Sermons

Buried Treasure

Sun, Dec 04, 2022
Teacher: Mark Hull
Duration:32 mins 3 secs

Message text

Buried Treasure
Matthew 13:44

Several decades ago, there was something called the "Iron Curtain." It was an imaginary border between the Communist Soviet Union and the rest of the "Free World." It was an iron curtain in the respect that those on the Soviet side had extreme difficulty passing from their region into the Free World. Communism was a vicious and powerful force in the lives controlled by it.

Back in 1955, a farmer in Romania (behind the Iron Curtain) had a problem. Communism had become so demanding that his personal Tractor would soon be taken away from him. What was he to do? Well, he took it apart, packed it in tar-coated cardboard, and buried it in his backyard.

Thirty-five years later (in 1990), the laws changed and he dug it up and put it back together again.

People have been burying their treasures for centuries. Now, granted, burying a tractor in your backyard is a bit unusual, but if something is precious to you… you do what you gotta do!

Back in Bible times, lots of people buried precious things in their backyards. Palestine was a land bridge between Egypt and the great empires of the north and the armies of those nations would often sweep through Israel - rampaging, robbing and pillaging everything in their path.

And, of course common thieves could be a problem too. And because there were no banks - people would bury their treasures in the ground, in walls, in tree trunks, or wherever they could.
Finding those buried treasures again… well… that could be difficult.

There was the occasional earthquake. And sometimes the owners would have to leave home in a hurry and never come back. Or the owners might be captured by invading armies, or die suddenly for any number of reasons. As a result, family treasures could be buried and forgotten for centuries.

A missionary in Palestine told of a few workmen who were digging up a garden, and these workmen found several copper pots of gold which they stole and hid someplace else. But they just couldn’t keep their mouths shut and the governor of the city caught them. Two of the pots containing 8000 pure gold coins were recovered.
That missionary said he’d seen hundreds of persons - all over the country - spending their last penny looking for buried treasure.

So (as you can imagine), many of those in Jesus’ crowd either knew of someone who’d found buried treasure, or maybe THEY had.
That (of course) brings us to our text today.

Matt. 13:44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Since he buys the field now the treasure belongs to him (otherwise it would have been stealing).
A TREASURE? When you think of treasure, you think jewels, or precious stones… you think money. And what’s interesting is that Jesus talked a lot about money and possessions.

It has been said that 15% percent of everything Jesus said related to money and possessions. He spoke about money and possessions more than heaven and hell combined.

It is also noted that nearly half of Jesus’ parables 16 out of 38 dealt with money. Now… that’s a lot. Why would Jesus put such an emphasis on money and possessions?
Well, there’s a couple reasons I can think of. The first is that we need money. We need money to pay bills and supply for your family. That’s kind of obvious. But “there’s also a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money.”

Just as an illustration, all you need to do is look back at John the Baptist’s ministry in Luke 3:10-11 tells us . 10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”
John’s answer to the crowds (about what they could do to please God) was that everyone should share their food and clothing with the poor, because the spiritual thing was to use their possessions to help people.

We continue reading in Luke 3:12-13.
12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
In other words: Don’t take money that doesn’t belong to you even if you can get away with it. The spiritual thing in business is not to cheat folks.

Then the Soldiers also asked him in verse 14, 14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?”  So he said to them, “Do not [a]intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”
The spiritual thing to do at the job is not to complain about how much you’re paid, or to steal from people who trust you.

You see, each of these commands (John the Baptist gave) had to do with how people handled possessions and money.  And here’s the point: How you handle your money and your possessions, and how you treat people with your money is a barometer of how close you are to God and how much you trust HIM.

So now here Jesus in telling a parable about a man who found treasure in a field. WHAT TREASURE?
What’s in the treasure chest?
Well, we KNOW that it has to be pretty valuable because the man was willing to sell everything he had to buy the field so that he could take possession of what had been hidden there.

Let me repeat… the man “goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
So, what IS this treasure?
Well, Jesus tells us there are basically two kinds of treasure that people would be willing to give everything they have to attain.

The first is – treasures on earth.
Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves TREASURES ON EARTH, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
This is the stuff in your bank account, your IRA, your Money Market accounts, etc.
Now, we need to be clear that there’s nothing wrong with having money in the bank.

Lots of bible characters were rich and God did not condemn for that! And… if you’re going to be responsible you should put money in savings to take care of emergencies.
But the question is NOT do you have money?
The question is – does the money have you?
Is the money that you have your “TREASURE?”
Jesus tells the parable of a rich man in Luke 12:16-20:
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

You see, the problem with that rich man was – his money was his treasure. He had stored up EARTHLY TREASURE and his first thought was about his possessions and what they could buy him. His possessions made it so that he had ample goods for many years to eat, drink and be merry, and he could give no thought to tomorrow.

