Sunday, October 29, 2006

Stewardship Sermon - October 29, 2006

Is Your Treasure Showing?
Matthew 6:19-21
1. Stewardship is a matter of the heart, an index of our desires, a test of our love to Christ.
2. We live in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, and so our faithful stewardship of the material resources that God has given us is a supreme measure of our discipleship.
3. The great English Baptist minister, C.H. Spurgeon, once said that there is no trial like prosperity. He was right.
4. Propserity tempts us (1) to focus on the gift and forget the Giver, (2) to base our security on the gift rather than the Giver; and worst of all, (3) to love the gift more than the Giver.
5. This is why Jesus stressed that we cannot love God and mammon (stuff, things, money, wealth).
6. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, throughout Matthew 6, Jesus is concerned about his diciples’ practice of true religion.
7. Throughout this passage (ch. 6), Jesus is particularly concerned that his disciples be on guard against religious self-deception.
8. Jesus teaches throughout this passage that religion that is real, faith that is real, is expressed in the life and actions of the believer, and that it involves right motives and aspirations.
9. Toward the end of this chapter Jesus indicates to his disciples that: what you desire and what you fear tell you much about your heart.

Read Matthew 6:19-21
Stewardship shows the heart. Stewardship is a test.

I want to consider (1) The two treasures, (2) temporary treasure, (3) true treasure and (4) the treasure test

I. There are two kinds of treasures: earthly and heavenly, those that last and those that don’t (19a,20a) [Two Treasures]
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;
[The importance of assessing what we really care about, love, treasure, worship in this life]
A. Treasures on earth: can be destroyed or stolen, don’t last and can be lost.
B. Treasures in heaven: cannot be destroyed or stolen, will last forever and never be lost.
C. All treasure is not equal. All that glitters is not gold. There is a way that leads to destruction.
Application: (Jesus is asking us to think about what our desires are set on - what do you really want?)

II. Don’t set your heart on things that are passing away (19) [Temporary Treasure]
19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
[The eternal danger of setting your heart on temporary blessings]
A. Every man has his treasure, that which he sets his heart upon, that which he delights in.
B. Christ is not saying that we ought to have no treasure. He is directing us to make a wise choice of what we treasure.
C. Christ here issues a warning against making the things that are seen, that are temporal our "first things"
1. We must not count temporal things as the best and most useful things in life.
2. We must not be absorbed in accumulating an abundance of these things (as if more could satisfy).
3. We must not place our security for the future in temporal things.
4. We must not find our contentment in temporal things.
D. Christ, in his kindness, offers rationale for obedience to this admonition:
1. The law of diminishing returns: the corruptibility of all temporal blessings.
2. The law of impermanence: sometimes we lose these blessings, sometimes they are taken.
E. NOTE: Christ is not:
[summary: "Laying up treasure" does not mean being provident, but being covetous.]
1. Saying that possessions are bad, and that Christians ought not to have them. Inordinate desire for possessions.
2. Saying that we ought not to save, invest, or buy insurance for the future. Putting our trust in these things.
3. Saying that we ought not to take pleasure or enjoyment in possessions. Finding our highest joy in them.
F. Nevertheless, our treatment of possessions can be a major stumbling block (rich or poor).
Illustrations: ** "It all goes back in the box" John Ortberg, [Monopoly with Grandmother]
** "There is a great deal of difference between the desires of heaven in a sanctified man and an unsanctified. The believer prizeth it above earth, and had rather be with God than here (though death that stands in the way, may possibly have harder thoughts from him). But to the ungodly, there is nothing seemeth more desirable than this world; and therefore he only chooseth heaven before hell, but not before earth; and therefore shall not have it upon such a choice." Richard Baxter
Application: Do we realize it all goes back in the box? Or do we have our treasure in the wrong place?

III. Set your heart on things that will last forever (20) [True Treasure]
20 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
[Place the highest value on eternal treasure]
A. Christ counsels us to make the joys and glories of the eternal world our "first things"
B. What are these "treasures in heaven"?
* (1) Christlike character, (2) growth in faith, hope and love, (3) growth in the knowledge of Christ, (4) the endeavor to bring others to Christ, (5) the use of money for Christian causes, (6) our standing freely justified before God, (7) answered prayer, (8) eternal security, (9) the Father’s love, (10) share in Christ’s peace and joy, (11) final victory. etc.
C. Christ teaches that these treasures are safe: they are not corruptible, nor are they ‘moveable.’
Application: Does a review of our use of earthly things reveal that we have our real treasure in heaven?
Psalm 27:4; 26:8;23:6; 84:4,10; Matt. 6:33
WSC - Benefits now, at death, in life to come
Illustrations: Oskar Schindler, CS Lewis, Jim Elliot

IV. Your treasure reveals your heart (21) [The Treasure Test - desires show what/who we worship]
21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
[What we treasure/desire shows us who our God is: what we value is the evidence of the heart]
"for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (21)
A. The temper of our minds and the tenor of our lives will follow our treasure. Earthly treasure is a test.
Illustration: Lou Giglio - "Worship is about saying, ‘This person, this thing, this experience (this whatever) is what matters most to me . . . it’s the thing of highest value in my life.’ That ‘thing’ might be a relationship. A dream. A position. Status. Something you own. A name. A job. Some kind of pleasure. Whatever name you put on it, this ‘thing’ is what you’ve concluded in your heart is worth most to you. And whatever is worth most to you is—you guessed it—what you worship. Worship, in essence, is declaring what we value most. As a result, worship fuels our actions, becoming the driving force of all we do. And we’re not just talking about the religious crowd. The Christian. The churchgoer among us. We’re talking about everybody on planet earth. A multitude of souls proclaiming with every breath what is worthy of their affection, their attention, their allegiance. Proclaiming with every step what it is they worship. Some of us attend the church on the corner, professing to worship the living God above all. Others, who rarely darken the church doors, would say worship isn’t a part of their lives because they aren’t ‘religious.’ But everybody has an altar. And every altar has a throne. So how do you know where and what you worship? It’s easy: You simply follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, and your allegiance. At the end of that trail you’ll find a throne, and whatever, or whoever, is on that throne is what’s of highest value to you. On that throne is what you worship. Sure, not too many of us walk around saying; ‘I worship my stuff. I worship my job. I worship this pleasure. I worship her. I worship my body. I worship me!’ But the trail never lies. We may say we value this thing or that thing more than any other, but the volume of our actions speaks louder than our words."
Application: Questions: where is your treasure? where is your spiritual vision focused? who is your master? Is your treasure showing?

No comments: