Author Topic: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More  (Read 17712 times)

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Richard Myers

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The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« on: April 12, 2016, 06:35:04 AM »
By the Sea Once More


Listen to By the Sea Once More


 




     Jesus had appointed to meet His disciples in Galilee; and soon after the Passover week was ended, they bent their steps thither. Their absence from Jerusalem during the feast would have been interpreted as disaffection and heresy, therefore they remained till its close; but this over, they gladly turned homeward to meet the Saviour as He had directed.   
     Seven of the disciples were in company. They were clad in the humble garb of fishermen; they were poor in worldly goods, but rich in the knowledge and practice of the truth, which in the sight of Heaven gave them the highest rank as teachers. They had not been students in the schools of the prophets, but for three years they had been taught by the greatest Educator the world has ever known. Under His instruction they had become elevated, intelligent, and refined, agents through whom men might be led to a knowledge of the truth.
     Much of the time of Christ's ministry had been passed near the Sea of Galilee. As the disciples gathered in a place where they were not likely to be disturbed, they found themselves surrounded by reminders of Jesus and His mighty works. On this sea, when their hearts were filled with terror, and the fierce storm was hurrying them to destruction, Jesus had walked upon the billows to their rescue. Here the tempest had been hushed by His word. Within sight was the beach where above ten thousand persons had been fed from a few small loaves and fishes. Not far distant was Capernaum, the scene of so many miracles. As the disciples looked upon the scene, their minds were full of the words and deeds of their Saviour. 
     The evening was pleasant, and Peter, who still had much of his old love for boats and fishing, proposed that they should go out upon the sea and cast their nets. In this plan all were ready to join; they were in need of food and clothing, which the proceeds of a successful night's fishing would supply. So they went out in their boat, but they caught nothing. All night they toiled, without success. Through the weary hours they talked of their absent Lord, and recalled the wonderful events they had witnessed in His ministry beside the sea. They questioned as to their own future, and grew sad at the prospect before them.
     All the while a lone watcher upon the shore followed them with His eye, while He Himself was unseen. At length the morning dawned. The boat was but a little way from the shore, and the disciples saw a stranger standing upon the beach, who accosted them with the question, "Children, have ye any meat?" When they answered, "No," "He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes." 
     John recognized the stranger, and exclaimed to Peter, "It is the Lord." Peter was so elated and so glad that in his eagerness he cast himself into the water and was soon standing by the side of his Master. The other disciples came in their boat, dragging the net with fishes. "As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread."
     They were too much amazed to question whence came the fire and the food. "Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught." Peter rushed for the net, which he had dropped, and helped his brethren drag it to the shore. After the work was done, and the preparation made, Jesus bade the disciples come and dine. He broke the food, and divided it among them, and was known and acknowledged by all the seven. The miracle of feeding the five thousand on the mountainside was now brought to their minds; but a mysterious awe was upon them, and in silence they gazed upon the risen Saviour. 
     Vividly they recalled the scene beside the sea when Jesus had bidden them follow Him. They remembered how, at His command, they had launched out into the deep, and had let down their net, and the catch had been so abundant as to fill the net, even to breaking. Then Jesus had called them to leave their fishing boats, and had promised to make them fishers of men. It was to bring this scene to their minds, and to deepen its impression, that He had again performed the miracle. His act was a renewal of the commission to the disciples. It showed them that the death of their Master had not lessened their obligation to do the work He had assigned them. Though they were to be deprived of His personal companionship, and of the means of support by their former employment, the risen Saviour would still have a care for them. While they were doing His work, He would provide for their needs. And Jesus had a purpose in bidding them cast their net on the right side of the ship. On that side He stood upon the shore. That was the side of faith. If they labored in connection with Him,--His divine power combining with their human effort,--they could not fail of success. 
     Another lesson Christ had to give, relating especially to Peter. Peter's denial of his Lord had been in shameful contrast to his former professions of loyalty. He had dishonored Christ, and had incurred the distrust of his brethren. They thought he would not be allowed to take his former position among them, and he himself felt that he had forfeited his trust. Before being called to take up again his apostolic work, he must before them all give evidence of his repentance. Without this, his sin, though repented of, might have destroyed his influence as a minister of Christ. The Saviour gave him opportunity to regain the confidence of his brethren, and, so far as possible, to remove the reproach he had brought upon the gospel. 
     Here is given a lesson for all Christ's followers. The gospel makes no compromise with evil. It cannot excuse sin. Secret sins are to be confessed in secret to God; but, for open sin, open confession is required. The reproach of the disciple's sin is cast upon Christ. It causes Satan to triumph, and wavering souls to stumble. By giving proof of repentance, the disciple, so far as lies in his power, is to remove this reproach. 
     While Christ and the disciples were eating together by the seaside, the Saviour said to Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?" referring to his brethren. Peter had once declared, "Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended." Matthew 26:33. But he now put a truer estimate upon himself. "Yea, Lord," he said, "Thou knowest that I love Thee." There is no vehement assurance that his love is greater than that of his brethren. He does not express his own opinion of his devotion. To Him who can read all the motives of the heart he appeals to judge as to his sincerity,--"Thou knowest that I love Thee." And Jesus bids him, "Feed My lambs."
     Again Jesus applied the test to Peter, repeating His former words: "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" This time He did not ask Peter whether he loved Him better than did his brethren. The second response was like the first, free from extravagant assurance: "Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep." Once more the Saviour put the trying question: "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" Peter was grieved; he thought that Jesus doubted his love. He knew that his Lord had cause to distrust him, and with an aching heart he answered, "Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee." Again Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep."
     Three times Peter had openly denied his Lord, and three times Jesus drew from him the assurance of his love and loyalty, pressing home that pointed question, like a barbed arrow to his wounded heart. Before the assembled disciples Jesus revealed the depth of Peter's repentance, and showed how thoroughly humbled was the once boasting disciple.
     Peter was naturally forward and impulsive, and Satan had taken advantage of these characteristics to overthrow him. Just before the fall of Peter, Jesus had said to him, "Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31, 32. That time had now come, and the transformation in Peter was evident. The close, testing questions of the Lord had not called out one forward, self-sufficient reply; and because of his humiliation and repentance, Peter was better prepared than ever before to act as shepherd to the flock. 
