Merlin Affleck - Finding The Hidden Treasure - 2000

Hymn 99

Proverbs 23:23, "Buy the truth, and sell it not." Life is an investment; we have only one life and we can buy the truth with it, the currency is a yielded life. The devil wants us to invest it poorly but in the gospel we learn how to invest it wisely and I appreciate this proverb, as it is a warning to me. Satan wants us to put a price on truth for Satan wants to buy us out.

 

He tried to buy Jesus out by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world; it was quite an offer. Daniel's friends did not even for a moment of time renounce their faith for they knew the value of their soul and it was not for sale.

 

A man had a car, a collector's item, he had it on blocks and a rich man saw the car and wanted to buy it. The man said it was not for sale:  "How much do you need for your car?"  "It is not for sale."  "Yes, but how much do you need for your car?  Put a price on it."  Finally the man put a ridiculous price on his car and the man bought it. We should not put a price on our soul or put a price on truth, for we could be bought out.

Matt 16:26, "For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" This speaks of investing and when we think of what we could exchange for the world, think in dollar terms and see what Bill Gates could buy. How much of Australia could he buy or how much of the whole world could he buy?

 

What can we give in exchange for that, what is the value of one soul; it is greater in value than the entire world. When we professed we gained more than the value of the whole world; when we understand the price of our redemption, it helps us to understand the value of one soul.

Matt 13:44, "Again the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hid in the field, the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and  buyeth that field." I will try to bring this parable closer to home for you so think of a field real close, say the property across the road and say Mr. Earnshaw had a price on it, say $100,000 and we were interested. We would go and look over the field, check the fences, check the soil if it would be suitable for crops, see the dams for water, and then we come to the conclusion that it is not a bad deal.

 

We might consider buying it, but I am getting older and I would have to sell all to buy it, everything I have and maybe I am not ready to make that sort of commitment. I would have to sell my car, my house, all I have in my bank account... it would take all I have and we would hem and haw. Then if we took a shovel and went to the field and dug around a bit and then we unearthed some gold and we could see that there is 3 million dollars worth of gold in the field, we would cover it up and run and take that deal as fast as you could make it.

In the way of God there is a part that we see and a part that we don't see. One part we see is the fellowship, wholesome people, a nice standard, a nice disposition, maybe approve of the ministry, two going together, all scriptural, meeting in homes but this is all part of the field and we would not make a commitment if this is all that you saw. There are other parts that are far more valuable and when a person sees this hidden treasure by revelation, then a person will make a commitment.

 

Taste of the peace that God gives, see some of the joy that does not lay on the surface, see some of the hope that is worth far more than all the past that we see. The most valuable is what is hidden and that is why the Lord made the earth, that all the treasure is hidden in the earth.

In Australia here you have gold mines in Kalgoorlie, diamond mines in the Kimberley, Opals in Cooper Pedy and other places, bauxite mines, coal mines that are not on the surface. Oil in the sea, iron in the hills, and the richest in the world a land full of treasure. Where the treasure is found in the field, it is not appealing, it is not inviting just like the fellowship.

 

When I was 12, I saw the field and made my choice but it was when I was in my mid 20s that I saw the most valuable part of it. If we only stay there and don't see the treasure we may not stay with it, we might be tempted to sell out cheap because we do not see the most valuable part of it.

 

Sometimes people lose out and we wonder why. They come to meetings year after year and then why do they go back, it is because they have never seen the treasure and we do not make a commitment unless we see the treasure that is hidden in the field. Religion has something that is on the surface that appeals to the people, brass bands, big buildings, road shows, etc.

A person was telling us that their business was selling Christian videos to churches and in so doing they began to see some of the inner workings and they said that the further you go in the more shallow and corrupt it all is. This is just the opposite to what we have, the deeper we go the richer it becomes, for when we find the treasure we spend the rest of our lives digging it out.

