The Power of Compassion

By John Thiel, mp3

Scripture reading: 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

We are called upon to be a light where we are, in the corner where we are, even in the church. There is a harmony that exists between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and He has created intelligent beings who are to be infused with that same harmony. We realise that, as earthlings, we are to be prepared to enter into that harmony that the Godhead and the angels have; but to enter there we need to come into the harmony that exists there. We are part of the three angels’ messages. What does this mean in regards to harmony?

The angels are represented as flying in the midst of heaven, proclaiming to the world a message of warning, and having a direct bearing upon the people living in the last days of this earth’s history. No one hears the voice of these angels, for they are a symbol to represent the people of God who are working in harmony with the universe of heaven. Men and women, enlightened by the Spirit of God and sanctified through the truth, proclaim the three messages in their order. {2SM 387.1}

Harmony. The people who proclaim the three angels’ messages are the people of God who are working in harmony with the universe of heaven. How can imperfect people with faulty characters that still need to be perfected, work in harmony? Is that a good question to meditate upon? People who are not yet completely sealed, who are still being perfected, are the people who are proclaiming the three angels’ messages; and they, in their character defects that are not completely perfected, are going to work in harmony with the universe of heaven. How is that possible? How can they work in harmony with one another and with the universe of heaven? In order for us to face this challenge we need to explore the ability to do this.

We have a challenge. In a world where there is no harmony, where even in the churches there is no harmony, we are to be a people who have harmony, even though we are still learning to be perfect. It’s a challenge. The answer lies in recognising our own imperfections of character. I need to know my imperfections of character and then behold the compassion that God has to me because of my imperfections. He meets us in our imperfections by His compassion. This is the compassion of God to me.

It is an acknowledgment of my imperfections, instead of trying to hide them. Instead of trying to say they don’t exist, living in denial of these character defects, we acknowledge them and we confess them before God; and as we confess them we see a compassion to us that is powerful. Here is a person who has discovered his own imperfections with great sorrow:

Lamentations 3:17 And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. 18 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: 19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul hath [them] still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.

This is someone who has become very much aware of his imperfections. I would think this is Jeremiah, because he is the one who wrote the book. He was a man of God, and he expresses his perplexity in the overwhelming sense of his affliction, his misery, his wormwood and gall. They are in memory to him continually; just like King David said in the Psalms, My sin is ever before me. Here lies the secret of the people of God working in harmony with each other and with the universe of heaven. How is this possible?

Lamentations 3:21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

What do I recall to my mind that gives me hope?

Lamentations 3:22 [It is of] the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 [They are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD [is] my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The LORD [is] good unto them that wait for him, to the soul [that] seeketh him. 26 [It is] good that [a man] should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

A human being who is overwhelmed with the consciousness of his own imperfections, who can see more clearly every day the righteousness of Jesus and his own imperfections in contrast to that, this person has hope; in what? I have hope that it is of the Lord’s mercies that I am not consumed. Why? Why doesn’t He consume me? I continue to fail here or there, and I’m still learning how to walk as a truly perfect person in Christ; and I’m going through these horrible experiences and the gall and the wormwood and the affliction humble me continually, as Jeremiah says himself, My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. It brings me down to deep humility of my incapacity. But what is it that is powerful here?

Lamentations 3:15 He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. 16 He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes.

As this is going through his experience, and as we meet this, if we are not Laodicean in mind and character, if we want to be part of the Laodicean people who actually respond to God’s mercy and goodness, we will not say, I am rich and increased with goods. I will say what Jeremiah said, and then I will have hope because I discover that God’s compassions fail not; in spite of this. This is what you can read in Jesus’ message to Laodicea,

Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,

‘I know what you are like. You say you are rich and increased with goods, and you don’t know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.’ But when we become aware of that through His revelation, then He says to us, ‘I counsel you to buy of Me gold, faith, tried in the fire. Buy of Me raiment, pure raiment, My righteousness. Buy of Me; I am giving you compassion in your condition.’

As these Laodicean people open their hearts to this, they are indeed the messengers of the three angels. As they discover that every morning God’s compassion is new; as they see that great is His faithfulness, they exclaim, The Lord is my portion; He is at one with me, that is why I will hope in Him. I will quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord; I will trust Him. Even though I am imperfect I will trust Him. And I can then go forward because I am amazed at His compassion for me.

The Lord is full of compassion for His suffering ones. {2SM 231.3}

What are they suffering under? Their character defects.

What sins are too great for His pardon? He is merciful, and as such is infinitely more ready and more pleased to pardon than to condemn. {Ibid.}

He is more pleased to pardon than to condemn. Let these words really sink in. Am I worthy? Not at all. Look at me. Look at the experiences of the week. Look at the failings we make in our expressionisms many times. We are not expressing ourselves in the lovingkindness that God has. As this sinks deep in my appreciation, I am then told that He is more pleased to pardon me for that than to condemn me.

He is gracious, not looking for wrong in us; {Ibid.}

Did you get that? God is not looking for wrong in us.

He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are but dust. In His boundless compassion and mercy… {Ibid.}

What kind of compassion? Boundless. Let these words sink in. His compassion and His mercy is boundless.

In His boundless compassion and mercy He heals all our backslidings, loving us freely while we are yet sinners, withdrawing not His light, but shining on us for Christ’s sake. {Ibid.}

O that we would remember this when depression wants to get the better of me because I discover how wretched I really am. He is more pleased to pardon than to condemn. He doesn’t look for the wrong in me, because He remembers what a frame I have, where I have come from. He knows my past. And in His boundless compassion and mercy He heals all our backslidings. O to only open our hearts to that so He can heal us from this; because that’s how He does it, He shows us His compassion. That is healing, and that has an impact. There is an effect when we open our hearts to His compassion. There is a power in that compassion that has an effect. What is the effect of it?

In His parting conversation with His disciples on the night before the crucifixion the Saviour made no reference to the suffering that He had endured and must yet endure. He did not speak of the humiliation that was before Him, but sought to bring to their minds that which would strengthen their faith, leading them to look forward to the joys that await the overcomer. {AA 23.1}

Jesus wasn’t dealing with them in terms of what He was going to suffer; He was trying to help them.

He rejoiced in the consciousness that He could and would do more for His followers than He had promised; that from Him would flow forth love and compassion, {Ibid.}

What is the effect of that compassion?

…cleansing the soul temple, and making men like Him in character; that His truth, armed with the power of the Spirit, would go forth conquering and to conquer. {Ibid.}

In the horrible gravel-in-the-teeth experience of my misery and my character defects, I have this demonstration of love and compassion. And as my mind is exploring this amazing compassion of God to me, it cleanses my soul temple and makes me like Him in character. I want to change; I want to develop that character. How is that going to take place? It is by seeing my ugly character and seeing His compassion upon me, cleansing my soul, making me like Him in character. If I doubt the compassion, am I going to get anywhere? If I look at my miserable self and don’t believe that God is more pleased to pardon me and have compassion on me in my misery than to condemn, then can I get progress in my life? It’s impossible. He says He will do more than He has promised, He rejoiced in that.

from Him would flow forth love and compassion, cleansing the soul temple, and making men like Him in character; that His truth, armed with the power of the Spirit, would go forth conquering and to conquer. {Ibid.}

We would conquer by the truth of His compassion.

In the life of Christ this love found perfect expression. He loved us in our sin and degradation. {HP 234.2}

I am there grovelling around in my degradation, my character defects, my un-Christlikeness, and as I am grovelling there, He loved me in that condition.

He reached to the very depths of woe to uplift the erring sons and daughters of earth. There was no wearying of His patience, no lessening of His zeal. The waves of mercy, beaten back by proud, impenitent, unthankful hearts, ever returned in a stronger tide of love. {Ibid.}

I have seen this. The love of God is being exposed and revealed to someone. In my ministry, over the years, I have done this. A person goes along and beats back the wave, and I come back again because that is what I’ve learnt from the Lord, and as I come back again they beat it back all the harder, Can’t you leave me alone?? These are the kinds of things that were uttered, and we do that with God! We stay in our misery, but God keeps on coming back, because He knows what I’m struggling with; He knows my problem. He has compassion for me. And eventually that compassion will bring me either to surrendering all to Him and letting Him give me the victory, or I am going to say once and for all, Get out of here, I don’t want it anymore; and that is the sin against the Holy Spirit. That is when all His overtures of love are rejected finally and emphatically, I don’t want this, I want out of this; I don’t like the turmoil, I don’t like the suffering that I’m going through. No more! I want to be free of this. That’s what some people who were in this ministry have said, Now that I’m away from this, I am free at last. I am now much more at peace. Yes, of course, they don’t see themselves anymore, and therefore they’ve got more peace. But God’s compassion fails not, and if we don’t push Him off finally, resistingly and effectively all the time, then He will come back as it is written here:

