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“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.

Monday, May 14, 2012

If you do not hate sin, you cannot be My disciple

“And there went great multitudes with Him: and He turned, and said unto them,
If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
And whosoever doth not bear His cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” (Lk. 14:25-27).

Jesus had been invited to a Sabbath dinner at the home of a high ranking Pharisee. He didn’t go to get something to eat, but to offer salvation to the host, and to his pharisaical family and friends. The bread Jesus had to offer was of infinitely more worth than the richest spread of any earthly cornucopia.

There He demonstrated true Sabbath keeping—“to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke”. (Isa. 58:6). He made the motions to heal a man of his dropsy. To stanch the dismay and indignation of the self-righteous theologians who misinterpreted the Law, Jesus spoke the truth rhetorically, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?” (Lk. 14:3). When they knew better than to answer with anything, Jesus healed the man, thus allowing these upright Jews to see what genuine Sabbath joy looked like, both on the face of the healed man and in the quiet, happy satisfaction of the great Healer.

That open display of divine presence that arrested their mundane reality created a new awareness which they had never before suspected existed. To manage their wonderful, new-found paradigm and to prevent them from fanaticism Jesus immediately taught them a parable of reproof and warning. Balance, by blending blessing with responsibility, was Christ’s consistent method in all that He did. As our Intercessor and Master Teacher, He gave grace and truth, never one without the other, as our protector from Satan’s assault on both in his endless temptations to draw people into one of either pillar of God’s character and running them to either deadly extreme.

So, many people began to crowd Jesus in hope and excitement. “And there went great multitudes with Him.” (Lk. 14:25). The successful gathering in of many new adherents encouraged new hope in Christ’s original twelve. But the hearts of the multitude were not converted. Love for Jesus was not uppermost in their hearts, and this endangered the consecration of Christ’s disciples. The people’s hope of a Savior was the hope of a deliverer from poverty and Roman oppression. The worldly perspective of the sin-loving multitude would have quickly caused the hearts of the twelve to revert back to pre-ministry days and the work of Christ for them to suffer.

Again, to balance the new excitement spreading quickly, with sharply pointed words, the Savior counteracted Satan’s plan to pervert God’s work. “If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” (Lk. 14:26,27). “You want to follow Me in setting up My kingdom, here are the qualifications. Perfect love and loyalty to Me is the constitution of My government.”

Austere, stern, firm lessons were heard that day. Though they didn’t recognize in Christ’s authoritative spirit the fulfillment of prophecy because they were not studying their Bibles as they should have, Jesus gave them what Isaiah had foreseen that He would give. “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears:
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.” (Isa. 11:2-5).

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8,9).

Now, to all who heard and kept His doctrine that day, He could say, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (Jn. 15:3).

They must hate their closest earthly relations. This was a most powerful test. The Middle Eastern countries had fierce loyalty to family members and friends. They knew how to love their brother and parents, and to protect them; they also know how to hate their enemies with perfect hatred. To them, abstolute filial and national love was the ultimate expectation of God for the human race.

But, now Jesus is telling them that those loyalties must be disregarded if they conflict with their loyalty to Him and His movement. Christ, as Messiah, claimed undisputed sovereignty over all who would join with Him. Love and obedience to God made subservient all other earthly relationships. Loyalty to God must result in a love beyond all filial ties. “He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.” (Matt. 12:30). All other highest claims must go.

Only upon this principle can God’s kingdom remain eternally safe from a repetition of sin. Adam had to learn this principle, but he failed the test. Eve, the love of his life, stands before him in giddy laughter that spoke to him only alarm and fear. She was so unlike the calm, subdued mother of all living he had known before. She had disobeyed God and now he must choose—join her in abandoning God, or in grief turn away from his beloved companion and follow God without her alone, maybe forever.

To love God is to hate this world and all who love it and who try to dissolve the faith of Christ’s disciples. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1Jn. 2:15).
“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:4).
“That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Lk. 16:15).

Adam had to deny his will. He had to cut off that which brought him greatest earthly charm. It was hard to do; it was the darkest moment of his life up to that time. Denying our wills will lead to dark times for us, too. This is a fact of life in this great controversy. Heaven or hell, eternity with Jesus or without Him teeters on our decision when God brings us to each trial of our faith. What will I do, deny my self-will or do my duty to God’s will?

Rebuke and correction have the same effect for the same reason. In our Adventist history we see this vey clearly in the experience of Elder D. M. Canright. When he was being applauded for his preaching everything seemed bright and rosy. But when reproved for his self-exaltation or when disapproved for higher positions in church leadership because of his uncontrolled love of praise, suddenly all his thoughts grew dark and he became unsure of the present truth of the three angel’s messages. And though darkness and mental conflict was even felt by Christ in Gethsemane as He faced His great crisis, He surrendered His will to God and then realized a great calm during the remainder of His trial on the cross. But Elder Canright would not surrender His will, though brought to that trial in many ways and over a long period of time. He would not plead for help from God, so he was left with the mind that he chose—he was sealed in darkness. He loved this world’s applause and hated God’s approval, so he spent the last of his days wandering about telling everyone that he was a lost man.

Adam failed also, as did David and Solomon and a host of others who had known the love of God. And though they were spared and saved from the fate of Elder Canright, the government of God stands firmly on perfect surrender of our sinful will and on perfect subjection to God’s. In the darkness of the great decisions we must do like Jesus, we must do as Abraham. “And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of….

And He said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.” (Gen. 22:2,12).

As hard as it may be to let go of our earthly connections and practices, we must love and obey Christ supremely and then love our brother and our self.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise…
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” (Heb. 11:8,9,14,15).

“Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be….
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:18,20-22).

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received Him in a figure.” (Heb. 11:17-19).

“Said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:24,25).

“He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 10:37-39).

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