 

The older friends get so excited, they found the treasure, they found a vein of gold and then they find more and more in God's way. The promise is that if we ask we will receive, if we seek we will find and if we knock we will see it and it will open up to us; this is a guarantee. These things do not lie on the surface; we have to put an effort in, it is not like a lottery where you might have a chance, this is a guarantee, if we put in the effort we will receive it and we are thankful for that.

 

This man for joy went and sold all, he did not take six months to make a decision.  It was not a hard decision but a happy decision, it is a bargain. He first hid it and went away with joy. This thing is an inward choice and our grandfather saw it in the first meeting he sat in, he found it and he came out of the church and hid it, he attended more meetings which deepened his conviction and then later he had opportunity to make it his and he could say it is mine now.

There are people in the Bible who found the treasure. Think of Jesus praying to His Father, thanking His Father that He had hidden these things from the wise and the prudent and revealed them unto babes. We are thankful that they are not hid from us, they are revealed to us not because of our intellect, it is wide open for everyone; the love of God is for the whole world. Even a mentally challenged person could have the spirit of a babe.

 

Paul wrote, "I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." This is through subtlety, we need to keep it simple, keep childlike, for we love simplicity and if something comes to us that is complicated it should bring up a red flag to us, for the truth comes in simplicity and it is our safety. This is how we found the truth hidden in simplicity, not sophisticated. God's truth is hidden from the wise; it is only those who come in the spirit of a little child who will find it, though it is open for all of us.

In Acts 8 we read of the Ethiopian searching for the treasure. He went on a long journey to Jerusalem, a place where there were 400 synagogues at the time and he came back and was reading his Bible.  It was hidden to him. Phillip, a man whom God used came along and intercepted him and asked if he understood what he was reading and there he explained about Jesus.

 

Here was a man educated, a rich man, nothing slow about him but the scriptures were closed to him. Jesus preached simple parables, the sower and the seed and many never understood and if you think about it, this is so basic, so simple and yet until the people approached in simplicity the scriptures were closed to them.

A woman fell at His feet and broke the alabaster box and poured the ointment on His feet. She paid attention to His feet, where they have come from and where they are going, she found the hidden treasure, the forgiveness of her sins. This was something she could not do for herself, but she unearthed something precious. This proved to be a gold mine for her, this was worship to her.

 

Another lady we read of whose life was closing in on her, for 8 years she had a disease and was getting worse and eventually she would die, there was no hope or peace. Jesus told her to go in peace and people will pay any price to have peace. They look for peace in material things, in consuming alcohol, inhaling things into their lungs, injecting things into their veins looking for peace. A precious part of our fellowship is peace.

A man 70 years of age was looking forward to retiring, his health was closing in. His wife had left him and went for half of all that he had accumulated over 43 years of marriage.  He could not sleep, he was crying a lot. A wonderful thing happened to him:  e attended meetings and now found peace, and he found the treasure.

 

Jesus sat on the well, a lady came who had no satisfaction, no peace, she had tried a lot of things, had five husbands and the one she now had was not her husband. She was trying to get satisfaction and this was not doing it. With five husbands, one could have died, another could have proved unfaithful, one could be no good, another one may not work, but now Jesus spoke of a source of satisfaction that would be in her, another treasure that would bring an inward satisfaction.

 

It is through the gospel that we can see this. Jesus put the finger on the thing that was not bringing any satisfaction, and He spoke of worshiping on the mountain. Some think that any kind of worship will bring satisfaction but it only brought a void.

When I was a boy, I would often spend time with my Grandpa and Grandma.  There was a field next door to them and Grandma did not like it.  It was sand plain country, kind of poor land. It would not support cattle and she was always wanting him to sell the land, so one day he did sell it.

 

Today that piece of property is a potash mine and millions of dollars a day come out of that mine, this treasure was underneath the surface. Underneath the surface, there is a part of this wonderful fellowship and we need to see beyond the surface.

 

The conventions are nice, the friends are nice, the workers are nice but we need to see beyond that to have hope, peace, and rest. The kingdom of God is like the field, this is eternal, and every other kingdom is not eternal.