October 11, 2020

Unknown god: The god of Materialism
October 011, 2020
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

As you think about your day, what do you focus on the most—your work, outside activities, what you want to do, or something else? Is your weekend like this also?


Today we continue our series “Unknown gods,” as we carefully examine our lives to see if there are things we put before our love for God. This series is based on the Apostle Paul when he visited Athens, observing altars and idols everywhere, all dedicated to non-existent gods. Lest they leave one out, they made an altar to the “Unknown god,” which gave Paul the opportunity to present the gospel of the living Lord. We are going to look at Materialism in today’s sermon, knowing that our hearts tempt us to enjoy or love “stuff”—but does it come before our love for God, or do we hold it loosely in our hands, knowing that it can easily slip away?

Key Verse: Matthew 6:33 (CSB): But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

Focal Passage: Matthew 6:19-24.

What is the object of your focus?

  • Read Matt. 6:19a. Matthew opens this passage by stepping on our toes. Name treasures we might try to lay up for ourselves here on earth. What can be a sin associated with some of them?
  • Which ones are the most likely to take first place, moving God to a lower level? What can happen to many of those you listed?
  • Read Matt. 6:20a. How do you lay up treasures in heaven? What are some of them? Will they ever be destroyed?
  • Are there treasures you may think you are laying up in heaven, when you are actually looking for praise from men? Can you give an example?
  • If you are caught up in collecting treasures for yourself, what does that show you about your heart?

Our focus is based on how we view things

  • Read verse 22. What does Matthew mean, that the lamp of the body is the eye? How do we get knowledge, see our way, or see the danger in a certain path? (We are not speaking of someone who has been blind from birth). How do we interpret what we see, so that it gets to our heart?
  • Read James 1:8. How would a double-minded man represent someone whose eye is not “single”? What does James go on to say about him?
  • Name some other examples of what we can absorb through a single (or good) eye? (For instance, temptation).
  • Read 1 John 2:15-17. How do the things we see tempt us to take our focus off God, and put them on the world?
  • Read Matt. 6:23. How does our “eye” become bad? What can be another word for eye? When we love, we say we love with all our ____. Why?
  • If we look at things wrongly, what will eventually happen to our spiritual life?

Whom do you serve?

  • Read verse 24. What does this verse, which speaks of masters, have to do with verses 22-23? Read I John 2:15 again. Can you love both God and the world? Read James 4:4. How is this a mate to 1 John 2:15?
  • Does anyone have an example of trying to serve two masters?
  • Who is ultimately behind your desires to have a nicer ____? How?
  • How can your focus on “stuff” here on earth become your master? How can you keep that from happening?
  • What are some steps you can take to make certain you are controlling the things that come into your life?


Like weight, (a very sensitive subject), pounds do not come all in one night! In the same manner, “stuff” doesn’t accumulate overnight while you are sleeping. You actually see something with your eyes, decide you must have that in order to be perfectly happy, and buy or barter for it. A year or two later it probably goes to Goodwill or a garage sale.

Most of us have known a true hoarder. Several years ago in N.C. an elderly man died. When the realtor went in to arrange the house for sale for the heirs, he was astounded to find stacks of newspapers, piled from floor to ceiling and wall to wall, in rows and rows. There was no room except to turn sideways to get from the front door to the kitchen or bedroom. He apparently cared for nothing in his life except newspapers, even though he could never have found a certain one, even had he desired to re-read it. But it did not happen overnight—it took years for the man to acquire the collection. So it is with our accumulation of stuff.

What is your greatest desire? Is it a hunger and thirst to be righteous? If so, you are on a path that will lead you to one day hear “Well, done, good and faithful servant!” Or is your focus on things that will cause others to look at you with admiration, perhaps for your looks, your clothes, car, house, figure, or talent? Any of those things—in the right light—do not have to be bad, but if they’re your main focus, your eye is not single. Don’t be a person who is so talented, so admired, so wealthy, that those who are not, become too insignificant to get a hello when you pass them. Jesus would never have looked the other way.