help you reflect on whether you are living for this world or not…
1. When there is a conflict between what God wants you to do from His word and what you want to do, which one wins? …. I’m not talking about outright sin, but what you do with your time, energy, resources … What God wants you to do and what you want to do, who wins? … Now, are you already making excuses in your heart? “Yeah, but I just need a little me time, or I have debt, or how else will this get done, or… You know God wants you to do ______ from His word, but with your energy and time, resources, instead you choose to do ____________ that has something to do with your pleasure or bottom line.
2. What is occupying your thoughts during free moments? You have a free moment, do you go to the Lord and have your mind there, or are you thinking of your comforts down here?
3. What do you fear? What keeps you up at night or what do you worry about? That’ll reveal where your heart is and what you’re treasuring.
4. What do you not want to lose? If you lost ___________, it’ll be the end of you.
5. How do you measure other people? Their external beauty? Worldly success? Or whether they are lost or saved, godly or worldly? That’ll tell you what you value.
6. What do you work hard for? People work hard for their treasures. You work hard at work, which is great. But do you work hard at work for Jesus’ glory, attempting to see Him magnified, or do you work hard at work for the sake of working hard at work, to better your employer’s business?
How to store up treasure
Now, the key question this morning. How do we actually store up treasures in heaven? It is an abstract concept. It’s hard to put her finger on it. But let’s look at what Jesus has been saying in this chapter again.
Chapter 6:1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
There it is, reward with my Father who is in heaven. The hypocrites verse 2 who seek to be honored by people, have that. But if you serve the Lord in secret, not for the praise of men, verse 4 says then your Father will reward you.
Verse 6 you are to pray in secret to your Father and He will reward you.
It is the same with fasting, verse 18. When you fast, you do it in secret for your Father who is in heaven and He will reward you.
And now Jesus can say verse 19 don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth but treasures in heaven.
The treasures in heaven would include serving God for His glory. That’s how you get eternal reward. Don’t do religious duties for the sake of show, do them for the glory of your Father who has saved you.
In fact, prayerfully do all things for God’s glory, not yours. Make plans to serve Him in the little things and serve Him in the big things.
And then get creative on how you can serve Him and influence others to go on for Christ. Do you need discipled? Do you need to disciple others? What is your next step spiritually? Do you have a besetting sin? Fearful, anxious, angry…do you just admit defeat and not do anything or do you actively take steps you know you should in order to please the Lord?
So, storing up treasures in heaven is a matter of…
1. Serve the Lord for His glory, not the praise of men. Pray that!
2. Serve Him in the little things.
3. Get creative in serving Him better, like a business owner who’s trying to turn an earthly profit.
You might be a 10 mina Christian, a 5 mina Christian, or a 1 mina Christian, but if you use what He has given to you for His glory, He will reward you.
462 Be Thou My Vision