God Gave All, and so can We
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The Fullness of the Spirit
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
It might be good if I would share a few facts loved ones and it would get our minds onto the subject and then I’d ask you really to just to ask questions as you want to. Most of us here in this room fall into one of three categories. Either we are people who do what we want, that is some of us here just do what we want in life. We do what we want to do. We don’t like the word amoral, we don’t like to be regarded as amoral people, and we do like to look down on the people who involve themselves in Watergate because they were amoral but, actually we are amoral. We do just what we want and to that extent we’re for the moment, happy in that. We just do what we want.
Some of us here cannot do what we ought. We’ve taken a further step, we see what we ought to do but we can’t do it. So the first man is a natural man or a natural woman, they just do what they want it doesn’t matter what Creator or any law wants them to do, they do what they want. The second man or woman is a man under the law. They know what they ought to do but they can’t do it. And they could say Romans 7:15 again, and again, “I do not understand my own actions. I do not do the good that I want but the evil I do not want that is what I do.” Many of us are born of the spirit and are in that second category. We can’t do what we ought to do.
Some of us are in the third category. We do what we ought to do. We can do it. We are people who live under grace. We’ve been baptized with the Holy Spirit, we’ve been freed from the power of sin within us and we live lives that are free and we find that we naturally do what we ought to do.
Now loved ones, those are the three well known categories that all theologians have outlined and all the evangelists have outlined for years and they’re outlined clearly in scripture. The natural man, the man under the law, and the man under grace. Most of us here have, at one time, or are at the moment, in the second category. That is most of us have sensed that we are not what we ought to be. We’re not doing the things that we ought to do. We’re not living the kind of life that we ought to live. We sense that.
We sense that we ought to be unselfish, but we can’t stop being selfish. We sense that we ought to be patient but we can’t stop being irritable. We feel that we ought to be pure and clean, but we can’t stop being impure and dirty. And many of us either have been or are in that situation. And we’ve tried to better ourselves by all kinds of methods and we’re still in a situation of defeat. And the thing has become exacerbated for most of us by the realization that our Creator himself is unselfish and is patient, and is clean, and is pure and cannot admit into his fellowship any who are selfish, and who are irritable, and who are impure and unclean.
And so what is a dilemma turns into despair for many of us. We say, “Yeah, yeah I know what I have to be, and I know if I don’t come into that I know my Creator can’t have any fellowship with me. But I can’t do anything.” And it’s then that many of us here have seen Jesus’ death and have seen that in a cosmic miracle there the Creator of the world took these selfish personalities of ours, put them into his Son and destroyed it in him. And many of us have seen that that has really happened, that God has destroyed the self in us that lives constantly for the lesser priorities of significance, and security, and success and we realize that.
Now loved ones, do you see that transcendental meditation and the negation of self in Buddhism, and all the other isms are human attempts to actualize in our lives that cosmic miracle that took place
in Jesus. Those are all human attempts; even our power of positive thinking is a human attempt to actualize that mighty miracle of the destruction of our self that took place in Jesus on Calvary.
Now many of us try those methods and those techniques and find that it doesn’t work. That somehow the miracle took place in Calvary but it hasn’t taken place in me and it’s then that we begin to see Jesus’ words, “The Holy Spirit will take of the things that are mine and make them real to you,” and we see that only the Holy Spirit can make that miracle real in us. And we see that if we believe that, God will send the Spirit of his Son into our lives and his Spirit will change us completely and will destroy this selfish heart inside us.
And we see that and we’re so anxious to be rid, you know, of those enslaving masters. That desire for success, that slavish greed for security, that desire for significance among our peers. We’re so anxious to be rid of those things, we’re so sick of them, that we determine, “Holy Spirit, we welcome you into our lives and we’ll do whatever you tell us if you’ll make this miracle real in us.” And at the beginning of our conversion we welcome the Holy Spirit in and say, “We’ll do whatever you tell us.”
And it’s then, you remember, we shared last Sunday that the Holy Spirit begins to show us all the implications of our death with Jesus. Begins to actualize in us the death to security, and significance, and success that dominate our lives. And if we respond to that he free us more and more. And he shows us the kind of life that he wants to lead us into. He wants to bring us into the kind of life that is outlined and I think you should look at it loved ones, just again in Acts 16 there.
Acts 16, and the Holy Spirit shows us, “Look, if I’m going to make real in you this deliverance from self that took place in Jesus our savior, this is the kind of life that I want you to live with me.” Acts 16:6, “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.” So the Holy Spirit explains, “Look, I want to be able to tell you where to go, where to spend your lives. I want to be able to guide you day-by-day and step-by-step.” “And when they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” And the Holy Spirit says, “Look, I am the Spirit of Jesus I can deliver you increasingly from self, and from greed, and anger, and envy and jealousy, and impotence if you will continue to follow me where ever I lead you.” And many of us do that.
Many of us just walk right on deeper, and deeper into Jesus as the Holy Spirit leads us and the Holy Spirit makes clear to us what his purpose for us is and then we simply see that the Holy Spirit is able to give us the purity and the power to fulfill that purpose and we walk on into the fullness of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit fills us completely and we walk in freedom, deliverance from self in complete victory.
But many of us, when we see the full implications of Jesus’ death and that the Holy Spirit demands full control of our lives, many of us hesitate and then slip back from full surrender. Now loved ones, I think this is the way we rationalize, at least this is the way I did it. The loved ones who are Catholics here, you do the same as the Protestants, just under different terms. You say, “Absolute commitment and consecration is the job of the religious orders. If you want to give your whole life completely to God and rise into the highest realm of relationship with God, the only way to do it is to give yourself to a monastic order.”
And I honestly think that many of us who are Catholics have got ourselves out of full surrender by
that kind of rationalization. We’ve said, “Well, if we wanted to live that kind of apostolate we could give ourselves completely to the Christian Brothers or to the sisters. But there are two levels of sanctity, there’s a double level of holiness, there’s a complete surrender holiness for those in the religious orders and there’s an ordinary surrender which is less, for those of us who are ordinary communicants.” But the Protestants, we do the same.
We say, “If you want to be a missionary, or you want to be a minister, or a full-time worker for Jesus, then you give your whole self completely. Your day time, your night time, everything to him. But that is for those who are called to do that. But most of us have to stay here in our jobs and attend primarily to those.” And so we excuse ourselves, giving our hearts primarily to our homes, to our jobs, to our professions. And so many of us step back from full surrender and loved ones, really what we do is we say, “Jesus gave his whole life for me but it’s up to me to give what I want to him. I don’t give just whatever the Holy Spirit puts his finger on, that’s for people who are called to full-time service. I give what I can give, what anybody here is expected to give in western society.”
And so many of us go for that bargain basement approach to the atonement on the cross. And loved ones, I hesitate to say it but I would suspect that huge numbers of us here are caught in that. And my heart goes out to you because part of the reason is we’ve been deceived into it. I’m with you, I understand, I thought the same way. I thought, “But you can’t give everything to Jesus. I can see you can if you’re Mark and Becky and you’re going to India. Well there’s a whole atmosphere there. I mean, sure they can live on $200 a month, that’s reasonable, that’s expected in India. Anyways, they’ve got all of us behind them. So, we can see how they can kind of make that full giving over but we’ve got the bank to go to everyday. We’ve got our children to come home to at night. We’ve got the vacation to think of.”
But loved ones, do you see what happens? We’re putting all those things before Jesus. We are loved ones. I press you on it. We’re sinking into a group of people who have a double standard. One group says, “Jesus first and his purposes, and the reason for his living here in the world and then the home, and the job, and all the rest of the things.” But loved ones, there’s another group of us here, and you know what we’re doing. I know, because I did it for so long. We hear these words that come from places like this stage, but we automatically say, “Yeah, but that’s impractical. It’s my home first, it’s my job next, it’s my wife, my family, my children, their education, my future, and as much as I can do for Jesus.”
Now loved ones, that’s controlled surrender. That’s why we’re having trouble with anger, and envy, and jealousy, and irritability, and all the works of the flesh. That’s why we’re not baptized with the Holy Spirit. That’s why we’re not filled with the Spirit, because we haven’t given all because full-time is not full-time. Full-time service of Jesus is not being paid by a church, or being paid by a missionary society, or going to seminary or bible college. Full-time is here, in there. That’s full-time. Full-time is there.
When I go into the bank each day I’m not thinking primarily of pleasing the boss, or of getting promotion but my eyes are on Jesus and I’m saying, “Lord, here I am for your purposes this day. Whatever it costs me in reputation, I’m here for your purposes.” That’s full-time. Full-time is going to the supermarket not with the mind caught up with how I’ll do it and how I’ll get what I want, but full-time is going to the supermarket, “Lord Jesus I’m here to do certain things but I want you to use me this day. I want you to use me with the checkout girl. I want you to use me Lord if somebody knocks a box down off a shelf. Lord Jesus, I’m open I’m available to you.” And
praying for the loves ones that are going along the meat counter. Praying for the guy that you see coming up the aisle. That’s full-time.
And loved ones, if we would live that way we would find the fullness of the Holy Spirit that is talked about here in the New Testament and we would not find ourselves as defeated Christians. But do you see that that’s the distinction? There are some of us here that are putting Jesus above everything else and there are some of us here that are using the excuse of our lifestyle for not putting him above everything else and we’re in fact, being preoccupied with our lifestyle and that’s why we’re not baptized with the Spirit, that’s why we’re not filled with the Spirit. And Christendom is divided right across that line.
Loved ones, some of us here are just carnal Christians. We’re Christians who have gone so far in surrendering to the Holy Spirit and then we’ve taken our life back into our own hands and we now stage manage the whole operation and we give a few crumbs to Jesus as we think we can afford them. And we’ve lost the full thrill and the full excitement of being freed from our own self direction and self-motivation and being the slave of a super natural spirit that guided Jesus in his lifetime. And many of us have sunk to being just carnal Christians.
The Bible is full of the two levels loved ones. Paul says, “I couldn’t call you spiritual I had to call you carnal because you’re behaving like ordinary men. If you’re jealous and envious are you not behaving like ordinary men?” And many of us loved ones, have ceased long ago to listen to the Holy Spirit and we’re just carnal people who are no longer governed by the Holy Spirit and therefore no longer experiencing the victory of Jesus’ death in our lives. And we keep not knowing what’s wrong and we’re like the Galatians we’ve started in the Spirit but we’ve fallen back under the law. The law is things that people ought to do.
And loved ones, hundreds of people like ourselves are filling churches and that’s our lives. We’re preoccupied with what we ought to do. What’s the best way to study the Bible? What’s the best way to pray? How can I get victory over my anger? We’re preoccupied with how-tos and dos and don’ts. We’ve started in the Spirit but we are now ending up in the flesh under the law. We’re like the rich young ruler, Jesus said, “To get eternal life you have to obey the commandments.” He said, “I have obeyed them all from I was young, what more must I do?” Jesus put his finger on the one thing that expressed that man’s selfishness, and self motivation, and self direction, and self management, “Sell all that you have and give it to the poor.” And the young man turned and went away sorrowful for he had great riches. Some of us won’t give up our Isaac and we’ve held back.
Now loved ones, you may say, “How do I then come into a place where I can be filled with the Holy Spirit?” Renew your first love. Renew your first love. Go back to where you were when you first received Jesus’ Spirit into your life. Remember what it was like when you first married, or when you first fell in love. You remember how you used to discuss where you’d go and you’d say, “Where do you want to go?” And she’d say, “No, where do you want to go?” And you’d say, “No, where do you want to go?” And she’d say, “Where do you want to go?” And then after half an hour you’d decide, “Look, we’re not going to go anywhere unless somebody decides.” But it was beautiful because you were each more anxious to know where the other wanted to go than where you wanted to go.
So it was when we first received Jesus’ Spirit into our spirits. So, it was, “Holy Spirit, what do you want me to do? I’m available. I’m at your disposal.” Then all the other things came in and the preoccupations. Are we going to be spiritual giants? Are we going to achieve this? Are we going to achieve that? And we got our eyes off that dear Holy Spirit and we started to manage the
whole thing ourselves. Renew your first love. Go back to the Holy Spirit where you first met him and say, “Holy Spirit, I have a mess here on my hands. I believe all these things but none of them are real in my life. Holy Spirit it’s because you alone can make them real in me. Holy Spirit will you show me where I’ve backed off from you?”
Loved ones, many of us can do it immediately. For many of us it will be a struggle. For many of us it will be the first time. Many of us have entered into an easy believism conversion. We’ve entered into a belief that if we believe the right thing then God would forgive us. We haven’t seen that we have to allow that right thing to be done in us. It’s not enough to believe that Jesus’ death saves us we have to allow it to save us. So for many of us it will be a first time in to absolute surrender. But for some of us it will be a matter of going back and renewing our first love. For some of us it will be a struggle because some of us have got things that have become very dear to us.
Some of us have collected Isaacs along the way. Some of you have jobs that you just couldn’t dream of giving up. Some of you can’t possibly see that God could ever want you to forsake everything and go and live in Bombay for the rest of your lives. You’ve just psyched him right out of that. You’ve just believed that God could not possibly expect such an uprooting of a domestic and professional life as that. So, some of us have Isaacs loved ones. Some of us have certain areas that we have put outside the realm of negotiation with the Holy Spirit and for some of us therefore it’s going to be a struggle.
But, the secret is renew your first love. Come again to the place you were when you first met Jesus and say, “Holy Spirit, whatever you want to do with my life, that’s good enough for me and I’ll do it this afternoon. This very moment. Whatever you tell me to do I’m starting now and whenever I come to one of those sticky places where I’ve built up a backlog of resistance against you, Holy Spirit sort me right through them, bring me right through them and I’ll go with you wherever you show my motive life is bad, my attitude life has come off the cross, Holy Spirit show me.” And then yield more and more to him loved ones.
Let the Holy Spirit lead you deeper and deeper into Jesus’ death and you’ll find, honestly you’ll find, you’ll find that out of the conscious that eventually becomes absolutely clean there springs a faith that receives the fullness of the Holy Spirit naturally and easily. And you’ll find your life coming on to a new level where the fruit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are being made available and alive in your life day-by-day. And loved ones, that’s Jesus’ will, you know. And that’s how to come into the fullness of the spirit, really.
I just want to purposefully stop there so that you really do question if you have a question. Especially, somebody sitting here that’s very skeptical, or somebody sitting here who has tried, and tried again. Or somebody here that thinks, “Oh, I wouldn’t dare to ask that question, it’s too silly or it’s too simple.” Loved ones, really do ask any questions that – I’ve been talking for several Sundays about the baptism of the Holy Spirit pointing out that many of us have not taken seriously the whole teaching that Jesus has given us in James that faith without works is dead. That if you really say, “Lord Jesus, I believe that my greed, or in that case my unfaithfulness in keeping appointments is a sword in your side.”
Then if you really believe that and you have real faith that that is so, that those sins of yours are crucifying Jesus in your life, then loved ones, you will express that belief by withdrawing that sword from Jesus’ side. You will stop being unfaithful in appointments. You will stop doing the
things that hurt Jesus. In other words, faith, real faith shows itself in the actions of your life. It shows itself in the changes you make in your own will. And many of us of course, think faith is just belief but faith is belief plus obedience. “I believe these things destroy Jesus therefore I will stop them. I believe these things are what were destroyed on the cross on Calvary therefore I know that I am affirming that when I live free from them.”
I think many of us Dave are having trouble just with that point. I remember after wondering in my own Christian life for years suddenly, this is dumb loved ones, but suddenly realizing, “Ah-oh, you mean having faith in Jesus means changing my life?” I mean, you’ll say, “Boy, you were listening to some brainwashing if you didn’t know that.” Loved ones, I’d listened for years in a Methodist church and it had never got through to me that I have to change the way I live if I believe that I was crucified with Jesus.
And I know some loved ones here that have been sleeping around and have listened for years. Really, I know you won’t believe it but have listened for years here in the body and they’ve just continued to sleep around. And then one time it dawned on them, “I am joining my limbs to the limbs of someone who is virtually a prostitute in that she or he is not prepared to commit their lives in Jesus name to me and I’m forcing Jesus to join his limbs with them.” And suddenly it’s dawned on them that this is sin and they have to stop doing that otherwise they’re just playing with Jesus.
Dear ones, you brothers, us older brothers who are involved in the income tax fiddle, loved ones, we get nowhere with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Really. Really. The study that you’re claiming more for in the house than you ought to claim. Once you know that, once the light has dawned on you, if you’re sitting there and you know that you’re doing something in your business that isn’t honest, do you see God sees that you think the only way you’re going to make it is by lying? You can’t trust him to make you successful his way so he knows you’re not trusting him so, that’s the sin in it.
Question from the audience:
If you are a strong willed person is there a way to tell the difference between God’s will and my will?
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
I think there are two things involved. I think first of all, there’s a real sense in which just the strength of our will can blind us to hearing any other voice. Like when you’re trying to tune in a station, or if you have a CD and you’re trying to tune in the right person, unless – if you have other stations coming in you can’t hear them. Now some of us are so strong willed that we couldn’t hear if God blasted us with amplifiers and a loud speaking system. And the first thing we need to do is to see, “Lord Jesus, you’re asking me to lay this mighty will down at your feet so Holy Spirit will you show me anywhere in my life where I am refusing to submit my will to you?”
So, I think first of all I think there is a need sister quite apart from finding out God’s will in this or that, there’s a place for laying your will at Jesus’ feet and if you say to me, “Look, how do I do that?” Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you are in fact willing your own way. He will reveal to you and then you do need to come to a place where you say, “Lord, I’m willing to will my way. I can’t on my own but I’m willing to do it.” Not just, “I want to do it,” because we all say we want to do it, we desire to do it but, “I’m willing to do it.” And then the Holy Spirit can
reveal to you if you are really willing.
Secondly, I think there’s a real need for Bible study and prayer. I think many of us are really suffering because we run a subjective little spiritual experience here. We create ideas of Jesus in our minds we create ideas of God’s will in our minds because we won’t look at that very objective book that expresses him. And I think one of the things we need to do is to read it every morning. Yeah, I think many of us are suffering here just because we don’t read the Bible every day and we think it’s childish or Sunday school stuff and we do not get down to filling our mind with God’s thoughts. So I think those are two actions we can take.
Such was I, I was in a position where I did not want to let go and what I did, I looked more and more at God’s word and I saw more and more that I could not take what I wanted of God. I could not accept just what suited me, it was all or nothing. That God was saying, “If Baal be God,” Baal you remember, was the God of ownership and wanting things in security, “If Baal be God then follow him. If Jehovah be God, then follow him.” And more, and more as I looked at scripture I saw that it was a black and white case, if I want to go to heaven I have to go all the way with Jesus otherwise I’m going to go to hell.
And I’m afraid loved ones that God had to bring me to that place. I had to see that I could only control my surrender in such a way that I would end up in hell. And, all I know is again, that dear word again, let God’s word sink into your mind until you see, “Look, it’s either his way or my way.” Yeah.
Question from the audience:
Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit a process or a one-time experience?
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
The baptism with the Holy Spirit is a one-time experience and the filling with the Holy Spirit is a process that has to go on, it seems to me, every day. It seems to me each morning we have to come before Jesus and say, “Lord, I thank you that I died with you 1,900 years ago. Holy Spirit, I know that you have certain plans for me this day. You’re my master.” But brother, I think it is important to see that for most of us there comes a time when we enter into a new realm of life, a new relationship with Jesus. And many of us maybe have only realized we’ve come into it after we’ve come into it but there is a time where you remember, Jesus touched the blind man and he said, “What can you see?” And he said, “I can only see men as trees walking.” Many of us, I think, born of the Spirit, we can see spiritual things, but just vaguely and then the Holy Spirit begins to show us whole areas of lack of surrender in us and we move into it and Jesus touched the man a second time and the man could see clearly.
Now, I think there’s a time when the seeing clearly takes place. That’s why I think the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a definite instantaneous experience. Now, it can be preceded loved ones by lots of struggling, and lots of surrenders that are partial, and it can be followed then by many more surrenders. But there is a time when we come free from self loved ones.
Question from the audience:
I have asked the Holy Spirit to take over my life but I find two problems and one is that I often
want to take over my life again and secondly, is when I ask in communion for the Holy Spirit to show him what he needs to surrender I am not able to see it.
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
I think that both, in a way are symptoms of the one problem that you are still trying to manage. I think many of us come to a level of surrender that isn’t deep enough. The Holy Spirit deals with us in regard to our professional lives and he says, “Are you ready to be anything for me?” And maybe we come to that level where we think, “That’s not so bad. Yes, we’re willing to be anything for you.” But actually the Holy Spirit wants to take us to a deeper level, “Are you willing to be a failure in your professional life for me?” And we have not dealt with that level. And so we exist on this level of surrender and to that extent we’re only able to experience that amount of deliverance. And so when our future begins to be threatened we have real troubles.
So often you might think many of us have trouble because we don’t surrender at a deep enough level. Loved ones, all I know is that if you want with all your heart, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will lead you to that level of absolute surrender that brings total victory. So I think it’s that. I think it’s always that.
Question from the audience:
Do we then ask, wait, hunger and thirst after righteousness?
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
We hunger and thirst after righteousness. Loved ones, do you see we’re in instant success society? Instant coffee, instant tea, the Nestea plunge, instant everything. We can get it immediately. We’re an instant society. Loved ones, we’re talking about the mighty God who created us, he isn’t going to jump like that. He isn’t. Nor would we really expect him. If he is really God it can’t be, “Okay, God I’m ready.” He wants to be sure and the Holy Spirit wants to be sure that we really want him with all our hearts. And that’s it, the Holy Spirit is the most powerful gift that God can give us and he will only give it to those who want with all their hearts and who are determined that they will not stop until they receive.
Loved ones, there is a place for hardship. There is a place for strong yearning for this great gift. God gives it, once you’re ready. If you say, “Do we have to work at it?” No, you have to express to God that you really want the gift of the Holy Spirit. When you really want him God just gives you him, there’s no struggle with that.
Question from the audience:
Is it necessary for fasting and prayer in receiving the Holy Spirit?
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
Only brother the same as any other obedience that the Holy Spirit may prompt. It seem that many of us can get into our own system of law and works there and think that we can work our way into the baptism with the Holy Spirit. And it’s very important to see that the Holy Spirit may lay fasting on some person, I think he lays prayer on us all. Only by prayer as in Acts 2 on the day of
Pentecost will the Holy Spirit be given to us. But it seems that the fasting is in the same category as any other obedience that he may ask, yeah. But, your point is important, that we do have to obey where we can right away loved ones. Don’t say, “I’ll wait for a real blockbuster until the Holy Spirit blasts through all my disobedience and then I’ll start being obedient.” No, obey where you can at the moment. Obey every inch where you can at the moment.
Question from the audience:
In what way are we to think of the gift of tongues in regard to the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
It seems just very important loved ones, to see that the Holy Spirit makes real nine fruit of the Spirit in our lives: love; and joy; and peace; and long suffering and gentleness; and goodness; and faith; and meekness; and temperance. And then he makes available to us nine gifts of the spirit: the utterance of wisdom; the gift of knowledge; the discernment of spirits; speaking with tongues; interpretation of tongues; the working of miracles. Nine of those gifts. And it seems rather important to see that those are gifts that the Bible says, “The Holy Spirit distributes to each one as he wills when we need it.”
And that tongues needs to be seen in that same realm and we need to see, for those loved ones, you know, who would say, “Oh, no tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.” We need simply to look at the New Testament and to see that there are four or five instances of people being baptized with the Holy Spirit and two or three of those instances they speak in tongues and in two or three of those instances they don’t. We need to take it out of the realm brother what is killing us is we’re looking for some human signs and the Holy Spirit, Paul makes clear is received by faith not by sign. By faith. You believe you’re in the position where God will not refuse and as a result faith brings up in your heart to receive, yeah.
Question from the audience:
Can you give some practical ways of returning to that first love of Jesus?
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
I started loved ones, where I knew I was being disobedient, where I was having strain in my life. You know where you’re having strain in your life. You know where there’s strain. You know – quite apart from sin you know where there’s anxiety in your life don’t you? You know when you get a headache. You know when you can’t sleep at night. You know the areas where there’s strain in your life. Are you worried about finances? Do you find yourself worrying about your bank account? There’s where you have a controversy with God.
So sis, I would say first of all take the areas where there’s obvious strain in your life. Are you worried about your future? Are you? Those of us who are near retirement, are you worried about retirement? Then it’s in that area that there’s a controversy between yourself and God. It’s in that area where you’re not really prepared for God to have his own way in your life, whatever that may mean. I think that’s where you start.
You start where there are clear symptoms of strain. Dis ease is dis in Latin not and ease is ease.
Not ease, where there’s a lack of ease in our lives. So wherever we’re experiencing mental or emotional dis ease or strain, that’s an area where God is not in control and so we start there. And that’s what I did I started where there were symptoms. Then the next area is where you have the works of the flesh in your life. Do you have envy in your life? Then envy is connected with status and with what other people think of you and what you think with them. Ask the Holy Spirit, “Holy Spirit, in what way am I not crucified with Christ there? In what way have I not surrendered that to you?” That’s it.
Most of us loved ones, it’s very simple, in what way are we not willing to lay our lives down for Jesus? That’s it. In what way are we trying to get a cheap admission ticket into heaven? In what way do we look at Mark and Becky this morning and say, “Well, I’ll pray for them but I’m glad it’s them and I’m glad that I’m here in Minneapolis and have an easier life.” Loved ones, it’s that love of ease, that’s what’s killing us. It’s the love of ease. It’s the looking forward to each evening, “How am I going to enjoy myself this evening?” That’s it. That’s it, because our dear Jesus never, never once in his life did that. And at this moment he’s at the Father’s right hand and he spends all his time on us and every time we spend our evenings or our afternoons that way we’re spending them apart from God. And if you say, “Oh, do you want us all to be religious fanatics?” If being full-time for Jesus is a religious fanatic, yes!