Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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ASH WEDNESDAY – March 6, 2019 – Matt. 6:19-21 “HOPE IN GOD’S MERCY”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel lesson just read, from Matthew 6.  We begin with prayer.


Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • The words of Jesus recorded in our text give us pause for thought. After all, they kind of contradict the advice given to us by parents and other financial advisors.  They also seem to contradict the wisdom given in Proverbs, that we should emulate the ant who works hard and stores up provisions for the future.
  • Jesus, however, is not speaking to lazy people, but rather to industrious and ambitious people. He is warning us about misplaced hope and confidence, and the disastrous consequences of not trusting in God and His mercy. 
  • We share the same sinful flesh that is common to all human beings, so we also need to heed God’s warnings, and pray that He will enable us to overcome them. For the most critical thing is for us to continue to “HOPE IN GOD’S MERCY.
  • Of course we are well aware that:


I.  Many People Hope In Something Other Than God

A.  Some Trust In Their Good Deeds


Matt. 7:21-23  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?’   And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

B.  Some Trust Their Self-Determination, Or Personal Power


Luke 12:16-20  “And He told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’  And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”‘  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”


C.  Some Trust In Their Wealth Or Savings


Matt. 6:24  “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”


2 Tim. 3:1-5  “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”


Statement:  We recognize the temptations that we have deep within us to hope and trust in something rather than God.  Such temptations are deeply  embedded in our hearts and minds, and make great sense to us.  All of earthly life seems “performance based,” and dependent upon us.  So we assume the same to be true of our relationship with God. 


Application:  However, when it comes to God, He insists that everything is going to be based on His gracious love for us, His generosity, kindness, forgiveness, and mercy!  Therefore all these other things – our good deeds, our abilities, and our wealth – only stand in the way of our faith and trust in God.  And these things can very easily turn our heart against God.  For as Jesus taught:


II.  Where Our Treasure Is, What We Treasure, Is Where Our Heart Is

Text:  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”


A.  There Are Many Things That Steal Our Heart Away From God


Luke 8:11-14  “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.  And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.”

B.  But Giving All Things To The Lord Gives Him Our Heart As Well


Text:  “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”


Statement:  I know that we often convince ourselves that we can do both – lay up great earthly treasure and also heavenly treasures.  However, if we endeavor to do this we might want to be aware of our ability to deceive and delude ourselves.  It is insidious, just how easily we can make money, or pleasures, cares and worries, our greatest concern – and lose sight of God altogether. 


Application:  When this happens, pray God that we realize it – so that we can return to Him in confession.  For then we will receive from Him the very mercy that we need to hope in!  It is such mercy that ultimately “captures” our hearts and minds, so that we end up loving God more than anything.  In this way He has both our heart and our treasure, in His heavenly kingdom, and this investment will never fail us.


Conclusion:  We do pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Wealth makes this difficult.  So we also pray, “Forgive us our trespasses.”  In this way we do come to “HOPE IN GOD’S MERCY.”  This is His good and gracious will, that our cares and concerns be quieted, and that He remain far more important to us than wealth, and the pleasures and prerogatives it can give us. 


Pray God that this always be the case for us, Amen. 



Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.