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The Value of the Treasure which is Jesus Mt. 13:44 - 52

October 11, 2015 Speaker: Jim Galli Series: The Gospel of Matthew

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 13:44–13:52

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44“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; 48and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49“So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” 52And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Last week we talked about the mystery of evil influence in the church. The picture of tares and wheat growing together until the harvest. And we talked about several different scenarios of how the tares get sown among the wheat. The bad seed sown by Satan.

We got sort of specific as to what we believe the current crop of tares source may be. Add to the gospel = tares. Christ plus good works. Subtract from the gospel = tares. Christ plus stay married to the world.

And you can look down through the history of the church and see all of the different schemes Satan has cooked up to produce tares.

I'm at least feaful if not cautious of provoking the folks I love, who are here, who have roots in the Catholic traditions. I don't want to make them angry. But the truth is the Roman church, along with all kinds of other problems that crept in as the centuries went by, teaches that faith is not enough to be saved. Faith plus works of righteousness is required. Faith plus the sacrements.

And that system was huge all through the centuries and still is today, producing tares. But I centered the discussion last week on a more troubling problem because it claims to be evangelical. And that is the idea that you can have your sin and be saved too. You can stay married to this world and all it's goodies and as long as you "believe" you'll be OK.

In times past, as the church at the time of the reformation came up with all of the latin Sola's, (sola means only) as the church fought to solve one problem, it created the roots of another. There are three sola's and 2 more added to sum things up.

The three that the reformers would camp on to distinguish protestant theology from the Roman church were scripture over tradition, Sola Scriptura, faith over works, Sola Fide, and grace over merit, Sola Gratia, each intended to represent an important distinction compared with Catholic doctrine.

Only the scriptures are authoritative. Church tradition where it trumps the scriptures, is WRONG! Only faith saves. Not faith plus works. And in conjunction with that idea, we are saved by faith through grace. We are bankrupt sinners. Salvation is by faith alone through grace alone and we are held by the authority of Scrupture, alone.

Later the idea of Christ alone, no one but Jesus can absolve sin, and Soli Deo Gloria the glory goes to God alone, not men, were added to give five Sola's or Only's to distinguish the true church.

Thus began the reformed church, or protestantism as we still know it today. And of course if you're a history buff, that tree branched out all over the place. We've got lots of brands, many of which I could subscribe to in their original intents and pure drafts.

Great schools were formed to teach the faith and I'm trying to show how we got from Faith alone, the killing of faith plus works, to a faith alone that is so watered down as to be as ineffective as the error it smote.

It's a very long story and I am not a man of learning and letters, so you should always check out for yourselves anything I say, but to make a long story short, by the middle of the 20th century, the schools had been dogged by liberalism.

Now a note of clarification. When I talk about liberals in this pulpit, I am in no way talking about political liberal folk. That's another discussion and one that is inappropriate for me to share my feelings about.

When I talk about liberals I am talking about the movement that coincided with the modern era of industialization in the 1870's and for a hundred years after when theologians said, we can't have this book with miracles and what not that no one with an electric light bulb lighting his book he's reading could possibly buy into.

Modernism led to liberalism led to an emaciated Bible. A toothless old book with about 14 verses you could believe. That bowling ball knocked about 8 pins down of the old line denominations that came out of the reformation. They got modern and the church was powerless, and Christ-less.

Then came fundamentalism to counter that movement and hopefully save what was left. And those folks by mid 20th century got out their paring knives and started whittling away at faith plus nothing, and the bizarre idea that you can accept Christ as Saviour, but it's not necessary to make Him your Lord, as born.

And with that, great revivals broke out including in my generation, the great Billy Graham events. Christ plus nothing! And give me a double portion of the nothing. And for a while, anything anybody said was brought into contempt as Works added to salvation.

Not less than Lewis Sperry Chafer and Charles Ryrie, both of Dallas Theological Seminary, espoused the idea that Lordship of Jesus is optional! To add Lordship to salvation is just another form of works salvation. And we were having that discussion all through the 1980's and 90's.

Oh, and whatever you do, don't add repentence. To require repentence is works salvation. How dare you tell someone they need to repent.

Just believe in Jesus and you're saved. Add anything to that and you're lost because you've added works to salvation. That was taught widely. And that error has added more tares to the church, and continues to add tares to the church even today, at a greater pace than working your way to heaven ever did.

That's a quick and dirty history, but it brings us to today. Satan creates tares in the church by a false gospel, and he doesn't really care much if it's false on the works side or the license side. He'll poison you fast or poison you slow. He doesn't care so long as you die.

And that brings us home to the question; What did Jesus actually preach? We'd better get this right, or either side there is a cliff that leads to death. What is the good news that Jesus preached?

Mt. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The whole gospel is packed in those words. I'm going to put it into a sentence, or at least try to. The authority to reign of God, as opposed to the authority to rule and reign over your life of this world which is under Satanic control is available. Therefore, come out of Satan's world and by faith in the finished work of Jesus, come under His rule and authority, and He will give you the Holy Spirit.

OK, I failed to do the one sentence. But that is the gospel. Jesus took care of the sin problem. His blood provided the possibility of ransoming you out of Satan's rule and control and into His kingdom, His authority.

That's good news. There's a viable answer to our fallen condition. Our vile sin. We are freed to leave Satan's kingdom and come under God's rule. In the past, we were enemies of God. The cross made amnesty; possible!

But there-in lies the catch. Sin is fun. Sin is satisfying, temporarily. Sin is a pot of stew when you're famished. Instant gratification. And we love it.

And that poses the question that our next 2 parables are going to address.

What would you give up, in order to have Jesus? Sin? The world and it's goodies? What? What would you leave behind in order to gain, Jesus?

Now, right about now, Chafer and Ryrie would be gagging! He's adding works to salvation!! Beware of this heretic!! Requiring Lordship for salvation is works! This smacks of repentence! That's heresy!

And that's why I laid out the groundwork ahead of time. It also serves to show why these 2 parable which seem so different from the leaven of evil influence in the church, are here.

I think these 2 parables are a cautionary tale. I think they're here precisely because the tares are people who would not give up the world in order to have Christ.

The gospel as Jesus gave it in Matthew 4:17 is almost too spartan. It all seems to hover around that word repent. And lots of well meaning theologians say, well, you have to go to Paul to get the gospel clarified.

That's weird, because Paul went to Jesus to get the gospel clarified. This word repent is key. And it's enough, if you understand what Jesus was saying in that brief message. And that's what these 2 parables are about.

And with that background, let's dive in, because the parables themselves are painfully simple.

44“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

What would you give up in order to have Jesus?

First of all, I guess the question of treasure must be answered. Jesus is the treasure. But let's cut to the chase. Value.

If Jesus is of little or no value to you, the answer is obvious. The world is better. Sex is better. Money is better. Fame is better. Security is better. Acceptance by your peers is better.

So, you're walking through this field and you trip over something. What was that. And you turn around and you see what it was that tripped you. It's square - ish. What is that? A square rock? No it doesn't look like a rock, it's a box that's totally buried except for that one corner.

You're curious so you dig, dig, dig, and you get the lid so it'll come off. And you look inside and there's 4 Model A Ford water pumps. With original 2 blade fans. Obviously brand new when they were buried. Hot dog, a treasure.

You go home and research and sure enough that field in Goldfield Nevada is on the rolls available for back taxes. You can buy that field for the sum total, payable to Esmeralda County, of 34, 652 dollars.

More research. You go on ebay to see what Model A water pumps are worth. In that condition, they're worth about $120 each! And the fan's are not highly regarded anymore since most of them have flown to pieces at high speed in the intervening 86 years and people are afraid to run the cars with them. Still, some purist that only wants to show the car at concours type shows will pay for an original Henry Ford fan. They're worth about $200 each. OK, so with a bit of rapid mathematical calculation that adds up to, let's see $1280. But the field is $34,652 dollars.

What to do. You re-bury the box and leave it for someone else to find and have as much fun doing the research and math as you did. Treasure wise, the treasure didn't add up to the cost involved, and you move on.

OK, rewind the tape. New scenario. You're still in Goldfield Nevada walking along in a natural wash, and you trip over something. What was that. Been a lot of flash floods, lately and that thing that tripped you probably was not ever exposed before. What was it. So you go back for a look.

It's a box. A wood box. Buried. Curious you start digging. This is fun. What if there's a treasure. Dig dig dig dig, until finally, you can pry the lid off. This is a rather large box. About the size of half a Volkswagen. And you get the lid off and you discover that obviously, some guy in 1904 had found a vein and was high grading like mad, and that whole box is full of solid gold nuggets as big as coke cans. It's going to take a crane to get it out there's so much gold. Oh my!

What to do! You quickly cover it up and make it look as undisturbed as possible. Then you go to almost any inhabited lot in Goldfield Nevada and you purchase a derelict vehicle for $200. You drag that old car or truck into the wash and park it squarely on top of where that box is, take the wheels off it, and abandon it right there over the box. That buys you some time.

Then you research and find out that lot is in fact abandoned since 1952 and can be had for back taxes. $41,242 dollars, which the court house guy is sort of apologetic about. Why would anyone want a piece of old wash that costs that much. Even though you're sort of good at math, you can't even imagine how many tons of gold is buried in that box and what that could be sold for. All you know is, your sum total if you sell everything you own at auction prices, is $41, 242 dollars.

Do you call the auctioneer? Is the treasure worth it?

What will you give up to have Jesus. We all have a load of baggage in this world. Do we keep the baggage? Is it of more value to us than having Jesus. Or do we sell everything this world can offer in order to have the Treasure.

Salvation is free. It is a gift of God. Nothing can buy it. But there is cost. You can't keep the world, and have Jesus. 44“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

. . . and from joy over it . . .joy over it.

Every decision we make is connected to a persuit of joy. We want to be happy. That's OK, that's how God made us. Value. Joy. This guy looks at what he can have, and what it will cost, and joy is part of the equation. Will I be happier with the treasure? Or would it be better to not have the treasure.

And Jesus says, this treasure causes excitement. Joy!

We don't need this explained. It comes very naturally. Watch your 2 year old on Christmas morning. Treasure equals joy. This guy recognizes that this treasure is of more value than anything else and he proceeds with joy. Excitement.

BTW, that's contagious. People don't see and want Christ because we all trudge around like zombies with glum faces. People will see and want Jesus when they witness something real of that joy. That excitement. And that desire, that joy works 2 ways in a relationship.

Remember in the 10 commandments where God says, I the Lord, am a jealous God.

Exodus 20:4 - 6 "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

IF you slow down and read that carefully, you'll see that there are 2 kinds of people mentioned in there. Those that hate me. Those that love me.

Two things. God wants the lovers. And He is jealous.

Salvation is a free gift. But God wants ALL of you. He's jealous. You can't have the world and it's sin, and Satan's authority, and all of the worlds goodies, and have God too.

Remember the first word out of Jesus mouth when He said the gospel in Matthew 4:17? Repent.

This parable is about that word. What is the value of Jesus? What will you give up in order to have Jesus. That, in spite of every other definition you may have ever heard, is the meaning of the word Repent.

It means you see the value of Jesus as more wonderful than anything, Anything this world has to offer and you gladly, joyously, walk away from this world, and it's sin, in order to have That treasure.

It's a simple parable, but profound. Look at it one more time; The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field

Jesus is like that crate of solid gold in Goldfield. The value isn't even estimable. In our current slang, it's a no-brainer. He's better than anything. And you would walk away from anything you owned in this world, . . . wait, let me re-phrase that, you would run away, with great joy at the leaving, in order to have Him.

Sadly, I am forced to say, if this is an accurate definition of who the wheat is, as opposed to the tares, I have to ask, where are these people? Where are the folks who are head over heels in love with the Saviour? Who can't get enough of Him or His word. Who are panting for more, like the deer pants for the waterbrook?

Does that describe our churches? Let's move on to the next parable;

45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

What is the kingdom like? What is it like to belong to the King? To have the authority of Heaven ruling over you. What is the value, again, of that reality.

It's the same story. Different cast.

There is one difference. The first guy "found" Jesus by accident. Tripped over Him! This guy is actively searching for treasure. People come in both ways. Some people search the whole wide world before they find Jesus. Others are just lolly-gagging along, and one day, JESUS!

This one is closer to home for me than even the last one. I am cursed with the horse trader gene. I get bored with what I have, and trade it for something I don't have.

Happily, that doesn't apply to wives. But all of my toys are on the short list, if I find something I like better.

So, if some guy with a '55 T-Bird reading this skids up and says, I'll trade the T-Bird for the '31 Coupe and the '39 Tonner, chances are, he's going to go home with 2 cars and I'm going to have a T-Bird again. Me and Pam took our honeymoon (such as it was) in a '56 Ford Thunderbird. Yes, I'm old, but the T Bird was a big deal, even then. That was 1975 btw.

And that's exactly what we have here. Different story. Same ending.

This searcher finds a pearl and it's so much better than anything else he's ever seen he has to possess it. Priceless, to him at least. Luckily the seller is willing. But they strike a deal, and the deal is, everything else the guy has. He has to sell everything, to get that pearl.

Again, the value of the treasure makes the cost to obtain, a no-brainer. Jesus has no trouble at all putting a cost on having Him. He's the treasure. And He's jealous. And He'll have all of you, or none of you. That's the cost.

Redemption is free. Forgiveness is free. It can't be bought. It's a package deal with having the treasure. And that will cost you . . this world, and everything else you love in it.

Jesus is better than any of it. You either see the value of the treasure, or you think to yourself, nope, I think I'll just keep the world. Or even better, I think I'll find me a teacher that isn't so stringent as this one is.

I'd like to have Jesus. Actually I could care less about Jesus, but I'd like to not go to hell, and Jesus seems to have that key, so I'm going to go find me a church or a religion that doesn't get so fussy about what I have to give up in order to have the fire insurance.

Cake and eat it too. Sin and fire insurance too. And they won't have any trouble finding that church. That doctrine. Some of you are having those thoughts. This parable is making me uncomfortable. Making me squirm a bit. I'll bet there are other places, even in Tonopah, where the guy isn't putting the crunch on you.

