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Tape No. I-4254Page
Tonight I want to deal with perhaps the most glorious theme of the Bible. And I have to say right now I feel unworthy to deal with it. But I feel God wants me to do my best and that’s all I can do. I want to say tonight that the cross revealed the love of God in a way that perhaps nothing else could ever reveal it. And the love of God, I believe, is the greatest single factor in the universe. It’s the explanation of the universe. That’s why there is a universe, because of the love of God. All creation, all God’s activities, all proceed out of His love. What a difference it makes when you realize that this earth and this universe is not just a series of accidents but it all proceeds out of the loving heart of a Father God. What a difference it makes to your life when you realize you’re not an accident looking for somewhere to happen; you’re part of a divine eternal plan conceived in love.
I want to turn for my first scripture tonight to Deuteronomy 7 and read verses 6, 7 and 8. In these verses Moses attempted an impossible task. He attempted to explain the love of God. And it’s very interesting to see just where he ended up. He’s speaking to God’s chosen people of the Old Covenant, Israel, and he’s trying to tell them why God chose them and why God loved them. He explains one reason that was not the reason for God’s love. But when he comes to explain the reason for God’s love he just stops! Let me read the words and you’ll see.
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself. . .”
I want to point out that God’s choice is the decisive factor in our lives. Not our choice but God’s choice.
“. . . he has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples [you were the most insignificant, the most unlikely]. . .”
How many of us could identify with that? God didn’t choose me because I was so great or so wonderful or so talented or so righteous. In fact, I was the least significant, the least important, the most unlikely. Have you ever noticed how God delights to choose the unlikely people? When I was at Cambridge University as a student and later as a member of the faculty of my college, Kings College Cambridge, I was far from God. I had abandoned Christianity, I had given it up as a outmoded relic from the past. I turned to philosophy and other studies to find the reason for life. And I lived a very carnal, self pleasing, Godless life. And in some ways I was somewhat notorious. And during the seven years I was at Cambridge no born again Christian ever once witnessed to me of his faith.
Well, then called into the British Army in l942 in my first year in the army I had a dramatic encounter with the Lord Jesus, came to know Him in a very personal way, was called into His service and about seven years later returned to Cambridge. And then I met some of the born again Christians. When they discovered I was a Christian they said we could have believed it would have been anybody but you! Well, I was glad God didn’t have the same attitude.
So, when you see somebody really unlikely, just start praying for them.
So Moses says to Israel God didn’t choose you because you were wonderful, because you were special, because you were righteous, because you were great. Why did He choose you? Well, now you think you’re going to get the answer, don’t you, in verse 8. But all he says is:
“. . . but because the Lord loves you and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.”
So why did the Lord love you? He loved you because He loved you. That’s the bottom line. The unexplained love of God is the greatest single fact in the universe. And no one will ever explain it. Don’t try to find reasons why God loves you, just believe that He does. The apostle John said we know and have believed the love that God has for us. It’s so important to know it and to believe it.
Tonight I want to try in some faint measure to give you a standard by which to measure the love that God has for you and me. Demonstrated, as I’m saying, in the cross. I want to turn to two parables of Jesus in Matthew 13. They’re both very short and very simple. Matthew 13, we’re going to be reading from verse 44. I have to tell you that parables can be interpreted in various different ways. I’m not suggesting tonight the way I’m going to interpret these parables is the only way. If you have a different way of interpreting them, that’s fine. Just be patient with me. The way that God has made these real to me is very precious to me. It’s given me a new way of estimating the love of God. It’s made the love of God more real to me. And if I can do that for you then let’s not bother if there are other possible interpretations, let’s let the Holy Spirit just speak as He will.
I want to suggest to you that one way to understand the love of God or appreciate it is to try to estimate the price that He paid to redeem us from our sins. Because when you see the price that God was willing to pay, it gives you some faint idea of the measure of His love. I’m going to use these two parables as a way of depicting the love that God has, the price that His love caused Him to pay to redeem us from our sins. Each of these parables speaks about a man who saw something that he valued so greatly that he sold everything he had to buy that thing and although he had to make these tremendous sacrifices he was just filled with joy for what he had been able to buy.
