The Golden Chain That Binds

By John Thiel

Love is a powerful cord which makes you do things that you never do if it was not active. We often marvel at people falling in love and how a young man does things in regards to what his girlfriend calls him to do. She just has to snap her fingers and he does whatever she says because he loves her. He wouldn’t do it unless there was love there. Love is a powerful cord. The power of love is a cord. Solomon experienced this cord of love when it went the wrong way so powerfully that it prevented him from doing what God wanted him to do.

Song of Solomon 8:6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love [is] strong as death; jealousy [is] cruel as the grave: the coals thereof [are] coals of fire, [which hath a] most vehement flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if [a] man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

How powerful is love? The Spirit of Prophecy puts it this way:

The love of Christ is a golden chain that binds finite, human beings who believe in Jesus Christ to the Infinite God{OHC 173.2}

A chain; it’s more powerful than just a cord. A golden chain that binds finite, human beings who believe in Jesus Christ to the Infinite. To be bound by a chain, what a thought. It rattles, it gives me a sense of no freedom. I am bound. Considering this chain, let us ponder. It binds us to Him. What does it bind us to? What does that mean? Some people live in this euphoria thinking that is wonderful. Have a look at this:

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

If you have a way that you are comfortable with, if you have thoughts that you are very proud of and then God says, they are not my thoughts, your ways are not my ways and He is binding you to Himself so that you can’t think the way that you want to think and you can’t function the way you want to function, is that comfortable? How distant are God’s ways from my ways?

Isaiah 55:9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Apply this to all our life here on earth. Everything that I do that I can see as sense. All my ways are distant from God’s ways as the heavens are higher than the earth. That’s light years away and I’m going to be bound to that? It is said that the standards are too high. This has been said frequently to those who have been under the message of the three angels. The Adventist organisation has lowered the standard so that people will not run away.

The standards are too high to follow God’s ways and to follow God’s thoughts. It’s too out of my reach, it’s impossible, I can’t do it; but I am bound by His love, by chains. Can you feel the struggle? I watched some children wrapping a little girl in cords. She was trying to undo the cords. It’s not really comfortable, it’s like being hemmed in. Do you like being hemmed in? Do you like being stopped from doing what you want to do? The vast gulf that separates the sinner from God and His standards is something we have to be very intelligent in regards to being bound to God. We can only realise the dimension of the distance between God’s ways and our ways by one channel of understanding.

Only by the light shining from the cross of Calvary can we know to what depths of sin and degradation the human race has fallen through sin. Only by the length of the chain let down from heaven to draw us up can we know the depths to which we had sunk. And it is only by keeping the unseen realities in view that we can understand anything of the wonderful theme of redemption. {HP 368.4}

Are you picking up the gravity of our meditation here? The only way by which we can comprehend the distance between God’s thoughts and ways to my thoughts and ways, is to behold the length of the chain that has been let down from heaven to draw us up. Only then can we see the depths to which we have actually sunk which we regard as normal. That is what we have become conditioned to.

I love to compare this to some people living in Calcutta, today it is Mumbai. They live on the street. They do their toilet in the open on the side of the railway line. It has become such a terrible danger to go and visit India, that if you get an infection over there, you have a superbug. It’s called the India bug because there is no anti-biotic to deal with it. People live like that and it’s normal, it’s something they are conditioned to. It’s normal living. We are in such a deplorable position here on earth in all of our activities which we pride ourselves are normal compared with the ways of God. Whether it be in regards to our marital, courtship or family relationships. Whatever it is that we deem as normal, is all Calcutta in comparison to heaven. That is why it is impossible for us by looking at our visual revelations around us to appreciate the great plan of redemption. It is only by keeping the unseen realities in view that we can understand anything of the wonderful theme of redemption.

