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R Myers

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The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« on: October 04, 2000, 09:18:00 PM »
The Centurion


Listen to   The. Centurian

     


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    Christ had said to the nobleman whose son He healed, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." John 4:48. He was grieved that His own nation should require these outward signs of His Messiahship. Again and again He had marveled at their unbelief. But He marveled at the faith of the centurion who came to Him. The centurion did not question the Saviour's power. He did not even ask Him to come in person to perform the miracle. "Speak the word only," he said, "and my servant shall be healed."
     The centurion's servant had been stricken with palsy, and lay at the point of death. Among the Romans the servants were slaves, bought and sold in the market places, and treated with abuse and cruelty; but the centurion was tenderly attached to his servant, and greatly desired his recovery. He believed that Jesus could heal him. He had not seen the Saviour, but the reports he heard had inspired him with faith. Notwithstanding the formalism of the Jews, this Roman was convinced that their religion was superior to his own. Already he had broken through the barriers of national prejudice and hatred that separated the conquerors from the conquered people. He had manifested respect for the service of God, and had shown kindness to the Jews as His worshipers. In the teaching of Christ, as it had been reported to him, he found that which met the need of the soul. All that was spiritual within him responded to the Saviour's words. But he felt unworthy to come into the presence of Jesus, and he appealed to the Jewish elders to make request for the healing of his servant. They were acquainted with the Great Teacher, and would, he thought, know how to approach Him so as to win His favor. 
     As Jesus entered Capernaum, He was met by a delegation of the elders, who told Him of the centurion's desire. They urged "that he was worthy for whom He should do this: for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue."
     Jesus immediately set out for the officer's home; but, pressed by the multitude, He advanced slowly. The news of His coming preceded Him, and the centurion, in his self-distrust, sent Him the message, "Lord, trouble not Thyself: for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof." But the Saviour kept on His way, and the centurion, venturing at last to approach Him, completed the message, saying, "Neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee;" "but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it." As I represent the power of Rome, and my soldiers recognize my authority as supreme, so dost Thou represent the power of the Infinite God, and all created things obey Thy word. Thou canst command the disease to depart, and it shall obey Thee. Thou canst summon Thy heavenly messengers, and they shall impart healing virtue. Speak but the word, and my servant shall be healed. 
     "When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned Him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." And to the centurion He said, "As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." 
     The Jewish elders who recommended the centurion to Christ had shown how far they were from possessing the spirit of the gospel. They did not recognize that our great need is our only claim on God's mercy. In their self-righteousness they commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to "our nation." But the centurion said of himself, "I am not worthy." His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ. He saw his own unworthiness; yet he feared not to ask help. He trusted not to his own goodness; his argument was his great need. His faith took hold upon Christ in His true character. He did not believe in Him merely as a worker of miracles, but as the friend and Saviour of mankind.
     It is thus that every sinner may come to Christ. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." Titus 3:5. When Satan tells you that you are a sinner, and cannot hope to receive blessing from God, tell him that Christ came into the world to save sinners. We have nothing to recommend us to God; but the plea that we may urge now and ever is our utterly helpless condition that makes His redeeming power a necessity. Renouncing all self-dependence, we may look to the cross of Calvary and say,--


              "In my hand no price I bring;
               Simply to Thy cross I cling." 

     The Jews had been instructed from childhood concerning the work of the Messiah. The inspired utterances of patriarchs and prophets and the symbolic teaching of the sacrificial service had been theirs. But they had disregarded the light; and now they saw in Jesus nothing to be desired. But the centurion, born in heathenism, educated in the idolatry of imperial Rome, trained as a soldier, seemingly cut off from spiritual life by his education and surroundings, and still further shut out by the bigotry of the Jews, and by the contempt of his own countrymen for the people of Israel,--this man perceived the truth to which the children of Abraham were blinded. He did not wait to see whether the Jews themselves would receive the One who claimed to be their Messiah. As the "light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9) had shone upon him, he had, though afar off, discerned the glory of the Son of God. 
     To Jesus this was an earnest of the work which the gospel was to accomplish among the Gentiles. With joy He looked forward to the gathering of souls from all nations to His kingdom. With deep sadness He pictured to the Jews the result of their rejection of His grace: "I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Alas, how many are still preparing for the same fatal disappointment! While souls in heathen darkness accept His grace, how many there are in Christian lands upon whom the light shines only to be disregarded. 
     More than twenty miles from Capernaum, on a tableland overlooking the wide, beautiful plain of Esdraelon, lay the village of Nain, and thither Jesus next bent His steps. Many of His disciples and others were with Him, and all along the way the people came, longing for His words of love and pity, bringing their sick for His healing, and ever with the hope that He who wielded such wondrous power would make Himself known as the King of Israel. A multitude thronged His steps, and it was a glad, expectant company that followed Him up the rocky path toward the gate of the mountain village. 
     As they draw near, a funeral train is seen coming from the gates. With slow, sad steps it is proceeding to the place of burial. On an open bier carried in front is the body of the dead, and about it are the mourners, filling the air with their wailing cries. All the people of the town seem to have gathered to show their respect for the dead and their sympathy with the bereaved. 
     It was a sight to awaken sympathy. The deceased was the only son of his mother, and she a widow. The lonely mourner was following to the grave her sole earthly support and comfort. "When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her." As she moved on blindly, weeping, noting not His presence, He came close beside her, and gently said, "Weep not." Jesus was about to change her grief to joy, yet He could not forbear this expression of tender sympathy.
     "He came and touched the bier;" to Him even contact with death could impart no defilement. The bearers stood still, and the lamentations of the mourners ceased. The two companies gathered about the bier, hoping against hope. One was present who had banished disease and vanquished demons; was death also subject to His power? 
     In clear, authoritative voice the words are spoken, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." That voice pierces the ears of the dead. The young man opens his eyes. Jesus takes him by the hand, and lifts him up. His gaze falls upon her who has been weeping beside him, and mother and son unite in a long, clinging, joyous embrace. The multitude look on in silence, as if spellbound. "There came a fear on all." Hushed and reverent they stood for a little time, as if in the very presence of God. Then they "glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited His people." The funeral train returned to Nain as a triumphal procession. "And this rumor of Him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about." 
     He who stood beside the sorrowing mother at the gate of Nain, watches with every mourning one beside the bier. He is touched with sympathy for our grief. His heart, that loved and pitied, is a heart of unchangeable tenderness. His word, that called the dead to life, is no less efficacious now than when spoken to the young man of Nain. He says, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." Matthew 28:18. That power is not diminished by the lapse of years, nor exhausted by the ceaseless activity of His overflowing grace. To all who believe on Him He is still a living Saviour.
     Jesus changed the mother's grief to joy when He gave back her son; yet the youth was but called forth to this earthly life, to endure its sorrows, its toils, and its perils, and to pass again under the power of death. But Jesus comforts our sorrow for the dead with a message of infinite hope: "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, . . . and have the keys of hell and of death." "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Revelation 1:18; Hebrews 2:14, 15.
     Satan cannot hold the dead in his grasp when the Son of God bids them live. He cannot hold in spiritual death one soul who in faith receives Christ's word of power. God is saying to all who are dead in sin, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." Ephesians 5:14. That word is eternal life. As the word of God which bade the first man live, still gives us life; as Christ's word, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise," gave life to the youth of Nain, so that word, "Arise from the dead," is life to the soul that receives it. God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son." Colossians 1:13. It is all offered us in His word. If we receive the word, we have the deliverance.   
     And "if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." Romans 8:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. This is the word of comfort wherewith He bids us comfort one another.   



Kellee

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Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2000, 01:59:00 AM »

(1) "It was a sight to awaken sympathy. The deceased was the only son of his mother, and she a widow. The lonely mourner was following to the grave her sole earthly support and comfort. 'When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her.' As she moved on blindly, weeping, noting not His presence, He came close beside her, and gently said, 'Weep not.' Jesus was about to change her grief to joy, yet He could not forbear this expression of tender sympathy."

I am struck once again with the compassion that flooded Jesus' entire life. Everything He did, whether rebuke or healing or teaching, was an act of utter love. It was love that we can't imagine, let alone comprehend. What a marvelous thing it must have been to know that you have the kind of power to change the lives of those who are hurting. And what a thing to be in the presence of someone who can turn a funeral into a reunion!

That kind of sympathy, that kind of overriding compassion for everyone and everything demands a self-less existence. It was never about what mood Jesus was in that day or whether He'd had a good meal the night before or whether He'd had a place to sleep...He was so totally tuned into the needs and feelings of others, He couldn't help but reach out and dry a tear or bring a smile back to the face of one of His children.

Here we also see that God is not only interested in bringing us happiness, He's interested in relationship. Jesus could have just resurrected the boy with a thought as He walked on by, and nobody would have been the wiser that it was Jesus. The boy would have just suddenly sat up. And it would have brought just as much joy. But Jesus can't stand it when He sees a loved one in pain, and His very first response is to speak words of comfort.

No matter what it is you're facing today, Jesus wants to speak words of comfort into your ear. And He wants to change your grief into joy. He has sympathy for what you're going through and will not pass you by, because He is also a parent, child, teacher, friend, co-worker... He sees and understands everything about you, and this can bring you great peace. Because the One who knows so much in the One who is capable of bringing so much! He has compassion for you and wants to give you joy today.


Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2000, 04:27:00 AM »
Amen, Sister Kellee, amen.  If only we could see this love daily, we would be given this experience. We would not only have peace that passes understanding, but we would have that living relationship you speak of. We would die to self and Jesus would reign in our heart. This is what it means to be a Christian. He promises us this experience if we will just give all to Him, if we would just come to Him as we are, today. If we would feed upon the Manna from heaven. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Joan Rügemer

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Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2001, 08:18:00 AM »
Desire of Ages
Chapter 32
The Centurion


This chapter is dedicated to a very important window into the soul of Jesus for me personally. My desire is to know what Jesus values. It is in this Centurian story that Jesus says "I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Isreal." This statement gives me chills when realizing I have here the key giving me what Jesus holds in His heart for the values of the standard of faith as He expects it should be.

If the word 'palsy' is used for describing a person's physical condition it might either denote the muscular loss of control of the limbs like in trembers or trembling otherwise it refers to a type of paralysis. This Centurian possessed a human slave who had this condition.

Romans bought or sold humans as slaves like we do horses. What makes this story so humane is the sensitive character element of this military man who actually wanted his servant to get healed from what others would call an incurable illness. This Roman man has a tender heart and a clear non-complex way of putting his belief in something. In this case he was putting his belief in a 'man' whom he had only by reports heard preformed miracles. He identified the 'man' as a possible source for getting a 'need' fullfilled.

What a character of polite respect that this guy must have had. This centurian showed submission to the chain of command by his own position in the Roman army. He was chosen to rule over hundreds of men himself. He knew and respected heriarchal networking politics. Though part of the ruling government, he had oddly enough respect for the Jewish religious personalities among the people subjugated under his authority. He did not force his way to Jesus but was content to just appeal to the Jewish elders in making his request in proxy for the healing of his servant.

He did not ask Jesus to come in person Himself to preform the miracle. Such was this guy's unquestioning, unwavering belief in the power of Christ that he was expecting a long-distance type of healing even then.

Jesus was nevertheless willing and decided to go in person to the man's house. The guy got wind of this and met him in the street before he got close to his house. I figured this man did a lot of research in the customs and sensitivities of Jews interacting with Romans. This guy was most diplomatic, I thought. He didn't want a coup de'état happening if Jesus was a politcal powder keg and he was caught in his home, also he didn't want to insult Jesus as Rabbi when such consider themselves becoming 'unclean' after having entered the home of a Roman military oppressor. So he met him in a neutral place like the street outside and suggested to Jesus that he just say a word and all the esoteric trancendental to which He was subjected could then be released. This man has such faith that for him the metaphysical could take place without cult buildings, cult rites or cult symbol items.

"As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."  What a beautiful mental image of this moment I receive each time I read those lines.

The respect from a humble attitude of this Centurian who claimed "For I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof," resulted in the release of spiritual power from heaven for the healing of his worker.

And this happens to all of us who have stood in or come to be close to the grace of God. We get so touched that our souls feel ever so unworthy to have Him in our presence, let alone us being in His presence. But this awesome feeling overwhelming us doesn't paralyse us in unbelief. Instead it awakens us to the sight of the possibility of the height, breadth, depth of unending healing, restoring, making whole, cleansing that comes from the being of God Himself. Fear does not come up in us in a way of unbelief in not wanting to ask for help, cleansing, forgiveness. No, just the opposite takes place. We respond by not trusting our own delusions of goodness anymore...instead we "take hold of Christ in His true character" and trust in his redemption for us, in His healing for us, in His forgiveness for us. Praise be to God!

~~~~~
Joan
~~~~~


JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2016, 05:49:54 AM »
In the teaching of Christ, as it had been reported to him, he found that which met the need of the soul.

I am in no wise trying to put the disciple Thomas down but rather drawing a contrast between the two. Look at this statement. This centurion believed and benefited by what little he had heard from others. Unlike Thomas who had not only been around the other 11 disciples for 3 years but around Christ Himself but when it came time to believe it failed him. He refused to believe the testimony of others, even of his friends. Jesus was very kind and compassionate towards Thomas. We would be in a world of hurt if today we demanded what Thomas did. But we can respond like the centurion did!

But the centurion said of himself, "I am not worthy." His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ. He saw his own unworthiness; yet he feared not to ask help. He trusted not to his own goodness; his argument was his great need. His faith took hold upon Christ in His true character. He did not believe in Him merely as a worker of miracles, but as the friend and Saviour of mankind.

Wow... the centurion's argument for help was his own need and he saw Jesus as a friend of sinners. Such faith from such seemingly little exposure to the truth.

When Satan tells you that you are a sinner, and cannot hope to receive blessing from God, tell him that Christ came into the world to save sinners. We have nothing to recommend us to God; but the plea that we may urge now and ever is our utterly helpless condition that makes His redeeming power a necessity. Renouncing all self-dependence, we may look to the cross of Calvary and say,--


              "In my hand no price I bring;
               Simply to Thy cross I cling."   

Such a gracious and loving Savior we have! When we recognize our need and helplessness we can use this very argument and go to Christ where He is a sure helper and indeed a Friend of sinners!
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2016, 05:29:43 AM »
It was a sight to awaken sympathy. The deceased was the only son of his mother, and she a widow. The lonely mourner was following to the grave her sole earthly support and comfort. "When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her." As she moved on blindly, weeping, noting not His presence, He came close beside her, and gently said, "Weep not." Jesus was about to change her grief to joy, yet He could not forbear this expression of tender sympathy.[/b]

In my book I have the bolded part underlined. I wish more people understood the sympathy He has for His children. Yes, He is a God of justice also but what a savior we have that could not but show sympathy for this woman.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2016, 07:00:36 AM »
As i read this chapter anew this morning, I was struck with the thought that the Centurion, who had been uncontaminated by the Jewish deceptions that had clouded the gospel (even though it should have been obvious to them) manifested a greater degree of faith and a realizing sense of his need. Isn't it encouraging to know that if the gospel is rejected by those who "think they know" that God has honest hearts among the heathen? What a joy to let God use us to reach them. This paragraph is moving:

The Jewish elders who recommended the centurion to Christ had shown how far they were from possessing the spirit of the gospel. They did not recognize that our great need is our only claim on God's mercy. In their self-righteousness they commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to "our nation." But the centurion said of himself, "I am not worthy." His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ. He saw his own unworthiness; yet he feared not to ask help. He trusted not to his own goodness; his argument was his great need. His faith took hold upon Christ in His true character. He did not believe in Him merely as a worker of miracles, but as the friend and Saviour of mankind. {DA 316.4}

Wow! Even though the way the Jews have this man come to Jesus is out of harmony with the spirit of the gospel, this Roman comes in the spirit of the gospel: he sees his utter need, he believes in Christ as the Savior, and he does not hesitate to come and believe that by a word the Son of God can heal his servant. Clearly the loveliness of Jesus is at work in this man's life by the Holy Spirt! May this be our experience today!
"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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2016, 08:11:24 AM »
Amen and amen!  I so much appreciate the underlying truth expressed by both Pastor Sean and Jim. It is the character of our Savior that first draws us to Him, and then empowers us to follow Him. If we do not see His true character, then like a whole nation, we will continue on without Him. Both the widow of Nain and the Centurion, saw His character and were changed by it. It is the power of grace that transforms the life. It works today as it did then. To benefit from His grace, we must behold it, daily. We are not given grace for tomorrow. We must go to Jesus each day for fresh supplies if we are to be His disciples. Such love that transforms us is waiting for our reception.

   He who stood beside the sorrowing mother at the gate of Nain, watches with every mourning one beside the bier. He is touched with sympathy for our grief. His heart, that loved and pitied, is a heart of unchangeable tenderness. His word, that called the dead to life, is no less efficacious now than when spoken to the young man of Nain. He says, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." Matthew 28:18. That power is not diminished by the lapse of years, nor exhausted by the ceaseless activity of His overflowing grace. To all who believe on Him He is still a living Saviour. 
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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2016, 06:25:24 AM »
We serve a loving, powerful Saviour!

Satan cannot hold the dead in his grasp when the Son of God bids them live. He cannot hold in spiritual death one soul who in faith receives Christ's word of power. God is saying to all who are dead in sin, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." Ephesians 5:14. That word is eternal life. As the word of God which bade the first man live, still gives us life; as Christ's word, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise," gave life to the youth of Nain, so that word, "Arise from the dead," is life to the soul that receives it. God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son." Colossians 1:13. It is all offered us in His word. If we receive the word, we have the deliverance.  [/b]

Let us today abide in Christ by His Spirit through the power of His word! When we have Jesus abiding in our hearts, we have life--but apart from Him we can do no good thing. Let us cling to Jesus today!
"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}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2016, 05:56:51 AM »
Speaking of the centurion she says....

In the teaching of Christ, as it had been reported to him, he found that which met the need of the soul. All that was spiritual within him responded to the Saviour's words. But he felt unworthy to come into the presence of Jesus, and he appealed to the Jewish elders to make request for the healing of his servant. They were acquainted with the Great Teacher, and would, he thought, know how to approach Him so as to win His favor.

Look where his belief stems from? Simply the witnessed accounts of others. Such a contrast to the account of Thomas after Christ's death. Love awakens love and it says all that was spiritual within him responded. When we see our need coupled with seeing the love of Christ is how we are drawn to our Savior. This is how He is lifted up so all men can see and be drawn!

By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--32--The Centurion
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2016, 06:58:24 AM »
Amen, Jim! What a powerful Savior who can draw us--just by using the account of others! It is the word that reaches the heart by the Holy Spirit, and we today are blessed to have Christ's words for our spiritual uplifting and regeneration!

I appreciate how the great controversy is revealed in this paragraph, and how when we receive Christ, Satan cannot hold us in his power any longer, for we are kept by Christ's power and already by faith with Him translated into heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Praise the Lord!!

  Satan cannot hold the dead in his grasp when the Son of God bids them live. He cannot hold in spiritual death one soul who in faith receives Christ's word of power. God is saying to all who are dead in sin, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." Ephesians 5:14. That word is eternal life. As the word of God which bade the first man live, still gives us life; as Christ's word, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise," gave life to the youth of Nain, so that word, "Arise from the dead," is life to the soul that receives it. God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son." Colossians 1:13. It is all offered us in His word. If we receive the word, we have the deliverance.   
"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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2016, 07:21:08 AM »


Renouncing all self-dependence, we may look to the cross of Calvary and say,--


              "In my hand no price I bring;
               Simply to Thy cross I cling."

     The Jews had been instructed from childhood concerning the work of the Messiah. The inspired utterances of patriarchs and prophets and the symbolic teaching of the sacrificial service had been theirs. But they had disregarded the light; and now they saw in Jesus nothing to be desired. But the centurion, born in heathenism, educated in the idolatry of imperial Rome, trained as a soldier, seemingly cut off from spiritual life by his education and surroundings, and still further shut out by the bigotry of the Jews, and by the contempt of his own countrymen for the people of Israel,--this man perceived the truth to which the children of Abraham were blinded. He did not wait to see whether the Jews themselves would receive the One who claimed to be their Messiah. As the "light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9) had shone upon him, he had, though afar off, discerned the glory of the Son of God.
     To Jesus this was an earnest of the work which the gospel was to accomplish among the Gentiles. With joy He looked forward to the gathering of souls from all nations to His kingdom. With deep sadness He pictured to the Jews the result of their rejection of His grace: "I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Alas, how many are still preparing for the same fatal disappointment! While souls in heathen darkness accept His grace, how many there are in Christian lands upon whom the light shines only to be disregarded.


What makes the difference in people? Why do some respond to His love, and others do not? We know that what happens in childhood has a lot to do with it. But, there appears to be more than this. The heart that is soft responds, while the heart that has been hardened is at great risk.

It is within our power to plow the ground before planting the seed. Maybe we too often do not do all we could to soften hearts?
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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2017, 07:00:18 AM »
It was a sight to awaken sympathy. The deceased was the only son of his mother, and she a widow. The lonely mourner was following to the grave her sole earthly support and comfort. "When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her." As she moved on blindly, weeping, noting not His presence, He came close beside her, and gently said, "Weep not." Jesus was about to change her grief to joy, yet He could not forbear this expression of tender sympathy.

What a loving and wonderful Savior we have. She said.... "He could not forbear this expression..."  If one hasn't stopped to think that even Christ has feelings and is bent towards good for everyone, well He does. Who wouldn't want a friend like Him?


Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.



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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2017, 07:18:50 AM »
Amen, Jim. It is through a knowledge of that compassionate love that we are converted from sinner to saint. Love begets love. If we would spend that thoughtful hour each day contemplating that love we would all love God supremely. Sin would become hateful as we see what it did and does to our loving Jesus.

It is sad and amazing, the story of the Centurion. Amazing because a "heathen soldier" would believe with "saving" faith. Sad because it was rare in Israel of old, and in modern Israel today.

 "When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned Him about, and said unto the people that followed Him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." And to the centurion He said, "As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." 


It was also amazing a little over a hundred years ago that another prophet came into our world. Great light shone upon His people. Yet, even in that day, it was also rare to find such faith as we read of with the Roman Centurion.

     The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ.  Vol 6, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commenatry, pg 1075. 


Without the aid of a living prophet in our day, things are even worse today than then. But, the light still shines brightly, even brighter upon God's church. Revival and reformation has begun. God's Spirit is moving upon His people. There is a separation taking place. Heresies are allowed into the church that all may see the difference between those who love the truth and those who reject it.

Today is the day of salvation. Let us choose this day whom we shall serve.
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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2017, 09:33:32 AM »
Amen, Jim and Richard! What a wonderful Savior we have, and we are to be encouraged that Christ can kindle saving faith in the least-likely candidates! The centurion's faith in Jesus is to encourage us to look for souls who are open to truth anywhere--and remember that it is not always those who have had great light who will always be the first to respond to the gospel of His grace. But we keep praying even for these--who, like Nicodemus, entrusted with great light and responsibility, when given the opportunity to see their deep need of His cleansing grace and the new birth, will respond. Let us keep praying for such a revival and reformation in our midst!

Something stood out to me today about Jesus' interaction with death:

"He came and touched the bier;" to Him even contact with death could impart no defilement. The bearers stood still, and the lamentations of the mourners ceased. The two companies gathered about the bier, hoping against hope. One was present who had banished disease and vanquished demons; was death also subject to His power? 

What is death? It is the result of the "wages of sin" (Romans 6:23). So Christ was able to come to our world, and take upon Himself our nature, and be touched by and reach out to those who were in sin (which leads ultimately to death), and also be undefiled thereby! He did not come to PARTICIPATE in sin or death of His own (for He is sinless, holy, and undefiled), but to bear our sin and death so we could be cleansed from it and renewed by His saving grace! But where does this cleansing take place? Some are unsure of this--but the Bible is clear:

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.


Christ comes to renew the heart and the mind! Such a miracle that it is life from death! And even while we will retain fallen flesh, the Holy Spirit has the power to keep that flesh in check, so that we will not act out the old fallen sinful ways, but will live in perfect obedience to the law of God written upon mind and heart because Christ has made us partakers of the "divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). This experience must be continued moment-by-moment, or we are liable to separate from Jesus and commit sin that is simply the outflow of our fallen nature. I have also been going through Patriarchs and Prophets, and I came across this gem this morning that clearly reveals our continual need of Jesus by the Holy Spirit: "There is not an impulse of our nature, not a faculty of the mind or an inclination of the heart, but needs to be, moment by moment, under the control of the Spirit of God." {PP 421.1}

But with Jesus, such an experience of abiding conversion (true spiritual life in the soul) is not only possible, but it is a revelation of His glory! What a Savior!

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). What a gift!
"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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2017, 05:52:06 AM »
"Made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." Such powerful truth! It is grace which is more than a word. It is the power transforms sinners into saints.

The Jewish elders who recommended the centurion to Christ had shown how far they were from possessing the spirit of the gospel. They did not recognize that our great need is our only claim on God's mercy. In their self-righteousness they commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to "our nation." But the centurion said of himself, "I am not worthy." His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ. He saw his own unworthiness; yet he feared not to ask help. He trusted not to his own goodness; his argument was his great need. His faith took hold upon Christ in His true character. He did not believe in Him merely as a worker of miracles, but as the friend and Saviour of mankind.


We are saved by grace, and when that grace comes into the heart, there is a radical transformation of character. The heart is made new, we have a new mind, and we have become partakers of God's divine nature. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4. The Centurion's experience can be ours if we will come to Jesus just as we are and surrender the whole heart.
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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2017, 06:25:00 AM »
Amen, Richard! Christ offers us a new heart as well, and invites us like the Centurion to trust Him, not question whether He can do for us what we need in terms of a heart and character change!

   Christ had said to the nobleman whose son He healed, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." John 4:48. He was grieved that His own nation should require these outward signs of His Messiahship. Again and again He had marveled at their unbelief. But He marveled at the faith of the centurion who came to Him. The centurion did not question the Saviour's power. He did not even ask Him to come in person to perform the miracle. "Speak the word only," he said, "and my servant shall be healed."

Jesus means what He says in His word--it is for me--it is for you, personally, individually, to have a renewed experience by grace through faith!
"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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2017, 05:29:09 AM »
      The Jews had been instructed from childhood concerning the work of the Messiah. The inspired utterances of patriarchs and prophets and the symbolic teaching of the sacrificial service had been theirs. But they had disregarded the light; and now they saw in Jesus nothing to be desired. But the centurion, born in heathenism, educated in the idolatry of imperial Rome, trained as a soldier, seemingly cut off from spiritual life by his education and surroundings, and still further shut out by the bigotry of the Jews, and by the contempt of his own countrymen for the people of Israel,--this man perceived the truth to which the children of Abraham were blinded. He did not wait to see whether the Jews themselves would receive the One who claimed to be their Messiah. As the "light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9) had shone upon him, he had, though afar off, discerned the glory of the Son of God. 

The parallel ought not be disregarded. One who is in a Laodicean condition is blind to the parallel in their own life. What has happened in the church? Satan understands that God has a church which has been entrusted with the truths that reveal the true character of God and the plan of salvation. He has, like with the Jews, brought deceptions into God's church that have blinded those who have not diligently studied the Bible for themselves. Thus even when the prophet was in the church, many had been led astray by false teachings. They believed they were converted when in fact they were not.

     The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ. Vol 6, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary; pg 1075.


But, the Centurion was not deceived about the Bible. He knew nothing about it. As the "light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9) had shone upon him, he had, though afar off, discerned the glory of the Son of God. This proves the Word of God when Jesus says "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot."  Rev. 3:15. The Centurion being cold was able to be reached so much easier than those who were in such a sad state of deception called "lukewarm."

There is hope for every fallen being, even those who are "lukewarm" if we will come to Jesus just as we are and learn of Him who gave all that we might live. He stands at the door of the heart knocking to come in. He speaks to us today:

     Satan cannot hold the dead in his grasp when the Son of God bids them live. He cannot hold in spiritual death one soul who in faith receives Christ's word of power. God is saying to all who are dead in sin, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." Ephesians 5:14. That word is eternal life. As the word of God which bade the first man live, still gives us life; as Christ's word, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise," gave life to the youth of Nain, so that word, "Arise from the dead," is life to the soul that receives it. God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son." Colossians 1:13. It is all offered us in His word. If we receive the word, we have the deliverance.   
     And "if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you."


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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2017, 07:32:14 AM »
Amen, Richard! We are in a continual need of Jesus, and when we realize that we do not bring anything to God that commends us to Him, that it is our helplessness only that we can bring to Him, we shall give Him the whole heart to have Him accomplish that which in us is a GREAT MIRACLE--the miracle of a converted heart that is COMPLETELY transformed by His grace through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit on account of the blood of Jesus!

The Jewish elders who recommended the centurion to Christ had shown how far they were from possessing the spirit of the gospel. They did not recognize that our great need is our only claim on God's mercy. In their self-righteousness they commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to "our nation." But the centurion said of himself, "I am not worthy." His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ. He saw his own unworthiness; yet he feared not to ask help. He trusted not to his own goodness; his argument was his great need. His faith took hold upon Christ in His true character. He did not believe in Him merely as a worker of miracles, but as the friend and Saviour of mankind.
     It is thus that every sinner may come to Christ. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." Titus 3:5. When Satan tells you that you are a sinner, and cannot hope to receive blessing from God, tell him that Christ came into the world to save sinners. We have nothing to recommend us to God; but the plea that we may urge now and ever is our utterly helpless condition that makes His redeeming power a necessity. Renouncing all self-dependence, we may look to the cross of Calvary and say,--


              "In my hand no price I bring;
               Simply to Thy cross I cling." 


Laodiceans may feel that they are entitled to salvation because they have "grown up Adventist" or because they have some knowledge of the Bible. They may even have had a past experience that was genuine. But who has the heart today, this very moment? Is Jesus enthroned within while we recognize our continual need of an abiding Savior? What saves us is God's grace whereby through beholding His loveliness we choose to make a FULL HEART SURRENDER to the beautiful and powerful revelation given us in Jesus Christ. We can do nothing good apart from Him. When we depend upon ourselves to have spiritual life, even our best "works" are tainted with selfishness and sin. It is only Christ that can purify the heart and make it pure and holy, enabling fallen men and women, through true repentance, to become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4) in such a powerful way that the fallen nature need not pull us down into sin again. We may look to Jesus continue to have an experience in which the Holy Spirit reveals Himself in us with all of the fruits of the Spirit--not one will be missing!!
"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--32--The Centurion
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2017, 05:57:44 AM »
What is the spirit of the gospel? What is our only plea on God's mercy? Our great need is the only thing that recommends us to God. We have no merit in ourselves, for we are sinful by nature and can do no good (unselfish, pure, loving) thing apart from Christ who alone can renew the heart and mind as we behold His loveliness and realize our utter helplessness. As we surrender fully to Him, He works a great miracle--He creates a new being in the image of God by forgiving our past sins, imbuing us with His Spirit so that all of the fruits of the Spirit are seen in our lives without one missing, and we are enabled to live a holy life as long as we remain abiding in Christ. What a joy to behold Jesus heal a centurion's servant by the word only--that word of love and power that can raise us today to walk in heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Let us choose to meditate upon Jesus and have a "heavenly thought culture" by letting our minds be in a continual attitude of prayer and gratitude to One who gave all to save us--sinners condemned to die, that through a living faith in Him we become saints of God, and partakers of the "divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). Hallelujah!!!

"The Jewish elders who recommended the centurion to Christ had shown how far they were from possessing the spirit of the gospel. They did not recognize that our great need is our only claim on God's mercy. In their self-righteousness they commended the centurion because of the favor he had shown to "our nation." But the centurion said of himself, "I am not worthy." His heart had been touched by the grace of Christ. He saw his own unworthiness; yet he feared not to ask help. He trusted not to his own goodness; his argument was his great need. His faith took hold upon Christ in His true character. He did not believe in Him merely as a worker of miracles, but as the friend and Saviour of mankind." {The Desire of Ages, page 316, paragraph 4}

Whatever your struggle or temptation, whatever the diseases of your soul may be, Jesus is able to save you completely and give you a new heart and mind. Go to Him and confess your sins. Believe that He does forgive you, and is able to save you--yes--for you--personally, individually. Do not wait to feel that He forgives you, but believe Him because He has promised in His word, and step out in faith and rejoicing that He is faithful! "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). I used to REALLY struggle with this. If I had sinned, even if I had confessed it to God and wanted to be changed, I still felt guilty and struggled to believe God really forgave me. But I have learned that we cannot go on feelings--we must TRUST THE WORD of God to fulfill each promise because we see the loveliness of Jesus--a Savior who specializes in hopeless cases! As soon as you come to Him, your case is no longer hopeless--in fact, you are letting Jesus write His miracles all over you when you allow Him to work in you a transformation of character! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
"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}