So let’s look at the parables and then I’ll give you my understanding of them. Matthew 13:44:
“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. 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.”
You see, there’s a close parallel. I want to suggest to you that tonight we’re going to view Jesus as the man that made the purchase. You know that the word “to redeem” means to buy back. Redemption is buying something back.
Let’s try and fill in the background a little. Why was the treasure hidden in the field? Well, the Bible doesn’t tell us but if you know anything about the Middle East it’s pretty easy to depict a scenario in which that could happen. The Middle East has been a very troubled area for many, many, many centuries and many times invading bands of marauders and robbers have swept across the country pillaging and looting and murdering. And let’s suppose there’s this man who’s wealthy, he has a beautiful home and the message comes urgently that there’s a band of marauders coming his way. And he looks at all his wealth and his treasures and he says I don’t want them to fall into the hands of these marauders. So he takes everything that’s truly valuable and packs it all up in a chest and carries it out into a field, digs deep and buries it, covers it up. Then we don’t know what happens but maybe the marauders came and they murdered the man. But they never found the treasure. So for who knows how many centuries that treasure was lying there in that field.
Then one day this man in the parable was walking across the field and he stumbled over something, kicked his toe against it. At first he thought it was one of the countless rocks that are scattered over that land. But when he looked down he saw that it was the corner of a chest that had been buried under the soil. And so, prompted by curiosity he began to get below the surface and see what was there. He managed to pry open the little corner of the lid and he saw incredible wealth: gold, silver, jewels. He realized that was hidden there in the field. Well, he knew that if he wanted legitimate ownership of that wealth he had to do one thing. What was that? He had to buy the field. Once he owned the field he owned the treasure, see? Well, he inquired about the price of the field and everybody wondered really why he wanted to buy that field because it never had been a very productive field. It had mainly produced thistles. But the owner of the field wanted a monstrous price and he wouldn’t come down. So this man because he wanted the treasure said, “I’ll pay the price.” And when he worked it out it meant he had to sell everything he had.
I can picture him going home to his wife saying, “Honey, we’re going to buy that field.”
“That field! What do you want that field for? Nothing ever grew in it.”
“Oh, but I want that field.”
“Well, how much are you going to pay?” He named the sum. “Where are you going to get the money?”
“We’re going to sell everything we have. We’re going to sell the house, we’re going to sell the furniture, we’re going to sell the farm, we’re going to sell our implements, we’re going to sell our animals, we’re going to sell our spare clothing.”
“You must be crazy! Whatever for?”
“You wait, you’ll understand.” So he sold the whole of all that he owned and had just the money that he needed to buy the field. And when he bought the field and got all the legal deeds absolutely tied up then he said to his wife, “Now come, I’ll show you why I bought the field.” And he began to dig down and he came to the chest, pried open the lid and she gasped at the incredible treasures that were in that chest.
Then we just consider the next parable for a moment, the parable of the pearl. It’s very similar but we can see some differences. It’s very important to understand that the man who wanted to buy the pearl was a merchant. He was not a tourist. Ruth and I have come from Hawaii just recently and there’s shops there that sell pearls to tourists. A lot of those tourists don’t know one pearl from another. They’re easily fooled. But this man couldn’t be fooled; he was a merchant. He’d spent his life dealing in pearls. And one day he came across this incredibly beautiful pearl and he held it in his hand and he said, “I want you. You’re the most perfect pearl that I’ve ever set eyes on.” He inquired the price and again to raise the money he’d have to sell everything he owned.
So we picture him going back to his wife. “Honey, we’re going to sell everything we have.”
“I want to buy a pearl.”
“One pearl! You mean you’re going to sell our home, our furniture, our clothes, our cattle, our farm just for one pearl?”
