Selfless Submission

By John Thiel, Beholding Christ Series, Part 2, Audio: mp3

Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

There is a note of urgency to change because it is nearly all over. The coming of Jesus is so imminent. Because of the imminence of the day of the Lord and the near coming of Jesus and all that comes with it, is expressed:

Amos 4:12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: [and] because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.

Prepare to meet thy God. How long has this message been given? Ever since before 1844. In 1833 the message was given to prepare:

  • Preparation of purity and holiness
  • Purify their souls by obeying the truth
  • There should be no haphazard religion
  • No time to lose
  • Hear the word of the Lord and do it with exactitude

Intensity is required as such a time as this;

In order to increase our spiritual endowment, it is necessary to walk in the light. In view of the event of Christ’s soon coming, we must be vigilantly working to prepare our own souls, to keep our own lamps trimmed and burning, and to urge upon others the necessity of getting ready for the coming of the Bridegroom. Watching and working must go together; faith and works must be united, or our characters will not be symmetrical and well-balanced, perfect in Christ Jesus. {1SM 138.4}

Before Jesus comes we need to be perfect in Christ Jesus and therefore in view of the event of Christs soon coming, there is to be a vigilance as never before. There is to be an urging upon others the necessity of getting ready. You can feel the inspired words of God coming to us that there is no time to lose. We are called upon to get into action and delay no longer.

Balance

Now the shortness of time seems to be urged as a motive to seek righteousness. Should it be necessary that the terrors of the day of God be held before us in order to compel us to right action? {2T 121.1}

Should it be necessary? Should the nearness of the coming of Jesus propel me? What is it really that should propel us?

The service of Christ is not as hard as Satan would make it appear.  It is true that liberty to sin is restricted adn we must learn to suffer reproach for Christs sake.  But the requirements of God are made in wisdom and goodness.  In obeying them, the mind enlarges the character improves, and the soul finds peace and rest that the world can neither give nor take away. When the heart is fully surrended to Jesus, his ways will be found to be ways of pleasantness and peace. YI May 7 1884:5.

This is what should be propelling us. Do we really desire peace and paths of pleasantness? Do we not desire to enjoy Jesus and God in our life? That is what should propel us. Should not our motive be to change because we are aroused by the beauty of Jesus?

If sinners can be led to give one earnest look at the cross, if they can obtain a full view of the crucified Saviour, they will realize the depth of God’s compassion and the sinfulness of sin. {FLB 103.2}

The thing that should motivate us to reach out for righteousness with an intensity that is second to nothing else, it should be the beholding of Jesus and his cross experience. Indeed this is beautifully chronicled. The animation that comes from Jesus is the motive that changes us.

Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel. Now we have a message, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” Will not our church members keep their eyes fixed on a crucified and risen Saviour, in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered? {6BC 1113.1}

To have hope in a miserable circumstance, look to Christ.

This is our message, our argument, our doctrine, our warning to the impenitent, our encouragement for the sorrowing, the hope for every believer. If we can awaken an interest in men’s minds that will cause them to fix their eyes on Christ, we may step aside, and ask them only to continue to fix their eyes upon the Lamb of God. They thus receive their lesson. Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. He whose eyes are fixed on Jesus will leave all. He will die to selfishness. He will believe in all the Word of God, which is so gloriously and wonderfully exalted in Christ. {6BC 1113.1}

If we need motivation it shouldn’t be the fears of the soon coming of Jesus. That should not propel us. It is the amazing picture of Jesus on the cross in his life of selflessness. As we look at him, we will die to selfishness and we will be glad to change.

As the sinner sees Jesus as He is, an all compassionate Saviour, hope and assurance take possession of his soul. The helpless soul is cast without any reservation upon Jesus. None can bear away from the vision of Christ Jesus crucified a lingering doubt. Unbelief is gone (MS 49, 1898). {6BC 1113.2}

The cross of Calvary challenges, and will finally vanquish every earthly and hellish power. In the cross all influence centers, and from it all influence goes forth. It is the great center of attraction; for on it Christ gave up His life for the human race. This sacrifice was offered for the purpose of restoring man to his original perfection. Yea, more, it was offered to give him an entire transformation of character, making him more than a conqueror. {6BC 1113.3}

What is going to change the hellish power? The cross of Calvary. We need to be conquerors for Jesus to come. We need to be perfect in character, changed and transformed. Will the fear of his coming achieve it? It’s not meant to. The cross of Jesus, the sacrifice was offered for the restoring of man to his original perfection. That is what should be occupying our mind. Not the fear of his imminent coming.

