Summary: Kingdom choices have eternal consequences.
Title: Pick Your Prized Possession Wisely
Text: Matthew 13:44-52
The Big Idea: Kingdom choices have eternal consequences.
Let’s begin by listening in on a “man on the street” clip in which interviews ask four questions: (Heaven and Hell, Sermonspice.com)
1. Do you believe in heaven and hell?
2. What do you think it is like in heaven and hell?
3. Where is heaven and hell?
4. Who goes to heaven and hell?
Our text today does not attempt to argue the existence of heaven or hell… it assumes the existence of both. Jesus very clearly declares the existence of the Kingdom of Heaven and then tells us what it is like or to what it may be compared. But the question remains. What is it?
What is the Kingdom of Heaven?
I. The Kingdom of Heaven is the most prized of all possessions.
• “The Kingdom of Heaven is…”
In the epic film The Kingdom of Heaven, set during the Crusades of the 12th Century, it is about the defense of the city of Jerusalem against the Muslims who were attempting to reclaim the city from the Christians. However claiming a city as a Christian city does not constitute the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Kingdom of Heaven is better understood as the invisible reign or rule of God in the human heart or in the lives of Christians in this world… in anticipation of the return of Christ and the establishment of his visible and eternal heavenly kingdom.
The Kingdom of God is expressed in the longing of the Lord’s Prayer when we pray, “Thy Kingdom come. They will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
The Kingdom of Heaven in the life of a Christian is the desire to be a person of God both now and evermore… it is to welcome the reign of Christ into one’s earthly live and then live in anticipation of eternal life in heaven.
To what is the Kingdom of Heaven compared? The Kingdom of heaven is like a…
A. A Treasure Hidden in a Field
• “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field – and get the treasure, too!” Matthew 13:44
This story would resonate with those to whom Jesus was speaking. They would get it… the ground was the only safe place to stash their stuff. People often would hide their valuables in the ground for safekeeping until they could return and reclaim it.
We are not altogether unfamiliar with the concept. I have a friend in Kansas who said his dad, having lived through the Stock Market Crash of 1929 with its Black Thursday, Black Monday, and Black Tuesday, the bank failures, and the ensuing Great Depression, kept his money buried in a can. Unfortunately, it is still buried in a can somewhere on the family farm.
This treasure was not hidden in Indy Mac Federal Savings Bank or invested in Enron, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac stock… it was tucked away safely in the ground.
The Kingdom of Heaven is also like a merchant who finds a pearl.
B. A Pearl of Great Value – Matthew 13:45-46
• “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” Matthew 13:45-46
So we have two stories. One story is about a treasure hidden in the ground and another about a choice pearl. How are the stories of the hidden treasure and the pearl the same?
1. The treasures were of great value. There is excitement and joy when each is discovered.
2. Possessing the treasure was worth the forfeiture of all others treasures. Both men sold everything they owned in order to purchase their treasure.
On May 7, 1934 a Filipino clam diver was seized by a giant clam… inside the clam was an enormous 14 lb. pearl shaped in the image of a turbaned face. It was dubbed, “The Pearl of Allah.”
It has a long and confusing history. I cannot vouch for or authenticate the true of this story but it is alleged that Osama bin Laden attempted to purchase the pearl as a gift to Saddam Hussein “to unite the Arab cultures,” and it is said that Hussein was prepared to accept it as an overture of unity between al-Qaida and the Iraqi government. That was in 1999. (Aaron Klein, 2004 WorldNetDaily.com, October 29,2004)
More recently the pearl has been in a bank vault in Colorado Springs and according to a wrongful death ruling in the death of Eloise Bonicelli here in west Arvada in 2005. Her husband had allegedly hired a hit man to prevent her from filing for divorce and getting half of the Bonicelli family business. the Allah Pearl, which was partially owned by Joe Bonicelli, was to be sold and the $32.4 million of the proceeds of the sale was to go to her children. (Dennis Huspeni, The Gazette Daily News, World’s Largest Pearl Part of Lawsuit, May 6, 2007)