The Gravity in God’s Government of Love


By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

God is a King and a king reigns over a kingdom and that kingdom is the kingdom of love. The purpose of our study is to understand that kingdom of love, the gravity in God’s government of love. A kingdom has a king, a legislature and loyal subjects who obey the laws, customs and lifestyle of that kingdom.

As we appreciate this reality, we realise that kingdom is a nation. It was interesting to study the scriptures in the Old Testament to see indeed that God’s kingdom was a nation on earth, the Hebrew nation; and this nation was privileged to have as its king the God of the universe. But very quickly as they took their land in Canaan, in the time of the judges already, these people were not prepared to be contented with such a king as their ruler.

1 Samuel 8:5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

When you stop to think what was the intent of God the Majesty of the universe, these people should be the nation that He was the King of. Can you see what they’re saying here? What are they actually saying? God identifies this:

1 Samuel 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

What a sad experience that happened to these people. Early in their experience of reigning as a sovereign nation in Canaan, in Palestine, they were able to represent before the world a nation that was nothing at all like all the other nations, a nation under the kingdom of love. That was their privilege; and what did they say? We will not have this king to rule over us, make us another king so that we can be like other nations.

Vestige of Thinking

When Jesus their true King did come, He was to reign on the throne of David. The throne that they wanted to have as a king on earth was only given to them because they wanted it that way but really their true king was God and Jesus Christ. When Jesus as the true King of that nation came, what did they declare?

Jesus put it as it really was because we know they did not want that King to rule over them. We have no king but Caesar they said when Jesus was brought before by Pilate.

Luke 19:11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 And he called his ten servants and delivered them ten pounds and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this [man] to reign over us.

Jesus is referring to the Hebrew nation, to the people that did not want Jesus to reign over them. They demonstrated it didn’t they? The question is, why did they reject Jesus? Why did they reject Him? Why did they reject God to be their king back in Samuel’s time? What was their motive? Remember when Jesus came. He came born in a stable and all the way through He was a terrible disappointment to the Hebrew nation.

They expected Him to be king the way they anticipated a king to rule. We know how they wanted Him. Jesus; if He would have come and announced Himself as king to crush the occupation by the Roman Empire, they would have received Him wouldn’t they have? That’s exactly what they were wanting that He would conquer Rome; and, not only did the Jewish nation anticipate that, but His disciples as well.

This was echoed here. You can hear them sort of crying. Jesus was crucified and in the grave and then Jesus met them walking on the road to Emmaus and they told Him they were all sad and miserable. Why were they sad and miserable?

Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

What is the cry of these disciples? We’ve been disappointed. We thought He would redeem us from the Roman yoke. It was this mindset that was imprinted heavily into the mind of the Jews that Jesus constantly had to meet. You can read it again and again how He had to try and tell them but they just wouldn’t understand. He had to tell them time and time again that in His kingdom there was no such thing as a lordly king ruling over the top of other nations and crushing them in the way they expected it.

We can read such an account, the clearest representation of God’s kingdom, that Jesus came to establish. That mindset was in the action of the mother of John and James; she thought, well, if Jesus is going to be King, she wanted her two sons to be right beside Him.

Matthew 20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping [him] and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask.

You are really ignorant here.

Matthew 20:22 … Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

Can you see the mindset, the understanding totally off the rails?

Matthew 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand and on my left, is not mine to give, but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared of my Father. 24 And when the ten heard [it], they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25 But Jesus called them [unto him] and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many.

See what Jesus was trying to do? He was trying to shift their mindset from this mentality that a kingdom in their eyes, was to be parallel to the kingdom of heaven. You and I have not been free of that vestige, not even me, even though I thought I had been. During my holidays, the Lord showed me something and I am showing it to you now.

There is a vestige of this mentality in mindset, among even the Christians today. We read this characteristic in the mind of Christians today:

But today in the religious world there are multitudes who, as they believe, are working for the establishment of the kingdom of Christ as an earthly and temporal dominion. They desire to make our Lord the ruler of the kingdoms of this world, the ruler in its courts and camps, its legislative halls, its palaces and market places. They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, enforced by human authority. {DA 509.2}

These are the vestige of thinking: to rule by legislate halls and legal enactments enforced by human authority.

Since Christ is not now here in person, they themselves will undertake to act in His stead, to execute the laws of His kingdom. The establishment of such a kingdom is what the Jews desired in the days of Christ. {DA 509.2}

It’s the same vestige of thinking.

They would have received Jesus, had He been willing to establish a temporal dominion, to enforce what they regarded as the laws of God and to make them the expositors of His will and the agents of His authority. But He said, My kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36. He would not accept the earthly throne. {DA 509.2}

In this statement is contained the purpose of our meditation that this kind of thinking is not part of the kingdom of God. Do you and I still suffer under a vestige of this kind of thinking? They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, to enforce those legal enactments by human authority because Christ is not now here in person, they themselves will undertake to act in His stead.

Are we not told that we are in the stead of Christ? Therefore the mindset is Jesus is the King and we are in His stead and therefore we must exercise the authority of His will. That mindset if you were in a position in God’s church and you saw people that were not submitting themselves to what you know are God’s laws what would you do? You are the one in Christ’s stead now, what would you do? Think about it. Indeed, if you read the Bible with this vestige of thought in your mind, you would feel that you are meant to do that.

Gravity in the Church

First of all, what is God’s church? I have heard sermon after sermon in trying to show to the people that the church is a nation! The church is a kingdom and we have to submit ourselves to the church and to what the church tells you to do. I’ve heard sermon after sermon of this nature and this is where they get it from. It is written in the Bible. Peter writes to the church:

1 Peter 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation,

You are chosen of God, just like the Jews were.

1 Peter 2:9 … a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

You are a nation. The church of God on earth is a nation, a chosen people, the representative of the kingdom of heaven. Indeed you read in that church, there are people who are elected to be the rulers in that nation on earth. Apostle Paul is writing to Titus who is in that position:

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

You are to set the church into order, into an orderly functioning nation, with Elders.

Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

When you get people who are unruly you’ve got to keep order don’t you?

Titus 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. 12 One of themselves, [even] a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians [are] alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

If you read this with the mindset of our previous considerations, you say, well that’s what it’s meant to be. Rebuke them sharply, put order into the church and keep everybody under control. Isn’t that the picture? We also read that a man who is a bishop must be able to rule his own household with gravity. Because if he cannot rule his own household how can he rule the church?

1 Timothy 3:1 This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; … 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

The typical father of the household says children, behave yourselves and he controls the children if they don’t obey and that’s what I’ve got to do in the church. That’s the picture that can be picked up with the mindset that we introduced. In fact you are told as a church to obey those who rule over you.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of [their] conversation.

You are to remember those who have what? The rule over you. Those who are the leaders of the church have the rule over you. You can place that as yourself. Oh I don’t want that but I have to because I’m part of the kingdom of God; and those who are ruling over you can say, right, you’re going to have to obey me.

Hebrew 13:
17 Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.

What must you do? Obey them; and of course they can say, listen, you’ve got to obey me you know, I’m the ruler. This is the mindset of human control. Any wonder as you look through the history of the church that you have church leadership excommunicating the unruly elements, burning them at the stake after they’ve gone to the councils of the church and the church says, they are disobedient to the rule. Yes! Burn them at the stake. Then the faithful people were disassociated from the corrupt church, why? Because the corrupt church had that mindset.

Indeed there must be firm control because it says that they must control those who are unruly with gravity. That’s the question. What is this gravity that is to rule in the church? That’s the question: the gravity. When we use the word gravity on earth, what is the adjective to the word gravity? The force of gravity. Again, with your mindset you can think, the force of gravity, right, they’ve got to have force here. How important it is to read the Word of God not from a human frame of mind. Jesus was called upon to teach the people what the kingdom of heaven is like.

A Kingdom of Love

The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. {DA 22.1}

He was an unruly element wasn’t he? His power had to be broken. How was it to be broken?

This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; {DA 22.1}

The gravity of God’s government of love is not authoritarianism. This mighty nation over which Christ reigns is identified in the image of Daniel. What is this mighty nation going to do? All these other nations that rule by force and by human authority, with a mindset according to which even the Jews thought that Jesus would rule, what is written about them?

Daniel 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold, broken to pieces together and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. 44 And in the days of these kings …

Down in the feet of clay, our time…

Daniel 2:44 … shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, [but] it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand for ever.

It’s going to cover the whole earth. Your mindset and my mindset will say, right, this is the kingdom that’s going to crush all the other kingdoms and it’s going to absolutely devastate them; and this is the mentality of so many Christians around us today. God’s church governed and controlled only by love, is going to be that nation? With Jesus and God the King of love? Is this easy to comprehend? Indeed, it is not only hard to comprehend, it’s even hard to explain. We are talking about a power and a force here that is so different to our mindset and Jesus was trying to communicate it. No wonder the disciples kept on misunderstanding; no wonder Christians still do today.

Mark 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?

We often try to tell stories and object lessons to demonstrate the kingdom of heaven and we play such a silly game, because it misses the mark all the time. The people cannot understand the real mindset of the kingdom of heaven because we use all these low-fangled illustrations. With what shall we do it?

When Christ was on this earth, He sought in vain for something with which to compare His kingdom. Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God, He said and with what comparison shall I compare it? He who is the Wisdom of God seemed to hesitate, embarrassed. There was nothing in earthly governments which He could use as a means of comparison. Society contained no fitting symbol of His church. {21MR 152.3}

He was embarrassed, he couldn’t explain it. He who was the epitome of wisdom, was embarrassed.

The kingdom of Christ does not and cannot bear any resemblance to the kingdoms of the world. {21MR 152.4}

Are you picking it up? There must be no vestige of comparison in your mind with any government authoritarianism of this world.

In the kingdom of Christ there is no instrument of coercion. In it force has no place. {21MR 152.4}

There must be no instrument of coercion: In it force has no place.

The gospel of Him who gave His life for the life of the world is a gospel of peace. It is the Saviour’s grace, His love, His tender compassion, that breaks every barrier down. {21MR 152.4}

That’s a force: His love, His compassion breaks every barrier down.

The gospel is a power of itself, above all and encompassing all. It is a divine, immutable principle, as well-spring fed by the stream that flows from the throne of God. {21MR 152.4}

A Kingdom of Faith

Jesus could find no comparison on earth. If you and I had any vestige of comparison, dismiss it forever. There is no comparison. There is no instrument of coercion, there is no force; force has no place in that kingdom. But look what Jesus did compare it with:

Mark 4:31 [It is] like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up and becometh greater than all herbs and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

It’s the only comparison He could find. Now, when you think about that comparison, what do you understand? What else did He use the word of the mustard seed for?

Luke 17:20 … If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto
you.

Faith and love is the establishment of God’s kingdom.

The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses,–extortion, intolerance and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. … {DA 509.3}

Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. {DA 509.4}

How is the kingdom of heaven established? The implanting of the little mustard seed; a tiny little element that grows. Wasn’t Jesus implanted into the womb of Mary? More than a mustard seed; and it grew. This is it. This is the kingdom of heaven, the implanting of the nature of Christ in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit.

As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12, 13. Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the word of God. {DA 509.4}

Now this is incomprehensible. How can this be the kingdom that is going to conquer the whole world? How is it possible? To human mindset, it is impossible; and the other impossibility is that if you’ve got unruly elements in the church, how can this succeed? How can this succeed?

By the Foolishness of Preaching

If you’re in position where I have been as a father and in position in the church; when things go wrong in the church and you can’t stop them, you’re ready to pull your hair out, how can we stop it? You can say, right, I’m going to come in there and do this! What are you going to do to bring order into the church? What am I going to do? I can’t do what I want to do because God says: No force, no coercion, nothing like that. Hmmm… can you see the problem? It sounds like foolishness to human thinking. As we read, it can be accomplished only by the teaching and practicing of the word of God. That’s the only way it can be done. To the wisdom of man, this is foolishness.

1 Corinthians 1:20 Where [is] the wise? where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

You can really see how this applies now.

