The Law Without Jesus

By John Thiel

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

We continue our consideration of the symbol of the children of Israel as they were travelling across the wilderness and as they came to the river Jordan and were called upon to sanctify themselves as on the morrow they would enter into Canaan. We are very close on the borders of the heavenly Canaan. Soon Jesus will come. The earth is ready to be dealt with. We today are to sanctify ourselves to cross into the Promised Land. Sanctify yourselves or make yourself holy. Sanctify means holy or set aside, or purify yourself.

Leviticus 11:44 For I [am] the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I [am] holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

11:45 For I [am] the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I [am] holy.

The object lesson of God bringing the Hebrews out of Egypt is to teach us that he is bringing us out of the land of sin and slavery into the freedom of the earth made new of the heavenly kingdom. He says in that kingdom I am holy and I want you to be holy. Before you cross the border, be ye holy and sanctify yourself. That message is picked up in the New Testament in the Words of Apostle Peter under Words of inspiration.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.

Because it is written be ye holy for I am holy. A direct reference to what we read in Leviticus. God wants us to be holy, to sanctify ourselves.

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

 

Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. {COL 69.1}

When he sees his image reflected among his people then he will come to take them to be with him. We want to focus on the method God designs for us to exercise to purify and sanctify ourselves so that when he arrives we will be holy as he is holy. You know how difficult it is to be holy. How unholy we are, we are so sinful and people feel like giving up when these strong messages come to them that say you must be like God and you say I’m going to be lost.

It is Possible to Be Holy

This is possible but what must we do to gain it? To purify my soul is to obey the truth through the spirit. God is love and if we are going to be like God we must have an unfeigned love so that you love one another with a pure heart fervently.

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

The Word of God

It lives and abides forever. God’s Word is eternal. That Word is to be the incorruptible seed that is to change me and to give me new birth. New birth simply means to be born again which Nicodemus had difficulty understanding. He said how can I go back into my mother’s womb and be born again? Jesus said we must be born of the Word. We must be changed into a holy person, incorruptible seed.

1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

1:25 But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

The Word of the Lord endureth forever. You and I to endure forever, to live with God forever, to have eternal life, this is exclusively in the Word. For you and me to live forever I must be absorbed and I must envelop the Word of God.

The Word Abides Forever

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

What is the seed that we are to be born by? We are to be born again of the Word of God. The Word of God is the seed. Can that incorruptible seed commit sin? No. If you are born of that Word, then you cannot sin. Because the Word is that seed that we are born by, an incorruptible seed. To be pure, holy and sinless is to endure forever. If the seed of that Word is in you, that incorruptible Word will abide forever.

1 John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

What abides forever? The Word of God. All that pertains to man is like the flower of the grass. It withers away. If that Word is in you, and you take that Word and obey it, what will it mean? It will mean this is yours and he that does the will of God abideth forever. We desire to enter into the eternal habitations of the heavenly Canaan. How anxious are you to meet Jesus at the end of the world and not perish? For without holiness no man shall see God. To be pure and holy, how anxious are you? Without the Word in you, you will not meet him in holiness. We naturally conclude from what we have been reading in these scriptures that our sanctification in order to cross the border into the heavenly Canaan requires the Word of God in me. If you are anxious to be there, what will you do with the Word of God?

What Will You Do?

This is what everyone of us needs to do if we are going to be ready for Jesus to come;

Psalms 119:11 Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Is it just a memory text? What is it telling us to do? If I want to abide forever, I must hide that Word in mine heart so that I will be sanctified because the Word will prevent me from sinning. I will hide the Word of God in my heart that I might not sin against thee. The bible communicates the answer to the big question that I see rampant around Christendom. They say we can’t be perfect. If we are saying we can’t be perfect we are saying the Word of God can’t be perfect if I hide it in my heart. Sinless perfection is what the bible is talking about. We are confronted with a very important exercise to know what it means to hide in my heart the Word of God. What detailed instruction does God give regarding how to hide the Word in my heart so I will not sin against thee? This is an important element in our preparation for heaven.

Saved By Faith

You have heard you must be saved by faith. People say it’s not by your works, it’s just by faith you will be saved. Saved by faith – where does the Word of God come into that?  We are to understand how the Word can come in my heart that I might be holy.

