Faith Chapel

The Pearl

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Mike Leno


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000044

00:29 A Pearl diver named Rambhau lived on the coast of India.
00:34 His profession, his life work was to go out
00:38 off the coast of India and dive for pearls.
00:41 And he was good at it, too.
00:43 He could hold his breath so long.
00:44 He could dive so deep,
00:46 and he knew just what kind of oyster to look for
00:50 that would give the best pearls.
00:51 Now the goal of every pearl diver
00:53 is to find the perfect pearl.
00:57 Well, Rambhau had a son and as the son grew older
01:01 he was taught by his father to dive for pearls.
01:04 As he got older he got better and better and better.
01:08 And after a while Rambhau's son was the best pearl diver
01:12 in the coast--on that part of the coast of India.
01:15 He could hold his breath so long.
01:17 He had the deepest dive.
01:20 And he was trained by his father
01:22 to find the best oysters that would produce the best pearls.
01:27 You see, as Rambhau's father used to say,
01:30 there's a big difference between the pearls
01:33 with defects in them and they lack
01:36 a lot of luster and brilliance
01:38 but the perfect pearls don't have any defects
01:41 in them at all and they shine with a luster
01:44 that completely outshines all the inferior pearls.
01:49 Well, few years went by
01:52 and Rambhau's son became better and better.
01:56 And he would keep on looking for the perfect pearl.
02:00 And one day he was diving very deep,
02:03 had been down a very long time.
02:06 And he looked down at the ocean floor below him
02:09 and he saw just the kind of oyster
02:12 that he was looking for.
02:14 He knew that inside that oyster shell
02:17 had to be the best pearl that he'd ever seen.
02:21 The problem was he'd already been down
02:24 so long that he was almost ready to pass out.
02:27 And yet, there was the perfect pearl
02:29 just within reach and so with a kick of his feet
02:32 he nosed down further
02:33 and grabbed for that oyster shell.
02:37 Unfortunately Rambhau's son had been down too long.
02:42 As he reached the oyster that he just knew
02:45 had to have the perfect pearl in it,
02:48 he passed out and he drowned
02:51 before he could ever reach the surface.
02:54 His father was so grieved by the death of his son
03:01 that he would never even
03:02 talk about his son for years afterward.
03:07 Matthew 13, talks about
03:13 the pearl of great price.
03:16 "Again, the kingdom of heaven
03:19 is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.
03:23 When he found one of great value,
03:25 he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."
03:30 People will pay anything.
03:32 They will sacrifice anything.
03:35 Even risk their own lives
03:37 in order to get the perfect pearl.
03:40 And that's why Jesus could use
03:42 the pearl to represent the gospel,
03:46 the good news of His kingdom.
03:50 Unfortunately there are more than
03:54 one version of the gospel.
04:00 In previous sessions together we have talked about the gospel
04:03 and how there have been
04:05 different false teachers in the past
04:07 that have taught a perverted version of the gospel.
04:11 Let's review those.
04:14 The false gospel includes things like this,
04:19 "You are uncertain about being saved.
04:22 You deal with this insecurity by working harder
04:25 in order to be worth saving."
04:27 The true gospel on the other hand means that
04:29 "As a believer in Christ you are assured that you have salvation.
04:33 You do not need to work hard to be worth saving."
04:37 The false gospel says that
04:38 "Personal behavior is controlled from the outside,
04:41 motivated by law, rewards and punishments."
04:45 The true gospel says, that
04:46 "Behavior is controlled from the inside
04:48 and motivated by love."
04:51 The false gospel says that
04:52 "You have to make personal sacrifices
04:55 in order to win God's favor."
04:58 The true gospel says,
04:59 "God's love wins your love and loyalty
05:03 therefore you would sacrifice anything
05:05 that came between you and the true Gospel."
05:08 The false gospel says,
05:10 "Salvation is based on the kind of person you are."
05:13 The true gospel says,
05:15 "Salvation is based on the kind of person God is."
05:20 The true gospel is so valuable
05:23 and so necessary that it requires
05:25 that we give up all other
05:27 perverted versions of the gospel.
05:31 You can't have a modified true gospel.
05:33 If it's modified it's not true any longer.
05:36 It has to be perfect, just like the perfect pearl
05:39 that Rambhau and his were looking for.
05:42 It has to be without defect
05:44 and it has to have the greatest brilliance.
