I Change Not

By John Thiel, mp3, pdf

Scripture reading: Malachi 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

We want to explore and meditate and contemplate the consequences of our commitment and our relationship with God, and the condition with which we are surrounded at this present time that prompt our great need to respond to Him.

We live today in a time of religious insecurity. There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. There is a variety of different Christian teachings around us, virgins without number. And when God says, My dove, my undefiled is but one; it is a difficulty thing in today’s atmosphere to really get our minds absolutely clear. There are churches that surround us, authorities that are claiming to be God’s people and that are making people feel responsible to submit to their doctrines. Even in our relationship with individuals around us we have insecurity. People are changing, changing for the worse all around us. What was once a law has been changed today into a different law. There is a critical research at this moment in regards to the law on same sex marriages. There used to be a firm decision in the past on this subject; but today they are changing. This is just an extreme case, but there are so many areas of our life that have been placed into a state on insecurity because people and situations change; and we need a security, something that doesn’t change, something that gives us an assurance that if I am going to cling to that, it is not going to leave me high and dry, but will sustain me for my intelligent mind that has been given to me of God, to be able to rest itself and know that this is a firm platform, that this is secure, and I am not in a state of flux anymore.

Security

We have a security of someone who is immoveable. What He has said in the past, He says today and He says for the future. It is absolutely sure.

Malachi 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not;

Those words are only meaningful to you when you are in a state of confusion because of change all around you. “What is truth? What is right?” He says, I am the Lord, I change not.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Christianity is changing, and they claim to be progressing, but really, that which was given by Jesus in the beginning, that which He gave for the end of the world in prophecy, is all laid out in front of us in these times in which we live, and we don’t need change in reference to knowing what truth is. The only change we need is for us to change in harmony with that truth. But the truth is truth, full stop; there is no alteration of truth, it is always there, unchangeable, immoveable. This is Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Not even a shadow of change; He is always the same. There is here a security for us. And the security becomes more profound as we explore further. This security is brought into focus in a very meaningful manner for sinners such as you and I. God is here speaking in reference to David:

Psalm 89:20 I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: 21 With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.

It then continues in regards to his seed:

Psalm 89:29 His seed also will I make [to endure] for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. 30 If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; 31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; 32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. 35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. 36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. 37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and [as] a faithful witness in heaven.

This is God speaking in reference to David who had sinned and made a big mess in his life. But God changes not. Although David sinned, God’s mercy was extended. His lovingkindness would not be utterly taken from him; neither would He suffer His faithfulness to fail. This is what is written in reference to the people who do not reject God, who may sin, who may have weaknesses and may have failed miserably, but who in their heart decidedly want to follow God and will permit nothing to stop them from pursuing God. That was David. When he was shown his sin, the one big sin, among all the others, he returned to God.

If we resolve to submit ourselves to God, with all our selfisms and all our human confusions playing havoc with us, and we come to God, saying, I’m having a hard time here, but I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me; what will God do for us? This is what Jacob said. Jacob’s life was also in sixes and sevens as a result of his past wrongs. And he was battling there, fighting in his Jacob’s trouble; and we know that we are meeting Jacob’s trouble now, and that it will be even more intense in the future. But if we choose to submit ourselves to God in spite of all our mistakes and we decide that we are going to serve Him and do what He says, He will extend His covenant to us. He has said, Even though they break My statutes, and keep not My commandments, nevertheless My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips. God changes not. What He has said, in spite of our fluctuations, He changes not. So as we submit to Him and don’t let Him go, what will be our experience?

The Kind of People Needed Today

The greatest want of the world is the want of men–men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. {Ed 57.3}

Let us understand this statement as God intended it. Even though these men, like David and Jacob and Elijah, may falter and feel “It’s all over; I’ve sinned, I’ve turned against God”, the world is in need of men who will not be bought or sold. Just because they have been weakened in a way or another, they remain loyal to the One who changes not. Men who in their inmost souls are true and honest – they know that they are sinners. Apostle Paul himself said, I am the chief of sinners. And although Paul was the chief of sinners and he had done great sins in the past, and he felt the battle inside of himself (as he describes it in Romans 7), yet he was deeply honest. This is why Jesus picked him up, why He met him on the road to Damascus, and showed Himself to him – because He knew that the heart of Saul was an honest heart. Men who do not fear to call sin by its right name – even the sins that they have done; they will call it by the right name. Men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole – the magnet is God; they will remain focused upon Him.

Men and women are wanted now who are as true to duty as the needle to the pole, {MC 22.2}

What is our duty? We have been touched by the mercy of God, and we have duties. And there is plenty in the world that will try to distract us. Are we permitting ourselves to be distracted, or are we true to duty as the needle to the pole?

Men and women are wanted now … who will work without having their way smoothed and every obstacle removed. {Ibid.}

What a statement. We like to follow a path that is not full of obstacles, don’t we? We like to have things as comfortable as possible. No; God needs men and women who will work without having their way smoothed and every obstacle removed.

When there is a continual reliance upon God, a continual practise of self-denial, the workers will not sink into discouragement. {MC 22.3}

What causes our discouragement? It’s always self, always. Self is the source of my discouragement; because I am not getting what I, self, want. That creates a discouragement in me. But the opposite here is that by a continual reliance upon God, a continual practise of self-denial, the workers will not sink into discouragement.

They will not worry. They will remember that in every place there are souls of whom the Lord has need, and whom the devil is seeking, that he may bind them fast in the slavery of sin of disregard for the law of God. {Ibid.}

Those who put their trust in God will go forward in faith, nothing doubting. They will work diligently while the day lasts; for “the night cometh, when no man can work.” They will advance in humble dependence upon God, believing His word, and committing themselves without reserve to His guidance. {MC 22.4}

And it is going to be rough. What is the experience as we decide to do that, if we will be those kinds of people who are fed up with all the uncertainty around us? In heart we really do honestly want God, but we are fluctuating because of all our circumstances; so we decide that we will follow God and do what He says irrespective of circumstances, no matter how rough the road may appear. I will not get discouraged, because I have my mind set on the Lord.

The Experience Involved

What is the experience that is looming up in front of such people in these last days? This is the description of the time in which we are living, with all its uncertainty:

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

What is the peril? The insecurity of the false churches, the authorities, the individuals, the change.

2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:

This is what we are surrounded with. It is so obvious around us today. If you know what God’s perfect will is, if you know God’s statutes and judgments, what do you see? You see how fluctuating people are around us; they have a form of godliness, but they do not submit to God’s will; they are not true to duty as the needle to the pole. And as we want to be the kind of people that will be true, as we are surrounded by this, there comes this final injunction:

2 Timothy 3:5 …from such turn away.

I can’t find words to describe the experience that I have been through in the light of this. It is an experience where you get rubbished all the time by those who have their eyes on human selfism instead of on God’s direct and perfect will. You are surrounded by those who will scoff, who will judge you, and who will condemn you, and you decide that you want to be absolutely on track with the Lord; and then you have to leave those who have a form of godliness and deny the power thereof, and that is a horrible, dreadful experience. But this is our experience.

He who changes not, who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever, is saying these words:

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. 

God’s true followers who cling to Him who changes not, meet the experience that Jesus Himself met. The world hated Him first.

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

The world feels uncomfortable if you don’t do what they do. Isn’t that true? They do not feel comfortable in your presence if you do not eat the way they do, if you do not dress the way they do, if you do not go to the places they go to. They feel guilty because you are making them feel guilty, and they hate you for it. This is the reality. But it goes much deeper than just that. It happens in religious circles as well. As soon as you show up someone who claims to be a true Christian but is not in agreement with all of God’s truth in these last days, they shun you. It is a reality; you can’t avoid it. This is what Jesus was making reference to.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

This is something that has really boggled my mind over the years. I have said the things that Jesus has said, I have laid them out in the word of God before the people, and then they turn around and say, “You said…” “Just a moment, I didn’t say it; I read it to you; I brought it out as it was written there.” This is what Jesus says, “If they would keep My saying, they would keep yours also, because you are repeating what I am saying. But no; they persecuted Me, and they are going to persecute you too if you follow My path exactly, changing not.”

This is one of the most horrible experiences of the time in which we live today – a people who cannot tolerate sameness. They want to change all the time. Don’t you see it in the world around you today? Just go shopping. Everything is in a certain set up in the shop, and then, all of a sudden, it’s all changed; because somebody has come in there and said, Oh, we want a bit of change, a bit of freshness. This is just in the shops. What about all the other things? In the councils, laws change all the time because someone in there doesn’t want the same thing all the time; whereas God doesn’t change, and heaven is boring for people like that. It’s always the same. And you know, I love the security of everything staying the way it is. It gives you security and you know where you are going; you know what you are doing; it doesn’t confuse you anymore. This is the security that God gives us.

True to Duty

And in that experience of following Jesus who is the same yesterday, today, and forever,

We are now to be on our guard every moment, lest Satan shall obtain victories over us. We need to brace up in the Lord Jesus Christ, and pray and believe, for time is short. Be of good courage. {21MR 138.1}

Satan shall obtain victories over us – he has such sly ways that he has managed to develop the world into, that many times you can’t even recognise that this is Satan. And so we are to be on our guard every moment. We need to brace up in the Lord Jesus Christ, and pray and believe, for time is short. Don’t be discouraged. Be of good courage. This is the challenge in the time in which we are living, and the only way in which we can keep up with that challenge is to focus and be true to God as the needle to the pole, to acknowledge that I am going to cling to the One who changes not, in reference to His statutes, His laws; but that’s not all. When I fail, the covenant that He has made is that, through the death of Jesus Christ He will continue to purge and purify me. He is not going to let me go, just like He did not let David go.

Men who ought to be as true in every emergency as the needle to the pole, have become inefficient by their efforts to shield themselves from censure and by evading responsibilities for fear of failure. {3T 495.3}

Think about that. Be honest with yourselves. Do we like to be censured? And if I am being censured, what do I do to avoid it? We become inefficient, we begin to fluctuate. And we start evading responsibilities for fear of failure. The Lord tells us we must be true to duty, and we think, Oh, this is too hard! And that is what you hear in the presentations of many of the churches of today, “You can’t be perfect; you will only be perfect when Jesus comes and changes you.” So we know we are to be in harmony with all of God’s laws, and we think we’re going to fail; therefore we don’t put ourselves on the line of doing what is right, being true in every emergency as the needle to the pole. These people will not be like that because they become inefficient by their efforts to shield themselves from censure and by evading responsibilities for fear of failure. This is material that can often cause us to feel sorry for ourselves; but at the same time we have a security there. God changes not, therefore I can do what He asks of me. In fact, the insecurity that exists because of the corruptions of the world around us is not a pleasant experience anyway. People are in sixes and sevens; they don’t know what’s what anymore. You can see the world crying around us. Well then, here we have something, if we will be true as the needle to the pole irrespective of the discomforts and obstacles in the way, if we will recognise that Jesus went through it and He remained the same yesterday, today, and forever, then if we will do that, we have a security in the midst of the confusions and negativities that are the result of our past sins. You just look at King David; as a result of his sins he suffered ever afterwards, but he remained loyal to his God.

We must brace up, we must press together as each endeavours to be true to God as the needle to the pole. And this then affects our relationship with each other. We are to stand on a platform of perfect truth that has not changed, whereas the churches have changed. My experience was that the church that I had been ministering in for 18 years all of a sudden changed its doctrine, and it sent me into a state of terrible sadness, Where do I go? What do I do here, Lord? But whatever the circumstances are, we are to remain loyal to the God who changes not, to the platform of truth that He has established without fluctuation, and without a shadow of turning.

True to One Another

If we will take heed and be true one to another as the needle to the pole, we will be laborers together with God. {PCP 49.2}

If we, as men and women who are true to God as the needle to the pole, will press together and brace ourselves, we will also be true to one another as the needle to the pole, and we will be laborers together with God. This is a very interesting focus that is here presented to us. Those who will be true to duty as the needle to the pole will be true to each other as the needle to the pole. There will not be a church experience where we keep on feeling that we are not quite united on some thing or another; there will be this beautiful unity that Jesus prayed for. What is meant by being true to one another as the needle to the pole because we are true to duty and to God as the needle to the pole? He who does not change says:

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these [my disciples] alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 

How important are these words. True as the needle to the pole in unity with one another.

John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

The world will see, These are really Christians; and they will hate them for it, they will persecute them like they persecuted Christ; but they will know that this is the real thing. They know it when they see people true to each other as the needle to the pole.

We are near the close of time. I have been shown that the retributive judgments of God are already in the land [even in Sr. White’s time]. The Lord has given us warning of the events about to take place . . . Those who are drinking from the same fountain of blessing will draw nearer together. {FLB 343.2}

The God who changes not, who gives the word, we are drinking from that same fountain. And what will we be doing too? We will be drawing nearer together.

Truth dwelling in the hearts of believers will lead to blessed and happy assimilation. {Ibid.}

Assimilation – if you are assimilated together in Jesus, do you look for assimilation with people outside? We are the family that is attached to the Father in heaven, and we are the family that is bound together by the fact that we are all true to the duties of God’s will as the needle to the pole; and therefore we will be true to each other as the needle to the pole.

Thus will be answered the prayer of Christ that His disciples might be one even as He is one with the Father. For this oneness every truly converted heart will be striving. {Ibid.}

The many virgins of Seventh-day Adventism today, the many little companies here and there, they came together one day, in the 1990s, to try and answer that prayer of Christ that they might all be united. Do you know what happened? They fell apart. They could not unite, because they disagreed with each other on one or two or three points. There is something wrong there, because that blessed assimilation is what Jesus prayed for. And it can only be to those who stand firm on that which has once been firmly established and who change nothing from that which was once established, on any subject that has been publicly preached within the Adventist circles of the past. Modernism has changed people’s minds.

Fulfilling the Prayer

What has to happen in our hearts towards one another if we are going to answer that prayer of Christ?

This request of Christ has no limit to its fulness. He desires that his followers shall reveal to the world his spirit of unity and love. But before this unity can exist among them, there must be a genuine renovation of every heart; there must be a vital connection with God; the character must be formed after the divine similitude. {RH, November 3, 1896 par. 3}

And this is the challenge. To unite and assimilate with the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, requires a denial of self, a submission that has its consequences. And the consequences are that for every individual who does that, that prayer of Christ will take place; they will be in this happy assimilation, because they have genuine renovation of heart, a vital connection with God, a character being formed after the divine similitude. Haven’t we experienced this? As we see each other’s character defects, we come face to face with the word of God, and we bear one another in love because we hear each other say, I am just so faulty here. So your heart goes out to each other, because we acknowledge our faults before one another. We know that we are not yet perfect in character, but we have an honest heart that is pressing onwards and who follows the One who changes not. And we will bear one another in love because that is what is in the heart of each one. And this is a beautiful experience that will carry us to the point where character will be perfected and we will love one another through many difficult circumstances.

Brethren and sisters, this is our challenge. It is something we take up when we see the God who changes not, when we acknowledge that we do not see Him aright yet, but that what we do see we stand firm on because it is secure and it doesn’t change. I myself have to change to meet any new discoveries of Him who doesn’t change. And as we do this together, we have a precious comfort, which is that, the covenant of God’s mercy and grace does not change, just like none of His laws and commandments and statutes change either.

Psalm 89:29 His seed also will I make [to endure] for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. … 34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

What is the covenant that He will not break with David and with his seed?

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, [even] the sure mercies of David. 4 Behold, I have given him [for] a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

God’s covenant of mercy is as unchangeable as God’s law.

May God bless us to remain loyal, true to Him as the needle to the pole, in the shaking experience that is intensifying in the ranks of Seventh-day Adventism today.

Amen.

(Illustration by Good News Productions, International, used under CC BY)

Posted on March 28, 2018, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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