Membership in the Church Triumphant

By John Thiel, mp3

Ephesians 5:25 Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

The message today is a continuation from last week’s study. We were candidates for the church triumphant. Today we want to go deeper yet. What does it mean to become members of the church triumphant? Our scripture reading describes the work of our saviour to the conclusion of being members of the church triumphant. Jesus loved the church and gave Himself self for it. Why? What did he want to do? He wants to sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word.

Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

It is our focus during this study to look into the detail of this. The church that is to be triumphant is to be a church that is without blemish, the slightest blemish, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Such a lot of depth contained in those words.

The life of Christ was a life charged with a divine message of the love of God, and He longed intensely to impart this love to others in rich measure. Compassion beamed from His countenance, and His conduct was characterized by grace, humility, truth, and love. Every member of His church militant must manifest the same qualities, if He would join the church triumphant., {FE 179.3}

We want to join the church triumphant. What are we to manifest if we are going to be members of that church? The graces Christ had. Grace, humility, truth and love. In our life. Jesus is making experiments on human hearts.

The Lord Jesus is making experiments on human hearts through the exhibition of His mercy and abundant grace. He is effecting transformations so amazing that Satan, with all his triumphant boasting, with all his confederacy of evil united against God and the laws of His government, stands viewing them as a fortress impregnable to his sophistries and delusions. They are to him an incomprehensible mystery. The angels of God, seraphim and cherubim, the powers commissioned to cooperate with human agencies, look on with astonishment and joy, that fallen men, once children of wrath, are through the training of Christ developing characters after the divine similitude, to be sons and daughters of God, to act an important part in the occupations and pleasures of heaven. {TM 18.1}

To His church, Christ has given ample facilities, that He may receive a large revenue of glory from His redeemed, purchased possession. The church, being endowed with the righteousness of Christ, is His depository, in which the wealth of His mercy, His love, His grace, is to appear in full and final display.” {TM 18.2}

The Lord is at work which Satan wants to contradict but he stands helpless as he can’t penetrate this fortress of God’s people. The church triumphant is to be the people that we need to be amongst as we are in transition  from the church militant. Are you picking up on the amazing privilege that is ours that if we continue to remain consistent to the things we have gained in the study of God’s word? We are not to walk away from the process that God is working in us but to prepare to be the agent by which Gods mercy, grace and love is going to be played out in full final display. For all who receive this message, our prospects need to  propel us in every faculty  of our being to this end. Jesus indicates that He wants us to finally stand before the world in that final and full display of His Glory   Having this privelege it  should activate and motivate us.

Luke 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

What is Jesus intimating? In answer to the question will there be few saved, He says many will seek to enter. Strive to enter in that strait gate, strive to reach that perfection. Is this not what people are saying today? It is impossible you can’t be perfect in living reality as you are a sinner. That is what they have to say as they have tried to go in through the strait gate but are not able. Jesus says I want a church that is going to be the church triumphant. A people who will display my goodness, mercy and love. He says if you are going to be part of that people, they are the remnant of her seed and they are the people who strive.

Romans 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Jesus said we are to strive to enter in, here is the striving by patient continuance and well doing we seek for glory and honour. While it is true that the gift of salvation is ours and we need not be stressed by doubt that God is able to save us, it is equally true without our cooperation that God can do nothing. If we do not engage in the work, if we do not strive to enter we will not enter in. Only a few will find it by patient continuance in well doing.

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

Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

It doesn’t mean stress. It means to be afraid of yourself. Not even God can save us unless we cooperate with Him. . Those who are looking for another way to salvation are saying it is impossible to be perfect. They believe we can be saved by some other way.

So long as we are in the world, we shall meet with adverse influences. There will be provocations to test the temper; and it is by meeting these in a right spirit that the Christian graces are developed. {MH 487.2}

He is going to develop the Christian graces. These graces are to be developed by meeting provocations to test the temper.

If Christ dwells in us, we shall be patient, kind, and forbearing, cheerful amid frets and irritations. Day by day and year by year we shall conquer self, and grow into a noble heroism. {MH 487.2}

We want to be members of the church triumphant, we want to be heroes of the kingdom of heaven.

Day by day and year by year we shall conquer self, and grow into a noble heroism. This is our allotted task; but it cannot be accomplished without help from Jesus, resolute decision, unwavering purpose, continual watchfulness, and unceasing prayer. Each one has a personal battle to fight. Not even God can make our characters noble or our lives useful, unless we become co-workers with Him. Those who decline the struggle lose the strength and joy of victory. {MH 487.2}

Did you note, not even God can make our characters noble or our lives useful without our cooperation.

You want to become a member of the church triumphant? Then you must retain the joy of victory and you can only retain that if you don’t decline the struggle. What was the struggle? Resolute decision, unwavering purpose, continual watchfulness and unceasing prayer. Strive to enter in says Jesus. Struggle, do not decline the struggle. The reason why there are so few is because many will try to enter but will not be able because  they decline the struggle. If you and I want to be members of the church triumphant, it is coming close now that they will stand there, we must not decline the struggle. To be members of the church triumphant is the quest for each one of us in these last days. There is to be a company of people that God can use as a full and final display of His character that will be the agency of calling the last remnant people out of Babylon by this  wonderful glorious display of light. The earth will be lightened with the glory of Jesus.

Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

This angel in conjunction with the voice from heaven, is a people

The question of most vital importance for this time is, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will unite with the angel in giving the message of truth to the world? {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 12}

You must remember that this angel represents the people that have this message to give to the world. Are you among that people? {RH, August 18, 1885 par. 14}

To stand among the church triumphant means to stand on the Lord’s side. This angel is the people who have this message to give and they are the people who the earth is lightened by. By his glory. These are the people who will stand in full and final glory before the world. The most vital question for this time is who is on the Lords side uniting with that angel? You must remember they are the people that represent this message to the world. Are you among that people? To connect with this angel we must understand that this angel commenced his work quite some time ago. The transition into the church triumphant means to recognise it and follow it through.

“Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44). This is our message, the very message that the three angels flying in the midst of heaven are proclaiming. The work to be done now is that of sounding this last message of mercy to a fallen world. A new life is coming from heaven and taking possession of all God’s people. But divisions will come in the church. Two parties will be developed. The wheat and tares grow up together for the harvest. {2SM 113.3}

We must be co-workers with God to develop the faithful party..

The work will grow deeper and become more earnest to the very close of time. And all who are laborers together with God will contend most earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. They will not be turned from the present message, which is already lightening the earth with its glory. {2SM 114.1}

She was referring directly to the Revelation 18 angel. She is giving the picture that relates to Gods people since 1888. As back there came the angel where the people had to join and become part of the church triumphant. The church that will stand as a full and final display. It will create struggles and rifts in the church. Two parties will be developed. The party on the side of the angel and the party standing arguing and fighting against Gods little remnant.

Nothing is worth contending for but the glory of God. The only rock that will stand is the Rock of Ages. The truth as it is in Jesus is the refuge in these days of error. . . . {2SM 114.1}

Are these not resplendent words for us to understand? If we desire to give God the glory, we can see very vividly the actual part that we must walk if we are going to be members of the church triumphant. It is no different to the prophecies of the time of Christ that people had to read to and relate to the man Christ Jesus. Today we have the same picture. Here is Jesus among his faithful people and can we recognise the experience the call to be noble heroes and the actual struggle that we must engage in? Jesus says I am with you to the end of the world, I am going to help you through these times by instructing you. He gives us such clear indication that the message of 1888 raised a company.