05:47 The true gospel can not be perverted by any human ideas.
05:52 It is God's and God's alone.
05:55 It has to be authentic.
05:56 It can't be manufactured or cultured by human beings.
05:59 It can only come through faith in Christ.
06:03 As the parable suggests once we know about this pearl,
06:08 and once we know where it is,
06:10 all other things can and will be given up in order to get it.
06:15 Not because God is requiring some strenuous pilgrimage
06:19 but because out of love that is one from the heart of God,
06:22 we want what He has to give.
06:26 Like the Indian pearl diver
06:27 we know that the gospel is worth risking everything for.
06:32 As the martyrs down through history have witnessed,
06:36 even death itself is not too high
06:37 a price to pay for the true gospel.
06:42 Jesus had several different groups of people
06:46 who followed Him in His ministry.
06:49 The first group is what I would call the crowd followers.
06:55 Now these were the people who just--
06:58 they saw the crowds of people following Jesus
07:01 and it seemed like a great thing to do, was popular,
07:04 Jesus was fun to listen to and they just joined right in.
07:08 It was a popular thing.
07:10 Jesus was a great person
07:12 and they liked being in His presence.
07:15 But maybe they didn't fully catch on
07:19 to all the implications of what Jesus was saying.
07:22 And Jesus would tell these kinds of people,
07:24 things like, make sure you count the cost before you get in.
07:30 Be doers not just hearers. Things like that.
07:34 The second group of people, who followed Jesus,
07:38 were those who opposed Him.
07:40 And they usually followed Him
07:41 because they were trying to catch Him in saying something
07:44 that they could accuse Him for later.
07:47 These were the people who defended the old ways.
07:50 These were the people who defended the landmarks
07:54 that had been given to them.
07:56 These were the people who
07:58 depended on the law for their salvation.
08:03 Jesus would tell those kinds of people things like,
08:06 you can't put new wine in old wine skins.
08:10 In other words, the ideas inherent in the true gospel
08:14 cannot be held in the old wine skins of your old traditions.
08:20 He would say things like, to the rich young ruler,
08:25 give away all your riches, all your advantages,
08:29 and give it to people who haven't earned anything
08:32 and then come and follow me.
08:35 There was a third group of people.
08:38 And these were the people--
08:41 maybe they weren't the smartest,
08:42 maybe they weren't the most brilliant all the time,
08:44 although some of them like Nicodemus were very sharp.
08:49 These were the people that recognized
08:51 that Jesus had something that they needed.
08:55 Jesus was giving something away that was so valuable.
08:59 It was like the pearl.
09:02 It was like the treasure in the field
09:06 and they would do anything to get it.
09:10 This group of people is illustrated one time by a story
09:14 that is told in the Second Chapter of Mark.
09:18 Four friends of a paralyzed man
09:23 heard that Jesus was in town
09:25 and they thought what a wonderful thing
09:28 it would be to take their paralyzed friend,
09:30 and I don't know if he was a quadriplegic
09:33 or paraplegic or exactly what, but he was paralyzed
09:37 and couldn't get around by himself.
09:39 And they thought what a wonderful thing it would be
09:42 to take their friend to Jesus.
09:43 You see they recognized that Jesus had something
09:45 so wonderful that crippled people could be healed.
09:50 Sinners could be forgiven.
09:52 And so they wanted their friend to get in on this.
09:56 Well, they picked him up--
10:01 the four of them carried him over to the house
10:04 where Jesus was speaking to people.
10:07 But unfortunately the crowd of people
10:09 all around the house was so thick
10:11 and so big that they couldn't just carry him in the door.
10:19 But like the pearl diver they knew
10:21 that Jesus had something that was worth fighting for.
10:24 They knew that Jesus could give something that was worth--
10:29 trying something even a little bit unusual.
10:32 And so they carried their paralyzed friend up the stairs
10:37 and up onto the roof of the house
10:39 and many of the houses in those days were built
10:42 so that you could climb the stairs up onto the roof.
10:47 But of course what were they're going to do then?
10:49 They couldn't just throw him down.
10:53 Well, what happened next made biblical history
10:57 because as Jesus was talking to the people
11:00 suddenly there was a skylight in the sealing
11:04 and they looked up and there were these four friends
11:07 digging through the roof.
