The Reverence of Love


By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

We have been contemplating the great reconciling love of God. We have seen that He, the creator of the universe has sacrificed such an immeasurable amount. He, the pure God, came into impurity with us. The Father was there as we have read in Corinthians with Christ reconciling sinners, appealing to them through His sacrifice to love Him whom they did not love.

As we contemplated these amazing dimensions of God’s love and we saw what Jesus has done because of my sin, our sinfulness becomes magnified. This is one reason why many people don’t want the real Jesus. If you look at the real Jesus you will feel absolutely grotty. You will feel like you are a vile sinner, you will see yourself, you will abhor yourself and you will hate sin whereas before you may have enjoyed it. Why do we hate sin when we look upon the love of Jesus? We discover that that sin which I enjoyed caused the death and suffering of the divine one.

He (Christ) died that sin might be made to appear exceeding sinful, the hateful thing it is. {12MR 398.3}

People don’t hate sin; they enjoy sinning but they hate the consequences of sin which is death and disease and suffering. They hate that, but the action of sin they don’t hate.

As we come to this appreciation of looking at God’s amazing love and realising how sinful we really are and comprehending the enormity of sin, we now reach a dimension of appreciation which causes us to fall more deeply in love with God. I see myself as I really am. A dreadful, hopeless sinner, and only as I see this can I appreciate the extra dimension of God’s love.

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

When you are broken-hearted because of your own incapacities, of your own hateful character and unworthiness, when you see yourself as you really are and you become broken-hearted and you come to God with a contrite spirit instead of a proud Laodicean one but a totally crushed spirit, the Lord’s love is that He is nigh to you. How nigh?

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Can you see God’s love gets brighter and brighter? The person who is wrung out with a broken heart feels his terrible sin because it was his sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. He sees what sin has done and he hates himself for not merely the consequences of sin, but what sin really is. We can see it best when we see it in Christ’s experience when He shared Himself with us.

Only he who sees his own sinfulness can discern the preciousness of the Saviour. {DA 494.4}

The preciousness of the Saviour is that after He makes you feel terrible, He wants to revive you. He wants to have you in a high and lofty place where He sits, to have you close by His side in eternal glory. Can you appreciate this love? Reach out with me into the bosom of God’s love, this love that hates the sin that suffers under sin and yearns for the sinner. Hear His yearning for your and my soul. This is God’s plaintive cry to the wicked. When you find yourself so wicked, when you feel that you are the chief of sinners, worse than the drunkard, worse than those you used to look down upon, you feel worse than that, listen to the amazing love of God.

Ezekiel 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

The wages of sin is death. He has no pleasure in that.

Ezekiel 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

This is such a different personality than Satan has painted, that God sees the wicked and has no pleasure in seeing them die. Can you imagine how He is grieved looking down upon this planet with its destructive diseases and warfare? Today in warfare they use long-distance missiles and so on but in the days of the Roman Empire they used hand to hand fighting, slicing each other’s head off, stabbing each other to death into the heart face-to-face. God has no pleasure. He sees no joy in that. He looks upon us today and says, I have waited and waited for you to respond to my love, please. According to those words you can see Him almost beside Himself to prevent the death of the wicked. He has made a way available for the wicked. He is pleading with them, here, I have given you my Son, please, change your ways so that you do not die that miserable death that I have no pleasure in beholding. As He is there plaintively crying like that, to make it possible to prevent their death, notice this language.

Job 33:24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

Look at your God. Here we are in sin and anybody who has sinned feels that he is not worthy and he can’t even look up to heaven; like the publican versus the Pharisee, who strikes his chest and says, Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner. To appreciate when I feel my undone condition, God wants to lift me up. How does He reveal that? I don’t want your death, I have found a ransom. It’s like, I am so thankful that there is a ransom that can save these people. He needed to save, but He needed to remain just at the same time. If you sin, if you break the law, justice demands the required punishment.

You can see the description here, He is in this plight; He wants to see the wicked saved, He doesn’t want him to die, but he must die because He is a just God. What will happen? Ah, I have found a ransom, I found something to save these wicked ones through Jesus Christ the ransom that He found. This is something that transpired long before creation commenced. From the foundation of the world God found a ransom. They counselled together, that if sin would arise, how would we meet it? We don’t want to see the death of the wicked – the Son said, I will be the ransom.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Jesus was the ransom that redeemed.

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

He doesn’t want us to die, so He has forbearance.

Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

He needed to be just, He had to punish wickedness and sin by letting His law do its work, but now He found a ransom so that His justice could still be operative and yet to prevent the wicked from being killed at the same time. Can you reach into the understanding of His amazing love? My Son, you are going to let me do this. This is one of the most precious revelations of God’s love. Why does the Father love Jesus so much?

“Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.” That is, My Father has so loved you, that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your substitute and surety, by surrendering My life, by taking your liabilities, your transgressions, I am endeared to My Father. {DA 483.5}

Can you see it? My Son, I love you because you’re prepared to take the justice that is demanded for these wicked people. Can you see God’s love for you in your wickedness? God is relieved; sinners could live, they didn’t need to die because I found a ransom! My own Son. I love these wicked people so much that I am prepared to let Him die for them, and He has offered Himself.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

If our heart condemn us let alone other people, God is greater than our heart. He who spared not His own Son, He loved us so much that He spared not His own Son. how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? As I feel my overwhelming sense of my guilt, my short-coming, my awareness that I am never going to make it I am so sinful:

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As you struggle with the deep sense of your unworthiness, meditate on this, does your heart condemn you? Do you feel that you are never going to make it? God says, nothing is going to separate you from my love. I have found a ransom. I love Him so much more because He was prepared to do this for you, which I didn’t want to see you suffering under.

People have become stone cold hard when they can’t let this break the hard heart. This is breaking a hard heart. If I will look long enough at this story it will break me, it will cause me to give over; this amazing love!!

When we look at our sinfulness, when we see how drastically sinful I am with the mistakes I keep on making and have made:

Do not think that because you have made mistakes you must always be under condemnation, for this is not necessary…. {OHC 83.2}

It feels necessary, doesn’t it? I am so bad, I am under condemnation and I keep plunging myself under the sense of condemnation. This is not necessary.

Shall we look at our sins, and begin to mourn, and say, I have done wrong, and I cannot come to God with any degree of confidence? Does not the Bible say, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”? 1 John 1:9. It is a proper thing for us to have a realization of the terrible character of sin. It was sin that caused Christ to suffer ignominious death on Calvary. But while we should understand that sin is a terrible thing, yet we should not listen to the voice of our adversary, who says, “You have sinned, and you have no right to claim the promises of God.” You should say to the adversary, “It is written, ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous’ (1 John 2:1)”. {OHC 83.3}

Not only has God made provision through the death of His Son to be able to pardon us, but He has Him there as our advocate, as we read in Romans:

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Now the one that was our ransom goes and pleads for us in front of the Father. Can you appreciate the amazing mentality of God? He wanted us saved in the first place, and now He has His Son up there who has died for us and is pleading our cases before the Father. Nothing has been left undone to assure our salvation.

So I will be your representative in heaven. The Father beholds not your faulty character, but He sees you as clothed in My perfection. {DA 357.1}

Jesus is trying to tell us, I am standing here pleading for you. Nothing can separate you from the Father’s love. I love you and I have given myself to you. I know how you feel, I have been down there and it is still present tense to me. I am standing here taking your sin so that my righteousness can cover you in front of the Father. The Father loves me for doing that.

Therefore, these feelings of guiltiness, this sense of condemnation is not necessary when we come to Him in brokenness of heart, notice this language:

This feeling of guiltiness {TMK 241.4}

How did it come there? Because we see the sinfulness of sin. We see what I have done. I feel miserable, I feel guilty,

This feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross of Calvary. The sense of sinfulness has poisoned the springs of life and of true happiness. Ibid

He will rise with healing in his wings. Why am I sick? I can eat as well as I like, I will still be sick because my springs of life are poisoned by guilt, by stress. The sense of sinfulness has poisoned the springs of life and of true happiness must be laid at the foot of the cross and there will be healing.

Now Jesus says, “Lay it all on Me. I will take your sins; I will give you peace. Banish no longer your self-respect, for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine. Your weakened will I will strengthen; your remorse for sin I will remove.” Then turn your grateful heart, trembling with uncertainty, to Him and lay hold on the hope set before you. God accepts your broken, contrite heart, and extends to you free pardon. He offers to adopt you into His family, with His grace to help your weakness, and the dear Saviour will lead you on step by step, you placing your hand in His and letting Him guide you. {TMK 241.4}

This is the bosom of the Father’s love. Banish no longer your self-respect. These are words of inspiration. If this is what God is saying to you and me personally, individually then how am I going to relate to others who are here for the same purpose, to open our hearts to this? God desires us, as we have studied, to love as He loves. God desires us to love our neighbour as ourselves. Tell me, if you are under a cloud of guiltiness, of condemnation, can you love others as God wants you to love them? A person who lacks self-respect cannot treat others with respect. That is a reality. It is a psychological reality. How can you treat somebody with respect if you can’t respect yourself? As we have been reading of this amazing love of God, and you and I see the despicable behaviour patterns of others around you, and they are professed Christians, and then you see your own despicable character and you are disgusted about yourself, what are you going to do to the other person’s despicable character? Cause to effect. We will mistreat each other, we will hold emotional combat within our heart towards others. Those that feel that they may be bad and see somebody who also is bad, they think, they are worse than me so I will run them down so it will make me feel better. That is the way the psychology runs.