 

Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

The Greek means pagan, anyone other than Jew. God is rich unto all. Every nationality is represented.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

This is the commencement of God’s instruction as to how to hide the Word of God in my heart. If I’m going to be saved I need to have faith. How can I have faith without hearing the Word? How can I hear it accept I come and hear a preacher? Having heard the preacher, what am I gaining? Faith comes by hearing and by hearing the Word of God. The preacher must impart to me the Word of God. If the Word of God is what I’m hearing by the preacher then I can have the faith that saves me. Is this as far as it goes? I hear the Word of God and I listen to the preacher and now its fine and I’ve got faith now. Is that all there is to it?

Hiding the Word in My Heart

The Bereans heard the preacher who conveyed the Word of God. What did they do with that?

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

What is the next step after you have heard the Word? The preacher is conveying it and you say that is wonderful. What is more to do? What did the Bereans do? Why were they more noble? They searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so. That is what Jesus said. Search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life. That is the power of the Word. It convinces me of eternal life. The question is, how do I search the scriptures? What did the Bereans do in searching the scriptures and daily? How do I search the scriptures daily?

Guidelines to Know How to Have the Word of God in My Heart

It is not enough to study the Bible as other books are studied. In order for it to be understood savingly, the Holy Spirit must move on the heart of the searcher. {HP 138.2}

When I come to the Word I must be saying to God please I want to be saved and I must listen to the one I’m calling. The Holy Spirit is the one who will respond to the call so when I come to hear and see the Word as it is written I will then dependently call on God to search the scriptures.

The same Spirit that inspired the Word must inspire the reader of the Word. Then will be heard the voice of heaven. . . . {HP 138.2}

The mere reading of the Word will not accomplish the result designed of heaven; it must be studied and cherished in the heart. {HP 138.3}

 

When you come to search the scriptures your heart must be hungering for the answer. It must cherish, it must say this is what I really want. The knowledge of God is not gained without mental effort.

We should diligently study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His Word. {HP 138.3}

How Do I Study The Bible?

How do I search the bible? With my heart searching the Word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, how do I do it?

We should take one verse and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell on the thought till it becomes our own, and we know “what saith the Lord.” {HP 138.3}

How many times have you read a text quickly and the thoughts of the particular text don’t hit you until someone in the pulpit reads it and it means something and you are able to ascertain the thought which God has put in that verse?  How can I hide the Word in my heart? Meditate on it until it becomes my own.

There is but little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the Scriptures. One may read the Bible through and yet fail to see its beauty or to comprehend its deep and hidden meaning. One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained. {HP 138.4}

We must take the passage or the text and study it until its significance is clear to my mind. What does it say? If I come to the bible and just read it through and let itself pour on my mind as I’m reading it through, it won’t make any difference to me. The only way it will make a difference is if I read it through and by prayer ask God what do you mean, it is clear in my mind and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident.  In other Words that is how I am going to be saved by following that thought in action. That’s how you embed it into your heart.

Keep your Bible with you. As you have opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory. Even while you are walking the streets you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in mind. {HP 138.4}

Memory Texts

Is it enough to recite memory texts? When I was a youth we had missionary volunteer meetings and we were drilled to learn verses by memory. The verses were not meditated upon. When I saw that happen, I observed I must meditate on the bible texts even if I don’t remember them perfectly.

As you have opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory. Even while you are walking the streets you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in mind.  {HP 138.4}

I fix it in my heart. I take it in as mine and if that Word is mine, will I sin against that Word? It’s an impossibility. If that Word is yours, how can you sin against it? It’s yours and you hold onto it for dear life and you will conquer on that point.

Times that will try men’s souls are just before us, and those who are weak in the faith will not stand the test of those days of peril. The great truths of revelation are to be carefully studied, for we shall all want an intelligent knowledge of the Word of God. By Bible study and daily communion with Jesus we shall gain clear, well-defined views of individual responsibility and strength to stand in the day of trial and temptation. {HP 138.5}

Are you anxious? Are we anxious to have a pure sanctified life being holy as God is holy? Here is the answer. Is this what you have been doing all your life? This is what we must do to get ready daily. Every day. Meditate on the Word and consolidate the scriptures in my heart so they become mine. When they become mine and I’ve proven them to be correct like the Bereans who searched the scriptures, what is next to follow that this is mine? I love what I understand and now I understand and I can tell others, this is mine. Is that enough? You’ve heard it and read it and made it your understanding so now;

Be Ye Doers of the Word

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

1:23 For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

I’ve hidden the Word in my heart. Its mine. Now I will go and do what I really feel is in my heart. I will see as I read God’s Word oh I’m a terrible sinner. Yes I take it to heart. I’m a terrible sinner, a publican. I strike my chest as God’s Word has shown me what a terrible sinner I am and I’m convinced. What does Jesus say in another scripture? Go and sin no more. What a thing he did with Mary who was caught in adultery. She was overwhelmed that he didn’t condemn her. He said go and sin no more. Go and do no more the things that we were doing. Be a doer of the Word not a hearer only.

