Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

By John Thiel

A few hours ago I listened to the complaints of a distressed soul. Satan came to her in an unexpected way. She thought that she had blasphemed the Saviour because the tempter kept putting into her mind the thought that Christ was only a man, no more than a good man. She thought that Satan’s whisperings `were the sentiments of her own heart, and this horrified her. She thought that she was denying Christ, and her soul was in an agony of distress. I assured her that these suggestions of the enemy were not her own thoughts, that Christ understood and accepted her; that she must treat these suggestions as wholly from Satan; and that her courage must rise with the strength of the temptation. She must say, I am a child of God. I commit myself, body and soul, to Jesus. I hate these vain thoughts. I told her not to admit for a moment that they originated with her; not to allow Satan to wound Christ by plunging her into unbelief and discouragement. {2MR 343.5}

Don’t hang on to the thoughts of the devil. He has insinuated himself upon you. As you cast yourself upon Jesus, give your heart to him. You may fall, but you will not utterly fall. You have fallen many times. As you launch in the future with this renewal experience remember;

Psalms 37:23 The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth [him with] his hand.

The noble part of us, the good part, the part that God has put and justified and made meaningful in your life, is ordered by the Lord. Although a man falls, he shall not be utterly cast down.

Proverbs 24:16 For a just [man] falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Who is a just man? The person who has been justified by Jesus Christ are those who have been justified and the justification has taken root. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus a man has been justified. Although a person has taken hold of the gift of Jesus he may still fall seven times but he recovers. He gets up again. That is the condition of the person who is moving upward from the experience of the first thrill of Jesus in his life whereas the wicked will fall and love it because he loves it out there. Jesus is taking us up out of the mud.

But Christ reaches us where we are. He took our nature and overcame, that we through taking His nature might overcome. Made in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3), He lived a sinless life. Now by His divinity He lays hold upon the throne of heaven, while by His humanity He reaches us. He bids us by faith in Him attain to the glory of the character of God. Therefore are we to be perfect, even as our Father which is in heaven is perfect. {DA 311.5}

If the ladder had failed by a single step of reaching the earth, we should have been lost. As we understand, he is the ladder, he is right down there. He lays hold upon divinity with one arm and with the other he lays hold upon me. Because he is a ladder, what is a ladder for? Climbing. We are to climb the ladder.

It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness. {SC 18.1}

That which you couldn’t do for yourself, God has now done. It’s finally all broken into place. As he inspired you as you were reading those words, his grace quickens.

When we see the length of the chain that was let down for us, when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition. {SC 35.4}

How long must that chain be to save us out of the pit? Its got to come right deep down. The point is because it’s a ladder, its meant to be climbed. Because the ladder is close to you, that closeness brings you up. As much as it was the ladder that touched you, it’s the ladder that lifts you. When Jesus descended, where was the lowest point?

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

That was his lowest point, the bottom of the ladder. He had come down, he let go of one thing after the other until he became obedient until the death of the cross. The lowest rung of the ladder, in the pit, was his last statement, Lord into thy hand I commend my spirit. In that condition when he threw himself into the arms of the Lord, in submission he committed himself to God.

Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Father’s acceptance heretofore given Him. He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whom it had ever been His joy to obey. And as in submission He committed Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor was withdrawn. By faith, Christ was victor. {DA 756.3}

He wants me to embrace the same experience. As I see the Fathers love exercised to Jesus at the bottom, he has the same love to me. That is the first step of the ladder. I must do that. It must be a constant experience everyday surrendering past experience and future sins.

The prayer of the publican was heard because it showed dependence reaching forth to lay hold upon Omnipotence. Self to the publican appeared nothing but shame. Thus it must be seen by all who seek God. By faith–faith that renounces all self-trust–the needy suppliant is to lay hold upon infinite power. {COL 159.2}

Jesus is right with you every step of the way. He is the ladder. When you’re climbing Jesus, you can’t do anything of your own so you are clinging on to him for dear life. It is a close experience. As you surrender yourself, that is climbing the ladder. We are taking hold of Jesus at the bottom rung of the ladder by consent. You see him beside you in the pit, you see him as a ladder, you’re nearly drowning and you clutch hold of a straw. But this is the ladder, its Jesus, you’re not going to let go.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He so loved me so that I don’t have to perish in the mud. All this mud experience is related to that text. As Jacob suddenly realised he was grappling with the angel, as you realise I’ve actually got hold of Jesus here, hang on for dear life. You have found the concepts of Jesus in your experience, nothing is to get in the way. In consequence of that, you’re clinging to the ladder and chain and the ladder is upwards.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

5:18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

You’ve become a new person, a new outlook. You rejoice in being a new creature now.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.

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.

Look at his glory and love, amazing love. From glory to glory to glory by beholding you become changed.

John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

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.

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.

The character of God’s love, the condition of Gods character which is love, is the glory that you are being lifted to more and more, the creator of the universe. From glory to glory by beholding. As you behold so far, you continue to do that, it takes you higher and higher. Look at the glory of Jesus’s experience and what did the Father do for him.

Psalms 40:1 A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, [and] established my goings.

40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

Jesus was in the bottom of the pit but he waited patiently for the Lord. Cling on. As you are doing this you are shutting out all the inroads as Jesus did it and as he is in heaven doing it with you. He brought me up out of a horrible pit and set my feet on a rock. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ according to;

The prince of this world cometh, said Jesus, and hath nothing in Me. John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character. {DA 123.3}

Sin and all its grottiness has no more power over you. As you do what Jesus did, as you unite yourself to him by that faith, the faith that believes that Jesus has died with your sin, it’s done and finished. This is why Jesus said to the Pharisees, you shall die in your sins. If you don’t believe that the divine God came into the mud with you as a human being, took sin and destroyed it, you will die in your sins. The sin will continue to smother your life. But if you take hold of the fact that he really paid your ransom and that he has actually come in the body of sin and completely irradiated your sin in him, take it by faith, that’s it.

The tempted one needs to understand the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man–the power of decision, of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. Desires for goodness and purity are right, so far as they go; but if we stop here, they avail nothing. Many will go down to ruin while hoping and desiring to overcome their evil propensities. They do not yield the will to God. They do not choose to serve Him. {MH 176.1}

When you give up everything then you are dead with Christ.


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Posted on 06/04/2011, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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