Summary: The church is God’s Pearl of Great Price.
Stories Jesus Told
The Pearl of Great Price
Aim: To present the church as the purchase of Christ, a gem in the sight of God.
Text: Matthew 13:45-46
Introduction: We come now to the parable known as “the Pearl of Great Price.”
Like most of the other parables this one too has been grossly misinterpreted to the extent that the real meaning has been obscured. In common with the previous parable, this parable has been applied to the sinner obtaining salvation, but as we saw with the Parable of the Hidden Treasure, to come to such a conclusion is to ignore the teaching of the Scriptures on the nature of salvation. The Bible clearly reveals that salvation can neither be bought nor sold, it’s the free gift of God, cf. Eph.2v8-9.
There are many similarities between this parable and the previous one, indeed so much so, that it seems clear that there is a strong link between them. What are the similarities? Well in both you have a man who sells all that he has to buy in the first place a field, and in the second place a pearl. We already know the identity of the man - the man is Jesus Christ. In the first parable he sells all that he has to buy the field, the world, with a view to securing the treasure which we understand is Israel. Now as soon as we begin to grasp the significance of the parable of the hidden treasure, our immediate thought is “What about the church?” Remember these are kingdom parables. They set out all that is to happen between the first and second comings of Christ. We call that period the church age, surely then Jesus had something to say about the church. Hence the parable of the pearl of great price. These two parables, the hidden treasure and pearl of great price are linked, insofar as one shows all the nature of Israel throughout the church age, and the second the nature of the church itself. It would seem natural after speaking of Israel’s place in this present age, for Christ then to reveal something of the new thing He was going to do during this dispensation.
We intimated last time around that the man selling all that he had to buy something was pictorial of Christ’s atoning work.
Notice then the nature of the church; The first thing I want you to see is the
I. The Church Is Bought Out Of The World.
A. Unlike Israel the church has no inheritance in the world.
1. This is where a lot of believer have gone wrong.
2. They make the church Israel, and allegorise the promises given to Israel to pertain to the church.
a. The promises given to the Jew of a glorious earthly kingdom become symbols of the present church age.
b. Zion ceases to be Jerusalem and becomes a synonym for the church.
c. The desert blossoming as a rose (Isa 35) is taken as a picture of the gospel and its spread in this present age.
d. The temple in Ezek 40-48 is not viewed as a literal future temple, but as a picture of the church.
e. Revelation with its judgments upon earth, wars, two witnesses, the sealing of the 144 000 Israelites, binding of Satan and 1000 year reign of Christ are all viewed symbolically as pertaining to church history in some way, rather than as future events.
f. So no distinction is made between the Israel and the church in this age - the church is Israel.
3. The problem with that is that the Bible makes a distinction between the two.
b. Who is the Jew in this verse - he is Israel.
(i) The term Jew was derived from the name of Judah the son of Jacob.
(ii) and on occasion it is used in both the Old & New Testaments to define all twelve tribes of Israel - Esther 3:6 & Rom 1:16
c. So in this dispensation we have, according to 1 Cor 10:32, three classifications of men
(i) The Jew
(ii) The Gentile - the non Jew.
(iii) The church of God (comprised of born again Jews 67 Gentiles).
(iv) The third group are distinct from the other two, and it is positively wrong to suggest that the church of God has supplanted Israel in God’s plan, because the promises to the church and the promises to Israel are different, and when God finally closes the door on the church he re-opens His business with Israel, and fulfils all that he promised them under the old economy.
B. The difference between the two are seen in these parables.
1. In the Hidden Treasure Israel is buried in the world.
a. She inherits physical promises pertaining to her place in the world, and in particular to the giving of a land.