Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.” (NASB)
This verse offers a unique perspective of how someone hears the message, contemplates the message, and then receives by faith the message to be saved as well as be used by God. The emphasis Christians place on salvation often prevents the lost from coming to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. This happens for many reasons; a primary one is that the Gospel is very attractive, but the cost of Lordship is tremendous. Christians assume that someone is saved if they are enticed or touched by the message, even though that someone lacks the faith to believe, much less makes Him Lord. Instead of continuing to water the planted seed, we walk away rejoicing in someone’s attraction to the Gospel. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3:6, explains God’s way, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (NIV) The parable of the sower (Matthew 13:18-23) helps explain why enticement to the Gospel does not always lead to salvation. The hardness of a person’s heart to ask Jesus to be one’s Lord, personal desires (some call them idols) that come before God, and hard times that push one away from God all contribute to someone rejecting Christ. Let’s learn some truths from Matthew 13:44 on how we can better plant and cultivate seeds of truth for salvation.
Consider that just as a wife does not become pregnant when she starts talking with her husband about having a baby, neither does the awakening of interest in Christ in an unbeliever from hearing the Christian message make him/her a Christian. Neither does a wife and a husband researching and studying having babies give them a child, anymore than a nonbeliever attending church every Sunday makes him/her saved. Just as the creation of a newborn baby results from the fertilization of the egg in the fallopian tube, so also the creation of a new Christian results from a nonbeliever’s response to the wooing of the Holy Spirit for salvation. This transformative response is not just composed of responding to knowledge; the Holy Spirit woos us to Himself leading to a conviction of faith and profession of Lordship. Romans 10:9-10 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (NIV)
A nonbeliever comes upon the Gospel’s truth which touches his/her life in a way nothing else has. He finds the Gospel of Jesus to be a treasure of immeasurable worth because it appears to satisfy his deepest longings. Hiding the treasure probably refers to the contemplation of the Gospel and the continued pressing of the Holy Spirit for salvation. There is great joy when one’s contemplation of the Gospel becomes a profession of faith and Lordship. The result of knowing Christ as Lord and Savior produces the conviction to follow Christ – no matter the cost.
One’s proclamation of faith and Lordship in Jesus sets him/her on the journey of knowing and experiencing God. Experiencing the wonder of salvation in increasing measures should lead a newborn Christian to a deepening Lordship in his/her life. The joy of becoming like Christ and experiencing increasing measures of His grace, love, and work will magnify your experience with Him while further deepening your commitment and intimacy with Christ. Psalm 17:15 describes David’s experience of following God, “As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake.” (NASB) Recognize the treasure you have in Christ and pursue Him to experience all that He has for you. This journey of faith and Lordship will bring inexpressible joy as you are sanctified (made like Christ) in Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:13b-14 “From the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
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