A Little Heaven on Earth

By John Thiel

Proverbs 18:24 A man [that hath] friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.

We are a church that is aspiring to be finally God’s triumphant people. We are a people who wish to prepare for the soon coming of Jesus Christ and to be prepared to enter the heavenly Canaan. We have researched what is our occupation to prepare for heaven. Over the next three studies we will be looking into more detail in reference to a little heaven on earth before we even get there.

If we would see heaven, we must have heaven below. We must have a heaven to go to heaven in. {ST, July 31, 1893 par. 3}

Heaven begins in the soul, {ST, July 31, 1893 par. 2}

Is heaven in your heart? May the Lord help us where to submit to heavens message to us. Heaven is more than a beautiful scenic place. It is more than a place where there is no death, it is more than a place where there is eternal youth and life. Where there is a beautiful city, it is more than this. Jesus sighted what heaven is.

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

What did he want us to behold to be with him?

John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Who will be with Jesus? Those that appreciate and embrace the glory of heaven which is the love wherewith the Father loved Jesus Christ. The love wherewith he has loved Jesus that should be in us. That is heaven. If we want to have a heaven to go into heaven with, this is what it is talking about. How is it with your soul? Heaven is a relationship of love. It is a relationship of God for God is love.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

What does Jesus desire? He desires our fellowship. He wants us to be in the relationship of love that exists in heaven. I am going to prepare a place for you. What does that mean? Many believe he is preparing mansions for them. No, he is preparing a place for us. He is in the heavenly sanctuary preparing our hearts so that we will have a place there. Only those who have the love of God in them, will a have a place there. Those who will be there will be replacing the angels that have fallen. To replace the angels that have fallen, we must be out of a fallen state. We must have the love that they lost hold of. The relationship of love, the relationship of God is symbolised where on this earth.

Marriage has received Christ’s sanction and blessing and is to be regarded as a sacred institution. True religion does not counterwork the Lord’s plans. God ordained that woman should be united with man in holy wedlock, to raise up families that would be crowned with honor who would be symbols of the family in heaven. . . . Marriage, when joined with purity and holiness, truth and righteousness, is one of the greatest blessings ever given to the human family. . . . {HP 202.2}

What does it become today? How Satan has managed to destroy this sacred institution which is a symbol, it’s meant to be a symbol of the family in heaven.

The Home

In today’s homes something needs to be made.

-Home should be made all that the word implies. It should be a little heaven upon earth, a place where the affections are cultivated instead of being studiously repressed. {AH 15.3}

How often a husband or wife afraid to cultivate their affections to each other? They are studiously repressed lest they get hurt. Isn’t that often the case?

Our happiness depends upon this cultivation of love, sympathy, and true courtesy to one another. {AH 15.3}

The sweetest type of heaven is a home where the Spirit of the Lord presides. If the will of God is fulfilled, the husband and wife will respect each other and cultivate love and confidence. {AH 15.4}

Confidence in Love

The home should be a heaven upon earth. Nothing should be allowed to enter to mar the happiness of the members. The little things in the home should be so adjusted that no one will be irritated. Our work in this world is to be pleasant, kind, and thoughtful. My sister, let there be no contention in your home. You must act as the peacemaker. {21MR 135.4}

In the home, no one is to be irritated. Can you prevent irritating your marriage partner? How easily people are irritated. We are to make a home. We are to concentrate on such courtesy and kindness and thoughtfulness and pleasantness that there would be no contention and no irritation. You are to be a peacemaker. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Be careful to do nothing to irritate your husband. Let the peace of God rule in your house. {21MR 135.4}

We all need to study the life of Christ and the lessons He gave that we may know how to conduct ourselves in our relation with one another. Cherish the soothing influence of the Spirit of God. Remember that speech is a talent of great value if used aright, and that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Remember also that by thy words thou shalt be justified “and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Unadvised words often create difficulties which otherwise would not exist. {21MR 135.5}

Before I speak, stop to think how my words would affect the members of the family.  If I have to deal with something in the family, am I dealing with it with words that chafe or kind courteous words?

