God’s Captivating Love

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By John Thiel

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Consider with me this manner of love. What manner of love is this that you and I sinners condemned by the law, should be called sons of God?

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

He came still closer. What manner of love is this? He who had the right to banish us, to deal with the sinner because he has made a choice to do his own thing, hopelessly plummeting into a state that we see the world is in today.

Christ, our Saviour, in whom dwelt absolute perfection, became sin for the fallen race. He did not know sin by the experience of sinning, but He bore the terrible weight of the guilt of the whole world.  {UL 191.3}

Christ might, because of our guilt, have moved far from us. But instead of moving farther away from us, He came and dwelt among us, filled with all the fullness of the Godhead, to be one with us, that through His grace we might attain to perfection. By a death of shame and suffering He paid man’s ransom. What self-sacrificing love is this! From the highest excellency He came, His divinity clothed with humanity, descending step by step to the very depths of humiliation. No line can measure the depth of this love. {UL 191.2}

How deep is it? It’s infinity, No line can measure it.

Christ has shown us how much God can love and our Redeemer suffer in order to secure our complete restoration. He desires His children to reveal His character, to exert His influence, that other minds may be drawn into harmony with His mind. {UL 191.2}

He became bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh. He in whom dwelt only perfection became sin for the fallen race. He never sinned, but He bore the terrible weight of a sinner. God Himself, in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Let’s stop and really open the heart to these enormous realities. God the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in human nature, sinful human nature.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

When it says God commendeth, what is being solicited in our hearts? Is it not that He says, can you look at me, please? Can you pay close attention? Don’t let the things of this world get in between your mind, focus entirely upon this love. Christ died for us in consequence of being bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.

2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

The apostles were in agony trying to communicate this to every human being. Here you can see the Godhead, this amazing story of the Godhead becoming part of us. The world while they were yet sinners, were being solicited to be reconciled to God to such a degree that they should be the sons of God. For God Himself was in Christ doing this. We who are sinners come, be reconciled to God, come close to Him as He has come close to us. How close?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

He became in us so that we might be in Him. What is meant by these last words, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him? Let us explore this entwining of God with us and us with Him.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

8:17 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.

The fullness of the Godhead was in Jesus that the fullness of the Godhead, all of God in Jesus, was combined in Jesus with you and me to be so reconciled so that we would be made the righteousness of God in Christ. The righteousness of God Himself. This is what it means to be sons of God that we can call Him Abba which means Daddy, heirs of God. Heirs not of God’s kingdom but heirs of God. Was this not what Lucifer wanted? He wanted to be in the place of God. We can be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ.

Wasn’t Jesus part of the Godhead? Through this amazing manner of God’s love, we have the privilege of being part (shall I say, it is self-evident,) heirs of God, the position of the Godhead. Some people have tried to hook me up on this saying, you go around teaching that we can be part of the Godhead?  I don’t teach anything but what I am reading. Isn’t this what this says?

Galatians 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

God came much nearer to the human race than to any other creature, so that the human nature may be endowed with the divine nature.

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

The knowledge of Jesus Christ in becoming one with us is a knowledge of Him that calls us to glory and virtue.

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

What are we to be partakers of? The divine nature through Christ because He was divine. He mingled Himself with the sinners with the same flesh and bone as us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Behold what manner of love.

Oh, the mystery of redemption! the love of God for a world that did not love Him! Who can know the depths of that love which “passeth knowledge”? Through endless ages immortal minds, seeking to comprehend the mystery of that incomprehensible love, will wonder and adore. {PP 63.3}

Do we have to wait? We are here to worship God now to spend time in focusing. It might be hard for us because we have been overburdened with so many sins that it is hardly possible to look past the sins. Look at Jesus because He is right there with your sin, you don’t have to look very far. He is right there in Gethsemane with my plight, with my deplorable minded suffering, where He finally said at the cross, my God why hast Thou forsaken me? Have you ever felt or said that? He is right there with you.

This is a concept that He became one with us so that I can become one with Him to such a degree to be part of God an heir of God. Heirship is when somebody has died and then you take that place. If God could die, which He can’t, you would be God. He doesn’t need to be dead because He can share His place with you.

“Partakers of the divine nature.” Is this possible? Of ourselves we can do no good thing. How, then, can we be partakers of the divine nature? By coming to Christ just as we are, needy, helpless, dependent. {HP 59.2}

People say to me but, but, but. There are no but’s wherever you find yourself.

 He died to make it possible for us to be partakers of the divine nature. {HP 59.2}

How can I be a partaker of the divine nature? By coming to Christ and by taking hold of this reality.