But you know what he really didn’t give any thought to? He gave no thought at all to God. Jesus ended that parable with these words we find in verse 21:
“So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

You see, that rich man’s money had him… but God didn’t.

So Jesus talked about EARTHLY TREASURE and then He compared that earthly treasure with HEAVENLY TREASURE.

Matthew 6:20 “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

What does that mean?
How can I store up my treasure in heaven?
It means that I should bank my treasure in heaven.
I should give my money to God. My money should belong to God. All of “my” money should be His!

When someone asks to be baptized, a longtime minister of the church of Christ says that he goes through the basics:
Do they believe?
Have they repented.
Are they ready to confess Jesus as the Son of God.

When he gets to the “Confess” part he pulls out his wallet and explains that, in the days of Jesus, when you called someone your Lord, that person owned you.
You were the slave, he was the master.
Everything you owned was his.

 

Then he opens his wallet and says that “when he became a Christian, whatever money he had in his wallet, In his savings accounts and in his sock drawer belonged to God.

The minister continues explaining that everything he has including his car, his house and the shirt on his back belongs to God.

He strongly emphasizes the following points:
I own NOTHING. It all belongs to God.
Thus, when I spend money… whose money am I spending?
God’s, right?
That’s what it means to turn your life over to God.

It means turning all your money and possessions over to Him.
He doesn’t really need our money or possessions, but whenever we use them, we are using something that belongs to God.”

There was a meme on FB a few weeks ago.
IT SHOWS 2 DOORS.

The Blue Door has this statement beside it:
“You go back in time and fix all your mistakes.”

And the Red Door simply says:
$10 million in cash.

Choose a door to open.

It’s a mental exercise… and so I played the game.
I chose the RED door = $10 million!

But now, what would I do with $10 million?

Well… I’m probably going to have to pay taxes on it (that’s gonna whittle it down a bit).
Then I’m gonna give God His 10%... of the $10 million.
That’s $1 million to the church, and they can use that for evangelism, mission support, and more help for the poor in the community.

Then I’m going to pay off some bills and maybe get a newer car… and I’d give some to my daughters and grandkids.
Oh, and of course I would need to buy my mom stuff that would be compatible for a 93 year old. 😊

That’s still going to leave me a pretty hefty nest-egg.
What am I going to do with that money?
BUT, WAIT … Remember… this is God’s money.
So, what do you think I should do?

Well, use your imagination! (I’m not gonna to fill in gaps for you).
But now REMEMBER, that $10 million is ONLY IMAGINARY –
it doesn’t exist!

But think about this cute little poem I read years ago:

 

“It’s not what you’d do with a million
if a million were your lot.
It’s what you are doing at present
with the dollar and a quarter you’ve got.”

How are YOU using God’s money you’ve got in your wallet,
your bank account, your IRA… etc.?

What about your example AND influence!
Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
But wait… what was the treasure the man found in the field?
Well, Jesus actually tells us:
“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.” Matthew 13:44

The Kingdom of Heaven?
What’s the Kingdom of Heaven?
Well… the Kingdom of heaven is salvation;
it’s the promise of forgiveness;
it’s the promise of eternity in heaven itself.
And heaven is just on “the other side.”
What would you give to get to the other side
TO GET TO HEAVEN?

I’ve read that,
if you were sitting in your car at the toll booth of the Golden Gate Bridge,
and there were motorists lining up behind you,
but you didn’t have any money to pay the toll.

Well, if you wish, you can pay with an object (other than cash)
as long as the value of that object exceeds the price of the toll.
And drivers have left all kinds of items:
motor oil,
a frying pan,
a set of silverware,
cassettes and CDs.
One elderly gentleman left his dentures…
and then returned the next day to redeem them.

Another driver left a diamond wristwatch valued at more than $5000…
and never returned to claim it.

What would you give to get to the other side?

What’s interesting is that Jesus tells us the PRICE to get to the other side.
He tells us about a treasure buried in field,
and the only way to get that treasure…
is to buy that field.

And the only way to but that field is to sell everything that you have.
It will cost you everything to get into heaven.

But what do you have that God would want?
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills…
so He doesn’t need your money.

In fact, He owns the all the hills and the valleys… so He doesn’t need your possessions.
So what do you have that he’d want?
What He wants is YOU!
He wants ALL of you.
Why?
Because you are so precious to Him that He gave His only begotten Son…
JOHN 3:16 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

I found it interesting last night that after Glenville High School won their 1st Football State Championship head coach Ted Ginn Sr. ended his post-game interview with this quote:
“If God isn’t in it
Then you can’t win it!

INVITATION

 

 

Sermon Contributor: Jeff Strite

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