As we allow our minds to focus upon the chain that has been let down which is on the ground in Gethsemane and the cross (Calvary), we begin to appreciate something. Something begins to happen in this degraded thought pattern way of life. Looking at that chain and the length of it, what happens? Unless we look at that chain we have no way of being released out of this Calcutta.

When we see the length of the chain that was let down for us, when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition. {SC 35.4}

What must I see for my heart to become soft, for my heart and my ways and my thoughts to be altered? It is when we most fully comprehend the love of God that we best realise the sinfulness of sin. Until we see that we still keep on rationalising, we still rationalise that this particular way isn’t so bad, is it? What’s wrong with it? That’s the way we rationalise but when we see the love of God, that golden chain that extends right down to us at Calvary, when we see the length of it, when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made on our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition.

As I will permit myself, and this is what I have been seeking to do through all these messages, to cause me to fall in love with this God whose ways are way above ours so that by the motivation of that love we will permit ourselves to be captivated. To be bound; not to do what is natural for me to do in a given situation, but to be bound. I’m prone to respond to impulses to justify and to correct somebody, but as I meditate on God I can’t do that. I’d like to tell this person a thing or two and you want to go and do it but the love of Jesus shines on you and prevents you from saying that. I can’t do as I feel I would like to.

That golden chain, the length of which reaches right down to the very gutter of our ways and thoughts, is the chain which is to be used according to this statement:

Read the seventeenth chapter of John, and you will see that God has given us the privilege of being united in Christian love, brethren with brethren, all being bound together by the golden chain of love which has been let down from heaven to unite the believers. God wants you to be like himself. {GCB, April 23, 1901 par. 5}

This beautiful golden chain that shows us the distance from which we are from heaven, that shows us the amazing love that melts my heart, that very chain will bind us together with God and consequently with one another. Ellen White tells us to study it in John 17.

Are we picking up that golden chain that we are to look at so that my heart becomes altered and I am willing to be bound to God’s ways? This beautiful chain that binds me to Him will bind me together with my brothers and sisters who will let this golden chain have its way.

The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. {GCB, April 23, 1901 par. 5}

The study of the humanity of Christ is to be our study because as you study the humanity of Christ, you know that it was blended with the divine nature. It was God Himself who came, that is the chain. God Himself connected with the humanity of Christ and it causes me to shudder that people preach the humanity of Christ in a different way than it actually is. If I don’t see that the humanity of Christ is precisely down here in the gutter with me then the chain isn’t long enough for me to be bound to Him.

Can you see the error that is being taught and the baleful results of that? This is to be our study so that I may be bound in my deplorable, distasteful, ugly, sinful humanity, and I see Jesus grovelling around in the bottom of the pit, crying like an outright sinner, my God why hast Thou forsaken me? That is what a sinner says. My sins are more than the hair of my head. O save me out of this water, out of this mud, I’m here at the bottom and I’m here with every other grotty sinner. There is the length of the bottom of that chain as it links up all the way back to heaven. It is this chain that is to lift us, that is to carry us back to heaven. It is that chain that is to unite us. It is the humanity of Christ in its conjunction with divinity.

Reflect very carefully on the combination of all the quotes that I have read to you, that this golden chain that melts my heart, that shows me the distance, shows me what a grot I am in comparison to the pure ways of God. It shows me that this is the chain that will bind us together, with God. It is Christ’s human nature by which we can be bound with Him and then bound to God. Every time I think the standards are too high, I can’t reach that, that’s horrible, I just want to go on mulling around in my own way, then here is this chain, the humanity of Christ.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,

What death was that? The death of sin.

Hebrews 2:9 crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

He should taste death for every man so that what I taste is what He tastes.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

To be bound means to suffer. I can’t do as I please. I want to get out of this, it’s too tight, I’m in a straightjacket, and I can’t get out.

Hebrews 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

What’s the church? The lazar house, the hospital where Jesus came and was touched with our diseases so that we can be touched by Him in our disease; here in every respect is the human nature of Christ. Each human being who believes these realities is bound to Jesus in His humanity because he feels like Him. There is Jesus on the cross, look how they treated Him. If we will look close enough and carefully read the Scriptures of His experience we will see that this is me. He is echoing my own expressions, my own thoughts. When you are suffering and you say nobody understands, Jesus also said nobody understands. In every respect He is there at the bottom of the chain. As I believe in this I am bound because there is Jesus bound with the Father in heaven and in Him I am bound to God if I so believe. As I am so engaged because I believe this, I look at others who are so engaged and lo and behold they’re as bad as me and they are crying like me. They don’t know how to get out of their situation like I don’t know how to get out of my situation. I look at the experience of Jesus and I learn; what did He do? He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

“All ye are brethren.” As brethren we are identified with Christ and with one another. As brethren we are identical with Christ, and through His grace identical with one another. {5BC 1139.3}

How true that is, I have just described it. Jesus said, I’m your brother in adversity, I am going through all of your experiences. As we go through our experiences we discover we have all got the same problem and we are identical with Christ and identical with one another. This is the message for our time in the time of the Day of Atonement since 1844. We need to have a deep contemplation on the humanity of Christ with us. If I’m not doing this I will be overwhelmed by the impossibility of reaching glory, the end of sanctification.

The humanity of Christ with us

Looking at that, making this our study will overwhelm all my doubts. Apply it in your life. You are going through experiences, apply it right there. This is getting too much, I can’t cope anymore. What is expected of me is too high, I am too weak, I’m estranged from my brother and my sister, my husband and wife. I am in all these desperate conditions and can’t see my way through, it is impossible. Sorry, you are not looking to Jesus because Jesus is right there, right there in my mess and He is saying, look at Me. Can I do the impossible? I can of my own self do nothing. As you look at that, can you and I continue to hold our weakness, our estrangements, and our doubts, can we hold them? It doesn’t gel. The brain can’t do it, it looks at something so powerful as it says in Hosea:

Hosea 11:4 I drew them with cords of a man.

The man Christ Jesus. Look at Him. He went through everything that you and I have gone through and are going through. As I let that occupy my mind I can no longer be overwhelmed by my impossibilities. I will conquer, we will conquer. It’s the knowledge of Jesus by which those precious promises are imparted to us that we become partakers of the divine nature.

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. John 17:21. {TMK 173.1}

Let these words be oft repeated {TMK 173.2}

Do you wonder why I keep turning to John 17 frequently? It is because that is where our connecting link comes from.

…and let every soul train his ideas and spirit and action daily that he may fulfill this prayer of Jesus Christ. He does not request impossible things of His Father. He prays for the very things which must be in His disciples in relation to their oneness to each other and their unity and oneness with God and Jesus Christ. Ibid

Nothing is impossible here.

Anything short of this is not attaining to perfection of Christian character. The golden chain of love, binding the hearts of the believers in unity, in bonds of fellowship and love, and in oneness with Christ and the Father, makes the connection perfect, and bears to the world a testimony of the power of Christianity that cannot be controverted. Ibid

Let the Spirit apply the word here. The world knows that it is impossible to be Christlike. They know and teach that you will never get there. Here are a company of people who are binding with the human nature of Christ and through Him binding with the Father in heaven and they are in a straightjacket, they can’t do as they please, they are fascinated by this love and every time they want to do something that is impulsive it pulls them back. They can’t to it, they can’t get their hand out because they are captivated by this amazing thing; bound together.

As we engage in that mental and human connection with Jesus:

Then will selfishness be uprooted and unfaithfulness will not exist. There will not be strife and divisions. There will not be stubbornness in anyone who is bound up with Christ. {TMK 173.3}

If you let your mind exercise on that, it’s impossible. How can I be stubborn? I’m a dirty mess and there is my brother a dirty mess beside me.Jesus right there beside me and He’s connected with heaven. Why should I stubbornly insist on this person doing what I expect them to do when I can’t even do it? Why should I stubbornly hold on to my opinion when the person that’s communicating with me in the Lord is saying, look up, get away from this, don’t stay down there?

