In Proverbs 30:8, a wise man wrote: “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:” Poverty will often present its own breed of temptations to a man, such as the temptation to steal in order to provide for his family. But wealth will also present temptations to a man. Many men feel secure in their wealth and fail to recognize their spiritual poverty Jesus spoke of in the beatitudes. These men fail to see their need for God.
In I Timothy 6:9-10, Paul warned Timothy of the dangers of riches:
Paul did not say, “They that are rich” but rather “they that will be rich.” Paul was writing about those who place their happiness in wealth, their material goods. Paul was writing about those who are eager in their pursuit of riches. Because of their determination to obtain riches, these people give in to Satan and the temptations Satan presents to them. Satan may tempt them to add to their gain through dishonest means. In addition, a man’s desire for riches often leaves him with no time for spiritual matters. In connection with the desire to be rich, Paul warned Timothy of the love of money. People may have money, and yet not love it; but if they love their money, their love will encourage them to do evil.
Jesus described the difficulty a rich man faces in entering heaven. Listen to the conversation between Jesus and the rich young ruler, recorded for us in Matthew 19:16-22:
This young man had much in common with literally thousands of people today. Because of his unwillingness to forsake his riches, he chose to forsake Christ instead. In reality friends, he chose to miss out on heaven.
In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus taught that those persons who are truly rich have treasures in heaven:
Let’s consider three points from our text. First, we are to lay up treasures in heaven. Why did Jesus teach we are to lay up treasures in heaven, rather than on earth? Jesus said moth and rust will destroy our earthly treasures. Friends, all of our material goods are perishable. They won’t last! Not only will moth and rust corrupt, but Jesus taught that when we lay up treasures on earth, thieves break through and steal.
Contrast our earthly treasures with those treasures we lay up in heaven. In heaven, neither moth nor rust will destroy. Our heavenly treasures are incorruptible. Consider Peter’s words, recorded in I Peter 1:3-4: “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. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”
Our heavenly treasures cannot be stolen! Heavenly treasures are safe from thieves. Peter wrote that our inheritance in heaven is reserved for us. The word used by Peter that is translated “reserved” means kept, guarded, or preserved.
Jesus taught where ought to lay up treasures in heaven because where a person’s treasure is, there will his heart be also. Our affections are to be set on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2).
How is it possible for a person to lay up treasures in heaven? A person can lay up treasures in heaven by becoming a child of God. Friends, it should be obvious that a person who is not a child of God has no hope of enjoying any earthly treasures in heaven. But a child of God is a joint heir with Christ. Consider the words of Romans 8:16-17: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and join theirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.”
A child of God is a recipient of all spiritual blessings. Consider the words of the apostle Paul, recorded n Ephesians 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”
We can be good stewards of our wealth when we follow Jesus’ instructions to his disciples: Listen to the words of Jesus, recorded in Luke 12:33-34: “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupt.”
The second point we want to consider from Matthew 6:19-24 is the light of the body. Consider verses 22 and 23:
Jesus is figuratively using the body to represent the soul whereas the eye represents the ambition, or desires, of the soul. In reference to the phrase, “If therefore thine eye be single,” Robertson’s Word Pictures makes the following observation: “If our eyes are healthy we see clearly and with a single focus (without a stigmatism).”
Vine’s Expository dictionary notes the following: “Single is used in a moral sense and refers to a singleness of purpose that keeps us from the snare of having a double treasure and consequently a divided heart.”
If reference to the phrase, “if thine eye be evil,” Robertson’s Word Pictures makes the following comment: “If the eyes are diseased (bad, evil), they may even be cross-eyed or cock-eyed. We see double and confuse our vision. We keep one eye on the hoarded treasures of earth and roll the other proudly up to heaven. Seeing double is double-mindedness.”
We can understand Jesus’ words to teach that we ought to remain focused on heaven as our goal. Too many people are going through life trying to keep one eye on heaven and one eye on the world.
The third point we want to consider form our text can be found in verse 24. We ought to love God as our master, But notice Jesus’ words: “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.”
Friends, just as a master demands total loyalty, God demands our total loyalty. All throughout the Bible, verse after verse, we learn that God expects our undivided allegiance.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
“For thou shalt worship no other gods: for the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God:” (Exodus 34:14).
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Consider the words of Matthew 22:33-37: “And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine. But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37).
In reference to loving God as our master, consider Jesus’ words in verse twenty-four, “Ye cannot serve god and mammon.” Mammon is a word that refers to riches or wealth. In our text, the word is personified as a reference to a false god.
Friends, don’t be mistaken, the man who covets wealth, whether it be money, material goods, or whatever it may be, has made money his god. A man who makes money his god cannot expect to have an eternal home with the Almighty God. Consider Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:5: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
Also notice Paul’s words in Colossians 3:5: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
The man who makes mammon his god is a man who lives a life that is in opposition to the Christian life. Notice I Corinthians 6:9-10: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornication, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
But friends, it is possible for a covetous person to put away his evil lifestyle. Notice Paul’s words as he writes further in verse eleven, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
How can a person gain control over the love of money? By laying up treasures in heaven. By keeping the light of his soul focused on heaven. By loving God as his master.