Sermon for Pentecost 9 – 7.30.23

+ 9th Sunday after Pentecost – July 30th, 2023 +

Series A: Deuteronomy 7:6-9; Romans 8:28-39; Matthew 13:44-52

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Chosen, Treasured, Redeemed”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

In high school I remember helping our English teacher and drama instructor with painting sets and backdrops for school plays. We painted dark, gray, cloudy skies for the opening tornado in the Wizard of Oz, and lots of green, flowers, and bright colors for the Emerald City. I remember learning that the right backdrop helps set the scene.

 

As our Lord teaches us in parables here in Matthew 13, he unfolds the divine drama of the kingdom of heaven, of his mercy and grace. And there are several passages in Scripture that make excellent backdrops to the parables in Matthew 13, especially the parables of the treasure in the field and the pearl. These passages help set the scene for Jesus’ teaching.

 

First, we go to today’s Old Testament reading from Deuteronomy 7. It’s all about God’s love, mercy, and grace, in choosing Israel to be his holy possession, to rescue and redeem them. “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.  It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,  but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

 

Next, we go to Isaiah 43, where our Lord calls, redeems, and declares Israel as his own people. But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

 

Next, we go to 1 Peter 2, where St. Peter takes what our Lord says about Israel in the Old Testament – in places like Deuteronomy 7 and Isaiah 43 – and reminds us that it was always about the Church, about those who believe in Christ. We are chosen. We belong to him. You are rescued and redeemed by Jesus. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

 

Let these passages hang like backdrops as you hear today’s parables in Matthew 13. They help set the scene of salvation that unfolds in the divine drama of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. And now, when we come to the parable of the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price, the scene is set with God’s gracious action, his rescuing and redeeming work, his undeserved love and mercy.

 

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The focus in both parables is on the action of the man and the merchant. The man finds something he values in a field. Hides it again. Then in joy he goes and sells everything and buys the whole field. The merchant does the same thing. He’s looking for a pearl. He finds a pearl of great value to him. And he sells everything he has to buy it.

Now, Jesus doesn’t give us the interpretation of these two parables, like the last two we’ve heard from Matthew 13. But remember the backdrops of God’s grace, his steadfast love and mercy, his rescue and redemption, his choosing and calling you to be his holy people for his own possession out of joy and divine favor.

And then ask yourself, who are these two parables about? Me? What I’ve given up for to enter the kingdom of God? What I’ve valued most of all to demonstrate my love? What I treasure? No. Rather, these two parables are about God’s loving, merciful, gracious action to save you.

God the Father is the man and the merchant who in love sends his Son Jesus who for the joy set before him endured the cross for you. For God loved the world in this way, that he sent his only begotten Son that whoever would believe in him would not perish but have eternal life.

Here in these two parables, Jesus is teaching us that the kingdom of heaven is not about what you do to get into the kingdom, after all, what could we possibly do? How could we ever give up enough to buy our way in, pay for our sin, and be valued on our own merits? We can’t. Martin Luther once was asked, what do we bring to our salvation…sin and resistance he answered.

That’s why these parables are good news for us. In the kingdom of heaven, it’s not about what you do that gets you in, but about what Christ has done for you. The kingdom of heaven is the seeking love of God, who searches high and low for that pearl of great value, and finding it, gives everything he has, his only-begotten Son, to make you his treasured possession. Jesus redeems. Jesus rescues. Jesus lays down his life to save you. Jesus sheds his blood to buy you back. He spares no expense in saving you. For you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.

To be sure, the devil, the world, our sinful flesh, and others around us spend a great deal of time trying to convince us that we have no value, that God doesn’t care, that we’re worthless to him. But the devil is dead wrong. And your sin and death are dead in the death of Jesus.

In Christ, in the kingdom of heaven, in the eyes of God the Father who looks at you through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus, you are his treasure, you are his pearl, you belong to him. You are of infinite value to God the Father. You are worth his only Son, shedding his blood, and enduring his innocent suffering and death to redeem you, make you his own, that you might live in his kingdom.

In the kingdom of heaven, you live in the sheer joy and love of God who has given up everything for you in Jesus. You are purchased from sin and death by the blood of Jesus. You are God’s holy people, chosen, called, gathered, and treasured in Christ Jesus. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

God’s grace and rescue and redemption in Jesus is the backdrop for your life. Christ’s gracious redemption sets the scene, not only for these parables from Matthew 13, but for you, in your life, today, tomorrow, and forever.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977