In Love with the Man of the Bible

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

O Thou in whose presence my soul takes delight. Are those words real to you?

Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

Is this reality to you? In God’s presence is fullness of joy. The majority of religionists in this world do not regard the presence of God as a joy. They are scared of Him.

Song of Solomon 2:4 He [Jesus] brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me [was] love.

I have observed over the last fifty years of my experience in Christianity a rare display of such love among Christians of all denominations; it is seldom that people are really enjoying God. They enjoy their meetings and they enjoy their social interactivities, but I don’t see much of people enjoying God. How would such a love that is portrayed in these hymns and psalms be displayed by those who claim they love God? If they really took pleasure in the presence of God and found great joy there, it would be revealed in this way:

Many profess to be on the Lord’s side, but they are not; the weight of all their actions is on Satan’s side. By what means shall we determine whose side we are on? {2T 262.2}

How shall we know whether God is really my pleasure and my delight?

Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Upon whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are on the Lord’s side, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. We have no friendship with the world; we have consecrated all that we have and are to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His Spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things. {Ibid.}

As we read that, let us contemplate. When we return to our daily activities, what do we talk about? Are your thoughts totally captivated with the Lord or are we talking and thinking about other things? If in His presence is my pure delight, then according to this, the heart is occupied with Him. My thoughts are totally wrapped up with Him and my conversation is on Him. I love to converse of Him; my warmest affections, my best energies are totally wrapped up with Him. My sweetest thoughts are of Him.

Friends, this has not been my experience in general Christianity and in general Adventism. Many times as a youth I would sit through the sermon and think, This is beautiful. But when I went outside and wanted to talk with my friends about what the beauty of that message was, they became uncomfortable. I was bewildered. I just wanted to talk about this beautiful thing and all they could talk about was what happened during the week, what they were going to do next week and all about themselves. I thought, There is something wrong here. Not only have I found that with my friends in my youth, but I have also found that with ministers. After the sermon was over, they started talking about what they had done last week, and this and that. I thought, Am I a lone-goer around here?

Adventism, as well as Protestantism in the other churches, has one big dilemma; there is a profession of godliness, but the power of it is not there.

It is a sad fact that the reason why many dwell so much on theory and so little on practical godliness is that Christ is not abiding in their hearts. They do not have a living connection with God. Many souls decide in favor of the truth from the weight of evidence, without being converted. {4T 395.4}

She is talking here to the ministers.

Practical discourses were not given in connection with the doctrinal, that as the hearers should see the beautiful chain of truth they might fall in love with its Author and be sanctified through obedience. {Ibid.}

What is the intention of the Bible and the relationship in church fellowship and listening to the truth? It is that as the hearers should see the beautiful chain of truth they might fall in love with its Author and be sanctified through obedience. The purpose is to fall in love with the Author of the Bible and the truths that it contains.

There is such a thing as becoming fascinated with theory. We get convinced by the weight of evidence and we embrace this weight of evidence and we think that we have the genuine article. You may have all the weight of evidence, you might be gloating with the concept that I know the truth and I am really the child of God, and yet not know the love of close fellowship with the author of that. They do not fall in love with God. This is my burden in the ministry, what I have yearned to communicate to people. I don’t want to use my own words but the words I am going to read are my own heart’s desire:

This is our privilege; will we have the prize? Will we fight the battles of the Lord? Will we press the battle to the gate? Will we be victorious? I have decided that I must have heaven, and I want you to have it. . . . {HP 354.2}

Search the Bible, for it tells you of Jesus. I want you to read the Bible and see the matchless charms of Jesus. I want you to fall in love with the Man of Calvary, so that at every step you can say to the world, His “ways are ways of pleasantness, and all” His “paths are peace” (Proverbs 3:17). . . {Ibid. 354.3}

When you fall in love with someone, don’t you just love talking about them? and don’t you express the joy that is in their presence and want the world to know this beautiful relationship? This is what the author of these words was affected by. She wanted the people to fall in love. These words are echoed from my own heart. I want you to fall in love with the Man of Calvary.

