Sermon Audio & Transcript

Tenth Sunday After Pentecost

08/13/2017

Grace mercy and peace to all of you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters the word of God for our meditation today comes from Matthew 13:44-52. This reading is a portion of Jesus series of parables on the kingdom of God. The kingdom in Matthew 13 is described as a field in which a source owed and in that field, four different kinds of soil receive the gospel seed. Some rejected. Others grew for a while and then rejected. And the fourth kind of soil, which I pray represents you and me, grew and produced fruit; 40, 60 or 100 times what was sown. That is the person who continues to listen to the word of God and lets the Holy Spirit work through him, or through her. Since most of you are here now for the third Sunday in a row to hear these words about the kingdom, that gives me a pretty good indication that you are among the fourth kind of soil, and I praise God for that.

The second parable we looked at last week was about to the different wheat and weeds that “growed the farmer’s field,” that grew in the farmer’s field. The wheat of course was sown by the farmer. The weeds were sewn by the wicked one, the devil, Satan. Among the wheat the weeds must grow, and that there will not be a final sorting until the end of the age when the Angels come and do the harvesting. The wheat will be bundled and taken into the barn, and the weeds will be bundled and thrown into the fire, but this is no ordinary fire. It says the fire does not go out. It is an eternal fire of punishment for God’s enemies. Now, this reading today speaks about the gospel the good news about Jesus Christ as a treasure.

I suppose that it is a natural human tendency to collect things. I suppose everyone here collects something. Raise your hand if you have a collection. It’s maybe it’s a collection of some kind of a toy. Maybe it’s a collection of stamps or coins or a collection of technological gizmos. Maybe somebody has a collection of T-shirts. I have met somebody who collected different kinds of depression glass from 100 years ago, to 80 years ago. There are all different kinds of collections. I have a collection of crosses. Not that I intentionally started collecting crosses, it’s just what do you give a pastor who has everything? So, I get a lot of crosses. but I since I was eight years old, I have collected stamps. Okay, I collected stamps from the time I was eight until 14 when I lost interest, but then when my parents brought my old stamp collection to me after I was graduated from the seminary I started collecting stamps again. And I get a little bit of peace and relaxation from it actually an interesting hobby to take extra stuff that I don’t want to and sell it off on eBay, see what I can get for it. But one of the things that I will eventually get, it’s on my bucket list, is the penny black, which was this the first postage stamp that was issued anywhere by anybody. It was issued by Great Britain in 1845. The Penny Black isn’t all that expensive because so many of them were produced, but it is old and just because of its age, it is considered a great treasure. On the other hand, some people only collect new issues. They like to be the first people to get the postage issued from the post office, and then and then fill in their collection from the most brand-new and exciting. I don’t suppose there are too many stamp collectors here today. It’s kind of a hobby that’s on the wane. Not to say anything against anybody who is named Wayne, but it is in its on the decline. Not as many people collect stamps. Some people collect coins. It’s really neat to have in my collection of coins, which is a very small collection, some coins from the time of Christ. And is also neat to have the new state quarters and the new presidential dollar coins. The old as well as the new.

Jesus talks about the treasure. The treasure is given to those who know the kingdom, to the teachers of the law who have been instructed in the kingdom. They have old treasures and new treasures. We have before us in God’s word for today in this very precious book of God we’ve got an old treasure, don’t we? I think we would all agree the words were written more than 2000 years ago. The last books of the New Testament were written nearly 2000 years ago, but the words of the Old Testament are 3500 or so years old. So we would agree those are old words and this is an old treasure, but God tells us this is also a brand new treasure. How can something be old and new at the same time? Well, if something is eternal it is timeless and age really is meaningless. So from our perspective and eternal God is ancient. He is an old treasure. His words must also then be an old treasure, but from the perspective of eternity, God is always brand-new. He never gets old or tired. His hair never turns gray and he never gets an aching back. The Lord is always brand new, and so the words that God speaks are eternal words that are always brand new. God is that way in his word is that way as well. An old treasure as well as a new treasure at the same time. What about this treasure? It is more valuable than all worldly wealth can ever be.

The first two parables in this series of three that we read in our gospel today, in the in the first one, the man found a treasure in a field, kind of like the pirate would hide his treasure chest in a cave somewhere. Bury it under the ground. In Jesus time there were no banks. You didn’t have FDIC insured accounts at any bank, and so if you had a treasure that you didn’t need for day-to-day living, you would hide it somewhere. Perhaps you would hide it in a hole in your yard, or in a hole in your field or under a tree or rock. And if you hid this treasure without telling anyone, say you died, and then nobody knew where that treasure was, it would stay there until somebody happened upon it by accident. And it sounds like this is what happened, that a man was digging in the field, perhaps it was plowing it up to plants and crops he found this treasure. What did he do? He buried it again, and then so that there would be no claim on his treasure, nobody else could possibly claim the right to it except him, he sold everything that he had so he could buy that field where the treasure had been found. This treasure was more valuable than anything else in his life. Anything else that he possessed. In the second story that Jesus told a similar. A Pearl merchant, a purveyor of perfect pearls was looking and found one that was of extremely great value. So what did he do? He sold all the rest of his possessions so that he could buy that one pearl. He knew that that Pearl would set him up for life. He would have savings enough so that he could retire and take life easy.