Should You Hate the Mirror?

As you read God’s Word and it strikes home you can either say it’s telling me terrible things and I don’t like it. Should you hate the mirror?

Should the discovery of these defects lead them to hate the mirror, or to hate themselves? Should they put away the mirror which discovers these defects? No; the sins which they cherish, which the faithful mirror shows them as existing in their characters, will close before them the portals of heaven, unless they are put away, and they become perfect before God (RH March 8, 1870). {6BC 1077.4}

Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against thee. Instead of putting it aside I must hold on to it and let it tell me what a terrible person I am. If I don’t do this then I will close the portals of heaven to me unless I put this away and I become perfect before God. I will become perfect before God if I don’t put the mirror away. Instead of saying I don’t want you as you make me feel terrible say thank you Lord. I will then do what God’s Word says. It will lead me to the open portals of heaven. That is what I must do.

He who would build up a strong, symmetrical character, he who would be a well-balanced Christian, must give all and do all for Christ; for the Redeemer will not accept divided service. Daily he must learn the meaning of self-surrender. He must study the Word of God, learning its meaning and obeying its precepts. Thus he may reach the standard of Christian excellence. Day by day God works with him, perfecting the character that is to stand in the time of final test. {AA 483.1}

 

The Big Test

When we come to the end we are going to be tested. We are going to have to cross the river Jordan allegorically speaking and it will be a test if I will do exactly what God says. Day by day God is working with me and perfecting my character.

And day by day the believer is working out before men and angels a sublime experiment, showing what the gospel can do for fallen human beings. {AA 483.1}

Do you believe the gospel that it can present you a sinless perfect person? Many people doubt it. It’s not true they say. Then you don’t believe the gospel. But if we study the Word of God then day by day a sublime experience is being operated by God showing that the gospel can make me a sinless perfect holy person.  For us to cross the river Jordan and to enter the heavenly Canaan is to study the Word of God with great diligence. I will have an assurance that I will be ready if I will do this.

God committed the preparation of His divinely inspired Word to finite man. This Word, arranged into books, the Old and New Testaments, is the guidebook to the inhabitants of a fallen world, bequeathed to them that, by studying and obeying the directions, not one soul would lose its way to heaven. {1SM 16.3}

Not one soul who does that will lose his way to heaven. Is that assurance? We can be sure we will come through if we will do with the Bible as laid out in this study. We hear it, we receive it with a ready mind and then we carefully search the scriptures by taking a text and a thought and bringing it into my own understanding. As I do that I gladly say yes this is what I will do and as I do each step along the way, exactly what each thought of God’s Word communicates to me, I will be assured that Gods sublime operation will have me ready when he comes.

There Is a Trap

There is a trap in the study of God’s Word that the Pharisee fell into. The Pharisees did exactly this. They went carefully into every Word. The scribes were very particular in writing everything down very correctly. In this correct procedure there is a danger written in Philippians. Apostle Paul used to be a Pharisee. Look at what he says at how particular he was.

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

He was circumcised the eighth day, a Pharisee of the Pharisees.

How the Pharisees Studied the Law

You want to know how the Pharisees studied the law. They made every point very distinct according to the flesh. Do you see the trap? You and I are sinful flesh and I can take the Word of God and follow its instruction and take it from the perspective of my flesh. Oh yes I pray, I’m asking God to lead me but as he shows me his Word myself human flesh is jumping to conclusions. To study the requirements of scripture merely can still leave you short changed of salvation. What did Jesus say when he said search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life? What part did I miss out? For they are they which testify of ME. Jesus.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my Word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed;

8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

You will be my disciples if you continue in the Word. The Word is inseparably connected with being a disciple of Jesus.

God desires man to exercise his reasoning powers; and the study of the Bible will strengthen and elevate the mind as no other study can. Yet we are to beware of deifying reason, which is subject to the weakness and infirmity of humanity. {SC 109.3}

If I read the bible with this detail I have laid out as now I’m in danger. Yes God wants me to study and reason but as you do be careful as you could be deifying your reason. This is a terrible trap.

