We now continue our message series, “Kingdom Come” where we learn what God’s Kingdom is like and how we bring it here on the earth.
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is:
in your midst – NIV
within you – KJV
within you and among you and surrounding you – AMP
The intersection of where the Kingdom of Heaven meets earth is right here at the tip of our toes.
This morning, we’re going to learn about how God’s Kingdom is a great treasure!
In fact, when describing the Kingdom of heaven, Jesus said:
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
There seems to be a fascination in our culture that brings out a sense of adventure and excitement in all of us when it comes to this subject. Popular movies include: Indiana Jones, The Goonies, Treasure Island, National Treasure, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Mummy, and others. TV series include Gold Rush, Curse of Oak Island, Mud Men, and even Pawn Stars. There is just something that we all love about the thrill of finding something rare, unique, and valuable.
Jesus likened His Kingdom to that of a treasure that is so tremendously valuable that it’s worth giving up all that we have for it. This is the most challenging part of being a follower of Jesus. Salvation is a free gift, we absolutely cannot earn it.
However, there is a cost that we must be willing to pay when we choose to follow Jesus and be one of His disciples. This salvation call of Jesus is one that you won’t hear given at most conferences and churches, but Jesus was up front and honest when it came to following Him. Jesus wanted people to know what they were committing to when they chose to follow Him.
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
On another occasion, Jesus gave the same word of warning regarding the cost of following Him.
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
This time, not only does Jesus warn the rich young man about the cost of following Him, but He also reminds those who chose to follow Him of the rich reward awaiting them! This is a hard teaching, a very difficult one for anyone to accept! For those who are poor, it is hard to give up anything because they scarcely have enough to survive now with the little that they have. For those who are doing OK, it is hard to give up what they have because that would require sacrificing the comforts that they have. For those who are rich, it is hard to give up what they have because they know that once it is gone, it is gone. Their riches ensure a good life for themselves and the generations to follow them.
The Kingdom of God, however, contains the greatest treasures that one could ever possess. Think of King Solomon. God simply gave him wisdom and King Solomon became the greatest man to ever walk the face of the earth in worldly terms. He had such wealth and influence that he was able to do pretty much anything that he wanted to. Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes where he taught from the great wisdom that he had received. In this book, he recorded how he denied himself no pleasure, undertook great and marvelous projects building houses, parks, gardens, reservoirs, amassed gold and silver and treasures, owned flocks and herds galore, bought slaves to serve him, and even acquired a band. He truly lived the rock star’s lifestyle long before they ever existed. He would have had the #1 crib on MTV (to us 90’s kids).
After all these things, Solomon considered them to be meaningless, a chasing after the wind, and to have gained nothing. His conclusion was this:
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
When we normally think of the judgment of God, we think of it in a negative way as in being punished for every bad thing that we’ve done. However, God also judges the good things that we’ve done and for those, we will be richly rewarded!
19 How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
God has good things stored up for us, treasures just waiting for us to uncover and receive! Why does He have these things stored up and hidden away for us? I believe that it is because He loves us and wants to teach us that the greatest things that we can obtain come through hard work, sacrifice, and diligence. We all love and quote the first few verses of Jeremiah 29. We print them on shirts, adorn necklaces with its words, even print them in our living rooms and greeting cards. However, they will never come to pass without the third part that is usually omitted from all these things.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
The Kingdom of God is not a half-hearted kingdom. It isn’t one that half does anything. It is a kingdom of commitment, passion, and wholeheartedness. It is a kingdom of perseverance and not a kingdom for the weak minded or quitters! It is a kingdom of seekers and of victors! It is a kingdom that takes the words of its King and stands firmly upon them and enforces them until they come to pass.
We don’t pray a prayer a few times in our spare time and then give up because our King did not move on our behalf. We seek after our King day and night with all of our heart until He establishes His kingdom on our behalf.
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Any treasure of value is a treasure worth seeking after with our everything.
On Gold Rush, when they’re not able to break through the permafrost with the D9 dozer, they don’t just pack up and go home. Instead, they make the sacrifice, risking it all, and purchase a D10 dozer to break through the ice and get down to the gold.
We give up on Jesus way too quickly and excuse it away. True faith isn’t always a faith that immediately sees results. Jesus posed the question, “When I return, will I find faith on the earth?” The context of the faith that Jesus is eager to return for is a faith of perseverance. A faith that still seeks after the treasures in the Kingdom of God and is willing to give up anything to receive it even when it is all done in hope, without seeing a thing. A faith that trades in the D9 of yesterday for the D10 of today! A faith that takes risks and makes sacrifices while completely trusting God and taking Him at His word through His wisdom! A treasure-seeking faith that knows for certain, through hope, of the great wealth hidden away by God for us.
Jesus tells us:
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Think about it, which one are we more devoted to, earning money or serving Jesus? Which one do we spend more of our resources acquiring? Jesus wasn’t against working hard and earning an honest living, but it is the heart of what we are doing it and why. Even when at work, we can be serving Jesus and earning treasures in Heaven!
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.