In this post we will return again to Matthew 6:19-24, and we will focus on the evil result of laying up for ourselves treasures on earth.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 “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 the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
I have been following the sermons of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. In this particular study he gives us four points, or four things that sin does to man.
I. Sin Upsets the Normal Balance in Man
When man was created God made his mind (with his spirit) to be the highest faculty, which was the ability to think and reason and understand things. Then the next highest faculty was the heart, or the feelings and desires. This is man’s normal God-created function: to understand things, then to let our feelings and desires come later, being controlled by our understanding.
However, says Llyod-Jones, “The effect of the Fall and of sin upon man has been to upset that order and balance.” Hence, man, because of the Fall is no longer governed by his mind, he is governed by his desires and affections. John 3:19 is proof of this: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
I think we can see this disturbance in the order of things not only in the non-Christian, but in the Christian when he is not walking in the Spirit. And there are so many examples of this. In so many ways we make decisions based not on a correct understanding of things but on how we feel and what we like. We buy food based on our taste and appetite. We buy clothes based on the latest fashion. Our choice of a mate may be wrongly influenced because we rely more on our desires than our understanding. And we find in every case that because we put the heart before the mind, we make wrong decisions.
II. Sin Blinds Man to the Truth of Things
A good Scripture for this is in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
So, this is what sin does—through the heart. Here are some examples of this blinding.
- We don’t see that our personal appearance will fade away, and so we place way too much value on our appearance.
- We are blinded to the fact that we can’t take our money with us.
- We are blinded to the fact that time is limited and eternity is endless, yet we give ourselves mainly to the here and now and ignore the eternal.
- We are blinded to the value of man and God. Man seems to be valued more than God.
- Man is blinded to the value of things. Earthly wealth is valued more than eternal wealth.
- We are blinded to the fact that we cannot mix light and darkness, good and evil, God and mammon; yet we are always trying to do it. We even do it in the church. We have seen the churches ruination since the days of Constantine—a terrible tragedy! And we are still doing it in our effort to keep people in the church. Yet I think the world is confused by our efforts; and when they turn to Christ, they take the world with them. And so, you have a worldly Christian. And in most cases, they don’t have an assurance of their salvation.
III. Sin Makes Man a Slave to Things that were meant to Serve Him
God gave us food, clothing, and family and friends in order to serve us. But because of sin in the heart, we have become their slaves. We are mastered by the very things and appetites that God has given us to enjoy.
IV. Sin Causes the Ruination of Man
Jesus said, if your eye be single (pure) your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye be evil (sinful, with double vision and corrupt) your whole body will be full of darkness (Matt. 6:24). Here the light of the body is the mind and the understanding. But because of the control of the heart and of lust, the great design of God in us (the mind controlling the heart) has become perverted and ruined.
The result of this ruination in man is that he will reject God and His leadings; he will laugh at religion; he lives in the present; and he is deceived in his thinking, as he thinks that he is led by his mind when he is really led by his heart and lusts. Some at the end of life may see that the things he has trusted in were worthless and that he has been a fool all his life. A very sad situation.
But for all that seek God and repent, there is hope—even for the elderly. Let the Holy Spirit come in and change you. He can and will make your mind clear and pure, and give you a true understanding of things. This will be your true conversion and salvation.