He took humanity upon Himself that He might reach humanity. With the golden chain of His matchless love He has bound us to the throne of God. We are to have power to overcome as He overcame. {HP 59.2}

He has bound us to His throne. Can you take it in? Our minds are pretty feeble. Is it real or is it just a lovely theory? We have this problem of arguing with the doctrine. Now I need to make it real and practical, no longer pussy footing around waiting for people to see it for themselves. I need to make it plain. That is what the Lord has told me to do. As I do so, things happen.

Of Christ’s relation to His people, there is a beautiful illustration in the laws given to Israel. When through poverty a Hebrew had been forced to part with his patrimony, and to sell himself as a bondservant, the duty of redeeming him and his inheritance fell to the one who was nearest of kin. See Leviticus 25:25, 47-49; Ruth 2:20. {DA 327.3}

It was part of the national law that a person who lost all his credibility of having anything at all, all his property and all his freedom, could be redeemed by his next of kin.

So the work of redeeming us and our inheritance, lost through sin, fell upon Him who is “near of kin” unto us. It was to redeem us that He became our kinsman. Closer than father, mother, brother, friend, or lover is the Lord our Saviour. “Fear not,” He says, “for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.” “Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” Isaiah 43:1, 4. {DA 327.3}

Can you see why the Lord has pointed this out? In my dream I pointed out to this lady, when you fall in love with the man of the Bible then you will be able to be fully satisfied in whatever given situation you are in and those things that your husband didn’t fulfil will be fulfilled and you will love your husband and you will be happy.

The reality is that God has put a situation into action so that we can fall in love with Him, closer than a lover. How much can you remember when you first fell in love with somebody and you thought this is just the top of the experience? As you look back there were gaps there. At the time you thought there were none, but everyone who falls in love with a human being discovers there is something that needs to be closer than that. That is Jesus. How close? So that we could be bound to the Godhead and be part of this infinite God in eternity, the infinite, boundless love, the immeasurable love. The mind cannot reach to the bottom of such a love. This is what is our privilege if we will have it.

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Bound to the throne of God Jesus the man is sitting in the throne of the Father and we are sitting with Him in the throne of the Father.

If you and I are fully aware of our deplorable sinful condition and we come to Jesus and receive this amazing impossible thought, we receive it because it has been given us in the scriptures. This thought is not generated by a sinner, it is generated by God Himself.

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.

How revived can you be? To be sinful and then to be made the righteousness of God in Christ. As we become like Jesus in contrition, remember He repented my sin. When we read Psalm 22 and Psalm 69 it brings tears to our eyes when He is crying on my behalf. He is crying as though He is that same sinner and God lifted Him up to be in His throne. You and I if we are in contrition as Jesus was and is, we will dwell in a high and lofty place with Him that dwells in that lofty place. He has bound us to His throne, to His Godhead. Can you comprehend such love? As the apostle said, behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that what we have just contemplated is for us. Therefore, the world knoweth us not.

How easy did you find and do you find this reception into your life? With every person I have studied, there comes the recognition where they finally say, this is too hard for me to accept. As we are confronted with this mentality, this is the reason why the churches don’t accept the fullness of it. They teach so much about the cross but they don’t go into the depths of this because they cannot believe that the holy God can lower Himself so low to experience you and me in my deplorable sinful condition. He was pure, He was up there and we are down here and He is trying to pull us up to Him. The only way He can pull us up to Him is for Him to come down to be with us and touch us, and carry us up to Him.

Where He wants to carry us to is an heir of God, joint-heirs together with Christ. If we will believe this as we read in 1 John 3:1-3, he who has this hope in Him purifieth himself even as He is pure. You can only be pure as He is if you will have this hope. If you don’t have this hope, if you don’t embrace this hope, if you don’t make it in reality your own, you will never overcome. We will be purified, to be holy as He is holy, that is the story of the 144,000.

The point of all this that I want to culminate in now in our meditation is that this amazing truth that God wants to impart to you and me is the reason that people do not know and accept Jesus.

John 3:1 therefore the world knoweth us not,

Us who believe this in practical reality. The world doesn’t know us because it knew him not. 

We the sons of God, purifying ourselves even as He is pure, the world does not know this and does not understand this. The world in John’s time was the church, it was the synagogues, it was those who crucified Christ, it was those who claimed to be God’s chosen people, these were the world. Never forget that, that is what it is talking about. The world did not know Jesus and the churches of today do not know Jesus.  They claim to, but the moment you raise this detail to them they start questioning you. What, do you believe that? What are you teaching John? This is ridiculous, John. This is how they talk to me. If you and I will take this on and being the members of His church, we profess this together with them in practical reality.

