Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20120919.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part XI: Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Surpassing Righteousness
N. The Biblically Consistent Righteousness Of Christ's Subjects On Building Wealth
Lesson: We must not make earthly wealth our life's goal, for it can be destroyed by things on earth, it lures our heart away from God, it reflects the sin of greed and it directs us away from serving God.
- When Jesus said that one's righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees if he were to be a part of the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20), He had to clarify to His Hebrew listeners how that could be, for the Pharisees adhered to the principle of Halacha, "concern for every jot and tittle of performance" regarding the Mosaic Law, Zondervan Pictorial Ency. of the Bible, volume Four, p. 748.
- Matthew 5:21-7:6 provides many illustrations of Jesus' point, with Matthew 6:19-24 exampling how His kingdom righteousness on the subject of wealth far surpassed that of the Pharisees (as follows):
- The Biblically Consistent Righteousness Of Christ's Subjects On Building Wealth, Matthew 6:19-24.
- Jesus' Matthew 6:19-24 message on building wealth corrected the view of the Pharisees who "believed the Lord materially blessed all He loved" so that "(t)hey were intent on building great treasures on earth" toward affirming the idea that they were loved of God, Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 33.
- This view of the Pharisees is similar to the "wealth gospel" some evangelicals teach, the belief that true spirituality automatically produces great wealth, that poverty is a sign of spiritual weakness or sin.
- Contrary to this belief, Jesus explained that His kingdom subjects were not to "store up, gather, save" (thesaurizo, Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Eng. Lex. of the N. T., 1967, p. 362) for themselves "treasures" ( thesauros, the noun, Ibid.) upon the earth, Matthew 6:19a.
- He then gave several reasons for this admonition in Matthew 6:19b-24 (as follows):
- First, laying up treasures on the earth is risky, making it a foolish endeavor, for moths that destroy expensive clothing, rust that corrupts precious metals and thieves that can break into a storehouse and steal every kind of wealth can cause one's accumulated wealth to disappear, disappointing the one who worked hard to gather it, Matthew 6:19b. For this reason, one is better to treasure up wealth in heaven beyond the depressing destruction of such agents, Matthew 6:20.
- Second, the place where one stores his treasure is where his heart will also be, Matthew 6:21. God is in heaven, so laying up treasures on the earth leads to the shifting of one's heart away from submission to God in heaven to submission to treasures on earth, and that leads to errant living only for this life.
- Third, making the collection of material wealth one's goal in life indicates a lack of true righteousness, for it exposes the sin of greed countered in Exodus 20:17 of Scripture, Matthew 6:22-23:
- Jesus revealed that the things one desires with his eyes affects his entire person, the meaning of the eyes being the lamp of the whole body, Matthew 6:22a; Ibid., Bible Know. Com., N. T.
- If he then properly uses his eyes in not coveting something unrighteously, his whole person will be full of the light of God's righteousness, Matthew 6:22b.
- However, if what he desires with his eyes is evil in that he covets things for material gain, it leaves his entire person corrupted with the spiritual darkness of sin, Matthew 6:23.
- The Pharisees "were slaves to the master of greed" with their eyes, so "they were failing in their service to their true Master, God" in their whole persons, Ibid.
- Fourth, money is therefore a master that competes against God as one's master, so one can not store up wealth as his goal in life and still serve God in heaven as his Master, Matthew 6:24:
- Jesus said one can not serve two masters -- he can only hold to one and hate the other, Matt. 6:24a.
- Since wealth as a goal in life affects one's heart and devotion opposite the Father Who is in heaven, wealth and God are competing masters, that one can not serve "mammon" -- the Aramaic word used by Jesus for "wealth or property" (Ibid.) -- and God. The Pharisees had to repent of storing up wealth as an end in itself if they would please and serve God as their Master, Matthew 6:24b.
Application: May we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven versus laying up treasures on earth!