Summary: Thke 5th message in a series taken from texts unique to Matthew’s gospel. This one looks at 3 parables which together teach that the kingdom is a treasure to be sought.
Matthew’s Unique Message #5
The Kingdom of Heaven – A Treasure
Matthew 13:44-45; 52; 25:14-30
CHCC: August 12, 2007
The Gospel of Matthew records 9 Parables of Jesus that no other Gospels record. All of those Parables tell about the Kingdom that Jesus, the Messiah, brought to earth. For the 2000 plus years since it’s beginning His Kingdom has been known as The Church. Two times in the book of Matthew, Jesus actually uses the word ekklesia which is the Greek word for “Church.” But most of the time, Jesus refers to the Church as “The Kingdom of Heaven.”
Several of Jesus Parables begin with the words “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…” Those parables tell us a lot about the Church... what His Church is, and what part we play in His Church. Last time I preached, we saw that the Church is currently a Mix of righteousness and unrighteousness. The 3 Parables we looked at showed that a Day is coming when God will pull His true Church out of the Mix, and from that time, His Church will rule with Him in Heaven.
Today we are going to look at 3 more Parables that start with the words, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…”. In all three, Jesus announces that His Church is a Treasure --- a Treasure of Great Value --- and a Treasure that requires Great Sacrifice and Great Risk.
1. A Treasure of Great Value
Matthew 13:44"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.
You know, it does you no good to find a treasure if you don’t know what you’ve got. Now, I’m the kind who always thinks a treasure might be around the corner. I haven’t ever bought lottery tickets or anything like that, but I used to always play those prize-winning games they had at McDonalds. It used to cost me the price of a coke to get a game piece, but I was thirsty anyway and enjoyed filling up the game board with the pieces I received.
One time, when the game was a version of Monopoly, I was regularly picking up game pieces and had everything except the winning pieces when one day I got my pieces and was in a hurry so I stuffed them in my pocket without opening them. When I got home I opened them and set them on the counter by my side of the bed. I noticed that one of the pieces looked a little different than the rest but thought nothing of it. The next day I was in the car with the game board and noticed that the piece I had seen the day before was a $1,000.00 winner.
I called home and told Susan about the game piece. She said, “I’ll go look for it.” Then came back to the phone groaning and said she thought what was on the counter was trash and had thrown it away. I told her to retrieve it but she said she had taken the trash out to the curb for the trash pick up. I said to get the bag back from the curb, and she came back groaning again, the trash man had just been by a few minutes before I called. There was a $1,000 treasure thrown out with the trash that day.
The Church is a Treasure. But it does you no good if you don’t see its Value. I was talking to an older lady recently who was lamenting the fact that her 3 grandsons (who are in their 20’s and 30’s) seem to have no interest in the Church. They were raised in Christian homes. They went to church as children and teenagers. But for whatever reason, they don’t see the Value of Church in their busy adult lives.
In their case I have a theory about why they may not realize that the Church is a Treasure. When someone grows up in church, they often see the unsavory things that can happen in the life of a church. They might see fights between members, power plays and politics among leaders, cliques and other kinds of exclusionary behavior, and some even witness major traumas like church splits which are demoralizing to just about everyone in the church family. When people see those kinds of things happening in a church congregation, many conclude that if that is what church is all about they want no part of it. My take on these kinds of things goes back to what I preached about the last sermon when we dealt with the wheat and weeds. The enemy sows weeds in with the wheat, and it is those pseudo Christians who have no conscience when it comes to causing trouble in the flock. In fact, they seem to enjoy the tension and turmoil they cause because they aren’t connected in any real way to Christ. To them Church is just another organization to belong to.