Are you among that people? We are in a transition from the church militant to the church triumphant. Where do you anticipate to find His direct appeal for your co-operation? The truth as it is in Jesus. Jesus is working, He says I am with you even unto the end of the world and I am going to display before the world the church triumphant. What a privilege, yes I want to be there. If I want to understand, Jesus says, I am going to help you if you will cooperate with me. Where do you think you are going to hear Him telling you just how precisely  you must interact? This is one of the biggest problems we are suffering under today that people are not picking up the direct and wonderful counsel of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;  5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Are you not waiting for the coming of Jesus? So He can have a people on earth displaying his love, glory and goodness, the testimony of Jesus is given. He is going to speak with you and I   through the testimony of Christ.  We become behind in no gift waiting for that who shall also confirm you unto the end that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the testimony of Christ we shall be confirmed unto the end that we may be blameless. What was that? Without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. That we might be blameless  without any fault in our life. That is the reason for blamelessness, without spot or wrinkle. What is given us  that we might strive successfully? The testimony of Christ. For you and me to work intelligently together with Jesus, Jesus has said I am right here amongst you in the testimony of Christ which is the Spirit of Prophecy. If you want to get your information to identify the spots and wrinkles that need removing, we have got detailed guidance from Jesus Himself .. He Himself has identified where you are going to get it from. We are warned that we may get it elsewhere. It is a serious warning. There are plenty of morality guides around us. On every hand you can read and search and today much more successfully than merely having books because you can read it through the fantastic technology of today. You can find answers in all directions but what are we warned in Colossians?

Colossians 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

We are to be under Christ’s tuition. You can explore in your own experience what he is talking about. There are ways and means of getting information that you glean from. Rationalisation of your own mind as you read information on different things and you can say yes this makes sense and this isn’t quite right. You begin to philosophise. It is the opposite to yielding to instruction. Philosophy is something man works out in his own mind and he pictures his reasoning’s being sound and he reasons back and forth and that is philosophy whereas to be under instruction you rely under someone else’s philosophy. You rely upon revelation. Let no man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit. There is much going on out there written down in books and you can tap into it and all that is not being given by Jesus but by the philosophy and vain deceit of man. You can see it in your own heart. When you think you have worked something out, you feel happy in yourself. It is vain deceit. It is not that which is in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ says my judgement is just, why? Because I rely not on my own will but the will of Him  that sent me. I depend on what God reveals to me. This is Jesus example and you and I are warned.

The market of information is swamped by him who transforms himself into an angel of light. Where do you get your information from? I am going to say it because I have said it before and I know it is has ruffled some feathers. Don’t go to Google for your information. If you go to Google to find Sr whites writings fine, if you go to Google to find whether Sr Whites writings are the truth fine, but don’t go to find information. We are warned today in a time of a philosophical market swamp. If you are searching to find the directions of Jesus alone, where you can be confident that it is what Jesus has said go to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy?

“Your work,” He instructed me, “is to bear My word. Strange things will arise, and in your youth I set you apart to bear the message to the erring ones, to carry the word before unbelievers, and with pen and voice to reprove from the Word actions that are not right. Exhort from the Word. I will make My Word open to you. It shall not be as a strange language. In the true eloquence of simplicity, with voice and pen, the messages that I give shall be heard from one who has never learned in the schools. My Spirit and My power shall be with you. {1SM 32.2}

  “Be not afraid of man, for My shield shall protect you. It is not you that speaketh: it is the Lord that giveth the messages of warning and reproof. Never deviate from the truth under any circumstances. Give the light I shall give you. The messages for these last days shall be written in books, and shall stand immortalized, to testify against those who have once rejoiced in the light, but who have been led to give it up because of the seductive influences of evil.” {1SM 32.3}

Doesn’t that comfort your heart? If I am going to get my instruction so I may be displayed before the world, all I need to do in my striving is to read the Spirit of Prophecy for all my instruction. God tells Sr White that in these books He is  going to give the detail.

