Where does your treasure reside? – Sermon on the Mount – Part V

As the Sermon on the Mount begins to wind down in Matthew 6:19-34, the distinction between the world and the kingdom of God will continue to grow.  Matthew 6:19-21 makes a distinction between storing up treasures on Earth verses Heaven, in Matthew 6:22-23 a distinction is made between light and darkness through the lens of the eye, in Matthew 6:24 one will serve God or wealth, and in Matthew 6:25-34 we see how pagans worry about provision and Christians trust in God for provision.  Matthew 6:21 becomes the key verse in this section of the Sermon on the Mount saying, “for where your treasure is, there you heart will be also.”  This key verse is enhanced through a mild inclusio found in Matthew 6:33 where we are given the imperative to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  If the kingdom of God and His righteousness are the desire of our hearts we will most definitely have everything added to us; true treasure, a righteous master, truth, and true provision.

In Matthew 6:19-21 distinction is drawn between storing up treasure on Earth verses in Heaven.  The things of Earth are subject to the fall and deteriorate through rust, infestations, and theft, whereas the things of heaven are not subject to these degrading forces.  The obvious choice for us is to want to store up things that will last and Jesus is telling us these are found in the kingdom of God.  It is not natural for us to desire these seemingly intangible things of the kingdom of God, and going back to our over arching thesis (Matthew 5:20), we need Christ to do a work in us to see this truth.  We need surpassing righteousness to enter the kingdom of God and to desire its treasures.  Matthew 6:21 shows us where we stand with the Lord through our desires.  If we desire the things of the Earth, our heart is there and these desires will guide our life making the things of the kingdom of God a burden.  If we desire the things of the Lord our heart will be set on the kingdom of heaven, making His calling and commands a joy to follow.  We must decide if we want to pursue treasure on this Earth or in the kingdom of heaven.  Where do you store up treasure?

Matthew 6:22-23 draws a distinction between light and darkness through the lens of the eye.  If you perceive truth, having a clear eye, your whole body will be full of light engaging the truth that has been perceived in thought and deed.  In contrast if your eye is bad, perceiving falsehood, your body will also engage in the perceived falsehood.  Finally if the eye perceives falsehood as light, the darkness is overwhelmingly dark.  In this case the Pharisees may serve as a genuine example of those that thought they were perceiving light in rejecting Christ, yet had become ultimately deceived, living in utter darkness.  Once again surpassing righteousness is needed.  We need our eyes made clean so that we can perceive truth and be filled with the light and knowledge of the Gospel.  Have your eyes been made clean?

Matthew 6:24 is familiar verse, yet it contains a potent contrast between those that follow the world and those that follow God.  We must serve God or the world and this is made clear through the personification of money as a master as compared to God as a master. We will hate one and love the other, be devoted to one or despise the other.  Money is a rotten master compared to God, and the choice again seems clear.  The implied rhetorical question is, “What’s it going to be ? God or Money?”  The obvious choice again is God, but this is pitted against our worldly desire for the benefits of money we can see all around us.  We are reminded again that we have to decide between the two, no one can serve both.  Who do you serve?

Finally, in Matthew 6:25-34 we see how pagans worry about provision and conversely Christians are to trust in God for provision.  This is brought to light through the example of birds, lilies, and grass.  In Matthew 6:25 the worries of this life are contrasted against real life found in trusting the Lord with the rhetorical question, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”  We are not to worry about our life, what we will eat, or what we will wear.  God the Father feeds the birds without their own toil, and He values us much more.  In the same way Solomon in all his splendor never looked as good a flowering lily in a field, nor grass of the field which God provides for, even though both are temporary and pass away with the seasons.  If God provides for and clothes the foliage of the Earth He will do much more for us being more valuable than foliage to Him, yet our faith is small.  Matthew 6:32-33 brings this section of the Sermon on the Mount back around to Matthew 6:21.  Gentiles eagerly strive for all these aspects of provision (food, drink, clothing), but God knows exactly what we need.  God in 6:32 is personified as Father adding even more weight to His ability to provide.  We are to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and He will take care of us.  Do you see God as a Father ready to take care of your needs?

Matthew 6:34 becomes the natural outflow of a profound trust in the Lord for provision.  No worry.  We are not to worry about tomorrow because the Father will provide for us.  Each day has its own issues and the Father has promised to provide for us as each day has its needs.  There is no use in worrying about tomorrow.   

Where does your treasure reside?  Are you going to be a part of the World or the Kingdom of God, because you can’t do both. 
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