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Bible Topics

The Pearl of Great Price

Bob Yandian

Parables of the Times

In the seven parables of Mathew 13, Jesus gave His disciples a picture of what the earth would be like after His departure.  There would be two periods of time:  first, the church age, in which we are now living, and then the Great Tribulation, which is yet to come.

Three of the Lord's parables describe life in the church age.  The parable of the sower, the mustard seed, and the yeast.  All tell how faith comes and how it grows.  The theme of all three parables is that the kingdom of God will start with a small beginning, but it will grow and produce great results.

These parables are followed by two others that describe how, at the end of the age, the angels will separate the righteous from the wicked, throwing the wicked into the "fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."  (Mathew 13:50)

Connecting the parables of the church age and those of the Great Tribulation, we find two parables of great sacrificial love.  I believe these two short parables, one of finding treasure in a field, the other of finding the pearl of great price, are especially timely and significant for us, providing insights into God's design for these last days.

The Treasure in a Field

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." (Mathew 13:44)

The man in this parable found the treasure, hid it again, sold everything he owned, and then purchased the field.  I believe this man was the Lord Jesus, and the treasure He found was the nation of Israel.  The field He purchased was the entire world.  Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world so that anyone who believed in Him would have eternal life, but He came first of all for His own people, Israel.

Israel is described here as a treasure which was hidden in a field.  A treasure is made up of many types of precious gems, such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.  In Scripture, God used twelve such gems to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.  In Exodus 28, God commanded Moses to place twelve gemstones on the breastplate of the high priest, one for each of the twelve tribes.  He goes into great detail, naming each of the stones by name and telling how to place them row by row.  Then He told Moses:  "And the stones shall have the names of the sons of Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be according to the twelve tribes."  (Exodus 28:21)

Hidden Twice

When the man in the parable discovered the treasure, it was hidden.  When he went to purchase the field, he hid the treasure again.  As a nation, Israel was started in obscurity and has been returned again to that hidden place.

When the Lord began the nation of Israel, He found one man, Abram, and called him out from among the heathen.  From this one man began a natural and spiritual race which numbers, today, as the stars of heaven (Genesis 15:5).

As Abraham and Sarah learned to trust the Lord, their promised son, Isaac, was born.  The treasure was forming.  From Isaac came Jacob and from Jacob the twelve sons.  The nation grew in captivity in Egypt and left for Canaan with over two million.  The treasure reached its peak when Jesus was born.

But when Jesus came to Israel, they did not receive Him.  They rejected Him and finally nailed Him to the Cross.  Jesus had already warned the Jewish religious leaders of His day that He would turn to the Gentiles if they rejected Him as their Messiah (Mathew 21:43).  On the day of Pentecost, God turned to the Gentile nations and Israel was hidden again.

The good news is that Israel will not be hidden forever.  Their time will come again.  When the Church is caught up to heaven in the Rapture, God will dig Israel out of obscurity and use them again.  The time of their unveiling will be the seven years of tribulation.

Jesus prophesied that Jerusalem would be "trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).  The Treasure will again be revealed to the world one day.  It will be revealed by the One who purchased the entire field, the One Who paid for the sins of the world.

In the meantime, God is sculpting another work of beauty.  He is building the pearl of great price until it is time to again unearth the treasure from the field.

The Pearl of Great Price

"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."  (Mathew 13:45, 46)

When I was growing up, our ministers would tell us the pearl of great price was the Lord Jesus.  We even had a hymn which told of Jesus, our pearl of great price.

But, as I found out later, this was not true.  The parable of the pearl is not about Jesus.  It's about the Church.  You see, Jesus was never purchased - but the Church was.  The pearl is the Church, of which you and I are a part.  This pearl was so beautiful, the merchant man was willing to sell everything He had to buy it.

The merchant man is the Lord Jesus.  After discovering us, He sold all by going to the Cross and dying for our sins.  He did not do this for Himself, but for you and me.  What a wonderful love Jesus has for us!

He died to redeem us, to purchase us for Himself.  Once we accept Jesus, we belong to Him.  The Church is our Lord's most valuable possession, His pearl of great price.

Pearls

Of all the precious gems of earth, pearls are the most unique.  Nothing else is like them.  In the same way, the Church is unique - nothing like it has ever existed before.  Peter calls the Church "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar (unique) people..." (1 Peter 2:9)

I have found several remarkable parallels between the uniqueness of the pearl and the Church:

1.  Pearls are taken from the sea.  All other gem stones come from the land.

The sea is a type of the many nations of the world (Daniel 7:2,3; Revelation 17:1, 2, 15)

Israel was established from one land and one nation, but the Church of the New Testament has been taken from every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation.  All races, colors, and nationalities are included.

2.  A Pearl is one complete, indivisible unit.

No matter how large or small a pearl is, it is one complete unity.  All other gems have to be cut, ground, and polished.

When a pearl is discovered, it is already complete.  Colossians 2:10 tells us that we are (present tense) "complete in Him."

3.  Pearls begin with one irritating stone.

At the center of a pearl is a single grain of sand.  When that tiny stone becomes lodged in its shell, the oyster releases a film to coat the sand and relieve the irritation.

Jesus is our single stone, the very beginning of the Church.  His our chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).  There is no other foundation that can be laid.  The pearl - The Church - exists because of the stone - Jesus.

Jesus irritates Satan's kingdom and all those who live in darkness.  1 Peter 2:7,8 says that this stone, Jesus, is precious to those who believe, but to the disobedient, He is a "stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence."

4.  Pearls are "built" one layer at a time.

This makes the pearl unique among gem stones, as all other stones are not built in layers, but are formed.

Jesus said, "...I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Mathew 16:18).  We are all "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5), "layered" onto Jesus.  One day, the final layer will be added to the original stone, and the Church will be completed.

5.  Pearls can only be displayed when lifted out of their place.

One day. Jesus will come back and lift up His Church.  He will lift us out of the earth and take us to heaven with Him.

"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."  (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17)

It is impossible for us to know how close we are to the day when the pearl of great price gets that one last layer, to the time when those who love Jesus "will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43).

These are the last days.  And the Lord wants us to know that we, His Church, are His pleasure and pride.  We are His pearl of great price and He loves us above all else.  He will come one day and take us home with Him,  where He will display us forever before all the hosts of heaven!

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Knowledge and Wisdom

Bob Yandian

Knowledge and Wisdom

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  (James 1:22).

Taking in the Word is what James calls being a hearer of the Word.  Putting out the Word is being a doer of the Word.  We all want to be a doer of the Word, because it is in the doing that the blessings come, right?  But you can’t be a doer until you are a hearer.  It’s just like breathing.  You breathe in and you breathe out.  You take in the Word, and you put out the Word.

Taking in the word of God is called knowledge.  The correct output or application of that knowledge is called wisdom.  You must have knowledge before you can produce wisdom.

Knowledge is up to you; it takes discipline to obtain it – taking the time to get into the Word and study it.

The Bible says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15).  But once you have taken in the Word and gained knowledge, then the Bible says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,” (James 1:5).

Solomon, full of knowledge, asked God for the ability to produce the Word (wisdom).  That is what we should be doing.  We should be saying, “Lord, give me an opportunity to share.  Help me put the words together.”  The more you study God’s Word, the more the Holy Spirit will give you the right word at the right time.  That is wisdom.

Wisdom and Knowledge Will Give You Stability

Isaiah 33:6 says, “Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the Lord is His treasure.”  If there is anything that Christians need today,  it is a stabilizer,  because the devil is still knocking Christians over left and right.  There are Christians who are mentally ill.  Christians are becoming oppressed and depressed all around us.  Being born again doesn’t make you immune to the attacks of the devil; none of us are immune.  But it is the Word of God that makes you stable in the midst of the attacks.

You can’t stop the thoughts and doubts from coming, but those who have the Word of God in them know how to cast them down and keep their minds on the Word.

There are times I begin to look around and say, “When was the last time the devil attacked me?’  Then I realize that he has been attacking me, I just haven’t noticed it because the Word of God has been a stabilizer on the inside of me.

There are a lot of Christians today who aren’t even sure they are born again.  This is one of the big tools of the devil.  The very fact that a person wants to get right with the Lord, but they think they can’t do it is an indication that they haven’t committed an unpardonable sin and they continue to believe the lies of the devil.

How can a person get strength of salvation?

Through knowing the word of God and applying it – knowledge and wisdom.  When you apply the Word in your life, you have strength of salvation.  There’s no devil; that can convince you that you’re not saved.  You know you are.  Feelings have nothing to do with it.

Taking in the Word

“Blessed are the poor in spirit:  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 5:3)

The Greek word for “blessed” is makarios which means ‘happy, jubilant.”  The word “poor” here actually means “to be destitute,” or “bankrupt.”  How could someone who is bankrupt be happy in spirit?  It goes on to explain how: “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

This is the Beatitude of the new birth, and it is telling us that Jesus died for the ungodly; salvation is provided for the sinner (1 Timothy 1:15).  Jesus didn’t die just for the elect, or just for the few who would accept Him; He died for the whole world.  (2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 John 2;2)

If you haven’t accepted the kingdom of heaven and the blessings of God, that’s not God’s fault, it’s your fault.  He has already blessed you If you’re sick today, you’re still blessed.  Why?  Because healing already belongs to you.  If you’re broke today, you’re blessed anyway because prosperity belongs to you.  The riches of heaven already belong to you whether you’ve accepted them or not.

Become Teachable

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”  (Matthew 5:5)

“Meek” is a word that has been grossly misused.  People often think to be meek is to be “weak.”  When we picture a meek person, we always think of a scrawny guy who lets everyone run over him.  He’s easy to pick on therefore he’s meek.  No.  The word “meek’ does not mean to be weak, it means “to be teachable.”

If you are meek, you are teachable.  James tells us to “receive with meekness the implanted word,” (James 1:21).  That means “be teachable while the Word is being taught.”  There are a lot of things you can learn if you’ll just be teachable.  I have been to services when someone may preach something that I may not agree with or what sounds like a lot of unbelief.  Instead of closing him off, I remain teachable and start looking for things with which I can agree.  I might find only one or two points, but there have been times when I’ve remembered those points and was able to use them somewhere.  I probably disregarded 98 percent of his message, but the 2 percent I remembered was usable.  I stayed teachable.

One of the first things you need to do in the Christian life, therefore, is become teachable.  Read good books.  Get under a pastor you can trust and start learning the Word of God. 

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The Heart

Bob Yandian

Proverbs 3:5, exhorts us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…” If I substituted spirit here, this would indicate that I could trust the Lord with only part of my spirit and that doesn’t seem reasonable.  However, reading it with the idea that we must trust the Lord with our spirits and our souls does make sense.  We need to line up our minds with our spirits and we can do this by heeding Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (See also, 2 Corinthians 10:4)  Philippians 4:8, admonishes us to “think only things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.” Isaiah 26:3 promises us that, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”

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Whatever Happened to the Old Testament?

Bob Yandian

The problem comes when we view the Old and New Testaments as competing with each other. God gave both and they were never meant to compete but complete and compliment each other. Jesus said, "I have not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill it" (Matthew 5:17). Summer fulfills Spring, it does not destroy it. Manhood fulfills childhood, it does not destroy it. The New Testament fulfills the Old, and Grace fulfills the law, but does not destroy it.

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The Blood and the Name

Bob Yandian

But once we have gone through the blood and our sins are forgiven; once we have been raised from the dead with Jesus and been highly exalted with Him, the next thing He does is give us the name which is above every name; the name that causes angels to go into battle in our behalf, the name that causes nations to bow, that causes demons to bow, causes Satan to bow, things on the earth and things under the earth, and most importantly, causes people to be born again!

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Prayerful Boldness

Bob Yandian

One of the greatest things a congregation can do for their pastor is to pray for him.  Pray that the Word and message that is inside of him will come forth clearly and that the hearts of the people will be open to receive it.  When we pray for pastors or other ministers, we are actually asking God to bless us as well, because we will benefit from what is coming forth.

The boldness that Paul is referring to in this verse is the anointing.  The anointing is directly related to prayer. 

