What Is the Pearl of Great Price?

By John Thiel, The Pearl of Great Price in the Hour of Temptation Conference, Introduction, mp3

The pearl of great price in the hour of temptation. Why is there a link between the pearl of great price and the hour of temptation? What is temptation? Why is it connected with the pearl? Is temptation of value? What does temptation provide?

1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Many people have said, I wish it was over.

1 Peter 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

Temptations don’t appear as though they are something good because we are in heaviness with them, we feel terrible about temptations. Why? Because it is a trial

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Is there benefit in temptation? According to this it’s a trial which gives us heaviness but it is something by which we will become precious. We might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Here is a very important scripture that tells you that the people who are going to be ready for Jesus to come are going to be precious, they are going to be pure and holy. How will they get there? By the trial of temptation.

James 1:12 Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Temptation is something that takes place before the wonderful reward, the crown of life.

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

I am bemused with people who argue with me about not being perfect until your body is changed. The fact is, they miss out on the whole issue that in this beautiful subject of sanctification and reaching perfection. This scripture tells you that you come to a point where you have a want of nothing. There is nothing that is anymore faulty in you. How can you come to that point? By diverse temptations, by manifold temptations. Knowing that the trying of your faith produces something. What is written in the third angel’s message?

Here is the patience of the saints. That is what is needed and that is what the present truth is all about, gaining patience. How can you gain patience unless you are actually tempted, tried and you have to conquer this agonising stress of temptation and bear it patiently? We don’t often think that to be so valuable. It says rejoice with all joy. I don’t see that very often. People come to me many times with complaints about this and that and the other thing. I say, praise the Lord. They say, how dare you? It is not nice to go through these times but count it all joy because it’s going to perfect you.

James 1:4 Let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

We pray to the Lord that He would make us perfect and then we complain and grumble and murmur because we are going through trials. That is the very thing that we prayed for. This is what we have to remind ourselves of frequently. Hopefully we will get the true appreciation of it.

Romans 5:3 And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations

Do you glory in tribulations? Be honest, do you like tribulations?

Romans 5:5 …also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; :4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

If only we could remember that every time something is really griping us. It is good for me when everything goes wrong, because it is going to develop my character. It is going to bring forth a wonderful character if we rejoice in it and accept it. If we don’t, we will avoid it. We will continue along our path of selfishness and we will never be perfect. If we accept it then it produces.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

He had to say that because that is what we think. This shouldn’t be happening to me, I shouldn’t be going through these horrible experiences. Yes, I should.

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Here is the pointer; as we go through these trials they are there to develop our patience, but there is something else there. We are able to enjoy a repast together with Christ. We usually regard a repast with Christ as something very nice but here it says rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. It still doesn’t make sense does it? It does if you will keep on reading Scripture, then it starts to make sense. The partaking of Christ with His sufferings will produce what it produced in Jesus. We are in it together. What a wonderful fellowship. When Jesus said, behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man open the door I will sup with him, we think, isn’t that lovely? Then we think, wait a minute, this is not what I expected. He wants to sup with us in our sufferings.

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Here is the great pearl because Jesus came and supped with us, crying like we should cry, pleading for God to save us from sin. With strong crying and tears He cried to Him that was able to save Him from sin which leads to death. He was heard because He feared. He learned obedience. Some people wake up to this statement with surprise. Did Jesus have to learn obedience? In the days of His flesh He did. Before He came into the human flesh He didn’t, He loved doing what the Father expected Him to do because He was one with the Father. Here on earth He was one with you and me; He was in our sinful flesh and in that sinful flesh there was a terrible struggle. In this terrible frustrating struggle He was crying for help. He had to learn obedience by the things which He suffered like you and I have to. That is why He being made perfect became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him. If people don’t have the knowledge of the nature of Christ right they can never be perfect.

This is what makes it so frightening in my experience with churches I have been ministering amongst. They rejected the nature of Christ that Jesus had sinful flesh. By rejecting that they are telling me they will never become perfect, because they never know the authorship of their perfection. Jesus through His suffering was made perfect and became the author of our salvation so that we would learn obedience like He learned it.

Here is a connection of the tribulation of temptation. The hour of temptation that connects me with Christ in the hour of His temptation. Christ in the hour of His temptation was there to help me in the hour of my temptation and what is to come forth out of that hour of temptation? The perfection of Christ. He learned obedience and He was made perfect. That righteousness that He was made is as a pure white pearl.

The righteousness of Christ as a pure, white pearl, has no defect, no stain. No work of man can improve the great and precious gift of God. It is without a flaw. In Christ are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3. He is “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30. All that can satisfy the needs and longings of the human soul, for this world and for the world to come, is found in Christ. Our Redeemer is the pearl so precious that in comparison all things else may be accounted loss. {COL 115.1}

Not with Christ is the treasure hidden, but in Him. These words are so important because they take you more closely to Him than merely knowing about Him. It is an experience from which we will learn wisdom and understanding. We will experience the things that Jesus experienced in sinful flesh. As we experience these things we are being given this pearl. This pearl is developed.

As you followed carefully through my introductory texts here, where did the pearl arise from? In the days of His flesh, as He was going through the trials and temptations that you and I meet. As we meet those trials and temptations we are to rejoice because we are suffering together with Christ.

How Is A Pearl Formed?

An oyster has a pearl in it. How did it get there? A little grain of sand slips in as the mollusc opens its shell to feed and it irritates the flesh. As it irritates, the discomfort that this oyster feels causes it to put mucous around it and the mucous is a mineral that hardens. It becomes a smooth layer. The flesh, attempts to smooth this off so it won’t irritate so much. As it puts this covering around this little grain of sand it gets bigger and as it gets bigger it is still uncomfortable so it keeps on doing it. Layer after layer after layer. The more layers it puts on the bigger it gets and it gets really painful. Somebody goes around fishing and opens up the oyster and finds a beautiful pearl. It has come from the source of irritation.

An irritant in sinful flesh. When Adam and Eve sinned they ran away from God. They were comfortable outside of God’s presence. When God came they ran. This is the case with every sinner at any time. God’s presence is irritating to the flesh. What does God do when Adam and Eve sinned? What does He install into this metaphoric oyster without which there was no irritation, God says it in Genesis 3:15.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

What has God just put there? He put an irritant there. If He hadn’t put that enmity there Adam and Eve would have been happy with Satan. He put an irritant in the experience of the sinner. May be God was a farmer of pearls. That is what farmers of pearls do, they deliberately put the irritant in the oyster that they have gathered and they create pearls. God wants to create pearls. He does this by putting the enmity into the sinful human being, an enmity that the flesh didn’t like. Every human being born on this planet has the following experience.

John 1:9 [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world

Every man that is born in this world is born with a predisposition, a leaning of disobedience, of sin. Every man is born with that but he is also born at the same time with a light that lights him, which is Jesus Christ. Can you see what is happening inside of every sinner? There is an irritant.

Christ is the “Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:9. As through Christ every human being has life, so also through Him every soul receives some ray of divine light. Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness, exists in every heart. But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power. The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man’s experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist. To withstand this force, to attain that ideal which in his inmost soul he accepts as alone worthy, he can find help in but one power. That power is Christ. Co-operation with that power is man’s greatest need. In all educational effort should not this co-operation be the highest aim? {Ed 29.1}

This is what we have to learn in the education of life. This is the very subject that is least explored. I find myself almost singular in the ministry in trying to expose this to people. We thank God that it is written in the Spirit of Prophecy. It is just that many people are not reading it with that kind of understanding. They really feel that when they are going through a hard time they think they are not meant to be going through that. They come to me and say, why this and why that? Why is this person doing this to me? I can’t understand what is going on here. Why am I going through this terrible upheaval? Praise the Lord you are, because Jesus went through it. Jesus went through it to develop the pearl, His righteousness. He wants you to develop it with Him. What is it? It is the conflict between the sinful flesh and the beautiful thing that God has instilled there; that irritant to the sinful flesh. It is the desire to do good.

I have had some conversations with some of our parents about their children. Why is my child so sweet sometimes and at other times so disobedient and so irritable? The more the child understands, the more frustrated it gets. Every child has got that predisposition to disobedience, but at the same time the child loves to please. What a conflict is going on in that little child. Parents pull their hair out and say, what is happening? It is important to understand that the child has got a battle between the Spirit and the flesh. He that lights every man that comes into the world is the enmity that God has installed into that sinful being so that the sinful being is not going to be comfortable in sin. There is something that keeps on stirring inside of him. Against every sinner there is a law that keeps on troubling him. If he keeps on pushing it aside it will trouble him right into death and then after death it will trouble him in the judgment. That is the irritant.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

If your child loves to please it has this other thing in there and it does the opposite. It’s a fluctuation. It is like this with every person. We want to follow the way of the Spirit and the flesh responds, I don’t want that. Then the flesh wants to do something and the Spirit says, I can’t stand that. There is the conflict. Isn’t that our experience? The moment I do something that the Spirit doesn’t like I feel uncomfortable. The moment I do something the Spirit likes I also feel uncomfortable, because of the sinful flesh. This is the grain of sand, the enmity that God has put inside of every human being. In every human being there is a beautiful pearl that can be found because He provides that source for that pearl.

In the most heathen land this is a reality.

Wherever there is an impulse of love and sympathy, wherever the heart reaches out to bless and uplift others, there is revealed the working of God’s Holy Spirit. {COL 385.1}

Have you seen it in a little child? It wants to please its mummy, it wants to please its daddy. It will do it. That is the working of the Holy Spirit, but there is that other force there as well.

In the depths of heathenism, men who have had no knowledge of the written law of God, who have never even heard the name of Christ, have been kind to His servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. Ibid

That is how the missionaries went over there to the head-hunting nations and islands and there were some among them that would protect the missionaries from their friends who were head-hunters because God was working in there.

Their acts show the working of a divine power. The Holy Spirit has implanted the grace of Christ in the heart of the savage, quickening his sympathies contrary to his nature, contrary to his education. The “Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9), is shining in his soul; and this light, if heeded, will guide his feet to the kingdom of God. Ibid

If the flesh doesn’t like it and the person who is making his decision in reference to the inroads of the sympathies and the light that lights every man, will respond to that light if heeded, will guide his feet to the kingdom of God. Every person has got it but not ever body heeds it. If it is heeded, if it is not expelled there is a pearl. There are lots of sinners who throw out the irritant, they don’t want it anymore and so they refuse the beautiful light of Christ that is in them. They will never become a pearl. Those that recognise that this is doing them good the pearl will be produced in them. If heeded it will guide their feet to the kingdom of God, they will be perfected, they will become a pearl. If is the big little word.

1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;:2That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

We are told to rejoice because we are entering into the sufferings of Christ. It is wonderful. Why? If I will suffer with Christ in the flesh, this will produce a pearl. It will produce a sinless life. If I don’t suffer in the flesh, if my flesh is petted and comforted and everything is fine, there is no pearl. That is what Jesus came to help us to gain.

We are to explore the pearl and the experience that produces the pearl. We will have six studies on each side of the subject; the pearl and the suffering. The temptation and the gazing upon the beautiful consequence of the temptation. It is the present truth that comes at a slightly different angle because we often study present truth to recognise the three angels’ messages, the sanctuary message. We present all those present truths but there is a danger of just seeing them as truths. We are seeing present truth in action. God wants to help us to identify with the practical truths that we hold as the Historic Advent Sabbath Society.

All those doctrines are there for practical purposes, not merely to defend. There are two things we must do in regards to upholding truth; one is to make sure we uphold truth and don’t let anything change any of it, defending truth, contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; the other responsibility is often missed out and that is what we are doing at this conference, to take those things we defend and let them become our living experience. Hopefully, we will come away from this conference with a boost of energy that will help us to get on with the negativities that will produce that precious pearl.

In the time of confusion and trouble before us, a time of trouble such as has not been since there was a nation, the uplifted Saviour will be presented to the people in all lands, that all who look to Him in faith may live. {8T 50.3}

We are going to be looking at the pearl of great price in the hour of temptation. The terrible hour of temptation is the time that we are already now meeting. Sr White wrote that in the 1890’s in the time of confusion and trouble before us. What happened after that? The First World War, the great depression, the Second World War, and after that men’s hearts failing them for fear for the things that are coming on the earth.

We have grown up in that, and we have become conditioned to the time of trouble that is intensifying to the finale, and many people don’t even realise that in this time of trouble they have spewed out the pearl, they didn’t go along with it anymore. That is what happened in the First World War, Adventists gave in. The Adventist church became corrupted because the trouble was too much. There were only a few people who remained faithful. Then it came to the Second World War and now you can see the confusion that surrounds us. We need present truth to cope with all that. Is it easy today to live a real Christian life? Many people claim Christ but have they really got Him? I know they don’t. It is so wonderful when we sing in church but the moment that trouble and temptations come, this is terrible, and we have to change doctrine to be able to cope. Isn’t that what the churches have done? They have changed the doctrines so that they can cope, but if you don’t change the doctrine you will learn to understand the pearl of great price in the hour of temptation.

Sr White wrote that in this time, a time of trouble such as has not been since there was a nation, the uplifted Saviour will be presented to the people in all lands that all who look to Him in faith may live. We often look to the point past the close of probation as the time of trouble such as has never been, but if probation has closed why do we have to uplift the Saviour? In the terrible confusion that she is talking about this means us now, this is present truth. The Saviour must be lifted up in real living terms so that by beholding Him and looking to Him by faith they may live a true Christian pure life in the time of trial and temptation and extreme suffering and trial. To survive through that we must see Jesus the pearl of great price, we must uplift Him so that we will benefit and we must uplift Him so that others can benefit.

During this conference this is exactly what our purpose is. We want to behold Him, the pearl of great price, and we want to behold His interest in the pearl that He gave all to purchase. The pearl of great price is not merely for us to give up all to purchase, but He gave everything up to purchase.

The kingdom of heaven is represented as being like unto a merchantman “seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” {TMK 84.2}

This parable has a double significance, and applies not only to man seeking the kingdom of heaven, but to Christ seeking His lost inheritance. Through transgression man lost his holy innocence, and mortgaged himself to Satan. Christ, the only begotten Son of God, pledged Himself for the redemption of man, and paid the price of his ransom on the cross of Calvary. He left the worlds unfallen, the society of holy angels in the universe of heaven, for He could not be satisfied while humanity was alienated from Him. The heavenly Merchantman lays aside His royal robe and crown. Though the Prince and Commander of all heaven, He takes upon Him the garb of humanity, and comes to a world that is marred and seared with the curse, to seek for the one lost pearl, to seek for man fallen through disobedience.. {TMK 84.3}

Are you a pearl? Do you want to be a pearl? Jesus has paid heaven to purchase you. Let it sink in.

He finds His pearl buried in rubbish. Selfishness encrusts the human heart, and it is bound by the tyranny of Satan. But He lifts the soul out of its darkness to show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. We are brought into covenant relationship with God, and receive pardon and find peace. Jesus finds the pearl of lost humanity, and resets it in His own diadem.. {TMK 84.4}

That is what He wants to do with you and me.

He would inspire the most sinful, the most debased, {TMK 84.5}

He wants to inspire us, no matter how sinful.

…with hope. He says, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). When a soul finds the Saviour, the Saviour rejoices as a merchantman that has found his goodly pearl. By His grace He will work upon the soul until it will be like a jewel polished for the heavenly kingdom. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Ibid

Does this conference interest you? If you and I know so well the sinfulness of our life, if we appreciate so grossly the terrible things that I have done and I can’t even correct any more, then this conference is for you, it’s for me, because the merchantman has paid everything to purchase me. Is it nothing to you all you that pass by? Let us join our mental and spiritual faculties at this conference to absorb the pearl of great price and stand by that in the hour of temptation.

In the future we want to conquer. We may have failed in the past, but this pearl of great price that we are studying here is Jesus who is the most precious person who has come into the temptation together with me. He has shown me that I can enter into an intimacy with Him and let a pearl develop into its fullness inside of me through the hour of temptation. May we not forget this introductory meditation as we look at each subject here after. When we come to the end we will see that the Lord is precious, He is wonderful, and He is somebody that I want to pay everything to have. I don’t want to hold onto anything anymore, I just want that pearl because it is so precious. He thought I was so precious.


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Posted on 23/06/2013, in The Pearl of Great Price in the Hour of Temptation (Conference). Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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