The Pearl for Which Christ Died

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

Jesus the pearl of great price is connected with the hour of temptation. Jesus became a pearl of great price because He came down and suffered temptation. The literal pearl comes into existence in the mollusk because an irritant of a little grain of dirt has gone in there and the flesh became irritated and it placed chemical mucous around that grain which crystallized and smoothed and grew. As the element of the mineral enlarged the grain it made it more irritating so more and more until it became a beautiful big pearl. So it is that under temptation and the stresses of life we suffer irritation. Through that irritation, through that temptation, the purity of character is to be developed. Jesus came and suffered with us in that irritation.

We are going to contemplate this precious pearl that Jesus came to purchase in a reverse way that we are to be that pearl. Let us begin to explore God’s word for the purpose of appreciating this wonderful work of Jesus dying for His pearls, the pearl for which Christ died. Our contemplation is Jesus the pearl of great price but connected with the hour of temptation. Jesus became a pearl of great price because He came down and suffered temptation. The literal pearl comes into existence in the mollusk because an irritant of a little grain of dirt has gone in there and the flesh became irritated and it placed chemical mucous around that grain which crystallized and smoothed and grew. As the element of the mineral enlarged the grain, it made it more irritating more and more until it became a beautiful big pearl. It is that under temptation, and the stresses of life we suffer irritation. Through that irritation and temptation, the purity of character is to be developed. This is what we have contemplated. Jesus came and suffered with us in that irritation.

Jesus came to purchase the pearl in a reverse way. We are to be that pearl. Let us explore God’s word for the purpose of appreciating this wonderful work of Jesus dying for His pearls, the pearl for which Christ died. Jesus was the pearl of great price and to have Him, we are called upon to sell all. The parable of the merchantman that saw the pearl of great price and sold everything that he could to purchase that pearl tells us of this. We are called upon to sell all so we can have Jesus the pearl of great price. Let us see what it is that we have to sell so that we might have that pearl of Christ’s righteousness. This Scripture speaks of the Father who made Christ to be.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

What did Jesus do? He came to this planet; He sold heaven for you and me in that He came here to be sin for us. Jesus experienced the atrocities of our dilemma and suffering so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

He clothed himself in our filthy garments, that we might wear the spotless robe of his righteousness, which was woven in the loom of heaven. {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 4}

If we are going to embrace the wonderful pearl of Christ’s righteousness, what must we sell? We must sell our sins. Why are our sins precious to us that we should sell them? We often don’t recognise the fact that sin is actually our pleasure. We enjoy sinning. Yes, we do, until Jesus changes the course. Sin is what Adam and Eve enjoyed by the eating from the tree. It was delicious, it was pleasurable and it made them feel important.

Sin is never horrible. Sin is the enjoyment of the flesh that is contrary to God’s will. The lusts, the desires of the animal nature are a pleasure but the consequences are horrifying. Jesus sold the heavenly glory so that He would demonstrate to us His wonderful righteousness and give us hope. All He asks us to do is to sell all our pleasures. He sold His pleasures of heaven, inviting us to sell our pleasures of sin. God made Him to be sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me,

What should he do? Sell all.

Matthew 16:24 …let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

He will find that pearl of great price if he will lose everything for that great pearl.

Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

This is a parable to demonstrate in a story form what Jesus meant when He said, follow me and deny yourself. In reality, that is what is illustrated in the story of the treasure and of the pearl. All that we are to give up all for Him, He gave up everything to purchase us. Are we a pearl too?

This parable has a double significance, and applies not only to man seeking the kingdom of heaven, but to Christ seeking His lost inheritance. ….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}

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. . {TMK 84.4}

The darkness in which we are plunged, Jesus came into the rubbish of that darkness and experienced with us the rubbish as He was fossicking around for the pearl. If we would receive His experience we would discover that the Lord has some desire for us.

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}

This is what He came to do. Here we are; the people for whom He paid all heaven. He saw the pearl that He wanted to purchase. Jesus the pearl was the ransom to reclaim us from the death and Satan’s clutches that we suffer under.

Let the imagination again. Dwell upon this picture. Jesus the man, was He on the external the same as the mollusk with something very precious inside? The people didn’t find anything attractive about Him. On the outside, He was just a man, but there was something inside. What was inside?

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

The man Christ Jesus, was of such value. The value was all the Godhead in Him. If He would have sinned what would have happened to the universe? Can you imagine the price He paid? In Him dwelt a very, very precious gem; all heaven dwelt in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

All things are of God. Jesus the man, was given to us to reconcile us.

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,

This is a profound picture that when Jesus was hanging on the cross and He said, my God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me? Was God there? People have awoken out of a dream when I have shared with them that God was there. They say Jesus said, why have you forsaken me? He was in the darkness. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. He was right there, it is just that our sin separated Christ’s sense from the presence of God. That was all. Inside of Christ, right through His life on earth and then at the cross, there was the Godhead bodily. What did that mean in reference to the value for our redemption? It’s not just information we are getting, we are exploring the benefit; we are letting the imagination grasp what this means to me.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;

The type of brain He got was the same as ours with the frontal lobe and the limbic lobe. He had animal organs. He had exactly the same organs that you have. We have a spiritual organ and we have an animal organ, the brain stem. In the brain stem you have the limbic part . Jesus had the same. Everything that you and I experience, He experienced. What was His experience as He received all our sins that were laid upon Him? He experienced your and my sin as His own. What did that cause? It caused high blood pressure, sweating drops of blood, and a ruptured heart; death. Sin caused His death. Could God die? No, God can’t die, but God in Christ suffered the death because Christ partook of the same flesh and suffered under the stirrings of that flesh and the irritations of that flesh upon Him.

Hebrews 2:14 …that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Where did fear, anxiety and stress generate from? It came from the limbic lobe, from that part of the brain, just as you and I. There was Jesus crying to the Father, save me. Sin was destroying His peace and was killing Him. As we enlarge that, there was God in Him experiencing that. Let it percolate. Let it get in there and really do something within. If He was God and He died with the Godhead inside of Him, could sin and death hold Him there? He was made exactly like us so that He could die, but because the Godhead was in Him this wonderful pearl of all heaven lived inside of this dying and dead corpse.

Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Was it possible for God to remain in the grave? It is written that way. The pearl of heaven, the pearl of great price was placed into the tomb to break the power of the tomb in Jesus Christ. He was the pearl that paid the ransom and now we are seeing the practical reality of that in Hosea.

Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

Satan thought he had got Him and the grave was being tantalized. Death could not hold Him. This is not just an information text, this is something to gaze upon and admire. This is a living activity by which death has no power anymore. All heaven was in Christ. Could heaven be retained in death and in the grave? It is impossible. This is the pearl.

Isaiah 26:19 Thy dead [men] shall live, [together with] my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew [is as] the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Here is the connection that makes this pearl connect with you and me because Jesus was made in exactly the same flesh and blood as we are, so He could go through this and so that He could implant in us this amazing truth and by believing it something will happen. This transaction is expressed in this verse.

What is the connection of Jesus with other dead men? It said Thy dead [men] shall live, [together with] my dead body shall they arise. When Jesus died many graves in Jerusalem burst open and a lot of the dead who were believers in Christ came out. He took them with Him. Why? Those who believed in Him had the pearl inside of them, they also had an ingredient in them by which they could not remain in the grave. By the knowledge of Jesus as we have been contemplating Him, there is a profound ingredient that comes into every person who takes that knowledge.

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

The knowledge we have just explored is that God was in Christ and that knowledge, the knowledge of God and all that He is, the Father and all that He is in Jesus our Lord that knowledge is the source of the grace and peace.

2 Peter 1:13 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.

If you will open your heart to this knowledge, what do you receive? I don’t mean mere intellectual knowledge, I mean the knowledge as you explore this, as you gaze upon it, you see that my sin and my horror is His and my death is His. As you explore that in your imagination and permit that knowledge to be part of you, that knowledge is the reception of all things.

2 Peter 1:14 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Can the fullness of God be in you? Yes, only through Christ because in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. The knowledge of what I have just explored here, that appreciation does something to you. That knowledge with all its promises installs God into you. The eternal God, the eternal life that was in Jesus Christ that could not keep Him in the grave, this eternal God, this eternal life may be in us.

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

That was the divine nature, the divine God, the fullness of the Godhead that lives forever; that was in Christ and that eternal life that was in Christ is given to us. How?

1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

This is common sense. Where dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead? It is in Christ. If you want all the fullness of the Godhead what do you have to have? You have to have Christ. If you don’t have Christ, you have no divine nature. How are we meant to get Christ? By the knowledge of what we have just explored. This knowledge, these precious promises, installs Jesus into us. You saw how it was done, He installed in me so that I might install in him.

The parable of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls has a double significance: it applies not only to men as seeking the kingdom of heaven, but to Christ as seeking His lost inheritance. Christ, the heavenly merchantman seeking goodly pearls, saw in lost humanity the pearl of price. In man, defiled and ruined by sin, He saw the possibilities of redemption. Hearts that have been the battleground of the conflict with Satan, and that have been rescued by the power of love, are more precious to the Redeemer than are those who have never fallen. {COL 118.2}

How do you know that? We who have fallen are going to take the place of the angels that had fallen and we are going to be together with Christ higher than the angels. Those who have been rescued by the power of love, those people who open their hearts to this amazing love are more precious to Jesus than are those who have never fallen.

God looked upon humanity, not as vile and worthless; He looked upon it in Christ, saw it as it might become through redeeming love. He collected all the riches of the universe, and laid them down in order to buy the pearl. And Jesus, having found it, resets it in His own diadem. “For they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land.” Zechariah 9:16. “They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels.” Malachi 3:17 Ibid

If that was the case in reference to those who receive His love and His knowledge and Him through that knowledge, if that what He is doing, what about those who haven’t received Him yet? Are they also pearls? What is inside every man that comes into the world?

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

Did you know that the most wicked deprived human being has been lit by Christ? That is what this says. Every man that is born on this planet, Christ is the light of that man. Is there something in the lost, depraved human being that is a pearl? Christ is the light that lights every man.

Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

This is speaking of the Gentiles who do not have the information of the Jews. The most heathen Gentile has an element of right and wrong in his mind, in his heart. You know that the heathen out there look at a Christian and know exactly what the Christian is meant to be. What about the people of New Guinea before the missionaries went there? Were there any good ones amongst them? They were head-hunters. Christ is the light that lights every man that comes into the world.

Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly… {DA 638.2}

They are very close to nature out there and nature is the other book of God. Because Christ is the light that lights every man in the world, they have that there and they can watch and see.

…those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Ibid

If they have the law in their hearts, they will be judged correctly because they followed the law in their hearts.

Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God. Ibid

Zechariah 13:6 And [one] shall say unto him, What [are] these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, [Those] with which I was wounded [in] the house of my friends.

They don’t know about the marks in His hands, but they are there, saved. He says, that is what was done to me in the house of my friends. Because they knew and followed God in their heart through the things of nature they will be the children of God and will be saved. The way that is demonstrated in the Old Testament is that the people who came to confess their sins in the sanctuary, if they were wealthy they came with a lamb or a goat or a bull, those who were poorer came with turtle doves, and the very poorest of them came with a measure of flour, because they didn’t have an animal to slay. The poorest on earth in regards to the knowledge of God can be saved, they come with the same ingredient that the shed blood represents, because the grain that is crushed represents Jesus crushed. They come with that measure of flour and they are the children of God. That is the Old Testament representation.

Among these heathen, these were when the missionaries came and they risked their own lives in protecting the missionaries. They did the opposite to what they were accustomed to, because they recognised there was the same spirit that was in them, and they protected the missionaries from their head-hunters. This is what helps us to meditate and appreciate that there among the rubbish of this world are precious pearls for which Christ died, to find them and draw them to Himself.

The lost coin, in the Saviour’s parable, though lying in the dirt and rubbish, was a piece of silver still. Its owner sought it because it was of value. So every soul, however degraded by sin, is in God’s sight accounted precious. As the coin bore the image and superscription of the reigning power, so man at his creation bore the image and superscription of God. Though now marred and dim through the influence of sin, the traces of this inscription remain upon every soul. God desires to recover that soul and to retrace upon it His own image in righteousness and holiness. {MH 163.1}

You want to remember that when you meet the most degraded man in the gutter. Have you ever found a coin that has been lying in the dirt for years? I found an English penny once and it was corroded but there I saw King George and I saw his head slightly corroded. When I read that I thought, yes, we were made in God’s image, upon us is the superscription of the monarch of the universe. When He looks for that piece of silver He finds it all corroded, but the traces of this inscription remain upon every soul. God desires to recover hat soul and to retrace upon it His own image in righteousness and holiness.

If man does that with some of his treasure, like an old rusted out bomb of a car and they can see they can make something out of it. They build it and reshape it until it is a glowing piece of art. That is what God wants to do with every sinner. There is a piece of silver still there, there is still a pearl there. He wants to retrace His image there. He came to die for the pearl. As each coin or pearl is found, what does He do with them?

The more I look at these things, the more I fall in love with God because His personality shines like a pearl. I weep many times, I sob my heart out when I see what He is like when I consider what I am like and He has done for me.

