Sermon: The Treasure of the Word of God Matthew 13:51–52

Truth Taught- The Apostles are the true scribes of God’s Kingdom bringing out of their storehouses the treasures of God’s Word


Presuppositions can hinder us in finding truth or they can aid us in finding truth.  Now what I mean by presuppositions is the beliefs right or wrong we come to the table with when we read the Bible.  If your presuppositions are not biblical they will often hide truth from you.  They will hide biblical truth from you because your interpretive grid is wrong.  If your presuppositions are biblical then they will greatly aid your understanding of God’s Word because your interpretive grid is correct.

Today’s passage assumes a biblical presupposition…The Old Testament is Christian literature.  We could say it like this as well; the Old Testament is first and foremost a book about Jesus.

Let’s begin by laying out the proof of our presupposition, namely, the OT is Christian literature.

-The OT was the Bible Jesus used.

-The OT was the Bible Paul and the other Apostles used.

-The OT was what Paul had in mind when he wrote,

2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV) 

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 

-The Early Church used the OT as its Bible prior to the writing of the NT.  They were taught the proper way to read the OT.  They were taught that it pointed to Jesus.

-There was never any serious doubt about the OT being part of the Christian Bible.
In his work, Christ and Time, Dr. Cullmann writes, The first Christians in their services of worship read the Old Testament and regarded it as the canon of the Christian community; they thus treated it in practice as a Christian book.

Then in 367AD Athanasius in his Easter Letter gave the 66 Books of the Bible that the Church regarded as Scripture that coincides with our Bible today.

Later Christian creeds reiterate this position.  
-Jesus affirmed the reality that He did not abolish the Old Testament but came to fulfill it.
The OT and the NT are both parts of the Christian Bible; both reveal the same covenant-making God; both reveal the gospel of God’s grace; both show God reaching out to His disobedient children with the universal and same promise I will be your God and you will be My people; both reveal God’s wonderful acts of redemption; both reveal salvation by grace through faith alone.    

As a side note, the Early Church had no issues in accepting the OT as Holy Scripture for them.  Even the Gentiles embraced the OT.  What the Early Church grappled with was which NT Books should be included.  This study really goes beyond the scope of this message so we will save that for another time.  The Apostles were the ones to formulate the NT canon and we can be assured that they and the Early Church got it right.

The OT is incomplete without the NT and in much the same way, the NT is incomplete without the Old.  Both belong together in our Bibles.
The Books of the Old Testament are the bones of the house and the NT is the finished home.  Both go together to form the house and both depend on each other for the finished home.
All of the Bible is God’s Word without exception and without any errors.  All 66 Books are inspired by God…what the Bible says, God says.  This is true of every Word contained from Genesis to Revelation.

The fact that the OT is a Christian Book is paramount in understanding the passage before us today.

Matthew 13:51–52 (ESV) 

51 “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” 

1. True Understanding of the Kingdom of God

51 “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.”

We must keep in mind here that Jesus is not speaking to the fickle crowd.

It was the Apostles who had ears to hear what Jesus taught.  We realize that they were taught these things.  When there was confusion they asked Jesus questions and He answered them.

Literally, the original language is something like we might say today, have you connected the dots?  Have you put it together and do you believe?  The Kingdom of God right now has good and evil side by side.  One day at the end, the angels will come and there will be a separation at the judgment, the righteous to eternal life and the unrighteous to eternal damnation.
Their answer to our Lord’s question was, yes we get it.  

James Boice writes: “Their yes did not actually mean that they understood all that Jesus was teaching, only that they believed all that they did understand and were prepared to act on it” (The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 1, p. 252). All believers do see the truth, albeit through a glass darkly. Our knowledge will not be mature until we are with Christ in glory (1 Cor. 13:12).

Our Lord has work for these men to do.  They have the second half of the Bible to write (literally, God’s Word to write), they have sermons to preach and they have people to teach.  They have miracles to perform…In other words, their understanding was not just for them but to be shared with others.  

It is important to note that those who teach must first be taught.  Those who disciple others must first be disciples themselves.  

Colossians 3:16 (ESV) 

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 

They are being taught by their Master and they have the capacity to understand spiritual things.  Their understanding is growing and at whatever level Jesus has in mind they answer yes to His question.  

Now with their acquired knowledge they must begin sharing it with others.  

2.  The True Scribe of the Kingdom of God

52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” 

Here we must see two Greek words if we are to gain a true understanding.  Jesus uses the word grammateus that is translated Scribemeans a teacher of the Law of God.  Then there is the Word mattheteo.  This word means a disciple or learner in the Kingdom of Heaven.   