If we would not have the Scriptures clouded to our understanding, so that the plainest truths shall not be comprehended, we must have the simplicity and faith of a little child, {SC 109.3}

When in your experienced mind of adulthood read the bible you are in danger of reading into the reasoning’s of your experience which a child doesn’t have. When we read it we mustn’t come with our reasoning but with the simplicity of a little child.

…ready to learn, and beseeching the aid of the Holy Spirit. A sense of the power and wisdom of God, and of our inability to comprehend His greatness, should inspire us with humility, and we should open His Word, as we would enter His presence, with holy awe. When we come to the Bible, reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself, and heart and intellect must bow to the great I AM. {SC 109.3}

There are many things apparently difficult or obscure, which God will make plain and simple to those who thus seek an understanding of them. But without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we shall be continually liable to wrest the Scriptures or to misinterpret them. There is much reading of the Bible that is without profit and in many cases a positive injury. When the Word of God is opened without reverence and without prayer; when the thoughts and affections are not fixed upon God, or in harmony with His will, the mind is clouded with doubts; and in the very study of the Bible, scepticism strengthens. {SC 110.1}

Sometimes when a statement is read I hear a ‘But and some say what about this?’ You are not reading it as it is written. A suggestion often comes through that ‘My experience is different to what I’ve been reading’. It’s so hard for an adult to accept. ‘But I had a walk with Jesus and the bible’.  So did Saul. Saul thought he was all right but Jesus came along and said you are all wrong. We must read the bible as a little child. Our diligence of bible study is to discover Gods character and you can’t discover it if your own character confuses you. I must therefore read the bible to see God not my thoughts and feelings but to see Jesus.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

What am I to see in the Word? The glory of the Lord. What is going to change me? Reading the bible to see God, his glory and to see Jesus. A relationship with Jesus and not a relationship of do’s and don’ts which are important but from a wrong perspective if I differentiate it from the glory of God.

Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word.. {6BC 1098.1}

When you see films of Jesus in Nazareth, you see it differently to what it is in the bible. In the Mel Gibson movie it was concentrating only the physical sufferings of Jesus but when you study the bible it was not even felt.

We are to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ. When we take Him as our personal Saviour, this gives us boldness to approach the throne of grace. By beholding we become changed, morally assimilated to the One who is perfect in character. {6BC 1098.1}

How will you become perfect in character? By beholding Jesus and looking at him in the study of the bible Jesus will become big to you.

We Can Be Perfect

What a reasoning contortion that we can’t become perfect.

By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like Him. The image of Christ is cherished, and it captivates the whole being (MS 148, 1897). {6BC 1098.1}

 

We are all lost sinners, publicans and harlots. The study of the bible is how to recover and it’s found in Jesus. This is to be our study – Jesus the man of the bible. Not a set of regulations separate from him.

He daily desires to know more of Christ, that he may become more like Him. He discerns spiritual things and enjoys contemplation of Christ, and by beholding Him he is changed, imperceptibly to himself, into the image of Christ. . . . He does not place his dependence for acceptance with God upon what he can do, but relies wholly upon the merits of Christ’s righteousness. Yet he knows that he cannot be slothful and be a child of God. He searches the Scriptures that testify to him of Christ, that present before him the perfect Pattern. . . . {TMK 158.2}

Precious truth is unfolded to his mind, and he receives it into the inner sanctuary of the soul. The attractions of the world become tame to him, {TMK 158.3}

 

To these people you don’t have to preach. A church that stipulates all the rules and regulations will still lose its members. They must have Jesus portrayed to them. If you want to have eternal life;

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

 

To have the Son is to have the Word for wasn’t he called the Word of God? The word on the page must be sacredly handled however it is the Word of God in living reality that is Jesus Christ that we must search the scriptures to pursue. As we do that and take it into the inner sanctuary of my soul then I have hidden his Word in my heart and I will not sin against him and I will be pure as I do that diligently. We want to meet Jesus our Lord face to face when he comes don’t we? We can only be ready for that if we have met him in the scriptures by personal diligent search of him. I must have him here before I see him there.

Amen.

Posted on May 15, 2010, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Denise Byers

    Excellent sermon! I really enjoyed this alot! Thank you John Thiel! 🙂

  2. Who’s sermon or study is this? They did a good job.

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