I have realised how difficult it is for human beings to fall in love with someone they do not see with their eyes. They do not hear Him audibly with their ears and do not physically touch Him, therefore, they say, ‘I need someone human to love. I need someone human to fall in love with.’ This is what they have said to me over the years of ministry. ‘Yes, I can see what you are trying to say, but I need someone, and I am not happy until I have found that somebody.’ I have said to them, and sometimes it sounded like I was condemning them, but it wasn’t a condemnation, I said, ‘If you want to find love with another human being, you first have to fall in love with Jesus Christ, because anything else will fall and fail terribly.’

Over the years I have tried hard to communicate a message by which the congregation could pick up on this falling in love with Jesus Christ with whom I have fallen in love. I am in this ministry not because of what I have been trained to do. I am in this ministry because I have fallen in love with God. It is my heart throb’s desire that people around me will find this love relationship so that what we read in Psalms and in Song of Solomon would be their experience as well as mine.

I discovered that in my efforts I have frequently fallen short of gaining this objective. There were occasions in my experience where my heart throbbed with joy because certain people were getting it. I still remember with heartache today, as I was working in the ministry of the Reform Movement in New Zealand. I was trying to get these things across to the people and there was a family with three children. Not only was I trying to reach out to the father and the mother, but I was trying to reach the children; they were from about 12 to 16 years of age. I showed them the beautiful Jesus through the word of God, through the book Steps to Christ, and they were beginning to find it. They were quite worldly in their ways but as they were coming to Jesus they could see. There was a young man of about 12 who used to come out canvassing with me because he was finding something. But he was still worldly, and he had his wooden war toys, guns and such like. As I was sharing the love of the Lord with him, one day I walked out and he was sitting there over his toys, and there was smoke. I came up close to him and looked him in the face and tears were streaming down his eyes; he was burning his toys because he had fallen in love with Jesus. It only took another few years of religious conflict and argument that destroyed it in his life and in the life of his sister who also was showing these beautiful responses of love to Jesus.

There is something that wells up within my heart that adults, ministers and churches destroy the love of Jesus in the hearts of the people because of their combat, because of their pride of knowing truth, so-called. It has been my effort to try to bring that beautiful pearl of great price before the people so that they would fall in love with that.

This is one of my instructions in the ministry, in the book Evangelism. This was precious to me when I came across it, because to me the beauty of the truth sparkled and shone. And how can I get these beautiful sparklings across to the hearts of the people so that they would regard Jesus as their treasure?

It should be the burden of every messenger to set forth the fullness of Christ. When the free gift of Christ’s righteousness is not presented, the discourses are dry and spiritless; the sheep and the lambs are not fed. Said Paul, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” There is marrow and fatness in the gospel. Jesus is the living centre of everything. Put Christ into every sermon. Let the preciousness, mercy, and glory of Jesus Christ be dwelt upon until Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. . . . {Ev 186.2}

Let us gather together that which our own experience has revealed to us of the preciousness of Christ, and present it to others as a precious gem that sparkles and shines. Thus will the sinner be attracted to Him who is represented as the Chief among ten thousand and the One altogether lovely. {Ibid. 186.3}

I picked up this statement very early in my ministry, and this has been my burden, but I was horrifyingly disappointed that people were not picking up the sparkles and the joys of the presence of Jesus Christ in His fullness. When we came out of our messages, the thing that people got involved in was not the preciousness of Jesus but the arguments of doctrine. I was bewildered over the years of ministry in the Reform Movement where I would share God’s word because I loved Him, but I was thrown into doctrinal combat. I said, ‘Lord, what do I do? I don’t want to get caught into combat.’ The beautiful subject of the atonement of Christ, the nature of Jesus in all its beauty, sparkled and shone, but the ministers and certain members of the church brought me face to face with conflict that I had to defend a doctrine which was so plainly written out in Scripture.

