Diligent Attention to God’s Companionship

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

I cannot, dare not walk alone. Do you find yourself lonesome, in this world? Do you find yourself handling life’s cares and conflicts and responsibilities as a soul operator? And as time goes on, do you find that things are getting too much? You can’t cope anymore, ready to fold up? It’s all getting too much. The words have come to me often: If only there was someone with me, I’m all alone, someone to talk with, to counsel with, to understand me.

As there words are often spoken to me, I turn around and say, there is somebody, and I point them to such a one. Quickly the answer comes back: But I need someone to see and to touch and to hear and to speak with. How real is God to you? How important is this mentality of thinking, this subject that we are handling here today? How important is it for those who are living at this time of history? How important? A companionship, a constant, unbroken walking with God, an experience of knowing that there is somebody livingly really with me. How important is this subject for the people who want to be among the 144,000: the product of the three angels’ messages. To be translated from among the living, how important is this subject? We have a representative of this subject for the people living in these last days. It’s found in our scripture reading, he is found in our scripture reading:

Genesis 5:24. And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah, for 300 years. And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.

Enoch walked with God. Who was Enoch that he should be a representative of us today? What did we read here? God took him. This is an important subject for you and me today:

By faith Enoch “was translated that he should not see death; … for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5. In the midst of a world by its iniquity doomed to destruction, Enoch lived a life of such close communion with God that he was not permitted to fall under the power of death. The godly character of this prophet represents the state of holiness which must be attained by those who shall be “redeemed from the earth” (Revelation 14:3) at the time of Christ’s second advent. Then, as in the world before the Flood, iniquity will prevail. Following the promptings of their corrupt hearts and the teachings of a deceptive philosophy, men will rebel against the authority of Heaven. But like Enoch, God’s people will seek for purity of heart and conformity to His will, until they shall reflect the likeness of Christ. Like Enoch, they will warn the world of the Lord’s second coming and of the judgments to be visited upon transgression, and by their holy conversation and example they will condemn the sins of the ungodly. {PP 88.3}

How will they condemn them? By their holy conversation and example, they will condemn the sins of the ungodly.

As Enoch was translated to heaven before the destruction of the world by water, so the living righteous will be translated from the earth before its destruction by fire. {PP 88.3}

Is this subject of walking with God, a present truth subject? What were the words of Genesis 5:24? And Enoch walked with God, and God took him. What was the interpretation of that in Hebrew 11:5? He had this witness that he pleased God, and that’s why He took him. So how does that correlate together? What pleases God? That Enoch walked with God. And it was this which pleased God.

Ponder God’s feelings. God was pleased with Enoch that Enoch walked with Him. Christians lament their lonesomeness. Christians lament their lonesomeness, how does God feel about that? Is He pleased? What pleased God? He yearns to walk with the one who feels lonesome. He longs to be acknowledged as a real person with you, with me. That pleased Him. Those people that have said to me: “But that is not somebody who I can hug, and cuddle, and hold on close to me.” How do you think God feels when we say that? How close can God get? Much closer than somebody you hug or cuddle. You can feel Him deep inside, as a real person. “But I want a real person.”

You see this message is for every one of us who yearns for company.

Did he [Enoch] see God by his side? Only by faith. He knew that the Lord was there, and he adhered steadfastly to the principles of truth. {1BC 1087.5}

“He knew” by faith, that God was really there. Now notice in the next paragraph:

We can have what Enoch had. {1BC 1087.6}

Come back to that first paragraph again:

We, too, are to walk with God. When we do this, our faces will be lighted up by the brightness of His presence {1BC 1087.5}

When I walk with somebody that I can’t see with my visual eyes, but by faith I will walk with Him as Enoch did, what will happen? It becomes a presence reality. It says when we do this “our faces will be lighted up by the brightness of His presence”

and when we meet one another, we shall speak of His power, saying, Praise God. Good is the Lord, and good is the word of the Lord (Manuscript 17, 1903). {1BC 1087.5}

That’s what will happen.

We can have what Enoch had. We can have Christ as our constant companion. Enoch walked with God, and when assailed by the tempter, he could talk with God about it. He had no “It is written” as we have, but he had a knowledge of his heavenly Companion. He made God his Counsellor, and was closely bound up with Jesus. And Enoch was honored in this course. He was translated to heaven without seeing death. And those who will be translated at the close of time will be those who commune with God on earth. {1BC 1087.6}

Who will be translated? “Those who commune with God on earth”.

Those who make manifest that their life is hid with Christ in God will ever be representing Him in all their life-practices. Selfishness will be cut out by the roots (Manuscript 38, 1897). {1BC 1087.6}

Consider God’s mind. It pleased Him for Enoch to recognize His presence with him constantly. God is a social being, He enjoys your company. And if we feel lonely and complain about our lonesomeness, He is standing by and saying: “Huh, you grieve me child, I’m right here.” Is it possible that God could be ashamed of me?

People like Enoch, these men of communion with God, what could be said about them?

Hebrews 11:16 But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Is it possible that He is ashamed of the others? He was not ashamed of them. Those who profess to love God, who profess to come and gather before Him because they love Him, are they making God feel ashamed, when they walk on their own, and try to grapple with problems on their own? I, a professed child, could do that to Him? Shun the thought. So what does that thought provoke in your heart? The very theme of our meditation today. It provokes diligent attention to God’s companionship. Doesn’t it? If God could be ashamed of me feeling lonesome and lonely and feeling like complaining to somebody, if that could make Him ashamed, then I would be provoked to be very diligent, and pay diligent attention to His closeness to me?

Didn’t Jesus pray for this? Didn’t Jesus express it in John 17 that Jesus earnestly pleaded for us that we would be in that union with Him?

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone (His disciples), but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

Are we here today because we believe on Jesus through the words of the disciples? Indeed we’re reading the testimonies, we’re reading the Gospels and we are here because of those and Jesus is praying for us. What is He praying for?

John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Can you see the diligent earnestness of the prayer of Jesus? Can you see then that if we become diligent as He is, that would please Him very much as Enoch pleased Him?

As we consider this important subject, ask ourselves the question honestly and realistically: “How focused am I?” Diligently focused on a close realistic communion constantly with God.

Distinguishing the voice of God

It requires earnest attention from us to distinguish the voice which speaks from God. {5T 68.4}

You might be talking to God and He is at a distance from you in your sense but you’re talking to Him. He wants to talk to you. He wants to talk to us. He wants to hold communion with us and there are all sorts of interferences there that unless I am diligent to pursue my relationship with Him, I will not recognize Him speaking to me, that’s why many people feel alone. To actually distinguish His voice speaking to me requires earnest diligence, attention to His presence. Is God walking by our side? Is His Spirit speaking, working within me? Is it possible that He’s right there and we recognize Him not? What happened to the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus? A perfect example, let’s ponder upon that for a moment. Pay close attention to the reason why they didn’t recognize Him walking beside them.

They had not advanced far on their journey when they were joined by a stranger, but they were so absorbed in their gloom and disappointment that they did not observe him closely. {DA 795.2}

A stranger walking beside them and they’re in their doom. Jesus had died on the cross and He’s been laid in the grave and now they were all depressed by the circumstances that they were experiencing. They were so gloomy that they didn’t recognise the stranger.

They continued their conversation, expressing the thoughts of their hearts. {DA 795.2}

Isn’t that interesting? Christians can be doing this, alone.

They were reasoning in regard to the lessons that Christ had given, which they seemed unable to comprehend. As they talked of the events that had taken place, Jesus longed to comfort them. {DA 795.2}

You know whenever I hear people speaking about their concerns, problems and their difficulties, I see Jesus there longing to comfort them. Whatever is said just doesn’t register. Neither did it register here:

He had seen their grief; He understood the conflicting, perplexing ideas that brought to their minds the thought {DA 795.2}

And all the time they might have been rejoicing in the knowledge of a risen Saviour. In the garden, Mary had stood weeping, when Jesus was close beside her. {DA 794.4}

How many times do you weep and you feel your breath of the closeness of God? Mary was there and Jesus was right there beside her. The disciples on the road to Emmaus, they were troubled, they were gloomed when Jesus was right there beside them.

Her eyes were so blinded by tears that she did not discern Him. And the hearts of the disciples were so full of grief that they did not believe the angels’ message or the words of Christ Himself. {DA 794.4}

Now here is the lesson:

How many are still doing what these disciples did! How many echo Mary’s despairing cry, “They have taken away the Lord, … and we know not where they have laid Him”! To how many might the Saviour’s words be spoken, “Why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?” He is close beside them, but their tear-blinded eyes do not discern Him. He speaks to them, but they do not understand. {DA 794.5}

Can you see the importance of our message today? Diligent attention to God’s companionship. Because if we don’t diligently pay attention, if we do not exercise earnest attention to recognize His voice and His presence, I will be in a lonesome lonely state and I will be exercising my responsibilities and cares under my own lonesome-minded activity. How many do that? God is very solicitous of our attention. Without it, we dwell in our own world. Have you ever come to somebody with whom you are trying to communicate with and they’re in their own little world and you can’t get in there? Without our earnest attention to the closeness of God, we dwell in our own world and are occupied with earnest attention and concentration on managing our affairs and dealing with our problems all on our own. For our sakes, God counsels:

Drawing nigh to God

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.

When we read this usually we think: “Well God isn’t there.” We think as it reads there: “God will only draw near to me when I draw near to Him.” But God is there. It was for our sakes that this was written, because if I don’t draw near to Him, then I do not feel His presence with me. Diligent attention to companionship with Him. Why is it that I need to do what is written there, besides what I have just said? “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil” Why?

All the powers of Satan are set in operation to hold the attention to frivolous amusements, and he is gaining his object. He is interposing his devisings between God and the soul. {13MR 264.2}

Satan will manufacture his diversions that men may not think about God. {13MR 265.1}

Why is this written? “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” This is the operative concept of this scripture that God is there but Satan is diverting our attention by his specious methods, his diversions so that I will not have a conscious thought-pattern with my God. The most favorite statement that shows exactly how that happens, that I have often quoted and I’m going to quote it again and read it again and let it sink deep, deeper than ever before. What is Satan’s diversions? What are his diversions that cause me to work on my own?

Jesus says, “Abide in Me.” These words convey the idea of rest, stability, confidence. When the mind dwells upon self, it is turned away from Christ, the source of strength and life. Hence it is Satan’s constant effort {SC 71.1}

There is that word constant, constant communion with God, and what is Satan’s constant effort?

Hence it is Satan’s constant effort to keep the attention diverted from the Saviour and thus prevent the union and communion of the soul with Christ. {SC 71.2}

Satan is constantly trying to keep the attention diverted from the Saviour. That is his prime effort. Notice how he does it.

The pleasures of the world (the amusements), life’s cares and perplexities and sorrows , the faults of others, or your own faults and imperfections —to any or all of these he will seek to divert the mind. Do not be misled by his devices. {SC 71.2}

What is he doing? He is trying to prevent you from walking with God as Enoch walked. And how does he do it? Your mind is turned from His presence, to some frivolous little pleasure or to think about the cares and perplexities and sorrows, or the faults of others. Have you every examined yourself, as you think and talk about the faults of others, where is God? Where is He? He is not there, because your mind is not communing with Him. So Satan does it all so capably. And then if you don’t do those things, you look at your own faults, “Oh”, and you ponder upon them, and you focus your attention upon the thoughts, and that’s Satan diverting your attention. That is Satan diverting your attention.

Many who are really conscientious, and who desire to live for God, he too often leads to dwell upon their own faults and weaknesses, and thus by separating them from Christ he hopes to gain the victory.
{SC 71.2}

The most important detail is what we are looking at that we should be conscious of, when it says: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil” That’s what is meant.

When He draws nigh to you, He lifts up for you a standard against the enemy. {OHC 96.5}

When God draws near to you, what does He do? As you draw near to Him and resist the devil, and He draws near to you, what does He do? He will lift up a standard against the enemy.

Let us take courage; for the enemy cannot pass this standard. {OHC 96.5}

Did you pick it up? If God draws near to you and you are in communion with God, the enemy cannot pass this standard.

The soul that loves God, loves to draw strength from Him by constant communion with Him. (Here it is again, constant communion) When it becomes the habit of the soul to converse with God, {OHC 96.7}

When it becomes the habit to do what Enoch did:

the power of the evil one is broken; for Satan cannot abide near the soul that draws nigh unto God. {OHC 96.7}

Isn’t that a great comfort? Satan cannot abide close to you and me, he hates God and if God is close to you in your mind and he knows that there is glory of God’s presence in your face, he slips away quick fast. “Satan cannot abide near the soul that draws night unto God.” He cannot.

Drawing near to God through nature

What does it mean, how do I draw near to Him to walk with Him by faith for the object of final translation as Enoch was? First of all, number one, how we draw near to Him.

As we come close to the heart of nature, Christ makes His presence real to us, and speaks to our hearts of His peace and love. {COL 25.1}

Here is one way by which we draw near to God and we know that His presence is there. As we draw close to the heart of nature, “Christ makes His presence real to us.” We need to have the real experience of the closeness of Jesus, and nature brings this about. I can testify of that brethren. Nature has been the one important area of my life in which I experienced God’s presence with me. All through those terrible years of my nurses’ experience, nurses’ training, where many nurses couldn’t handle it anymore, I spent two hours a day in nature, and I knew the presence of God.

