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Buy the Field

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Matthew 13:44 

My title this morning comes from the last clause in Matthew 13:44.  “Buy the Field.”  The story of this parable seems to be simple and straight-forward.  A man found a treasure, hid it in a field, then went and sold all that he had and bought the field.  We are not told what the treasure was—gold, silver, or precious stones—but we know that it must have been extremely valuable for him to totally sell out and go buy it.  When you begin to probe around the edges, however, the questions start coming.  Why didn’t he just take the treasure home?  Why did he have to sell out?  Why did he buy the field?  

Jesus Christ has lessons to teach that astound and astonish, perplex and puzzle, intrigue and mystify, and challenge and shame us.  He continually unfolds a value system to us that defies human logic, yet demonstrates the vast superiority of divine logic.  He places value on the strangest things like a little lunch consisting of five loaves and two fishes; two mites of a widow, a single coin, a baby lamb and a common traveler headed to Jericho.  On the other hand, he despises such treasures as the kingdoms of the world, the acclamation and adoration of the masses and personal pleasure.  God’s value system always seems to be mystifying to almost everything we think as rational human beings.  

Let me tell you why we bought the field we now call 5701 Sylvania Ave.  The FAC heard about this property in 1977.  It used to belong to the Champion Sparkplug people, the Stranahans.  It was part of Wildwood Wilderness Preserve to the south, Camp Miakonda, the Boy Scout to the north and the Stranahan Arboretum next to it. The construction of I-475 left this strip of land between  the freeway and Sylvania Ave.  It was held in trust by Toledo Trust Bank, and they had it up for sale.    Draper Construction Company had taken out an option on it and listed it for one day in the Toledo Blade.  They wanted $150,000 for it.  Brother Rod Farnsworth saw the ad and told Pastor Kinzie.  A group of our advisory board members drove out here to see it.  It was about five miles due west from our former location on Jackman Rd.  The property is about twenty-five acres, a half mile long, from Holland-Sylvania to the west and Ottawa Creek on the east.  Now, of that twenty-five acres, only about half of it is usable.  There is a huge ditch the runs all along the south by the freeway.  We can’t use it (at least not without a lot of money and red tape.)  There is a flood plain of about six acres on the east end.  The EPA says we can’t touch it.  But we couldn’t buy the just the remaining twelve good acres.  We had to buy the whole field.  Our attorney said wait until the option expired and offer TT $75,000.  We did and they sold it to us.  Do you know why we did?  Because there was a treasure here.  There was a church here.  Oh, it wasn’t built yet.  We had a lot of work to do before  we could actually see it.  But by faith, every one of us believed that a treasure existed on this field.  But if we bought the field, we had to buy the ditch and the flood plain.  It didn’t matter.  The treasure was worth it! 

Now, back to the parable.   What does it really mean?  (Scholars say Jesus was the man, Israel was the treasure, and the world was the field.  Jesus redeemed the whole world to save Israel.)  Without denying that interpretation, I submit to you that the parable may have been much more.  It could very well be that we were the man who found the treasure.  The problem was, it wasn’t truly ours.  It belonged to the owner of the field.  We hid our treasure because we didn’t really know what to do with it.  It was a major find.  It had the potential to change our very lives.  But, now that it was in the field, we had to go get some money to buy the field.  The amount it would cost was staggering.  We didn’t have that kind of money just lying around.  It meant that we had to sell everything we had and to buy the field.  We could not simply buy the treasure because the owner wouldn’t sell it to us.  We had to buy the whole field.  I don’t know how much it cost in actual currency.  All I know is that it cost everything we had.  

This is a perfect picture of grace.  Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Grace comes into our possession at no cost to us, but it is hidden in a field.  The only way we can access this grace is to pay the ultimate price.  Free grace costs everything you have!  But, don’t let that stop you.  The man who spent all to buy the field knew that he was going to come out so far ahead that the price he had to pay was laughable. 

2 Corinthians 4:15-17 (KJV) 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 

I think the first thing we need to understand is that the gospel is not accessible to thieves, robbers, killers and plunderers.  It doesn’t come as a stand-alone commodity, as though you can strip salvation from the hands of Jesus and run away with it.  Have you ever heard the term “cherry-picker?”  That means someone who picks out only what they want and discards the rest.  No, that’s not the way we come to Jesus.    If you want the Sun, you have to buy the universe that comes with him.  If you want the tree, you have to buy the forest.   If you want Him, you have the buy the field.  But, I will tell you this… 

When you buy the field, you get the treasure you found.

I came to Jesus, weary, worn, and sad.
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now His love has made my heart so glad,
He took my sins away.

He took my sins away, He took my sins away,
And keeps me singing every day!
I’m so glad He took my sins away,
He took my sins away.

The load of sin was more than I could bear.
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now on Him I roll my ev’ry care,
He took my sins away.

No condemnation have I in my heart,
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
His perfect peace He did to me impart,
He took my sins away.

If you will come to Jesus Christ today,
He’ll take your sins away, He’ll take your sins away,
And keep you happy in His love each day,
He’ll take your sins away.

Colossians 2:13-15 (KJV)
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

There is nothing in the world more important than your salvation!  Make whatever sacrifices you have to make.  Get rid of any baggage you have accumulated.  Abandon your personal dreams, ambitions, goals and loves to get it.  

Repentance: forgiveness.  Baptism: remission of sins.  Spirit infilling: Victory over sin.  These are the gifts we have been given.  It’s when you answer the sin question that you really begin to live.  These attributes represent the treasure that the world has no clue is in the field.  But remember… 

When you buy the field, you have to buy all of its challenges. 

