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Mathew 1:17
Mathew 1: 18-25 Mathew 2: 1-23 Mathew 3: 1-17 Mathew 4: 1-11 Mathew 4: 12-25
Matthew 5:1-12 Part 1 Matthew 5:1-12 Part 2 Mathew 5:13-16 Mathew 5:17-26 Mathew 5:27-37 Mathew 5:38-48
Mathew 6:1-8, 16-18 Mathew 6: 7-15 Mathew 6:19-34 Mathew 6:25-34 Mathew 7:1-12 Mathew 7:15-23
Mathew 7: 24-29 Mathew 8: 1-17 Mathew 8: 18-34 Mathew 9: 1-13 Mathew 9:14-26 Mathew 9:27 - 10:31
Mathew 10:32-42 Mathew 11:1-31 Mathew 12:1-21 Mathew 12:22-50 Mathew 13:1-23 Mathew 13: 24-43
Mathew 13: 44-52 Mathew 13:54 -14:12 Mathew 14:13-21 Mathew 14:22-36 Mathew 15:1-20 Mathew 15:21-31
Mathew 15: 32-39 Mathew 16:13-23 Matthew 16:24-28 Matthew 17:1-13 Matthew 17:14-27 Matthew 18:1-14
Matthew 18:15-20 Matthew 18:21-35 Matthew 19:1-12 Matthew 19:13-30 Matthew 20:1-16 Matthew 20:17-34
Matthew 21: 1-11 Matthew 21:12-17 Matthew 21:18-22 Matthew 21:23-46 Matthew 22:1-14 Matthew 22:15-46
Matthew 23:1-39 Matthew 24:1-31 Matthew 24:32-44 Matthew 25:1-46 Matthew 26:1-13 Matthew 26:14-54
Matthew 26: 54-75 Matthew 27:1-26 Matthew 27:27-66 Matthew 28:1-20    
           

 

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Matthew 13:44-52

 

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth the field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:  who when he found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:  which when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.  So shall it be at the end of the world [Strongs #165, Greek: Aion, Age, as in “the end of the age”]:  the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire:  there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things?  They say unto him, Yea, Lord.  Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.”

 

“We’re in Matthew 13, we’re picking up right where we left off with verse 44.  Let’s say a word of prayer, ‘Lord, thank you that we can once more stop and just sit for a moment, Lord, and think about your Word, as a body of believers together, to go through and seek to hear your voice.  We just sang a worship song saying that you’re holy and we want to see you.  We know Lord, physically, the Bible says you’re invisible right now to this body we’re in, on this side of eternity we’re not able to see you physically.  But as Jesus said to Nicodemus, he says you don’t see the wind, but you certainly see the effects of the wind, and so is the life of the Spirit.  That’s a real thing, that we actually can spiritually see you Lord, in our heart and mind have a greater awareness of who you are.  And that’s why we’re gathered once more, Lord.  We want to see you, we want to know more about you.  We want to know more about your heart and what you think and what you think about us, and about our lives.  And I pray, in your grace right now, that you’d keep away distractions and you’d help us to focus to seek to hear you.  You say, seek and ye shall find.  So we ask Holy Spirit that you’d be upon all of us, upon even myself as we go through your Word, in Jesus name, amen.’

 

Introduction: the Pearl of Allah

 

Maybe you read this story, read this, and I asked somebody recently to research it for me, because I thought I kept a copy of it.  It was a number of months ago, and I couldn’t find my copy.  But it was a story on the Pearl of Allah, maybe you saw this story, it was an Associated Press article, in different newspapers [see http://www.internetstones.com/pearl-of-allah-pearl-of-lao-tzu-pearl-of-lao-tse.html].  Somebody found it for me off the Columbia newspaper, but I remember reading it, and it was an intriguing story, this Pearl of Allah.  Maybe you didn’t read it, you don’t know what the Pearl of Allah is.  But the Pearl of Allah is this massive pearl, it’s about the size of a football, they say it resembles the brain, it looks a little bit like a brain, got that grayish color.  It’s a massive pearl, it weighs 14 pounds.  Appraisers have valued it at 60 million dollars.  So it’s quite a little rock to have there, 60 million dollars worth.  But the story that goes with it is very intriguing.  I mean it’s quite a stone, but the story, you could make a movie out of it, or a novel.  The legend has said that it was created initially as a symbol of peace 2500 years ago in China.  It is told that its former, one of the former owners was the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, who initially they say carved his face on it, and also those of Confucius and Buddha, into its surface.  But then later, supposedly planted it in another clam, a large clam.  And it then grew, and another generation later they put it in another clam, and they kept doing this until it grew and grew.  And now it’s kind of warped, it looks like a human brain.  According to legend, the pearl was lost in a shipwreck centuries ago.  But it was rediscovered, found in 1934 off Palawan Island in the Philippines.  A diver went down, saw the massive clam.  Legend goes, in 1934 when he went in to get it out of this clam, he actually drowned.  So then folks on the island pulled him and the clam up, and the chief of the island, who was a Muslim, took possession of it.  And he gave it its name, it’s named “the Pearl of Allah.”  Five years later, 1939, Wilburn Cobb saved the life of the chief’s son, and as a reward, as a gift, they gave him this pearl.  This is what they tell us.  Well, he died, and then later his heirs sold it in 1980 for $200,000 to a Beverly Hills jeweler, Peter Hoffman, who then in turn sold part ownership of it to a man named Victor Barbish, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  And now we’re getting to the kind of a twist.  These two guys together formed a company called “The World’s Largest Pearl”, a California company, and what they did is let people buy shares, investment into this stone, into this pearl.  Well they raised quite a bit of money, but one of the investors was a man named Joe Bonichelli.  And here’s where it gets kind of twisted.  Recently, it was in the newspapers, there was a jury decision, a wrongful death judgment was passed down, and it was the largest judgment, as far as financial judgments in Colorado history, they recently awarded 32.4 million dollars to Joe Bonicelli, this man who bought the investment into this stone, his children sued and got a 34.2 million dollar judgment.  Well anyway, the reason why they sued is, they believe, and I guess the police in 1998 determined it [was true], that Joe who owned ownership in this pearl, had hired somebody to murder his wife.  The wife died in 1975.  They really didn’t determine all the facts until 1998 when he [Joe] died.  But Joe later married another gal, and then had a daughter through that marriage, and then gave all of his inheritance to this one daughter.  Well now you’ve got these kids from his previous marriage, that learned that dad murdered mom, so they go to court, and they won this lawsuit.  Well now they want all the assets sold for this 32.4 million dollars, they have this pearl, the Pearl of Allah, they want it sold so they can get some money, and they in turn can take the money and give it to a charity for abused women.  So anyway, you’ve got an interesting story surrounding this stone, this pearl.  You’ve got folks who have died trying to get it, you’ve got murders surrounding people who’ve owned it, it’s quite of a twisted tale.  And the interesting thing is, is this Pearl of Allah doesn’t seem like it has brought a lot of joy and satisfaction and benefit to the people who’ve had it.  And the reason why I say that, is where we’re going now in this chapter in Matthew where we left off.  Remember earlier Jesus said this, Matthew chapter 6, speaking of worldly treasures and gems, and seeking to live for that, and trying to find your enjoyment in that, Jesus said this.  You remember this, it’s so commonly quoted.  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth or rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”  Speaking of, I mean, people in history have gone to great lengths to invest and to purchase the treasures of the world.  And in some instances, they’ve gone down weird roads to do it, and had strange experiences.  There are people that have even sold their soul, you can study their lives, read their stories, sold their souls to purchase some worldly earthly treasures.  And then in the end only to find it really didn’t bring much benefit to their lives, sort of like this Pearl of Allah.  And Jesus says, Jesus reminds us, store up for eternal treasures.  The wise man is the one who does that.  The foolish man is the one that lives for the physical, because this [physical] stuff, man, isn’t going to bring much into your life.  But to focus on the eternal, that’s a wise man [or woman], to invest your energy and resources there.  That’s the wise man.  And I say that because that’s where we’re going now.  Jesus is going to share some parables, and when it comes to eternal treasures of life, the eternal treasures, the eternal investment, it doesn’t matter what the cost is personally, it doesn’t matter what the personal sacrifice is, whatever we may think that it costs us to invest in that, what Jesus is going to say to us, that is what it is all about, and it’s far more worth it to invest in the spiritual. 

