Fantastic Treasure and Where to Find It (August 9, 2020)
Fantastic Treasure and Where to Find It
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What’s the most valuable thing in the world? I suppose there could be a lot of different answers to that question. Less than two weeks ago, Apple topped Saudi Aramco as the world’s most valuable company at $1.817 trillion. If we’re talking diamonds, the most valuable diamond in the world is – I thought it was the Hope Diamond, but that one’s in third at around $250 million – the world’s most valuable diamond is the Koh-I-Noor. The Koh-I-Noor is the largest diamond among the crown jewels valued at over $2 billion and can be seen at the Tower of London.
But what if we go a different route. I’m sure none would argue that a good family is worth more than these. There isn’t a thing a mother wouldn’t do for the safety and wellbeing of her children. What about your own life? What if you could find the fountain of youth and live forever?! Well… with how 2020 has been, let’s put it this way: What if you could find the fountain of youth and live forever in with no sadness, no pain, only joy and happiness and perfection. What would you do for that? What would you do to obtain that – to take a sip from that fountain?
That’s what Jesus was illustrating in the first two parables of this section. “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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (Mt 13:44-46). You see two different kinds of people depicted in the parable. The one, wasn’t necessarily looking for it. He could have been a hired worker digging in a farmer’s field when his shovel clunked against a wooden box with hidden treasure. He immediately knew that this was valuable and did everything he could to obtain that treasure right then and there – selling all his possessions and buying that field. Although he valued what he previously had, he knew he would be far richer if he could just obtain this treasure.
The other is a man who was actually searching for the treasure. In fact, he was in the business. He was a pearl merchant. He knew what he wanted. He knew what to look for. And when he found it, again, he did anything it took to obtain that treasure – possibly even selling all his other pearls just for that one. Before finding these new treasures, both people no doubt valued what they previously owned. But once they saw this new treasure, see how little they valued all else.
Did you know there is a real “fountain of youth”? There is something you can drink from and live forever in perfect bliss. It’s the Lord’s supper! Jesus himself says, “Take and eat this is my body, take and drink this is my blood shed for the forgiveness of all your sins.” The forgiveness of sins is eternal life and salvation! It’s what we say after the Lord’s Supper, “This body and blood strengthen and preserve you in the one true faith until… life everlasting.”
I think we lose that excitement and awe from time to time. I think we lose that perspective on what the good news of salvation is actually worth. Nothing you own or possess or do is more important, more valuable than the treasure of the Gospel. In fact, Jesus said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mt 16:26). The answer is nothing! Even if you owned the whole world – Google, Apple, SpaceX, Ford Motor Company, entire countries, all of it – it still would not be more valuable than the Gospel – the salvation of your soul.
It’s like oxygen tanks for the diver. Or an EMU suit – astronaut suit – for the astronaut. You NEED it. To help us understand just how much we need it – just how valuable it is, Jesus goes on.
Why you need it is explained in Jesus’ next parable. “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 13:47-50).
There WILL be a “sorting” day. All people will be caught up in the dragnet of Judgement Day. And do you know what the requirements are to be considered a good fish? To be spared from the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth? Jesus says, “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments… You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 19:17-19). To clarify a little bit more on some of these, God’s Word says elsewhere, “anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him” (1 Jn 3:15). And, “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:28). Simply put, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Lev 19:2).
Brothers and sisters, can any of us honestly say that we have been as holy as God? That we have never stolen, never hated, never lusted, always loved perfectly? Then Jesus’ words are quite clear. “The angels will come an separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 13:49-50).
There is… one other thing. There’s something the fishermen of Judgment Day are looking for. It’s the pearl. It’s the pearl of faith – that gift from God that connects you to the perfect, holy, righteous life of Jesus. It’s faith that acknowledges, “I have nothing good in me by which I am to be saved, but I cling to Jesus and the forgiveness he won for me as my pearl of righteousness. You could be the ugliest, mangiest, bottom feeder of a fish – certainly destined to be cast aside – but having that gift of God – the pearl of salvation – God sees Jesus when he looks at you. God takes you into his arms and spares you from the judgment.
You have found true wealth in Christ. More accurately, Christ has led you to this true wealth. Now, you have a storeroom full of treasures old and new. “’Have you understood all these things?’ Jesus asked” (Mt 13:51). Earlier that day, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people long to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Mt 13:17). “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear” (Mt 13:16). “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit” (1 Cor 2:10). He gives the understanding.
“Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old” (Mt 13:52). Jesus was training his disciples not only by explaining the message of the Old Testament to them, but he also revealed new truths – he revealed to them the fulfillment of the prophecies found in him. He convinced them that the work of salvation is finished, completed, in his own death and resurrection. He spent three years with them stocking their storeroom with treasures so that they would be equipped to meet every situation – able to dispense God’s treasures to others.
You have this storeroom too. Imagine a large wine cellar in your home, fully stocked! And with the special connection you have with the owner of a vineyard, new bottles keep coming in. There’s rare, vintage wines. There’s exquisite new wines. There’s wines for every occasion. Only, we’re not talking about wine. We are talking about the truths of God’s Word! And yes, because of your special connection to God, he is stocking your storeroom. Every time you visit him in the word he is stocking your storeroom for every occasion – so that you also, when the occasion arises, can bring out of your storeroom new treasures as well as old. It might be a word of comfort after a friend has lost a loved one. “Let me tell you about where I go when I am weary and burdened.” It might be a word of encouragement for new students going off to school during uncertain times, “Take heart, God has overcome the world!” It might be the thanks and praise that rolls off your lips, “God is so good! Let me tell you about how he saved our home from disaster.”
As God stocks your storeroom with his treasures, he will also provide occasions in life to share these treasures new and old with others. Treasures so valuable that it’s worth dropping everything in life just to get it – dropping everything in life just to share it.