1. THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
a. How are we to understand the Pearl of great price? Matthew 13:45, 46.
“Christ Himself is the pearl of great price. . . . 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.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 115.
b. How does one obtain the Pearl of great price? Isaiah 55:1–3. What must be surrendered to get it? Zechariah 3:4; Ephesians 4:22–32.
“Salvation is a free gift, and yet it is to be bought and sold. . . . The poorest are as well able as the richest to purchase salvation; for no amount of worldly wealth can secure it. It is obtained by willing obedience, by giving ourselves to Christ as His own purchased possession.”—Ibid., p.117.
“O that you would search the Scriptures with prayerful hearts, and a spirit of surrender to God! O that you would search your hearts as with a lighted candle, and discover and break the finest thread that binds you to worldly habits, which divert the mind from God!”—Maranatha, p. 48.
2. THE PROCESS OF BUYING CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS
a. What does “buying” righteousness really mean? How is Christ’s righteousness “bought”? Revelation 3:18.
“The Saviour comes with jewels of truth of the richest value in distinction from all counterfeits, all that is spurious. He comes to every house, to every door; He is knocking, presenting His priceless treasure, urging, ‘Buy of me.’ ”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 964.
“In the parable the pearl is not represented as a gift. The merchantman bought it at the price of all that he had. Many question the meaning of this, since Christ is represented in the Scriptures as a gift. He is a gift, but only to those who give themselves, soul, body, and spirit, to Him without reserve. We are to give ourselves to Christ, to live a life of willing obedience to all His requirements. All that we are, all the talents and capabilities we possess, are the Lord’s, to be consecrated to His service. When we thus give ourselves wholly to Him, Christ, with all the treasures of heaven, gives Himself to us. We obtain the pearl of great price.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 116.
b. Why do we need to buy of Christ wholeheartedly? Jeremiah 29:11–13.
“Jesus is going from door to door, standing in front of every soul temple, proclaiming, ‘I stand at the door, and knock’ (Revelation 3:20). As a heavenly merchantman, He opens His treasures. . . . ‘Open your doors,’ says the great Merchantman, the possessor of spiritual riches, ‘and transact your business with Me. It is I, your Redeemer, who counsels you to buy of Me.’”—The Review and Herald, August 7, 1894.
“To talk of religion in a casual way, to pray without soul hunger and living faith, avails nothing. A nominal faith in Christ, which accepts Him merely as the Saviour of the world, can never bring healing to the soul. The faith that is unto salvation is not a mere intellectual assent to the truth. He who waits for entire knowledge before he will exercise faith cannot receive blessing from God. It is not enough to believe about Christ; we must believe in Him. The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour; which appropriates His merits to ourselves.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 347.
3. PAYING FOR THE PRECIOUS PEARL
a. What do we all—rich, poor, those who have grown up in the church, and those who have grown up among worldly-minded persons—need to realize in seeking to pay for the Pearl of great price? Proverbs 22:2; Acts 10:34, 35.
“Abandon the idea that temporal or spiritual advantages will win for you salvation. God calls for your willing obedience. He asks you to give up your sins. . . .
“There are some who seem to be always seeking for the heavenly pearl. But they do not make an entire surrender of their wrong habits. They do not die to self that Christ may live in them. Therefore they do not find the precious pearl. They have not overcome unholy ambition and their love for worldly attractions. They do not take up the cross and follow Christ in the path of self-denial and sacrifice. Almost Christians, yet not fully Christians, they seem near the kingdom of heaven, but they cannot enter there. Almost but not wholly saved, means to be not almost but wholly lost.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 117, 118.
b. What could cause us to miss this sale? Luke 9:24; 14:33; James 4:10.
“How many, if now called to render up their accounts, would do it with grief, regret, and remorse that their God-given probationary time was so fully employed in self-serving! The eternal interests of the soul have been fearfully neglected for unimportant affairs. The mind is kept busy, just as Satan designs it shall be, with selfish interests and nothing of any consequence, and time may be passing into eternity without a fitting up for heaven at all.
“What can be compared with the loss of a human soul? It is a question which every soul must determine for himself—whether to gain the treasures of eternal life or to lose all because of his neglect to make God and His righteousness his first and only business. Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, . . . looks with grief upon the large number of those who profess to be Christians who are not serving Him but themselves.”—That I May Know Him, p. 321.
4. APPRECIATING THE VALUE OF THE PEARL
a. Why would anyone sell all to buy the Pearl of great price? What makes it such a profitable business transaction? Job 28:12–23; Proverbs 2:1–5.
“The Gospel of Christ is a blessing which all may possess. It takes men as they are, poor, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked. The only condition Christ presents to those who come to Him to be clothed with His righteousness is obedience to His commandments. And by the obedient soul the law is found to be a law of perfect liberty, liberty to lay hold by faith on the hope that is sure and steadfast. When we render back to God His own, when we wash our robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, then we shall be entitled to a celestial crown.”—The Signs of the Times, December 15, 1898.
“What do we give up, when we give all? A sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all! I am ashamed to hear it spoken of, ashamed to write it.
“God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well-being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves.”—Steps to Christ, p. 46.
b. What motivates the buyer to “sell” in order to “buy”? How does duty become “a delight and sacrifice a pleasure”? Numbers 21:8, 9; Matthew 13:44.
“A view of our sinfulness drives us to [our Saviour] who can pardon; and when the soul, realizing its helplessness, reaches out after Christ, He will reveal Himself in power. The more our sense of need drives us to Him and to the word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of His character, and the more fully we shall reflect His image.”—Ibid., p.65.
“When once the gaze is fixed upon [Jesus], the life finds its center. The enthusiasm, the generous devotion, the passionate ardor, of the youth find here their true object. Duty becomes a delight and sacrifice a pleasure. To honor Christ, to become like Him, to work for Him, is the life’s highest ambition and its greatest joy.”—Education, p. 297.
5. DISCERNING VALUE
a. What happens when we discern the value of the Pearl? Acts 2:37.
“As the apostles set forth the glory of the Only-Begotten of the Father, three thousand souls were convicted. They were made to see themselves as they were, sinful and polluted, and Christ as their friend and Redeemer. Christ was lifted up, Christ was glorified, through the power of the Holy Spirit resting upon men. By faith these believers saw Him as the One who had borne humiliation, suffering, and death that they might not perish but have everlasting life.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 120.
b. What happens when we understand the cost and value of the Pearl—so much so that we decide to buy it? Isaiah 55:7; Philippians 3:7, 8.
“If we have forsaken all for Christ, our lives will be humble, our conversation heavenly, our conduct blameless. The powerful, purifying influence of truth in the soul, and the character of Christ exemplified in the life, are a confession of Him. Integrity, firmness, and perseverance are qualities that all should seek earnestly to cultivate; for they clothe the possessor with a power which is irresistible—a power which makes him strong to do good, strong to resist evil, strong to bear adversity. . . . Those who have placed themselves without reserve on the side of Christ will stand firmly by that which reason and conscience tell them is right.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 277.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Who is the Pearl of great price?
2. What process is involved in the purchase of the Pearl?
3. What is the biblical purchasing method? Explain.
4. Why would a person sell all for one pearl?
5. What happens inside us when we truly appreciate the value of the Pearl?