03 Giving God the Glory

By John Thiel, The Last Generation Challenge series, mp3

Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

This is the last generation. We have this challenge to meet the expectations of God in this last generation. Here is the message of the Revelation 18 angel, the fourth angel, giving the message to the world:

Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

The earth was lightened with the glory of this angel. Habakkuk brings the same concept to our attention:

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

This is what this Revelation 18 angel is responsible for – to cover the entire earth with God’s glory. And we are reminded by the Spirit of Prophecy that this angel is the people of God:

You must remember that this angel represents the people that have this message to give to the world. Are you among that people? {RH, August 18, 1885 par. 14}

The question of most vital importance for this time is, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will unite with the angel in giving the message of truth to the world? Who will receive the light that is to fill the whole earth with its glory?” {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 12}

The call for the people who embrace the messages of the last days, the messages of the angels – the first, second, third, the other angel of Revelation 18, and also the other voice from heaven in Revelation 18:4 – the challenge for anyone who lives in this generation is expressed here:

Revelation 14:7 …Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come:

Give glory to God – that is the call in these last days, to be part of this angel. We are called upon to give God the glory, in what? Whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God – this challenge, this call, to cover the earth with the glory of God, to join this angel, to meet the question of most vital importance for this time, is to be part of such a people, a people who are going to give God the glory in all things, whether they eat, or drink, or whatsoever they do.

The Holy One has given rules for the guidance of all–the standard of character from which none can swerve and be guiltless. God’s will is to be diligently and conscientiously studied, and it must be made paramount in all the affairs of life. The laws which every human agent is to obey flow from the heart of infinite love. {2SM 216.3}

Whether you eat, or drink, whatever you do, God’s will is to be diligently and conscientiously studied, and it must be made paramount in all the affairs of life. And don’t forget that this law, these requirements of God, come from a heart of infinite love. We sometimes focus so heavily upon being correct, doing God’s will exactly, that we can miss the point of the love that is connected with all that. We are to be motivated by a love. To rise to the challenge of meeting God’s expectations, of doing God’s will perfectly, to diligently and conscientiously study it, so that we might do it, in trying to reach those high standards that are connected with God’s perfect will, we cannot rise to this challenge without a total focus upon Jesus. We must not lose sight of Jesus in the efforts to reach God’s perfect will.

Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

In this scripture the apostle Paul is reminding us that we must have the truth as it is in Jesus, that as we take hold of that truth, we are to put off concerning all the things of our corrupt past; we are to put away all the things that don’t fit into God’s will. And as we strive to do this, it is the renewal of our mind by God, it is putting on a new man, a different character, a different mentality, a different spirit, that will acknowledge everything that God says and will not enter into debate about that; whereas the old man will always debate, Why do I have to do this? Why is this? Why is that? Why is the other thing? None of those things are to be operative in the new man. The new man will submit himself to the truth as it is in Jesus.

What I want to do in this study is to lay another very firm foundation, so that as we venture forward into the details of God’s will, which we are to study conscientiously, and as we study very closely in this and the following divine services what is God’s will to be brought into every practical reality of our life, we may apply ourselves into an intimacy with Jesus and the consequences of this intimacy with Jesus that will come forth.

Intimacy with Jesus

What are the consequences when we enter into an intimacy with Jesus? We want to re-establish an experience which Jesus has brought into our proximity by the atonement, so that we will have inspiration and determination to do God’s will, however crucifying to our nature. We want to see Jesus in connection with us:

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Can you pick up the weight of these words? We have turned every one to what? To his own way. According to those inspired words, that means we like sheep have gone astray. We have gone our own way; we have not followed the way of God in everything. And the consequences of us following our own way are that Jesus received the consequences of our own way. Think about this. Our own way is a way that is not in the way of God’s way. It is sheep having gone astray. It is identified in these words as, “And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” So our own way in God’s eyes is iniquity. As we follow our own way, we will have to suffer the consequences of the way that we have followed.

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

As we go our own way, if we do the things of our own way, we are sowing seeds that will have a harvest. For instance, just the crass application, if I am indulging in watching corrupt films, watching corrupt and doing corrupt things in the film industry, one day what will I be harvesting? By beholding you become affected by that, and you suffer the consequences of a corrupt inflow of what you are looking at. What you sow you shall reap. This is the case with anything else that we do. I just gave one simple example, but there it is. You sow something in following your own way, and the consequences will ultimately come; we will harvest them.

Hosea 10:13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.

Thou did trust in thy way – we have all turned to our own way, we have ploughed wickedness, and reaped iniquity. That is why Jesus had to suffer the iniquity of us all. “Ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way” – when I read these statements I become terribly affected with the thought, Oh, what I have done in pursuing my own way without asking God for His way? You can see that we must study conscientiously and diligently God’s way, because we will suffer what we have sown. But what we have sown Jesus came to suffer with us.

With what we have just been contemplating now, we are looking at Jesus in His intimacy with us, so that we might be affected to not follow our own way anymore.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Here we see the connection between our ways and the consequences of our ways, which create grief and suffering and affliction, and we see Jesus. What do we see? All the consequences of our own ways are laid upon Him. As the iniquities of our ways are laid upon Him, follow carefully now, what do we hear Him say? It was God’s will that Jesus would take our sins to save us, but as Jesus takes our iniquities, as they are laid upon Him, look at Him in the following scripture. Here He was in the garden of Gethsemane,

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

It was the Father’s will to lay the consequences of our ways upon Jesus. And as Jesus came to meet God’s will in His life, it came to a point where He said, Oh, this is too much; Lord, if it be possible, can you remove this?? I can’t go through with this, but not My will, Thy will be done. Was it hard for Jesus to do the will of God pertaining to Him? An angel had to come to strengthen Him. When God’s will and God’s way, or God’s requirement, God’s righteousness, seems too hard for you and me, then reflect on Jesus receiving our way.

The subject that we are venturing into, to place a thorough study upon our mind on God’s will in all the practical circumstances of life – whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do – it frequently unveils to us this thought, “Whether I eat, or drink, or whatsoever I do, this has been my way, and now the Lord is calling me to His way of eating and drinking and doing all to His glory,” and there come times in your life when, like Jesus, it comes up to your neck and you say, No, this is impossible, I can’t do this. But then you reflect on Jesus. Let us see what is God’s way in contrast to our way.

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way,

Let us forsake our way,

Isaiah 55:7 …and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Why? Because Jesus took that.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As I am reading this, I can hear the voices of people that have talked with me over the years as I highlighted God’s way, You are telling people to do things that are impossible! God’s ways are higher than the earth. People have said, and people still say, “We dwell here on this earth, we have to function according to this earth’s expectations, not according to the heavenly expectations; because one day when we live in heaven that’s when we will do them there, but here on earth you have to live according to the ways of the world around you, otherwise you can’t live!” Well, let the wicked forsake his way. All the human population has gone their own way and we are living today in the ways of iniquity, the ways of the world. Everything they do they do not do to the glory of God, but we are called upon, Whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God – the exact opposite to the ways of this earth. God says here, As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways. As I am studying conscientiously the will of God I am going to come to points in my study when I will say, This is higher than heaven to me, I can’t reach that. And just like it was hard for Jesus to take on God’s will in receiving all the consequences of our life and our way, and Jesus came to the point of saying, Oh God, if it be possible, can this pass from me? Can you see something here? Jesus, in His intimacy with us, is coming to our experience and saying, If it’s hard, remember Me. If this is something out of your range, remember Me. There in Jesus, we behold God’s glory, God’s character, as He exchanges our sins with His righteousness.

Speaking of what God did with Jesus, it says:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us,

Remember what sin is. Sin is the transgression of the law. Jesus was made to be sin for us. He received our ways, the consequences of our ways. He was made to be sin for us,

2 Corinthians 5:21 …who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Can you see the character of God here? God, in trying to pick us out of the consequences of our sowing, the consequences of iniquity, places them upon Jesus, and He wants to exchange our consequence of sin with His righteousness, with His will, to sow according to the Spirit instead, and have everlasting life. That we might be made the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.

O, what compassion and love are here revealed! How is humanity exalted through the merits of Christ! His sacrifice was ample and complete. The Holy One died instead of the unholy. He clothed himself in our filthy garments, that we might wear the spotless robe of his righteousness, which was woven in the loom of heaven. {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 4}

This is the meditation which we need to take hold of with intense interest, because as we explore what is God’s will so that we can live to His glory, when we come face to face with these entrenched conditions of ours, we need to understand what we are meditating here. This is the foundation upon which we will be studying all of God’s ways, which are not our ways, and which are not natural to us; because the society in which we live is not surrounding us with the kind of atmosphere which is the atmosphere of God’s will. Everything is there to eclipse our appreciation of God’s will, and we’ve grown up in this, in this last dark generation. We have become conditioned to accept lifestyle patterns and practices which are not God’s will; and because they are so entrenched in us, then when the word of God comes to us and says, This is the way, walk ye in it; we go, Oh no, if possible, can I go this way? But no, look at Jesus. When He had to say that, He said, But not My will, Thine be done.

