Summary: There is no treasure more valuable than the Treasure of the Kingdom. In it God gives us salvation, new life, and purpose.

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A – PENTECOST 10 Matthew 13: 44 “How to Find the Real Treasure.”

Dear family in Christ, wouldn’t you like to find a hidden treasure? Something of great value, something that you would truly rejoice over?

While serving a church in Hailey, Idaho, we heard stories of hidden treasures between Shoshone and Bellevue – gold coins buried among the lava beds and sagebrush, hidden by stage coach robbers back in the old days. You see, even though the bandits wore scarf over their face to hide their identity, carrying a bag full of gold into town would have been a dead giveaway for their guilt. So they hid the loot in a little cave, probably, covered it with some sagebrush and went to town looking innocent. But, according to folklore, not innocent enough to one sheriff. Justice had caught up to them, they met their fate, and their treasures remain buried there somewhere till this day. Now, every once in a while, you can see people with metal detectors scouring the countryside along the 40-mile stretch.

What if you were to find it? What would your first reaction be? Would you be jumping up and down with joy? Then maybe you would try to count the coins and estimate the treasure’s value at roughly $ 400 per ounce. But sooner or later you would want to figure out how to keep it. You could just drive off with it, but that would not be legal. You would want to be the rightful owner of it because then you could enjoy it to the fullest.

Well, Jesus told a parable about someone who found a buried treasure. He said, The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

It was not unusual to find a buried treasure in the Holy Land. Not because of stage coach robbers but because that’s how people protected their valuables – putting them in ceramic pots and hiding them in the back yard or a field. But sometimes the owner died unexpectedly without revealing where the treasure was, the property may have changed hands a few times, and now someone turns a rock over and bingo! Now, notice something here: he doesn’t just take the treasure. He does what is proper. He buys the property so that he would become the treasure’s legal owner. It takes everything he owns to buy that field, but he does it with joy because he recognizes the treasure’s value.

Let’s talk about this for a while. Parables of Jesus are simple earthly stories with heavenly meaning and there is much we can learn from them.

The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure. Something very precious, of much more value than all that we have. So, what exactly is the Kingdom of heaven?

Let’s begin by saying that the greatest discovery we can make in life is that there is a spiritual side of it, and that eventually the spiritual side becomes the only side of life. Once we learn this important truth, we are ready for a treasure hunt.

Some of us here have learned this spiritual truth the hard way, like the five-minute near death experience in my case. But once we are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that life does not end when our heart stops beating, that there is something about this life after death stuff, then we are more receptive to consider our place in eternity and what God has to say about it.

So let’s open the treasure chest. This is the treasure of the Kingdom: - that God prepares us for eternity by the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible shares a bit of a bad news. It says that All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And since God is a God of justice, He had a dilemma: how to allow sinners into heaven? He can’t simply forgive us, the penalty for our sins had to be paid. In blood, no less? Whose blood? The sinner’s blood? If that were so, then we would all bleed and there would be no salvation. But God came up with a plan. He sent His Son Jesus into the world to bleed instead of us. He suffered and died a horrible death on the cross as our substitute, to serve out our sentence, to set us free, so that we would stand clean and blameless before God’s judgement throne. And He rose from the dead to open the way to heaven for us when we believe in Him. Let’s read together the great promise from the Kingdom’s treasure, the promise of Jesus as recorded in John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

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