Running the Christian Gauntlet

gauntletb

Audio: mp3

Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of Lords and king of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

What is a gauntlet? The word gauntlet is an armed glove used in medieval times. The word was used for punishment or for a prize to run between two rows of men armed with clubs and weapons and was to come out alive. Miriam Webster’s dictionary says: To run the gauntlet of criticism and censure, to endure an onslaught of trial.   The Lord has put it on my heart today to share a message that describes the path of the way of the Christian as running the gauntlet. May God help us to understand the message he has so we may not just be called, not just chosen, but that we may be faithful in the Christian path.  It is said of the 144,000 that they came out of great tribulation. We are to strive to be among the 144,000. We must strive to come out of great tribulation. We can go into great tribulation, but we may not come out. The 144,000 came out of great tribulation. Isn’t that precious a promise? They came out. We know by faith there is a limit to trial, sin, heartache and pain. There is a time when it will stop. The promise was to him that overcometh. What is the promise?

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.

The little word ‘even as’. We are to overcome even as I also overcame. The little words we need to cherish. Jesus overcame the armed men that hated him on every side. He passed through and he got wounded. To him that overcomes even as I also overcame. Jesus sets the way through this worlds angry men. Jesus doesn’t just set the way, he is the way. We have a promise that if we overcome as he overcame; we will sit in his throne. When Jesus was speaking to his disciples before he left he said I’m going to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also. Thomas said, where are you going? We don’t know, and the way, we know not. Jesus said, I am the way. He’s not just coming back to get us, but he is the way there too. Jesus said to Thomas whither I go you do know and the way you know.

The way to the throne of God has been wrongly signed. The way to throne of God is a different way presented today than the way that Christs presents. Jesus is the way. The way has been pulled down, has been diverted and has been misrepresented. The way of the Christian, what a way, what a joy. Everything’s nice to be a Christian, to have a moral home. Over time we have looked to the external of the joy spoken of in Christianity.

Its like Israel of old who thought the deliverer was to deliver them from the Roman yoke but he was to deliver the people from their sins. The path was misinformed until the time of Christ. Their path to the throne of David was of external glory, conquering the physical. Today we are called to lift up Jesus. It says if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me. What path are we to lift up? What did Jesus compare when he was talking to Nicodemus? He said as Moses lifted up the serpent on the stick so is the son of man to be lifted up. We are to lift up Jesus as the serpent on the stick. As the sin bearer he who became sin. The lowest part is to be lifted up. If Jesus is the way and we are lifting up Jesus very high, it becomes a highway.

Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil. He that keepeth his way preserverth his soul.

It’s known as the way of holiness. The way. John the Baptist had to lift up the way. He made a highway in the desert. He made a highway for God. As John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah so the three angel’s messages are to come in the spirit of Elijah. The three angel’s messages have become tame and voiceless but now it’s time to lift up the way but not according to the way we think. What was lifted up? The serpent on the stick. Many years I baffled as to why God said to put a serpent on the stick. To all appearances that was the worst thing to put up, it didn’t have any glory, it was the source of their heartache. Jesus the sin bearer is to be lifted up. The lowest part of his life is to be raised if we consider we are to walk on a high path, it may not be high in feeling.

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me.

Do you know what a rod is? What it’s used for? For discipline. Who is with him? Jesus is with the person who walks through the valley of the shadow of death. Is that the highway? This has been written by the observation of the external. As Christians we are looking for something that will never happen.  Glory in our earthly lives. We will only have glory in our heavenly lives. We can glory in our lives now but it is not from earth but heaven. It is the glory that will lighten the whole earth. Do we think that the glory will supersede the glory of the first advent? The darkness comprehended it not. Why? They were looking for a different type of light. Christianity today is looking for earthly ease. They are going down a path that is diverted from the truth. If we fear God, we must lift the path that God is in. For thou art with me. Jesus is there. This must be the highway in the lowest path of feeling. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. To be able to say that takes the greatest faith. That is what the path is all about, a path of faith.

