HOPE CHAPEL - Sunday, June 5, 2022
Youtube link... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWWMa99nQkw
Teaching Series - “Doing Life with Jesus"
Weekly Topic - “What Masters You?”
Texts – Matthew 6:19-34
Let’s dive right in and read the portion of Jesus’ teaching we are going to use to examine ourselves against, today. Are we doing life with Jesus…or will we find many of our efforts misplaced?
Matthew 6:19-34, NLT
“19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
22 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
TEMPORAL VS. ETERNAL
As Jesus looked out on the crowd that day on the mountainside, I have no doubt that he recognized people from all walks of life…rich, poor and everything in between, law abiding and criminals, pagans and those who believed in God, believers and cynics…but he also recognized that almost everyone in the crowd shared something in common. All were attempting to make the most of their earthly lives…and for the vast majority that would have meant accumulating treasure…money and everything that it can buy. Not so different from today. The world counsels us to save for the ‘here and now,’ but Jesus tells us this perspective is short sighted.
Jesus goes on to explain the futility of this earth-bound pursuit. No matter how much you collect and try to preserve it, earthly treasure is liable to be destroyed, whether quickly by moths or over time by rust, and/or stolen by thieves. It can never be fully safeguarded…not to mention the fact that once you die it is left behind for others to do with as they please. These days Jesus might use the examples of unexpected wars, changes in climate, litigation and stock market crashes as hazards to retaining earthly treasure.
But then Jesus quickly pivots and points out what we should be collecting…treasure in heaven. But what is treasure in heaven? How have you heard it explained? Have you ever heard what heavenly treasure is? We’ll revisit this question a little later on…
INDIVIDUAL VS. CORPORATE
What is the purpose of storing up treasure in heaven?
Earthly treasure like money and possessions or education, careers and reputation are all about ‘me.’ However, consider the treasure we collect that is sent to heaven; it is not as some have thought a heavenly bank vault into which we are depositing treasures for our own personal enjoyment in the hereafter. The treasure we store in heaven is to bless the body of Christ and God’s Kingdom. As members of the singular body of Christ, we need to change our perspective on life from ‘me’ to ‘we.’
If we’re serious about doing life with Jesus, ‘me’ is given a backseat for the overall good of God’s Kingdom of which we are now ambassadors. The job of an ambassador is not about personal edification, but of representing in the best possible light that for which we have become an ambassador. Our lives are to make God look good and to make known the appeal of heaven and life here under his Lordship. How do we do that? By becoming like the One we claim to follow.
Jesus’ primary desire was to do the will of the Father…not to build his own legacy or to enjoy earthly comforts (which when compared to heaven must be substandard…how could they not be?). It is what he spent his whole life doing. Of course, he needed to eat, have a place to stay and clothing to wear. He learned a trade and, one can presume, supported his family after Joseph died. But none of these ever replaced God’s will for his life or deterred him from his mission. He remained faithful and did not allow any number of possible distractions to lure him away from his life’s purpose.
ACCESSING GOD’S PROVISION
Jesus told the crowd that the kind of treasure you collect makes very clear where your allegiance lies. You cannot have two masters. Why not? Because we will come to love one and despise the other. The choice is ours to make…either God or one of the many gods we have vying for our loyalty like money and possessions or education, careers and reputation.
We need to seriously reflect on the questions, “To whom do we belong? What masters us?” To discover the answer…
· Consider your past week and how the majority of your time was spent. Did God have a say or has he been sequestered to a limited portion of your weekly schedule?
· When it comes to the future, what has been your attitude concerning money? Education? Career? Retirement? Is what God has provided enough? Or do you find yourself always striving for more? Can you live with the uncertainty of not knowing the future or are you doing your best to secure the future you want?
· From an emotional perspective, has anything got you feeling anxious and worried?
· How compassionate are you and willing to extend yourself in the face of others’ pain?
· How generous have you been when God has brought someone in need across your path?
· How often do you talk about your relationship with God to others? We don’t want to become obnoxious about our faith never waiting for an invitation to share, but neither should our belief in Jesus remain a strictly guarded secret.
Jesus also warned us that we are more than capable of fooling ourselves in this regard. But he tells us, that despite what we might say or even think, the true litmus test of our allegiance has to do with where our treasure is, for wherever our treasure is, that is where our hearts are.