It turned bitterly sour and I nearly lost my own joy. I still remember the day when I had to leave the church that was arguing the doctrine. I said, ‘If you take away this beautiful message of Christ and His righteousness in the atonement and nature of Jesus, you will destroy me.’ I had to lay down the beautiful things that sparkled and shone. I had to bring out mere doctrine to the church, of laws and rules and regulations which did never bring the love of Jesus into the hearts of the people.

Now I am making a very direct attempt once more to display what it is that sparkles and shines. I plead with you, wake up! Don’t go to sleep, this is no sleeping time, this is life and death! Please, take it seriously. The sparkling gems of truth that you miss will dampen your relationship with Jesus. You wonder and I wonder why we have troubles in the church, it’s because we are not listening to the beauty of Jesus. Let us follow very attentively that we will pick up some sparkles and joys in the presence of God that will impact us and so that we will not be able to stop talking about it. This is my prayer, that we might find a deeper intimate, bosom relationship with Christ. Beware of going to sleep, because there are many things that can prevent you from picking up on those sparkles of Jesus, and after you have seen a few little glimmers, a few little joys of what the Lord wants you to have, because iniquity abounds around us, the love of many grows cold.

What did Jesus have against the Ephesus church? They lost their first love. This is possible, it is a reality. We want to understand what are the things that cause me to lose the first love.

What Is Meant by Falling in Love with Jesus?

Here are four points I want to expand on:

  • To be charmed by the mind that is behind the Bible
  • To be charmed by the fulfilment of prophecy
  • To be charmed by the demonstration of God’s character
  • To be charmed by the gospel

The word charmed means to be so occupied with something that it thrills ever part within my soul.

To Be Charmed by the Mind that Is Behind the Bible

Let the truth of God be the subject for contemplation and meditation. The Bible is God’s letter to man, in which is instruction as to how to become rich in heavenly graces, to secure for the believer the life that shall measure with the life of God. {PH152 35.1}

What is the Bible? It is the letter from God, a love letter from God. He has inspired the writing of the Bible as a letter from Him.

Do you find it easy to express yourself, your inmost soul, by talking to somebody? Can you do it better by writing? I had a situation like that. The person who wanted to communicate with me had great trouble by looking me in the eyes, but they wrote it in writing and then I saw their heart.

God has caused a love letter to be written that by the words that are written there, we will discover His inmost motivating love. To study the Bible and to behold the chain of intelligent connectivity running through the Scriptures charms you when you see that beautiful chain of truth. You will fall in love with its Author. To fall in love with the Author of the Word is to take the Word not merely to prove the doctrine but to see the beautiful mind of God, to appreciate His mind that has caused this connection.

Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breasts.

Remember the words of Jesus, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ.”

Isaiah 28:10 For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12 To whom he said, This [is] the rest [wherewith] ye may cause the weary to rest; and this [is] the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

What is the refreshing? It is reading here a little and there a little and discovering the mind that has put these precious gems of communications here and there throughout the Bible. As you see them coming together as a wonderful connective message, you fall in love with the Author. That is what it is meant for. But can you see how easy you can miss that when you get into conflict with doctrine, with trying to defend doctrine? You will miss the point because you are so focused on proving what you believe is right that you miss the beauty of this mind that connects the scriptures from one part of the Bible to the other.

I have been charmed with this from the age of twelve and it brought my heart to the Lord. I was disappointed that the ministers were missing it. Haven’t you felt this in the past as I tried to connect the Scriptures together on different subjects that we have studied? Have we not felt in our past research the amazing experiences of Daniel and the Revelation, of Isaiah and Ezekiel, and all these beautiful connecting things so we could see the truth?

This is what caused the hearts of the disciples to burn within them when they were so disappointed that Jesus had hung on the cross and died. Here are the words Jesus spoke to them in the upper room:

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you,

Jesus had even failed to help them. They had been totally occupied with their own opinion. How careful must we be?

Luke 24:44 …that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

What did He do? He went from the Psalms to the Prophets, and to all the Scriptures. What was their response as He did this to them on the road to Emmaus?

Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

The way that the truth unfolds from one scripture to the next, how inspiring it is; and they fell in love with this mind that had written and inspired the Scriptures over 1600 years, and it all fits together. What a mind! Brethren and sisters, I am charmed with that, are you? This is what causes you to fall in love with the Author.

To Be Charmed By the Fulfilment of Prophecy

The fulfilment of all the prophecies we have studied – Daniel and the Revelation, the empires – all that was written long before it happened. The part that really got me more than anything was Daniel chapter 11, that hard prophecy to work your way through. In my early years, as I was listening to the preaching by the old Adventist ministers who still had the prophecies right, I was enthralled at the age of nine years. I thought, Wow! This is amazing! I learned to love God through listening to those difficult passages that they were unfolding. I could see it was true, but then the thought came upon me, How could I ever remember all that? The precious Lord drew near and said, Don’t worry about remembering it, just enjoy it. When you enjoy something, do you forget it? No, you can’t help but remember it.

This is the reason why I remember things, because I enjoy them. All through my training, I have never taken notes in sermons; it is only when I had to do my nurse’s training that I took notes, because I had to pass exams. And I never did as well remembering by rote as I did by enjoyment. When I enjoyed things, then I passed my exams much better.

Jesus said, Don’t worry about having to be able to bring all this out later on; leave that to Me. Just enjoy what you are discovering. What happened when you studied the prophecies and you see them all fulfilling; how the Scriptures connect with those prophecies? The 2300 day prophecy is made so burdensome by people, too much all at once and you are overwhelmed. Many of my friends I went to school with in the Adventist church said, ‘What’s the use of all those prophecies? We just want to know Jesus.’ These were the very words that were uttered by a minister to his son, ‘Don’t worry about Daniel chapter 11, just concentrate on Jesus.’ And the son answered, ‘But Dad, I found Jesus in Daniel chapter 11.’ Why? Because Jesus was demonstrated in the prophecies that were unfolding, and He came right on time. “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”  As you go through the prophecy, you see that 457 B.C. was when the prophecy started, and people have trouble sorting out the starting date, but by reading carefully it is so easy. It can be cross-checked because it talks about Jesus coming as the Messiah the Prince. He would be anointed at the time of His baptism. When was that? It tells us in Luke when that was, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. You have an historic event. Jesus was baptized in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, which was A.D. 27, and then there was a whole week left for the Jews. You see how the Lord worked with that whole prophecy and you go from text to text. At His baptism it was stated in another scripture that the Holy Spirit came upon Him and anointed Him. Then He went into the wilderness. When He came out of the wilderness He said, The time is fulfilled. What was He talking about? A prophecy. Be repentant, be baptized and come to the Lord, because the kingdom of heaven is now to proceed. The people were blank, ‘Why?’ Here we are today, and people are just as blank, when it can be such a thrill to fall in love with the great light of prophecy. What is the Spirit of Prophecy? The testimony of Jesus! My Lord! Wonderful.

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

You know what it is like in the darkness of despair, when everything has gone wrong in our lives. Wasn’t that the case of the disciples? Everything they hoped for was smashed down around them. Their heavens fell; but Apostle Peter knew what he was talking about, prophecy in the darkness is a light, and the day star arises in your heart. That is why their hearts were burning. When the day star arises in your heart, not because you are happy that now you know the prophecies (because that also makes you feel good; but that is not the goodness that you are after), but because you are falling in love with Jesus, your heart will be burning too. It happens when you are occupied like that.

To Be Charmed by the Demonstration of God’s Character

As you read the Bible you will discover a manifestation of God’s character that absolutely spell-binds you. Here are some little snapshots of God’s character that you can fall in love with. Remember, God never changes. He is always the same yesterday, and today, and forever. This discovery of God who is so unchangeable gives you a wonderful sense of harmony and comfort with Him. Adam and Eve had just sinned, have a look at God’s character. If you read the story, it’s just a story, but look at the character:

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day;

God regularly came to talk with Adam and Eve. They held communion together. Now they had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God could have pushed them away. But watch His character:

Genesis 3:8 …and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

That is what sin has done ever after. The wonderful presence of God in which there is great joy, sinners have lost.