Sometimes people don’t like me very much because I point out things which are uncomfortable to them and point them to Jesus; here, this is what you do. I get a negative reaction. I am not interested in telling them what to do, I am simply saying here I am beside you in the same boat together and I am just telling you I am connected with Jesus and so can you be, in the human suffering that He’s going through. Are you suffering right now, are you having a hard time? So did Jesus; come on.

Not one will act out the stubborn independence of the wayward, impulsive child who drops the hand that is leading him and chooses to stumble on alone. Ibid

That doesn’t fit into it. This is a wonderful answer to our dilemma. Jesus does not request the impossible from the Father. My ways are not your ways and I am binding you with this golden chain to lift you up to my ways. It is not an impossibility. The standards required of us may seem unreachable; this is too hard, I can’t reach it, the standard is too high.

In receiving Christ as our Captain there must be a complete surrender of the human will to the divine will. {TMK 219.4}

Isn’t that what Jesus did? He said, please let this cup pass from me, this is too hard, I can’t anymore, but no, your will not mine be done.

The Lord can work out His will through those who have made this surrender, for they give prompt and cheerful obedience to His commands. Ibid

Prompt and cheerful obedience, not – do I have to? I don’t feel comfortable here. This is so contrary to my upbringing, this is so contrary to what I have developed all my life. I have developed a stubborn independent spirit and this is too contrary to it; I can’t follow that kind of guidance anymore; I will do the exact opposite.

No, I am bound because I do love Him. This is the way it functions. God will prompt us to cheerful obedience to His commands.

God expects us to obey without questioning. We are to ask, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Then, though the command may be as stern and startling as that given to Abraham, we are to obey. Ibid

That was a strange statement to Abraham, go and take thy son, thine only son and sacrifice him. No, pagans do that, Lord. Do it!

Abraham’s soul was rent asunder by the command, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and offer him for a sacrifice on one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Genesis 22:2). But he did not hesitate to obey. {TMK 219.4}

All our activities, all our business arrangements, should be in perfect accord with the Lord’s commands. The laws of God’s kingdom must be obeyed by the subjects of that kingdom. Our zeal for the advancement of God’s kingdom is to mark us as faithful subjects of the cross of Christ. God can trust as His representatives those who implicitly obey Him. {TMK 219.5}

This is the golden chain that binds us to God.

There are toils and conflicts and self-denials for us all. Not one will escape them. {TMK 280.4}

Why, of course, because we will be lifted out of this mess into God’s ways and God’s thoughts. What do we expect? I am bound; I am being lifted away from it and there are all sorts of bonds that still tie us like Sr White writes in Great Controversy – the filial, the conjugal congical, and those silken cords. There is the other cord that binds me to Jesus and I am there. Can you see the two bindings? The negative and the positive in the same experience?

We must tread the path where Jesus leads the way. It may be in tears, in trials, in bereavements, in sorrow for sins, or in seeking for the mastery over depraved desires, unbalanced characters, and unholy tempers. It requires earnest effort to present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. It takes the entire being. There is no chamber of the mind where Satan can hold sway and carry out his devices. Self must be crucified. Consecration, submission, and sacrifices must be made that will seem like taking the very lifeblood from the heart Ibid

It will seem that way because my egocentric normality relies upon its life in my very lifeblood and that is being torn right out. This is what I am prepared to do because I’m looking at that beautiful chain that is so long that it comes and touches me in Christ and now I will let this chain bind me.