God comes right to the root of all relationship dysfunction with this message. If you have a dysfunctional family or church relationship, or a dysfunctional society with which you are connected, the dysfunction starts with oneself, not the other. We are ready to blame the other for the dysfunction, but it starts with me. My relationship with God is priority in this whole dilemma of human dysfunction. You know the Scripture says as far as it belongs unto you, live at peace with all men. That is where our focus is. God is dealing with the focus of myself. My weak un-Christlike self cries out to God. If it doesn’t run away, and God says we will deal with you, not the other, we will deal with you, as I show you my love for you in your despicable condition, I am striking at the very root in the detail of my love in respecting yourself so that you can respect others.

As we have just contemplated the depth of this bosom of God’s love, His pardoning love, what is our problem that we take so long to get out of this guilty feeling, this condemnation, this shortfall? What is the problem that people still keep on mulling along with human guiltiness that reflects across the board in the home, in the church and in society? What do we do with the amazing love that God has demonstrated here as it applies to me in my sense of guilt?

Let gratitude and thankfulness flow out of the heart, and cease to hurt the heart of Christ by doubting his love, which has been assured to us by most astounding evidences; {ST December 3, 1894, par. 7}

We have just spent time on that. What is our danger? No Lord, I am too bad. I hear it uttered to me and I feel like crumbling on the floor and weeping. I have just shared the beautiful love of God and then somebody says, but. That hurts not only me, but what I know of God. It hurts God. There are no ‘buts’. If I see myself so deplorably sinful, then God’s love is there for me. If I say, God I am too bad, you can’t have me. What am I doing to God? Our subject is the reverence of love. Besides hurting His heart, what else?

we must not dishonor Him by doubting His love. {TMK 241.4}

Do you reverence Him when you say, but Lord, no, I am too bad? What are you doing? You are not reverencing Him, you are dishonouring Him. He has looked for a ransom because He hates to see my death. He loves His Son all the more because He has offered Himself so that God can be just and at the same time justify you and me. Now I go and say, no Lord. Can you see what we are doing to God?

God requires that we confess our sins and humble our hearts before Him; but at the same time we should have confidence in Him as a tender Father, who will not forsake those who put their trust in Him. {OHC 85.2}

That’s His nature.

We do not realize how many of us walk by sight and not by faith. We believe the things that are seen, but do not appreciate the precious promises given us in His Word. And yet we cannot dishonor God more decidedly than by showing that we distrust what He says. {OHC 85.2}

What does He say? My son, I have given you my life. My son, my daughter, I have found a ransom for you. I am so relieved. Will you turn around and say, I’m too bad? we cannot dishonor God more decidedly than by showing that we distrust what He says.

Do you want to do that? Don’t you love Him? I love Him dearly. I can come to him with all my total sense of depravity and I can believe Him. If I wouldn’t believe Him, brethren and sisters, I wouldn’t be standing here. His love provokes you. If I am going to dishonour Him by not believing that He wants me to live, that I’m not going to make it, what are we doing to Him? I’m dishonouring Him, this provokes me to reverence and fills the believing heart with respect to myself. Why can I no longer banish my self-respect? You are bought with a price. We have been redeemed. I have found a ransom. What was the price, what was the ransom? All heaven.

Isaiah 13:12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

Ophir was renowned for the purest gold. God has paid a ransom that is of such value that a man is worth much more than any of that. He is worth God’s own self. God has engaged in an enterprise to make you and me one with Himself through Christ. In this love of God that He could not tolerate the death of the wicked, He has made an arrangement with His Son to be just and yet to justify the wicked sinner. Where does He lift him to?

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;

Now that you have understood this, don’t go back to fearing about your salvation.

Romans but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

What enterprise has God gone into? He has made the wicked sinner an heir of God. If you are an heir of an estate that is yours, but the price that was paid for us was more than just a heavenly estate, it was God Himself. If He would have failed the whole Godhead would have been strewn across the universe. Think what you are worth. In Christ was all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. What about you and me through this?

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

We may be filled with all the fulness of the Godhead. Those were the words of Jesus.

John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 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.