Genesis 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou?

Didn’t He know where he was? Of course He knew; He saw them all the time, but look at His character. ‘Adam, where are you, I am looking for you.’ Can you see the character? I fall in love with that.

Genesis 3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself.

What does God do? Does he say, ‘Yeah, I know all about that!’?

Genesis 3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

God knew all about it, but He asked a question again. He came to commune with a sinner, to show that He doesn’t shun the sinner, the sinner shuns Him. That’s glorious.

Genesis 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Did God say, ‘Stop blaming Me for it’? No. He just let them prattle. He actually came home on their prattling:

Genesis 3:13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? 13 And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

What did the Lord do in His wonderful character?

Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Can you see God’s character? O to take time to go beyond the story and see the character of God. What do we read about this character who was prepared to talk with sinners?

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (margin: dying thou shalt die)

People say, ‘Right, God is a person who is now going to destroy them.’ But He didn’t. Why not? Because that is not His character. What is His character? It is important that we marvel and become charmed by seeing His character. Our hearts are warmed toward Him because we see that He is not the vindictive God that has been generated by sinful minds.

Psalm 9:16 The LORD is known [by] the judgment [which] he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.

“In the day you eat thereof dying you shall die.” Your own action has created your self-destruction. God is a God of life, of salvation, not a God of destruction.

Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry [with the wicked] every day.

Remember what angry means: grieved, not like a ferocious angry beast. When Jesus was angry in Mark chapter 3, He “looked round about on them with anger, being grieved.” He was grieved with the wicked every day.

Psalms 7:12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.

It sounds like He is trying to shoot the wicked.

Psalms 7:13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors. 14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. 15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch [which] he made. 16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate. 17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.

This person has fallen in love with God when he saw what God is like. David could have seen it better than anyone else because he saw the warfare and the ferocious viciousness of the wicked that wanted to kill him as well. He said, Look what happened, their own behaviour destroyed them. That is what happened all through the prophecies of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, right through to our time. When God finally destroys, it will be the same as the destruction of Jerusalem. When Jerusalem was destroyed, how did that happen? God did not want to destroy it, Titus did not want to destroy it, he even told his soldiers not to touch the sanctuary. But the ferocious antagonism of the Jews in their intensity to fight them off against all odds, was so incorrigible that even when Josephus was trying to reason with them to give over to the Romans, they threw darts at him. What was the destruction of Jerusalem? It was their own ferocious evil nature that destroyed them.

God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. Every ray of light rejected, {GC 36.1}

Can you see how important it is to catch every ray of light and not to go to sleep?

…every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown which yields its unfailing harvest. The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. The destruction of Jerusalem is a fearful and solemn warning to all who are trifling with the offers of divine grace and resisting the pleadings of divine mercy. {Ibid.}

When God destroys, it is in grief that He takes His protection away. What destroys man is the evil nature of the beast which is in human nature. That is self-destruction. This charms my heart. I love God because of that. Then comes that grand story of the gospel.

To Be Charmed by the Gospel

In the study of the cross of Jesus Christ lies the deepest fountain of love erupting in our hearts. The generally attractive picture of the gospel is beautifully expressed in these following words. This is what we need to occupy our meditations upon.

When Adam’s sin plunged the race into hopeless misery, God might have cut Himself loose from fallen beings. He might have treated them as sinners deserve to be treated. He might have commanded the angels of heaven to pour out upon our world the vials of His wrath. He might have removed this dark blot from His universe. But He did not do this. Instead of banishing them from His presence, He came still nearer to the fallen race. {AG 176.4}

How?

He gave His Son to become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. . . . {Ibid.}

Our study into the nature of Christ is the source of falling in love with Him in a deeper way than any of these other points. That He, God, became bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh and suffered the temptations, the sin, of every one of us.

When I read this I blubbered, I fell apart when I felt its great impact upon me the first time I came across that statement. When you discover God’s character you fall in love with Him. When you discover the gospel, not just that God doesn’t destroy any body and that people actually destroy themselves, it is an amazing thing in itself; but then the people who destroy themselves He comes close to and wants to save them out of doing it. Just think about it.