When we meet these overwhelming calls to obedience that seem like drawing the very lifeblood out of my veins, when I receive these calls of obedience what must I do? You will go through those sensations of it being too hard frequently in these last days because the Lord is wanting to clean up our life as He is cleansing the heavenly sanctuary. The golden chain must be in view; if the golden chain isn’t in view, if I can’t recall that golden chain through the experience of the overwhelming sensations that I have just read about what must I look at? The golden chain which will continue to bind me to do the opposite to what I would naturally do.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

What was the chain? The top of the chain was all wrapped up and it came down. The top of it stayed up the top and the bottom continued to unroll.

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

In other words, the chain didn’t stay up there.

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

What an amazing thing.

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man,

The chain wasn’t totally at the bottom yet.

Philippians 2:8 he humbled himself,

The chain continued to unroll

Philippians 2:8 and became obedient unto death,

The very lifeblood being drawn out of the soul.

Philippians 2:8 even the death of the cross. Ibid

So when I’m going through these lifeblood threatening death threatening situations, look at this, keep this chain in view. As we do this, I have to do it and the only reason I’m standing here preaching this message to you is because I’ve had to do it through the most galling experiences that have happened to me.

The only begotten Son of God consented to leave the heavenly courts and come to our world to live with an ungrateful people who refused His gracious mercies. He consented to live a life of poverty, and to endure suffering and temptation. He became a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And the Word declares, “We hid as it were our faces from him” (Isaiah 53:3). Of His own disciples, Peter, denied Him, and Judas betrayed Him. The people whom He came to bless rejected Him. They put Him to shame and caused Him untold suffering. They placed upon His head a crown of thorns that pierced His holy temples. They beat Him with a scourge, and then they nailed Him to the cross. Yet amid it all, no word of complaint escaped His lips{TDG 216.4}

Look at all that. Have you suffered as badly as that? Somewhat, but it was much worse for Him. Do you murmur like the Israelites? Do you feel disappointed? Jesus went through them all but no word of complaint escaped His lips.

Christ bore all this suffering in order to obtain the right to confer eternal righteousness upon as many as would believe on Him. O, when I think of this, I feel that no complaint should ever escape my lips. {TDG 216.5}

Let alone my thoughts.

When we are having a hard time, let us consider how much our salvation cost the God of the universe.{TDG 216.6}

If you have a good memory and go over those studies of the past, we have covered it all to this point in time so that we may appreciate what it cost the God of the universe. Do you remember that study on the sacrifice that God made? He the God of the universe, the Father of the Son was right there suffering with His Son, this grotty, muddy experience. What it cost will affect me at any price cause me to obey. Are you bound to this golden chain? Can you do anything you want to do? What did Jesus say? Not my will but only God’s be done. What must I do as this binding of God’s love, the cords of a man bind me?

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Bring your thoughts into obedience to the thoughts that you are bound to. I am bound to Him.

2 Corinthians 10:6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Oh may God help us to let that chain bind us. There are two sensations that will exercise themselves as we believe in Jesus and be bound with Him to the Father; He is the tree of righteousness. I am bound to the tree and He is wonderful, but I can’t do as I please. Do you see the two sensations?

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Do you like that? You are in a straightjacket. I cannot do as I please, my flesh wants to do this and the Spirit says, no, this. I can’t do as my flesh wants, but the Spirit says, this is the way, here is the chain, here is the love that softened your heart, and you are bound to me. The flesh goes, I hate being in this straightjacket, I want to be out of here, but it’s part of me and its going Christ’s way. The flesh goes wriggle, squirm, scream, murmuring all the way to death.

Mortify your flesh, keep on killing it until it does exactly what the natural nervous system does. If it doesn’t get its way, it wants to, it is strong to start with, it pushes strongly with its hereditary and cultivated practices, but eventually if you stop letting it have its way, it starts to become less and less powerful, it begins to die. You want to kill those nerve channels and let the other nerve channels develop. At the time when Jesus comes we will be totally in tune with Him because we love being bound to Him and He will lift us by that golden chain to the glory of eternal life. Here is the truth that sets us free.

Amen.

Posted on April 10, 2013, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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