9 August 2020

Book: Matthew

All Sermons

Giving All for Treasure

Bible Passage: Matthew 13:44-52

Could you imagine being one of those two guys—the one who found a treasure and the other who found a good pearl? You’re in a field for a walk, you have no expectation of anything other than to enjoy the weather and finish your walk and go home. But on your walk through the field you  stumble across a wooden box with a latch on it. The box looks worn and ragged, like it has been sitting there untouched for years. You pick it up and the Rollie polys scatter from underneath it. You brush off the caked on dirt. And then you finagle the latch open expecting to not find much in this old beaten up box… but as you raise the lid you see that the box is packed with gold coins. It’s completely amazing, who would ever think you would have found this. So you run home, you know you have to obtain this treasure some way. So you scrape together whatever you have, you sell whatever you can on Facebook Marketplace and Craig’s list so you can buy the field and obtain the treasure.

Or imagine you were that merchant. Your entire career you were after the highest quality pearl. You had seen good pearls, you had even seen some great pearls, but none of them were quite what in your heart you were after. You were after a flawless pearl, one of extraordinary value. One day you were in the marketplace and you couldn’t believe your eyes. It was the kind of pearl that you had always been looking for. Large and perfectly round and without flaw. And you just knew you had to have it. So you liquidated your assets and you returned to buy the pearl.

You would think that if you had found that treasure or you had found that pearl it would be something you would cherish and value the rest of your life. Yet, imagine that once you had obtained this treasure in your excitement you shared the news with a friend of yours. And your friend heard about the treasure or the pearl and they really weren’t all that impressed. In fact they downplayed your treasure and noted how people have treasure of greater quantity or pearls of greater quality. I mean talk about a kill joy. And even though you knew the joy you had over your treasure some of it was taken from you and maybe you begin to wonder if the treasure is really all that great. 

I remember in grade school all I wanted was a pair of black nike high tops with a white swoosh. My family wasn’t really wealthy and I had never had name brand shoes. I wore brands like Voit. But finally after waiting and waiting my Aunt purchased me a pair of black Nike high tops with a white swoosh. I was absolutely thrilled and couldn’t wait to wait them for basketball practice. I got to practice and was quickly made aware that my shoes were not that great because they weren’t Nike Airs. After that I kind of liked the shoes, but they no longer seemed like something to be excited about.

I wonder if that is how the disciples were starting to feel about the disciples. They had heard John the Baptist of all people ask if Jesus was in fact the Messiah. They had heard Jesus send them out with the gospel but also warn them that people would reject it and even hate them because they preached it. They had watched as Jesus faced staunch opposition from the Jewish religious elite. And in a way what it is all saying is this thing, the gospel of Jesus Christ, which you think is great, really isn’t that great. They could be losing perspective of the value of the gospel. 

That is a quite dangerous position to be in. Because when we lose perspective our old sinful self has right where it wants us. It’s not even us being at the point of throwing our hands in the air and thinking, “Why does any of this matter.” No, it is much more insidious than that. As we are in a position to underestimate the value of the gospel we begin to put higher value on other things and we are willing to give up for those things rather than the gospel.

There are so many voices around us which devalue the gospel. There are so many experiences which we have which would try to tell us that the gospel isn’t a treasure. Oh when the gospel seems to be working and others are excited about it, it is easy to see the value in the gospel. But it becomes much more difficult for us to see when it seems like we are the only one doing anything with it.

And that is the point when our everything wants to creep back in. Our everything is the thing that is closest to us. It could be your covetousness. Your love of relaxation. Your love of pleasure. Your confidence in your own brand of wisdom. Those things come creeping back in and we aren’t always willing to give those things up for the treasure of the gospel.

And that is exactly why Jesus shares these two short parables with us, so as to remind us just how valuable this gospel is. He is reminding us of the sweetness that it has and the joy that it brings.

God is reminding you that he has not called you to anything that he has not already done first. God has done all for us first. In Christ he sought us out. In Christ he gave up all. In Christ he has made us his treasure.

In his grace and love God saw you as that valuable pearl which he must have. There was nothing he would give up to have you. He gave up what he had, he suspended the full use of his almighty glory, and he took on the form of a servant. Though he was rich he became poor. Though he was strong he became weak. And though he was life itself he died.

Like the man who found the treasure he gave up all to take possession of you. Like the merchant who found a great pearl he gave up all to make you his own. He gave up his Son so that he might have you. HIs Son gave up his very life so that he might have you. What thing of greater value is their than a child and his life. Yet, that is what God was willing to give up for you to make you as his very own. 

Yet he did not just do this for himself, but he did this for you. So that your sin of misunderstanding the gospel would be paid for. So that you would be forgiven, and so that you could bask in the joy of his love.

Because our God has done this for us we can be certain that at the end of time when our Savior returns we need not fear, but we can be confident in his return.

This is treasure whether others see it as treasure or not. This is a pearl of fine value whether our old self understands that or not. This gospel is the thing of supreme value in our lives because in fact it is our very life. It causes us to value everything differently. In both parables the individuals value the treasure so much they give up all for it. There is not one aspect of life that does not have value in relation to the kingdom. 

Back in chapter 10 Jesus reminded his disciples that whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. This is a matter of value. This is matter of turning everything upside down and focusing not the one thing needful—the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We need not fear giving up, because we do not lose—in Christ we have all that we need.

What is of value is raising children who see the treasure of the gospel. What is of value is doing the work of the gospel in our community. What is of value is encouraging one another with the gospel of Jesus. What is of value is giving up our everything and living in the love of Christ.

See we who hold this treasure have actually been taken ahold by it. Though we may sacrifice and give up, we continue to live off of the treasure. We live off of the grace of God day by day as we live under him in his kingdom.