Reaching the Roots of Evil

By John Thiel

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 7:24 But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

How important is this subject, do we really appreciate the imminence of Christs second advent and what is involved in the understanding of that imminence? I’m sure we can identify what is written in Isaiah is precisely what has been going on and is soon to culminate in our time.

Isaiah 24:1 Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. 2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. 3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. 4 The earth mourneth [and] fadeth away, the world languisheth [and] fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. 5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

Can you see a large of sway of this scripture taking place around us? When the onslaught of the scenes of the last days takes place, not a single person is spared. As we have just seen that many times in the past century, the depression now the great recession, the lender and the borrower are all affected. It makes no distinction. The terrible effect of man upon the planet is now taking its toll. The earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof. The curse is devouring the earth, it’s happening in front of our very eyes. The ultimate conclusion is the earth is going to rock to and fro and turn upside down. As it was with Sodom and Gomorrah, it is coming very distinctly upon the people right now.

Like the dwellers in the vale of Siddim, the people are dreaming of prosperity and peace. “Escape for thy life,” is the warning from the angels of God; but other voices are heard saying, “Be not excited; there is no cause for alarm.” The multitudes cry, “Peace and safety,” while Heaven declares that swift destruction is about to come upon the transgressor. On the night prior to their destruction, the cities of the plain rioted in pleasure and derided the fears and warnings of the messenger of God; but those scoffers perished in the flames; that very night the door of mercy was forever closed to the wicked, careless inhabitants of Sodom. God will not always be mocked; He will not long be trifled with. “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9. The great mass of the world will reject God’s mercy, and will be overwhelmed in swift and irretrievable ruin. {PP 167.2}

This is the present situation in many places, unexpected things are transpiring. Many saying it’s to do with global warming and man destroying the planet. The final is just around the corner.

The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause.. {6T 408.1}

The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant.– Letter 32, 1892. {Ev 707.1}

This statement in the light of the time in which we are living, should throw our mind into total focus as to what our work is right now. Can we afford to put off for a future time, our work of purifying our lives? The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. We are called upon with very earnest appeals to prove faithful to purify our lives. This is our total responsibility. When the 10 virgins were called upon, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him, they had to trim their lamps and they had to have oil to light their lamps and only the wise have enough.  What did the wise virgins do? What was their activity? What is called upon us to be among the wise virgins?  Who will be protected when the destruction comes? Here we read of the sealing work which is taking place which the parable of the 10 virgins is taking care of. The bridal party were proceeding to the door where the wedding party was and the door was shut. When the door was shut, did the five foolish virgins manage to get in there? When the door is shut, the destruction of this planet will take place.

Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

What is involved for the people who will avoid the terrible destruction of those winds that are going to be let go of?

Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Who are the people that are going to be protected? That are being sealed so that the protection of Gods care of them will be finally secured? It is those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb. The parable of the ten virgins applies as present truth to us today. Our focus must be very clear. My concentrated activity is to wash my robe and make it white in the blood of the lamb. I ask you the question this morning, are you actively engaged in this work? What must you know in reference to this work so that our garment, our character is going to be pure and white? What must I know about my character so that I will know how to engage in this work of washing my robes in the blood of the lamb? What must I know of myself to engage?  Here is the first principle of understanding what it means to wash in the blood of the lamb. I must understand what I am born with.

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

This is the way we all commence. Our natural heart was fleshy, we will fulfill the desires of the flesh and mind. Our heart was fleshy, sinful, and corrupt. We are born with sin.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

It has been passed onto us by one man.

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,

Here is identified what we are born with because of Adam;

The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God. He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience {5BC 1128.4}

What were you and I born with? We were born with inherent propensities of disobedience. What does that mean? It means that you love to disobey. You’ve got it in you. It’s in your heart. Every one of us was born with that. Watch little children, they like to please mummy and daddy but they have a propensity to disobey. It is in their heart. They are born that way.

Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin.. {5BC 1128.4}

Sin is in the heart that is why it’s so easy to sin. Jesus said you must be born again. You cannot get to heaven with that condition of propensity in your heart. Even to see the kingdom of God you must be born again. A man must be born again if he will see the kingdom of God. He must be born of water and the spirit to enter the kingdom. That which we are born with, the propensity of sin must no longer be in the heart, it must be eradicated totally.  We will look at the engagement of this, the uprooting of this condition. What is the actual detail of this experience?

Without the transforming process which can come alone through divine power, the original propensities to sin are left in the heart in all their strength, to forge new chains, to impose a slavery that can never be broken by human power. . . . {RC 303.4}

That which I’m born with, the propensities of sin in my heart.