 

Jesus has begun to teach in parables---the reason why

 

Chapter 13, verse 44, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for the joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”  Going back to where we’ve been, if you haven’t been with us, back to the beginning of the chapter, Jesus has had a multitude before him.  He gets into a boat, so many people are crowded around to hear his teaching.  He gets into the boat so he can face them, and he begins to teach.  But at this time in his ministry, and we’ve noted this as we’ve gotten into these parables, he begins to teach specifically in parables.  He changes his style in teaching.  Why does he do that?  Well as we’ve shared the last two weeks, the purpose of the parable, a parable will either conceal information or reveal information.  And whether or not it conceals or reveals, it depends upon the heart.  If somebody’s heart is hard, and not really hungry spiritually, truly humble and wanting to know God, a parable will actually conceal the light, it will conceal information, conceal the truth.  But a parable, if you have a sensitive heart, you want to know God spiritually and you’re hungry for God, a parable is going to potentially reveal light into your life.  It reveals in that case.  Now he’s got people around him that are distracted and dull-hearted, and because they’re dull-hearted, I mean there’s not a hard-heartedness to the extent that they won’t potentially hear.  He now switches to parables because a parable casts a light alongside a truth.  It’s a picture, it captures your attention.  It’s possible that the people that are listening, some he’s knowing, I mean he wants so much for them to hear the truth, it’s so important.  So now he goes to parables, because it will catch their attention, it will get them thinking.  And maybe, maybe some of that light is going to penetrate in there, and the truth will be seen.  [Comment: Don’t forget, none of these people at this point in time, including the disciples, have the indwelling Holy Spirit. That doesn’t happen until Acts 2:1-4, when the Church is born.  But I know Jesus was sowing the seed that would later germinate in their minds on or after that historic Day of Pentecost when the Church was born.  He was reaching them in advance, sowing the precious seed of the Gospel into their minds in advance.  Later it would germinate.  I know this is true, because it happened to me.  While I was in submarine school, one of my classmates passed me a booklet titled The Proof of the Bible, which was about specific prophecies in the Old Testament, which proved the veracity of the Bible.  When I got off active duty, it was then that the Lord called me.  But the seed was planted a couple years earlier.  This is nothing new to the Lord, he does it all the time.]  There are also though the Pharisees, these religious leaders, they come and they’re critical, they’re not really there to hear, to consider who he is and what he’s got.  They’ve got a critical heart, and they’ve come to rip him apart, to come against him.  And he knows their hard-heartedness.  And the prophet Isaiah prophecied long before that the nation of Israel will come to this time where it would be in a sense, apostate.  And as a judgment against the nation of Israel [Judah, Judea], that they would actually hear things that they could not understand.  They would see things but not be able to see and actually discern what it is they were seeing.  And earlier in the chapter Matthew quotes that as a fulfillment, Jesus is now teaching in parables, fulfilling that prophecy.  In a sense, it’s a judgment, it’s a judgment for the many who are apostate in that sense, they’re hard-hearted.  And maybe they want to be entertained and see a miracle, but they’re really not interested in knowing Christ, in knowing the truth.  And so now Christ, as a judgment in a sense, switches to these parables.  But if you have a sensitive heart, and you’re standing there, the parable, it’s going to get your attention, and in time light is going to penetrate, and you’re going to see the truth.  Now Jesus, he’s been sharing with the multitude, then in verse 36 of chapter 13, just before, he sent the multitude away.  He’s now in a home with just the disciples.  So they’ve got this private audience with Christ, and they asked him, one of these parables he shared the meaning with, but they asked him specifically, ‘Explain the parable of the tares, we don’t understand it.’  Well he went into it and explained it, with the disciples, them alone, and as he’s done that, that’s where we now pick up.  That brings us up to speed with verse 44.  He doesn’t stop there.  He continues on.  Now all of these parables have a statement like this at the beginning, “the kingdom of heaven is like”, “the kingdom of heaven is like”.  These are called “the Kingdom Parables”, these are seven or ten depending on how you put it together in the Gospels.  But he’s sharing with the people, now his disciples, aspects of the kingdom of heaven, attributes, ‘What’s the kingdom of heaven like?’.  And he goes on and gives us these parables to give us the truth about the kingdom of heaven.  And so that’s where we now step into this time.  We get the privilege, this is a private conversation with the disciples.  You and I later get the privilege, in this age, we get to read and consider this very conversation that he had with them. 

 

A treasure hidden in a field---two interpretations, both apply to us

 