Let’s benefit by returning to this statement from Desire of Ages that we may be closer to Jesus than father, mother, brother, friend or lover.

Christ loves the heavenly beings that surround His throne; but what shall account for the great love wherewith He has loved us? We cannot understand it, but we can know it true in our own experience. And if we do hold the relation of kinship to Him, with what tenderness should we regard those who are brethren and sisters of our Lord! Should we not be quick to recognize the claims of our divine relationship? Adopted into the family of God, should we not honor our Father and our kindred? {DA 327.4}

This subject takes a very important swing according to those words in 1 John 3. We are to be adopted into the family. As we believe this, as we are adopted into the family of God which means Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that is the family of God, how are we to regard each other who believe this in experience? We are to honour our Father and our kindred. If my brother and sister is part of the Godhead, how are you going to relate to each other? Let me drive the point home. We are sitting in this church and we believe. Do you believe what I have just taught? If you don’t you separate yourself from the Godhead. If I do believe it then I have a responsibility to honour my brother and sister as I honour God.

We have been too much on the edge of it but we haven’t actually given over. How does this translate itself into the living experience?

Matthew 12:46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

12:47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

12:48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

12:49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

My earthly mother and father and brethren want to see me, they are here but those who have decided to follow me all the way, they are my kinsmen, my mother even. Jesus looks upon the church as His mother. It is all who take the reality of the amazing kinship with the Godhead into their own hearts and lives that are not known by the world. They relate to those who have not taken on this reality as the world. Those who have not taken on what you and I profess to have taken on.

Profession isn’t good enough, it has to be experienced. As you take on this in theory the experience must follow and only then will you know each other. Have you had trouble getting to know each other? Have you had trouble with each other in the church? There is something that needs to be done experimentally in the knowledge that we have. That is to enter in total submissive yielding faith that I am holy but not because I feel holy but because through Jesus Christ I have a hope that I am an heir of God. This is the highest kind of psychology. When in your psychological mind you believe that, you will feel every discrepancy against God inside of you and say, that is so foreign to what I believe in my heart and you will change your life. You will be known by all who change their life. We will follow on and together be kinsfolk of Jesus. That is what I am reading here. Here is where Christ’s uncomfortable utterances apply, which can only be correctly understood when we are kinsfolk of God’s family.

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

10:37 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.

10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Here is the true meaning. What does it mean when Jesus says he that cometh after me hateth not his father, mother? It means that those people who do not embrace the Godhead in their living experience are the world. They have had opportunity to receive it and they rejected it. As a consequence we who are kinsfolk of Jesus and of the Godhead, our love is so binding we respect one another so closely that those who do not embrace this hope become foes.

Foes within the family, foes of those who were once my dearest friends. They cannot know what you and I who embrace. This experience can actually be acted upon and follow through to be holy as He is holy. They cannot understand that. They become our foes and Jesus said, this is the sword that I bring. Don’t create any other swords. The love of God is for those who are yet sinners. As I embrace this love of God who am a sinner and surrender to Him, then I am going to share this love with others. As I share this love with others as it is really meant to be shared, you will be regarded as a crackpot. You are imagining things John, the sun’s been getting to your head. These are the sorts of things that have been suggested to me by those who were ministers together with me.

The Sword

The sword came. The sword separates. The sword separates right down. Those who will not embrace the holy kinship with each other in this faith will feel the sword. Let us not concentrate on the sword, let’s concentrate on the love but be prepared for the sword.

Continue to love for God loves every person. But for you to love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul, you are going to do what He says because you love Him. In doing what He commands and directs you, it will create a rift between the very closest who do not have that love and that kinship with the Father. That can happen in the church as we have experienced because there is something that a person does not entirely surrender to and that creates the sword.

But how different is the case of him who refuses to receive the salvation purchased for him at infinite cost. He refuses to look upon the humiliation and love of Jesus. He plainly says, “I will not have this man to reign over me.” To all who take this attitude, .  {RH July 24, 1894, par. 2}

Those who take the attitude that this kind of Jesus is not what I am comfortable with. I like the Jesus who died on the cross on the shallow level of my imagination. I love Him, plenty of blood flowing from His head and the thorns in His head and the nails through His hands and so on and the physical pain. We get very emotional about that, but that is only an infinitesimal detail of the real thing that we are exploring in this love. They reject that, they will not have this dimension as part of it.  Wherever I ministered and saw problems I uplifted Jesus and the problem became worse and the church was cleaned from the problem, that is what my experience was in New Zealand. We had big problems and if I would have palliated certain individuals there and laid down what I knew of the love of God it would have been fine, but because I uplifted Jesus that created a sword, right down to the sword of separating me from the very church.

