In the School of Christ

By John Thiel

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

Those who do not learn every day in the school of Christ, who do not spend much time in earnest prayer, are not fit to handle the work of God in any of its branches; for if they do, human depravity will surely overcome them and they will lift up their souls unto vanity. Those who become co-workers with Jesus Christ, and who have spirituality to discern spiritual things, will feel their need of virtue and of wisdom from Heaven in handling His work. There are some who neither burn nor shine, yet are contented. They are in a wretchedly cold and indifferent condition, and a large number who know the truth manifestly neglect duty, for which the Lord will hold them accountable. {TM 169.1}

Why are those who do not learn every day in the school of Christ, who do not spend much time in earnest prayer are not fit to handle the work of God in any of its branches? If they do not do this, human depravity will surely overcome them. That is the testimony of Jesus. They will lift their souls up to vanity. What is vanity? To say we are the true servants of God. This will surely happen. That is what the testimony of God is saying to us. We are focusing on the school of Christ. There are seminaries and schools of ministry in the lands that produce degrees. That is vanity. To receive a degree, masters, a doctorate, is vanity. We are living in a time spoken of in 2 Timothy. 

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

What is the peril?

2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

The churches are riddled with the concept that we are the people of God. The temple of the Lord are these! We are in the same danger. Jeremiah said, don’t say that as it is loaded with boasting and pride.

2 Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

These are the characteristics of the time in which we live concerning the seminaries of today. Our seminar is not fashioned according to that style. Young people want to be instructed in how to be missionaries. They go to college and receive years of instruction. Ponder the futility of this in terms of Christ’s school.

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” He did not tell them to establish a seminary in Jerusalem, and to gather together students to be instructed in the higher classics. “Go ye into all the world,” He said, “and preach the gospel to every creature,” “teaching them to observe all (111) things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” {LLM 71.5}

Do not gather together those to whom God has given this commission, and make them believe that they have to spend years in college in order to obtain a training for the Lord’s work. Christ’s presence is of more value than years of training. Let our young people come under the yoke of Christ, and by faith go forth as gospel medical missionaries, taking with them the promise, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Let them go forth two and two, depending on God, not on man, for their wisdom and their success. Let them search the Scriptures, and then present the truths of God’s word to others. Let them be guided by the principles that God has laid down. {LLM 72.1}

Jesus did not raise any seminaries and neither did he instruct anyone to do that. I will be with you he said. Apostle Paul was a well educated minister of the Jewish church but he didn’t rely on that.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

That which the Holy Ghost teaches.

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

As you listen to preachers of that kind you are depending on the power of God not on the demonstration of oratory capabilities that are taught in educational institutions. Let us consider this demonstration of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord has repeatedly shown that we should not pattern after the popular schools. Ministers of other denominations spend years in obtaining an education. Our young men must obtain theirs in a short time. {5T 61.2}

This is what the Lord has shown. That is comforting. We are here to worship the Lord in spirit and truth and understand his form of education.

You need to be learning in the school of Christ today. The Lord has power to work with His own agents. You are loading down poor finite men with weighty advantages to do a large work, when they will have no opportunity or call to use a large share of the burden of studies that they have undertaken to master…

Any of you that have been to university know the load of study that you need to undertake. At the end did you wonder why you went through it all? Did you use all of it?

Golden opportunities are passing into eternity, and counsel has been given that should have been withheld; and much more and better work might have been done, than has been done, if the period spent in Battle Creek by many of the workers had been materially shortened. They should have been set at work communicating the light and knowledge they have received to those who are in darkness. The God of all grace will give grace for grace. Those who go to work in the Lord’s vineyard will learn how to work, and will call to remembrance the instruction they have received during their student life…

The student life was to be short relevant to the work. Students were to go and work and there make the connection.

The Lord is not pleased with encouraging these workers to spend years in accumulating knowledge which they will have no opportunity to impart. {FE 361.2}

She continues to describe the load that students have to bare that they are in danger of losing their spiritual life. They lost sight of Jesus. That is so frequently the case. What is the reason why we are to enter into the school of Christ rather than the schools of the world?

Mark the features of Christ’s work. He moved in the greatest simplicity. Although His followers were fishermen, He did not advise them to go first into the school of the rabbis before entering upon the work. {FE 359.2}

At that time the schools of the rabbis were the schools of the recognised church of God.

He called His disciples from their fishers’ nets, and said: “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He called Matthew from the receipt of customs, and said, “Follow Me.” All that they were required to do was to follow Jesus, to do as He commanded them, and thus enter into His school, where God could be their teacher. As long as time shall last, we shall have need of schools. There will always be need for education; but we must be careful lest education shall absorb every spiritual interest. {FE 359.2}

Educational schooling should be no longer than six months the Spirit of Prophecy says and then they are to be sent out to actually work. What are we to learn first and foremost in the school of Christ?