As a catalyst to behold Jesus we realise as we look at our lives we have much to change. Looking at Jesus as we behold him and we do not find ourselves feeling hopeless.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

What was it that we should look upon?

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Jesus was equal with God but he didn’t regard it as something to cling onto. What did he do?

Obedient Unto Death

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

If we want to be saved and live in eternity with God, if we want to saved from the death and horror that is coming on to this planet, something is required of me. It is the very first lesson that a little child has to learn. It is obedience. That is the first lesson that has to be learnt. Absolute obedience to my parents and through that to my God. I will never have a place in heaven if I am not obedient.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

That is pretty straight isn’t it? What will happen to us if we are not obedient? Refusal. I refuse to do what I’m told, I rebel. Then we will be devoured by the sword. Why? Because the mouth of the Lord has said it. That is serious. If you be willing and obedient you will eat the good of the land. Here God places it vividly to every mind that listens to his word.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

30:20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, [and] that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he [is] thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker is God. The eternal Canaan. Who will God give it to? To those who love the Lord and obey his voice. Can you see obedience is the fundamental process by which we can have eternal life?

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;

6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

To live long means to obey our parents, to live eternally.

Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

This means to obey the laws of the land.

Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.

We are to obey them, they are ministers of God.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of [their] conversation.

Who has the rule over us as church people? Them who have spoken unto you the word.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.

Obey the Ministry

All this obedience is uncomfortable to the human nature.

Titus 2:5 2:3 The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

2:5 [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

What is written here? Obedience again. That the wife is to be obedient to her husband.

Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

According to God’s word, obedience devolves also upon the wives to be in submission to their husbands.

Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

6:7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Obedience has many different paths. Obedience to God, parents, authorities of the land, church ministry, wives to husbands and of employees to employers.

A Distasteful Element

There is a very distasteful element in the religion of the bible, an element of restraint and control of subordination. This element in the religious concept of God’s word is a source of a constant drag on the system and over so many people I have ministered to over the years.  It has been an ultimate source of collapse of the truth and faith in Jesus Christ because it is not comfortable to restrain myself under someone else’s direction. It is not comfortable to be under the control of another person. It is not comfortable to be subordinate. This terrible sense happens to every one of us such as children to parents. To do exactly what parents have said, does that feel good? It is not a nice feeling but I have to if I want eternal life.

To be exactly obedient to the instructions of my employer, will of husband as a wife, to the ministry and all these different directions, is something distasteful that must be conquered in my life.

How to Conquer This Distasteful Aspect

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. What did he do? He placed himself in a position of subordination. Willingly because he knows how hard it is for us to do that. He, who was the commander of the universe, placed himself under command and control. He found himself in fashion as a man and humbled himself.

What does it mean to be under the control of someone else, to be obedient? It is a very humiliating experience to the psyche to be under someone else. I will not be controlled thank you very much. But Jesus was obedient unto death. His first 30 years describes it perfectly. Behold Jesus, look at him carefully.

Christ humbled Himself from the position of one equal with God to that of a servant. His home was in Nazareth, a place proverbial for its wickedness. His parents were among the lowly poor. His trade was that of a carpenter, and He labored with His hands to do His part in sustaining the family. For thirty years He was subject to His parents. The life of Christ points out our duty to be diligent in labor, and to provide for those intrusted to our care. {FE 142.2}

If you are under 30, look at Jesus. What an object lesson. He was subject to his parents labouring under his father’s employ. His father was not only his father but also his boss and he was subject to him. Jesus the commander of the universe. Keep on looking and meditating on Jesus. Do you think you are quite majestic?

For a period of time the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, was only a Babe in Bethlehem and could only represent the babe in its mother’s arms. {AH 290.1}

Meditate upon it.

In childhood He could only do the work of an obedient child, fulfilling the wishes of His parents, in doing such duties as would correspond to His ability as a child. {AH 290.1}

Sometimes as children we want to get out of our level and do something big. Jesus stayed at the level of his childhood.

