Summary: The church is God’s Pearl of Great Price. How the pearl was WROUGHT, how it was SOUGHT, and how it was BOUGHT. Link included to formatted text for entire series, audio, and PowerPoint Template.
Parable of the Pearl
This parable is going to sound a whole lot like the previous one we just studied on the hidden treasure, but with a great twist and special illustration that I know will be a blessing to you.
Common misinterpretation: The Pearl represents Jesus Christ, and the man is a seeking sinner who gives all he has to obtain salvation. He turned his back on all he had to achieve heaven.
Much like the previous parable of the hidden treasure, it is not a good idea to just naturally read a parable at face value and apply common logic to it.
Reasons to reject this interpretation:
• Sinners aren’t seeking Jesus, but rather, Jesus is seeking sinners.
It would be nice if the lost were busting down our doors trying to find out how to be saved, but they are not. What are commonly known as ‘seekers’ today are most often seeking help, seeking social contact, and seldom are they seeking truth. This is not to say that mankind isn’t looking for something real, but they aren’t looking in Jesus’ direction, nor the church’s.
The Bible says we are dead in trespasses and sins…and a dead man cannot seek anything. If you feel as though you were seeking the Lord, I don’t debate your feeling, but I’d say that was the Holy Spirit drawing you, calling you, wooing you to Him!
It’s the difference between Christianity and religion. Religion is man trying to reach up to God, but Christianity is God reaching down to man.
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
• The merchant-man bought the pearl.
Salvation is not of works, and cannot be bought, but it is the gift of God!
• He sold all he had to obtain it.
True discipleship, indeed, asks us to give up things and put on Christ, but that is sanctification, not salvation.
What does a sinner have that is valuable enough that he can sell it and have enough to buy Christ?
If even our righteousness [goodness] is filthy rags before God, then we have nothing to merit salvation.
The true interpretation is that the merchant man is Christ, and we, the church are that pearl which He purchases at great cost…He gave His all! He seeks and saves that which was lost!
The special twist is the illustration of the pearl:
The pearl is a perfect picture of the church in that a pearl is one…a picture of unity. It is formed miraculously, and for the purpose of being presented back to its maker. Its creator is the owner, just as the church was founded by Christ and is His bride!
I. How the pearl was wrought. [came into existence]
There is very little to a pearl. Crush it and all you’ll have is lime…ordinary chalk. The value of the pearl is how it comes into existence. It is not carved or cut like a diamond or ruby…matter of fact, if you cut a pearl it becomes worthless.
It is created in the heart of a living oyster, in the deep dark of the sea, as an irritant such as a grain of sand is introduced inside the shell. It begins to cut and dig in to the tender inner tissues of the oyster, and it is then that it secretes a substance called Nacre, aka Mother of Pearl. Layer upon layer is formed around that grain of sand until it is a beautiful pearl.
A pearl is formed by accretion--not mechanically, but vitally, just as God gives the church new life as souls are saved! "Upon this rock I have built My Pearl!"
Think about it: the pearl is the oyster’s answer to that which wounded it. The pearl owes its existence to the oyster’s willingness to cover that which had cut it.
What a beautiful picture of salvation in Christ! Our part was the cutting, and God’s part was the covering.
Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world, but then sin entered as an intrusion…an invader to God’s perfect world. Adam had an amazing intellect…he named all 15,000 plus species of animals, and yet there were 6 words Adam didn’t know:
Death—there was no such thing until sin brought it.
Nakedness—they were not ashamed until sin came.
Curse—sin brought a curse to the world.
Sorrow—sin brought this is childbirth and everything else that follows childbirth during life.
Thorns—the roses had no thorns until that day.
Sweat—he had to earn his way thru life.
Man’s sin was an intrusion that cut the heart of God. Ours was the cutting, God’s was the covering. [animal skins]
Thank God that Calvary covers it all! The cross was God’s answer to man’s sin! The innocent died for the guilty—both in the garden to cover man’s body and on the cross to cover man’s sin.