He said “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that was hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”   It’s like a treasure that was hidden in this field, which a man, when he finds it he gets so excited, this is a valuable, incredibly, and he sees what’s in this treasure, and he hides it, doesn’t want anybody else to see it.  He’s thinking ‘I want to get ahold of this, I want to buy this land.’  So he hides it, he goes down to the city square, we would assume, and he buys the land.  Now whatever the land costs, maybe it’s a lot of money.  It says that he had to sell all that he had to buy the land, so it was pretty pricey land.  But he knows what was in that field.  So he paid the price.  He sold everything, destitute for a moment, but man when he gets it, he now goes and gets the treasure, and he gets pretty quick return on his investment.  You know, he does pretty well in the end, because he knew what was in the field.  There was this treasure that he had discovered.  In ancient times, this is what people would do sometimes.  You remember a little in Matthew 25, Jesus will share another parable, and if you didn’t know this culture you may not get it, you may think it’s kind of strange.  But he shares the parable of the talents.  And as he goes through he talks about the one man who has the one talent.  [A talent was a valuable coin]  And as he shares about this man, he says the man takes the talent, and he goes and he buries it in his backyard.  And you’re thinking ‘Buries it in his backyard?  That’s really foolish.’  Actually that’s what people would do.  If he didn’t invest it, if he didn’t use it to buy something, he would take it, and he would put it in a jar, it was very common, that’s where you would hide your treasure.  You didn’t have safes like we do, you didn’t necessarily have a type of fortress kind of, houses with security systems and things like that.  You’d go, and you’d put it in jars and things and put it in pots, and you’d bury it in the ground, you’d hide it in the ground.  So this story, this parable is something that they could relate to.  It’s something that would catch their attention.  So he describes this picture of a man that found a treasure, and he’s like, ‘I’m going to get that land, I’ve hidden the treasure, because that is worth a whole lot, that is so valuable, I’ll sell everything for it.’  The land itself, no big deal, but what was in it.  I read this, I can’t help but think of the Beverly Hillbillies, same kind of thing.  You know the Beverly Hillbillies, a lot of you guys.  I guess maybe some of the younger ones don’t.  But you know, you have that Texas Tea, you know, the little saying at the beginning, that stuff that came bubbling up, the Crude, the Texas Tea.  They have the land, and it had a certain value, but when they found that crude oil things changed.  And today you’d probably be better off finding an oil reserve in your back yard, given the gas prices, than finding a treasure, you know what I mean?  That stuff would be worth a lot, that Texas Tea.  [A number of farmers in the Dakotas have discovered oil under their land, and have all of a sudden become wealthy, whereas before, they were merely eking out an existence on their farms.]   But they found that bubbling crude there, and man, they moved to Beverly Hills as a result.  It’s kind of like that here.  The land has the treasure, and he goes to a great extend to get it.  Now, the question is, is what does it mean, right?  What is he saying?  What’s the truth?  Now as often the case with these parables, the next two that he’s given us here, he doesn’t give us an interpretation, and there are different interpretations.  People take it a little differently.  I was looking at Charles Spurgeon, you know, they call him the ‘prince of preachers’ of the 18th century, tremendous preacher.  A lot of things that he said a lot of people repeat, because he was such a preacher.  Well, he said, as he was teaching on this, and I was reading about it, at the end he said “The special application of this parable we leave to the reader.”  Meaning, there’s one meaning, there’s another, I’ll leave it up to you.  And if he can say that, Charles Spurgeon, that’s basically what I am going to do.  I’m going to give you the two sides, and let you decide.  Because, honestly, I read it over and over, and it’s either this, or it’s that.  It’s hard for me, evidently for others, what side do you take?  I’m going to give you both.  And the reason why we can also do that, is because the two main interpretations are both true as far as Scripture would back them up in other ways.  There’s two different truths that we can back up with other Scripture, so indeed they’re truths.  So we can consider the two truths. 

 

First interpretation of the field with hidden treasure

 

First common interpretation, and that is, remember with a parable, not all the details of a parable mean something, it’s not an allegory.  Allegories are parables in one way, but parables are not allegories.  So not all of the parable, not all the details within the parable mean something.  There’s a heart that comes through, and it’s a simple point.  Sometimes the different details have values.  Sometimes they don’t.  And it’s depending on how you take it.  But it’s clearly the heart of what’s going on here.  1) The kingdom of heaven has a whole lot of value, is what he’s saying.  It has such value that when it comes to taking possession of it, whatever the cost is, the cost is never too great.  It’s that value.  That’s clearly seen in the parable.  And it will also be seen in the next parable, simple heart of what’s there.  But we get into the challenge of who is the one purchasing this treasure, and what is the treasure, and what is the field?  When you get into that, then people take it a little bit differently.  Whose the man?  But that’s the heart of what is there.  With that, then, the most common, certainly the more, if you look at the older commentaries and preachers, they generally will take it this way.  And that is, that the man is a man, any man, could be you, it could be me, any woman, a person, a human.  And the point being, is when they see what the kingdom of heaven is, and what it means, what eternal life really is, that person will do whatever is needed to go and obtain it.  And if there is any personal cost, any personal sacrifice, well, that sacrifice and cost doesn’t even compare, I’ll do whatever I need to do.  [I remember when the Lord first called me, he drew me into a part of the body of Christ that was Sabbatarian Church of God.  I gave up jobs, lost jobs, in order to keep the Sabbath, in order to meet and go to church so that I could be spiritually nourished.  That was a cost.  I sacrificed a lifestyle of doing whatever I wanted to do, in order to follow God.  There were real costs, sacrificing a good career on the railroad.  But what I will receive in the end, it’s value cannot be placed on merely earnings for a brief lifetime spent on earth.]  Now in some instances, you may be here today, and it’s possible, because people wrestle through this, I mean, I’ve talked to people this week, you come to that time where you are confronted with the kingdom of heaven and the Gospel.  And here you are in your life.  And you’re like, ‘Well, Christ, do I follow Christ?  Do I accept Christ?’  And in some instances you’re thinking ‘What does it mean?’, and ‘I have to turn from this, and I have to turn to him’, and you work through what seems to be maybe a cost, personal sacrifice.  For some it may be it’s their reputation.  I think of Mel Gibson.  You know, Gibson had quite a reputation before The Passion of the Christ in our culture.  They say that Hollywood, I’ve heard it said that Hollywood is the American royalty.  We don’t have a royalty, but it’s Hollywood.  I don’t personally believe that, but people believe that clearly, they get the scandal mag’s and ‘I want to read about this royalty, people and their lives.’  And Mel Gibson was a man, before The Passion of the Christ that was always seen as that royalty, you know, his name.  You’d go there and walk out there in Hollywood, and he was just in that class of people.  But boy when he started to make that movie The Passion of the Christ and share his faith and his heart, boy was he criticized, ridiculed by Hollywood, and where he stands today I don’t know.  [I know he hasn’t been hired to do a movie since.  That’s Hollywood’s way of ostracizing a person who ‘steps out of line’.  He essentially sacrificed a career for Christ.]  But you could say it cost his reputation to a degree, with the world.  And you may be here today, and considering Christ, considering eternal life, and wondering about that, you know ‘When I go back to school, if I accept Christ, and I go back to my 10th grade friends, they’re not going to think I’m too cool.’  And there’s that whole sense of reputation.  That’s something you may be struggling with.  Maybe it’s a specific friend.  You have that sense, ‘They’re not gonna go for that, I might lose that friend.’  Is it worth it?  Maybe family, no doubt, at times.  You come from a religious background, you could be Hindu, you could be Muslim, you could be an Orthodox Jew and turning to Christ could be very costly when it comes to the family.  We’ve even shared before, in some instances, a Jewish family would even perform a funeral for that loved one that turned to Christ, meaning, ‘In our eyes, you’re dead.  Here’s your funeral.  You’re no longer associated with our family.’ [Not only that, but most Jews coming to Christ are ostracized by the whole Jewish community.  Business ties, which are close in the Jewish community, are severed.  My Messianic Jewish pastor/rabbi was actually kidnapped by special Jewish deprogrammers, who held him hostage for two weeks, trying to get him to renounce Christ.  You can read his story in the book Kidnapped For My Faith, by Ken Levitt, available on amazon.com as a used book.  I basically lost most of my childhood high school friends when I came to Christ, they wanted nothing to do with me.  But I gained a whole church full of friends, and they became close friends that were closer than family.  Jesus has promised that, where he tells Peter, ‘No one who has given up houses, family, father, mother, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands for my sake will not receive tenfold in this life, and eternal life in the end’ is basically what Jesus told Peter and the other disciples.  You may have a job that keeps you away from church, so you’re basically starving spiritually.  You have a choice to make.  The choice is always about who and what is more important, Christ and the kingdom of heaven, or is it career, a relationship, property, family.  When you consider eternity, just like that treasure hidden in the field, the choice is really one-sided, isn’t it?]  You may come from a type of background where turning to Christ in simplicity and following him, you might say ‘Man, I feel guilty just being in this church right now, if my parents only knew, or if my kids only knew, man, they would really have a hard time with it.  Maybe it’s a business profession you have.  You could be in a business where you’re thinking about turning to Christ, and go, ‘You know, if I turn to Christ, I don’t know if he’s going to go for this type of  business.’  If you know in your heart it’s not very ethical what you do, it would certainly be compromising.  But you’re making a lot of money on it, and you’re wondering, the cost.  The point being here, then, we come to those times and we wrestle with that.  Kingdom of heaven, man, it’s such a treasure, eternal life, compared to that life here and now.  This kingdom of heaven, remember too, it’s not just a physical kingdom, it is one day going to be a future physical kingdom that we’re going to enter into [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm ], but the kingdom of heaven is also a here and now thing, meaning Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is within you, it’s the rule and reign of Christ within you [via the indwelling Holy Spirit who is within all believers].  So Jesus is saying this, the reality of Christ in you, experienced now, as well as the future experience [forever and ever, with immortal spirit bodies] is such an incredible, such a precious, such a great experience, that if you’re thinking it costs you anything, maybe your reputation, maybe your family, maybe your friends, man the cost is nothing, is nothing in comparison.  You should go for it, and lay it down.  Well if that is you here today, and you’re wondering, maybe God has you here today to consider that, and to think about that.  At the end of every service, we have just a simple little Gospel presentation, you can actually enter the kingdom of heaven today.  You can have the kingdom of heaven within you today.  And the good thing is, you’ve got all you need to do it.  It’s something that you do not purchase, it’s something that you do not buy, it’s a gift, but yet it does require that you turn to Christ [whatever that might involve giving up, as he has shown before, there will be a cost], and turn away from whatever.  And some people sadly, it is so sad, but it happens over and over and over again, we watch it even at church, some people come to that point, and will go ‘I can’t do this.’  Jesus shared with Nicodemus, he said ‘When it comes to light, that there are people that love the darkness.’  ‘I love my deeds, I love this stuff, I am not willing to turn from this, and turn into the light.’  Jesus said that with Nicodemus.  And it’s sad, there are some people that they’re not willing.  In that case they want this little temporary stuff which is worth nothing, but they want that, over what’s really a treasure and what’s really life.  Jesus said explicitly in John chapter 3 verse 20 to Nicodemus, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” 

 

Second interpretation for the treasure hidden in the field

 

Now, the second way this is interpreted.  That’s one way.  And I lean towards the second way.  And that’s why I guess I saved it for the last way.  [Remember, both interpretations apply to us in these two parables.]  But for various reasons, it can be interpreted another way, same heart, same kingdom of heaven, still valuable treasure, but whose doing the purchasing here?  And what exactly is the treasure?  And what does it all mean?  So there’s another interpretation.  And the reason why I lean to the other, if you say this [the purchaser] is man here, purchasing the field, well, there’s a little bit of a challenge in that is, that leads to this kingdom of heaven, and we know very clearly in the Bible I cannot purchase salvation.  You cannot pay a price.  Peter in the book of Acts, Simon the sorcerer thought that he could purchase the power of the Holy Spirit.  And man did Peter ever come back and rebuke him.  And say, ‘Man, that’s evil that you think that you can purchase this.  You can’t pay anything for it.’  It’s so valuable, the only way you and I can get it is via a gift, and that’s given to us.  But yet it’s only given to those who will receive it in faith.  [i.e. there is a price, yet there isn’t.  The price is what we have to give up to then go and willingly receive the free gift.  It’s kind of a spiritual paradox.  We do often have to pay a price, via our choice to receive this free gift, a price in what we have to give up, and it’s different with everyone.  Perhaps God wants to see how much value we place on his free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  And that is why both interpretations apply.] And that’s a certain type of heart, a humble heart, it’s a heart that’s turned to Christ, as wanting him as Lord and Savior.  Well, the other way then, and this is the way I lean.  Remember a little bit back, verse 38, Jesus said in the previous parable, when he interpreted it, he said the field is the world.  And right after that he goes into another parable.  And we have a field here.  It seems logical to me that the field then represents the world.  And there’s never been a man that, other than one, that’s ever purchased ‘the world’, you know, human, we don’t purchase the world.  [cf. John 3:16]  And so there’s an interesting point.  The field, the world.  The treasure, what is it, the man, who is he?  Well, when it comes to purchasing salvation, we find with purchasing the kingdom of heaven, you know, I can’t purchase that.  We can’t purchase salvation, but there is in the Bible, 1st Timothy chapter 2, verse 5 and 6, another way to interpret this is that “the man” is Christ, the man represented here is Christ.  He is purchasing the field, which is the world, to get the treasure, this all representing the kingdom of heaven.  Meaning then, too, the treasure is the Church, the people of God.  [But keep in mind, who was the “Church” in the Old Testament?  It was Israel, the nation of Israel.]  To Timothy, Paul said to Timothy his first Epistle, chapter 2, verse 5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”  We see this principle throughout the New Testament, and throughout the Bible, that Christ gave and he paid a ransom, he paid a payment, he paid a payment to purchase things.  And what did he purchase?  He purchased, ultimately in the end, the goal of the purchase, was to purchase the people of God, so we could be with God, so we could know God.  And the extent that he went to do that, is his entire life, he gave up everything.  He left, the Son of God, the glory, being there with the Father, he left that, Paul says in Philippians chapter 2, “he made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”  Meaning, he left everything, went all the way to the cross, greatest extent you could possibly go to get there, and gave his life. [Most believers don’t completely realize this, but Jesus of Nazareth was Yahweh of the Old Testament.  Look up and read John 8:58, where Jesus said “Before Abraham was I AM”.  Who was I AM?  Turn to Exodus 3:13-14 and read it for yourself.  Jesus was Yahweh of the Old Testament.  He gave all that up to become a mere mortal human being so he could buy this “treasure hidden in the field”.]  Now the parable says that this man went and he sold all that he had, he gave up everything.  And we see in the Scripture that Jesus actually did do that, he gave up everything, to purchase, to redeem, to redeem God’s people.  The attitude with which Jesus did that also is interesting.  Hebrews chapter 12,  verse 2, this man in this parable says when he saw the treasure there, the joy, man the joy, I want this treasure.  Hebrews chapter 12, verse 2, he’s speaking of Christ when he looked at the cross, and he looked beyond the cross, what he was going to do with that cross, says “Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame.”  For the joy.  The cost was very hard, but yet with the joy, knowing, ‘This is what I will get, go to the cross, I’ll accomplish a work, the work of redemption, of redeeming back to God the people of God.’  He paid it all, and he did it ultimately, the heart was joy. 

 

The field is the world, the treasure is Israel

 

We learn, too, this man buys the field to get the treasure, it’s interesting, there is that picture throughout the Bible of what Christ did.  Because if you go back to the book of Genesis, in the book of Genesis you have God with Adam and Eve.  And there is a beautiful serenity, a beautiful fellowship, this innocence, there’s no sin.  But then Satan comes, tempts Adam and Eve, and they sin.  And when they sin, what happens?  They’re cast out of the Garden of Eden, they’re separated from God, and there’s a curse that is given.  And the curse is not only given upon Adam and Eve, but their generations that follow, but also even the earth, the creation was cursed.  So what you follow then, in the Bible, from the book of Genesis on is the plan of redemption, of redeeming everything back to God.  When Adam and Eve sinned, they…[tape switchover, some text lost]…turned, and they listened to Satan, and in a sense they put themselves under the authority of Satan.  They listened to his counsel and they took it, and they obeyed it.  And so the curse came, and from that time, the Bible says the Devil is the prince of the power of the air.  In a sense he is the prince of the world.  God’s still on his throne.  But when Satan came and tempted Jesus, when Jesus was in the wilderness, Satan said to Jesus, he said, ‘Listen, I’ll give you all these kingdoms, I’ll give you this whole world, I’ll give you the whole deal, if you’ll bow down and worship me.’  And the interesting thing is, is Jesus never argued, never said ‘That’s not true.’  That in a sense, man, when we went into sin, we put ourselves, we entered the kingdom of darkness.  And this world is now under the kingdom of darkness, ultimately, by our choice.  Well, as you study, you get to the book of Ruth, and then you read other  books like Romans and the Book of Revelation, the Book of Ruth is this beautiful picture of God sending his Son to redeem back the field, the world, to get to Ruth, his people.  [i.e. the field Boaz was redeeming, he was redeeming so he could redeem Ruth.  The field is a picture of the world, and Ruth is a picture of Israel, God’s people.  Boaz is a picture of Christ.]  If you study the Book of Ruth it’s a beautiful love story, but it’s ultimately the work of Christ.  And we read about that in the Book of Revelation, where Jesus comes, and he takes the title deed to the Earth there in the early chapters of the Book of Revelation, that very scroll when he opens it, it kind of unleashes this stuff that ultimately brings things back to where they’re supposed to be [See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation4-10.html ], under the Lord, and it destroys the kingdom of darkness.  [Also, Christ, when he redeems his people, Israel, symbolized by Ruth in the Book of Ruth, this is pictured in Revelation 19 as well as Revelation chapters 21-22.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%20%2021-22.htm]  So, Paul’s saying to the church in Rome, speaking of the world in its present state, the creation, the planet, the universe, verses 19-22 of Romans 8, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope, because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”  Paul says Earth awaits that day, waiting for, in that sense, the field to be brought back into the full possession of Christ, in the sense that everything is redeemed, the world’s back to where it was, because the Earth, the planet, the creation is under a curse right now.  It’s groaning.  [See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/isaiah/isaiah3.htm and read through the part on Isaiah 11.  This describes the Earth with the curse removed, becoming like the Earth was in the Garden of Eden.   This period of time described in Isaiah 11 is just after the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.]  Well, taking this thought a little bit further, as some do, the treasure, we’ve got three parables in a row that share about the parable of the kingdom that Jesus specifically says alone to the disciples.  And some see in this three different aspects of the kingdom of God, three different groups. 

 

The treasure is Israel

 

The treasure, if you look at the Old Testament, it is interesting, there are a number of times that God says “the nation of Israel is his treasure.”  Psalm 135, verse 4, “For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel for his special treasure.”  Exodus chapter 19, similar thing, “You are my treasure.”  Well, with that thought, there are many that believe this parable is especially showing that work that Christ will do when he goes to the cross to redeem back the nation of Israel.  And I think that’s interesting, Isaiah chapter 53, verse 8, speaking of when Christ would go to the cross, we have this sense that when Jesus died on the cross he died for all, Jew and Gentile, but yet part of that death was accomplishing a work for the nation of Israel, on the cross.  Isaiah 53, verse 8, “He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare his generation, for he was cut off from the land of the living, for the transgression of My people he was stricken.”  “My people”, prophet Isaiah, time of the Jews, Israel, nation of Israel, speaking especially of the nation of Israel.  And there’s no doubt, you skip to the Book of Revelation, when Jesus takes that title deed there for the Earth, and the world is brought back to its proper place, well, especially the work that’s accomplished there, especially in that time is the redemption of the nation of Israel, that all the promises God made to Abraham are fulfilled.  Now, taking this a little further before we move on.  For those who interpret it that way, I think it’s very interesting, I was thinking about this, but here we have this man who takes this treasure and he hides it.  Now if the treasure is the nation of Israel, it is interesting, that when God said to Abraham, he made the promise, not long later, and he promised to Abraham, and he said ‘Your descendents are going to go into another place, they’re going to go into Egypt, and they’re going to be there for 400 years.’  Now Egypt in the Bible is a type of the world.  When we study on Wednesday nights, the Old Testament, we share how Egypt is a type, it’s a picture of the world culture, the world society, the world.  Well if the field is the world, Egypt is the world, it’s very interesting that when God formed that treasure, the nation of Israel, he deposited it in Egypt, which he essentially did, it hid for 400 years.  I mean, Israel was within Egypt.  And Israel grew, and it became a mighty nation.  And it’s interesting, when Israel left Egypt, how did it leave?  What was the price to get it out?  Well you have that whole Passover scene, where the first-born of every Egyptian dies, and Israel puts the blood up on their doorposts, and there’s this whole Passover Lamb.  And this is the price, as they left, this is what they went through, that blood, and that blood ultimately pointing to the Lamb of God, which is Jesus Christ.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html ]  Which is ultimately the price that was paid for the nation of Israel.  And there’s a lot of types and pictures as they go through the Red Sea and everything, there’s a lot there.  I think it’s interesting, and maybe you’re like ‘Move on, let’s go to something else.’  [But before you do, here’s one to really put a twist on things.  In 721BC the 10 northern tribes of Israel, who had split off from the kingdom of Judah in the south in a civil war, and were then taken into captivity, never to return back to the land of Israel.  The Jews to this very day call them “the ten lost tribes of Israel” and there is much speculation among them as to where they could be.  We know that the 70 people that went down into Egypt became a whole nation, the 12-tribed nation of Israel, numbering about 2.5 million when they left Egypt.  So now you have 10 tribes of Israel that are historically lost in “the world”, which in Bible symbolism is “Egypt”.  They, due to the fact of who they are, have obviously become 10 nations of their own.  In a larger fulfillment, Jesus at his 2nd coming is going to redeem and bring back those 10 tribes, as well as regathering all the Jews back to the physical land of Israel, as “his treasure.”  Like Pastor Chuck Smith says, ‘They’re not the lost tribes of Israel, God knows where they are.’  We may not know, but God knows, and they are his special treasure.  Also within the past 40 years, God has restored the Jewish branch of the Body of Christ.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/messianicmovement.htm .  There’s more to this theme within this parable than meets the eye.]  Anyway, here we go verse by verse, and we take it as it comes.  And some are easier, and some are a little bit more thought-provoking. 

 

Parable of The Pearl of Great Price

 

Verse 45, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”  If the treasure is Israel, then what is the Pearl that comes next?  Where’s the Church?  And many deduce the Church here is the Pearl.  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”  So, the kingdom of heaven, here’s another aspect the disciples see, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of heaven is like.  You have a merchant.  So the question is, who is the merchant?  Clearly the heart of this is, the kingdom of heaven is very valuable, and the price that is paid, whatever price, it is worth it.  Same thought.  One side, if you take it, the man in the previous parable as being any man, you or I, then you come to this parable, and the merchant is the same type of thing.  It’s like this merchant, he goes to the market place, he’s a man that deals with gems, he’s looking for pearls.  And he goes from one place to another, and he’s looking through the different selections people have, and eventually he comes to a place and finds this beautiful pearl, it’s like the Pearl of Allah, he looks at this thing, he’s thinking ‘That thing is incredible!’  Price-tag is really high, 60 million dollars.  This man goes and sells everything, he says, ‘That stone is worth it, I want it.’  He sells everything he has, and he goes and buys this very valuable stone.  That’s in this picture here.  Well, kingdom of heaven, man, I tell you, if you’re hear today and you’re debating, and you’re thinking, ‘Boy, I don’t know about Christ, I don’t know, I look at all these things the world is saying.’  Repeatedly, the Scriptures say man, ‘Be wise, don’t be a fool.  Follow the Lord, turn your heart to Christ, man, because it’s all about eternity.  I shared on a Wednesday night not too long ago, little while ago, I was thinking about this.  You know, if you live, let’s say you’ve been a successful businessman, and you’ve got this plan, ‘I want that house in Massachusetts, I want the nice house, man’, and I’m not going to name any communities here, because I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable, you think of this community, ‘That’s the community I want, nice house, nice neighborhood.  Not only that, I want the nice place on the Cape, I want the nice place in Florida.  And so you work, and you work your business, you work the deals, and now you’ve got it.  And maybe you were able to do it quickly, you’re now in your mid thirties, you’ve got the house in Massachusetts, you’ve got the house on the Cape, you’ve got the house in Florida, and you’re thirty-five years old.  You’ve got about 40 years at best to enjoy it.  Right?  And usually when you get to your last years, you’re not enjoying it, because it’s too much work.  [my mother has that house in Maine, and she’s 88, and it’s too much work, but not for her, but for her kids that have to keep the place fixed up, so we can take her up there each summer, so she can enjoy her last years.  But that’s a little different, that’s honoring your father and mother, the heart and soul of the 5th commandment.  But the pastor has a point here.]  So you sell everything and you get a Condo, right?  So you’ve got at most 40 years, and you’ve probably got less.  Now, you live for that, but you didn’t live for eternity.  But let’s say you’re a born-again Christian, and you live for that, you invested in that.  And now you get to heaven [into the literal kingdom of heaven, which will, btw, end up on earth, cf. Revelation 21-22.], and you see what heaven is [check out http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%20%2021-22.htm ], and you realize what you spent your life living for.  But here’s the thing, that 40 years, it seems there’s probably time in heaven, because there are seasons, lets say there’s years.  You go 40 years, well, that’s the same enjoyment of what you had on the planet, but now you’re in the kingdom of heaven, for forty years.  But here’s the deal, you’re going to live another 40 years, and another 40 years, and another 40 years.  You’re going to live and live and live, thousands and thousands and thousands of years in eternity.  And if you take an infinite number, infinity, you compare it against any number that’s not infinity, you have zero.  You live forever in eternity, what you lived here on earth is zero.  Meaning, your life on this planet is nothing, it’s nothing compared to eternity.  And so to live for life here, is to live for nothing.  And that is what the Bible says.  It’s nothing.  Live for the eternal, because there are rewards in the eternal, there are investments you make in the eternal, even as a Christian.  And that you have to enjoy forever, and forever.  That is the simple teaching of the Bible.  So, if you’re debating it, maybe as a believer you’re still distracted with the world, maybe you’re not even a Christian yet, and you’re wondering about the cost.  Well, we’ll get to one more parable after this one. 

 

The second interpretation---the merchant is Christ, the Pearl is the Church

 

