Sermon Notes

Heavenly Treasures for Earthen Vessels


  • There is a very interesting passage in John 3:9-12, a part of the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus,
    9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you,  speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
    • The nature of heavenly realities is such, that the earthly human flesh cannot comprehend it. Even if they be told to us by those who’ve seen it.
      So, the first thing that we must recognise is that it is impossible for the flesh to delight in the spiritual. Only the Christian, who is a spiritually newborn being in Christ, can possibly experience the inexpressible joy full of glory in the delights of the heavenly.
    • The second thing here that Christ seems to suggest is that the teacher of God’s word ought to be one who understands these things. The teachers of the word, the preachers of God, ought to be those who’ve stretched their hands to the heavens and tasted some part of its glory.
    • You will see in the text that we are to look at today, just why we need such heavenly-mindedness in order to battle earthly priorities.
  • The biblical call for Christians is to practice righteousness. Not simply to study about it, but to practice it in our lives, and as the old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect.’In the last, so many weeks, we’ve been seeing exactly how such a practice looks like in our giving, our praying, and our fasting.We are not to do any of it for the sake of drawing other people’s praise and attention toward us. Instead, we are to pursue such righteous practices in secret. Living off of the praises of people is venom for our souls.
  • And now, in the verses that we draw our attention to, this morning, Jesus makes some remarkable statements – statements that necessitate the need for a radically different thinking than that of the world.Matthew 6:19-2119 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust5 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. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 a“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 abut 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! 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.


  • When I was a child, everything used to be about how quickly I could get what I wanted. But as I grew older, I began seeing the benefits of waiting, of weighing the worth of what I desired.We all have our desired treasures and the main substance of what Jesus is trying to say here is that your heart is where your treasure is. You can tell a lot about someone by the things that they treasure in life. Our hearts are vessels of desire and therefore, we are built to treasure things.And so, the question that I have for all of you this morning is, “What are your treasures?”
  • We, all of us, have treasured. Things that our heart so desires. Things we want to have. Things we are willing to work towards.So far, in this chapter, we’ve seen how the Pharisees and Scribes treasured the praises of other people. They practiced their generosity, prayer, and fasting in front of all the people in order to be regarded as pious and important.
    • So many times, people practice righteousness (not sin), but for the sake of worldly passions and desires. Righteous pursuits with sinful motives.
    • Why do you preach? Is it to see God glorified in the lives of the people, or is it because you love the art of preaching and the praise you receive from the people?Why do you sing? Is it so that your voice may carry the hearts and prayers of the people and echo them in the very chambers of heaven, or is it so that your voice may lure the admiration of a lustful generation?Why do you share about your struggles with other people? Is it in order to solicit their help, encouragement, and prayers, or in order to satisfy your cravings for attention, for the sympathy of the world?
    • The question beneath the pursuit of righteous things is that of our motives in that pursuit. This becomes a whole lot more clear when our treasures are exposed.
  • v19 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust5 destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
    • The nature of earthly treasures is that they do not last. The sin of many preachers, like the sin of the Pharisees and the scribes, is that they reduce the heavenliness of God’s truth that we find in His word, to earthly futilities. Jehovah Jireh, our provider, is reduced to an irresponsible father who gives you whatever you need, no questions asked.Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, is reduced to our personal genie of endless wishes.Jehovah Nissi, the Lord is our banner, is reduced to a bribe that we use in our pursuits in hopes to induce God’s favor for financial outpour.
    • We are oftentimes a people so earthly minded that we reduce heaven to earth, just because we’re unwilling to let go of worldliness.
    • And Jesus’ instruction here couldn’t be clearer.
      Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth. They do not last. They are prone to destruction either by time or by force. Either these treasures are dulled over time and lose their value and worth, or they are stolen. They are neither lasting nor protected.
  • Marriage is a great example. Couples often talk about the honeymoon period, and then the rest of their lives. Nothing could be more evidential than the fact that we have a phrase for the passing delights of marriage. Ever so often, all that you desire, in a marriage are bound up in that honeymoon period.
    • But the preciousness of marriage is found in God’s word, in God’s purpose for this grand and glorious institution. Marriage is meant to elevate your earthly senses to heavenly realities, and yet what happens to so many of us is that it takes away heavenly hope and reduces its earthly regrets.It is so easy for the devil to dull your senses for heaven. He just needs to make you sad, to take your eyes of God’s truly intended purposes, and make you see all that you don’t have, and blind you to all that you do have.
  • What about finances? Why do you work? In his very helpful book,
    • Ploductivity, Doug Wilson talks about the gift of money and how much it can be used to further the kingdom of God. Money is the means to an end. But if money ever becomes the end or the means to an end that is not God’s glory, then you fall into the trap of earthly treasures.
    • These treasures will not last, they will be destroyed.
  • v20 –  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
    • The nature of heavenly treasures is that they do not end. They are everlasting and eternally guarded.
      We are so often so good at planning ahead for our future on earth. We invest in our kid’s future, sign up for many financial savings schemes, and yet we do not know if there be breath in us or our kids tomorrow. Yet, the word of God tells us that there is a future that cannot be stolen. A future so sure that your investments will remain secure. Then why beloved, are we so keen to keep the rusting things of this world at the cost of the eternal things.I can see only one reason. We are tasting very little of the heavenly. Day and night our lives are consumed by the things of this world, that to part with it is a great difficulty for many of us.
    • For the Pharisees and scribes, publicly announcing their grand gestures of generosity, and praying aloud in public, and fasting visibly before others were ways to get the tangible rewards of earthly popularity and praise.
      But if they did these things in secret and their heavenly Father sees it, the reward so often is an investment that they cannot see or touch till they reach the eternal.We want rewards now, on earth, even if they be at the cost of eternal rewards in heaven.I’ve often seen how people who suffer from depression like their depression in some strange way. Because you see fighting depression requires a course of action, of sacrifices, of struggle that is not easy. It brings no quick results and it solicits no earthly praise.
      Whereas if they keep wallowing on in their depression, they get the attention of people who feel sorry for them, always giving them a free pass on things, regard them as holy and godlier for enduring suffering. Do not delight in your depression. Delight in God.
  • v22 – “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!
    • Jesus then moves to an analogy where He uses the eye as a picture of the heart.
      The eye is the lamp of the body, just as the heart is the lamp of the soul. It is through the eye that you see the world, and it is through the heart that you desire for it.
  • The eye ushers in light, the light of all that it sees. If our eye is healthy (and the health of an eye is in how clearly it can see things), then our bodies are flooded with light. Now, Jesus uses the words light and darkness to talk about good and evil, righteousness, and sin.
    • Therefore, if the eye is bad, (and the eye is bad that cannot see clearly, that darkens the sight) and if your whole body is full of darkness, meaning that the eye is so bad that it cannot take in any light, how great will that darkness be.That you have eyes, but cannot see life, only death.
  • In much the same way, the heart is the center of one’s being, involving one’s emotions, reason, and will. It is the desired center of the human soul. And our hearts can usher in desires of light or darkness, of the earth, or of heaven. A healthy heart is a heart full of heavenly desires, and a bad heart is a heart full of earthly desires.Beloved, do you have a healthy heart?Yet, if your heart is earthly, then how great is the darkness. How vain are your treasures?
  • v24 – “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.
    • Ah! Here is the grand finale. You cannot live for both earthly treasures and heavenly treasures. You will be devoted to one and despise the other.
    • What we often fail to see is that we are all slaves of our desires. The question is, “What will we desire?”All the desires for earthly treasures are bound up in the word ‘money‘. You can boil it all down and find that the famous ‘health, wealth, and prosperity gospel‘ is the false gospel of earthly treasures. Those who give themselves to this false gospel are giving themselves to the infilling of darkness. They are slaves of the world.1 Timothy 6:10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
    • Yet, the struggle is not to free ourselves from desiring, for we were meant to be slaves of our desires, but not our desires for the world, but for God. Desiring God is the purpose of our lives.
    • You cannot serve God and money.


  • Joshua 24:15And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” How can I have heavenly desires when my mind is so earthly driven? You cannot. You can have heavenly desires only if your mind is driven heavenward? Remember, you cannot live the Christian life without the Christian mind, the renewed mind in Christ, and this mind is renewed in the power of God’s word.
  • A heart with heavenward affections inevitably resides in a body that does good works. But how can I have the heart of heavenward affections?Let me rephrase that statement for more clarity,A heart that is drawn to heavenward affections by the powerful workings of the Holy Spirit through the word of God, resides in a body that inevitably does good works.
  • When Moses asked God to show him His glory because Moses’ heart yearned for more. He knew that if he saw more, his love and desire for God will increase exponentially. And so, God hid him in the cleft of the rock and showed him His back.And then we read in 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.What Moses did not see then, Christ came to show us. Jesus came that our affections may be stirred, that our hearts may be drawn, that our hands may be raised, and our lives may be transformed. And we beat the glory of God with our sins and nailed the beauty of God to a cross. The greatest crime of mankind is their wicked and futile attempt to disgrace God’s glory upon that cross.And the desire of a man that day turned the light to darkness, as the earth shook and the day was turned to night at the death of God’s only begotten Son. Stephen’s face even thought like that of an angel, when killed by stones, cannot compare to this face that hung upon that cross.And yet, His glory did not fail. Instead, it shone forth with such blinding brightness that it erupted in the darkness of our souls. That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and our sin was defeated, our death undone.You were not purchased for earthly desires! Let it go! Look to Jesus, and desire the precious promises of heaven in your lives.
Michael Teddy Fernandez

Author Michael Teddy Fernandez

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