Week 5, main session
Abundant Spiritual Treasures
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Many people today want to live in a world of fantasy. Millions of dollars are spent on vacations taking them away from the realities of life. Resorts and theme parks overflow with people from all over the world hoping to embrace a day of laughter and relaxation, providing a respite from one’s present world. Even when residing at home, the masses watch movies and TV reality shows as a means of viewing the lives of others, hoping that entertainment will offer more colorful pictures than experienced in their own real lives. These worlds of “happily ever after” or “stranger than strange” offer a different perspective and give a glimpse of how life could be outside the confines of their own boring, unpredictable four walls.
All these kingdoms can be good, enjoyable, and refreshing. Having a vacation or watching uplifting movies can be acceptable and valuable. Yet it is when lives are in turmoil, when lingering crises occur, or we find ourselves swallowed up in heartbreak, that these kingdoms prove to be only a temporary fix. They end up simply being a Band-Aid placed on an open wound. When this occurs, they not only prevent healthy scarring but may enlarge the wound even more as the reality of own truth sets in. In addition, when we rely on the kingdoms of this world, we may run the risk of missing the narrow way that leads to rest and peace in God’s kingdom.
Jesus Himself warned of this mindset: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, reveal Your will and way as I study Your Word. Open my eyes to Your truths and Your glory as I grow to understand the incredible spiritual treasures of serving You in the kingdom. In Jesus’ name I ask this. Amen.
In Christ’s kingdom, each day can be valued as a day spent in His presence, even while living in the reality of our personal lives. Each day covered with His love remains secure and reveals open hearts to His teachings. The narrow way with Jesus far surpasses the wider world of TV, movies, and fantasy kingdoms. The narrow way is to be desired first and foremost. The kingdom of God changes our view of the other kingdoms and keeps our lives in better balance. In the kingdom of God resides the Lover of our souls, the Friend who shares our woes, and the Savior who understands our goals. Rest in Him as we discover this kingdom and the blessing of knowing this Lord and Savior in whom we reside.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Where is this heavenly kingdom of which Jesus spoke – a kingdom not of this world (John 18:36)?
The kingdom of which the disciples were aware, and from which they thought Jesus would rescue them, was in direct contrast to the kingdom to which Jesus referred. His kingdom would, in fact, flip their world upside down. Rather than escape, aggression, and possession, His love ruled and was the power to be used by the believers in His kingdom.
The beatitudes are a classic example of Christ’s interpretation of a world of new thoughts, revealing a new approach to life. Read Matthew 5:3-11 to discover this upside-down world. Take note of the contrasts and how the “earthly worlds” differ from the love displayed in the kingdom of heaven.
And now we ask, “Who receives this kingdom?”
Christ’s kingdom resides in His presence. Through faith we became His own and received His Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance into that kingdom (John 3:3-8). As a result, we possess the kingdom of God, always available to us in our hectic, spinning, task-filled lives.
Because the kingdom of God is heavenly, not earthly, the joys and privileges of that inheritance become ours upon receiving Christ through Baptism. Look up the following passages to discover what Scripture has to say about the incredible kingdom of God.
One of the greatest joys of belonging to Christ’s kingdom is stated in Psalm 16:11 – You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (NIV). Those eternal pleasures are ours to implore by seeking, asking, and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8).
Through Scripture, the kingdom of God explodes with the knowledge of all the abundant treasures offered by the eternal and loving Savior. Continue this walk, relying on the Holy Spirit to reveal the abundant grace and mercy offered, as we, Christ’s baptized children, reside in Him and He in us.
SPIRITUAL TREASURES IN GOD’S WORD
(On your own, read the entire chapter of Psalm 119, for it is a treasure trove of God’s revelation regarding the value of His Word. Let Hebrews 4:12-13 serve as a reminder of the impact God’s Word can have upon us as we read and study it.)
OUR FAITH IS SHIELDED BY GOD’S POWER
WE ARE LIVING STONES
We are special people, unique in many ways, yet always in need of the Chief Cornerstone. Out of sheer joy and gratitude, we desire to declare His praises and proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:10)
CHRIST’S PLACE IN OUR LIVES AS THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE
Salvation by Christ alone is the narrow way. Because we believe it many would call us “narrow-minded”, and in truth we are, for it is the narrow way that leads to eternal life.
Concluding this study of the abundant treasures of God’s spiritual kingdom, we can rejoice that there is so much more to learn. The amazing love discovered through Christ’s sacrificial death, the power revealed in us through His resurrection, and the comfort of knowing that He is ever with us are truths in which we believe. They are the groundwork of our faith. Even upon our death, we will discover it to be, not a day of sorrow, but rather a day of rejoicing for we will be truly alive in Him. We will be in Christ forever and will be joined with our loved ones in the clouds upon His return (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). What a party that will be!
Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, You have stored up for me abundant treasures both now and into eternity. Open my eyes to the incredible spiritual blessings You desire to give me every day. May Your strength and mercy be mine as I walk the narrow path with You in my busy, task-filled life. In Jesus’ name and for His sake I ask this. Amen.