God’s plan or mine for my life?
Spiritual Life #43
The Spiritual Life and the Carnal Life
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Let us pray. Lord, we thank you that the only way the world will see you is through our actions and so we thank you that we can measure the depth of our maturity and our spirituality by the amount of time we spend on your ministry and on others compared with the time we spend on ourselves. And Lord we would be honest before you tonight and be real in your presence. Now Lord Jesus, we ask you to break the bread of your word to us so that we will make the next step forward with you that you have planned. Amen.
I would like loved ones, to speak for the next twenty minutes or so on the spiritual life and the carnal life. And I’d just point out to you that in these evening services, that’s the subject that we study, the spiritual life. And I had suggested that tonight we would talk about a good conscience, continuing our studies in the human spirit, but I really did feel that many of you had some question still about the difference between the spiritual life and the carnal life. And I thought I would just spend one more evening on that subject so that we could be clear in our minds on it because I think a lot of you may be in this carnal life and may have some questions about how you operate there until you enter into the spiritual life.
Now, maybe I could mention to you what we started with last day — that we said that the spiritual life was God’s plan for each of us. God’s plan was that you each would come here to this world to do a certain job, that’s it. Actually, the job doesn’t matter so much except in so far as God knows what it is for each of us. But, it doesn’t really matter much whether in the world’s eyes it’s important or unimportant, whether it is apparently forwarding God’s cause or not. Those are actually unimportant questions.
The important thing is that God knew what he was putting you here on earth to do. It may have been to be a custodian — and it’s not the buildings that you will clean but it is the beauty of Jesus that will be brought about in you for others to see. It may not be that you are a very important accountant but that in your character during the trials and the difficulties, and the tasks that you face there, there will be a beauty of Jesus created by the Holy Spirit in you that will set forth the wholeness of God to the rest of his world.
But that’s why God put us here. And so his plan was that each of us would find that thing and we would begin to do it with all our hearts. And of course, that would give us a great sense of our identity, and a great sense of our position in the world, a great sense of being at home in his world, and that meanwhile we would get to know him more and more, and we would live off his friendship really. And we would lean on his shoulders, and we would walk with him day-by-day and we would talk with him about what he wanted to do through us that day, how he wanted this job to be done, how he wanted our home to look.
We would walk with God as Adam once did in the cool of the day in the garden. And we would get our directions from him, and we would get our full enjoyment from him. It would be like knowing all the most important people in the world and having them as your dearest friends. That’s what it would be like knowing God like that. You’d feel like you were in constant touch with the very heart of the universe and that would in turn give you a great sense of stability. “Yes, I know where this place
is going. I know what it is made of. I know what’s happening.”
And so there would be a great sense of happiness in you, a great sense of direction, a great sense of identity in your life and of course, a tremendous sense of security and safety because you would have the feeling that the God who controlled the Milky Way knew exactly what you were doing each moment of every day. That was God’s will, that’s the spiritual life.
The spiritual life is a life lived in total dependence upon God; receiving from him all our happiness, all our security, all our significance so that we don’t need to try and get that from other people or other things but we indeed can share the sense of it that we have in our own lives. That’s the spiritual life. You might say that the spiritual life is an outward moving life. You could say that the personality is a circle and the spiritual life is a life that is going out like that [Pastor O’Neill is pointing to a diagram]. It receives from God’s life 9which he calls of course, his Holy Spirit his own heart — and all the assurance we need, all the confidence we need, and we share that with other people. That really is the spiritual life.
It’s a life that goes out all the time because it’s receiving from God. Now of course, what happened in the Garden of Eden days is that instead of eating of that tree of life you remember, God described it as, we decided, “No, we don’t want to be dependent on a God who will tell us how to run our lives.” We determined we want to run our own lives and we want to run them by our own knowledge, our own knowledge of what is good and what is evil, and we’ll decide what’s good for us and we’ll decide what’s evil for us and that’s what we did.
And immediately we did that of course, there was a great vacuum created inside of us because we cut ourselves off from the life of God’s Spirit and we found that there was a great vacuum in here in the area called our spirits. A great vacuum that lacked the sense of God’s approval in our lives, lacked the sense of security. We suddenly became little lost creatures, displaced persons who lost our sense of identity, who lost our sense of security, who were utterly frustrated and discontented with things.