Brethren and sisters, let’s take this on, this amazing love. If you take this on, that Jesus is praying as our advocate, although you are such a sinner, although you feel so imperfect, although you feel so guilty, cast it off, banish no longer your self-respect. Jesus is saying, the respect that I am placing upon you in my love is that you are to reverence God in you. We are to reverence God in one another. This is the reverence of God’s love.

Is Christ divided?—No. Christ abiding in the soul will not quarrel with Christ in another soul. We must learn to bear with the peculiarities of those around us. {TDG 262.5}

Do you have a few peculiarities? I have too, sorry. But Christ is in me. The good traits that God is giving me will be increasing and the evil traits will be simultaneously decreasing, but while they are decreasing and the good traits are increasing you will see some strange peculiarities about me and I will see them in you, and you will see them in others. We will all see crazy things in one another’s lives until they are completely removed by this wonderful love.

If our will is under the control of Christ’s will, how can we be at variance with our brethren? If we are at variance, we may know that it is because self needs to be crucified. He whom Christ makes free is free indeed. We are not complete in Christ unless we love one another as Christ has loved us. When we do this, as Christ has given us commandment, we shall give evidence that we are complete in Him. {TDG 262.5}

It starts with me. It starts with oneself. We are to acknowledge that Christ is in me by faith. As I believe this I will see others with Christ in them as well. I see my failures and I see their failures, it matters not. Stop talking about it, stop ribbing each other. No railing for railing. How many times do husbands and wives do that? The home is dysfunctional because that is what goes on between husband and wife even in the church. It is time to stop. It is time to have reverence in the home. It is time to have reverence in the church because of the great love of God that is operating and the sense of His presence is with me. We are to look at each other beyond the external. Christ, God, is in there. If I talk negatively about my brother and my sister I am forgetting that God is in there. Beyond the external faulty surface all the fullness of the Godhead exists. For instance, a mother and a child relationship:

It is hers, with the help of God, to develop in a human soul the likeness of the divine. {MH 377.1}

Motherhood is to be reverenced. Husband, if you ridicule your wife, you are not reverent to her work. Her work is to develop in her child the likeness of the divine. Will this not bring beautiful reverence into the home? This reverential love is a love that must govern us in our reverence one toward another.

Make the home life as nearly as possible like heaven. {ML 284.2}

If you want your children to develop in a heavenly atmosphere, have reverence in the home.

In the home the foundation is laid for the prosperity of the church. {ML 284.3}

Fathers and mothers who make God first in their households, who teach their children that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, glorify God before angels and before men…. Christ is not a stranger in their homes; His name is a household name, revered and glorified. Angels delight in a home where God reigns supreme and the children are taught to reverence religion, the Bible, and their Creator. Such families can claim the promise, “Them that honour Me, I will honour.” {ML 284.5}

How can you teach them to reverence that if there is no reverence between husband and wife? How can you show that reverence if the children are watching adults arguing? Is there reverence in that? Obviously not. This is to stop if we are going to get to heaven. We have to have a little heaven on earth in the church, which starts in the home.

The sacred privilege of communing with God makes distinct and clear the sight of the glorious things prepared for those who love God and reverence His commandments. We need to bring reverence into our daily lives…. {ML 284.6}

We bring too much that is little and common into the daily duties of life, {ML 284.7}

We ridicule things. I have to catch myself many times because I used to say in front of my children when things weren’t going right, oh John, you clown. Is that reverent? Not at all. I wasn’t reverent with myself. My children used to make comment on that, Dad’s claiming himself to be a clown. No.

and the result is that we fail to see Him who is invisible. {ML 284.7}

Remember that statement about Moses? He saw Him who is invisible. We fail to see Him because in the home we demean His image.

Thus we lose many rich blessings in our religious experience. {ML 284.7}

We need to bring reverence into our daily lives. Reverence means tender affection.

Tender affection should ever be cherished between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. Every hasty word should be checked, and there should not be even the appearance of the lack of love one for another. {ML 284.7}

Not even the appearance of it, not in the body language. It takes away the sense of reverence.

Children are to respect and reverence their parents, and parents are to manifest patience, kindness, and affection for their children. Each one should seek in every possible way to please and make happy the members of the family circle. {FLB 267.5}

Our scripture reading expressed it. How should we esteem one another?

Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

I see Christ in you. I esteem you better than myself. I feel pretty grotty about myself, but I can see Christ in you. I am going to open my heart to Jesus and I am going to let Him help me to no longer banish my self-respect. All that, that happy family, happy church, joyful, heavenly nature of God’s people is possible by falling in love with the God whose love we admire. If you will fall in love with the author of the Bible as these series have commenced with, you will find joy and happiness in all your relationships. It is my prayer that we embrace this.

Amen.

Posted on November 24, 2012, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel, The Love of God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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