1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

The philosopher, which is the Greek – do you like philosophy? – Philosophy is very attractive to the human ego, I’m working something out here; now that makes sense and I put the sense across to other people and God says, Sorry, that doesn’t make sense in my kingdom. We’ve got to understand that this sense of God’s kingdom has to be the foolishness of preaching.

After you’ve preached, you think, now the people know and if they don’t do what they’re told, well then now I’ve got to use something else! No! Nothing else; it’s the foolishness of preaching; and if the preaching is done under the power of the Holy Spirit, it’s a force that breaks down every barrier. It’s the force of the beautiful love of Jesus Christ, because what do we preach? Jesus Christ! This is it now: the beautiful implantation of the nature of Christ, the beautiful gravity of the atonement. What a joy it has been as we studied it in the past! How it melts the heart! How love begins to work within as we realize, what an amazing God that He would come down and become implanted in the human simple flesh. As you embrace the atonement, that love alone is the power that constrains to obedience to all of His will.

That’s the only power that can be wielded. The sword of the word; and it cuts one deep down, doesn’t it? Have you experienced that? When there is something inside of you that doesn’t want to submit, does it cut? Have you heard sermons where it cuts right down to your own individual opinion and you say, that man is telling rot! I’ve heard it. Why are they saying it? Because it cuts right down into your own intents and purposes; and if you don’t submit to it, that’s alright, it’s your choice, no force. You’re free to do as you like, no problem.

But how can you control these gainsayers?
How can you stop this? How in practical terms will this kind of preaching, this foolishness, keep the church pure and free from insubordination? How? Good question. It’s been tossing around in my mind for years; and I had partial answers. I’ve read them to you before. How to really work it out is still a bit of a puzzle to me; and God grant us the answers at this moment, as He granted to me.

Breaking of the Heart

The fact that Jesus, innocent and pure, should suffer, that God should lay all his wrath upon the head of his dear Son, that the guiltless should bear the punishment of the guilty, the just endure the penalty of sin for the unjust, breaks the heart; {RH, July 24, 1894 par. 1}

It breaks the heart, doesn’t it? If you really listen to the preaching of Jesus Christ, it breaks the heart.

… and as Jesus is lifted up, conviction strikes to the soul and the love that prompted the bestowal of the infinite gift of Christ, constrains the sinner to surrender all to God. {RH, July 24, 1894 par. 1}

What does it do? It constrains. What does that word mean? It impels, it pushes you forward. What is the force? The story of this amazing picture. What does it do to you? It causes you to surrender all to God? What does that mean? The believer in Jesus, as a sinner, however wicked and abominable and corrupt, by faith in Christ, will be purified, made clean, through the doing of the word of God. As you believe in this, you will be willing to surrender all to God; and what will that mean? You will be obedient to every word of God. You will do it.

Refusing to Be Exposed

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. {RH, July 24, 1894 par. 2}

When you reject Jesus and you go contrary to what God says and to what you know is written there, you are saying, I will not have this man to reign over me.

To all who take this attitude, 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. The light of Christ will cut away the darkness that covers their evil doings and their corruption, their fraud and cruelty, will be exposed. {RH, July 24, 1894 par. 2}

Do you like being exposed? Hasn’t the word of God exposed me many times in the past? If I am not willing for this exposé, by the word of the preaching of Jesus Christ, what will happen inside of me? I will say, I don’t want to submit myself to this government. I will not submit to the reigning of this over me. No. Therefore it creates a sword, not peace.

Christianity unmasks the hypocrisies of Satan and it is this unmasking of his designs that stirs his bitter hatred against Christ and his followers. {RH, July 24, 1894 par. 2}

Now we have an interesting picture, because as the foolishness of the preaching takes place, it creates a rumble amongst the people. There is a company that says, I will not have this man to reign over me. I will not do what this man is telling me to do; and the other says, Yes, I love the Lord! I’m happy to do it. You’ve got a friction in the church, haven’t you? Now the people that says, Yes, I will do what God says, will they go along and tell the other ones off and send them out? Is that what they will do?

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 demarkation 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. {RH, July 24, 1894 par. 4}

It could endure; remember the love? The love will suffer it.

His peace was that which was born of love toward those who were plotting for his death. {RH, July 24, 1894 par. 4}

How does the church get pure? Let’s summarise. The gathering of individuals who have been broken by the story of Jesus Christ will because they love Him, do what He says; and they become His church. They are keen to learn more of His will. Jesus gave Himself for them, what will they want to do now?

Progress or Withdrawal

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Through that love that they have to Him, they will be zealous to do more and more and more and just say, Lord, what will you show me next? What’s the next thing you want me to do? and they will progress from one strength to another strength; and what are they? A peculiar people.

As they surge forward, always focusing on Jesus as their personal Saviour, they are practicing; after having heard the sermons, they will practice the works of obedience; they speak of their discoveries. As you learn, you will put into practice and what will you find? Oh, Jesus said, If you will do His will, then you will know of the doctrine. Oh look what I’ve found! I’ve practiced E.G. White and look, my health is much better; and what am I eating? Oh, I’m getting rid of all my unhealthy items. People say, oh we’ll have to stop. Well that’s not what they said it for; they have said it because they have found an answer. That’s all, they’re loving the Lord.

Then they say, oh I’m dressing like this now and they stand up in the church and they testify, look at the benefit I received from dressing like this. The other ones groan because it cuts right across what they are doing; but these ones are prattling away for joy. When you have in the church people who will really go all the way with Jesus Christ, they will be like little children; you can’t stop them.

What did the Pharisees do when the children were singing to Christ Hosanna! Hosanna!? What did they tell Jesus to do? Can’t they be quiet? Some have told me to do that when certain people testify of certain things, if they keep on talking like that, they’re going to chase people out of this church. Of course. The reality is that in this process of the beautiful path of obedience of God’s true people, they will go forward with joy, with gladness, with no legislation against anybody; they will just rejoice in obeying what Jesus is saying to them. No need to go to the church and say, well, shall we make some rules in the church now to stop these people because they’re not doing what I’m doing? That’s the attitude of the other kind of mentality.

They are pressing upward and onward to greater heights and any other church who do not fit in begin to feel uncomfortable, embarrassed. Ah, what will the others say about what this person is doing right now? The people out there are talking terribly about this church! Are you worried? Some are. Some are really worried, we are giving them a bad example here! They become embarrassed; and as they become embarrassed, what will they do? They will pull back; they will withdraw from the closeness of those who are really rejoicing in the beauty of the truth. This is exactly what Lucifer did, didn’t he? He who was so close to the throne of God, what did he do, when he began to feel uncomfortable?

[Satan’s] disaffection was proved to be without cause and he was made to see what would be the result of persisting in revolt. Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong. {PP 39.1}

The sword had done its work.

He saw … that the divine statutes are just and that he ought to acknowledge them as such before all heaven. Had he done this, he might have saved himself and many angels. He had not at that time fully cast off his allegiance to God. Though he had left his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, acknowledging the Creator’s wisdom and satisfied to fill the place appointed him in God’s great plan, he would have been reinstated in his office. {PP 39.1}

What did He do? Did God say, alright, you’re out of my office! is that what God did? No. He, Lucifer, withdrew himself from that office. Think about it. When you come face to face with something that embarrasses you in the church and you don’t want to submit yourself to that, of those who love Him, you will become uncomfortable and you might even go to the extent of saying, well, I’m not going to take that office, sorry. That’s what Lucifer did, he gave it up; but he had opportunity to come back to it. That’s God’s love.

What did Judas do? We now see the mindset that Judas had, which prevented from really submitting to Jesus:

Christ’s discourse in the synagogue concerning the bread of life was the turning point in the history of Judas. He heard the words, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. John 6:53. He saw that Christ was offering spiritual rather than worldly good. He regarded himself as farsighted and thought he could see that Jesus would have no honor and that He could bestow no high position upon His followers. {DA 719.1}

He saw it.

He determined not to unite himself so closely to Christ … {DA 719.1}

What did he do? This cut across his mentality; in his human perception he said, no I can’t follow Jesus like that anymore; so he withdrew himself from the closeness of Jesus, whereas the other ones pressed close around Him. Can you see how it works? As he did that, what did he do?

He determined not to unite himself so closely to Christ but that he could draw away. He would watch. And he did watch. {DA 719.1}

Was he cast out? Did the church cast him out? No. Jesus didn’t say, look, this man is defrauding the books. This man is stealing, he’s a thief and a robber; this man is going to blame him for the cross. He’s the one! Deal with him. Is that what Jesus did? The kingdom of love doesn’t do that.

The kingdom of love proclaims the word and those who love it will press together; and those that don’t like it will withdraw. You can read it in Sister White’s time, after 1888. She says that those, not one in twenty, a little company, who would remain close to God should stay in the church, but stand separate from those who would take them away. In other words, stay close to the truth; don’t go along and get onto their level. Hold on to Jesus; and then what happened? The process of experience after 1888 took place. In the following statement, written directly after 1888, she is talking specifically about the beautiful doctrine of Christ and His righteousness:

The unity, the harmony, that should exist among the disciples of Christ is described in these words: That they may be one, as we are. But how many there are who draw off … {RH, March 11, 1890 par. 2}

Just like Judas, just like Lucifer, they draw off …

… and seem to think that they have learned all they need to learn. Brethren, where is your burden for these? {RH, March 11, 1890 par. 2}

Was there a burden for Lucifer still? When people begin to draw off within the company of the church, what is our burden for them?

Have you been to them to invite them to come and seek God and hear the word that has been precious to you? {RH, March 11, 1890 par. 2}

Please, come to here! We are having a wonderful experience! … No, no, no, you people go on as you like. … I won’t come to church because I feel uncomfortable there. … But no, please, we’re getting wonderful food. That is what they are meant to be doing.

Are you enjoying light and still willing to let others remain in darkness? We want all our brethren to have the same blessing that we have. Those who choose to stand on the outskirts of the camp cannot know what is going on in the inner circle. {RH, March 11, 1890 par. 2}

That’s when that statement comes from because back there, in 1888, their leadership was standing back and the little company that was preaching the message were pressing together; but the other ones didn’t know what they experienced. She is talking about the inner circle and those who are on the outskirts.

Those who choose to stand on the outskirts of the camp, cannot know what is going on in the inner circle. They must come right into the inner courts, for as a people we must be united in faith and purpose. Jesus has prayed that his disciples all might 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. It is through this unity that we are to convince the world of the mission of Christ and bear our divine credentials to the world. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. This is what we want. This is what we are waiting for,–more of the glory of Christ to lighten our pathway, that we may go forth with that glory shining in our countenances, that we may make an impression upon those with whom we shall come in contact. {RH, March 11, 1890 par. 2}

Can we see the answer to our question? Can we see how God’s church is kept pure? There are people who will step back and who will not come into the inner circle and they persist. What is the outcome at the end? Was this the case in 1888 to 1914? Did the people respond to this call, Come and hear the message of 1888! Submit to it, did they? No, they didn’t; and what happened? They began to murmur and complain against Sister White. They even dismissed her from America and sent her to Australia because she was a constant thorn in their flesh; so the blessings came to Australia.

They continued to oppose until the First World War broke out; and now what happened? Did the faithful church disfellowship the unfaithful ones? Not at all. The unfaithful pushed them out because they were in the minority. You see, no need for highhanded control; only love and the foolishness of preaching. How will the church be kept pure? By steadfastly enduring until the end. The unfaithful element will withdraw, either by persecution upon the little, small company, or if it’s a minority that is dissatisfied, who will stand on the outskirts, what will they do? Like Israel, they will find fault with Moses and murmur against even God Himself. They will murmur against the beautiful messages that come through the pulpit and they will murmur even against God Himself.

