Christ in You, the Hope of Glory

By John Thiel, mp3, pdf

Scripture reading: Colossians 1:26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

To be able to say, It is well with my soul, whatever happens. The writer of that hymn lost his only son, his estate, and finally his four daughters, and yet he could compose this song: It is well with my soul.

We gather together to worship God, to give glory to God. And in such a time as this, as our minds are still freshly stirred by the loss of a very precious soul out of our life, I wish to convey a source of comfort by which my soul has been comforted in such a way that I can really sing meaningfully these words, It is well with my soul. As through the past two-and-a-half weeks painful thoughts and feelings have come like sea billows rolling over my soul, I was seeking release, because they were affecting my inward wellbeing. When those things have happened in the past, Jesus always drew near and spoke audibly through thoughts to my soul. And this time there came that sweet voice of Jesus once again that spoke something like this:

Why are you sorrowing?

It made me stop to hear.

Why are you sorrowing at the loss of your beloved wife?
While she was with you, was it not I in her that made your fellowship with her so sweet?
Now that she is gone, am I not still with you?

Oh, yes… It was Jesus that made her fellowship with me so sweet. It was Him shining through her that made our fellowship so sweet. And although she is now gone, yes, indeed, Jesus is still there. This profound suggestion blended and resonated with some quotes of the Testimony of Jesus that were sent to me by a sister overseas. She sent these quotes to me before Monday morning, when I had to conduct the funeral service. I read them briefly; they were lovely, they were a comfort to me. But the comfort of those words didn’t strike until Jesus spoke to me in the way I just described. Then I read those statements again and they blew me away.

I understand the feeling of the balm of Gilead. When this balm, which is Jesus, is applied, there is a healing that is palpable and experienced, and which takes away the sense of grief. I know the experience of Jesus wiping away the tears, and I want you to experience it too. I want you to experience the balm of Gilead.

Those things which Jesus spoke to me resonate immediately with the statements I was sent. The first of those is the following, where the Testimony of Jesus talks about the courage and patience of His children:

Patience as well as courage has its victories. By meekness under trial, no less than by boldness in enterprise, souls may be won to Christ. The Christian who manifests patience and cheerfulness under bereavement and suffering, who meets even death itself with the peace and calmness of an unwavering faith, may accomplish for the gospel more than he could have effected by a long life of faithful labor. Often when the servant of God is withdrawn from active duty, the mysterious providence which our shortsighted vision would lament is designed by God to accomplish a work that otherwise would never have been done. {AA 465.1}

Then all the story of the funeral service came up before me—a work has been done that could never have been done if her life had been spared. It became so clear to me. But this mysterious providence our shortsighted vision would lament. Are we lamenting at the loss of our dear, precious sister? Shortsighted. We lament at something which is designed by God (in His orchestration of events) to accomplish a work that otherwise would never have been done.

The second quote that was sent to me now puts the proverbial icing on the cake:

We live not to men [or women] but to God. God estimates our work at their fullest value. God estimates nobility of character, and whether men appreciate it or not, it lives after the man is gone. After man has nothing more to do with anything under the sun, the example he has set, the golden words he has spoken, live through all time and through all eternity. This influence which was after the divine pattern never dies. His life has been connected with God. {UL 55.3}

As the sister sent this to me, she actually put the word “Rose” in it. This is the way I received it:

God estimates our work at their fullest value. God estimates nobility of character, and whether men appreciate it or not, it lives after [Rose] is gone. After [Rose] has nothing more to do with anything under the sun, the example [she] has set, the golden words [she] has spoken, live through all time and through all eternity. This influence which was after the divine pattern never dies. [Rose’s] life has been connected with God.

In reading this, the words of Jesus re-echoed in my mind: “Why are you sorrowing? It was me in her.” “Her life has been connected with God. Any good that you saw in her and that you feet you have lost, you haven’t lost at all because I am still here with you. I am still here with you.” The same Jesus that was shining out of her life is still with me now. This is what He spoke to me. Do you wonder why I am rejoicing?

Christ in You—Seed of Eternal Life

Did we not identify in the burial service that she was a seed that was sown?

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life,

God has given to us eternal life. Where is it?

1 John 5:11 …and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

Did our Sister Rose have the Son of God? Indeed, we know it. The children know it. What a beautiful Sabbath school teacher she was. It was because of Jesus in her. And as we put her into the bosom of the earth, there was the seed of Christ in her. And yes, it is a mystery to the human mind that Christ in a person means the same thing as the germ in the seed—Christ in you, the hope of glory—the hope that that seed will spring up again, a different body but the same person. Jesus inside of her. This is profound. It is the mystery that the apostle Paul speaks about.

A Mystery Made Manifest

We want to dwell upon this mystery that our shortsightedness misses unless we stop to listen to Jesus speaking;

Colossians 1:26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

A mystery that is made manifest to His saints. It is beautiful when this becomes manifest, when this is revealed.

Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

And this is the Christ we preach. I preach this message; I preach the atonement of Jesus. And it was this beautiful message of Christ in the atonement with us that brought Rose out of the confusion in the past and caused her to say, Thank you for showing me Jesus. She grabbed it, she took hold of it, she walked with it, and she displayed it around us, and to me; and I saw Jesus. I saw the Jesus I was showing to her playing back to me. This Jesus whom we preach was presented, and I continued to serve for her salvation right through to the death, to remind her that she was going through the purifying furnace, that she should not despair nor fall under Satan’s temptations, to present her perfect in Christ Jesus. And as she resigned herself to that, the Jesus in her shone out even more as she was breathing her last. I could have focused on the mask of death, or I could have focused on Jesus. And Jesus came and focused my heart on Him.

Those beautiful character traits we sometimes take for granted, but then, when they are gone, we miss them badly. But those beautiful characters traits which we miss in a soul, in a human being around us, were Christ’s character traits developed in that soul.

I had an interesting time visiting her sister not long ago. She said, “But she was a naughty little girl.” Yes, everyone is naughty in some way or another in certain areas of life. And I pointed out to her, “But it was this message that made a difference in her life.” So our memory of her since she embraced this beautiful message, brings Jesus to us, and we walk and talk with Him in the memory of what Jesus brought out in that person’s life. We can walk and talk with Him, and our tears and wounds are wiped away and healed. This is my experience; this is a reality.

This mysterious experience—Christ in you, the hope of glory— is a mystery that is revealed in that, if the heart opens up to this mystery, we are being perfected in Christ Jesus. As a minister in the Reform Movement I was told: The atonement of Jesus is a mystery, don’t teach it. They said: Don’t dissect it, don’t bring it out in detail, because it’s a mystery. This is what I was told by the ministers. But I went to word and I said, “But, Lord, it is made manifest to His saints.” It is not a mystery that we don’t preach about; it is made manifest.

Let the Bible express it. It is not a mystery that cannot be understood; it is a mystery that can be known by experience.

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

If we are going to be obedient, what sort of an obedience must we have? Obedience as legalists, or obedience of faith? It is this beautiful faith of Jesus that we need to understand. We need to understand the mystery that Jesus is truly at one in our flesh. We need to understand the mystery that my sinful flesh is what Jesus came and dwelt in. And as I understand this mystery and I open my heart to it, the beauty of the obedience of faith begins to grow, like a seed, in us. Jesus grows inside the person and starts to glimmer through more and more, until at the very end you see Jesus only.

Jesus Himself expressed it. His disciples had come to Him, asking, Why do you teach people and the Pharisees in parables?

Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

To them I am giving it in parables, but to you I am telling it straight. As long as people do not believe in the atonement of Jesus as it really is, you can’t explain it to them; you can’t tell them. Jesus had to speak in parables to such ones. But to those who receive Jesus with all their hearts, to them the mysteries of the kingdom are made manifest.

Our dear sister embraced it with all her heart, and this is why she flourished and people loved her, even though at the same time many of them persecuted her. But she had something that they didn’t have, and this is why they were jealous. I will never forget the words of one jealous woman, who said, Why can John tell you that, and he can’t tell us that? Then I thought to myself, But I’ve told you the same. It’s just that they never picked it up.

The incarnation of Christ is a mystery. The union of divinity with humanity is a mystery indeed, hidden with God, “even the mystery which hath been hid from ages.” It was kept in eternal silence by Jehovah, and was first revealed in Eden, by the prophecy that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, and that he should bruise His heel. {6BC 1082.4} 

To present to the world this mystery that God kept in silence for eternal ages before the world was created, before man was created, was the part that Christ was to act in the work He entered upon when He came to this earth. And this wonderful mystery, the incarnation of Christ and the atonement that He made, must be declared to every son and daughter of Adam. {6BC 1082.5}

I was told, It’s mystery, don’t declare it;” but I saw the exact opposite in the words of inspiration. It must be declared to every son and daughter of Adam.

His sufferings perfectly fulfilled the claims of the law of God. {Ibid.}

The incarnation of Christ is the mystery of all mysteries. {6BC 1082.6}

But what are we to do? While this incarnation of Christ in sinful flesh is a mystery, we are to declare it. And all who embrace it will come to the obedience of faith. It will generate inside of them a willingness to go through whatever they need to go through in obedience to Him.

Looking for Jesus in Each Other

So when a believer dies, we think of all the good things about them, and we know that, although we are only talking about the good things, there are things there that weren’t so good. But we don’t see them. Why? Because we are looking at Christ in them. And we need to do this with each other too. We are not to look at the things which are still fleshy in our lives, because they are still in the process of being purified by the love that we have for Jesus. If we pay attention to the negatives in each other’s experience, we are taking our eyes off Christ in that person. This is why the words Jesus whispered to me were so meaningful. “That fellowship that you enjoyed with her, and that you are not sorrowing about, is a fellowship with Me. I’m still here! It was just in the person of Rose. Now enjoy Me further.”

