Monday, July 31, 2017

Sermon July 29-30, 2017

Title: The kingdom and treasure that is Christ is given to you!
Text: Matthew 13:44-52

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

As we begin today, we again look at the parables of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Matthew. If we remember the last two weekends we recall that the sower, who sowed seed everywhere, found that the seed that fell on the good soil took root and produced a crop that yielded 30, 60 and even 100 fold.

Last week we learned that the wheat that grew from the good seed, was planted by the Son of man, in the field of the world, and that the devil also planted weeds among the wheat where both would grow until the harvest, separating both wheat and weeds or believers and unbelievers by God’s angles at the end of the age.

Today we have three short parables and they all bring to mind the topic of the kingdom of heaven. We’ll look at these and see the truth that, through the Gospel:

The kingdom and treasure that is Christ is given to you!

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

In last week’s parable Jesus explained that the field was the world and the good seed is the children of the kingdom. In today’s parable the children of the kingdom is the treasure hidden in the world brought to faith by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel’s proclamation. Christ then is the man who found you, His treasure, but this treasure of being his child is hidden apart from faith, in the field of this world.

So to purchase the world back, Christ empties himself, sells all He has, as it were and gives Himself as a ransom to buy and redeem this world lost in sin, death and the power of the devil.

Jesus then says:

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Knowing that a perfect pearl, of large size, of spherical shape, would far surpass in value hundreds of small, imperfect pearls, this merchant, an expert in his line, set out to seek, and, if possible, to find, such a rare valuable pearl. Having found one which seemed to him exceedingly precious, he risked his all, stripping himself of all his possessions in the one great venture of his life. The glory and beauty of God's mercy in the Gospel - so great and precious a gift that all else sinks into insignificance beside it.

Popular Commentary of the Bible, P.E. Kretzmann NT Vol.1 Pg.76-77

The pearl of the Christians is the greatest treasure in the kingdom of God … salvation in Christ! He who has learned to know this priceless gift will gladly renounce all goods, joys, and delights of this world, and consider all human wisdom and righteousness as loss, in order to gain Christ.


As I was driving some time ago, I caught a story on the Moth Radio Hour. This show has people speaking in front of a live studio audience and relating a story that was of some significance to them.

The speaker was Christof Koch an American neuroscientist who had been raised Roman Catholic and struggled with his own belief in God alongside his work as a scientist. The topic was: God, Death and Francis Crick. Francis Crick was also a scientist, who made his mark in DNA research and was an atheist. The two, though from different generations, spent many years in collaboration and study even authoring a book together called The Quest for Consciousness.

One day as they worked together, Francis Cricks received a call and confirmation that his terminal cancer had returned. Christof said he was immensely impressed with the Stoic faith of his atheist elder friend. “No doom and gloom, no gnashing of teeth and no tears just, “Accept what you can’t change.” And then he went on with what Francis Crick had to say, “Everything that has a beginning must have an end … those are the facts, I don’t like them, but I’ve accepted them.” This also caused Christof to reflect on his own mortality. Ultimately, he saw Francis Crick as his hero, with how he dealt with his own demise.

The show concluded with Christof speaking of being saddened by the loss of his belief and religion like, fond childhood memories, concluding that we all have to grow up, which is difficult for many and unbearable for the few, concluding that we have to see the world as it really is and stop thinking in terms of magic.

Or, he says, as Francis would have put it, “This is a story for grown men not a consoling tale for children.”

To that Jesus says:

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The net of the Word of God and its Gospel proclamation is cast into the sea of the world and at the end of the age it will be gathered to the shore.

Here the angles will separate those, the righteous, who by the power of the Holy Spirit, are brought to faith in Christ and believe - while others - called evil, will be thrown into the fiery furnace of Hell and there, no matter how stoic they may be in this life, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

During the Festival of Lutheran hymns on Thursday evening at the Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music conference that Katherine and I attended last week we sang the first Hymn Martin Luther ever wrote – interspersed throughout the hymn festival Thursday evening. It is called Dear Christians, One and All Rejoice.

As we sang the second section, stanzas 4-5, I marked an X by it as it speaks beautifully to our message today. Broken and condemned by the Law we are rescued by Christ and made his child and forgiven. Please turn to Hymn #556 in your hymnal and let us joyfully sing these important words into our hearts receiving the forgiveness they convey in the work of Jesus to give us forgiveness, comfort and peace!

But God had seen my wretched state
Before the world's foundation,
And mindful of His mercies great,
He planned for my salvation.
He turned to me, A father's heart;
He did not choose the easy part
But gave His dearest Treasure.

God said to His beloved Son:
“It’s time to have compassion.
Then go, bright Jewel of My crown,
And bring to all salvation;
From sin and sorrow set him free,
Slay bitter death for them that they
May live with you forever.

We can’t know who will be gathered … but we can trust that God knows. He will gather his children unto himself and all that believe in Christ will be saved. Those who have once shared this faith but have fallen away, God, by his Holy Spirit will continue to call and we pray once again give them life by the Spirit found only in Christ.

The kingdom and treasure that is Christ is given to you!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!


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