These men already new the Old Testament and now Jesus is beginning to explain to them the Kingdom of God.  They will be the ones to literally connect the dots or put the pieces together and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit write the NT.

The OT Scribes were the teachers and preachers of Israel.  They were given the task of explaining God’s Word to others.  The issue was that they themselves only had, at best, a superficial understanding.  They taught without seeing the big picture of the OT.  They taught imperfectly and in part.  

According to Jesus an OT Scribe knew less of God’s Word than these recent converts who were simply fishermen.  These Apostles knew more than the Scribe did.

“Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” 

The OT Scribe had only the old.  These men called by Jesus to be His disciples had the old and now would also have the new.

Jesus is explaining to them here in this Parable that they are like the master of the house that goes back into his storehouse to bring old things and new things.  

In fact, you could translate it, “You are now discipled, biblical scholars and teachers.”  That’s what a scribe was, really.  He was a student, an interpreter, a transmitter of Scripture, he was known as a theologian, a lawyer and a teacher and preacher.

They knew the Old Testament and now they had heard the mysteries of the kingdom.  They knew the old covenant truth and the dawn of the new covenant was coming upon them.  They could not only tell them about the Old Testament and Jewish tradition, but they could dispense the new mysteries of the kingdom, right?  They were one up on the scribes.  All the scribes had was the old stuff, the old stuff, the old stuff. 

The master of the house or we might say the owner of the house would bring out things when his guests had a need.  You need new socks, here, I just found some at the store they are yours.  Are you hungry?  We just yesterday prepared a wonderful roast would you like some?  The owner of the house knew just what his guests needed. Sometimes it was something old like leftovers and sometimes it was something new like a new pair of socks. Whatever it was the master of the house new where to get it and what was appropriate.  
Jesus tells His disciples that’s what they are now.  In their treasure house, they have the old and now Jesus is giving them the new so they are being prepared to dispense exactly what’s needed.
What is it they give out?  The New Testament.  The New Age has come and the New Scriptures with it.  They are the ones who will assimilate the Old Testament and connect it to the Kingdom of God and the result will be the rest of the Scriptures.  They were taught by Jesus Himself…

Luke 24:24–27 (ESV) 

24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

They would be able now to declare with Paul…

Acts 20:27 (ESV) 

27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 

Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV) 

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

Jesus assigned His disciples, here literally His apostles to go and teach and make other disciples.

God promised He would give His people leaders who would teach truth to His people.

Jeremiah 3:15 (ESV) 

15 “ ‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 

3.  A Case Study in Bringing Out Treasure

Peter goes back into his storehouse of treasure and brings out the Old and the New…

Because he has ears to hear and eyes to see and because Jesus has taught him from the OT all the things concerning Himself he has become trained in the Kingdom of God.  Let’s watch Peter connect the dots very clearly and with the full power of the Holy Spirit.  

Acts 2:14–39 (ESV)

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 

17    “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, 

       that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, 

       and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 

and your young men shall see visions, 

and your old men shall dream dreams; 

18    even on my male servants and female servants 

in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 

19    And I will show wonders in the heavens above 

and signs on the earth below, 

blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 

20    the sun shall be turned to darkness 

and the moon to blood, 

before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 

21    And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, 

       “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me, 

for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 

26    therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; 

my flesh also will dwell in hope. 

27    For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, 

or let your Holy One see corruption. 

28    You have made known to me the paths of life; 

you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, 

       “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, 

       “Sit at my right hand, 

35        until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 

Peter was a trained Scribe of the Kingdom of God.  He went back into his storehouse and brought out treasure.

Let’s do one more…

Exodus 12:21–23 (ESV) 

21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. 

After being made a Scribe of the Kingdom of God through being trained by Jesus, Himself for three years, Paul too was ready to go back into his storehouse and bring out treasures of the Kingdom.
Paul knew the account of the Passover in Exodus front to back and after the cross he connected the dots…

1 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV) 

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 

As we close today, we should understand that just as Jesus trained His Apostles, Christians today need to be trained.  We all need to be in God’s Word daily.  We need to be disciples of Christ, literally, learners.  Like the Apostles who had to learn from Jesus first before they could then go out and teach others, we too must all learn and all teach on some level.  

Be a learner so you can be a teacher.  Every Christian must be trained and then teach.

*Resources Used:

Matthew by D A Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary

A Theology of Matthew by Charles Quarles

A Gospel of Matthew by France

Matthew by Craig Bloomberg

Matthew by Doriani

Matthew by Charles Price

Matthew by Leon Morris

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament by Sidney Greidanus

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