Mind = Blown Lesson 7: Do Not Store Up Treasures Here On Earth [Reader: group leader] In this series of lessons, we’ll study the Sermon on the Mount, which is found in Matthew 5, 6 and 7. This is arguably Jesus’ most famous sermon, and many people have said we should live by its teachings. But what are the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount? The fact is, they’re pretty radical—radical in Jesus’ day and radical in ours. The whole sermon is downright mind blowing. Watch Mind=Blown Video Clip [Reader: youngest person] “Do not store up treasures here on earth!” Notice that when the shoelaces tied themselves, it freaked the guy watching out so bad, he had to get away from it! When our minds get blown by something new or something that we don’t understand, is this our reaction? Do we run from the things we don’t understand or do we stick around to find out more?
One of the ways that we are encouraged to know our Savior is to understand the Kingdom of God. Jesus uses many parables to illustrate what the Kingdom looks like and we are privileged to access this knowledge right at the source. When we want to know more about Him, we have an accurate picture of Christ and His realm. We can access this again and again by reading the words of Jesus himself. We do not need to rely on other Christians to give us a complete picture. We can go and engage with Him and have our minds blown repeatedly. [Reader: the first person to arrive at group] Matthew 6: 19-24 (ESV) 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 destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 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! 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. [Reader: group leader ask the following questions.] ● What do you think it means to “store up treasure in heaven?” How can you do this? ● Do you give eternal treasures much thought? Is your focus on the “stuff” we have here on Earth? [Reader: person without shoelaces] 1. There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times). 2. The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR). 3. Yet, 1 out of 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades (New York Times Magazine). 4. While 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy). 5. The United States has more than 50,000 storage facilities and more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage
space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing (SSA). *See these statistics and more here: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/clutter-stats/ [Reader: group leader] ● Are the words Jesus spoke 2,000 years ago about “storing up earthly treasures” still relevant? ● Do you personally have a “possession obsession?” How would you recognize this? ● Is your desire to obtain the newest phone, car, or fashion accessory greater than your desire to obtain a deeper understanding of Jesus? [Reader: the latest birthday in the year] When we hear these verses or statistics, it is easy to point fingers at money and other things. Our human understanding operates at a surface level. Our sinful nature and the enemy take full advantage of this. We shy away from looking too deeply at our flaws and find it easier to blame money, possessions, or any other thing that doesn’t require us to hold a mirror up to our inner person. Once again, Jesus beckons us to go deeper. He doesn’t talk about method. He talks about motive. He isn’t going to give us formulas, specifics, or amounts. He is going to bypass all that and go right to the heart and examine our intentions towards money. If your heart is focused on money, it cannot be focused on God! If your eyes are constantly looking at earthly riches and treasures, you can’t be looking at God’s Kingdom and His treasure. You can’t be devoted to serving both worlds, both Kingdoms, both treasures. You must choose. We cannot be double minded with this or anything else in the Kingdom of God. [Reader: person who hasn’t read tonight] 1 Timothy 6:10 (NCV) The love of money causes all kinds of evil. Some people have left the faith, because they wanted to get more money, but they have caused themselves much sorrow.
English Standard Version (ESV) For 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. New King James Version (NKJV) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. New International Version (NIV) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. [Reader: group leader] It is important to note that while there are four different translations of this verse here, however the first sentence is nearly identical. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Many people shorten this verse to say, “money is the root of all evil,” but miss the point completely. It is the LOVE of money that is a root of all kinds of evil. Money itself is neither bad nor good. It has no human attributes or abilities. Money, left alone on a table or in a wallet, can do no harm. It is once the eye and desire of humans fall on it that problems can arise. If your mind is on the Kingdom and things of eternal value, money is a useful tool, not a problem. In looking at the second half of the verse, we see if you love money, you can fall prey to all kinds of evil. It clearly states that people have left their faith because of their greed and were PIERCED with sorrow. This is such strong wording. Judas Iscariot experienced this kind of piercing grief, after betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. [Reader: person to your left] Matthew 27: 3-5 (ESV) When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.