A knowledge of the attributes of the character of Christ Jesus cannot be obtained by means of the highest education in the most scientific schools. This wisdom is learned from the great Teacher alone. The lessons of Christlike meekness, lowliness of heart, reverence for sacred things, are taught nowhere effectively except in the school of Christ. {FE 343.1}

This study is not just to encompass training in regard to ministry but is what every church member is to learn. It is not for ministers only but for the body of Christ also. We will explore the process of education in the school of Christ that produces such qualifications.

Qualifications

What sort of qualifications did Jesus give the disciples? When I was in the General Conference session it came to the selecting of offices and there was a requirement to have a CV with what kind of literary education you had behind you to be able to take positions in the church that is itself being looked down up by other churches. If Jesus would have been in that General Conference he wouldn’t have received any leadership position. What is the process of education to receive such qualifications?

For three years and a half the disciples were under the instruction of the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. By personal contact and association, Christ trained them for His service. Day by day they walked and talked with Him, hearing His words of cheer to the weary and heavy-laden, and seeing the manifestation of His power in behalf of the sick and the afflicted. Sometimes He taught them, sitting among them on the mountainside; sometimes beside the sea or walking by the way, He revealed the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Wherever hearts were open to receive the divine message, He unfolded the truths of the way of salvation. He did not command the disciples to do this or that, but said, “Follow Me.” On His journeys through country and cities, He took them with Him, that they might see how He taught 8the people. They travelled with Him from place to place. They shared His frugal fare, and like Him were sometimes hungry and often weary. On the crowded streets, by the lakeside, in the lonely desert, they were with Him. They saw Him in every phase of life. {AA 17.2}

How do you gain the qualifications? By continually being in the presence of Christ. I smiled to myself one day when someone wanted to be trained by me and they came into my presence and we just conducted the normal church affairs. Every now and then I visited and showed this individual certain things and skills but then nothing more. After it came to my ears that he didn’t recognise that he received any training because what was expected is not what came. What came was the process of observation which the disciples were taught. If we want to be taught in the school of Christ, we must be in the presence of Christ to behold as the disciples beheld.

But let us keep our eyes fixed upon Christ, and He will preserve us. Looking unto Jesus, we are safe. Nothing can pluck us out of His hand. In constantly beholding Him, we “are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. {SC 72.1}

It was thus that the early disciples gained their likeness to the dear Saviour. When those disciples heard the words of Jesus, they felt their need of Him. They sought, they found, they followed Him. They were with Him in the house, at the table, in the closet, in the field. They were with Him as pupils with a teacher, daily receiving from His lips lessons of holy truth. They looked to Him, as servants to their master, to learn their duty. Those disciples were men “subject to like passions as we are.” James 5:17. They had the same battle with sin to fight. They needed the same grace, in order to live a holy life. {SC 72.2}

We all are in the school of Christ if we will be constantly in his presence. In the school of the seminaries of today you will lose the presence of Christ. Sr White wrote that. To be qualified I must be in the school of Christ. As I am in his presence, I will learn by his example and I will keep on focusing on learning and we will learn from the experience of those who have been longer in years of experience. It is when the true servants of God are embedded in Jesus Christ themselves and Christ is embedded in them they become the truth as Jesus was the truth and that is how they are to teach others. Experimental. You can only learn qualifications of God’s nature by experimental observations and trying to do the same. But now in the school of Christ, besides learning of him by example and following the object lessons given in his own life, there is something else that we must learn by beholding. How else will we learn? You are beholding Jesus and notice what his words were.

Mark 10:38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:

Little did they know what they were saying. What I’m going through, you will go through but to give you any position is not mine to give you. You are under training and that is all but if you would follow me, you will be treated as I was. What did he enlarge in regards to this cup and baptism?

John 5:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

What is the experience we are going to make? He was persecuted, he was crucified and he warned them. He said you’re going to drink of my cup and suffer the kind of things that I suffer because in my school you will follow me and you will learn as I have had to learn. He learnt obedience how?

Hebrews 5:8 …yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

This is the school of Christ and Apostle Peter learnt that bitter lesson very slowly and describes it because to him it came as a terrible strange surprise so he says don’t you be surprised, look at what we’ve learnt.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

Isn’t that what he thought? Don’t think this but rejoice.

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.

Christ learnt through suffering and so if you are a follower of Christ in the school of Christ you will be taught in exactly the same way not only in his presence by watching him but learning the skills through suffering and there are many facts that come into this. We will go through tribulation as already identified. The tribulation of discovering my sinfulness. No one likes to discover how depraved they are. They like to feel they have some sense of value about themselves but they discover how unworthy they are. Isn’t that suffering. Then the other aspects that continue to unfold in the presence of Jesus as you are in his school. What do you learn from such discoveries? Meekness, lowliness of heart and a deep reverence for sacred things.