He said, “You haven’t seen the pearl. Wait till you see the pearl.”
That’s just a little sort of background. Now, I believe that that’s a picture of the price that Jesus was willing to pay to redeem us. It cost Him all He had. It seemed crazy. What did He see in us that He would pay so much? If you like to take it a little further you can give it a double application. The treasure in the field is God’s foreknown people buried in this world. Matthew 13 says more than once the field is the world. Jesus died for the whole world but He didn’t want the world. What did He want? The treasure in the world. What is the treasure? God’s people. But in order to get the treasure He had to buy the field. Buying the field cost Him everything.
Then if you think about the pearl—and I mean, there’s more than one way to understand this. But for me I see the pearl as just one redeemed soul. I understand that one soul is so valuable in the sight of God that if there had only been one person who ever would have been saved in all of history, and you were that person, Jesus would have died for you. We have no way of comprehending the value that God sets upon a human soul. For Him it’s a pearl of great price.
Now, let’s consider the price that Jesus paid. The New Testament tells us very clearly in various places He had to shed His own precious blood. That was the only price that could buy back the treasure and the pearl. In Acts 20:28, Paul is talking to the elders of the church at Ephesus and warning them of their responsibility. This is a real warning to us who are leaders of God’s people. Paul said in Acts 20:28:
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
Who purchased? God. What was the price? His own blood. And this is a real solemn charge to us who have leadership in the Body of Christ. Remember we’re dealing with people whom God valued so much that Jesus paid His blood to redeem them. Let us never trifle with God’s people. Let us realize the solemnity of our responsibility.
But particularly tonight I want to emphasize that to purchase the people of God it cost Jesus His life blood.
And then in 1Peter 1:17 and following. This is addressed to believers in Jesus Christ.
“And if you call on the Father who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear; knowing. . .”
Why are we to have an attitude of reverent fear? Peter is going to explain. Because of the value that God has set upon us. Dear Christian brother and sister, never think of yourself as cheap. God made the greatest investment in the universe for you. One of the great tragedies in the Christian church is Christians who undervalue themselves, who think of themselves as insignificant, unimportant, and feel unworthy. Going on, verse 18:
“. . . knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
That’s a reference to the lambs that were sacrificed in Israel, particularly the Passover lamb which had to be without blemish and without spot. And when that’s applied to Jesus I understand that without blemish means He was without original sin; without spot, He was without personal sin.
And then it says in the next verse:
“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
That’s a staggering thought. Before God created the world, before He brought into being the human race He knew that man would fall, He knew that man would go into sin. And He knew that there would be only one price that could buy man back from his sin. And I can reverently picture the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—the Godhead in counsel—discussing this. The Father said, “Shall we create man?” The Son said, “Father, please do. It would be so wonderful to be able to have fellowship with man.”
And the Father said, “Son, suppose man should turn away from us in rebellion and sin? What would we do then?” And maybe there was a silence.
And then the Son said, “Father, I’ll buy them back.”
“What will you pay?”
“My life blood.”
And so, before God ever created man, He knew what it was going to cost. That’s a staggering thought, isn’t it?
I want to speak to you a little tonight about the blood of Jesus. I feel that something that’s deficient in the contemporary church is an appreciation and an understanding of the blood of Jesus. We have many, many beautiful choruses that we sing that are new, that are anointed, that are a blessing. But generally speaking, when you want to sing a chorus about the blood of Jesus you have to go back about fifty years. To me that represents a tremendous void in the understanding of God’s people.
I’ve preached this in one or two places. I’ve preached this in Jerusalem last summer. And many of you have heard of Merv and Merla Watson, I’m sure. Who wrote some of the most beautiful music. Merla went right away that very night and wrote a song about the blood of Jesus. I was so touched by that. Dave and Dale Garrett here in New Zealand heard some of my teaching on a tape and their latest cassette deals with the blood of Jesus. I believe we’re robbing ourselves of something infinitely valuable and powerful if we don’t focus on the blood of Jesus.
