The Kingdom of Heaven
TREASURE HIDDEN IN A FIELD
"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 that field." Matt. 13:44
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
There is no subject which was more prevalent in Jesus' preaching than the kingdom of heaven, that is, the kingdom of God. It was the most common subject of His parables and was the theme of His preaching.(1) In fact, Jesus said that the first thing that a man should search for in life is God's kingdom and His righteousness.(2)
It is important to find God's righteousness, for He has declared man's righteousness, or our very best deeds, impure and unacceptable in His sight.(3)The righteousness which is acceptable before God is found in His kingdom.
Jesus was once asked to explain when the kingdom of God would come. In His reply, He reveals two essential points: first, the kingdom of God is not visible to the human eye, and, second, it is present in the midst of men.(4)
A HIDDEN KINGDOM
It might seem impossible to find a kingdom that cannot be seen, but with God's help it can be found. Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. 7:7). In the parable at the top of the page, Jesus shows us that while the kingdom is hidden, it can indeed be found.
The parable illustrates why the kingdom of God cannot be seen. It is like treasure buried in the dust and dirt of a field, hidden from man's sight. It is certainly an apt picture. In this world God's kingdom is hidden beneath the flaws and faults of believing people, people whom God has made from the dust of the earth.(5)
A GREAT TREASURE
The parable also illustrates what happens when a man finds God's kingdom. He hides its treasure, sells all that he has, and buys it. Simply said, God's kingdom becomes the most important matter in his life. He wants, above all else, to protect and preserve his new-found treasure and follow the people of God and the Lord Jesus.(6)
Like the man in the parable, we have found the kingdom of God and obtained its treasure. We now carry this treasure in our sin-corrupt bodies. We wish to share it with you.
YOU CAN HAVE THIS TREASURE
What we can offer you is God's forgiveness in Jesus Christ. This forgiveness is the very essence of the gospel and the essence of God's kingdom. Martin Luther said: "Forgiveness of sins is nothing more than two words in which the whole kingdom of Christ consists...This word of consolation shall not cease among Christians until the last day: 'Thy sins are forgiven, be of good cheer.' Such language a Christian always uses and openly declares the forgiveness of sins."(7)
Luther was right. This word of consolation has not ceased. God's children live of it and use it constantly. We declare it to any sinner who longs for God's forgiveness.
We can give you this treasure because Jesus has given us the power to forgive men their sins. He said that what we forgive on earth is also forgiven in heaven, that is, it is forgiven before God.(8) Belief in this gospel of forgiveness obtains what it promises, namely, God's forgiveness and the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the righteousness that is acceptable to God. You can have it too.
1 "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:1415)
"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." (Matt. 9:35)
"Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick." (Luk 9:1, 2)
2 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. 6:33 )
3 "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isa. 64:6)
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Rom. 3:1012)
4 "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20, 21)
5 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Cor. 4:7 )
6 "And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost." (1 Thess. 1:6)
7 Luther, Martin, "Sermon for the 19th Sunday after Trinity" in Luther's Church Postil, Vol.V, trans. John Nicholas Lenker (Minneapolis: Lutherans In All Lands Co. : 1905) 201, 202, 209
8 "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." (John 20:2123)
"Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 18:18)
"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (2 Cor. 5:1820)