THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 8-28-05

LESSON TITLE: "GREAT LESSONS FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: LAYING UP OUR TREASURES"

WELCOME

"So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath," James 1:19. I hope we are all ready to be "swift to hear" the Word of God on this wondrous Lord's Day. And what a privilege we have at this time to do so!

Let me also say, how wonderful it is to know that you have chosen to put God first this day and to assemble for this time of worship before His Mighty Throne! We are glad that you have chosen to be with us to hear God's Living Word!

As always, it will be our privilege to offer sacrifices to God this morning, with the fruit of our lips and the obedience of our actions, may we all be encouraged on this the Lord's day. However, may we each do our part so that ultimately we will offer praise to God according to His truth as is found in His Precious Will. So as we begin our focus on the Creator, will you bow with me in prayer?

(PRAYER)

What greater thought can we have today than our promise of eternal life from our almighty God and Father! This morning we want to begin with a song that reminds us that someday we will go and be with our Creator forever and ever. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "I'll Fly Away."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

This morning we began with a verse in James which encourages us to be good listeners. That's not always an easy thing is it? We probably all are guilty of not listening like we should, whether it is to our wife, a family member or friend. I know I have been guilty before of my wife telling me something and then asking me if I was listening, guess what - I wasn't. Brethren and friends we need to learn to be better listeners, because it is the one who hears that has a great opportunity to learn and when we learn we grow, and when we grow how pleased our God is with us.

The next point the inspired James made was that we need to be "slow to speak." Now this goes hand in hand with what we just talked about, because if we are good listeners, we are not going to be speaking all the time. Furthermore, notice that this idea would imply the fact that we need to slow down and think about what we say. When was the last time you said something quickly and later wished you hadn't said it. Again, we all are guilty of this and probably more often than we would like to admit. So let's all try to think more and speak less, so that when we do speak our words will be worth while and really cause people to listen.

Now the final connection this writer makes is to wrath. James says be "slow to wrath!" Notice that He did not say that we would never be provoked unto wrath, but that we should be slow to be wrathful. Even God was provoked unto wrath by the disobedience of the Israelites of Old! However, if we are good listeners, and slow to reply, hopefully that will give us time to control our emotions and even to avoid being angry. And when we learn to control our anger then we have a better chance of not allowing ourselves to be lead into a wrathful situation. So how about you, are you willing to obey God's command and "be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath."

As far as our main study of the day, this morning we will be again focusing on our series from scripture which is entitled, "Great Lessons From The Sermon On The Mount." Our specific lesson of the day will deal with, "Laying Up Our Treasure." So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will lead us in the main thoughts of the day. Now it's time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, "Home Of The Soul."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for staying with us this morning as we now turn to the Word of God once again in our specific study of the day in relationship to where we place our treasures in this life. In fact, our text of the day from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6, we find really introduces to us two different possibilities in relationship to where we might place our treasure. The first possibility might be that of the earth and the second is that of Heaven. You know the scripture spent a lot of time introducing us to not only what Heaven is all about, but also what the earth is all about. In fact, the scriptures also clarify for us that as men we are really made up of two different things, two different possibilities. One being an earthly existence. The other being a spiritual existence. Certainly we don't have to go far to know there is the earth. We are well aware of it as we live everyday on the earth. But the scripture as well helps us with the idea of Heaven.

You might notice there in Colossians chapter 3, it gives us an inkling of what Heaven is all about and really where it is when Paul was speaking to the Colossian church in chapter 3 and verse 1 says, "If then you are raised with Christ, seek those things that are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." And "set your mind on things above, those things that have been confirmed," as verse 3 says, "through the death of Christ hidden in Him." We find here a very interesting passage that helps us to understand something about this idea of Heaven, something that is above, something that is certainly spiritual because we know John 4 and verse 24 tells us that "God is a spirit." So certainly when we talk about godly things, we're talking about spiritual things, but we might even say ghostly things, things that we cannot see with our eyes visibly, but rather things that are really invisible.

In fact, there's another scripture that helps us with that that we can turn to that is found in 2 Corinthians if you'll turn there in 2 Corinthians chapter 4. We find here Paul helping the Corinthian church to understand the difference in things seen and the things not seen. If you'll notice there with me beginning in verse 16 of again chapter 4 there in 2 Corinthians. "Therefore, we do not lose heart even though the outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day for our light affliction which is but for a moment is working in us a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory. While we do not look at the things which are seen but the things that are not seen for the things which are seen (like our bodies) are temporary, but the things which are not seen are (what?) eternal. You see again, we're having this, this clear concept given to us about things that are seen and not seen.

