Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Maybe They Haven't Found the Treasure Yet

Matthew 13:44-46 (NIV) 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.

It is strange how what God uses to speak to you. I was reading a fiction novel speaking of warfare. The main character, a commander, noticed that his troops were deserting their posts at the sight of the enemy. He realizes that they were running because they did not want to give their lives for nothing. He surmises that they don't have anything to fight for.

I wondered: "Could this be the reason that so many Christians are reluctant to serve, give less than they do to restaurant waiters and have spotty attendance records? Could it be that they don't know why they should give sacrifice their time and money?"

I believe the answer is "yes!"

These two short parables by Jesus assumes what we have failed to address. They assume that the people are looking for the kingdom of heaven. It is a treasure hidden in a field. It is a pearl that is not like any other pearl. It is revealed in the search.

Have we made the kingdom of heaven simply something that is served to you. In other words, have we told our children and others that they can ask Jesus into their hearts without any searching on their own? Has it been revealed to them or is it just as hidden because we have said it is before them so much that they have acquiests to our statements? It is like the joke which is laughed because others are laughing rather than with the understanding of the joke? Are they really getting it?

These parables assume that the finder realizes the value of the kingdom of heaven. This is the only reason that a person would "sell out" to the Lord. This is the reason they would seek to sacrifice. They must see the value.

Have we failed to explain that to people when they come to know Christ? Have we told them that they can become Christians by saying a prayer which requires no commitment? Do we water down the word "believe" to mean no more than a belief in church? Do we tell the people that failure to be true to the Lord has no consequences?

These parables assume that the finder will dismiss all reservations in order to attain the kingdom of heaven. He will give everything he has and even his own life if necessary. Nothing else means anything if the kingdom of heaven is missing.

Have we told people that the kingdom is free so loudly that they believe that it must not cause any changes? Have we discounted the kingdom to a "good" effort rather than a total, everything I am and have commitment?

Maybe people are uncommitted because we haven't presented the true kingdom to them at all. Maybe what they are getting is a replica which has been copied so many times that it doesn't closely resemble the kingdom of heaven Jesus talked about.

Now, I honestly believe people would really like to see the kingdom of Heaven. I believe they are tired of fakes and fakers. But . . .

maybe they haven't found the treasure yet.


Anonymous said...

Cheap grace and easy salvation have produced cheap and easy professions of faith. Which may mean that the person may not really have had a true salvation experience. How will they know? They did what they were told that it took to get saved.

They will know, of course, when sound Gospel messages are preached to them, or if they actually read their bibles and the Holy Spirit speaks to them thru it.

I just spoke to a pastor this Sunday about his habit of askng people to close their eyes and bow their heads, emphasizing that no one look around--before he gave the invitation.

I asked him if accepting Jesus was something we should be ashamed of. He looked shocked, then a bit offended at the question. Then he realized the reason for the question--and he hung his head and blushed. His only answer was, "I know; I know. I shouldn't do that."

He gave me no explanation., but I knew the reason. He was making it easy for people to accept Jesus. I don't see that pattern in the Bible, do you?


P.S. It occurs to me that you know nothing about me so may have difficulty putting my comment into context.

I was saved in a Baptist church 37 years ago. I am extraordinarily grateful for the strong Biblical foundation and the teaching on Grace that I received there.

It saved my life. Literally. I didn't get saved to make it into heaven; I got saved to make it into tomorrow.

I was 25 years old. I'm still alive at 60. :D God is good.

Prentis McGoldrick said...

What you have said is so true. We act as if Christ does not care if we are committed to Him. I tell people that as I offer an invitation to receive Christ that it will be hard to come forward to accept Christ but I make no apologies. I tell them that they won't have to wonder so much if they meant it if they make a public commitment. Amazingly, God has been so good. He continues to save people. I tell them that this is God's grace. It comes to me a preacher when I rejoice in others' salvations. it comes to those who come to know Him because it is a commitment.
Thank you so much for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Do you care or NOT, whether you get to Heaven? If you say you are NOT bothered with that, then I say, "You truly break the Father's heart". What is the most precious of the Kingdom of Heaven? God.

When an individual, a believer, nonchalantly said it is alright if he does NOT make it to Heaven, it only goes to show that He loves NOT, enough of God. And he probably also hasn't fully realise the depth of the love of God for him. All that God had done and longs for, is for you to get to Heaven to be with Him; and you can be so nonchalant about it!

God loves you, how should you love Him back? One angle to look at it, is to get our butts to Heaven! Don't live your life like it is ok with God you end up in Hell!

I have a simple definition of love; and it is this: if you love someone, you want to be with him or her. There may be temporal separation, but if you love, you look to being re-united. So, when you do NOT care about the eventual re-unification, it points to the superficiality of your love for God.

Now, the above is talking about the heavenly phase of the Kingdom of God - the phase after we pass on. If there is a heavenly phase, then is there NOT, an earthly phase? In other words, have you and I, entered or NOT entered into the Kingdom of God? Yes, we have; we have entered into the earthly phase of the Kingdom of God upon our entry into salvation.

A metaphor will be like: Now, a party from Heaven has come onto earth, and has set up an enlisting desk. You and I have come to this desk, and we have been enlisted. It is NOT you (if you are believer) have NOT found the treasure, so to speak; it is you do NOT "see", when the Stamp is done on your heart (NOT paper!), how great and awesome a God is behind it all, and how great an army is the army of God that you have become part of.

There are scales over our eyes, and we don't see so well. The army of Saul, including the brothers of David, they did NOT see the greatness and awesomeness of God, and His army. They were afraid and allowed themselves to be shamed by the Philistine giant, Goliath. David was different; he saw, what others did NOT see, and so, he did what he knew he had to do, fight the opposer.

The corporate atmosphere (general spiritual atmosphere/condition) plays a part, the leadership plays a part, and the Devil plays a part. The Israelite soldiers then, in fact, overall, the whole of the Israelites as a group then, their spiritual condition was at a low. Then, they were headed by King Saul who was wanting to take all things into his own hands. When the leader has no reverence to the Almighty, when the leader has no regard to the ways and prescriptions of God, and when he thinks it is alright to take on, an honor that only God can grant, it is difficult for the followers to rise to higher spiritual valor. Then finally, we have to know that the Devil is hard at work, to deceive you and I, and everyone else.


Anonymous said...

Cont. from the above

The point is that you and I have been enlisted; we are part of the army of God on earth, to invade the earth, to enforce the victory of Christ Jesus, and help fully establish the Kingdom of God on earth. One of the chief things, the Devil and his minions are doing is to cause you and I to leave our posts. If they can, they will even get you to mutiny!

How do you and I help in the full establishment of the Kingdom of God? The Lord's Prayer gave us the simple outline: "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven". We are NOT called or required to take the earth by force or violence. Physical war is NOT it. Now, when there is an invasion, and there is an invasion, for you and I are here, now, on earth, part of God's people or army. If we don't use force, how does the Rule of God gets established on earth?

It is this: a place becomes fully established as part of another Kingdom when the latter's ways are firmly established in the place. How do we do that? We practise them (the ways), ourselves, while we are here, and we are to influence the others, that they also take up the subscription of the ways of the Kingdom of God which are operating from Heaven. It is as simple as this, "The Rule of Caesar is established, when his laws, commands, decrees, and ways are embraced and practised by the peoples of the lands he conquered". Caesar used force, but we don't, although we use spiritual force against the spiritual forces; we don't use force, as a man against another man. We share the Gospel and we live out the Gospel. When the Gospel is preached to the ends of the world, and peoples embraced it, then we have the firm establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, and that is what God wants to see, is it NOT, as stated in Scripture?

What does it got to do with whether or NOT we have found the treasure? Plenty. Firstly, as has been said earlier, you and I, once we have entered into salvation, we have found the treasure; it is just that for some of us, our eyes, though seeing, are NOT seeing clearly. We have NOT fully internalized in us, the greatness and awesomeness of our find. Secondly, because we do NOT grow in appreciation of the priceless-ness of our find, we don’t do enough to “buy” up the find. People do NOT understand; the fullness of the treasure is NOT just God, but God and His people. Yes, I have said the most precious of the find is God, but it is God’s desire of having men, NOT just one or two persons, but men, living with Him in Heaven, that has enhanced the preciousness of our find. If God does NOT desire men to dwell with Him in Heaven, would our find be of any permanent worth? It would be a fading preciousness, at most.

No, I am NOT saying we are to work for our salvation. That is NOT it. No, it is that we are part of the preciousness of another (person)’s find. We are part of the treasure. Is that NOT the meaning of Kingdom? A king and his people. Again, I repeat, we are part of the Treasure. We are “buying up” the treasure when we add men into it; and we are also ushering it in, the unveiling of the treasure. Is it NOT true that Scripture said that the Gospel needs to be shared to the ends of the world or to all people groups, before the End would come!


Anonymous said...

Cont. from above

What the 2 metaphors given in Scripture, quoted by Ps Prentis, in the article, point to, is the need for us to embrace the treasure, and be consumed with the treasure that we have found. It is NOT we have found it, and we will need to do nothing about it.

Thirdly, the eventual unveiling does NOT just show up Jesus; there would be an unveiling of the Bridegroom and the Bride. Not just any bride, but the unblemished bride. The Bridegroom is already perfect; it is the condition of the bride that would add to priceless-ness of the Treasure. Scripture exhorts us to be holy as God is holy; in other words, we are to work with God to have ourselves prepared to be the unblemished Bride. If you are NOT yielding to that, you are NOT for the unblemished bride or the overall Treasure, but you are working against it! At the end of the day, it is God and men, in the making of the Great Treasure. Do your part, even as God does His.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions