GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus – Sermon on Mount (Part 27)
The High and True Standard of God and His Kingdom is now developed by Jesus. Rather than listening to the phony teachers of the Law, the guardians of the Law who twisted Truth for their selfish interests, Jesus now lays out what standards are in harmony with a correct understanding of the Old Testament.
The greatest sequel to this instruction is that Jesus, in all he was and was to do, came not to set aside or annule the Law but to fulfill it. In this following section of six antitheses, Jesus places his own authority over the misinterpretations of the religious norm of His Day…”It is said, but I say…’”(Matthew 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38 and 43). Separating the counterfeit from the Real – today for the disciple who is instructed as to the necessity of forgiveness.
The gauntlet is down, and the standard is set now threefold:First, righteousness must be greater than the religious leaders (5:20); Second, a life of perfection which is like God the Father (5:48), and now, third, righteous acts not to be seen by men (6:1).
Jesus moves succinctly from the counterfeit to the real – from a phony pretext of walking with God, to a real spiritual and living relationship with Him. Jesus now transitions from prayer to warnings about wealth and rewards in heaven.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-24.
1. The Temporary and Waste of Earthly Rewards. At best, wealth is transitory as are all the possessions and accounts and our collections and valuables. The text is clear. Moth and rust, repeated twice. We are reminded of the rich fool of Luke 1213-21. Big crop, bigger barns, but a fool, whose life did not last another 24 hours. He made three mistakes:
- He mistook time for eternity.
- He mistook his body for his soul.
- He mistook what was God’s for what was his.
2. Misdirected Vision and the Eye. Jesus instructs that we not only follow our heart, but we follow our eye. If your vision is dark, your life is a waste. If your vision is the light, then your life is good and meaningful and prepared for eternal affirmation and reward.
3. Choosing the Master of your Life. Here, by contrast, is money and God. A summary from 1 Timothy 6:6-19 looks like this:
Dangers of Money Value of Eternal Wealth Measurements
|Wanting to get rich is a temptation and trap – ruin and destruction||Godliness with contentment is great gain||Provisions of food and covering|
|Love of money is root of evils – wandering from the faith and pierced with many griefs||Wealthy are to hope in God and not wealth||Who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (food received with thanksgiving (1 Tim. 4:3-5).|
|Greed, selfishness, living for pleasure||Treasures in heaven – enjoying ‘life that is truly life’||Rich in good deeds: generous, willing to share|
Straightforward and clear. We can have our reward now, with pretentious phony religious behavior and values – AND WHICH IS BURIED WITH OUR BODIES – or we can invest in the values of the Kingdom and heaven, understanding that life is a vapor, it is brief, and we have a brief opportunity to marshal what we have – TIME, MONEY, POSSESSIONS, RELATIONSHIPS – as good stewards, investing in those things that honor our God and last for eternity. That is good financial investment advice for all of us. Best to you this week. Next week – how to deal with the gremlin named WORRY!
— John Moore