We are placed in this world to be children of God and to prepare for the future immortal life. Speak no unkind, thoughtless words. As you associate in family relationship, be careful to speak kind, tender words which will comfort and encourage. Do not forget the little acts of kindness which do so much to help the member of the family who is struggling with infirmities which no one but himself can understand. {21MR 135.6}

Do you have infirmities that you see in your marriage partner?  You men, have you ever found difficulty in your marriage partner and you can’t understand them?  What are we to do?  We have a responsibility in the family and everything I have been reading we will see applied to the church family just the same.  What is done in the family at home, will be done in the church family ever so subtly.  If there is a canker in the home, it will come into the church family.  The courtesy, love, confidence, pleasantness, kindness, thoughtfulness and the acts of kindness to help those struggling with infirmities that you can’t understand, doesn’t matter.  We are not here to understand another person’s infirmities.  We are to be kind and courteous that’s all.

Love and Confidence

The disciples had the typical church family problem. What did they do?  They wanted to be the greatest or they had difficulties between each other, the human factor.  It was not enough to say what heaven was like.

It was not enough for the disciples of Jesus to be instructed as to the nature of His kingdom. What they needed was a change of heart that would bring them into harmony with its principles.  {DA 437.1}

We need a change of heart that will bring us into harmony with the very love of heaven and its principles.  How did Jesus do this?  We want to get to heaven?  We must have heaven in our soul.

Calling a little child to Him, Jesus set him in the midst of them; then tenderly folding the little one in His arms He said, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The simplicity, the self-forgetfulness, and the confiding love of a little child are the attributes that Heaven values. These are the characteristics of real greatness.  {DA 437.1}

What are the characteristics of real greatness in God’s church and in the home?  The simplicity, self-forgetfulness and the confiding love of a little child. This is what heaven is.  Confiding love.  I like that word, do you?  Do you know what it means?

So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfil the purpose of their Creator. They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise.  {PP 35.1}

What was his glory?  The glory he had before he came to the world.

And while love to God was supreme, love for one another was confiding and unselfish. There was no note of discord to mar the celestial harmonies  {PP 35.1}

Oh let me go to heaven, I want to be there.  I want nothing to mar that heaven but a change came.  What changed that beautiful confiding love?

What Changed Heaven?

What does confiding mean?  It means repose confidence in.  To repose in confidence in each other.  Confiding love means unsuspicious, trusting.  Confiding love is a restful reposing in another’s company.  Such is the nature of heaven.  That is heaven.  If we want a heaven to go to heaven in, it is in John.

1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

This is heaven because there in heaven is God and the confiding love of God in the Godhead is the love that is heaven.  Do you measure up?  If not, we have some work to do.  God hasn’t forsaken us, only if we forsake him and say I’m never going to get there is when we have no hope.  He loves us.  He is so happy that is son came to redeem us from our grotty horrible natures so we can be introduced into that heaven but here on earth it must be first made a reality, restful repose in one another’s company.

Heaven

As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here..  {Hvn 170.1}

When you open your heart to Jesus, doesn’t that give you a wonderful sense of confiding love?  You are so happy to spill your pent up sensations in your heart.  Total relief.  He doesn’t condemn me for all my sin’s and my heart goes out in gratitude to him.  We enter into rest and that is where heaven begins.

We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. All that human nature can bear, we may receive here.—DA 331, 332.  {Hvn 170.1}

All that human nature can bear, we may receive here.  It gets very intense and the Lord can’t give us any more than human nature can bear.  It is in a stage by stage discovery from glory to glory otherwise we get wiped out at the very beginning.

When the Lord’s people are filled with meekness and tenderness, they will realize that His banner over them is love, and His fruit will be sweet to their taste. They will make a heaven below in which to prepare for heaven above.—7T 131.  {Hvn 170.2}

Heaven is to begin on this earth. . . . {Hvn 170.3}

They will make a heaven below in the home and church if they want to be the church triumphant.

He who receives Christ by living faith has a living connection with God. . . . He carries with him the atmosphere of heaven, which is the grace of God, a treasure that the world cannot buy.  {Hvn 170.4}

If you would be a saint in heaven, you must first be a saint on earth.—Letter 18b, 1891 quoted in SD 112.  {Hvn 170.5}

“His servants shall serve Him.” Revelation 22:3. The life on earth is the beginning of the life in heaven; education on earth is an initiation into the principles of heaven; the lifework here is a training for the lifework there. What we now are, in character and holy service, is the sure foreshadowing of what we shall be.  {Hvn 170.6}

What are we doing here?  We are preparing to go to heaven and if I am distracted from the life work here, I will be distracted from heaven.  The life work here is training.  We must make a heaven on earth in our home and in the church.  What am I like now?  What it’s like in our church?  Is this the way it’s going to go on or is it going to be changed?

The happiness of heaven will be found by conforming to the will of God, and if men become members of the royal family in heaven, it will be because heaven has begun with them on earth. . . . The righteous will take every grace, every precious, sanctified ability, into the courts above, and exchange earth for heaven. God knows who are the loyal and true subjects of His kingdom on earth, and those who do His will upon earth as it is done in heaven, will be made the members of the royal family above.—SD 361.  {Hvn 171.3}

To do Gods will, thy will on earth as it is heaven, we usually say Lord you do that but are we prepared to do his will on earth in every respect?  Relationships are to be tender, kind and affective.  It is Gods will in relationships as is dressing and eating correctly and keeping the Ten Commandments.  Here on earth that love may reign in your soul, in your home and in your church.  We have emphasised the home and I mentioned before the church like the home.  Is the church to be any different to the home?  Is the church meant to be a little heaven on earth?  Is it?

The Institution of the Church

—As sons and daughters of God, and members of the royal family, we are to learn of Him daily, that we may do His will and represent His character. The love of God received into the heart is an active power for good. It quickens the faculties of the mind and the powers of the soul; it enlarges the capacity for feeling, for loving. {Hvn 169.1}

Those feelings, pretty tender, how much are we so cautious of not treading on each other’s feelings?

He who loves God supremely will love all the children of God. He will ever approach them with a respectful demeanor. {Hvn 169.1}

What sort of a demeanour?  You know when you have to tell someone something you are sometimes very disrespectful to their feelings.  You can say it so nicely but nasty.  If you have to say something to a person, how will you approach them?  With a respectful demeanour so you avoid hurting them.

And whatever his position of trust, his own considerate courtesy will win for him confidence and respect.  {Hvn 169.1}

There is that word confidence again.  If you want confiding love from another person then your own considerate courtesy will win that in the home and in the church.

If this spirit pervaded our institutions, leading everyone to manifest toward his fellow-workers a love that is without dissimulation, {Hvn 169.2}

What does that mean?  An undercurrent that I’m trying to cover over?  A fake love?  You dissimulate in your communication.  You feel different but you have to keep a good face.  That is dissimulation.

…these institutions would be a representation of heaven on earth. They would be a perpetual testimony to the world of what sanctifying truth can do when practiced by the receiver.  {Hvn 169.2}

It’s one thing to have the truth in your church, it’s another thing to have it active in practise. It is sanctifying truth when practised.

Every man desires that this love may be exercised toward himself; and God calls upon him to reveal the same spirit toward others. {Hvn 169.2}

I would love this confiding love to be exercised to me. If that is what I want, then I would give it.  That is heaven.  Marriage of is a Symbol of that.  If we practise it in the marriage, we will practise it in the church but if we don’t it will shine out here or there.

John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

We are to make a heaven on earth.  How easily these words are read and flow over the top of the head and people do not practise this.  When people come along to our church they speak highly.  When these people come oh be ever so careful.  They have much wrong with them and we cannot afford to make them feel uncomfortable amongst us.  What is here contained?  This request of Christ has no limit to its fulness.

This request of Christ has no limit to its fulness. He desires that his followers shall reveal to the world his spirit of unity and love. But before this unity can exist among them, there must be a genuine renovation of every heart; there must be a vital connection with God; the character must be formed after the divine similitude.  {RH, November 3, 1896 par. 3}

Before this can happen, there must be a renovation in the heart.  This is our work and preparation for heaven.  We have a clear vision.

Every one of us can see the anomalies and human deficiencies that keep arising.  We are not exempt from it as the other churches are not either.  We have the same here.  I tremble when I see Satan making more efforts to tear more people away.  Why?  Because that love is not yet perfected among us.  If people walk away, we need to examine ourselves not them.  We like to feel that they are going away because they are at fault. Sorry, we also have been a cause for people to leave us and we must examine ourselves whether the love of God is truly among us and active.

