If you, my friends, have ever sat under man-centered preaching you’ve no doubt heard repeatedly how great you are in God’s eyes. Although this is the exact opposite of what Christ preached during His Earthly ministry, and all of Scripture agrees, it doesn’t seem to sell as well. As many of you know, I spent a fair amount of time in the Word of Faith movement, more than a decade. God saved me out of that by His grace, and while I’ll never understand that as a wretch completely deserving of Hell, I will be eternally grateful to my Lord! It still catches me off guard when in my studies, or devotional time, I find a verse that was often taken out of context. This is what has happened with Matthew 13:44-46.
First I want to clear something up that’s very important. The reason Jesus gives for teaching in parables is completely different than the reason often given today. While I researched this I found several groups, including LDS, teaching that Christ was speaking in parables to reach His listeners. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus was doing. Having been rejected by the Jewish leaders and accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan, He spoke in parables so that they would not understand. He then explained them to His disciples privately. He tells us this prior to the parable in question, back in verse 13 of the same chapter. It’s also written in Luke 8:10 and Mark 4:12, and is a fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures.
Back to the parable itself, I can clearly remember being told that the man in this parable is Jesus, and of course, we’re the treasure He bought at a great price. While it’s true that our salvation came at a great price, that’s not what these verses are referring to. Over and over again, while I researched the different views of these parables attempting to find where the disconnect started, I found this same error. We’re the treasure in the field, Christ left heaven to purchase us. We’re the pearl of great price, Christ paid it all to redeem us. But a clear reading of the parables shows a very obvious picture. The kingdom of heaven is the treasure, we’re the ones that must count the cost. Ligioneer Ministries does an excellent job of fleshing this one out in this devotional here.
Mankind seems obsessed with bringing God lower and elevating man’s position higher. We love to hear how important we are, we feed on the twisting of Scripture with itching ears, so long as it builds up our inflated egos. Scripture is clear throughout, God is the only one who deserves glory, honor, and praise. Christ did not come to die for us because we are so great, but because our sins are so great. He is loving, kind, and merciful. He is also just, righteous, and holy. It would be entirely just for God to save none of the rebellious, God-hating, sinners on this Earth. It is an extreme example of His endless kindness that He saves some. The kingdom of God is of inestimable value, and when we consider this we willingly sell all that we have and follow Christ.
Please understand, dear ones, this does not mean that we need to be homeless and give everything away. It means the kingdom is worth turning our back on the worldly sins we once loved, like speaking wealth and fame. It’s worth humbling ourselves, casting aside pride, destroying the ego, and bowing our knee to the one true Savior. We must love Christ more than husband or wife, mother or father, son or daughter, because His kingdom is of endless value, and He is worthy! If you have repented and put your faith in Christ, then you have been saved, and adopted into His kingdom. That is a true treasure, that is what is of great price! It also does not mean that you are not loved. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him may not die but have everlasting life. But this text is not about us, it doesn’t give us any glory, there is nothing here for us to boast in.
We couldn’t even make our own heartbeat without Gods sovereign will continuing the electrical pulse pushing and pulling inside you. If you think that’s not true, go and search for the men and women who’s heart stops with no warning. We don’t even own the air we breathe, it’s borrowed from the One who created it. You, oh man, you think you are high and lifted up? Do you think you are of an inestimable price? What could we possibly offer God? Nothing. Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling. God has saved us, not because of our worth, but because He is merciful. This man-centered preaching is designed to draw men in, make them feel good about themselves, and give them the impression that the man standing on the stage is such a good and kind man. For love of self, men preach falsehood! They want to be liked, they want to be adored, to hear their name spoken well of. Who is deserving of all honor, praise, and glory? The thrice holy God, or a hireling that calls himself an undershepherd? When the wolves come, and they will come, these men flee!
Let us avoid man-centered preaching and teaching, and rather take God’s Word seriously enough to read it in its context. If you have been saved you have no need of bolstering, you’ve already received enough kindness and mercy to carry you through eternity. We must spend our days here glorifying God and making Him known to the lost. We will give an account to God for every idle word spoken, every word my beloved friends! God is great, He is kind, He is worthy, but even our righteousness is as filthy rags! How can we ever consider ourselves to be pearls of great price? No, dear ones, humble yourselves before such a great God, and give Him all the glory! As always, beloved brethren, be good Bereans and study to show yourselves approved.