Lord Is It I?
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
For a time I lost all thought of time, of place, or occasion–of everything earthly. Heaven was the subject of my contemplation–heaven, the much-longed-for heaven. I seemed to be there, where all was peace, where no stormy conflicts of earth could ever come. Heaven, a kingdom of righteousness where all the holy and pure and blessed are congregated–ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands–living and walking in happy, pure intimacy, praising God and the Lamb who sitteth on the throne! Their voices were in perfect harmony. They never do each other wrong. Princes of heaven, the potentates of this mighty realm, are rivals only in good, seeking the happiness and joy of each other. The greatest there is least in self-esteem, and the least is greatest in his gratitude and wealth of love. There are no dark errors to cloud the intellect. Truth and knowledge, clear, strong, and perfect, have chased every doubt away, and no gloom of doubt casts its baleful shadow upon its happy inhabitants. No voices of contention mar the sweet and perfect peace of heaven. Its inhabitants know no sorrow, no grief, and no tears. All is in perfect harmony, in perfect order and perfect bliss. 9MR 104.2
Oh what must it be to be there?
I have been shown the order, the perfect order, of heaven, and have been enraptured as I listened to the perfect music there. After coming out of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant. I have seen companies of angels, who stood in a hollow square, everyone having a harp of gold. At the end of the harp was an instrument to turn to set the harp or change the tunes. Their fingers did not sweep over the strings carelessly, but they touched different strings to produce different sounds. There is one angel who always leads, who first touches the harp and strikes the note, then all join in the rich, perfect music of heaven. It cannot be described. It is melody heavenly, divine, while from every countenance beams the image of Jesus, shining with glory unspeakable. MAR 361.3
Christ and His word are in perfect harmony. Received and obeyed, they open a sure path for the feet of all who are willing to walk in the light as Christ is in the light. If the people of God would appreciate His word, we should have a heaven in the church here below. 8T 193.1
What must it be to be there? We could know what it is to be there here, in the church on this earth. Yet we sing oh what it must be to be there. If Christ’s image was perfectly reflected in His people, He would come and take us home. Because the harmony of heaven is not yet in His church He has not yet come. What is it that spoils harmony? Just one discordant note. You can have ten thousand time ten thousand of harps playing in beautiful harmony, you can have thousands and thousands of voices singing in total unison, yet one discordant note; and it is all spoilt. When you hear music, a beautiful grand orchestra, if there was one instrument that wasn’t correctly played, it would be out of harmony and the music would sound off. Just one discordant note is all it takes to spoil harmony.
In heaven is perfect harmony, perfect order. Order is beautiful. When you look at nature, you see perfect harmony in nature. The flowers have colourful signs and markings because of order to tell the bees where to land. This is why all the colours stem out from the centre. God’s universe is a universe of order. He loves music and to hear his people sing hymns. To hear the heavenly host praise him.
Proverbs 6:16 These six [things] doth the Lord hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
He hates him that soweth discord among brethren. Remember the Garden of Eden? God would come walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Like a child when its daddy would come home from work, Adam and Eve would tell Jesus what they had discovered that day. He had perfect unity with them and then along came the discord. A serpent with a little voice.
Proverbs 16:27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips [there is] as a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
God and Adam and Eve were chief friends. They had between them beautiful harmony but along came a whisperer and that was it. Is it any wonder, God hates disunity? He hates a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren. Chief friends are separated. What is it that causes discord? Here is the answer. The supposed justified reason for war;
Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention.
Just five words. Yet how do they explain the woes upon this earth. It was because of pride Satan warred with heaven. Because of pride Alexander the so-called Great waged war and sought to conquer the world. Because of pride Napoleon conquered Europe. Because of pride the husband and wife quarrel. Because of pride business partners do not get along. Because of pride church members have disunity. Apostle Paul says he would rather speak five words of understanding that would edify the people rather than a thousand words that cannot be understood. Only by pride cometh contentions. God is a lover of harmony. He hates contention. He hates the cause of contention. Because of pride, he lost a third of the angels. It cost Him His friendship with man. He hates it. He hates anything that causes disunity. You know how much he hates it? God so loved the world, he gave his son to destroy that which destroys unity. Where is it that wars and fighting’s amongst brethren come from?
James 4:1 From whence [come] wars and fighting’s among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members?
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
They that do such things would not live to see the kingdom of heaven, except it be from beyond the walls at the judgment at the end of a thousand years.
Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
The Motions of Sins
We have a business meeting and someone puts forward a motion, let’s do this. Sin moves in our body. It puts forth a proposal to the mind. And if we give mind to the things of the flesh, it will bring forth fruit unto death. The works of the flesh become manifest, hatred, variance, strife, envyings, and they cause fighting’s amongst us. It creates discordant notes. God wants harmony, he wants unity. He wants to destroy that which spoils he perfect will on earth.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Satan was the epitome of pride. The epitome of that which causes dissention. God sent His Son to be a partaker of flesh and blood so he could destroy him the source of disunity.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
What is the righteousness of the law? Isn’t the harmony of walking with God? Is it harmony with heaven? So that we could have this, Jesus was made a partaker of flesh and blood – sinful flesh. Flesh with all of it works, all of its motions moving, coursing through its system. The lusts were condemned and destroyed. I would like for us to consider unity and disunity in the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
We are the body of Christ. The church and its members are the members of Christ. Do you have sinful flesh? We have sinful flesh. Did Christ sinful flesh? Was a body prepared for Christ? Then the body of Christ was the members of his church. With all of its lusts, all of its motions of sin are that which causes strife within Gods church. Is it those lusts that war in the members? Only by pride come contentions. Pride is sin. Sin separates.
Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [why art thou so] far from helping me, [and from] the words of my roaring?
2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
Jesus here cries out upon the cross, why hast thou forsaken me? Why am I experiencing abject separation from my chief friend? Why? Because of the disunity in the body of Christ. Sin separates. We are the body of Christ and members in particular. Those motions of sin which move within our being, they bear fruit and they separate. They separate Christ from the father.
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Did Jesus die? Why? Because of the conception of sin. When lust hath conceived it bringeth for sin and death. Those lusts which were in His flesh came to a total and complete fruition. The wages of sin is death.
The evil works, the evil thoughts, the evil words of every son and daughter of Adam press upon His divine soul. The sins of men called for retribution upon Himself, for He had become man’s substitute, and took upon Him the sins of the world. He bore the sins of every sinner, for all transgressions were imputed unto Him. OFC 119.5
Is it any wonder he was experiencing separation? The hatred, the variance, the wrath, the strife, the evil surmisings, the harsh, criticizing word. His soul was a divine soul, untainted by sin, that soul in love with everything that is right, that soul that delighted in the unity and harmony of heaven.
Hating sin with a perfect hatred, He yet gathered to His soul the sins of the whole world, as He trod the path to Calvary, suffering the penalty of the transgressor. Guiltless, He bore the punishment of the guilty; innocent, yet offering Himself to bear the penalty of the transgression of the law of God. The punishment of the sins of every soul was borne by the Son of the infinite God. The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world’s Redeemer. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. OFC 119.4
That we might have harmony and unity, he gathered the sins to himself. He was made to be sin. Those works of the flesh, those thoughts, and those words were conceived within his being. They pressed upon his soul. Every transgression came to fruition when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin and death. Within the body of Jesus was various and strife, war. There in Jesus Christ they threw at each other their cursing’s.
They slung at each other their despising’s. Those chairs they’ve thought of throwing at people, they threw. The fists made contact with jaws. That evil surmising, that backbiting, it all came to fruition in Jesus Christ and he died. Let this sink really deep into your mind. I used to have a problem with my temper. I had certain urges to let fly but when the Lord showed me what I’m sharing today, I have been released because in Jesus Christ my temper he condemned in his flesh. Jesus died because of the sin within His members and we are the body of Christ and its members in particular. In Jesus sin conceived and brought forth death. In Jesus the members bore fruit unto death. All of the negatives that cause disunity and discord came to fruition.
James 4:1 From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members?
1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
As I let my mind consider the depths by which Jesus was made to be sin, I came to a realization, I’ve already lost my temper, and I did it in Jesus. In Jesus Christ the members have already fought. The disunity has already taken our place. In Jesus Christ the members have already fought. The disunity has already taken place. We have already thrown our punches; burnt down those houses, cast our judgments. It’s all done. It’s finished. Did we not read that he sent his Son to destroy him that hath the power of death that is the devil? Was not Satan destroyed at the cross? You know why sin reigns? Because we think that Satan still rules. The word of God says he destroyed him.
Everything that causes disunity in the body of Christ was already destroyed. We need to accept the reality of the atonement of Jesus. We can have unity because we have already been disunited in Jesus. We can lay down our weapons and pride which is already destroyed as it’s just a figment of our imagination. We can relieve it to Jesus upon the cross. He will gather it to his bosom and take it to the grave with him. There is no need to fight. The sin and lusts that war in the flesh have already been condemned. They’re dead. So what then is disunity? A figment of our imagination. When you let the realities of the atonement of Jesus Christ really sink into your mind, this humiliation that Jesus bore, how humiliating to see war amongst the members of Gods church, and when you think that you were involved, so shameful. That humiliation became Christ’s humiliation. See how such contemplations of Christ’s sacrifice for us can have an effect upon us all.
As the Saviour’s humiliation for us is remembered, thought links with thought; a chain of memories is called up, memories of God’s great goodness and of the favor and tenderness of earthly friends. Blessings forgotten, mercies abused, kindnesses slighted, are called to mind. Roots of bitterness that have crowded out the precious plant of love are made manifest. Defects of character, neglect of duties, ingratitude to God, coldness toward our brethren, are called to remembrance. Sin is seen in the light in which God views it. Our thoughts are not thoughts of self-complacency, but of severe self-censure and humiliation. The mind is energized to break down every barrier that has caused alienation. Evil thinking and evilspeaking are put away. Sins are confessed, they are forgiven. The subduing grace of Christ comes into the soul, and the love of Christ draws hearts together in a blessed unity. DA 650.5
Those words are so sweet. To have our hearts drawn together in unity. To be willing to lay down our pride and say sorry. To call to mind the mercy of God and our fellow brethren. If everyone was doing this work, we would have heaven on earth. Did not the disciples have it for 10 days in the upper room? We can have it too. In heaven there is perfect harmony. Perfect unity. We should have a heaven in the church here below. Why do we not have it then we are ripped off. Why do we not have it? All it takes to spoil the harmony is just one discordant note to spoil the harmony. The natural mind thinks when things aren’t going right, is because of this and that person. If it wasn’t for that person, it would be so beautiful. The human mind is so good at discriminating and judging what it thinks to be the cause of the problem.
Matthew 26:21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
The disciples had what they thought was beautiful unity, beautiful harmony but things were not as they might have hoped them to be. There was a traitor but their hearts were humbled by the work of Jesus, he washed their feet, he became a servant. Lord, is it I?
As they realized the import of His words, and remembered how true His sayings were, fear and self-distrust seized them. They began to search their own hearts to see if one thought against their Master were harbored there. With the most painful emotion, one after another inquired, “Lord, is it I?” DA 654.1
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. The disciples had walked with Christ for three and a half years yet even now, it occurs to their mind that maybe they are the problem. We think of the beautiful harmony of heaven and that harmony could be ours. Then we think of all those little things that spoil it for us. Have we ever stopped to think that it might actually be… me? That I could be the discordant note?
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Examine who? Yourself. When can I stop examining myself? Not while I’m here on this earth.
The defections among God’s people are keenly felt by him who died to ransom them from Satan’s power. The church is burdened and saddened. A cloud hangs over her. Let every soul seek God, inquiring, Lord, is it I who have brought this discouragement upon thy people? Is it because of my perversity that Zion is burdened? Have I given occasion for our enemies to triumph? If so, Lord, have mercy upon thy sinful child, and save me for thy mercy’s sake. RH, September 24, 1903 par. 3
Is it I? Sanctification is a life-long process. The closer we come to Jesus, the more and more will we see of our own sinfulness. Defects in our character that we may not see just now, we may one day discover was the very thing that caused the problem. But it may then be too late to say I’m sorry. Our duty is to examine ourselves now. We want for our sins to go beforehand unto judgment.
Closely examine your own heart as in the light of eternity. Hide nothing from your examination. Search, oh! search, as for your life, and condemn yourself, pass judgment upon yourself, and then by faith claim the cleansing blood of Christ to remove the stains from your Christian character. Do not flatter or excuse yourself. Deal truly with your own soul. And then as you view yourself a sinner, fall, all broken, at the foot of the cross. Jesus will receive you, all polluted as you are, and will wash you in His blood, and cleanse you from all pollution, and make you fit for the society of heavenly angels, in a pure, harmonious heaven. There is no jar, no discord, there. All is health, happiness, and joy. Mar 57.3
Oh what must it be to be in heaven? We will know, now, if we examine ourselves. If we do this work, it is our individual responsibility, to enquire, am I the cause of disunity. Have I been casting a stumbling block upon the paths of my brethren and not known it? What am I doing that is causing disunity? What can I do for unity? These are the questions the Lord has been stimulating in my mind these last few weeks. I want to go home, I want to go to heaven but I can’t go there yet. There is perfect harmony in heaven. Perfect unity there. I must be honest with myself and face the fact that I am a discordant note in causing distraction and disunity I am adding agony to Jesus on the cross.
When I cast a stumbling block for someone else, Jesus had to die for that and for the person who had to trip over it. I can say it’s their fault they tripped over it, but it shouldn’t have been there in the first place. It’s one thing for me to sin in my own home where there’s no other souls for me to hurt, but when I do it in the church, it hurts Jesus all the more because it causes others to fall also. I am praying to God that He will show me where I have been a stumbling block to others. It is so easy for me to look at various situations and say, it was their fault, or their fault. They have this problem in their flesh and I just don’t seem to be able to get through. I tried to have unity but it doesn’t happen. Do you know what I am talking about? God is calling me to examine myself. Not others. To take my eyes off the incongruence’s of another, and root out my own. When I feel like getting annoyed, or to really let someone have it, I don’t need to because I did it in Jesus. I’ve already burnt down that house. I did it all in Jesus at the cross and the very one that is offended, it’s gone. Jesus has borne that too. I don’t need to. I can let it go and love my brother or sister in the Lord. If I am the chief of sinners, my question is, what can I do for unity? I have to get myself right. I can’t help anyone else why I’m not right. Attend to number one Sr White says and I’ve got all that I need to do. When the glory of God blazes before your mind and you feel wretched, remember Micah.
Micah 7:7 Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.
7:8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord [shall be] a light unto me.
7:9 I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, [and] I shall behold his righteousness.
He will give me harmony with heaven. May the Lord remove from our minds these vain imaginings? That we would let the atonement of Jesus Christ be everything. Do you want to go home? I want to go home. Jesus rose from the dead, we can too. We can rise out of this disunity and sail to those heavenly realms of bliss and harmony and join in that triumphant song.