Matthew 6:22-24

I’m still concerned with the state of the Church this morning.  And, I think, with great reason.  You remember last Lord’s Day I said that the Church isn’t thinking and dealing and acting soteriologically today, but its efforts are mainly anthropological.

In other words, its ministry is ministerially man-centered in place of being God-centered.  In dealing with people it deals with them psychologically rather than confrontationally or Theologically.  In dealing with groups it deals with them compromisingly rather than instructionally.  And with regard to sin, the Church is more interested in peoples’ feelings than with their eternal security – repentance!

And philosophically, the Church sees itself as somewhat separated from the ills of culture and society – choosing to be on the mystical sidelines.  And when it does become involved with the material world, it is anthropologically self-centered with respect to the methods it uses!  The thought process there is that we have to fight fire with fire!  “That group over there is doing this, so, in order to win this fight, we have to do that better than they do!”  Biblical methods aren’t even considered!

So, on the one hand the established Church views itself as so super-pietistic that it can’t be involved in the material world at all; but, on the other hand, there is an emerging activism in her which uses the tactics of the enemy against them!

Now, no one would disagree that there is a malignant situation in today’s world order.  Things look pretty bad.  That’s a given!  But the issue is how the Church interprets it and what it does about it.  The pietist says let it all go to hell; and the activist says let’s just grab the institutions.  The pietist turns his eyes away and ignores it; and the activist goes to class on detonators.  Mainline denominations hide in their figurative monasteries while fringe-group radicals look for magistrates to disobey in order to bring attention to their “Christian” causes!

And it doesn’t take a seminary degree to see that the Church is wrong on both counts!  In each of these two cases the scenario is humanistic!  And, if I can use the word I began with in describing this whole situation, the Church is anthropologically centered.  And, since that’s the case, it’s on shaky, uncertain grounds.  It’s not walking by light, its walking by sight.  And the light that they have is darkness! 

And there must be a revival.  By the way that’s a misnomer – since there’s no such thing as re-vival, or giving life again to somebody who’s dead!  Because they haven’t been alive before!  So how can they be re-vived?

But we do need a fresh effusion of the Spirit of Christ upon all of society.  And we need men who will stand and preach the objective Truth of God, and herald the Risen Savior, and establish the covenantal Church, and call all men to repentance, and teach adherence to the details of God’s holy Law!

And then we need men and women and children who will love God with all their hearts and hold the received faith!  And hold it in their homes, and schools and their businesses and their governments and in their contracts, and in their acts of compassion and in their praying and in their mortification of the lusts of the flesh.  We need men and women and children who stand in the gap and put on the Christianity which our Lord Jesus describes in the Beatitudes!

We don’t need people who fight fire with fire – it won’t work!  We don’t need fighting spirits.  We need for men to be made new creations in Christ!  And, then … deal with society with the character of Christ.

I’m not a fan of St. Francis of Assisi.  But his great song was printed in a recent periodical; and I read it again after so many years.  And it was lovely.  I’m going to read it to you here.  And I want you to hear the beatitudes.  Listen to where the main problem is – in the heart of man.  And listen to what we must be in order for society to be reconstructed:


Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

            Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

            Where there is injury, pardon;

            Where there is doubt, faith;

            Where there is despair, hope;

            Where there is darkness, light;

            Where there is sadness, joy.


            Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as

            to console;

            to be understood as to understand;

            to be loved as to love.

            For it is in giving that we receive;

            It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying

            That we are born into eternal life.


This isn’t all Biblically correct, but it illustrates the point.

Our society has apostasized from the faith.  And it has rebuilt its institutions anthropocentrically.  Man is the center of it all.  (And man is the one with the boundless energy for sin and iniquity!)  And the institutions are built around him!  Especially the Church!  And the light that’s there is darkness. (as Jesus mentioned in our text.)

