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Reflective Bible Study.
Flashback Episode — Forgiveness and Eternal Treasure: Matthew 6:14-24
Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on ReflectiveBibleStudy.com...Flashback Episode: Year in Matthew – Episode 10: After Jesus shares a model prayer for us, He talks about forgiveness, and why it is important for us to grow treasure in heaven. Discover what Jesus means when He says this and how we can apply Jesus’ message in our lives today! Join the discussion on the original episode's page: Click Here. Read the transcript: Picking back up where we left off in our last episode, Jesus continues sharing during His famous Sermon on the Mount about the importance of doing things privately for God rather than publicly for the praise of others. But before Jesus picks back up with this focus, He has a short, challenging message for all of His followers. Of all the challenging messages and difficult ideas Jesus shares, this one is one of the most challenging and difficult, if for no other reason than because of its subject matter. Let’s pick up reading where we ended off last week in Jesus’ sermon. Continuing in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 6, using the New International Reader’s Version, immediately following Jesus finishing the model prayer, He tells us starting in verse 14 that we should: 14 Forgive other people when they sin against you. If you do, your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive the sins of other people, your Father will not forgive your sins. Pausing briefly, I want to emphasize this huge, challenging idea. If we do not forgive other people, God will not forgive us. This makes forgiveness one of the most significant characteristics of God’s people, and some might say that this is the most significant. If you struggle with forgiving others, then perhaps this challenge from Jesus is a wakeup call for you to ask God for His help to forgive others, to forgive a specific situation, or to simply let go of a past issue that keeps coming to mind. If we hold on to the past, this unforgiving spirit hurts us more than we realize and it ultimately damages our relationships with others and our relationship with God. After challenging those present with this message of forgiveness, Jesus continues preaching. Picking back up in verse 16, Jesus told the crowd: 16 “When you go without eating, do not look gloomy like those who only pretend to be holy. They make their faces look very sad. They want to show people they are fasting. What I’m about to tell you is true. They have received their complete reward. 17 But when you go without eating, put olive oil on your head. Wash your face. 18 Then others will not know that you are fasting. Only your Father, who can’t be seen, will know it. Your Father will reward you, because he sees what you do secretly. 19 “Do not gather for yourselves riches on earth. Moths and rats can destroy them. Thieves can break in and steal them. 20 Instead, gather for yourselves riches in heaven. There, moths and rats do not destroy them. There, thieves do not break in and steal them. 21 Your heart will be where your riches are. 22 “The eye is like a lamp for the body. Suppose your eyes are healthy. Then your whole body will be full of light. 23 But suppose your eyes can’t see well. Then your whole body will be full of darkness. If the light inside you is darkness, then it is very dark! 24 “No one can serve two masters at the same time. You will hate one of them and love the other. Or you will be faithful to one and dislike the other. You can’t serve God and money at the same time. We’ll stop reading here. In this section of Jesus’ sermon, He reemphasizes the importance of doing things for God in secret, and in a way that only God will see what you are doing. He extends the living, giving, helping, and praying in private to also fasting in private. When we do things secretly for God, we trust that He will reward us. Jesus compares our doing good for others and doing things secretly for God like making deposits in a heavenly bank account, or like gathering riches in heaven. While we understand the importance of saving and earning money in an earthly sense, Jesus tells us that all the money in the earth is not as safe as a single penny in heaven. Money on earth can erode, it can decompose, or in our highly digital society, a seemingly insignificant computer glitch can take our money from abundant to absent. While this isn’t a statement for or against a cashless society, Jesus does make the challenge that money acquired here on earth is temporary at best. Instead, we should focus on growing money in heaven. While this sounds great on the surface, growing money in heaven works differently than growing money on earth. Giving all your money away here on earth can earn some riches in heaven, but heavenly wealth is measured in different terms than earthly wealth, and there is no guarantee that giving money on earth will earn treasure in heaven. Some might wonder how we earn treasure in heaven, since Jesus appears to place great emphasis on this here in His message. The answer has been what we have been subtly focusing on over the past couple of episodes. We earn treasure in heaven when we do things privately for God, when we give in secret, when we help anonymously, and when we pray privately. When we live for God in a way that gives God the glory, and when we do things for God in ways that cannot be praised or rewarded by others, then we earn treasure in heaven, and treasure in heaven cannot decay, treasure in heaven cannot be stolen, and treasure in heaven does not disappear over time. Treasure in heaven gains heavenly interest, and while treasure in heaven doesn’t earn us a place in heaven, we can only earn treasure in heaven when we are living for God and have accepted His sacrifice on our behalf. Ultimately, Jesus tells us that the most valuable part of our treasure in heaven is our hearts, because when our hearts are focused on our heavenly treasure, we live for God in more significant ways than if our hearts are focused on the things of this world. Jesus finishes by challenging us that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot be looking for and seeking after things in this life while also being 100% dedicated to God in heaven. The challenge Jesus ends with is deciding whether you will serve God, or whether you will chase money or wealth here on earth. We cannot do both, and while society tells us we should choose wealth, Jesus has already framed wealth as not lasting past this life. God wants us to be rich in heavenly riches, and this comes through focusing on God, serving Him, and living our lives in ways that secretly and publicly honor Him! As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with: As I always challenge you to do, continue seeking God first and choose to place Him first in your life. Choose to grow riches in heaven by serving God in secret ways while also publicly acknowledging Him. Help others anonymously, give secretly, live subtly, pray privately, and when growing close to God through other spiritual disciplines, do so in a way that others won’t be able to tell. What we do for God in secret is what God will reward us for when we reach heaven! Also, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to learn, grow, and move closer to God. While learning from others is good, always take what you learn and filter it through your personal, private time in prayer and in the Bible. It is through this personal prayer and Bible study where God wants to grow a personal relationship with you and He will teach you what is worth focusing on when we bring what we learn to Him in prayer and study! And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or stop moving towards where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him! Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on ReflectiveBibleStudy.com...Read this article on the web on it's official page: Flashback Episode — Forgiveness and Eternal Treasure: Matthew 6:14-24