Faithlife Sermons

The Fight of Your Life

The Sermons of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:48
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Introduction

It was Zig Ziglar that said “Money is NOT the most important thing in life, but it is reasonably close to oxygen. When you need it. You really do need it.”
How many of you know what he’s talking about?
We often hear that “money can’t buy happiness.”
Ziglar goes on to say that “Money bought me a nice house, but it won’t buy me a home. Money will buy you a companion, but it won’t buy you a friend. Money will buy you a good time, but it won’t buy you peace of mind. Money will buy you a bed, but it won’t buy you a good night’s sleep.”
Ziglar was a motivational speaker on wealth and success. But he was also a Sunday School teacher at Prestonwood Baptist Church in the Dallas area. He certainly had a good understanding of our text today. What he’s saying here is that there are higher priorities than money in life.
We are continuing our lesson in the Sermon on the Mount as Jesus moves to teaching about money and warns against the troubles that money can bring in life.
Matthew 6:19–24 NASB95
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. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Let’s pray...
Father God,
We praise your holy name, most high in the heavens. You alone are worthy of all praise, God. We are blessed to call you Father.
I thank you Father for allowing us to come into your presence this morning, for allowing us to lift praises before you in voices united for you.
Father, I ask that you would unite us for your purpose. I ask that you would allow us to impact Los Fresnos with the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Father, I ask you to give me clarity of mind, precision of speech, and a heart for your people as I bring your message today. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

I. How Do We Use Money?

Money is NOT necessarily a bad thing! God made all things good (Gen 1:31). And God knows that we need things in life (Matt 6:32) and He has supplied us with the things that we need in life (1 Tim 6:17b). But 1 Tim 6:17a also tips us off to the fact that money can be a potential trap.
1 Timothy 6:17 NASB95
17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
How many of you know that money comes and money goes in this life? [How many of you have money going before it is coming? In other words, you run out of paycheck before payday! I know the feeling!]
Now let me just add this open disclosure before I go any further...
I am no expert on money! I have had my own battles with money throughout my life. But I’m not here to be an expert on wealth and success today. I’m here to bring you God’s word and specifically the words of Jesus Christ today.
You know many times as I study in preparation for these messages on Sunday morning, the Lord has to work in my heart and in my life so that I can bring His message before you with integrity and honesty. I have to humbly submit myself to God’s word daily so that I can fully understand His message and unpack it properly for you all, week after week.
And that’s not just a pastor thing, by the way. It’s a Christian thing. We should all be seeking to understand God’s messages for our daily lives.
This is what Paul meant when he wrote to the young pastor, Timothy...
2 Timothy 2:15 NASB95
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
Remember that Jesus is teaching his disciples about the regular, corrupt practices of the Pharisees. Luke 16 tells us that the Pharisees were lovers of money. But more specifically Jesus is guiding them to a better understanding about how to live their lives as Christians… living as images of Christ himself. And of course it means that this message still applies to us today.
Jesus taught a LOT about money...
Luke 12:15 NASB95
15 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
Why do you think Jesus was so concerned about money?
He taught on money almost as much as he talked about the Kingdom of God.
Jesus knows that money is important. As we say, “Money makes the world go around.” But then again, in Luke 12:15 Jesus tells us that we must be on guard against greed.
Economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, “What is not in doubt is that the pursuit of money, or any enduring association with it, is capable of inducing not alone bizarre but ripely perverse behavior.”
1 Timothy 6:10 NASB95
10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
This is one of the most misquoted and misunderstood verses by the world. It is often quoted as being “the love of money is the root of evil.” Even the economist that I just quoted said in his book, “That the love of money is the root of evil can, conceivably, be disputed...” Of course it can be disputed. Money is not the root of all evil. Money is A root of evil. So is sex. So is power and authority. So is fame and the adoration of man. But the actual text cannot be disputed...
“The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil...” What sorts of evil springs out of the love of money?
jealousy, greed, materialism
lies, falsehood
theft, misappropriation
murder, assault, war
…and many others, I’m certain.
And Paul goes further, saying “some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Did you know that the love of money could lure you away from faith?
Now, don’t get me wrong… Everybody that has money is NOT evil and faithless. I can name for you countless business men and women that have experienced success and have gained wealth without losing their faith in God. Many of them are solid supporters of the church and Christian ministries throughout the world today.
But I believe it to be true that most, if not all business people who have experienced success have also experienced some level of temptation by the possession of wealth. Some have learned how to withstand that temptation and will do the right thing in response. But for some the love of and pursuit of wealth will choose to do the wrong thing.
I can think of one Christian business man that I encountered who took money from investors for a building project and used the funds on a separate project. He was investigated by the FBI and eventually went to jail. He made this choice along with his business partner (another Christian business man) knowing that it was illegal, but felt it was the only way to get himself out of a difficult situation.
This man paid the price by spending 5 years in prison during the prime years of his sons growing up. He left his wife, who had not worked in years, penniless and jobless, and effectively a single mother while he served his time in a federal prison.
On a smaller scale, people are asked all the time to break the law or cut corners or do something that is considered unethical in order to save money or make money.

