Picture of Pastor David Cook

Sermon delivered December 5, 2009 by Pastor David Cook

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New Inductive Study Bible NISB unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.


Heavenly Treasures

Matthew 6:19-20

(RealAudio Version available)

Iíd like to show you a picture.Kids, Adventurers, what is that picture of?†† Egypt.Yes.Specifically what in Egypt?Pyramids. There's one pyramid in there.Do you see the tall one?Do you know the name of that pyramid?It's called the Great Pyramid.The full name is The Great Pyramid of Giza.

I want tell you something about the Great Pyramid of Giza.Did you know that it used to be one of the seven wonders of the world."Well, what's the seven wonders of the world?" maybe an Adventurer might ask.Well the seven wonders of the world were seven things that people had made that a man had decided were so awesome that if you were going to tour around the known world, you had to see them.It was kind of like his idea of a little guidebook for travelers, and so if you were a traveler in those days, you liked to tour around, you'd say, "Well I've seen five of the seven.What about you?""Well I've seen six.""I actually have seen all seven of the wonders of the world."And there were some pretty neat things.One of them was a giant statue on these islands and it was so tall and so big that ships could sail between its legs.Pretty cool, huh?Well this wonder of the world, the pyramid of Giza was the tallest building in the world.The tallest man-made object in the world, and it was the tallest man-made object in the world for about 4000 years.Pretty cool, huh?

Well there was a man who actually made this tomb, this pyramid.It was a tomb.He made it for himself and he had a funny name.Are you ready for his name?Khufu.Kind of like foo foo, like a puppy or a poodle with foo foo hair.His name was Khufu.Now Khufu believed that when he died he would go to some faraway place in the universe where he would live in the afterlife.And this is how he believed it would happen.He believed that the sun god Ra would come down on a boat, kind of like a spaceship, come paddling down through space down to earth and he'd land and he'd wake up all the mummies.And then he would choose the ones he wanted to take with him to the afterlife and if you didn't get chosen you got put back into your tomb, and you had to wait for the next time he came.†† Now the interesting thing about Khufu was he decided that he wasn't so sure that Ra was going to pick him, and so he actually buried a boat with him, and that's his boat right there.That's the real boat.They found the boat.It's the oldest boat ever discovered that's still intact.I guess Khufu was thinking, "Well, if Ra doesn't pick me I'm going to get in my own boat and go up to the afterlife."

And he had reason to think that Ra might not pick him because you see, Khufu was not a very nice man.He was not liked by anybody.Everybody hated him.He was a great builder and he made an amazing pyramid, but nobody liked him.They said that he closed all their temples in Egypt, and he even sent one of his daughters off to work to pay for his own tomb.

Khufu was so bad that one time he heard that there was a magician and this magician had a talent for raising people from the dead.Now we know he couldn't do that, but somehow he was able to make you think that he could raise people from the dead and so Khufu said, "This is great.Come to my palace, and let's talk."And Khufu said, "Hey, I have an idea.You can raise people from the dead.I'm going to kill my slave here and I want you to raise him back to life."I think the magician was not as confident in his powers as the king was and he said, "Well, I'm not so sure about that.Let's just do it on a goose instead."And so that's what they did.The magician apparently made it look like he could kill a goose and bring it back to life.

Khufu was hated so much that finally when he died, the Egyptians hated him so much that they threatened to steal his body from his tomb and do terrible things to it to try to make sure that he couldn't take his body with him to the afterlife.You see, Khufu believed that he could take things with him.He believed that he could store all his stuff with him right there with his body there in his tomb, and that when Ra came to get him or when he got on his boat he could take it all with him to the afterlife.Khufu really was mistaken.

Now, he reminds me of a Bible text.It's the one that we read today.Can I read it for you again?Matthew 6:19 to 20."Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal."If Khufu had only known that he might not have spent his whole life trying to make his tomb so wonderful and trying to take his stuff with him.

So kids, how do we store up our treasures in heaven?The Bible says to store up your treasures in heaven instead of here on this earth.How do we do that?Does it mean that we take our stuff and we say, "Okay, I don't want to store it here on earth, so I'm just going to put it right here and God's going to beam it up to heaven for me when I get there?"Is that what it means?No.What I think it means is that God wants us to give things to Him, to His church, to the middle school, right, that's something you could give to.We've been talking about the middle school a lot.Even if you're not going to go there, it doesn't matter because I believe God, when He sees you giving stuff for Him and to other people, He's going to say, "Ok, I'm going to give you stuff when you get to heaven."

Now your parents might say, "Now wait a second.Does that make sense?Is God really going to give us extra stuff?Are some people going to have more stuff than others in heaven?That doesn't sound like heaven."I think He is.And here's why I think He's going to do that.Not so that we can all see who has the most stuff, like we do here on earth."Oh, I have the most stuff. I must've done more good things than you."No.I think everybody's going to be happy with what they get.Everybody's going to be excited just to be in heaven, but I think it's possible when we get to heaven to have levels of happiness.I'll be happy.I can be really happy, or I can be incredibly happy.Not because of what I have, but because of what I've done and be able to glorify God.Of course we'll all give the glory back to Jesus.Some people might say, "Well wait a second.I thought we were saved by grace, not by our works."But the Bible says very clearly that we're rewarded for our works and if we're saved by grace and if there's going to be a reward for our works, I think that we're going to get something in heaven for what we've done.I think God is more physical than we think.

So, I have a question to ask the Adventurers.Here's a question for you.Why do we store our treasures in heaven.We know how to do it now, but why?Why do we give stuff away to other people or to the church or to God?Why would we want to store up our treasures there?We're going to look at what this text says and we're going to discover the answer to that.

Here's the first answer.I think it's a good answer.Jesus says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy," and then later He says, "but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroy."That's very simple.We store up our treasure in heaven so it won't break or get destroyed or get lost.You know, the Egyptians were good at preserving their stuff.They were able to preserve their dead bodies for thousands of years.You can find their mummies, even today.They found material, they found all kinds of stuff, but even though they were able to preserve it, they still couldn't take it with them to heaven.

Let me ask you a question kids.Have you ever gotten a toy for Christmas?Are you looking forward to getting toys for Christmas?Are you looking forward to getting clothes for Christmas?Have you ever had a toy that you got for Christmas, break?Isn't that just a bummer?I hate that.I bought a great toy for my son Nicholas that I like very much too.It's a helicopter and it was remote control and it's broken now.

Well, I have a way that you can keep your presents from breaking.Let me ask you this question.How many of you get more presents than you give?Are you embarrassed to tell me?I know sometimes thatt's me, okay.I confess.I get lots of presents, but you know what?The presents that you give away aren't going to break.It's not that Jesus is going to take that present that you gave away and take it up to heaven, and it will be ready for you when you get there.Here on earth, let's say you give somebody a box of Legos and you get to heaven, and Jesus says, "Here is a pile of gold bricks.Now go make yourself a house."Pretty cool, huh? It like grows, I think, when we get to heaven.

But is this the main reason why we do this?It's a good reason.I think it's okay. I think it's good to be excited about the things that Jesus is going to give us when we get to heaven, but I think there's another reason.And it's right there in the text.And it's this.Another reason is so that thieves and robbers won't steal our stuff.Let me read the text again."Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal."And then later on."But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where thieves do not break in and steal."

Now the Egyptians were determined to make sure that their stuff that they buried with them that they wanted to take with them to the afterlife wasn't going to get stolen and this diagram shows you just how intricate their pyramids were.They had all kinds of secret passageways and when they closed the doors to their tombs they had special metal pins that would lock into place and you couldn't open it ever again.They were determined to keep their stuff from being stolen, but did you know what?All of the pyramids have been broken into or stolen from.They've actually gone into the pyramids, some of them that were sealed shut and never broken into, and when they got into the tomb, they discovered that the tomb had still been robbed and they realized that the person who buried that king robbed him and then walked out and sealed the tomb.In fact, did you know that there is not a single pyramid that they have found with a mummy still inside of it.You thought that they did, right?They have not.They have found a few mummies buried in holes and those kind of tombs, but there's not a single pyramid that has been found with an entire intact mummy.Even the Egyptians couldn't succeed in keeping their stuff from being stolen.

Now you say to yourself, "Now this could never happen to me."It's happened to me.I've been robbed.Did you know that, Adventurers?It just happened a few months ago.Pastor Gettys and Pastor Paul and I decided to go on a hike together, because we don't have anything else to do during the week, because we're pastor's, right.And so we decided to go hike up this mountain called Lookout Mountain, and we parked my car in the parking lot and had a wonderful hike together that day, and when we got back there were people standing near our car and they looked very concerned.Then I noticed glass all over the ground, and I noticed that I was missing a window and I walked up and they said, "Is this your car?""Yeah.""You've been robbed.""Oh, really?""Yeah.So were we.We all were.All the cars here.The windows got smashed in."And there were some people who lost a lot of good stuff.I just had a little tiny CD player that I hardly ever used, so I was happy about that, which actually kind of goes along with what we're talking about.It was the people that had lots of stuff that were really upset.They were hoarding all their amazing iPods and phones and everything in their car and it got stolen.So that's the way to keep from getting your stuff stolen is just not to have any.

Then you say, "Wait a second.I'm a kid.I've never been robbed.I've never been robbed in my home."Oh, haven't you?Let me see.How many of you have ever gone out to the garage and you find a box or a bin and your toys are in that box?Has that happened to you?And you realize that your mom is slowly taking your stuff and putting it away to give away.Now, I'm not calling your mom a thief, but it was your stuff.And she took it.How much better if you were able to say, "Mom I know you're going to take my stuff anyway.So let's just give it away to somebody who needs it."You'd be a lot happier that way, I think.You could even have treasure on earth, just the happiness of giving something to somebody else, and then when you get to heaven, even more treasure and more opportunities to glorify Jesus.

Well those are two answers.One, to keep our stuff from being broken.Another is to keep it from being stolen.But there's a third answer, which I think is the best one.And I have to confess to you that I've sort of secretly hid this answer, because I didn't allow it to be read in the text because it's the next verse.Let me read the whole thing again and then the last verse."Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in or steal."And the last part and this is the important part, "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."And that's the main reason why we store up treasure in heaven.

And what does that mean?Does that mean that if you give your stuff to God that He's going to take your heart and keep it up in heaven?No.What that means is that wherever you keep your stuff, wherever your stuff is, if you keep it here on this earth, if you're storing up stuff here on this earth for yourself, or if you're storing it for yourself up in heaven, wherever that is, that's where you're going to want to be.And if you want to be someplace when Jesus comes, He's going to take you where you want to go.He's not going to take people to heaven who don't want to go there.He's going to come, and He's going to look at you and He's going to say, "Oh yes.This is the kid who wants to go to heaven. They've been storing for themselves treasures in heaven."

I think there are some ways that we can do that.I've already mentioned some.We can give some of our treasures away to some of our friends.You have stuff that you don't need.Find one family this Christmas, one person that needs some stuff and just give it away.I think it's a great idea.You can give your offerings to church.Even if you don't have anything you can still do nice things for people.I think God counts that.I'm sure He does.It's not just about what we have and give.

King Khufu forgot something.King Khufu didn't even live according to his own beliefs, because according to his own belief King Khufu wasn't going to make it to the afterlife.They had a strange belief.They believed that once the sun god Ra came and put you in his his little ship and took you up into the afterlife, you'd get to the gates of the afterlife and then it was time to judge you.And you know how they judged you, in their belief?Now we don't believe this is true kids.I'm just telling you what they believed.They believed that there was a god named Anovith who would take your heart, and they put it on a scale and tried to see which was the heaviest thing.They put the heart on one side and a feather on the other.And if your heart was heavier than the feather, that meant you were dishonest, and you know what they did with you?They fed you to a god who was kind of like a half crocodile, half hippopotamus and that was it.But if your heart was lighter than a feather then you got to go into the afterlife, and I don't think Khufu ever made it, according to his beliefs.Now thankfully we don't believe that.We have a good God, Who judges us better than that, but according to his belief Khufu wasn't very honest.

But you know, Jesus is going to be looking at our hearts too, and He's not going to weigh them with a feather, thankfully.But He's is going to come, and certainly we're going to be saved by His grace and we're going to be forgiven by His grace, but He's still going to look at us and say, "You're forgiven. Praise the Lord, but where's your heart now?I've forgiven you.But is it in heaven, or is it on earth?"And if we want to be here He's going to leave us here, but if we want to be there, He's going to take us.

So I leave you two choices, Adventurers.Choice number one.You have a choice.You can choose to leave your heart here.You can choose to keep your stuff right here on this earth.And if you do you're going to have some fun with it.It's going to be okay.But in the end your heart is going to remain here and you will remain with your heart when Jesus comes.Or you can choose to store your treasure in heaven.Give it to other people.Give nice things to people.Do nice things for people, and when you get to heaven, Jesus is going to say, "Well done my good and faithful servant," and He's going to give you an amazing treasure.He's going to put a crown on your head loaded with jewels.So bottom line is this.You're going to go where your stuff is.Where is your stuff?Where is your heart going to be?

Let's sing our closing song.

Dear Jesus.You know our hearts Lord.Sometimes they're not as pure as they should be.Sometimes they're not in the right place.Lord, we just want to recommit to You today.To put our hearts in the right place and to do that by sending our stuff to the right place.And Lord I just ask that You will help us to do that.Give us the strength to do that Lord.We are helpless on our own.We know that You can give us so much more power than we ever thought.Lord, I just ask that You'll be with each Adventurer here today.Help them to grow up to be the kind of person that You want them to be.Generous and kind and loving.In Jesusí name.Amen


 
Hymn of Praise: #248, O, How I Love Jesus
Scripture: Matthew 6:19-20
Hymn of Response: #327, I'd Rather Have Jesus



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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 1/24/10.