The readings for the past few weeks (Matthew 13) have been teaching us about the Kingdom of God. In the Parable of the Sower Jesus focuses on how people respond to the Word of God. In the Parable of the Weeds Jesus teaches us how to deal with evil. In the three parables for today Jesus is teaching us that not everyone is included and how important it is to be included in the Kingdom. Those who are included should be able to bring out our treasures from our own experience of the Kingdom to share with others. Let me model this for you by bringing out three treasures from my study and experience of the Kingdom.
1. Let me share my treasure of knowing the Bible as True truth
My first kingdom treasure is a lesson learned long ago as I was reading the Bible. The Reading was about Isaiah - “setting his face like flint” in the face of opposition. Isaiah helped me understand what I was getting into in my preaching. Christian teachers often have to choose between either trying to please everyone; or confronting people with what the Bible actually says about self-sacrifice, loyalty, holiness and loving God. Reading the whole Bible through three times and every day since has convinced me that the supernatural worldview of the Bible is not mythical but authentic - evidence of healing in all times and places
- · Francis Schaeffer described the Bible as 'true truth' - does include poetry, story and allegory but these all teach us spiritual truths
- · Biblical teachings on unforgiven sins, including sexual immorality, leading to spiritual death are authentic (God is holy)
- · The Parable of the division of the fish - some are rejected by God and their fate is like being thrown into an eternal fire is authentic (watch the Howard Storm video on utube for a modern account)
- Believers are forgiven repented sins, healed, restored to covenant
- Daily personal Bible reading is essential to a serious Christian life
- Christians have to chose between going along to get along – and directly challenging the culture and facing opposition (like Jesus)
2. My treasure of the Holy Spirit growing invisibly inside me
The real treasure many people in our time are desperately trying to find is a personal spiritual life. In the movie “Eat, Pray Love” the countries chosen to be in for these activities are Italy, India and Bali. The (probably baptized Christian) seeker goes to India to experience of prayer. She, like many of us growing up in the Anglican Church; apparently reached adulthood without any real understanding or experience of personal prayer or the Holy Spirit in Christianity.
- Like all believers I have received the gifts of Holy Spirit as a sign of inclusion - love, joy, peace, patience, long suffering and knowledge
- Holy Spirit guides me in self-examination so I can repent, confess and be forgiven the things that are polluting my spiritual life
- Holy Spirit connects my personal spirit to Jesus and other people who can help me grow in my spiritual life
- Holy Spirit helps me understand what the Bible is saying to prepare sermons and guide me in life
- I get words of knowledge, prophecy and sometimes pray in tongues
- Holy Spirit has comforted and healed me emotionally and spiritually
- I have prayed for people and seen them healed from cancer
- Lucille and I have prayed for people to heal them from the wounds of sin including sexual abuse
- We have been guided by the Holy Spirit in freeing people through prayer ministry from the bondage of alcoholism, identity theft, Masonic curses and generational sin
- I am working on a spiritual autobiography about discovering, developing and healing spiritual life
3. My treasure of being included in the Kingdom
In the Parables the seeker sells everything they have to possess the Treasure or the Pearl.
· I gave up a successful career as a professional librarian and consultant to respond to a divine call to be a priest
· I have given up all the things that could prevent me from being part of the Heavenly Kingdom
· Priority is my daily devotions and relationship of love and obedience to Jesus
· I try to find out what King Jesus wants me to do and then do it..
· I have had a vision of God as a great light at the centre of the Kingdom - light spreads outward and brings joy to the millions and millions of people all standing in the presence of God. In comparison all our worldly wealth and power has no value.
· I try to live my spiritual life 'in-Jesus' - emotionally and spiritually with one foot on the earth and the other emotionally in the spiritual dimension
· Jesus taught us to pray 'Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
· We are already living in Jesus Kingdom on Earth
· Kingdom of Jesus on Earth comes more fully as more and more people believe in Him and obey His commands
King Jesus is counting on us to reach out in love to those around us and tell them the good news of God's grace, love, forgiveness and healing