AP 24, 2005
44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
INTRO; TODAY, WE WILL CONCLUDE OUR STUDY OF THE PARABLES OF JESUS, AT
LEAST FOR A WHILE. WE WANT TO LOOK AT THREE PARABLES, THE FIRST TWO ARE SIMILAR, THE LAST IS NOT. RECALL WITH ME, IF THERE IS ANY ONE THING I WANT YOU TO REMEMBER FROM THIS TIME IN THE PARABLES, IT IS THIS; A PARABLE IS AN EARTHLY STORY WITH A HEAVENLY MEANING. AS HE OFTEN DOES, JESUS BEGINS EACH OF THESE PARABLES WITH THE SAME STATEMENT, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE, AND THEN HE PAINTS FOR US A WORD PICTURE. THIS PAST WEEK, I WAS READING AN ARTICLE BY DAVID MAINS, (HE IS THE GUY WHO PUTS TOGETHER THE 50 DAY SPIRITUAL ADVENTURES), WE HAVE DONE SOME OF THOSE TOGETHER. IN THIS ARTICLE HE ASKS THE QUESTION, DO YOUR CHURCH MEMBERS REMEMBER YOUR SERMONS? AND THE TRUTH IS, FOR THE MOST PART, THEY DON’T. ITS NOT THAT YOU ARE POOR LISTENERS, AND ITS NOT B/C I AM A POOR COMMUNICATOR. THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS, WHY YOU DON’T REMEMBER. BUT LET ME SHARE WITH YOU ONE REASON WHY, SOMETIMES YOU DO REMEMBER. LAST SUNDAY, WE TALKED ABOUT THE MUSTARD SEED, AND WHILE I WAS HANDING THEM OUT, RUTHIE OPENS HER BILLFOLD, AND RIGHT INSIDE, SHE HAS A MUSTARD SEED.
NOW DOES SHE REMEMBER ALL THE POINTS AND THE WONDERFUL ILLUSTRATIONS THAT WENT WITH THE SERMON? PROBABLY NOT, BUT SHE DOES REMEMBER THAT THE MUSTARD SEED IS SO SMALL, AND YET IT MEANS SOMETHING SO BIG. WHEN JESUS TOLD THESE PARABLES, HE IS PAINTING SUCH A VIVID PICTURE, THAT IT LASTS AND LASTS FOREVER. LETS LOOK AT THESE PARABLES TOGETHER.
PARABLE OF THE HIDDEN TREASURE. DOES ANYTHING CAPTURE YOUR IMAGINATION AS MUCH AS HIDDEN TREASURE? CAN YOU IMAGINE, IF YOU WENT HOME THIS AFTERNOON, AND YOU FOUND A TREASURE MAP. AND THAT MAP SAID, THAT ON YOUR PROPERTY, IN YOUR BACK YARD, THERE WAS BURIED TREASURE. AND, YOU REALIZED THIS WAS NOT A HOAX, BUT GENUINE. YOUR HEART WOULD START TO PUMP, YOU WOULD READ THE MAP, MEASURE EACH STEP, WITH SHOVEL IN HAND YOU WOULD BEGIN TO DIG. YOU WOULDN’T CARE HOW COLD IT WAS OUTSIDE, YOU WOULDN’T CARE WHAT THE NEIGHBORS THOUGHT, YOU WOULD DIG. AS YOUR SHOVEL MAKES IT WAY THRU THE DIRT, YOU FINALLY HEAR THAT SWEET SOUND OF A METAL BOX. BE CAREFUL, DOWN ON YOUR HANDS AND KNEES, YOU BEGIN TO MOVE THE DIRT AWAY BY HAND. IT IS A TREASURE CHEST, YOU PRY IT LOSE, BRING IT TO THE SURFACE, AND WHEN YOU OPEN IT, INSIDE, TO YOUR HEARTS DELIGHT, IS THE TREASURE. YOU ARE JUMPING UP AND DOWN WITH PURE DELIGHT. IT S ALL YOURS. (AND OF COURSE, SINCE I WAS THE ONE WHO TOLD YOU TO GO HOME AND DIG FOR TREASURE, A FINDERS FEE IS IN ORDER). FROM CHILDHOOD, WE HAVE HEARD THE STORIES OF BURIED TREASURE.
THE MOVIE INDUSTRY HAS MADE BIG MONEY RETELLING THOSE STORIES.
INDIANA JONES IS REALLY STORIES OF FINDING TREASURE. TITANIC IS A STORY OF FINDING TREASURE. I CANT BEGIN TO TELL YOU ALL THE STORIES BASED ON THAT THEME.