And of course we had to fill that vacuum in some way and so what we did was we looked to the outside world and we created a different kind of life. We began to try to make ourselves important in other people’s eyes so we began to come under enslavement to what other people thought. We tried to make people approve of us and we tried to establish our significance in others’ eyes. Right, you know, from when we first wanted to please our dad or please our mum — which was a good thing — but then it became an enslaving little thing to the point where we would try to make the other person, or the other brother, or the other sister look bad so that we would look better. And so, significance began to rule our lives, to try to fill this gap left by the significance that we used to have from God, the sense of significance we used to have from him.
We began to do the same thing for our happiness. We just felt very frustrated and very bored so we used everything. We used sex, we used fast boats, we used fast planes, we used exciting experiences and environmental circumstances to give us a sense of happiness. And so we developed what the Bible kind of calls a flesh life because of course, the outside part of our personalities is our bodies.
The inside part is our spirits and the part that links them both is the soul, the mind, and the emotions. And we began to use our bodies to get the happiness that we were originally getting from God. And we did the same, you know, with our sense of security because we felt so uncertain of the future that the only thing we could do was pile up the stocks and shares as much as possible, pile
up the bank account, and of course no bank is utterly secure, no stocks and shares are absolutely guaranteed, so it was a lost cause.
So we immediately got on to a security kick that never could give us total satisfaction. And so the whole world began to operate the very opposite way to the way God had planned. And that’s loved ones, what it means in Genesis when it says – well, it might be good for you to look at the words, they’re so clear. It’s in Genesis 6, and it’s the consequence that took place when we decided to use our own knowledge of good and evil to get from the world and from people what we were originally meant to get from God.
And you see in Genesis 6:5, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” In other words, everything was wrong. All the thoughts of our hearts were the wrong way around. Then you see in Verse 11, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.”
Now, the meaning of that is that all flesh had corrupted the way they were originally planned to operate. In other words, our whole personalities were turned inside out so even though we were meant to have a sense of security from knowing that God would meet all our needs, we had for years and our forefathers for centuries, had grown used to depending on what they could grab from the earth or from other people for their security. And so even if you wanted to depend on God for your peace, you found that your whole personality had become corrupted, had begun to operate the wrong way.
And you found yourself, you remember, in Paul’s situation, “The good that I would I cannot do. The evil I hate is the very thing I do.” And it was because we were utterly perverted in our personalities. Oh, many of us have found it; we’ve gone into a new job and we’ve determined, “Lord, I am going to live here by your approval. I am not laughing at dirty jokes in order to become popular with my colleagues. I am not going to play a half honest game in order to satisfy the boss. I am going to be absolutely honest here. I am not going to play to the gallery. I don’t care what they think of me. I don’t care about peer approval. Lord, I am going to live by your approval and yours alone.”
And do you remember the first time walking down the corridor you found your little eye just looking up to someone you wanted approval from? Do you remember the first time your head turned when the boss or somebody else came into the office and you knew that was the thing to do to get their approval? That’s, loved ones, what it means when we say the whole of flesh on the earth had corrupted its way. Our personalities became utterly inturned, radically perverted so that the only way to correct them was God’s answer.
And you remember he said it often. He said, “The sinful soul must die.” And you know, all of us have a kind of feeling, “Yeah, yeah well that was the Old Testament.” But do you see God doesn’t make pronouncements like that unless he means it. And the Father said again, and again, “The sinful soul must die.” And as if to reinforce it, he came down, you remember, with the deluge and the flood in Old Testament times and he just wiped us all out, as if to show us, “That’s the only answer I have to you. You can bring your books, your self help books, you can try to tame your greed, and you can try to train your desire for other people’s approval until it becomes desire for my approval. But I’ll tell you there’s only one answer to you people now that you have perverted
yourselves in this way and that is your total destruction and your total recreation.”
And that’s why loved ones, God brought the floods. Do you see that? That’s why he brought the flood, to make it clear to us that that was the only answer. And of course, you know that the answer he found was in that cosmic miracle in his son Jesus. You remember the Book of Revelations says that “the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.” And then Romans 6:6, “Our old self was crucified with Christ.”
