A Spectacle For the One I Love

20140114-072602.jpg

By John Thiel, Audio: Mp3

Have you ever heard a parent who became ashamed of his child, burst out with words like this, Mary! Stop making a spectacle of yourself? How does one make a spectacle of one’s self, an exhibition of one’s self? When does the parent speak like that? Isn’t it when the child is doing something out of the acceptable code of behaviour? Something that they do that draws the attention of everybody to their child. Or doing something remarkable, something outlandish to make a spectacle of ourselves. The word “spectacle” can also be used if there is something extraordinarily beautiful. It is my prayer to seek to understand how those who are occupied with the love of God are made a spectacle to the world.

1 Corinthians 4:9 …for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

To help us understand the point of this scripture, we are made a spectacle unto the world, to men, I would like to do so by a method of contrast.

There was once a woman, a very well dressed noble woman, very wealthy. She was regarded in the society as a very fine woman. She had a daughter and a fine husband, very wealthy. But she became entangled in spiritualism. As she became fascinated with the supernatural that this spiritualistic church was occupying her mind with, she came to a point when she could hear a voice speaking to her. She would come home and talk about this voice and her daughter felt very, very uncomfortable. That was so eerie. This voice would be speaking to her in a very endearing way and it made her feel very comforted; she loved that voice.

All went well for quite a period of time and her daughter kept on warning her. As this voice spoke to her, it sometimes told her what to do and she implicitly did what the voice told her because she was learning to love that voice and to trust it. As time went on, she was following the instruction of that voice and one day that voice said to her, go and buy this particular hat, and put it on. It was a real weird-looking hat. Of course she was a very noble sort of person and she felt a little uncomfortable but she had come to love that voice, so she put on this weird-looking hat. Then it said to her, go and dress with these particular clothes. The woman went along and did that; she felt so uncomfortable but she felt that was what the voice told her to do, so she did. Her daughter was horror-struck, what are you doing mum? You’re making a spectacle of yourself. She said, this is alright, nothing wrong with this. I know that the voice is telling me to do this.

Very slowly and insidiously this woman began to change very dramatically from the way she was. She began to look slovenly. She was told, don’t worry about the bath today. You’ll be alright, and she began to smell. Everything went wrong in her appearance and the family was really concerned. They didn’t know what to do until the daughter called a minister from the church that they were attending. They had to go through the exercises of casting out this demon that was possessing this lady. This lady loved the voice and followed its instructions.

Today society through history like that woman has followed the voice, the same voice. But it comes very slowly. We know that voice in spiritualism is the voice that affects the pagan world around us. If you go to Africa you see women there who make a spectacle of themselves to our society. They wear rings around their necks over the years until finally their necks are so stretched that if those rings were removed their necks would fall over because they are so weak in the neck and their neck has been stretched. They put bones through their noses and bones through their ears. They do ridiculous things which we look upon as horrifying all under the voice that this woman was under.

That voice has affected society especially the Christian society as we understand so well when we study the fall of the churches when paganism was mingled together with Christianity. Some weird and strange things were then performed. We come to the Protestant church and to America which was a Protestant country and the church of Sardis. There as the message for the hour arrived to those churches, they opened the door to Satan and shut the door to the message for this time of the three angels. Very slowly that voice was heeded.

The kind of modesty that the people believed in back then, the values of life, the modesty of their life, was such that they were dressed totally, covering themselves apart from these worldly women who had materials and so on that was worldly and which was already Satan’s influence. But these genuine Christians were very modestly clothed and as Satan directed their behaviour through his voice, like this woman, the first that began to happen – they used to go swimming with costumes on that would cover them perfectly; and then they didn’t swim together in the same area. The men went to that side of the beach, and the women went that side of the beach. – the first little thing that they did that was out of ordinary was that they would come together and swim together, and frolic around in the water.

Bathing costumes began to be more revealing so that by the time that we came to the turn of the century, you had one-piece bathing costumes with the legs and the arms showing and all the rest of it and it was tight body-fitting. That was outlandish to the people who were living before that. It was horrifying and there were many conflicts in the governments to stop this from happening but this outlandish behaviour came through. As they became used to this unveiling of their bodies that they would never even think of doing in the ordinary circles of life, they became conditioned and then there came another voice to the men. Now you can wear shorts, no problems. Take a look at the photos of the men who worked in the forest of those days back there; you will never see a man with shorts on no matter how hard they worked. They began to do something outlandish. They became a spectacle to the society that happened before it.

