The Serpent on the Stick

By John Thiel

When you talk about looking, you talk about eyes being used. The eyes are the avenues to your soul. What you see affects your life. Unless as a Christian you learn better, your life will be influenced by what you see in the church, family and each other. Notice the instruction that is given in reference to what you see with your normal eye and what you’re meant to see instead.

Our Christian Walk

2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

It’s not what you see with your eyes that counts that is to affect your life but what I see with my spiritual eyesight of faith.

2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

In our walk we are to cease looking at others to compare ourselves with as comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wisdom from on high. I have a role model and that is Jesus and that is the only focal point of my life. To follow what is laid out in front of me and to compare myself with no body.

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.

That which we are to look at and deliberately focus on are the things which our eyes don’t naturally see. It gives me something to enlarge what I’m looking at. Look not on the things which are seen but not seen. There is much revealed in Gods word about the unseen. We don’t take face value of things, we look at the things which are not seen. We are not to compare ourselves but at the invisible things we look at Jesus.

Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Seeing him who is invisible. Jesus is the one who is invisible. He looked to him. This is relevant for us.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Here is the most important issue of looking to Jesus. Consider what Jesus suffered. He prayed for them instead of getting tangled up as you will become weary.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

He shines it in your heart. In the face of Jesus Christ in everything that is revealed in his word. As you’re looking to Jesus, you’re looking to the word and Jesus shining in your heart. Now there is a glory of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is where your whole mind occupation is. What you behold it affects you. This glory of the face of Jesus that is the material to occupy the mind with. There is so much around us to look at today and it just drags us down.

Look to Christ, behold the attractive loveliness of His character, and by beholding you will become changed into His likeness. The mist that intervenes between Christ and the soul will be rolled back as we by faith look past the hellish shadow of Satan and see God’s glory in His law, and the righteousness of Christ. {6BC 1097.3}

This is what Satan is always throwing at us. The faults of others, the world and our faults. We can look past it and it will be rolled back as we look to Jesus.

It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, which Jesus said He would send into the world, that changes our character into the image of Christ; and when this is accomplished, we reflect, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord. That is, the character of the one who thus beholds Christ is so like His, that one looking at him sees Christ’s own character shining out as from a mirror. Imperceptibly to ourselves we are changed day by day from our own ways and will into the ways and will of Christ, into the loveliness of His character. Thus we grow up into Christ, and unconsciously reflect His image. {6BC 1097.5}

Professed Christians keep altogether too near the lowlands of earth. Their eyes are trained to see only commonplace things, and their minds dwell upon the things their eyes behold. Their religious experience is often shallow and unsatisfying, and their words are light and valueless. How can such reflect the image of Christ? How can they send forth the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness into all the dark places of the earth? To be a Christian is to be Christlike. {6BC 1097.6}

Our eyes are not to be trained to see commonplace things. If our eyes are only trained to see that, then our mind will only see that.

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.

Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. 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. 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. {AG 96.4}

We are to look and let every interference of human lowlands around us be rolled back and live in the highlands. Because Jesus isn’t the mind occupation, bad feelings come over us. Many times we feel grotty in ourselves but that is irrelevant. We get waves of sensation but we are to ignore them. It matters not what they think of me. Jesus endured the contradiction of sinners around him. The change to be like Jesus is a change that comes by beholding him. I can’t change any other way. We’ll never change unless we look at him and at the invisible which is Jesus.

It will do you good, and our ministers generally, to frequently review the closing scenes in the life of our Redeemer. Here, beset with temptations as He was, we may all learn lessons of the utmost importance to us. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life. By thus contemplating His teachings and sufferings, and the infinite sacrifice made by Him for the redemption of the race, we may strengthen our faith, quicken our love, and become more deeply imbued with the spirit which sustained our Saviour. If we would be saved at last we must all learn the lesson of penitence and faith at the foot of the cross. Christ suffered humiliation to save us from everlasting disgrace. He consented to have scorn, mockery, and abuse fall upon Him in order to shield us. It was our transgression that gathered the veil of darkness about His divine soul and extorted the cry from Him, as of one smitten and forsaken of God. He bore our sorrows; He was put to grief for our sins. He made Himself an offering for sin, that we might be justified before God through Him. Everything noble and generous in man will respond to the contemplation of Christ upon the cross. {4T 374.1}

We are not to compare ourselves with others. We discover there is nothing inside of me that will change me. I’m not differently constituted to other Christians. The 1888 message was Jesus experiencing you in that deplorable condition.

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

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

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

You feel grotty, sinful and hopeless. Did Jesus feel like that? The author and finisher and of your faith, how did he gain it? By going through your experience. Do you feel like crying sometimes about your condition? He feared. Lord why hast thou forsaken me? Jesus couldn’t walk straight. It was overwhelming him. Here he was. Why was he like that? Because I feel like that.

You have merely entered the school of Christ. The fitting up for your work is a life business, a daily, laborious, hand-to-hand struggle with established habits, inclinations, and hereditary tendencies. It requires a constant, earnest, and vigilant effort to watch and control self, to keep Jesus prominent and self out of sight. {4T 376.1}

It is necessary for you to watch for the weak points in your character, to restrain wrong tendencies, and to strengthen and develop noble faculties that have not been properly exercised. The world will never know the work secretly going on between the soul and God, nor the inward bitterness of spirit, the self-loathing, and the constant efforts to control self; but many of the world will be able to appreciate the result of these efforts. They will see Christ revealed in your daily life. You will be a living epistle, known and read of all men, and will possess a symmetrical character, nobly developed. {4T 376.2}

Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

The battle will deepen. It will become more and more engaging. Many of the world will be appreciate these efforts. Imperceptibly to yourself you will be changed.

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.” Rev. 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.” Isa. 54:10. {DA 483.1}


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Posted on 02/04/2011, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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