But men can never enter heaven with their old tastes, inclinations, idols, ideas, and theories. Heaven would be no place of joy to them; for everything would be in collision with their tastes, appetites, and inclinations, and painfully opposed to their natural and cultivated traits of character. {3SM 190.2}

Our tastes must be eradicated from the heart or heaven will be no place of joy to us or else it will forge new chains. Do you experience that in Gods church now? Are there things which end up in collision in your own heart? You collide with something in the church which doesn’t harmonise with you. That creates a distasteful experience in the church. It’s a reality. If our ideas collide with what comes through Gods church, it will collide in heaven as well. It must be rooted out totally. The transforming process that comes through divine power will not happen. The transforming process which removes from the heart those propensities. Meditate with me how God does this.  We will look at apostle Peter as the object lesson. Apostle Peter did not know himself. What did he say to Jesus? He was an ordained minister in Christ’s church. He was following his master Jesus just like we all do. What did Jesus warn him of? You’re going to deny me Peter. He said I will never forsake you. Have you said that in your own mind? I’m not going to do what others have said and you say it with all meaning. Did Peter forsake him? How? With cursing. This experience we want to examine how Jesus dealt with Peter so we can learn how he is going to deal with us. To uproot all those inherent conditions that are still in the heart that we don’t even know are there. How did Jesus take him through it? He told him ahead of time, you will deny me thrice. He identified the actual event by the cock crowing. What did Jesus do at the time when Peter denied his lord? All those statements he made before when Peter was quite sure he was a devoted servant of Jesus Christ.

While the degrading oaths were fresh upon Peter’s lips, and the shrill crowing of the cock was still ringing in his ears, the Saviour turned from the frowning judges, and looked full upon His poor disciple. At the same time Peter’s eyes were drawn to his Master. In that gentle countenance he read deep pity and sorrow, but there was no anger there. {DA 712.4}

The sight of that pale, suffering face, those quivering lips, that look of compassion and forgiveness, pierced his heart like an arrow. Conscience was aroused. Memory was active. Peter called to mind his promise of a few short hours before that he would go with his Lord to prison and to death. He remembered his grief when the Saviour told him in the upper chamber that he would deny his Lord thrice that same night. Peter had just declared that he knew not Jesus, but he now realized with bitter grief how well his Lord knew him, and how accurately He had read his heart, the falseness of which was unknown even to himself. {DA 713.1}

What was in the heart of Peter? There was falseness, a root of sin in his heart even though he already had been baptised and ordained as a minister. There was in his heart falseness, a root of evil which he didn’t even know himself. God had to deal with that.

A tide of memories rushed over him. The Saviour’s tender mercy, His kindness and long-suffering, His gentleness and patience toward His erring disciples,–all was remembered. He recalled the caution, “Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Luke 22:31, 32. He reflected with horror upon his own ingratitude, his falsehood, his perjury. Once more he looked at his Master, and saw a sacrilegious hand raised to smite Him in the face. Unable longer to endure the scene, he rushed, heartbroken, from the hall. {DA 713.2}

Peter had come to know the deep corruptions of his own heart. How? Just like you and I need to. So that when you have read in the scriptures what is in the heart and you say it’s not me, I’m alright but later discover the very things that are written there, and you look to the cross and see Jesus gaze on you and you appreciate what Peter appreciated and you see your shocking condition, this is the work of Jesus to pull out by the roots every detail of perverseness in our natural heart. Jesus wasn’t finished with Peter yet.  You know very well how that afterwards, after Jesus had been raised and was at the seaside with the disciples and they had hauled in fish, and Jesus revealed his power, Jesus was there with Peter and said, Peter, lovest thou me? What did Peter say?  Lord you know I love you, yes. That wasn’t enough and he asked two more times. Talk about salt being rubbed into a wound. Peter said lord you know I love you, Jesus said feed my sheep. Peter denied him three times. What was Jesus doing?

Three times after His resurrection, Christ tested Peter. “Simon, son of Jonas,” He said, “lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” {5BC 1151.6}

This heart-searching question was necessary in the case of Peter, and it is necessary in our case. The work of restoration can never be thorough unless the roots of evil are reached. Again and again the shoots have been clipped, while the root of bitterness has been left to spring up and defile many; but the very depth of the hidden evil must be reached, the moral senses must be judged, and judged again, in the light of the divine presence. The daily life will testify whether or not the work is genuine. {5BC 1152.1}

When, the third time, Christ said to Peter, “Lovest thou me?” the probe reached the soul center. Self-judged, Peter fell upon the Rock, saying, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” {5BC 1152.2}

This is the work before the every soul who has dishonored God, and grieved the heart of Christ, by a denial of truth and righteousness. If the tempted soul endures the trying process, and self does not awake to life to feel hurt and abused under the test, that probing knife reveals that the soul is indeed dead to self, but alive unto God. {5BC 1152.3}

To wash your robe of character, to cleanse your heart from every root of evil, God is doing to us as he did to Peter. The example of Peter is given us to know that is how he is dealing with us. As he is our high priest in the heavenly sanctuary now, he has come to the living, don’t you feel it? The wise virgins are walking with Jesus and they are being cleansed and purified before they go into a final closing of probation, this is the work taking place. He shows you a deep rooted evil right in the very centre of your soul. The root of bitterness has been left to spring up and defile many. Sometimes people say to each other, you’re not that bad, and others try to boost us up to on a false platform. Jesus doesn’t do that, he even rubs salt into the wound. For what purpose? Just to hurt us? To cleanse us. As he does this to you, through the rubbing of shoulders with each other in the church, that is how he does, the process is so trying and it’s up to us whether self awakens or not. If the tempted soul endures the trying process and self does not awake to life to feel hurt and abused under the test, then that probing knife then the soul realises it’s indeed dead to self and alive to God.  Do you feel as though your personal rights are being encroached upon as Jesus brings events about to show you your true condition? This is the work that the virgins are engaging to enter in and the door closed. The foolish virgins do not want this. The people going forth to meet the bridegroom miss their work and Jesus soon to come is to conclude this work.  The heart searching question to Peter after he fell, after he had broken and cried bitterly for his terrible sin, Jesus had to come deeper still. Peter, do you love me? No matter how many times I‘ve confessed my evil, Jesus comes closer still until the centre of your soul is dealt with. The original propensities must be eradicated.

Jesus desires to efface the image of the earthly from the minds of His followers, and to impress upon them the image of the heavenly, that they may become one with Himself, reflecting His character, and showing forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. {RC 303.2}

This is the process and if I don’t want to remain in the company, then I like the foolish virgins will drop out. He reveals to man the things that mar their life and calls upon him to repent and turn from sin. How does it happen? Just as it happened with Peter. Getting full view, open the soul. The heart melts and Jesus has to look at us time and time again. The meditation of the cross has to penetrate deep inside. Do you love me he says? Every time I fail him, do you love me?

The character we cultivate, the attitude we assume today, is fixing our future destiny. We are all making a choice, either to be with the blessed, inside the City of Light, or to be with the wicked, outside the city. The principles which govern our actions on earth are known in heaven, and our deeds are faithfully chronicled in the books of record. It is there known whether our characters are after the order of Christ. . . . Are we wise virgins? . . . This is the question which we are deciding today by our character and attitude. . . . {RC 303.3}

We will conclude our meditation in reference to the church triumphant. The members who prove faithful will become the church triumphant. The members who are prepared to go through this experience through to the soul. What Jesus was which we were not at birth, we are to become.

The life of Christ was a life charged with a divine message of the love of God, and He longed intensely to impart this love to others in rich measure. Compassion beamed from His countenance, and His conduct was characterized by grace, humility, truth, and love. Every member of His church militant must manifest the same qualities, if He would join the church triumphant. The love of Christ is so broad, so full of glory, that in comparison to it, everything that men esteem as great, dwindles into insignificance. When we obtain a view of it, we exclaim, O the depth of the riches of the love that God bestowed upon men in the gift of His only-begotten Son! {FE 179.3}

We must be as pure as Jesus is if we would join the church triumphant. We are right in the throes of the church militant giving way to the church triumphant. Who will be in the church triumphant? Those who go through this bitter experience and hold on tight. The same qualities that Jesus had.  This statement is poorly understood of where it applies;

Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God. He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity. He was assailed with temptations in the wilderness, as Adam was assailed with temptations in Eden. {5BC 1128.4}

Jesus had the propensities in the flesh to sin yes, but not in the heart as we have at birth. God wants to erase the propensities to disobedience in us. Jesus did not have the slightest propensity of disobedience of sin of evil, it wasn’t in his heart but it was in his flesh. Is it in your flesh? Yes, we will be tempted by the flesh but if it is in your heart, will you fall? You will. It must be totally eradicated from the heart. We must be as Jesus was.

“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me”–nothing to respond to temptation. On not one occasion was there a response to his manifold temptations. Not once did Christ step on Satan’s ground, to give him any advantage. Satan found nothing in Him to encourage his advances (Letter 8, 1895). {5BC 1129.2}

There was no propensity, original propensity of evil that is in us when we are born in Jesus. When Satan came to tempt him, there was nothing in his heart that could respond to that.

Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself: “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble. {GC 623.1}

That which we have been born with must be entirely uprooted. Jesus’ beautiful statement of perfection in his heart where there was no evil propensity at all must be our condition. How does he do it? As we have been studying. If I want to be ready for the imminent time of trouble right here in front of our noses, if I want to survive it, I must have no response in my heart to things naturally responsive in the human heart. It must be eradicated. Can you see the intensity of the work upon us right now? It is my prayer that we will be among the wise virgins and not foolish in our characters. There were called foolish as their character was foolish. If you have an idol, ever so small, it just seems so little, like what Peter had, it all seemed such a little thing but to Peter it was very big.  A root of bitterness and evil. We can’t carry it into the time of Jacobs’s trouble because if we do we will not survive that time. It is right upon us. It is not long to go. We have gone through a bitter experience in the church, we want to be part of the membership of the church triumphant, there is no more time to delay, we must engage in this final work. May God grant us the determination to look to Jesus so that look of love and compassion may penetrate every revelation of my condition. As it penetrates, let it be eradicated for good. As those words of Jesus come, do you love me? We can say lord you know all things, I’m open to your gaze, I totally surrender.


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Posted on 16/09/2009, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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