The waves of mercy, beaten back by proud, impenitent, unthankful hearts, ever returned in a stronger tide of love. {Ibid.}

God’s compassions fail not. As we permit this to permeate into our heart and soul in practice, as we discern our imperfections daily, we fall again and again, and God keeps on showing His mercy and compassion to us, and we don’t beat it back anymore; if His compassion observed towards myself is uppermost in my mind and I behold similar errors and defects in my brothers and sisters, what will naturally follow? Think about it.

This amazing God does not cast me out, but continues to pour His compassion upon me with all my ongoing failings – and I’m bleeding, I am suffering under it and I am coming to Him humbled, and I respond to this overtures of compassion and say, The Lord is my portion, I am now overwhelmed by His goodness and I will quietly wait for the Lord to continue to perfect me; as this is what I surrender to, how will I deal with my fellow human brothers and sisters? How shall I relate to my brothers and sisters in the church? This is the appeal that God makes to us in consequence of His compassion upon us:

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another,

What sort of compassion? The very compassion that God has for me. If He does not look for the wrong in me, if He is more pleased to pardon than to condemn, if He will come again and again even if I beat Him back, if He has that kind of compassion, what should I do?

1 Peter 3:8 …love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing:

This, in practice, means that if someone is railing me I will have compassion for his/her railing. I will not become annoyed because I am being railed at. I will have compassion because I have been railed at. I will have compassion for the person who can’t help himself for railing at me. But contrariwise, I will render blessing;

1 Peter 3:9 …knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

The word of God starts to become so bright, doesn’t it? As my darkness wants to oppress me, the brightness of God gets brighter and brighter. In my experience with God of His compassion for my sinfulness, I see my fellowmen, those in the church who are still imperfect, like we all are, still learning to be purified; and how are we going to be purified, each one of us? By the compassion! So what am I to do if I and if the church is going to be purified? What am I going to do with my fellow impure brothers and sisters? I am going to have compassion on them so that this compassion can help them. It’s a powerful thing. It’s  going to change each one of us.

Can you see here the exact opposite to what happens in general church experiences? Instead of the compassion there is censure, there is thinking negatively about the other person that puts an atmosphere about me towards that person and that fills me with distaste or irritation. It is an atmosphere. This atmosphere pervades the church and we can’t get off the ground floor, where the ladder is, to climb. We can’t get up because we keep on looking at the oppressions and the negatives of people around me. Well, what am I doing?? Am I opening my heart to the compassions of the Lord? If I do, then I will see, Wow, I’m no better than my brother and sister. I will see that I have my problems and they have theirs. I can’t get myself out of my mire on my own, neither can they! Therefore it is the compassions of the Lord that I focus on; and as I receive that, then I see them struggling with the very thing I am struggling with, just in different segments, and I see, Well, what they need is what I needed – compassion.

And although our brethren and sisters may err, shall we err? We have faults, as well as they, and we want compassion, as well as they; we should have compassion for one another. {HP 289.4}

These are the words of inspiration. Read it carefully. The Lord gives me His compassion; what am I going to do with this? I am going to give them the same compassion He gives me.

We should have that love for others that Christ has had for us. A man is estimated at his true value by the Lord of heaven. If he is unkind in his earthly home, he is unfit for the heavenly home. If he will have his own way, no matter whom it grieves, he would not be content in heaven, unless he could rule there. The love of Christ must control our hearts. {ML 98.3}

What must control our hearts? God’s love, Christ’s love and compassion must control our hearts.

Seek God with a broken and contrite spirit, and you will be melted with compassion toward your brethren. {Ibid.}

All my brothers and sisters around me have their faulty characteristics, and I should concentrate then on what God does with mine. If I will so seek God with that broken and contrite spirit, I will be melted with compassion toward my brethren. The compassion God has to me will melt me to have compassion to my brethren.

You will be prepared to add to brotherly kindness, charity, or love. . . . {Ibid.}

Love suffers long and is kind. I really pray to God that we will grasp hold of the important power of this compassion when we meet with one another and we see each other’s defects of character.

We are to have a spirit of pity, of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. {SD 153.5}

God came to us in compassion while we were in our sins. Did we confess? No, not at all. So we are to have compassion towards those who trespass against us, whether they confess their faults or not. We often say, Yes, I’m prepared to forgive him if he asks for forgiveness. But to forgive and to have compassion before they ask for forgiveness, there lies the power. Because they can’t change without compassion, just as I can’t change without compassion. And as we open our hearts to this message, then we will have harmony amongst us.

It they fail to repent and make confession, {Ibid.}

I will have compassion for them; why? Because

…their sins will stand registered in the books above to confront them in the day of judgment; {Ibid.}

Can you see a different note here than is natural to us? If they don’t repent and confess, we usually think, Pfoaa, let them go! But no. Our compassion gets even bigger towards them because if they don’t confess, what’s going to happen to them? Their sins will stand registered in the books above to confront them in the day of judgment.

…but if they say, “I repent,” then . . . we are freely to forgive from the heart their trespasses against us. {Ibid.}

From the heart, because they have confessed therefore their sins will not be against them in the judgment. Compassion. You get the picture? This is a life and death message, brethren and sisters! This is a message that we need to put into practice or we are lost! Because with the compassion that God gives us, if we don’t receive that compassion we are lost. And if we don’t receive the compassion and we don’t have compassion one to another, we are lost, whether we profess a Christian faith or the message of the three angels or not. Because the message of the three angels is a people who are working in harmony with the universe of heaven; and the universe of heaven is occupied with the worship and the glory of God – His compassion.

Consider this. As we each one practice this compassion that is being extended to us, and as I am concentrating on what the Lord has done for me, not what the other people are or aren’t doing, as I am concentrating on myself with my Lord and His compassion for me with my gravel in the teeth, I will be forgetful of what other people are doing to me, because I will see them in the same gall of bitterness that I am in, and I have this compassion, I will show them the same compassion. What will happen with such a people who are not yet perfect in character? They will be able to work in harmony, in spite of their character defects. In spite of the character defects that are still manifested in the church, the compassion that is shown to each other will prevent us from making big those errors around us; we will work in harmony with the universe of heaven. I will not expect anything from the other; I will just deal with my own shortfall. By beholding God’s compassion on me for my shortfall, I will reflect that upon each other.

What 1 Corinthians 13 is actually saying in regards to the compassion that will rule among God’s people if they will have this one-mindedness, is profound. We are told that we should have the same love amongst ourselves (Phi. 2:2). What will this same love do for harmony in the sinful society that we are still struggling with in ourselves?

1 Corinthiens 13:4 Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind;

Yes, we will suffer the imperfections of others around me. I will suffer long; and while I am suffering with those imperfections, with the compassion that the Lord has given me I will then be kind and compassionate to them.

The divine Teacher bears with the erring through all their perversity. His love does not grow cold; His efforts to win them do not cease. With outstretched arms He waits to welcome again and again the erring, the rebellious, and even the apostate. … Though all are precious in His sight, the rough, sullen, stubborn dispositions draw most heavily upon His sympathy and love; for He traces from cause to effect. {Ed 294.2}

Can you see compassion?

The one who is most easily tempted, and is most inclined to err, is the special object of His solicitude. {Ibid.}

If I appreciate that compassion, then that love will cause me to suffer long and be kind. I will not be proud and I will not envy.

1 Corinthians 13:4 …charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 

I will not say, I am holier than thou. Never. I will not even think or feel that way, because I am not holier than anybody else. So I will not be puffed up. My love is because of the compassion that the Lord has to me. I will love my brethren and sisters. How can I be puffed up? If you examine carefully, the compassion that God has for you and me as individuals, prevents me ever from comparing myself with another person.

1 Corinthians 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly,

When people mistreat us, we sometimes lose our cool, don’t we? and we sometimes blow up. That is acting unseemly, because I think I have a right to get upset about that person. But no. The compassionate love of God prevents me from doing that.

1 Corinthians 13:5 …seeketh not her own,

These people are not fair with me; I am seeking my own rights. No. With all that they are doing to me, I am not seeking mine one.