     The first work that Christ entrusted to Peter on restoring him to the ministry was to feed the lambs. This was a work in which Peter had little experience. It would require great care and tenderness, much patience and perseverance. It called him to minister to those who were young in the faith, to teach the ignorant, to open the Scriptures to them, and to educate them for usefulness in Christ's service. Heretofore Peter had not been fitted to do this, or even to understand its importance. But this was the work which Jesus now called upon him to do. For this work his own experience of suffering and repentance had prepared him.
     Before his fall, Peter was always speaking unadvisedly, from the impulse of the moment. He was always ready to correct others, and to express his mind, before he had a clear comprehension of himself or of what he had to say. But the converted Peter was very different. He retained his former fervor, but the grace of Christ regulated his zeal. He was no longer impetuous, self-confident, and self-exalted, but calm, self-possessed, and teachable. He could then feed the lambs as well as the sheep of Christ's flock. 
     The Saviour's manner of dealing with Peter had a lesson for him and for his brethren. It taught them to meet the transgressor with patience, sympathy, and forgiving love. Although Peter had denied his Lord, the love which Jesus bore him never faltered. Just such love should the undershepherd feel for the sheep and lambs committed to his care. Remembering his own weakness and failure, Peter was to deal with his flock as tenderly as Christ had dealt with him.
     The question that Christ had put to Peter was significant. He mentioned only one condition of discipleship and service. "Lovest thou Me?" He said. This is the essential qualification. Though Peter might possess every other, yet without the love of Christ he could not be a faithful shepherd over the Lord's flock. Knowledge, benevolence, eloquence, gratitude, and zeal are all aids in the good work; but without the love of Jesus in the heart, the work of the Christian minister is a failure. 
     Jesus walked alone with Peter, for there was something which He wished to communicate to him only. Before His death, Jesus had said to him, "Whither I go, thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards." To this Peter had replied, "Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake." John 13:36, 37. When he said this, he little knew to what heights and depths Christ's feet would lead the way. Peter had failed when the test came, but again he was to have opportunity to prove his love for Christ. That he might be strengthened for the final test of his faith, the Saviour opened to him his future. He told him that after living a life of usefulness, when age was telling upon his strength, he would indeed follow his Lord. Jesus said, "When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God."
     Jesus thus made known to Peter the very manner of his death; He even foretold the stretching forth of his hands upon the cross. Again He bade His disciple, "Follow Me." Peter was not disheartened by the revelation. He felt willing to suffer any death for his Lord.
     Heretofore Peter had known Christ after the flesh, as many know Him now; but he was no more to be thus limited. He knew Him no more as he had known Him in his association with Him in humanity. He had loved Him as a man, as a heaven-sent teacher; he now loved Him as God. He had been learning the lesson that to him Christ was all in all. Now he was prepared to share in his Lord's mission of sacrifice. When at last brought to the cross, he was, at his own request, crucified with his head downward. He thought it too great an honor to suffer in the same way as his Master did. 
     To Peter the words "Follow Me" were full of instruction. Not only for his death, but for every step of his life, was the lesson given. Hitherto Peter had been inclined to act independently. He had tried to plan for the work of God, instead of waiting to follow out God's plan. But he could gain nothing by rushing on before the Lord. Jesus bids him, "Follow Me." Do not run ahead of Me. Then you will not have the hosts of Satan to meet alone. Let Me go before you, and you will not be overcome by the enemy.
     As Peter walked beside Jesus, he saw that John was following. A desire came over him to know his future, and he "saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me." Peter should have considered that his Lord would reveal to him all that it was best for him to know. It is the duty of everyone to follow Christ, without undue anxiety as to the work assigned to others. In saying of John, "If I will that he tarry till I come," Jesus gave no assurance that this disciple should live until the Lord's second coming. He merely asserted His own supreme power, and that even if He should will this to be so, it would in no way affect Peter's work. The future of both John and Peter was in the hands of their Lord. Obedience in following Him was the duty required of each.
     How many today are like Peter! They are interested in the affairs of others, and anxious to know their duty, while they are in danger of neglecting their own. It is our work to look to Christ and follow Him. We shall see mistakes in the lives of others, and defects in their character. Humanity is encompassed with infirmity. But in Christ we shall find perfection. Beholding Him, we shall become transformed. 
     John lived to be very aged. He witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, and the ruin of the stately temple,--a symbol of the final ruin of the world. To his latest days John closely followed his Lord. The burden of his testimony to the churches was, "Beloved, let us love one another;" "he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:7, 16. 
     Peter had been restored to his apostleship, but the honor and authority he received from Christ had not given him supremacy over his brethren. This Christ had made plain when in answer to Peter's question, "What shall this man do?" He had said, "What is that to thee? follow thou Me." Peter was not honored as the head of the church. The favor which Christ had shown him in forgiving his apostasy, and entrusting him with the feeding of the flock, and Peter's own faithfulness in following Christ, won for him the confidence of his brethren. He had much influence in the church. But the lesson which Christ had taught him by the Sea of Galilee Peter carried with him throughout his life. Writing by the Holy Spirit to the churches, he said:
     "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." 1 Peter 5:1-4. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2016, 05:00:37 AM »
         While Christ and the disciples were eating together by the seaside, the Saviour said to Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?" referring to his brethren. Peter had once declared, "Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended." Matthew 26:33. But he now put a truer estimate upon himself. "Yea, Lord," he said, "Thou knowest that I love Thee." There is no vehement assurance that his love is greater than that of his brethren. He does not express his own opinion of his devotion. To Him who can read all the motives of the heart he appeals to judge as to his sincerity,--"Thou knowest that I love Thee." And Jesus bids him, "Feed My lambs."
     Again Jesus applied the test to Peter, repeating His former words: "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" This time He did not ask Peter whether he loved Him better than did his brethren. The second response was like the first, free from extravagant assurance: "Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep." Once more the Saviour put the trying question: "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" Peter was grieved; he thought that Jesus doubted his love. He knew that his Lord had cause to distrust him, and with an aching heart he answered, "Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee." Again Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep."
     Three times Peter had openly denied his Lord, and three times Jesus drew from him the assurance of his love and loyalty, pressing home that pointed question, like a barbed arrow to his wounded heart. Before the assembled disciples Jesus revealed the depth of Peter's repentance, and showed how thoroughly humbled was the once boasting disciple.
     Peter was naturally forward and impulsive, and Satan had taken advantage of these characteristics to overthrow him. Just before the fall of Peter, Jesus had said to him, "Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31, 32. That time had now come, and the transformation in Peter was evident. The close, testing questions of the Lord had not called out one forward, self-sufficient reply; and because of his humiliation and repentance, Peter was better prepared than ever before to act as shepherd to the flock.

Poor Peter, not only did he already feel the shame for denying Christ now it would seem to outsiders that Christ is rubbing salt in the wounds.  If Peter was anything like me there are points in your life that you wish you could just simply forget and never think about again ,however, with Christ there is always a greater purpose in His actions and words. Peter's reaction to Christ's questions were not only necessary for himself but for others to witness. This also prepared him to be a better shepherd to the flock. 

Are you going through trials? There will be morning again and maybe Christ is preparing you for something.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2016, 07:46:36 AM »
Amen, Jim. This example of loving reproof is so important for us to learn. It was for Peter's good that Jesus humiliated him. Peter knew Jesus loved him. He knew he was guilty, but he also knew Jesus knew he was repentant, so very repentant.

When we are reproved for sin, we ought to accept it as did Peter. And, we need to know when to act as did Jesus in reproving sin, and in the very same manner with deep love.

This statement is so very revealing: "Once more the Saviour put the trying question: "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?" Peter was grieved; he thought that Jesus doubted his love. He knew that his Lord had cause to distrust him, and with an aching heart he answered..." 

Jesus knew what would be the result of His asking Peter three times if he loved Him. He knew it would cause Peter's heart to ache. It was for Peter that He did what He did. The disciples needed to see Peter was sorry for his sin. They then accepted him as a fellow worker, even though he had denied His Savior.

We hear teaching on these verses from the pulpit, but sadly they never touch on this truth. There is so much human wisdom that displaces inspired truth. Here in this chapter the truth is so beautifully presented that none need misunderstand what Jesus was doing when He asked Peter three times if he loved Him.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2016, 10:08:50 AM »
We hear teaching on these verses from the pulpit, but sadly they never touch on this truth. There is so much human wisdom that displaces inspired truth. Here in this chapter the truth is so beautifully presented that none need misunderstand what Jesus was doing when He asked Peter three times if he loved Him.

One thing I've noticed concerning this story from our pulpits. It is that "they" seem to love to point out the different greek words that were used for the word love. I don't know maybe there is something there but apparently that is not needed to get the lesson involved.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2016, 05:05:29 PM »
Yes, Jim, that is the teaching that has obscured the truth. What is the lesson learned from what they teach?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2016, 05:43:37 AM »
Jesus meets with His disciples and again performs a miracle of filling their boat with fish. For what purpose? Many who enter ministry today do so with the assurance from the conference they will be paid not only a good wage, but retirement income. How was it with the disciples? It was the same except the promise was a little different and it came from God, not man.

It is good that the church provides for its ministers. How does God provide for them? It is by faith. The disciples had left their means of support behind, even though some had families to care for. This ought to be an encouragement to all who enter the ministry whether or not they are working for a conference. If one is faithful, there is no assurance a conference paycheck will continue, but God will provide for all who are consecrated and doing the work assigned in teaching the truth as it is in Jesus.

     Vividly they recalled the scene beside the sea when Jesus had bidden them follow Him. They remembered how, at His command, they had launched out into the deep, and had let down their net, and the catch had been so abundant as to fill the net, even to breaking. Then Jesus had called them to leave their fishing boats, and had promised to make them fishers of men. It was to bring this scene to their minds, and to deepen its impression, that He had again performed the miracle. His act was a renewal of the commission to the disciples. It showed them that the death of their Master had not lessened their obligation to do the work He had assigned them. Though they were to be deprived of His personal companionship, and of the means of support by their former employment, the risen Saviour would still have a care for them. While they were doing His work, He would provide for their needs. And Jesus had a purpose in bidding them cast their net on the right side of the ship. On that side He stood upon the shore. That was the side of faith. If they labored in connection with Him,--His divine power combining with their human effort,--they could not fail of success. 


As we near the end, let all who enter the ministry know by faith, God is with them and they will be given what is necessary to do their work. This is not a promise to be given enough for fancy homes, fancy cars, or sporting equipment, but God will provide for our needs. If this is not enough, then the worker needs to find another line of work. When Judas discovered he was not going to receive the things of this world, he gave up wanting to follow Christ. How is it with us? Do we want the things of this world more than we want Jesus? We cannot have both. What shall we want in exchange for our birthright? Is salvation worth a mess of pottage, or whatever idol separates us from Christ?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2016, 06:54:07 AM »
Richard, I appreciate your post. God always provides. He makes a way--but I was moved by this chapter in that Peter and the disciples were taking matters into their own hands to go back to their former employment, rather than to solely devote themselves to the ministry which Christ had ordained them unto some years before.

"Vividly they recalled the scene beside the sea when Jesus had bidden them follow Him. They remembered how, at His command, they had launched out into the deep, and had let down their net, and the catch had been so abundant as to fill the net, even to breaking. Then Jesus had called them to leave their fishing boats, and had promised to make them fishers of men. It was to bring this scene to their minds, and to deepen its impression, that He had again performed the miracle. His act was a renewal of the commission to the disciples. It showed them that the death of their Master had not lessened their obligation to do the work He had assigned them. Though they were to be deprived of His personal companionship, and of the means of support by their former employment, the risen Saviour would still have a care for them. While they were doing His work, He would provide for their needs. And Jesus had a purpose in bidding them cast their net on the right side of the ship. On that side He stood upon the shore. That was the side of faith. If they labored in connection with Him,--His divine power combining with their human effort,--they could not fail of success."  {DA 810.5}

Jesus was letting them know that His death did not detract from their commission--truly, His death was to be the center of their message (now that they understood the Lamb, Jesus, had to die, and that He DID die!).

There is a lesson in this that reminds me of what happened in the time Haggai was written. Haggai was a messenger of the Lord, and the people were seeking their own interests rather than the construction of the temple of the Lord. As a result, their own efforts to secure temporal favor were unavailing.

See from Haggai 1:

3 Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
5 Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.
6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
7 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.
8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.
9 Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.


Peter and the other disciples sought to go fishing to provide for their own support--and without Jesus, their labors were unavailing. Far better is it to seek first His kingdom, His interests. This is an important lesson for those who are called to ministry. Faith remembers the call God has placed upon one's life, and that call is not to change. God will equip those whom He has called to gospel ministry and provide what is needful.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2016, 05:38:51 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!  I can testify to this truth. Having been in ministry for almost 30 years, I can say God has provided for my needs day by day. When Jesus sent His disciples out to minister, He told them not to take anything with them, for God would provide through many means.

 10:5   These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 
 10:6   But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 
 10:7   And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 
 10:8   Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 
 10:9   Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 
 10:10   Nor scrip for [your] journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 


Even in a Laodicean church, God still owns all the silver, gold, and the cattle on a thousand hills. He is well able to take care of His own who are taking the truth to a world soon to perish. It is most amazing how He does it. But, as you have shared, Pastor, we must first seek to be connected with Him, making Him our first love. We are not working for money, but for the glory of God because we love Him supremely, because He first loved us! As we read in today's chapter, the elders elected by each church are to be such examples to the church of God.

   "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." 1 Peter 5:1-4. 




Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2016, 08:11:37 AM »
Amen, brother Richard! Your testimony of God's provision for you as you have engaged in ministry full-time has made it possible for you to devote your attention to the building up of the kingdom of God, and God is continually faithful to provide. From our reading today we see that the greatest wealth possible in our world today is not that which can be contained in houses or banks, but is experiential knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and the principles and truths that will endure through eternity! Hallelujah that we can have such a privilege to be "rich" in the truest sense:

Seven of the disciples were in company. They were clad in the humble garb of fishermen; they were poor in worldly goods, but rich in the knowledge and practice of the truth, which in the sight of Heaven gave them the highest rank as teachers. They had not been students in the schools of the prophets, but for three years they had been taught by the greatest Educator the world has ever known. Under His instruction they had become elevated, intelligent, and refined, agents through whom men might be led to a knowledge of the truth.

It is significant that the concept of "rich" is used here, especially since we are living in the time of the Laodicean church described in Revelation 3. What is the difference between a Laodicean (one who believes they are saved, but is actually not in a saving, abiding relationship, for Christ is outside the heart knocking for entrance) and one who is truly, in God's sight, rich (converted, abiding, experiencing all the fruits of the Spirit without one missing)?

Let us compare the text in Revelation 3:14-21 to what we see in the above paragraph:

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.


I have bolded the difference--the problem today is that many believe themselves to be converted, and filled with a spiritual experience, when they are merely professing without EXPERIENCING Christ in them by His Spirit continually!