Of course the dresses of women became shorter. Whereas once upon a time it was horrifying to show an ankle, it was quite alright now, no problems. But the first few steps that were taken horrified the people. They were astonished at the kind of spectacle that was being made. As the society continued to follow that voice, the most horrifying thing that ever happened to the Christian world was that as those dresses became shorter, the women began to wear sheer-stockings. That was a terrible thing out of order. That was horrifying to them and gradually it took root.

As the voice of spiritual sophistry continued to tell society this is alright, do this. That’s alright, do that, we come today into a society where if you walk through the streets and you are a true Christian, you don’t know which way to turn anymore do you? But it’s normal. You see people walking down the street with their hair coloured in a real bizarre sort of way. They are a real spectacle and after a while they all start wearing it, the young. Then you see them unveiling themselves like at the beach. I don’t go to the beach because I don’t want to see that and then I have to go to the city and what I see is horrifying. It’s disastrous. It is the voice. The same voice that spoke to that woman is affecting society today.

The world has once regarded these things as spectacles, today it is all the go. The music that was once beautiful and flowing was changed by men and women of that young generation who made a spectacle of themselves on the dance floor who swung themselves around in a way that was horrifying to modesty. Then came the music that had to go with that. Then there was music that was a spectacle that was horrifying according to the voice that led society.

What does the Bible reveal of this line-up?

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

That woman was following the voice and the seductions of seducing spirits, and doctrines and voices of devils; and society today has followed cue.

Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

That is what has been taking place and as we come to the very day in which we live, in the very last days.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

If you’ve got a society that is listening to the devil speaking, what kind of a society are you going to be living in? Full of peril, because all of a sudden something is being said to this particular person in society and he goes and does something absolutely bizarre. You see this in the world around you today. Why?

2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents …

It doesn’t matter anymore what the parents say. It’s what the voice says that counts.

2 Timothy 3:2 …unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 …lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:… 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

This is our society and the creeping in of these things into the churches has produced such a society.

Isaiah 59:14 And judgment is turned away backward…

Good judgment is turned away, the people aren’t judging correctly anymore. The voice is speaking.

Isaiah 59:14 …and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. 15 Yea, truth faileth; and he [that] departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw [it], and it displeased him that [there was] no judgment.

As you read this and these scriptures, you can see vividly that society has listened to that voice and that which was once a spectacle is now no longer a spectacle at all, that’s quite normal. For those who will stand faithful and true to that which is truth and good judgment, they will become a prey. Actions which once rendered the perpetrator as a spectacle now are socially accepted so that the individual that is different has become a spectacle.

If you are going to be different to society today, what will you become? A prey, because they will pay attention to you, Whoa, this is a funny looking fellow. He’s dangerous to our society! Get rid of him! He’s devil-possessed because once upon a time the Christians got rid of the devil-possessed people now they’re all devil-possessed and they look at you and me who want to follow exactly what God says, and you will become a spectacle. As they see you, they will crowd in upon you and make you first of all, feel absolutely ridiculous for what you’re doing. Then, if that isn’t good enough, they will pounce on you.

The time in which we are living right now is probably most relevant to the following text than any other time before. As the world has been under the dictates of that voice and has conformed to its directions, which once upon a time looked absolutely bizarre, and now are acceptable.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Here is the contrast, can you see? Before they followed the will and the voice of the evil one and now God says, I want you to be transformed from that. I want you to prove what my voice is telling you, what my will is. In this contrast, as we observe, Satan has possessed the woman and society doing what he says.

Man, fallen man, may be transformed by the renewing of the mind, so that he can “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” How does he prove this? By the Holy Spirit taking possession of his mind… {6BC 1080.4}

Who took possession of the woman’s mind? It was spiritualism, it was the devil. What has taken possession of society’s mind? It’s the devil. How are we going to prove God’s perfect will? By the Holy Spirit taking possession of the mind, our spirit, our heart and character.

Where does the proving come in? “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” A real work is wrought by the Holy Spirit upon the human character, and its fruits are seen. {6BC 1080.4}

You’re listening to another voice and it will be seen, you will become a spectacle. You will look so extremely different to the world around you that they will pay attention to you and think you are ridiculous. because you’re making a spectacle of yourself. That is when the Spirit possesses you. In today’s society if you follow the voice of the Holy Spirit you will be a spectacle like it or not.

The Christian is a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. Singular?–Yes; he has a most singular, peculiar character, because his life is worked out after the divine similitude. {6BC 1088.3}

If you are going to follow the voice of the Spirit that is brought to us in God’s word, in the Spirit of Prophecy, you will be a spectacle which means “singular”. You will be a prey, people will pay attention to you. You will look different. You will be so absolutely different that you are a spectacle.

What of the preachers who will dare to unveil these things? What is written about them?

1 Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. 10 We [are] fools for Christ’s sake, but ye [are] wise in Christ; we [are] weak, but ye [are] strong; ye [are] honourable, but we [are] despised.

Who is responsible for the church that becomes a spectacle? The apostles, the preachers.

Our work for this time is not to be done by enticing words of man’s wisdom, such as were used by heathen orators to gain applause. {6BC 1084.9}

When you preach upfront you are in danger of looking for the applause of the people. You are in danger of getting their nod. If you are going to be governed by that kind of preaching, you’re doing exactly the same way as the orators of the heathen.

Speak in the demonstration of the Spirit, and with the power which God alone can impart. The testing truths for this time are to be proclaimed by men whose lips have been touched with a live coal from off God’s altar. Such preaching will be a decided contrast to the preaching usually heard. Faithful, God-sent messengers are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men, not because they place themselves in high positions, but because they show that they are strengthened and helped by the Spirit (MS 165, 1899). {6BC 1084.9}

That voice. And as the voice dictates what a true preacher is meant to preach, he becomes a spectacle and people talk about him. He is getting too harsh, he is going too far. Why? Because what he is saying will make us look ridiculous in the eyes of the world. But just as the woman who loved the voice and followed its dictates, she was made a spectacle and society today loves the voice that leads to self-gratification. They become a spectacle to the universe because they love that voice.

Remember when Eve fell? She loved that voice that came from the serpent’s mouth. It really made her feel great. You’re so beautiful. Has God said? It goes on and she thought that the serpent was her special friend, her special friend. She loved the voice. The world loves that voice and they do what the voice says because they love it! Sometimes it makes you feel a little bit strange if you’re going to follow the way of the world but it suits the passions of the human nature, you overcome it.

I can never get over it when I was a youth I was so surprised. I went to the beach and there they were in their typical attire of modern bathing suits and I thought to myself, If I came across those same ladies in the bedroom, in the same kind of covering, they would stand aghast and say, get out of here quick ! and I was trying to work this out in my early years. I thought, what’s society doing? My brain was twisted into contortions trying to understand.

The voice often says things to make a spectacle of you and you start to accept that it’s quite normal. Because we love it, we will do it and it matters not what other people say. I love what I’m being inspired with and I’m going to do it because it feels good no matter how much of a spectacle I am. So society is doing it.

This is exactly the same principle of the one who believes and follows the possession of the Holy Spirit in their life, the One that renders them a spectacle in such a prevailing society of today. You love Him? Are you worried about what others say? Because the voice that speaks to you and that you love, you are prepared to follow. Who is the one that we love? Is it not Jesus? What was written of Him? Let’s have a look at Jesus the One whom we have come to love because He has come to shed His blood for us and He has come to make us free from our decrepit situation of knowledge of our sad state. There are a lot of things we don’t know but the things that we do know, we know that Jesus has done wonders to save us. I love Him! What was He like?

We read in Isaiah 59 that truth is fallen in the street and that judgment has failed. Let us now read what He experienced because that was a prophecy of His own experience. Here He was in a society that is described.

Isaiah 59:16 And he saw that [there was] no man, and wondered that [there was] no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. 17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance [for] clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.

What you are in the heart you are clothed with on the outside. Jesus looked around when there was none and anybody who would do what is right would become a prey. Because there was none, what did He do? He became a prey.

Isaiah 63:2 Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people [there was] none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. … 5 And I looked, and [there was] none to help; and I wondered that [there was] none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.