11:09 And when they had a hole that was big enough in the roof,
11:12 here came this paralyzed friend in a blanket with ropes on it,
11:17 they let the poor fellow down
11:18 and clear all the way down to the floor
11:20 and he landed right in front of Jesus.
11:25 Jesus looked at that paralyzed man
11:27 and He realized what he and his four friends
11:30 would have gone through just to get there.
11:32 And He realized what an exercise of faith
11:36 this was for them to realize
11:37 that He had something so valuable
11:39 that they would risk social disapproval
11:43 and even danger to the structure of the house
11:48 to get their friend right there in front of Him.
11:54 Jesus realized what many of the Pharisees
11:57 and his opposition in the house were thinking.
12:01 And He was about to heal the man
12:04 and He realized what would happen.
12:08 And so He decided to make a lesson out of this moment.
12:15 It was a teachable moment.
12:17 And so He said, which is harder to do?
12:21 Forgive someone's sins
12:24 or said rise up-- or say rise up and walk.
12:28 Well, this confused the opposition
12:30 because both were equally hard
12:33 and of course only God could forgive sins
12:37 but then only God could heal a person too.
12:40 And so while their little minds
12:42 were stewing over that question Jesus said,
12:45 to show that the son of man has power
12:48 and authority to forgive sins,
12:50 "Take up your bed and walk."
12:54 The paralyzed man got up under his own power
12:57 and left the house knowing not only that his legs
13:00 and all of his limbs were whole
13:03 but knowing that his soul was whole, too.
13:06 He had been the recipient of the pearl of great price.
13:09 He had been the recipient of the gospel.
13:12 And he and his friends had done everything in their power
13:15 to find it and to grab a hold of it.
13:20 Unfortunately not everyone desires the true gospel.
13:25 The Book of Galatians was written by Paul
13:29 in the face of an enormous crisis.
13:34 It was a crisis over the gospel.
13:37 He had taught the Galatians the true gospel,
13:39 the gospel that by grace through faith
13:45 God's people would be justified,
13:47 that they would receive salvation
13:49 not by the works that they did
13:51 but because of understanding of the true gospel
13:54 they knew that God had already saved their sins
13:57 because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross,
14:00 they would know that.
14:02 But the false gospel was to take a mixture of grace
14:07 and forgiveness along with works.
14:10 And so it was a false gospel. It was a modified gospel.
14:14 It was a gospel of faith plus works.
14:18 And so in order to counteract that crisis
14:21 Paul wrote the Book of Galatians.
14:26 In Galatians 3:1-6, He becomes very direct.
14:31 He says, "You foolish Galatians Who has bewitched you?
14:35 Before your very eyes
14:37 Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.
14:41 I would like to learn just one thing from you.
14:43 Did you receive the spirit by observing the law,
14:46 or by believing what you heard?
14:49 Are you so foolish?
14:51 After beginning with the spirit,
14:53 are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
14:57 Have you suffered so much for nothing,
14:59 if it really was for nothing?
15:01 Does God give you His spirit and work miracles among you
15:05 because you observe the law,
15:06 or because you believe what you heard?
15:09 Consider Abraham, 'He believed God,
15:12 and it was credited to him as righteousness."'
15:19 The true gospel has always been misunderstood and opposed.
15:25 And see our human nature many times
15:28 does not want to accept a gift.
15:31 It just sounds too good to be true.
15:33 And this is especially true for those of us
15:35 who perhaps have been in the church all of our lives
15:38 and have become leaders in the church.
15:40 Why preaching a gospel that is so easy
15:45 just doesn't sound right.
15:47 Where is the law?
15:48 And so when we feel like we're not emphasizing
15:52 duty and accountability enough.
15:55 We start mixing and modifying the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
16:01 In the days of Martin Luther
16:03 there was another crisis over the true gospel.
16:08 Martin Luther as he looked at the traditions
16:11 that had been built up in the church that he belongs too.
16:15 He realized that the gospel of Jesus Christ had been perverted.
16:19 This came home one day as he was reading the scriptures.
16:24 And he came to the place
16:27 where Paul said that just shall live by faith.
16:32 And Luther talked to himself if that's really true
16:35 then why am I doing all these pennace?
16:37 Why am I encouraged by indulgences of all things?
16:42 And so he started preaching the true gospel.
16:46 Well, the Roman Church at that time fought back.