This is something to be remembered all the way through, and it is imperative that we meditate deeply on this exchange that Jesus made with us. He took the consequences of my faulty ways; He took them, dressed Himself in my filthy garments of character, so that then I could take His pure robe of righteousness woven in the loom of heaven. If I forget this, my forgetfulness will interfere with my willing submission to all of God’s ways. It is always the same problem that I have experienced over the years. You uphold the pure ways of God before the congregation, and sooner or later you’re going to be nailed down as someone who is extreme. People will think and say, This is bizarre, you can’t follow these ways. Of course, what does the natural man say to the ways of God? They are higher than the earth, so how can we even accept that? The fact is that Jesus has brought it to our understanding, and we are studying this to follow Jesus and the ways of heaven, the exchange of our ways for the ways of heaven.

Remember this is about glory. Whether you eat, or drink, do all to the glory of God. The human glory that we regard as glory, the lifestyle, the enjoyments that I find glory in – and when it comes to eating it says that people glory in their faulty ways of eating; they glory in their stomach. That is their God – the people glory in the food they eat which is not God’s food for us; they glory in the way they dress, in their shame. There is all this glory of man in contrast to the glory of God’s way. And what is God’s work to do with what we glory in?

What is justification by faith? {TM 456.3}

What is it? We are called upon to be justified, Jesus came to justify us.

What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. {Ibid.}

Isn’t this a powerful answer? What happened to the glory of man? It was laid upon Jesus, and Jesus had to go through His horrible experience and was laid in the dust. This is justification. He takes our sins and gives us His righteousness. He lays the glory of man in the dust, and then does for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. That’s plain, isn’t it? If God’s ways are higher than heaven is from the earth, then you can’t reach it. You have to have power from someone else – from the heavenly angels, from God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – so that we can then do it. Then we can say what Jesus said. After the angel came to strengthen Jesus, Jesus could say, Alright Father, not My will, but Thine be done. When the angels come to strengthen us to do the things that it is impossible for us to do in our human strength, we must have the picture of Jesus firmly entrenched in our mind. We must focus our attention upon Him because then we will stand in submission to His way when the way that I am practising is so powerful that I can’t change it. It will be changed when we look upon Jesus. Gazing upon God’s amazing exchange, we are moved upon, we are inspired, and we will determine to do God’s pleasure. God gave Himself for us that He may produce in us a willingness to do the things of God’s pleasure. What is the work of grace?

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Looking for the blessed hope, looking to Jesus,

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.

God’s amazing exchange is there to move upon us, so that as I see Jesus taking my filthy garments and placing His perfect way before my mind’s eye, I will be purified with zeal unto good works, to do God’s will, to fulfil His perfect will. We are to keep these things paramount in our minds; otherwise we will come away with our strong opinions, our human ways, and reason ourselves past everything that God reveals to us as His way and will, because “it’s too hard”. It was too hard for Jesus, He needed the strength of the angel to help Him. He was weaker than the angels. We are weaker than the angels. We in our own strength can’t do anything. Neither could Jesus; He relied upon the strength that was given Him from heaven, and He is showing us how we will reach that high standard of His will – whether we eat, or drink – and all the practical issues of life will be affected by this appreciation.

When we have been so moved upon, when we have come to the point of looking upon Jesus and becoming zealous for those good ways, for the will of God, then even if it costs me my life, like Jesus I will submit to that. I will be in the position that God needs us all to be in if we are going to continue through this series of studies. This is the position:

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

This is where our challenge lies, just as the challenge for Jesus was to take my wickedness and my way. The challenge is to take His way. We are to ask and pursue God’s way, and as we look upon Jesus we are moved to say, Right, Lord! I am asking for the old paths, which is the good way; I am looking at all the different ways. It’s just like standing at a multiple intersection: This way, that way, the other way, and back the other way I came from – which way shall I go? I am to ask, and I will ask, “I want the good way, Lord. Which way is it, please?” “This way.” “Oh no, that’s too hard.” That’s what Jesus said, wasn’t it? “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life.” He says, Ask for the good way, and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls. But what’s the problem? What do the majority of people do? What did the Hebrews do?

Jeremiah 6:16 …But they said, We will not walk [therein].

Isn’t that the problem? “It’s too hard, we can’t walk therein. God’s ways are so high that we can’t achieve it. He’ll have to translate us to heaven for us to be able to do that.” That’s what they say! As we reflect on Jesus receiving our way, and as we take hold of this encouragement of His way to help us, His wonderful love to me, I will say with all my intelligent willingness, Yes, Lord, show me the way, I want to walk in it. And here He tells you, Ask for the good way, the old paths. As we are willing to follow that path, we will make changes in our life:

Isaiah 58:12 And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

These people that are of Him, that look to Jesus, will say, Lord, I want to walk in the good way. And those people who are of Him, who have been affected by Jesus like this, what will these people do? He declares that they will build the old waste places. They will be restorers of paths to dwell in – the ways that have gone into disarray. It’s just like walking into an old world and seeing the kind of lifestyles they had, all the paths have been overgrown, the buildings have all fallen apart. He is equating the ways that were once practised by the faithful as having become broken down, waste places. The foundations are just sitting there all corroded, and He says, Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations. Thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. The way to live – God’s will and God’s way. That will be the people who have learnt of Jesus, they will truly follow that through. These are the words which Jesus read in Nazareth:

Isaiah 61:1 The spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

He is referring directly to His saving work. And now, those people that respond to this work are the people of whom He then speaks:

Isaiah 61:3 …that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. 4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

The true followers of Jesus who have appreciated the wonderful transaction of Jesus taking our ways and letting those ways crush and destroy Him, so that He could then impart to us His ways; as they, as we release ourselves in this amazing transaction, we will therefore do what we are designed to do in Jesus. We have put on the new man, and the new man will put off the old, the old paths that are our paths, and will pick up the old paths that are God’s paths, the paths which have been kept in the past.

It is because of Jesus that the people become the repairers of the breach and the restorers of paths to dwell in. What is the first step that takes place in repairing the breach?

Isaiah 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].

Here we see the fabric of the challenge that lies ahead of the last generation believers. To engage together with Jesus in His sacrifice, so that when it gets hard and tough, they say, Not my will, but Thine be done, even as Jesus said when He made the transaction with us.

In a time when a universal disregard for true Sabbath-keeping is rampant around us, there is the step, Whatever you do, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, give God the glory. To be a true Sabbath-keeper is not the same as the Jews who keep the Sabbath. It’s not the way that modern Seventh-day Adventists keep the Sabbath. We will delve deeply into true Sabbath-keeping, so that we can detect whether we are still doing some of our own ways on the Sabbath day, and so we can put our own ways away and have true Sabbath joy. To give God the glory in Sabbath-keeping, or in any of those ways of God, we are given this counsel:

Bible religion is not to be boastfully paraded, but quietly practiced in good words and works.—Ms 74, 1897. {VSS 30.3}

It is doing the will of God in quiet, simple obedience; and the glory of God will be displayed as a witness to the whole world. This will be generated when the Sunday law comes in and God’s faithful Sabbath-keepers will be brought before the people for the whole world to see –the glory of God will be shed upon the whole world, as the waters cover the sea. This will be the case. And we will study into what it means to be true Sabbath-keepers. True Sabbath-keeping is what God spoke about in Exodus 31. If we are true Sabbath-keepers, what is the Sabbath a sign of? A beautiful, precious bonding secret between God and the believer is here described:

Exodus 31:13 …Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you.

This will open up a huge filed. True Sabbath-keeping opens up the entire field of God’s perfect way, to sanctify us in all His ways. We will study each segment of the sanctification subject in regards to the practice of everyday life. All the elements attained by His sanctifying work we will explore. As we unfold God’s ways in a study of this nature, there arises a cry, and you will meet it, just like I’ve met it before with people as I have shared this. There will arise a cry within our flesh, No! This is too hard! The flesh will cry, just as Christ cried, Lord, let this cup pass from Me. But remember Jesus every time it happens to you. When it touches on a particular point in your practice that is not exactly according to God’s expressed will, then no matter how much it hurts, remember Jesus! And remember what God wants us to do. He wants us to give Him the glory. Because everything that He has communicated with us comes from a heart of glory, a heart of love. Nothing that God expects of us is unnecessary. It is for God’s glory, for the character that we are to have on this planet, to witness to the world around us that the Father has sent His Son.

When Christ says, Not My will, but Thine be done, and we are called upon to express the same thing, O Lord! But not my will, Thine be done; what will be the wonderful expression of the believer? These are the words that the true believer will express after the flesh has cried out, I can’t anymore:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Through Christ. This is the reason why I have laid that foundation for our application as we proceed further in the sequence. What Jesus did gives me the strength to put into practice things that seem so out of this world – higher than the heavens is God’s way. May we not forget this foundation as we study these subjects of God’s will and way, God’s good way versus our own way. God grant us a receptive heart, is my prayer.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on September 15, 2016, in Divine Service Sermons, The Last Generation Challenge Series. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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