“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
I hope you know by now that we’re talking about using our Physical means for a Spiritual end.
We’ve already spoken about MONEY, so now we conclude this series by focusing on our TREASURES in Heaven.
The Holy Spirit describes this ‘Treasure in Heaven’ in a couple of ways. Prize (Phil 3:14; 1Cor 9:24); Treasure (Matt 13:44); Crown (2Tim 4:8).
How shall we protect this treasure?
For many in the religious realm, the idea one needs to protect their TREASRUE in heaven is ridiculous. Fortunately, we have the scriptures to tell us the truth. Let’s look at how we might protect our CROWN.
First, whenever a command is given, it means we CAN COMPLY. Jesus said, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt 6:20). Paul wrote; “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2Tim 4:8). So, we LAY up a treasure in heaven, and can expect it if we LOVE His appearing.
Second, this treasure is only available after. While there are spiritual blessings here, and other good gifts (Eph 1:3; Jas 1:17), we shall RECEIVE the CROWN after this life. Note these passages (emph mine seb):
1Thess 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
2Tim 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
1Pet 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Rev 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Third, we ought not to expect anything from the Lord if we’re unfaithful, doubtful and disobedient. Scripture teaches that the OBEDIENT shall receive a crown;
1Cor 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
2Tim 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
Next, the CROWN is compared to WINNING a PRIZE. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14; 1Cor 9:24). Putting the previous point and this one together, In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2Tim 2:5).
Lastly, while no man can take away the crown that is laid up in heaven (cf. Matt 6:20), we can certainly lose our crown through NEGLECT, disobedience, or rebellion. Let’s read the rest of James 1:12-16, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. (cf. John 10:28-29; Rom 8:38-39; Heb 2:1-3). Do you see it? In verse 12 is the crown promised, but verses 13-16 is the ability to lose it. Do you see why it’s so important to read an entire passage before drawing a conclusion from one verse?
Another thing. While no man can go to heaven and take your crown, men can deceive us and turn us away from Christ. It’s in this sense that Jesus told John to warn the church. “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Rev 3:11). Note also the warning by Paul, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col 2:8; cf. 2Peter 2).
In closing out this series, let us be on guard and PROTECT those things we are charged to PROTECT. Life is serious business and not all fun and games. While there are things God has given us richly to enjoy, He also wants us to be ready at any given moment. We need to be READY against Rebellion, Enemies of Christ, Antagonists, Death, and You and I are responsible for ourselves.