"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
Gaining Mastery Over Mammon (Mt 6:19-24)
1. In writing to Timothy, Paul described the danger of seeking to be
a. The desire to be rich is filled with temptations which have
destroyed many – 1 Tim 6:9
b. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil which have led
many astray – 1 Tim 6:10
2. Jesus also described the difficulty of the rich entering the kingdom
a. When the rich young ruler asked concerning eternal life – Mt 19:16-22
b. Jesus said it was difficult, but not impossible – Mt 19:23-26
3. In Mt 6:19-24 , Jesus taught how it was possible…
a. For the rich person to have "treasure in heaven"
b. For us to overcome "mammon", which can easily enslave us
5. Thus if not careful, wealth and riches can become our "god"…
a. Paul called a covetous person an idolater – Ep 5:5
b. He told the Colossians to put to death "covetousness, which is
idolatry" – Col 3:5
[To prevent Mammon from become our "god", let’s examine the teachings
of our Lord as found in His sermon on the mount. Beginning with Mt 6:19,
we find the first of three keys to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon"…]
I. LAY UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN (Mt 19-21)
A. WHY IN HEAVEN, AND NOT ON EARTH…
1. On earth:
a. Moth and rust destroy (material things are perishable)
b. Thieves break in and steal (material things are subject to
2. In heaven:
a. Neither moth nor rust destroys (our treasures are
imperishable – 1 Pe 1:3-4)
b. Thieves do not break in and steal (our treasures are
securely guarded – 1 Pe 3:4-5)
B. WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR "HEART" (AFFECTIONS, HOPE,
DREAMS) WILL BE ALSO…
1. If your treasure is on earth, your heart will experience much
a. As things for which you have affection decay or are one day
destroyed by fire
b. As things in which you find your primary joy are suddenly
gone through things like theft
2. But if your treasure is in heaven, your heart will not suffer
a. For your treasure is "incorruptible, undefiled, and does
not fade away"
b. Nothing can take your treasure away from you, for it is
1) "reserved in heaven for you"
2) "kept by the power of God through faith"
3. With treasures laid up in heaven, whatever happens on earth
will not devastate you!
– cf. the Hebrew Christians in He 10:32-34
4. When these words of Jesus are taken to heart and applied, how
true His words in Mt 7:24-27 will be!
a. The "storms" of life will not overwhelm us
b. Because we’ve built our foundation upon the words of Jesus
found in our text!
C. HOW CAN WE LAY UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN?
1. First, by becoming children of God…
a. Thereby becoming "joint-heirs with Christ" – Ro 8:16-17
b. And the recipients of "every spiritual blessing" in
heavenly places – Ep 1:13
2. Then, by using material wealth we may have to bless those
a. As Jesus instructed the rich young ruler – Mt 19:21
b. As He instructed His disciples, in order to have "a
treasure in the heavens that does not fail" – Lk 12:33-34
c. As Paul wrote Timothy to charge those rich in this present
age, that they may be "storing up for themselves a good
foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on
eternal life" – 1 Tim 6:17-19
[Through such generosity and liberality, then, we are well on the way
to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon." At the same time, we need to make
sure that we observe the second key…]
II. KEEP YOUR EYE GOOD (Mt 6:22-23)
A. IN THE METAPHOR USED BY JESUS…
1. The "body" likely represents the "soul" or "inner man"
2. The "eye" likely represents the "gaze of the soul" or the
"heart of man"
3. The word "good" in Greek means "simple, single, uncomplicated"
4. The word "bad" in Greek means "wicked, evil"
5. And in the Scriptures, the expression "evil eye" is used to
mean "envious, covetous" – cf. Pro 23:6; Mt 20:15; Mk 7:22
B. AN EXPLANATION BASED UPON THESE DEFINITIONS…
1. If the heart or gaze of the soul be "good" ("single" in its
love of God and the things of God)…
a. Then one is filled with "light"
b. In other words, goodness, righteousness, and truth –
cf. Ep 5:8-10
2. But if the heart or gaze of the soul be "evil" (full of envy,
a. Then one’s soul is filled with "darkness"
b. The opposite of light: selfishness, wickedness, and
C. THUS THE NEED FOR THE WARNING…
1. To guard what goes in your eye
a. I.e., what you allow your eyes to dwell upon
b. Remember, there is such a thing as "the lusts of the eyes"
2. To be rich toward God, free from covetousness – Lk 12:13-21
a. Note Jesus’ warning – Lk 12:15
b. Also His conclusion – Lk 12:21
[The third and last key to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon" is most
crucial, and will make it impossible for one to serve Mammon…]
III. MAKE GOD YOUR MASTER (Mt 6:24)
A. NO ONE CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS…
1. A "master" by definition demands "total loyalty", and we are
unable to please two masters at the same time
2. Such is certainly true with God – cf. Exo 34:14
3. Mammon is evidently no different
B. WE HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN GOD AND MAMMON…
1. When wealth is coveted, and becomes the priority in our lives,
it becomes a "god" – cf. Ep 5:5; Co 3:5
2. So the choice becomes one as to whether we shall worship the
One True God, or be "idolaters" following after a false god!
C. CHOOSE TO SERVE GOD…
1. As Jesus would later say, "Seek first the kingdom of God and
His righteousness" – Mt 6:33
2. Do this, and God becomes our Master
3. Since we can’t serve two masters, this effectively eliminates
Mammon from being our "god"!
1. These are the three keys to "Gaining Mastery Over Mammon"…
a. Lay up treasure in heaven (by helping others)
b. Keep your eye good (guard what you allow to influence your inner
c. Make God your Master (and you will not be able to serve another
2. Why seek to gain mastery over mammon and serve God instead?
a. Because Mammon…
1) Is susceptible to decay and theft
2) Will make us blind, selfish creatures
b. Whereas with God…
1) Our treasures are secure
2) We will be kind, righteous people
3. By gaining mastery over Mammon we will also avoid…
a. Falling into a temptation and a snare
b. Falling into many foolish and harmful lusts
c. Straying from the faith because of greediness
d. Piercing ourselves with many sorrows – cf. 1 Tim 6:9-10
But most importantly, Christians will be "storing up for themselves a
good foundation for the time to come", and "lay hold on eternal life"
(1 Tim 6:17-19). Isn’t that what we really want?