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.


In other words, the man has a vision and he pursues the
vision. If it means putting his house up for sale,
                                     hocking everything he has,

he's glad to do it. This man has seen the one thing in

all the world that he really wants, and he's willing to

lose everything he has to get it.


When Peter left his fishing boat,

                        his family, to follow Jesus, it wasn't
because he wanted to "get saved" - Peter didn't even know
what it meant to get saved when he started out. When Peter
saw Jesus, he saw the treasure. And he spent the rest of
his life selling everything that he had to buy the field
with the treasure.


What happens with many of us is that God gives us a vision
of his Kingdom and for a while we pursue it. Then we let
ourselves become distracted by other things.


"I've married a wife and I cannot come.
I've bought some land.....

Somebody hurt my feelings."

- So the vision dies, and so do we.


When the people of Israel set out across the Red Sea they

had a vision in their minds of where they were going. By

faith they saw the Promised Land. They saw homes,

springs of water, milk and honey. They saw a city that
was their city and would always be their city because
God gave it to them.


This vision of the Promised Land was their goal, and
every mile they traveled brought them closer. But a
strange thing happened. When they finally came near to
the land God had given them, at the very point where
you'd have thought the vision of their destination would
have pulled them on like a magnet, the vision fell apart.
Spies came back with news of giants who lived in the
land and suddenly the people of Israel could no longer
picture themselves going in and making the land theirs.


- As soon as they stopped pursuing the vision,
the vision melted away.


With the vision gone, the drive was gone. Without that
vision the people were powerless to obey God's command
to take the land.


How many people have, at some point in their lives, seen
the glory of God in the face of Jesus. And they knew as
they beheld that glory that Jesus is the way. Yet, before

many years passed the vision faded so completely that

now they wonder whether they ever saw it.


Why did it fade? Because they didn't pursue the vision.
They saw the treasure hidden in the field and rejoiced,
but they never got around to selling all they had to buy
the field.


It's the people who, in their joy, pursue the vision with
everything they have who make it to the Promised Land.


Now just as surely as God gave Israel a vision of the
Promised Land and kept renewing the vision to those who
pursued it until somebody got there, so God is giving us
a vision of a Promised Land,

                a new Jerusalem, and those who pursue the
vision are brought in.


In this case the treasure hidden in the field which we
find and cover up and for which we sell all that we have
to buy the field is a Church which is  alive,

                          a Church that shines with splendor,
without spot or wrinkle. A people who in their corporate
life come up to the measure of the stature of the followers
of Christ.


"I'm going to bring you into this," says Jesus.

"I'm going to transform you into such a people,
                             make you exactly what I have

declared you to be if you will pursue the vision."


And what's the vision? Listen:


But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,

a holy nation, God's own people, that
you may declare the wonderful deeds of him
who called you out of darkness into his
marvelous light.


1. You are a chosen race.


After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude
which no man could number, of all nations and

kindreds and people and tongues standing before
the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in
white robes and palms in their hands, and crying
out with a loud voice,


"Salvation belongs to our God who

sits upon the throne and to the Lamb!"


This multitude which came from every nation, all tribes,
tongues, is a new race. They have a new heredity,

                                             a new nature,

God's sons and daughters. The dividing walls which separated
them from each other are now down. They are one, and
their unity is Jesus, not whiteness,

or blackness,
or Jewishness,
or Americanism, just Jesus.


For generations in this country,


- if a black disciple was to have fellowship
with white believers he would have to

    be­come culturally white,


- if a Jewish believer was to have fellowship

    with Gentile believers he would have to be

    come as a Gentile.


Only white Gentiles could stay as they were because they

figured they were the chosen race - they never tried to

have fellowship with others.


So we end up with Hebrew Christians in their church,
               black Christians in their church,
               German Christians in their church,
and the Chicano Christians in their church.


And even when we get a few of these groups mixed together
in one assembly watch what happens when the service is
over. And we don't seem to think it matters? Man, it's
at the top of the list in this vision of the church
Jesus gives us in I Peter!


If this vision of unity,

this vision of a new race chosen out of all races on

earth keeps blurring away, it's because we aren't

pursuing it.


The Spirit of God is telling our fellowships to pursue the
vision of unity. Don't just sit there and say to yourself,

"God will have to bring it about!"


God has prepared the Promised Land, but it
will never become ours until we press on,
                                                  until we cross over

and take it.


Am I denying myself to the point where I leave my own
comfortable narrow-minded world to really cross over into
unity with my brothers and sisters in Jesus who have
lived in a completely different world from mine?


Am I willing to commit myself to Jesus enough to be
thoughtful, teachable, open, genuinely interested enough
to risk getting my feelings hurt and still go on? It's
not going to come easy. We're going to have to sell all
that we have to buy this field.


2. You are a royal priesthood.


In Hebrews we have a picture of Jesus as the great High
Priest who understands the weakness of his people and
brings them up into the presence of God.


Now we become the extension of his body, a royal priest­-
hood which does exactly what Jesus did when he was here
in flesh and blood.


A people who seek the lost as Jesus did,
                              heal the sick as Jesus did,
                              lay down their lives in the name of the Lord.


A church which aggressively goes out looking for that lost
sheep, turns the house upside-down looking for that lost

 - Not caught up in numbers.

- Not worried about its image.

- Not wasting a minute on public relations.


- Just seeking the lost.


A church which pays the price of being a healing people
by really taking hold of those infirmities,

really suffering with those problems,
sweating it out with those confused spirits.


Over the past year God has given us a vision of what it
means to be a royal priesthood. But are we pursuing it?
Are we selling all that we have to buy the field? We
have spurts of enthusiasm that last for a few weeks or
a few months, but are we burning the bridges and going


3. You are a holy nation.


A holy nation is a nation of prophets - a nation of
Elijahs who speak out God's word without fear.


"Would that all God's people were prophets”
says Moses.


And now it comes to pass. The Body of Christ on earth
is a nation whose primary function is to declare the
wonderful deeds of him who called us out of darkness
into his marvelous light.


And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and spoke the word of God with boldness.


Picture us walking out of our churches with all
restraints and inhibitions gone - tongues set free to
declare to those we meet this week the truth of the
living God.


Picture this happening not just for seven days, but
from now until the Messiah comes.


This is not a dream, but exactly what God has called us
into and what we will do with unspeakable power if we're
willing to sell all that we have to buy the field.


4. Finally, the Spirit tells us, "You are God's own


- You do not belong to yourselves.
- You were bought with a price.

- You belong to God.

- Not even your body is your own.


If this is true, then we are free from ourselves. We
don't have to worry about our image,

                                      our reputation, or our future.


It belongs to God.


- If you want to put your hands up to worship

- put them up.


- If you want to kneel at the rail to pray to

- go ahead and kneel.


- If you want to fall on your face before God,


- do it,


because you belong to God, not to men. You are God's
servant, God's slave,

God's adopted son or daughter,
God's temple,

as are your brothers and sisters. God's own people -
bought with a price.


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.


I doubt if there's ever been a time when we've had a
clearer vision of what God has called us to be as a


But not all of us who have the vision are going to enter
into its fulfillment. Some of us, perhaps many of us
like the Israelites of old, will lose the vision and
never see it again.


The vision will be fulfilled in those who pursue it -
who, in their joy, go and sell all that they have and
buy the field.