As each coin, as each pearl is found, what does He do? Ere are these stray Gentiles, these sinners.

Isaiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. 8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather [others] to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

Every person who responds whether intelligently in regards to what is taught, or what he learns in nature, every person who connects himself to God, that person is gathered by God to become part of Israel, part of His people. They are the children of God. He collects them to be part of this great pearl as a whole.

Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine.

He is speaking to those who have been marred by sin. Do you remember the promises that were made in the Scripture were for those who receive those promises? They are His, Israel.

Isaiah 43:4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I [am] with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 [Even] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

You can see that He made us originally and now through Jesus Christ He says, I am going to gather together His jewels. He will gather them from the east and west and north and south. He says, you are mine, I have purchased you. All the promises to Israel represent this to every human being.

Psalms 135:4 For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, [and] Israel for his peculiar treasure.

They are His gems, they are His jewels, His pearls. As He gathers them together, it becomes one pearl. It was through His sufferings even now as our high priest He is still suffering pleading, my blood, Father, My blood. As He is doing this, He is forming and developing His treasure. He is bringing together the crystals to form one glorious pearl in His diadem. This is His treasure Israel, His treasure the church.

Each individual He will take through the hour of temptation like a developing pearl, irritated in the flesh but developing in the spirit. The irritation of your flesh will go on, but the spirit will form the pearl. The irritation is the purification.

Isaiah 13:1 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

He will make the pure gold as an individual.

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

He purifies the individual and gathers them together under the seed of Abraham. Every person who has surrendered himself to God, whether it is the heathen in nature or the person who understands the story of redemption through the Word, every individual He gathers into Israel, His great united one pearl.

Galatians 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, [thou] barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 2 8 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

He gathers them together and says, you are mine, you are collectively mine. I am purging you individually to add you to the crystals of the pearl that is being made up through the suffering. He is going to make every individual more precious than fine gold. How?

Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he [is] like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

He is reforming His image so that they might become this precious pearl. That is what Jesus died for. He is going to collect them all into one fold, one shepherd, and He is going to deal with each individual in doing that, until finally as it comes to the closing scenes of the hour of temptation that is increasing around us, He will have them thoroughly purified. That is the picture.

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

When He says behold, what does He want you to do? Let your imagination behold, look at it. In the furnace of affliction is where He makes us more precious than fine gold.

Can you see we have come right around with everything we have been studying so far? The pearl that Jesus died for is His Israel to purify and cleanse them so that ultimately they will stand there purified and perfect. His Israel are all Jew and Gentile who have opened their life to the knowledge that we are exploring here. As we do this, as we open our hearts to it, haven’t you felt the fire? When we go through these negative experiences that only seem to thicken and get worse, we experience excruciating elements and we wonder, this is so painful, but they are your friends. Your trials are your friends. Don’t push them away, they are good for you because Christ is at work to make you part of His diadem. He wants you to be part of His pearl of Israel.

As we continue to study here we will come to the end where you will be able to enter through one of the gates of the city. What are they? Each gate is a one pearl with the name of your tribe upon it.

The fact is that this pearl picture is clearly demonstrated in the heavenly Jerusalem. As Jesus is there at the present time wanting us to walk through those gates, He says, you are mine. I have dug you out of the rubbish, I am trying to restore the image of myself in you. We have been singing, O to be like Thee. That is our desire and it is His desire. He wants to purge and purify us.

Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. {COL 69.1}

Accept the irritation, accept the frustrations and accept the temptations. Hate them indeed because temptation can be pleasurable but we are to enter into the sufferings of Christ. He who suffered in the flesh, sinned not. Let us go with Him. Let the pearl of great price continue to be the source of our purification. As we do this, Jesus with longing desire is waiting for the perfect glow of His image in you, in His church. When He sees it, He will be satisfied and then He can come and take them home. He has died for the individual and He has died for His church. May we be decidedly willing to so behold the pearl of great price, so behold the details that we are beholding here and continue to behold them because by beholding you will become changed. May God grant this to us is my prayer.

Amen.

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Posted on June 28, 2013, in Sermons by John Thiel, The Pearl of Great Price in the Hour of Temptation. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Majestic Glory!!! The day is dawning and the morning star is rising in my heart like a pearl! Thank you for this amazing sermon! I cried God-tears many times reading it through; truly divinely Spirit inspired!!! God bless you richly!

  2. magnificent brilliant beautiful blessed!

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