We need Jesus not just at the beginning of our journey (when we first learn of Him or get baptized), but we need to continually feed upon Him each morning and spend that much-needed "thoughtful hour" upon His life, ministry, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ministry for us even now in heaven! As we meditate upon Him and have our hearts and minds filled with His presence, our joy will increase, our love will be quickened--we shall receive a deeper imbuing of His Spirit! We shall desire to abide with Jesus and the experiential knowledge of Him by His Spirit at all times and in all places, and so day by day, we may gain a "rich" (in the truest sense) experience. But apart from realizing our conintual need, we will not desire something more than we already have. Hence our constant need to look away from ourselves and others as our standard, and have our eyes steadfastly fixed upon Jesus! He started the story of redemption in drawing you to Himself, and He promises to finish it in your life if you will behold, surrender fully, abide, and commune with Him each moment of the day!

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2017, 05:36:48 AM »
Amen Pastor Sean. What a promise for poor erring man. Christ will finish the work in each of us which He has begun, if we want Him to. We must come to Him just as we are. We must continue to behold Him.

And, He will use us to help in that work. We must cease working against Him. How so? Listen to the great lesson given in this chapter. The denial of Jesus by Peter revealed Peter's great need. How did the One betrayed deal with His disciple?

     The Saviour's manner of dealing with Peter had a lesson for him and for his brethren. It taught them to meet the transgressor with patience, sympathy, and forgiving love. Although Peter had denied his Lord, the love which Jesus bore him never faltered. Just such love should the undershepherd feel for the sheep and lambs committed to his care. Remembering his own weakness and failure, Peter was to deal with his flock as tenderly as Christ had dealt with him.


We must have the love of Jesus in our hearts in order to do this work. How did Jesus deal with Peter in order to help him, and to restore him in ministry? We must learn the lesson.

     Peter's denial of his Lord had been in shameful contrast to his former professions of loyalty. He had dishonored Christ, and had incurred the distrust of his brethren. They thought he would not be allowed to take his former position among them, and he himself felt that he had forfeited his trust. Before being called to take up again his apostolic work, he must before them all give evidence of his repentance. Without this, his sin, though repented of, might have destroyed his influence as a minister of Christ. The Saviour gave him opportunity to regain the confidence of his brethren, and, so far as possible, to remove the reproach he had brought upon the gospel. 


This explains why Jesus dealt so strongly with Peter by asking him, not once, not twice, but three times if he loved Jesus.

     Three times Peter had openly denied his Lord, and three times Jesus drew from him the assurance of his love and loyalty, pressing home that pointed question, like a barbed arrow to his wounded heart.


Many pass over this as if Jesus meant not to press home this question "like a barbed arrow to his wounded heart." Poor Peter. He hurt to have Jesus question His love. But, we never hear this from the pulpit. For what purpose did Jesus press this question home to the One who have denied Him in the presence of both enemy and friend?

When we have sinned before others, when we have served Satan's work by teaching error, as had Job, what is our duty? When we have "darkened" God's Word it leads others astray. Do we not have a responsibility to God to undo the reproach we have brought upon Him and His Word? When Moses sinned his great sins of pride and anger in front of His nation, what did God do? He laid Moses to rest, He took his life. Why? Because the reproach Moses had brought upon God and His truth could not be removed any other way. God had to show His nation whom Moses had been teaching and leading, that what Moses had been teaching was true, and there are consequences to sin. None today will dare say "even Moses sinned," when making excuses for sin.
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God wanted to remove the reproach, as far as possible, that Peter had brought upon Him, His church, and Peter himself. He gave Peter an opportunity to give evidence He was converted, transformed, repentant of his sin. The disciples must see that Peter could remain in the ministry. Thus, Christ in His wisdom, brought to Peter this painful experience. It was for His good, as well as God's glory that his heart was so painfully wounded.

     Before the assembled disciples Jesus revealed the depth of Peter's repentance, and showed how thoroughly humbled was the once boasting disciple.
     Peter was naturally forward and impulsive, and Satan had taken advantage of these characteristics to overthrow him. Just before the fall of Peter, Jesus had said to him, "Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31, 32. That time had now come, and the transformation in Peter was evident. The close, testing questions of the Lord had not called out one forward, self-sufficient reply; and because of his humiliation and repentance, Peter was better prepared than ever before to act as shepherd to the flock.
     The first work that Christ entrusted to Peter on restoring him to the ministry was to feed the lambs. This was a work in which Peter had little experience. It would require great care and tenderness, much patience and perseverance. It called him to minister to those who were young in the faith, to teach the ignorant, to open the Scriptures to them, and to educate them for usefulness in Christ's service. Heretofore Peter had not been fitted to do this, or even to understand its importance. But this was the work which Jesus now called upon him to do. For this work his own experience of suffering and repentance had prepared him.
     Before his fall, Peter was always speaking unadvisedly, from the impulse of the moment. He was always ready to correct others, and to express his mind, before he had a clear comprehension of himself or of what he had to say. But the converted Peter was very different. He retained his former fervor, but the grace of Christ regulated his zeal. He was no longer impetuous, self-confident, and self-exalted, but calm, self-possessed, and teachable. He could then feed the lambs as well as the sheep of Christ's flock. 


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2017, 12:04:47 PM »
Amen, Richard! Your post today thoroughly addresses the issue of sin and repentance, and we see in Christ's manner of dealing with Peter that to reinstate one to a position of trust after open sin that brings reproach to God is something that must be done in a way as to clearly reveal the change in the one who committed the sin. Peter had been converted before his great fall, as Christ indicated on the night of washing their feet which is recorded in John 13:10 "Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all."