And that's a lead in to our next parable. Our final parable for this chapter. And I think it's a perfect fit.

47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; 48and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49“So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Again this is very simple but . . it's beyond profound because of the weight of the concepts involved.

This is simple triage. This is Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory.

Actually, the process described here is called culling. Except the chilling fact that nobody wants to talk about is that this is the angels culling living souls. People with names.

This strange mix of good and evil in the church. Not just the church. This will be true for every soul of man that ever breathed air in this world. But the picture in the context of these parables is probably the church.

The church throughout the ages is pictured as a large drag net. This would be a large net probably between 2 fishing boats and they troll along, trapping fish as they go in this net, and ultimately come ashore with it, and then this process of sorting begins.

The church is like that net. And if the 2 previous parables are the pictures of real salvation, there's a whole bunch in this drag net called the church, that figured being IN the church was getting them to where they wanted to be.

I remember in 1974 going to the Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles at the old Coliseum. I remember on the final night as he gave the invitation, the streams of people going down the aisles and into the field in the center. Like a river of people. Every aisle, around that giant coliseum full of people streaming out onto the field. Thousands! Quite literally.

Just like that drag net. How many was it real for? No way to know. God knows. And His angels will cull the keepers from the ones that are not.

Being in church doesn't make you a christian any more than being in that net makes you a keeper. X2 Answering an emotional call at a Billy Graham crusade doesn't necessarily make you a christian. Recognizing Jesus is worth more than anything this world can ever offer, and acting on that realization, with joy . . . that makes you a christian.

Being spiritually quickened from the dead, made alive together with Christ, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, that makes you a christian. Recognizing that Jesus is the treasure better than any other treasure, and letting go of this world in order to have Him, that makes you a christian.

Jesus, back in chapter 7; the close of the sermon on the mount, before He started speaking only in riddles. This is plain language;

13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20“So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

There is this element of shock and surprise on judgement day. You can't possibly mean me, Lord. I did this and I did that. And what does He say? I never knew you.

In this parable, given for the disciples, Jesus tells the parable, then He gives the meaning. No guessing necessary here. This is talking about heaven, and hell.

Millions upon millions of church people, throughout the centuries of the church, and the angels are going to seperate the ones going to heaven away from the ones going to hell.

Vs. 51“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” 52And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

things new and things old is a picture of the church's task to produce the canon we call the Bible. These words of Jesus were a mandate. The apostles, these pictured as heads of households, or fathers, weren't to simply rely on the Old testament scriptures which were already in place.

They were to begin to recognize immediately that some of the things they were writing and dictating to others to be written and remembered were scripture on the same level as their Old Testament scriptures.

A scribe was someone who was learned. Someone who had taken the time to study and become well versed in a subject. Jewish scribes were the experts in the law.

These stupid news shows we watch are forever calling in "experts" quote ~unquote. The supposed purpose is to give some gravity. The news talking head is just that, a talking head. Why would we believe them? So they go get an expert to blather on and take up segment time before the next 10 commercials.

That definition isn't very flattering, but it works. A scribe is a subject matter expert. We'll go with that. And here, we have some subject matter experts concerning the Kingdom of God. And those who have done that work well, are worthy of honor.

There has been an unbroken succession of men who have by diligence and holiness, made themselves experts of the kingdom. Here, Jesus is talking to the first 11 of them. Judas is excluded.

And He gives them a mandate. If you're a scribe of the kingdom, you don't go in a corner and wall yourself into a room, alone. If you're a scribe of the kingdom, you are like a head of a household. A father. A grandfather.

That is a mandate that designates responsibility to teach the things that you have become versed in.

In my case, that sort of happened by accident. I listened to and read the things that the best men in this succession spoke and wrote, and one day, the Lord impressed on me that I need to teach. So I began the most timid of Bible studies on Sunday evenings.

And that progressed for some years until you folks graciously asked me to fill this pulpet. What an honor to be anywhere in the succession of scribes of the Kingdom. Taught by faithful, godly men. Now teaching, the best I know how.

The mandate to do that goes all the way back to this verse. Be diligent to have some expertise, and then humbly teach others what you know. Dads, moms, teach your children. Those who are stonger, disciple those who are weaker. That's how this works. You don't have to be Augustine.

MacArthur always says, find someone who knows less than you do, and teach them what you know.

This book is the treasure. We have the old, and the new, in good easy to understand translations. Avoid teachers who are dismissive of the Old testament. Ultra dispensationalists who dismiss not only the old testament, but most of the new.

Jesus said we give the treasure away, and we give both old, and new. Exodus 20 is a great place to help you understand the jealous love our Father has for us.

You can read through all of the previous studies we've done together on our web pages and you'll find this balance. The old testament supports the new testament perfectly. There is no disparity. And the good steward always has that balance of old and new.

"And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Acts 20:32