I’ll tell you one person who doesn’t want us to focus on the blood of Jesus. That’s Satan. Do you know why? Because we overcome him by what? The blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
I want to turn back to the Old Testament for a preview of the sufferings of Jesus. Basically, I believe that almost everything that happened in the life of Jesus was in some way predicted in the Old Testament. Jesus lived His whole life on earth to fulfill the predictions of the Old Testament scriptures. Eighteen times in the New Testament the writer says about something that happened in the life of Jesus it happened that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. I want to turn to Leviticus 16 which is the ceremony of the Day of Atonement, what the Jewish people call Yom Kippur, which they have observed without a break for 3,400 years. The whole of the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement are a prophetic preview of what Jesus was to do on behalf of the people of God. And the high priest Aaron is himself a type, a picture of Jesus. Only once in each year under that particular dispensation was Aaron permitted to enter into the holiest of all. Only on the Day of Atonement. And whenever he went in each year he had to have two things: the blood of the sacrifice and the fragrant cloud of incense from the altar of incense. And the scripture says if he had entered without either of those he would have died instantly.
Here’s a little part of this picture in Leviticus 16, beginning in verse 11:
“And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering which is for himself, and make atonement for himself [atonement is kippur, a covering] and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself. Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil [the second veil].”
Notice he had to enter with blood and with this cloud of fragrant incense which typifies worship.
“And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the testimony, lest he die.”
Had he failed to have that cloud of incense before him covering the mercy seat he would have been struck dead instantly.
And then, what did he do with the blood?
“He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.”
The whole approach to the mercy seat which represented the presence and the throne of God and the holiness of God was stained with blood. The east side of the mercy seat was the side to which Aaron approached. That side of the mercy seat had to be smeared with blood. But before he reached the mercy seat he had to sprinkle the blood seven times on the way from the veil to the mercy seat. You say well, why? Seven is the number of perfection, completeness; it represents the revelation and authority of the Holy Spirit. But more than that, it was a preview of what Jesus was to do in shedding His blood for us. Jesus sprinkled His blood seven times in the atonement.
I want to turn now to the New Testament and very, very briefly point this out to you, the seven-fold sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. You see, when I see the absolute accuracy of the predictions of the Bible, it tremendously strengthens my faith. I realize that God is in total control. Had any person without a prophetic insight watch Jesus the Son of God being abused and struck and beaten and led away, you could have said God’s no longer in control of this situation. Things have got out of hand. But when you look at the prophecies of scripture you’ll see that every single thing that happened to Jesus had been predicted in the word of God centuries beforehand. And no demon and no wicked man could do anything other than that which God had ordained. And brothers, when you and I are in a hard situation and we could be tempted to believe that somehow things are no longer under God’s control, let’s remember that God controls the forces of evil and He will never permit them to do anything other than to what He has ordained. It may be hard to believe it at the time but the faith of Jesus Himself never wavered. He knew in advance from the Old Testament scriptures what He was going to suffer. He plainly warned His disciples and they couldn’t believe it.
The first sprinkling of the blood of Jesus is recorded in Luke 22:44 in the Garden of Gethsemane.
“Being in agony He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like great drops of blood, falling down to the ground.”
That’s the first sprinkling. Then they arrested Him and took Him away to the court of the high priest and they began to mistreat Him, to strike Him. And it says in Matthew 26:67:
“Then they spat in His face and beat Him. And others struck Him with the palms of their hands...”
But if you have the same version that I have, the alternative reading is “with rods.” The Greek word could be interpreted either way. I believe it must have been rods because it was predicted in the Old Testament. Turn to Micah, if you wish, for a moment, chapter 5 and verse 1. Addressed to Jerusalem to the Jewish people:
“Now gather yourselves in troops, O daughter of troops, he has laid siege against us, they will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.”
You see, exactly predicted something like 800 years before it happened. When you strike a man on the cheek with a rod you bring forth blood.