Jack Hyles said, “Here is a treasure, the Bible says, found in a field. A man searches and he finds that treasure. The Bible says he goes and sells all that he has, and he buys that field. Now suddenly he finds out some things. He finds out what he has bought. He has bought some weeds. He has bought some rocks. He has bought some spiders. Now bear in mind, there is a treasure somewhere down there in that field. He bought some ants. No doubt, he bought some mice, or maybe some rats, maybe a skunk or a raccoon, or an opossum. He bought all of these things. Perhaps he bought some garbage that was thrown there on the field, or a dead tree, or some poison ivy. He bought some lizards there on that field. He bought all of that because he wanted the treasure. Are you listening to me? He wanted the treasure.” 

  • Some people want the blessing and benefits, but not the trials and tests.
  • Some want the signs, wonders and miracles, but not the prayer, fasting and sacrifice.
  • Some want the power of Pentecost without the stigma of Pentecost.
  • Some want to be holy without being holy!
  • Some want Christ the Savior, but not Christ the Lord.

But the Bible says that God hath made this same Jesus…both Lord and Christ.  Salvation is the coin of the realm, but Lordship is the other side of the same coin. 

One of the verses I like to quote often is Titus 2:11-12.  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,   Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” 

Teaching?  Yes, teaching!  Grace sets up a classroom.  We have some lessons to learn.  Some of us are eager to get the grace of God, but we drop the class when we find out the course requirements!  

Last Thursday was Valentine’s Day.  What’s a man to do if he just had a huge fight with this wife?  What is a woman to do if she just got totally disgusted with her husband on Wednesday?  Now, I’m not talking about me.  I did buy her a dozen red roses, but my fighting days are over.  After a long time (We just celebrated 42 years together) I finally realized that my treasure was worth more than anything that displeased me.  In fact, she has to put up with a lot more than I do in this marriage! 

Now, some of you are mad at God.  You might even be in a fight with Him today.  He should have answered your prayer.  He should have supplied your need (it was probably a want, not a need.)  You’d better come down off you high horse and realize that God has to put up with a lot more from you than you would ever imagine!  You’d better be thankful he lets you even live! 

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise.” 

Your marriage is a treasure.  Your home is a treasure.  Your family is a treasure.  Your church is a treasure.  Your relationship with God is a treasure.  You may be looking at these things as liabilities, burdens, pains and problems.  But, you’d better buy the field!  Yes, there may be some weeds, some mice, some dead trees, some garbage, some ants, wasps and bees.  

Some are in the midst of Forty Days of Fire!  Can’t have this and can’t have that.  This is getting ridiculous!  But you are teaching your flesh a spiritual lesson.  Life doesn’t consist of what you eat or what you drink.  It is every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God!  Buy the field because that’s where the treasure is! 

But, God never lets you down.  He never gives you an even exchange.  Because… 

When you buy the field, you get more than the treasure. 

The story of Ruth and Boaz is a beautiful illustration of what Jesus Christ did for us.  Elimilech and his wife Naomi, when to the land of Moab to make a living.  While they were there, their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion married Moabite women, Ruth and Orpha.  Elimilech, Mahlon and Chilion died, and Naomi returned to Judah, to the village of Bethlehem.  Naomi had a field she put up for sale.  Now, Israel had a custom that when a man died without children, the nearest relative should marry the woman and raise up children by her so that the family name would not disappear.  So, when Naomi put up the field for sale, she also attached Ruth’s name to the deed.  This is where Boaz comes into the picture.  He was a wealthy man and he wanted to marry Ruth.  

There was a problem.  A man still lived who was a closer relative than Boaz.  So, Boaz went to him and told him about the offer.  We read what happened in Ruth 4. 

Ruth 4:3-5 (NKJV)
3 Then he said to the close relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.   4 And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.’ ” And he said, “I will redeem it.”   5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.” 

Ruth 4:9-10 (NKJV)
9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi.   10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”  The treasure was Ruth, but Boaz had to buy the field to get what he really wanted.   

Boaz is a type of Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer.  We were the Gentile bride that needed redemption.  No one was qualified to be the sacrificial lamb and die for our sins.  Only Jesus could do it.  

Isaiah 63:5 (KJV)
And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. 

When you buy the field, you get Jesus.  And when you get Jesus, you always get more than you thought you were getting.  

C. R. Free’s illustration of the man a bought a field for the stand of hardwood trees. Unbeknownst to him, there was a mother lode of gravel worth much more than the trees.  Then, in excavating for the gravel, he struck oil!  Was he ever happy he bought the field! 

When I got Jesus… 

  • I thought I got my answer…but I got all the answers to all the problems in the world.
  • I thought I got life…but I got life more abundantly.
  • I thought I got life for today…but I got life everlasting.
  • I thought I got happiness…but I got joy unspeakable and full of glory.
  • I thought I got relief from sin…but I got victory over sin.
  • I thought Jesus gave me a hug…but I got a marriage proposal.
  • I thought I got a few friends…but I got an entire spiritual family.

Someone here today may be thinking, “I bought the field, but I haven’t found the treasure yet.”  Keep digging.  It’s there.  You’ll find it when you’re going through a crisis.  You’ll find it when you are in a deep depression and need help.  You’ll find it in the midst of the trial of your life.  Today, you need some comfort.  We who know Jesus have the ultimate comfort.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV)
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 

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