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Journey Through Matthew: Showing Off The Treasures

Journey Through Matthew  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Heaven is a place and a concept that should be valued and far above any worldly treasure. As such, those who have been blessed with the knowledge and charged with teaching about heaven have a responsbility to teach with integrity and honesty.

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Introduction

Good evening and welcome back!
It is good to see everyone out this evening.
Tonight we want to continue with our Journey Through Matthew, and we are going to be looking at some more of the parables that Jesus taught in.
And for tonight we are going to be looking at which contains three more of Jesus’ parables.
And these parables are interesting because they all three deal with heaven and they each in their own way try to give us some insight; rather a glimpse of how glorious heaven actually is.
In these parables Jesus is going to be talking about hidden treasures, pearls, and a dragnet.
And then in the end, he is also going to be talking a bit about the responsibilities that teachers and leaders have to their people.
And these parables are a continuation of last week, remember, Jesus is trying to describe these difficult and abstract things in ways that the people can understand.
Last week the focus was on farming and Jesus is going to turn his attention to a subject that is near and dear to all of them and probably all of us as well.
That being money, treasures, riches.
And not in the sense that all we are after is money, treasures, and riches, but rather I think that sometimes we all dream of what we could/would do if we had unlimited funds.
The places we would go.
The computers we would build.
And so long as we are not consumed by “the love of money” which Paul tells us is the “root of all evil,” it is okay to dream a bit.
And to be honest, by the standards that the vast majority of the people in Jesus’ day lived by, we would all be considered rich anyway.
Which is sort of why Jesus addresses them in the way he does.
He knows that these people are pretty much dirt poor and they had spent their lives oppressed by the Romans and oppressed by their own leadership, who instead of helping them took advantage of them.
And these people knew that the chances of them ever having any sort of earthly riches was slim to none.
So, their only real hope would be in eternal riches.
And they dreamed of a time when things would be better.
When the playing field would be leveled and everybody would be viewed by their character and not by their wallet.
And Jesus here is trying to help them understand how heaven is like this, so he takes some things that they can only dream about and uses the to help him describe heaven to them.
Which brings us to where we will begin.
Again, , starting in verse 44, Matthew writes . . .

Scripture Focus

Matthew 13:51–52 NIV - Anglicised
51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied. 52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Matthew 13:44–52 NIV - Anglicised
44 “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. 47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 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. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied. 52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Matthew 13:51-

The Hidden Treasure and the Pearls (vs 44-46)

Alright, has anybody ever been treasure hunting?
In Jesus’ day, they didn’t have things like SONAR and metal detectors but there were still all kinds of stories going around how treasures are hidden in caves and fields and you name it.
Just like we see today, about the old west.
All of the old gold prospectors found these treasures and have them hidden somewhere.
The problem though with treasure hunting is its pretty hard to find any real treasure.
You may find a quarter, fifty cents if you are lucky but it is extremely rare to hear of anyone, anywhere in the world actually finding any significant treasure.
And that may be because they are smart enough not to tell anybody, but for the most part it is because most of those stories are legends and just that stories.
And the same was true for Jesus’ day, so it is sort of strange here for Jesus’ to be comparing treasure to heaven.
However, if we look closely we may see what Jesus is talking about here.
Again, Matthew writes in verse 44 ...
Matthew 13:44 NIV - Anglicised
44 “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.
If we pull out the full meaning here we can discover some great truths.
First Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field.
So, this treasure called heaven is one of these things that people hear about, dream about, are taught about.
One of these legends that everybody knows about, but nobody has seen (in this life anyway).
But low and behold we have a man who is wandering in a field one day and he found it!
He discovered all the truths of heaven, which is no different than we we receive Jesus Christ.
Before we receive Christ, heaven is a concept, something we learn about, something we hear about, something that is completely out of reach for us.
However, after we receive Christ, heaven becomes real in our heart. We find it and what do we do?
We hide it in our hearts, which is what Jesus is saying here.
After finding the treasure the man hid it again, not meaning he kept the gospel from others, but he hid the truth of heaven in his heart so that the thief couldn’t come and steal it away.
And if we are smart we will do the same thing.
However, it also brought him great joy and because he knew he had discovered the ultimate treasure, he went and sold all he had and bought that field.
In other words he was willing to give up absolutely everything for that field.
And the question remains though, what are we willing to give up for heaven?
God may never ask, but are we willing to give up everything for heaven?
Or are we hanging on to things that we shouldn’t be?
Things that would impede our journey.
Things like sin, bitterness, addiction.
Things that we have no control over because they control us.
Things that only the Holy Spirit can take care of.
If we want heaven to be our home, if we want to discover the ultimate treasure, then we must be willing to give up everything for it.
Are we?
And with that in the center of their mind, Jesus continues on with another story of treasures . . .
Matthew 13:45–46 NIV - Anglicised
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.
;45-46
Now, pearls were rare then just like they are now.
However, in Jesus’ day, pearls were even more valuable than they are today.
People then were amazed that this little beautiful, perfectly round, perfectly smooth thing could be found in an oyster.
To them it was a gift from God.
And if you found a pearl you were blessed and also rich!
So, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that people would go out and search for them.
The Bible says that this guy was a merchant so he could have run the equivalent of a jewelry store and if he was able to find some pearls he would be the businessman of the year!
But again, just like the first one, he is out hunting treasures and I am sure he had hunted the shores and banks, oyster after oyster and found nothing.
Then apparently he found somebody who actually had one.
And to him, that pearl was so valuable that he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
And the point that Jesus is trying to make is that heaven is so valuable that we should be willing to give up everything for it.
And Jesus wants them to realize that part because in the next parable he is going to describe to them the great difficulty in getting there.
Jesus says this next . . .