God would have us appreciate His blessings in His created works. How many children there are in the crowded cities that have not even a spot of green grass to set their feet upon. If they could be educated in the country, amid the beauty, peace, and purity of nature, it would seem to them the spot nearest heaven. In retired places, where we are farthest from the corrupting maxims, customs, and excitements of the world, and nearest to the heart of nature, Christ makes His presence real to us, and speaks to our souls of His peace and love.—Special Testimonies On Education, May 11, 1896. {FE 424.1}

Because we don’t have a natural sense of His presence being real, we must go into nature and we will appreciate His presence as a real presence in my life, nature.

When you look at Enoch’s experience, this is exactly what he did. Remember what we read there, a retired place, away from all these things that influence the minds of the people. Here is Enoch. What did he do?

After remaining for a time among the people, laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart. Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. His face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shineth in the face of Jesus. As he came forth from these divine communings, even the ungodly beheld with awe the impress of heaven upon his countenance. {PP 86.4}

So what did he do? He went into a retired place.

[He] would not suffer the people to find him
{1SP 62.1}

Because he needed time to spend with God and experience His presence as God makes known to you as you spend time with nature.

That’s one avenue by which drawing near to Him brings us into an appreciation of His presence. How, once again, the presence of God is real to us:

Drawing near to God through prayer

The way to the throne of God is always open. You cannot always be on your knees in prayer, but your silent petitions may constantly ascend to God for strength and guidance. When tempted, as you will be, you may flee to the secret place of the Most High. His everlasting arms will be underneath you. {HP 86.2}

We come to God by special invitation, and He waits to welcome us to His audience chamber…. {HP 86.3}

Prayer, He is waiting for us to come into His audience chamber into His presence. Prayer is the measure by which we actually are in the close proximity to God in the audience chamber.

We may be admitted into closest intimacy and communion with God. (By prayer) Pray with humble hearts. Seek the Lord often in prayer. In the secret place, alone, the eye sees Jesus and the ear is opened to Jesus. {HP 86.3}

How did that happen? You will see Him! “The eye sees Jesus and the ear is opened to Jesus.”

You come forth from the secret place of prayer to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Temptations come, but you press closer and still closer to the side of Jesus and place your hand in His hand. Then you gain a rich experience, resting in His love and rejoicing in His mercy. The worries and perplexities and cares are gone, and you rejoice in Jesus Christ. {HP 86.4}

You want to get rid of perplexities, worries, and cares? You want to get rid of it? You don’t need a tablet. You don’t need any massage, nothing. You don’t need any of that. You just need to spend close communion with Jesus and you will be totally relaxed.

The soul is quick to hear the Father’s voice, and you will commune with God. (Follow carefully again) All criticism is banished, all judging of others has been expelled from the soul. {HP 86.4}

We have spent many times in the past on how to get on with one another, the kind of things we shouldn’t be doing, evil surmising, judging and that sort of things and we try to stop but we can’t. Why not? Because we’re not focused. We’re not focused on Jesus. Because if we do, worries, perplexities, cares, criticism, judging, etc. is all gone. What peace. That’s prayer.

Drawing near to God through the Word

The third one is time with the Word of God. Enoch didn’t have the written Word which we have. He relied upon experience with Him as he was reaching out for Him. That’s why it took Him three hundred years. It doesn’t have to take quite so long with us. Have you ever worried: “If it took Enoch three hundred years, I haven’t got much time left.” Here is the answer. We have what he hasn’t got. Follow very carefully:

You need and I need that the spiritual vision shall be cleared and intensified to behold the scheme of redemption as we have never viewed it before. We want that our hearts should feel the mighty throbs of a Saviour’s love. (How?) In searching the Scriptures, in feeding upon the words of life, O consider it is the voice of God to the soul. {ML 283.2}

Remember “earnest attention to recognizing to voice?”

We may be confused sometimes over the voice of our friends; {ML 283.2}

People have often come to me and said, such and such said that. Oh, is that really so? You get confused about what people say around you. Even church members get confused about that.

We may be confused sometimes over the voice of our friends; but in the Bible we have the counsel of God upon all important subjects which concern our eternal interests (How many? All) , and in temporal matters we may learn a great deal. Its teaching will be always suited to our peculiar circumstances and calculated to prepare us to endure trial and fit us for our God-given work.

The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us, just as surely as if we could hear it with our ears. {ML 283.2}

Next time you want to hear God speaking to you and you say, I can’t hear Him, remember, “the Bible is God’s voice speaking to us”, just as though we could hear it with our ears.

If we realized this, with what awe we would open God’s Word and with what earnestness we would search its precepts. The reading and contemplation of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the Infinite One. {ML 283.3}

Intimate, that makes the Bible more than a few words on a page, doesn’t it? How The reading of the Word is God drawing near to me as I draw near to Him.

We are to open the Word of God with reverence and with a sincere desire to know the will of God concerning us. The heavenly angels will direct our search. {ML 283.4}

Have you ever felt that? The very thing you need, you are going to the Bible to get an answer from God, and it’s the very thing I need. Who was there? The heavenly angels were directing our search.

God speaks to us in His Word. We are in the audience chamber of the Most High, in the very presence of God. {ML 283.4}

The very presence of God. When you take your Bible and you come prayerfully, you are reading, and you are in the presence of God; you can learn from God as Enoch took three hundred years, you can learn it in a few short months.

Christ enters the heart. {ML 283.4}

Nature, prayer and the study of the Word. Fourthly, after you have studied, after you have prayer, after you have been in nature, what should you continue to do?

Walk continually in the light of God. Meditate day and night upon His character. Then you will see His beauty and rejoice in His goodness. Your heart will glow with a sense of His love. You will be uplifted as if borne by everlasting arms. With the power and light that God imparts, you can comprehend more and accomplish more than you ever before deemed possible. {MH 514.3}

What are you to do after you’ve spent time in nature? You can’t stay there all the time. After you have prayed, and you can’t stay on your knees all the time, after you have studied the Word, and you can’t carry your Bible with you all the time, what are you to do? You are then to walk in the light of what you have been doing at those times. Continue in prayer and meditation. To behold and to think about those beautiful things that happen to you in the presence of the audience chamber of God. Thereby, constantly God will continue to abide with us.

He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me

There is one more criteria and this is the one I hardly want to share with you because it gets me into trouble every time. But I must because if you don’t practice it, if you do all these other things, then Satan will get in anyway.

Jesus says,” He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not up his cross and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.” The words that Christ addressed to His disciples, were addressed to us as well as to them. He presents before us the unwearied conflict that we must have on this earth as long as time shall last. We are to place no person before Christ in our affections. If a person who has been convicted by the Spirit of God smothers his convictions, and continues to trample under foot the commandments of the Lord, and reject the truth of God simply because he sees it will bring disunion into his family relations, he shows that he loves the peace that is not of Christ, but of the world. {BEcho March 19, 1894, par. 5}

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.

If I am walking with Jesus and I do not sever my affections from those who do not love my Jesus, I will be constantly put under stress of having to please them as well as pleasing my Jesus and you can’t do it. It’s impossible. So who is going to do? Father, mother, son, daughter, wife and husband who doesn’t love Jesus, with whom I am walking daily? If in walking with Him, I am meant to be pursuing what He is saying to me and I wavered off because it is going to create a stress in my relationship with my mother, father, sister, and wife, what am I showing? I am showing that if I smother the conviction and reject the truth of God simply because he sees it will bring disunion into his family relations, he shows that he loves the peace that is not of Christ, but of the world.

He prefers to be in harmony with the world rather than to be in unity with Christ. But in order to have the peace of Christ, it is necessary to place Christ and His service first. Those who yield their convictions of truth to please father or mother, sister or brother, husband or wife or children, prove themselves unworthy of Christ. {BEcho March 19, 1894, par. 5}

How does Christ feels about us? Ashamed?

They do not discern His excellency, and therefore they shun the cross. But there is a cross to be lifted by everyone who by faith accepts a crucified and risen Saviour. {BEcho March 19, 1894, par. 5}

There are people who will cling to those, who hug and cuddle them, because they need someone and when they don’t see that Jesus is close and they spend some time with Jesus, they will keep on being close to those that they can be close to visually. There lies the reason that many people do not have the reality of the presence of God in their lives as Enoch had.

Our message today as we come away from this meditation, if I want to be among the 144,000 and translated as Enoch represented them, I must be diligent to sustain my communion with God by time in nature, time in prayer, time with the Word. Meditation all day long and differentiating my loyalties.

May God help us to be among those who will be translated. May we be those whom God is not ashamed of, because we have walked with Him, in an unbroken communion.

Amen.

Posted on October 6, 2012, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel, The Love of God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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