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Good Morning! I'm your host today, Brian Wilkie of St.
Andrew's Christian Church in Rockland. As we begin today, my prayer is that The Good
News of the Lord Jesus Christ would encourage and strengthen you today!
Treasures in Heaven
Good morning I'm your
host today Reverend Brian Wilkie of Saint Andrew's Christian Church in
Rockland. As we begin my prayer is that the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ
would encourage and strengthen you today.
As we look at the
scriptures today I want to share with you a scripture from Matthew chapter 6 in
which Jesus talks about putting your Treasures in Heaven, living so that your
life is aimed at pleasing God and waiting upon him for his good reward. So
let's listen to Matthew chapter 6 verse 19 to 27.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust
destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves
treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do
not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will
be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of
darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. 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 both
God and Money.
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or
drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than
food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the
air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly
Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by
worrying can add a single hour to his life?
The Holy Bible: New
International Version. (1984). (Mt 6:19–27). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
- The Words of Jesus
in The Gospel of Matthew. Therein Jesus is clearly pointing to a way of
living that is aimed heavenward, aimed towards the kingdom of God and concerned
about serving and pleasing God as the central feature of their life.
We’ll get to look at
that in a few moments, but first I would like you to hear this song of sung by
Jonathan McReynolds, a young man who was a graduate of Moody Bible Institute.
That's where I first encountered his music as he led worship and performed
there during a conference. In this song he focuses on his desire to have God in
the simply expressed ‘Gotta Have You’
What’s your Goal in
life? What is it you are looking for? The standard goal that many people will
put forward is happiness, which isn't a bad goal at all - for God has made us
to desire happiness - but with all the kinds of happiness that exist as
possibilities, what is the happiness that God has set on our hearts? What is
the joy that he would have us pursue? There's a huge difference between
pursuing worldly happiness and pursuing the joy that is eternal that comes from
God. Jesus points to that difference in this scripture where he speaks about
storing up Treasures in Heaven.
The kinds of
treasures you can store in heaven are different than the kinds of treasures you
can store on earth, and the outcome of those Treasures is very different, too.
Treasures on Earth are all temporal. Treasures on Earth decay, they are
destroyed by moth and rust, thieves break in and steal treasures set on Earth,
but those Treasures that are stored in heaven can never be taken away for they
are in the presence of God and they’re of a different nature than those
perishable things of Earth. So Jesus tells us that we need to pursue a
As I approach this
question I'm going to use a term that I learned from one of my co-hosts on this
radio show, George Sinclair, who told me about the idea of Therapeutic Moral
Deism. Now he's probably already spoken about this on previous shows, and you
have probably heard him talk about it, but let me just reiterate what
therapeutic deism is in my understanding of it.
First let's say that
it's a form of religion that too often replaces Christianity both in the church
and in our culture. Therapeutic moral deism is a form of religion that replaces
Christianity: in that sense it's a heresy, it's a misunderstanding of
Christianity. In other cases is it simply a completely different way of
looking at the world by that is held by some non Christians. Here is what it
kind of means for us.
The title describes
the mindset, if you break it down. The word therapeutic refers to the goal of
this world view, of this religious perspective. The goal of therapeutic deism
is healing and health and making your present life better, but the goal is
simply a worldly goal of making your life better. The possible ways that life
might be better might be in terms of wealth, might be in terms of Health or might
be in terms of popularity, Fame or importance. All these things which the Bible
in some translation describes as Mammon is much more than just the pursuit of
money. Mammon is the idea of all the worldly Goods, all the worldly attributes,
and goals that we might pursue. In therapeutic moral deism, the goal of life is
for God to make us better.
God's job, it seems,
is to wait on us hand and foot, is to provide for us the things we need to
achieve our goals and make us happy. That's how therapeutic moral deism looks
at the goal of life. The term moral refers to the method of achieving the goal:
obeying rules and principles of action. That's how you get to the happiness
that you desire for yourself. In therapeutic moral deism, in this mindset, the
idea is that the right principles the right actions will always result in
happiness, they will always result in in your good.
The third term
‘deism’ in therapeutic moral deism says that the goal of Happiness which is
going to be achieved by moral action has a place for God in it. Deism is a
theological term which describes the expected action of God in this process.
Deism does not refer to the God of the Bible, who acts in history and works
moment-by-moment sustaining all things and blessing and injecting his presence
and Grace into the world. Instead deism refers to the god of some philosophers
who imagine a great power that set the Universe on its course and then
abandoned it, ceasing from all further activity. In therapeutic more the idea
is that the world is set up by God in such a way that if you live right
everything will work out in your favor. God doesn't actually have to do
anything because he set up the world properly in the first place.
Now you can see that
these terms describe the universe in which God has set a moral order which
causes things to work out for a happy life as long as people follow the rules.
This goal has nothing to do with God, the means to achieve it has nothing to do
with God, and there is no help to be had from God, for God has nothing further
to do with the world.
That's the idea of
therapeutic moral deism. With such high sounding words it may sound like a
rare, esoteric kind of philosophy but it's actually, practically how many
people live their lives. They pursue their own goals, they try to do what's
right and follow whatever set of Commandments seems right to them. They hope
that by following the right rules they'll manage to get by without actually
needing God to intervene or play a part in their life.
As you can see this
false viewpoint of therapeutic moral deism is utterly opposed to Christianity,
for in Christianity the goal of life is to serve and love God at any cost and
the means of achieving this goal is grace operating through faith. The god who
calls us into this life is constantly with us to help us, direct us, and
restore us when we fall short.
Well I'm going to
take a deeper look at that how the Treasures in Heaven that Jesus speaks about
repudiates the idea of therapeutic moral deism and calls us to an entirely
different set of goals, an entirely different means of achieving those
goals and a walk with God in which God is active and living in our lives.
