February 10, 2016 – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 – “Beware of Your Righteousness”

In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

Do Not Last

 

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” With these words, our Lord teaches us that material things do not last. What moths will not eat or rust will not consume thieves will steal. Earthly treasures give fleeting pleasure at best and finally they will all perish.

 

If you put your trust and hope in these things then you will be more than disappointed. This is a serious treat to us who live in a material world. If your faith and worship are centered in these things, then you will damn yourself to hell. Do not treasure the material things of this world.

 

But let’s suppose that you and I are the exception, that we do not treasure and store up for ourselves the material things of this world. Perhaps we are not like the rest of the people of this world who place their faith and hope in the things that money can buy. If we are so different, then we should give thanks to God that we are not like those sinners out there in the world.

 

Who Is This?

 

“Beware,” Jesus says to us. Beware of thinking that you are different from those who seek after treasure here on earth. Beware of being like the Pharisees who were so proud of their righteousness, their outward obeying of the law. They wanted to be seen by others as righteous people.

 

We are all infected with sin, inside and outside. Even if we do not treasure the things of this world, we like to be noticed for our modest lifestyle. We are proud that we do not live like those who treasure the things of the world.

 

“Beware,” Jesus says to you. Yes you should live according to the Ten Commandments, but not “in order to be seen by those around you”. Yes you should give to the needy, but not “that you should be praised by others.” Yes you should pray, but not “that others might think of you as godly.” Yes fasting and giving up something for Lent are good things, but not “that others might glorify you.”

 

All material things will perish and all our attempts at righteous living will fail. The wages of sin is death. We are all dying. “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” You brought nothing into this world and you certainly can take nothing out of this world.

 

The Treasure of Christ

 

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.” “Do not treasure your own righteousness in order to be seen.” These are the do nots. Instead, Jesus says, “Repent.” Confess that the words of Isaiah are true for you, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.”

 

Lent is a season to once again remember that treasuring the things of this world and treasuring your own righteousness will leave you with no treasures at all. If your heart treasures these things then Satan, The Thief, will have stolen your very life from you.

 

Lent is a time to remember where the true treasure is to be found. Lent is a time for your heart to hear the Word of God as it tells you about Jesus Christ who is the true treasure. Hearing the Word of God not only tells you about Jesus Christ, but through the power of the Holy Spirit places faith in your heart.

 

“Remember you are dust and to dust your shall return.”   The Son of God became dust for you. He took upon himself flesh and blood just as Adam received when he was formed out of the dust of the earth.

 

Jesus became human flesh and blood so that he could live the righteous life that you cannot live. Jesus became dust so that he could return to dust, so that he could suffer and die for you. Jesus suffered and died for your salvation.

 

In him, death was defeated. Satan has no more claim on you. Your sins were taken with Christ to the cross. They were dealt with there in his death, so that you might live. Jesus suffered death for you so that just as he rose from the dead you too have the promise of eternal life.

 

We continue to live in the world where moth and rust and thieves attack. We are rushing toward the grave. We are dying. But the Word of God for today and for every day is that Jesus Christ has conquered your death. He promises to come for you on the Last Day and to give you a new body so that you may live with him forever.

 

May this Season of Lent be a reminder to you that you will not remain dust but will share in the resurrection of your savior Jesus Christ. “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” Return each Wednesday evening as we hear how Jesus lived his last twenty-four hours, suffering and dying for you.

 

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

SOLI DEO GLORIA

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