Sunday, June 25, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon How To Find a Hidden Treasure ]

Lonnie Branam
Matthew 13:44-46

In Matthew 13: 44-46 Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid, and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking goodly pearls, who, when he found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” The subject of both these metaphorical stories is the great and enjoyable experience of finding a hidden treasure.

There are people who have had the good fortune to find a hidden treasure. I read of a man in Pretoria, South Africa who literally stumbled upon the world's largest diamond in early 1905-- –all 3,106 carats of it. One hundred and five stones were cut from this diamond, known as the Culligan diamond. This man stumbled on quite a treasure. Others discover treasures, not by stumbling on to them, but by making a diligent search for them . Some find treasures searching for them in sunken ships in the ocean-beds of the world, and sometimes they make a great find. Nowadays, people dream of winning the Publisher's Clearing House or millions in the lottery. There is nothing more exciting that suddenly coming in possession of a fortune in one way or another..

This sort of thing happened in the days of Jesus, and He gave us two examples. He tells of a man who stumbled on to a treasure buried in a field, and sold everything he had to buy that field and take possession of that treasure. There were no Swiss banks in which people could stash away their money. To secure their wealth they often buried it in the ground in a secret location. It gained no interest, but at least it was secure. Unfortunately some people died before reclaiming their wealth. So there it lay just waiting for someone to discover it. In the other story Jesus tells of a man who was in the business of selling pearls, and he spent his life searching for the most valuable pearls he could find to resell. One day he found a pearl of unsurpassed value. So he too sells everything he has to purchase that pearl.

The first truth taught by these parables is the great value of the Christian religion. The treasure hidden in the field and the pearl of great price are metaphors representing the kingdom of heaven on earth. Both stories begin with, “The kingdom of heaven is like”, that is, like finding a treasure and a pearl of great price. The treasure and the pearl symbolically represent Christ, His church, religious truth, His salvation and all the


blessings associated with entering the kingdom of heaven, the church. These two parables have been called, “Parables of Preciousness, ” because they show how precious the Christian religion is and how it blesses the individual.

This treasure is the exciting discovery that God has visited this planet in the person of the second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ. This mysterious being existed with God in the beginning and was known in heaven as, “The Word.” All things were made by Him and for Him. He gave up His glory in heaven to become a man, and lived a perfect life for thirty three years on this planet. It is the good news of a crucified, buried , resurrected and glorified Lord. By the merit of His atoning death on the cross for the sins of the world, He now sits at the right hand of God, and has the gift of eternal life in His hands. God has authorized Him to offer eternal life to every accountable creature. This is the greatest treasure the inhabitants of planet earth can discover in their lifetime. The greatest discovery I have made in my lifetime is that there is a life available to me that will never end. That is the treasure of all treasures.

The second profound truth taught in these parables is that the kingdom of heaven, and its attendant blessings, is hid in the world. It is the pronouncement of heaven that the religious truth Christ brought to the world, and the church He purchased with His own blood, is like a treasure hid in a field. One parable reveals that true religion is not easy to find. It is compared to a treasure hid in a field. The other parable reveals that the New Testament church is the pearl of great price, and it must be diligently searched for to find it. This is an astonishing truth. God sent Christ to establish the kingdom of God on earth, and now we are told it is hidden and not easy to find. In what sense is the truth about the church and religion hidden in the world, and why did God hide it? Well, God didn't hide it; Satan hid it. He doesn't want anyone to find it. Both scripture and experience testify that true religion is hard to come by, and it is indeed hard to discover.

How shall we explain this unfortunate turn of events? Peter explains the cause in 2 Peter 2:1,2. Writing to Christians the apostle said, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction, and many will follow their destructive ways because of whom
the way of truth will be blasphemed.” Peter said there were false teachers


in the Jewish religion who all but ruined it, and revealed that there would be false teachers in the Christian religion, and many weak Christians would follow these teachers. It is for this reason that the true religion that Jesus and the apostles brought to the world is hard to find.

There are some 13 world religions, embracing millions of people, but people can be saved only in one religion, the religion of Christ. If the religion of Christ was easy to find, there would not be so many different religions in the world. The Bible says, “There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” God has given Jesus a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow..” But there is a treasure hidden among the many religions of the world, and it the Christian religion. Blessed are those who find it.

Furthermore, Satan has introduced such confusion into the Christian religion that followers of Christ don't know what church they should be a member of. He has done this by the use of religious teachers who add to and take away from the teachings of Jesus. There are literally hundreds of differing churches in Christendom.. Even though the world is full of Bibles, preachers and churches, the chaos of religious confusion, masterminded by Satan, is a brilliant piece of deception to turn the human race away from God by making the original church hard to find. All this confusion turns many would-be prospects off. Most all churches in he world today have some resemblances to the church we read about in the New Testament, and it is the resemblances that create the deception. Satan has succeeded in camouflaging the Church He purchased with His own blood, and it confuses even the followers of Christ.. Jesus said His church kingdom is like a treasure hid in a field. It is waiting to be discovered, but millions of people have never found the Church of God or the true worship of God.

Finally, these two little parables reveal the two principal ways people discover the church and the salvation which is in it. Strange to say, some find the New Testament Church quite accidentally, when really there were not even looking for it. But others find the truth because they are diligent religious seekers. They have a great desire to know the truth, to know God's will, and they find it because they have been looking for it.

The man who found the hid treasure in the field apparently was not looking for a treasure. He just stumbled on to it. It was an unexpected discovery. Just as this treasure was found, so the truth and salvation is discovered and accepted by many today. Many people have literally


stumbled on the truth quite accidentally. Saul of Tarsus, as he traveled from Jerusalem to Damascus to persecute Christians, had no idea that he would soon become a Christian. He was not seeking Christ or the truth, but he found both. As far as he was concerned, he stumbled on to it by the mercy and goodness of God. Many years ago, a young couple drove into the church parking lot on a motorcycle, and asked me the address of certain church they wanted to attend. Someone had recommended to them a church that had several hundred members. .I gave them the directions, but invited them to worship with us, and they accepted my invitation. They never left. They found the treasure. I eventually baptized them both. How did this happen?. They got the wrong address and ended up at the Church of Christ. Just one visit, and that accidentally, caused them to stumble on the hidden treasure. They became faithful Christians. A religious tract picked up on the sidewalk has been known eventually to lead people to the truth.

When I was preaching in Ranger, Texas, one of the members arranged a wedding for his son. It so happened that it was to be on a Sunday afternoon. A certain woman, in some way connected to the family, came from out of town just for the wedding. She was a member of one of the denominational churches with no doubts about her religious condition. Out of respect for the family, she attended the services of the Church of Christ that Sunday morning. As I recall, I was speaking on the differences that distinguish the Church of Christ from all other churches in Christendom.

I did not learn until many months later what that one visit meant to that woman. She wasn't looking for anything when she came, but she stumbled on the hidden treasure. I was told that after the service she went to her motel, threw herself on the bed and wept uncontrollably. She promised herself that she would not rest until she found out if what she heard was true. She had been impressed with the possibility that she was not in the right church and if what she heard was true, she had discovered a valuable truth. In the ensuing weeks she determined to find out if the things she had heard were true, and she did not rest until she found the truth. In time she obeyed the gospel and was baptized into Christ. She found the treasure Jesus mentioned in the parable and went and sold all she had and bought that field. She gave up her church, religious friends and even offended relatives. Really, she stumbled on to the truth, as many others have done. A few stumble on to the church by marriage to a Christian or just by working beside a Christian.


But there is another way people find the truth about Christ and His church. They deliberately set out in search of Christ and the truth, like the man in the parable whose business was to search for valuable pearls. He didn't stumble on to this valuable pearl; he was looking for great pearls. He knew pearls, and one day he found one of surpassing value. He sold all the pearls he had and bought that pearl of great price.. The pearl merchant represents people today who are sincerely seeking the truth. and love to study the Bible. But their problem is they do not understand the Bible. These people sometimes discover the truth by hearing the truth preached or by studying the Bible themselves.

In a certain city where I preached, one of the members was married to a man who the treasurer of a large church in the city. They were looking for a new preacher, and he decided to attend our services with his wife, who was a faithful Christian. He attended my Sunday morning Bible class for six months, and during those six months of Bible study, he found the pearl of great price. He sold everything he had and bought that pearl. He was a religious and devout man and had served God as best he knew how. But he left the church of his parents, brothers, and respected religious friends for the pearl of great price. The pearl he found was the Church of Christ. I will never forget a statement he made to me when he said, “The people in the Church of Christ don't know the value of what they have.” It was a traumatic experience for him, but he became one of the Elders in the Lord's church. Dear reader, it may be you have stumbled on to the truth, by clicking on to this website and this particular message. Or it may be you are a seeker after the truth, and if so you will find a wealth of Bible knowledge on this website, which is dedicated to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As there was only one pearl of great price, so there is only one true religion, one Savior, one plan of salvation, one way to be saved, and one way to live pleasing unto God. Until we find this one way and walk in it, we have not found the pearl of great price. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a hid treasure, but you do make it yours till you enter that kingdom, and there is only one way to enter into it. Jesus said, “Except one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” To be born of the Spirit is to be brought to sincere faith and repentance by the teachings of the Holy Sprit. To be born of the water is to be immersed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Baptism is the distinguishing mark that separates the lost from the saved. The Bible says, “We are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. If you have any questions, call the number on this website.

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