Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Parable of the Lost Treasure Examined

A few years ago a military vehicle collector named Nick Mead was browsing on eBay of all places, looking at rare military vehicles, and he spotted one that interested him. It was an Iraqi tank, type 69, in wide use in the 1980s but today considered obsolete.

In any case Nick Mead was able to trade some of his own military equipment for the tank, costing him about $40,000. Pretty expensive right?

After the purchase Mead and a friend were examining the tank, and opened the diesel gas tank to find gold bars hidden inside. There were five gold bars weighing twelve pounds each. When examined, the gold bars turned out to be worth about 2.4 million dollars.

It was believed that the gold bars had been pillaged from Kuwait, during Iraq’s invasion of the country in 1990.

Mead didn’t know about the hidden gold in the tank, but if he did, I bet he would’ve paid a lot more to get his hands on that tank.

Does anyone remember the story a few years ago, about a man, Richard Kirby who purchased a sofa from the Restore in Owosso here, and later discovered over $43,000 in it?

But Kirby when he found the money, he is quoted in saying, “The Holy Spirit just came over me and said, ‘No, that’s really not yours,’” Kirby said.

Godly man, he also said, “It belonged to them, and I’m glad I was able to give it back to them,” Kirby said. “As a born-again Christian, I want to do what Christ would want me to do, and I think that’s what he would want me to do.” This was back in Jan 2020.

In any case, this theme of finding hidden treasure of great value relates to our parables for today, and we’re looking at two parables, very brief, only three verses here.

It says this, from Matthew 13:44-46 “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. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

In both our examples today, Nick Mead and Richard Kirby didn’t know there was hidden treasure in their purchases. But they were blessed to find such treasure.

But our parable is a bit different. In the parables today, we see a man, and perhaps he’s out working in a field, or maybe he’s just taking a walk. And he sits down under a tree somewhere, and something catches his eye.

He begins pulling away the dirt and brush, and realizes there is a great treasure hidden under the tree. He hides the treasure and leaves.

He checks with the city and finds out the land is for sale. So he takes his current house, sells it, takes all his possessions, sells all of it, and takes the money and buys the field, where the treasure is hidden. And he is blessed.

What’s going on here? The parable tells us, again, this is yet another aspect of what God’s kingdom is like.

Pause, I want to review here for a second. Because we’re starting to get a bigger picture from the parables so far, about what God’s kingdom is like. Let’s take a look:

The Parable of the wedding feast taught us that the invites have gone out to anyone willing to come in their wedding clothes, the righteousness of Christ.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins taught us that we have to be watchful and ready for the return of Christ the king, watchfulness and readiness is vital, or we will be shut out.

The Parable of Counting the Cost taught us to be cautious to realize we’ve set out on a lifelong journey and we’ve made sure we know the cost is high for being part of God’s kingdom. We face many trials and difficulties, even death on the journey.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep tells us that God’s mark of being at work in pursuing people is often sorrow and suffering and lostness. This often draws people to god, isolation and lostness in life.

The Parable of the Unforgiving servant taught us that a central truth of God’s kingdom is the requirement for believers to radically forgive their enemies.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son taught us that the Father’s deep desire is for us to return to Him, no matter what we have done.

And last week the parable of the sower taught us that the state of the soil of our heart will determine how we respond to the gospel.

Amazing, so many truths at work, Open to all, Watchfulness, Carrying our cross, lostness leads to God, Forgiveness is central, God ready to welcome us home, and God’s view of our hearts.

Is it starting to form together in your mind, how the machinery of the Kingdom of God works? That is the goal here. To see the truths of the parables begin to mesh together in our minds and hearts, so as we see the world, we see the world through the lenses of the teachings of Jesus, here is how God’s system works as he draws humanity to himself. What are the rules and guidelines? How should I live? Here it is in the parables, piece by piece, we are piecing it together.

Let’s continue.

How does the treasure fit into understanding God’s Kingdom system? I think this parable is pointing us to our need for a radical, total, complete, indeed outrageous response to the gospel message.

When the man discovers the treasure in the field, the entire course of his life changes. He doesn’t hold on to anything. It all goes. He sells everything, house, car, DVDs, computer, motorcycle, snowmobile, furniture, everything goes out the window so he can make this purchase and gain this treasure.

This is a completely radical response to a situation in his life. In the same way, when we discover the truth, that God is really real. That Jesus Christ is a real person, who really lived, and really gave his life for us on the cross, and is really resurrected and died to give us eternal life, it should transform our entire lives. We give up everything for it. Everything. Everything in our lives change completely.

We give up everything for this new golden treasure we’ve found. And it is a golden treasure beyond imagining, do you really understand just how important this treasure of Christ is that you’ve found?

Most of you probably don’t really understand just how valuable what you’ve found it is.

You will, one day, when you stand before God on judgment day. You’ll realize on that day just how important it was that you became a Christian. You’ll realize after a few hundred years in paradise, in the New Jerusalem, just how valuable it is and was, that you gave your life to Christ completely.

Do you know who understands this the most? Sadly, the people in hell right now understand this truth completely. They know now, just how much they’ve missed out on. And they all wish day and night that they had one more chance to give it all to Christ. But it’s too late.

And the millions of people in paradise right now, they know, and are so grateful, that they gave their lives to Christ. Because they’ve received their reward.

It’s a great reward. It’s really real to me. It’s not just a cloud off somewhere. It’s not a pipe dream. It’s real. It’s so real to me I’m already planning things I’ll do in the next life. I’m planning hobbies, and creative endeavors, and things I’m going to do there. Because it is real.

So our response to the gospel of Jesus Christ should be give up everything else. To put God first in everything. We will not regret that.

From Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”

Similarly, in the second parable, we see a merchant going from place to place examining jewels and jewelry and beautiful gems and diamonds. Its been a lifelong search for him. And one day at last, he finds the perfect gem, a priceless pearl. He sells everything, his house, his cloths, his car, his stocks and bonds, and he buys that pearl.

It's the same spiritual truth. Forsake everything else and give it all to Christ, turn your life over to Christ, and let Him lead you perfectly in everything. That is the proper response to the gospel.

Why is Jesus telling us this? I think because we could respond to the gospel in the wrong way. We could respond in a lukewarm way. We could respond by, well, coming to church, because, well, it makes me feel better, and well, my parents did it, and I like it. Or just kind of show up on Sunday here and there, but we don’t really read the word of God, or pray during the week or share our faith with our friends and neighbors. We respond in a lukewarm, worldly way, almost as if well the church is just one little part of my life, one of many parts, but it’s just one thing among many things.

That is the wrong, wrong, wrong way to respond to the kingdom of God, and we will miss the Kingdom of God system entirely if we respond that way. We’ll miss it. I don’t want to miss it. So respond today, like the man who found the pearl of great price. Respond like the man who found the hidden treasure in the field, let Christ transform your entire life. Let your faith be the center of your life. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and everything else you need will be provided to by Him afterward.

These two parables we could’ve probably studied first, at week one of this series, because it’s all about our initial response to hearing the gospel. How should we initially respond to it?

In fact, I bet if we categorized the parables of Jesus, we could probably take them and put them in order from entry all the way to end times return of Christ. That’s how detailed the parables are, when we combine them together to understand the system and rules and guidelines of the sacred Kingdom of God program. Fascinating. So as we continue in this series, remember, in your mind, I want you taking these concepts one by one, and putting them together into a system. And as we continue maybe we can put together a hand out that starts to link these ideas together into one big picture of how God’s kingdom works. That’s the goal. Amen.