More valuable than anything that we could ever possess is the gospel because the gospel, this old story that is the same as the new song that we will sing in eternity this treasure is more valuable than anything that we’ve got. We would trade anything for this treasure, wouldn’t we? I once had a confirmation student tell me I would never disown my God. Nothing is so important as my relationship to Christ. I would rather be anything else than to not be a believer. Those were his words 20 years ago and it’s sad to say that at this time at this point he no longer confesses Christianity to be his faith. At one time he professed that this was more important than anything else in his life, but the distractions of life and the deceitfulness of wealth, as Jesus put it in our reading two weeks ago, have choked away the gospel flame in his heart. He doesn’t see the gospel as the most important gift anymore. I think that if we want to continue to see the gospel as the important and valuable treasure that it is, it’s important for us to keep it polished. It’s important for us to keep it fresh. We need to continue to read our Bibles regularly. Continue to listen to the teachings of God’s word. Continue to receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper. Continue to treasure the fellowship of believers and your family and friends, your brothers and sisters in the Lord. If we continue to treasure the word and the sacrament, it will continue to remain an important treasure to us. If we starve ourselves of this treasure, if we keep it away from us, everything else will seem so much more shiny. Everything else will seem so much more fun. There is no treasure that we could ever have that has the same kinds of benefits that this word of God has. The treasure of the gospel is something that not only can give us a good life today but it’s something that gives us blessings lasting far into eternity. In fact, all the way through eternity. The third parable the third story the Jesus tells is about to the dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. And we can certainly think of how the gospel has gathered in fish, that is people from all over the world of all different colors, and all different ethnicities, all different economic levels, all different languages all different attitudes and personalities. The word the dragnet has gathered them all together but it has also captured up not only the good fish the faithful believers but also bad fish. The church is filled with both good and bad just like Jesus parable last week taught us.

And so there is a warning here for us to be the good fish to listen to the words of Christ. Keep on listening to those words of Christ. Keep on letting the Holy Spirit bear fruit through you, or this is what could happen; the angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous who are among them, and they will throw the wicked into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. That’s a very sad fate and I hope that my friends who are no longer following the way of Christ will return to it again. I pray for that often. I should pray for daily. We all pray and we hope for our loved ones that they will find the gospel that they will hear the witnessing of someone whether it’s us or a family member or a stranger. Someone that will plant that seed in their heart. Why not let that person be you? Let the words of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom. And as you sing songs hymns and spiritual songs in your hearts with gratitude toward God, Let’s treasure both those old things and those new things that God has for us.

Amen

Bible Readings

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

  1. More valuable than all worldly wealth
  2. With benefits lasting into eternity
SERMON TEXT:  Matthew 13:44–52

See Gospel Below


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  1 Kings 3:5-12

The Lord appeared to Solomon in Gibeon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask for whatever I may give to you.” Solomon said, “You have shown great mercy and faithfulness to your servant, my father David, just as he walked before you in truth, righteousness, and uprightness of heart toward you. You have shown this great mercy and faithfulness to him and have given him a son who is sitting on his throne as it is today. Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in the place of my father David, but I am a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is among your people, which you have chosen, a great people which cannot be counted or numbered because they are so many. Now give to your servant a listening heart to judge your people, to discern between good and evil, for who is able to judge this great people of yours?” What Solomon asked for was good in the eyes of the Lord. God said to him, “Because you have asked for this, and you have not asked for a long life, nor have you asked for riches, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but you have asked for discernment to reach just verdicts, therefore listen: I will act according your words. Yes, I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you before, nor will anyone like you rise up after you.”

SECOND LESSON:  1 Timothy 6:17–21

Instruct those who are rich in this present age not to be arrogant or to put their hope in the uncertainty of riches, but rather in God, who richly supplies us with all things for our enjoyment. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share. In this way they are storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, turning away from godless, empty talk and the contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge.” By professing it, some have veered away from the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  John 6:68

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

GOSPEL: Matthew 13:44–52

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid again. In his joy, he goes away and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls. When he found one very valuable pearl, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When the net was filled, they pulled it onto the shore. They sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but threw the bad ones away. That is how it will be at the end of the world. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous who are among them. And they will throw the wicked into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus said to them, “Did you understand all these things?” They answered him, “Yes.” He said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained as a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure both new things and old things.”

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