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It Is Finished

Bob Yandian

By going to the cross, shedding His blood for us, taking our sins, our sicknesses, and the curse that was upon us, Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial requirements of the law. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant both the law and the sacrifices. The shedding of His blood ended the requirement of the law to sacrifice the blood of bulls and goats for the sins of the people. Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of God who became sin and shed His blood that we might become the righteousness of God in Him!

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Lift Up Your Eyes

Bob Yandian

Jesus was not so spiritual that He could not talk of natural things to the people who followed Him.  Neither was Jesus so natural He could not immediately pray for a sick person or offer a word of supernatural wisdom. Jesus could flow from one realm to another at a moment’s notice.

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Examine the Sacrifice

Bob Yandian

 After examining the sacrifice for three days, the person brought the sacrifice to the priest to be examined.  The person examined the sacrifice and the priest examined the sacrifice. The priest did not examine the person.  

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Trading Places

Bob Yandian

Two men are contrasted in these verses of scripture - and how different they are!  One brought sin into the world and the other brought righteousness.  One brought death and one brought eternal life. One through disobedience condemned the world and one through obedience to the will of God freed us from the wrath of God.

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God's Formula for Happiness

Bob Yandian

David, who wrote the first Psalm, was a man of intense happiness. In fact, the Bible tells that David was a man after God's own heart.  He found out how to be happy with God.  (That's not to say that he was perfect - David also had times of intense misery when he was out of fellowship with God.)

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Waiting on the Lord

Bob Yandian

People today are talking a lot about God's power and that we have the greater one living in us and we are more than conquerors. If we do have the greater one living in us, why are Christians giving up?   Why are they fainting and ready to give up?

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Demons and Their Titles

Bob Yandian

Where Satan is concerned, there are two dangerous extremes which we can fall into in the Christian life. One is to think too highly of him and to see him in everything we encounter and everyone we meet. The other is not to take him seriously at all and to disregard any knowledge of him or his kingdom. We are told twice in the New Testament that an understanding of Satan’s kingdom is essential to our spiritual success.

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Dying Grace

Bob Yandian

A believer should have no fear of physical death. One of the reasons Jesus went to the cross and died for us was to redeem us from the fear of death: “…that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  (Hebrews 2:14, 15)

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Free From Sin

Bob Yandian

Hebrews 2

vs. 1 “Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard.”

This is comparing New Testament saints to the Old Testament saints. Old Testament believers had a good covenant, but we have a better covenant. The end of that verse says, “Lest at any time we should let them slip.”  The actual meaning of this is, “lest anytime we should drift by them,” and it is a picture of someone in a boat that just happens to drift by the port. They missed their port, they missed the mooring.

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Ministering Angels and Jesus

Bob Yandian

The ministry of angels has changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  This is the theme of Hebrews, but especially the 12th chapter. We will compare the law under Moses and grace under Jesus Christ, Mount Sinai where the law was given, and Mount Zion which is so typical of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Ministering Angels

Bob Yandian

Angels desire to look into the things we look into but they cannot understand it.  In fact, more is said about angels in the New Testament than was ever mentioned in the Old. From the moment the New Testament begins in the book of Matthew, angels are on the scene. And throughout the Old Testament, they appeared from time to time, but more is said in the book of Matthew than just about all of the Old Testament combined about angels. Much less Mark, Luke, John, Acts, into the New Testament.

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Principles of Wisdom

Bob Yandian

Where Can Wisdom Be Found?

Many people are full of the “in Him” truths — full of righteousness, healing, salvation and authority truths — but they don’t take care of the things in their natural life. We do live in two worlds: natural and supernatural. We still have to live on the job, the righteousness of God still has to change the oil in the car, and the joint-heir with Jesus Christ still has to make dinner. The prosperity and protection truths are a reality, but we still need to have wisdom in the natural, everyday life. That’s where the book of Proverbs comes in – wisdom for the nitty-gritty existence. The greatest man of wisdom in the Word of God apart from Jesus Christ is Solomon, so we’re going to study his writings.

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Satan's Subtle Devices

Bob Yandian

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful…”  Literally, all things are necessary. All things are not profitable. But he does say, “All things are lawful to me… all things are lawful, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” The word power actually means the rulership or domination. “I will not be brought under the rulership or domination of any.”

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