To Know Nothing but Christ


By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

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). . . . {HP 354.3}

It is my burden that everyone who hears the words I proclaim will fall in love with Jesus.  There was one who did fall in love with Him. He is the one of our scripture reading. What someone does when they have fallen in love with somebody is expressed here:

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

They can’t help but talk about that person. The apostle Paul says, I don’t come to you with oratory, with the wisdom that is engendered in those who are the public speakers.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

In our last study I shared the falling in love with Jesus that when somebody falls in love with Him I quoted:

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. {2T 262.2}

If we believe in Jesus, we will love to think of Him, love to talk of Him, love to pray to Him. He is supreme in our affections. We love that which Christ loves, and hate that which Christ hates. . . . {OHC 338.3}

This is the mentality of those who are Christians; not merely professed Christians. It is those who really are totally sold on their Lord Jesus Christ. That is why they were called Christians in the first place. When the people at Antioch saw them, they could see that these people couldn’t help but talk about Jesus. That is why they called them Christians.

When I meet Christians today I marvel. What is a Christian today? Not like they used to be. In other words, on any subject that is being talked about, Jesus is the point of reference.

When I touched on this many years ago in the ministry of the church I was employed by, when I read there, I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified a person exclaimed, that’s weird. There are so many subjects in the Bible you can talk about, there are so many other things apart from Jesus. I thought he was a professed reformer! That’s the problem isn’t it? All the subjects that you can ever study in the Bible are dependent upon my relationship with Christ and must be centred as a point of reference in Him.

The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light which streams from the cross of Calvary, and in connection with the wondrous, central truth of the Saviour’s atonement. . {5BC 1137.7}

Jesus and His atonement must be the point of reference to any subject that you would study. Therefore it is my purpose here to crystallise our focus on the subject versus the source of the subject. I want to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. Does that mean there are no subjects beside Jesus that are addressed here? It is focusing on Jesus the source of any subject that Apostle Paul addresses. There are many wonderful subjects, good subjects in themselves, like creation versus evolution (people get entrenched in pursuing that subject). Morality (philosophers deal with morality and the Bible is full of this subject). History (prophecy is included in this subject). People become fascinated and enlarge their capability of understanding prophecy in its relation to history. Another subject is, what is truth? Truth versus fallacy. The science of nutrition, what does food do to your body? The science of health. These are all fascinating subjects. The subject of the origin of sin and evil, the study of world events of today how there is a spiritualistic influence in the world, in politics and so on, where do aliens come from?

-Many in the world have their affections on things that may be good in themselves, but their minds are satisfied with these things and do not seek the greater and higher good that Christ desires to give them. Now we must not rudely seek to deprive them of what they hold dear. Reveal to them the beauty and preciousness of truth. Lead them to behold Christ and His loveliness; then they will turn aside from everything that will draw their affections away from Him. {AH 305.1}

This is a fascinating statement to meditate about. According to inspiration here, there are many things that I can spend my affectionate mental exercises upon, good in themselves. These subjects are all good and even come from the Bible, but while they are from the Bible, it is very possible that the affections are centred upon the topics instead of the loveliness of Jesus Christ. If people are fascinated with certain subjects, we are told here, don’t attack them for what they are fascinated with, don’t rudely tell them they are wasting their time, reveal to them the beauty and preciousness of Christ and His loveliness, so that they will turn aside from everything that will draw their affections away from Him. This is a strange mind activity which I am praying God will help us to really appreciate.

People go to college to do the ministerial training and they study into all these subjects and really believe they have become ministers of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately there is something missing. The Spirit of Prophecy says there are many in the church who will make shipwreck because they have the truth but they have it not as it is in Jesus. They do not have their affections in the beauty of Jesus, as apostle Paul said I want to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified. Any other subject that is dealt with is dealt with as it is in Jesus. That is what apostle Paul wanted to get across to the people and that is what I yearn to get across. That we are so in love with Jesus that everything I look at is Jesus. All those good subjects must be seen as it is in Jesus.

