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January 13, 2022 12:01 am
Christians have an ethical imperative to align their personal values with the value God assigns to all things. Today, R.C. Sproul shares two short parables in which Jesus challenges us about what we truly value.
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Everyone has a value system. As Christians we have an imperative an ethical imperative to bring our personal values into line with the values that God himself assigns to things in this world. Jesus told the man who found a huge treasure in the field. Would you do if you made such a fine you be willing to give up everything to keep it will learn a lesson about kingdom values today on Renewing Your Mind as we continued on dry season full series. The parables of Jesus in this session of our study of the parables were going to look at who similar but very short parables that Jesus gave his disciples and there found in Matthew chapter 13 beginning at verse 44. In reading through verse 45. In these two parables are called the parable of the hidden treasure and the parable of the Pearl of great price. I'll read them briefly and then comment on them. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like 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 the field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls who want to have found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Both of these parables are concerned with Jesus teaching us something about the kingdom of God or is Matthew calls it the kingdom of heaven, but both of them are concerned with the question of value and that's an idea that is discussed frequently in our modern world, particularly when there are political campaigns to be undertaken. You will hear candidates referring to problems of family values were national values or whatever other kind of values that they may be concerned about, and what concerns me in the way this word is used in the contemporary culture isn't so often the idea of value or values is used as a synonym for ethics, but they are not the same thing. Values have to do with subjective appraisals of some things worth to an individual that is to say what we hold to be important to ourselves or worth to ourselves or something to be deemed significant in that can be simply a matter of personal preference in the science of economics we learn of the subjective theory of value.
Nobody can tell me what my cars value is to me. You can tell me what its value might be to you if you wanted to purchase it but we don't have exactly the same value systems. This is one of the reasons for example that how money is spent and used within the family is the number three because according to people's statements for divorce in America arguments over money because when two people marry, they don't bring the same exact value system in to the marriage as their partner does in every marriage, whether it's a marriage of billionaires or of poppers involves the joints property that is finite in value and so every time a dollar is spent on one thing that is a lost opportunity for spring spent on something else and if you have a finite amount of money in your house and the man wants to buy golf clubs and the woman wants to buy new sheets for the bed. You can have a conflict over that because the man values golf clubs more than she and the woman tends to value sheets more than 10 golf clubs and so we have this problem of value and where it relates itself to ethics is that ethics has to do not with that which is subjective.
But that which is object ethics has to do not with so much what we esteem or what we hold in high worth or value, but ethics has to do with what we ought to do now when we relate these two questions we see that God has a value system and we have our value system and our value systems don't always agree with the value system of God and where this matter becomes ethical is. As Christians we have an imperative an ethical imperative to bring our personal values into line with the values that God himself assigns to things in this world of Jesus and giving his announcement of the breakthrough of the kingdom of God is announcing something here of an estimable value to people who, for the most part. Do not place a high value upon it and so he gives these two brief parables to illustrate his point. The first is of a man who finds a great treasure in the field. Now we have movies and novels about treasure hunts and about pirates in the Caribbean who bury great rewards of treasure on some remote island and then they leave a map so they can recover that at a later date them X marks the spot and then their ship goes down and nobody knows, perhaps of the map, and sooner or later somebody finds the map and I get all excited and so they gonna treasure hunt, hoping somehow to rediscover the buried treasure. Well, in the ancient world. It was not uncommon for the vast hordes of money jewels and treasure be hidden secretly in fields where people would know where they buried it and keep it safe her mother that in got out of the First National Bank of the Jericho and deposit their valuables in their safety deposit box. They hid their money frequently by digging a hole in the ground and were only they knew it will then a person dies in memory covers the treasurer and time passes and everybody forgotten about it. And this man is happy to be working in a field one day and here's a client with his shovel and he sees that he's uncovered a treasure chest of a vast multitude of valuables contained within it and apparently the he doesn't know the owner of the