What God actually did was he foresaw the way we would all develop. From before he ever created the world he saw the way we would develop and he put us into his son Jesus in that cosmic eternal miracle before the foundation of the world and he destroyed us there and he resurrected Jesus there and he recreated us in him at that moment. And that was his answer to the problem of our perverted personalities.
Do you realize that the moment we rebelled against the tree of life and determined to live by the knowledge of good and evil, do you realize that the consequence of that was that God set a sword at the entrance to the Garden of Eden to prevent us getting at the tree of life. In other words he withdrew the fullness of the Holy Spirit from us. Why? Because, the moment people like this would receive the infinite supernatural powers of the Holy Spirit they would become dictators and kings in a universe that they would use the power of the Holy Spirit to destroy. So the moment we became like that, God withdrew the Holy Spirit from us. He was never able to release the Holy Spirit to us again until he did something to change that inturned perverted personality. And that’s why he put us into his son and destroyed us there.
Now do you see that, loved ones? That’s why Jesus Peter said, “What you see poured out is Jesus who has been raised up to the right hand of God. He has poured this out.” In other words, the Holy Spirit could not be released again into the world until Jesus’ great miracle of our death with him had been set forth before the whole world.
But really, what we’re doing is jumping the gun because in fact, the Old Testament people didn’t know that. They didn’t know that. The Old Testament people did not know that there had been a miracle wrought that had changed them. And so in the Old Testament there is very little word about victory over sin. Very little word about the fullness of the Holy Spirit, do you notice that? There is very little of that. Now and again, just as always happens with God’s revelations, before the full revelation comes he gives a foretaste of it. An outstanding man like a David, senses something about a clean heart. An outstanding man like Saul when he was obedient to God senses something of the fullness and the power of the Holy Spirit.
But in the Old Testament generally nobody knows anything about the miracle that was wrought in Jesus. Nobody knows that you can be utterly changed, and turned around, and transformed by the miracle that was wrought in Jesus on Calvary. And so in the Old Testament, all people know is the forgiveness of sins. Now, do you see that? God was able to forgive sins because he knew he had provided the antidote and so he was able to forgive sins. But do you see loved ones, that there’s no sense in forgiving sins if you think the sinners are going to go on sinning and destroying the place?
But because God had the antidote in his Son he was able to forgive sins and that’s all the Old Testament people knew. Now, you could find it, loved ones, in Psalm 32. It’s one of many writings in the Old Testament that present the highest point in the old covenant. And you’ll notice that it
concerns nothing more than dealing with guilt and the forgiveness of sins, as the Bible says, “The covering of our sin.” It cannot do away with our sin, cannot cleanse it, cannot destroy it, all it does is cover it.
Psalm 32, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity,” that’s the highest. “And in whose spirit there is no deceit,” who is honest about his sins. “When I declared not my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to thee, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’; then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.”
That was the highest point you could reach in the old covenant and that was what the old covenant was. Because people did not know the miracle in Jesus, all they knew was that for some unknown reason, because of some mighty miracle that had been wrought by their Maker he was able to forgive them and to accept them as his own. And so they knew the forgiveness of their sins.
And you remember in Acts, one of the apostles says, “During the times of ignorance God winked.” God winked at that. In other words, God allowed that to be the situation because the people did not know about Jesus’ death and about their death with him. Now, do you see what happened when the new covenant came? Suddenly we here have been privileged to know that these intractable perverted personalities of ours that are constantly depending on others for what they should depend on from God have been destroyed in Jesus and have been recreated.
And that we can have that made real in a moment by our faith in what God has done to us in his Son and by our willingness for that to be made real in our everyday lives. And suddenly we are the children of the new covenant and we are no longer under the old covenant where all we can expect is the forgiveness of our sins. I’ll show you the way the verse goes. It is, you remember, about the times of ignorance that God winked at in Acts 17:30. “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent.” And loved ones now because we are under this new covenant God requires from us a total experience of all that God wrought for us in Jesus.
Now, do you see why he accepted the forgiveness of sins as the highest that the Old Testament people could come to but now you remember, he says, “You shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins.” And God is calling you and me to be baptized into the great death that he wrought for us in Jesus so that we can be delivered from the power of sin and the power of self, and can live holy and perfect lives and he can fill us with his Holy Spirit, and we can be a perfect picture of his son Jesus.
Now, that isn’t what has been preached to many of us. What has been preached to many of us is a partial gospel. You could hardly call it gospel. It’s been the old covenant, believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. Well you know, it’s interesting, but that partial gospel was exposed way back in the first century. Now you’d find it in Acts 8 if you’d like to look at it because there was actually partial gospel being preached back in those days in Acts 8:14.
You remember Philip preached and then in Acts 8:14, “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” So there were some people even in those days who were baptized into
Jesus’ name but they did not receive the Holy Spirit because they were baptized into his name for simply the forgiveness of sins.
Again you find it, I think it’s in Acts 19, and it’s Apollos you remember, that is the preacher involved at Corinth. Acts 19:1, “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ The old covenant. “And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them.”
So loved ones, there was even in New Testament times an inadequate gospel whereby loved ones entered into simply the old covenant for the belief in forgiveness of sins. But because that’s all they entered into, they were not filled with the Holy Spirit. And until they entered into a full baptism into Jesus’ death they could not be filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s why until they came under the water and were covered by the water and died to outside communication from the world, died to being received by the world’s approval, or receiving the world’s security, or receiving the world’s happiness. When the water covered them they were crucified to the world and the world was crucified to them and they entered into the miracle that God had wrought for them in Jesus.
And when they came up out of the water they were given Christian names. They were given names because they were new creations by the power of the Holy Spirit and they were utterly changed. And they lived victorious lives, they lived above sin, and they lived above the things that made the rest of men ordinary. And you remember, that’s why Paul was so concerned with the Corinthians. He said, “Listen, if there’s jealousy and strife among you, you’re still carnal. You’re still behaving like ordinary men and that isn’t what God intended you to experience in his Son’s death.”
Now loved ones, a carnal life is not simply an unregenerate life. An unregenerate life is this life here. But a carnal life is someone who has come forward and wants only the old covenant. Someone who wants only the forgiveness of their sins, someone who is not prepared to die to sin as a principle in their lives, who is not prepared to die to receiving from everybody else and to receive only from God. A carnal life is one that has entered partially by its own willful choice into only a part of the New Testament, into only a part of the New Covenant.
So an unregenerate life is this life, it’s just an old sinner who doesn’t know anything, doesn’t pretend anything, doesn’t recognize Jesus’ death, doesn’t recognize God, he just lives his own way, lives off the world. But a carnal person is one who steps forward and says, “I want the forgiveness of sins part of Jesus’ death. I want to be a good Jew. I want to get into heaven but I want to keep this old perverted personality of mine and I want to have the satisfaction of showing bad temper, and of being jealous, and of being angry, and of determining what I’m going to do in my own life and what I’m going to think of people and what people are going to think of me.”
Loved ones, a carnal life is a life of conflict, in a strange way. In a strange way the happy old sinner has an easier time than the carnal Christian because the carnal Christian has stepped forward often in the fullness of surrender in the beginning. That’s the interesting thing; when we first hear we step forward fully and say, “Lord, I want you and I want your will in my life.” Then we begin to see what the cross means and though we’ve received something of the Holy Spirit within yet
we step back from it and so the Holy Spirit tries to move out but we are living carnal lives and the conflict occurs in the soul– in the mind, and emotions, and the will — where we want to keep our temper but we can’t. Where we want to be patient but our anger bursts out. Where we want to be clean in our hearts but our impure thoughts are running around our minds. Where we want to deify and glorify God but we find ourselves boasting of ourselves or making ourselves look better than we really should.
That’s the life of conflict that is the life of a carnal Christian. And brothers and sisters I just don’t want to paint it any milder than that. It is just a willful refusal of the great miracle that God wrought in Jesus for all of us. And that’s why I don’t know if you’ve noticed it but carnal Christians are miserable people. They are miserable people. Because, they’re professing what they don’t possess. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed them but they’re not even as happy as non-Christians. Non-Christians often suspect that there might be a God somewhere and that they better live as good a life as they can just to hedge their bets in case there is.
But it’s interesting, the carnal Christian lays back on Jesus’ blood as the payment for all the sins and has a kind of easy going attitude, “Well, I’ll do my best. If I don’t manage it all, well the blood of Jesus will pay for what I can’t do.” And so you often find carnal Christians are much worse people in their lives than ordinary non-Christians. Ordinary non-Christians will often try to live as good a life as possible and be as kind to their friends, and their neighbors because they reckon they should follow their conscience. But the carnal Christian is immunized against truth and has enough to do them harm and has refused to receive enough to do them good. And so they have this kind of easy going attitude, almost arrogance.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but dear Jews can be arrogant. I don’t say all Jews are arrogant but there can be an arrogance in loved ones who live under the old covenant. That’s what you find in carnal Christians. There’s an arrogance in them, a sense of, “Well, the Lord Jesus has died for me. That’s all that matters. No, I’m probably not the nicest guy in the world, I’m probably not the kindest person but I have other things to do besides that.” And many of them have an arrogant attitude about the responsibility towards other people.
Many of them lay under depression and moodiness because they refuse to exercise their wills. Often a happy old non-Christian reckons, “Well, I have no help but my own in this world – I’m here for seventy years so I better be as happy as I can.” So they exercise their wills, they get up in the morning, they clean their teeth, and they whip out to work, and they try to make it go. But the carnal Christian has a kind of attitude, “The Lord has paid it all, the Lord has done it all. I can lay back here and bask in my moodiness until the Lord does something else to deliver me.”
And it is sad, loved ones, but carnal Christians lay under the depression. They will not exercise their wills. They have an utterly false opinion of what Jesus has done for them on the cross and they expect him to do more for them. They won’t accept all that he has done and so the self is still alive and they’re using Jesus and they refuse to exercise their wills. And often a non-Christian household is a much happier household in the mornings than a carnal household.
In a carnal household everybody gets up and nobody feels any particular responsibility to be nicer to anybody else, feels no particular responsibility to exercise their wills over their emotions. They just get up and they let it all hang out because they think, “At least if I confess my sin and let everybody see it; I’m saved by grace that’s all that matters.” And the rest of the world suffers the hell that carnal Christians bring.
Loved ones, honestly that’s what happens. A carnal Christian becomes utterly preoccupied with themselves. They hear this gospel and this full and beautiful deliverance that God has wrought for us in Jesus and they sink into introspection and preoccupation with their own spiritual state and they will not go into death, they will not die to themselves, they will not die to the things they know are wrong in their lives. They will not die to their rights to their own personalities. They will not die to their right to be well thought of, their right to be approved of, their right to be liked by other people, their right to their own way, the right to enjoy themselves when they want to.
They won’t do that but yet inside they keep laying it on God, “Well Lord, why don’t you bring me through here? What’s wrong with this? It’s not working for me.” And so they’re always preoccupied with dying to themselves because they don’t die to themselves. Have you ever noticed that those who die to themselves are happy people? Have you ever noticed that? That the George Mueller’s who say, “There came a day that I George Mueller died to sin and died to self.” They lived happily. They lived happily. They talk about the death of Jesus but they themselves are filled with joy. But, the people who will not die are preoccupied with the sadness of death. So it’s as if they make everybody else suffer the death that they refuse to enter into themselves.
Loved ones, that is what carnality is about and it is a sick, sick sight. It is. And why I share it with you even though I suspect some of you may be in that, loved ones I share it with you so clearly and bluntly to let you see that you’re trying to live an anachronism. You’re trying to live an experience that was sufficient before Jesus came to earth but ever since Jesus came his death and resurrection has been available to every one of us here. And every one of us who says to our dear Father, “Lord I cannot keep my temper,” is saying to God, “I do not believe or I am not willing to die with Jesus. Either I do not believe you destroyed my perverted personality that got used to living off of other people that causes my bad temper, I do not believe that — or I am not willing to enter into the consequences that that will mean for me.”
Now if you say to me, “Well brother, how, how on earth can I get from where I am to where I should be?” Well, here’s the interesting thing. A carnal Christian who realizes that he or she is a carnal Christian and is determined to do something about it immediately begins to hunger and thirst after righteousness. They don’t reject it, they don’t resist it, they don’t say, “Wait a minute — now whosoever is born of God does not commit sin. Now, if you give me a little spell on the Greek verb I can work out that that’s wrong– that we can all sin if we want to.” Or, they take other bits of scripture and they’re trying to twist it to make them comfortable with their own defeated lives. But a carnal Christian has decided to move towards God and move into the fullness of the Holy Spirit hungers and thirsts after righteousness and is blessed. That’s right, that’s what Jesus said, “Blessed are those that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.”
And I want to testify to you that when God’s Spirit showed me that I knew only half of the truth when I talked about Jesus dying for me, and that in actual fact I had died with Jesus, and that he wanted me to be willing to give up all self rights and to give up the right even to Ernest O’Neill’s place on the earth — when I determined that and determined to seek that with all my heart, even though I was still stumbling, I was still losing my temper at times, I was still impatient at times — a blessedness began to descend upon my life. No, I wasn’t there yet — but outwardly to my wife, and to others who watched, there was a sense that the guy is joyful. Not fullness of joy but he’s moving towards God and there was a sense of blessedness in my life. I wasn’t there, but there was a sense of blessedness.
Now, I carried on like that for six months until I came through. But loved ones, it isn’t the length of time that matters it’s the attitude of the heart. The interesting thing is that tonight, the important thing is not so much whether you at this moment are carnal or spiritual, but the important thing is what your attitude is to this truth that I’ve just shared. Do you believe with all your heart that the new covenant does mean that you’re delivered from your sin, that you can be free from sin, that you can live above yourself and beyond yourself and be filled with a dear spirit called the Holy Spirit that will from now on be the Lord and master of your life? Do you believe that?
If you believe that you’ll have a penitent heart that hungers and thirsts after righteousness and wants that with all of your being and even thought it may be nine months or a year from now before you enter into the fullness of the spirit or deliverance from self, yet you will begin to be blessed in your life and you’ll begin to be a blessing to others. In other words, do you see that the truth is, a carnal Christian is not so much defined by the works of the flesh. That’s just an indication that they are carnal at that time. But it isn’t finally defined by the works of the flesh: anger, jealousy, envy, impatience. It’s defined by the attitude of the heart.
Is the heart fighting against sin with all of its power? Does it believe that Jesus has come to save us from our sins? Does it believe that God did do a full work on Calvary which destroyed us utterly and recreated us completely new and that we have no right to hold to anything that we’ve been in the past? Does it believe that? Is it penitent? Is it hungering and yearning with all of its being or is it back here cavilling with scripture? Debating with God’s promises? “Now, wait a minute, and the Holy Spirit cleansed their hearts by faith, no I don’t see how you can have a completely clean heart. I don’t see that. Whosoever born of God does not – well, you’re bound to commit sin. I commit sin. You’re bound to do it.”
Loved ones, a carnal Christian is finally one who is in the pig sty and wants to stay there. That’s it. A carnal Christian is one who has anger, and envy, and jealousy, and irritability, and impatience, and inward invisible sin in his life and believes that that’s the best he can hope for, or wants nothing more. Now, I say “wants” in the sense of “is willing” because we all want something better. We all desire the best but he is willing for nothing better.
Do you see that impatience is a weapon? Do you see it’s a weapon? If you’re impatient with a person you send a signal to them to get moving and do something because in another moment you’re just going to burst. See, it’s a weapon. It’s, “I am God of this little solar system that I move in. I’m the sun and all you people must move around me and if you don’t I’ll explode and destroy you all.” That’s it. It’s a weapon.
So when you’re impatient you’re really saying, “I have the right to have things done the way I want at the time that I want, in the way that I want.” We excuse ourselves, we say, “No, no, it’s just today I want it done at my time and in my way.” Yes, but it’s always today with you. It’s always that time for you. It’s the same with anger, do you see that? Anger is an expression of a person who wants to be the God of their lives and the God of every other life that touches theirs. Anger is, “I’ll show my emotions so violently that they’ll be scared and they’ll back off.”
When you die to self with Jesus on the cross you die to the right to call thousands of angels to your aid. You die to the right to have the thing go your way and you begin to accept the way God has allowed the thing to happen. And your inner heart’s contentment and rest mirrors that fact, and
you lay quietly with your Savior on the cross, content that, “My God will deliver me but I will not deliver myself.” Now loved ones, a carnal Christian is one who wants none of that but wants the free ticket into heaven under the old covenant.
Could I point out to you that you’re living at the wrong time in history and that you are putting yourself against God who in the days of ignorance winked but now commands all men to repent. And “metanoia” [Greek word for repentance] means to change your whole way of thinking and that’s what it means, loved ones. And so to be delivered from carnality and to experience the resurrection with Jesus that enables God to fill you with the Holy Spirit means that tonight you have to determine that however long it takes you to come through to this you are determined to be willing before God no longer to depend on your friends for your sense of importance, or on any colleagues, or any opinion of man. And you are willing to face whatever that may mean in the way of man’s contempt or man’s criticism.
That you are determined tonight no longer to depend on your ability to gather enough money around you or enough possessions to make yourself secure and therefore of course are never going to grab again for stuff to make sure you have it for your own security but you’re prepared to die to any security but what God gives you. And if he wants you to live poverty stricken in Calcutta, you are willing to do that. And of course, for us here in our century that is so happiness oriented, it means dying to your right to the kind of happiness that you think you should have.
Indeed, it means dying to your right to happiness and saying to God, “Lord, if you give me joy that’s good. If you give me forty years of misery and ten minutes of joy, that’s good. If you give me forty years of joy and ten minutes of misery, that’s good. But Lord, whatever you want. I am willing with Jesus to die to this carrot that has so often drawn me out of your will again and again, this carrot of happiness. Lord, I’m willing to die to everything but your will and to do that only.” And loved ones, when you’re willing to deal with the Holy Spirit deep down in your life– because it’s different for everyone here in this room — to deal with the Holy Spirit deep down in your life and to come to a place of honesty about your willingness to be crucified with Christ, then Jesus will fill you with his Holy Spirit and life will be what God intended it to be for you. And that may be great and in the world’s eyes, it may not be great. But it will be life as you were intended to live it. It will be true life. It will be reality.
Now really in a way I’ve answered questions and in a way I think you know it fine well. And in a way I think we could just dilute the word of the Holy Spirit to us if we discussed this tonight. So I do promise that during the evenings of this year we will have questions but tonight I’d ask you to deal honestly about your own situation. And loved ones, the world is in no doubt. If you are still in any doubt, the world is in no doubt. The world is not impressed by carnality.
You may think the world is deeply impressed by a group of people who have their sins forgiven. It isn’t. The world is not impressed by a group of people who live like ordinary men in strife, and jealousy, and anger, and envy. The world is impressed by the kind of Christian that lived in the first century: princes and princesses of God who had died to themselves and lived above self and sin and that’s what our world needs. And that’s why I believe I was brought into it, to share that, knowing fine well that the majority of people don’t like it and won’t take it. But, this is the truth loved ones. Carnality is Satan’s counterfeit. The spiritual life is a life free from sin, filled with the Holy Spirit. Really.
Let us pray. Dear Father, I know that these are heavy things that my brothers and sisters have
heard and they are heavy things that you have given to me to share. But Lord, we all this evening, know that there’s the ring of truth and validity about them. And Lord, we are tired of this second class Christianity which we see isn’t second class Christianity but is Judaism in a Christian dress. And Lord, we want everything that you’ve done for us in Jesus. We don’t want just this sop for our guilt.
We want clean hearts Lord. We want to be made over again completely. Destroyed and recreated in Jesus. And Lord, we see that it has already happened actually, that an eternal spiritual fact has happened and the only issue in your eyes is whether we are willing for it to be made real in our lives here on earth today. And Lord that that will determine whether we ever are filled with this blessed eternal Spirit or not.
And so Lord we see the choice before us and we see that there is no alternative; it is either heaven or hell. It is either deliverance from sin or it is a life of continual frustration and increasing guilt. Lord, we ask you to clarify things for those of us who need clarification and we ask for you to deal with us all this evening and in the coming days of our lives as we hunger and thirst after righteousness because you have promised we shall be filled. We thank you Lord for that.
And now the grace of our Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each one of us now and ever more. Amen.