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. Matthew 13:44-46
In sermon after sermon Jesus exposes to us the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, thus revealing the true heart of a disciple! In this short but powerful charge in Matthew 13, he shows us the passion of two men searching with all their hearts for something more valuable than they had ever seen or owned. These men were longing for that something special that was missing in their lives…and they both found it! The first man was creative in that he did not tell others what he found but rather went in JOY and sold all he had to purchase the field- he did not want to lose it! Something in that field captured his imagination and moved his heart to risk everything to get it! How long he must have been searching…how hard he must have worked… he was filled with joy as he was SELLING ALL HE HAD. His neighbors must have thought he was crazy or that he was making a foolish and emotional decision. Once he sold all he had, he bought that field…it was enough for him…he found what he had been looking for!
The other man is noted to be a merchant. A businessman who was buying and selling pearls. A trained jeweler who knew the value of a pearl. Most of us would not know the difference in a ceramic, plastic or real pearl yet this man knew what he had found. He was shrewd in his dealings and must have convinced the seller to wait for him to come back. Then he had to go away and take the time and urgent effort to sell “everything he had”. How radical and focused must he have been? Quite often sellers of fine things will take the money from the highest bidder immediately and not concern themselves with waiting for the “right” customer. The merchant had to work fast! He did so and sold everything for one reason- to buy that precious pearl. Imagine the shock of the seller when the merchant came back so passionately and resolutely determined to buy that one fine pearl at the cost of EVERYTHING HE OWNED!
This is Jesus’ simple description of the kingdom- men who have sold all they have to obtain it. Men willing to risk all their worldly wealth and their very reputation to get this precious and fine pearl…this treasure. Men who have given up everything to obtain the coveted joy of the kingdom. Men and women who will literally go anywhere, do anything and give up everything to be a part of the kingdom of God! Is that your heart? That is the heart of a sold-out disciple…a little crazy for God and in the eyes of the world a fool.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Corinthians 1:18-20 Are we sold-out disciples like the people Jesus & Paul describe?
In the early 70’s the church of Christ had a radical restoration group within their number in Gainesville, Florida called the Crossroads Movement. Spearheaded by Chuck Lucas, this group had a passion to have a campus ministry in every major university in the USA and thousands were saved! The call was simply to be a follower of Jesus and to get back to the basics of true first century Christianity. In time, in order to distinguish the group from every other church on the block, the Lord led them to discover the lost teaching of being a disciple. The discipleship study was penned by Kip McKean in 1980 after seeing so many who were committed to their denomination or preacher yet were not 100% committed to really living out the life Jesus was calling them to. The scriptures in this study reveal the life and doctrine of a true Christian and then show how a Christian=Disciple=Saved. Used heavily during the 70’s and 80’s, even up through the mid 90’s the term disciple eventually became an everyday word. Through Satan’s schemes and the rhetoric of a lukewarm Christendom, “disciple” also began to be watered down like the term “Christian” had been by the 70’s in the USA.
Over time, “disciple” was used by almost every group in America who claimed some form of followership of Jesus, whether or not they preached and practiced the truth or were some kind of pseudo Christian gathering. This destruction of the call of Jesus was nothing less than catastrophic as thousands upon thousands now claimed the name “disciple” while quite often neither their life nor doctrine had anything to do with the Jesus of the Bible or of his apostles. Since the Crossroads Movement’s leadership caved to sin by the mid 80’s, thousands in search of leadership and faith came into the Boston Movement. The call to be a totally committed disciple was reinforced as the call of Jesus for every member of the Lord’s church. Many left due to this radical biblical expectation, yet once again thousands were saved. By 1994 the Boston Movement had adopted the name International Church of Christ and had laid plans to literally get to every nation by the year 2000. With this amazing restoration of true Christianity, Satan struck hard and disunity, sin and false teachers were raising up all over the movement. The once clear clarion call of being a totally committed disciple was evaporating.
Sadly, by the 2001 (Dis)Unity Meeting of the International Church of Christ a central leader and central leadership was declared “unbiblical” because many of the world sector leaders desired their own “kingdoms” rather than the call of Jesus to forge unity and collectively evangelize the world. This led to the declaration that the call to evangelize the nations in a generation was also unbiblical…this drift is still practiced today in many if not most ICOC flavored churches. Even a few months ago, Frank Kim (former world sector leader ICOC), preached that evangelization should happen from generation to generation but the call to get to every nation in our life time was not taught in the Bible. This false teaching kills the urgency Jesus and his apostles lived and taught and died for! It also teaches another gospel that brings confusion and lukewarmness into the church.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever Believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned…” Mark 16:15-16Jesus expected his disciples to “sell-out” to the mission and get to every creature! Never is there a Bible call to “hope the next generation will get it done”. Never is there a lack of urgency and forceful advancement of the kingdom in Jesus or his men. As a matter of fact, when the churches drifted, the radical call came from Jesus himself to- REPENT! Get back to doing what you did at first…making disciples and planting churches at whatever cost necessary…souls are on the line: Revelation 2-3. As a matter of fact, there are currently 107 deaths per minute, 6,390 deaths per hour, and 153,000 deaths per day, 56 million deaths per year and in an average lifetime of 70 years 3.9 billion will die! How could we ever dilute the passion and message of Jesus into a lukewarm, unloving, lazy, content, complacent and indifferent gospel that would dare accept or allow an entire generation to be lost?
God forbid we would ever allow that! Rather, as sold-out disciples who have NO ROOM for any other gospel, NO ROOM for a comfortable existence! Let us all decide with tremendous faith that we will have the heart of Jesus and obey his call to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” Matthew 28:18, 20 and of Paul to do whatever it takes to “save as many as possible” 1 Corinthians 9:19! In this call we leave NO ROOM for an unevangelized world, rather we pour ourselves into Jesus’ plan to evangelize the nations in THIS generation…giving all mankind hope for a relationship with the Savior.
So, step one of being a sold-out disciple is having the heart Jesus and his apostles preached to get to all nations…no matter the cost personally in time, for family or finances. Nothing will get in the way of a sold-out disciple because there is NO ROOM for anything else but Jesus and his love for the lost! Are you a sold-out disciple? What do you need to “give up” or “sell” today to become or renew being sold-out for the Lord? My prayer is that we generously give all of our Special Missions early, by October 15 and that we raise $55-60,000! Also, the leadership is calling every member to pray & search the scripture until there is faith that each member can be fruitful in 2016 and that God would add at least 10 to our number each month!
He stoops down to make us great,