Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Kingdom of Heaven: The inestimable worth of it [Matt 13:44-46]

Is there anything that comes to your mind, that to get that, you will sell everything that you have? What if, there is something that you sell everything to get that and when you get that you become the richest guy in the world, and it will make up for everything that you sacrificed -A treasure. That is the only thing, for which you will sell off everything that you have happily and after possessing that you will become the richest guy. Possessing that treasure, you will have in-expressible joy, you will enjoy all the benefits of that treasure, your life will be drastically different from the former way.

Bible talks about one such treasure for which you will sell whatever you have – it’s the kingdom of heaven. Matt 13:44-46. Today we will try to understand the inestimable worth of being part of the kingdom of God through the parable of hidden treasure and the parable of the pearl of great value.

Short and simple parable but profound meaning. Palestine – place to treasures because of the constant wars and absence of lockers. Pearl hunting: Diving into the sea on a single breath to find a precious treasure. Hidden treasure, pearl of great price - Kingdom of heaven

These parables talk about the inestimable worth/value of the kingdom of God. As we have discussed in the previous parables, entrance into the kingdom of God happens by hearing and accepting the gospel. So we can substitute the kingdom of God by the word salvation or being saved which we use more. Which means that salvation or getting saved is the most precious thing happened in your life, it is like you have got a hidden treasure of great value. Knowing Christ, being part of the program of God, being a child of God is the treasure that we possess; we got the deal of a life time and beyond. Earthly treasures are valid only for your life on earth, but this treasure has much more value, this secures your life after death also. Aren’t we the luckiest people of earth?

Today from these two parables, we will see 3 things about the kingdom of God.
  • Finding the treasure
  • Acquiring this treasure- Making it our own
  • Effect on us: Living to the fullest potential

Finding the treasure

Hidden treasure: If we carefully read these two parables we see that this treasure is hidden. Not all people find this treasure. People have eyes but do not see it, they have ears but do not hear this. It's hidden from the intellectuals and the wise of the earth.

Two ways of finding this hidden treasure: Jesus used two parables for a reason. These two parables describe two ways of finding this treasure. People get into Christianity, or people find Christ in two ways. They find it accidently or they find it as a result of their search for the truth.

Finding the treasure accidentally: Look at the first parable, there the person is not hunting for the treasure. He is not expecting to find the treasure. He may be in the normal walk of life. He may be working on someone else field, he may be plowing there. But then he accidently finds this treasure. He hides it there because it’s not his field. He then gathers all the money by selling his possessions then comes and buys the field and possesses the treasure. This kind of finding the treasure, relates to some of our stories. We were in our traditional churches thinking we are already in his kingdom. We were in the normal walk of our lives, doing the routine things and going forward not primarily searching for this but through some people or through some ways we came to find this treasure. That’s how the God works, even for those who are not actively searching for it, God puts it there before us to find it.

This was the story of apostle Paul. He was not looking for finding the kingdom of God. He was already thinking he is in the kingdom of God, he was carrying out his normal duties of persecuting Christians but on his way he struck by God and he finds this treasure.  This was the story of the Samaritan woman. She was living her normal life, as she did everyday she came to the well to take water. But you know the story she went back home after finding the living water. This is one way of finding this treasure.

This was the story of CH Spurgeon. He was a person who used to go to church but not really because he knew the truth. One day on his way to his church and there was a snowstorm. Because of that he had to stop going to the actual church and had to enter into a small Methodist church nearby. It was small church of 12-15 people. He was hesitant to enter into the church because he had heard, Methodist used to sing very loudly that caused headache. But still he entered the church.  Because of the snowstorm, the actual preacher could not come to the church so some other person he was a tailor or shoemaker, he was asked to preach. He went on to the pulpit and started preaching. His text was “Look unto me and be ye saved; all the ends of the earth (Is 45:22). Since he was not prepared, he had nothing to say, he simply said “Look.. everybody can look, you don’t need to be educated to look, without moving your feet or finger you can look, Look unto me”. He preached like this Look unto Me; I am hangin’ on the cross. Look unto Me, I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sitting at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!" He was totally unprepared to preach and for 10 minutes he was only preaching about looking, he was almost at the end of his sermon. He saw young Spurgeon sitting there.  Looking at him, the preacher said like this, even though he had not seen him before. "Young man, you look very miserable. And you will always be miserable—miserable in life and miserable in death—if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved." Then lifting up his hands, he shouted, "Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live!" This was what spurgeon said about his reaction. I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought . . . . I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, "Look!" what a charming word it seemed to me. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun;
Glory to God for his ways. 

Searching for the treasure: Now let’s come to the second parable. Here we see a pearl merchant. Paul hunting was a job at those days. They are actually in search of the precious pearls. Somehow he found this pearl of great price, on their search for the normal pearls. These merchant, he had got some pearls on his search but had not found the actual pearl.  On finding this pearl of great price, he sold all other pearls that he had to possess this great pearl.

These represents some people who are genuinely searching for the truth, about life, about purpose of life etc. They are not satisfied with what they have but they are searching to find out the actual meaning and purpose of life or to find out the true God. On their pursuit they find this treasure. Again it’s God who reveals it to them. But they were on the genuine search to find the truth. On their search for truth, they will find this absolute truth (that Jesus is the truth), on searching for true life they will find Jesus is life; the eternal life.
We may be people brought up in actual believer family. We have seen our parents having this treasure, we have heard them talking about this. But we never realised the worth of this treasure. But as spirit reveals and may be after a search we find out this is that pearl that I am searching for.