Your success is in your simplicity. As soon as you depart from this and fashion your testimony to meet the minds of any, your power is gone. Almost everything in this age is glossed and unreal. The world abounds in testimonies given to please and charm for the moment and to exalt self. Your testimony is of a different character. It is to come down to the minutiae of life, keeping the feeble faith from dying and pressing home upon believers the necessity of shining as lights in the world. {5T 667.3}

The minutiae of life speaks about your deportment, your garments, healthful living and  minute detailand it is all plainly and simply chronicled in those books. You want to know what Jesus wants you to embrace, just read it. The world abounds in testimonies. You will find it more so now than ever before. What does Sr White have to say if Jesus is speaking to us so vividly in the very minutiaewritten in books to safeguard Gods faithful people? Look at the sad messages, this was all in the period of 1888:

The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt, and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us. {5T 217.2}

She is talking about the ‘Testimonies’ not the books Patriarch’s and Prophets, Prophets and Kings, Desire of Ages, Acts of the Apostles and Steps to Christ but the Testimonies to the Church she is talking about. God has given the testimony of Jesus to lead us in the minutiae of truth so that we might give the full and final display but the testimonies are unread and unappreciated. I want to ask you, how detailed have you read the testimonies for the church to find your direct instructions in regards to anything that comes up to your mind? I challenge you for all your instruction you go there where Jesus in simplicity is giving us directions to survive and come through as the church triumphant in this struggle. If there is any other source that I rely on but this one as you heard me read, you will have no assurance. Jesus said to her go and present what is in the word in these books.

We see a very powerful balancing message in regards to the things in which we are prone when they are not from Jesus Himself self.

By obtaining a most thorough education in all the minutiae, and leaving vital principles out of the question, we become dry and formal workers. The hearts that God has made willing by the operations of His grace are fitted for the work. {4T 601.1}

 God wants heartwork. The unselfish purpose, the pure, elevated principle, the high and holy motive, He will accept. His grace and power will work with these efforts. All who realize that it is the work of God to prepare a people for His coming will find in their disinterested efforts opportunities where they can do tract and missionary labor. But there may be too much means expended and too much time occupied in making matters so exact and minute that the heartwork is neglected and a dry form preserved. {4T 601.2}

We are called upon to concentrate on the beautiful principles that are in God’s word.

  I tell you frankly that Jesus and the power of His grace are being left out of the question. Results will show that mechanical working has taken the place of piety, humility, and holiness of heart and life. The more spiritual, devoted, and humble workers find no place where they can take hold, and therefore they stand back. The young and inexperienced learn the form and do their work mechanically; but true love, the burden for souls, is not felt. Less dwelling upon set forms, less of the mechanical, and more of the power of godliness are essential in this solemn, fearful day of responsibilities. {4T 601.3}

Here we see that we who are young in the eyes of the pioneers have everything to learn from them; I’m a little upstart myself, my ideas that I have gained in this modern world of information, I must stand back from because I must concentrate on Jesus and what He is saying and His instruction that is given.

We are to proclaim the third angel’s message to a perishing world, and we are not to permit our minds to become diverted by minutiae that practically amount to nothing. If our brethren would consider the important matters pertaining to eternal life and eternal death, many of the smaller matters that they desire so much to adjust, would adjust themselves. {1MR 40.3}

You may have inventive minds. You may be expert, as were the Jewish teachers, in getting up new theories; but Christ said of them, “In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9. They presented to the people traditions, suppositions, and fables of all kinds. The forms and ceremonies they enjoined made it simply impossible for the people to know whether they were keeping the Word of God or following the traditions of men. {Ev 214.2}

Let’s not fall in to that trap.

 Satan is well pleased when he can thus confuse the mind. Let not ministers preach their own suppositions. Let them search the Scriptures earnestly, with a solemn realization that if they teach for doctrine the things that are not contained in God’s Word, they will be as those represented in the last chapter of Revelation. {Ev 214.3}

Let those who are tempted to indulge in fanciful, imaginary doctrines sink the shaft deep into the quarries of heavenly truth and secure the treasure which means life eternal to the receiver. In the Word there are the most precious ideas. These will be secured by those who study with earnestness; for heavenly angels will direct the search; but the angels never lead the mind to dwell upon cheap nonsense, as though it were the word of God. . . . {3MR 276.3}

Many in the independent circles have raised many ideas and teachings claiming we must get ready for Jesus to come by proclaiming what they teach. The Spirit of Prophecy says there are no new things to teach. All things to be taught were being taught in her day. If we come up with something new not in her day drop it, as you don’t need it to be ready for Jesus to come.

