The Tests and Trials that Get Me There

By John Thiel, mp3

Every recent meditation we have had is encapsulated in the hymn ‘Weary of Earth’. ‘I look to heaven and long to enter in’. We are on the borders ‘but there no evil thing may find a home’. ‘While I fain would travel the heavenly way, evil is present in me day by day’ and yet the Lord isn’t leaving us. We keep hearing his invitation of come. We realise he has not given up on us. ‘Cease restless will, thy lonely strife resign, I know too well how little strength is mine, grant me dear Lord thy saving love to see, I strive no more, I give myself to thee.’ As we come to the conclusion of this series, to have a place in Canaan I realise that everything we have meditating on I need to change so I may have fitness there. That change seems to be beyond us. Of those who make it to that heavenly Canaan it is written in Revelation 14:12.

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

To make it, to get there across that border we need to be among this people. What is written? The patience of the saints. The keeping of the commandments and the faith of Jesus. Last divine service we addressed that faith. The faith by which we are justified and sanctified. That is the faith of Jesus.

The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven. {FLB 116.2}

That means it wasn’t mine and isn’t mine in practise, it is given me of Jesus. If I have a title for heaven, what else do I need? I need a fitness for heaven.

Many commit the error of trying to define minutely the fine points of distinction between justification and sanctification. Into the definitions of these two terms they often bring their own ideas and speculations. Why try to be more minute than is Inspiration on the vital question of righteousness by faith? {FLB 116.3}

As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ’s atonement in his behalf, and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and the future life, his sins are pardoned. This is justification by faith. {FLB 116.4}

Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome. {FLB 116.5}

It [sanctification] is not merely a theory, an emotion, or a form of words, but a living, active principle, entering into the everyday life. It requires that our habits of eating, drinking, and dressing be such as to secure the preservation of physical, mental, and moral health, that we may present to the Lord our bodies–not an offering corrupted by wrong habits but–“a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” {FLB 116.6}

The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character. . . . If studied and obeyed, the Word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. {FLB 116.7}

There is no such thing as instantaneous sanctification. True sanctification is a daily work, continuing as long as life shall last. {FLB 116.8}

This is righteousness by faith in a nutshell. The company of rev 14:12 are described in the book ‘Child Guidance’. Here is for us to understand this message.

The Company We Need to Be Aamong

Another class stand pale and trembling, trusting in Christ, and yet oppressed with a sense of their own unworthiness. They hear with tears of joy and gratitude the Master’s commendation. The days of incessant toil, of burden bearing, and of fear and anguish are forgotten as that voice, sweeter than the music of angel harps, pronounces the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter ye into the joy of your Lord.” There stand the host of the redeemed, the palm branch of victory in their hand, the crown upon their head. These are the ones who by faithful, earnest labor have obtained a fitness for heaven. The lifework performed on earth is acknowledged in the heavenly courts as a work well done. {CG 569.1}

Do you want to be in that company? I do. That company is still standing in the future yet. We are still in this battle which is then going to be over. The days of incessant toil of burden bearing and of fear and anguish will be forgotten then but we are still in the process of. To be in that company that will engage like this is our challenge right now. What God wants us to be requires incessant activity to pursue that kind of attitude of character that is to make us fit for heaven. Notice that this company described in the reading are pale and trembling. Why? Do you sometimes experience pallor and trembling in your life when you come face to face with the reality that I am not where God wants me to be in my attitude, character and conduct? Pallor grabs them. All faces gather paleness why? They are pale and trembling.

I asked the angel if there were none left. He bade me look in an opposite direction, and I saw a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united, bound together by the truth, in bundles, or companies. Said the angel, “The third angel is binding, or sealing, them in bundles for the heavenly garner.” This little company looked careworn, as if they had passed through severe trials and conflicts. And it appeared as if the sun had just risen from behind a cloud and shone upon their countenances, causing them to look triumphant, as if their victories were nearly won. {EW 88.3}

Are we bound because we love the truth as is proclaimed? Sometimes temptation comes and we say let me out of here but we are bound together and to walk away we think we are going to be able to continue. We need to be in the company where God is doing his work. There is no such thing as I can do it alone. I’m going to be in bundles. This is the experience of Gods people. We get the light of God’s love shining upon our faces but then what hope and comfort when victory shines upon our mind. How many times have you said Lord give me a break? We will understand although there is no break coming we can still rejoice. There won’t be a break in the experience. It is going to be more intense the closer we come to Jacobs’s trouble. We are of the time in the words of Zechariah.

Zechariah 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

3:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: [is] not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

3:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.

3:4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.

3:5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.

3:6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying,

3:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.

Isn’t this what we have been studying all through the series? To have a place among them that standby the throne of God. What is detailed? These people who are going to walk there will have their iniquities and sins removed. I have caused, that is an important word. I have caused thine iniquity to pass from me. When we read this we think he is going to place a pure garment on there. It says I have caused thine iniquity to be removed. The precious promise of verse 4 I will change raiment because I have caused iniquity to pass form thee must be understood. It is explained in practise from having iniquity and the garment of filth removed.

Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit [as] a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Righteousness by faith is going to be offered to God and is connected with the causing of our iniquities to be removed from us and others to be replaced, pure garments. It will be done by the purging in the fiery furnace of trial and conflict as gold and silver. No wonder these people are really pale and trembling.

Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

We will be afflicted severely. We are only just entering into it at the present time. Afflicted for what purpose? I’m going to cause your iniquity and sins to be removed and replace them with my righteousness. By faith we will get there but a faith which we don’t quite understand unless we open our heart to the word. This faith that is going to produce righteousness is a faith written of in Revelation 3.

Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

What comes before the white raiment? Gold tried in the fire. Before the white raiment is put on, the garment of filth must be removed. How important we need the Holy Spirit to see what is happening to us. What is this gold tried in the fire? What is it? The gift of God is I will give you, I will cause your iniquity to depart.

The gold that Jesus would have us buy of Him is gold tried in the fire; it is the gold of faith and love, that has no defiling substance mingled with it. {7BC 965.1}

Faith and love is going to be produced by affliction, severe trials and conflicts in the furnace. This is a faith which is the gift of God but it is a gift. Joshua was a representative of Jesus and what was the promise? You will have a place to walk among these that standby, Jesus and his people. Those beautiful words as you go through your conflict, every single one of us as we try to remain bound by the truth not losing our footing together. As we go through this and we shed tears we are overwhelmed with consternation when we discover what I wretch I am. I can’t even forgive my brother and sister for the things they are doing wrong. I am carrying grudges and am affected by human depravity in the church. Jesus didn’t do that. I don’t think I’m going to make it and I can’t get rid of this terrible thing in me. God says yes you will, let me continue to purify you. Let not your faith be your own but my faith. Our high priest together with us and what we are experiencing is our experience now. Does he still feel nails? Does he still feel Gethsemane? Of course he does, he is the great I am. It is all past, present and future. My high priest is still feeling what he went through in my depravity and problems.

Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you. “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.” Revelation 1:18. I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touch no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live. “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10. {DA 483.1}

This is our high priest and when I go through the severe experiences in my life by which he is causing my iniquity to be removed by the death of Jesus Christ by the cross, our sins were removed by Jesus by his excruciating suffering. That suffering that I am going through and that is not going to let up, I am going to continue to meet worse and worse as the heat of the furnace gets more intense and I want a break and I can’t get one. Please remember this message as you meet it. Let not your faith falter, hold onto the faith of Jesus. As you go through ever increasing contortions of experience, rejoice, why?

1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

I never forget the screech of terror that came from the bathroom when I was with my family. I came racing into the bathroom and my baby daughter who was sitting in the bath met an experience where she had no idea what was happening, it was most funny but to her it was a horrifying experience. When we go through experiences where we are purged and purified we think it’s a strange thing happening to me. Rejoice in as much as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that is the first reason for rejoicing. That is what Jesus went through. The ear of faith can hear him saying I am beside you, I can rejoice in the comfort of his presence. When I came to my daughter she calmed down and alleviated the problem. That is the way it is with us and God. Then comes the other reason for rejoicing. That is when his glory is revealed you may be exceeding glad. I will rejoice. There are two reasons for rejoicing, Jesus is with me. Let us reflect upon the patience of the saints. They have exercised a faith that is being purged by fire.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

5:3 And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The Lord will permit all this to happen and as we understand what he is doing we will have tribulation that works patience that works hope.

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Here Is the Patience of the Saints

Patient in tribulation. Your husband or wife is giving you a hard time, the church members are giving you a hard time and all things are happening around you and if you are going through that tribulation, what do you usually do? I usually say something like leave me alone, I can’t stand this anymore get out of my life. Or, this is heavy going I’m not prepared to go any further here. I can’t be Christlike with you, you have been put in my path, how can I be Christlike with you around? You are such a terrible person in my life. That is one of the reasons why we want to be at church as the church is giving me a hard time. If you are patient in tribulation you will not fret or repine. If you are patient in tribulation you will not fret, complain or murmur. If you are not patient you will not be sullen, that will be gone. If you are patient you will not withdraw from the furnace. You will not withdraw from the one who is giving you a hard time. The only person that will withdraw is the one who is going to be lost. If you walk away from that which the Lord has given you to develop your character, you and I will be lost. That is the hard reality. The Lord wants me to persevere through this negativity and develop a Christian character that I will be kind and compassionate to the unlovely around me. To those who have hurt me bitterly. I will do what Jesus did when he was cut to the core, Father forgive them for they know not what they do. Jesus wanted to remain among them and accept them after the crucifixion but not they cast him out. Don’t cast out anyone out of your life unless they don’t want you. Then you courteously let them go. That is how Jesus did it. This is the patience of the saints. Instead of doing those things of impatience, let us tap into Jesus and while terribly weary, how weary he became by all the people wearying him with their sinfulness, bear it joyfully as Jesus is right there with you. Let your countenance while it is also revealing weariness, beam with holy joy and stick with it. Not only because we are entering into the suffering of Jesus but because this is the means to our desired end. The means in this case justified, the end. This is means that justifies the end, this experience. The desired end is fitness for heaven. That is what Zechariah 3 was all about. Jesus developed a fitness for heaven and we are to follow the high priest in this. There is a beautiful fitness for heaven as I will cause iniquity to pass from me.

Zechariah 3:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.

Was that not what our whole message was to be able to dwell with these holy angels that stand by? I will give you places if you persevere with Jesus Christ. This is what God wants us to embrace as we conclude these series.

The trials of life are God’s workmen to remove the impurities, infirmities, and roughness from our characters, and fit them for the society of pure, heavenly angels in glory. {ML 92.3}

Let us submit and continue to be bound together through thick and thin. Let nothing separate us one from another. Most of all because Jesus is there and we don’t want to be separated from him.

Amen.

Posted on November 28, 2010, in Divine Service Sermons, Forgiveness, Sermons by John Thiel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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