The Love of God Versus the Love of the World

By John Thiel

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

We are in a contrasting conflict. Which one will we love? The Lord or the world? We are gathered here to worship God at the shrine of heavenly love. We are to here marvel over his indescribable love. Love and the chase of its internal satisfaction is mankind’s preoccupation. People are chasing for love. They yearn an internal fulfillment of love. Indeed there are many shrines of worship that are established where souls plunge themselves to indulge their craving of the elixir of love. There is not a human being that doesn’t want to drink that elixir, that love. Where and what is your shrine? What is your shrine? While we worship here, while we are in the presence of God’s love, is your heart, elsewhere? Many children and youth, long for the closing of the Sabbath. To be able to rush back to engage in the pleasures that the Sabbath forbids. Indeed there is many a heart that while worshipping God, is also preoccupied with another shrine at variance with the worship of God. There are many shrines.

The great sin of God’s people at the present time is, we do not appreciate the value of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. We serve God with a divided heart. We cherish some idol and worship at its shrine. The truth of God is elevated and holy, sanctifying the soul, if brought into the life and interwoven with the character. God is seeking with His truth to make us a separate and peculiar people. This is the influence of the truth. Our obedience and devotion are not equal to our light and privileges, and the sacred obligations resting upon us to walk as children of the light are not fulfilled by us. As Christians we fail to come up to our high calling.. {TDG 50.2}

The word devoting is an important word in regards to worship. This is why I asked the question, according to these words of inspiration the great sin of Gods people at this time is they serve God with a divided heart. In the human heart we can be serving God and worshipping him at his shrine and simultaneously worshiping at some other shrine. That is the problem. When we think about worshipping at a shrine, we read that it does not necessarily mean a visible shrine.

And for us, “upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11), it has special significance. History is being repeated. The world today has its Ahabs and its Jezebels. The present age is one of idolatry, as verily as was that in which Elijah lived. No outward shrine may be visible; there may be no image for the eye to rest upon; yet thousands are following after the Gods of this world–after riches, fame, pleasure, and the pleasing fables that permit man to follow the inclinations of the unregenerate heart. Multitude have a wrong conception of God and His attributes, and are as truly serving a false God as were the worshipers of Baal. {PK 177.1}

Elijah said how long halt ye between two opinions? He knew that the Israel of God was worshipping two Gods. There are many shrines in the heart. The shrine of fashion, the shrine of perverted appetite. The shrine of my children. The shrine of personal interests. It is because of this that my purpose today is to ask you, look with me upon the enrapturing love of God and then to ask you to open your heart to him and close your heart to all opposing forces. There was a young man to whom Jesus came. He was a young energetic, very powerfully minded young man. He was ambitious. He had a thunderous disposition. He was very tempestuous in nature, very ardent. As Jesus came to him and called him, he had high aspirations of continuing with his father’s business and here was Jesus saying to him, come away from this and come and be with me. As this young man continued to indeed make his choice to indeed follow Jesus he began to be moulded by a love that completely transformed this impetuous ambitious passionate being into a gentle loving person. We read of this young man in the book Acts of the Apostles.

The confiding love and unselfish devotion manifested in the life and character of John present lessons of untold value to the Christian church. John did not naturally possess the loveliness of character that his later experience revealed. By nature he had serious defects. He was not only proud, self-assertive, and ambitious for honor, but impetuous, and resentful under injury. He and his brother were called “sons of thunder.” Evil temper, the desire for revenge, the spirit of criticism, were all in the beloved disciple. But beneath all this the divine Teacher discerned the ardent, sincere, loving heart. Jesus rebuked this self-seeking, disappointed his ambitions, tested his faith. But He revealed to him that for which his soul longed–the beauty of holiness, the transforming power of love. {AA 539.3}

Indeed this is what our purpose is. To come into the presence of God like John to behold a love that is matchless.

As John beholds the height, the depth, and the breadth of the Father’s love toward our perishing race, he is filled with admiration and reverence. He cannot find suitable language to express this love, but he calls upon the world to behold it: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” {4T 563.2}

Behold this that we, these sons of thunder should be called the sons of God.

What a value this places upon man! Through transgression the sons of men became subjects of Satan. Through the infinite sacrifice of Christ, and faith in His name, the sons of Adam become the sons of God. {4T 563.2}

To gaze upon this love that John is trying to excite the mind to behold, let us do this. Let us gaze upon this love that transformed this ambitious and impetuous son of thunder. Look at the present conditions of the world. We’ve become accustomed to living in it haven’t we but every now and then something shocks us. Australia regards itself a lucky country but even here in Australia there is horror around us isn’t there? Continually there are young people taking their lives. Why? Because they launched out thinking they were going to have a fantastic time and in their fantastic time they have seen the futility of indulging their pursuits of love from a wrong perspective and it all crashes down around them. Every young person that hears this message needs to understand, that if they think there is something to enshrine the heart in love around them, it will leave them dry. The world is not the place to find love. Everywhere around us the hearts are empty and the world is moving along in a downward path of continuous hopelessness. Whether it be looking for love in the family. How sad it is today that every family has experiences of hopeless yearnings for love. Today’s experience is no different to the following;

The deception of sin had reached its height. All the agencies for depraving the souls of men had been put in operation. The Son of God, looking upon the world, beheld suffering and misery. With pity He saw how men had become victims of satanic cruelty. He looked with compassion upon those who were being corrupted, murdered, and lost. They had chosen a ruler who chained them to his car as captives. Bewildered and deceived, they were moving on in gloomy procession toward eternal ruin,–to death in which is no hope of life, toward night to which comes no morning. Satanic agencies were incorporated with men. The bodies of human beings, made for the dwelling place of God, had become the habitation of demons. The senses, the nerves, the passions, the organs of men, were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the vilest lust. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men. {DA 36.3}

You see youth today that don’t have majestic glory. The more they indulge in the drug world the worse it looks.

Human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which they were possessed. Such was the prospect upon which the world’s Redeemer looked. What a spectacle for Infinite Purity to behold! {DA 36.3}

Looking for love and deep inside every soul there is gloom and processional marching to every ruin. This depraved ugly gloomy scene here described which we know full well is a description of our time, notice;

With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to see Jehovah arise, and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. And if God should do this, Satan was ready to carry out his plan for securing to himself the allegiance of heavenly beings. Had the world been destroyed, he would have claimed that his accusations were proved true. He was ready to cast blame upon God, and to spread his rebellion to the worlds above. But instead of destroying the world, God sent His Son to save it. {DA 37.2}

Doesn’t God have the right to get rid of this slovenly people who lack love?

Though corruption and defiance might be seen in every part of the alien province, a way for its recovery was provided. {DA 37.2}

People talk about aliens from other planets, this is the alien planet.

At the very crisis, when Satan seemed about to triumph, the Son of God came with the embassage of divine grace. Through every age, through every hour, the love of God had been exercised toward the fallen race. Notwithstanding the perversity of men, the signals of mercy had been continually exhibited. And when the fullness of the time had come, the Deity was glorified by pouring upon the world a flood of healing grace that was never to be obstructed or withdrawn till the plan of salvation should be fulfilled. {DA 37.2}


You are here to worship. Take to heart the detail of what I have described here. What a ghastly world this province is and look at this Gods love. Into this ugly terrible gloomy scene that is in a position because man is deciding to what God wants them to do, he sends his only begotten son. Behold the love. Why has God today not let man destroy himself yet? He could have done it in the First World War, and the Second World War. He could have done it all the way along ever since the beginning of his work in the most holy place. But why did he not yet destroy the planet? Here indeed, the angels were ready to let go of the destructive forces.

He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, “My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!” {EW 38.1}

Here is the reason why God has not destroyed the planet yet. Can you behold a love as you behold the corruptions and the perversity of your own heart and God looks up on the remnant? We here are a little remnant and are we still of a double heart on certain issues of life? The rest of the world has concluded its damnation and rejected this wonderful love and even in these last days Jesus is delaying the destructive forces. The angels are holding back because of the remnant that Jesus doesn’t want to be destroyed. He cries, my blood father and he repeats it three more times. Knowing what the means, that Jesus came to this planet, this alien province and shed his blood in appeal to warm the hearts of these derelicts. He stands there as our high priest to keep on reaching the hearts and he delays the destruction. Jesus was sent to partake of our temptations, to partake of our guilt in our woe and his heart wrenching work is still going on now. He still feels the same sufferings that he felt while he was here on earth. That is why he is crying with agony of spirit. Why is he doing this? Why is he prolonging his agony? Why? He see’s these double hearted people and he knows that if the angels were to let go there would be death and destruction without hope. What does he do? Why is he delaying it?

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Why? Because you are going to perish. I’m going to perish. We are going to perish unless we repent. He has given us the incentive to repent. He has given us the incentive to do the right thing that I know I should be doing. To be like Jesus. He sees our weariness. Our sleepiness. Our spiritual slackness. Instead of saying go to sleep, keep going, he doesn’t, he looks down in compassion on our spiritual lethargies and says give me your heart and make the worship you are entering into everything in your life. Indeed, he saw us the way we are and in such a condition of sin and unrepentance he commends his love. What is his kind of love? While I’m carelessly going on and doing my own thing and only now and then referring to my love to God fluctuation between conviction and indulgence, even before this is going on, God commends his love to us.

Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

I am spending time with you to behold this love. You know we have read these texts many time before and people glibly go over the material and say yes, but we sleep on. The Laodicean condition is very heavy upon the people of God of this age. Let us shake ourselves out of our sleepy condition. Let us arouse ourselves out of this sense upon us and wake up to this amazing characteristic of God. It describes here a beautiful picture of God uniting with us. Meditate at the shrine.

As a member of the human family, He was mortal; but as a God, He was the fountain of life to the world. He bore the sins of the world, and endured the penalty, which rolled like a mountain upon His divine soul. He yielded up His life a sacrifice, that man should not eternally die. He died, not through being compelled to die, but by His own free will. This was humility. The whole treasure of heaven was poured out in one gift to save fallen man. He brought into His human nature all the life-giving energies that human beings will need and must receive. {5BC 1127.1}

Open your heart to this. Why did he do that? So that anyone who looks at Jesus will come to the conclusion I am going to make a decision that I’m going to pursue the love of God. Here is the key.

Wondrous combination of man and God! He might have helped His human nature to withstand the inroads of disease by pouring from His divine nature vitality and undecaying vigor to the human. But He humbled Himself to man’s nature. He did this that the Scripture might be fulfilled; and the plan was entered into by the Son of God, knowing all the steps in His humiliation, that He must descend to make an expiation for the sins of a condemned, groaning world. {5BC 1127.2}

He descended the gloomy path that every human is in.

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. {5BC 1127.3}

How do you feel when you are treated like this? So many people come to me and complain they can’t bear it, it’s so wrong. What did Jesus bear? Much worse.

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! {5BC 1127.3}

Was that fair? Was Jesus treated unfairly? Remember this when you are mistreated.

The adorable Redeemer stepped down from the highest exaltation. Step by step He humbled Himself to die–but what a death! It was the most shameful, the most cruel the death upon the cross as a malefactor. He did not die as a hero in the eyes of the world, loaded with honors, as men in battle. He died as a condemned criminal, suspended between the heavens and the earth–died a lingering death of shame, exposed to the tauntings and revilings of a debased, crime-loaded, profligate multitude! {5BC 1127.3}

Think about it. This ghastly lot, who were profligate who were enshrined with Satan, they looked upon him as a malefactor. They denounced him as a criminal. Does it compute in your brain? This is the love of God.

Christ was to die as man’s substitute. Man was a criminal under the sentence of death for transgression of the law of God, as a traitor{5BC 1127.4}

How closely do you consider this?

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. 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. {5BC 1127.5}

We are looking here at the shrine of love and permitting it to enlarge before our mind in worship. As we do so, we are lingering on a shore of love that will satisfy the craving of every man’s heart if they will only look.

