LESSONS FROM THE PEARL
1. JOKE # 1
a. A mechanic accidentally swallowed some brake fluid and really liked the taste. Before he knew it, he had polished off a whole bottle of the stuff.
b. His buddy George caught him sneaking a swig the next day. "That stuff is dangerous," George said. "You gotta give it up."
c. "Don't worry," the mechanic said. "I can stop anytime I want."
2. JOKE 2
a. Stanley & Ole were eating in a restaurant. Ole went to the front desk to ask a question.
b. Hurrying back he said, “Hey Stanley! Someone just stole our pickup from the parking lot!” Stanley said, “Did you get a look at the thief?”
c. Ole said, “No, I couldn’t see him, but I did get his license plate!”
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Mt. 13:45-46
“And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass” Rev. 21:21.
1. Pearls have been used for centuries as objects of beauty. They are unique in that they do not occur naturally in nature, as other gems, but are the product of a living creature.
2. Because of the pearl’s unusual characteristics, they are symbolic of many deep spiritual truths.
3. Two examples might be the formation of the nature of Christ in us or as a symbol of the resurrection body.
4. So let’s look at God’s special creation of beauty & its 7 meanings: “Lessons from the Pearl.”
I. A PEARL IS FORMED FROM WORTHLESS MATTER
1. The pearl is formed from all types of junk. Grains of sand, bone fragments from dead fish, and other wastes on the sea floor are aspirated/ breathed in by the oyster. Yet through God’s gift it becomes a very rare and beautiful thing.
2. Paul says that “Christ…shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” Phip. 3:20-21, KJV. Wow! What a transformation!
3. The weak body you now possess that gets tired and sick and gets old will someday become – by God’s power – an eternal body of great beauty and everlasting nature.
4. God takes we “creatures of dust,” and by His power makes us New Creatures fitted for Heaven!
II. A PEARL IS A COMPOSITE THING
1. It’s a combination of several things. There are at least 3 materials used in forming a pearl – the irritant material, the oyster’s saliva, and calcium.
2. Paul said, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” 1 Cor. 15:44, 49.
3. We have partly earthly nature and part heavenly nature now. One day the heavenly form will clothe the earthly.
4. In heaven, we will still have features we have now: arms, legs, and faces, even though our bodies won’t require air, food or water.
5. Our Resurrected Body will not exist by blood flow, but by the breath of the Holy Spirit. They will be “spiritual” bodies, animated by the Spirit.
III. A PEARL IS THE PRODUCT OF SUFFERING
1. A pearl is formed when an oyster gets a grain of sand or something trapped in its soft tissue inside its shell. This piece of sand irritates the oyster and it responds by coating the grain with layers of saliva and calcium.
2. Similarly, the new nature in us can only be perfected by trials & tests.
a. A hillbilly Mama & her boy were sitting in church and a baby was crying so loudly they couldn’t even hear the preacher.
b. The boy said, “Where did you say babies come from?”
c. The Mama said, “From Heaven.”
d. The boy answered, “Wow! I can see why they threw him out!”
4. Peter says, “I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure” Message 1 Pet. 1:6.
5. Paul: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Rom. 5:3-4.
6. Beauty comes from suffering! Just as the gemstone in the tumbler is buffeted, that buffeting is the means to its perfection.
IV. A PEARL GROWS GRADUALLY
1. After a grain of sand enters inside an oyster, it can take the oyster up to 3 years to produce a medium-sized pearl. It takes time to add the beautiful luster to the earthly matter.
2. GOAL: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” Rom. 8:29.
3. Progressive: “As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” [God’s Word] 2 Cor. 3:18.
4. Growth into the image of Christ is gradual, with ever-increasing glory. Hopefully, we are becoming a little less selfish, a little more patient, a little more like Jesus every day. That’s God’s goal.
V. A PEARL IS A HIDDEN WORK
1. The pearl grows hidden in the oyster submerged in water.
2. People may look at you and seem to see nothing going on. They may not detect the slow, gradual change taking place. In fact, YOU may not ever see any change in yourself!
3. Don’t become discouraged. When we were growing up physically, didn’t it seem like – if looked at every day – that no growth was happening? Yet we could tell in our yearly pictures.
4. The Lord Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” Jn. 3:8;
5. He said of the Kingdom of God in us: “Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how” Mk. 4:27.
6. So trust that God IS growing you spiritually. Great trees take a lifetime to grow up; so do great Christians.
VI. A PEARL IS A VERY VALUABLE OBJECT
1. Pearls can be worth a fortune. In fact strings of pearls can actually be worth millions of dollars.
2. You can tell the worth of something by how much someone is willing to pay for it. John 3:16 tells us that God thinks that you’re so valuable that He was willing to surrender even His Son so that you might be saved!
3. 1 Peter 1:18-19, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
4. Jesus talked about the Value of a soul. “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Jesus reminds us the value of our soul far surpasses anything the world has to offer – so valuable is eternal life.
VII. A PEARL REFLECTS LIGHT
a. Stanley & Ole were sitting in another restaurant.
b. Ole said, “Look at those 2 old guys over there, Stanley. That will be us in about 10 years!”
c. Stanley replied, “You dummy Ole! That’s a mirror! You’re looking at US!”
2. We’re supposed to reflect Jesus like a mirror reflects your image! One of the outstanding qualities of the pearl is its ability to reflect light.
3. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world!” Jn. 8:12; 9:5.
4. The Christian, like the moon reflecting the light of the sun at night, is to reflect the light of the Lord Jesus Christ to this spiritually darkened world (Phil. 2:15).
5. The Christian is called to reflect the true light of the world – the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. In 1799, a twelve year old boy named Conrad Reed skipped church and went fishing in Little Meadow Creek near Fayetteville, North Carolina.
2. In an attempt to spear a fish Conrad Reed struck an interesting looking gold rock, which he carried home. The boy's father took the rock along to show to a jeweler.
3. The jeweler recognized the seventeen pound rock as one very large gold nugget and offered to buy it from John Reed for whatever price he wanted.
4. John Reed sold the rock for a week's wages or $3.50.
At current gold prices, the rock was worth $435,200.
5. John Reed soon learned he’d made an unthinkable mistake but later became wealthy when he discovered a 28-pound nugget.
6. The lesson, then and now, is that we dare not underestimate the value of Jesus Christ and of eternal life!
(Monty Newton, The "American Picker" Jesus, 7/25/2011)
B. THE CALL
1. So we’ve seen that God takes the worthless & changes them into the valuable; our new nature is in process of formation, it’s helped by trials & suffering, it’s a hidden work, extremely valuable, and reflects the nature of Jesus!
2. Do you want to be a pearl in God’s eyes? Some are just starting. Put yourself completely in God’s hands. Read the Word; spend time with Jesus; go to church regularly. Put the Bible into practice.
3. Will you put yourself in God’s hands tonight? Let’s pray!
[This is a reworked sermon by Rodelio Mallari.]