16:53 And it all came to that great confrontation
16:57 in the Diet of Worms where Luther stands there
17:02 in the midst of the assembly being accused of heresy
17:06 and finally simply saying, I can do no other.
17:13 Well, in the years following,
17:19 the Roman Church decided
17:20 that maybe it was time to reform a little bit.
17:24 And so what became known as
17:26 the counter reformation took place within the Roman Church.
17:30 And in the mid 1500's they had
17:33 what was called the Council of Trent.
17:37 And the Council of Trent basically defined
17:41 what the Roman Church's understanding of justification
17:48 and a number of other things
17:49 having to do with the protestant reformation.
17:53 What was Rome's answer
17:55 to the gospel being preached by the protestant reformation?
17:59 Rome's answer was to mix the gospel again.
18:04 Basically, Rome said that you have to have faith
18:07 plus works in order to be justified.
18:11 Now, who among us has not wonder at a times,
18:14 am I good enough to go to heaven?
18:16 Am I good enough to be in God's kingdom?
18:19 It's our human nature to ask questions like this.
18:24 The answer always has to be no.
18:26 we know that-- just intuitively,
18:29 we know that we're not good enough
18:32 but the solution we often use is to try harder,
18:36 to obey more laws,
18:37 be stricter on ourselves in order to feel worthy.
18:41 But the only solution, the only gospel,
18:45 is that Jesus' worth is our worth.
18:49 If we accept Jesus, we accept His worth as our own.
18:54 One of the arguments that the Church of Rome had
18:56 against the protestant reformers
18:58 was that they made salvation too easy.
19:01 The pope and his theologian said
19:03 that a combination of keeping the law, faith and penance
19:07 when you did something wrong was necessary for justification.
19:11 They held out little confidence that a person could know
19:15 whether or not they were saved.
19:17 In spite of texts like 1 John 5:13,
19:20 "I write to you so that you that believe
19:22 in the name of Jesus Christ
19:24 that you may know that you have eternal life."
19:28 The Bible never says that you have to be in doubt
19:30 over your salvation.
19:31 That's because our salvation is in God's hands,
19:34 in Christ's hands, not ours.
19:36 And of course that doesn't eliminate
19:38 the possibility of choosing something else later.
19:42 God never forces the will.
19:44 Predestination is a biblical concept
19:47 but it was never meant to be perverted to mean
19:49 that once you are saved you can never choose anything else.
19:53 You can loose your salvation if you choose to.
19:57 But God is not interested in our attempts to earn salvation.
20:02 He is interested in convincing us
20:05 that we have salvation already.
20:09 That is the pearl of the Kingdom.
20:13 And once we realize the value of that pearl
20:16 we will do anything to get it.
20:20 For those who oppose Jesus, they don't care.
20:23 For those who are just following Jesus
20:25 out of the whole popular moment type of the thing,
20:29 they don't get it.
20:30 They don't understand how valuable it really is.
20:32 But for those who really understand
20:34 the value of that pearl, we will do anything to get it.
20:40 The knowledge of what that pearl is
20:43 will change your life more completely
20:46 than any intensified effort to keep the law ever.
20:53 David Morse, was an American missionary to India.
21:00 He moved to the coast of India and as providence would have it,
21:06 he became friends with a pearl diver named Rambhau.
21:13 Many an evening he spent with Rambhau.
21:16 They became fast friends.
21:18 And they used to visit long into the evening.
21:23 And they would talk about Jesus Christ.
21:26 And Rambhau became a friend of Jesus Christ.
21:29 He believed in Jesus Christ.
21:34 But when it came to accept Jesus Christ as his savior
21:39 it was like the missionary hit a brick wall.
21:42 You see, Rambhau believed in Jesus as a person,
21:48 as a good person, as a wonderful teacher
21:52 but he had a hard time even grasping the concept
21:56 that this Jesus, this Christ,
21:58 wanted to give him salvation as a free gift.
22:02 Rambhau had the same problem that many of us have.
22:04 We believe in Jesus.
22:06 We've read the stories in the Bible.
22:07 We know what a wonderful person He is.
22:10 But when it come to accepting salvation as a free gift,
22:14 well, that just sounds a little too good to be true.
22:18 And so as David Morse and Rambhau would talk
22:22 late into the night, Rambhau would say,
22:27 "You know, your Christian way to heaven is too easy for me.
22:31 I cannot accept it.
22:33 If ever I should find admittance to heaven in that manner,
22:37 why, I would feel like a pauper there,
22:40 like a beggar who has been let in out of pity.
22:44 I may be proud," said the old pearl diver.
22:47 "But I want to deserve, I want to earn my place in Heaven
22:52 and I am going to work for it."
22:55 Nothing the missionary could say seemed to make any difference.
22:59 Well, their friendship went on and time passed.
23:04 One day, Rambhau showed up at the missionary's door.
23:10 "Why, come on in," said the missionary.
23:11 "No," said Rambhau.
23:13 "Please follow me, come to my house tonight."
23:16 And so he followed him.
23:20 Ushered him into the house and sat down
23:23 and Rambhau looked at the missionary and said,
23:27 "Sahib, in a week's time,
23:32 I start working for my place in Heaven."
23:35 The missionary looked somewhat quizzical and Rambhau continued.
23:39 He said, "I am leaving for Delhi,
23:41 and I am going there on my knees."
23:47 "Oh, Rambhau, you're crazy. It's 900 miles to Delhi.
23:53 And the skin will break on your knees,
23:55 you'll get an infection,
23:56 you'll get blood poisoning or leprosy
23:58 before you even get to Bombay."
24:01 "No," said the pearl diver. "I must go to Delhi.
24:05 And the immortals will reward me.
24:08 The suffering will be sweet
24:11 for it will purchase Heaven for me."
24:14 "Rambhau, my friend, you can't," said the missionary.
24:18 "How can I bear to let you do this
24:21 when Jesus Christ has suffered and died
24:24 and purchased your salvation already?"
24:27 But the old man could not be moved.
24:31 "You are my dearest friend on the Earth," Rambhau said.
24:35 "Through all these years you've stood by me and now," he said,
24:39 "I want to give you something."
24:42 And he disappeared for a moment
24:43 and he came back with a strongbox with a lock on it.
24:50 And before he opened it he said to the missionary,
24:55 "I once had a son."
24:57 "Rambhau, I didn't know that. You never spoke about your son."
25:00 "Yes, I had a son. He was a pearl diver.
25:04 He was the best pearl diver.
25:05 He could hold the longest breath.
25:07 He had the deepest dive. He could find the best pearls.
25:11 But he died trying to dive for the best pearl."
25:19 Rambhau took the lock and opened it with a key,
25:23 unlatched the strongbox, threw the lid back.
25:29 He reached inside and drew out a small package
25:31 wrapped in a cloth. He unwrapped it.
25:37 "Sahib," he said to the missionary.
25:40 My son found the perfect pearl
25:46 but in getting it, it took his life.
25:49 And now he said, as he lifted the cloth off of the most
25:54 brilliant pearl the missionary had ever seen.
25:56 He said, "I want to give it to you.
26:00 I'm going on my journey, I may never return.
26:02 I want to give it to you." "No, I can't do that."
26:05 And suddenly the missionary realized what was happening.
26:09 And he realized that here was a teachable moment.
26:13 And so he said, "Oh, I'll buy it.
26:16 I can't take it from you as a gift but I'll buy it."
26:20 And he said, "I tell you what, I'll give you $10,000 for it."
26:25 Rambhau said, "Oh, no, I can't do that.
26:27 This is worth more than--"
26:30 "Oh, I'll give you $15,000 for it.
26:31 And if that's not enough I'll work hard
26:33 the rest of my life to try to earn enough to pay for it."
26:36 "Oh, no," said the pearl diver,
26:38 "I can't let you do that.
26:40 This cost the life of my son. It's priceless."
26:46 And the missionary said, "My friend,
26:50 what I've been saying to you is the same thing
26:53 you have been saying to Christ.
26:58 It was the price of God's only son
27:03 that purchased your salvation, that is a free gift.
27:07 You can't earn it.
27:08 It's worth far more than anyone could ever earn
27:11 in several lifetimes, a 100 lifetimes and more."
27:19 The old pearl diver was quite for a moment
27:23 and suddenly he nodded.
27:26 The truth came home.
27:30 The pearl of infinite price
27:35 had cost the life of the son of God.
27:39 There was no way, not even going 900 miles on your knees
27:44 that can purchase that.
27:47 He bowed his head and did the only thing
27:50 that any of us can ever do
27:52 in the face of such a great price and sacrifice.
27:55 He accepted salvation as a free gift.


Revised 2014-12-17