At this point there must be individual and corporate transformation.  At this point in our deterioration, or decline, the Incarnate Christ must manifest Himself with power in the most profound depths of human nature – and at the highest reaches of human culture!

And we must recognize the dilemma!  And we must analyze it!  And we must condemn it!  And we must put something in its place.  And the light of the world is JESUS!  And that’s where all the treasures are!  The transformation of men comes in Him.  And the transformation of culture comes in Him.  It’s the atonement of Jesus that changes society!

And He says: 


“The light of the body is the eye.  If therefore your eye be healthy, your whole body shall be illuminated.  But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be dark.  If then the light in you is darkness, how great that darkness.  No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and slight the other; you are not able to serve God and mamon.”

Now here’s another one of Jesus’ parabolic figures of speech – designed to enlighten His Own disciples and blind the reprobate.  It’s a very simple figure – it isn’t philosophically complicated, is it?  One either “sees” it or he doesn’t!

It’s either perfectly clear or it’s a “dark” saying.  One either “sees” it as a disciple of Christ, or he sees it anthropologically.  The saying can be analyzed by the most brilliant of reprobates, and he will never “see” what’s said here.  But, on the other hand, the most simple of Christ’s people can “see” it with utmost clarity.  And I hope that in just a very few minutes it will be perfectly clear to you.

And let me say first that when science describes the eye and its function it will, more than likely, approach the organ from its purely physical attributes; and it will concentrate on the eye’s ability to receive images.  In other words, science and medicine will “focus” on flat perception - the photographic reception of the image.

But Jesus does no such thing.  Where, to medicine and science, the eye is a physical organ, separate from any other, and designed to perform some distinct bodily function, Jesus, without Whom nothing was created that was created, indicates that the eye has more value than just a bodily function!  In fact, the indication is that the Creator of the eye never intended for it to just receive flat information – it was always to receive it in a certain way!

The physical organ isn’t distinct and separate from the interpretative function of the person – the body was never meant to be defined in “pieces,” or simply in terms of “functions.”  The person is a body – and all the members, all the attributes of the person, are integral to that person!

And Jesus’ assumptive presuppositions are that His disciples will “see” that with transformed eyes!  A disciple of Christ will see!  A servant of the Lord will have his eyes open to his master’s will!  So the “eye,” as Jesus uses it here, interprets itself and all external items.  It is not distinct and separate from the person.

And, as Jesus says here in verse twenty-two, it’s that way for everybody!  This first statement equates the eyes with light.  “The light of the body is the eye” – they’re one and the same.  Everybody’s eye sees with interpretation – that’s how we’re created!

But then He says, “if your eye is ‘healthy,’ your whole body will be illuminated….”  Now, I’ve translated that “healthy” because it’s the best general word to use here.  But let me give you some insight into it….

Do you remember last week when we were dealing with the word “treasures” – but “lay up treasures in heaven….”?  Well, we went to Colossians chapter three.  And that’s where we have to go this morning to find out more about the concept of the “eye.”  Listen:  “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.”

Paul is speaking of obedience to masters – and not doing that so that we just appear to be pleasing them but doing so with singleness of heart!

Well, that’s what Jesus has been preaching about in this sermon on the mount – from chapter six.  Not just appearing to be holy to impress people.  And then Paul, here in Colossians three, says for us to obey with singleness of heart.  The word “singleness” is this word I’ve translated “healthy” with reference to the eye.

And, then, do you remember that we also looked into Ephesians to find “treasure” last week?  Well, here we go again to find out more about the concept of the eye:  Ephesians chapter six – “Servants, be obedient to them that are masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart….”

Now, you would have to be “blind” in order to miss the fact that the context here in both of Paul’s letters is exactly the same as Matthew chapter six, and that Paul has pulled very specific words from Jesus in his description of our obedience to masters!  In fact, you could say with some certainty that Paul was drawing his material from Matthew chapter six when he was writing these portions of his letters!  He was teaching the people in Colossae and Ephesus from the sermon on the mount just like you and I are doing right now!

And the word that Jesus uses in referring to the eye, Paul uses to describe the heart.  Now, as you’ve already seen, this is a very specialized word.  And it isn’t used unless a peculiar meaning is intended.  In other words, it isn’t your common every-day word.

Now, in the context of Jesus’ sermon, the contrast is between the healthy eye and the evil eye.  “If your eye be healthy, your whole body shall be illuminated.  But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be dark….”

Well, that same word, healthy, has been used in Proverbs eleven, twenty-five to describe the purity of the sacrifice.  Unblemished.  Healthy.  It’s also been used to indicate simple or open – like without ulterior motive.  Paul used it to describe the single heart!  That means unambiguous – not appearing to be one way but having a dark, hidden motive underneath!  Servants are not to just appear to be devoted to their masters, for example – but they are really to have an open and simple and clear devotion to them without having a split allegiance!  Double minded!

Pleasing only to the eye, but having another allegiance – another devotion – is the evil heart, or the evil eye!  Having a simple heart or a simple eye – that is, single-minded obedience – is what is required.

The healthy eye – the one which is unambiguous, innocent, single minded, without split motives, is the one which illuminates the whole body.  But the evil eye – double minded – lets in darkness.  The intent of the evil eye is to be one way on the surface, but have a split allegiance underneath.  It pleases men on the outside, but has another agenda underneath.  It pleases its master on the outside, but hidden away is a devotion to another.  That light is truly darkness!

Then Jesus says that you can’t serve God and mammon – you’ll love one and hate the other, or vice verse!  If your eye is healthy, and open and simple and single-minded, then you’ll serve God.  But if your eye is evil – double-minded and devious and man-pleasing, then you are serving mamon.  But you can’t do both!

Now.  What an interesting word – mammon.  Most people say they can’t find the root in Greek history, so they don’t know where it comes from!  But what isn’t realized by most is that it isn’t a Greek word!  No wonder they can’t find it!  It’s a Hebrew word!  Mamon.  One “m”.  M-A-M-O-N.

AMON – with an M in the front as an article.  And Amon is the root.  It’s the word from which our “amen” comes.  And Jesus’ word Amnv – truly.  And the word means faith or believe!

What Jesus is saying is – you can’t serve God and have the other faith!  You can’t believe God and put your faith in something else!  You can’t be God’s servant and hold this other belief system.  You can’t be split so that your eye is both simple and evil!  You can’t have two value systems – one being light and the other darkness.  Because if the eye sees darkness – how great that darkness!

The Church is serving another faith.  It’s MAMON.  It’s not seeing with the simple eye on Christ where the treasures are.  It has an evil eye.  And what it sees is darkness.  This is the body of Christ, now – seeing with the eye of darkness.

It has its mind on men.  When it sees ministry, it doesn’t see God – it sees men.  And it’s another faith.  It has an anthropological faith.  It has a split heart.  It serves Christ on the outside, but it has a hidden agenda.  It’s serving two masters.  God and MAMON.  And that other faith is the faith of men.  Men like pietism.  Men like radical activism.  Men devise plans for worship and ministry!  Theology!

And it isn’t healthy.  It isn’t sound.  It isn’t rooted in the faith.  It isn’t pure for sacrifice.  It has a humanitarian, self-centered agenda.  It loves itself and seeks its own welfare, and it doesn’t know where the treasures are.

The Church’s eye is no longer an integral part of the spiritual body of Christ.  The body’s now full of darkness.  And how great that darkness!

See that your eye illuminates the body.  And that you have no ambiguous, split minded agenda with reference to God.  Your eye is to be simple and open, and pure and single-minded in its devotion to God and His Son Jesus.  Be very sure that the world-order mamon is the master you deny and hate.  Be sure that the eye-pleasing, man pleasing, anthropocentric faith is the one you deny and hate.  You can’t serve two masters.  You’re going to love only one of them.