[Reader: Let the person who just read choose another to read] Make no mistake, loving money is a great temptation that comes with grave consequences. Because the worldly kingdom runs on money, we are tempted to stack it up. It seems we can never have enough and the fear of running out can easily grip us. When earthly comforts can be purchased with cash, it is all too easy to use money as a security blanket, or worse — as a way to finance and satisfy our sinful desires. The enemy counts on this mindset. If we take our eyes off of Jesus, we can easily become snagged. [Reader: group leader] Luke 18:18-30 Once a religious leader asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’ ” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich. When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” ● If having money isn’t wrong, why do you think Jesus asked the rich man to give away everything he owned to follow him? ● Is there anything in your life that you would not part with to follow Christ, if God asked you to? ● What does Jesus say about the rich getting into heaven? Why would he say this if it isn’t wrong to be rich? ● What does Jesus say will happen to those who give up things for the sake of the Kingdom?
● If you woke up tomorrow with $0, would you trust God to take care of you? Would it strengthen or weaken your faith in His goodness? [Reader: group leader] Directions: Lead the group in prayer regarding our hearts in relationship to money and other worldly treasure. Thank God for His wisdom and care, and ask Him to reveal any misplaced devotion to things or money we may have. Before closing, have a moment of silent prayer so each group member may listen for answers the God may be providing. *Pass out paper and pens after the prayer is complete. Ask each group member to do the following: [Reader: someone who has not read] Action Steps (Group time) 1. Please write down any issues the Lord brought to you mind during prayer time, or you feel He may have brought to your attention before. If there weren’t any, please write down any areas that you feel like you need to improve on, but haven’t yet addressed. 2. Think about why you are struggling with this issue(s) or area in your life. Write down reasons why you think change is needed. 3. Write down what is holding you back from moving forward with God on this issue. 4. Take a moment to pray for God to give you exactly what you need to confront this stronghold in your life and conquer it. 5. Memorize AND use Philippians 4:13 this week. “I can do all things through Christ because He gives me strength.” 6. If you feel comfortable, please share with the group what issues or attitudes about material possessions or money you’re planning to work on. 7. GROUP- Throughout the week, check in with one another how they’re doing with it this week. You may contact them in via email, text, phone or in person and encourage one another! [Reader: a volunteer]
Jesus isn’t asking us to take a vow of poverty. He never asked the wealthy that supported His ministry to give all their money away. He isn’t saying that money is evil. He is asking us to make sure our eyes are on Him in all we do. When that is true, money is in its proper place. Watch Video: Treasures in Heaven “It isn’t that Jesus doesn’t want us to have money. He doesn’t want money to have us.” – Rob King, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Cincinnati Church When our idol is money and our eyes are focused on that, we sin. We serve the thing we love. Look at these verses and really listen to what is being said. 1 Timothy 6: 17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. [Reader: group leader] Directions: Leader: ask the following questions. Anyone may answer and discuss. What is the first command given in these verses? Where are we instructed to put our hope? What does it say God will do for us? What else are the rich commanded to do? If the rich follow this command, what does the verse say they will be doing? Verse 19 speaks of taking hold of the life that is truly life. What do you think this means and do you want it? ● Is there anything in these verses and commands that indicates that the rich should not be rich? ● Do you believe it is possible to be rich and to still have a heart for God? Why or why not? ● ● ● ● ● ●
[Reader: start with the person on the right of the leader and take turns.]