The Fishing Net (vs 47-50)

Matthew 13:47–50 NIV - Anglicised
47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 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. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Not quite as nice a story as the first two.
Because now Jesus is talking about the separation of people.
And he is doing this because in his day, just like today, there were a lot of people who believed that when you die you go to heaven.
No requirements, no stipulations.
In fact many believed that Hell itself was a myth.
So, Jesus knows that when he starts describing heaven in terms of these treasures the people would be excited but their excitement is a bit misguided because they had this idea that everybody went there regardless of how they lived their life.
So, Jesus dispels that.
First he says . . .
Matthew 13:47 NIV - Anglicised
47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.
Matthew 13:
So, think of heaven as a great sea and all of us little bitty fishes swimming around.
The end comes and the net of heaven is dragged across the sea and scoops us all up.
Matthew 13:48 NIV - Anglicised
48 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.
Hmmm....Now we have a problem.
Jesus is now making a difference between the good fish and the bad fish.
Between the catfish and the carp.
The bass and the bluegill.
The good fish get carried off and honored in the market, but the bad ones get cast aside into to the trash heap.
And just to make things clear about what Jesus was talking about he says . . .
Matthew 13:49–50 NIV - Anglicised
49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
So, this is twice that Jesus has warned them about weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Responsibility of Teachers (vs 51-52)

And a big part of their problem was that nobody was telling them these truths.
Nobody was giving them the “hard message.”
Everybody was tickling their ears, telling them things they wanted to hear.
Which is why now Jesus turns his attention to the teachers.
He says . . .
Matthew 13:51–52 NIV - Anglicised
51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied. 52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
So, first he verifies that they understood what he was talking about.
Because if they understand, then they are accountable for it.
The same holds true for us.
If we understand the truth of the Gospel, then we are accountable for it.
It doesn’t matter how old or young we are.
If we understand the truth, then we have a responsibility to share the truth and live the truth.
We can’t go around tickling ears and being afraid to hurt people’s feelings.
Now, we don’t go around passing judgement, being rude, and mean toward others.
We share the truth in love, meaning we first have to have the love for God that enables us to truly love others.
And if we really love others, then people will realize that the truth we share is not meant to hurt but to inform and educate.
But it does not relieve us from our responsibilities.
So, Jesus asks if they understood, he reply “yes!”
So, now he drops the bomb . . .
Matthew 13:52 NIV - Anglicised
52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Matthew 13:
In other words, we know the truth.
If we are Christians, we know the way to heaven.
That treasure is stored up in our hearts.
We have a responsibility to share that treasure with others.

Altar Call

And the question tonight is, do we do it?
Do we share the gospel with others?
Do we share the truth in love?
First though, have we discovered the treasure of heaven?
Have we stored it up in our hearts?
Are we willing to give up everything for it?
That comes first, and then the responsibility to share it with others.
And that is where we are tonight.
We need to each spend time in prayer and reflection deciding where we stand.
Will you do that tonight?
The altar is open.
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