God’s Name: I AM

By John Thiel, mp3

Scripture reading: John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins.

If we believe not that Jesus is I AM, we will die in our sins.

We cannot by searching find out God. But He has revealed Himself in the character of Christ, who is the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of His person. If we desire a knowledge of God, we must be Christlike. . . . {TDG 272.2} 

In other words, if we need to have a knowledge of God, we can’t have it unless we embrace Jesus and we are Christlike. That is the reason why there are so many people with so many challenges to throw against God – because they are not Christlike; how can they know? You can’t explain it to them.

He who does not seek each day to be more like Christ, cannot know the character of God. Living a pure life through faith in Christ as a personal Saviour brings the believer into a clearer, higher conception of God. No man whose character is not noble and Christlike can set forth God in a correct light. He may preach Christ, but he does not show his hearers that Christ is an abiding guest in his heart. . . . {TDG 272.3}

These are momentous words for us to realise. It is my prayer that we will seek to know God’s name in a practical sense because we are responding to the challenge to know God by being receptive to the precious character of Jesus.

What is it that moves us within and prompts us to worship God? Is it just to get information? or is it that we may actually make an experience with God? True worship relates to intelligent experience with God; an intelligent engagement with Jesus will bring us into an intelligent knowledge of God. We have different accounts of people who worship God. One of them is the servant that Abraham sent to find a wife for Isaac, his son; and God led Abraham’s servant in a wonderful way, and he here begins to worship:

Genesis 24:48 And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son.

He worshipped God because he made a practical experience in God working with him. Another instance is that of Job, as he was being afflicted:

Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Job had just lost all his children and all his crop, everything that made his life financially beneficial. His children who were very dear to him were all taken away in one foul swoop by Satan. God permitted that to happen. What did Job do? He knew God by experience, and he worshipped Him in this fashion.

In another instance, at the well, Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman, and there He brings to us this understanding that it is an intelligent appreciation of God that is part and parcel of the worship of God:

John 4:24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

God is a Spirit – what does He mean? God is an intelligence. The spirit of man is the part of you that looks at itself and intelligently understands what is going on. God is a spirit, God is an intelligence; and if you are going to worship Him, you are to worship Him in intelligence, in spirit, and with the intelligent mind that understands and pursues truth. This is the way to worship God – in spirit and in truth.

What does it mean to worship in spirit? The thoughts of the knowledge of God cannot be understood by the natural mind.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

The natural heart of man, the spirit of man on its own, cannot understand and see what God has prepared; it is a mystery. Yet there is a but. When the word but is used, it is to say that if it can’t be done this way, it’s going to be done nonetheless:

1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit:

Things which we cannot understand, things which we cannot see with our natural eye, God has revealed to us by His Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:10 …for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

The Spirit knows the deep things of God, and they are to be revealed to us.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

We are to worship God by spirit and truth, and it is the Spirit of God that is going to help us to worship Him intelligently.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God;

Why?

1 Corinthians 2:12 …that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things that are given us of God. But through the Spirit, if we will worship Him in spirit and in truth, the things that God wants to show to us and freely give to us, are there for us.

1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Now comes this big human problem.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

We must worship Him in spirit and in truth, to discern it from God’s viewpoint, not from a man’s wisdom.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 

God is a spirit, He has a mind, He is intelligent, and according to these words, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as we worship God, we may have the mind of Christ. We may enter the mind of God by the Spirit. What we are to understand is a mystery that is revealed by God. That is what Jesus meant when He said to the woman, You must worship Him in spirit and in truth. This is what we must do to understand what God in His mind wants us to understand.

The experience of coming to understand things from God’s mind is an infinity thing. It is awesome; it fills you with awe, and it boggles the natural brain. Many times in my study of God’s word over the years, God has unveiled things to me and my human brain just about exploded, because it is not natural to the human mind to be able to comprehend these things. But the Spirit of God comes gently and prepares us to receive it more and more. It is an awesome experience; it is very humbling. Can you fathom the depth of thought that is available to us?

But the reality is that we are people who have faulty characters, and we are sinners from our background. What then is the avenue by which God’s mind may be available to us who are sinners, that we may actually be able to think God’s thoughts?

Only under the direction of the Omniscient One shall we, in the study of His works, be enabled to think His thoughts after Him. {Ed 134.5}

What a privilege. To think God’s thoughts after Him. It is under the direction of the Omniscient One, of the Spirit, that this can be done. How can a sinner begin to have such thoughts as are revealed in the word? We must have an experience with Jesus. We must embrace Jesus as our personal Saviour. This is the avenue by which these things can happen to you and me who are sinners:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

This is such an important subject. Sinners such as you and I, suffering under our sins, can be released by the knowledge and discovery that Jesus was made to be that sin that we are. And accepting this we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. As we permit this story of the atonement, that Jesus truly became at one with us in our sin (not sinning Himself, but taking all of my sin upon Himself so that He suffered under it like I suffer under it), as we accept that, we receive an exchange of the mind of God.

Christ did in reality unite the offending nature of man with his own sinless nature, because by this act of condescension he would be enabled to pour out his blessings in behalf of the fallen race. Thus he has made it possible for us to partake of his nature. {RH, July 17, 1900 par. 8}

He partook of our nature and sin so that in Him I can partake of His nature. He was enabled to pour out His blessing upon the fallen race. And the blessing that is available includes a vision and the mind of Christ, so that we can see and comprehend the deep things of God. This is available to the one who opens his heart to this story of the atonement of Jesus. So as long as people are still arguing over the atonement of Jesus they can’t have the experience of the atonement so that they might then worship God in spirit and in truth. This is what the big problem is. I see this argument over doctrine that hinders people from progressing in the real revelation. So they say, It’s a mystery that I can’t understand. Of course, because they are not opening their life to the exchange of the natural man with the spiritual man.

Freedom from guilt and sin is a peace that passes understanding. Divine knowledge removes ignorance and is available through faith in the incarnation of Jesus. This is what Jesus was saying to the Pharisees. They saw Jesus standing in front of them, but they had no belief that He was God in human flesh. And as Jesus is standing before the Jews, who saw Him only as a man, He brought this reality to those dull minds. What did He say?

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins.

We need to believe that the I AM, the God of the universe to whom eternity is a present reality, became man with us, with our sins. For if we don’t, then we will die in our sins, because there is no exchange. By the name of I AM our minds are cast back to the words of God to Moses. When Jesus spoke those words to the Pharisees, they themselves realised what He was saying because their minds were taken back to Exodus 3.

Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, [when] I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What [is] his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

What was His name? I AM. Jesus said, If you, looking at Me, cannot believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. To believe that the great I AM was incarnate in the fallen flesh of humanity, and that by His incarnation you and I may benefit by receiving the attributes of what Jesus said He was – I AM. It makes people shudder to even consider this. “What are you preaching here, John? Are you saying that we are to be partakers of I AM?” What is His name? I AM. These are not suppositions; these are plain revelations of God’s word.

Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

What is written on the foreheads of the 144,000? I AM. If it’s in the forehead, what does that mean? In the forehead is the spiritual part of the brain that comprehends spiritual things. In that is inscribed, I AM. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, etc. but it has been revealed to us by His Spirit, and we have the mind of Christ – I AM. This is to be so that we can think His thoughts after Him. Only he who actually has Christ as his personal Saviour can know God. Without that you can’t convey it.

What is comprehended in the name of the Father, I AM, which is being placed in the forehead of the believer in this time of the sealing of the 144,000?

I AM means an eternal presence; the past, present, and future are alike with God. He sees the most remote events of past history and the far distant future with as clear a vision as we do those things which are transpiring daily. We know not what is before us, and if we did, it would not contribute to our eternal welfare. God gives us an opportunity to exercise faith and trust in the great I AM. . . . Our Saviour says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). {TMK 12.2}

Abraham had the I AM in his brain. He could see Jesus in his day. This is what we are given in the I AM. Not to see what is going to happen in my life tomorrow or the next day (we leave that with God), but to see the vast picture of the mind of God exercising itself in the past, the present, and the future.

Fifteen hundred years before Christ laid off His royal robe, His kingly crown, and left His position of honor in the heavenly courts, assumed humanity, and walked a man among the children of men, Abraham saw His day, and was glad. “Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (verses 57, 58). . . .  {Ibid.}

Christ was using the great name of God that was given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence. Isaiah also saw Christ, and his prophetic words are full of significance. {TMK 12.3}

Can we appreciate the mind that is provided for us as we accept that Jesus is I AM? Look at the impact of this upon our daily life experiences, as we go through the harassments of the vicissitudes of life.

Above the distractions of the earth He sits enthroned; all things are open to His divine survey; and from His great and calm eternity He orders that which His providence sees best. {FLB 42.4}

We don’t know today what tomorrow will bring, but God sees it. He sees everything before it’s time; He had us in mind long before we were born. God looks at it all, all the little incidents that happen in our life. Do you often get frustrated because things don’t turn out the way that you are expecting? Do you sometimes feel that you wish this would happen now instead of tomorrow? If you have the I AM exercise in your brain, you can stand above the distractions of all these things and be with Him there. That is what the Scriptures say: we are to dwell in heavenly places with Him. Sitting upon His throne, all things are open to His divine survey; and from His great and calm eternity He orders that which His providence sees best. So if things don’t turn out quite the way I expect, that’s fine, because God knows the beginning from the end and I am comforted because I AM is actually in my own mind.

Ponder the effect of such a reality on your mind when surrounded by perplexities, when meeting our tribulations and mind-bending conflicts, as we experience them in these last days. So many things are mind-bending; people come back from mind-bending circumstances with post-traumatic stress disorder. Can we be released from that? Can we be released from the stresses and perplexities that crowd in upon our mind? Yes, if I believe what is written, that the Holy Spirit imparts to us the deep things of God, that we can be above the oppressive circumstances here, as He is. It is by His Spirit that we see this present life as a small, tiny segment within a vast picture of eternity.

This is a reality. The moment that my mind is crowded in with something, I look, and it’s gone. Momentarily, if I don’t look up quick enough, I feel the fear and stress taking hold of me, but then it’s gone because I look to the Lord and He removes it. I know immediately, this is only a passing, fleeting moment. You sometimes go through experiences in which you think to yourself, I hate this; this is not a nice experience I’m having at this present moment. When I get those sensations, and it just happened to me the other day, I had to do a certain job, and it felt really irksome. But the precious presence of the Lord was there, “You’ll be over in a minute; that’s alright. It doesn’t matter.” Of course! Thank you, Lord. And I was happy to do the work because it was going to go away very quickly. It is not a lasting thing.

As you intelligently permit the I AM to govern your mind, negative experiences, however devastating they seem, will not be permitted to destroy our peace. We can see the faults of others without disturbing our peace. We can see a beauty through the cobwebs. We won’t even see the cobwebs, because the I AM is keeping in view the things that are of weightier matters. Upon the vision of the believer bursts comfort of a vastness of eternity.

As I look back at my life and I look ahead, I think, What did I get distressed about in the past, when I didn’t look to God? As I look back now and I see how that the peace that passes all understanding is actually unfolding in my memory of what God has done, the vastness of eternity opens up before me. You can look back at the bliss that existed before the fall, the small segment of seven thousand years of sin; and what is seven thousands years compared to eternity? Nothing. You see seven thousands years of sin, and the bliss of eternity thereafter. You can visualise that through the study of the word of God. It is a wonderful mind exercise to let the I AM illuminate our mind so that we can indeed worship Him in spirit and in truth. And together with Abraham our minds may grasp as present reality that past history through to Christ, and where we are now, and then on to be gladdened by the scenes of Christ’s coming that are described in the prophecies. That is what the prophecies are there for – to actually give us the mind of Christ. When you study prophecy the day star will arise in your hearts. You will see Christ through it all. You will see the restoration of all the earth. This is available to us as we seek to worship God in spirit and it truth.