Those who have learnt in the schools of the seminaries of today use the bible in a very slipshod manner. They become so familiar with the Bible that they throw it about in a manner where you think they are not respecting it as it has become old hat. This is exactly what you hear. There is a tendency that says those things in the Bible as they are just for their time. That is the mentality that begins to take root. Lack of reverence for the sacred. As we go through those tribulations, we learn those aspects according to Romans.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 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. 

This is what the tribulations will teach us. They will teach us patience. Are you a patient person? Do you easily get frustrated with things not going right? Make a few more mistakes and then you will learn patience. I hate making mistakes as it is contrary to the German nature. We have to do it right or I get mad with it. I need to learn a few more lessons in the school of Christ and tribulations. I’ve often wondered why everything goes wrong for me. Others can fix things in their car and I try and everything goes wrong. It takes ages to do something that others can do in a short time. Even though I have some tools it still goes wrong. The Lord keeps saying John you have a lesson to learn to get rid of the skerrick of impatience. In the school of Christ with Jesus with me all the time I am constantly learning and making progress as I watch him in contrast to me. Yes indeed, the suffering of trials is part of the school of Christ.

Trial is part of the education given in the school of Christ, to purify God’s children from the dross of earthliness. It is because God is leading His children that trying experiences come to them. Trials and obstacles are His chosen methods of discipline, and His appointed conditions of success. {AA 524.2}

You want success? You want to become a successful servant of God? Then brace and submit yourself to trails and obstacles as they are his chosen methods and conditons to success.

He who reads the hearts of men knows their weaknesses better than they themselves can know them. He sees that some have qualifications which, if rightly directed, could be used in the advancement of His work. In His providence He brings these souls into different positions and varied circumstances, that they may discover the defects that are concealed from their own knowledge. He gives them opportunity to overcome these defects and to fit themselves for service. Often He permits the fires of affliction to burn, that they may be purified. {AA 524.2}

Let us never repine and whimper when we go through those times. Let us remember we are in the school of Christ and we are to seek for him to show me. If I am in consciousness of that, I won’t be so concerned about the trials, I will be more concerned about what I can learn from them. Many come to me and ask why this, and why that and they can’t stand the things they have to go through and they get a shock when I say wonderful praise the Lord. They say what is so precious about that? This is what is so precious about it;

There had been a time in Peter’s experience when he was unwilling to see the cross in the work of Christ. When the Saviour made known to the disciples His impending sufferings and death, Peter exclaimed, “Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.” Matthew 16:22. Self-pity, which shrank from fellowship with Christ in suffering, prompted Peter’s remonstrance. {AA 525.1}

Why was he saying this shall not be unto thee? Our mind might suggest he didn’t want it for Jesus. No, what was it? Self-pity which shrank from fellowship with Christ. He wanted to stand close to Jesus to be the king and right next to the king and that was foreign to him. So it is in every human being today.

It was to the disciple a bitter lesson, and one which he learned but slowly, that the path of Christ on earth lay through agony and humiliation. But in the heat of the furnace fire he was to learn its lesson. Now, when his once active form was bowed with the burden of years and labors, he could write, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice. {AA 525.1}

Don’t you enjoy the lessons when you read them but not when you go through them? It is nice to tell others you’re doing alright, you are meant to go through it but when you yourself go through it is not nice. We all desire to be part of the team, the society giving the loud cry. We have a name, Historic Advent Sabbath Society. Do you want to be part of such a society giving the loud cry ultimately? Remember what the loud cry was? If we want to be part of that in such a society, Great Controversy is the illumination.

…the message of the third angel will be proclaimed. As the time comes for it to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power–all will be unmasked. {GC 606.2}

This is very important. Follow carefully that the manner of unmasking this that we see today among many of the independents today doing it not in the manner in which this company will do it. The companies that are doing it in general today are doing it with the same overtones of pride. They go into all the details of unmasking the papacy through all these conspiracy theories. Have you been in danger of picking them up? This is not Gods way. We are told in the Spirit of Prophecy under the tuition of Jesus Christ that we are not to do what they are doing. We have the word and the word is all we need. How is it done?

By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven. {GC 606.2}

It is by a people who have learnt in the school of Christ. By a people who have not been qualified by the training of literary institutions. As we conduct this seminar we are seeking a training and understanding skill based on the school of Christ.

The Question

Are you learning daily in the school of Christ–learning how to dismiss doubt and evil surmisings, learning how to be fair and noble in your dealings with your brethren, for your own sake and for Christ’s sake? {CH 355.3}

Conspiracy theories are actually evil surmising. Do you believe that? There is maybe some truth but the rest of it is constructed by evil surmising and we have nothing to do with that. May God grant us that this meditation will abide with us throughout this seminar and find a ready answer to willingly co-operate with our Lord and let him qualify us for his work.

Amen.

Posted on July 20, 2011, in Missionary Studies, Sermons by John Thiel. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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