The Pearl of Great Price
By: Lee Stoneking
Text: Matthew 13:44 “Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field;…and buyeth that field.”
1. My personal testimony
a. I was not raised in Pentecost. I did not find this until I was 23 years of age.
b. My first contact was not to my liking.
c. I was unable to identify with it. Conviction does not make one feel good. I was struggling!
d. I did not want anything to do with young people. You were too different from me.
e. Even though you were not there in body, you had a way of following me.
f. Even though I didn’t like it, I ventured back again and disliked it even more this time. It was going to cost me everything I was and cost me my plans.
g. My story is poor boy made good. My daddy was an alcoholic. I planned to make it big at the top.
h. I was on my way and then I met you. I resisted because it looked like I was going backward. The edifice was not like this.
i. It was a home missionary Pentecostal Church. It was unfinished; I could see bare wires, the carpet was worn, cobwebs were in the corners, tambourines and guitars were there. Nothing about you was attractive to me.
j. Finally, I could not fight any longer. There was something among you from yesterday with eyes and hands that reached out for me. I had to say yes!
k. When I finally said yes, what I had to give up did not matter anymore. I cannot explain that.
l. I don’t have much, but what I have, I like. It’s valuable to me.If I died, someone would come and trample it underfoot. Jesus said that life does not exist in things. Things don’t speak to you!
m. God will come though all that, and speak to you.
n. If I lost any of my things, it would have a terrible affect on me. But if the Holy Ghost would move and say to me to let go of all of it and go to yonder distant shore and I will give you souls, I will give it all up and it wouldn’t matter. I don’t understand!
o. I watched people give up all and go to strange countries as missionaries. I don’t understand but I know it happens because it has happened to me.
p. There are things I can’t explain but I don’t worry about it. I learned to pray a prayer of relinquishment. He can do with me whatever He wants to do. It is the safest place to be.
q. I’m going to make the best of today. I’m going to rejoice in Jesus, and if He comes I’m ready to go up with Him.
r. When I cane into this, there were things I didn’t like; and there are still things I don’t like.
2. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like unto a field.
a. I was raised on a farm. Part of my chores was to go get the cows. I would have to go to the other end of the pasture. In it was ditch holes, thorns, rocks, poison ivy and poison oak. Some places were smooth; others tangled. Cows got into it, and I would have to go through it to get them out.
b. Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a field but in that field there was a treasure. You can’t just take the treasure. You have to buy the whole field.
c. When I first came in, I knew I had to take the whole thing. I couldn’t take the Holy Ghost out of it and go back to where I came from.
d. No matter what you think, if you really get into this you will have to take the whole thing!
e. There is a treasure in this place today, but you have to buy the entire field.
f. I discovered that in the field what I didn’t like I could change. Chop out the thorns, spray the poison, fill in the holes, move the rocks.
g. You can change some things! You can work with it. I had to change some things. I had to learn to clap because clapping was foreign to me in church. As I began to clap, I began to like it.
h. Today I can’t understand it if you don’t clap. It’s part of what you’ve got hold of. The Bible says to clap your hands. Why?
i. I make Pentecostals clap as I go around the country. I’ve seen people take a round of applause at curtain call for an outstanding performance, but nearly 2,000 years ago a man called Jesus hung on a rugged cross called Calvary. He died. It was the greatest performance, but no one was there to applaud and clap. We will do it now. We will give Him a standing ovation!
3. Jesus said there was a merchant man seeking goodly pearls, and when he found it he bought it. You’ll get the treasure, it’s worth it.
a. I’ve been to London, England and seen the crown jewels of England. I’ve looked at how it is so intricately set with jewels. It is fabulous!
b. I’m amazed at the value man puts on jewels, which are composites of minerals formed at heated pressure. Man will do anything to acquire them.
c. Power and authority wear these things on their body. Wealth and status are known by the amount of gold and silver and gems one has. Gems are formed under the surface of the earth under great pressure and heat.
d. Pearls are not like rubies, diamonds, sapphires. Oysters have a foreign material lodged in the flesh of these shell creatures. Irritation causes it to secrete a Mother of Pearl secretion. Layer after layer is wrapped around the foreign object so you can no longer see it. All you see is the great pearl. The color and size determines its value.
e. Gems reflect light, but pearls absorb it. There is a soft afterglow around the pearl.
f. Jesus is the Pearl of great price! A gem divided has two or more parts; but when you divide a pearl, you have destroyed it! You cannot divide a pearl! The oyster dies when the pearl is brought to the shore. You cannot divide your dedication to Him. If you try, you have nothing!
g. The Bible says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. I don’t feel Jesus is the pearl of great price. I feel we have it backward, because I did not purchase Him. Jesus became that merchant man; He purchased me!
h. Is it possible we are the pearl of great price? He loved us so much that he left His kingdom of splendour and came to earth to look for pearls of great price. Most of us have been wrapped around with layer after layer of mercy, grace, truth and love until we don’t reflect His light but we absorb it! We absorb the light of the Gospel and reflect that thing back into the world.
i. We begin to understand a love like that. He looked beyond our faults and saw our needs! He could have left us at the bottom of the sea undiscovered, but He didn’t.
j. I love Him the way I do because I understand I owe the debt I could not pay. He purchased me! We are the pearl of great price to Him!
k. He will repolish and lift you again and again. We are a treasure unto the King. He has done for us what people in the world do for gems!
l. He purchased me! He purchased you! You are the treasure in the land of the Creator!
m. He purchased us; that makes us special. We are not like the others; we are different.
n. Let’s give Him a standing ovation!
(The original publisher of the above material is unknown.)