In the contemplation of Christ we linger on the shore of a love that is measureless. We endeavor to tell of this love, and language fails us. {AA 333.3}

I can’t find the best descriptive ways to communicate with you what is in front of my face, so that I hope by inspiration the Holy Spirit will put it in front of your face.

We consider His life on earth, His sacrifice for us, His work in heaven as our advocate, and the mansions He is preparing for those who love Him, and we can only exclaim, O the height and depth of the love of Christ! “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” 1 John 4:10; 3:1. {AA 333.3}

Behold. So few people behold and long enough until it penetrates the soul. Behold what love that we should be the sons of God. That we should become the sons of God. We? This profligate people? These half-hearted lazy people that were re identified as being. Notice our scripture reading as we contemplate this love and open our hearts to it, what does John say?

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

The world has so many shrines that it does not know him. He is among him but they do not know him. But those who do look and respond, they know him, and if they know him, how will the world be regarded by them? The purpose of this message is to hear the voice of Jesus in Lamentations. He says with everything I have described and many words can tell.

Lamentations 1:12 [Is it] nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted [me] in the day of his fierce anger.

God has anger to sin. Those who are attached to it, he could have wiped them off the planet. Is it nothing to you who are passing by what my sorrow is? The world is occupied. To them their love is on their idols. Will we walk on? Our love still divided? A little bit of the world? And a little bit of God? Is this our response? Jesus says is it nothing to you I’m still pleading for you the remnant. Or shall we instead of walking past decide I’m going to keep on looking and I’m going to yield to this strong power of love and suffer as Jesus suffered, doesn’t’ matter. Because I want to respond to this love and go all the way with him. John’s brother was James. Both of these men who have experienced the contrast of their thunderous nature and the amazing love have spoken. Here are John’s words who made a decision as a young man to stand in the presence of Jesus and be transformed.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

If I choose to continue to lean in some shrine of idol, whatever it be, the love of the father is not in me. Remember fashions are not just clothing;

And as soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His children. {1T 136.1}

Ouch. In other words, God is telling us, if I am double minded in my love, the love of the father is not in me.

1 John 2:16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

If you want love to abide in you as we are in an age where the love of many grows cold because of iniquity abounding, turn your back on the world. Now James, the son of thunder who become a loving son. What is this double heartedness? You love God and something else that God is not part of? What happens in a marriage, how do you feel ladies if your husband shows you love then shows another woman love, how do you feel? Take it in. That is what God feels like when we say we love you God but then love something of the world;

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Your friendship of the world is enmity with God. There is no between. Which love will we pursue unto the end? Which one?

After the human agent has spent his life in following his own impulses, placing his talents on the shrine of Satan, choosing his own interests, what has he gained? Cheap worldly applause. And what has he lost? An eternity of blessedness. . . . {HP 170.5}

Intelligent worship wakes you up doesn’t it? How many times are our emotions tugging for some other love. There is nothing sensible out there. The things of this world will pass away. Isn’t our brain in a dreadful state?

Many of our most promising young men and women have offered their best ability at the shrine of idols, and have given themselves as a sacrifice to the prince of evil. {FE 231.3}

If only our young people will awake while they are playing around on the edges if they testified to the love of God previous, the most promising young people to use their talents to the glory of God. Their ability is placed on the shrine of idols and they have given themself as a sacrifice to the prince of evil. Let us heed the words of James. Because the adulteress behaviour is there, does it mean God is going to throw you off for good?

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.

4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and [your] joy to heaviness.

4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Don’t say you love God one moment and then turn your back. Don’t indulge in the light hearted ways of the world and enjoy it. Let that be turned into weeping. Discover the true condition you are in and because you see your depravity, I destroy my pride. His grace is beyond all computation. God so loves us, he yearns for us. He gave his son for us so that we can be lifted out with him. He wants us with him, he loves us. Isn’t that love? He wants us to be with him as much as he wants his own begotten son to be with him. Can you reject that? Will you? This is our challenge, this is our calling. May God grant us a willingness to yield every aspect that he reveals to us as being of the world.


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Posted on 02/10/2010, in Divine Service Sermons, God's Love (Series). Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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