This One Thing

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“This One Thing”

Hermosa Sermon 3-26-11

 

Hymn of Praise 1 Praise To The Lord

Text: Philippians 3:13, 14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Hymn of Dedication 316 Live out Thy Life Within Me

 

Our text in the Scripture reading was Paul’s witness to his experience in Jesus: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”.

The one thing Paul talked about had two parts:

Part one: “forget the past”

Part two: “reach, press toward, grasp the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”

 

The one thing for us today is to forget ourselves and our past outside of Christ, and grasp Christ in the here and now in His Representative, Holy Spirit and grasp the the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. This is present truth. This is the one business of our life at this time in the world’s history. And that one thing – laying hold of Christ – will allow God to work His total and full pleasure in us and accomplish all His will in us.

 

Now two completely different things go together making up “One Thing”. One of these two completely dissimilar things is theory and the other is practice. Theory corresponds to faith. Faith grasps the theory that we have chosen to believe. Theory is what can be preached and communicated with words. Theory is the articulation of the Truth that we need, by God’s grace, to believe. Practice is of an entirely different nature. Practice is something experienced. Practice is what we do. Practice is what we personally experience. Words can communicate about your personal experience but words can’t communicate the experience or transmit or transfer the experience from one person to another. It is like the saying “Manners are caught, not taught.” In the same way Character is caught not taught. This is why people have to have examples of Christ in their lives. And this is the great need of the world at this time. The world needs to see Jesus in His believers.

 

What the world has seen so far in the lives of professed believers in Jesus has not hastened the return of Jesus nor destroyed the works of Satan or ended the great controversy. But this will be done. “My word shall not return unto void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Is. 55:11

 

Now the one thing we need today – Present Truth today is this: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

 

Turn in your Bibles to Colossians 1:27 and let's read together, all of us together to verse 29 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:

1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

1:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

 

Do you believe that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, can literally be in you and work through you mightily?

 

God says:

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

 

Do you have that hope in you? Are you purifying yourself in the blood of the Lamb daily?

 

An authoritive source says this (In Testimonies to the Church Volume 1): “…. Every person will live out all the faith he has.” {1T 195.2}

 

Every person will live out all the faith he has.

 

We can distinguish between faith and works – belief and practice – but we cannot separate them. We can distinguish between one side of a sheet of paper and the other side of the sheet of paper, but we can’t take the sides apart and separate them. “Every person will live out all the faith he has.” 1T195

 

Listen to this:

1SM346 “Through belief in Satan's misrepresentation of God, man's character and destiny were changed, but if men will believe in the Word of God, they will be transformed in mind and character, and fitted for eternal life. To believe that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16), will change the heart, and reproduce in man the image of God.” {1SM 346.1}

 

This is the theory – the faith, if you choose to believe it: God’s plan for your life – for my life - is for God to live in us in reality, in actual fact, through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in us here and now. This will manifest itself by living the life of Christ here and now in your body. This is Christ in you – the hope of glory. Some say this is symbolism, not actual fact. Some say this is actual fact. The Bible says, “We are saved by hope” Romans 8:24. The Bible says “For by grace are ye saved through faith” Ephesians 2:8 The investigative judgment of God going on right now determines the truth of your experience in hope and faith by looking at what you are doing and listening to what you are saying. “Every person will live out all the faith he has.”

 

Now theory has two parts:

Part one is the global context, the setting in which the particular fact or truth is placed. We call this the relevance we see in that fact. Our understanding of the global setting of truth gives it its importance.

Part two is the particular fact or idea or truth itself.

 

These two parts are like the two sides of the page of paper. We can distinguish these two parts of theory – but they cannot be separated.

 

So let’s look briefly and quickly at two parts or aspects of our global understanding or setting of truth.

 

I have made a time line of world history and a time line of the great controversy history. I would like you look at these time lines and consider what you believe about these time lines. Is this what you see to be written in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy? Your global view of truth determines whether the individual, specific truth is regarded and held as “interesting but not particularly relevant to anything” or as being “profound” and of greatest “significance and importance”! We are coming to the time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken. We need to know what we believe so that we cannot be shaken in our belief and hope and faith!

 

This is the World History Time Line:



 Do you believe this the world history time line is truth? Is this part of your global concept of truth? Is this what you understand the Bible teaches as truth as it is in Jesus?

 

This is the great controversy time line:

 

This time line has no beginning and no ending even though the great controversy that began in heaven had a beginning and praise God it has an ending. This great controversy will be totally and forever settled and when all over will have been like a blip in eternity. However this great controversy will affect the whole universe for ever and ever. Right now the great controversy is the big thing. The great controversy between Christ and Satan occupies first place on this earth and is receiving priority attention in heaven. And this great controversy will affect the whole universe for ever and ever. The universe will never be the same after the cross of Christ, that it was before the cross of Christ.

 

When the controversy started in heaven we do not know because we have not been told. The point in time when the controversy started is difficult to define. It started so insidiously. But just when it started is not all that relevant or important. That it did start and that it started before the creation of mankind, is what is important. We have been told that there was a war in heaven in the Bible.

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

 

We are also told about this war in heaven in the Spirit of Prophecy.

PP33 “The history of the great conflict between good and evil, from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of rebellion and the total eradication of sin, is also a demonstration of God's unchanging love. {PP 33.3}

 

The way God has dealt with the great controversy and the way He finishes it and completely eradicates it is a demonstration of His love and wisdom.

 

We are told in PP 36; Sp vol.I pg2 that there were two councils in heaven. One was called by God to explain the position of Michael, His only begotten Son, and His relationship to all created beings. The other council in heaven was called by Lucifer to explain the meaning of the previous council. Lucifer presented to the angels how the previous council and clarification of the position and relationship of Jesus had put Satan down and taken away all freedoms from heaven. This presentation of Satan was his announcement of his rebellion. Satan's rebellion eventually ripened into the war in heaven. But first there was a judgment in heaven where it had to be determined which side – Christ or Satan’s, each angel in heaven stood. Then there was war in heaven and Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven. Describing events following the war in heaven we find this statement in Spirit of Prophecy Volume 1 page 23:

“Angels in Heaven mourned the fate of those who had been their companions in happiness and bliss. Their loss was felt in Heaven. The Father consulted Jesus in regard to at once carrying out their purpose to make man to inhabit the earth. He would place man upon probation to test his loyalty, before he could be rendered eternally secure. If he endured the test wherewith God saw fit to prove him, he should eventually be equal with the angels. He was to have the favor of God, and he was to converse with angels, and

they with him. He did not see fit to place them beyond the power of disobedience.

{1SP 23.1}

 

And so almost immediately after the war in heaven Adam and Eve were created.

This earth and mankind were created to answer the questions raised in the great controversy. However instead of being the answers to the questions showing the truth about God, with the fall of mankind, they became part of the controversy. Instead of demonstrating God’s part of the question – demonstrating the character of God only, fulfilling the purpose for which they were created - mankind and this earth became a demonstration of both sides of the controversy. Now both good and evil are being demonstrated on earth. That was never God’s original plan.

 

“Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Isaiah 43:7.

 

However the demonstration of God’s character is still necessary to end the controversy. The controversy is over the character of God. God foresaw the fall and failure of mankind and had a recovery plan already in place from the beginning. So the Father sent His only begotten Son to do what mankind had so far failed to do - to demonstrate God’s true character.

 

Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

 

Jesus made the full demonstration of the character of God and died, uncondemned, in man’s place to show that the results of sin is death and to satisfy the justice of God and give God the right to show mercy to repentent mankind. A relevant detail is this. Before the fall mankind was to demonstrate the character of God. In the life and death of Jesus, the Son of man, all the questions about the character of God were answered that were raised by the great controversy.

 

“Yet Satan was not then destroyed. The angels did not even then understand all that was involved in the great controversy. The principles at stake were to be more fully revealed. And for the sake of man, Satan's existence must be continued. Man as well as angels must see the contrast between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness. He must choose whom he will serve.” {DA 761.3}

 

Satan then added another accusation against God – “Bravo, Jesus, you did not sin – but you are God – so your demonstration of mankind keeping your Father’s law proves nothing! If you save mankind whatever their repentance is – sin will be continued in heaven! And so the universe awaits the proving by demonstration that this too is a lie of Satan. God’s plan is by the power of Jesus in the Person of the Holy Spirit within us – you and I are destined to prove Satan a liar. Christ in me – the hope of glory – will stand every test Satan can bring upon me and you and again defeat Satan – this time in life and not in death. Are you willing, am I willing to make that level of yielding to Jesus for Him to prove this last point in the great controversy? This is our opportunity! This is our destiny in Christ. No matter how good or how bad your past, Jesus wants to use you to demonstrate that He is able – even in you – even in me! - to again defeat and destroy the work of the devil.

 

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

So God is again going to manifest His only Begotten Son in born again fallen flesh – only this time He wants to do it in your born-again flesh and my born-again flesh – and again destroy the works of the devil.

 

This is our opportunity! This is our destiny in Christ. No matter how good or how bad your past, Jesus wants to use you to demonstrate that He is able – even in you – to again defeat and destroy the work of the devil.

 

This is what this great controversy time line shows. This is the truth in this global setting. Do you believe this? Beloved, this is truth as it is in Jesus. This is what the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy teaches.

 

Who is willing to join me in prayer? My prayer is that God will have His will and His way in my life to use me in my present born-again sinful flesh, clinging to Jesus, any way He sees fit to destroy the works of the devil in me and to demonstrate to the universe His ability to save to the uttermost.

 

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.