If you could identify the number one illness which ails the American Church, what would that be? Immediately what comes to mind is materialism, or what some would describe as idolatry or covetousness. The level of materialism in the pulpits and the pews across this land is nothing less than putrefying.

How did this happen? Why didn’t the pastors and preachers and lay leaders stop this cancerous spiritual disease from spreading among its people? They have the same sickness and they are bound to it in a sad and pathetic way. Oh, don’t point fingers, you and I are susceptible and if not now suffering of it, have in the not too distant past been afflicted by it. It comes from our wills demanding precedence over our spirit.

Our blessed Lord warned us, commanded us, against materialism and yet we ignore this part of His Sermon on the Mount to the detriment of our lives, families, churches, communities, and our nation. Spreading and multiplying like a cancerous cell or a wicked entangling web, we as a nation, because of the state of the church, are enslaved to materialism. Look how our Lord tried to warn us:

    “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 lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:19-24)

Jesus will later tell the Pharisees to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). The commandment provides protection and provision because it is exactly our heart, soul, and mind that become enslaved to materialism.

Jesus warned us to not lay up treasures on earth and it is with our hearts we do the gathering. Our Lord also warned us that we will lose such corruptible things and if we have placed our hearts among our treasures, what then shall happen to our hearts if we lose those earthly treasures?

When we recognize that all we have is because of the Heavenly Father, then we bring Him the glory He so richly deserves, and thus we lay up treasures in heaven. Looking around today gives us great earthly concern for our well-being and the survival of America. But when we keep our focus on Heaven in 2011 we understand that should the seemingly impossible occurrence of America being lost happen, all that we have gathered awaits us in eternity.

Our hearts drive our minds; of what we love upon that we shall meditate. If we love Scripture we will meditate on it. If we love the Lord Jesus Christ we shall mediate upon Him. If we love money then our thoughts will be captured by it. Our eyes are the windows to our minds and all we gaze upon either brightens or darkens our minds. This is the lesson of verses 22-23. If all you are and all you do is to gain money, then I confidently submit you are living a life of darkness and all of life seems dark. And to quote Wiersbe, “outlook determines outcome.”

But that is not the end of it. If my heart is enslaved by riches and my mind is blinded by materialistic darkness, then my soul, the center of my will, shall follow along as an obedient servant. Remember what Joshua declared?

    “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of 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.” (Joshua 24;15)

To whom will you give your allegiance? Jesus did not give us the option of serving two masters; common sense does not allow it! Either you will serve the Lord Jesus Christ or you will serve money. Which do you call Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ or the Lord Mammon?

Once again our old friend Matthew Henry puts Scripture into perspective in such a way it could have been written yesterday instead of centuries ago:

    There are treasures in heaven. It is our wisdom to give all diligence to make our title to eternal life sure through Jesus Christ, and to look on all things here below, as not worthy to be compared with it, and to be content with nothing short of it. It is happiness above and beyond the chances and changes of time, an inheritance incorruptible. The worldly man is wrong in his first principle; therefore all his reasonings and actions based on it must be wrong. It is equally to be applied to false religion; that which is deemed light is thick darkness. This is an awful, but common case; we should therefore carefully examine our leading principles by the Word of God, with earnest prayer for the teaching of His Spirit. A man may do some service to two masters, but he can devote himself to the service of no more than one. God requires the whole heart, and will not share it with the world.

“Choose for yourselves this day who you will serve…”

And choose well my beloved because all that seems valuable here on earth with worldly eyes is a cheap facsimile of real treasure in heaven.

More on that tomorrow…

In Christ
Ps. 37:4

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    Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers


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