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Four Freedoms 2

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Four Freedoms 2

Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill

You remember that last Sunday evening I was sharing that verse in John 8:32: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Then further down in verse 36 it says, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” I shared that if you are really dwelling in truth, that truth will make you free. That is effective right throughout every stage in the Christian life. But if you’re not believing the truth or dwelling in the truth, then you will come into all kinds of bondage.

I suggested that there seemed to be four different stages or areas of our Christian lives where many of us managed to come into bondage. They really related to four different events in Christ’s life. The answer to this bondage was allowing the Holy Spirit to apply each of the four stages of Christ’s life to us. But if we didn’t do that we could come into real bondage.

I suggested that one of them was conscience. That at the very beginning of our Christian lives we had trouble with a guilty conscience, and that many of us could come into bondage through trying to work out the guilt. We could do this by trying to be good church-goers, or doing our best to work out our own salvation.

The answer really was to come into the meaning of Romans 5:9 — that we’re justified by the blood of Jesus. Whatever our lives are like, however miserable they are — God accepts us because Jesus’ blood has been shed for our rebellious lives. And the way to enter into that was through a birth — experiencing the birth of Jesus inside us. The only way for that to come about is by the action of the Holy Spirit.

Unless the Holy Spirit brings Jesus alive inside us, we will never come free from that guilty conscience. The way to come into that is to believe and obey. And the way to come into all of these freedoms — these four freedoms in these four areas of life — is really to come into belief and obedience about certain facts in Jesus’ life and death. It’s stated in Romans 5:9, that we are justified by the blood of Jesus — that because of Jesus’ death, God forgives us.

We’re called to believe that, and we’re called to obey. It says we’re called to repent. Unless you repent you will in no way enter the kingdom of Heaven. Unless you repent you will perish. So in coming into the new birth of Jesus, you’ve to believe that he died for you and that his blood satisfies God, and you’ve to repent and turn from the wrong things that you’ve been doing.

Last Sunday I shared that many of us brought about a salvation by works. Many of us turned repentance into, “I must feel the repentance. Unless I feel it, unless I work out this repentance so that I feel pain and sorrow, God will not forgive me.” So, many of us wait days and days after we’ve sinned against God trying to work up enough repentance. In fact, all we’re trying to do is penance. We’re trying to punish ourselves to make us feel that God ought to forgive us now that we have justified him by punishing ourselves.

We do the same with believing. Many of us say, “Oh, we know we have to believe. But you have to believe a certain way. You have to believe a certain theory of the atonement, or you have to believe a certain corner on truth about Jesus — and then God will forgive you.” We come into bondage and salvation by works instead of doing two simple things: believing and obeying. Believing

that Jesus has died for us, and repenting of our sins and stop doing them. Really, becoming a Christian is as easy as that.

Then you know many of us go along in the Christian life and we find we have trouble with this old selfish will. It’s just a will that wants to go its own way. It wants to do its own thing at its own time in its own way for its own glory. Many of us find that working inside us even after we’ve been born of the spirit. The only answer to that is really coming into an experience of the fact that we were crucified with Christ. Coming into a place where we’re ready to die to self and be crucified with Jesus.

Many of us don’t tackle that answer. We work the old salvation by works business. We try to repress the selfish will. We try to rationalize it away and say, “Well, all Christians get angry. It’s normal to get angry.” Or, we try in some way to get rid of this stuff underneath. But we try to get rid of it by works of all kinds.

Now the only answer is to allow the Holy Spirit to make this death of Christ real in us. And the only way we can do it is by believing and obeying. By believing that we were crucified with Christ, and then by submitting to his Holy Spirit each moment of the day so that the Holy Spirit is then able to bring this about. What I’m really trying to say is the Holy Spirit works the miracle on the left hand of that line {pointing to a diagram} if we do the things that are on the right hand of the line. Now, that’s true.

The Holy Spirit miraculously makes the new birth real in us if we will simply believe that Jesus has died for us and repent of our sins. The Holy Spirit makes the death of Jesus real in us and gives us victory over anger, jealousy, pride, and lust — if we simply believe that we were crucified with Christ. That we have no right to our own lives, or no right to our own way, and we yield moment-by-moment instant obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Now it is true, loved ones, God works the miracle on the left hand side of that double line {pointing to the diagram} if we do the things on the right hand side of the line. Every one of us who are coming into bondage about our guilty consciences, or about our selfish wills, are coming into bondage because we won’t do one of these three things. Either we won’t believe that Jesus’ blood really makes us right with God, or we won’t turn from all our sins, or we won’t believe that we’ve been crucified with Christ. We keep on saying, “No, I’m not crucified. I get angry every day. I’m obviously not crucified.” But God’s word says you were crucified.

Either you don’t believe that and you won’t accept it. You keep looking to your experience to disprove what God’s word says is true. Or, you won’t submit to the Holy Spirit when he says, “Shut up. Just don’t answer. Okay, they’ve cut you apart now. Shut up. Just keep quiet and leave it to me.” Either we won’t believe that we’re crucified with Christ, or we won’t simply submit to the Holy Spirit. That’s it, honestly.

Loved ones, if I could take each of you and say that if you’re having trouble with either a guilty conscience or a selfish will — it’s because you’re not doing one of these two things. It’s not because you alone have managed to defeat the infinite plan of the infinite Creator of the universe. That is not true. It is not true that you’re so different from everybody else in the universe that God has not made a plan that works with you. It works with you. All you really need to do is give up the salvation by works and come into believing and obeying.

Now here’s something that we come into after maybe coming into some victory about a guilty conscience and a selfish will. And I say “some victory,” because many of us find that we have to walk in this daily in order to experience the victory. But many of us come into a different area completely — and it’s this area to do with the mind and emotions. Here we find that the will is selfish. Here we find that we have independent minds and emotions that go their own ways at times — in spite of the fact that the Spirit of Jesus is within us.

Now here’s the kind of expression that took in Galatians 2:11-14. Peter and Paul had had a discussion about the business of whether ordinary people – Gentiles — should become Jews before they become Christians. You remember they decided – no, they shouldn’t. They shouldn’t have to submit to all the regulations that the Jews had to submit to. They should be able to become Christians right away. Jesus came and wiped out and superseded all those ritual laws of the Jews, though not the moral laws.

Galatians 2:11 goes, “But when Cephas came to Antioch,” Paul says, “I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’”

Now, do you see that you can’t accuse Peter here, who already fought the battle of reputation in the courtyard with the little maid? For Peter, who already laid his life down on the day of Pentecost by accusing the murderers of Jesus of that very murder — you can’t accuse Peter of sinful selfish will that wanted to go his own way and protect himself. You can’t. You have to face the fact that old Peter’s mind had been running like a Jew’s mind for years and years and years. When he came into this situation he felt, “Well, no, I better do it. No, I better withdraw for the sake of my Jewish friends.” And he made a mistake because his mind had been brought up as a Jew’s for years and years.

That’s what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the fact that many of us have minds and emotions that have been programmed by a selfish will week-in and week-out and month-in and month-out. And whenever we’re filled with the Holy Spirit here and crucified with Christ, we often find that our minds and emotions are still independent of our spirits. They still go in ways that we don’t really want them to go.

Another example of it is Matthew 26. I know none of you will come into this problem with sleep that the disciples came into. But let’s look at it to see how some poor souls have to suffer. Matthew 26:38: “Then,” Jesus, “said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’” And then Verse 40, “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour?’”

Now do you see that the disciples wanted to watch with Jesus? But the old mind was used to sleeping at midnight, and as soon as midnight came — off it went. Now, do you see that there are times when we get up at six o’clock in the morning, and we’ve settled we start the day with the Father? We’re willing to die to our own comfort and we’re willing to put Jesus first. So we get up, slam down on the knees, and then ah, it’s beautiful. It’s just beautiful. That time of prayer went so fast. It’s seven o’clock already? I didn’t know the time had gone.

Then somebody says, “Who did you intercede for this morning?” And you said, “Well, I was higher than that. I was just up there in the heavenlies. I didn’t know a thing. It was a quick hour and went like that {snaps his fingers}. I never knew a thing.” Now you know you didn’t do much praying at all. You went to sleep, or you dosed, or you didn’t pray anyway. Now do you see that’s the soul? That’s the old mind and emotions that still are not submissive servants to the Spirit.

Another example is one you can see here in the evenings here with all our singing. We all used to be great singers. We’d get into that church, strum the old guitars, and clap the old hands and away we’d go. We weren’t pretty clear whether it was emotion or spirit but we were going and we were really up there.

Now you can see the problem: we come together again and again as a body and the old emotions are used to going that way. As some fellow gets the old handclapping going, you’re not quite sure whether you want a tambourine to tap or whether you want to get up and dance. You’re not quite sure whether it’s Jesus you’re preoccupied with, or the beat of the music. But it’s really going.

In other words, it’s difficult at times to worship continually in the Spirit. It isn’t that the spirit possesses no emotion. It’s that often our emotions run away independent of our spirits.

Another example is that you meet somebody new. They come in tonight to the church, and you really want to be real with them. You really do want to love them. You don’t want to come over as one of those gushy people who make a lot of small talk to make everybody feel comfortable. You really want to be straight. You want to be Jesus to them, really love them honestly, and look into their eyes and let them know that you’re not just turning the stuff on.

But the old mind and emotions have been programmed for years. Before you know it you’re into: what do they do? What are they studying? And you never get beyond that. You just get lost in, “What course are you studying? Oh yeah, I studied that last year. Yeah, well it’s quite good here. Yeah, do you like the singing?” “Yeah, it’s good.” “Well, we meet at this particular time.”

And little spirit gets communicated. It’s the old emotion gushing out. You’re making a big impression of friendliness on them but there’s no quietness of spirit coming in.

Or, it happens in the houses. It’s very hard to live in a Christian house with other Christians. In fact, it’s very hard to live in any house with other people without really being dead to self. It really is. Without being dead to self you’re always coming up against little strains and little times of friction.

Now, many of us have found that we have really died to self. We’ve really been filled with the Holy Spirit. But in our houses we come up against the problem that our mind has been programmed for years to regard that piece of clothing as ours. This fellow comes in and picks it up. You know that really the clothing doesn’t matter much. You’re dead to that. You know that God will give you whatever clothing is needed. But the old mind is programmed and you think, “What’s he doing?” Before you know it the mind is out with some comment.

I’m not backing the fact that he’s taking your clothing. No, I’m not for that. But it’s the problem of the old response coming out. Not from the level of a selfish will so much as from an independent mind and emotions that are just beginning to walk in the old selfish way. Many of us

have found that if we don’t deal with this independent mind and emotions, it begins to drag us back into ourselves.

What many of us have found is we’ve committed our whole self to Jesus. We’ve decided to walk with him. We’ve decided to die to our own careers, to the right to success, to financial security from Social Security pensions and life insurance payouts when we’re retired. We walk that way. But we don’t allow the mind and emotions to be dealt with by the cross. So they flip back onto the old way of thinking. So we’re in a worse state than people who never started on the Calvary Road. We’re half way out there.

Maybe we’re working at a job that we sense God has called us to. We’re making poor wages, and the mind is going back to being at home with our family we grew up with. We’re listening to what our parents want us to be. We’re listening to what we should be in our careers. And we begin to come into a real conflict.

Now do you see that if you don’t deal with the independent mind and emotions, you can minster no life? If we don’t come into a real freedom from the bondage of our minds and emotions, we will minister no life in our meetings. We’ll minister just emotions. We’ll minister no life in our witnessing. We’ll minister just a very persuasive convincing argument. Or, we’ll impress people with our emotion of love. But unless we come into a place where we begin to allow the cross to deal with these parts of us, and not wipe them out but discipline them and bring them under the control of our spirits, we’ll really be useless for ministering life. We’ll eventually fall back into our selfish will.

Here is the very problem. Many of us, when we see that, begin to realize we have to do something about it. The verse that you’d find it in is 2 Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.” Many of us would come to that conclusion: “That’s right. The Spirit of Jesus is inside me. But my own earthly mind and emotions are round it, and they’re not submissive to it. They’re not expressing it purely and cleanly.” So we say, “Yeah, well, this old earthen vessel — I’ll have to do something about it.”

Now here are the two approaches most people take to deliver themselves from this by works — and it only brings them into more bondage. Some people say, “Well, Pastor, what you said tonight is true. My old emotions whip away off at times when I shouldn’t be emotional at all. I know that I should be ministering the quietness of Jesus in a quiet emotion of love. But I’m out gushing away. My emotions are out of control and I know that. And I realize what you say is true, that a real Christian who is walking in the Spirit is one who has his emotions controlled by his spirit. I am going to control those miserable emotions.”

That’s the first wrong step we take. Many of us get into the business of annihilating the emotions. We say to ourselves, “That’s right. A Christian is not an emotional person. He’s a spiritual person. So I must annihilate these emotions. Nobody will get a smile out of me. Nope. Very interesting, brother. I’m glad that your wife had a baby.” But he thinks, “I mustn’t get too excited about it lest he think I’m not a spiritual Christian.”

You know that in many so-called “spirit-filled circles”, you meet those dear, dear souls. You must be loving and kind to them because all of us have made the mistake – of thinking that a Christian is one who has no emotions at all. Or there are some people that say, “That’s right — a Christian is

one who walks in the Spirit, not in his mind.” So they come into this problem of becoming passive in their minds and they just give up the use of their minds.

There are many dear ones who have good minds and they come to making a decision and they just won’t think about it at all. They won’t use their mind to gather the information that God wants them to gather. They just say, “No, no, I’ll wait for the Spirit to tell me.” You meet these dear ones and you ask them, “Do you know what you’re going to do tomorrow?” They say, “No, no, but I’m waiting for the Lord to tell me.” They’re still waiting tomorrow, and they’re still waiting the next day, and they’re just wandering around in a kind of blankness because they’ve started to annihilate their minds.

They’re the people who read books and won’t judge the book or criticize the book. They’ll just read the book and accept everything that comes in from the book. Anybody who appears to have a spiritual smile on their faces they’ll say, “Ah, they’re spiritual people.” They give up using their minds completely. Most people like that come into a tremendous passivity, where they just join a “bless me” club. They just worship as they say “in the spirit” night and day, and they are not used by God to transmit any life to anyone else.

That’s one of the problems where they come into bondage by trying to annihilate the mind and emotions. Or there’s another answer that some find: they over-exercise their minds and emotions. They read a verse like one in Romans 12:11: “Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.” They say, “That’s right! The way to be a spiritual Christian is to be aglow with the Spirit.” So they try to glow with the Spirit.

You can’t decide to glow with the Spirit. You know that. The Holy Spirit glows within you as he did on the face of Moses — or he doesn’t.

If you’re disobedient — he doesn’t. If you’re obedient, he does. But you can’t say, “I’m going to glow with the Spirit.” But many dear ones say, “Ah, that’s the way to be a spiritual Christian. I must glow with the Spirit.”

You get fed up with their smiles. They just smile, and smile, and smile, and smile. You could cut their arms off and they’d still be smiling. There’s something a wee bit unreal about it. Or, they say, “I must be aglow with the Spirit. That means I must worship in a way that glorifies God. I must abandon myself to him.” And they abandon themselves not spiritually because you can’t abandon or touch your spirit at all. Only the Holy Spirit can touch your spirit. But they say, “I’ll abandon myself in the Spirit.”

Of course they misunderstand the emotions — the strongest part that is inside them for the Spirit. So they abandon themselves emotionally and they feel that they should praise God with great expression in their voice. I was caught about four years ago in this same business.

They feel, “If you express to God with a strong emotion in your voice, then you’re being very spiritual.” And you get them doing all kinds of things in their prayers. Then if they get into the experience of tongues at all, they just lose themselves. They’re just content to pray in tongues all the time, not realizing that really that is God’s gift for a person in his infancy. It’s just a gift of God to people in their infancy in worship. But God wants you to come on through to the place not where you stop speaking in tongues, but where you begin to be able to express yourself through your mind and emotions to him.

It may be good to look at that because I know some of you will have questions. It’s talked about in 1 Corinthians 14:14-15. It would be good just to mention this for a moment or two because I think there is great misunderstanding about the eighth gift of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:14-15: “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.”

God allows that to come about, because many of us have minds that are earth-bound. God is gracious and fills us with the Holy Spirit and gives us the ability to speak in an unknown tongue where our mind is not used. Our mind is just bypassed by the Holy Spirit and it lifts us up into the Father.

But do you see that isn’t God’s final will for us? It isn’t his will that we’ll spend all our time in prayers doing that. There’s his final will in verse 15: “What am I to do? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also.” In other words, it is God’s will that we should come to a place where our spirit can express joy and glory to Jesus, and we use our mind to put that into ordinary words that others can understand.

Now don’t sit there and say, “Ah, we can’t use tongues.” Yes, yes you can use tongues. But don’t remain in tongues alone for the rest of your life. See that the Father wants to bring your mind under the control of your spirit so that you can speak that forth in beautiful words that others will understand so that they will say, “Amen.” So that when a stranger comes in he’s not baffled as if you’re speaking in a foreign language.

Now there are other uses for tongues, but I’m talking about the one where we glorify the Father. You see it’s the same – many people go into meetings where they speak in tongues, and worship God in tongues, and then the meeting closes. The strange thing is they’re not closer to each other than when they first went into the meeting, because the Spirit has not brought their minds and emotions into submission to their wills. So they are not able to express that love to each other after the meeting is over. The only way they can really feel one with each other is to blot out all their minds and bypass all their minds and go straight up in an unknown tongue to God. It shouldn’t be that way.

Now it is the Father’s will that we should come to a place where we can really express love to each other, not only in tongues but really using the words of our minds. These are some of the reasons why God wants us to avoid this business of either annihilating the mind and emotions — or over-exercising the mind and emotions, thinking that they’re the Spirit.

Alright, how do you come into freedom here? It’s the same truth. It’s through experiencing the resurrection of Jesus. That resurrection is experienced particularly through the verse that you read in 2 Corinthians 4:10. This is the progressive experience of Christ’s death in our own lives: “Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

In other words, there is a daily experiencing of Jesus’ death that is specifically planned to deal with these independent minds and emotions. There is a once-and-for-all experience of Christ’s death to deal with our selfish wills. But there is a daily experience of Christ’s death to deal with these independent minds and emotions, and that’s the experiencing that the Holy Spirit wants to make real in us.

How does he do it? Through our believing and obeying two truths that are there in scripture. First, the believing. Believe Hebrews 4:12. That will save us from all our attempts at annihilation of our minds and emotions, or over-exercising of them. Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

In other words, the first step in dealing with these problems here is to believe God’s word: “Father, I believe that you by your word will distinguish between my soul and my spirit. You will gradually bring about through revelation a knowledge of when I’m using my soul and when I’m using my spirit.” That’s the first step to take.

The second step is found there in 2 Corinthians 4:8. It’s the way God deals with this and makes this real in us. It’s obedience to this truth that enables the Holy Spirit to separate our souls — our minds and emotions — from our spirits, and to bring them under the control of the Spirit. It isn’t an easy way but it is God’s way, using breaking experiences: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus.”

Then what happens when you do that? Verse 16: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature,” our soul — our minds and emotions and their independent strength, “is wasting away, our inner nature,” our spirit, “is being renewed every day.” God brings that about inside you.

What does it mean? I remember going home in the car one morning after service about three or four years ago. It had been a good service. It was in Bethany Presbyterian Church and Jesus was just really there. I was going down the River Road and was just singing away and I was really enjoying it. I was just glad that Jesus had done such a work in the service. I got home, sat down at lunch, and just went way down emotionally. I didn’t know what was wrong. Then I began to seek God. God showed me, “You were high on emotion. What you’re now experiencing is just a breaking experience. I have to break you from that kind of emotionalism, because if you will go high on sheer emotion, Satan can bring you low in emotion the next moment.” Now that’s the kind of thing that God will bring to you.

You’ll gush out at somebody who comes into service on a Sunday and they’ll just turn you off. In fact, you’ll hear in a roundabout way from some friend that they were utterly put off the body and utterly put off Christianity by the way you dealt with them. That’s a breaking experience. God will bring you daily into breaking experiences that break the independent power of that mind and emotions, until eventually the Holy Spirit brings them under his control.

Now if you say, “When does that finish?” Probably when we see Jesus face-to-face. That goes on throughout this life. But you can tell by discernment of the spirit the people who are beginning to come into this kind of experiencing. They’re people who seem to transmit a hidden quiet life to you without dissipating you emotionally — whereas there are other people who wear you out. They talk far too much. They tell you what they think, and then they tell you it over again. They tell it to you five times more. The original truth was good and exciting but you’re worn out now with it. Now people who have been broken in their soulish powers transmit just a pure life of Jesus to you and you transmit it to them.

There is much more really in connection with that, but that at least introduces you to it. Those of you who have been to the seminars know that we deal with that particularly in the seminar “Walking

in the Spirit.” Watchman Nee deals with it particularly in this book Release of the Spirit. So maybe you’d just remember that what I’m trying to do is give you just the skeleton of the way God deals with us in our life.

I’ll just deal very quickly with the last one. Many of us come into this problem where we find: yes, we’re free from the emotionalism. But our spirits are often irresponsible. Often we get up in the morning and our spirit will not rise up to God. It just will not rise up. It seems to have a heaviness about it. We come into a meeting of some kind and our spirit just sinks down low. Or we begin to find that after a while of walking in the Spirit our spirit begins to ebb. Or it begins to be blocked inside as it can’t get out somehow. And we find that our spirit is irresponsible. Where the Holy Spirit of Jesus is rising up to the Father and glorifying him, our spirit is sinking down inside us.

Now really, many of us try to get over that by all kinds of exercises. We try to fight Satan by our own exertions. We come into a situation in the home where Satan has just turned the atmosphere sour and we get in there with our sleeves rolled up, and we set about analyzing everybody. Analyze dad. Analyze mom. Analyze the brother and the sister. Put everyone right. Then it should be beautiful — and the whole place falls apart.

Or, we come into a situation in the office. Satan has just got in there and he’s brought about an impossible situation. Two people have talked about us and we know about it. We get in there and we start tackling Satan on our own. We decide what we need here is a sensitivity group. We get everybody to confess all that they said to everybody else and then we sort the whole thing out. And it’s just agony. It’s just miserable.

In other words, we’re fighting Satan not with our spirits but we’re fighting him as if we’re fighting flesh and blood. Now there is only one way to fight Satan and that is really on the basis of Ephesians 2:6. It simply states that we who were dead in our trespasses and sins have been raised up and made to sit with God in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And that position is stated there in Ephesians 1:21: “Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” That’s the position that we have to come into.

In order to fight Satan, in order to have a spirit that is responsible to the Holy Spirit, we need to come into a position of Jesus’ ascension. That is a miracle that the Holy Spirit works in us.

Now I know that tonight maybe we’re already past where a lot of us are right now. But I just want to share it so that you at least know where to go. It’s necessary not only to come into resurrection as far as your mind and emotions are concerned. But it’s necessary to share with Jesus his ascension. That is, to come into that place of revelation of the Holy Spirit where you sit with Jesus at the right hand of the Father.

Now that’s a miracle. You can’t bring that about. You can’t bring it about by saying, “Oh yeah, I’m raised with Jesus to the right hand of the Father. I’m with Jesus at the right hand of the Father. Yeah, you can do what you like with me. I’m with Jesus at the right hand of the Father.”

That’s autosuggestion, deals with the mind, and gives you a soulish experience but not a spiritual experience of ascension with Jesus. There is only really one way to come into it, and that is to allow God to crucify you and bury you completely with Jesus. Then in his good time, as you set your

eyes on this fact of your resurrection with Jesus, you allow the Holy Spirit to make it real in you.

The way is just to really believe Colossians 3:2, and to believe that what God said is true — that you’ve been raised with Jesus to the right hand of the Father: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” And to begin to deal with life as if you really are at the right hand of the Father there, and to allow the Holy Spirit to make that real in you. Then you’re to obey him as he says in James 4:7, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

In other words, the way to experience real victory in spiritual warfare is to believe that position that you’re in with Christ. You’re above all rule, and authority, and dominion, and power. Then, you’re to resist Satan down here on this earth. That is the way God brings about spiritual victory in situations such as I described in the office and the home.

Now that’s just a very skeleton outline. But I think it’s important for you to realize that God has a liberty and a freedom for you to come into in each of those areas. The complete man or woman in Jesus is one who is beginning to come into these things.

Now don’t set it up as one, two, three, and four. God will deal with you in his own way and his own time, and he’ll continue to deal with all of us presumably on points three and four. We’ll continually have to start the day on the cross with him for victory in regard to the selfish will. Again, and again, as God reveals to us sins that we didn’t realize we had, we’ll have to come into a real experience of Romans 5:9.

But do you see? There is a way of freedom to walk in. It is through experiencing fully the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit making these things real in our lives. It really comes through believing and obeying.

One of the reasons I shared these things with you at all tonight, is to emphasize that it is God’s will for us to walk in liberty and victory. Whenever you’re in bondage or whenever you’re down about something, it is not because you’re experiencing truth. It’s because you’re believing some lie or some deception of Satan. The way into victory are these words that God has given us. So I do pray that even though it’s just a skeleton introduction, that you will seek the Holy Spirit.

Forget now everything that has been said. Forget what we showed on the overhead projector. Forget all the little illustrations that we used. Go to the Holy Spirit and say, “Holy Spirit, only you can keep me in liberty and freedom. I trust you to do it. I trust you to bring the right truth and apply it to me, and show me what I’ve to believe and to obey at each stage of my life in Jesus.”

Then it is possible to walk really continually in victory. I’m 38 so I’ve been on it for maybe 21 years, and been in victory in the Holy Spirit for seven or eight years. It is not necessary to spend hours or days in depression and despondency. It just is not. It is possible to walk in continual victory. It really is. Certainly there’s warfare, but you have a peace inside that passes all understanding. So I really do covet that for you and pray that you’ll experience it.