The New and Old Contrasted

J. Wilfred Johnson
Sabbath School Lesson Mar. 1,1986

Transcribed  Mar. 23, 2014

Note: This meeting is actually a small Sabbath School lesson given by Mr. Johnson at the College Heights Church Alberta, Canada. There are other groups meeting in the sanctuary at the same time as well as individuals talking among themselves. All of this background noise makes it nearly impossible to hear individuals addressing Mr. Johnson with their comments or questions.

(Wilfred) Our lesson today is essentially a view of the plan of salvation; "The New and the Old contrasted". We are admonished to put off the old nature, put off the old man, cease doing the things that are not good, and put on a new nature being renewed in our mind and begin doing those things that are good. Do I dare say that the plan of salvation is essentially a behavioral oriented plan? Sometimes we get the feeling that we must not talk about behaviorism it's a bad word. We have to just submit to Christ and surrender to him and He'll work everything out for us. But what does God's law say? Thou shalt and thou shalt not. Is that not behaviorism? What is righteousness? Righteousness is keeping the law, I quoted it. How do you keep the law, by sitting still and dreaming about it or by acting? It's behavior, it's doing.

What is sin? Transgression of the law. How do you transgress the law? By making decisions and doing things, now it's possible of course to make a passive decision, you can sit in a chair and sin. Because you decide to do something with your thinking, you either permit yourself to think righteously or you think unrighteously. Now that is also an act. It is a behavior on your part, you are making a decision to do or not to do even though there is no bodily movement. Now I presume I have said enough on that point.

What is the problem in God's universe? Well the problem is sin. What kind of a universe did God start with? He started with one that was righteous. What is God's goal, what is his aim? What is He like and why is He doing all this? Well first of all what kind of a God do we have? Do we really know what he's like?

(A woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) That's right. God has given evidence of himself He has revealed himself through his word and through the living word of Christ. How are we going to find out what kind of God is running this universe? By studying his word. Why do we need to know what kind of a God is running the universe, is that important? Many people don't think there is a God.

(A man) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Well let's bring it down to our own situation. It doesn't take very many weeks or months or years in life before we discover that there is a conflict going on. There are things that are pleasant and there are things that are unpleasant so far as we are personally concerned our major goal whether we are willing to admit it or not is to gain satisfaction, to be happy. Everything we do is oriented towards pleasing us somehow or the other isn't it? Well, what do you think about God? What did He created this world for? It says for his glory and in another place it says for his pleasure. Is it wrong to seek pleasure, to be happy, to be joyful? Well that's the essence of God's Kingdom. The goal that God has in the progression of his Kingdom is to provide an increasing degree of happiness, joy, contentment, and peace, that's his goal. What does it say over there? Unto us a child is given unto us a Son is born. I guess I got that twisted around a little. And the government shall be upon his shoulder and of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. So what is his aim in establishing and increasing his Kingdom? To provide peace, security, joy, abundant joy and happiness. It's not wrong to seek happiness and seek joy. It is not wrong to orient your ambition toward gaining those things. God himself seeks contentment, happiness, satisfaction, and joy and that's why He created things, that's why He created you and me. His heart is overflowing with altruistic love, love that reaches out. How can you express a character of self-denying love if you don't have anybody to express it upon, right? That's why He created us.

Now are we satisfying God by returning to him the love that He has showered upon us? What are we doing to give God the satisfaction that He is seeking? I can't help but quote a statement and I'll try to quote it fairly close at this point. It says that God gathered up all the treasures of the universe and put them into the hands of Christ and He said, "Use these gifts to show man that there is no love in all the universe greater than the love of God. And that man will obtain his greatest happiness in loving me. Now do you really believe that? Well then, what is all this about? I imagine you went through your lesson, I hope you did. The essence of it is, don't continue in the behaviorisms like the gentiles around who don't understand God and they are living only for themselves and seeking their own pleasure. Don't live like that, renew your mind, come to an understanding of what is true. Seek to know what God is like find out what kind of a God you really serve and the truth will make you free.

Well, without going into a lot of details. What incentive do we really have to ever want to help God to reestablish and restore a universe that is free from sin, one that is righteous? What incentive do we have to want to cooperate with God in doing that or do you want to cooperate with God in doing that?

(A woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) What we see. You see, originally God had a pure universe, He had pure beings in it, they were righteous. What kind of a nature did Lucifer have, He had a righteous nature. There are two ways you can understand the law. One is, you can see it written on tables of stone, thou shalt and thou shalt not. The other way, it can be written on the tables of the heart, that is, the way you feel about the situation. The heart refers to the way you feel in scripture; primarily it refers to your feelings. The most intense feeling is love and the opposite of love is hatred or fear and those are the most intense emotional feelings. The lesser intense ones move down into the feelings of desire, wish, hope, I would like to go on a picnic today, but the most intense feeling is the love, the love aspect. And I think God has given us an example of a more intense form of love in the family situation and He uses that to illustrate his relatationship to us, He is our heavenly Father He loves us. And then there is the marriage of the Lamb to his saints. He is represented as the husband and we as the bride and there is to be a marriage union before the close of probation in which He will come to his temple, to the marriage, and there will be a union, a mystical union wherein the head of the new body of Christ will be united to the members of that body and they twain become one flesh. And there is an aspect of divine love involved in that. It says that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost that is given to us. God reaches out to us with his Spirit, He initially draws us with his Spirit, but what is God's Spirit? It is that Spirit of self-denying love. There are many other aspects to it but God uses that Spirit, the Spirit is the agency by which God touches our feelings, our hearts. And only as the hearts becomes aware of it's evilness, of it's sinfulness can we make decisions rationally to move away from that. So the spirit first comes, you see, to reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and judgment and that is primarily the work of the Spirit coming in the former rain.

I am not going to have time to do what I wanted to do today it's running away from us. But I wanted to emphasize a little more fully the aspect of the latter rain, the outpouring of God's Spirit. Whereby the fullness of his love is delivered to his saints and they are totally transformed into the image of God so that they have a righteous nature. Let me back up just a little bit, the apostle Paul is very clear when he talks about getting straighten around in our lives. We're dealing with Ephesians 4:23. "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." We are to move away from the old man of sin and put on the new man of righteousness. Now how do we go about it? Can you tolerate another review of that aspect because that's what our lesson is all about? It goes through the details of what we ought to do, it tells us that we are in a futile empty state, we need to be renewed; we need to escape from the predicament we're in and what is involved in that? We have to put on a new man, we have to put on a new nature and renew the mind and renew the heart and the specifics of what we have to do he goes through those, we have to speak the truth, it's very important. I could spend the whole period on just that one, the truthfulness, being honest and true. You see, this is where the problem started in the first place; Lucifer who had the greatest knowledge of anybody in God's Kingdom didn't trust God. He said, God you are a liar you are not telling the truth, your law isn't good and you promise things that aren't so. We have to recover truthfulness, righteous indignation talks about being angry and not sinning, there is such a thing as being annoyed, angry and resentful about something and yet not sinning. Well I won't take time to go into that because I want to get this larger aspect of the thing covered and the details, perhaps we can cover it some other time.

The next one is honest labor, you know, they were stealing, getting a living the easy way. Now he says, don't do that, stop stealing and go to work and earn an honest living. That's the third point he mentioned. Well, my pages are different than yours I guess.

And the next one is edifying speech. They were using bad words. Oh, I've caught myself sometimes when I've been in a very tight situation, a very annoying situation and through my mind go some of these words. I lived through that war we had with the Germans over there with the Nazis and the thing that comes to my mind, "Oh you Nazis." and sometimes I'll blurt out a little word, what is it, I won't say it, it's not really a swear word it's a slang word. I don't want it to come, it just comes when I'm annoyed in a bad state, see? Now the Bible says, look, you can be annoyed and you can be angry but don't sin. It's not a mistake to be annoyed and angry just read the Old Testament. Sometimes God had some pretty strong feelings about things didn't He? So we understand a little bit about how God feels but what did God do about it? Oh, sometimes it looked like He was cruel but God has given us enough information in his book and through his prophet to the remnant church to realize that everything He did that looks like he was transgressing his own law and being brutal, severe, was done in love to bring us around because He didn't want to lose us. It's an emergency measure, it's the last straw to spank us, and He doesn't want to do that. What about you parents you understand what I am saying don't you? You know, with your little tike you've done everything to make that little rascal behave himself and what do you do finally? Well, I will admit that parents sometimes do it in anger don't they? And maybe it's not always righteous indignation but God always did it and does it because He wants something good to come from it. And at this point maybe I should remind you again and I feel badly that it is necessary to do it but I think it is necessary because I think our people are unprepared by what's going to hit one of these days so hard and so fast that they are going to be swept right off their feet. Think about those people down there in the Napa Valley, in a few hours they lost their homes all over the place, flooded out completely that's how fast things can happen. What would happen if the whole town of Lacombe just shattered and we all lost our homes and here in below zero weather? Where would we go and how would we adapt and adjust it would be a real shock wouldn't it?

Now God is going to permit terrible times to come upon us, we know that it's in the books. And some of us are going to say, "God I hate you, what are you doing this to me for?" But God doesn't want to do that so He wants to prepare us for the times that are coming and why is He going to permit them to come? He has to do it, He has no choice. If He wants to reveal to the universe the consequences of giving freedom of choice to his most powerful created beings He has got to let them have freedom to show what they can do with those choices. So that in the future, life in his eternal Kingdom will be forever secure against a repetition of sin. That's why. And there is another reason why He does it, there is only one way we can be purified and cleansed in the heart. We have this idea that if we ask for the Lord's Spirit He will come and He will change this heart and that's true, He will, but there is a process attached to it. God can recreate the image of himself in our hearts right now but if we didn't have an experience that went along with that we would not be sheltered against repeating the thing that brought it on in the first place. So we've got to have a taste of Gethsemane, we must experience the sufferings of Christ, get a taste of it, it says so, we have to share the sufferings of Christ. Why? Don't be surprised, Peter says, when this thing hits you full blast and you wonder what's happened to you. Don't be surprised. He says, count it all joy. How can you count that joy? He says, because the end of it is holiness, holiness. There is no way to refine gold except to put the heat under the crucible and heat it up. What does it say there in Malachi? Oh, he says the messenger of the Covenant is going to come suddenly to his temple and that's the latter rain coming to his temple.

I meant to go through it and show you, I have the statement here today I was going to read them to you. I always have that ready but I never get the time I get talking too much but they are all available.

The messenger of the Covenant will come suddenly to his temple, she says in Great Controversy this parable of the ten virgins, she talks about four different things that refer to the one experience, and I'd better look that up just so I don't get it wrong, I always seem to have a little trouble getting that. The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary, now, we are right on target here, cleansing the sanctuary getting ready for the second coming brought to view in Daniel 8:14. And the coming of the son of man to the ancient of days as presented in Daniel 7:13, remember he is coming to the judgment, to the ancient of days, and the coming of the Lord to his temple as foretold by Malachi, the one I was just talking about, chapter 3, are descriptions of the same event, the very same event. And she says; this is also represented by the coming of the bridegroom to the marriage described by Christ in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. She goes on to say that this was Christ moving from the holy apartment to the most holy apartment in 1844. What for? For the investigative judgment and for the cleansing of the sanctuary. And she says here that when the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary there is to be a special work of purification of putting away of sin among God's people upon the earth. Now do you get the picture? The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary really is teaching us a lesson that the real cleansing is the coming of the Spirit of God to the soul temple, suddenly to his temple He is going to come and dwell in his new temple, Paul says, By the Spirit coming suddenly to his temple, what for, to purify and cleanse them. Oh I wish I had time to read what it says there in Malachi but you remember how it speaks about He is going to come to purify the sons of Levi? And if you go back to the days of Moses you'll find that the sons of Levi were the ones who came to Moses to stand with him when all the rest of them forsook God. You know, they had the golden calf and all these things and Moses came down and he was quite upset about all of this and so he stood there and he called, he said, "Who's on the Lords side?". Is there anybody here that's still on the Lord's side let him come and stand with me. And who came? The sons of Levi. And that is why it says there in Malachi; He came to purify. The messenger of the Covenant is going to come suddenly to his temple to purify the sons of Levi. That applies today Brothers and Sisters during the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary from sin. Here is where the record of sin in my temple is and if I am going to be married to Christ in the marriage union, in the wedding, so that we become one flesh, what's going to happen to my sin nature? Why it's going to be transferred to the temple of Christ because we become one, don't we? What's in my body is part of me, maybe you never understood what it meant to have your sins transferred to the sanctuary by the sprinkling of blood. But that's it, the blood is a symbol of the life and I can prove to you that the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ, it's in there in plain words. So that when I become one with Christ through the agency of the Holy Spirit that life blood of Christ is the thing that transfers my sin to his temple because He becomes part of me, I'm attached. I don't know whether you follow that or not because I didn't say it very well but it's in there. And what has to happen to my sinfulness? That Spirit is going to cleanse my soul temple from sin, I can read it, it's in the books. But I have to make the decisions to stop sinning. There is no point in cleansing my heart from sin so that I no longer have any inclination to sin if I'm going to decide by my act of will to keep on sinning and defiling the temple and crucifying to myself the Son of God afresh it says. Oh, Paul is appealing to us he says, put off the old man do the thing that is right. And I can read to you several statements which say that you won't even participate in that latter rain, there will not be any marriage union for you unless you cleanse your own soul temple of every defilement, I can read that. Well, how do you do that, you can't change your heart? No, you can't but you can control where those muscles move no matter how you feel about it. I may not feel like coming up here to teach this class today I had some misgivings about it I'll be honest, but I'm always glad to share with you. But what do I do? I decide to do what I recognize is God's will for me and if God says, put off the old man, start telling the truth and quit lying and don't use those bad words and all the rest of that stuff. It's all in the lesson there. Then I must do that, I have a will. That's how sin started, Lucifer had a will it wasn't God that sinned through Lucifer. God gave Lucifer power but Lucifer didn't use it right and God cannot restore to you and me the power of eternal life and the creative spirit until we prove that we are going to use it right or else we would repeat what Adam did. And He removed him from the tree of life because if He hadn't Adam would have become an eternal sinner.

Now God's looking at you and me to reverse the process and come out of this and come out of Babylon. Are you willing to make these decisions no matter how your inclinations keep pulling you down? Keep on making those decisions and plead to God and Jesus will intercede, He says, My blood, my blood, my blood Father they are not ready yet and the time of trouble is coming on and they are not ready and He pleads his blood, it's there we read it. And a great light comes from God to Jesus and what does Jesus do with it? Oh, He gives it to you and me and the marriage union takes place and we get the power but He can't do that until you show in the investigative judgment......

Main Index
Top of Page