field or any of that sort of thing. Jesus doesn't go to great detail here other than the tell us that the man does and sells everything that he hats all of his possessions because he has one burning passion and that is to raise enough capital so he can go by that field where he knows the treasurer is in and once he then owns the field then the treasure that is buried there becomes his possession doesn't steal the treasure they simply try to find a way to earn enough money to buy the field, I recently saw film that put the ancient parables in modern context, and in this particular parable. It showed the man was a struggling realtor who was trying to sell a leak piece of property near an inner-city and by an interstate and he tried to pitch to his people who came to look at the property which receive the rundown had been occupied for over 50 years. He tried to sell them on its potential. People take one look at this rat trap and laugh at him and leave and he was in his frustration he was ready to leave the site when he dropped his cell phone on the ground and when he picked it up. Believers like Jim Clampett and the Beverly hillbillies's cell phone is covered with oil so you start turning over rocks and doing some more investigation goes through an analyst and finds out there's this huge reservoir of oil beneath this abandoned property. So he tries to convince his wife that they need to raise the money to buy the property and the story goes, how he has a yard sale and they put the refrigerator and stove on their television set in their car have a for sale sign on their house the other close out their their jewelry everything in their selling everything. Total liquidation because they need to sell everything that they have in order to get the money they need to buy the property where he knows the oil is underneath was interesting in this particular modern-day version of the parable of the hidden treasure is the reaction of the man's friends and even family. They think that he has lost his mind. Why are you selling everything he said because I'm going to make an investment in an oilfield message to know how many people go broke investing in oil where the holes come up dry here in saying this is just utterly irresponsible, but he won't listen to them. He's bound and determined and sure enough he races the money that he needs and he buys the property and it's a bonanza of oil that makes him as rich as Jim Clampett so they can move to Beverly Hills with the rest of the Beverly hillbillies. That's the idea weathers nothing untoward or unethical about this man's procedure here but the point of the parable is a very simple one that this man found something that was so valuable that nothing would do for him that he might possess it would give up everything that he had so everything that he could so they could buy that field because he knew there was treasure there of an estimable value in Jesus gives another parable right along side a bit in the Julie merchant who majors in the selling of pearls and in this part of the ancient near East pearls were much more rare than they are today and pearls could be seen as having greater value than even diamonds and rubies and emeralds in gold and silver in this man had a magnificent collection of pearls and then one day he came upon this exquisite parole that was so lustrous, so marvelous, so beautiful that all the rest of the pearls in his collection seem to fade into insignificance and so the man said I have to hone per so he sold his whole collection of jewels is whole business divested himself up everything to one and I must have that pearl, that pearl of great price to see the common point in both of these that you have something extremely valuable. That is worth selling everything that you have so that you may possess it in Jesus is saying this is how valuable the kingdom of God is you go back to the subjective theory of value and questions that we deal with in debates all the time about profit.
For example, in business is to give economics lessons to students in the classical Christian school in I would ask some simple questions like this affect shoe manufacturer manufactures a pair shoes and it costs them $10 to make a pair shoes and he takes that pair shoes and he sells it at the wholesale price of $15 to a shoe store operator and he makes five dollars on the transaction. I say who profits meso then the shoe store owner marks the price up to $25. He bought it for 15 he selling it now for 25 and when he sells it to the customer who profits and so all I asked the students in this illustration what people in this story make a profit and that's easy for the mission will obviously the shoe manufacturer made a profit when he sold his shoes through the retail store owner with in the retail store owner made a profit when he sold those shoes to the customer. The came in the door and that's right that's okay. Who else problem and they give me a blank stare just like you are. Who else we discovered the remains made a profit. I synonymous my mother still somebody else who makes a profit in this transaction is new to the customer.
Customer make a profit while the men at the shoe store operator puts a price tag on his shoes. That's higher than the customer values those shoes but will the customer to he will buy. But if the price is $25 and he wants to shoes more than he wants a $25 in his pocket ill make the deal.
That's the way it's supposed to work. It used to be that way when we bartered you know the man who was the cattle razor would have make a deal with the shoemaker shoemaker was hungry at 100 pairs of shoes he couldn't wear.