Jesus says, “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Families must be divided in order that all who call upon the name of the Lord may be saved. All who refuse his infinite love will find Christianity a sword, a disturber of their peace.  {RH July 24, 1894, par. 2}

Here and there an individual member of a family is true to the convictions of his conscience, and is compelled to stand alone in his family or in the church to which he belongs, and is finally compelled, because of the course of those with whom he associates, to separate himself from their companionship. The line of demarcation is made distinct. One stands upon the word of God, the others upon the traditions and sayings of men. {RH July 24, 1894, par. 3}

The peace that Christ gave to his disciples, and for which we pray, is the peace that is born of truth, a peace that is not to be quenched because of division. Without may be wars and fightings, jealousies, envies, hatred, strife; but the peace of Christ is not that which the world giveth or taketh away. It could endure amid the hunting of spies and the fiercest opposition of his enemies….Christ did not for an instant seek to purchase peace by a betrayal of sacred trusts. Peace could not be made by a compromise of principles; {RH July 24, 1894, par. 4}

But I love my brothers and sisters in my family, I love my husband, I love him dearly but he or she or them try to compromise my principles.

and his followers must often proclaim a message that is directly in opposition to the people’s sins, prejudices, and customs. They will be called upon to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine. {RH July 24, 1894, par. 4}

It is a grave mistake on the part of those who are children of God to seek to bridge the gulf that separates the children of light from the children of darkness by yielding principle, by compromising the truth. It would be surrendering the peace of Christ in order to make peace or fraternize with the world. {RH July 24, 1894, par. 6}

These words become more and more distinct and clear as we focus on this great love of God.

Let men remember that they are commanded to follow the Lamb of God whithersoever he goeth. His guidance is to be chosen, his companionship valued above the companionship of neighbors and friends. It is too honorable, too precious, to be refused. {RH September 24, 1895, par. 3}

When the apostles had made their decision to follow Jesus wherever He went they came across many instances like with the rich young ruler who walked away sorrowing.

Matthew 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Does this leave anybody out? Some people have said, how come husbands are not there? I think marriage to a wife is the same as a wife to a husband, isn’t it? The fact is that husbands and wives come into that same picture. Don’t forget that as we read this, this was because we have contemplated the amazing story of the manner of God’s love. As we  contemplate that and experimentally engage in that, that is what these words are all written for, that we forsake those who forsake my Lord. He is closer to me than my lover. If somebody is closer to you than your lover, companionship is so precious that the other companionship with the lover is secondary. If that lover is kin to my Lord then it’s good, but if not what is written? It’s a sword, it creates a rift and there can’t be joyful precious harmony together.

We live at the very end of this earth’s history. The message that we embrace is rejected by churches, kinsfolk, and past friends. What happened to Jesus will happen to every one who are called among the remnant of the woman’s seed. Jesus’ experience will be ours.

John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

6:61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?

If there is anything here that we have contemplated that we are standing, trying to defend, if some of these things that I have shared with you are offending, Jesus is saying, Doth this offend you?

6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

6:64 But there are some of you that believe not.

He is talking to the seventy disciples and the twelve. There are some of you that do not believe the things that I am trying to communicate.

For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

They were disciples, they were people who were loyal to the Jewish church and they didn’t walk with Jesus any more. We today are in precisely the same predicament. As these words of Jesus come home to the inward mind of every person and deal with the experimental realities they say, that’s too hard; I don’t know whether I can actually really accept this, this is just another person’s opinion here. That’s what will separate us. That is what the disciples did, from that time many of the disciples went back and walked no more with him.

Today, you and I, need to have this experimental love fellowship that we have contemplated at the beginning of this study. Anybody who doesn’t have it and finds it too hard will no longer walk with him. Not because they have been shut out, but because it’s too hard, this is impossible. Then Jesus turned to the twelve (make it your own experience now) when Jesus sees everybody in the great majority walking away from this amazing love, this love of being part of God and being kinsfolk together with one another and respecting one another, those people Jesus now addresses in verse 67:

John 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

Can you hear that plaintive voice of Christ? Will you do what all the other people are doing, or will you embrace the real thing with me?  The disciples said, we know that you have the words of life, we are staying with it.

Let us decidedly fall in love with this great God and with the God in each other and let not your love grow cold because iniquity abounds. This is our challenge and my prayer is that we will remain in love with the wonderful love that He shows us.

Posted on December 12, 2012, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I would agree with that. The king of the north has always been the syrians, as in the syrian empire of old, and turkey is the northmost part of that empire.

  1. Pingback: The Prophecy of Joel and the King of the North « Sabbath Sermons

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