This one we’ll touch quickly here.  I believe, the merchant again is Christ.  We’re watching Christ here.  He’s the only one that is able to purchase anything related to the kingdom of heaven.  And the purchase price, it says when he saw this pearl of great price he sold everything.  And Christ did, he left his glory, Son of God [Yahweh], he came to the earth [as a physical human being], furthest extent, he gave up his life, paid the highest price that ever could be paid, God’s Son himself.  And he purchased this pearl.  What is the pearl then?  The question is, what is the pearl?  Many people [commentators, real Biblical scholars] see this as the Church.  I think there is an interesting thing here.  The pearl, if you look in your Old Testament, you do a little word-search on your computer, or you go into your Strongs Concordance, the word pearl, if you actually look at the Hebrew rendering or Greek, it never appears in the Old Testament.  That word “pearl” is never there.  If it’s ever rendered, it’s not a good translation of the Hebrew word, because there are no pearls in the Old Testament.  However, you get to the New Testament, you have pearls.  And you do in the Book of Revelation, the New Jerusalem, you have the twelve gates, they’re made of these beautiful pearls, the [kingdom of] heaven that we’re headed to [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%20%2021-22.htm ].  There’s no pearls in the Old Testament.  But in the time of the Old Testament, pearls were very valuable commodities.  People sought after pearls.  So when he shares this parable, people are like, ‘Yeah, pearls.’  But the interesting thing, the Jews at that time, didn’t give that much precedence to it, the Gentiles did.  The pearl especially is what the Gentiles sought after.  So we don’t read about pearls, we read about gold, we read about gems, we read about silver.  You’ve got Solomon in all of his splendor, he’s got everything, but there’s no pearls mentioned.  So it’s kind of absent in the Old Testament.  So with that, people think ‘The Pearl is this second group within the kingdom of heaven, it’s the Church.  You have the Nation of Israel, the Old Testament saints, God’s people, Christ redeemed them, paid a price, and then you have the Church, you have born-again Christians, Jews and Gentiles in the Church Age, you and I.  [For a composite history, era by era, of that Church, log onto:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation2-1-11.html and read through that series going through Revelation chapters 2 and 3.]  Interesting thing too, about the pearl, some see in it, I mean the pearl, you take a diamond, you know a lot of the gals are wearing diamonds, and they’ve been cut in different ways.  You can cut a diamond and do all kinds of things with it.  You in any way try to mess with a pearl, it’ll ruin it.  It can’t be cut like that, it’s homogenous in the sense that there’s no division in it, there’s a unity to it.  And so with that, people then further say ‘The pearl to me is a picture of the Church [ie, the whole body of Christ], because there is that, in the Church, in the Church there is no Jew or Gentile anymore, it’s unity, there’s no really denominations, we’re all one in Christ, we’re the Church.  [Comment: Now there are denominations, and there were two basic “branches” within the Body of Christ in the days of the apostles Paul and Peter.  In fact, in Galatians Paul pointed out that he was the apostle of the Gentiles, the Gentile branch of the Body of Christ, while he said that Peter was the apostle of ‘those of the circumcision’, ie, he was the apostle of the Jewish branch of the Body of Christ.  But both ‘branches’ were the Body of Christ, made it up.  Paul also pointed out that Jewish believers shouldn’t seek to become Gentile believers, and vice versa.  This is a fact of the early Church, and interestingly enough, God has restored the Jewish branch of the Body of Christ, from 1970 onward.]    Well, he goes to a great extent.  Peter said, ‘This is the price that was paid, the Church, you and I, born-again Christians [and Messianic Jewish believers in Jesus Christ], this is what it cost.  “Knowing that you are not redeemed, you are not bought, with corruptible things like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct, received from the tradition from your fathers…”  ‘You are not bought by some silver or gold…’ “But you are bought with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  You were purchased, and the purchase price was the very blood of Christ, the highest price that could possibly be paid.  So, I think that’s an interesting interpretation.  I lean to that one. 

 

We as individual believers can feel worthless at times---but we’re not to Christ

 

And if, let’s say, that is the interpretation of this, and that is true though in the rest of the Scripture, that you and I, God’s people, we have such value, we’re like a treasure to Christ.  We’re like a pearl.  You know, there are often people, I even spoke to people this week, that struggle with that sense of feeling worth.  You struggle because you feel you’ve done a lot of wrong, there’s condemnation that you work through, you feel that ‘Even as a Christian I still struggle with not feeling very valuable or important.  And I wonder if God is angry at me, and I wonder if God is maybe disgusted with me, rather than happy with me?’  You study the New Testament, and if this parable means this, and certainly it is depicted in so many places in the Scripture.  David said in Psalm 139, he said, ‘God I’m amazed,’ he says, ‘I could not even count, I’d have better chance counting the sands on the seashore, on the beach, than I have of counting all the precious thoughts that you are thinking continuously for me.’  The Bible makes it very clear that the way God thinks of you and me, is like, you are a pearl of great price.  He consistently and constantly thinks that way about you, every moment of every day, because he’s proven it, because he’s paid the highest price for you.  He went to the cross.  He paid a ton for you.  So you mean everything to him, every moment of every day, you could be having your worst day, you could be yelling at the kids, you could be thinking of the worst thoughts---‘I want to take my husband out, if I could take my husband out’---I mean, you’re having a low day, I mean, you’re down there, and thinking at the end of the day ‘I’m not even worthy.’  I was spending time with the staff at the African Children’s Choir, they asked me to do a little devotion with them, and I was praying ‘Lord, I just sense certain things about them, this must be hard to do this, what they’re doing, and Lord, just give me the message for them.’  And I prepared a little message, and we got together, and we were going through it, and I kind of got into that, you know, sometimes in ministry, you can feel, as you’re serving God, the Devil comes and starts to mess with your head, and you start to think ‘I’m failing, why am I doing this?’  I mean, half the time before I walk up here I think, ‘Why in the world is this me going up here?’, you know what I mean?  And you start thinking that ‘I’m not cuttin’ it, I’ve had the worst week, and I feel like such a sinner, and why me?’  And it’s the Devil.  And the truth is, you are a big sinner, and I am a big sinner.  But man, God has called you, he’s ordained your life, and you are a pearl of great price.  And as Christians we should be walking day by day and just sense that, man, I am loved infinitely, I am of such value, and I live that way, and I walk that way, and I think that way.  Because that is the reality.  And if I don’t, it’s my thinking that needs to change.  It isn’t the reality of the situation, because the reality is, I am a pearl of great price.  If you look at all the Scriptures, all you have to do is look at the cross.  When revival comes to the Church, whenever there’s revival, part of revival is this aspect, suddenly the Church’s eyes are opened up, we look at the cross for what it really is.  We see how far Christ had to go to purchase our salvation, the extent that he had to go for our ugly sin.  And when you honestly see it for what it is, you can’t help but worship God.  You can’t help but be amazed and blown away by what he’s done.  That’s always an aspect of revival, a greater sense of what the cross is.  Meaning, ‘If you did that for ugly old me, man, I can’t believe how much you love me.  I am blown away by the love of God.’  That’s what happens in revival.  You may think today too, ‘You know what, I am a big frustration to God.  I mean, I know he loves other believers, maybe he loves me too, but he’s gotta have a problem, I must be so frustrating, I never get it right.’  Interesting thing about the pearl, right, is a pearl, how does a pearl even begin, what is a pearl?  A pearl starts with an irritation [within the oyster] doesn’t it?  You’ve got that oyster.  I remember, we lived in Germany, my Dad was in the military, one day we were eating oysters, and as I shared in first service, I don’t even like them, but I remember getting a pearl in my mouth, a little pearl.  Must have been oysters…but anyway, I got this pearl, and I remember growing up, you had to eat what was on your plate.  I remember one of the earliest memories we had, a little guy, live in New Mexico, and I would not finish my food, it was probably broccoli or liver or something, I was not going to eat it.  And all my sisters did, and they all got to go to this carnival, and I had to stay there at the table, and they came back from the carnival, and I was still sitting at the table.  They had their cotton candy, and they had all their stuff, and here I am at the table, I’ve got to eat my liver, or whatever it was.  That was the rule in our house.  I heard a guy recently share a story, and that was a good rule.  The African Children’s Choir, you had those kids at your house, you notice, that’s the way they trained them.  Those two girls, they wouldn’t leave until their plate was completely clean, and it was a good reminder to my kids.  One of the kids had a little extra and they asked for a drink, so we filled a glass with milk, I guess we gave them more than they wanted, they never said anything.  And I watched this little girl, Margaret, she took that milk, she didn’t say anything, she was looking at it a little while, and she drank it, and she was gagged.  But they’d been trained, do not leave the table until you finish your food.  It was kind of like that for me growing up.  I heard a story recently, and I’m not getting side-tracked, [laughter] recently, this guy was telling me his house was like that, and he was an older guy, it was funny, but he said ‘One day my brother and I got up and we went into the kitchen, and we just decided we were going to make breakfast, we made this weird conglomerate stuff”, they got stuff like lasagna and chocolate, they just went to town and made this weird stuff.  They just put it together, and it was just disgusting when they were done.  And they used a lot of ingredients.  “Well Mom got up and walked out in the kitchen and saw us sitting there.  And she said, ‘You’re going to eat it.’”  So this is a true story, and you couldn’t do this today, man, DSS [Nazi’s] would come to your house [laughter].  That’s part of the trouble.  They sat there, he says, “We sat there all day, and then we sat there all night.  And then the next morning came, we did not want to eat that, but she would not let us leave.  Eventually, we had to eat it, and he says, we never did that again.”  Anyway, so, maybe you think you’re a frustration and irritation to the Lord.  Well, that’s what a pearl is too.  And the greater the irritation, they say, the greater the pearl.  Hey, let’s go quickly, we’ve come to the end of our time.  And we’re going to just make a couple points here, because he gives us the interpretation of the next parable.