This is all that children can do, and they should be so educated and instructed that they may follow Christ’s example. Christ acted in a manner that blessed the household in which He was found, for He was subject to His parents and thus did missionary work in His home life. {AH 290.1}

You want to be a great missionary? How do you become a great missionary? By being subject to parents. That is missionary work. If you walk in the world today and you are perfectly obedient to your parents in front of the world, the world will say wow that is amazing we don’t see that anymore nowadays. You will be a missionary to be prompt and obedient to what mum and dad say as Jesus was.

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.” “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” {AH 290.1}

When a child is obedient to his parents and adults, people like you. Jesus was loved.

The Saviour’s early years were useful years. He was His mother’s helper in the home; and He was just as verily fulfilling His commission when performing the duties of the home and working at the carpenter’s bench as when He engaged in His public work of ministry. {AH 290.2}

When I first read that at 12 years of age I set my goal I would be faithful in that which is least so God can use me in that which is great.

In His earth life Christ was an example to all the human family, and He was obedient and helpful in the home. He learned the carpenter’s trade and worked with His own hands in the little shop at Nazareth. . . . As He worked in childhood and youth, mind and body were developed. He did not use His physical powers recklessly, but in such a way as to keep them in health, that He might do the best work in every line. {AH 290.3}

Look upon Jesus, children, youth and young adults. Jesus was subject and obedient to his parents for his first 30 years.

He did as he was told, even when the task assigned him was not agreeable to his feelings. {YI, September 24, 1884 par. 1}

What is obedience? Obeying tasks that are not agreeable with your feelings. Is it agreeable to your feelings to do what the other person has said? Study it. As you go through your experiences of not liking to do what you are told, look to him.  What is written about his ministry? Did Jesus do what was comfortable for his feelings? He wanted to obey but it was obedience that was characteristic in his ministry;

Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Why did he do that? Why did Jesus wake up early in the morning before the breaking of the day and pray?

Isaiah 50:4 The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to [him that is] weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

50:5 The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

If you know you have to do a ministry, to speak and function productively, what comes into the equation? That God has to give me the teaching of that. In the days of his ministry, he arose up very early in the morning to do what? To listen to control. To listen to instruction. As he heard the instruction that the Father gave him to learn how to minister, he was not rebellious but obeyed the instruction. He did not turn back but did precisely what the father in haven showed him. He was obedient.  In Gethsemane what was written? If it be possible let this cup pass from me, this is too hard, but not my will but thine be done.

Matthew 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

26:39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].

26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

26:43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

26:44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Did he just say that once? He went three times but in the end if it is your will that I should I do this then I will do it. It is too hard but I will obey none the less. He the commander of heaven humbled himself and became obedient to death of the cross.

Isaiah 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

50:7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

What a description of obedience here. Obedience even unto the death of the cross.

Do you find it hard to obey the menial things of day to day life that you don’t want to submit to the control of someone else? Look at Jesus. If it gets hard, look at him because it gets easy. He the majesty of heaven did what he was told even if it was not agreeable to him.

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

He became our example. Why did Jesus have to go through all this? Why did he have to be obedient?

John 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Why was Jesus obedient? For his sake? For your and my sake so that as he the majesty of heaven, the wonderful king of kings, Lord of Lords, came down and laid down his position and became a humble servant showing me how to obey which is so hard for sinners such as I to obey.  It was such a burden to do exactly what I’m told, look at Jesus and be inspired. When Jesus died, did he die because he had to? He died not through being compelled to die but by his own free will. Selfless submission. Behold it. Keep this fixed in your mind. Look at Jesus like that. What will happen to you? Look at this meditation and you gaze upon your reactions in contrast to what Jesus was doing and how will you feel? Behold it.

Jesus was the Commander of heaven, one equal with God, and yet He condescended to lay aside His kingly crown, His royal robe, and clothed His divinity with humanity. (ST July 30, 1896). {5BC 1130.8

The word condescend, what is that related to? Obedience. He was obedient to lay down his glory because the father wanted him to go to this earth.

The eternal Word consented to be made flesh! God became man! It was a wonderful humility. {5BC 1127.2}

But He stepped still lower; the man must humble Himself as a man to bear insult, reproach, shameful accusations, and abuse. There seemed to be no safe place for Him in His own territory. He had to flee from place to place for His life. He was betrayed by one of His disciples; He was denied by one of His most zealous followers. He was mocked. He was crowned with a crown of thorns. He was scourged. He was forced to bear the burden of the cross. He was not insensible to this contempt and ignominy. He submitted, but, oh! He felt the bitterness as no other being could feel it. He was pure, holy, and undefiled, yet arraigned as a criminal! The adorable Redeemer stepped down from the highest exaltation. Step by step He humbled Himself to die–but what a death! {5BC 1127.3}

Do you feel bitterness to do what you are supposed to be doing? Do you feel it is so hard to obey? Look at Jesus and see the suffering involved. Why is it hard to obey your obey your employer, husband or parents? When it is hard to be told exactly what is to be done, look at Jesus.

He was numbered with the transgressors, He expired amid derision, and His kinsmen according to the flesh disowned Him. His mother beheld His humiliation, and He was forced to see the sword pierce her heart. He endured the cross, despised the shame. He made it of small account in consideration of the results that He was working out in behalf of, not only the inhabitants of this speck of a world, but the whole universe, every world which God had created. {5BC 1127.3}

He was doing it for what? He was doing it. He was obedient to please the ones he was obeying. Here is the issue. Selfless submission. He did it without any other motive but to please the one he was obeying.

Christ was to die as man’s substitute. {5BC 1127.4}

Imagine when he gave his cheek to those who plucked off the hair. That is what they did to Jesus. A whole bunch of hair plucked out of his cheek. The most horrifying thing was that he suffered our sins.

In consideration of this, can men have one particle of exaltation? As they trace down the life and sufferings and humiliation of Christ, can they lift their proud heads as if they were to bear no trials, no shame, no humiliation? I say to the followers of Christ, Look to Calvary, and blush for shame at your self-important ideas. {5BC 1127.5}

When you are put down in the church, when you can’t do what you want to do because the church says different, when the ministry says don’t do it that way, do it this way, how do you feel about that and yourself important ideas?

All this humiliation of the Majesty of heaven was for guilty, condemned man. He went lower and lower in His humiliation, until there were no lower depths that He could reach, in order to lift man up from his moral defilement. All this was for you who are striving for the supremacy–striving for human praise, for human exaltation; you who are afraid you will not receive all that deference, that respect from human minds, that you think is your due. Is this Christlike? {5BC 1127.5}

I hope that as we look at this, I will never hear again any complaints about how you are being treated. I hope we will look to Jesus and accept what comes my way without any remonstrance. This is what I learnt from Jesus.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” He died to make an atonement, and to become a pattern for every one who would be His disciple. Shall selfishness come into your hearts? And will those who set not before them the pattern, Jesus, extol your merits? You have none except as they come through Jesus Christ. Shall pride be harbored after you have seen Deity humbling Himself, and then as man debasing Himself, till there was no lower point to which He could descend? “Be astonished, O ye heavens,” and be amazed, ye inhabitants of the earth, that such returns should be made to our Lord! What contempt! what wickedness! what formality! what pride! what efforts made to lift up man and glorify self, when the Lord of glory humbled Himself, agonized, and died the shameful death upon the cross in our behalf (RH Sept. 4, 1900)!. {5BC 1128.1}

The obedience of Jesus, what a contrast to that which motivates us to obey. Children, what does mummy have to do before you obey sometimes? What does daddy have to do? If you be good I will give you this. That is selfish obedience. Jesus obeyed selflessly simply to obey for the sake of obedience. I will obey if I can receive something. Jesus obeyed so that he may impart.

Selfless submission, behold and examine it in Christ Jesus. As you do, if you will look constantly to this, to him whom our sins have pierced and our sorrows have burdened, we shall acquire strength to be like him. We shall find ourselves in willing happy captivity in Jesus Christ.

While we look constantly to Him whom our sins have pierced and our sorrows have burdened, we shall acquire strength to be like Him. We shall bind ourselves in willing, happy, captivity to Jesus Christ.  {TMK 287.4}

Look constantly to him whom my sins have pierced and as I do that I will bind myself in willing and happy captivity to Jesus Christ.

Amen.


Posted on April 10, 2010, in Beholding Christ, Divine Service Sermons and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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