Treasures and Pearls
Posted on 08/19/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
Good morning and welcome! It's a pleasure and honor to see all of you here today, gathered together to worship and spend time with God.
Let's all stand to our feet as we start this service with prayer.
Lord, thank you for this brand new day. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross in our place. And thank you that you raised him from the grave, and he is alive today, getting ready for the time he will return for his Bride, and we will forever be with the Lord.
We pray for Tamara, that you would bring her into a place in you that is so close that everything else fades away in your presence. May this time of darkness, no matter how long it's been, be but a launching pad for a deep walk with you.
We pray for Karene, for Steven, and for their whole family. We ask that you give Karene peace and rest in your arms. We ask that you reveal yourself and the right path to Steven, and that just as you steer the hearts of kings like channels of water, you also would steer Steven into the path you have designed for him to walk.
We pray for Boo and Vanessa, that you would draw them continuously closer to each other and to you. May they enter into your presence like never before, and may their lives never be the same.
And Lord, I pray for each one here today and each one listening or reading later. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon them. Draw them to the place of seeking hard after you. And take them to a deeper place in you.
And we ask all these things in the precious name of Jesus.
Click-touch the pulpit or read along on the over-head. Let's worship God with song.
SING A NEW SONG
Sing unto the Lord a new song
Sing unto the Lord all the earth
For God is great
and greatly to be praised
How can it be?
That You, my King would die for me?
I know itís true.
Itís my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.
You are my King
Jesus You are my King
If the Son has set you free,
you are free indeed
THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU
There is none like You
No one else can touch my heart like You do
I could search for all eternity long
And find there is none like You
Your mercy flows like a river wide
And healing comes from Your hands
Suffering children are safe in Your arms
There is none like You
Thank you Lord for your presence, and that we can come boldly into your presence to worship and be changed by you.
Teach us now by your Word, so we can become a little more like Jesus.
You may be seated.
Today's message is titled, "Treasures and Pearls."
You know, we put great value on so many things, but today we're going to talk about things which have true, eternal value. The things of this earth will all pass away, but the things of the Kingdom of Heaven have value for all eternity.
In Matthew chapter 13 verses 44-46 Jesus says this:
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field, the kind that when a man finds, he hides it, and for joy over it goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking precious pearls; who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."
Do you remember when you first met Jesus? You surrendered your life to him, and asked forgiveness for your sins and asked for him to change you.
You found peace and joy. Everything was new. You had found a treasure of great worth, and a pearl of great price, and you exchanged your whole life for it.
Just maybe, months or years down the road, you might have realized that you longer have that joy you felt when you first came to the Lord. Perhaps sins and cares of this life have crept in and replaced that joy you once had. Or perhaps you have just come to a place in your walk with God in which you feel barren and dry.
Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a treasure of great value that a person found in a field. He says the person had great joy because of this treasure he had found, and sold all that he had to buy that field so the treasure would be his.
Imagine how you would feel if you were walking accross an empty lot and saw something shimmering on the ground. Upon closer inspection, and a little digging, you discover that what you saw had come from a treasure chest full of gold, diamonds, and precious gems. Surely, you might say, this is worth many millions of dollars!
If you take the treasure, you will be sent to prison for grand theft, because it does not belong to you. If, however, you buy the land, you will own everything on that land, including the treasure.
So you go home and auction off your house, your car, and all you own, and you buy that land.
Imagine the excitement and the joy you would have, knowing that you are about to be a multi-millionare! You can hardly sleep at night, as you lie awake dreaming of what you will be able to do, and how your life will change.
When the Holy Spirit first opened your eyes to the truth, you finally saw the kingdom of God for what it is -- a treasure of great value. You may have realized, if only partially, how your life could change, and perhaps you got a glimpse of the fact that just a short time ago you were headed for never-ending torment in hell, and now you are promised never-ending bliss in heaven.
Those of us who have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit have had yet another incredible experience of joy.
In Acts chapter 8, we read how Philip went to Samaria preaching the Gospel. Many of the Samaritans believed and were saved and baptised.
We read this in Acts chater 8. Let's read verses 5 through 8 together:
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many taken with palsies, and the lame, were healed.
And there was great joy in that city.
The people of Samaria had found the Kingdom of God, and it brought them great joy. They surrendered their lives to Jesus in exchange for this kingdom, and were saved and baptised in the name of the Lord.
There was a man named Simon, who had been a sorcerer. He believed the preaching of the Gospel and was saved and baptised. Along with many others, he followed Philip, who was preaching and working miracles of healing and deliverance.
In Acts 8:14-17 we read,
Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
Who, when they arrived, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit;
(For as yet he had fallen upon none of them: they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus first appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Just as happens today when we receive Salvation, the Holy Spirit came to live inside of them.
Jesus told these disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had received the promise of the Father, which is the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
They had already received the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed upon them, sealing them as children of God. The Spirit was IN them. Next, on the day of Penticost, the Spirit would come UPON them.
In Samaria, we see the same thing happen. The gift of the Holy Spirit had already been sent to the believers here on earth. And yet the Samaritans who believed and were baptised had not yet received this gift. The Holy Spirit had come to live IN them, but had not yet fallen UPON them in the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Simon, the former sorcerer, had been saved and baptised. He had seen miracles of healing and deliverance. Yet he offered money for none of these. He saw the Holy Spirit working in the works of Salvation, and knew that he had found something of such great value that he gave up his sorcery, which had given him great fame, in exchange for Salvation.
When Peter and John came, they layed their hands upon the Christians, within whom the Holy Spirit was already living, and they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit fell upon them.
Simon offered Peter and John money if they would give him the power to lay his hands on believers so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. What would have made Simon desire this gift so greatly?
He saw more than peace, because those who received Jesus also received peace.
He saw more than joy, because the city had great joy because of Salvation.
He saw something tangible, something different, something amazing. Perhaps he saw something similar to what was seen on the day of Penticost, as the believers spoke with tongues and prophecied.
Indeed, this is what we read two chapters later, in Acts chapter 10, as Peter visits Cornelius and other Christians, and the Holy Spirit falls upon them. They began speaking with tongues and prophecying.
Peter sharply rebuked Simon because Simon thought he could buy the gift of God with money. Whatever it was, it was worth a great deal to Simon.
To our shame, we often see the gifts of the Spirit being abused or counterfeited, and we find it most comfortable to reject such unusual things as being false.
It has been taught that the gift of tongues is for use with those who speak other languages, and is not for prayer or prophecy with those who do not speak those other languages. And yet this is not at all consistent with other verses concerning tongues, and I have never heard a single instance of people who hold such views speaking in tongues in the way they have described, or in any way at all.
1 Corinthians 14:13-15 says,
Let the one who speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
1 Corinthians 14:26
How is it then, brethren? when you come together, every one of you has a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. Let all things be done to edify.
1 Corinthians 14:2
For he who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries."
From the Scriptures we can learn that there are different kinds of tongues.
There are human languages, as the believers on the day of Penticost spoke, and the people in the crowd who spoke those languages understood what they were saying.
There is a tongue used for speaking to the church, in the presence of a believer who has the gift of interpretation.
There is an unknown tongue used for prayer and spiritual song.
Speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance edifies the one speaking. If that speaking is interpreted, it edifies those who hear. If it is an unknown tongue spoken to God, it is the Spirit speaking mysteries unto God, praying for things for which we are unable to pray, or speaking words of praise that we are unable to utter.
Salvation is like a hidden treasure, and we surrender our lives, our minds, our hearts, and all we are and have, to Jesus in exchange for his Salvation and eternal life.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is like a pearl of great price, and we surrender our mouths, our bodies, and our pride in exchange for it.
In order for us to learn, grow, and please God, we must be teachable. Being teachable does not mean that we accept everything we hear.
The person who is teachable will listen to what is taught with a mind that is ready to receive the Word of God, and then will search the Scriptures to see if those things being taught are true.
In Acts 17:11 we read,
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily to see whether those things were true.
I encourage you to do that which is noble and teachable. Search the Scriptures concerning what has been taught today. Pray that your heart will be open to receive God's Word. Then follow the leading of the Spirit in your search.
Find a good concordance or Bible search tool and find out what the Bible has to say about the subject of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is not intended to be a buffet, from which we pick and choose. And we should not approach our seach trying to prove what we believe. Instead, pray for an open heart, and approach your search as someone who is humbly seeking God's truth, whatever that might be.
Those who seek and keep on seeking shall find.
There are many who simply will not believe the Word of God, and the promises and gifts God has prepared for those who love him and are the called according to his purpose.
Acts 28:24 says, "And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not."
Lord, may we diligently seek after you, your Word, and your Spirit. May we find once again the joy of our Salvation, and be partakers of the joy of your Holy Spirit, as you give us fresh revelations of the immesurable value of your Kingdom. May we surrender all that we are and all that we have in exchange for your hidden treasure, and your pearl of great price.
So in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we see one example of an element of the Kingdom of God that is of great value, and if we see its worth we will ask and seek and knock until God pours out his Spirit upon us.
The enemy does his best to keep us from recognizing or seeking after any part of God's kingdom.
He does his best to keep us away from Salvation. Then he tries to take away our joy. Our peace. Our passion. Throughout our entire life after Christ, our enemy will try to keep us from healing, from drawing closer to God, from experiencing life-changing encounters with God during times of intimate worship, and from receiving all that God has for us.
And yet every element of the Kingdom of Heaven is priceless, and we would do well to toss everything else aside in the hot pursuit of the Kingdom of God in our lives, selling all that we own, in a manner of speaking, for the priceless treasure and pearl of great price of the Kingdom of God in our lives.
So have you lost the level of peace and joy you had when you first received Salvation? Has your walk with God become a bit old? Does your Christian walk and your life in general seem to be the same old thing over and over again?
I can assure you that you haven't experienced all there is of God. In fact, you have not even scratched the surface.
I encourage you to seek to grasp the great wealth of the Kingdom of God, and dig for more treasure, surrender all you own and all you are in exchange for it, and press on to new heights, new depths, and the new challenges and joys that come with an ever-deepening and expanding relationship with God.
The altar workers can come to the front now.
If you have not begun your relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have a window of opportunity today. Only God knows when your last chance will be to accept his sacrifice for your sins and to be made right with him. Wisdom would take action as if this was the last chance you had to get right with God before you entered into eternity.
So everyone pray this prayer with me in your heart or with your mouth.
Say, "Jesus, forgive me for my sins. Come into my heart. Wipe my past from the records, and make me a brand new creation. I accept you as my Lord and Savior. And I choose to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you Jesus. Amen."
If you have just accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or if you are not where you should be with the Lord, or if you simply want to spend some time in his presence, come to the front and stand or kneel in the presence of the Lord.
When you're finished, please make your way to the room on your left where we'll all meet for fellowship in a few minutes.
Come, and seek with all your heart the true treasures and priceless pearls that are the Kingdom of God in your life.