Pearl of Great Price

Scripture: Matthew 13:45-46, Luke 14:33, Luke 9:25
This broadcast speaks of Jesus' parable about the pearl of great price. Like the man who sought this pearl, we should seek God and give up all for the Lord. It requires faith that leads to full obedience to gain the kingdom of heaven.
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Have you ever heard of that famous pearl worth millions of dollars? Jesus told about it in Matthew 13:45, 46. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." As Jesus said, it's like a business man who went out looking for one of the most priceless gems in all the world. At last he found the very finest and best. He asked how much it would cost. Being told the price, he did a little figuring and found that it would take everything he had to make the purchase. But mark this, friends, his desire for that pearl was so supreme, so compelling, that he gladly sold all in order to secure it. He didn't say the price was too high, he didn't say it wasn't worth it, he didn't complain because he couldn't afford it, he didn't suggest waiting until he was in better shape to do it. No, he gladly, eagerly, sold everything in order to purchase the pearl of great price.

This is only a parable, friends, but this is what gaining heaven is like. The pearl represents Jesus, it represents eternal life-it stands for heaven. Just as it took all for this man to obtain the pearl, so it will require everything, an entire surrender and full obedience in order to be saved.

Now I may shock some of you today as I lay these things on the line. We're not going to talk in vague generalities. Some people have thought that believing was quite enough. All you have to do is just believe in the Lord and be saved. Friends, I don't deny that we must believe. We must have faith. But the question is, What is true faith? Someone put it in the form of an acrostic: "Faith stands for Forsaking All, I Take Him." That is true faith, friends, and it works. It operates powerfully in the life. It's not a mere belief, it's not a mere mental assent to something.

Too few people have placed a proper value on heaven. You know, if folk really knew what heaven was like, there would be no hesitation at all in preparing for it. If a man allows anything or anyone to hold him back from full obedience, he makes the saddest mistake in all the world. Anybody who fails to go all the way in getting ready to meet Jesus is going to fail miserably and lose everything. There are no second prizes in this race we're running. We either gain everything or we lose everything. Neither is there a consolation prize. Someone might now be thinking, "Do you mean we can't be saved if we don't give up everything?" Friends, I'm not the one to say. It's what Jesus says that really matters.

Look at Luke 14:33. "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." If there are a hundred things to give up and I yield ninety-nine of them, but still hold on to one, could I still be lost and left out of the kingdom of heaven? Please notice Luke 9:25, "For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?" Nothing matters so much as obeying.

I know some people have a harder time than others. Some have loved ones, even, who try to hold them back. Some people have been brought up in terrible environments. Some people have family members that may be opposing them in this matter of being a Christian. In fact, Jesus implied that very thing in Luke 14:26, 27. "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." This simply means that anyone who loves his father, mother, or family more than Christ is not worthy of Him; and Jesus put it in those very words in another text. We must love God more than our family, our job or business, or we can't be a true follower of Jesus.

If people would carefully study this through, they would not hold back. All must give an answer for themselves in the day of judgment. We can't actually lose a thing. We can't give up anything for Christ. Any so-called sacrifice, or supposed sacrifice that we make will prove to be no sacrifice at all in the long run. In Luke 18:29, 30 we read, Jesus said unto them, "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting." There it is. You can't lose anything for Christ. Some people flatter themselves that they make great sacrifices for the gospel, but I wonder how many in this blessed land of America really do make any measurable sacrifice.

I'd like to tell you about Sodic, who lived in Pakistan. One day this man came to my home in Lahore. It was near Christmas day and he wanted to be secretly baptized on December 25. This man had lived up in the Kyber Pass area where there is no law except tribal law. He had attended some gospel meetings and decided to turn away from Mohammedanism and become a Christian. He came home one day and announced to his wife that he was going to be a Christian. Well, when he returned next day from his good government job, he found his home empty! His wife and children were gone, and every stick of furniture was also gone. His father-in-law had come and taken them all away, and he was never to see his family again. Then the next week, he lost his job with the government because his relatives intervened. A few days later, he was waylaid and beaten-left for dead. He had to run for his very life. As a refugee he came down to the large teeming city of Lahore and tried to hide himself there. Then he came to my door wanting to be baptized secretly. Friends, as he came up out of the water, I could see the scars on his face that he'll carry the rest of his life as a testimony to his faith, his willingness to even die for his religion. Well, Sodic is still hiding out as a refugee. If any of his family found him, they would kill him. But he still counts it a great joy to follow Christ. He gave up his home, his job, his family, and almost his life; and yet, he is one of the happiest Christians you could ever find.

One of the saddest stories in the Bible is found in Matthew 19:16-22. It's about that rich, young ruler who came asking the secret of eternal life. He came in the right spirit, friends. If you'll read the story, he came running and knelt down before Jesus with his question, which certainly was the right question. He was eager and apparently ready to humbly receive the truth Christ would give him. Jesus said, "... if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." And the young man said, "Which?" Jesus began to quote the two tables of the law, and the young man said, "All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?" Jesus didn't contradict him, but showed by a test that he had not really kept them in spirit. Jesus said, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." You see, Jesus saw into his heart and knew that he loved money more than he loved God. The young man, not willing to share his goods, went away sorrowfully. Here was a man whose name might be found in the Bible, a young man who could have written some of the epistles, perhaps, and yet, his name isn't there. We don't know it, because he went away unwilling to make that sacrifice. He loved money more than he loved God. He broke the first commandment.

Today, men are still bartering their souls for the love of money, or for houses, or for beautiful automobiles. What a solemn warning this is! Christ put His finger right on the problem, on the one sin that was holding him back. He can see into your heart today also, and He could put His finger on the one thing that you love more than you love God. The man who goes on lacking one thing is going to lose everything. Do you know where most church members will fall short of heaven? They are looking for a cheap religion. They look for a religion that will not require them to make a 100 percent surrender, and there is no such thing as a cheap Christianity. The very first principle of the kingdom of God is self-denial. Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24.

It costs something to be a true Christian. It cost Christ something when He came down from heaven to die for us. It cost Paul something too. He was beaten, shipwrecked and forsaken by all his friends. Listen, if you are going to follow the footsteps of Jesus in being a Christian, you must be willing to make a full surrender. You can't hold onto anything. I don't mean by that, of course, that you can't have your food and clothes and home, and even an automobile. But you must be willing to lay any of those things aside, if necessary, in order to follow Christ. You must not allow any of those things to come between you and obedience to Christ. You must make a full surrender.

Do you know how they trap monkeys in Borneo? They take a coconut scoop out the meat from inside, and put cooked rice in there. This is a favorite food of the monkeys. They come, put in their hands to get the rice; but, with their hands full of rice they can't get their clutched fist out of the hole. Those stupid monkeys will stay right there until somebody comes to pick them up and make captives of them. They will not let go of the rice in order to escape. There are many people today holding onto the cheap tinsel of this world rather than escape from eternal death and have eternal life.

Let me leave just one last word with you who might be holding back today. God offers you the pearl of great price. Some of you have hands full of the things of this world. You are holding on to some of the old, sinful habits of this age. With some it's eating, drinking and feasting. Why don't you give up the cheap, transitory things, friends, and take hold of this pearl that will bring endless joy. Jesus was right. What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul? Hands that are filled with stocks and bonds, gold, or pleasures of this life, can never lay hold of eternal life as well. Oh, you need more of the love of Jesus in your hearts, friends. This would make it easy to surrender. The longer we look at Him, the more we love Him, and the more we love Him, the more we will want to obey Him and keep His commandments. If you open your heart today, you can receive Him into your life.

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