What was made clean that night? The heart! Jesus gave His disciples the privilege of surrendering their heart to Him entirely and having a new heart. That is conversion. But it is possible to wander out of conversion when we take our eyes off Jesus. Peter needed to learn of how weak he was in his own strength, and to trust implicitly in Christ. Peter needed to realize only Christ could keep him. Because Peter let his mind wander from Jesus after failing to watch and pray, Peter prepared the way for his great fall. Some will think it excusable if he "did not mean to"--but Christ deals plainly with sin. Sin reveals a separation between the soul and God, and it must be confessed, repented of, and put away. Thank the Lord we see this in Peter's reconversion!

  Peter was naturally forward and impulsive, and Satan had taken advantage of these characteristics to overthrow him. Just before the fall of Peter, Jesus had said to him, "Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31, 32. That time had now come, and the transformation in Peter was evident. The close, testing questions of the Lord had not called out one forward, self-sufficient reply; and because of his humiliation and repentance, Peter was better prepared than ever before to act as shepherd to the flock. 

Having traits that make it easier to fall are not the same as being unconverted. A drunkard who surrenders to Christ fully is a new creation--but they need to guard against intemperance! We need to know wherein we are weak that we may cling to Christ!

Another Spirit of Prophecy statement makes clear that this was a "reconversion" for Peter, not the first time that he was ever fully surrendered and converted to Christ. But it is clear that after his fall and deep repentance, that his character was now better prepared to deal with those who had erred as had he:

Peter denied the Man of Sorrows in His acquaintance with grief in the hour of His humiliation. But he afterward repented and was reconverted. He had true contrition of soul and gave himself afresh to his Saviour. With blinding tears he makes his way to the solitudes of the Garden of Gethsemane and there prostrates himself where he saw his Saviourís prostrate form when the bloody sweat was forced from His pores by His great agony. Peter remembers with remorse that he was asleep when Jesus prayed during those fearful hours. His proud heart breaks, and penitential tears moisten the sods so recently stained with the bloody sweat drops of Godís dear Son. He left that garden a converted man. He was ready then to pity the tempted. He was humbled and could sympathize with the weak and erring. He could caution and warn the presumptuous, and was fully fitted to strengthen his brethren. {3T 416.2}
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2017, 05:01:35 AM »
Was there a lesson in the disciples not catching any fish until Jesus told them to cast the net on the other side of the boat? Yes. They had been called into full time ministry. While we all have trials, and often do not see how we can meet all of life's demands, those who are called to set aside their means of earning a living are often more dependent upon God for support, or so it seems. We all are blessed by God whether we see it or not.

The large catch when following the command of Christ was to help the disciples remember that Jesus would provide for their needs as they did the work assigned to them. After more than 30 years of God supporting ministry I can testify that God does indeed provide for all of our needs. Yes, there are trials, but when we abide in Christ, those trials are for our good and God's glory.

     They remembered how, at His command, they had launched out into the deep, and had let down their net, and the catch had been so abundant as to fill the net, even to breaking. Then Jesus had called them to leave their fishing boats, and had promised to make them fishers of men. It was to bring this scene to their minds, and to deepen its impression, that He had again performed the miracle. His act was a renewal of the commission to the disciples. It showed them that the death of their Master had not lessened their obligation to do the work He had assigned them. Though they were to be deprived of His personal companionship, and of the means of support by their former employment, the risen Saviour would still have a care for them. While they were doing His work, He would provide for their needs. And Jesus had a purpose in bidding them cast their net on the right side of the ship. On that side He stood upon the shore. That was the side of faith. If they labored in connection with Him,--His divine power combining with their human effort,--they could not fail of success.


Another lesson is the absolute need to remove the reproach we bring upon God, His Word, and His church when we sin openly. We may not understand how we injure God and His work when we sin openly, but we do. Firstly, we sustain Satan's charge that God is unfair requiring man to keep His law. If we sin, we give support to this claim. When we repent, and openly confess before those who witnessed our sin, we remove as much as possible the reproach we have brought upon God and His truth.

If we have taught a lie, when we find out we have done so, we need to do all we can to show that we were wrong, that others might not be led astray, and that those who know we were wrong might have confidence in our experience. If we are unwilling to admit we were wrong, what does this say about our experience?

     The gospel makes no compromise with evil. It cannot excuse sin. Secret sins are to be confessed in secret to God; but, for open sin, open confession is required. The reproach of the disciple's sin is cast upon Christ. It causes Satan to triumph, and wavering souls to stumble. By giving proof of repentance, the disciple, so far as lies in his power, is to remove this reproach. 


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2017, 06:32:03 AM »
Amen, Richard! We are to labor as Christ directs, and to openly confess open sin that others will not be deceived to think that sin is of no consequence. In all this, Christ is to be revealed as the provider (for our needs in ministry) and as our High Priest (as one able to forgive the most grievous sins that are truly repented of). Praise the Lord for such a revelation of Jesus to help those who minister in word and doctrine!

I appreciated how Peter's experience with Christ deepened:

  Heretofore Peter had known Christ after the flesh, as many know Him now; but he was no more to be thus limited. He knew Him no more as he had known Him in his association with Him in humanity. He had loved Him as a man, as a heaven-sent teacher; he now loved Him as God. He had been learning the lesson that to him Christ was all in all. Now he was prepared to share in his Lord's mission of sacrifice. When at last brought to the cross, he was, at his own request, crucified with his head downward. He thought it too great an honor to suffer in the same way as his Master did. 

If we really believe and live as though Christ is God and all in all, then we will not take into our own finite hands and minds the task of trying to do something God has not called us to. Peter and the disciples ought to have realized that the Master's resurrection STRENGTHENED their call to ministry, rather than lessened it. May we learn that nothing is to get in the way of Christ--who is not only our Teacher, but God in the flesh!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2017, 05:36:08 AM »
Seven of the disciples were in company. They were clad in the humble garb of fishermen; they were poor in worldly goods, but rich in the knowledge and practice of the truth, which in the sight of Heaven gave them the highest rank as teachers. They had not been students in the schools of the prophets, but for three years they had been taught by the greatest Educator the world has ever known. Under His instruction they had become elevated, intelligent, and refined, agents through whom men might be led to a knowledge of the truth. Ė {DA 809.2}

May we surrender fully to Christ that we may be rich both in the knowledge and practice of the truth as it is in Jesus!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2017, 06:42:19 AM »
This is a truth that as I read it again, completed a thought I was working on, Pastor Sean.  I was contemplating the whole chapter and how it was a story opening our minds to the character of Peter and conversion. There are statements that will be used by those who do not understand conversion, they do not think Peter was converted prior to the cross. But, he had been. This statement reveals there had been a work in the lives of the disciples prior to the cross.

Under His instruction they had become elevated, intelligent, and refined, agents through whom men might be led to a knowledge of the truth.


Yes, they still had much to learn before the cross. They did not know the Lamb had to die. They did not know how weak they were without a full surrender to Christ. They did not know they needed Jesus all the time in order to resist sin. There are many in the church today who are in the same condition as was Peter before his fall from grace. They do not understand they need to be vitally connected to Christ in order to do any good thing.

One may be converted, but ignorant of the gospel. Not knowing the power of grace or our continual need of it, puts us at a great disadvantage. While Jesus did not bring them to a knowledge of the power of grace prior to the cross, they learned the lesson well when they discovered how they had been deceived by false teachers. On the road to Emmaus Jesus opened up truths that had been perverted by the teachings of the priests.

Even today, after reading this chapter many will still argue the disciples were not converted prior to the cross. We read: "But the converted Peter was very different." Seems to say he had not been converted. But, when we fall from grace, what must happen then? We must be converted again. Or do we think falling from grace we remain in a converted state? Sadly many have been thus taught. The sentence just prior to this one: "Before his fall, Peter was always speaking unadvisedly, from the impulse of the moment. He was always ready to correct others, and to express his mind, before he had a clear comprehension of himself or of what he had to say."

Yes, Peter fell from grace when he denied His Savior. Not long before he fell, he had been converted when Jesus revealed grace by washing his feet. This is a simple but important truth. May God grant His church discernment to understand the power of grace to cleanse the heart from all sin.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2017, 04:21:34 AM »
Peter's experience is often highlighted in the gospels because of the nature of his character, but I appreciate the relative quietude and simplicity of the way the Bible describes John, who loved Jesus and was able to be used by Him the longest in service and ministry.

In reading John Chapter 21 today in connection with The Desire of Ages chapter 85, "By the Sea Once More," I appreciate this simple testimony of John's love for Jesus and His message which we also need today:

"John lived to be very aged. He witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, and the ruin of the stately temple,--a symbol of the final ruin of the world. To his latest days John closely followed his Lord. The burden of his testimony to the churches was, 'Beloved, let us love one another;' 'he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.' 1 John 4:7, 16."  {The Desire of Ages, page 816, paragraph 4}

Let us closely follow the Lord even if no one seems to be watching. The heavenly universe takes notice of every true disciple, and Jesus delights in the way He can pour His love through hearts that are converted, consecrated channels. Let us stay close to our lovely Jesus!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2017, 11:12:34 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean.  As we walk in the Spirit, our character will strengthen. It is interesting and instructive that the apostles even after deserting Jesus, had developed characters that revealed they had been with Jesus. We look at their sin, but we often pass over what had happened to them in the three and half years they had been with Jesus. Thus, we do not understand what is supposed to happen to us. But, if we are not truly converted, at least part of the time, we do not grow in the fruit of the Spirit. Unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit, how can we manifest the fruits of the Spirit. We cannot. The disciples wandered in and out of conversion. As they yielded to the Spirit, they were gaining a Christian character.

     They were clad in the humble garb of fishermen; they were poor in worldly goods, but rich in the knowledge and practice of the truth, which in the sight of Heaven gave them the highest rank as teachers. They had not been students in the schools of the prophets, but for three years they had been taught by the greatest Educator the world has ever known. Under His instruction they had become elevated, intelligent, and refined, agents through whom men might be led to a knowledge of the truth.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2017, 03:26:31 AM »
Jesus calls us and loves us, and I love how Jesus deals with Peter after his fall. I thought about how important a lesson this is for me, as well:

 "Before his fall, Peter was always speaking unadvisedly, from the impulse of the moment. He was always ready to correct others, and to express his mind, before he had a clear comprehension of himself or of what he had to say. But the converted Peter was very different. He retained his former fervor, but the grace of Christ regulated his zeal. He was no longer impetuous, self-confident, and self-exalted, but calm, self-possessed, and teachable. He could then feed the lambs as well as the sheep of Christ's flock." {The Desire of Ages, page 812, paragraph 5}


Some will read this and draw from it what is not the point. To say that Peter was never converted before "his fall" clearly is not the case, as when in the upper room, Peter was so overwhelmed by the thought of Jesus washing His feet, that Peter proposed that Jesus should also wash his hands and head as well. "Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all." (John 13:9-10). The eleven disciples had been converted (hence Jesus words, "ye are clean", but Judas had never made a full surrender to Christ, as the "not all" is a reference to Judas.

But we see something here in that Peter many times AFTER his conversion was doing or saying things that revealed self, not Christ. "Peter was always speaking unadvisedly, from the impulse of the moment. He was always ready to correct others, and to express his mind, before he had a clear comprehension of himself or of what he had to say." How is it with us? Is it once converted, always converted? If we say something unadvisedly from impulse (like Moses did when he struck the rock), does this mean we have never been converted before? No--but we need a re-conversion--to return to the Lord. After we have fallen and returned to the Lord, we are to be humble and remember the lesson of our CONTINUAL NEED OF JESUS TO DO ANY GOOD THING.

If we have fallen into sin after our conversion and baptism, we need the foot washing; we need the converting, sanctifying grace of Jesus continually. Without Him abiding in the heart, we are liable to do what Peter did--and fall in either small or large ways. But whenever we allow self to rise up, and we neglect Jesus, He no longer remains on the throne of the heart, and He calls and lovingly knocks to come back in there (Revelation 3:20), to abide with us and impart to us all of the fruits of the Spirit so that not one is missing. Let us learn the lesson. My prayer is that I will not speak unadvisedly or do anything without Jesus working in and through me. Let us look to Jesus and allow Him to guide us as He abides in the heart that is fully surrendered (converted) to Him.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2017, 06:38:16 AM »
Amen!  Christ is drawing all to Himself. If we would cease resisting His love, we would be converted by beholding His grace. When converted we are able to labor for others. If we have not His love in our hearts, then we cannot give to others what we do not possess.

    Knowledge, benevolence, eloquence, gratitude, and zeal are all aids in the good work; but without the love of Jesus in the heart, the work of the Christian minister is a failure. 


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--85--By the Sea Once More
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2018, 03:21:49 AM »
Christ is drawing all to Himself. If we would cease resisting His love, we would be converted by beholding His grace. When converted we are able to labor for others. If we have not His love in our hearts, then we cannot give to others what we do not possess.

    Knowledge, benevolence, eloquence, gratitude, and zeal are all aids in the good work; but without the love of Jesus in the heart, the work of the Christian minister is a failure. 


Richard, as I was reading the portion you quoted, I was deeply moved with the thought that many ministers are finding their work to be a failure--maybe not in their own eyes, or even in the eyes of an unconverted Laodicean church, but in the eyes of Jesus. But if the ministers do not have the love of Jesus, where can they get it? We hear much about "love" in the church, but for some reason there are growing problems of licentiousness and rebellion all through our ranks. Why is this? Could it be that we do not even know what love is? I speak this as a minister, a pastor, and one who realizes that I need to know HOW to get the love of Christ if I am going to be transformed by it and not have my ministry be a failure in the sight of Jesus.

I was moved to see the answer in The Desire of Ages, page 83, paragraph 4:

"It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross."

And knowing that Peter was a minister, one who was being restored to serve Christ after his fall and repentance, I was also impressed by the following counsel:

"His ministry was nearly completed; He had only a few more lessons to impart. And that they might never forget the humility of the pure and spotless Lamb of God, the great and efficacious Sacrifice for man humbled Himself to wash the feet of His disciples. It will do you good, and our ministers generally, to frequently review the closing scenes in the life of our Redeemer. Here, beset with temptations as He was, we may all learn lessons of the utmost importance to us. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life. By thus contemplating His teachings and sufferings, and the infinite sacrifice made by Him for the redemption of the race, we may strengthen our faith, quicken our love, and become more deeply imbued with the spirit which sustained our Saviour. If we would be saved at last we must all learn the lesson of penitence and faith at the foot of the cross. Christ suffered humiliation to save us from everlasting disgrace. He consented to have scorn, mockery, and abuse fall upon Him in order to shield us. It was our transgression that gathered the veil of darkness about His divine soul and extorted the cry from Him, as of one smitten and forsaken of God. He bore our sorrows; He was put to grief for our sins. He made Himself an offering for sin, that we might be justified before God through Him. Everything noble and generous in man will respond to the contemplation of Christ upon the cross." {4T 374.1}

And from today's reading, I was impressed by this thought:

  "How many today are like Peter! They are interested in the affairs of others, and anxious to know their duty, while they are in danger of neglecting their own. It is our work to look to Christ and follow Him. We shall see mistakes in the lives of others, and defects in their character. Humanity is encompassed with infirmity. But in Christ we shall find perfection. Beholding Him, we shall become transformed." {The Desire of Ages, page 816, paragraph 3}

How we each need to learn to look away from others and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We are being transformed into the same image of that which we behold. If we behold Jesus--condescending to the manger, forming a perfect childhood, youth, and manhood, baptized as our Substitute and Example, tempted and tried but not overcome by the devil, speaking lessons of life and love, agonizing in Gethsemane, crucified on Calvary, and risen from the grave, what more can we say? Self stands condemned by a holy God. There is no need to speak unadvisedly, for we may choose to have the Lord ever before us. At His feet--at the foot of the cross--we may be wholly transformed from glory to glory, from character to character!   
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}