 

‘The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea’

 

We have potentially, Israel [the redeemed treasure in the field, the redeemed woman, Israel---book of Ruth], we have the Church [the “Pearl of Great Price], now we have, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to the shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.  So it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire.  There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Jesus said to them, ‘Have you understood all these things?  They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’”  And I really wonder if they had.  “Then he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.’”  (verses 47-52)  Easy parable, he gives us the interpretation.  Right?  He tells us what it is, kingdom of heaven, like a dragnet, big net, sometimes multiple boats, sometimes on the shore with  ropes.  It’s a big net, you take it through the water, [it has weights on the bottom of the net, and floats on the top of it, so it drags along the bottom, screening from the ocean’s surface to bottom], and it just scoops up everything in it’s path.  Big dragnet, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet, cast into the sea.  The sea in the Bible generally represents the world.  This net gathered some of every kind, every possible kind of fish you could possibly have pulled up.  I’ve been on boats, in deep-sea fishing, where I remember once one of the fish looked like a basketball with lips, somebody caught this fish that looked just like a basketball with lips, little tiny fins.  ‘But when it was full, they drew to shore; they had all kinds of fish, everything imaginable, and they gathered it all together, and then of course, it was sorting time.  Some of this we can eat, some of it we can’t.  So we took out what we could eat, good fish, and sorted out the bad.’  And Jesus said this is what the parable means, this is the kingdom of heaven.  At the end of the age, the angels are going to come, and they are going to come through with a big net and scoop up, everybody’s going to be gathered together.  And those that are the children of God are going go to be with God.  Those that are not, and we repeatedly see this in the Bible, it is not popular today, I know many people go to universities today and you’re challenged with this, the Bible does not teach universalism, universal salvation.  Very clearly Jesus repeatedly said, there are some appointed that are going to go to heaven, and there are some who will not turn to God and Christ, and will not then enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus said, unless a man is born-again, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  So those that are not, will be cast into the furnace of fire.  The angels will take them, they will be cast into hell, and there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  That is taught repeatedly in the Scripture.  [The subject of “hell” has many varied interpretations within the greater Body of Christ.  To see what these are, log onto:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.]  And he said, “‘Have you understood all these things?’  And they said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’”  Now what is he saying?  Very clearly, end of the age, just like the parable of the wheat and tares.  You know, they’re gathered in, the wheat and the tares also, and they’re separated out, those that are children, and those that are not, those that are wheat and those that are tares.  Some see in this, if you look through the Bible, and we taught through Revelation, you have Israel, this Israel is promised to Abraham.  You have also the Church, the Church Age we’re in, and then you have the Church being taken up to be with Christ [for those who believe in the Rapture interpretation of Pre-Millennial prophecy, called Dispensationalism] during the great tribulation in the Book of Revelation, and then in the tribulation there’s this mighty harvest of souls, a lot of them are Israel, [all 12 tribes, including Jews], but there are also Gentiles.  And John asks in the vision of seeing this, “Who are these standing before you, in all these white robes?”  And the angel says “They are the saints that have come out of tribulation.”  And the way I see it in my eschatology, we’re all children of God in the end, but there are three groupings, Israel, and then there’s the Church, and then there’s tribulation saints, this harvest of tribulation saints.  Because this is at the end of the age, and the tribulation man, it rocks and it rolls, and there is this gathering [of Satan’s deceived masses], there is this destruction.  There are those that enter into the Millennial Kingdom, and those that don’t, and are destroyed.  And some see this, that tribulation saint.  So the kingdom of heaven, Jesus is saying, here’s the disciples, ‘Let me give you some insight into the kingdom of heaven,’ Jesus is telling them.  It is composed of this treasure, and this pearl, and what comes through this dragnet.  He says, ‘Do you understand?’  they say, ‘Yeah’.  [To read about this whole sequence as played out in the Book of Revelation, log onto and read http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation4-10.html   and through the following links after it.]   He then says “Every scribe”, he’s not referring to the scribes of the time, he’s referring to a “scribe” that follows him, he says, ‘Every scribe that understands the kingdom of heaven, man, he’s got the old and the new, he’s got the Old Testament [and proper knowledge of it], and he’s got the New Testament.’  It’s not this ‘old stale stuff’ that the rabbis taught at the time, and no freshness to it.  As he was even accused of earlier in the chapter, he quoted Asaph as prophecying with his heart that he would bring forth mysteries from the foundation of the world, the Old, with light, with new life.  I tell you what, the Word of God, it’s old, but it’s new in the sense that it’s ever new.  It’s not “new truth”, we have the whole Bible today, and very clearly the Bible says, ‘There isn’t any more new truth.’  If it’s new, it’s not true, if it’s true, it’s not new.’  But yet it’s new in that it’s life, it’s alive, the Bible is alive.  When you understand the Word of God and what Christ says, now you’ve got a good handle with the Old Testament, and you have this new insight into the Old, into the whole Plan of God.  It’s ever fresh, ever alive.  Let’s close in prayer…[connective expository sermon on Matthew 13:44-52, given somewhere in New England]

 

Related links:

 

The Pearl of Allah:

http://www.internetstones.com/pearl-of-allah-pearl-of-lao-tzu-pearl-of-lao-tse.html

 

The Millennial Kingdom of God:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm

 

Earth back to the way it was in the Garden of Eden, Isaiah 11:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/isaiah/isaiah3.htm

 

Israel is the treasure in the field:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html

 

The Pearl of Great Price, the Church:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation2-1-11.html  and read through the Rev 2-3 links.

 

Separation of the good from the bad in the dragnet:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation4-10.html and read through the rest of the Revelation links.

 

The kingdom of heaven, in the final analysis, comes to earth, the New Jerusalem, new heavens and new earth:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%20%2021-22.htm

 

The subject of “hell” within the greater Body of Christ:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm

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