“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The hocus pocus focus

“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (Jn. 1:12). When “the King of glory stooped low to take humanity” He came to His own. Israel had been His and after 1500 years of continued apostasy, despite their degraded spiritual condition, He still claimed them. This “kingdom of priest” and “holy nation” was deeply caught up in the same philosophical idolatry that characterized the Roman world, when iniquity and transgression had come to full fruition as the prophecy had foretold. Dan. 8:23.

Yet, Christ sought out His chosen people. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (Vs. 11). And He not only sought to save them, but the Gentiles too. Providence had put Israel into captivity, that at His coming He could meet both Jew and non-Jew at the same time. “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” (Vs. 10). But those who did surrender to His divine magnanimity and friendliness received power to overcome self.

Mary, the prostitute of Magdala, was one who accepted His love; short-tempered John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” did as well. So did Roman centurions and Samaritans, inhabitants of Decapolis and Canaanites; and a host of others.

“Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.
And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.” (Matt. 4:23-25).

They sought Him out and abode with Him. In Jesus of Nazareth they saw princely power veiled by simple peasant’s garb. They beheld meekness and gentleness, but one who stood staunchly for the right.

In every gentle and submissive way, Jesus tried to please those with whom He came in contact. Because He was so gentle and unobtrusive, the scribes and elders supposed that He would be easily influenced by their teaching. Desire of Ages, p. 85.

“Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.” “Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.
Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.
And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.
All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad.” (Ps. 110:3;Ps. 45:2-8).

His countenance …[was] pale, worn, and emaciated…but as the people looked upon Him, they saw a face where divine compassion was blended with conscious power. Every glance of the eye, every feature of the countenance, was marked with humility, and expressive of unutterable love. He seemed to be surrounded by an atmosphere of spiritual influence. While His manners were gentle and unassuming, He impressed men with a sense of power that was hidden, yet could not be wholly concealed. DA p.137.

But the religious leaders who felt “indignant that He should stand in opposition to their word,” (DA p. 85) could not see His beauty. They were blinded to His matchless charms, but the common people saw Him clearly and heard Him gladly. To them He gave the willpower to become sons of God. The theologians and the religious right depended on their own wisdom and unregenerated willpower. They had feasted upon rabbinical chaff, and their strength was but weakness.

The mind was crowded with material that was worthless to the learner, and that would not be recognized in the higher school of the courts above. The experience which is obtained through a personal acceptance of God’s word had no place in the educational system. Absorbed in the round of externals, the students found no quiet hours to spend with God. They did not hear His voice speaking to the heart. In their search after knowledge, they turned away from the Source of wisdom. The great essentials of the service of God were neglected. The principles of the law were obscured. That which was regarded as superior education was the greatest hindrance to real development. DA p.69.

By coming in the flesh Jesus could illuminate the written word of scripture with the light of heavenly love and a depth of meaning which, prior to His coming, was not discerned by the Jews. His life demonstrated hidden truth from their scriptures which the Jews had overlooked.

The requirements of society and the requirements of God were in constant collision. Men were departing from the word of God, and exalting theories of their own invention. They were observing traditional rites that possessed no virtue. Their service was a mere round of ceremonies; the sacred truths it was designed to teach were hidden from the worshipers. He saw that in their faithless services they found no peace. They did not know the freedom of spirit that would come to them by serving God in truth. Jesus had come to teach the meaning of the worship of God, and He could not sanction the mingling of human requirements with the divine precepts. He did not attack the precepts or practices of the learned teachers; but when reproved for His own simple habits, He presented the word of God in justification of His conduct. DA p. 84.

The word had become flesh. Christ not only spoke the truth, He was the truth. And those who loved the truth clung to Him.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)… The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:1,2,14).

Christ took the truth from the written word, internalized it, and then gave it to the people. Though in different setting, type was meeting anti-type. A greater than Solomon was among them. “Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.
Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.” (1Ki. 10:8,9).

“And…the people were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matt. 7:28,29).

In the days of Christ the leaders and teachers of Israel were powerless to resist the work of Satan. They were neglecting the only means by which they could have withstood evil spirits. It was by the word of God that Christ overcame the wicked one. The leaders of Israel professed to be the expositors of God’s word, but they had studied it only to sustain their traditions, and enforce their man-made observances. By their interpretation they made it express sentiments that God had never given. Their mystical construction made indistinct that which He had made plain. They disputed over insignificant technicalities, and practically denied the most essential truths. Thus infidelity was sown broadcast. God’s word was robbed of its power, and evil spirits worked their will. DA p.257.

Another mystical construct slowly moved over the people of God Christ. Following the last apostle, the church of God lost it’s first love of Christ. They faithfully battled the pagan philosophers for the Christian faith, but they did so without surrender to Christ. They kept up the defense of Him, but not the dependence on Him. The church fathers had departed from the earlier love found in the apostles. Thus, without walking by faith and communion, their biblically sounding theories became the diet of the lukewarm people. They kept up the “works” without the earlier intimacy with Christ; while looking zealous, surrender and apostolic fervor was unknown by the churched multitudes. (Rev. 2:4).

History is repeating. With the open Bible before them, and professing to reverence its teachings, many of the religious leaders of our time are destroying faith in it as the word of God. They busy themselves with dissecting the word, and set their own opinions above its plainest statements. In their hands God’s word loses its regenerating power. This is why infidelity runs riot, and iniquity is rife.
When Satan has undermined faith in the Bible, he directs men to other sources for light and power. Thus he insinuates himself. Those who turn from the plain teaching of Scripture and the convicting power of God’s Holy Spirit are inviting the control of demons. Criticism and speculation concerning the Scriptures have opened the way for spiritism and theosophy—those modernized forms of ancient heathenism—to gain a foothold even in the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Side by side with the preaching of the gospel, agencies are at work which are but the medium of lying spirits. Many a man tampers with these merely from curiosity, but seeing evidence of the working of a more than human power, he is lured on and on, until he is controlled by a will stronger than his own. He cannot escape from its mysterious power.
The defenses of the soul are broken down. He has no barrier against sin. When once the restraints of God’s word and His Spirit are rejected, no man knows to what depths of degradation he may sink. Secret sin or master passion may hold him a captive as helpless as was the demoniac of Capernaum. Yet his condition is not hopeless.
The means by which we can overcome the wicked one is that by which Christ overcame, —the power of the word.
DA p.258.

History is still repeating. Lawlessness is the pursuit of multitudes professing the Bible, even of multitudes of Adventists claiming to have a prophet. Yet, tucked away in pockets here and there is the other extreme—the legalists. These folks know the Spirit of Prophecy like the back of their hand, but the Bible is largely Christless, loveless, and unpalatable. My people know Righteousness by Faith, the science of the will and human nature, etc. Yet, strangely Jesus is missing from their books and discourses. They can talk all about surrender and the new birth; but isn’t surrender missing if Jesus isn’t in all their thoughts and words? Aren’t they among the “not 1 in 20 is converted”? (“It is a solemn statement that I make to the church, that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner.” ) Christian Service, p. 41.

“Not one in twenty” is the same as the ratio in Solomon’s statement. “Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” (Eccl. 7:2-29).

When Christ becomes the study, the word of God become flesh, the science of salvation will have a fullness that deep thinkers will appreciate and an attractiveness that even children will be drawn to. Christianity divorced from Christ, theology without exalting—not just name-dropping—but describing Him who is supposed to be its foundation, will be its downfall. Preaching of salvation with only mere mentions of the Savior produces nothing more than Babylonian hocus pocus. The smoke of their torment will ascend up for ever and ever, and they will have no rest, day nor night, trying to make salvation happen for them, and be unable. And in the end will make the church—even the Adventist—a habitation of devils, a hold of foul spirits, the cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

I close with an example of name-dropping excerpted from the manuscript, His Robe or Mine , p. 18,19.

When the will is in God’s control, the five senses are reduced to reason and conscience rather than feelings. We then live by faith in place of feelings. Living by faith does not do away with feelings but puts them in their proper place. They must follow the exercise of the will rather than to be the motivation for the actions of the will.

Now you know the enemy’s top secret! If you have never thought to take your will from Satan’s control, why not do it right now? Just say audibly to Satan, “I am taking my will from your control and surrendering it to Jesus.” Then say to Jesus, “Please take my will for I cannot keep it.”

Jesus promises to take, purify, cleanse, and return that will to you linked with His own. “When you give up your own will, your own wisdom, and learn of Christ, you will find admittance into the kingdom of God.” 1SM p.110.

There is no power in heaven or earth that can force us to take this simple step. Let us keep in mind that it is the simple steps in God’s plan of salvation that Satan tried to keep us from believing and implementing. His power over us can be broken with such a simple step as keeping our will surrendered to God every day. He knows that we hold the key in our hands. Will you take this step and use this key? It will open to you the power of heaven as you link yourself with God.

A lot of fine words, and good intents, and even a quotation by Ellen White; but the unconscionable negligence here, throughout this highly acclaimed book, and the mainstream of Adventist literature is that Jesus is not the study. He is only mentioned in passing here and there.

Thus, rather than studying Jesus in the word of God, being drawn in to Him by the Holy Spirit, then becoming possessed by the heavenly agencies as we behold Christ’s loveliness, and receiving power to choose to obey, the author concludes that surrendering our will can be accomplished by simply telling the devil that’s what we want to do.

But, may I remind us all, Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. Steps to Christ, p. 47.

Therefore, I must judge this book as well-meaning, but an imposture of the gospel of the kingdom that is to be preached to the whole world for a witness to all nations. Without the author’s acquainting us with Jesus, the book unwittingly does the work of the devil. Nothing pleases Satan more than religion that does not exalt God’s Mediator of mercy.

The saving salt is the pure first love, the love of Jesus, the gold tried in the fire. When this is left out of the religious experience. Jesus is not there; the light, the sunshine of his presence, is not there. What, then, is the religion worth? —Just as much as the salt that has lost its savor. It is a loveless religion. Then there is an effort to supply the lack by busy activity, a zeal that is Christless. Bible Echo, March 1, 1892 par. 10.

We have had abundant light at these meetings, and we must walk in it. We must seek to redeem the neglect of the past. We must come up from the lowlands of earth. We must not preach any more Christless sermons, or any longer live Christless lives. RH, July 16, 1889 par. 11}

Our Redeemer liveth to make intercession for us, and now if we will daily learn in the school of Christ, if we will cherish the lessons He will teach us in meekness and lowliness of heart, we shall have so large a measure of the Spirit of Jesus that self will not be interwoven into anything that we may do or say. The eye will be single to the glory of God. We need to make special efforts to answer the prayer of Christ that we may be one as He is one with the Father, He who declared Himself actually straitened while in the days of His humiliation because He had many things to say to His disciples which they could not bear now. The wonders of redemption are dwelt upon altogether too lightly.
We need these matters presented more fully and continuously in our discourses and in our papers. We need our own hearts to be deeply stirred with these deep and saving truths. There is danger of keeping the discourses and the articles in the paper like Cain’s offering, Christless.
Baptized with the Spirit of Jesus, there will be a love, a harmony, a meekness, a hiding of the self in Jesus that the wisdom of Christ will be given, the understanding enlightened; that which seems dark will be made clear. The faculties will be enlarged and sanctified. He can lead those He is fitting for translation to heaven to loftier heights of knowledge and broader views of truth.
1888, p. 29, 30.

Divine knowledge may become human knowledge. Every minister should study closely the manner of Christ’s teaching. They must take in His lessons. There is not one in twenty who knows the beauty, the real essence, of Christ’s ministry. They are to find it out. Then they will become partakers of the rich fruit of His teachings. They will weave them so fully into their own life and practice, that the ideas and principles that Christ brought into His lessons will be brought into their teaching. The truth will blossom and bear the noblest kind of fruit. And the worker’s own heart will be warmed; yea, it will burn with the vivifying spiritual life which they infuse into the minds of others. Then all this tame sermonizing will come to an end; for frequently this is an exhibition of self, rather than the fruit that the teacher bears who has been at the feet of Jesus and learned of Him. —6MR 72. Pastoral Ministry p. 281.

Let us find in Jesus His strength of perfect obedience through His perfect love to His Father and to a world of sinners. And then, in word and in deed, let us spread His righteousness to everyone we meet.


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