II. Battle of the Heart - Matthew 6:19-21

What we can see here in Jesus teaching is that we are in a battle. I call this the battle of our life, because we all have to handle and deal with money every single day.
Jesus first says that this is a battle for our heart...
There are two kinds of treasure outlined here...

A. Treasure on Earth - v19

Matthew 6:19 NASB95
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
Treasure on earth is our material wealth. It is houses, cars, property, trips and vacations. These are the things that we flaunt in front of others to show that we are wealthy and successful. These are also the things that we covet and desire and yearn for, so that we too can experience the happiness that these things are supposed to produce.

B. Treasure in Heaven - v20

Matthew 6:20 NASB95
20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
Jesus further tells us to store up our treasure in heaven. We are so accustomed to thinking of earthly treasure that we seldom consider treasure in heaven.

How do we store up treasures in heaven?

When we work for the kingdom of God, we earn rewards in Heaven. There are rewards and crowns that we receive for our work here on earth. First and foremost, Jesus Christ and our inheritance with him in Heaven is our greatest treasure.
Colossians 3:23–24 NASB95
23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
And not surprisingly we can see that rewards and crowns are connected to righteousness, which has been our theme throughout Jesus’ message. When we work for the kingdom of God, we are practicing our righteousness before God rather than man.
2 Timothy 4:8 NASB95
8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
The book of Hebrews says that God will not forget the work that we do for Him...
Hebrews 6:10 NASB95
10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
And finally, we can lose our reward by following false teachers...
2 John 8 NASB95
8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
That’s not saying that we will lose our salvation, but we can lose the fullness that God has granted us.

C. Put Your Treasure Where Your Heart Is - v 21

I recall a toothpaste commercial from my childhood that stated “Put your money where your mouth is...” Jesus says that “we put our treasure where our heart is.”
Matthew 6:21 NASB95
21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus is saying that we will always follow our heart, even if our heart is misplaced.
Jesus is saying that the heart of man is fickle.
I know this from experience… God can change where your heart is focused. He can move you from having an earthly focus to having a heavenly focus. He can move you from being money minded to spirit minded.
While we are promised that we can expect trouble and trials here on this earth, we can also expect that our heavenly reward is much greater than any earthly reward we could possibly experience. After a lifetime of placing our priorities where God wants them and practicing our righteousness before Him, the reward can be no small thing...
Romans 8:18 NASB95
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
In order to truly make this change, we can easily say Put Your Treasure Where Your Heart Is, but the truth of the matter is that the Heart is what has to change.
PRINCIPLE For your treasure to be placed properly, one must change the attitude of the heart and be heaven focused rather than earth bound.
This means that the battle must move from the heart into the active mind and yet further into the will that drives your daily decisions.

