Challenged to Change
Give Up Your Rights
Give Up Your Rights!
2 Corinthians 5:17
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Today is communion and it’s easy for many of us to feel, “If I didn’t have this every month, I don’t know how I would stay honest with God.” Whether we are from Catholic background or Protestant background, we’re used to making our peace with God at least once a month at communion or at Mass. It is easy, loved ones, to think of communion as just that: coming each month and confessing to God in the name of Jesus, the things that we’ve done wrong. That is a good step to take but it’s just vital that you see that that isn’t why Jesus died.
He is not just a sacrifice. I think often from the little we all know about Old Testament days, we tend to think of Him in that way. You know how the Pagans would offer a cow or an ox and burn it up on an altar and try to placate the god. So many of us from our days at Sunday school have got the idea that Old Testament sacrifice was the same. It was offering up a cow or a bull to God. We would often say in the light of Jesus’ sacrifice, it was to remind God of the blood that was shed by His Son and to plead with God that for the sake of that sacrifice, He would forgive us.
But loved ones, that is not the purpose of Jesus’ death. The purpose of His death is not that you would come here today and say, “Lord, will you forgive me for the anger that I burst out with last week? Will you forgive me Lord for the selfishness that I showed towards my roommate this past week?” It is not so that we’ll ask Him to forgive us for those things. The truth is that Jesus was made those things for you. He was made those things for you.
Now, I’d like you to look at that and then I’ll try to explain it plainly. It’s in Second Corinthians 5:21. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Now, you may say, what on earth does that mean? God made Jesus to be sin.
You have a little personality that works in a certain way that you have been unable to control. It works like this. Something begins to get out of control in your home or in the office. Somebody does something that utterly irritates and offends you and it begins to make things go the way you don’t want them to go. You feel you have to stop that happening. Immediately that you feel that, there rises up in you an anger that bursts out at them to stop them doing it so that things will come back into your control.
God took that whole process that takes place in you and put it into Jesus and destroyed it in Him. That’s what it means. God made Him to be sin who knew no sin. That whole reaction of yours is sin. It’s you becoming God. It’s you judging, “This ought not to be and I won’t let it be.” That is sin. It’s you setting yourself up to control the things that happen to you in your life instead of letting God control them. And the moment you do that, sin and its process works in your personality so that you can’t stop the thing until it’s completed — until you’ve burst out in anger, you’ve lost your temper and the whole thing is a mess. That’s sin, loved ones.
God made Jesus to be that (sin) so that He could destroy it in Him. If you say to me, “Do you mean then that there is no need for me to lose my temper – that I can be free from this?” Yes, but not apart from what Jesus has done for you. Apart from what Jesus has done for you, you’re absolutely
right. You can’t keep your temper. But don’t you see that the whole purpose of Jesus’ death is to destroy that whole process that is set on fire, by you determining, “I must control this situation.” It’s the same with lust and unclean thoughts. You know it yourself.
You put one step on the slippery path, and before you know it you’re the whole way down. It’s just like a chain reaction. It’s the same with resentment. You just put one step on the slippery path, you just allow yourself to think for one moment, “Why didn’t he do that or why did she do that to me?” Before you know it, you’re right down the slippery path and the resentment has begotten all kinds of attitudes into you that you can’t control.
Now, God made Jesus to be sin, who knew no sin. He took that whole process in you, that whole chain reaction that operates in your personality, and He put it into His son and destroyed it. If you say to me, “Do you mean I could live free from those things?” Yes. And if you say, “What have I to do to do that?” You’ve simply got to stop taking the first step and you’ve got to see that you are actually in Christ. Christ does not have any anger and He does not have any resentment and He does not have a sinful nature that prevents Him obeying God. You are in Him.
You see you have a tendency to say, “If I only knew I was in Him, I would believe that. That’s why I come on Sundays. I am trying to get into Him.” Loved ones, you are in Him. You don’t have to opt into Him. You actually have to opt out of Him, which is what you do. I’ll show you that if you like to see it, it’s in Second Corinthians 5:17.
“Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” The whole thing has already happened. But you say, “Yes, but it says, ‘If anyone is in Christ’. ‘If’, now that’s my problem. I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I believe in coming to church. I believe in the Bible but I don’t know what it means to be in Christ. It says, ‘If anyone is in Christ’, and I feel from what you’re saying that I have to do something to get into Christ.”
Loved ones, you haven’t. Look at Second Corinthians 5:14. “For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.” That’s it. Christ died for all of us in this room. Therefore, all of us have died. God put all of us into Jesus and destroyed us there. God destroyed all our impatience and all our anger and all our lustful process of thought. God destroyed it all in Jesus. There’s no reason why any of us here can’t live free from that. There isn’t.
You know you and I cling on to it (sin) because the whole world seems to live under sin. The whole world seems to come to communion Sunday after Sunday or month after month pleading forgiveness for the sins that they say they can’t help committing. The Lord Jesus, whose death we are celebrating, is pleading. “I died so that that could be destroyed in me. It was destroyed in me and the only way you’re carrying it on is because you want to carry it on. If you really want to stop losing your temper, if you really want to stop being angry, if you really want to stop being resentful, I have made that possible. I want you to come to My table and not plead that My Father will forgive you because of my death for the things that you’ve done wrong, but that you’ll turn from those things, that you’ll see that there is no reason in heaven or in earth why you can’t live free from those things.”
Loved ones, that’s what communion is about. It’s not for a constantly disobedient people to come and be Jews. That’s all we’re being when we’re asking God for forgiveness. We’re just being Jews, it’s not for that. It’s for a people to come before the Savior and say, “Lord Jesus, I lost my temper
this last week. Lord, will You show me in what way I am not willing to hang on that Cross with You and let things go the way Your Father wants them to go even if it is to my pain or my harm. Will you show me what way or why I am not willing for that? Lord, I want to be willing for that because I know you died to destroy this in me. I am willing Lord, to be completely in you. I don’t want any bit hanging out.”
Now what does it mean to have no bit hanging out? We come, we ask forgiveness for our bad temper but we reserve the right to lose our temper again, that’s it. We come and we repent of unclean thoughts but we maintain the right to have unclean thoughts again if it’s necessary. That’s what having a bit hanging off the cross is. It’s regarding yourself as having the right still to worry, still to be anxious, still to lose your temper.
What taking your place on the cross in Jesus is, is giving up the right any longer to be angry. Giving up the right any longer to lie. Giving up the right any longer to resent or to worry or to be anxious or to indulge in alcohol or nicotine or food or whatever the thing is that is wearing us out. It’s giving up the right. That’s what it is, loved ones. It’s taking your place with Jesus on the Cross and saying, “Lord, You give up all your rights for me. I give up every right to do what I want to do. From now on, I take my position in you. I say to Our Father ‘be it unto me according to thy will’”. That’s it.
The moment you do that, there comes into your life a spirit of Jesus that lifts you into the Father’s will and enables you to live in peace and in rest for the remainder of your days. Now, that’s what communion is about. I ask you to see all that you do this morning in reality and as you come up to the table to deal with Jesus in that way. If you deal with Him like that, He will deal with you fully and completely and you will live above the miserable independent life that we live outside Him. I pray that you’ll do that. Let us pray.
Dear Father, we come before you because you see all that we are. You see into the bottom of our hearts. You see what we really want. Father, we come because we know Jesus’ death is the meaning of all of life. We know that in that death is the key to everything. Father we know that you have called us to respect, obey, and to trust you. Father as we look at Jesus hanging on the cross, we see one who obeyed you and respected you and trusted you completely.
Now, we see through your word that we were in Him as He did that. That because He died for all of us, all of us died in Him and all of us have already trusted You and respected You and obeyed You in Him. So Father, we know this morning that what You’re asking us to do is to remain in Christ this day — to be willing not to struggle off the Cross, to be willing not to wriggle off the nails, to be willing not to call down angels to avenge us, to be willing for circumstances to go the way You allow them to go and not the way we want them.
We know our Father that You’re asking us to abide in Jesus and to receive from Your hand what You have for us. We give up our rights to sin, to be angry, to resent, to lie, to distrust, to worry, and to be anxious. Dear Holy Spirit, You who are the spirit of truth, will you search our hearts now as we come to the Lord’s table.
We do not presume to come to this thy table, most merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table, but thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore gracious Lord, so by faith to receive thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, that the bread we break may
be unto us the communion of his body, and the cup of blessing, which we bless, may be the communion of his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us.
The Lord Jesus, on the night in which He was betrayed, took bread; and broke it and said, “This is My body which was given for you, this do, in remembrance of Me.” In like manner, He took the cup after supper saying, “This is the cup of the new covenant in My blood, this do, as often as you drink it”, for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup you proclaim the Lord’s death till He come.