Summary: Exposition of Matthew 13:44-46 regarding the two parables of the kingdom about the treasure and the soil
Text: Matthew 13:44-46 Title: Entrance to the Kingdom Date/Place: LSCC, 7/23/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: Entrance of the Aucan Indians into the Kingdom
B. Background to passage: Jesus has just finished giving several parables about the kingdom in general, and people’s responses to it. And so the question raised in some minds was: how do I enter this kingdom. So, like the text last week, Jesus gives two parables with essentially the same meaning about entrance into the kingdom. And it is a question that we should all ask, because something like 68% of Americans consider themselves Christians. As you witness you run into drunks who say they believe in Jesus, unmarried couples sleeping together that say they believe, people who haven’t been to church in 23 years who say they believe; but their “belief” wouldn’t pass for Jesus’ version of salvation.
C. Main thought: And from this text we will gain four truths and many great insights about salvation
A. A Personal Transaction
1. The first truth that we can draw from these parables is that salvation is a personal transaction. Each of the parables tells a story of an individual to sacrifices all to personally obtain what has become immeasurably valuable to him. These were two personal decisions. The bible never speaks of vicarious faith of one person for another. The bible never speaks of salvation of a group apart from personal faith. But it does use the terminology of transaction. It says that God accepted Christ’s payment (Rom 3:24-26), that we have been given the Spirit as a down payment (Eph 1:13), and that by the condition and appropriation of faith, we are given eternal life.
2. Matt 25:9, Rom 9:6-7, Isa 55:1-3, Rev 22:17,
3. Illustration: A woman named Sheila, interviewed for Bellah’s Habits of the Heart, embodies this attitude. “I believe in God,” she said. “I can’t remember the last time I went to church. But my faith has carried me a long way. It’s ‘Sheila-ism.’ Just my own little voice.” They are the emotions, the intellect, and the will. For example, a young man meets a young woman. They are immediately attracted to one another. They both say to themselves, “Now there is someone I’d like to marry.” At that point, if the emotions had their way, there would be a wedding. But the intellect intervenes, questioning the impulsive emotional response. Would we be compatible? What is she really like? Can I afford to support her? Both conclude it would be better to take some more time and answer a few questions before they proceed. So the two begin spending more time with each other. He eventually concludes that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Now his intellect has sided with the emotions on the idea of marriage.But the final and heaviest vote remains to be cast—that of the will. It stops the march toward the altar with the questions, “Am I willing to give up this lifestyle for another? What about my freedom—is it worth the trade? Am I willing to assume the added responsibility?” The marriage will occur only when the will finally agrees with the emotions and the intellect. And so it is in coming to Christ.
4. If you are saved today, it is because sometime in your life you personally made a decision to follow Jesus in your heart. If you are looking to your baptism for salvation, you will be greatly disappointed on the Day of Judgment, as God says, “I never knew you.” If you are trusting in your family, your church, your goodness, your correct theology, your money, your mission trips, or anything other than a personal transaction where you exchanged your life for Christ’s death and resurrection, you will be lost. It involves your heart, mind, and will.
B. A Priceless Commodity
1. The second truth that we can pull from these parables is the value of the kingdom. Treasure was buried all over Israel and left unknowingly for people to find. Pearls were extremely valuable, a form of investment in the ancient world. But in both cases, the decision was made by the individual that the treasure and the pearl were worth more than everything else they owned. And thus sold out for them.
2. John 6:35, Heb 11:24-26, Phil 3:8,
3. Illustration: A South African diamond mining company estimates that to mine out one pound of rough diamonds, it must sift through and mine out 90,000 tons of rock. 19th century pastor Thomas Guthrie wrote, “in the blood of Christ to wash out sin’s darkest stains, in the grace of God to purify the foulest heart, in peace to calm life’s roughest storms, in hopes to cheer guilt’s darkest hour, in a courage that defies death and calmly descends to the tomb, in that which makes the poorest rich and without which the richest are poor indeed, the gospel has treasures greater far than east or west unfold, and its rewards more precious are than all the stores of gold.” Robert Herbert Thompson owned 180 newspapers and 290 other companies. But when asked what he would give for ownership of The New York Times; he replied that he would “mortgage his soul.” Let’s suppose you were buying a used car, and as you opened all the compartments you realized that there was several million dollars in diamonds and cash under the seat,