Summary: Don’t let anything keep you out of heaven.

GJ Branham Nashville A/G ???. ??, ????

"The Pearl of Great Price"

(A Very Expensive Pearl)

Mt. 13:45-46

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Has anyone ever lost something you really liked and it made you sad to lose it?

Jesus told about a lost coin and a lost sheep. It made the woman who lost the coin very sad to lose it. It made the shepherd who lost one of his sheep very sad. Both stories were about people who lost something very special to them but later found it after they had looked really hard.

Now let me ask you another question. Have you ever found something that you didn’t lose, something that wasn’t yours until you found it, and when you found it you were very excited?

When I was younger, I used to look for Indian arrowheads. In fact, I remember the very first one I ever found. (I have it right here. Show it.)

Our story tonight is about someone who found something they had not lost. What they found made them very happy. Who knows what he found? This man found a very expensive pearl.

Do you know what pearls look like? (Show Patti’s)

You know, pearls are pretty expensive. Some pearls cost a lot more than others. But Jesus tells a parable about a man who must have been something like a jewelry store owner (he was "a merchant"). And he really must have like pearls, a lot. Not just any pearls, but really "fine pearls" (which means really nice pearls).

He probably had a collection of pearls. Maybe he even showed them to his friends, "See, this was the first pearl I ever bought." (Show a white marble.) Then he might have went back into his closet and pulled out a bigger one. (Show a ball.) Maybe he said, "This is my favorite pearl. It is my best and biggest pearl. I really like this one."

Then one day he was in another city and saw a really HUGE pearl. (Bring out the BIG ball.) Well, when he saw that pearl, he fell in love with it. He knew he had to have it. There was just one problem. It was very expensive. He didn’t have enough money to buy it. So he hurried back home and had a really big yard sale. He probably even sold his collection of pearls. "He ... sold everything he had." And took all his money from everything he sold and went back and bought that very expensive pearl. And he was happy.

Does anyone remember what this really expensive pearl represents in Jesus’ parable?

A parable is "a story about things we already know, to help us understand spiritual things." In this parable, this valuable pearl was like the kingdom of heaven. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that in heaven, the gates are each made of one single pearl, and the pearly gates of heaven are 1,500 miles tall! And there are 12 of them! WOW!

What Jesus is telling us is that Heaven is so great, so special, so important and valuable, that whatever it takes for you to get there, it will be worth it! So, if you had to go home and sell all your toys, all your clothes, all your furniture (even your bed), and even your house, just so you could go to heaven, it would be worth it. It is that important!

But you don’t have to sell any of your toys or anything else to got to heaven. Oh, it costs a tremendous price to go to heaven - a bigger price than we could ever pay - but Jesus already paid the price so we could all go. He paid it when He came to earth and when they nailed Him to a cross and He died for all our sins. Because our sin was the reason we couldn’t get into heaven. That’s what made it so expensive to go.

But Jesus loves each of us so much that He wants us all to go to heaven. He doesn’t want any of us to miss it. The Bible tells us that if we really, really, really believe with all our heart that Jesus died for our sins, and that God raised Him from the dead, and if we say with our mouths "Jesus is Lord," He will forgive all our sins and help us get into heaven when it is time.

Do you want to go to heaven one day?

If so, I would like you to raise your hand right now.

Now, if you have never prayed for Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your heart, and take you to heaven one day, keep your hand up. (Everyone else may put their hands down.)

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