Christ might, because of our guilt, have moved far from us. But instead of moving farther away from us, He came and dwelt among us, filled with all the fullness of the Godhead, to be one with us, that through His grace we might attain to perfection. {UL 191.2}

He didn’t want us to stay in our self-destructive path, He came close to us. We want to really relish that. Doesn’t that sparkle, doesn’t it shine, doesn’t it touch your heart, doesn’t it attract you?

By a death of shame and suffering He paid man’s ransom. What self-sacrificing love is this! From the highest excellency He came, His divinity clothed with humanity, descending step by step to the very depths of humiliation. No line can measure the depth of this love. Christ has shown us how much God can love and our Redeemer suffer in order to secure our complete restoration. He desires His children to reveal His character, to exert His influence, that other minds may be drawn into harmony with His mind. {Ibid.}

Christ, our Saviour, in whom dwelt absolute perfection, became sin for the fallen race. He did not know sin by the experience of sinning, {Ibid. 191.3}

But He experienced sin. How did He do that? The Father was a great scientist who could install into His genetic chromosomes the very experience of a sinner. As God does that to Him to become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, to come and draw all men to Him (cf John 12:32), this story is to draw your love into a love relationship with Him that will affect you for eternity.

‘That is fine for the general populace, but me? I’m too bad.’ How many of you have said, I’m too bad? ‘It’s wonderful what He has done for the race, but me? I’m sorry, it leaves me out.’

The Personal Discovery of Jesus in Your Life

You feel sure that your condemnation is so great as you behold not only the sins you have committed but the utter helplessness of your life to change. Have you tried to change? You believe you have been forgiven, but you are not changing. So you think, ‘Here, I’ve done it again, I’m sinning again, and again, what hope have I got? Jesus died for me and I’m crucifying Him afresh every time I sin.’ What hope do you have?

You cannot believe that you can ever change. And the nearer you come to Jesus the more sinful you will feel. Your mind is totally overwhelmed with a sense of total unworthiness, just as Jacob felt. What was Jacob feeling in his trouble? Abject hopelessness. Then comes God’s Spirit when you feel like that, when you see that, I can’t even stay awake in the Divine Service, I’m finished; what does He do? No matter how many times he has failed, God comes to that person and He says, Don’t worry, I know your problems and your difficulties; I know them all.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee:

Didn’t He demonstrate that to Adam and Eve?

Isaiah 41:10 …be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

You know how weak you are. And He comes and says, ‘Don’t be afraid, stay with Me. Because no matter how frail and how full of imperfection you are and how many times you have failed, I am going to strengthen you and I will work with you, I will help you, with the right hand of My righteousness.’ What is that? I am so hopeless and I can’t see myself getting there and He speaks like that to me?

Isaiah 41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. 14 Fear not, thou worm

Don’t you feel like one?

Isaiah 41:14 …Jacob, [and] ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 15 Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat [them] small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.

Is the mountain of your impossibility in front of you? ‘If you stay with Me, I am going to give you such an understanding by which you will thresh those mountains of impossibility into chaff; and the wind is going to blow it away.’

Here are His words every time you have sinned, every time you have failed again:

Isaiah 44:22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

In other words, don’t say you’re not going to make it, don’t say, I’m finished, I’m done. He says, Return to me. Instead of running away, run into His arms. He is your redeemer! Don’t you love Him? Isn’t He wonderful? I wouldn’t be here today if this wasn’t a reality to me.

Remember those beautiful words of 1 John 2:1. This must be applied again and again until we have turned these mountains of difficulty into chaff by God helping me, so that I can walk with Him until He has perfected my case. And as I am walking with Him, the nearer I come to Him the more sinful I will see myself. Never forget that.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.

That is exactly what is meant to be. We are not to sin.

1 John 2:1 …And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

The One who knows the experience so well. Brethren and sisters, don’t despair about some of the harsh things that you read in the Spirit of Prophecy, because the harsh things that are written there are not meant for the sinner who cries for help, they are meant for someone else, those who are full of pride and need to be broken into contrition.

