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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                 The Kingdom Of Great Value (13:44-46)

INTRODUCTION

1. During His earthly ministry, the key theme of His preaching and 
   teaching was "the kingdom of heaven"...
   a. He began His ministry proclaiming it was at hand - Mt 4:17,23
   b. He sent His apostles on the limited commission to proclaim the
      same message - Mt 10:7

2. He taught many parables to illustrate great truths about this 
   kingdom...
   a. Through which He revealed many things that had previously been
      secret - Mt 13:34-35
   b. Like the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great
      price - Mt 13:44-46

3. In these two parables, Jesus illustrated the kingdom to be one of
   great value...
   a. So great that one who stumbles upon it sells all to obtain it
   b. So great that one searching for it sells all to buy it

4. In this lesson, I wish to address several questions that come to 
   mind...
   a. What is this "kingdom"?  
   b. Why is it considered to be of such great value?  
   c. Is it really worth it?
   d. What will it cost us?  

[Let's begin, then, with the first question...]

I. WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

   A. IT INVOLVES FOUR INTER-RELATED IDEAS...
      1. God's kingship, rule, or recognized sovereignty
         a. The term "kingdom" as used by the Jews often stressed the
            abstract idea of rule or dominion, not a geographical area
            surrounded by physical boundaries
         b. It is used this way by Jesus in Mt 6:10 - "Your KINGDOM 
            come; Your WILL be done..." (note the connection between 
            kingdom and will)
            -- Thus, the "kingdom of heaven" would involve the rule of
               heaven in the hearts of men
      2. This rule of heaven is spiritual in nature
         a. It is not a physical kingdom - cf. Jn 18:36
         b. But one that is spiritual - cf. Ro 14:17
      3. Its visible manifestation today is in the form of the Lord's
         church
         a. For the church is that community of souls in whose hearts
            God is recognized as Sovereign
         b. That the church constitutes the kingdom of God on earth, 
            consider:
            1) How the term "church" and "kingdom" were used 
               interchangeably - Mt 16:18
            2) Comments made to those who were in the church - Col 1:13;
               1Th 2:12
            3) The description of those in the churches of Asia - Re 1:
               4,6,9
      4  It has a future element as well as a present one
         a. Its future aspect is spoken of by Jesus, Paul, Peter 
            - Mt 25:34; 1Co 15:50; 2Ti 4:18; 2Pe 1:10-11
         b. Peter described the coming of its future state in 2Pe 3:
            10-13

   B. THE KINGDOM IS THEREFORE BOTH PRESENT AND FUTURE...
      1. In the present sense...
         a. It is found wherever the sovereignty of God is accepted in
            the hearts of men
         b. It is a spiritual kingdom, for God rules in the hearts of
            men
         c. Its outward manifestation today is the Lord's church
         d. This rule or kingdom of God was "inaugurated" on the Day of
            Pentecost (Ac 2)
      2. In the future sense...
         a. The rule or kingdom of God will be "culminated" with the 
            coming of the Lord
         b. It will involve that "news heaven and a new earth in which
            righteousness dwells", described by Peter and John - 2 Pe
            3; Re 21-22
         c. It will be experienced only by those in the church who are
            submitting to God's will today! - cf. Mt 7:21-23; 2Pe 3:
            13-14

[Submitting to the rule of God so that we become part of His church is
how one enters the kingdom of heaven, both present and future.  This 
leads to our second question...]

II. WHAT IS THE GREAT VALUE OF THIS KINGDOM?

   A. IT IS A REFUGE FROM THE POWERS OF DARKNESS - Col 1:13
      1. Outside the kingdom, one is in the kingdom of Satan! - Ep 2:
         1-3
         a. Under his influence
         b. Trapped in various sins
      2. In the kingdom of Christ, we find deliverance and refuge
         a. Set free from sin to serve God - Ro 6:17-18
         b. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to
            bear - 1Co 10:12-13

   B. IT IS A DOMAIN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE AND JOY - Ro 14:17
      1. Righteousness which comes through faith in Christ - Php 3:8-9
      2. Peace from God through prayer which surpasses understanding 
         - Php 4:6-7
      3. Abiding joy in the Lord, no matter the circumstances - Php 4:4;
         2:17-19

   C. IT IS AN UNSHAKABLE KINGDOM - He 12:25-29
      1. It will never be destroyed - Dan 2:44
      2. Of this kingdom there will be no end - Lk 1:33
      3. It is truly an everlasting kingdom - 2Pe 1:10-11

   D. IT WILL BE PRESENTED TO GOD WHEN CHRIST RETURNS - 1Co 15:21-26
      1. At that time, those who are now "sons of the kingdom" will
         "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" 
         - Mt 13:41-43
      2. From then on, those in this kingdom will dwell in the presence
         of God - Re 21:1-7

[The value of this kingdom can be seen further as we consider our third
question...]

III. IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

   A. IF I COULD HAVE SOME "SPECIAL GUESTS"...
      1. I would ask Stephen to say if he thought it was worth it 
         - cf. Ac 7:54-60
      2. I would ask the early Christians who joyfully accepted the
         plundering of their goods and eventually received the promise
         - Ac 8:1-4; He 10:32-36
      3. I would ask the apostle Paul - 2Ti 3:10-13; 4:6-8,18
      4. I would ask one of your loved ones, a friend or relative, who
         died in Christ
      -- I am confident that they would all say forcefully, "Yes! It is
         worth giving up all!"

   B. IF I COULD, I WOULD HAVE JESUS...
      1. Who gave up all to die on the cross - Php 2:5-8
      2. Who became "poor" that we might become "rich" - 2Co 8:9
      -- I am persuaded that as He showed you His pierced hands and
         feet, He would say with love and great urgency, "Yes! My 
         kingdom is worth giving up all!"

[But what exactly must we give up?  To put it another way...]

IV. WHAT WILL THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN COST US?

   A. WE MUST PAY THE PRICE...
      1. Of repentance - cf. Mk 1:15
      2. Of being born again - cf. Jn 3:3-5
         a. Involving both outward and inward submission to the will of
            Christ
         b. A submission that will affect our whole life
      3. Of putting the kingdom first - Mt 6:33
         a. Before our riches - Mk 10:23-25
         b. Before our families - Mk 10:28-31
         c. Before ourselves - Lk 9:23-26

   B. ARE WE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE...
      1. Consider the parable of the dinner - Lk 14:15-24
      2. Are we guilty of the same?
         a. Putting financial concerns first?
         b. Putting family first?
      3. Our actions demonstrate whether we are willing to pay the 
         price; for example:
         a. Our devotion to the Word of God and prayer
         b. Our devotion to others in the church (kingdom) - He 10:
            24-25; Ro 15:1-3
         c. Our devotion to the lost - Col 1:28-29

CONCLUSION

1. The kingdom is truly one of great value...
   a. It was established through its purchase by the blood of Christ 
      - Ac 20:28
   b. Can we expect the Lord to accept anything less than our utmost
      devotion for the privilege of being in His eternal kingdom?
      1) We are admonished to walk in a manner worthy of the kingdom
         - 1Th 2:10-12
      2) But it may cost us greatly to be considered worthy - cf. 2 Th
         1:4-5

2. Our actions will demonstrate whether we value the greatness of this
   kingdom...
   a. By whether or not we obey the gospel!
   b. By whether or not we remain zealous and faithful in our service
      to the God!

3. I hope that in some way I have persuaded you that any price we pay
   is worthy of "The Kingdom Of Great Value"

If you are convinced that it is, and desire assistance in becoming or
remaining a faithful "citizen" of the kingdom, then let us know...
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