Find God’s Kingdom
July 31, 2022 | Jess Rainer
Passage: Matthew 13:44-46
What do you value so much that you would be willing to give up everything else? Today, Jesus goes after our hearts with two simple parables. And what Jesus wants our hearts to value above all else is Him and His kingdom. When you find God’s kingdom, take hold of it, and don’t let go. God’s kingdom should be in your proverbial safe.
1) Take hold of the mystery of God’s kingdom (vs. 44) 44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field." There were some curious questions that popped up this week as I was studying the passage. Maybe you had the same questions as I read the passage. Or maybe I’m just weird…Why was the treasure hidden in the field? In biblical times, this wasn’t a far-off concept. When enemies would attack a nation, the people would take their most valuable possessions and bury them in fields. They didn’t want the enemy to take their treasure. But what happen sometimes is that the person who buried the treasure would die in the attacks. No one would know where the money and treasures were hidden. On occasion, maybe someone was plowing a new field, they would discover buried treasure.
How did he find the treasure? This wasn’t his land, so what was he doing. I’m going to guess is that he was taking a shortcut and as he was walking saw the top of a crate. Or maybe he tripped on the corner of the crate sticking out of the ground. Not sure exactly how he found it, but he did. What did he do with the treasure after he found it? He buried it again! Was it wrong for him to re-hide the treasure? There’s moral dilemma in this verse that Jesus doesn’t address. What was the right thing for the guy to do with the treasure? It’s not the point of the parable. What would I have done if I found the treasure? I think it would have depended on my heart behind it all. How long did it take for him to liquidate his assets? What was the time period like when he knew what was hidden and he was selling everything? What was the conversation like when he negotiated to buy the field? Discoverer: “Hey, how much for that old pile of dirt you got over there?” Owner: “Why do you seem so nervous. And why are you sweating so much…?!”
The picture Jesus is painting for us is a man who has discovered something so valuable, he’s willing to do the drastic to get it. There’s a mystery of God’s kingdom that drives us to take hold of it. What is God’s kingdom? Let me define it this way: God’s kingdom is God’s spiritual rule in the hearts and souls of those who follow Him. When we repent of our sins and profess Jesus Christ as Lord, God reigns in our lives. And it’s this reign that enables us to enjoy eternity with God in heaven.
Why is there a mystery to God’s kingdom? Because it’s not in plain sight for all to see. In the parable, the treasure is hidden. What we learned two weeks ago is that God’s plan is not to put the gospel in plain sight, so we can submit our hearts in faith to Him. Who knows how many people walked by that field and never saw the treasure. But this man stumbled upon the truth and took hold it. I would venture to say that there might be someone listening now that has never believed in God because it is a mystery. Because, in your mind, if God was plainly revealed, then you would believe. The problem with that is you are demanding that God provide intellectual evidence when all He wants is your heart. You are seeking the profound before seeing the simple. And because it’s a mystery, you’ve missed the beauty of God’s kingdom. You see, God’s kingdom is visible—or at least is should be visible—through those who are Christ-followers. Here’s the challenge with that: Christians don’t always do a good job of making God’s kingdom visible. The struggle for many non-Christians is that they can’t see past the brokenness of humans to see the beauty of God’s kingdom inside of them. For Christians, we must do our best to not let our brokenness hide the gospel. For non-Christians, God wants you to look past the brokenness to see His beauty. God uses the weak and broken for His glory. 1 Corinthians 1:26-30 26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. 30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.
2) Take hold of the value of God’s kingdom. (vs. 45-46) Jesus uses another parable to repeat the same point. This time he uses a businessman. Look at verses 45 and 46: 45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls.46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! On the surface, the almost seem like identical parables. But there are subtle differences. For example, the man in the field stumbled on the treasure, but what was the businessman doing? The merchant was “on the lookout” for the kingdom. You have blue-collar man in a field and a white-collar businessman. You have one who stumbled upon a treasure and another that had been seeking a treasure their whole lifetime. One of the reasons the kingdom of God is so valuable is that it is available to everyone and anyone.
Why did the merchant go to such great lengths for a pearl? In biblical times, pearls were extremely rare. They couldn’t dive into the ocean to get oysters. And you couldn’t go on Amazon to buy an oyster with a pearl in it. That’s legit. Look it up. Pearls were worth a ton. This businessman saw such a rare and valuable pearl, that he did the same thing as the man in the field—sold everything to get it. Both men found something that was worth so much, that there will willing to give up everything else in their life. Being in God’s kingdom is worth losing every penny. Quote: “So the point…is that the people who receive the kingdom treasure it more than everything else. You don’t buy it. You get it freely because you want it more than you want anything else. It’s as if a poor child entered a toy store and the owner said: you can have the best and most expensive toy in this store if you want it more than anything else. In other words, there is a condition for having the kingdom—for having the King on your side and as your friend—but the condition is not wealth or power or intelligence or eminence. The condition is that you prize the kingdom more than you prize anything else.” – John Piper.
What makes the kingdom of God so valuable? You are giving up the temporal to gain the eternal. You are getting God! You are getting eternal life! You are getting access to the Creator of the Universe! You are getting the Holy Spirit who will guide you through this life! You are getting purpose, joy, love, and contentment. You begin living for something far greater than yourself. There are those who never take hold of the mystery of the gospel, but what about those who understand, yet won’t accept it? One of the biggest obstacles for someone to enter God’s kingdom is giving up what they deem valuable. The narrow gate into God’s kingdom is only wide enough for a person to walk through. Entering into God’s kingdom means surrendering everything this life offers. To be clear, it doesn’t mean you get rid of everything and go live in a cardboard box. But it does mean that you surrender everything you have to Jesus and let Him determine what you do with it. Entering God’s kingdom is free, but it costs us everything. Let that sink in for a little bit… Your life will change. But in God’s kingdom, you want your life to change because Jesus is worth it. You will have to give up your pet sins. You might be called to a life of financial generosity. You might sell your house and move to a new mission field. You will do things that doesn’t make sense to an outside world. But it’s all worth it. It’s why we when we have a baptism, we ask the question, “Is Jesus Christ your Savior, Lord, and TREASURE?” Jesus is worth giving up the things of this world. When you take hold of the mystery and the value of God’s kingdom, there is an unspeakable joy on the other side.
3) Take hold of the joy of God’s kingdom. (vs. 44b) This man in the field in verse 44 is losing everything. He’s selling it all. If you were selling everything you owned, what would be your response. I think, at some level, there would be sadness and disappointment. Maybe even devastation. But what’s the response in verse 44? 44b In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. “In his excitement!” This man is full of joy. Being in God’s kingdom produces a mysterious joy. Can you imagine seeing this man running around town? “Hey, do you want to buy my house? “Hey, I’m selling my goats. Do you want them?” “Make me an offer on my spoons!” Maybe he was writing on some parchment and handing out fliers that he was having an estate sale. No VarageSale, Facebook Marketplace, or Ebay. He’s just running around town making deals. All the while, he’s got the biggest smile on his face. He’s overwhelmed with excitement and joy. When was the last time you checked your response to God’s kingdom?
Do you see it as a checklist? Do you see it as a legalism blender? Do you see it as a cardboard box that you have to sit in for the rest of your life? Do you see it as a something that will not allow you to find happiness and joy in this life? Being in the kingdom of God produces an eternal joy that surpasses the fleeting moments of happiness this earth provides. I think many people look at Christianity and see joyless duty. That Christians are like the monks walking around banging their heads with wood planks. That’s not it all! God wants you to be happy! God just wants you to be happy in the things of His kingdom because they produce lasting joy. Quote: “God is not upset at you because you want to be happy; he’s upset for you because you choose to be happy in things besides him.” – JD Greear. There’s so much joy when we let go of the fleeting things of this world and grab a hold of the things of God’s kingdom.
Let go of what you think is valuable in this world and grab ahold of the priceless kingdom of God. Some of you need to grab a hold of the kingdom for the first time. Some of you need to grab back on to the joy of the kingdom. And don’t let go. Don’t let the lure of momentary happiness take away your God-given joy. You need to open up your proverbial spiritual safe. Take inventory. Pull out the things that aren’t of God. Put the kingdom in the proper place, lock it up, and live with joy. Let’s be a church that values the kingdom as we should!
This series deals with the parables of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew. Through understanding the context and audience, we can see that parables teach us about compassion, faithfulness, responsibility, the generosity of God, and the importance of living kingdom lives for God.