NOT ONLY ARE THERE STORIES, WE ACTUALLY TRY AND FIND THE TREASURE SOMETIMES. WHEN WE GO TO THE BEACH, WE TAKE ALONG A METAL DETECTOR, WE DO THIS FOR TWO REASONS. ONE, IT KEEPS JOHN BUSY, SECOND, HE JUST MIGHT FIND SOMETHING. WE LOOK FOR TREASURE WHEN WE GO TO YARD SALES, OR AUCTIONS. WE JUST MIGHT FIND THAT ONE THING, THAT IS A REAL STEAL. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT SOMEONE WHO BOUGHT A PAINTING FOR THE FRAME, ONLY TO FIND OUT THAT THE PAINTING WAS A MASTERPIECE.
JUST AS THE THOUGHT OF TREASURE CAPTURES OUR IMAGINATION, IT CAUGHT THE PEOPLE JESUS WAS TELLING THIS PARABLE TO. THE KINGDOM IS LIKE, A MAN WHO WHILE DIGGING IN A FIELD FINDS HIDDEN TREASURE. IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON IN THAT DAY, FOR PEOPLE TO BURY THEIR VALUABLES FOR SAFEKEEPING. THEIR HOMES DIDN’T ALWAYS PROVIDE SAFETY, SO THEY WOULD DIG A HOLE AND BURY THEIR VALUABLES. THIS WAS A COMMON ENOUGH OCCURRENCE, THAT WHEN JESUS TELLS THE STORY, THEY CAN THINK OF SOMEONE THEY KNOW WHO HAS BURIED SOMETHING, OR PERHAPS SOMEONE WHO HAS FOUND IT.
THERE WAS A MAN, DIGGING IN A FIELD AND HE FINDS THIS TREASURE. HE REALIZES HOW VALUABLE IT IS. BEING HONEST, HE TAKES ALL THE MONEY HE HAS, AND HE GOES AND BUYS THIS PIECE OF LAND. NOW, HE LEGALLY OWNS THE TREASURE. HOW GREAT IS HIS JOY. STOP AND THINK WITH ME FOR A MOMENT, WHAT IS THERE IN LIFE THAT YOU WOULD SELL ALL THAT YOU OWN TO GET IT? THINK ABOUT HOW VALUABLE THIS TREASURE IS, IF HE IS WILLING TO SELL ALL HE OWNS TO BUY IT. HOLD ON TO THAT THOUGHT.
SECOND PARABLE, THE PARABLE OF THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. TODAY, WE DO NOT PLACE THE SAME VALUE ON A PEARL AS THEY DID IN JESUS TIME. HOW DO YOU GET PEARLS? WE DRIVE TO THE JEWELRY STORE AND BUY THEM. BUT, SOMEONE HAS TO HARVEST THEM. IN THAT DAY, THE MAN THAT JESUS IS TALKING ABOUT, WOULD TAKE HIS BOAT OUT TO SEA. HE WOULD TIE A ROPE TO A LARGE STONE, AND THEN THROW THE STONE OVERBOARD, WITH THE ROPE ATTACHED TO HIM. THIS WOULD LOWER HIM TO THE DEPTHS THAT HE MIGHT FIND THE OYSTERS, WHERE HE MIGHT FIND A PEARL. IT IS SAID, THAT ABOUT ONE IN ONE THOUSAND OYSTERS HOLD A PEARL. NOW, HE DOES NOT HAVE AN OXYGEN TANK, OR SCUBA GEAR, JUST A ROPE AND A ROCK, AND HOLD YOUR BREATH. WHO’S READY TO GO IN THE PEARL BUSINESS? THE RISK IS HIGH, BUT THE REWARD CAN BE EXTREMELY HIGH, IF YOU FIND THE PEARL. JUST AS WITH THE BURIED TREASURE, THIS PEARL IS OF GREAT VALUE.
JESUS SAYS, THE MAN FOUND THIS PEARL, AND HE TOO WENT AND SOLD EVERYTHING HE HAD TO BUY IT.
WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HERE, IS NOT HIDDEN TREASURE AND PEARLS. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. THE CHURCH. AND WHAT JESUS IS SAYING IS THIS. THE KINGDOM IS SO VALUABLE, THE CHURCH IS SO VALUABLE, THAT WHEN YOU FIND IT, YOU WOULD BE WILLING TO GIVE UP EVERYTHING FOR IT.
WHAT DID JESUS GIVE UP FOR YOU? HE GAVE UP EVERYTHING.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
2 COR. 8;9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. JESUS GAVE UP HIS HOME IN HEAVEN. THINK ABOUT HOW WONDERFUL YOU BELIEVE HEAVEN IS GOING TO BE. NO PAIN, NO SORROW, NO SUFFERING. NO HUNGER, NO THIRST. NO TEARS. MULTIPLY THIS OUT. AND JESUS HAD ALL THIS AND MORE, AND HE LEFT IT ALL. HE WAS THE KING, HE LEFT HIS CASTLE.
HE GAVE IT ALL FOR THE CHURCH. IT REQUIRES SACRIFICE.