Tuesday, June 6th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Wells of Living Water Commentary Wells of Living Water
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Matthew 5". "Living Water". https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ lwc/ matthew-5.html.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Matthew 5". "Living Water". https://studylight.org/
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The Sermon on the Mount
1. The key to the Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew 4:23 : "preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom."
Before the Lord sat a great crowd of people and among them His own disciples. As He looked into those hungry faces He saw the same needs there, that we would see in any audience today. The one yearning of their hearts was that they might find happiness. They had failed. Many thought that wealth would make them happy. They had been disillusioned. They had sought laughter and pleasure, but found only sorrow.
2. As Christ looked into the faces of those people He opened His mouth and taught them the true secret of happiness. The word "blessed" means "happy." He showed them that true happiness could not be found among the material things of this life, but rather in the spiritual. He taught them that there was no true happiness until they had found the life hereafter and had learned to live for another world.
3. Christ summed up true happiness in the beatitudes. " Blessed are the poor in spirit" He said. The audience doubtless gasped. They had thought that the man who could be proud of his accomplishments here on earth was the happy man. But Christ said that the happy man was poor in spirit. There are many people who are poor in material wealth, but very little poverty of spirit is ever made manifest.
Again Christ shocked His audience, "Blessed are they that mourn," He continued. Certainly people never choose to shed tears today. It has been the custom from time immemorial to pity those whose sorrow causes them to mourn.
When Christ continued and said, "Blessed are the meek" the people were doubtless horrified. Meekness is gentleness. The meek man is too big to be offended. But the meek man is always downtrodden.
Certainly there could be no joy in "hungering and thirsting," even if it were for righteousness. Anyway sin is that which the world seeks after when they want happiness.
"Why be merciful? Justice is more satisfying to the human heart when one is injured by another. Mercy requires suffering on the part of the one who shows mercy, inasmuch as some one must suffer because of sin.
Was it true that purity of heart would make one happy? Most people tread the paths of sin in search of happiness. To be a peacemaker is to place oneself as a target for both disagreeing parties. And finally, there could be no joy in being persecuted, misrepresented, slandered and reviled I
4. Christ taught these people that true happiness would be reaped hereafter, by suffering now. In order to fully appreciate the comfort of a Saviour for eternity, one must sorrow now and go through the fires of trial. Sunshine is never appreciated until it rains. He proved that it paid to be. meek, for the meek will inherit the earth. The proud are not the type of people Christ will choose as rulers for His Kingdom hereafter.
The man who has no hunger for righteousness will never eat and partake of the Bread of Life. People are not merciful who do not know the Lord and will never show nor receive mercy. God is sinless and will not fellowship sin. One must be pure in heart to see God. But when the Blood of Christ cleanses your heart, one of these days you will actually see God! Furthermore there is no peace until one knows the Saviour as their Saviour, A peacemaker is a soul-winner, and soul-winners will shine like the stars in eternity, and "be called the children of God." Suffer now, and be rewarded when Jesus Christ comes again. Truly the Beatitudes are the secret of everlasting and eternal happiness.
I. WHAT WE ARE (Matthew 5:12-14 )
1. "Ye are the salt of the earth." Salt has many uses. It is used as a seasoning. It is used as a preservative. It is used as an antiseptic. The Christian is the salt of this world. If it were not for the Christian, the world would be much more corrupt than it is today. Satan would then have complete sway. Even the unsaved recognize the need of the Christian in the world. No one would want to live in a city without a church nor a Bible, even though they themselves were not Christians.
Christians who have lost their savor are worthless. Loss of savor can be the result of sin, or of a compromising position. If we are to have any useful place in the world we must keep our standards high.
The flavorless Christian is good for nothing. He might as well be cast out. Even the sinners despise the Christian who does not live up to his own Christian standards! He is trodden under the feet of men. Are you good for nothing? Wake up, and live for God. Stand true.
2. "Ye are the light of the world." The world has no light except that which shines forth from the Christian. If our light be hid, men will never know the Way of Life. Don't ever allow your light to be hid under the bushel of sin. Again, be sure that you do not hide your light by the wrong position. A city on a hill can be seen for miles around. It simply can't be hid. On the other hand many cities built in the valleys are never seen, though their light is shining brightly. Many Christians are not serving in the place where God wants them to serve. He wants them to be doctors and they are preachers. He wants them to preach and be missionaries and they are street cleaners. Build on the mountain top of God's will and your light cannot and will not be hid.
II. JESUS CHRIST THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS (Matthew 5:17-20 )
1. Has the Law passed away? No. The Law is still God's perfect standard of righteousness. Is it true that we are under Grace, and not Law? Yes. We are saved by the Grace of God, through faith, and that not of works. We cannot do anything to be saved. We are saved through the Blood of Christ. He finished the work of our salvation. Our good life neither saves us, nor keeps us saved. Christ saves and keeps. However, when we are saved we live for Him, for we become new creatures, the sons of God. God lives in us. We live new lives. We keep the Law. Under Law, man fails.
When Jesus Christ enters the heart we through love and the power of the Holy Spirit keep the Law which men cannot keep otherwise. It is still God's perfect standard. And through Christ it is kept. Therefore He came not to destroy the Law, but, through His death and power, to keep the Law.
2. Those who keep the Law will be the great men of the Kingdom. Teaching the Law is good, but, to teach the Law and not do the Law is contradictory. James describes the man who reads the Law without fulfilling it in his life, as a man who looks in a mirror, and remarks how dirty is his face. Then, straightway, he forgets about it, and does nothing to remedy it. Law shows us our need. Let us live accordingly. How many people there are today who read the Bible and attend church, but live on as if they had never heard the truth.
3. Righteousness a condition of Kingdom entrance. The Pharisees were probably the strictest moralists of their day. They prided themselves upon their good lives. Their religion was a religion of good works. They were trying to get to Heaven on their own righteousness. Christ said that no one could enter into Heaven unless they were better than the Pharisees. The only way our righteousness can exceed, or even reach the righteousness of the Pharisees is in the forgiveness of our sins through Christ. Imputed righteousness is ours through Christ. But this verse means more. If we are to share in Christ's Kingdom, and enter into the glories of the Kingdom, experiencing the rewards of the righteous, we must live and fulfill the Law in a greater sense, than did the Pharisees.
III. THE LITERALNESS OF HELL (Matthew 5:22 )
1. The judgment. Five times in the 5th chapter of Matthew Christ says, "Ye have heard," and then contrasts the Law as read, with "But I say unto you." In each instance He is showing that under the Law of Moses men were judged for their sinful deeds, while in the Kingdom men would be judged for their sinful motives. In other words, if a man has murder in his heart, he will be judged even before he commits the crime. Such a judgment today would be impossible, upon our part, inasmuch as we do not know the intent nor the motive of any man's heart. But when Christ judges this earth in person He will know, and judge the motive.
In the Millennium we will not need to lock our doors, nor have any fear for our lives. Criminals will be punished before they commit a crime. Christ will rule with holiness on the bells of the horses.
The judgment in Christ's day, consisted of a senate that had the power to sentence men to death. Christ states here that in the Millennium this senate will be restored, and will sentence men who have the hatred of murder in their hearts.
2. The Jewish council was the Sanhedrin. A like Sanhedrin will act again, with power of life and death, as it did yesterday.
3. Hell fire is the "danger" of the man who has murder in his heart. Christians will not have murder in their hearts during the Kingdom age, however the sinner will receive punishment and be in danger of hell.
IV. FIRST THINGS FIRST (Matthew 5:23-24 )
1. The first of reconciliation. While the standards of the Sermon on the Mount have a direct application to the Law of the Kingdom age, nevertheless, their standards apply today. We, as Christians, should live them today even as men must live them tomorrow when Christ comes.
How foolish it is for a man to try to bring gifts to God, when he owes his neighbor. How ridiculous it is for a man to bring his gifts to God when he has wronged his brother. All the gifts in the world cannot and will not be received, until we have made right that which is wrong with our brother. Our fellowship is absolutely severed with God when we are living in known sin. That sin must be forgiven. To have that sin forgiven we must willingly do all in our power to correct it. It was Zacchaeus who said, "If I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I will restore him fourfold." The newspapers, some time ago, recorded how one man went to another man and confessed that nineteen years ago he was a thief and had robbed him. He repaid him with interest, after stating that he had robbed many men and spent many years in repaying them all, because he had been saved. He paid his last debt. Christians are not satisfied, until they have made reconciliation.
2. The first of seeking God. Another verse in the Sermon on the Mount that parallels with the one above, is Matthew 6:33 , "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." There can never be any lasting joy till Christ comes. There can never be any sure and lasting peace on earth until Christ comes. There can be no satisfaction in things down here until Christ comes. The things of earth are a mirage. But when the Kingdom is a reality, and Christ rules and reigns, peace and everlasting joy will be forever. Seek ye first the Kingdom. Seek ye first His righteousness. All these things will then truly be added unto you. Live for tomorrow and eternity; not for the things that will fade and pass away.
V. THE LAW OF PURITY (Matthew 5:29 )
1. The single eye is spoken of in Matthew 6:22 . What is the single eye? The single eye is the eye that only sees one thing. The single eye is centered upon the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The sins of this world are foreign to its sight. The single eye is in covenant with God not to behold evil. The single eye is so centered on Christ, that it has no time to look upon filthy pictures and obscene views. There are too many Christians wearing bifocal glasses. They are trying to behold the things of God and the things of sin at one time, and their whole soul is darkened. Bifocal eyes see two ways at once. The bifocal eye is a compromising eye.
2. The sanctity of marriage and the marriage vow is discussed at length in this chapter in connection with the single eye. How lightly do people consider the promises they make in marriage today. This covenant between man and God is constantly being broken. The Lord labels such sin in no uncertain terms.
Marriage is more than a vow. It is a type. It is the type of Christ and His love for His Bride the Church. Revelation describes the beautiful Home that He has prepared for His Bride. And in that Book we read of the glorious Marriage and Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and the Church. Her immaculate and brilliant white clothing is described.
When we make a marriage vow we must remember that we are a picture of His marriage. That we should love one another and be willing to lay down our life for our bride; and our bride should be subject to her husband as the Church is to Christ.
There can be no happy home nor successful marriage unless Christ is the Head of the home. He must be recognized with a family altar and the reading of God's Word. No marriage can succeed otherwise.
VI. THE LAW OF ACCEPTABLE SPEECH (Matthew 5:33-37 )
1. "Thou * * shalt perform unto the Lord thine oath." How careless Christians are in the things that they promise. How many times they agree to do a thing, and never carry out their pledge. If anyone's word should be dependable, it should be the word of the Christian. Many parents warn their children that they will punish them if they disobey, but they never carry out their threats. Again, they promise rewards, but they never give rewards. Even ministers are oftentimes guilty of making engagements, and not fulfilling them. Men have broken faith one with another, individually, nationally and internationally. Why? Because they have forgotten God. Business cannot stand, no nation can stand, the world itself cannot stand if oaths are not made to be kept. Nations that have turned atheistic cannot be trusted. Men who have forgotten God, break their contracts. God describes the days in which we live, with the words, "trucebreakers" (2 Timothy 3:3 ). Our world depression is the result of covenant breaking. We have forgotten God. Underlying all of our trouble is a spiritual need.
2. The sin of lying. Let your words be positive. Let them be true. Say yea, or nay. Do not speak in uncertain, nor in contradictory terms. How many people speak only half the truth. What they say is half true, but not altogether true. A half truth is more dangerous than a lie because it is more deceiving than a lie. People will not detect its error as readily as an out and out lie. A Christian should be careful to tell the whole truth and all of the truth. Be always ready to give a full account of your faith. Don't be ashamed of your trust in God, and of your belief in the things of God. Speak in positive terms, telling what you know and not what you think. Let your words be yea, yea, and nay, nay.
VII. THE LAW OF THE SECOND MILE (Matthew 5:41 )
1. The other cheek (Matthew 5:39 ). It is harder to turn the other cheek than it is to give your cloak also, or to walk the second mile. To turn the other cheek is to suffer personal injury. To turn the cheek is to injure one's pride. And yet the Lord says that if anyone would do us injury, we are to return good for evil.
2. The cloak also. To give "the cloak also" is to sacrifice personal property. In other words, if one would take from you part of your possessions, give them all of your possessions.
3. The second mile. Not only are we to suffer personal injury without retaliation, and to suffer property damage without retaliation, but we are to be of service to others when they ask. We are not only to do, in all kindness, what we are asked to do, but also we are to da even more. We are to do all we can, for even our enemies.
An early settler of Ephrata, Pennsylvania, walked all during the night through the sleet and the snow over the mountains. He went many many miles until he reached the camp of General George Washington, just to beg a pardon for a man who was to be shot at sunrise. Said General Washington, "If he is a friend of yours I would like to pardon him, but I cannot pardon him even for a Christian friend, and a minister." "Ah," said the preacher, "That is just it. He is the only enemy I have in this world. I have walked miles to show some kindness to him, in saving his life. I can't let him die an enemy of mine."
Oh, Christian, if the love of Christ has filled your life, you must not have an enemy on this earth. Go the second mile!
"Do you remember the story of the artist who had wrought so long upon an angel statue, and who concealed himself that he might hear what the master Michelangelo would say about it? The master looked upon it while, with breathless suspense, the young artist waited and listened for his verdict As he listened, he heard Michelangelo say, 'It only lacks one thing. So nearly brokenhearted did the young sculptor become, that he could neither eat nor sleep, until a friend of his, in deep concern for him, made his way to Michelangelo's studio and inquired what it was the statue lacked. The great artist said, 'Man, it lacks only life; with life it would be as perfect as God Himself could make it.'
"Many people honestly fail to understand this. They cannot see the difference between a man's morality and a Christian's righteousness. Why a moral man should not simply grow better and better until he is good enough to enter the Kingdom of God, they say they cannot see. But it's the difference between a lifeless statue and a living soul. The difference between a man's morality and a Christian's righteousness is a difference not of quantity but of quality." W. E. B.
Even so even the Beatitudes are far beyond us, unless we have the life of Christ made manifest within to live out their holy precepts.
The Sermon on the Mount (Continued)
Matthew 5:43-48 ; Matthew 6:1-15
I. A FOURFOLD COMMAND
1. "Love your enemies." The whole world loves those who love them. That is only natural. But the Lord asks us to go a step farther. He wants us to be better than the world. He wants us to actually love our enemies. Many people try to evade this command by saying that it is not for today. Of course this Scripture is applicable directly to the Kingdom age, but if it is for today, as well as for tomorrow God's people should practice this perfect standard today.
After all, did not Christ love us all while we were yet in sin, and die that we might be saved? Does He not want all men to be saved? Has He not intrusted us with the preaching of the Gospel to the lost? Can we ever win men, until we have first learned to love them?
After all, if we can love our enemies, they will soon love us, and love our Lord; and we will have no enemies. If we have enemies it is our fault. We have not loved them enough.
2. "Bless them that curse you." The natural man immediately seeks to cast slander upon the man who curses him. He wishes to get even. He seeks for vengeance. One curse, with them, brings another curse. They forget that "a soft answer turneth away wrath." There would be no wars, if nations would bless when they are cursed. There would be no hatred, if men would bless when cursed. After all, can men hurt you by cursing you? No. Only God can curse a man. Therefore if a man curses you, remind yourself that he can do you no lasting harm by cursing you. He is merely uncovering the hatred of his heart toward you. You are merely reminded that you have an enemy to win as a friend. Bless him. Speak kindly to him, and of him. Love your enemy. "A soft answer turneth away wrath."
3. "Do good to them that hate you." Two farmers who lived on adjoining farms quarreled continuously, until they actually hated one another. They did all that they could to cause trouble, one for the other. One of them went so far as to deliberately turn his cows loose into his neighbor's truck garden. He was fined, time and again, and gladly paid for the damage done simply because of the satisfaction it gave him to see his neighbor's farm damaged.
The one farmer was saved and began to show kindness to this atheist who hated him so much. One day when the cows were turned into his truck garden, he carefully herded them and took them home, putting them in their barn. He proceeded to water and feed them. He then told the atheist that he had returned his cows for him. The atheist pulled out his check book to write out a check, but the Christian refused to accept it. He had returned good for evil and refused to even demand damages or accept them. The atheist said, "You must take this check or else you will compel me to become a Christian." "Do good to them that hate you." They will soon love you. They will soon love your Christ.
4. "Pray for them which despitefully use you." Pray for their souls. Men who spitefully use you need to know God. They need to know more of God's love. They would not do what they do if they were saved, and living close to the Saviour. Only carnal Christians spitefully use a brother. Then they need your help in prayer. Do not sin against them in failing to pray for them. They will never be different until you pray for them.
II. THE REASON FOR THE COMMAND
1. Like father like son. Does not our Heavenly Father cause the rain to fall both upon the good and the bad? "When the infidel curses God, our Father is too big to try to retaliate. He continues to shower good upon the evil one in hope that he might repent and be saved. If our Heavenly Father sets such an example of love, how can we do otherwise?
2. A reward in Heaven is offered unto those who show kindness in return for evil. If we should try to retaliate, and give vengeance, we cannot really give it, as it is deserved. "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." The Lord "will repay" in a way in which we cannot. There is a time of judgment coming and God will seek vengeance upon those who have wronged us. At the judgment seat the Lord will reward and make good any damage we have suffered.
3. A long way to perfection. Perfection, as it is used here, means "full growth." But how many of us there are who act like little babies, little infants. We cry and squeal fuss and fight, fume and sputter, as if we were but children. Babies taking bottles! Let us grow until we are full-grown, too big to be ruffled by the trials of life.
I. GIVING ALMS (Matthew 6:1-3 )
1. Not to be seen of men. What is the motive of your gift when you bring your tithes to the House of God? Are you giving because you love the Lord? Are you giving because God's Word commands it? Are you giving as a steward of the Lord's funds, for which you are accountable?
It is a known fact that the church that takes up their offering in a way in which the public is cognizant of the amounts given, and the donors who give, that that church receives more funds than they would otherwise. Is not this a confession that we do not give out of love for the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel, when such methods are necessary?
When we are filled with the love of Christ for the lost, when we once catch a vision of the gift of Calvary in all its fullness and sacrifice, we will give because our love for the Saviour compels us to do so.
2. Not sounding a trumpet. In the day of Christ wealthy men gave in the synagogues, in order that their names might be proclaimed in the markets and in the Temple. They wanted to be recognized as great philanthropists. Not only did they have a wrong motive; they had a wrong objective. They appeared to be giving to the poor, while, in reality, they were giving to buy popularity for themselves. When you give, give to pay a debt to the lost. Give to lay up treasures in Heaven. Give to the Lord as a token of your worship.
3. But in secret. If our gifts are given in secret then we may safeguard ourselves against false motives, and false objectives. Many people use this method of giving as an excuse to escape giving. They give the Lord, secretly , a dime, knowing that if they gave publicly they would have given a dollar. Let us not do that, but instead let us give in secret more than we would have given otherwise, that Christ may be glorified.
II. PRAYING (Matthew 6:5-7 )
1. Not to men. Prayer is talking with God. It includes not only our talking to Him, but also His talking to us through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Many, many times, however, men pray to men rather than to God. "Was not that a beautiful prayer?" is the remark we often hear. Prayers that are prayed for the sake of their beauty in the ears of men do not reach God.
How often men pray a sermon. God knows more about the Bible than you do. When you pray a sermon, surely you are not talking to God but to men.
2. Not with vain repetition. The heathen pray in vain repetition. Some pray a prayer that has been written out. They read it, but do not mean what they read. It is vain repetition. Still others say grace daily out of force of habit, or pray before retiring at night, merely repeating words, but not meaning or even so much as comprehending what they are saying. It is vain repetition. They pray for food when their cellars and pantries are full. This prayer was given as a model with strict instructions that it should not be prayed in vain repetition.
3. But in secret to the Father. Public prayer is a good thing of course. But the public is no place for long prayers. There is always the temptation to pray to men, rather than with men to God. The secret closet is the true place for prayer. Public prayer is not enough. We need to pray in a united body. There is power in united prayer, but the secret prayer closet is the place where we uncover the innermost secrets and problems of our hearts.