In many of our large cities the first and second angels’ messages were proclaimed during the 1844 movement. To you, as God’s servants, has been entrusted the third angel’s message, the binding-off message, that is to prepare a people for the coming of our King. {RH, November 25, 1909 par. 3}

What is the message of the third angel? It is the binding-off message to prepare a people for the coming of the king. It is the binding off message. The three angel’s messages, the third angel repeated under the fourth angel in practise.

I would like to conclude with the importance of getting the balance right. The imbalance is addressed in the Spirit of Prophecy.

It is too humiliating for them to repeat the same simple story of God’s goodness when they meet together, and they study to get something new, something great, and to have their words exact to the ear and pleasing to man, and God’s Spirit leaves them. {EW 116.1}

What happens? When the same messages come to us again and again we say, oh I know all that. We become impatient with the story of Gods goodness so we study to get something new and great.

When we follow the humble Bible way, we shall have the moving’s of the Spirit of God. All will be in sweet harmony if we follow the humble channel of truth, depending wholly upon God, and there will be no danger of being affected by the evil angels. {EW 116.1}

There will be no danger of being affected by the evil angels. We are not to raise up new ideas, we are to join together with those who have already been proclaiming this message for the last days.

What are the spots and wrinkles, those little details, that little spot, that little thing not quite perfect? What does the Spirit of Prophecy identify as those spots and wrinkles? I want us to understand what is the minutiae.

 None should be so fearful of being like the world that it will lead them to be careless in their houses, leaving things in disorder and uncleanness. It is not pride to be neat in dress, cleanly in person, orderly and tasteful in their household arrangements. . . . These outside appearances tell the business character of those living in the house, and not only this but the religious character of its inmates. It is impossible for a slack, disorderly person to make a good Christian. Their lives, in temporal and religious things, are just as disorderly as their dress, houses, persons, and premises. {OHC 230.3}

  There is order in heaven. There are rules and regulations which govern the whole heavenly host. All move in order. All there is cleanly, all in perfect harmony. And everyone who will be counted worthy to enter heaven will be thoroughly disciplined and will be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. The uncultivated have spots and wrinkles upon them now. They had better lose no time in commencing the work of cleansing themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. {OHC 230.4}

What were the spots and wrinkles? They are the state of our house, the state of our room, the tidiness and cleanliness, the manners, rough manners that need to be cleared up in our life. These are the spots and wrinkles according to that.

 This is our washing and ironing time,–the time when we are to cleanse our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. John says, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” I thank Thee, my heavenly Father, I praise Thee, that Thou hast given us Jesus, to take away our sins. Shall we not let Him take them away? Shall we not let our sins go? {GCB, April 6, 1903 par. 12}

He wants us to speak kind, tender, compassionate words to one another. Educate yourselves to speak such words. Be polite to God and to one another. Remember that He wants you to have the best of manners, that you may glorify Him before the world. He desires you to live in unity with one another, and to love one another. Remember that if you love one another here, you will live with the redeemed through the ceaseless ages of eternity. Oh, think of these things! May God stir your hearts today as they never have been stirred before. May He lead you to heed the words, “Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God.” {GCB, April 6, 1903 par. 15}

If we are going to display the spotless character of Jesus, we will be polite with those who are uncouth around us. We will not judge harshly, we will speak with tender consideration of one another. Tidiness, cleanliness, purity, kindness, compassion, the beauty of the character of Jesus, it is easy to be mechanical but not have the truth in the heart.

May God help us to listen to the counsels that God has appointed  us to so that we might come under His tuition of the membership of the church triumphant.

Amen.

Posted on October 1, 2011, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel, The Church Triumphant and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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