Dafydd Morris at the Aberystwyth Conference 2003
Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of God islike treasure hidden in a field . . ."
Before I was converted one thing that I remember as standing out is this, thatI didn’t know how to enjoy myself. There was a shortfall in the joy department.Here in Matthew’s gospel is a man spoken of by the Lord, who finds joy indiscovering treasure.
1] FINDING THE TREASURE
A metal detector can give you treasure, and much of it will go, I suppose, inclearing your debts. There is a debt crisis in the land, and if this particularman were in debt the first thing he would do would be to clear it. Jesus Christsays that men and women are in debt to God and that we need forgiveness for it.You might not think you are in debt to God – like Simon the Pharisee whothought his debts were small. Jesus knew what Simon thought, and he told theparable of the two men, one who owed a great and another who owed a small sumof money. The money-lender cancelled both debts. Subsequently, the one wholoves him most is the one whose debt is enormous. We are in debt to AlmightyGod. We have withheld from him the common courtesies of life – though we mightpay other debts politely.Â But why doyou not show such a grace to Jesus? What thanks have you ever directed to himfor life and all the mercies you have known? Simon the Pharisee did not anointJesus with even ordinary oil, and the Lord had noted this.
A woman used her tears to wash his feet, kissing the meanest parts of his bodyand drying those feet with her hair. So she esteemed him, but the faculty ofthought, and praise you have used on meaner things. Wesley asked a man calledBramwell, "Can you praise God?" Bramwell said, "No Sir."That night he became a Christian and began to worship. Is such exuberant gracethrough Jesus Christ (your debts having been cancelled) your portion? His crosshas become the focus on which our sins have been placed and forgiveness hasbecome yours – is that so? Has the debt expert dealt with your debts or willyou take them with you to the eternal debtors’ prison? What a relief to have asource in which your debts can be covered. There is a debtor in my town ofCarmarthen who peeps out of the window when someone knocks the door, and willnot open it to anyone if that caller is wearing a suit. But if you are debtfree you have no such fears of standing before God.
The Christian has such a treasury he can never exhaust it. The Son of God isinfinite, one favour after another comes to us from him. Jesus is hyper in his supply.His grace is exceeding abundant in the Lord Jesus Christ. It overflows and goesinto everything. There are those who find it hard to shake off an earlierpoverty. They hoard . . . just in case. . . But we have to keep coming all thetime to the Lord Jesus. Come and learn of him. The more we come the more helikes it.
2] FEELING THE JOY
This man hides the treasure. He sells all he has to buy the field. The treasurehe’s got is infinitely vaster than what he has and what he sells. The things wehave we will happily part with if we may have the Lord. Some of us areshow-offs by nature. Others itch for fame. If you gain Jesus Christ you willfind your name is written in heaven. Our names are written in the Lamb’s Bookof Life. What fame – to be known amongst the angels of heaven! Rejoice in that.What is the most important thing in your life? My family or my friends you willsay. Here is a woman from Samaria who had had many relationships, five timesmarried. Then she met Christ, and here was a pure relationship, and he would doher nothing but good. She would know something about love; we are talking aboutbeing loved by the triune God. The well at which the woman of Samaria met Jesuswas deep but it had a bottom, but the love of God is unfathomable.
What do you young people want? Socialising? If you have Christ as your treasureyou will find unknown socialising – with angels and the archangel himself, asPeter had in prison. You will come into the presence of God the judge of all.Some of you like partying, but Christ spoke of such a party of welcome whichgreeted the prodigal son when he came home. When Christ comes again at themarriage feast of the Lamb – will you be there? City life, is that what youlike?Â In the great cities of thenations such a desperate attempt is made my men to enjoy themselves. In the NTthere is a city full of joy. Can it be said in Aberystwyth on a Saturday nightthat there is great joy in the place? What do you want in life? Good things?Houses, cars, holidays, top of the range stuff? The apostle was prepared tothrow away everything nice for the sake of knowing Christ as his Saviour. Howprecious is Jesus Christ. A touch of his glory would give us perspective oneverything else we meet.
In the Philippian jail they rejoiced in the darkness and pain. Pelted withrocks Stephen ‘s face shone like an angel’s. Would you be prepared to leteverything go for God?
3] THE FEAR OF MISSING THE OPPORTUNITY
The treasure was hidden in a field and the field was known to all. So you tooare very near the spiritual treasure that is Christ. This man reburied histreasure and then he sold everything he possessed and with the money he boughtthe field. The Lord is telling us how the man of the world behaves – he is outfor number one. We should not let any opportunity slip. At all costs get thetreasure! So unsaved friend, now is your chance. You can get your hands on ittonight! Be wise about it! Be determined and selfish about it – in the bestpossible sense. Think of your debt, and your immortal soul. Don’t come short,just hearing of the treasure but not handling it. Get it, and then with a holyselfishness cry, "Mine! Christ is mine!"
William Haslam was an unconverted vicar whose gardener got converted. This madesuch an impact on him that Haslam felt rotten. He determined to build a newchurch building, and then a godly lady in the congregation asked him,"Will you begin to build your spire from the top?" No, from thebottom he replied politely for she spent her days in a wheelchair. What did shemean by that question? She did not say anything else. He thought he would go toBaldhu Church and read the prayers at the next service, and there he thought hewould also read some verses of Scripture to the congregation. Then he thoughthe would go on and say a few words on the text of the day, "What think yeof Christ?" (Matt. 22:42). As he spoke about Christ to the people he said,"I felt a wonderful light and joy coming into my soul . . . Whether it wassomething in my words, or my manner, or my look, I know not; but all of asudden a local preacher, who happened to be in the congregation, stood up, andputting up his arms, shouted out in the Cornish manner, "The parson isconverted! Hallelujah!" I joined in the outburst of praise; and to make itmore orderly, I gave out the Doxology – ‘Praise God from whom all blessingsflow’ – and the people sang it with heart and voice over and over again"["From Death into Life," William Haslam, republished in 1994 by AdamGordon, Priory Cottage, Chetwode, Nr Buckingham, MK18, 4LB, England, for eightpounds].
God grant you eyes to see this great treasure and hands also to lay hold of it!
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