HOW? Stop buying into the lie! The enemy sells us the lie that “this is all there is.” We are constantly being led to believe that this world is our home, therefore we should put all our efforts into making ourselves as comfortable and secure as possible. As long as we believe this, our focus is fixed on this world, rather than God. This tethers us here and keeps our eyes off of the things God promises us. Colossians 3:1-4 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS! *Worldliness is an attitude towards life that says, “this is all there is.” Jesus draws our attention towards heaven. We should always be aware that we are passing through to a better place, just as Abraham did. We are NOT home yet! We should be living in tents, not putting down permanent foundations here. Abraham left everything he knew to follow God to a place that God had for him. The Bible reveals this about where we are going: John 14:2-4 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Revelation 21: 1-4 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
[Reader: person who woke up earliest] We must remember where our treasure is…and that our inheritance is in Jesus. We must keep looking ahead and moving toward this heavenly treasure: our eternal life with Him. Ephesians 1:11-14 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. [Reader: group leader] As long as we are in this world, we have work to do for the Lord. We are to keep our eyes on Him, as a farmer focuses on a fixed spot in the distance to keep his rows straight. Jesus prayed this for us: My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. John 17: 15-16 [Reader: group leader] Directions: ask these questions and allow the group to answer and discuss them. ARE YOU WORLDLY? ● Are you more fired up about a candidate than you are for Christ? ● Are you instantly passionate about the election, but haven’t given a thought to baptism? ● Are your emotions are in tune with the stock market? ● Do you spend time in the mirror focused on what your face or body looks like? But forget to bring your heart before God for Him examine it? ● Are you are becoming more cynical as you age? ● How do you feel about these questions?
WHAT CAN WE DO TO STORE UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN? ● Admit that everything belongs to God. Our family, kids, talents, abilities, and belongings are God’s. We are stewards. Take good care of things. We are all interim leaders — manage it well and leave it better than you found it. ● Have a custodian’s or manager’s mindset—not an owners. The King gives us things to manage, then checks back in to get an account of what we did with what we were given. He is coming back and we will give an account. What are you doing with the stuff God gave you? ● Simplify your life in order to give generously to God’s Kingdom. Our problem is that we don’t want to do things for God or don’t have a good heart. We are just too busy. There are things you want to do or can do in the Kingdom, but you don’t do because your life is jam packed. ● We can choose not to do every hobby, sport, activity or thing because we want to be able to focus on the Kingdom. You can’t do it all. If you want the time to truly invest in the Kingdom, something has to give. ● Live with the end in mind. What is it that needs to change for you to make the investment in God’s Kingdom? Not just money, but time, talent, energy, etc. [Reader: group leader] Directions: ask for a volunteer to close in prayer or you close. Be sure to send a copy of Action Steps (Home time) home with each group member and encourage them to check in on each other this week. Action Steps (Home time) 1. Write down Philippians 4:13 in three places that you will see it this week. (Examples: An index card you carry in your purse or pocket; A whiteboard in your kitchen; A post it note on your office or home computer; or on your bathroom mirror using dry erase markers). 2. Each time you see your visual reminder, read it aloud or to yourself 3 times.
3. Pray about the issues you are working on this week. Finish each prayer by asking God to give you strength and believing that He will. 4. Each and every time temptation comes in an area of struggle, recite Philippians 4:13….multiple times, if needed! “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Focus on the fact that it is His strength that we are relying on and trust that it is mighty. Remember that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. 5. Call on someone from the group to pray with you when your struggle feels overwhelming. ***BONUS HOME ACTION STEP*** Read the story of Abraham, beginning in Genesis 12 and contemplate this journey. God asked Abraham to leave everything he knew and head into an unknown place. Consider how many questions Abraham probably had, the difficulty of moving so many people and animals by foot and camel (No movers or U-hauls!), and the fact that he trusted in the promises of God enough to just go. Abraham focused on what he was told, and what would be waiting for him and his descendants. It was enough to keep him going. Much is made of Abraham’s faith, and rightly so. He could have just stayed put and not trusted what God said. He could have looked at the comfort of his current home, thought about the sweaty, difficult journey ahead and just decided it wasn’t worth it to try. How many blessings would he have forfeited? How many blessings have we forfeited?