When you place yourself into the position of someone who lives in a society that claims to have the knowledge of God but is totally listening to the voice of the evil one in their judgment and in their practices of life and you are looking for some that could participate with you in union and you look and you look and there’s nobody there, how do you feel? Some people get angry. The anger of Jesus is quite different to the anger that often times legalists have. But He also was dismayed beyond comparison. There was nobody to actually participate with Him in the rough path. He became a prey. He became a spectacle. See Him there at the cross, what a spectacle.

If ever you wonder why you should become a spectacle in the world today by following His voice, just look at His spectacle, then hear His plaintive cry. As He is there a prey, He was so different to everybody else that not only did they continually harass Him, that they could not understand why He was so different from them that ultimately it got the better of them and they finally crucified Him. There is this cry:

Lamentations 1:12 [Is it] nothing to you, all ye that pass by?

Is it nothing to you? Here I am a prey at the hands of this society that is listening to the voice of the evil one. I’m totally different to them, is it nothing to you? Do you love me? If you really love Him, does it matter if you are a spectacle? Does it matter? Have a look at what a spectacle He was:

There were some who sought His society, {DA 89.1}

When you are a real lovely Christian, people look for your society, they enjoy your company.

…feeling at peace in His presence; but many avoided Him, because they were rebuked by His stainless life. Young companions urged Him to do as they did. {DA 89.1}

This is talking of Jesus in His youth. Young companions loved to be in His presence, but come on, come along with us, come and do what we are doing.

He was bright and cheerful; they enjoyed His presence, and welcomed His ready suggestions; but they were impatient at His scruples, {DA 89.1}

When do you use the word “scruples”? When somebody is about to make a spectacle of themselves.

…they were impatient at His scruples, and pronounced Him narrow and strait-laced. Jesus answered, It is written, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.” {DA 89.1}

Jesus followed the voice. When they were trying to egg Him on because they enjoyed His company – how true I’ve seen this, I’ve seen this with my children. They were brought up as strictly as we knew how at that time and people loved being with my girls. They loved being there.

After a period of time, they said, but your father is this and that. Very slowly they were trying to tell my children that we are going to extremes. Jesus went through that very same experience, why are you so singular? That’s exactly what they said.

Often He was asked, Why are you bent on being so singular, so different from us all? It is written, He said, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways.” Psalm 119:1-3. {DA 89.2}

That was what is answer was. Jesus was not bent by the ridicule. The spectacle appearance that He was made to feel.

Do you love Jesus enough to be as singular as Him? There was none other He said. Even the disciples forsook Him, they were His church. There was none other. Apostle Peter was embarrassed by Him. Jesus was a spectacle. Why doesn’t He put Himself out of this terrible scene? As he was getting close there, they would say to Peter, you are one of them and he said, no, no, no, I’m not a spectacle. If you love Him enough to be as singular as He, you are prepared to look odd in the world. That is a spectacle to the universe of pure holy angels.

The world is a spectacle and it has slowly become conditioned to the spectacle. It has slowly become conditioned to submit itself to all those things that were once upon a time regarded as a spectacle. My mother was put up by a lady one day when she was only a youth back in 1924-25. She said, see that woman there wearing trousers? The day will come when every woman in the street will wear trousers and you know that will be the end of the world. That’s what she told my mother. Look at the world today. In those days it was a spectacle for a woman to wear a pair of trousers especially in Europe. America had already fallen quicker.

So many things that were once regarded as a spectacle are today normal. If you are going to follow the meek and lowly Jesus, you are going to look totally different to today’s society. If you think that you shouldn’t follow the strictness of dress reform and of all the other reforms because you’re going to look too different to them and they’re going to ridicule your religion, then you’re still on the wrong track. You’re not looking to Jesus. Forget about them! Be happy of your difference, of your singularity from a world that is going into the spectacle of Satan’s ways and self-destruction.

Are you ashamed of Jesus?

Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Do you want Him to be ashamed of you? Or do you want the world to be ashamed of you? This is our choice. The One I love, or do I love something of the world’s opinion so that I want to be acceptable in their eyes, so that I can make them attracted to Jesus? That’s what the twist is of the mind of the Christian society of today. We don’t want to be too different to them otherwise we’ll chase them away. Did Jesus change His tact in any way? He stayed true to the voice. You and I love Jesus. I know we do. But we do listen a little bit here and there to the opinions of others? Then we start to feel a little concerned that I might just cause them to drift away from that which I am trying to attract them to. It’s not for you to worry about, it’s for me to worry about whether people are going to be repulsed by me or attracted by me if I follow the voice. Do I need to worry? Not at all. I am very happy to follow the voice I love. It is the voice of Jesus Christ. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit. I want to be possessed by Him, and I know that I’m not going to become a spectacle of losing my self-respect. I know I’m not going to lose my mental nobility. It’s the other voice that does that.