And then He was taken before Pilate. Pilate wanted to release Him but the pressure of the people turned the situation the other way and Pilate gave Him over to be flogged, to be scourged. We look in Matthew 27:26:
“Then Pilate released Barabbas to them, and when he had scourged Jesus he delivered Him to be crucified.”
Now, of course Pilate the governor didn’t actually do the scourging but he caused his Roman soldiers to do it. The Roman scourge was a whip with several thongs of leather and they were studded with pieces of metal or bone so that when they fell across a man’s body they literally tore open his flesh and caused little pieces of flesh to just fly out with the lash.
Now, there’s another aspect to this that isn’t actually stated in the New Testament. I don’t know whether you’ve ever wondered how very succinct and brief the records of the sufferings of Jesus is in the New Testament. They never take any time to dwell on His emotions but when you realize that the Old Testament contains countless predictions of His sufferings, if you turn to those you get some insight into what went on in the mind and heart of Jesus, especially in the psalms of David.
Let me show you an interesting scripture which will help you to understand these things. In 1Peter 1:10–12, Peter is talking about the prophets of the Old Testament. And he says this, 1 Peter 1:10–12:
“Of this salvation [which we enjoy], the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come to you [you believers in Jesus], searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ [or the Spirit of the Messiah] who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that would follow. To them it was revealed that not of themselves but to us they were ministering the things which have now been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.”
You see, this is a key to understanding something. If you read the writings of David and the psalms, the writings of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and others, you’ll find that a significant number of times they spoke in the first person about things as if they had happened to them which never happened to them. David said in one psalm, “They pierced my hands and my feet.” It never happened to David. He said, “They gave me vinegar to drink.” It never happened to David. Many other different aspects of the sufferings of Christ were spoken of in the first person by the prophets of the Old Testament. What’s the explanation? Peter tells us. It was the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Messiah in them testifying in advance of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.
Psalm 16 is a clear example. David said, “My soul shall rest in peace, my flesh will not see corruption.” But that was not fulfilled in David. In whom was it fulfilled? In Jesus, that’s right.
But I want to turn to an example in Isaiah, chapter 50. Isaiah 50:5–6. And I believe this is a clear example of what we’ve been talking about, the Spirit of the Messiah in the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 50:5–6:
“The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious nor did I turn away. I gave my back to those who struck me and my cheeks to those who plucked out the beard. I did not hide my face from shame and spitting.”
Now we have no record that any of those things ever happened to Isaiah. To whom did they happen? To Jesus the Messiah. The Spirit of the Messiah in Jesus showed beforehand the sufferings and the glory. But what I want to point out to you is that 6th verse, “I gave my back to those who struck me.” Notice Jesus gave His back. He wasn’t forced to do it. He could have refused. He did it willingly. And it says, “I gave my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who plucked out the beard.” So I believe that revelation indicates that not merely was Jesus scourged but in the course of all the shame and the indignation to which they subjected Him they pulled out His beard in handfuls. You cannot pull out a person’s beard without drawing blood from their cheeks. So there is the third and the fourth sprinkling. His back was flogged, his beard was pulled out.
I think at this point we could look for another passage in Isaiah 52. Isaiah 52 which is another preview of the sufferings of Jesus. The last 3 verses. Isaiah 52, beginning at verse 13:
“Behold my servant shall deal prudently...”
My servant is Jesus. Not named but foreshadowed.
“. . . He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high...”
And in Philippians 2, Paul says wherefore God has also highly exalted Him and given Him the name that is above every name. Because, first of all, He humbled Himself to death, the death of the cross. The humiliation of Jesus as depicted in the next verse of Isaiah 52, verse 14:
“Just as many were astonished at you [aghast at you], so his visage was marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men...”
Some of the modern translations indicate that that means He was so mistreated that He actually lost the appearance of a man. And if you consider all that He was subjected to, it’s easy to understand how that came about.
Going on with the shedding of His blood we turn now to Matthew 27:29.
The soldiers of Herod, when they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they mocked Him, kneeling before Him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews.” Then they spat on Him and took the reed and struck him on the head.”
And every time they struck him on the head they pressed those sharp thorns down deeper into his scalp. And the blood came spurting out. That was the fifth sprinkling of His blood.
And then in Matthew 27:35 we have this amazingly short statement:
“Then they crucified Him.”
And we know that in crucifixion they pierced His hands and His feet. That was the sixth shedding of His blood, the sixth sprinkling.
And then after He was actually dead, the final sprinkling took place, recorded in John 19:34. The soldiers had been ordered to put the three crucified persons to death. They put to death the two thieves on either side but when they came to Jesus He was already dead.
“But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs, but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out.”
That was the seventh and final sprinkling of His blood. I believe myself that through all that he endured and through the final thrust into the heart the body of Jesus was emptied of all its blood. That was the price that He paid.
Let’s consider now something else that the Old Testament has to say about the blood. We go back again to Leviticus 17. I hope you’re able to follow me in this. It takes a certain amount of work to mine the truths of the Bible. But my personal experience is what we mine is so valuable it’s worth the effort. In Leviticus 17 God is instructing Israel that they must not ever partake of the blood in the meat that they eat. This has a natural application but it has a much deeper spiritual truth. And in verse 11 of Leviticus 17 God gives this explanation:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”
Where the English translation says life the Hebrew word actually is the word for soul. If you want to know the Hebrew word, it’s nefesh. The soul of the flesh is in the blood. Then we have this amazing prophetic statement. God says:
“I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
That statement of God there found its fulfillment in the death of Jesus on the cross. He gave His blood to make atonement for our souls on the altar of the cross. He emptied out every drop of His life blood.
And in Isaiah 53:12 the prophet says this:
“He shall divide the spoil of the strong because he poured out his soul unto death.”
Bear in mind that the soul of all flesh is in the blood. How did Jesus pour out His soul unto death? He poured it out in His blood. His soul was the life that He gave for the redemption of the world, the life that He gave to redeem your life and mine. He poured it out totally without reservation in His blood.
Now, let’s go back to our parables. The man that wanted to buy the field to get the treasure, the merchant who wanted to buy the pearl. And you remember in each case it cost him all he had. I want you to think now of Jesus as the one who bought the field and the one who bought the pearl. And to buy them cost Him all He had. He died with nothing. He was buried in a borrowed burial robe and in a borrowed tomb. And on His way to the tomb He had poured out the last drop of His life blood. It cost Him everything. Why did He pay that? What was His motive? To redeem us. He redeemed the world not because He wanted the world. What did He want? The treasure in the world. What was the treasure? God’s people.
And He gave all He had to buy one pearl. What did we compare the pearl to? One redeemed soul. Let’s ponder on that for just a little while. I don’t believe we take nearly enough time to ponder on the love of God. I believe God has called me to His service. I believe that Jesus shed His life blood to redeem the world. I believe there’s a treasure buried in the earth that God gave His life for. Jesus bought the field but it’s our responsibility to dig out the treasure. We could never have paid for the field but we can dig out the treasure. That, I believe, in a certain sense is our ministry. That’s what motivates me to proclaim the truth to the Soviet Union, to Communist China, to Southeast Asia, to Central and South America and countless other places. Because I believe that I have a part to play in digging the treasure out of the earth.
I believe it’s lain in the earth a long, long while and it’s become in some ways stained and corroded. And we have the responsibility to clean it, to purify it and to make it a treasure worthy for our Lord. That’s the way I see the ministry of the gospel. It’s going into the fields and recovering the treasure for which Jesus died.
But when it comes to the pearl, I think it’s important to make it very, very personal. I would like each one of you just for a few brief moments to think of yourself as that pearl. Picture that merchant who’s paid everything he had for one pearl. Now he owns the pearl. And he holds it in the palm of his hand and he looks down at it and he says, “You’re beautiful. You’re the most beautiful pearl I’ve ever seen in all my merchant days. You cost me everything but I was glad to pay it. You’re mine. I don’t regret the price I paid for you.”
Now, if you want to go out of here tonight feeling important, valuable, cared for, significant, just picture yourself for a moment in the palm of the Lord’s hand. Picture Him looking down on you and saying to you, “You’re mine. You cost me everything I had but I don’t regret the price I paid. You were worth it. In my eyes you’re beautiful.” Could you just picture yourself that pearl for a moment? Can you make it very intimate and very personal? Don’t think of anybody at the moment, not the preacher nor the people, but just think of Jesus. See yourself as the soul for whom He died. Consider the price that He paid. Every drop of His precious blood. And remember that the life is in the blood. In the blood of Jesus is the very life of God the Creator. There is more power in one drop of the blood of Jesus than in all the kingdom of Satan. There’s the very life of God Himself in that precious blood. It cleanses from all sin. It sanctifies. It makes us pure and holy. Not by works of righteousness which we have done but solely by the virtue of His blood we become accepted in the Beloved. We’re the object of God’s peculiar affection. We’re His special treasure.
Just for a moment I’m going to stop speaking. Just let the Holy Spirit make this real to you. And then in a few moments I’m going to ask the worship leader to come up and we’re going to give God thanks. But just for a moment just let God show you by the Holy Spirit how much He loves you.
Now I want to pray for all of you.
“Heavenly Father, we just want to thank you tonight collectively and individually for the great love with which you loved us. Even when we were dead in trespasses and sins. Even when we were buried under the soil and stained you loved us so much you gave the blood of God, the life of God to redeem us. Thank you, Lord.”
Shall we just say quietly to the Lord, “Thank you, Lord”? Thank you, Lord.
There are some of you here tonight who probably never have personally thanked God for the death of Jesus on your behalf. You’ve perhaps known about it as a doctrine of the church, you’ve heard people speak about it but you’ve never made it personal. Just for one moment I want to ask all of you to bow your heads wherever it may be. And then I want if there are any here tonight who would like to say “I want to thank God for the first time tonight that Jesus died for me, that He shed his blood for me. I want to appropriate it personally.” Would you just slip your hand up for a moment and we’ll pray for you. Anywhere in this auditorium, you want to say, “God, I thank you. I thank you.” God bless you, sir, I see your hand. God bless you, young man; God bless you, young lady; God bless you, madam there. Oh, there are so many hands going up. There must be thirty hands or fifty hands going up over this auditorium. Brothers, let’s just keep praying for a moment. I think the Spirit of God is going to break through. We prayed for a breakthrough of the Holy Spirit. Why shouldn’t we begin to receive it tonight?
Now, if you raised your hand I want you to do one more thing and that’s all. I want you to stand up right where you are sitting. I’m going to lead you in a personal individual prayer. Each one of you that raised your hand. Don’t be embarrassed, just stand up. This young lady here in front, stand up. You’ll never be ashamed of standing up for Jesus. Right across this auditorium, in the gallery, wherever you may be. You just want to talk to God tonight personally and say, “God, I want to thank you you gave your son. Jesus, I want to thank you that you died for me, that you loved me that much. And I want to give myself to you tonight. That’s all I can do.” There’s nothing else you can do, just give yourself to Jesus Christ tonight. Would you who are standing just say very briefly this prayer after me sentence by sentence. Just pray audibly, you don’t need to pray very loud but loud enough to hear yourself. Say these words:
“Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you’re the Son of God and the only way to God. That on the cross you died for my sins and you shed your blood to redeem me. And I receive your blood now as the redemption price to redeem me and to cleanse me. I thank you Lord Jesus and I give myself to you. From tonight onwards I belong to you Lord Jesus. Help me to live for your glory. In Jesus’ name.”
And all God’s people said amen.