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Well, good morning, Christ Covenant. It’s great to be with you again today. It’s hard to believe, if you’re like me, that we are in the month of August. How did that happen? And I know that months as we started this whole strange season we’re in you probably thought by now, in the month of August, we’ll be past the time of masks and social distancing and alas that’s not happened. But nonetheless, we’re grateful to be together once again, even in strange ways, here at Christ Covenant Church.
I want to welcome not only each of you behind your masks but also all those back at home watching on video. We’re so excited you’re with us and joining us as well this morning,
And if you make our way through this long, hot summer, we are making our way through a sermon series in the parables. And so if you have your Bibles, Matthew 13 is where we are. So let’s turn our attention there, Matthew 13. And as you’re turning again to Matthew 13, I remind you, and maybe you’re new here to this series, we’re working our way through one chapter of Matthew that’s packed with parables, and these are some of Christ’s most famous and well-known and interesting parables and we’ve been making our way through them bit by bit, little by little, and today, and this may be encouraging to some of you, today we only have three verses.
Just let that sink in for a moment, right? When’s the last time you heard a sermon on three verses? Now, I didn’t pick it this way, it just landed in my lap, but actually in three short verses, we have two different parables. Now as you’ll see when we read these, these are very related, but these are three wonderful verses, and maybe even some of Jesus’ most famous parables, as brief as they are.
So let’s listen here in verses 44 through 46 of Matthew 13 to parables that you will, when we hear them, know these are very well-known.
Verse 44: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Amen. Let’s ask God to bless this passage to us today. Let’s pray.
Lord, in so many short words, it seems so few, there is so much to say. And Lord you have a great message to us today. May we have ears to hear what a great treasure the kingdom is. We pray all of this in Christ’s name. Amen.
Okay, so I’m just going to put it out there. My favorite movie growing up, when I was just a kid living in the 1980s, yes, that’s when I grew up, was Raiders of the Lost Ark. I can remember the very first time I saw that film completely blown away by this massive, adventure, action film as the archeologist Indiana Jones traveled all over the world, fighting the Nazis, and things are blowing up and burning down, and there’s a big pit filled with snakes and exciting things, and of course, the center piece of the whole movie, if you’ve seen it and I’m sure you have, is that Indiana Jones at the core is a treasure hunter and he spent his whole life hunting treasures as an archeologist, but now he’s come to the greatest treasure you can possibly dream up, the Ark of the Covenant, could it be there, buried somewhere in the sands of Egypt, and sure enough, as the movie unfolds, he finds the most amazing lost treasure that’s ever been discovered.
Now, of course, it didn’t turn out like he thought it would. You open that treasure, ended up being more dangerous than anyone anticipated, but thing that captured the imagination of a generation and me as a kid was, wow, what would it be like to be a treasure hunter? What would it be like to be Indiana Jones?
I thought, when I was a kid, I was like, you know what? I think I’ve decided. I’m gonna grow up and be an archeologist, I’m going to be an archeologist, but the only kind I want to be is the kind that wears a fedora hat and has a bullwhip and then I found out those don’t really exist. But nonetheless, I was convinced, doesn’t everyone want to be a treasure hunter? Of course we do. We’re fascinated with this idea of finding something buried in the sands of Egypt of immense value.
And you may not know it, that treasure hunting is still a big business today. I’m not talking about just the guy on the beach with the metal detector and he finds stuff now and then, but there are companies that their whole reason for existence is to find lost treasure. In fact, underwater treasure is the name of the game today where sunken ships with treasure at the body of the ocean, there’s company you can buy stock in, right now, that their whole job is to travel the world looking for lost treasure. And every once in a while they find it.
But you know what’s most fascinating though? What’s most fascinating to me is not people who look for treasure and find it, what’s most fascinating to me is people who aren’t looking for treasure and find it.
There’s another name of a treasure discoverer, whose name’s not nearly as famous as Indiana Jones. In fact, it’s probably a name you’ve never heard, by the name of Phil Stapleton. Now Phil Stapleton’s a nobody even in our world, but about a year ago in England he went out one Saturday afternoon looking for what in England would be the equivalent of a garage sale. Now over there there aren’t garages like here and so people usually park their cars and open up their trunks and sell their wares out of the back of their car, which in England they call a boot, so they have these things called “boot sales” where you go in England and you, just like a garage sale, you find little trinkets and things you might like.
