Summary: This sermon teaches us about the greatness of God’s kingdom and the high expectations that go along with it.
WHAT DOES GOD EXPECT FROM ME?
July 14, 2002
Pastor Steve Dow
Too many Christians today take their religion too lightly. Commitment among Christians is at an all time low? The Bible commands us to give ten percent of our income to God and yet the average Wesleyan gives only three percent and that is higher than many other denominations. The Bible tells us that we are to minister to one another and yet few are actively involved in local church ministry and yet they expect to be ministered too. There is little or no statistical difference between the way the average professing Christian lives and the way the average unbeliever lives. Both divorce at the same rate. Both cheat on there taxes at the same rate. Both attend dirty movies at similar rates. Why is that you ask? Well, as we look through these parables today we will discover that it is in part due to the fact that the kingdom is easy to overlook. It is easy to overlook for at least three reasons. First, the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which was the smallest known seed at that time. It is easy to overlook the small things in life. Second, the kingdom of heaven is like a hidden treasure. If you’re not looking for it, you will probably miss it. Third, the kingdom of heaven is like a fisherman’s dragnet, which is easy to overlook because it does it’s work below the surface. Jesus said, “...the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Because the kingdom of God is not an external, physical kingdom many people today overlook it’s importance.
However, as we talk through these parables together we will also see that they teach us about the greatness of God’s kingdom. Because God’s kingdom is so great we cannot afford to take it lightly. Because God’s kingdom is so great, there are high expectations placed on those who would enter in.
An interesting cartoon shows a fourth grade boy standing toe-to-toe and nose-to-nose with his teacher. Behind them stares a blackboard covered with math problems the boy hasn’t finished.
With rare perception the boy says, “I’m not an underachiever, you’re an overexpecter!” (Today in the Word, MBI, April, 1990, p.30)
Many professing Christians are just like that little boy. They deny that they are underachievers in the faith while at the same time accusing God of being an overexpecter -- of setting his expectations for them too high. Unfortunately this attitude is running rampant in our society these days, especially in some educational circles. Some educators believe that you shouldn’t tell a child if she got an answer wrong. Rather you should just encourage her for even trying so that you can boost her self-esteem because feeling good about yourself is more important than getting the answer right. I think students should feel good about themselves because they got the answer right. This type of education has led America to be ranked number one in several academic categories. For example, America is ranked number one in illiteracy for all developed countries. Now there’s something to feel good about! Unfortunately, this attitude has crept into many Christian circles as well and as a result we Christians who are interested in a religion that makes them feel good about themselves rather than a religion that changes their lives. However, a religion that does not transform every area of your life is a religion that is not worth having.
GOD EXPECTS ME TO . . .
1. SACRIFICE ALL I AM AND HAVE FOR HIS KINGDOM. (13:44-46)
THE PRICE OF GOD’S KINGDOM
Let’s begin by looking at the Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl. From these parables we learn that it is easy to overlook or dismiss God’s kingdom because it is hidden. The man who found the pearl of great price was the man who looked for it. So it is with with finding God’s kingdom. We also learn from these parables that the kingdom of God is incredibly valuable. The treasure and the pearl were both so valuable that the men who found them were willing to sacrifice everything they had in order to obtain them.
All too often Christians fail to realize the value of God’s kingdom. They are like a man I read about recently who had thrown out an old Bible that had been stored in the attic of his ancestral home for generations. He met an acquaintance who loved old books.
“I couldn’t read it,” he explained. “Somebody name Guten-something had printed it.”
“Not Gutenberg!” the book lover exclaimed in horror. “That Bible was one of the first books ever printed. Why, a copy just sold for over two million dollars!”
His friend was unimpressed. “Mine wouldn’t have brought a dollar. Some guy named Martin Luther had scribbled all over it in German.” (Our Daily Bread, June 7, 1994). Someone once said, “We know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.” This man had taken an invaluable treasure and treated it like common garbage. Too many do the same with God’s kingdom. But the scripture says that it should be the other way around. We should treat everything else as garbage that we might have the kingdom of God. The apostle Paul said, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ...” (Philippians 3:8). In fact the kingdom of God is so valuable that it is completely beyond your ability to comprehend it. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).