Another sign that you are a kingdom citizen: you are willing to give up everything to enter the kingdom of heaven.
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
This parable doesn’t need much unpacking because it’s all right there. The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field and the treasure is so valuable, you can’t even put a price tag on it. I picture a scale. On one side, you put everything that people value in this world: money, fame, romance, family, pleasure, comfort, respect. Those are heavy stuff and so the scale obviously falls in that direction. But on the other side of the scale, you put the kingdom of heaven and the scale flips and the side with the kingdom of heaven obviously is heavier.
What can you compare with the kingdom of heaven, with eternity? The Bible says, even one soul is worth more than the whole world. Pile the entire world, pile on the best that this world has to offer on one side of the scale, but that scale ain’t budging when on the other side you have the kingdom of heaven. Even one soul that makes it into the kingdom of heaven is worth more than the entire world.
The rich young ruler wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven and he goes to Jesus and asks, what must I do to inherit eternal life. And Jesus said, sell everything. And you know what, he couldn’t do it. For him, his wealth which he could enjoy for a few decades was worth more than spending eternity with God. Compare him with Zacchaeus, tax collector. Also, a rich guy. He was saved and immediately, without even a moment of hesitation, he says, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount. I’ve been saved! Money, who cares about money? Here, I give half of it away, 50% gone. And the rest, I will pay back 4 times the amount I cheated others. That was probably the other half. He gets it. He is validating his citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. Zacchaeus gets the value of the treasure hidden in a field. He understands what the pearl of great value is worth. His life, pfft, it’s nothing. I give it all away.
If God asked you right now, quit school or quit your job or take a faith risk or go on missions, what would your response be? We all say, salvation is priceless, we would gladly surrender everything and lay down all our idols to follow Jesus. But when it comes down to action, few actually do what we say we would do with our mouths.
Recap: What are the signs that you are a kingdom citizen?
1) You ask a lot of questions.
2) You are willing to give up everything to enter the kingdom.
3) The third and final sign you are a kingdom citizen: you change.
Jesus uses 3 parables to illustrate the power of salvation to change someone from the inside out. First, the parable of the Mustard Seed. Second, the parable of the Yeast, and third, the Parable of the Sower. The kingdom of heaven is likened in v31-32 to a mustard seed that grows into a large tree. If the seed that was planted is alive, it will change. A tiny seed becoming a tree. Or the kingdom of heaven in v33 is likened to yeast. When you put yeast into flour, you can’t see it. But when you bake it and the flour turns into bread, there is a visible change as the flour rises. The third parable is the parable of the sower in v1-9.
Let’s read Jesus’ explanation of that parable in v18-23.
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
If you’ve grown up in the church, I’m sure you’ve heard a bunch of messages on this passage. And the typical sermon goes like this. What are the rocky places in your heart? What are the thorns, the worries and the wealth, that are preventing you from bearing fruit? And we identify some areas and we repent and we think that’s the application. But those interpretations and applications come up short. Because this entire chapter is about determining whether we’re in the kingdom of heaven or we’re not.
We all struggle. We all have rocky places and thorns and sometimes our hearts are hard like concrete sidewalks and the seed bounces off. But the main point of this passage is this. There are 4 types of people represented in this parable. The path-like heart, the the rocky heart, the heart filled with thorns and then a heart of good soil. All Christians who are in the kingdom of heaven have hearts that are like good soil. The seed enters the good soil and it bears fruit. We can go through seasons of rocks and thorns, but if that continues for year after year and season after season and you don’t see any sign of life, if you don’t see fruit, then you should not be comforted by this passage. Of the 4 categories of people represented by this parable, only 1 in 4 made it into the kingdom. The heart represented by the good soil.
Are you bearing fruit? Are you changing from the inside out? Are you getting to know Jesus better day by day? Are there signs of life? Or did the seed die away because your heart was not like the good soil?
12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
Have you noticed that some people really take off in their spiritual lives and most don’t? Here is one verse that explains why. Whoever has, whoever has spiritual desire, whoever asks questions, whoever brings their concerns to Jesus regularly, that man, that woman will have an abundance. Because Jesus will pour into such a person. These are all signs of life and Jesus wants to see such a person grow. If you abide in Christ, you will grow.
To those who do not have, those who have no spiritual desire, no spiritual hunger, those who never ask questions, those who are like the crowd who hear and then walk away, even what he has will be taken from him. Spiritually, if you are not growing in the Lord, you are dying. There is no neutral position. I pray that each person here will grow and change and surrender all at the feet of Jesus as a testimony that we are citizens in the kingdom of heaven.
Entering the kingdom of heaven will cost you everything. But thanks be to God, it’s a guarantee that you will receive far more than you gave up.
23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.