The secret prayer must not be neglected nor overlooked. Be sure that you spend much time alone with God every day, for the sake of fellowship; and also that you might uncover those things that otherwise would never be brought before the Lord in public.
III. A MANNER OF PRAYING (Matthew 6:9-11 )
1. Hallowing God's Name. In the model prayer the Lord Jesus Christ set down in order the topics that should be the theme of our conversation with God. The first thing that we should observe in our conversation with our Heavenly Father is a reverence for His Name and Person. We cannot enter into His presence until we have first removed our shoes from our feet, as did Moses before the burning bush. In approaching the Father, we approach Him, through the Blood of Christ, in all reverence. If we truly revere His Name, we truly love Him.
How many of us limit our prayers to asking God for our temporal needs. Sad to say, some people never pray until they are in need. Before you discuss yourself and your own needs and the needs of this earth, be sure to tell the Father that you love Him. He likes to be loved and revered. He appreciates your reverence and passion for Him.
2. For the coming Kingdom. More important than the things and problems of earth are the problems of the spiritual realm. The one thing that Christ talked most about after His resurrection, was the Kingdom. He wore a crown of thorns that He might reign. The Kingdom is of vital interest to the King. Then in our conversation with God let us talk to Him about His chief interest, of which we are a part. Invite the King to take His Kingdom.
3. After we have prayed to the Father about that which is of foremost interest in His life, then it is time enough to present that which is most important in our temporal welfare, namely, our personal needs. The Father causes the wheat to grow. Then why not ask the Father for bread, and thank Him for it. The Lord wants us to ask Him for our needs and has definitely promised to supply all our needs. Certainly bread is a primary need.
IV. A MANNER OF PRAYER (Matthew 6:12-13 )
1. Prayer for forgiveness demands that we forgive. How can we ask to be forgiven, when we do not forgive? After we have taken Christ as our personal Saviour, and have become the sons of God, we will never be judged as sinners. Our sins are forgiven. But as sons of God, we are punished as children for our sins. Therefore we need to be forgiven when we do evil, lest our Father punish His wayward child. There are times when we all need to be forgiven, therefore, we need to ask forgiveness.
Read the parable of Matthew 18:21-35 . The lesson there is this: If we do not forgive, our Father will not forgive us as His children; and will punish us. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth" (Hebrews 12:5-11 ).
2. Paying for deliverance. The word temptation here means "trial" or "testing." It undoubtedly has a particular reference to the Great Tribulation that is about to come upon this earth. But every day there are temptations which we face. The Lord does not permit us to enter into any temptation beyond that which we can withstand. Our testings are our purifying stones. Satan is only the pumice stone with which the Lord polishes His saints. Let us thank God for our troubles, and at the same time pray that we might live so close to the Lord that we will not have to be purified by the fires of trial.
3. Praying with adoration. The theme song of our lives should be the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we begin our prayer with reverence, let us close it with adoration. That Christ might be first and last always. Never close a prayer until you have expressed your love and appreciation as well as adoration for all that the Lord has done for us.
V. FASTING (Matthew 6:16-18 )
1. The bane of affected piety. Fasting was practiced as a means of expressing the deep distress of the hitman heart before God in prayer. It was sacrificial praying. Many of the people in that day fasted that they might appear to be very pious in the eyes of the people. They wanted others to think that they were religious and deeply spiritual.
The whited sepulcher on the outside, makes people forget the terrible corruption within. Christians, today, seldom fast to cover up the true condition of their sinful lives and hearts. However, they use other methods, such as taking active positions in churches and Sunday Schools. They make loud their testimonies in meetings that people might not suspect their evil deeds and hearts.
2. The sham of mere appearance. Mere appearance is no guarantee of genuineness. All that sparkles is not a diamond. Friendly words do not make a friendly heart. A wise person will not be deceived. Words do not make character. A Sunday cloak will not make a good Christian. Let your life be an open book before God, and pleasing to Him, and men will approve.
3. The test of the genuine. An inexperienced eye may be deceived into thinking that a piece of glass, cut as a diamond is cut, is a genuine diamond; but the trained eye will immediately detect the difference. Human eyes may be deceived by outward appearances, but never will God's expert eye be deceived. You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you cannot fool God any of the time.
VI. LAYING UP TREASURES (Matthew 6:19-21 )
1. Earthly treasure. "The stocks have crashed!" That was the cry that rang through the nation one day. "The banks have closed!" was the cry that followed. "I have been robbed," was the cry of others. Will people never learn that the things on this earth are only a passing mirage? We cannot pin our hopes and lives on dreams of air castles that crumble. Do not feel badly if you have lost earthly possessions. You will soon leave them all behind, when you go to Heaven. "The present world" for which Demas forsook Paul has long since fallen into ashes. Nothing is lasting on this earth. The entire earth will eventually flee away and be melted with a fervent heat. Do not invest your life and hopes down here. It is not a safe place to make an investment.
2. Heavenly treasures. A man in Germany shed tears because he had owned six homes and refused to give them to God. He gave only one to God. Within a few days the crash came and he lost the other five. The one he gave to missions is an everlasting investment in Heaven where thieves do not break through and where the wood will not deteriorate.
The rich young ruler was foolish. He turned away from Christ and retained his wealth for a few days. Today he owns nothing. Had he been poor then, he would have fabulous wealth in Heaven for eternity. Christ said the foxes have their holes, and the birds their nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head. Yet Christ owns the universe!
3. Feeling the pulse. We generally give to that which interests us. Likewise, our interests generally center about that upon which we have invested our riches. The man who reads the stock reports is the man who has invested in stocks. The man who gives to Heaven is interested in Heaven. The man who gives to Heaven is the man who is living for "Heaven.
If we live for earthly investments our eye will not be on Christ but on our money. It will not be singled on the Lord. Make all you can but do not "can" all you make. Work for God.
VII. THE FATHER CARETH (Matthew 6:25-33 )
1. Be without anxious thought. The man who worries does not trust. You cannot live a life of faith and worry at the same time. That is not trusting God. The life of faith is the best life. Worry never helped anybody. Worry never paid a bill. Worry never solved a problem. But worry has placed many a person in the cemetery, and made many others sick.
Trust instead of worrying. You will be happier. You need not worry because your Heavenly Father has never failed you, and never will. He knows what is best for your life and for you. You should be content to take it as it comes and thank Him for it, whether it be seemingly good or bad (Romans 8:28 ).
2. Take for example the fowls of the air. Their food is sufficient. Their clothing is gorgeous. The Heavenly Father cares for them. Did you ever see a dog worrying? No. Let us learn a lesson from God's creation.
3. The supreme quest. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Whenever we see anyone in need we cannot help but feel that they have not learned the secret of prayer and faith. For our God is "Able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think." If only people would learn to love the Lord, and to know Him they would find the answer to every need in life. And whether we have earthly things or not, if we have Christ, Himself, we have the supreme need of our souls. When His Kingdom is established after His Coming, they will neither hunger nor thirst.
How many there are, alas, who have no eyes to see the great spiritual truths of the "Sermon on the Mount."
"Alas, how often we come upon those who say they can see nothing in the Christian's Bible nor in the Christian religion. But neither the Bible nor the Christian religion is on trial today before such individuals after twenty centuries of triumphant history, during which the swelling chorus of numberless souls has lent testimony to the power of the Gospel as found in the one and to the satisfying worth of Christian experience as lived in the other. If one can see nothing in these things, there is a reason.
"When a man stood before one of Turner's unrivaled paintings and said, 'I can see nothing in it,' the great artist replied, 'Don't you wish you could?'
"Yes, there is a reason.
"There went one day into the famous Tribuna of the Uffizi Gallery of Art at Florence a tourist armed with his Guidebook that gave him at least an air of discernment. He went up to the Curator and said, " 'Are these your masterpieces?'
"'They are, Sir,' said the Curator.
"'Well, I certainly do not see much in them myself,' said the tourist.
"'Sir,' replied the Curator, 'these pictures are not on trial; it is the visitors who are on trial.'" (Unknown.)