And Phil Stapleton one day was out and he found this car, selling their wares, and in it he saw a painting he really liked. In fact, this one stood out to me, it was sort of an abstract painting, and he thought it was interesting and so he wanted to know how much the guy wanted for it and he said, well, 200 pounds, and he’s like, well, that’s way too much, but he ended up saying okay, fine, I’ll pay 200 pounds for this painting. He takes it home and when he gets it home, he realizes something he didn’t notice. Very faintly in the bottom right corner, the author [sic] had written his name: Picasso.
Turns out, Phil Stapleton had bought what at least at this point appears to be a legitimate, real Picasso at what is the equivalent of a garage sale.
Now, if you know anything about Picassos, and I don’t, I just looked it up this week and found out that Picassos, of course, sell in the millions. Some paintings have sold upwards of around $100,000,000. We don’t know what this one will sell for, but no doubt Phil Stapleton had found the bargain of a lifetime, a treasure he wasn’t looking for.
Now when you hear a story like finding a Picasso at a garage sale, there’s, there’s three things that are true about a story like that. And let me say what they are.
The first thing is true that if you found a Picasso at a garage sale, you’d be remarkably blessed. Would you not? I mean, do people find those every day? Is it a common occurrence? Does it happen all the time, that people find million dollar paintings at garage sales? No. If you found a Picasso at a garage sale, the first thing you’d realize is that this is remarkable that I found this at all.
And then there’d be a second thing that’d be true of you, if you found a Picasso at a garage sale. You would, once you realized what it was, would have no doubt about its value. You would say this thing is worth everything, this thing has got immense treasure potential. This thing is worth all my adoration, all my affection, all my wonder, because the thing in front of me is a legitimate Picasso.
And then the third thing would be true of you, is I promise you you would go back and you would liquidate whatever bank account you had to buy it.
Now those three things that would be true of any Picasso you found in the garage sale are also the very three things that Jesus wants to draw our attention to today in these parables about the kingdom of God.
You’ll notice, of course, that we are using the phrase “kingdom of God” here and Matthew uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven.” They’re basically the same. But you recall if you’ve been here in the sermon series thus far, Jesus is talking in each of these parables about the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God is not a location, it’s not a physical city state, the kingdom of God, as you might remember, is the way that God’s reign, His rule, His power, spreads throughout the entire world.
And Jesus comes to us today in these parables and goes, “I want you to realize something about the kingdom of God, that it is a treasure.”
I want you to let that word sink in for a moment today as we begin. Jesus just plainly says it, the kingdom of God is like treasure. And as He unpacks this, He’s going to actually mention the same three things we talked about with the Picasso. He’s going to say, “Look, not everybody finds it.” Jesus is going to start with the finding theme. He’s going to say, “Look, not everybody finds treasure.” That’s the first thing. He’s going to talk about finding.
Then secondly He’s going to talk about when you find it, you’re going to value it. And the second thing He’ll talk about in this passage is do you recognize what you’ve found. Anybody who finds the kingdom of God knows immediately, this is special.
But He’s not going to just talk about finding, He’s not gonna only talk about finding and valuing, He’s thirdly going to talk about selling everything you have and owning it.
Those are our three things today: Finding, valuing, owning. That is where the kingdom of God belongs in our lives, and just like any treasure we would find, we need to do the same three things with it.
Okay, let’s dive in there. The first thing that Jesus wants to tell us about as it pertains to the kingdom of God is finding it. And here are some fascinating things in this passage. Yes, it’s a short passage, but Jesus actually unveils several things and the way the kingdom of God works in terms of the way it’s found and who finds it and how it works.
So just several observations under this first point, and the first one I’ve hinted already at, and is obvious, and it’s simply this: The parable show us one simple truth, not everybody finds treasure. Or to put it in spiritual terms, not everybody finds the kingdom of God.
Now, of course, if you’ve been here in the series, this is not a new theme. Jesus has been touching on this theme. Why? Because the kingdom of God is one sense kind of hidden. It’s in some sense given to those who have the secrets of the kingdom. It’s not something that everybody gets it. It’s not something that everybody sees. God has to open your eyes to get it. And it’s not something that everybody discovers.
And right out of the gate with these parables, you need to realize that not everybody finds treasure in a field, not everybody finds a pearl of magnificent value. No, the first thing Jesus wants us to see here is that not all stumble across the greatness of the kingdom of God. Some will labor in their field their entire life and never find it. Some may search for great pearls and never come across it. Not all find the treasure of the kingdom of God.
In fact, you see this in the very first verse. Look down at verse 44 again. Notice Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like treasure. But what kind of treasure? Look what He says: Hidden treasure. Hidden in a field. Not everybody finds a Picasso at a garage sale.
Now right out of the gate when you realize that this is one of the principles of the kingdom of God, that not everybody discovers it, then suddenly you realize that if you’ve discovered it, if you found the treasure of the kingdom of God, then you already are in a very, very special place.
We’re going to come back to that in a moment because that’s one of the major themes of kingdom discovery is to realize how incredibly blessed by God’s grace you are if you have found this amazing kingdom.
But that’s not all Jesus wants to say about finding the kingdom. There’s another thing about finding the kingdom that’s noteworthy here, and it’s not just that not all find it, that should give us an amazing sense of grace to realize that not all find it, but there’s another thing that Jesus wants to tell us, and that is people find it in different ways.
Did you notice the first parable the man finds it accidentally? Look down again in verse 44: “It’s like a man who found treasure in a field and then he covered it up.” Well, what in the world’s going on here? You’re like, why in the world would there be treasure in a field? You may read this parable and go I don’t get it. What? Did someone just bury a treasure in a field, and the answer is yes.
Actually, in the ancient world this was not uncommon. In the ancient world, you have to remember that people didn’t have banks to go put their money it. It’s not like you go and put your treasure in a safe deposit box. If you had jewels or coins or treasure, well, one of the ways you protected it is you would bury it on your property. Why would you bury it on your property? Because thieves were a real issue that would come in and steal it. And then above and beyond thieves stealing things, invading armies would actually steal things. And so in the ancient world it was very common to bury things to protect them and keep them safe. You would bury valuable things, valuable things like money, like jewels. You’d even bury valuable things like books and writings.
In fact, one of our most famous archeological discoveries in the world in the last 100 years is the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, which, yeah, that’s not treasure in terms of jewels and gold, but it’s treasure nonetheless. The Dead Sea scrolls are some of the oldest copies of the Old Testament we have and other writings, and they were discovered by the Dead Sea in Israel buried in caves. Why were they there? Well, from the best we conclude, they were hidden there, because there were invading armies they wanted to hide their books from. In fact, they hid the books of the Dead Sea scrolls so well that they hid them in the caves around 70 A.D. and no one found them until 1948. Nearly 2000 years they stayed hidden.
By the way, as a side note, the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered because a shepherd was out looking for lost sheep. Let that sink in just for a moment. He was looking for lost sheep in the caves near the Dead Sea because that’s where they go to cool off, and that’s when they found those scrolls, hidden for thousands of years.
So what’s going on in this first parable? Well, this man, this first parable, is probably a hired hand. He’s probably plowing or working the field in some way and this buried treasure. Now, it’s not treasure that belongs probably to the current owner, it’s probably several owners ago, and this man thinks to himself, well, wait a second. This treasure is just in the field. Maybe if I bought this field it could be mine, and he recognizes its value. So the first person discovers the kingdom of God in some sense accidentally.
Now, the second person is out looking for treasure, in a sense. Look at the second man. He is described as a merchant in search of fine pearls. What’s his job? Well, sort of a treasure hunter. He probably buys and sells pearls, and when you buy and sell pearls, you’re always on the lookout for something of high quality. This was not uncommon in the ancient world, too, and he probably traveled around looking for things. And here we’re told that when he travels around he finds this incredible pearl.
We’ll come back to that in a moment, but notice in some sense he’s been looking for treasure although, and this is key, he never could have anticipated finding treasure like this. Yeah, he was on the hunt, but even on the hunt he could never have foreseen he’d find a pearl like this one.
The kingdom of God, then, not only doesn’t come to everybody, it doesn’t even come to everybody in the same way. You know this spiritually. Some people come to Christ and they never were looking for Christ. They come to Christ, they had no interest in spiritual things. And all of a sudden, boom, Christ finds them. Other people are sort of on a spiritual quest. Sometimes they find Christ, sometimes they don’t. The kingdom comes to different kinds of people.
One other observation here about the finding of the kingdom is notice these two men are very different in their socio-economic status, too. From all we can tell, the first man is probably poor. He probably is a hired hand. From what we can tell about the second man, he’s probably a wealthy business man. The kingdom of God comes to both. All kinds of people in all kinds of ways in all kinds of different circumstances.
And here’s the upshot of all of this first point, is it comes to all these people by grace. Nobody leaves the Picasso from the trunk of a car and congratulates themselves on being such a great treasure hunter.
I can promise you Phil Stapleton did not go home that day and say, man, I’m amazing. Look at what I did. No one else has found a Picasso in a garage sale. I am the greatest archeologist of all time.
No, he doesn’t say that. Why? He’s like, I realize even though I found something amazing it wasn’t because of me, it wasn’t up to me, it’s been handed to me, it’s been given to me by grace.
And what does that mean for us today? It means as we think about the kingdom of God today here at Christ Covenant Church, we have to realize that, that it is an unpredictable kingdom. You may know someone that you think would never become a Christian; they just might. You may know someone that you think ought to become a Christian; maybe they won’t. God works in unexpected, paradoxical ways. Not all find the kingdom, but if you found it, oh my, then you are in an amazing place of privilege and grace.
Do you realize that today? Here at Christ Covenant. Not all are able to go to a church like this one in the world today. Not all are able to hear the Gospel preached to them regularly like you get today and other days. Not all get to go to a Christian school and grow up learning a Christian worldview. And not all get to enjoy the fellowship of the saints week in, week out.
Oh, my, if you’re here at Christ Covenant today, then there’s a sense in which you already have stumbled across the treasure of the kingdom of God. Do you realize what a place of privilege that is? Not by our own merits, not by what we’ve accomplished, but 100% entirely of grace. Of course, that just raises the question, doesn’t it? If you find a kingdom like that, what are you going to do with it? What next?
That leads to the second point Jesus wants us to see here. So His first point was I wat to talk to you abound finding the kingdom, here’s this second point, now I want to talk to you about valuing the kingdom. Valuing the kingdom.
It’s one thing to find treasure, it’s another thing to realize the treasure you’ve found. He calls the kingdom of God treasure, but He’s already made it clear, if you’ve been in this series in the other parables, that lots of people come across the kingdom of God, lots of people come across even the King Himself, Jesus, and aren’t at all impressed with it.
One of the things He’s made plain is there are some people who find the kingdom of God and discover it and they kind of shrug their shoulders. Eh, it’s okay, it’s fine. This kingdom of God thing is all right, but I’m not sure it’s really worth my life or my energy or my time. No, Jesus makes it clear that even the kingdom itself is wonderful and amazing and it’s a treasure and it’s special and it’s different and it’s all the things you could dream of, His point is plain again and again that some people stumble across it and don’t see it that way at all. Some people find the treasure and don’t realize what they found. Some people have a Picasso and don’t know it.
So His second point here is very clear. It’s one thing to find it, it’s another thing to value it, it’s another thing to know what you’ve found. And here’s where we see in the text that the two people in these parables knew what they found.
I want you to look down and see that with me. They didn’t just find it, they valued it. Look at that first parable again in verse 44: So the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and what does he do? He doesn’t find it and says, eh, it’s okay. Maybe I’ll come back for it, maybe I won’t. No, look what the text says: He covered it up and then in his joy he goes to sell everything he has. Notice this guy absolutely realizes, oh my goodness, what have I found? Not every hired hand plowing a field finds what I found. He’s so enamored with it, he’s so aware of how amazing it is, that he covers is up. Why does he cover it up? He doesn’t want anyone else to find it. He doesn’t want anyone else to notice it. He wants to own the treasure himself.
And then it says he goes out in joy. You can imagine this man, his whole life living in poverty. He probably has no money, no wealth, no riches, no inheritance, and now is his moment. He’s excited. You can imagine him dancing a little jig out there in the field, right? He’s so excited about what he’s discovered.
Same is true of the second man. There’s no doubt in his mind what he’s found and how special it is. Look down at verse 46. It’s hard to pick this up in the English, but in the Greek this is a fascinating verse. Actually, back up to verse 45. It says here that this merchant was in search of fine pearls. Notice that word in the English. In the Greek it’s the word “kalous” which means “good.” And that’s what a merchant would do.
If you’re out as a, as a, as a merchant looking for pearls, what are you looking for? Well, not bad pearls. You’re looking for good pearls. And so he’s looking for pearls above average, pearls I could probably resell. Ah, but notice he’s looking for good pearls and notice what verse 46 says: But on finding one pearl of great value, “polytimon” in the Greek. What literally this passage is saying is he’s looking for something that was good and he found something that was great. He’s looking for something that was enough, and he found something that was amazing. He’s looking for something that was good, and he found something that was very, very good.
You can almost imagine this pearl merchant stumbling across this pearl. He’s mesmerized by it, the way it glows, the way it shines, the way it dazzles. You can almost see it reflected in his eyes. He’s like, I have never in my life seen anything as beautiful as that. And I will go sell everything I have to get it.
Now make no mistake about it here, what Jesus is saying is it’s not enough to find the kingdom. You have to find the kingdom and then value the kingdom. And the whole passage hinges on this. The issue is do you find the kingdom, and maybe even more to the point, do you find the King of the kingdom, Jesus Christ Himself, to be as wonderful as that pearl. Do you look upon Jesus as precious, as beautiful, as dazzling, as wonderful, as special, as distinct, as unmatched, as any treasure you could possibly find?
I will tell you this today, that the second point, normally in sermons the second points are not the main point. This is the main point. I know everybody when they read these parables they want to get to the last point, which is selling everything. That’s actually not the main point, because you’re never going to sell everything if you don’t believe it’s worth it to sell everything. You’re never going to believe it’s worth it to sell everything if you don’t realize how wonderful, precious, and amazing Jesus the King and the kingdom actually is. In fact, if you don’t think He’s amazing and you’re told to sell everything, then selling everything sounds like a burden. Selling everything sounds like a duty, it sounds like an onerous legal obligation that I guess I’m forced to do. Ah, but if Jesus is dazzling and beautiful and wonderful, then everything changes. The whole passage hinges on this point: Do you find Jesus to be wonderful?
Notice what I’m not asking here. I’m not asking whether you think you believe in Jesus, as important as that is, and it’s very, very important. Also I’m not asking whether you could affirm certain theological truths about Jesus, which I’m sure many of you could do, and you could probably write them on a piece of paper. Now the issue isn’t only whether you believe in Jesus, the issue isn’t only whether you have certain theological truths that you could articulate about Jesus, the question is do you adore Jesus. Do you find Him to be wonderful, the greatest treasure imaginable, or do we find Jesus and we find ourselves shrugging with an eh, it’s fine, the kingdom’s fine, He’s fine.
What you realize then is that that question about whether you adore Jesus is the diagnostic question of your life. And maybe it’s not the question we ask enough, is where your affections lie.
It’s like that in human relationships, too, by the way. When you evaluate a couple that’s been married 30, 40, 50 years, the issue isn’t just whether they’re legally keeping their obligations to each other, the question is do they adore one another still? Not in sort of a sort if quick, fancy, like teenage people in love way, but in a deep-seated foundational, I adore you as the spouse I’ve been married to for 30 years, and when you look at a spouse that way, and a spouse looks at you that way, you know there is something deep and rich here.
Do we think of Jesus that way?
You know, one exercise that can be useful in this regard is to ponder the dazzling beauty and wonder of Jesus. We rarely look at Christ like a pearl that we would hold up to the light and ask what it looks like, but you could do that. You could ask and say have I thought about His gentleness, and how kind He is to people? Have I reflected upon the way He helped the person who was lowered through the roof and healed them on the spot, and the woman bleeding and He took her hand? I have reflected on His wisdom and His guidance and His teaching? Have I thought about His power and His might as He calmed the waves and the storm? Have I reflected upon His amazing victory over the grave, over death and sin at the resurrection? Have I pondered the power of the kingdom and the promises therein about how you can live with God forever and have eternal life and have your sins forgiven through Christ, and how you can have the power of the spirit in the present? Have you thought about the beauty and the wonder of the treasure we have?
You know, one of the saddest things in life is having something wonderful and beautiful and amazing and never knowing it. Never being aware of the treasure you have. You know, some things we can find rather unimpressive and be forgiven for it. There’s some things we can find rather unimpressive and that’s okay. But when the most impressive thing in the world is unimpressive to us, then there’s something amiss.
I think about this sometimes when I look out the rearview window of my house, I’m in the kitchen and I’m looking out the window, and I’m like, you know, I’m not that impressed with the view outside my back window. It’s not that great and my yard doesn’t look that great, my bushes aren’t that great. I’ve got this little scraggly creek going through my yard, and maybe someone could forgive me for not being that impressed with the view outside my window.
But what if someone took me and stood me on the edge of the Grand Canyon. What if I stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon and beheld that vista, that magnificence, that wonder, that depth, that vastness, and after looking at all that beauty, I said still, eh, not that impressed. That would tell you a lot about the state of your heart, would it not?
No, make no mistake about it here. Jesus’ point in the second point is not to be missed. None of this parable makes sense unless you get the value and the wonder and the beauty of the kingdom. It’s like nothing else.
And that actually leads us to our third point this morning, and that is owning the treasure. Owning the treasure. It’s one thing to find it, although that’s not enough. It’s a second thing to value it, but listen close to this, that’s not enough. It’s not enough to find it, it’s not enough to value it, you have to own it.
Think about it. What if the man in the field had said, wow, I found treasure, and wow, it’s amazing, and then did nothing? The treasure would do him no good. This is sadly the state of many people when it comes to Jesus. They find Jesus in a sense, they value Jesus in a sense, but they never own Him and He’s always at arm’s length.
It would be like going to a museum and looking at treasure behind glass. If you go to a museum and look at treasure behind glass, you may say wow, look at this amazing treasure I found and wow, I imagine it’s very valuable, but it doesn’t belong to you. It’s behind glass. You can’t own it, it does you no good. That’s how some people treat Jesus and Jesus comes to this scene here in the parables and says don’t make that mistake.
If the kingdom is real, if He’s as wonderful as you say, it does you no good until what? Until you own it.
Notice what the parable says about these two men. They do everything to own the kingdom of God.
Verse 44 again: Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and he buys that field.
Verse 46, same thing: On finding the great pearl, went and sold all that he had and he bought it. Notice the point Jesus is saying is the kingdom is not just some things in your life, the kingdom is not just part of your life, the kingdom is everything in your life, worth everything in your life, and you should be willing to give up everything to get this because it’s the greatest treasure imaginable.
By the way, of course, if you know the teachings of Jesus, and if we had time and had read the Gospel of Matthew in its entirety before this series, you would already know that this is a very common theme in the teaching of Jesus, the idea of giving up everything for the kingdom. If we had time we could look a few chapters later in Matthew 16 where Jesus says these very famous words: “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me, for whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Same theme.
And then if we were to go back a few chapters earlier in Matthew 10, Jesus says something very similar: “Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, whoever loves sons or daughters more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” Jesus is unequivocal and plain: If you want this treasure, it will cost you everything.