1 Corinthians 13:5 …is not easily provoked,

Love is not easily provoked. I am not going to be provoked by what they are doing. O how much we get provoked by another person’s wrong dealing with me. But when I see his or her problems I will have compassion and I will not be easily provoked.

1 Corinthians 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity,

O how people rejoice when they see the sufferings of someone who has been hurting them, and they say, Now they deserve what they’re getting. No. Love rejoices not in iniquity,

1 Corinthians 13:6 …but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things,

Jesus, who died for us, loves us with a love that is infinite; and we must love one another. {RH, April 22, 1884 par. 9}

A love that we must have truly, unaffectedly, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Why? Because the heart is in love with Jesus.

We have loved and petted ourselves, and excused ourselves in our waywardness; {Ibid.}

We are easily provoked; we love ourselves and our own rights.

…but we have been unmerciful toward our brethren, who are not as faulty as ourselves. The Lord loves us, and bears with us, even when we are ungrateful to him, forgetful of his mercies, wickedly unbelieving; but consider, brethren, how relentless we are to one another, how pitiless; how we hurt and wound one another when we should love as Christ has loved us. Let us make a complete change. Let us cultivate the precious plant of love, and delight to help one another. {Ibid.}

Have compassion on the other person.

We must be kind, forbearing, patient with one another’s errors; we must keep our sharp criticisms for ourselves, but hope all things, believe all things, of our brethren. {Ibid.}

We have been brought together in the church to exercise these kinds of things because we love the same Jesus, and the compassion that we are receiving of Him we will share with one another.

The Lord has brought his children into church relation that they may be benefited and blessed by associating with one another. All have not had the same education and training. Widely different circumstances have had an influence in forming the character. Everyone has his own ideas and habits, his own stamp of character. {ST, March 21, 1892 par. 1}

We are in a school where there is need of constant watchfulness, not to mark the things that do not please us in another, {ST, March 21, 1892 par. 2}

Love seeketh not her own. Not marking those things that don’t please me. I’m not going to seek my own pleasing here. That is why we are together.

We are in a school where there is need of constant watchfulness, not to mark the things that do not please us in another, but to guard ourselves, lest we, by word or deed, come in collision with our brethren or our neighbors. {Ibid.}

We must guard that we don’t collide with each other. Avoid it. Have compassion.

If love dwells in the heart, the feelings and words will be kind. There will be no harsh criticism or censure. Love must be nurtured as a tender plant if it grows to perfection.  {Ibid.}

But we can read this statement and despair that we are not meeting up. But no, concentrate on the love. Concentrate on the beautiful compassion when you are not like what we are reading here, and it will take its course.

I will not seek my own pleasing among the people, but I will bear all things, I will believe all things. I believe when they confess. I will believe when they express their joy for the Lord. I will believe it, not say, But look at this. No, just believe it. Believe all things. And love endureth all things. Love never faileth.

Comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise. Let not the difference be made prominent. There are imperfections in human nature, and if one chooses the work of magnifying little things and becoming irritated over the faults of others, he will always find occasion. Until we cease to demand in others perfection which we do not possess ourselves, we shall find time to do little else than dwell upon the mistakes and disagreeable things. But it will be found that these are very poor food for the soul. Those who feed upon it are doing the greatest injury and injustice to themselves. They are developing character that will unfit them to enter the family of God in heaven; for if permitted to enter there, they would carry on the same work which has been their meat and drink here in this life. {ST, March 21, 1892 par. 3}

As you read this, I’m sure you will feel certain things inside of you that will make you want to let your hands hang down. Gravel in your teeth again… But think of the compassion. The Lord is looking upon us with compassion. Let us open our hearts to this compassion, and we will marvel that God will actually put up with me. If He is going to put up with me then I’m going to put up with you. I will love you and you will love me and we will love one another; and we will work together in harmony. Satan will not be able to get in between us. We will work in harmony with the universe of heaven, and we will be benefitted to enter there ultimately, because by the power of the compassion of God we have conquered all these things.

May God help us to not forget this, because this is the answer to our human deficiencies in church relationships, in the home, and with whomever with mingle, so that we will have this beautiful comfort in the preciousness of Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

Amen.

Posted on February 9, 2017, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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