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2007-05-13_Things Hidden - Part 2_Matthew 13.44-52_SL

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Things Hidden, Part 2

Matthew 13:44-52   |   Shaun LePage   |   May 20, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Long ago, the prophets said a King was coming. Is 9:6-7; Jer 23:5; Dan 7:14. The OT believer rightly looked forward to that day, that King and His kingdom. So, when Jesus showed up and began to present himself as that King, saying, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” just imagine the excitement!

B.    But the Jewish leaders did not think Jesus was the promised king. Maybe they didn’t think Jesus looked and acted like the King they had pictured in their minds. Maybe they liked their exalted position in the nation and didn’t want the King to come and rule them. Maybe they just didn’t really believe the prophets. Whatever the reason—they rejected Him.

C.    After that rejection, Jesus explained that God had a plan. He was not surprised. His plan was laid out by Jesus in Matthew 13—the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

D.    Last week: Matthew 13:1-43: Parables for the crowds:

1.     Parable of Sower and Soils (1-23) | Four responses—best is “good soil”—bears fruit! Picture of receiving God’s Word—responding correctly: “He who has ears, let him hear.” (v.9)  |  Mystery: kingdom of heaven will see mixture of right and wrong responses. Believe and bear fruit—not satisfied with shallow/unfruitful-ness.

2.     Parable of Wheat and Tares (24-30; 36-43)—“Sons”—followers of Satan will suffer judgment at “end of the age.” “Sons of kingdom” will shine | Mystery: The kingdom of heaven will have a mixture of real and counterfeit sons. Become a son of the kingdom (For now, tares can become wheat! Believe and be transformed), Church—keep being wheat, growing, bearing fruit—someday you’ll “shine”.

3.     Parable of Man and Mustard Seed (31-32)  |  Seed probably represents humble beginnings of “Christendom”—large umbrella of all kinds of unbiblical religious systems (e.g., LDS, Christian Science). |  Mystery: The kingdom of heaven will hear a mixture of true and false teaching. Guard what is true.

4.     Parable of Woman and Leaven (33)  |  Context of Ch 13—“mixture”—Permeating power of evil working in the “kingdom”; evil working from within (like leaven)  |  Mystery: The kingdom of heaven will see a mixture of evil and righteous powers. Clean out corrupting influences. |  This brings us to where we left off last week…

II.     Body—Matthew 13:44-52: Parables for the Disciples (very important audience!)

A.   Parables Fulfilled Prophecy. (34-35) “Literary Hinge” (more later)

1.     (34-35) Jesus spoke in parables—fulfilled prophecy. Ps78:2, Asaph taught by comparing (parable) previous generations with the present generation. Remember context—“things hidden” describe the kingdom of heaven (rule of God) in “inter-advent” age. Previously unknown to the OT Jews was the mystery that the kingdom would now be offered to Gentiles throughout the earth, then Jesus returns. Eph 3:1-12.

2.     Mystery: The kingdom of heaven is a mystery revealed. Have ears? Look at 1 Th 5:1-6. Be alert and sober.

3.     Jesus interpreted wheat & tares (36-43; last week) then—starting in v.44—told 3 more. First two are typically interpreted 1) Christ is the hidden treasure whom unsaved should purchase; 2) Christ is the finder and purchaser of the church. Not only are both ideas foreign to the context, but both seem to be bad theology: Christ is not for sale, nor did He sell Israel (“all that he had”) to buy the church. Let’s look in context:

B.   Man and Treasure (44)

1.     Only in Matthew |  not interpreted, so remember the context: dreams of immediate kingdom of David have been dashed; Jesus now encourages and challenges His disciples (believers) to count the cost. |  Basic idea: Kingdom is a treasure—something of great value! Far outweighs any sacrifice or inconvenience one might encounter on earth to possess it. |  Of course, we can’t buy our salvation. Salvation is free, but following Christ requires a high cost! Mt 10:38; Lk 14:25-33

2.     Mystery: The kingdom of heaven is a hidden treasure. Have ears? Pay the high cost of a disciple. The man sold all he had—nothing else was as important. Total dedication to Christ, the King and His kingdom will be worth it!

C.   Man and Pearl (45-46)

1.     Repeats the message of v.44, but slightly different emphasis: Here, the merchant (the disciple) is “seeking fine pearls”—previous disciple just found the treasure.

2.     Mystery: The kingdom of heaven is a pearl of great value. Have ears? Seek the kingdom and invest everything. Merchant also sold all he had—nothing else was as important. Investing everything in the kingdom will pay off.

D.   Dragnet and Fish (47-50)

1.     A lot like wheat & tares. But, remember context: speaking to disciples. Not a warning about mixture, but a charge to “catch fish”! Jesus not warning them about judgment, but appealing to them to have compassion for the lost! Mt 4:18-22. |  Notice: Not their job to decide who’s a good fish and who’s a bad fish—just fish!

2.     Mystery: The kingdom of heaven is a net to be filled. Have ears? Go fishing! More interested in fishing for bass/trout? Evangelism is part of that high cost. It’s hard work. Luke 5:1-7. Not responsible to catch, only to let down the nets.  

E.   Head of Household and Treasures (51-52)

1.     Understood? “Yes.” Liars?! Eventually they did.

2.     Jesus ended with one last parable for the day: Scribes were teachers/interpreters—one who becomes a disciple (pays the cost and “understands”) will have “treasures.” What? “New” treasures are the “things hidden” from the teaching of Jesus that combine with the “old” treasures (all of Scripture; a complete picture of God’s kingdom plan) that will be like “hidden treasure” and “pearls” that we can share. Notice he doesn’t just have this treasure, he “brings out” this treasure. He shares. He disciples others.

3.     Mystery: The kingdom of heaven is treasure to share. Have ears? Bring out your treasure! NT in your hand? New treasure! Don’t hide it—steward with responsibility of telling people the mysteries of the kingdom.

III.   Closing:

A.    Picture this! Rev 19:11-16—the 2nd Coming of Christ! Just imagine! Christ will rule on the throne of David—an earthly kingdom for 1,000 years! What an amazing promise! We have a much clearer picture than the OT believer had. We can be sure that the next time He comes, He will finally fulfill those promises made long ago to the OT prophets.

B.    For now, we are to live in the mystery kingdom—in the world, but not of it. Alert and sober. Paying the high cost to follow Christ. Seeking the kingdom and investing everything. Fishing—reaching out to the fish around us who will one day be swept up in the judgment net of the angels unless they trust in Christ and are transformed. Sharing our kingdom treasures with others as good stewards of the riches of Christ. We are sons of the kingdom and someday we will shine. But for now, we have work to do for our King—the King of kings.

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