RAP SHEET 1/23/22
Sermon: Kingdom Comparisons
Scripture: Matthew 13:44-50
ICE BREAKER: Would you rather have a car that never runs out of gas but has no A/C or a car that drives itself but you have to inflate the tires every day?
This week we looked at the second parable in our Metaphor series - the 3 Kingdom comparisons. In these, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a treasure found buried in a field, a priceless pearl, and a dragnet that separates the good fish from the bad.
To understand the parables, we have to understand what is meant by "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." Studying how this phrase is used in scripture we learn that it is not referring to HOW to get to Heaven. Jesus offered access to that Kingdom right here and now. The Kingdom of Heaven is about the quality and condition of life.
We also see that Jesus offered the Kingdom right here and now. This tells us that this Kingdom doesn’t just exist locally in HEAVEN or the afterlife - it is something that can be lived out right here and right now.
So much of the New Testament has been turned by modern Christians into instructions on HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN when the truth is - most of scripture is written TO believers about how to experience the Kingdom of Heaven right here on the earth!
The first two parables reference how to take advantage of the Kingdom offer during our lifetime. Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who stumbles upon buried treasure, hides it in the field, sells all he has, and buys that field to secure the treasure. The value of that one treasure far exceeded ever single thing the man had. In this parable, the person was not even looking for treasure - they just happened to stumble upon it.
Unlike the first parable, the character in the second is a pearl merchant. He was very intentionally looking for valuable pearls to add to his collection. However, what he found blew away his greatest expectation. He found ONE pearl that was worth selling everything he had - including his entire business and inventory. This parable could represent someone who is on a search for truth. They are looking in to every philosophy and studying morals and ethics. They want to know how to live the best life possible.
In both parables, the prize can represent Jesus. The one who is worth selling all we have to come into relationships with. The priceless pearl who is elevated above all other philosophies or world-views.
The last parable switches to the end of time. It brings about a startling truth that those who did not live righteous lives will not enter the next phase of the Kingdom. They, instead, will be separated from God and all that is good!
This is how the disciples would have largely interpreted these parables when they heard them. BUT, everything changed once Jesus died and came back to life! After Jesus gave his life for us - His followers realized that these parables were not just about us - they were also about JESUS.
The only reason that we are in a position to find the TREASURE that is Jesus, is because he FIRST saw us as his own treasure. Humanity, buried amidst the filth, and corruption, and distractions of this world - were valuable enough for Jesus to GIVE HIS LIFE FOR US!
Jesus is the merchant, seeking out that which is most precious and the pearl of great price is his Church. Jesus gave up ALL of heaven’s riches to come to our broken world and lay down his life to purchase ours!
Look at what was written after Jesus’ death:
2 Corinthians 8
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
The dragnet at the end of the age will separate those who are righteous from those who are not. BUT, it is not our righteousness that gets us through. Our only hope is that the righteousness of Jesus is counted toward us when we put our faith in him!
For this week's application, there are two categories:
If you have never believed in Jesus:
What do you feel might be holding you back?
What does it mean to you, if it's true, that YOU are Jesus's treasure that he was willing to give his whole life for?
If you have believed in Jesus:
What things of this world are keeping you from going all in on your faith?
What is it that you are not willing to move down in priority that is keeping you from experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven?
Pray that God would continue to reveal Himself to you. Let Him know you do want to live as a part of the Kingdom of Heaven right here and right now. Commit to following Jesus even when it costs you.