In seeking to comprehend this request of Christ that has a fulness we read;

Those who accept Christ as their personal Saviour are not left as orphans, to bear the trials of life alone. He receives them as members of the heavenly family; He bids them call His Father their Father. They are His “little ones,” dear to the heart of God, bound to Him by the most tender and abiding ties. He has toward them an exceeding tenderness, as far surpassing what our father or mother has felt toward us in our helplessness as the divine is above the human.  {DA 327.2}

Mothers, you love your little ones. Do you have a tenderness fathers to your little one?  The tenderness that comes from father to child and mother to child is far below the tenderness that the Father in heaven has to us.  We are not orphans.  It is far surpassing and exceeding our fathers or mothers love.

Of Christ’s relation to His people, there is a beautiful illustration in the laws given to Israel. When through poverty a Hebrew had been forced to part with his patrimony, and to sell himself as a bondservant, the duty of redeeming him and his inheritance fell to the one who was nearest of kin. See Leviticus 25:25, 47-49; Ruth 2:20. So the work of redeeming us and our inheritance, lost through sin, fell upon Him who is “near of kin” unto us. It was to redeem us that He became our kinsman. Closer than father, mother, brother, friend, or lover is the Lord our Saviour. “Fear not,” He says, “for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.” “Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” Isaiah 43:1, 4.  {DA 327.3}

Is there any hole left?  Even a lover is closer than that.  I was told marriage can only fill the hole that’s there.  No, Jesus is closer than that.

Christ loves the heavenly beings that surround His throne; but what shall account for the great love wherewith He has loved us? We cannot understand it, but we can know it true in our own experience. And if we do hold the relation of kinship to Him, with what tenderness should we regard those who are brethren and sisters of our Lord! Should we not be quick to recognize the claims of our divine relationship? Adopted into the family of God, should we not honor our Father and our kindred?  {DA 327.4}

What do we become as members of Gods family?  Kindred.  The kindness of this is deeper than marriage.  It is a union that is equivalent to the union of the Godhead.

All who would receive Christ by faith were united to Him by a tie closer than that of human kinship. {DA 325.2}

A friend that sticks closer than a brother.

They would become one with Him, as He was one with the Father. As a believer and doer of His words, His mother was more nearly and savingly related to Him than through her natural relationship. His brothers would receive no benefit from their connection with Him unless they accepted Him as their personal Saviour.  {DA 325.2}

What a thing Jesus has brought into our proximity.  To be the body of Christ.  Do we want to be the body of Christ and to be in heaven together?  Then by God’s grace let us embrace that confiding love and exercise it to the family of God here.  As Lucifer spoilt that confiding love in heaven and earth, don’t let him succeed in the church reaching out to be the church triumphant if that where we want to be.

How does Satan do it?

How will Satan do it amongst us as he did it in heaven and as he did between Adam and Eve? That beautiful relationship they had, what did he do? Adam blamed Eve and they were in discord.  How does Satan do it with us?  I will read it so we can go forward and open our heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and shut our hearts to this great deceiver and destroyer.  Mark how he does it when there is  beautiful love in Gods church and he wants to destroy it.

Brethren sometimes associate together for years, and think they can trust those they know so well, just as they would trust members of their own family. {GW92 443.4}

Have we not experienced this?  And I’ve experienced Satan’s destruction of it.

There is a freedom and confidence in this association which could not exist among those not of the same faith. This is very pleasant while brotherly love continues; but let the “accuser of the brethren” gain admittance to the heart of one of these men, controlling the mind and the imagination, and jealousies are created, suspicion and envy are harbored; and he who supposed himself secure in the love and friendship of his brother, finds himself mistrusted, and his motives misjudged. The false brother forgets his own human frailties, forgets his obligation to think and speak no evil lest he dishonor God and wound Christ in the person of his saints; and every defect that can be thought of or imagined is commented upon unmercifully, and the character of a brother is represented as dark and questionable.  {GW92 443.4}

“There is a betrayal of sacred trust. The things spoken in brotherly confidence are repeated and misrepresented; and every word, every action, however innocent and well-meaning, is scrutinized by the cold, jealous criticism of those who were thought too noble, too honorable, to take the least advantage of friendly association or brotherly trust. Hearts are closed to mercy, judgment, and the love of God; and the cold, sneering, contemptuous spirit which Satan manifests toward his victim is revealed.  {TM 504.1}

May God help us to shut the enemy of souls out of Gods family.  May we learn by being submissive by the will of God in our demeanour, in our understandings of each other that the love that only comes from God will be victorious and we will be part of the church triumphant.

Amen.

Posted on July 17, 2010, in Angels and Heaven, Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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