Remember how the Adventists were so disappointed in 1844? They expected Jesus to come and He didn’t come. What was it that released them of their despondency?

As they by faith enter the most holy, they find Jesus, and hope and joy spring up anew. {EW 254.2}

It was through the word that they could be there; it was through the Holy Spirit that the mind of the I AM was exercised.

I saw them looking back, reviewing the past, from the proclamation of the second advent of Jesus, down through their experience to the passing of the time in 1844. They see their disappointment explained, and joy and certainty again animate them. The third angel has lighted up the past, the present, and the future, and they know that God has indeed led them by His mysterious providence. {Ibid.}

The third angel lights up the past, the present, and the future. O how I love to study those three angels’ messages. To me the past, the present and the future is all lit up in front of me. I wish that others would discover what I see. I’ll never forget that day when it first really opened up before me – the past, the present, and the future – through prophecy. I saw it all as a panoramic view. And as I continued to study from that day onwards, it didn’t just become a panoramic view as on a flat page, it became a multiple dimension picture. I said to the Lord, How can I ever impart that vision to others? That is when He gave me the picture of a dark room with the screen ahead of us, and I had to skilfully use the torch. Because they would see the picture, but I had it in my mind. According to the skill with which I used the torch to fasten each segment of the picture in their mind, eventually they would see it as a whole picture. God is wonderful. He helps us to understand, to worship Him in spirit and in truth. How meaningful then become those words:

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I [am] God:

When we really let this sink in we are at peace inside of ourselves. Yes, every now and then our natural human nature will come up and try to spoil it. That is what Jesus met, and He had struggle with thoughts and feelings that annoy even the best of men. If you give over to them those thoughts make you a restless person. But if you open your heart to the I AM, you will calm down; you will not be restless, you will not be bored, you will not be confused, you will not be anxious. Everything stills. Be still, and know that I am God. As the children’s song goes, One look to Jesus makes it right, alright. But I like the German version better, One look to Jesus makes me still, so still. Be still and know.

How meaningful are the words of John 14 when I AM is written in the forehead:

John 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

He is saying, “It’s possible if you let it; it can disturb your peace. But don’t let it. My peace, the Holy Spirit, I AM, is going to illuminate your mind.” This is not a mere declaration, it is a living comprehension.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.

The I AM is at hand. So if the I AM is there, don’t worry about anything.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This is what the natural man regards as foolishness. I have come across this time and time again as I have witnessed of what the Lord is to me. I would talk to certain people and they would say, “You’re talking rubbish, John. This is not reality. You’re living in a dream world.” No, I’m living with the I AM. The I AM gives us peace which passes natural understanding, and He keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. It stops your brain from going insane during insane circumstances. It’s a reality. And whatsoever things are true, honest, pure, etc. these things are constantly to occupy our minds – the I AM. This is intelligent backup of the Holy Spirit.

For this earthly, sin-bound humanity, the great I AM has opened a gateway through barriers and horizons of human-mindedness. What will the narrow-mindedness of fallen humanity do? If I don’t open my mind to the I AM, what will my narrow-mindedness do? It will destroy me. Self-destruction is the course of all. That is what Jesus said, You shall die in your sins if you remain narrow-minded instead of opening your mind to the mind of the I AM. We are invited to widen our scope, to believe in the incarnation, the atonement of Jesus, and permit the Holy Spirit to apply the deep things of God, even the benefits of the I AM, to us.

You and I, in these last days of earth’s history, are to be sealed in our foreheads with the seal of the living God. What is it? His law, His character, His mind, inscribed in our foreheads. May we indeed take hold of this message and let it expand in our minds, that we may be included among the 144,000 who have the name of the Father in their foreheads. Not upon their foreheads, but in their foreheads. I pray that this will be and is our experience.

Amen.

iamthatiam

Posted on March 2, 2017, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Bro John I wish to remind you about the request for laptop computer.l need this for my evangelistic activities ,consider my plight. Blessings. Anthony Cedric

    Sent from my iPad

    N

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