Friday, August 05, 2016

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #6 August 6, 2016

Third Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Jesus Mingled With The People
August 6, 2016

     This was an interesting week in many respects.  I was privileged to have my food that I bring to work analyzed and inspected by a colleague who first saw the book on my work-space "How Not To Die".  She has subsequently revealed to me that she is facing nodules on her thyroid that is bearing closer inspection and is determined to reason from cause to effect in dealing with this new diagnosis.  
     Mine was also the privilege to spend some pool time with a courteous, yet avowed atheist who happened to arrive just as I was planning to leave the hot-springs that were my retreat for twenty-four hours.  That he initiated and deposited his address and other contact information in my hand before I left is testimony from the Lord's Spirit that we will be mingling again—Lord willing.
     Before leaving the haven of mineral water and largely undisturbed nature I had the unexpected 'intervention' of a brother in Christ who lovingly pointing out a 'kink in my armor' that he had observed over the course of three years.  We prayed and cried together before we parting—thanking God that He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.
      I came to a new appreciation on the humanity of Christ.  He knows what I am going through.  He feels it with me and sends others whom He has healed in the areas that I need healing to chaperone us through our trials. 
The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man; He gave proof of His humility in becoming a man. Yet He was God in the flesh. When we approach this subject, we would do well to heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5). We should come to this study with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. And the study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field, which will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth. {1SM 244.1}
      Jesus mingled with people.  Ever consider who these people were? There is much encouragement when there are patterns identified in the Bible. It is not by coincidence that Jesus surrounded himself with twelve disciples. They were the same offspring of the motley crew that Moses was instructed to build a Sanctuary in the midst of.  It was for one purpose— "that I may dwell among them"; in other words, "I want to mingle with them on an ongoing basis" But who are the 'them'?  It is the same dysfunctional bunch of Jacob's children as outlined in Genesis 49.
     To go back to Jacob, we find that before he was converted he had a most unlovely disposition, selfish, crafty, deceitful. His sons partook of the same nature, and Pharez, one of the ancestors of Christ (Matthew 1:3; Genesis 38), was born of a harlot. Rahab, an unenlightened heathen, became an ancestor of Christ. The weakness and idolatry of Solomon are proverbial. Of Rehoboam, Ahijah, Jehoram, Ahaz, Manasseh, Amon, and other kings of Judah, the record is about the same. They sinned and made the people sin. Some of them had not one redeeming trait in their characters, being worse than the heathen around them. It was from such an ancestry that Christ came. Although his mother was a pure and godly woman, as could but be expected, no one can doubt that the human nature of Christ must have been more subject to the infirmities of the flesh than it would have been if he had been born before the race had so greatly deteriorated physically and morally. This was not accidental, but was a necessary part of the great plan of human redemption, as the following will show:

"For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. [The Syriac version has it, "For he did not assume a nature from angels, but he assumed a nature from the seed of Abraham."] Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." Hebrews 2:16-18 E.J Waggoner Signs of the Times January 21, 1889 p39.
     Glory to God for such a Redeemer as ours.  Do you have any of the traits that Jacob had before his conversion?  Don't give up.  Have you, like Solomon, turned to frank heathenism after being privy to building the most majestic structure that man has ever laid his eyes on?  Don't give up--hang in there.  God did not give up on Solomon and he has not given up on you and me. When the fullness of time had come God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to Redeem those who were under the law. Gal 2:4
     In addition to motive 'mingling' includes method; the 'how' is equally important as the 'why' Jesus mingled. Truth be told, to love those that we mingle with the way Jesus loves them requires 'no common love'. It is easy to love those who think as we do. Who subscribe to a biblical framework that largely has the theological outline of our own. But it takes an extraordinary love, as Arthur Spaulding points out, to transform sons on thunder John and James into winsome sages with applets "the disciple who Jesus loved". It is hardly easy to love selfish, crafty, and deceitful as it is to love the lovable. But here is sage advice that comes from elder Spaulding:

It is the work of the church and of every member of the church to help every other member to increase in goodness and to decrease in badness. The only way in which that can be done is by following the "new commandment" that Jesus gave. 'That you love one another; as I have loved you."
We cannot improve any faulty character by finding fault with it, but we can improve it by giving loving service. We can never criticize anyone into heaven, but we can love one into heaven. It is by love, and not by faultfinding, that Jesus wins. The same means must be used by His disciples to win and up build others. Arthur Spaulding, Brothers of the King p.4
Christ did not banish doubt from Thomas by doubting. He did not thunder at John when John wanted to bring down fire from heaven when insulted. Ours is a Savior who was constantly in contact with His Father in meeting the needs of His erring disciples; just like the father who knew how to win his prodigal son as well as appeal to his compliant rebel.

Oh how we need heavenly wisdom.

      We need this heavenly wisdom in navigating in this 'all or nothing thinking' political season.  How would Jesus relate to those on both sides of the political isle? I believe he would remind us that His kingdom is not of this world. He wants to mingle in such a way that His kingdom will be seen in juxtaposition to the kingdom of this world. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.  
       It matters not if you eat or drink--whatever you do to the Glory of God.  I praise the Lord for his leading this past week. I thank him for his sustaining power. I rejoice in His restoring power and delight that mingles with me in my humanity and has not given up on me. I thank Him for the weakness that He has given me to be joined to His strength.   The just shall live by faith.
      For more on how Jesus treated people I highly recommend Arthur Spaulding's Brothers of the King that can be downloaded here for free:

~Ricky Kearns