We live in a time today when God is making up His jewels. They shine and they sparkle in contrast to the dark pebbles around them. As He takes them from the world of compliance and Satan’s ways, they need to be altered. Remember? Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. How does He do it? What happens?

Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke…

Where?

Philippians 2:15 …in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

The perverse, the crooked generation that has listened to the voice and has become infatuated by the unveiling of itself and by doing spectacular things that are not blameless and harmless in the kingdom of heaven. Among these you will stand out. You will become a spectacle.

The following statement is to help us appreciate that the One I love I will be prepared to let Him make me different just like the world has been different.

Christians are Christ’s jewels. They are to shine brightly for Him, shedding forth the light of His loveliness. Their luster depends on the polishing they receive. They may choose to be polished or to remain unpolished. But everyone who is pronounced worthy of a place in the Lord’s temple must submit to the polishing process. {OHC 322.2}

That’s a very beautiful word, polish. When a person has nobility he has polish, doesn’t he? He has a particularly noteworthy fragrance about him, a glory, a shine about him that is attractive. It’s got a polish. But how do you get that polish? It said it there, they must submit to the polishing process.

This process is severe and trying; it hurts human pride. Christ cuts deep into the experience that man in his self-sufficiency has regarded as complete, {OHC 322.4}

What does He cut? Into the experience that man has regarded as sufficient and complete, because man has been conditioned to regard that as complete. I’m right now, I don’t need to change anymore. But as soon as we say that I’m quite alright now, I’ve reached the condition, He has to cut a little deeper:

…and takes away self-uplifting from the character. He cuts away the surplus surface, and putting the stone to the polishing wheel, presses it close, {OHC 322.4}

Have you ever felt like that? It just gets a bit harder, doesn’t it? Hotter and more uncomfortable. It is the Lord. He’s pressing us closer to the wheel.

…that all roughness may be worn away. Then, holding the jewel up to the light, the Master sees in it a reflection of Himself, and He pronounces it worthy of a place in His casket. “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee,… and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.” Blessed be the experience, however severe, that gives new value to the stone, and causes it to shine with living brightness. {OHC 322.4}

As we permit the Lord to press us to the polishing wheel, what are we doing? We are taking every word that He is saying and everything that is revealed clearly in His word, in the Spirit of Priohecy and the Bible that is contrary to what the world does around us and it cuts deep upon my own expectations, my own human interpretations, it’s the voice that says, do this. It might be very uncomfortable like it was uncomfortable for the woman who was noble and made a spectacle of herself under Satan’s voice, This is just the front, that’s all.

If you think that you don’t want to feel different to what you have accepted as a norm and the voice comes to you and says, this is the way you are to put it into practice different to the world, then it becomes hard. It becomes uncomfortable but that’s alright because you’re following the voice that you love. If ever you feel embarrassed, remember Jesus loves you. Whenever you think that the world is looking on by some strange act that you’re doing different to them, be happy. You’re looking different for Jesus. Be happy. They were happy. The people are happy when they do the things they do. Why shouldn’t you be happy for the spectacle you make of yourself?

These have been the exercises of my mind ever since I came to Jesus and I kept on having to sort myself out. I haven’t changed all at once, but it was this mentality that began to keep on affecting me. As we know, what others have had years learning, those will have to learn in a few short months and sometimes a little bit more helter skelter, to it’s not quite so smooth anymore.
But what does Jesus say?

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

What will it mean in your life one day? You’re going to be crucified too in that society. Not literally, but you’re going to end up in the courts. You’re going to end up being harassed and it will only be by the mercy of God that you will be saved out of that destruction as you are one of the hundred and forty four thousand. Are you prepared to follow the voice of the One you love irrespective of the world’s scorn?

May God grant us such a love in our hearts that we will be prepared to do the ridiculous in the eyes of the world.

Posted on January 14, 2014, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: