Born to Be Free
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MARTHA: One Greek word in here that I can’t find what it might be. CD
Greg: search document on this word: luggedsesta
Logizesthe is correct word
CRUCIFIED: FACT OR FEELING?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
I would like to read a passage that at the beginning of my Christian life really gave me a lot of trouble and problem about God’s justice and love. It’s in First Samuel 15. It’s the historical record of an account that took place around 1000 B.C. I used to read this among other passages in the Old Testament and wonder if God was a God of justice or love at all. I felt, “No, this is some kind of pagan, wrathful God who has no kindliness in him.” Some of you will recognize it once we get started.
1 Samuel 15:1-3—“And Samuel said to Saul, ‘The LORD sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore hearken to the words of the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will punish what Am’alek did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and smite Am’alek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.’”
I used to think, “Maybe that was just a kind of one mistaken verse but then the rest of the story doesn’t back that up”.
1 Samuel 15:4-9 – “Saul summoned the people, and numbered them in Tela’im, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to the city of Am’alek, and lay in wait in the valley. And Saul said to the Ken’ites, ‘Go, depart, go down from among the Amal’ekites, lest I destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.’ So the Ken’ites departed from among the Amal’ekites. And Saul defeated the Amal’ekites, from Hav’ilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amal’ekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed.”
I used to think, “Well, oh that was God telling him don’t destroy them all.” But the words of 1 Samuel continue…. 1 Samuel 15:10-15 – “The word of the LORD came to Samuel: ‘I repent that I have made Saul king; for he has turned back from following me, and has not performed my commandments.’ And Samuel was angry; and he cried to the LORD all night. And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning; and it was told Samuel, ‘Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned, and passed on, and went down to Gilgal.’ And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, ‘Blessed be you to the LORD; I have performed the commandment of the LORD.’ And Samuel said, ‘What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?’ Saul said, ‘They have brought them from the Amal’ekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.’”
1 Samuel 15:16 – “Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘Stop! I will tell you what the LORD said to me this night.’ And he said to him, ‘Say on.’”
Then Samuel not only rebuked Saul for not destroying all the Amalekites, the children and everything, but then you see in 1 Samuel 15:32-33 – “Then Samuel said, ‘Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amal’ekites.’ And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, ‘Surely the bitterness of death is past.’ And Samuel said, ‘As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.’ And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.”
I just reacted against that whole deal. I thought it was ridiculous. I was brought up as a liberal in seminary. I didn’t destroy the Bible but in my own mind I tore that part out and didn’t read it. I didn’t know what else to do because it seemed to me to prove that God was a cruel God. That was until I began to realize the truth in one other chapter in the Bible, Deuteronomy 18:9-14.
Deuteronomy 18:9-14 – “When you come into the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD; and because of these abominable practices the LORD your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations, which you are about to dispossess, give heed to soothsayers and to diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you so to do.”
I began to realize that God wasn’t driving the Amalekites out of Canaan because they possessed the land that he wanted His people to have. That’s the way I had thought of it before. I thought God was destroying the Amalekites, the Philistines, the Jebusites and the Hittites simply because they owned the land that he wanted for His own people, the Israelites.
Then I began to see that that wasn’t the reason he was driving them out at all. The reason he was driving them out was, these people had given themselves utterly to the elemental spirits of the universe — to spiritism, to spiritualism, to evil spirits, to the possession of demons, to the worship of fortune tellers, to the worship of mediums and wizards. They had become so utterly impregnated with this whole spiritual atmosphere and attitude that you could not separate them from it. The only way in fact, to get rid of that whole atmosphere of Satan’s willing domination over the land was to destroy the people as well. It meant to destroy every part of it, to destroy even the animals and even the children.
Now brothers and sisters, I know to us, that still seems hard to believe. It’s easier to believe when you get into countries like India where you see the power of evil spirits and the power of the elemental spirits of the universe over whole families and whole nations. It’s possible then to see that you cannot separate them one from another in many situations, particularly before the giving of the Holy Spirit after Jesus had died.
The real reason God destroyed these people was because the evil was inextricably mixed with the people themselves. Now one of the reasons why we react against this is we are naïve optimists. Sometimes I think we’re just unrealistic liars about ourselves and about human nature. Because we believe that no one can be so mixed up in evil that they cannot be separated from it. We believe that no one is so bad that you have to destroy him. We believe that you can educate everybody out of
Of course, the result is obvious. Last year there were 18,000 murders in the nation — one every half hour. That means between 11:30 and noon, during this half hour, somebody will be murdered somewhere in our nation. Then, we go out for lunch and while we’re eating lunch, somebody else is being murdered, one every half hour. It’s because of our naïve optimism and our compromising attitude towards what evil really is that we have a poor old judge who as of this moment is trying to decide whether to dismiss McCord’s conviction of burglary because it was authorized by the President of United States.
You wonder, “Where are we going?” Whether he authorizes or not, that’s not the issue. Here we are in a situation where one of our judges is in that position. Now do you see that we’re in this mess partly because we really do not see how evil, evil is and that it is bad enough in many situations for God to be able to do nothing but destroy it? Now that’s what he did, you remember away at the beginning of the world.
You remember when the whole world was taken over by violence and chaos, God destroyed it all with a flood. Now that’s what he did with us in Jesus 1900 years ago. It really is a big step in our lives when we begin to see that the evil that we do is inextricably part of us, ourselves. You remember that’s what Isaiah meant when he said, “I dwell in a people of unclean lips and I myself am a man of unclean lips”. He didn’t say, “I speak an odd unclean word”. No, he said, “I am uncleanness myself”.
What we’ve been saying over the past couple of months is that it’s a real step forward in one’s life when we stop saying, “Oh I do some unkind acts. I think some unclean thoughts. I speak some unclean words”. When we really see, “All that comes out of me and I am uncleanness. I produce what I am”. That’s a big step in a man or woman’s life. That’s a big step when you see that the outward acts, words and thoughts are only signs and symptoms of an inward self that is a real monster, determined to make itself God, whatever it causes anybody else. That’s a big step when we do that.
It’s a great step when we come to the position where we see it’s the ‘I, me, myself’ attitude that wants its own way and that insists on its own rights. It’s that that is evil and that challenges God’s rights and God’s position. That’s why that attitude has to be destroyed. That’s hard for many of us to see that at the beginning. I remember when I first began to see that there were some wrong in my life even though I was a Christian.
I began to see it as just a little bit of irritability. I thought, “Yes, I get irritable in certain situations”. My wife would say to me, “Now, you lost your temper there.” And I would say, “Yes, but that was a special situation.” And then, “Yes, but you were impatient there.” “Yes, but that was a special situation.” And we’re always trying to make out that the evil is only a little bit. It’s a great step when a man or woman sees that it’s like an iceberg. You see the little bit on the top of the water floating — just a little bit of irritability on Saturday because she wasn’t on time to go out with you. It’s just a little bit floating on the top. Then you get down underneath with your snorkeling gear and you see that there is nine tenths underneath the surface. The tip is just a tiny piece and that’s a good step.
Now that’s why God destroyed us. Because what we do wrong, even after we’re Christians, comes from the self — the great giant monster, self, that wants its own way and insists on its own rights. It wants to lord it over everybody else while having an appearance of Christianity in the outward life. That’s why; you remember God did that to us in that cosmic event. It’s in Romans 6, if you’d like to
look at it, though you’ll know it, many of you without looking.
Romans 6:3-4 – “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Now that’s a great step when we see that we were so rotten that God destroyed us in Jesus. Many of us say, “Yes, but how? How does that become real in our own lives?” We see it and we see that self needs to be taken care of, (not the personality that we have which God wants), but the self-centeredness, the desire for self-glory in our own way. How is that taken care of in our own lives? That’s what this next verse that we’ll study today is about.
Romans 6:11 – “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” So you also must consider — in the King James Version, it’s the word ‘reckon’. God says, “You have been destroyed in Jesus, now you must reckon that that has been done to you. You must consider yourselves dead.” And that’s the way in to having this made real in your own lives. The word ‘reckon’ is not just a logical word. Reckon — think of it this way — it means, treat yourself as being really dead.
It’s a Greek word ?????’luggedsesta’?????. It means to treat yourself as being really dead with Jesus. Some of you will know Lensky, the Lutheran commentator. He makes it very plain. He says, “The verb does not mean to conclude in a mere logical fashion but to reckon with certain facts as facts so as to act on them because they are facts.”
Paul says, “Take it ever as a settled fact that you are dead, dead to sin with Jesus.” Now, that’s the way in. First begin to reckon yourself as having being crucified with Jesus. Let’s say we’re in a light plane, it’s nighttime and we’re near the Rocky Mountains. We’ve lost the way and the pilot says to us, “Okay, the parachutes are there. I’ll show you how to put them on and you jump.” You say, “No, no, I don’t want to risk it.” We talk it over and eventually I say, “Okay, I am going to risk it.” I take the parachute, put it on, I jump and float down to earth safely. Do you see that my safety was guaranteed even before I believed what the pilot said and acted on it? My safety was guaranteed. The parachute was there, it would open, it was tied well, it would open there’s no doubt. If I would just believe him and do what he said.
Now the thing was done already in fact. My safety was guaranteed once that parachute was put into the plane. But do you see it only became real to me when I believed it and acted as if I believed. Now it’s the same with being crucified with Christ. All the evil in you and me that needs to be destroyed has been destroyed in Jesus. But that can only become real in us if we believe that and act as if we have been crucified with Christ, act as if we are dead, act as if we have no rights of our own, act as if we have no clothes to protect and to look after, act as if we have no future to ensure, act as if we have no career to worry about, act as if we have no reputation to guard. It only all becomes real when we believe that that has actually taken place.
Now to some of us it’s a problem to think that something that happened to us 1900 years ago can happen to us now. But it’s only a problem to us who are closed in our finite system of time and space. To an infinite God to whom all space and time are one great eternal present, there is no problem in doing something 1900 years ago and making it real today.
For him, it is all one great eternal presence. The fact is that this can be made real in us if we’re ready to believe it and if we’re ready to act as if it’s true. But many of us who are Christians and
have trouble with anger, jealousy, envy, impatience, unclean thoughts, wrong attitudes and self-glory, many of us come to this and we still don’t understand that we’re to look at what has happened in Jesus rather than what is happening in ourselves. We hear something like was said this morning and we say, “I am going to take it as a fact. I am crucified with Christ. All my rights have been destroyed and my future is utterly in God’s hand. I have no rights to rebuke anyone. I have no rights to demand that anyone does things in the time that I want him to.” We hear that today and we take a stand. But tomorrow, somebody says something and the temper goes off and we don’t look at the fact of our death with Christ.
We do not reckon that we are dead with Christ on the basis of what God says. We look at our own experience and say, “It wasn’t true. I am not crucified with Christ otherwise I wouldn’t have lost my temper like that.” And so many of us go up and down, and never come into any deliverance from the selfish will in our own lives. It’s because we take a stand on the thing and then when we lose our temper, get impatient or we get angry, we look at our experience.
Now brothers and sisters, the first meaning of reckoning or considering, that Greek word, the first meaning of it is that you consider on the basis of what God says is true, not on the basis of your own personal experience of moral impotence. You look at what God has said is true and you never stray from it. Even when anger, jealousy or envy is present in your life, you say, “Father, I believe your word that I have been crucified with Christ and I know that only on that basis can you make this real inside me.”
You have to hold to what God has said is true. You can’t change every now and again and look at your own inner experience. You have to look at Jesus on the Cross and say, “Father, you destroyed Jesus. I know the reason you destroyed him was because you put all of us into him and destroyed us with him. I believe it. I believe that I have been crucified with Christ whatever I feel like, whatever my anger tells me. I believe I have been crucified with Christ.”
Loved ones, only if you take that stand is God ever able to actualize the thing in your own life. If you refuse to take that stand, God can do nothing with you. The Holy Spirit can only work on the basis of your believing God’s word. If you say to me, “Do you believe God’s word in contradiction to our own experience?” Yes, that’s it. You believe God’s word in contradiction to your own experience.
You know that crucial moment with water skis? It’s wild isn’t it? It’s the moment just before you actually get up. It doesn’t look like you will get up at all. The water is coming all around you, one ski is going out that direction, the other that way, the motor is just about to kill and you’re sure you won’t go up. But there’s a moment of truth when you hang on and you believe what you’ve seen other people doing. Whatever it feels like yourself, you hang on to the rope and you feel, “Yes, it’ll go if I hang on long enough. I may be up with two broken legs but I’ll be there!”
You know that in a thing like water skiing (and there are many other things like that) that you only get through in them because you believe what somebody has said. If you keep your legs like that and you keep your arms like that, you’re going to come up. Now it’s that way with Jesus. It really has to be loved ones. You won’t find any deliverance from selfish will unless you keep on believing that you have been crucified with Christ. Eventually the Holy Spirit will be able to do something with that.
Now you can see that that’s utterly different from the error or the heresy that many Christians got
into in the past where they said, “We must crucify ourselves.” They would beat their bodies and they would be cruel to their feelings to try to crucify themselves. God’s word is utterly different. He says, “You have been crucified, believe it. You have been crucified. You don’t need to crucify yourselves. You have been crucified in my Son; believe that with all your heart and then act as if that’s true.”
Now you may say, “That’s autosuggestion.” I think a lot of people interpret consider or reckon as autosuggestion. They say, “That’s it. I just keep saying I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead. I am crucified with Christ. I am crucified with Christ. I am crucified with Christ.” Meanwhile, the anger is welling up inside while they say, “I am crucified with Christ. I am crucified with Christ.” Loved ones, autosuggestion, or the power of positive thinking, is only useful to do things that men have control over themselves. In that sense the power of positive thinking is real. You know that in your sports training at school and through the whole theory of cheerleaders. The whole principle underlying that kind of thing is the power of positive thinking.
Think right and you’ll be right. That works when you’re dealing with things over which men have control. But it doesn’t work with something over which only God has control. It’s not a case of think crucified and you’ll be crucified. God wants you to believe that you’ve been crucified with Christ but not because that actual belief will do the job. But it’s because he has told you that that is true. You must believe it. He is only able to act on the basis of that. But there’s only one person who is able to make that real in your life and that person is mentioned, if you like to look at it there in John 16:14.
John 16:14 – “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” The Greek word is, ‘imparted’ to you or ‘make it real in you’. “He will take what is mine and impart it to you or make it real in you.” Now who is the ‘He’? It certainly isn’t the power of positive thinking. It’s in John 16:13 – “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” And then, “He will take what is mine and make it real in you.”
Only the Holy Spirit is able to make your crucifixion with Christ real in you. Only he is able to apply it to your selfish will. The only thing a person can do is believe with all his heart that he is being crucified with Christ. Then go to the Holy Spirit and say, “Holy Spirit is there any part of me that is not willing to receive this crucifixion? Is there any area of my life where I am not willing to give up my own rights or where I am not willing not to have my own way? Is there any besetting sin that I am not willing to put on the Cross?” Then the Holy Spirit will begin to give you revelation.
But loved ones, that’s what we need. We need to believe the fact of our death with Christ rather than our own personal experience of moral impotence. We have to believe that the Holy Spirit will give us revelation as to what way we’re not willing to be crucified with Christ rather than introspection and autosuggestion. Do you see that it is really a supernatural way? The human ways, we’ve tried on our own. But this is a way that is wholly governed and wholly controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Loved ones, I tell you there is just a different life waiting for you on the other side of that tomb. There really is. There just is a life of deliverance from uncleanness in your own attitude, from pride and from envy and jealousy that is miraculous. God can make it real in you. Take the first step of considering yourselves dead indeed to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Begin to believe that instead of continually looking at your own personal experience. Begin to trust the Holy
Spirit to show you where you’re not willing to experience that. God will make it real in you.
Loved ones, that’s what we need. Every one of us needs to experience that. We need to leave behind that old self once and for all. That miserable self that has developed so many selfish ways, we need to leave it once and for all behind us and forget it. Then we can let Jesus live in us freely. That is a different kind of life. It’s the only answer to the envy, jealousy, anger and all those things that you and I have tried for so long to face. It is possible to enter in, believe me. Let us pray.
Holy Spirit, we want this, we want our life of victory. Holy Spirit, we know that it’s our envy, impatience and irritability that destroy our home lives, and our own personal witness. Holy Spirit, we don’t know how big self is but it seems to grow like a massive giant inside us at times. Holy Spirit, we’re going to set our minds on what God has told us is true. He has already destroyed us. We’re buried now. A funeral took place 1900 years ago. We are now with God, in Jesus at His right hand. Holy Spirit, you are the only one that can make this real in us.
Would you show us if there’s any place where we’re willing to believe it but where we’re not willing to have it made real in us? Will you show us if there is any place where we’re not willing to die to self? Holy Spirit, show us wherever it is. It’s different for all of us. If it’s in our man-woman relationships or if it’s in our relationships with our parents or if it’s in our attitude to our career or our job or our reputation or our appearance, if there is any place where we’re not willing to be exactly as Jesus was on the Cross, please show us. Insulted by everybody, opposed by everybody and destroyed unjustly, if there’s any place where we’re not willing to come into this death with him, will you reveal that to us? Holy Spirit we know that it’s God’s will for us. This is why he destroyed us in Jesus so that he could actually destroy the evil in us here in this present life.
We trust you to lead us into this for Jesus glory and our lives. Amen.