Treasure Jesus Not Money

November 15, 2015 Speaker: Josh DeGroote Series: Miscellaneous

Topic: Worship Passage: Matthew 6:19–34

I am really excited about what I have to preach today. AND it is an important subject to talk about!  There are a number of reasons why this is so important to talk about:


Randy Alcorn, in "The Treasure Principle", says that 15% of everything Christ said relates to money and possessions - more than heaven and hell combined. 

Luke 21:1-4 - I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on."

Luke 12 and the rich man who built bigger barns to hold all his stuff. Jesus said in verse 20, "'Fool! This night your soul is being required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

Of course the man who jumps off the page in Matthew 13:44

Mark 10:21 - And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven..."


In Luke 3, John the Baptist, after baptizing people says, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance" and three groups of people come and ask him, "What do we do?"  To the crowds, Jesus said "share food and clothing with those who have none."  To the tax collectors Jesus said, "Tax no more than you are authorized to collect."  And to soldiers Jesus said, "Do not extort money from people and be content with your pay."  

In Luke 19 Zaccheaus respond to his encounter with Jesus by pledging to give half his wealth to the poor and to repay four-fold anyone he had defrauded. His Jesus responded to him by saying, "Salvation has come to this place".  The response of Zaccheaus was proof that his heart had been transformed!


Hudson Taylor said, "“The less I spent on myself and the more I gave to others, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become.”

Acts 20:35 says, "You are more blessed to give than to receive."

Proverbs 22:9 - He who is generous will be blessed.

On the other hand, sorrow and destruction follows those who desire to be rich (1 Timothy 6).


These words of Jesus in our text are for your full and eternal joy, but they may sound radical.  And they are. But they are true and they are for our joy!  This text has the power to revolutionize our view of money/possessions and free us to enjoy Christ more.

John Owen said “On Christ’s glory I would fix all my thoughts and desires, and the more I see of the glory of Christ, the more the painted beauties of this world will wither in my eyes and I will become more crucified to this world."

In our text, there are three commands: lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, do not be anxious (stated three times), and seek first the kingdom of God.  Let's take a look at these one at a time.


But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you - Matthew 6:33

The central message of Jesus when began his public ministry was the Kingdom of God.  He teaches us to pray earlier in Matthew 6, "Your kingdom come..."

The Kingdom of God is the reign and rule of God.  So Jesus is telling us to passionately pursue the experience of the saving, life-transforming, sanctifying, joy-producing, love-producing Kingdom of God.

Romans 14:17 - "the kingdom is not a matter of eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Spirit."

The Kingdom of God is where joy is!  This is peace is. This is where life is!

Matthew 5:6 - "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

Apart from satisfaction in Christ found by seeking the kingdom, we are all like Mick Jagger who said, "I try and I try and I try and I try, but I can't get no satisfaction..."  That's what we are looking for - to be satisfied!  It is found in Christ.


Verses 19 and 20 say,

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Lay up treasures for yourselves in heaven.  This is one specific way that we "seek first the kingdom". You lay up for yourself treasures in heaven.  This will sound like a hard saying unless you see that Jesus is calling us to joy in these words!  So seek to maximize your eternal joy in God rather than our temporary joy with things on earth.

Notice the two words "for yourselves".  Jesus is not calling us into some kind of joyless, stoic self denial. Of course, we are called to deny ourselves but not as an end, but as a means to being satisfied in something superior.  Jesus is not against storing up treasure. He commands us to store up treasures for ourselves! He is against storing up treasures in the wrong place.

So Jesus is telling us that one way we seek first the kingdom of God, the joyful, transforming Kingdom of God is by passionately pursuing our eternal joy in God and heaven!  Storing up treasures on earth is to accumulate earthly treasures not.  Don't do that!  To store up treasures in heaven is to accumulate heavenly, eternal treasures.  Do that!

Jesus makes it clear that our hearts move toward what we treasure. Verse 21 says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." So it is now clear the kind of transformation that needs to happen in our hearts and why coercion never works!  Coercive means to extract money out of people stinks to high heaven and God hates it.

We need a change in what we treasure so that giving is done freely from the heart with joy.  And when our treasure is what it should be, we will give freely and joyfully!

* So what is it about the kind of treasure in heaven that provides incentive to live this way.

1) The treasure Jesus commands us to store up is eternal

Earthly treasures will wear out, run out, be destroyed, or taken. Financial advisors tell us to plan for decades into the future to get the benefit of compound interest and accumulation. Jesus here tells us to plan for eternal accumulation.

We need an awakening to the reality of eternity. That we live on the edge of eternity all the time. We would be help in so many ways, not the least of which our handling of money/possessions.

2) The treasure Jesus commands us to store up is supremely God himself

Eternity in heaven and the new heavens and earth will be amazing (loved ones, food, dwellings), but God will be our supreme TREASURE.  I get this from verse 24 which says, "You cannot serve God and money..."  To serve money means to love and pursue money and all the things money can do for you.  To serve God means to love and pursue God and all the things God can do for you in Christ.

The transient pleasures of what money can give us in this world or the eternal joy of Christ, heaven, and eternal possessions. You can pursue one or the other but not both.  So lay up treasures for yourself in heaven!

CS Lewis spoke these amazing words in his book, "The Weight of Glory":

If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

Do not be anxious (READ verse 25)

The word "therefore" connects us with the previous verse.  Serving money, loving money and loving all that money can do for us leads to anxiety.  Serving God, loving God, treasuring God and all he can do for us leads to freedom from anxiety.

"Do not be anxious," is a condition of the heart where we are freed from our addiction to pleasures here on earth and pursue with passion our pleasure in God - who is the source and fountain of JOY!

The word anxious means "to be concerned about," "to be troubled with", "to look out for," "to seek to promote one's interests".  NIV and NASB translate this phrase "Do not worry about your life".

So don't think of the word anxious meaning panic attack or major anxiety attack. Rather, think of preoccupation.  The same word is translated "cares" in Mark 4:19:

"but the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke out the word, and it proves unfruitful."

Is there a word that describes the collective heart condition of our society as well as "anxious"?  Some estimate that approximately 40 million American adults (18%) have an anxiety disorder.

I was talking with a friend who was being honest with me about his own struggle with this. He was so concerned with the prospects of trading his car in for a new one. Not something he needed. He said it was consuming so much of his time.

The antidote? Serve God, not money! You have a Father who knows what you need and is happy to supply what you need. Even more, it is his good pleasure to give you the kingdom!


Here is what Jesus wants for us: seek first his kingdom, accumulate eternal treasures in heaven for our everlasting joy, and living free from worldly cares. This is the fruit of having Christ as our Lord, Savior and Treasure.  So treasuring Christ instead of money frees you to:

1. See your money/possessions as a means to accumulate eternal treasures in heaven.  Eternal, accumulated, increasing joy!

2. See your money/possessions as a resource to magnify the worth and beauty of Christ, not earthly things.

3. See your money/possessions as a vehicle to pursue ever-increasing joy in Christ.

4. Seek for an all satisfying Treasure in Christ trusting God to care for all your needs.

Blaise Pascal says there is a craving in every human for true happiness, true satisfaction, true joy. And we try in vain to fill with everything around us, but this infinite abyss in our souls can only be filled with an infinite and unchanging God.

Jesus would be your all-satisfying treasure if you would have him. Seek him first. Pursue him first! Then you will know satisfaction; you will have all your needs attended to; you will have eternal treasures in heaven!

This is what 2 Corinthians 8:9 wants to draw us into:

Remember the grace of our Lord Jesus, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

In Christ you are eternally wealthy, eternally rich.  Pursue your full and complete satisfaction in him.  He is the treasure above all treasures.  

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