There is only one path that leads from darkness upward to the light until it touches the throne of God, –the path of faith. This path is not dark and uncertain; it is not the way of finite minds, not a path made by human hands, in which toll is exacted from every traveler. Entrance to it cannot be gained by works of penance. {GW 160.2}

Him that overcomes I will grant for him to sit with me in my throne.

The way that God has provided is so complete, so perfect, that man cannot, by any works that he can do, add to its perfection. It is broad enough to receive the most hardened sinner, if he truly repents, and yet so narrow that in it sin can find no place. This is the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. {GW 160.3}

You’d be surprised how imperfect people think it is as they are going on false conceptions.

It is broad enough to receive the most hardened sinner if he truly repents and yet so narrow that in it sin can find no place. This is the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. {GW 160.3}

The path cannot take one sin through. It is the Christian gauntlet. To run the Christian gauntlet is to be surrounded by rods and staffs. It is a path that on the external is the shadow of death. In the valley. The lowest. It is a path for those that are with him.

Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful.

When running a gauntlet you don’t always get through but the promise is that the 144,000 came out of great tribulation. They were faithful and with him. They are called, chosen and faithful. Full of faith. To be called. Many are called the scripture says.

Matthew 20:16 Many are called but few are chosen.

To hear the gospel call – I know a path that leads to the throne of heaven would you like to come? Yes, sounds nice. We like heaven, the throne, streets of gold, yes, yes we‘ll go. A gate is made out of one pearl. Ooohh we’ll go. Many are called, yes but when they enter the gate of the path and they look on the left and right and see a gauntlet, they say that’s not the path. Some enter in and are chosen.

John 6:70 Jesus answered them, have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

It makes very clear sense that they that are with him are not just called and chosen but are full of faith.  Worldly ambition will be utterly smashed on the path. Cherished sins will be beaten. Iniquity in all its forms will not be tolerated but you and your soul can go through. This poses a great dilemma to the modern mind. To the mind that is looking for some big glory that will fill the earth. Big missions, big numbers. I’m afraid of big numbers now. Many are called but few are chosen and even fewer are faithful. This is not a message to discourage or make your hands drop. This is a message to brace your faith so you can keep going, so you’re not disappointed later and so you’re not caught unawares. God is not into surprising his followers. He wants to give us an expected end. For me to preach and tell you its all ok is for me to lie. It is to heal the hurt of the peoples smiting. Many enter in and say peace, peace.

Jeremiah 6:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one [is] given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. 14 They have healed also the hurt [of the daughter] of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace.

It is very important for us to realise that the Christian path is full of joy, glory and happiness but only in the inner man in the core of your being. The external? In these last days, is a different story. There have been times when God has allowed his people to have houses, vineyards and lands for them to prosper but today is a day for us to care for our own soul or everything else will be damaged.

Jeremiah 6:26 Oh daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes; make thee mourning , as for an only son, most bitter lamentation for the spoiler shall

God has set a church to show and try the way. Not just to collect tithes and implement human plans. God has set a tower to show the way. Did they do it? Have we done it? Has the past accomplished that? It says they, are all grievous revolters;

Jeremiah 6:28 They [are] all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: [they are] brass and iron; they [are] all corrupters. 29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away. 30 Reprobate silver shall [men] call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.

Reprobate Silver

God is refining silver. He says I will purify the sons of Levi but here is reprobate silver meaning false silver. Not really silver but fake. They were there in the foundry being melted. They were in the gauntlet but they never came out. The 144,000 came out of great tribulation. We need to understand a little of what we should expect as the holders of the present truth as Adventists. We should be in the spirit of Elijah and the spirit of John the Baptist. God will not allow sin through the hardest warfare.