III. Battle of the Mind - Matthew 6:22-23

In addition to fighing a battle for our hearts, we are engaged in a battle for our mind...
Matthew 6:22–23 NASB95
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
What’s this about eyes and lamps?
Jesus jumps into this strange comment about our eyes. It is seemingly disconnected from our perspective, but it is not. We just have to understand how eyes and light and darkness connect to treasure.
Our eyes can often lead us astray from what we know to be true in life. This is especially true in regards to materialism. We see something we want and we will begin to move heaven and earth to get it. Jesus said “if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light” and on the other hand “if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”
Warren Wiersbe had this to say about the eye in this passage:
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Five: The King’s Principles: True Worship (Matthew 6)

God’s Word often uses the eye to represent the attitudes of the mind. If the eye is properly focused on the light, the body can function properly in its movements. But if the eye is out of focus and seeing double, it results in unsteady movements. It is most difficult to make progress while trying to look in two directions at the same time.

This is a reference to the double-minded man. If we take our eyes off of the reward of Christ and the work that God sets before us, then we can begin to seek a treasure that is not proper for us. When we become double-minded, we begin to blow whichever way the wind is blowing us. We lose our resolve to follow God and His ways.
This is a dangerous place to be. When we are full of darkness, we lack the heart, and mind, and will to follow Christ.

IV. Battle of the Will - Matthew 6:24

And finally Jesus speaks of this battle of the will...
Matthew 6:24 NASB95
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Our own will plays a part in this battle. We will do one thing or we will do another.
But Jesus lays down this life principle here...
PRINCIPLE You cannot serve God and wealth.
He did not say “you cannot have both God and wealth.” He said “you cannot serve both God and wealth.”
Exegetical Note
There is an interesting language twist here. Early in the passage, in verses 19 and 20, the text is written in Koine Greek, that is the common Greek language of the street.
Bible scholars pay attention to word play here because it points us to the root of Jesus message. In other words, when Jesus swaps out a word here, he likely has a good reason for the swap. And we want to pay close attention to that meaning.
Early on when Jesus talks about storing up treasure (θησαυρός), he is talking about accumulating wealth.
θησαυρός thēsauros - treasure (wealth) n. — (Greek) accumulated wealth in the form of money, jewels, or other valuables.
However in verse 24, Jesus is still speaking in Koine Greek, but he uses an Aramaic word for wealth or treasure in this verse.
You might ask why Jesus used an Aramaic word if he was speaking Greek. It was because Jesus lived in a very multilingual culture. He likely spoke three languages (Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic) fluently as they were common languages throughout the region. One commentator answered this question by saying “an educated member of Judean culture would speak Aramaic at home and in villages and Greek in the cities or when he wanted the message to be more widespread.” [https://www.quora.com/If-Jesus-spoke-Aramaic-why-is-the-New-Testament-in-Greek]
μαμωνᾶς mamōnas wealth (Mammon) n. — (Aramaic) an abundance of material possessions and resources.
This word is close to the Greek, but it carries a slightly different meaning. In fact, it is really talking about the hoarding of wealth. When one moves from acquiring nice things into pursuing wealth and gathering as much wealth as possible, then one has crossed the line into materialism.
An article posted earlier this year on CNBC.com revealed the results of a new study of millionaires and had this to report...
“The study also found that across all wealth levels, millionaires said that to be 100 percent happy they would need to grow their fortune by leaps and bounds — just a bit more wealth wouldn't be enough. Respondents most frequently said that they would need to increase their wealth by a whopping 1,000 percent, followed by 500 percent for total happiness.” [https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/03/harvard-study-how-much-money-millionaires-need-to-be-happy.html]

Conclusion

Bottom Line - Materialism is like enslavement.
1 Timothy 6:9 NASB95
9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
Riches can be a blessing, but they can also be a curse.
If God grants us riches, and we use them for His purposes and for His glory, then they can be a blessing. But for many riches can be a great burden that become their all-encompassing focus. Many a rich man has lost his family and friends in pursuit of his riches. But few are the men who have been blessed with riches that have not lost their soul in the process.
[piano]
Maybe you’re here today and this problem of materialism resonates with you. Maybe you’re aware that you constantly focus on money and the things it will buy. My prayer for you today would be that you give up those desires and hand them over to Jesus.
Maybe you have realized today that you don’t have a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. I’d invite you to come to Jesus today.
If you need to dedicate your life to Christ, I’ll invite you to the front shortly.
Some of you have attended this church for months or even years without joining us fully as members. I invite you to make that decision today to join us.
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