Saturday, June 10, 2023

2023.06.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 6:19–34

Read Matthew 6:19-34

Questions from the Scripture text: What shouldn’t we lay up where (Matthew 6:19)? What happens there? What should we lay up where instead (Matthew 6:20)? What doesn’t happen there? When we lay up our treasure somewhere, what else will be there (Matthew 6:21)? What is the lamp of the body (Matthew 6:22)? What happens if you have a good (clear) eye? But if you have an evil (cloudy) eye, what will be full of what (Matthew 6:23a)? What is in danger of being darkness (verse 23b)? With what result? What can no one do (Matthew 6:24)? What must he do? Which two specific masters can we not simultaneously serve? What does Jesus say not to do in Matthew 6:25a? What two things mustn’t we worry about for our life? What else mustn’t we worry about (verse 25b)? What mustn’t we worry about for our body? What does verse 25c imply about our life and our body? At whom does Matthew 6:26 say to look? What don’t they do? So, Who feeds them? Whom does He value more? What does Matthew 6:27 ask? What does Matthew 6:28 ask? What are we to consider? How they do what? What don’t they do? To whom are they compared in Matthew 6:29? How did he compare to them? Who has thus clothed them (Matthew 6:30)? And what is going to happen to them? Whom will He much more clothe? What does Jesus call us at the end of verse 30? What does Matthew 6:31 forbid? What three things, specifically, does it say not to worry about? Who seek after all these (Matthew 6:32)? But Who knows that we need them? What two names does Matthew 6:33 give to what we should seek instead? What will be added if we do? Even seeking His righteousness, about what are we not to worry (Matthew 6:34)? Why?

How do believers come to find God as their true and great treasure? Matthew 6:19–34 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these sixteen of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that believers come to find God as their true and great treasure when He gives them light to see Who He is and what He is doing. 

What does Matthew 6:19–20 mean by “lay up treasure”? Matthew 6:24 gives us a good idea when it talks about treasure on earth as serving the mammon master and about treasure in heaven as serving God instead. 

Either God is a way to get what we really want as we live and work, or else all of our living and working is a way to serve God. Sadly, I’ve heard presentations of “the gospel” that come primarily from a standpoint of all of that God can do for you to serve your interests. 

But Matthew 6:22-23 tell us that viewing God this way is a strategy for making your life only darkness without light (Matthew 6:23, “how great is that darkness!”). It’s like replacing your eyeballs with two giant cataracts so that no light gets through at all. Viewing God as a way to increase your earthly prosperity shuts you up in such darkness that you do not properly function in any way (Matthew 6:23, “if your eye is cloudy, your whole body will be full of darkness”).

One might protest, “but I have to survive! I have to focus on getting things and storing them up!” In that case, one would be doing the worrying that Matthew 6:25 forbids. But if God cares about our whole life, then surely living in service to Him (including working hard and combining frugality and generosity, as His own Word teaches us to do) will not ultimately result in missing out on something we need. 

The nations seek, with their lives, food and drink and clothing (Matthew 6:31-32a). But they don’t know God as heavenly Father and therefore don’t have confidence that He knows (and cares about and acts upon) their needs (Matthew 6:32b).  If worrying about things like that exposes a heart that doesn’t really know Father, then what does it say about us if we are full of worry about even less needful things?

Our God has shown great care and lavish generosity on creatures that we value very little (Matthew 6:26-30). But He values us even more than we value ourselves! “How much more” (Matthew 6:30b) is His care for us and generosity toward us!!

It is this recognizing of examples of God’s love toward all His creatures all around us that neutralizes worrying and supports and enables living our lives in service of Him. He is the best Master. Money doesn’t know, doesn’t care, and cannot love you back. With worry eliminated, all the expenditure of our life that goes into worrying (Matthew 6:34) can be redirected into seeking to live righteously before our King (Matthew 6:33). After all, He is our Provider and Protector, which demands that we recognize Him as our Master and live in service to Him!

What are some examples of creatures that you see God taking care of? How does His care for you and generosity compare? What is the greatest example of this? What else will He do for you? What does this free you to spend your life upon? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, we bless Your Name for the generous design of Your creation and the generous conduct of Your providence. Surely, You love Your creatures, but of all of them, You have made us in Your image and redeemed us in Your Son. What a great wickedness our worrying is, O God! And how greatly it harms us by leading us into serving earthly interests with our lives! Forgive us, and grant unto us the ministry of Your Spirit, so that we would thereby be enabled to live vigorously on earth as those who serve You and obey Your righteous law! For this, we cry to You through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH508 “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”

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