Verse 1 of chapter 5 goes on to say, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, our body, is destroyed, we have a building from God that is not made with hands. It is eternal and it's in the heavens." Now the scripture, when we read the idea of the heavens, this means again the space, the age, the firmament, that which is above us, and certainly things which are spiritual that are unseen would be things that are up there or above. In fact, even the concept of good and bad would indicate the fact that goodness would be above that which is bad, the earth being physical and not eternal in nature. Certainly God in Heaven would be higher than that. So every time we see an idea of Heaven or the Heavens or a place of eternal life, we're always talking about something that is above or higher than or greater than the earth. So again, we have the earth and we have Heaven.

How many have seen Heaven? Well, none of us seen it, but what we have seen is that which is temporary, the earth, our physical bodies and everything that is around us, but Heaven which is unseen, but yet promised, is something again eternal, something that will last forever and ever.

Another scripture that really helps us with this is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. You might recall there that Paul in chapter 15 around verse 35 began to deal with the concepts of a glorious or spiritual body and actually the concept as he describes of a "heavenly man, an earthly man, a heavenly man." In fact, if you'll notice with me there in verse 47 of chapter 15, he states the following. "The first man was of the earth made of dust." The second man is of the Lord from Heaven." Then it goes on to talk about the "dustly man" in verse 48 and the "heavenly man", "the dust that is made of dust and will return to the dust and the heavenly that is from spiritual and returns to spiritual." And if you'll notice there in verse 49 of the same text, "And as we have been born in the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man." You see, there again are the two possibilities, the two different parts of not only the earth and heavens or the physical, the temporary, but yet the invisible and the eternal, but there is the man. There is the soul of man, the eternal man, the godly part of man, the heavenly man, and then there is the earthly man, that as all of the earth is temporal and the flesh that will pass away. The scripture again clarifies not only here but even of old that the body will return to the dust.

As we look at these things again we begin to consider then what was said by Jesus in Matthew chapter 6 because as He is talking about our treasures here, He states the following beginning in Matthew 6 and verse 19. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." We're going to look at verse 21 in just a moment. We want to stop there because now we've established the two different parts of man, the two different ideas or possibilities of life or physical life or earthly life or temporary life now and that which eternal or spiritual or heavenly that will be forever.

Now as we look at these passages, what does He say first? "Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth." Well, what would that be? A big bank account. Bigger houses. Bigger and better cars. How many of us often get caught up in the things of life and really often put those things before God. You know, it's not wrong to have things. God did not want us to be an unhappy people and He hasn't blessed man with the opportunity to make all of these things and provide them today so that He could keep us away from them. But God has asked us to put Him first. He has not said, "Don't enjoy it. Don't have it." He said, "Put me first and then I'm going to bless you with everything you need," and guess what, many of those things you want. Think about that for a moment. We follow God. We love God and look at all the blessings we have. God will bless us and the more we put Him first, guess what, the more He blesses us. But what happens when we build up our treasures on earth, when we begin to have confidence that, "well, I've got enough money, I've got enough ability, I've got a big enough bank account, I can take care of myself." Well what's going to happen when I lose that job? What's going to happen here... What's going to happen... and we get sorrowful and what am I going to do? Can I care for my family? We forget God. How often do we forget God and we have based our confidence and our treasures in earthly things that are temporary and passing away that really we have no control over. You don't believe it? How many of you know how many hairs you have on your head? Well, for some it might not be hard, but we don't know that. God knows it. How many of you know that you will be alive tomorrow? Well, we don't know that. God knows it. How many of us know that you will be alive a month from now, a year from now? We don't know that. God knows it. You see, when we put our trust in earthly things, in things that are temporary including our body that we are really unaware as to really what will happen tomorrow with them, guess what happens. Then we really have no confidence, no ability to be assured that we will have what God has promised us or even that we will have today what we will have.

Oh there are so many beautiful examples in scripture that help us with this thought. In fact, we might look at this time to Luke chapter 12 and see there an example that is familiar in relationship to a rich man who was referred to really as a fool, but I want you to notice it was not because he had possessions that he was considered a fool, but it's because there in chapter 12 and verse 16 that he had so much that he could not even get it into his barns and he says, "what I'm going to do is tear down my barns and I'm going to build bigger ones and I'm going to keep every crumb and I'm going to take care of myself and I'm going to eat, I'm going to drink, I'm going to be merry because I can take care of myself and nothing is going to happen to me. If I get sick, I can pay for the best doctors. I can do whatever I need to do..." Well what's the problem in that parable? Well, verse 20 there in chapter 12 of Luke says, "But God said to him that night, Fool, this night your soul will be required of you. Then whose will those things be that you have provided?" What are you going to do with all that stuff? What are you going to do now that you've built it up and tonight when you die, what good is it going to be? Who is going to take it? Who is going to keep it? I always find it interesting how people sometimes not even have children or anything and they've built up all this money and they've built these bank accounts and all this savings and there's nothing to even do, and they themselves won't even use it because they have built up treasures on the earth and really there's not anybody even to share it with. That was the rich fool here. Then notice how he compares it there in verse 21. He says, "So," again Luke 12 and verse 21, "is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God." See there's where Jesus was really giving us the clarification back in Matthew 6. He says, "Look, this guy put his treasure in himself, in his possessions, and guess what. When it came down to his last day, what good did they do him?" Nothing! And whose were they going to be? Whoever could fight over it and probably even like today would end up the governments. Well, here he states also in verse 21. If you're not rich toward God, it doesn't benefit you because physical, temporary and visual things pass away. "They will be destroyed and even burnt up by fervent heat," as Peter said, "someday when God comes again." But spiritual things, oh spiritual things... Matthew chapter 6 there in verse 20, when we lay out treasures for ourselves in Heaven, guess what. Moths can't bother. You know we put those moth balls to keep them from eating the material. Moths can't bother it. Thieves can't, rust can't. It's metal and it can't rust. If we lay our treasures up in Heaven, guess what. Nothing can keep us from the promises of God. Nothing. You see and then do we not only have the treasure of Heaven and the promises of God and the care and protection and the guidance and all that God has said He will give us, but then we also have the earthly needs because remember the same God who said that if we focus on Him, He says, "I'll give you the rest. I'll give you what you need."

The last part of our lesson there in verse 21 ends like this. Chapter 6 and verse 21 of Matthew. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Think about that for a moment. There are certainly many passages that help us with this same idea. You might recall there in the book of Proverbs written by the wisest man that ever lived, God had blessed Solomon because Solomon had not asked for earthly wealth, but he had asked to judge the people of God wisely. So therefore, God made him rich physically. There's a lesson for us. When you put God first, the physical comes. Solomon saw that. But then later we find that Solomon in Proverbs 23 and verse 7 recorded this for us. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." What did Jesus say? "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." You see wherever the heart is focused is where really our true treasures lie. That's how we are. That's what will be seen.

If we focus on the earth, it will be seen by God and others that our focus is of the earth and temporary and really our existence is meaningless, but if our treasure is focused on God and our heart is focused on God then certainly people will see that in our attitude, our characteristics and in the things that we say because all that we do will glorify God. Focused on the earth. Focused on self. Focused on possessions. We're not worried about other people. Focused on God. Focused on eternal. Focused on holy and righteousness. Guess what. They see Christ in us. How wonderful it is to see here that Jesus said that when we put our heart on the right thing which is God, then we have the blessings of God and then we know that our heart is in the right place and we know that we will be blessed accordingly.

There's a verse also that we'll end with this morning over in the book of 2 Corinthians if you want to turn there. In 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 6 and 7, we actually see that it talks about God once again and how that He commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." God shines out of our hearts and through our hearts as we focus on the treasures of Heaven. But hear verse 7, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence and the power of God may not be of us but Him." You see, what we're all about, brethren, is focusing on God and knowing that God is going to use us to show forth His light and as He uses us, does it not make sense that as His child He is going to bless us and care for us and nurture us just as we would our own children? Well certainly it does. That's what these verses are telling us. That's what Christ is telling us. Learn to put your heart on the things above as it said earlier and we read in Colossians chapter 3. Remember to put your heart there because that's where God is, God the Father and the Son and the Spirit, Jesus at the right hand of the Father, and when we focus on God, we strive to be righteous, pure, holy, perfect and complete as He is. And when we do that, that's where our heart is and when our heart is there, people see God as our treasure and certainly God blesses us.

Will you not this day commit to God to put your heart in the right place and to focus your life where it should be on God so that He will know where your treasure is as well as all the world that lives around you.

(SONG # 3 - "Jesus Is Coming Soon.")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I know our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!

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May we all study God's Word more and realize what a treasure it is to each of us. Furthermore, may we understand that when we focus on God and lay our treasures with Him, we will be blessed beyond measure!

(Program closing)