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Good morning, brothers and sisters. I appreciate your presence here this morning. I have been looking forward to this time with you for a long time now. {Audio starts from this point:} I must admit that I have been looking forward to this time with you with some fear and trembling and with much prayer. The reason being is that we propose to study together these next several days a very precious, very central topic to us as Christians; and that is the incarnation of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Many of you recognize that this issue is a somewhat controversial issue amongst us as a people, and I want to weep when I recognize that the most precious truth that should be uniting us–the devil has made a controversial truth that is dividing us. And it is my prayer, it has been the longing of my heart to see us as a people become united on this truth–not only for our own individual salvation sake, but especially that we corporately, together, might accomplish our mission and proclaim the gospel, the truth as it is in Jesus to a world that desperately needs Him.

I want to recognize with you right at the onset that spiritual things are only, what–spiritually discerned. {1 Cor 2:13-14} And that simply means that without God’s supernatural help, we are incapable of coming to know the truth to the point of freedom. And, brothers and sisters, I challenge you. Do not be satisfied with anything less than a knowledge of truth that sets you free. It is one thing to know the truth intellectually. It is quite another to know it to the point where we experience its liberating power. Jesus said: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” {Jn 8:32} Oh, how precious is such a knowledge of the truth. But we cannot attain it by our own resources. We must have the spirit of truth working in our behalf in order to gain such a knowledge of the truth. And that is why it will be our practice before we start–every one of our study sessions together–to kneel before the Lord and to ask Him individually for the outpouring of His Spirit. And in our quiet time of prayer, let’s remember our brothers and sister; and I solicit your prayers in a special way myself. Oh how I need God’s Spirit these next few minutes that we have together and these next several days. Would you pray for me please, and pray for yourself. Let’s kneel.

My Father in heaven, I come before You in the name and by the righteousness of Another–my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I offer to You the Lamb. Oh, broken and bleeding. Cleanse my with His blood I pray and cloth me with His spotless fleece. Count me to be righteous and acceptable in Him–the Beloved. {Eph 1:6} And hear me as I come in my own behalf and as I come in behalf of my blood-bought brothers and sisters here. I come with one plea, one urgent request just now Father. And that is for the most precious gift–the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Oh, LORD, how we need that gift! Our argument is our desperate need {SC 95.2} and our right is that, which has been bought by the blood of Jesus. On the basis of His righteousness I pray, grant us this precious gift just now. You have told us that the prayer of the righteous Man availeth much {Jas 5:16}, that is why I pray in Jesus name. For He is truly a righteous Man. Father God, take full possession of each body-temple {1 Cor 6:19} here. We are Yours by creation, by redemption and by our own choice. We open wide the door of each heart now. And we say: “Enter heavenly Guest.” {Rev 3:20} Posses us fully. If there are any chambers in our temple that we have kept for self or sin we pray now that You would reveal that to us and convict us to turn it over to You that there may be nothing that would hinder the work of Your Spirit in our hearts and minds as we study Your Word together. O, LORD, take us entirely, fully. Posses us, quicken and energize our spiritual and mental faculties that as we study Your Word we might come to know the Truth to the point of freedom. By the Spirit of truth may this be our experience we pray in Jesus name and for His sake, amen.

{6’17”} The title of our seminar series is “Our Sinless Yet Sympathetic Saviour.” Subtitle: “A Consideration of the All Sufficiency of the Word Made Flesh to be Both Substitute and Example for the Fallen Race.” Our sinless Substitute, yet sympathetic example Saviour. I would invite you to turn with me as we begin our study to Exodus 3:5. And let us heed the exhortation given by God to Moses in this verse. Moses, as you recall, is shepherding the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law. And as he is out there on the wilderness, he sees a most unusual sight–a bush burning. That which makes it unusual is not the fact that the bush is on fire. It’s the fact that the bush is not being consumed. And in wonderment and awe, he approaches to consider this marvel. And as he does, he hears a voice, {6’18”} “Moses, Moses.” And he said: “Here I am” {verse 5}. Then He said: “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Or in the more familiar King James: “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” I’ll be reading, by the way, from the New King James translation. Put Off Thy Shoes From Off Thy Feet–that’s the title of our first study in this series. As Moses approached to examine this marvel, he was commanded to take off his shoes. This was an Eastern custom, which demonstrated respect, reverence, and humility. And, brothers and sisters, as we approach the study of the incarnate One, we, too, must spiritually remove our shoes.

{9’30”} I read from Selected Messages, vol. 1, page 244: “The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us.” Are we talking about a side issue this week? No. We’re talking about that which is everything to us. “The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden chain that binds our souls to Christ and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man. He gave proof of His humility in becoming a man. Yet, He was God in the flesh. {1 Tim 3:16} When we approach this subject, we would do well to heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, ‘Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.’ {Ex 3:5} We should come to this study with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart; and the study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field which will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth.” {1SM 244.1} End quote. You see, when God commanded Moses to take off his sandals, He was commanding him to approach the contemplation of the mysterious symbol, type, of the incarnate One–Himself, with a humble and contrite heart filled with a holy and reverential awe. For as he gazed upon it, the only way that he could comprehend its spiritual significance to him was as he came with such an attitude. And, brothers and sisters, if that was necessary for Moses as he gazed upon that, which was only a type or symbol of the incarnation, how much more necessary is it for us as we gaze upon the antitype, the actual incarnate One. Only as we approach in this manner can we begin to understand the mystery of the burning bush. God in flesh, yet flesh not consumed. Only as we approach it with this spirit can we understand the mystery of godliness. {1 Tim 3:16} Our prayer should constantly be this week: “Lord, I take off my shoes. I choose to lay aside all the worldly thoughts that so easily captivate my attention, and I choose to bring every thought into captivity into the obedience of Christ. {2 Cor 10:5} I choose to tear down all vain imaginations, every idol that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. I choose to gird up the loins of my mind {1 Peter 1:13} around Him, and I choose to bind every affection to Him, the incarnate Word, God manifest in the flesh.” Only as we do this, I repeat, my brothers, my sisters, can we have God’s spirit working in our behalf helping us understand this mystery of godliness.

{12’55”} That expression “mystery of godliness” in reference to the incarnation we find in 1 Timothy 3:16. By the way, have you noted that so many of the 3:16’s in the New Testament are key texts? “For without controversy, great if the mystery of godliness.” And note the mystery of godliness is detailed, defined for us in what follows. And what is first on the list, what is highest in this mystery of godliness? “God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory. Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness.” There are some, I’m afraid, who would interpret that phrase “without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness,” to mean that in order to understand the mystery, you’ve got to get into controversy over it. You’ve got to argue about. Oh but brothers and sisters, that is not the right interpretation of that phrase. In fact, if we get into controversy about it, we absolutely prevent ourselves, in such a spirit, with such an attitude, from ever coming to understand the mystery of godliness.

{14’44”} In the morning watch book Sons and Daughters of God, p. 22, we read these words: “This is the mystery of godliness. That Christ should take human nature, and by a life of humiliation elevate man in the scale of moral worth with God: that He should carry His adopted nature to the throne of God, and there present His children to the Father, to have conferred upon them an honor exceeding that conferred upon the angels,–this is the marvel of the heavenly universe, the mystery into which angels desire to look. {1 Peter 1:12} This is love that melts the sinner’s heart.” {SD 22.4} This mystery of godliness, brothers and sisters, how great it is. In fact I would give my personal testimony that the more I study into this subject, the more strongly I am pressed with how little I really understand this marvelous mystery. And the more painfully aware of the smallness and inadequacies of human thoughts and words to comprehend and communicate the infinitely profound and beautiful truth of the incarnation. Oh how humbling it is to sit at the feet of Jesus {Lk 8:35; Lk 10:39; DA 330.4; GW92 14.2; MM 332.3; MH 458.2} and know that even though He is talking to you as a little child, you still find His words far beyond your full comprehension–the mystery of godliness. And what is the highest, the greatest of all these mysteries that are listed in that text we just read? God manifested in the flesh. Listen. {16’45”} Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1082: “The incarnation of Christ is the mystery of all mysteries.” {6BC 1082.6} The mystery of all mysteries we are proposing to study.

Does this mean, brothers and sisters, because it is such a mystery that we should not bother to study it? Does it mean that we should dismiss it as beyond us and not even try to understand it? Oh, no. No. {17’28”} Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1129. Though she states and I quote: “The incarnation of Christ has been and ever will remain a mystery.” She goes on to say: “That which is revealed is for us and for our children.” {Deut 29:29} {5BC 1128.6} Yes, it is a mystery; but it is a revealed mystery. And its revelation is for us to understand. How, when, and where is this marvelous mystery revealed to us and our children? Well, first of all, progressively in the Word of God from the very first promise {Gen 3:15} onward and then ultimately in the Word made flesh {Jn 1:14}–the fulfillment of every promise, the incarnate One Himself, Jesus our Lord. {18’27”} Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1082: “The incarnation of Christ is a mystery. The union of divinity with humanity is a mystery indeed, hidden with God, ‘even the mystery, which hath been hid from ages.’ {Col 1:26} It was kept in eternal silence by Jehovah and was first revealed in Eden by the prophecy that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head and that he should bruise His heal. {Gen 3:15} To present to the world this mystery that God kept in silence for eternal ages before the world was created was the part that Christ was to act in the work He entered upon when He came to this earth. And this wonderful mystery, the incarnation of Christ and the atonement He made, must be declared to every son and daughter of Adam.” {6BC 1082.4-5}

Who is to declare it, brothers and sisters? We are. But can we declare it if we cannot understand it? We cannot. Though this is a mystery, it has been revealed both in prophecy and especially in the fulfillment of prophecy–both in promise and in the fulfillment of promise in the person of Jesus Christ. That is what has been revealed, and that is for us to understand–not only for ourselves, but that we in turn might help others understand and declare it to every son and daughter of Adam. How can we declare it? By our words and by our lives we can and we must declare the mystery of God manifest in the flesh. As we become partakers of the divine nature {2 Peter 1:4}, brothers and sisters, we can manifest in our own personal experience, in a very real sense, this mystery. Those who by His Spirit, through the study of His Word, are growing intellectually and experientially in a knowledge of this mystery; and its power to transform their characters are the ones that God uses to declare this mystery to the world. How important then for us to understand, as fully as we can at present and ever more fully as we continue to grow and study, the mystery of the incarnation. Is it your desire to understand this mystery? {Amen.}

Then listen, and be warned; for we have two enemies that will oppose us in our quest for an understanding of this mystery. Enemy No.1–who is it? Self. The enemy most to be feared is the one that resides within, the old man, the sinful nature. {21’44”} I read from Manuscript 76, 1903: “Those only who have been entirely divested of self and selfishness and have been made partakers of the divine nature can understand by the aid of their spiritual faculties the ways and workings of God. To those who know Him not, His ways are past finding out.” {3MR 358.1} The mystery of all mysteries is unnecessarily mysterious to many of us because of self and selfishness, which prevents God from energizing our spiritual and mental faculties and enabling us to understand what is revealed.

The second enemy that we must be aware of us that opposes us in our quest for a knowledge of this mystery is Satan. {22’48”} I read from Letter 280, 1904: “This is a great mystery, a mystery that will not be fully, completely understood in all its greatness until the translation of the redeemed shall take place. Then the power and greatness and efficacy of the gift of God to man will be understood. But the enemy is determined that this gift shall be so mystified that it will become as nothingness.” (Letter 280, 1904).  {5BC 1113.3} Do you get the picture there? It is a mystery, yes. And it will always remain a mystery. We will not fully understand it until what point? Translation. But, brothers and sister that does not mean that we cannot understand it at all before that point. And one of the reasons that it is so mysterious is because the enemy is determined that this gift be so mystified that it becomes nothingness. He knows, you see, more than anyone else, the power of this precious truth to set us free. And he is determined to keep us from understanding it. But by claiming the blood of Christ against Satan–enemy No.2, and by reckoning ourselves crucified with Christ {Rom 6:11; Gal 2:20} – enemy No.1 is that self, we can be free from the interference and opposition that these two enemies are constantly putting up against us.

And then having claimed the blood of Christ against Satan, having died to self by a faith acceptance of Christ’s crucifixion, what must we do? We must get on our knees and ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. For spiritual things, again, are only spiritually discerned. {1 Cor 2:13-14} {25’01”} Or as David puts it in Psalms 36:9: “In Your light shall we see light.” Oh, how precious is the promise of that light, the light of the Holy Spirit that was promised to reveal to us the deep things of God. {1 Cor 2:10}

{25’31”} John 14:26: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” Oh praise God for the promise of such a gracious Helper.

{26’22”} I read from Manuscript 124, 1903 in commenting on that verse. She writes these words: “When on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples, they understood the truths that Christ had spoken in Proverbs. The teaching that had been mysteries to them were made clear. The understanding that came to them with the outpouring of the Spirit made them ashamed of their fanciful theories. Their suppositions and interpretations were foolishness compared to the knowledge of heavenly things that now came to them. Their confused ideas were gone. They were led of the Spirit, and light shone into their once-darkened understanding.” {9MR 123.3} Oh, brothers and sisters, how we need such a light shining into our darkened understanding. You know I would suggest humbly to you that there are very many fanciful theories, suppositions, and interpretations that are foolishness regarding the nature of Christ. And we must have if we are to see the truth as it is in Jesus the light of His Spirit shining into our darkened understanding.

Yes, the incarnation has been and always will remain a mystery. Because it is an infinitely profound truth, and we are but finite creatures with sin-damaged mental faculties. But let us make sure that that, which makes the incarnation a mystery to us is due only to the unavoidable deficiencies and limitations of our humanity and not because of either of the two enemies, self or Satan, and not because of a failure to cry out in need for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. If we fail to realize our need for God’s Spirit and ask for that power, which alone can reveal to us spiritual things, we cannot possibly come to understand the mystery of godliness. With His help, brothers and sister, we can indeed, and we must, understand significantly, increasingly, and experientially the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh. And if the humanity of Christ is everything to us as the servant of the Lord says, should not this be our goal?

{29’13”} I read from Letter 69, 1897: “We want to comprehend so far as possible the truly human nature of our Lord.” {8MR 447.3 or 3SM 135.3} Why is it so important to comprehend so far as possible, to comprehend correctly, accurately, the truly human nature of our Lord? Why must we challenge ourselves to dig deep to study diligently into this subject, considering carefully every precious detail that has been revealed to us? Why must we seek so earnestly for an accurate understanding of this truth? I’d like to consider with you at least four reasons. There are more, but consider with me at least four. Why is it so important to diligently and deeply study-in to this mystery? As we are proposing to do in this coming week, Lord willing.

1) We must diligently and deeply study into this mystery because diligent study of God’s Word especially as it reveals the mystery of the incarnation can strengthen the mind and mold the character more powerfully than anything else. {30’51”} I read from Mind, Character, and Personality 91: “As an educating power the Bible is without a rival. Nothing will so impart vigor to all the faculties as requiring students to grasp the stupendous truths of revelation. The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell. If occupied with commonplace matters only, to the exclusion of grand and lofty themes, it will become dwarfed and enfeebled. If never required to grapple with difficult problems or put to the stretch to comprehend important truths, it will after a time almost lose the power of growth.”–5T 24 (1882) {1MCP 91.2} Brothers and sisters, God forbid that our minds should lose the power of growth. But they will if we do not grapple with the deep things of God’s Word–if we do not put them to the stretch. And I ask you what in God’s Word is most calculated to stretch the mental and spiritual faculties of the mind of man, what is it? The mystery of all mysteries–the incarnation.

{32’09”} I read from Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 904: “When we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven.” What is it? “The incarnation of the Son of God.” {7BC 904.6} That’s the most marvelous thing. And that is the deepest mystery, the mystery of all mysteries. Oh how that is calculated to put to the stretch every mental and spiritual faculty.

The problem is, though; many of us have allowed ourselves to become mentally lazy and impatient. If we can’t understand it quickly and easily, we give up and we dismiss it as beyond us. Oh how often we hear the plea: “Keep it simple.” That’s too heavy, too complex, too involved for me. Besides it’s not essential for me to have such an in depth knowledge of these things in order to be saved, is it? Maybe not, brothers and sisters, but think. Think of what we are depriving ourselves of with such an attitude. And think of how we are endangering ourselves, setting ourselves up for deception by some subtle perversion of the truth, which our limited understanding did not enable us to detect as heresy. Consider that with me, please. First of all, think of what we are depriving ourselves of with such an attitude.

{34’07”} I read from Review and Herald Dec. 3, 1889: “There is much more embraced in present truth then many dream of. The minds of many are not put to the task of studying that they may comprehend the deep things of God, but self and ease and lazy habits must be overcome if we would draw nigh to God and have Him draw nigh to us.” What must be overcome if we would draw nigh to God and He draw nigh to us? “Lazy habits.” I read on: “Our minds must be employed to the full or we shall fail of obtaining the deep, rich experience that God is willing to give us.” {RH, December 3, 1889 par. 12} We shall what? If our minds aren’t employed to the full we shall fail of obtaining the deep, rich experience that God is willing to give us. Perhaps, yes, perhaps I will allow it: we can know salvation without this deep knowledge of the mystery of mysteries. But again, consider what we are depriving ourselves of. That deep, rich experience that God is willing to give us. {35’40”} I read from Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 905: “The study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field that will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden.” {7BC 904.11} Oh, that thrills me, that promise! Are you ready, my brother my sister, to dig deep in the mine of truth this next week? If you are ready and willing and in God’s strength join me in the quest for an understanding of this mystery of mysteries, He will repay us richly for all of our efforts. Oh, it’s an exciting study that lies ahead of us.

Consider this with me. {36’23”} Review and Herald, Dec. 3, 1889: “God’s Word is like a mine full of precious ore, and its truths will be the wealth of the mind. ‘Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.’ {Ps 97:11} The riches of this mine are open to all; its treasures are inexhaustible. Precious gems of truth lie beneath the surface, and every hour’s search will be fully repaid.” But where do these gems lie, my brother, my sister? Below the surface, and if you are going to get to them what have you got to do? Dig! And that may take some blood, sweat, and tears. But listen. Every hour’s search will be fully repaid. I read on: “Store the mind with the principles of the gospel of Christ; seek with painstaking effort” – are you ready to do that? – “for the hidden wealth of God’s Word. All heaven is watching to see what man will do with the precepts and promises of Jehovah.” {RH, December 3, 1889 par. 9} Do you realize that crowd of witnesses that have their eye on us right now and will continue to watch us throughout this week as we have such a precious opportunity to uncover those precious gems and truth? Oh, brothers and sisters, in light of such a company of witnesses, let us dig deep and put forth earnest effort to take advantage of this precious opportunity.

The second disadvantage that a lazy mindset that says: “Keep it simple.” will bring upon us is that endanger ourselves by setting ourselves up for deception. Why? Because with a limited understanding, we will not be able to detect and reject subtle heresy. Please consider this with me carefully. I ask you, what is it that enables us to detect heresy? A knowledge of the truth. It is only a clear, deep, and accurate understanding of this truth that can protect us–as nothing else–from the subtle heresies that abound on this subject. You see, we can only recognize error in contrast to truth. And the more subtle the heresy, the more precise and accurate must be our understanding of the truth in order to detect it. You understand that? We have been forced, brothers and sisters, to understand this issue more precisely these days than ever in the past. Why? Because there abound these days very subtle perversions of the truth in this matter. And we will not be able to recognize them unless we have the genuine article to test it by.

{40’23”} I read from the periodical Bible Echoes, June 11, 1894: “If people would only search the Scriptures more diligently, false doctrines and heresies would be fewer. The test is written: “To the law [Torah] and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” {Is 8:20} {BEcho, June 11, 1894 par. 5} I ask you, why are we as a people blown so easily by every wind of doctrine? {Eph 4:14} Because our anchor is not cast in the Word. We do not have the deep, accurate, precise understanding of the truth. So when the wind of doctrine comes along, we are not able to detect it or resist it, that we are carried away with it. Oh, may God help us in our quest for an accurate understanding of the truth that we might thereby detect all of the devil’s subtle counterfeits. You see, brothers and sisters, if the devil is going to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect {Mt 24:24}, will he use something that is obviously error? Why of course not. Blatant error never works. And heresy typically is not blatant error; because if it were, who would buy into it, who would be deceived by it?

Heresy is typically some truth taken to an extreme, promoted and pushed until it becomes disproportionately important in that it denies an essential balancing counter-truth. Oh, please follow me on this. Heresy develops this way. First, it typically only neglects a vitally important, balancing truth. Then it downplays that balancing truth, and then finally it denies that balancing truth. And at that point, it is truly a full-fledged heresy. But it was tending in that direction all along because of a failure to give due weight and emphasis on the equally important balancing truth.

Let me give you an example in the area of the nature of Christ, which we are addressing ourselves to. Some of the early heresies in the church were involved in the divinity and humanity issue of Christ. There was a school of thought that emphasized primarily His divinity. Is that truth? Why of course it’s truth. But they emphasized it to the point where they neglected the counter-balancing truth–His humanity. And then as they continued to emphasize it, they eventually denied His humanity. Then it was a full-fledged heresy. But it was tending in that direction all along, wasn’t it? And then these folk over here in this camp–and often times it is in opposition to a perversion that another perversion is born. They come up and say: “No, He’s human.” Is that truth? Why of course it’s truth–precious truth–essential truth. But they emphasize that so strongly that at first they neglect it, then they downplay it, and then eventually they denied His divinity. And then we have a full-fledged heresy. But it was tending in that direction all along. You see the point. Heresy is typically, not blatant error, it’s truth disproportionately pushed, promoted, proclaimed to the point where it becomes imbalanced in that it denies a special and vitally important balancing truth.

To stay out of the heretical ditch and on the straight and narrow regarding the person of Christ, we must give equal emphasis to the precious truth that He was fully divine, fully God, and to the precious truth, the counter, the balancing truth, that He was fully human and fully Man. Only as we keep these two truths in proper balance can we be kept out of the ditch of heresy.

As a people by and large, we have maintained a proper balance in this area. And in order to keep that balance we must continue to give equal emphasis to both truths–His being fully human and His being fully divine. But, and here’s the point, brothers and sisters, please don’t miss it. Now there is another issue amongst us as a people. There are two precious truths regarding His humanity that must be kept in perfect balance as well. And right here is where we as a people are dangerously prone to lose our balance and slip into a ditch of heresy. And many of us have already lost our balance and slipped into a ditch of heresy. What are these two precious truths regarding the human nature of Christ that we must keep in perfect balance in order to keep out of the ditches of heresy? Let’s note Scripture texts that sum up these two precious truths.

First of all, the precious truth that in His humanity Christ was our sinless Substitute.

The second precious truth is that in His humanity, Christ was our sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example.

Do you get those two truths? They both are precious truths, and they both must be kept in balance. Number 1: Christ in His humanity was our sinless Substitute. And number 2: Christ in His humanity was our sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example.

Consider with me regarding Christ in His humanity being our sinless Substitute. {48’07”} Turn with me to 1 John 3:5: “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins and in Him there is no sin.” Now note that text carefully with me. “Manifested”–how was He manifested? “God was manifested in the flesh.” We just noted that text–1 Timothy 3:16. So what are we talking about then, in this verse? We are talking about His humanity, His flesh that He became. “The Word became flesh.” {Jn 1:14} He was manifested in the flesh. OK. And we know that He was manifested to do what? In the flesh to do what? To take away our sins {Jn 1:29} –that is to be our sin Bearer. {Heb 9:28} To take our sins to Calvary’s cross. Could He do such had He had any sin in Himself? {No.} He can only be our sin Bearer because in Himself He was absolutely sinless. That’s why the text goes on to say: “and in Him there is no sin.” {1 Jn 3:5} Only thus, brothers and sisters, can He be our sinless Substitute. Correct? Yes. Truth? Yes.

{50’02”} Another text, Hebrews 7:26: “For such a High Priest was fitting for us who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” As far as sinfulness is concerned, He had to be separate from sinners. Otherwise, He could not represent us before the infinitely righteous God as our High Priest and present to Him in our behalf a righteousness that meets the infinite standard of the law. It was vitally essential in order to be our Substitute in death; and in order to have a substitutionary righteousness in life – both to offer in our behalf His life and His death as our High Priest, it was vitally essential for Him to be absolutely sinless in Himself. This is an essential truth regarding His humanity.

Now, what is the second essential truth regarding His humanity? In His humanity He is our sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example–an Example that we are rightly exhorted to follow, to imitate. This is also an essential truth to maintain. {52’05”} Note with me in this regard Hebrews 2:17-18: “Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God to make propitiation for the sins of His people. For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” And closely related to that concept just a chapter later, {52’48”} Hebrews 4:15, an essential precious truth: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our infirmities {our weaknesses}, but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin.” Turn to Romans 8:3. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” On account of sin He condemned sin in the flesh. A precious vitally important truth that must be maintained regarding the humanity of Christ.

But, brothers and sisters, do you see the problem here. Those two truths have to be emphasized equally in order to keep us out of trouble. And hear me, please, those two truths must be emphasized in a way that does not in any fashion deny, distort, or downplay the balancing truth. Did you follow me? When we talk about Christ being our sinless Substitute, when we insist that in Him was no sin, that He was separate from sinners, we need to be careful not to do so in a way that makes it impossible for Him to be our sympathetic Elder Brother and our valid Example, for Him to be tempted in all things, how? Like as we are. For Him to be in the likeness of sinful flesh. If we emphasize this truth to the point where it is so disproportionate, or if we emphasize it in a way that denies this precious truth over here, what are we into? We’re into heresy. But hear me, if we emphasize this truth, the truth that says that He was tempted in all things like as we are, then He was in all things made unto His brethren, that He was in the likeness of sinful flesh. If we emphasize it disproportionately, or if we emphasize it in a way that makes impossible the preservation of this truth over here, then we are into what? We’re into heresy. And my brother, my sister, here–right here is the struggle that we are in as a people. And we are having a terrible time maintaining a balance in keeping on the straight and narrow. {EW 14.1} And my heart bleeds because those two ditches are equally devastatingly in their effect, and the devil doesn’t care which one we are in.

What ditch does an overemphasis on this precious truth regarding the humanity of Christ? What ditch does it lead into? It’s called antinomianism. You know what antinomianism is? Cheap grace, anti-law, saved without keeping or either bothering to obey the law. It teaches basically: “Christ did it for us, He was so wholly other, so different from us, that He alone could do it. You are so totally different from Him that you can’t possibly do it, except that as a free gift and don’t worry about anything else. You’re in.”

But, this overemphasis here. What ditch does it lead into? Legalism. Precisely. Do you know what it says? Basically in its most, and I grant you, I am oversimplifying both of these heresies. But basically what it says is that: “He came to show you how to do it. He had absolutely no advantage over you. He was like you in every sense. He did it. He’ll give you a little help, but you’ve got to do it too. And if you match His record, you’ll get there.” What’s that? That’s righteousness by works. If I get to heaven by matching Christ’s record, I’m saved by the deeds of the law for Christ is the personification of the law, isn’t He? {5BC 1117.3} He’s the law lived out in human flesh. If I get to heaven by matching or on account of or on the basis of matching His record, I get to heaven by works. And is that the way anyone is saved? Absolutely not.

Oh, brothers and sisters, how desperately important for us to understand these truth rightly and to keep out of both ditches. Camp one over here. Camp two. Their primary emphasis, they insist that Christ became incarnate to be our sinless Substitute. Is that true? Of course it’s true. But it can become heresy if we disproportionately emphasize it or emphasize it in a wrong way, to where it denies this truth over here. And this is the primarily concern of camp two–Christ became incarnate to become our sympathetic Elder Brother and our valid Example. Is that truth? Yes! Of course! But if we disproportionately emphasize it or if we emphasize it in a wrong way as to deny this truth, it’s heresy.

There our favorite, of course, Spirit of Prophecy quotes that each of these camps like to collect, aren’t there? And they all have their lists. And if you get those two lists side by side, it can be made to look like Ellen White contradicts herself. And if you cut and paste just right, which preconceptions incline one to do, you can make her say just about whatever you want her to say, can’t you? I am, she has written so much that you got an awful lot to work with, if you edit right.

Let me consider with you just typical statements from this camp over here, that’s primarily concerned in Christ being recognized as our sinless Substitute. {1h 00’04”} Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1129: “The incarnation of Christ has been and ever will remain a mystery. That which is revealed is for us and for our children. But let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human such and one as ourselves for it cannot be.” {5BC 1128.6} Is that truth? Why of course that’s truth. Why can’t He be altogether human such and one as ourselves? Because He must be our sinless Substitute. And of course, that’s their primary concern, so they will always promote that type of statement.

{1h 00’47”} Here is another one that they will promote. Manuscript 94, 1893: “Christ did not possess the same, sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess for then He could not be a perfect offering.” {6MR 112.2; 3SM 131.1} Is that truth? Why of course that’s truth! That’s precious truth! That must be maintained. But that must not be maintained in such a way to create an imbalance. He had to be different from us in order to be our Substitute. But if we overemphasize His difference from us, then what are we first of all downplaying and end up denying? The validity of His example. You see the problem?

Another statement that this side would typically promote. {1h01’46”} Signs of the Times June 9, 1898: “We should have no misgivings regarding the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ. Our faith must be an intelligent faith, looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning sacrifice.” {5BC 1131.4} Is that truth? Yes! If I am going to have an intelligent faith, looking to Christ in full confidence, I have to know that He was sinless. I “should have no misgivings regarding the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.” Only then can I have a solid faith in Him as my Substitute. Right? Yes! Is that important truth? Yes! But we get into trouble if we overemphasize it.

Now, this camp over here. What are their favorite Spirit of Prophecy statements–some typical ones? And there are many for both. But consider these: {1h 02’55”} Desire of Ages, 311-12. Now this is the camp whose primary emphasis is on Christ being incarnate to be our Example. I read, this is in reference to Christ as symbolized in the ladder in Jacob’s dream {Gen 28:12; Jn 1:50-51}: “If that ladder had failed by a single step of reaching the earth, we should have been lost. But Christ reaches us where we are. He took our nature and overcame that we through taking His nature might overcome. Made in the likeness of sinful flesh {Rom 8:3}, He lived a sinless life.” {DA 311.5} Made in the what? “The likeness of sinful flesh” and that by the way is a favorite text of this particular camp.

Here is another that is typical to find on their list of compilations. {1h 03’59”} Review and Herald Feb. 13, 1890: “If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our Example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been.” {RH, February 18, 1890 par. 6} Truth? Absolutely, truth! Important to emphasize? Yes, absolutely! But be careful. If we overemphasize it or if we emphasize it in a wrong way–develop that truth in a wrong way, in a way that denies or makes impossible this truth, then we’re into what? Heresy.

Oh, brothers and sisters, may God help us as we study together these next several days to look for the straight and narrow {Mt 7:13-14} that will keep us out of both ditches. The devil doesn’t care which ditch you’re in. And maybe some of you are in one or the other, I don’t know. But oh how precious is a balanced understanding of the truth that it is in Jesus. And do you know what I praise God for everyday? Is the Spirit of Prophecy. Because she has been used of the Lord to help us maintain a balanced understanding of truth. If we will take what she says in context and take all of what she says on a given issue, if we pick and choose and cut and paste, she can’t keep us balanced. But if we take what she says in its context and take everything that she says regarding a given issue, we will be kept on track. And, brothers and sisters, it is for this reason that I will be using freeing and frequently the writings of inspiration from the pen of Ellen White. I make no apologies for that. We will, of course, study what God’s Word has to say; but we will not deprive ourselves from the beautiful insights that Jesus has given us through the pen of Ellen White.

I’ve often coveted the disciple’s privilege–you know when Jesus said something in public that was hard for them to understand, they used to have that privilege of taking Him aside and saying: “What did you mean what you said …?” {Mt 13:36} and I thought, wouldn’t that be nice to be able to do? But then suddenly I realized I have that privilege. It’s on my shelves in those books. That’s the testimony of Jesus. {Rev 12:17; 19:10} And when I open God’s Word and say: “What did you mean by that?” I can get those books out and go in the corner with Jesus and have Him explain it to me. Praise His name. What a blessing. And, brothers and sisters, we will be spending a lot of time with the Word and with the Spirit of Prophecy seeking for this balanced understanding of truth that will allow Christ to be our sinless yet sympathetic Saviour. Shall we pray?

Father in heaven, I thank you so much for the truth as it is in Jesus. May we seek it as that pearl of great price. {Mt 13:46} May we be willing to sacrifice all to put forth every effort to put all of our mental and spiritual faculties to the stretch.  Help us to dig deep that we might find that pearl and make it our own, Lord. Help us to come to know the truth, especially the precious truth of the incarnation, that mystery of mysteries. Help us to know it to the fullness of our capacity to do so, that by that truth we might be set free, that by that truth we might be partakers of the divine nature {2 Peter 1:4}, that by that truth we might become like Christ, the Incarnate One, that He might not have lived and died as a man for us in vain.  This is our prayer in His name. Amen.

 

Quotes from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as used in this lesson for your reference.😉

 

John 8:32 “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Exodus 3:4,5 “Moses, Moses, and he said, ‘Here I am.  And He said, draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

1SM 244 “The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us.”

1 Tim 3:16 “For without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness.”

SD 22 “This is the mystery of godliness that Christ should take human nature and by a life of humiliation, elevate man in the scale of moral worth with God that He should carry His adopted nature to the throne of God and there present His children to the Father to have conferred upon them an honor exceeding that conferred upon the angels.”

6BC 1082 (in ref. to 1 Tim 3:16) “The incarnation is the mystery of all mysteries.”

5BC 1129 “The incarnation of Christ has ever been and will ever remain a mystery….That which is revealed, is for us and for our children.”

6BC 1082 “The incarnation of Christ is a mystery.  The union of divinity with humanity is a mystery indeed, hidden with God, ‘even the mystery which hath been hid from ages.’ {Col 1:26} It was kept in eternal silence by Jehovah and was first revealed in Eden by the prophecy that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head and that he should bruise His heel (Gen. 3:15).  To present to the world this mystery that God kept in silence from eternal ages before the world was created, before man was created, was the part that Christ was to act in the work He entered upon when He came to this earth.  And this wonderful mystery, the incarnation of Christ and the atonement that He make, must be declared to every son and daughter of Adam.”

Manuscript 76, 1903 “Those only who have been entirely divested of self and selfishness and have been made partakers of the divine nature can understand by the aid of their spiritual faculties the ways and workings of God.  To those who know Him not, His ways are past finding out.”

Letter 280, 1904 “This is a great mystery, a mystery that will not be fully, completely understood in its greatness until the translation of the redeemed shall take place.  Then the power and greatness and efficacy of the gift of God to man will be understood.  But the enemy is determined that this gift be so mystified that it will become as nothingness.”

Psalms 36:9 “In Your light shall we see light.”

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

Manuscript 124, 1903 “When on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples.  They understood the truths that Christ had spoken in Proverbs.  The teaching that had been mysteries to them were made clear.  The understanding that came to them with the outpouring of the Spirit made them ashamed of their fanciful theories.  Their suppositions and interpretations were foolishness compared to the knowledge of heavenly things that now came to them.  Their confused ideas were gone.  They were led of the Spirit, and light shone into their darkened understanding.”

Letter 69, 1897 “We want to comprehend so far as possible the truly human nature of our Lord.”

1MCP 91 “As an educating power, the Bible is without rival.  Nothing will so impart vigor to all the faculties as requiring students to grasp the stupendous truths of revelation.  The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell.  If occupied with common place matters only, to the exclusion of grand and lofty themes, it will become dwarfed and enfeebled.  If never required to grapple with difficult problems or put to the stretch to comprehend important truths, it will after a time almost lose the power of growth.”

7BC 904 “When we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven–the incarnation of the Son of God.”

RH Dec 3, 1889 “There is much more embraced in present truth than many dream of.  The minds of many are not up to the task of studying that they may comprehend the deep things of God, but self and ease and lazy habits must be overcome if we would draw nigh to God and have Him draw nigh to us…..God’s Word is like a mine full of precious ore and its truth will be the wealth of the mind.  ‘Light is sown for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart.’  Psalm 97:11.  The riches in this mind are open to all, its treasures are inexhaustible.  Precious gems of truth lie beneath the surface and every hour’s search will be fully repaid.  Store the mind with the principles of the gospel of Christ.  Seek with painstaking effort for the hidden wealth of God’s Word.  All heaven is watching to see what man will do with the precepts and promises of Jehovah.”

7BC 905 “The study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field that will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth.”

Bible Echoes June 11, 1894 “If people would only search the Scriptures more diligently, false doctrines and heresies would be fewer.  The test is written to the law and to the testimony if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them.”

1 John 3:5 “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins and in Him there is no sin.”

1 Tim 3:16 “ God was manifested in the flesh.”

Heb 7:26 “For such a High Priest was fitting for us who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.”

Heb 2:17, 18 “Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God to make propitiation for the sins of His people.  For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”

Heb 4:15 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with out infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Rom 8:3 “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin,  He condemned sin in the flesh.”

5BC 1129 “The incarnation of Christ has ever been and will ever remain a mystery.  That which is revealed is for us and for our children.  But let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ altogether human, such and one as ourselves, for it cannot be.”

Manuscript 94, 1893 “Christ did not possess the same, sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess for then He could not be a perfect offering.”

ST June 9, 1898 “We should have no misgivings regarding the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.  Our faith must be an intelligent faith, looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning sacrifice.”

DA 311, 312 “If that ladder had failed, by a single step, of reaching the earth, we should have been lost.  But Christ reaches us where we are.  He took our nature and overcame, that we through taking His nature might overcome.  ‘Made in the likeness of sinful flesh’ Rom 8:3.  He lived a sinless life.”

RH Feb 18, 1890 “If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our Example.  If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been.”

😉

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Outline of the lesson 1:

1)    We need constantly ask GOD for guidance: Spiritual things are only spiritually discerned. {1 Cor 2:13-14}

2)    Purpose of this whole seminar: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” {Jn 8:32}

3)    Our attitude is crucial if we want to benefit and be set free: “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” {Ex 3:5}

4)    This subject is the center of our life and salvation: “The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us.” {1SM 244.1}

5)    We have to recognize that this “mystery of all mysteries” {1 Tim 3:16} we will never understand fully, yet we are encouraged to study it since God reveals enough that we can be changed by it! This is love that melts the sinner’s heart.” {SD 22.4} And this wonderful mystery, the incarnation of Christ and the atonement He made, must be declared to every son and daughter of Adam.” {6BC 1082.4-5}

6)    How can we declare it? By our words and by our lives we can and we must declare the mystery of God manifest in the flesh. As we become partakers of the divine nature {2 Peter 1:4} God wants to give us experiential knowledge, which can be seen by those around us and thus they by beholding us can be changed and directed to Jesus and saved at last!!!

7)    Two enemies in our progress: self & Satan

8)    God is promising us His Spirit to overcome them: They were led of the Spirit, and light shone into their once-darkened understanding.” {9MR 123.3}

9)    Why must we seek so earnestly for an accurate understanding of this truth? Consider at least four reasons:

9.1) It can strengthen the mind and mold the character more powerfully than anything else. Nothing will so impart vigor to all the faculties as requiring students to grasp the stupendous truths of revelation.” {1MCP 91.2} “The study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field that will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden.” {7BC 904.11}

9.2)When the wind of doctrine comes along, we are not able to detect it or resist it and we are carried away with it! The devil is going to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect {Mt 24:24}

Remaining reasons are in the following lesson.

10) What is heresy? It is typically some truth taken to an extreme, promoted and pushed until it becomes disproportionately important in that it denies an essential balancing counter-truth.

11) What are these two precious truths regarding the human nature of Christ that we must keep in perfect balance in order to keep out of the ditches of heresy? #1: Christ in His humanity was our sinless Substitute. And #2: Christ in His humanity was our sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example.

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