Date:    6/22/03

Text:     Matthew 6:19-24

Title:     Kingdom Values

Theme: Being a follower of Jesus Christ requires us to live all of our life in accordance  to the Kingdom norm.


Pastor Hsueh



            To many Christians, Christian living is like an obstacle course. Every so often, we run into different kinds of difficulties. We pray and ask God to help us to overcome them. Then we continue on with our lives until the next obstacle shows up. We see following Christ as having extra insurance, making sure someone is there to take care of us when trouble comes.

            Certainly, God is our help in times of need. He is our shelter, our provider and protector. We come to him when we are in need. However, we don’t just ask him to come in and fix our problems so we can get back to business as usual. In our study of the Sermon on the Mount, it paints a very different picture.  We learned that to follow Jesus Christ, requires a complete make over of our characters, becoming like Jesus Christ. It also requires us to acquire a new set of values characteristic to God's kingdom. These new values define how we relate to those around us, our speech and our personal and inner life before God.  We cannot pick and choose the ones we like. Instead, all of our lives; how we think and what we do are to conform to God's standards.

            This morning’s scripture lesson calls our attention to another set of God's kingdom value. It has to do with material possessions, money. In this passage is the truth that as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to live all of our life in accordance to the Kingdom norm, we are to focus on things with eternal worth.

I.  As followers of Jesus Christ, our hearts are to be placed on things with lasting values.

            In vs.19-20, there are two kinds of treasures. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

One is treasure on earth, the other is treasure in heaven. This involves a choice we have to make. In Jesus' teaching, his listeners are constantly being presented with two choices. There are two kinds of treasures, two kinds of eyes and two kinds of masters. There are two kinds of doors, and roads; two kinds of foundations and two kind of destinations. It is choices, choices and choices. One has to choose one over the other.

            Verses 19-20, is not saying that we cannot have material possessions or private property. In the OT are many laws aiming at protecting private properties. It is not against saving money for future needs. It is also not against enjoying the good things in life. For we understand that all good things are from the Lord. Let’s take a closer look at the choices before us.

1.         Treasure that will perish.

            Vs.19, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust   destroy and where thieves break in and steal,” Moth eats clothes, rust destroys precious metal and thieves steal money and precious jewelries. Jesus is talking about the tangible, things that can be lost and destroyed, things that do not have eternal values.

We live in a materialistic world. Sunday newspapers, internet pop-ups, are all advertisements entice us to find the best deal on almost everything we want. But they don’t last long, right?

What was considered as the most high tech equipment, several years later was a piece of junk. Remember the days when we were so happy that we have a 20mb hard drive, 2 inches thick?

Money doesn’t last long either. We can easily lose our money through inflation. About two years ago, in one S.American country, overnight, money lost half of its value. In a matter of weeks, the stocks can go from $60 per share to 99 cents. Many have seen their  money literally evaporate before their eyes during the last two years. In last week’s newspaper was a picture of two former Enron employees being handcuffed by the federal agents. I can’t help but think of what they were like two years ago. They must have been full of confidence, priding themselves with their financial success. Yet in a short time, they are all gone. 

If you drive by 90 and belt 8, you will see the uncompleted Tang City Mall. In the 80’s it was envisioned to be a mini Chinatown. But soon, investment money dried up, and construction stopped. What is left is the shell of the Mall.

These are the earthly treasure that will perish. They don’t last long. They are not bad in themselves; but that they don’t have eternal value. And Jesus teaches us not to accumulate such things for ourselves. Don’t selfishly accumulate them for our personal enjoyment.

Living in North America, it is easy to indulge in extravagant and luxury life style. We move from good to better and bigger cars and houses. We buy because we can afford it, not because we need it. Sometimes, even we Christians, see meaning in life equals to material abundance. With such pursuit, it is easy for us to become hardhearted towards the needy ones, either in this or other underdeveloped countries.

But here, Jesus clearly tells us not to accumulate such wealth, such material possession for yourself. Don’t make them a priority in life Job wisely said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return…..” Job 1:21. You see, we cannot bring any of them with us when we die.

2. Treasure with eternal worth.

            We are told not to accumulate treasure on earth, so what is the alternative? Treasure in heaven. These treasures will not be eaten by moth, nor destroyed by rust, or stolen by thieves. When we accumulate the heavenly treasure, they have eternal value. They don’t perish. So, what are the treasures that have eternal value?

            In 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” What has lasting value? Faith, hope and love. These are part of our Christian characters. Our faith in God is not based on what God has done for us or others in the past or future. Our faith is in a God who is all powerful and loving. There was a time in our Christian journey when we believed him because of what he did for us and in the way we asked. As we mature, we learn to believe in him for who he is. He is the almighty, loving and holy God. Even if he does not answer our prayers in the way we desire, we still believe in his power, goodness and faithfulness. This is faith. This faith lasts forever.

Our hope is not that things will turn better, or if you believe, it will be done for you. This hope is about the glorious future when the believers will spend eternity with God. Now, even though we don’t see him yet we believe in and love him. We look forward to the day when we will see him face to face. . On that day, all of our sorrows and pain will be removed from us. This is our hope that lasts forever.

