Sermon for February 20, 2022

The God of this world, Mammon

Matthew 6:19:24

Matthew 6:19–24 (NIV): 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Matthew 6:19-24 Greek NT  Μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν θησαυροὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὅπου σὴς καὶ βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται διορύσσουσι καὶ κλέπτουσι·  (20)  θησαυρίζετε δὲ ὑμῖν θησαυρούς ἐν οὐρανῷ, ὅπου οὔτε σὴς οὔτε βρῶσις ἀφανίζει, καὶ ὅπου κλέπται οὐ διορύσσουσιν οὐδὲ κλέπτουσιν·  (21)  ὅπου γάρ ἐστιν ὁ θησαυρός ὑμῶν, ἐκεῖ ἔσται καὶ ἡ καρδία ὑμῶν.  (22)  ῾Ο λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλμός· ἐὰν οὖν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ἁπλοῦς ᾖ, ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου φωτεινὸν ἔσται·  (23)  ἐὰν δὲ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρὸς ᾖ, ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου σκοτεινὸν ἔσται. εἰ οὖν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοὶ σκότος ἐστί τὸ σκότος πόσον;  (24)  Οὐδεὶς δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν· ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει, ἢ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει. οὐ δύνασθε Θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ*.

μαμμωνᾶς- mammōnas- mam-mo-nas’– Of Chaldee origin (confidence, that is, figuratively wealth, personified); mammonas, that is, avarice (deified): – mammon.

Mammon.—Or mamon, was a common word in the East, among Phœnicians, Syrians and others, signifying material riches or worldly wealth. It is here personified, as a kind of god of this world (Morison).

DO NOT LAY UP- because it will deteriorate (rust and moth)

We are reading something written at a time that there were no banks.  For this reason, many people decided to bury their money, which would be fine in most case as 3 out of the four forms of local currency were made of silver.  The Tyrian Shekel was 94% pure silver.  The Roman Shekel was only about 84% pure silver.  Therefore, money changers used weights for coins in exchange.  A Roman tribute penny, also called a denarius was silver as well. Then there was the was the bronze lepton, this was the coinage that was called the widow’s mite (a might was a British coin at the time of the King James Translation) and were very low quality, they would tarnish and rust.

Jesus and his usual play on words: Moth (σής) or sace and Rust (βρῶσις) or bro’-sis.  Sace is the insect known as a moth and brosis is the act of eat either literally or figuratively.  Rust is translated because that rust eats away iron through oxidation. 

LAY UP- θησαυρίζω – thay-sow-rid’-zo- to amass or reserve (literally or figuratively): – lay up (treasure), (keep) in store, (heap) treasure (together, up).

TREASURE – θησαυρός – thay-sow-ros’- deposit, that is, wealth (literally or figuratively): – treasure.

They are the same exact root word, what separates them is the idea of storing up to then deposit it, to give, for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Oh Jesus, you sure love your play on words!

The word mammon is money personified, you put your full trust in money, and it becomes your god.  It is the opposite of what God intends.  We desire to accumulate and acquire wealth that we become fuller and content in a god, that we neglect to recognize or help those who are less fortunate.  God instead wants us to acquire more of Himself and to accumulate the blessing prepared for us in the next life.  So, God encourages philanthropy, sharing it instead of hiding it for yourself.  Wealth is meaningless in God’s eyes, yet it is so important in our world.  Insomuch, we are confronted with this thought, who is our master?  This is the first part of three ideas that Jesus endorses.  The use of money illustrates the division between man and man, that we have selfish relationships.  Therefore, we do not love our neighbor by sharing fairly.


Mat_6:22. Light.—Lamp (R.V.). The eye is not itself the light, but contains the light: it is the “lamp” or candle of the body, the light-conveying principle (ibid.). Full of light.—As it were all eye (Benyel).

Mat_6:23. Evil.—I.e. affected with disease. The whole passage is on the subject of singleness of service to God (ibid.). How great is that darkness?—As the conscience is the regulative faculty, and a man’s inward purpose, scope, aim in life, determine his character, if these be not simple and heavenward, but distorted and double, what must all the other faculties and principles of our nature be, which take their direction and character from these, and what must the whole man and the whole life be, but a mass of darkness? (Brown).

Indeed, it is covetousness that is being spoken about here.  The eye sees and wants, even though it may see other needs that are more important, especially with their fellow man.

Matthew 19:16–30 (NIV): 16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

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