All the studies of truth, whether it be truths of the Bible or science or whatever it is, are coloured by the notions and pride of man. I have knowledge of God and theology. How many ministers are wrapped up in the pride of opinion of their studies of theology, pride of opinion and notions of human observation? For example, the thought that we have developed from the creatures from the sea, the amphibians, we have parts of our body that used to be fins and tails, the follicles of our hair are like scales on a fish, they have three hairs coming out of each follicle, that is an observation which is interpreted and a human notion that we have developed from fish. It is the fabrication of evolution. If you are not under Christ’s love you will do this with every subject. The notions on health and the events around us are observed and we come up with our own observations. They are mingled with human notions. I want to get it exact in its purity and perfection of truth.

A mother asks a child in a city, darling, where does milk come from? The child says, off the shelf in the shop. The child has not seen a cow being milked. The child is concluding by observation. That is what we do with God when we study from our perspective. You can find in the Bible where God asks a person a question.

Job 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

 38:5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

That’s what the mythology of the Romans and Greeks have. A picture of earth with Atlas holding it up; that is what they thought it was, the god of Atlas holding up the earth. God says to Job, what is holding up the earth? Were you there when I laid it and put it all into action? You might study it out carefully and draw certain conclusions of your own notions, but do you really know?

Job 38:19 Where [is] the way [where] light dwelleth? and [as for] darkness, where [is] the place thereof,

When God said in the beginning, let there be light, where did it come from?

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Where are you and I? What do we know? We study and look at all the reasoning’s and draw conclusions. God says to Job as He says to us, where were you? What do you know? Do you have understanding? As He went through all the different questions, poor Job was overwhelmed. I love where God speaks like that in Job. It really puts us all on our haunches; we don’t know anything. We might pride ourselves to think we know something but as it says in Corinthians, we know not yet as we ought to know. Don’t be too high and mighty with what we know; we know nothing. What I want to know is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I want to know a love that motivates my inward being; that is the thing I need to know. Where only can correct answers to anything be found?

     “In the beginning God.” Genesis 1:1. Here alone can the mind in its eager questioning, fleeing as the dove to the ark, find rest. Above, beneath, beyond, abides Infinite Love, working out all things to accomplish “the good pleasure of His goodness.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11.  {Ed 134.2}

“The invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are . . . perceived through the things that are made, even His everlasting power and divinity.” Romans 1:20, {Ed 134.3}

We can get a perception by the things which He created. We can study His creations but they can only be perceived.

But their testimony can be understood only through the aid of the divine Teacher. {Ed 134.3}

They can be understood correctly only through the aid of the divine Teacher.

“What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11. {Ed 134.3}

“When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13. Only by the aid of that Spirit who in the beginning “was brooding upon the face of the waters;” of that Word by whom “all things were made;” of that “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” can the testimony of science be rightly interpreted. Only by their guidance can its deepest truths be discerned. {Ed 134.4}

Only under the direction of the Omniscient One shall we, in the study of His works, be enabled to think His thoughts after Him. {Ed 134.5}

What a privilege! We may know all things that God knows. We can think His thoughts after Him. How? This is what I want to spend time to understand. I want to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified. That is my focus and my intelligent engagement and everything else comes from that. I don’t go anywhere else but to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit who knows the infinite detail and can show me as He did the apostles. When Jesus was there with them, is He with us here? Amen. He was among the apostles and they held observational understandings from God’s word itself as well. They held notions. Jesus in His great love for them, tried to guide them safely but their notions got in the way. Have you ever tried to get something across to someone who assumed he understood what you meant? As he replays to you what you said, you go, that’s not what I meant. The person really believed that. That is what you meant because the human factor is a notional factor. Be aware of this fact.

The notions that the apostles had was that everything that was written about the Messiah was that He was going to rule in the kingdom. You can interpret that because it’s written that way. There are so many passages of Scripture that actually declare that Jesus is the King of kings and He is now on earth and He will be king. These are notions. Of course He is the king, but that He under the notional interpretation was going to be the king in Jerusalem and was going to free them from the Roman yoke was a notion. They held that notion so strongly because they felt absolutely sure that, that was what the Scripture said.

Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Peter thought, I have to correct Jesus here.

Matthew 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Here is the notional mentality of people who even study the word and come up with a notional conclusion as did Peter. The disciples thought that He was the king but then they saw Him hanging on the cross. Was this the Messiah after all? The notion was so strong that even their love for Jesus was obliterated. If they really loved Him they would trust what He had to tell them. How real is that for us today?

Peter with his self-assurance was confronted by the words of Jesus once again and his notion was still powerful.

Matthew 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

 26:32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

 26:33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all [men] shall be offended because of thee, [yet] will I never be offended.

 26:34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

 26:35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Why did they say that? He was their hero. Indeed they loved Him, but their notions of interpreting who He was spoiled their experience and they were bitterly disappointed. How much longer do any of us fall into this danger that we in our love to the Lord hold on to notional conclusions? The love of Jesus helped Peter through. He said, lovest thou me Peter? Feed my lambs, feed my sheep. In love Jesus had won his heart so that now he can be a true representative of Jesus, where his heart was so wrapped up with Jesus that all he could do was to uplift Him and have the truth as it is in Him.

In His mercy to us, Jesus unveils to us by providence and by His counsel through His ministry. He exposes our utter dependence on His revealing’s instead of my own happy discoveries of my own interpretations and notions. He does that with us and the love of Jesus is operating in our life to try to bring us to this deep appreciation. This principle is so fine-tuned that those people who are devout in every doctrine and teaching of the Bible applying their mind to the truths of the Bible without the operative love of Jesus presiding, can find themselves lost. That’s frightening.

Subdue the carnal mind, {1T 162.4}

My mind that looks at everything from my own human notions like Peter’s, like the apostles, like Judas.

…reform the life, and the poor mortal frame will not be so idolized. If the heart is reformed, it will be seen in the outward appearance. If Christ be in us the hope of glory, we shall discover such matchless charms in Him that the soul will be enamored. It will cleave to Him, choose to love Him, and in admiration of Him, self will be forgotten. Jesus will be magnified and adored, and self abased and humbled. But a profession, without this deep love, is mere talk, dry formality, and heavy drudgery. Many of you may retain a notion of religion in the head, an outside religion, when the heart is not cleansed. God looks at the heart; “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Will He be satisfied with anything but truth in the inward parts? Every truly converted soul will carry the unmistakable marks that the carnal mind is subdued. {1T 162.4}

As you meditate on that statement, it is such a shocking reality that my natural man is going to look at all these beautiful truths, we might have them all in place exactly as they should be, we might be defending original Adventism, but if it comes from my own common sense conclusions instead of a love in my Lord and Saviour in my inward parts, God can’t have me.

If we have our minds and affections set on gaining information for the sake of discovering beautiful information and truth, how long will it take before you know as you should know? You will never get there. If you are going to rely upon studying the details simply from the perspective of knowing truth, when will you come to know truth in its entirety? Never. If your mind is upon Him, if your affections are upon Him and you have Him, the Lord Jesus Christ in whom all the truth of anything in the universe is encapsulated, can you know instantly when knowledge is needed on a subject?

You have Him and in Him is encapsulated all truth, if you have Him, if He is your teacher and your instructor and you need knowledge at a particular given time that you don’t have, can you have it instantly? If He chooses to reveal it to you, don’t you think you can? If you don’t have Him and you are going, wait a minute I have to go and study that up, I have to really work hard to get the truth on that one; I work through it and I might never come up with it satisfactorily. Jesus knows exactly what the truth is.

Colossians 2:8 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.

This is the warning to believers; don’t let yourself be spoiled by the manner of man’s way of getting to truth through philosophy, through vain deceit. I have worked this out and I can show you. I am better than you. You can’t get away from that, if you have gained knowledge from that perspective you will become a vain Christian. We are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing; that is the Laodicean condition.

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

You are complete in Him. Concentrate on Him, don’t let philosophy and the wisdom of man and the knowledge of discovering information outside of looking to Jesus take you over. Beware, because in Him is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

What is this privilege? We may know as God knows. Am I blaspheming?