Love refers to loving God and men. It is a continuous process. The more mature we are, the more we learn how to love God and those he brought into our lives. Faith, hope and love are the core of Christian character.

            To accumulate treasure in heaven is to develop these and other Christian characters. Being kind, humble and gentle are treasures that will last forever. Even after our death, family and friends will remember us as humble and gentle persons. In addition, when we give our money to organizations that feed the poor, care for the orphans, bring the gospel to those who have never heard of Jesus Christ, we are accumulating treasure in heaven. When we share the good news to others, helping them to respond to God's love, this is treasure in heaven. They don’t rust, they are not perishable. They have eternal value.

3. Treasure and our heart.

            Jesus tells us not to accumulate for ourselves treasures that are perishable, instead, accumulate treasures that have lasting values. Why? Our choices will affect how we live. 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

            Sometimes we like to say that as long as my heart is at the right place, I am ok. Very often at the end of a discussion about material wealth, we conclude by saying that what is important is that our heart is at the right place. This does sound good, doesn’t it? Make sure your heart is at the right place. But what Jesus says here is quite different. Our hearts follow our treasure.  The primary issue is not where our heart is, but what our treasure is. This is a matter of value. When I accumulate money and material things for myself, my heart will be there. If you want to upgrade your computer, you may be thinking now which computer to get tomorrow or next week or in the near future. If you have plenty of money put in stocks, most likely at this moment, you may be thinking what the stock market will be like when it opens tomorrow. If you put in a bid for an item on ebay before you came to church this morning, you probably are thinking if you may be out bid by someone. You probably remember when you were selling or buying that house. For days and months, your heart and mind is on that house. You can’t concentrate on anything else. Our heart follows what we think is important.

            If my treasure is on building Christ-like characters, I will be constantly aware of how I am treating individuals God has brought into my lives. Jesus instructs us to choose things that have eternal worth.

II.         As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be single minded towards God.

            After speaking about our hearts, Jesus now turns attention to our eyes. Vs.22-23,” “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

            The body is like a house, or a room. Without light, it’s dark, can’t see anything. With light, then the room is lit up, its bright and clear. What is the source of light? Our eyes. Again, there are two kinds of eyes; the healthy and the bad. If the eyes are good and healthy, then the body is full of light, if the eyes are bad, then its darkness.

            The word ‘healthy’ means single. That is, if our eyes are healthy, if we are single minded, then the whole body will be lit up. In psalm 119:10, “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!” A healthy eye means a person who is single minded towards God. He is single minded towards God’s revealed truth in the Bible. A single minded person is someone whose determination is to live a pure and holy life.

            On the other hand, a bad eye is someone who is not single minded on God and things of God. He wants to be fixed on God, yet at the same time holds tight to his material possessions.

            When our eyes are good, when we are single minded towards God, we’ll see and experience abundant life. We’ll recognize that God has already given us all of his heavenly blessings. We focus on becoming a kinder, gentler and more humble person. When our eyes are bad, there is moral darkness. There is no spiritual direction in life. We become intolerant, inhumane and ruthless.

            Here you are talking to someone. You are trying to establish eye contact with him. But you notice that his eyes are shifting left to right, up and down, looking at everything else except you. . It’s annoying, right? Isn’t this also true in our relationship with God? Are we shifting our eyes left and right, or are we single minded towards him?

III.       As followers of Jesus Christ, we give him our undivided loyalty.

            Vs. 24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.  We have seen two kinds of treasures, 2 kinds of eyes, and now two masters.

From this passage, the two masters’ identity is clear. One is the creator God. The other is money, things man created. The choice is God the creator or objects of our own creation. Money and material possessions are all of our own creations.

The background of this passage is the slavery system. Can you serve two masters at the same time? We can have two employers by working at two places at different hours. But no one can be slaves to two masters. Likewise, we can only serve one: God or the objects of his creation. Serve God or Money? In Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” This God is very exclusive. He wants his people to worship, to follow him exclusively. He wants our undivided attention and loyalty. He want us to be totally loyal to his standards. He wants our total attention. He wants our focus on things that do not perish. He wants us to be fixated on himself. This is serving him.

We are all troubled by the suicide bombers in the Middle East. Both men and women; wrapped around their bodies with explosives, killing themselves and many other innocent lives. Behind such madness is an extreme form of loyalty to the leaders of Hamas. Yes, they are loyal, but unfortunately to the wrong person.

As followers of Jesus Christ, he wants us to give him undivided loyalty, and to serve him alone. For he alone deserves such total loyalty.


            This is check up time. What is our treasure? What is the focus of our single-mindedness? Whom are we serving? We probably remember a time in our life when we had little. In those days, our loyalty to God was irrefutable; our devotion to his word was clear and our treasure was those with eternal worth.

            As the years go by, as we experience many of God's goodness, both spiritually and materially, the picture starts to change. From the way we live and talk, our treasure seems to be on those material possessions, and consequently; our hearts are no longer on God and the things of God. Yes, we still love God, yet at the same time we are holding much tightly to the material things. We are doing the impossible, serving two masters. Consequently, our eyes are darkened; we have lost spiritual direction, and live in confusion. Why? No one can take orders from two masters. If we are taking orders from two masters, it only leads to chaos and confusion.