The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness. {FLB 87.4}

The path is so narrow. The greatest sin is pride especially religious pride. The bible says if the light be in you is darkness, how great is that darkness. It’s a great, great darkness. The scriptures describes the last days as gross darkness covering the earth. Spiritual darkness. I’m increased with goods but know not that I’m poor, blind and naked. God has created a perfect path to destroy self but keep your soul safe. The life of John the Baptist had been one of labour week after week bringing no change.  Stop to think, the person that has been in the wilderness and has been subject to the temptation of even claiming that he himself was the Messiah. He could have done that. Thousands flocked to him. Kings, rulers, priests, everyone came to listen. For him to be put in a prison, what does that do to the mind? For us who are in these last days who are expecting this missionary work to go forward, to be locked away, how will your faith be if you were looking to the external? Consider the path that we must follow in this last day of earth’s history. Like the saviours disciples, John the Baptist did not understand the nature of Christ’s kingdom. They expected Jesus to take the throne of David. Is that a last day message? This is exactly what we are expecting.

If John was the greatest prophet ever born of a woman, are you greater than he? Will you be misguided by your modern day perceptions of what God is actually doing? How much study did John do in the wilderness with prayer and preparation? Health reform was carried out. His mind was fully active so heaven could communicate with him yet he still had a misconception. For us to think we are not misguided is religious pride. We must consider the path, the gauntlet. The bible says ye shall be hated of all men. What sort of missionary message is that? If everyone hated you, what would you think about yourself?

Human pride was to be cast down. John the Baptist cut down the human pride of the priests and people and now it was time for the Lord to cut down his pride. He had a genuine heart but John thought Jesus was going to take the throne of David. Many people wouldn’t interpret that as pride but to expect something that the Lord said he was not going to do was definitely a misconception.  Did the mission John the Baptist had stood as a reprove or rebuker of iniquity? Did he fulfil his appointed work?

And now from his dungeon he watched for the Lion of the tribe of Judah to cast down the pride of the oppressor, and to deliver the poor and him that cried. But Jesus seemed to content Himself with gathering disciples about Him, and healing and teaching the people. He was eating at the tables of the publicans, while every day the Roman yoke rested more heavily upon Israel, while King Herod and his vile paramour worked their will, and the cries of the poor and suffering went up to heaven. {DA 215.3}

To the desert prophet all this seemed a mystery beyond his fathoming. There were hours when the whisperings of demons tortured his spirit, and the shadow of a terrible fear crept over him. Could it be that the long-hoped-for Deliverer had not yet appeared? Then what meant the message that he himself had been impelled to bear? John had been bitterly disappointed in the result of his mission. {DA 216.1}

I’ve heard many reports given of missionary progress activity. I fear that sometimes these reports are false. We have done this and this and this has increased and look at all the work we’ve done. This is what people say. John the greatest prophet was bitterly disappointed in the result of his mission. It didn’t meet his expectations. He had wrong expectations. Do we have a wrong expectation of the last day Christian life? Do you?

But the Baptist did not surrender his faith in Christ. The memory of the voice from heaven and the descending dove, the spotless purity of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit that had rested upon John as he came into the Saviour’s presence, and the testimony of the prophetic scriptures,–all witnessed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Promised One. {DA 216.3}

What comforted him? A recollection of the voice from heaven. Not everyone recognised the voice from heaven. Some said it was thunder, just a noise. Do you ever just create a noise? Maybe it’s the voice from heaven. We should be very in tune with what God is trying to communicate to us because if we miss the voice from heaven we will not get through. What is heaven speaking to you? What does it say? What is it that will comfort us?

Revelation 18:4 and I heard another voice from heaven saying, come out of her my people that ye be not partakers of her sins and plagues.

That is the solace that and comfort that will keep your faith going in Christ. When everybody hates you, praise the Lord. Lift up your head and rejoice for your redemption draweth nigh. Why didn’t Jesus go and just say one word to John? It would have really strengthened him. Even just one word. Nothing. Only the disciples who saw what Jesus did. Why didn’t Jesus do it, why? The same thing happened to Elijah. It was only by a still small voice that Elijah recognised Gods voice. It wasn’t in the big applause, the fire, the earthquake. Is God in the fire that consumed the altar? Then he saw another sign. God had withdrawn himself to a still small voice. Brothers and sisters, probation is closing. When Christ leaves the heavenly sanctuary, all that we will have is a still small voice. T here will be no big visible manifestation. You will be in the midst of people that don’t like you. People who are trying to hurt you.

Job 23:8 Behold, I go forward, but he [is] not [there]; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: 9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold [him]: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see [him]: 10 But he knoweth the way that I take: [when] he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Because he’s there but you just can’t see or sense him with your sense. The 144,000 came out as gold.

Job 23:11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. 12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary [food].

Can we relate to these text? This is the way of the gauntlet when everyone is trying to damage you nad when your past sins are hitting you. It appears that God is doing it to you. You look to your left and you can’t perceive him. You look to your right where he doth work and you can’t see him. You go forwards and backwards and you can’t perceive him. He knows the way. Jesus knows.

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

That is Jesus’ experience and he says I am the way. Somehow Christianity thinks the way doesn’t go through that but the way goes over to Calvary. That is the door.

The Cross

Take up thy cross and follow me. When Jesus said that he hadn’t died yet. It didn’t mean much. He tells his disciples who don’t even know. All they know that the cross is the object which you’re killed by. He says it today, take up your cross and follow me.

Job 16:9 he teareth me in his wrath who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.

Jesus says ye shall be hated of all men. This is Job, he’s already gone through physical suffering. They have no mercy on him.

Job 16:10 They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me. 11 God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked. 12 I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken [me] by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.

Isn’t’ that what John the Baptist thought? God has left me in this dungeon. Demons were torturing John in that prison. We read earlier that the greatest battle ever waged was the battle against self. Let us not underestimate the struggle when God is trying to break our religious pride.

Job 16:13 His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground 14 He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant. 15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.

What is he doing? Repenting from sin. How much does it take for a human to realise his sin? It’s not for a brother to come up and say, this and this you’re doing wrong. Humans won’t accept that. Here Job is in repentance;

Job 16:16 My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids [is] the shadow of death; 17 Not for [any] injustice in mine hands: also my prayer [is] pure. 18 O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place. 19 Also now, behold, my witness [is] in heaven, and my record [is] on high.

Sounds like the highway cast up for the ransomed of the Lord. When he has repented, his faith is pure. Here the faith of Job as he comes through. Behold my witness is in heaven. What is Jesus called to the Laodicean people? The true and faithful witness. If we can repent, accept the trials and acknowledge they have come as we have transgressed Gods law, we can be in heaven.

Job 16:21 O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man [pleadeth] for his neighbour!

The people have preached the straight truth and they sense of God is far away yet there is one pleading in heaven, father my blood, my blood. Who will come and make war with him. They that are with him are called, faithful and chosen. They are hated of all men.

1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, [as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, [and] precious,

1 Peter 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

It is in my heart that we do not stumble at Gods word and accept something in our earthly life that will not happen. If we have banked our hopes on it we will be utterly disappointed and indeed it will be a stone of stumbling and rock of offence but to us that believe it is precious. He that lives Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Expect nothing else. When you have the temptation that your whole life, your missionary life is bitter discouragement and you feel a bitter failure, let faith pierce those clouds. Let the faith grasp the voice from heaven that says come out of her my people. Though God slay me yet will I trust him. To be able to have that experience. Recall what Jesus said, the dogs have encompassed me. They have pierced my hands. That is the way cast up for the ransomed of the Lord. Be full of faith as you can’t trust in anything else. You can’t trust your feelings, your thoughts, or man. You can’t trust anything. May God be your trust. May he protect us and give us the faith once delivered to the saints.

Amen.

Posted on November 27, 2009, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons For Sabbath and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Really inspiring-to make up a clear follow up

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