1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

You have the Holy One inside of you and you are so in love with Him, you embrace Him, He is everything to you and you in your own mind know that I don’t know anything. God knows everything and I’m hanging on to Him. He will show me, in every given situation I will rely and trust Him for the truth on anything. When you have that then you have an unction of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

 2:10 But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

He then proceeds to describe that every man inside himself knows what he is thinking inside of himself and only he knows. So it is with God; the Holy Spirit knows the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

I want to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified; that which the Holy Ghost teaches. The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God. That was the case with Peter. No Jesus, that’s not right. Jesus said, get behind me, Satan.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things,

The margin says discerneth all things, because he has Jesus in Him.

1 Corinthians 2:15 yet he himself is judged of no man.

 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

All the fullness of the Godhead is there. Can you know all things? Of course you can when God shows you. This is only possible if you have fallen in love with Jesus. Unless I have fallen in love with Jesus, I will cling to my notions and my pride of opinion. The love of Jesus is of a nature that takes away selfism, it is a humbling discovery as Peter and the apostles discovered.

The true Christian will make God first and last and best in everything. No ambitious motives will chill his love for God; {AG 105.5}

What happened with Peter? His love was chilled; he was trying to tell Jesus a thing or two.

…steadily, perseveringly, will he cause honor to redound to his heavenly Father. It is when we are faithful in exalting the name of God that our impulses are under divine supervision, and we are enabled to developed spiritual and intellectual power. {AG 105.5}

The Lord is our supervisor. Thank you Lord, you tell me what to do and what to know and what to believe. What is possible if we do this?

In Scandinavia also the advent message was proclaimed, and a widespread interest was kindled. Many were roused from their careless security to confess and forsake their sins, and seek pardon in the name of Christ. But the clergy of the state church opposed the movement, and through their influence some who preached the message were thrown into prison. In many places where the preachers of the Lord’s soon coming were thus silenced, God was pleased to send the message, in a miraculous manner, through little children. As they were under age, the law of the state could not restrain them, and they were permitted to speak unmolested. {GC 366.2}

The movement was chiefly among the lower class, and it was in the humble dwellings of the labourers that the people assembled to hear the warning. The child-preachers themselves were mostly poor cottagers. Some of them were not more than six or eight years of age; and while their lives testified that they loved the Saviour, and were trying to live in obedience to God’s holy requirements, they ordinarily manifested only the intelligence and ability usually seen in children of that age. When standing before the people, however, it was evident that they were moved by an influence beyond their own natural gifts. Tone and manner changed, and with solemn power they gave the warning of the judgment, employing the very words of Scripture: “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” They reproved the sins of the people, not only condemning immorality and vice, but rebuking worldliness and backsliding, and warning their hearers to make haste to flee from the wrath to come. The people heard with trembling. The convicting Spirit of God spoke to their hearts. Many were led to search the Scriptures with new and deeper interest, the intemperate and immoral were reformed, others abandoned their dishonest practices, and a work was done so marked that even ministers of the state church were forced to acknowledge that the hand of God was in the movement.  {GC 366.1-3}

This was the Adventist movement. Did those children know everything? They did; not because they knew it from their own background; Jesus was in them. If Jesus is in you and me, those things that I don’t know at this moment, I will know when I need it because Jesus knows everything and He will show us. Are you ever afraid of having to stand in the courts one day that you don’t know all the answers and you won’t be able to stand? If you really love Jesus, perfect love casteth out all fear. That love and trust in Him will be all your objective, entirely. When you stand in the courts and you have loved everything that the Lord has shown you in the past as adults, Jesus promised when you stand before the people you are not to think what am I going to answer, because it will be given you as to what you should answer. If you have Jesus, you have it.

I made an experience with an alcoholic that had brain damage. He loved Jesus. When he was tested by the psychiatrist of the hospital he gave answers that shocked that man. When they tested his brain recovery it was 100% recovered. There was no brain damage from severe alcoholism which he had before. Do you love Jesus? There is nothing impossible. The knowledge that we need is found in our love for Jesus, not our love for facts, our love for discovering information; it’s our love for Jesus.

When we have Him, we have everything, even eternal life. Praise the Lord. May He be with us and give us understanding, as our love for Him gets stronger and more beautiful.

Amen.

Posted on August 10, 2012, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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