Trinity 20 - Matthew 13:44-50

Matthew 13:44-50

“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.

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

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


Dear Fellow Redeemed:

A treasure. People find a treasure. Then they use whatever means they have to acquire it. They find a treasure. They acquire it. That in two short parables in our text. Then another short parable about fisherman sorting good fish from bad. A picture of the Last Judgment, Jesus says. So, three short parables about priceless treasure, and the prospect of keeping or losing it.


God’s kingdom is what the treasure hidden in a field; and the fine pearls represent.

Joy is what the person feels in finding the treasure. Putting aside everything else he has in favor of having that one invaluable thing, is what the person does after finding it.


To be so joyful about something that it’s worth trading everything else for it - that’s significant joy, isn’t it? Jesus indicates that the joy He’s talking about is so significant

that we can’t even fully imagine its value. He wants us to see that losing this particular treasure would be absolutely disastrous. It would be disastrous even beyond this life - in fact, especially beyond this life. Disaster in this life comes to an end, you know.


Hell is the ultimate disaster. It’s more disastrous than the disasters politicians talk about, or that money managers talk about. And hell is part of what Jesus is talking about in the third parable in our text. He says, The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


You might be thinking, Why are we talking about such horrible things? We certainly would have more pleasant things to talk about, wouldn’t we? We could talk about the weather, for instance - like people often do when they don’t want to face up to a difficult reality.


The Bible tells us that our reality is difficult. By the very nature we’ve inherited, and by the sins that we ourselves have committed, we stand - according to our natural status - as enemies of the God Who made us. According to justice we belong, not with Him, but in hell. We belong in what Jesus describes in His parable as a fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Aw, that can’t be true, we say to ourselves. After all, the parable says, the angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous. And our logic goes that evil isn’t what we are. That describes a different kind of people. That describes people who do really bad things. The bad things we do wouldn’t be described as evil...just bad.


God says through the prophet Isaiah in our Old Testament lesson:

I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;

I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.

I said, “Here I am, here I am,”

to a nation that was not called by my name.

I spread out my hands all the day

to a rebellious people,

who walk in a way that is not good,

following their own devices.


“I spread out my hands,” He says. We might imagine a father who indicates that he wants a hug from his child; but the child walks right past.


And the thing is, the people He’s talking about - His Old Testament people weren’t all that different from us. They were just living their lives in this world, raising their children, working in their occupations, enjoying their hobbies. They had been faithful to the true God at times.

In Joshua’s time, just before they took possession of the Promised Land of Canaan, the people said, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods, for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed” (Joshua 24:16, 17). They go on to say, “Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for He is our God” (24:18b). They worshipped the LORD, and they paid attention to His Word.


They might remind us of people who have just completed the class we have for those who want to join the church, who want to join our communion fellowship. They have just been

filled up with God’s Word and instruction. They’re excited. They highly prioritize coming to church to hear God’s Word and to worship with fellow believers. They relish communing at the Lord’s Table with those who have been similarly instructed according to God’s Word, and who have made the same confession of faith. They exemplify the Psalmist’s words, I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1)! Very similar to God’s people in Joshua’s time. No doubt, they would similarly say their words, “Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for He is our God” (24:18b).


But the people of Joshua’s time were also living their lives in this world. And by Isaiah’s time this world and its things, and its words had become to many of them, more important than the true God. God describes Himself in our Old Testament lesson like a true love who has been cast aside for an inferior other. Those who have just joined the church never imagine that such words could ever come to describe them.


But is there any question that the same danger exists for us? The statistics demonstrate it.

Churches are shrinking, including ours. Younger generations have less interest in God’s things than their parents did.


But it isn’t just other people; it’s us too. God said to His Old Testament people, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today….it is no empty word for you, but your very life.” Does that describe our level of commitment to God’s Word? Or is it much more often an afterthought, something we have more or less tolerated on Sunday mornings? And then, aren’t we quite a bit like God’s Old Testament people, the ones to whom He says, “Here I am, here I am,” but who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices?

Evil doesn’t just describe people who do really bad things. It describes people who, according to an inherited sinful nature, ignore the merciful invitation of the true God. It has reasonably described you. It has reasonably described me.


God is the king in Jesus’ parable in our Gospel lesson, the one giving a wedding feast for His Son. He sends out servants with the invitation: “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.” Very similar to, “Here I am, here I am.” That’s Who God is. He invites people who don’t deserve Him (including us). He offers to make them deserving of Him. But their being deserving of Him will never come about of themselves. The righteous whom the angels will separate out from the evil won’t be the ones who’ve managed to avoid doing really bad things. The righteous will be the ones who have come to possess a great treasure so valuable that a person trades everything else in order to have it.


God’s kingdom is available through Christ alone. He is the truly righteous One Who makes you righteous. It’s only for His sake that God says, “Here I am, here I am,” that He spreads out His hands (like a Father) to a rebellious people (like us). Christ is God’s mercy for you. God extends Him as the sacrifice that pays your price and reconciles you to Him. His blood has bought your forgiveness. Through faith in Him you are able to be separated out as the righteous who possess the invaluable treasure of God’s kingdom. In your Baptism God has connected you to this righteousness and has given you the Spirit who preserves it in you. Through this Word and through the Supper the Spirit fans the flame of your faith, enabling it to endure unto eternal life.


Paul says in our Epistle lesson, Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15). Think about how that passage relates to someone finding an invaluable treasure and then trading everything in order to have it. Making the best use of the time. By God’s grace you have found this invaluable treasure. Rejoice in possessing what has no equal. Rejoice in the forgiveness that makes you a possessor of Christ’s righteousness for eternal life. Amen.


Other Texts for this Sunday:

Isaiah 65:1-2

I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;

I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.

I said, “Here I am, here I am,”

to a nation that was not called by my name.

I spread out my hands all the day

to a rebellious people,

who walk in a way that is not good,

following their own devices


Ephesians 5:15-21

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.


St Matthew 22:1-14

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

7 views

1592 SE Floresta Dr.

Port St. Lucie, FL

34983

Map

772 879-1353 School

772 879-1839 Church

772 879-1705 Fax

FACEBOOK:

Church | School

Sunday Study 9am

Sunday School 9am

Wednesday Study 6pm

Sunday Service 10am

Copyright Christ Lutheran Church of St. Lucie County Inc., 2017,