by T. Austin-Sparks
(March 12, 1964 P.M.)
We are going to return to the parables of the Kingdom for a little while this evening. The Gospel by Matthew, chapter thirteen, verse forty-four, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field; which a man found, and hid; and in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." The parable of the treasure hidden in the field. The law of consistency to which we have referred requires that we interpret the field again as the world. Jesus said concerning the sower that the field is the world. So here again the field is the world. And as in the other parables, the man is the Son of Man. It is the Lord Jesus Himself Who has found this treasure in the world. And then it says, having found the treasure, He went and sold all that He had and bought, not the treasure, but the field. When He bought the field, He secured the treasure.
Now we are going to start from the outside and work toward the center. We shall come to the treasure last of all. First of all, we want to know the meaning of this selling all that He had to buy the field. I wonder if I were to ask you, if you could give me the Scripture that would explain that, where would you turn? Would you like to think about that for a minute? Well, I will give you the Scripture that will explain that. You turn to the Letter of Paul to the Philippians, chapter two, at verses five through eight: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross."
There is the Son of Man selling all that He had. It was a mighty all that He let go. He was equal with God. In His prayer in John seventeen, He said, "Father, glorify Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." Equal with God, having the glory of God before the foundation of the world, being the Son of God, He had all the fullness of heaven. He was over all angels and archangels, they would hasten to do His will. And much more than that, He let it all go.
"He emptied Himself," the word is here, He emptied Himself of His heavenly glory. He emptied Himself of His equality with God, and took the form of a servant, was made in the likeness of men. He humbled Himself, He became obedient unto death, yea, the death of the Cross. That is the price that He paid for this treasure. This Son of Man paid a very great price, indeed, for the treasure hidden in the field. It says here that He sold all that He had. You and I can never, never understand the meaning of that word, "ALL." Perhaps, when we get to glory, we shall begin to understand how much the Lord Jesus sacrificed for this treasure.
Well, there is the treasure, there is the field, there is the Son of Man, selling all that He had, to purchase that treasure. But it says, 'He bought the field.' It does not say, 'He just bought the treasure.' He bought the field in order to get the treasure. I wonder what that means? I think it is a thing that we Christians have been slow to recognize. We have not recognized that the Lord Jesus redeemed the whole world - every man, every woman, and every child in this world is redeemed. Jesus Christ purchased the salvation of every man. He paid the price for the redemption of all men. The trouble is, that although men have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus, they will not all believe and accept it. And the condemnation will be this, that redemption was bought for you, and you would not accept it. You see, that is the Gospel. Christ has redeemed all. His blood has paid the price for all. It is, "Whosoever believeth on Him, shall be saved." But the world, as a whole, will not accept the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
That leads us then to the treasure. We are able to see what the treasure is. He bought the whole field, but He only obtained the treasure. What is this treasure? Have we got any Scripture that will answer that question? I think we have. If you will turn to the Book of the Acts, chapter fifteen, verse fourteen, "Simeon hath rehearsed how first God did visit the nations, to take out of them a people for His Name." Do you see what that says? The nations. And hidden in the nations, a people for His Name. The Bible does not teach that in this age all the nations are going to be saved. On the contrary, it teaches that at the end of this age many, many will not be saved. But it does teach that in the nations, He has seen a people, and He has come in order to take out of the nations that people for His Name.
It is not that the nations cannot be saved. The prophet cried, "Look unto Me, all ye ends of the earth." God would have all men to repent, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. But inasmuch as all the nations will not turn to the Lord, He takes out of the nations a people for His Name. The Lord says, Simeon has looked into the nations, and in the nations he has seen this treasure, a people for His Name. And He is, through this age, taking out of the nations, that people for His Name. This is the treasure that the Lord sees in the nations. He sees that treasure in the nations. He never tells us that this one and that one is a part of the treasure, and these and other ones are not a part of the treasure. No, He says, You go into the nations, you preach the Gospel to all the nations. The result will be that some out of all the nations will be brought as His treasure. The Lord only knows who are the treasure. You and I do not know. That treasure is to Him of very great value.
What is the value of that treasure? It is the value of His Own Name. The overriding factor in this whole matter is the Name of the Lord. The great phrase here which governs everything is, "FOR HIS NAME." The value of the treasure is nothing less than the value of His Own Name. Have you noticed what a great place that Name has in the New Testament? Our salvation is only by the Name. Salvation rests upon the meaning of that Name. He that believeth on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. So that faith in the Name is the basis and the beginning of salvation.
Then we are called by His Name. The Apostle James says, "That worthy Name which is called upon you":- we are called by His Name. We do not know what was in the minds of the people of Antioch, when they first called believers, "Christians." Of course, the world must always put some name onto people. But there is a significance about that Name, when in Antioch, the believers were first called "Christians." That word just simply means, people who belong to Christ. They are Christ's ones. So the Name is called on us, we are called by His Name. Do you call yourself a Christian? As everyone here tonight says, I am a Christian, that simply means, I am one of Christ's. The Name that rests upon Him now rests upon me. I carry the Name of Christ with me.
What is the next thing? Well, it says in the Book of the Acts, they went forth for the sake of the Name. That is, they went out into the world for the sake of His Name. They went out in life and service for the Name of the Lord Jesus. That is what we are Christians for, to go out into the world with His Name.
What is the next thing? They counted it joy to suffer for the sake of the Name. They counted it an honor that they were worthy to suffer for the sake of the Name. So, suffering for the Name is the next thing. It will depend entirely upon what we think of the Name, and how much we are prepared to suffer for it. The service and suffering are for the sake of the Name of Jesus. When Paul was converted, and was led by the hand into Damascus, during those three days and nights of prayer, the Lord spoke to Ananias, and told him where Saul of Tarsus was at that moment, and told him what he was doing. Then He said to Ananias, 'You go to that man, and you lay your hands on him, he is a chosen vessel unto Me to bear My Name before the nations, and I will show him how great things he must suffer for My Name.' The service and the suffering are joined together. The service and suffering are for the sake of the Name.
What is the next thing? It is our character and our conduct for the sake of the Name. The Word is, "Whatsoever you do, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus." Character, conduct, for the sake of the Name. What we are in ourselves, and how we behave in this world, touches the Name of Jesus. If our character is not good, if our conduct is not good, it brings dishonor upon His Name. So that the Name governs our whole life in every department in this world.
There is one more thing that we will mention in connection with the Name. If all these things are true, which we have mentioned, if we are saved through faith in the Name, if that worthy Name is called upon us and we bear that Name, if we are going forth every day into the world for the sake of the Name, if we are prepared to suffer for the sake of that Name, and if we are seeking to order our character and our conduct for the honor of that Name, then this next thing will become true. We shall have power by the Name.
You remember that almost immediately after the day of Pentecost, Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, and they saw a poor man lying hopeless at the gate of the temple, and he was asking, he was begging for money. Peter looked upon him, and had compassion upon him, and he said, "Silver and gold have I none," but I have got something better than that, "in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." I think that was the best gift that man ever had in all the years that he had been there. The mighty power in that Name came to that man. Of course, that upset all the Jewish rulers. And Peter and John found themselves in trouble with the authorities. They were taken to the court to be tried and condemned, and the judges said, By what Name have you done this? They meant, By what authority? And Peter said, If you ask by what Name or by what authority this man is made whole, be it known unto you that it is by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. There is power and there is authority in the Name. They did many mighty works by the Name of the Lord Jesus.
But we shall never know the power of the Name unless we know these other things about the Name. A lot of people would like to have the power without the consecration and the character. The power demands a holy life, a life that is in accordance with the Name of Jesus. And I think there are a lot more people who would like to have the power without the suffering. There is no power without the suffering. It is the people who suffer for the sake of the Name, who know the power of the Name.
But we have not finished the list yet, there is one more. If you look into the Book of the Revelation the Lord says this, 'To him that overcometh, will I write My new Name upon him.' The Name, then, is the Name of glory. It is the crown of glory, crown of glory for those who have believed in the Name, for those who have been consecrated to the Name, those who have honorably borne that Name through this life, to those who have served for the sake of the Name. Those whose characters have been conformed to the Name, and those who suffer for the sake of the Name, that Name will be written upon their foreheads. It will be the sign that they are glorified together with Christ.
I wonder if we have really got what we have been saying. There are not many nations represented here tonight. I do not know how many, but only a few, I think. But all of us here tonight are out of some nation. Are we the Lord's? Why are we the Lord's? Why are we saved? What would be your answer to that question? Well, I am saved in order to have my sins forgiven. I am saved in order to escape the judgment at the last day. I am saved in order to go to heaven. Well, of course, all those things are true. But they are not the real object of our salvation. WE ARE SAVED FOR THE SAKE OF HIS NAME. We are taken out of the nations for His Name. And the value of this treasure out of the nations is just the value of the Name of the Lord Jesus. And the value of that Name is all the glory of heaven. That is the price that He paid for our salvation.
You see, all that the Lord Jesus let go of was the price that He set upon His Name. And if that Name truly rests upon you and upon me, then we are of tremendous value to the Lord Jesus. It is not the value of what we are in ourselves. Perhaps you could say to me, Well, I am of very little value. It is not true that I am of the value of the Name of Jesus. You would be quite right if you said that. It is not what we are in ourselves, but it is the value of that Name which rests upon us. Our value is the value of the Name. Without that Name, we are of no value at all. But with that Name, we are a treasure of great price. The Lord looks upon us as bearing His Name as something very precious to Him. We are therefore saved for the sake of the Name.
I want to appeal to you, dear friends, I want to say to you, Do seek to have your whole life here according to the Name of the Lord Jesus. Do seek that Your whole character and your whole conduct and all that you do in this life is for the glory of the Name of Jesus. The one question that should stand over everything is, Will this honor the Name of the Lord Jesus? See, there are lots of Christians who say about certain things, Oh well, there is no harm in it. Why should I not do that? There is nothing wrong about that. Why should I not go to this thing and to that thing? Why should I not do what other people do? You see, that is all negative. We ought to say, If I do this, will it honor the Name of Jesus? Am I conducting my business to the honor of the Name of Jesus? Am I using my money for the honor of the Name of Jesus? Is my behavior before people honoring the Lord Jesus? That is the positive way of looking at the Christian life. So, we must ask about everything, Does this honor the Name of Jesus? When there are divisions between the Lord's people, do we say, Oh, this does so much dishonor to His Name. For the sake of the Name, we must do everything to heal this division.
Now we will close by noting one other thing. The Man found the treasure in the field. He sold all that He had to possess that field. When He had paid the price of redemption for the field, He secured for Himself the treasure that was in that field. And, then, what did He do with it? What did He do with the treasure when He got it? It says, "He hid it, He hid it." You see, dear friends, His Own people are hidden in the nations. There is no other way of distinguishing His people in the nations but by the Name that rests upon them. Those people in the city of Antioch did not say, We know these people by their dress, we know these people because of this or that or something else. We know them because of the Name that rests upon them. They are Christ's ones. That is the only way in which the world knows us.
Otherwise, we are no different from other people. We have not become a different kind of species, distinguished in some outward way from other kinds of people, no, we are hidden in the world as Christians. Jesus said, "Therefore the world knoweth them not." The world does not know how valuable they are to God. The world does not know that they are a treasure for whom Christ has paid the greatest price. They are His hidden ones. It is only the Lord Who knows them that are His. The only way in which the world can know who we are is because we are living according to His Name. We are bearing His Name in this world with honor. It is a worthy Name that has been called upon us. So the Lord says, "Be ye holy; for I am Holy" (I Peter 1:16). That is the distinguishing mark of the Christians. It is said of those first believers, that men took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. Whatever they meant by that, it means something very wonderful. We know these people because they are like Jesus.
Now that is a very simple message, and yet it is a searching message. That wonderful parable is contained in just one verse, but it tells us of what the Lord is doing through this whole dispensation, He is taking out of the nations a people for His Name.
Now here is a wonderful thing. When we all get to heaven, what shall we look like? Well, I want to tell you this, that you will not see me as an Englishman in heaven, and I shall not see you as Chinese men and women in heaven. You will not find white and black and yellow and red people in heaven. We shall all bear the image of the glorified Son of Man. That is better than having a black or a white face, is it not? You see, it says distinctly in the Word of God, that we were foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son. And when we awake, we shall be like Him. If we have borne His Name here, if we have honored His Name here, if we have suffered for His Name here, His Name will be upon us there, and it will be ONE GREAT CHRIST, Christ manifested in us all - because we shall bear His likeness, because we are called by His Name!