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Matthew 13:45-46

PICTURES FROM THE PEARL

 

Intro: Some preachers and commentators approach this parable by saying that the pearl represents salvation and that the buyer pictures the lost sinner. The sinner does all that he can to obtain salvation. He works and he pays any price to get his soul saved. Of course, that would be works salvation, which we all know is not the way it is at all, Eph. 2:8-9.

The real interpretation of the parable is this: The merchant is Jesus, the pearl is the church, His body, and the great price is His Own death on the cross of Calvary. It is God who was willing to pay any price to save lost people from a certain death in Hell.

There are many great lessons, given in the Bible, drawn from nature. Among them are the ant, the bee, the eagle, Peter’s rooster, the rainbow and Balaam’s donkey. I would like to use this service to take a look at the little pearl. In doing so, we can learn much about the Lord and His church. Notice several Pictures From The Pearl.

 

I. THE PEARL IS THE PRODUCT OF SUFFERING

A. A pearl is formed when an oyster gets a grain of sand trapped in the soft flesh, called the mantle within its shell. This piece of sand irritates the tender oyster and it responds by coating the grain of sand with layer upon layer of a substance called nacre, which is basically saliva and calcium. It is the same substance that coats the inside of the oyster’s shell. The pearl is the product of pain.

B. The church was also born out of suffering! (Ill. The horrible death He bore for sinners!) (Isa. 53:1-6; Eph. 5:25; Rev. 1:5) (Ill. What we have is free, but it certainly was not cheap!)

 

II. THE PEARL IS FORMED FROM SOMETHING WORTHLESS

A. The pearl is formed from all types of junk. Pieces of sand, bone fragments from dead fish, etc.

B. The church of Jesus is formed of old hell bound sinners! (Luke 19:10; Matt. 9:12-13) (Ill. The kind of junk we were - Eph. 2:1-3)

 

III. THE PEARL IS A COMPOSITE

A. Ill. There are at least three materials used in the formation of the pearl. These are the offending material, saliva, and calcium.

B. The Church is composed of all kinds of people from varying backgrounds - Rev. 22:17; John 3:16. Often, there is only one thing in common - Salvation through the blood of Jesus!

 

IV. THE PEARL GROWS GRADUALLY

A. After irritant lodges itself inside the oyster, it can take the creature up to 3 years to produce the pearl.

B. God has been gradually building His church in the world. It has been growing for 2,000 years, but only as the Holy Spirit has convicted and saved sinners - John 6:44. (Ill. Sometimes the Lord adds to His church, Acts 2:47. At other times, He multiplies His church, Acts 6:7. Sometimes, we may go a while and not see anyone added here, but the Lord is still building His church! It is His work and He always sees to it!)

 

V. THE PEARL IS A HIDDEN WORK

A. The pearl grows hidden inside the oyster under the water, where no one can see it happen.

B. No one can actually see the growth of the Lord’s church. They can see the visible, local church, but not the invisible. It is a matter of the heart. In truth, one can be certain of no one else, but themselves. That is why the Bible tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, Phil. 2:12. Also, 2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Pet. 1:10. Just because you show up here at this church, does not guarantee you that you are a member of His church!

 

VI. THE PEARL IS A VALUABLE OBJECT

A. Pearls can be worth a fortune. Scientists say that one natural pearl can be found in every 10,000 oysters! That is why some strings of pearls can literally be worth millions of dollars. (Ill. The Roman general Vitellius financed an entire military campaign by selling just one of his mother's pearl earrings.) (Ill. To convince Rome that Egypt possessed a heritage and wealth that put it above conquest, Cleopatra wagered Marc Antony she could give the most expensive dinner in history. The Roman reclined as the queen sat with an empty plate and a goblet of wine (or vinegar). She crushed one large pearl of a pair of earrings, dissolved it in the liquid, then drank it down. Astonished, Antony declined his dinner -- the matching pearl -- and admitted she had won. Pliny, the world's first gemologist, writes in his famous Natural History that the two pearls were worth an estimated 60 million sesterces, or 1,875,000 ounces of fine silver ($9,375,000 with silver at $5/ounce).

B. The church is worth a fortune to God! After all, He paid a high price to save the church from Hell: The death of His Son! (Ill. Rom. 5:6-8) He literally bankrupt Heaven to redeem us from sin, 1 Pet. 1:18-19.)

C. The church is worth a fortune to the world. She serves as a restraining force against the tide of evil that will one day sweep over the entire world, 2 Thes. 2. The church is the place where our children, the next generations, learn about the things of God. It is here that they learn to worship Him, honor Him, praise Him and live for Him! Therefore, the church is worth any price that we might have to pay to keep her active and to keep her strong. It is worth our praying, our giving, our working, our sacrificing. The church is worth all we can give to her.

 

VII. THE PEARL IS INDIVISIBLE

A. The pearl is the only gem known to man that cannot be cut. Large diamonds are cut and made into smaller, more valuable stones, but the pearl cannot be divided. To cut a pearl utterly destroys all of its worth.

 

(Ill. Pearls come in all shapes, sizes and colors, yet they are all still pearls.)

 

B. The visible church may be divided in the eyes of man, but the true church of Jesus will ever stand together - Phil. 1:27; 1 Cor. 1:10.

 

(Ill. When any church is divided, it loses its value to the world! Therefore, there is a great need for us to be of one mind and of one accord! It doesn’t look good on Jesus when His people cannot get along! Therefore, let us learn to take the words of the Bible to heart, Eph. 4:32; Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 17:1-5.)

 

(Ill. Baptist church split in Kentucky over the color of the hymn books! The side which lost the vote sawed the church in half and carried their half away! What a testimony!)

 

VII. THE PEARL REFLECTS LIGHT

A. One of the outstanding qualities of the pearl is its ability to reflect light. The luster of a pearl, or the lack thereof, can dramatically affect its value!

B. The church, like the moon in the heavens, is to reflect the light of the Lord Jesus - Matt. 5:16. (Ill. Our ability to reflect His light either increases or decreases our value in the world!) 

 

IX. THE PEARL IS A THING OF IMMENSE BEAUTY

A. Pearls have been used for centuries as a thing to adorn the wealthy, powerful and the ruling class. They serve as objects of great beauty.

B. The church is a beautiful thing! Here we are, a collection of sinners saved by the great grace of God and headed to a city called heaven. (Ill. Right now, our true beauty might not shine as it ought to, but one day it will - Rev. 21:9ff; 2 Cor. 11:2. (Ill. 1 John 3:1-3)

 

Conc: There is much more that could be said about the little pearl. We could talk of it being round which speaks of the eternal nature of the church. We could mention that there is only one pearl to an oyster. There is only one true church. We could talk of the fact that the vast majority of pearls are white, which speaks of purity - Eph. 5:29.

I think we have seen enough to know what the Lord called His church a pearl of great price. After all He has done for it, through it, in it and to it; it is easy to see the high place the church holds in our Lord’s heart. So, here are a couple of questions that need to be asked and answered today.

1. Are you a member of the true church? Are you saved?

2. If you are saved, are you doing everything in your power to make sure your church is the beautiful thing God designed it to be?

  We might as well face facts tonight. The church will never rise above her members! Are we all we should be? Are we all we could be? Is there room for Calvary Baptist Church to become more like a pearl of great price this evening?

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