Before we do that, I
do want to have you listen to a song in which George Beverly Shea speaks about
life as a railway to Heaven. The goal of life is that goal in the Eternal
kingdom of God and this is from George Beverly Shea’s Album ‘I'd Rather Have
Jesus’ won't you listen to it with me?
Now when our Goal in
life is the kingdom of God, and we’re ready to learn from God that working
toward that goal means postponing some of our happiness until God establishes
his kingdom here on Earth. The lives of the saints the life of Jesus and of the
prophets and even of all of Israel shows the example that following God is not
a bed of roses, or a bowl of Cherries. Following God can meet can mean
trouble. God is calling us to these Treasures in Heaven and he points to something
beyond present-day prosperity, to Eternal rewards and eternal goals which are
often incompatible with Earthly well-being.
Remember the example
of Jesus, not just in going to the Cross, which he did, not that for his
comfort, but to bless us - he suffered there on the cross for us - but he also
demonstrates that the life of following God is a life of making daily
sacrifices. As he told his disciples, “Take up your cross daily and follow me.”
For when Jesus was teaching and healing and ministering he faced opposition
which is uncomfortable, and he faced really, really serious demands on his time
and his effort - so much so that there were often times when he needed to
withdraw and get apart because the press of the crowd was so demanding on him.
We find one scene in
the scriptures where he's asleep and in the midst of a great storm. We can
presume that part of the reason he was able to sleep through that storm was
because he was trusting in his heavenly Father to protect him, but we can also
understand that he was a man, a human being, with the limitations of God has
rightly put into the human frame, and he was tired after ministering and also
as he grieved, at that time in his life, grieved the death of John the Baptist.
Jesus made sacrifices
to serve the people of God as he lived on this earth and we shouldn't expect
that our life should be different than that.
Now I want to point
out that this idea of people pursuing earthly rewards and ignoring the kingdom
of God, ignoring the treasures in heaven that they are to store up, these are
not only people who live outside the church. Therapeutic moral deism is not
only found among unchurched people. Sure enough the gluttonous pursuit of
money food, sex and power is rampant and ungodly in the world but Jesus, in Matthew's
account of the Sermon on the Mount, describes religious Hedonism as well. The
passage that we read today about storing up Treasures in Heaven follows right
after Jesus talks about people who use generosity, in the church, and prayer,
in the church, and fasting, in the church, only to aggrandize themselves and to
seek the approval of people. So to the person who announces his gift with
trumpets and great Fanfare, Jesus says that person has received their reward in
full. They've gotten what they wanted, which was not the approval of God but
the applause of other people.
The person who prays
and praises only to be seen as holy, who's trying to show off how religious he
is. Or the person who fast and studies only to boast, these people are also
merely following the rules of religion to achieve selfish goals, using the name
of God as the disguise for their avarice. As Jesus says they have received
their reward in full and should expect no pat on the back from their Father in
Heaven. But let us confess we, too, come to God seeking our own happiness. We
to pray for health, food and money. Now in itself it's not wrong to ask your
Heavenly Father for good things, for he delights to provide for the needs of
his children but the Apostle James says it rightly in scripture when he writes
that too often we ask for these things only so that we can spend them on our
own pleasures, instead of using our health and strength and earthly treasure to
be effective ambassadors of the kingdom of God. Don’t we often pray for our own
comfort simply to enable us to have our hedonistic desires, our selfish
desires, here on Earth. Jesus instead tells us to trust our Heavenly Father for
God knows what we need. God is not passive, like the god of therapeutic moral
deism - he actively works in your life and circumstances - but not as a
domestic servant granting your plans but as a Sovereign Lord equipping his
servants for his purposes!
He will provide what
we need to accomplish his goals. The question, then, is, “are your eyes set on
the kingdom of God or are your eyes set on the darkness of your own selfish
desires?” Jesus says, “if your eyes are good then your whole body will be
filled with light but if your eyes are in the wrong place your whole soul will
be filled with Darkness.
Doesn't this remind
us that in the teaching of Jesus there is no guarantee of an untroubled life?
That's one of the hard truths, that Jesus does not promise an untroubled life.
Mind you, there is no escape from trouble for those who do not believe! There's
no escape from trouble for those who pursue selfish gain! Everybody experiences
trouble - but to be clear Jesus promises that in this world we will have
trouble!Those who receive Jesus can
turn to him to help us through the dark maze of this world and lead us into the
Eternal Light of his Everlasting Kingdom.
We do not worship a
God who is insensitive to our needs, yet he calls us to a higher goal. Nor do
we worship a God who leads us to accomplish this goal on our own but he comes
and walks with us and strengthens us for his purposes
Let's turn to this
God in Prayer, let us pray:
Almighty God thank
you that you are alive and living in this world that you are with us powerful
to work for your goals in our lives. May we, Almighty God, set our goals on
your kingdom, disdaining the Troubles of this world, willing to face anything
in order to glorify your name. May you make us a blessing to those who are lost
in this world through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Now as we conclude
the program you're going to hear a rather different piece of music from Group 1
Crew which speaks the gospel in a kind of Rap sort of way as they present the
message “Keys to the Kingdom” from Group 1 Crew.
Thank you for tuning in. If
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May you come to know Jesus
Christ personally and profoundly. May the Holy Spirit reside deeply within your
heart, and may you feel our heavenly Father surrounding you with his constant,
abiding and accompanying love. Good News In The Morning is produced in the
Studios of News Talk Radio 580 CFRA.
Rev. Brian Wilkie
St. Andrew's ChristianCommunity, Rockland, Ontario