Fact and Fantasy (Matthew 13:54-57)

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In a comic book series that Marvel Entertainment created, there exists a set  of ‘infinity  stones’ that afford the owner infinite power, infinite knowledge, and infinite power over natural forces like time, space, reality and life. That is an entertaining idea, but it is also childish fiction. There are no such stones. Only God exists of and by Himself, and only God possesses all ability. The very idea of the infinity stones is a childish attempt at understanding how God came to be God, and the only thing Marvel’s comic gets right is the idea that we cannot gain anything of real value without it being imparted to us from outside of ourselves. 

“Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.”

Jesus did not go to university or even college. There were no such institutions in His day to go to. So where did Jesus get the wisdom He clearly had when He taught? And where did Jesus get the miraculous powers He obviously exercised? There has never been a store you can go to buy such things, and there never will be. The question Jesus’ hometown villagers ask is very legitimate and worth thinking about. How did Jesus come to have all He had?

From all outside appearance, Jesus was an ordinary man. He was born as all men are. He grew up as all men do. He had a family and He had a dad, as all men have. Jesus did not bleed green or blue as some suppose kings do, and He did not possess super-strength or X-ray vision as comic book heroes do. Jesus was born, and He was born in human flesh. 

Of course, Jesus is more than any mere man, because He is God incarnate. But if we consider His humanity, we realize that like all who are born in human flesh, Jesus could understand the Word of God. He could learn to read and memorize it. He could know what it meant to apply it. Moreover, Jesus was also baptized of the Holy Spirit, and like all who are baptized of the Spirit, Jesus had the ability to listen to the voice of God our Father because the Spirit of God in Him would allow Him to know the difference between the Father’s voice and the other voices we all hear (like our own voice, the voice of others, the voice of our fleshly longings and the demonic promptings Satan and his minions so often whisper). Consequently, as a man Jesus could know when and what God was speaking to Him. He could therefore act in accordance with the Word and Spirit and so cooperate with all God was doing and was about to do, as any man can do. 

These things tell us that in His humanity, Jesus healed many. He delivered many. He taught many. He altered the lives of a great number of people for the better. 

We who have a living relationship with our Father through Christ can and must do likewise, and we should also expect a similar result. God works through those who are wholeheartedly His.

Mind you, the world will perceive that which does not belong to it, and will react accordingly. They scoff and deride God’s work because our enemy tells them that it nothing more than childish fantasy. 

The cross is the expression of the world’s hatred.

A.W. Pink

APPLICATION: Intentionality

The Christ follower must expect derision. How will you handle the inevitable doubt and criticism assigned to you by those who reject your message?   

Moving Shop (Matthew 13:51-53)

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One of the greatest challenges leaders face is knowing when to move on. It  is one thing  when the group you are leading is asking you to go (!), but it is quite another when all is going well. This is especially difficult when what you are doing is fulfilling and the congregation (or coworkers) seem to appreciate how you are leading. But up until God gives you your final assignment (which only ends on death), there will come a time to conclude what you are doing in one setting and move to a new setting. 

As Matthew records it, Jesus has been teaching the crowd since leaving the local synagogue (Matt 12:15). He has taught the difference between Satan’s kingdom and God’s kingdom (Matt 12:25-29) and warned their leadership about making careless accusations (Matt 12:30-37). He gave them the prophetic word about the sign of Jonah (Matt 12:38-45) and taught about the way God sees His family (Matt 12:46-50). 

He’s now spent some period of time teaching a set of seven parables (Matt 13:1-50). 

Then Jesus asked, “Have you understood all these things?” Matthew writes down the response for us to ensure his readers see the successful conclusion of Christ’s teaching, “”Yes,” they replied.” With the concluding comment about how the application of what He taught is like bringing treasure out of a storeroom, Jesus moves on. “When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.”

All Jesus did was to model what making disciples was supposed to look like. From the moment He began to preach (Matt 4:17), He began calling people into discipleship (Matt 4:18-20). All His teaching and demonstrations of power were toward this objective; To bring people to the kingdom of heaven as disciples of God Most High. When He reaches that objective, He moves on. This was how Jesus lived out His calling.

First Jesus did that with individuals, later with groups. When He finished teaching on the Sermon Mount (Matt 5-7), He came down and demonstrated God’s power (Matt 8:1-17) before seeing who was at least mature enough to follow Him (Matt 8:18-23). Later, Jesus again heals (Matt 9:1-8), calls to discipleship (Matt 9:9), teaches (Matt 9:10-17), demonstrates God’s power (Matt 9:18-34), teaches and heals (Matt 9:35-38) and then calls (Matt 10:1-4), finally resulting in sending out His first group of fully mature disciples (Matt 10:5-42). While they are out ministering, Jesus starts the cycle all over again – teaching (Matt 11:1-12:8) demonstrating power (Matt 12:9-24), teaching (Matt 12:25-49) and calling (Matt 12:50). From chapter 13:1 to v50, He is again teaching. With the call and conclusion of Matt 13:51-52, Jesus again moves on. 

Jesus recognized when the time had come for Him to move to another place when those He was leading affirmed that they understood His message

Jesus was a missionary, making disciples of God the Father. His role, like all our roles, had a set purpose. When that purpose was fulfilled, Jesus moved on. He did not change or adapt His purpose to suit the new occasion of working with those He had discipled, because to do that would be to change His calling, and Jesus recognized that calling comes from the Father, not from oneself. 

That is a powerful reminder to us that our calling determines the opportunity, not the other way around. 

Usually leaders overestimate rather than underestimate the value of their presence.

Terry Muck

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

God gives us seasons to partner in His work in a particular place with a particular group of people. Seasons change. Be thankful for what He has given you, and look forward to the next season.  

God’s Treasure (Matthew 13:51-52)

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“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied. He  said to  them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” 

World over, societies create art galleries and museums to put on display priceless treasures. People come to those galleries and museums to see them because there is something wonderful about being able to stand close to a treasure. Though we do not touch them, we connect with the art and artifact on some level. They bring a little more joy and a little more wonder into our lives as we muse on their meaning and reflect on the inherent value they have – value that has preserved them from the garbage heap that claims the exceedingly vast majority of art and artifact alike.

Putting into practice what we know of the kingdom of heaven is like bringing a priceless treasure out of a storeroom and putting it on display for all to see. 

Living life as a child of heaven demonstrates something of the glory of God and something of the value of His kingdom. People look on at those who are practicing what it means to know the kingdom and they find a kind of awe welling up within themselves. It matters when someone lives as Jesus lived. When they sacrifice for the sake of the other. When they go out of their way to bless the other. When they model what being a child of God means. 

These things are appreciated, just as treasure is appreciated. So much so that we even have a propensity to tell others when we see the kingdom of heaven being practiced, just as we would tell others about a wonderful treasure that someone brought out of storage. It is so fulfilling to our souls that we cannot help but speak of those who reflect God in some way. We were made to do that just as we were made for fellowship with God. It brings meaning to our lives and fulfillment to our souls to reflect Him and His ways in our actions, to talk of Him and His ways with our words and to see and hear Him and His ways being modelled by others. 

The truth is that everyone wants the kingdom of heaven. Everyone wants wisdom. Everyone wants healing. Everyone wants peace. Everyone wants blessing. Everyone wants everything that the kingdom of heaven represents, because people were made for that exact purpose. Therefore, to see and hear of that which reflects it is a glimpse of the fulfillment of our purpose – it is a glimpse of the home we’ve always knew we were supposed to get to. To see and hear of it is to awaken our truest hope. 

When we live out the kingdom of heaven, we demonstrate the peace of God, the power of God and the presence of God. It is a sight that is irresistible to those around us, because it is displays something of Him. More than than, when we live out the kingdom of heaven, we become a divine treasure that is unlike anything the unredeemed could find in any gallery or museum, and best of all, we fulfill God’s purpose for us. For as God told Moses, so very long ago: “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.” 


Remember that sure word of thine. God be gracious unto us and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us. Let us thus be blessed, and we shall in our turn become a blessing. All the families of the earth shall, through us, become acquainted with thy salvation.

William Binnie


Praise God for the lavishness He bestows on His obedient children! 

Regret (Matthew 13:47-50)

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All through Scripture there is a prophetic warning that those who are not right with God   will eventually find themselves apart from Him forever. But what is it to be separated and apart from God, who created all things and sustains all things? 

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Jesus has spoken before about weeping and gnashing of teeth. As He puts it, this is a characteristic behavior of the damned. For earlier He said, “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The separation between the righteous and the wicked begins with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the decision point, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the knife-edge that separates between that which is for God Most High and that which is not. 

When the Gospel is preached, those who say yes to Christ are clearly on the righteous side. Scripture testifies that God gives us His righteousness, which is apart from the Law, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” 

But those who refuse Christ find themselves without God’s righteousness. They are depending on their own, which no matter how good it is counts in God’s sight as unrighteousness, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Therefore they are at risk of the final divide appearing (the second coming of Christ) before they can change their minds. For when that day comes, the separation will become irreversible. On that day those who refused the offer of the new covenant in Jesus will begin to realize the enormously tragic mistake they made, but it will be too late. 

Like a person who points a gun at another and pulls the trigger without calculating the cost first, the horror of finality of their own choice overwhelms them. They will weep and gnash their teeth in eternal regret. 

They will forever be in darkness of soul, being apart from the creator and sustainer of light and life. God Most High, who not only created all things but sustains all things, will no longer be their helper. What then is their end condition? God Himself testifies, it will be like being “throw[n] into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

If it were but for a time, even ten thousand years, and so end, there would be ground of comfort, and hopes of deliverance; but here is thy misery, this is thy state for ever, here thou must be for ever: when thou lookest about thee, and seest what an innumerable company of howling devils thou art amongst, thou shalt think this again, this is my portion for ever. When thou hast been in hell so many thousand years as there are stars in the firmament, or drops in the sea, or sands on the sea-shore, yet thou hast to lie there for ever. O this one word EVER, how will it torment thy soul!

John Bunyan

APPLICATION: Intentionality

How can we rest while our loved ones go off to such a place? Let us to all we can while we can to rescue them from an eternity apart from God.

Scales (Matthew 13:47-50)

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Jesus continues teaching in parables. “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is  like a net  that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The parable of the net is very similar to the parable of the weeds. Fish swim together in the same water just as plants grow together in the same field. In the case of the weeds, Jesus said that the land-owner instructed his workers, “Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’””  Both illustrations talk about an end-time sortation – a separation between the righteous and the wicked. 

But what is righteousness, and what is wickedness?

God is righteous. We all get that. But not many understand that what makes God righteous is Himself. He is right, and He is the right by which all others might be compared. To that end, what God declares as like Himself is right, and what God declares is not like Him is not right. And because God is righteous, what is not like God is unrighteous. 

When God’s Word says that stealing is wrong (Ex 20:15, “You shall not steal”), it isn’t because God is giving us an arbitrary edict. God is saying that because He does not steal – He does not take that which is not rightly His. Therefore, it is unrighteous to take what does not belong to you, and as God’s people (who bear His image) must reflect Him in character, we should not steal. 

Likewise, when He says that lying is wrong (Ex 20:16, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor”), it is because God is truth and only speaks truth. There is nothing false in or about God, or in God’s character or in God’s ways. Therefore, it is unrighteous to un untrue. It is unrighteous to misrepresent yourself or to not speak truth when you present something to another. 

This same principle is at work when God says, “You shall not commit adultery,” and when He says, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”  Adultery and homosexual acts are not practices God participates in and are therefore unrighteous. God knows we are tempted by our fallen nature to participate in these things, so the Word of God includes teaching that we might not do so. 

To be God’s people, we must avoid that which is not like God and practice that which is like God. Why? Because the day comes when God draws our age to a close, and those who practice what is like Him stay with Him, and those who do not are cast out forever.

That is what it means to be holy, and that is what it means to be righteous! 

The call to right and holy living is first of all founded on the fact that God himself is holy.

Daniel C. Arichea and Eugene A. Nida

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Godliness has many benefits, but chief among them is that we might better reflect our Creator, Redeemer and Lord! What can you do to better reflect Him to others in your circle of influence?

Consequences (Matthew 13:47-50)

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The parable of the weeds taught Christ’s disciples that there is a qualitative   difference between the wheat that God plants and the weeds that the evil one plants. As God is the creator of all people, we can understand that we are meant to become wheat. Yet what we become is actually a function of our own decision. It is up to us to choose rightly.

The parable of the dragnet is the same truth, taught to those who fish instead of those who farm, “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  

Jesus teaches from the experience of those He speaks to; “One of the methods used to catch a quantity of fish was to suspend a large, weighted net in the lake and pull it toward the shore (either by boats or hand-drawn ropes). Since the lake contained over twenty kinds of fish, the catch found in the dragnet was usually a mixed lot. A sorting process was necessary to eliminate those varieties that were either inedible or unclean according to Jewish law (cf. Lev. 11:9–12).” 

A dragnet is going to pull up everything in its path, so edible fish and crustacean alike find themselves being sorted. The Jewish fishermen would simply pick up each find and either make an instant decision that it was good to eat. If so, they gathered it. If not, they would throw it back into the water. That is because fish of all kinds grow together in the same body of water just as weeds and wheat grow in the same field. These things take their sustenance from the world that was created for them, just as people do. But unlike weeds and unclean fish, people get to decide what kind (of person) they are going to be. Jesus’ choice of words to describe the fish is not by accident – He called one kind a “good fish” and the other kind “bad fish”. It is our choice to be good just as it is our choice to be bad. We get to decide what we are becoming. 

In his book, We Become What We Worship, Greg Beale said, “What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or for restoration.” “Our worship exposes us and changes us. We either revere the world and are conformed to the sinful patterns of the world, or we revere God and are progressively conformed into his likeness.

This is the luxury afforded unto us at creation. We get to make a choice, just as Adam and Eve got to make a choice. Every day we choose if we will clothe ourselves in righteousness via obedience to God’s Word and leading, or if we will clothe ourselves in something else.  

Choose wisely, because either way, we will ultimately get caught up in God’s plan for the closing of the age. Amen.

Certain things have been decreed by the free determination of God, and one of these is the law of choice and consequences.

A.W. Tozer

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Intentionality mixed with perseverance and faith goes a very long way in the right direction. 

Knowing the Difference (Matthew 13:45-46)

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The prophet Isaiah recorded God’s eternal Word records, “How you have  fallen from  heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.””   Isaiah tells us that when Satan fell from grace, it was because he sought to take God’s place. 

He counterfeited God’s authority, and he still does so today. In fact, almost everything of great value has been counterfeited under his influence.

When he was 24yrs old, Joseph Smith published a book. The year was 1830. The book was called “The Book of Mormon” and Smith told everyone that it was a translation of a text written in an ancient language on a set of golden plates that he had dug up from a hill near his property after an angel had shown him where they were. After his death in 1844, Smith’s followers assembled another book in which they placed much of Smith’s additional writings, almost all of which were allegedly written in response to visions. They called that book, “The Pearl of Great Price” after the parable that Jesus told His followers; “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”  

Sadly, Smith’s followers didn’t name the book “The Pearl of Great Price” because Joseph Smith had sought truth in the Scripture or wanted to point people to the kingdom of heaven Jesus had taught about. In fact, history records that Smith was a troubled man with a history of lying, fraud and deception. Smith taught that people could become gods – the same lie that Satan himself believed; “In one of the Mormon scriptures, The Pearl of Great Price, we are told that the world was fashioned “by the Gods.” In his famous King Follett sermon, Joseph Smith stated that God was once as we are and that we may become as He is—a God.”  That is a blasphemous lie. Any who read his writing and know the Scripture know that Smith distorted and added to the Word of God, and it is well established Smith and the leadership of his church consistently published false prophesy, “One well-known example is their prediction that the battle of Armageddon would occur between 1874 and 1914: “In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of a.d. 1914.””  

The kingdom of heaven is truly wonderful. But until it is fully established on earth, there will be counterfeits and counterfeiters. We who seek God must be diligent to know the difference, just as a pearl merchant would need to be diligent in their business to know the difference between a coloured marble and the real thing. 

The principal tactic Satan uses to attack God and His program in general is to offer a counterfeit kingdom and program. This was evident when he originally sinned by wanting to be like, not unlike, God.

Charles Caldwell Ryrie

APPLICATION: Intentionality

There is always more of us to lay aside, and always more of Christ to pick up.

More! (Matthew 13:44-46)

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“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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Like the parable of the hidden treasure, the parable of the pearl clearly teaches that if you have found something of immeasurable value you do whatever you need to do to obtain it. Like the man who found the hidden treasure, the merchant in this parable sells all he has to obtain it. The primary difference in the two parables is that the man who found the treasure in the prior parable seems to have stumbled across it, but the merchant in this parable is one who is very deliberately searching for a particular kind of treasure.

Some people find Jesus Christ when they are not even particularly looking for Him. They inadvertently stumble across the threshold of heaven. Many are the stories of those who are low or in difficult straights and who suddenly find Jesus through a bizarre set of coincidences. It might be a well-placed billboard or a timely message on the radio. It might be a track that was left behind in a secular workplace or a divinely appointed but unexpected meeting with a stranger. Whatever it is, something or someone leads them to Jesus even though they were not looking for Him at the start of the day. Finding Christ radically alters their lives, and they reorient their lives to revolve around Him and His Word. Their dramatic testimonies are like stories of finding a limitless vein of gold in a random field. 

Others come into the kingdom of God after a very deliberate search. Like the merchant looking for fine pearls, they are those who have set out to find truth. They collect truth where and when they do find some, storing up it up as a blessing not only to themselves, but to others. To those in their circles they are distributors of truth. But when they find Jesus, they realize that all they’ve ever held precious is but junk compared to Him. Like the merchant in the pearl parable, they divest themselves of all they’ve held so dear so that they might firmly grasp the one thing of true value – a relationship with God Most High through Jesus Christ the Son. 

As a Pharisee, Paul studied the Scriptures and sought to know God. In his zeal to know God better than most, he even persecuted the church of Jesus Christ. But when He found Christ, he realized that all he had known before was less than worthwhile in comparison, writing, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…”

However we found Him, once we know Christ the real hunt is on. For now we have scratched at the value of who He is and what His Kingdom is like. Every other search is forsaken as we wholeheartedly pursue Him and His Kingdom, because nothing can compare to gaining Christ and being found in Him! Amen. 

I don’t want to leave behind a church that is content with merely half an adventure; I want to travel with a church that is daring to go for all the immeasurably more that God has shown and still will show us.

Chris Rogers

APPLICATION: Intentionality

There is always more of us to lay aside, and always more of Christ to pick up. 

Real Wealth (Matthew 13:44)

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The earlier parables (sower, weeds, mustard seed and leaven) focused on  the growth of  the kingdom of heaven. They explained how and where it was planted (sower), the challenges it faced (weeds), the tremendous fruitfulness it brings (mustard seed) and the thorough change in character it causes (leaven). As Jesus continues teaching in parables, He begins to focus on its value. “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.”

The character in this parable finds a treasure that is of such value and such depth and vastness that they cannot simply dig up a part of it to cash in, just as no one who finds a massive gold vein just under the surface of the ground rushes to cash in the first nugget they extract. No, they first go and secure the entire field and then they begin extracting the treasure. So it is with the kingdom of heaven. To first meet Christ is to find the first nugget. But the kingdom of heaven is so much more than simple salvation. That is but the first step in an eternal walk. To miss going deeper is to miss all that God would have for us. It is like reading the Scripture for literary value and missing the revelation of God Most High. 

The great commentator Matthew Henry once wrote, “the richest mines are often in grounds that appear most barren; and therefore they will not so much as bid for the field, much less come up to the price. What is thy beloved more than another beloved? What is the Bible more than other good books? The gospel of Christ more than Plato’s philosophy, or Confucius’s morals: but those who have searched the scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life (Jn. 5:39), have discovered such a treasure in this field as makes it infinitely more valuable. […] Those who discern this treasure in the field, and value it aright, will never be easy till they have made it their own upon any terms.” 

To have the Scriptures and to know Christ is to own the field. But what real value is it if you own the field and do not dig up the treasures it contains? Our joy is not in having the field – our joy is in finding priceless truth after priceless truth – and applying them to our lives to live out the surety of God’s written Word. That is the real value. God is very real, so the truth of all He has said must be lived. Not merely read. Not merely studied. But lived out. Felt and tasted, picked up and held. This is how we acquire wealth that lasts – for wealth that is lived out is wealth realized every single day. 

Truthfully, nothing else can be held in comparison. Even physical wealth – which can afford so very much – is not worthy to be held up against it. For nothing else affords the peace and the power and the presence of the Spirit of God, who speaks all things into existence and heals every malady of the spirit, soul, mind and body. Such is our treasure. Such is afforded to us by God Himself, praise God! 

Here is the right sort of covetousness (Phil. 3:8), “That I may win Christ.” Let all our power of coveting go out after him.

Henry D.M.S. Jones

APPLICATION: Intentionality

As Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (from Matthew 6:33)

Restored (Matthew 13:43)

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Satan’s kingdom of darkness is often thought of as equal to God’s kingdom  of light. But it  is not equal in any respect. It is only a cancer that has appeared in God’s kingdom. Like a tumor in an otherwise healthy body, it must be fully removed – and like a skillful surgeon, God will do exactly that. The tumor – and all the ruinous disorder it seeks to spread – will be cast out. When that happens, the kingdom of heaven will be fully realized just as full health returns to the person who has had their tumor completely removed. For when God does the surgery, there is no trace of the disease left behind. When God brings healing, it is complete healing. It is healing unto eternal life, no matter how bleak the prognosis or dreadful the disease!

This is an oft-overlooked fact. We live in a fallen world, in fallen flesh and often with fallen thinking. But the cancer that is Satan’s dominion does not mean that the world around us is wrong in every respect. What we see may be dis-ordered and distorted, but the creation as a whole – the earth, sky, sea – and all they contain – plant, animals, fish, birds, insects and humans – are still the creation of God and meant to be a blessing. They are purposed to bring glory to God, who said, “I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”

The pragmatic reality of knowing that is assurance that healing and restoration will come to the people of God, as surely as God’s Word created the earth and as surely as God’s Word declares time’s end. Not only healing and restoration for what was/is slightly wrong, but for all – even unto the resurrection of the dead and the complete removal of death, pain and sin. So it will come to pass just as Christ said, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

This is the hope of the Christian. Not just that we are forgiven – though that is wonderful – and not just that we will live forever – though that is wonderful too. But that we will be like Jesus in character. Holy, sinless and perfectly in alignment with the Father’s purpose and plan. We will be able to hear God’s voice without obstruction, know the fullness of the Spirit of God without quenching and walk in the purposes of God without stumbling. The result of that will be a life of unspeakable joy, perfect peace and overwhelming fruitfulness. Best of all, we will regularly gaze on the face of God. Just as Moses’ face shone for a season after meeting God in the tabernacle, so our whole bodies will shine. 

Our whole bodies will shine, and that with near blinding brilliance, always. 

This is the future for us. This is why we persevere through our struggles every day, and every day ask God in prayer to wash us from our sin, and daily crucify our sinful nature. This is our hope, “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” 

Our ultimate destiny is not a disembodied heaven, just as the ultimate destiny of this created world is not to be thrown away, abandoned as secondary or shabby. It’s the tyrants who want to blow the world to bits. God wants to re-create it.

NT Wright


Glory to God, the day draws ever nearer when we will be fully restored!