Walking Away

You can hear sometimes people say, why does God do this? Why does God do that? Do you know what they’re doing? In heart they are murmuring against God’s ways. If those in the majority are faithful, what is written about those in the minority who are complaining and withdrawing? What’s going to happen to them? Sister White writes it. They won’t be disfellowshipped. What will they do? They will walk away, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition:

As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. {GC 608.2}

Those who have had great light and precious privileges, but have not improved them, will, under one pretext or another, go out from us. {6T 400.3}

Under some pretext or another.

1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

Many individuals who are being cut by Jesus; and as they are being cut by Jesus, you know that it is the last time.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

There was no legislative disfellowshipment, they walked out because they were not comfortable with those who love to do everything that God says. After they were sincerely reached out for and drawn close and talked with and warmed towards the beauty; if they continued to resist, they would walk out and join the ranks of the opposition.

What are we learning in this experience? God’s true church is never authoritarian. It will never disfellowship people because, they won’t do as they’re told! They will keep on pressing together in the beautiful truth; and as they press together in the beautiful truth and talk of it and testify of it and rejoice in it, those that don’t like say, pfft…I’m getting out of here. I’m not comfortable with that company.

Then we feel sorry for them. Please, don’t do that. Please, come back. We love you. Please, can’t you see we’re only doing what God is telling us to do? Come back. By the appeal of love some will come back. But others will say, No, they will join the ranks of the opposition. Therefore we must make a very firm decision as individuals and as a church.

The Counterfeit Justice

This is what must govern us in our church. Remember what we were talking about before: Using the mindset of authority to rule the church is not of God. Who is it from? It is Satan’s justice.

This counterfeit justice that Satan advocates, God abhors; it must not come into the experience of the sons and daughters of God. Satan’s censuring must not be imitated by any one who is a partaker of the mercy and the love of God. {RH, September 22, 1896 par. 9}

Whose censuring is that? The accuser of the brethren. They’re doing this …That’s not right … This is not right. That is the counterfeit justice. It is a justice that has no place in God’s church.

Let not one of his professed children climb upon the judgment seat to accuse or condemn another. Guard your own soul; watch closely for the first jealous thought, the first suggestion to question or judge others. {RH, September 22, 1896 par. 9}

Watch for it.

God has not set you to be a judge over your brethren; {RH, September 22, 1896 par. 9}

Not even me.

… and while you do so, your own soul will be as destitute of the Spirit of God as were the hills of Gilboa of dew and rain. {RH, September 22, 1896 par. 9}

Have you ever found yourself, when you were thinking about the things in the church that weren’t right, that suddenly your whole spiritual experience starts sliding down? Here is the reason, brethren and sisters! Because you’re not looking at Jesus, you’re not concentrating on His love; you are exercising yourself in this satanic counterfeit and you will become dry as the hills of Gilboa. As you are dry, the other ones are rejoicing around you and you think, Ugh… because that’s what happens. It’s a reality.

Those who are ready to accuse and find fault with others, commit sin against their own souls. Those who would bring others to justice, should be the embodiment of spotless purity themselves. {RH, September 22, 1896 par. 9}

Are you? Remember, Jesus said:

John 8:7 … He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

They walked away.

Never disparage one soul for whom Christ has died; for when you accuse and condemn his followers, you accuse and condemn Christ. Be instruments in the Lord’s hands of saving souls with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. We must not be severe with the infirmities of others, but attend zealously to our own individual case. {RH, September 22, 1896 par. 9}

Angels of God are watching the character you develop, they are weighing your words and actions; therefore take heed to your ways; examine closely your own heart, prove whether you are in the love of God. When Jesus is abiding in your heart by faith, when his love controls the heart, you will have love for your brethren and sisters. {RH, September 22, 1896 par. 10}

…faulty as they are.

May God help us to practice this justice, the justice of love that will not stay on the mindset that has affected every human being including myself. May God grant me and you the beauty of love, as we keep on looking to Jesus as that will correctly relate to all of my brothers and sisters; and we will keep the church pure, because those that will not submit to this, will no stay with us. We’re only a small church. We aren’t a big church that will disfellowship the small number. By God’s grace we will go on from glory to glory, from faith to faith, from holiness to holiness and we will be ready when Jesus comes. May God grant us this, is my prayer.

Amen.

Posted on April 28, 2013, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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