I like watching a program called “Hardtalk” on BBC anchored by Stephen John Sackur. Usually a hot seat for the interviewee, it is very revealing, educative and provocative.I could imagine Jesus being interviewed on “Hardtalk” many times when he was on earth. I am glad that we have people like Steve who ask tough questions.
In Matt 6. Jesus took time to address some of the “Hardtalk” tough questions. He started by addressing the issue of alms giving. Be discreet about it. Then the issue prayers. “Be discreet, don’t make noise about it” Then he gave them the model prayer. He moved on to issue of forgiveness, he gave reasons why you must forgive, failure to do so will mean God Almighty will not forgive you. Hardtalk stuff that we glide over these days; if only we understand the weight of that statement I guess we shall forgive people more easily. Then he addressed fasting. Do it, but don’t be hypocritical about it.
The next “Hardtalk question “ is laying up treasures in heaven. To conserve intellectual and spiritual space I will just say believe there is heaven , because if there is no heaven Jesus will not be talking about it with such certainty. However if you still have issues with that give him a direct call, after all he is alive in heaven to answer your calls. I did that on February 10, 1977, that is how I became born again. The lines are still open – “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”Rom 10:13 Concerned about how to get to heaven? believe Jesus as your Lord and Savior who came from heaven and returned there.( John 1:12,3:1-8, Rom 10:8-13)
Note we are not debating why we should lay treasures in heaven, because Jesus gave an explicit answer on it”So that moth or rust does not corrupt, so thieves do not steal it‘ Paraphrased.If I had titled this piece why do we give offering, some people may not read it because of biases – “Pastors are intrested in what is in the offering tray.All Pastors talk about is offering” The hard (talk )question is how does offering translate to treasures in heaven? How does my giving physical things on earth constitute storing treasures in invisible heaven What the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see is how do you an invisible person become a visible person? In Jeremiah we read: “Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jeremiah 1:4-5. God says “I stored you somewhere” I use human copulation process to bring invisible you to become visible- human being. The process could be reversed. Translate tangible physical things to invisible spiritual things. The story of the rich young ruler helps us here.”Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.¶ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.23 ¶ Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.”Matt 19:21-23Jesus explained here how giving offering translates to treasures in heaven! What you give to the gospel on earth in one form or the other is directly and indirectly storing up treasures in heaven. It is the transaction of physical things that God uses for recognizing spiritual things. Jesus went further here to say that failure to give your substance may become a hindrance and a stumbling block to your making heaven particularly for rich people.Hard talk ! Jesus in the quoted scripture says :’where your treasure is your heart will be’We are to treasure the Lord Jesus most of all. Jesus is our treasure, we will also commit our treasures- our money, our time,our energy, talents, to his work in this world. To be more specific, giving your offering and tithe helps you to store your treasure in heaven. Those physical activities have spiritual and heavenly rewards and translate to heavenly treasures.
The Holy Spirit encourages us through Paul:”And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” Col 3:23-25I like this translation :“Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ” Col 3:24. NLTPaul says do it heartily, meaning with passion, zeal, purpose, enthusiasm. Be consumed by laying your treasure on earth, after all that is where you will spend eternity. Eternity means infinity years multiplied by infinity years, endless years!What The Holy Spirt want you to know this Morning is that :Salvation , accepting Jesus is the way, the passport and visa to heaven, giving on earth is what gives you the currency ‘money’ , treasure you shall spend in heaven. Shalom.