What in your life replaces obedience to and time with God? For each one of us there are different lures and different treasure…the purposefulness that comes from work, the high regard of others, financial security, leisure and rest, the comfort of home and family. Though none of these are wrong when held in check, each carries with it the ability to enslave us…to replace God from his rightful position in our lives.
But, Jesus makes it clear…we cannot have two masters. God will not share his place in our lives with anything or anyone else. When we become ensnared by any number of substitute masters, we can no longer obey God as we have been instructed. It is hard to be generous when you are obsessed with money. It is hard to care for the needy when you insist on always putting your own comforts first. It is difficult to do good work when you’re always pressed for time.
Jesus’ teaching contains a wonderful promise, “God will give you everything you need,” but it comes with a condition. What is that condition? “When we seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously” (v.33). If we want to count on God’s help, we cannot treat him as the backup plan. Either we serve him or we serve one of the many other gods this world has to offer. It’s one or the other…God will not share Lordship over our lives. We either live for him or we live for ourselves!
Notice too that the promise is for all you ‘need’…not for surplus, not even to your specifications. How often do we become dissatisfied with God’s provision because we confuse needs with wants. We need a job and God supplies, but it isn’t the one we wanted so we grumble. Our wardrobe is out of date, but we have clothes. We can’t afford to go out to eat as often as we might like, but we have food in the fridge.
God has promised to meet the needs of those who seek his kingdom above all else, but that is not the same thing as promising prosperity with endless riches, good health and a life of relative ease as some teachers who hold to the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ promote. Rather than aiming to be rich, Jesus wants us to aim higher…he wants us to be righteous.
So, now we come to it. What is this heavenly treasure we are to be actively storing?
Let me begin to answer the question with a slightly different one. What does the God of the universe, who owns everything, desire to collect? What is the treasure that is worthy of being preserved in heaven?
Tears? – In Psalm 56, David talks about God collecting his tears in a bottle and recording his sufferings in a book. Does God literally collect tears? No. But he is fully aware of our sufferings and he does not forget us in our time of need.
Prayers? – Revelations 5:8 talks of incense bowls filled with the prayers of the saints; this is imagery linking our prayer life, those things that line up with the will of God, to the worship of God which is to him a pleasing aroma. Does God literally collect our prayers in bowls? Again, I don’t believe so, but it is a reminder that each prayer prayed that honours God is to him a fragrant offering.
Children! – God has created humankind with an eternal spirit that lives on after our bodies have ceased to function. He has also given us freewill to either choose to accept or reject his claim over our lives. Considering what it cost God to provide us with this option, the death of his Son, is there anything more valuable to God than human souls? That’s right, I believe that people are the great treasure that Jesus tells us to store in heaven. We are to love people into the kingdom of God, no matter the cost to us on earth, because the only thing we can take with us is more brothers and sisters in Christ.
You might think I am overstating this, but consider the two greatest commandments by which we are to live our lives and upon which all the other laws and commandments find their basis, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love your neighbour as yourself.” Is there any better way to love another than by helping them find their way to heaven?
· We cannot have two masters…love God or love money, but you cannot have it both ways.
· We have individualized our faith to the point of having lost the corporate significance of being the body of Christ. We are not in this alone, but are to work together. We need to stop weighing everything from the perspective “What’s in it for me?” but rather consider “How is my life growing the kingdom of God?”
· God has promised to provide what we need; so as long as we are making his priorities our own there is no cause for worry. Does this mean that life will be easy? No. But it will enable us to echo the Apostle Paul’s words, “In all things I have learned to be content.”
· There is no greater treasure in the eyes of God than people. As his children, we have become his chosen people, holy and dearly loved. And it is up to us to be loving ambassadors of God’s kingdom, so that others may experience God’s great love for them through us.
· As we do, we will collect treasure in heaven…and expand the family of God with whom we will spend eternity!
Sunday, June 12, 2022 – 2022 Theme - “Doing Life with Jesus – On the Matter of Judging” – In-person and Online
Pastor Jane Peck, Hope Chapel
(Collingwood EMCC Church)
"Learning and Living the Way of Jesus!"
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!