Acquiring this treasure

In both these categories, whether you find the treasure by accident or whether you find it on your search, both of these people takes some extra ordinary steps to acquire or possess this treasure. This treasure is of extreme value. That the one who finds it on the field goes back and sells all his possessions, to buy this field containing the treasure. The other person the merchant, sells all his other pearls to acquire this particular pearl of great price. Pearl - may be today's diamond ( Cullinan diamond -620 gram - 2600 crore Indian rupees, Kohinoor priceless). That's the worth.

Yes dear brothers and sisters, this kingdom of God, the kingdom where we are in, the salvation of we enjoy, this Jesus that we possess is of inestimable worth, so precious, its worth selling all our possessions and all what we have to get this one. Losing everything to get this one is not stupidity. Because this will make you richer than anything else, this will make up for everything that you lost to gain it. Its worth more than everything. It’s a deal of eternity.

Why this gospel is so precious? Why is it worth selling all that you have?
Everyone in this work is searching for happiness. They resort to different ways to be happy. Pubs, drinking, bars, girl friends, friends, drugs and what not. Temporary joy. The joy that fadeth away. No thing other than gospel gives the true joy. Nothing other than gospel gives us everlasting joy.

How can I be right before God? Rom 1:17 - Gospel is the revelation of Gods righteousness. The standing that we get before God (righteousness) that we get through Jesus. The feeling of being the child of this creator is worth more than all our possessions that we can sell everything to trade this. Yes this gospel can solve the problems which no others or religions can solve.

Gospel is the solution for your acceptance. Have you thought why the youths are ready to do anything for acceptance among their friends and in colleges? Some people start smoking, change their looks, start drinking,  change their behaviors to get accepted among their friends. Why do they do that? Because they have only seen acceptance based on works, your merits or your looks. They have not yet seen a loving Father who will accept not based on your works or looks, but because of His son.

Some people get so depressed, they find themselves of no value, they think their life has no significance and purpose and end their life because they have not yet seen the loving Father who send his own precious son to die for you. They have not yet seen a Father who had put such a tremendous value for your life which is the blood of his son.

Some people have lot of insecurity, what if I lose my job, what if I lose my health, what if I don’t have this degree ( this is what I am going through now), what about my children's future? Again we have not fully understood our loving Father who has promised I will take care of you, I will turn everything into good whatever happens in your life.

Those who are looking for the truth, will find absolute truth, those who look for a gracious one will find him who is full of truth and grace.

Those who fear about death  and the uncertainties of life will find eternal life, a life beyond death.
This makes the gospel and Jesus so worth and a priceless treasure. Gospel is not just the ABCs of Christian life but the A-Z which you apply in life all time and solves your problems. This is the reason why these people who finds the treasure sells everything to possess it. I know some of you who are sitting before me, have left their parents, left the inheritance that they should have acquired from parents, they have said no to their relatives and went on to acquire this priceless treasure. Some of us did not have to go to that extent but we have decided to have Jesus than the acceptance of our friends, than the worldly ways of our college friends or colleagues. That should be our response towards gospel.

Romans 14:17 – For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Yes dear brothers, this gospel is our righteousness it made God to accept us, it gave us standing before God, it is the in expressible joy, it is the peace that surpasses all understanding no matter what situation you are going through and calms our soul.

Sometimes we don’t remember the value or worth of this kingdom we are in because forget about it. We hear the gospel to get saved and then forget about it and go on. But this gospel is the solution, we need to hear it everyday.

“Here I must take counsel of the gospel. I must hearken to the gospel, which teacheth me, not what I ought to do, (for that is the proper office of the law,) but what Jesus Christ the Son of God hath done for me : to wit, that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. And this is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine. Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.” – Martin Luther. Yes gospel is not just for getting saved it should be beaten up into our heads continually.

Joyfully sell: All these people in the parable, with what attitude they sold their possessions? V44: With Joy he goes and sells of everything. He is not regretting his decision of selling all his possessions. Because he knows the treasure that he is going to possess is so valuable it can make up for all you have sold. Imagine if you get a treasure which will keep you rich no matter how lavishly you live, you will happily sell everything to gain this. That’s how it is with this kingdom. We can leave everything happily, whatever our possessions are, our traditions, our group of friends, our comforts to gain this treasure.

Paul's response to gospel in Phil 3:7-8- He sold his old Jewish culture, position of tribe of Benjamin, Hebrew of Hebrews, self-righteousness for the excellencies and knowledge of Christ. He considered it all waste when compared to the excellence and knowledge of Christ. Weighing scale illustration.

While entering into this kingdom, while accepting the gospel, we surrender all our possessions, whatever we have and we happily acquire this treasure of knowing Christ and being his Son. This is the transaction happening when we accept Christ as our saviour. Joyfully surrendering what we have to him and receiving him.

Dear brothers and sisters, what I was trying to explain is the tremendous worth and value of the kingdom we are in, the tremendous worth of the gospel we have accepted, no matter how you find it, whether by accident or by searching for it. Its worth selling or surrendering all our possessions and trade it with the pearl of great price.

Effect on us: 

Knowing the worth of the treasure will help us to live up the full potential: Why this message about knowing the worth or greatness of living in this kingdom? Listen very carefully, Imagine, you got a treasure  but you don’t know how worth it is, how rich you will become, but you don’t realize the worth of it and living like an ordinary man, living like a poor man, that’s a tragic thing that can happen. People will call you a fool. You can only live up to the full potential of your life, only if you know the worth the treasure that you are possessing. Similarly, we should not be living like fools who don’t realize or forget the worth of what we are possessing. But remember, realize continually the worth of what we are having live up to the full potential of a Christian. You can unleash the full potentials of Christian life only if you realize the worth of Christ that you are possessing. As Luther said, beat the gospel into your heads continually, live up to the full potential. May God bless.

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