Ah, but there’s a paradox here, and you can’t miss it. And if you miss it, you will have missed the entire parable. Sometimes we get hung up on the cost and we think, man, do I want to give up all the things I have to give up? Do I want to give up the way I can spend money like I want? Do I want to give up the way I could live like I want? Do I want to give up the way I could do this or that like I want? Do I want to really submit myself to Christ? And I scratch my head, I’m not really sure I want to do that, and we ponder and labor over the price and there’s a place for that, and Jesus even says in the Gospels in other spots that there’s a place and a right time to count the cost, but don’t miss the paradox. The paradox is when you give up everything for this treasure, you’re getting more than you gave up. If you didn’t get more than you gave up, you would never give it up.
Do you realize what’s going on with the person who runs into the treasure in the field? Notice what the man does not do: He does not run into the treasure in the field and think, uh, I don’t know if it’s worth it. Maybe I should sell some things to get this. It’s a tough call here. It’s a tight one. It could go either way. Nor does he look at the treasure in the field and says, well, man, I look back at my life, I don’t know if I want to give all those things up, those things are better than this treasure. Notice he doesn’t say that.
Nor does the second parable do this. Imagine the merchant find this great pearl and saying, well, I don’t know if I really want to give up all these other things in my life, these other things in my life are more wonderful. No, that’s not what he does. He says this pearl is so wonderful I will give up everything for it. Because why? Because I’m getting a bargain. I’m getting the greatest bargain imaginable.
It’s like the man who found the Picasso. Notice the man who found the Picasso would never say, well, $200, that’s a lot. No, he says I get the greatest bargain you could possibly imagine, and unless you get that this morning, the kingdom will never make sense to you.
Are you getting a lot? Or sorry, are you sacrificing a lot to follow Christ? Yes, you’re sacrificing everything. Ah, but this is the greatest exchange you could ever have.
You know, some Christians go through life thinking that if you follow Christ you got the short end of the stick. And this is really the application we need to hear today. Some of us go through the Christian life and you know what we’re doing? We’re always looking over our shoulder thinking wow, look at all those things I gave up, wish I could still do that, wish I could still participate in this, wish I could still do those things, and you feel the burden of the loss. You go through the Christian life like that, then the Christian life will become drudgery, it’ll become bare duty, I guess I should follow Christ out of obligation, it’s the right thing to do.
But notice in these parables that’s not in play at all. In the parable they’re not thinking, well, you know I should do this because I’m legally obligated, or it’s the right thing to do, and maybe it is the right thing to do and we, certainly there’s a place for duty in the Christian life, don’t misunderstand. But the heart and soul of the Christian life is that I love Jesus more than everything else I’m giving up. And if I give up all these things, I get something better than all those things, namely Jesus.
And that’s where I leave us this morning, as we draw this passage to a close, is are you a Christian that looks over their shoulder at all the things lost, or are you a Christian that realizes there’s treasure in Christ beyond your wildest imagination?
Apostle Paul understood this. In fact, I close with this passage from Paul because it’s so appropriate for today. Paul had a lot he sacrificed for Christ. He gave up a lot. He gave up his health, his life, and he, certainly any monetary things. He was stoned, he was whipped, he was beaten, he was ostracized. Paul doesn’t step on the scene and say, you know what? I kinda got a raw deal here. Kinda got the short end of the stick. I’m not sure it was worth it. No, you know the words.
Here’s what he says: That whatever gain I had, whatever advantage I had, and these other things, I count it as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I might gain Christ and be found in Him.
Paul says when it comes to the kingdom of God, and I’ve lost everything, and I’ve gained Christ, wow, what a great deal that is. I have received the bargain of a lifetime.
May that be what’s true in our hearts today at Christ Covenant. May we realize the treasure that is Christ. Give up everything for it, but in realization joyfully that it was all worth it. Amen.
Let’s pray. Lord, we recognize today that it’s an amazing privilege to have found the treasure of the kingdom. Not all find it. But Lord, we know that’s not enough. We have to value that treasure as treasure. Not all do that. But Lord, even more than that, it’s not enough to even find it and not enough to even value it. We have to own it, we have to give up everything, trust in You, trust that what You bring us is better than anything the world brings us. May You impress that upon our hearts today in fresh and new ways. We pray all this in Christ’s name. Amen.