The context of this statement is one in which she is writing to a man who could not control himself. He had passions that were too strong and he kept on failing and falling into those passions. Look at what she says to him; this is the Spirit of Prophecy:

My dear brother, I hope you will not become discouraged because your feelings so often master you when your way or will is crossed. Never despond. Flee to the Stronghold. Watch and pray, and try again. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” {4T 364.3}

That’s the testimony of Jesus. That’s your Jesus; that’s the Spirit of Prophecy; that’s Sr. White’s writings.

There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God, {SC 64.1}

Is that you? You’ve known His pardoning love for you.

…yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. {Ibid.}

If I have a renewed heart, why do I still have these horrible faults, why do I still fall?

To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. {Ibid.}

Don’t you love Him? Doesn’t this stir love and absolute amazement in your heart?

No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Said the beloved John, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1. And do not forget the words of Christ, “The Father Himself loveth you.” John 16:27. He desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, {Ibid.}

Is that easy when you think you’re too bad? Is it easy to think, Yes, I will trust you in spite of my feeling so bad about myself? That is what we must do, we must yield.

He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. Pray more fervently; believe more fully. As we come to distrust our own power, let us trust the power of our Redeemer, and we shall praise Him who is the health of our countenance. {Ibid.}

The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature. {Ibid. 64.2}

If you see yourself so badly, isn’t that a wonderful thing? Don’t despair.

This is evidence that Satan’s delusions have lost their power; that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you. {Ibid.}

No deep-seated love for Jesus can dwell in the heart that does not realize its own sinfulness. The soul that is transformed by the grace of Christ will admire His divine character; {Ibid. 65.1}

What a character this pure God has. But me, I am in such a vile state, and the nearer I come to Him, the more I see His perfection and the more I see my vileness and I feel like vomiting; and yet the Lord says, Come. I’m changing you, don’t give up. This is Him speaking. Does not your heart burn within you? Does not your heart burn with a love that drives you into His arms instead of away from Him, when you see yourself as you are?

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us;

The love of Christ drives me into His arms. That is the beauty of God’s love.

As you embrace all these things that I have shared with you here, as you behold the mind of God in the Scriptures in the beautiful connecting chain of truth, you fall in love with the author. As the display of prophecy and its fulfilment is played out in front of you, you are charmed. The display of God’s character in His way of dealing with sinners, so that He would not destroy them, but that they will destroy themselves, this charms you. And the gospel of Jesus Christ puts the perfect picture into place; He comes so close to them and He Himself suffers their depravity. Will you give yourself to such a devotion? Our love will never grow cold, it will become hotter and hotter and lead me to a willing submission so that I will say, O Lord, whatever You say I will do. I am not going to argue with You anymore. Then something comes and you think, That doesn’t sound right, but God said it.

Remember, Abraham was told to take his only begotten son and slay him. ‘What??’ This is how it will appear to us many times. When God says something it will appear as though it is not God. ‘This can’t be the Lord.’ Yes, it is. He wants to make us perfect. Didn’t He perfect Abraham through that experience?

Whatever you sense that God is saying, let Him make it clear. It takes a while, because fanatics jump ahead of God, they often run into things that God hasn’t meant in a certain way, they put their own interpretation on it. But wait for God to make it clear, and when you know that this is exactly what God wants you to do, even though it might feel like taking the very life blood out of your heart, follow it through, and you will experience God’s wonderful victory.

This is my prayer that we will all together fall in love with God, with Jesus Christ. When I can see brothers and sisters and children doing that, my love for Jesus gets even stronger. I long to hear from our company the complete coping power, that no matter what it is, I can forgive my brother for his sins; I can tolerate all the things that are happening around me, I am going to do it like Joseph. I will do my part right and if anyone mistreats me, that’s fine, I’m in love with Jesus. And we will have love among one another. May this be our experience.

Amen.

[May 5, 2012]

Posted on June 8, 2012, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: