The Victorious Life!


Take a lesson from dandelions; they do what they can do;

To help them grow they spread their seed, and grow as tall as they will need,

In the grass or near the trees they grow and grow.

 --

Take a lesson from dandelions, that God has made them strong;

To weather rain and wind and snow, grow short and tall, yes they just know;

What to do to help them live and grow and grow and grow.

dandelions on the meadow © Maria Brzostowska #616050.

The First Dandelion

Simple and fresh and fair from winter's close emerging,
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter'd grass--innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,
The spring's first dandelion shows its trustful face.
"Leaves of Grass," by Walt Whitman

 

Our Culture & Our Character

A series of ten sermons that will speak your soul by Pastor Norberto Restrepo sr. Translated from Spanish to bless English readers.

5. The Education of Jesus

There are two sentences from the Pen of Inspiration. One of them we mentioned yesterday. God has created the human mind in such a way that every faculty that we have in our mind, responds to God’s mind, this is what God’s inspired counsel tells us in Christ’s Object Lessons Chapter 25; when it considers the parable of the Ten Talents. Then in 1897 Sister White said, "If we fail in understanding the science of true education, we shall never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."

God’s education is through faith. I wasn’t educated in faith. I was educated in this secular world and they taught me scriptures with the secular method. Which is the secular method? Reason; but not through faith.

How difficult it was for me to find something of faith—very difficult. By God’s mercy, the way we must approach God is in faith. He approaches us in faith. He comes to us in faith. He has complete trust and believes that we can be born again, that we can become children once again. He has that faith.

Faith does not condemn. Faith does not accuse. Faith does not point at. Faith is not a yoke and faith is not a dominion. Faith. Trust. Faith sees what cannot be seen.

Reason sees what can be seen. Reason sees sin and reason sees wickedness. Reason sees what is the iniquity inside of the other person. Each time I use my reason that way, what grows within me is my pride and my self-sufficiency, because I learn through my reason. But when I learn through faith I arrive to the conclusion that there is nothing in me, and I become humble. Faith makes us humble, but reason fills us up.

Jesus was taught through faith. Where did Mary learn? Who taught Mary? Mary taught her child in faith. How did Mary learn? If we compare Mary with us, we have PhDs in comparison. Because Mary; what did Mary know? The only thing that she knew was—and she said; "Behold Thy servant". Behold Thy servant. "May God’s will be done in me according to His Word."

She permitted everything; she permitted everything and she walked by faith, and she developed a child who never became an adult—never became an adult. Behold the Child educated by the Lord so that He wouldn’t become an adult. The more He grew; He was more dependent, in greater communion, with greater ties, closer to His Father.

But with us it is opposite. The more we grow, we separate ourselves. We become more independent; we believe more in ourselves and we trust more in ourselves and we trust less in Him. And when we come to His Word, we reason it out, but we don’t trust in it.

But we know a lot. The scribes knew a lot. The Pharisees knew a lot and the Sadducees knew a lot. The Hebrew people knew a lot; they knew a lot of the letter of the Word. But they didn’t have faith. What was it that they didn’t practice? What was it that they didn’t practice? All that liturgy they had; all that system of the sanctuary services. They were very careful with each specific color, they had all the fringes, and they handled all the different robes—but they didn’t know the real Lamb! And when Truth came, and when Truth became incarnated, and when the Word became flesh, they did not recognize it. Their religion was handled through reason, but not through faith.

Mary educated her child by faith. Luke, in a Bible verse that we know by memory and this verse should teach us a lot; in Luke chapter 2, the scriptures say the following, and we should remember what Paul said about Jesus: "but when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, subject unto the law." Subject unto the law—just as we are.

Mary understood something of that without reasoning too much, but with a lot of faith. And we should know the difference there is between reason and faith. Because our reasons are born in our head, but faith is born in Him.

Philosophers reason, theologians reason, all human knowledge is a child of reason. And what does reasoning depend upon? Of our senses. Who informs my senses? The external world that is around me; and every perception I have of the outward world is educating me. But God has made His knowledge in such a way that He reveals it, He reveals everything, and His revelation is born in His mind. And His mind is not sick with what makes my mind sick.

Almost everything that I perceive with my eyes, and almost everything that I hear with my ears, and almost everything I touch with my hands, is infected with sin and wickedness. It’s affected by pride and selfishness. But all that God has made, and all that He has revealed, is born from a pure mind, from a righteous mind, from a clean mind.

What kind of a mind, what class of mind? In Deuteronomy 32 it tells us what kind of God we have and what type of God, what kind of God has revealed Himself in His word. Beginning in verse 2: "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:"

Like what? Like the small rain. As showers upon the grass, that is how revelation comes upon us, to everyone who is willing to receive it by faith.

"Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He. They have corrupted themselves."

Who is God? He is clean. He is pure. He is the only One. That God was the One that Mary knew and she trusted herself into the arms of that God.

Abraham’s experience was something similar. He didn’t have a child. He asked God for a child. He needed an heir and God promised him that He would give him a child that would be born of him. Scriptures say he said; "Amen", the Hebrew expression for faith. He trusted, but reason was telling him that it was impossible. Science was telling him that it was impossible. His senses were telling him that there was no possibility. But possibility is God. What is impossible for us is possible for Him. And He is able to make us into children once again, even though we are adults.

Our Lord Jesus never was an adult. He was always a child. We read in Luke chapter 2 in verse 40, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom:"

Now we have a problem with the word ‘wisdom’, and in this western culture we even have a coefficient of intelligence. We have even placed on a numbered scale, wisdom; a hundred ten, a hundred twenty, a hundred forty, a hundred sixty IQ. I don’t know how much you would measure Jesus up to. But what is wisdom?

We know the letter; but Mary did not know too much of the letter, but she had the experience. She lived in the presence of the Lord. She didn’t do anything without the presence of the Lord and she did everything according to His Word. She accepted everything according to His will. Who is the Word? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We understand the semantics of the word ‘fear’ in that context; it’s the effect that results from being in the presence of God. That’s an experience of faith.

Our ‘presence’ is of an idea of God—that is all our ‘presence’; an idea of Him, but not reality. For Mary, an experience of faith—He was real for her. And in being real for her, He was a reality for the child—God; because the child’s reality is the reality of what the parents are. If in the parents that is not a reality, then the children don’t know anything.

Sister White says that true education is an influence. Have you read it? True education is not a curriculum of algebra or math. True education is within; is implicit in he who knows God. Mary knew the Lord; in her own sphere, she had the fear of the Lord. Everything she did, and everything she thought, was in the presence of Him. And the child was growing up and was strengthened and His growth was simultaneous, and not only simultaneous it was also encouraged, synchronized in mind, in heart and with His hands, He was synchronized.

The Bible text says, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." What is the grace of God?

Today children don’t receive from us grace. Do you know what they receive from us? They receive disgrace. In the way we treat them; in the very same way in which we conceived them; in the relationship we have with them. They receive disgrace, instead of receiving grace. And then we ask ourselves, why don’t they love me? Why don’t they obey me?

And while we are wise in this secular world, we do not know the science of true education, because to educate is to redeem. Educating is not informing. Educating is redeeming; to redeem this fallen human nature that I have given by the law of inheritance. I have given to this child my heritage, my fallen condition I give unto them, so I should know how to restore it.

If my relationship with Him—if God has restored me, then an influence—an invisible influence—intangible influence—an influence that you cannot measure with human instruments; the child will receive it. God has made things in such a way that these children, as the child Jesus needed two images—two images that had become just one through faith. And that influence, the influence of Mary and the influence of Joseph, the same influence in two personalities with the same criteria; with the same will and with the same purpose. Without controversy; without dichotomy; without being broken apart in their relationship. They did the work, the work that we should have done and that we still should do if we are born again and we become like children in the kingdom of God.

Oh, but the problem of adults is that we know too much. We know everything. We understand everything and no-one teaches us. And I pretend to teach her, and she pretends to teach me, and while we both teach each other—what we really do is contradict each other. And the influence—the influence we are exerting on them, that influence makes any child a schizophrenic.

Aw, but Jesus was born and He grew up in an environment of grace. My loved ones, each contradiction amongst us is a ton of disgrace upon our children and it is not grace. That’s a principle in God’s education. It’s so simple, so elementary and so deep, because it is truth! And what is so beautiful in this culture, is that it is free. It doesn’t cost anything. How much did Mary have to pay to educate her child in grace?

But today, education is a terrible business. It’s an industry. Who has been more than Jesus? Who has been more than Jesus? No one—and no one will be more than Jesus. How did He become the greatest? By faith. And He was educated by the Word; in the Word. But today, we cannot fathom that. We do not think it possible, because we are sons and daughters of reason, and as we see how everyone is educated, that’s the same way that we are educated. But Mary understood.

Luke chapter 2 verse 52: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour [grace] with God and man." Now notice Jesus’ curriculum, a curriculum that is totally different. Aw, but people are very concerned about the curriculum; math, chemistry, physics, psychology, English and Spanish and grammar, phonetics—oh what is it that we don’t teach? We have a huge curriculum and even expensive.

And then we have different grades, first, second, third, fourth and fifth. And each time that he passes a grade we graduate him and we put on him a hat and we even put a robe on him and now those children even in elementary school they begin to puff up—because they are graduated.

In the school of Mary, no one graduated. In the school of Mary, in this divine education, each day we diminish, and we diminish and we diminish more and we learn how to descend more. And there is no graduation, because it will go on throughout eternity, we will continue learning and we will be filling up in the knowledge of the Lord, just as the waters fill the ocean.

But we don’t understand that, because we are children of reason; because grace and kindness and faith don’t produce. We are educated in what produces and our mentality is formed to produce money and things.

But Jesus was educated to produce faith, to produce grace, to produce redemption. He was educated to redeem. He was educated to restore. He was educated to reconcile. He was educated to forgive and He was educated to justify. And even on Calvary, dying, He forgot about Himself, because He did not think on Himself, not even on Calvary. On Calvary He was emptied of Himself. There was nothing in Him. He was concerned for the thieves, justifying the thieves, seeking for the repentance of the thieves and reconciling the thieves; the eternal purpose of God.

Should it be ours also? Should it also be ours? Or we are of this world of production. I know people who have told me, "When I get so much money, then I will begin doing God’s work." They will never do God’s work.

With what capital did Jesus do God’s work? What type of capital did He have? What budget did Jesus have to do God’s work? What is the budget that we need, so that the Holy Spirit might do His work in us? And He might convert us into children? How much budget does the Holy Spirit need for that?

Oh, but we have our mind geared into accounting and we reason that way, because we are children of reason. But Jesus was a child of faith. Not from bread alone shall man live. To live without bread? To have lunch without bread? Have breakfast without bread? That’s inconceivable. My reasoning is with bread; but Jesus’ reasoning was by faith—God’s Word.

What a difficult thing to experience. For me it was very difficult and for you it might be easy—for these children it is easy—because they are born without—with a clean mind, with a blank mind, so that we can write in them—faith. And if our influence is the influence of God, then they will just receive grace. And in grace and in love they learn to trust. But if they don’t have that influence, then they receive another influence, because every human being, we are in the divine influence or we are in the influence of sin, because there are only two influences and these two cannot be mixed.

Jesus always received Mary’s influence. Can we imagine Jesus, thirty years—thirty years—carrying water to His Mom? Happily? In that time water did not come in like it comes in today. In that time, you had to carry water. But we don’t carry water. The only thing we carry is this little water bottle—that’s easy. To carry water—that’s work—a heavy burden!

Perhaps you haven’t carried water here. We have had to carry water. When we began in Venezuela there was no bathroom, there was no water pipe system—we had to carry the water. And when we took a shower—that’s something different. The child Jesus had to carry water, until He was thirty years—willingly—with love. Without getting tired, without murmuring—it was a pleasure for Him to take water to Mary.

He had learned the first lesson of faith. He had learned to obey. He learned to obey. Oh, but today’s children—today’s children—which is the child today that is obedient? How difficult it is today to find an obedient child. And Ellen White says that obedience should be instantaneous. Instantaneous obedience—can only be developed in an environment of grace and treatment by faith, under the roof of two persons that respire—that when they breathe, they breathe out affection—divine affection; divine trust; and the only thing they breathe and transpire is their knowledge of God.

When Mary breathed out, Jesus breathed that in; and in that breath, what there was, was the breath of God’s image. And Jesus—they didn’t need movies, or theatres, nor comedies—the real comedy and the real theater was the relationship of Joseph and Mary. And twenty-four hours a day, the child was absorbing and was being transformed, beholding what was real, authentic in Mom and Dad. The curriculum was implicit—was implicit in that. Oh, God’s education is something that is implicit. He in us, the hope of glory.

The child Jesus, pay attention to the phenomenon and we’re going to read it here, Jesus is performing His ministry—He is in His full ministry—John 14:10 says: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" that is something that is very beautiful! I don’t understand it, but we can experience it. While we would expect that the husband would be in the wife and the wife in the husband—but the father in the son, the mother in the child and the child in the father—scriptures present that as a reality.

But for us this has stopped being a reality. At what age does the child become independent? At what time do we separate ourselves from the child? I know mothers that, fifteen days after the child is born, they go to work and where does the child stay? But we don’t want them to be independent and we don’t want them to stop recognizing us. We don’t want them to have insecurity problems when they are teenagers. But we create that disposition, because we do all that was contrary, opposite to what Mary did.

When Mary separated herself from Jesus—she became desperate and she sought out for Him–three days He was lost. And when they found Him, Jesus told her: "I am in my Father’s business." At what age? These children can have a business with the eternal Father. At what age? Joseph and Mary unconsciously had prepared Him in their influence, to be under the influence of the eternal Father.

Oh my beloved, in God’s Word—in His Spirit—in this living Word, there is a mystery that is explicit. How a child matures; how does a human being mature? If he has been exposed to a living experience of God’s Word in us.

Pay attention to what it says here. Verse 10 of chapter 14: the words that I speak unto you—the words that I speak unto you—I speak not of myself: the words. Thirty years, Jesus; thirty one years, Jesus; thirty two years; and at thirty years of age—thirty-three years of age—His self did not speak. His will did not speak. He did not speak of Himself. He was a child. He did not speak of Himself—because truth is not born in us—what is truth is in Him. What is truth never shall be ours; it will always be of Him.

Jesus never spoke of Himself by Himself. He was a child. That was how He was educated. That was as He was born—in faith; in dependence. And as He grew, He grew in grace. He grew in faith. He grew in wisdom.

Oh my brothers, these children today—they grow and they grow physically. They grow biologically. But they also grow in selfishness and in pride and in self sufficiency; but they should grow in grace and in the knowledge of God. But what human beings say is that times have changed. Times have changed. So we blame time. Oh, beloved—mine is the fault and you have an assignment—to learn, which is the wickedness which is visited upon the children.

The Lord taught me education with the second commandment. The Lord told me many years ago—these children were four years old. 1970, 1971, and God told me, "Your children are going to be lost." And I asked the Lord, "Lord, what should I do? What should I do so they won’t be lost?" Second commandment; the second commandment is a treatise of redemptive education.

Through reason it cannot enter—it has to be by faith. Joseph and Mary understood that and at thirty-three years of age Jesus did not speak of Himself. And the question is, when you speak, who speaks? I or He in me? That is the difference.

And let me tell you something, human beings, we speak a lot—a lot. We speak, we know how to use our tongues. We know how to use our tongues. But our Lord Jesus, He learned to not speak of Himself. It wasn’t His self that spoke and the Bible says even more about that in John chapter 5 and in verse 30: "I can of mine own self do nothing:"

In today’s education, in the education we have today, they teach you that you should be you. Be yourself! You can! That was Satan’s education. "I Can! I can arise, I can go up and I will be up. I will ascend and I will be on the throne and I will have dominion. My mental faculties, my beauty, what I have received, that is mine and I’m going up!" That is the foundation of education.

Have we been educated that way?

Jesus was educated in a contrary position to this. "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."

Oh my brethren, Jesus was thirty-three years old and He said, "My Father, my Father." He depended on His Father; He did not depend of Himself. He did not depend on His experience. He did not depend on His education. He did not depend on His knowledge. He did not depend on anything in Himself—completely dependant upon His Father.

And we are orphans in reality. Our heavenly Father is an idea. Really our father is our own self. He is our father and we depend on him—we depend on our self and of ourselves. We depend on our strength and we depend on our reason.

But Jesus did not depend on anything that was in Him—He was a child, and He never became an adult.

Verse 19 of chapter 5 of John: "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you," and the expression here translated as ‘verily’ is the same expression of faith by Abraham, Amen, Amen. What is sure. What is certain. The only thing that is trustworthy.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself," Nothing!

Have we done a lot of things? Have we done a lot of things? And the more we do, in whom do we trust? In what we have done. Oh, we have created our own Babylon. We are small Nebuchadnezzars. But in the same essence, Nebuchadnezzar said when he saw his house, and he saw his palace, and he beheld his gardens, and his columns and pillars, "Isn’t this the house that I have built for my own glory?"

Isn’t that our same experience? We find something in the computer; we learn something in the computer—Oh, we did it! We make a house, its better than our neighbors—Oh, I have a house! Even in our ministry we can feel that way.

But our Lord Jesus; "The Son can do nothing of himself"—Nothing!

Nothing? What is nothing?

"But what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he (the Father) doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." What a child—What a child! What a child was Jesus, He never became an adult. In Him was power. In Him was strength, because He was a child—just born—who needed the milk of the Father; the Spirit of the Father; the breath of the Father; the knowledge of the Father; the will of the Father; the righteousness of the Father; everything that was of His Father. And They were One; the Father was in Him.

No wonder He said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God. Knowing Him; and the Hebrew word for knowing is a word that indicates an intimate communion—and intimate communion. Not of things, not with things, because we have intimate communion with our money; with our budget; with things, physical—with our car; with our house; intimate communion. But Jesus’ communion was with His Father. That was His communion. Nothing in Him; nothing in His head except His Father; that is how Jesus remained, and He was a child and He shall be a child forever—depending from His Father.

The most serious thing in this world is to be an orphan—the hardest experience; the most difficult life—to be orphans. And the majority of Christians, we are orphans of our heavenly Father. We live by our own selves. We obtain our bread by our own selves. We obtain our own house by our selves, and we find our wisdom by our own selves. We are orphans and the life of an orphan is a very hard life.

And in the same way, these children, we teach them to be orphans. That they can handle themselves independent, that they might live by themselves—that they might depend upon their ego and their own strength. And when they are fifteen years old, they want to have their own apartment; they want to have their own car; and they want to have their own woman. And they leave home at fifteen, sixteen years of age; and at fifty years of age they have been orphans, no one receives them, no one loves them—not even Mom or Dad—and where do they finish? In a nursing home; the government will take care of them.

No one lives with anyone; the family values are finished, have broken apart. I can’t live with anyone—only myself. Only—and I put a sign on the door—‘don’t disturb me’. Private Property.

Oh beloved, Heaven—Heaven is plural! Heaven is collective. It’s family. Heaven is relationship; community; an experience without selfishness. Ones living for others, as Heaven has become nothing, has surrendered itself; has given itself; and incarnated itself to become Immanuel—God with us. May heaven permit us that experience—to live with Him.

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