So Jesus is made real to us through each other. When my own sister wanted to comfort me, I was telling her, I am being wonderfully comforted; but she said, Jesus also comforts us through human beings. And I appreciated her comfort; it was Jesus working through her.

Indeed, in each other’s fellowship we are to receive Jesus from each other. Now if we all embrace Him and let the truth as it is in Jesus affect us, we will therefore represent Jesus to each other. Isn’t that what Jesus actually talked about in His high priestly prayer of John 17? It is this reality that we are to hone in upon—Christ in you, in you also, and in me. And as we hone in on this, then the prayer of Jesus will be answered in our experiences with each other in the church.

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone [the disciples around Him], 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.

These words are weighty when you understand what He is meaning there. The world is to know that Jesus was sent of the Father. How? By Him being in us.

John 17:23 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 love of the Godhead is here being addressed; and this love can be in us when Jesus is in us. And when one of us has been taken by death, we haven’t lost the Jesus that was in that person. We have the memory of Jesus there; we think of her and see her face in our memory, and we see Jesus in that person. This is the glory which Rose was praying for. She was praying for a miracle that she might continue to live; but what was the miracle? It is a mystery—the miracle of Christ in her through to death. What a beautiful picture was painted there for us. It was displayed; and it wants to be displayed in each one of us.

As I reflect back on my mistakes toward her, which I confessed to her before she died, I feel so terrible that I did not make her a hundred percent happy in her sufferings because of my shortcomings still there. The thing that I have really taken to heart through this experience is that, while we have each other, let us never complain about anything in each other. Let us never complain about anything in each other that we don’t like; never. I have learned that lesson bitterly. Because when we complain to each other about something that annoys us in each other, we are making the burden of that soul heavy. Let us enlarge the good in each other and comfort each other with that which Jesus is working in our lives.

A Living Unity

Let us ponder on the impact experienced when Christ is in me, the hope of glory, when Christ is revealed, as we saw it in the life of our dear sister—a union and a precious harmony, if we will savour it, as it is here expressed:

This request of Christ [for unity] 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}

Then the unity becomes meaningful. The oneness has no limit to its fullness. And if we want to appreciate it, to live within that unity, then every heart must be renovated, have a vital connection with God, and the character must be formed after the divine similitude.

We are near the close of time. I have been shown that the retributive judgments of God are already in the land. 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. Truth dwelling in the hearts of believers will lead to blessed and happy assimilation. 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. {FLB 343.2}

Truth dwelling in the hearts … will lead to blessed and happy assimilation, and the prayer of Christ will be answered. This oneness is what we are all about. This is what I am all about; this is what I crave for. I have craved for it all through my ministry, and it came and went, and came and went, from one church experience to another; and the only people that were left were always a tiny little company, in whom I could repose a hope of this union; but very little was left. Here we are now. We have made an experience, an experience of unity. We don’t want to lose it. Satan will be there; he will try to rip it away from us. But don’t let him. Let us learn the lesson; because if we will do this, if we will embrace this and hold on to the lesson learned, the loud cry will come from us. This is the true loud cry.

The True Loud Cry

When we unite together in Christ:

Thus will the truth be brought into practical life, and thus will be answered the prayer of Christ, uttered just before His humiliation and death: “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.” John 17:21. {6T 401.1}

Now comes the powerful punchline:

The love of Christ, the love of our brethren, will testify to the world that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Then will the message of the third angel swell to a loud cry, and the whole earth will be lightened with the glory of the Lord. {Ibid.}

What have we experienced at the death of our dear sister? The glory to God in the passing of our dear sister was a manifestation in miniature of the loud cry. Wasn’t it a loud cry to the people that were here? It was loud, powerful. They couldn’t help but testify. Some people sent me messages of this kind: “Thank you for that service; that was so touching.” And I thought to myself, Come on, you are being called. The loud cry is saying, Come and follow Jesus the way that you have learned it.

Let us, then, take the lesson and assimilate it, and rejoice in the preciousness of that hope of glory that we have embraced. I know that you have all embraced it, and I see Jesus in you, and I refuse to pay attention to the negatives, because I want to see the beauty of Jesus made big in my eyes with each one of you. May we follow this through until we have learned perfection to such a degree that we can go through Jacob’s trouble and survive.

May God bless us to this end.

Amen.

(Illustration: The Pearl Of Great Price by Rose Thiel, all rights reserved)

——————–

Blessed Quietness

Joys are flowing like a river,
Since the Comforter has come;
He abides with us forever,
Makes the trusting heart His home.

Refrain:
Blessed quietness, holy quietness,
Sweet assurance in my soul;
On the stormy sea, Jesus speaks to me,
And the billows cease to roll.

O what holy peace and gladness!
What a comfort is our Guest,
No more unbelief and sadness,
As obeying now we rest. 

Like the rain that falls from heaven,
Like the sunlight from the sky,
So the Holy Ghost is given,
Coming gently from on high.

What a wonderful salvation,
Where we always see His face!
What a peaceful habitation!
What a quiet resting place! 

Posted on December 7, 2018, in Divine Service Sermons, God's Character, Grieving and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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