Although shoes, the cattle rancher had thousands of stakes in his freezer, but his feet were cold, so they got together and they decided to make a deal trading stakes for shoes and it's simple in that kind of the transaction to see that there was mutual profitability going on there, but we often miss the point that in a free economy and no one tells you you have to buy something when you make a purchase you are exercising your system of values of Jesus goes further with this one.
He talks about our individual subjective values when he's talking about swapping out or purchasing right or exchanging, and he gets questions about rates of exchange.
He asked this question what will a man give in exchange for his soul, which is simply asking how much value they put on your soul. Suppose you had this situation arise in your life.
Suppose the fire department called you said the fires broken out in your house were not going to be able to save the house you have five minutes to go in there and get anything you can to save from the contents of your house before to be too late. So you know you have five minutes of the window safety to retrieve from your home. Things that are valuable to you which you get to go run the garage and get your car run of the dresser get you jewels I know exactly what I would get if I had five minutes to say whatever had I would get some rare books and some paintings that I own and that five minutes in a box of letters that my dad wrote me from World War II.
Why would I rush to get those things because they can't be replaced but can never be replaced. And so I put a lot of value on things that can't ever be replaced by going to the store and buying another one so to speak, but we all have different sense of values that we've seen many fictional accounts of the devil engaging in exchange trying to purchase people soul. When my favorite place of all time was entitled damn Yankees press on Broadway in New York in the. The hero there was an avid fan of the Washington Senators, and every time they play the Yankees. They get beaten.
He sold his soul to the devil so he could become a baseball star and leave the Washington Senators. The world's Faust Dr. Faustus and the site to have the same kind of a story so Jesus said what your value system. How important to you is your soul.
We know that your bodies are important to we know that the medical professionals would become the high priests of our modern culture. And we know that from an economic system. Physicians are much more highly valued in our culture. The ministers has to say something about the degree to which we consider the worth of our souls Jesus and what he can trade what will you give in exchange for yourself what would you trade for your salvation. I can imagine the Christian being willing to trade anything first century Christians would not exchange their lives for their souls because they had found the treasure and they had found the pearl of great price and they were willing to lay down their lives because they realized that in their whole lives.
There is nothing so precious nothing so valuable as to possess and enter the pearl of great price isn't even a jewel. It's a person and if you have him you have everything and we need to hear these parables because Jesus is saying in the value system of God the kingdom of God that is brought through Jesus Christ, is the thing that surpasses every other thing. Any staff that we can accumulate in this world is Edwards used to say following Jesus teaching that the believers press into the kingdom of God.
We must have the pearl of great price. We must have that treasure evicted in the field because there is nothing we can compare with it in terms of its value. We need to have an audit. I think rather regularly of our value systems in the sea whether our values lineup with the values of God are called to seek to have the mind of Christ and that means to love what Jesus loves to hate what Jesus to pursue what Jesus pursuant to flee from what Jesus fully. That's what the life of the Christian is. These are two of the shortest parables Jesus told but both of them are loaded with meaning and implications for our lives were left to wonder what would I do if I found the greatest treasure in the world. Then Jesus reminds us that we have found it.
The kingdom of heaven. Dr. RC Sproul series the parables of Jesus is our focus this week on Renewing Your Mind and would like for you to have the full series. There are 12 messages on two DVDs and will send them to you for your gift of any amount to litigator ministries. You can reach us by phone to make a request at 800-435-4343 or you can go online to Renewing Your Mind.orc and by the way there's another creative way you can support leg inner ministries you can turn your online shopping in the gospel outreach through Amazon smile when you shop on Amazon using your Amazon smile account and select litigator ministries as your beneficiary. A portion of your purchase will automatically support the teaching Fellowship founded by Dr. scroll most of us have a built-in fairness detector number treated unfairly. We quickly rise up to get what we think we deserve, but these are fairness detector always accurate. I hope you'll join us Friday as we wrap up Dr. scroll series.
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