Matt 13 44 to 46
The Most Important Thing in the Entire World
Importance, that’s what I want to talk to you about today. What's important.
If you watch T.V. or read magazines the world tells you what’s important. Beauty is important. That’s what’s important in the world we live in, the great make-over either your body or the house. What’s important to our lives differs depending on our ages. For my 13 year old daughter, Carla, her mobile phone is very important. She would like to txt 24 hours a day if we let her. If we take her phone off her she feels like a part of her is missing. That’s a good disciplinary tool by the way, taking the phone of the kids for bad behaviour. For my 5 year old different things are important, he wants to play and have fun but he also wants to be loved and to feel important. James wants to play on the computer.
When we look around us we see how other people live. How they live tells us a little about what they think is important. For some, power is important, for others money or maybe both. But that’s not what is necessarily important for all people. For many people the Great Australian Dream is important. Owning your own home and finally paying it off. What about living a quiet life peacefully getting along with your neighbours?
So what I want you to do today is to think about,
what is important to YOU
and to YOUR life.
What I want to do today is examine something that should be important to us all no matter our age. It’s not important because I said so but because the Bible says it’s important.
Today I want to talk to you about the Kingdom of Heaven and how valuable it is: and, how valuable the Kingdom of Heaven should be to us.
Read: Matt 13:44-46
This is one of the parables Jesus spoke among a group of parables. In this parable Jesus outlines the importance of the Kingdom of Heaven for us.
First I would like to give some indication of what the Kingdom of God or Heaven is. Graeme Goldsworthy an Australian defined the Kingdom of God as God’s People in God’s Place under God’s Rule. We have people in a relationship with God in the place where God would have them live as they live according to God’s standards. God’s People in God’s Place under God’s Rule.
With this understanding in mind we shall examine this parable.
What we want to examine here is three things that happened to both of these men.
First there was the discovery, second the response and the motivation for their response.
The first man was simply working, going about his daily life, minding his own business. He wasn’t looking for anything when suddenly he found it, a treasure.
Recount Israelite practices if needed.
The second man had been seeking pearls. He knew there was something to seek. He found a treasure, the pearl of great price. He wasn’t satisfied with the ordinary or the mundane.
There are many people in the world, some just getting on with life and others seeking something. Most people I know are not seeking the Kingdom of God. They are seeking other things, things that are important to them. Houses, cars, boats an education and so on, almost anything but religion and certainly not faith in Christ. One guy at my work is seeking a spiritual life, but it’s a spiritual life of his own creation. It’s a bit of a mix of all the things he finds appealing in Buddhism and other New Age practices. But of Christianity, he’s really not interested at all. Nor was I seeking the Kingdom of Heaven when I was younger. Someone was telling me about salvation and faith in Jesus and what I heard that’s what I wanted. I hadn’t been seeking God he sought me. In a way the Kingdom of Heaven was something I stumbled upon.
The second man was seeking something. Some people have explored other religions to find them false. The may have heard of the God of the Bible and are seeking to find and know Him. Think of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-38 (Phillip) or Cornelius in Acts 10 (Peter). They had heard of God, were seeking to follow God but needed to be shown the truth of what they sought so they could come to salvation. Likewise the second man was seeking pearls and he found the pearl of great price.
One of the things that occurs in our lives is that we know the value of things. We wouldn’t pay $50 to see a movie when we know it should only be around $12. We know how much a loaf of bread is, we know the value of a car or even a house. What is the value of the Kingdom of Heaven? What was it for these men and what is it for us?
The bible here tells us that these two men both found something, a treasure. I don’t know if you have ever thought about a treasure. Does anyone have a treasure? If you do just give me your address and I’ll be back soon (just kidding). I’m afraid I don’t have a treasure. If you imagine a treasure, it’s something of great value. I think of the Crown Jewels of England Fort Knox and the gold and bullion.
Of course the obvious question is: What do you do if you find a treasure? You try to get it for yourself. That’s what these men did.
Both of these men went and sold all that they had for the treasure. This tells us something about how valuable they considered the treasure. To sell all that you have for something you must think it is of great value. That is the primary purpose of theses two parables that Jesus tells. The Kingdom of Heaven is Valuable. The Kingdom of Heaven is valuable beyond measure. We see in the lives of these two men total commitment in seeking to gain the Kingdom of Heaven. They were not half hearted but gave everything to possess the kingdom.
Excursus: Caution: Now I don’t want you to think they were earning their salvation. No this parable only teaches about the value of the kingdom not how we gain admittance to the kingdom. When we examine parables we can see that they teach truth and doctrine, and that truth must match up with other portions of scripture. Jesus teaches about admittance or receiving the kingdom in the parable of the sower whereby you receive the message of the kingdom and by doing so receive what Christ has done for you. That’s how we are saved, by receiving Christ. This parable teaches about the importance of the kingdom.
The kingdom of God was important to both of these men. So much so that they forsook all to gain the kingdom.
What about you? What about me? Do we think the Kingdom of God is valuable?
I want to tell you a story about Eric Liddell from the movie: Chariots of Fire. He was called the Flying Scotsman. He was born in China to missionary parents and was sent to England for an education. If you remember he was an outstanding athlete. He was a champion runner and also an international rugby union player and accomplished cricketer. In fact he was so fast that he went to the Paris Olympics in 1924 where he won the gold in the 400 meters and the bronze in the 200 meters. Academically he was a good student graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree.
It’s what happens after the movie finishes that is important. He returned to China in 1925 as a missionary where he served as a teacher. Whilst there he met and married a Canadian missionary, Florence Mackenzie and they had three daughters. As the war approached his family returned to Canada while he stayed on at the mission. During the war he was captured and interred by the Japanese. Whilst interred he organized food for the prisoners, lobbied for better conditions for the prisoners, led bible studies and taught children science. He was held in such high esteem the Japanese even let him prepare their food. Winston Churchill, prime Minister of England had organised a prisoner exchange with the Japanese and Eric Liddell was on the list. Unsurprisingly he gave his place to a pregnant woman. He later died of a brain tumour in the prison camp.
His life was characterised by one overriding quest, to live a life honouring God. His goal was the Kingdom of God and his life demonstrated, in triumph ….. and adversity…… the kingdom of God.
So I think to myself what could propel a man or woman to live like this? Why would we want to live like this and emulate the life of Eric Liddell? Like Eric Liddell why would we want to be God’s person, in God’s place under God’s rule?
The answer is found in these parables. The reason both of the men forsook all was for Joy. You don’t sacrifice all for something you despise.
See the words of 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Likewise the man seeking pearls sold all that he had for the one pearl of great price.
Their motivation was joy in finding something so valuable. Everyone deep down wants to be happy and everyone seeks happiness. True happiness is only found in Christ. That’s why Paul says in Romans 14:17, "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit"
Our motivation is the same, Joy in God.
Is it possible for us to feel this same joy? The Psalms speak of Joy in God. For example:
Psa 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Psa 68:3 But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!
So I ask myself, can or should we expect this Joy in our lives?
I would say yes we can. When I think about salvation today many people say they are believers. I always look at their lives, does their life match their profession.
Everyone believes in God but the thing that separates the believer from the unbeliever is Love for God, the true believer, to some extent Loves God. Not just any God either but God as revealed and represented within the Bible. We don’t always understand why God acts as He does but despite this, the believer has a love for God.
I wonder about people: Is God the delight of your life?
Our forefathers of 200 years ago had it right when they asked, what are we here for? What is the meaning of life?
Their response, to Glorify God and enjoy Him Forever.
This is not a new idea enjoying God. It is in enjoying God that we actively engage as the people of God, in God’s place and under God’s rule.
These two men had great joy in finding the Kingdom of God. Theirs was not a faith of I’ll go to church because I have to but of I have found the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and he, I can rejoice in.
I hope you can you see the difference between religion and true faith? This was and is not formalism the mere action of going through the motions, but true faith in the living God.
One final thing we note about these men. They needed to respond personally to the discovery. They had to forsake all for themselves, for the Kingdom. Not their mother or brother but its them Oh Lord, standing in the need for the kingdom. They had to make a choice themselves. No one could do it for them. No one can do it for me; no one can do it for you. It is a choice you must make for yourself.
This is not about salvation, but for those who are believers. Do we value the kingdom of Heaven above all things?
Do we see the Kingdom of God as valuable? Is it important to us? If so, what will be our response? Jesus didn't tell parables as nice stories. They were there to call us to respond to His teaching.
It's not easy what I am talking about. This is a hard call. Sacrifices will need to be made if you want to love the Kingdom of Heaven like this. The pull of the world is powerful. There are so many things we might want to have, good things that are not necessarily bad or evil, but things that do not add to the kingdom of God. Or even things that will take us away from the Kingdom of God. I don't have to tell you what these things are as most of you know what they are.
When I think of the Kingdom of God I think of Colin Buchanan.
Has anyone seen playschool, Colin Buchanan a playschool presenter and a committed Christian has a song, "The things of the Lord".
In that song he sings:
You save your money
and you pay your cash
buying things that are really flash
One day when they collect the trash
That’s where there gonna be
But what Colin calls us to is really important:
Gotta throw off greed
Gotta run the race
Gotta long to gaze on Jesus' face
Many here have discovered the Kingdom of God and responded To God and are seeking after the kingdom of God wholeheartedly. If you are a believer and you don’t quite have that response ……….. this parable calls to you………… for a decision.
The Kingdom of God is valuable so how will you respond to the call of God?
My prayer is that we will respond like these men………. forsake all for the treasure that is only to be found in God………. the Kingdom of God.
For those present who do not find the Kingdom of Heaven valuable, examine yourselves, are you in the faith. Do you love God? If not maybe it is that you are not a Christian? If you are not a Christian know that Jesus came to pay the price for your sin and for my sin. If we would just ask God for forgiveness He will forgive us our sin and accept us as his children into the Kingdom of God.
So to close I ask, are you a Christian, if not do something about it.
If you are a Christian here I have presented the kingdom of God to you. Jesus says the kingdom of God is important. These men discovered the kingdom of God to be important, so much so that they responded to the call of the kingdom of God. We see their motivation in responding to the Kingdom of God was Joy.
What about us? What will our response be?
Is the Kingdom of God, is it important to us?
My prayer for my family is that we might be able to say with Joshua (24)
As for Me and My House We will Serve the Lord
Pray to Conclude