January 11, 2015 Message: We are adopting a Theme for 2015: Christian Prospectors - Digging for Gold in 2015 The Bible has much to say about searching for “Treasures” and about “Gold” in particular. Gold is the standard - Gold is held up as the epitome of worth and value and something worth striving for. Even Jesus used these terms of “searching for treasure” as a metaphor that his hearers would understand and relate to. Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of God 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. In 1906, John Huddleston, a farmer purchased property near Murphreesboro Arkansas, and soon discovered diamonds on his property, kicking off a diamond mining rush. After a series of ill-fated mining ventures, the diamond mine site became an Arkansas state park in 1972, named “Crater of Diamonds State Park.” Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only diamond-producing site in the world open to the public. It is a one-of-a-kind experience in the world. Visitors are invited to experience this unique attraction and enjoy the thrill of digging for diamonds in the rough. The park staff helps identify finds. And unlike other diamond-bearing sites, the park policy is “finders, keepers.” Any diamonds, semi-precious stones, rocks, or minerals you unearth are yours to keep, regardless of value. On average, two diamonds are found a day by park visitors. The colors of diamonds found at the park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order. In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at Arkansas’s diamond site since the first diamonds found in 1906 by John Huddleston, the farmer who at that time owned the land, long before the site became an Arkansas state park in 1972. The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed here in 1924 during an early mining operation. Named the Uncle Sam, this white diamond with a pink cast weighed 40.23 carats. This past October a 14 year-old girl from Oklahoma City named Tana Clymer found a 3.85 carat canary diamond during a family trip to “Crater of the Diamonds.” She told Oklahoma City’s News 9 she called the gem “God’s Jewel.” Tana recently sold the diamond for $20,000, and she plans to use the money to help pay for college, according to The Associated Press. The largest diamond discovered since the state park was established is the Amarillo Starlight, a 16.37-carat white diamond discovered in 1975. The second largest find by a park visitor is the Star of Shreveport, an 8.82-carat white gem unearthed in 1981. In 1990 park visitor Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, found a white diamond weighing 3.03 carats in the rough before being cut to perfection in 1997 by the renowned diamond firm Lazare Kaplan International of New York. The gem is the most perfect diamond ever certified in the laboratory of the American Gem Society. It is on display in a special exhibit in the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center. What a treasure!
According to Jesus the Kingdom of God is like a treasure discovered in a field. And here’s the statement he makes about it: The Kingdom is worth selling EVERYTHING to purchase. I fully expect that soon after Tana discovered this nearly 4 carat diamond she probably jumped up and shouted for joy! “Look what I’ve found!!!” Is that how you feel about the Kingdom of God? “Look what I’ve found!!!”
Do you realize that you POSSESS a REAL TREASURE of INFINITE VALUE!
Jesus invested everything into the Kingdom. Prophecies...before Jesus could claim His Kingdom he had a mission to perform. God said to His son, if effect, “Your mission -- should you choose to accept it -- is to pay the ransom for the sins of all mankind! You will do this by living a perfect, blameless life, and then laying down your life upon the cross. Your blood poured out will be a fountain of salvation to all who turn to you. You will fulfill the imagery of the blameless Sacrificial Lamb, silently yielding your life to your accusers and enemies. If you perfectly fulfill this mission, you will be exalted above all creation, and you will become King of kings, and Lord of lords. You will be raised from the dead by my power, and you will become head of the church, a family of believers redeemed by faith in your sacrifice, which will be your Body living on earth. And ultimately You will reign on the throne of your father David, and your kingdom will extend to the ends of the earth, and all nations will call you blessed. Your kingdom will last one thousand years, until you have overcome every power and every authority that opposes me, and then I will once again come to dwell with my people." This was the PLAN OF GOD for His Son. Jesus was the only one who could accomplish God's purposes of demolishing sin and ALL it's consequences, and establishing His ETERNAL KINGDOM! Jesus Christ was born to be a King! The KINGDOM OF GOD was his “TREASURE” for which he gave up everything else. Luke 1:30-33 “But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
1 Corinthians 15:24-28 -- One of most descriptive passages describing the Millenial Reign of Christ: Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Jesus is our example of how to approach life: fix your eyes on your treasure, and your treasure is having part in the Kingdom of God. 2 Timothy 2:12 “if we endure, we will also REIGN WITH HIM. If we disown him, he will also disown us” Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”
To have part in the Kingdom of God we must put it above every other pursuit - like the man who found the treasure in the field, and went and sold EVERYTHING ELSE, so that he could purchase the field and lay hold on the treasure: Matthew 6:33 "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."
David Anderson first learned of the Crater of Diamonds State Park when he saw Arkansas’s diamond site featured on The Travel Channel’s “Best Places to Find Cash and Treasures.” His first visit to the park was in 2007. Like many others, he was immediately hooked by the lure of the treasure hunt. In fact, he moved to Murfreesboro so he could hunt regularly for diamonds. On April 15, 2014 Anderson returned to the park once again searching for that “treasure” diamond. After looking for just four hours, Anderson found a 6.19-carat white diamond, by far the largest of over 400 diamonds he’s found at the park. It’s a stunning treasure that goes a long way toward making Anderson’s decision to move to Murphreesboro pay off. David Anderson moved to Arkansas on the CHANCE of finding sizeable treasure. But ALL who make the Kingdom of God their primary pursuit will receive an eternal reward. Jesus said “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED UNTO YOU!” When a person finds the truth about Jesus, when he discovers what Jesus was all about, how Jesus truly is the Savior sent from God, and the Coming King - he finds that DIAMOND, he finds that TREASURE of great price. IF YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR WE INVITE YOU TO COME FORWARD AS WE SING OUR INVITATION SONG THIS MORNING. ACCEPT WHAT CHRIST DID FOR YOU ON THE CROSS - CLAIM THIS TREASURE AS YOUR OWN. BECOME A CITIZEN OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD!