God’s Video of Unreality
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Your are God’s Video of Unreality
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Will you take a Bible please and turn to Genesis 6 and you see what brought the flood really. 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. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’”
You’re either in the ark or you’re out of the ark and that’s really it. You can imagine the foolishness of the situation, if they had all gotten into the ark, and then Noah had brought out his little video camera and his video screen and had said, “Okay, I want to show you what the earth was like before this flood.” And so he began to show the murders, and the avarice, and the greed, and the family battles, and the arguments, and the mess that the earth was in. And then can you think of somebody who’s in the ark saying, “No, no, stop, stop, he’s going to kill me! He’s going to kill me!” And Noah saying, “Wait, wait that’s only a movie. That’s what used to be! That’s the way it used to be! We’re in the ark now! We’re safe from that. All that has been destroyed! And we’re here in the ark. And we’re rising above all that that used to be.” And can you imagine someone else in the ark is saying, “Oh, okay watch more.” And then, “No, no, stop, stop he’s going to kill him.” And Noah saying, “No, no it’s a movie. You’re in reality now. That’s what used to be. That has been destroyed.”
But it’s hard in a way, for us. So Mary sits there now and goes, “I’m excited, I’m excited.” And I go, “No Mary, that’s passed.” And she sits there, “Oh yeah, I’m going to take off.” “No you’re not going to take off, that’s taken off. That was last month, two months ago.” [Making reference to a holiday where some flew in a glider plane.] And she says, “That’s right, that’s right… I’m feeling excited. I’m getting the parachute on.” “No Mary, it’s finished. It’s finished. That’s what used to be. That’s what used to be two months ago.” So that’s it. That is not the reality. This is the reality.
Galatians 6:14 is the reality. “I glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world was crucified to me, and I to the world.” That’s the reality. That’s it. And you say to me, “Yeah, but look. We’re all alive here. Look, I can pinch myself. We’re all alive.” But this is just God’s movie. That’s all it is. It’s a great miracle of God. It’s God’s movie. He’s showing us what our lives would have been if he had not put us into Jesus, destroyed us in him and made us alive again in you. He’s saying, “Joe, this is what you would have been like.” Unless Joe be in any doubt, the Father has graciously allowed it to take form, and take a human form, and has allowed you to do all kinds of things: the things that you would have been lost in, if God had not taken them all and destroyed them in Christ. And he’s saying, “Now this is the life that you would have lived, if I had not put you into my Son and destroyed you.”
What happens to many of us is we get so fascinated by the movie, that we think, “Yeah, this is reality. This is reality.” And then we turn the whole thing around and we say to ourselves, “Now, if I can only imagine myself to be in Christ… If I can only imagine that I was crucified with him…” And just like Noah, the Father speaks to us and says, “But you were. That is the only reality!
There is no other reality but that! The world that went astray from me has been destroyed in my Son! That does not exist! What I’m showing you here on the earth is the movie of that, but that is not reality. That is already all passing.”
There’s a remarkable verse and I can give you the reference later, but it’s in Corinthians and it reads, “For the whole,” and the Greek word is “skhaema” like our ‘scheme’ — the whole “skhaema” of this present world is passing away. And it means the whole outward appearance of this passing world, of this world, is passing away. And that’s what the Father is saying, “This thing that seems so real, this wood, and this talking to one another, and all the things that we’re doing, this has all be done away with in my Son. And you’ve been renewed and made completely new and that’s the reality. You’re in the ‘ark’ of my Son Christ. And all that you used to be has been destroyed.” But you can see, we swing it all around. And like little kids now that have such difficulty perceiving the difference between television, imagination, and the reality of life, we are like little kids.
We say, “Yeah, yeah I ‘was’ crucified with Christ. I must try to imagine what that is like. I must pretend that I’m in that. I must somehow climb up out of this pit that I’m in and climb into that reality.”
And God is saying, “No. Don’t you see that what you’re passing through at the moment has no reality any longer? It has all gone.” And you know you can’t have any doubt of that when you think of all the past tenses that are repeated in the Bible. “For you ‘have died’ and your life ‘is’ hid with Christ in God.” “If Christ died for all then all died.” “But God who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he has loved us, even when we ‘were dead’ through our trespasses, made us,” past tense, “alive in Christ, and raised us,” past tense, “up with him, and made us sit,” past tense, “with him in the heavenly places, that in the coming ages he might show forth the riches of his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
So it’s all past tense, even the famous one in Revelation, “The lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the world.” It’s just we are caught in our little idea — and Myron and I were joking a little about time as he came up to get hold of me. And it really doesn’t exist. But we sit here and think, “Okay, this is reality. Let’s face it, this is miserable reality. Somehow I can manage to climb into… whatever that is. It’s not unreality but it’s kind of idealism. It’s something that the Bible says has happened and somehow I’m in Christ, or I will be in Christ when we get to heaven, and I should try to imagine that I am in him now, even though I’m not. I’m right here on earth.” And we turn the whole thing around. And it’s like Mary saying, “No, no, it doesn’t matter what you say. I’m there. I’m right there. I’m putting the parachute on at this moment. I can feel the air…” Well, we’d have to put her in the psyche ward, if she kept going like that. But with ourselves we kind of treat this, “No. This is normal.” This is normal insanity. That’s probably the truth of it. It’s normal insanity.
And why I remind you of this is, what we’re talking about is faith. That faith is an absolute confidence that you are in the ‘ark’. An absolute confidence that you ‘have’ been crucified with Christ, and that you are ‘in’ him now. And that is the basis of everything and everything follows from that. Then there’s no need to pretend. Then there’s no need for effort. Then there’s no need for trying, because you live in the midst of the reality of Jesus at God’s right hand. Then all the things that he has changed are ‘real’ to you. He brought in a whole new reality about possessions. Down there in the world that used to be, possessions were everything. And possessions were everything. And possessions were a source of security. And possessions were what gave me safety.
In him possessions are unimportant.
He says, “Look at the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they reap. Yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow, what you’re going to eat or what you’re going to drink. Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of these things.” And that all comes naturally and fills your heart when you really accept that. “Yes, I have been crucified with Christ.”
It’s the same with the whole question of honor. Down there in that old world that was destroyed in the flood, and that was destroyed in Jesus, even before the flood, the world that we would have lived in apart from Jesus, that old world tried to get some of the sense of self esteem from the honor that comes from man. Jesus brought in a whole new set of relationships, that showed that honor is not important for man. “Don’t be concerned with how this person treats you or that person treats you. It’s your Father that already loves you in me. In me you are beloved by him. He loves you, he thinks of you as the center of the world.” So there’s a whole new view of honor that comes in.
There is a whole new law of force that comes in. Down in the world it was force that mattered. Men to get things done, forced either physically, or forced by business techniques or strategies. In Christ, no! “Why are you glad when you love men who love you? No, even the Gentiles do that. But love those who do not love you.” And he brought in a whole new treatment of individuals that lives above the level of business.
So often in business it’s so tempting; if they’re nice to you, you’re nice to them. If they’re not nice to you, give them back what they have given to you. No, Jesus brought a whole new view in. “No, you love them. You behave to them as I behave to you every moment.” So he brought a whole new set of laws of the kingdom in that become real in your heart and mind the moment we begin to live in reality — in the reality that we have been crucified with Christ. And that’s the beginning of everything, that we have been crucified in him.
And really, we have a beautiful opportunity, that the Father has given us, as a fellowship here, to live in that reality every second of the day. But I see what so often pulls us down is the idea that Satan gets into our mind that, “Yes, there are these two worlds. But actually the one you’re living at the moment, that’s reality. This other one is kind of imagination or a spiritual experience that you try to climb into.”
God says, “No, there is not an alternative.” We have a tendency to think there is a life outside Christ. God says, “No, there isn’t. That life was destroyed. I destroyed that. That’s why I brought the flood centuries ago to show you physically that that was finished with. I destroyed all of that. But, that was only a picture in history of what I did in my Son before the foundation of the world when I destroyed it all. There is no life outside my Son.”
But there’s a tendency for us, you see, to sit in the ark and say, “Oh, I must pretend I’m in the ark. I must pretend that I’m in the ark. I must pretend that possessions mean nothing to me. I must love people the way Jesus loved them. I must try to behave as if I’m in the ark.” And God says, “No, no, you’re either in the ark, or you’re not in the ark. You’re in my Son, or you’re not in my Son. If you’re in my Son, these things will come naturally to you. If you’re not in my Son you’re going to have to try to pretend, and put on an act.” The big issue he says, “Is not trying to act the way I want you to, but accepting and believing completely what I have said is true of
you, that you are in my Son Jesus, that the world has been crucified to you and you have been crucified to the world and that is reality.”
So in a way you know, it makes it a very simple issue. It’s simply do you and I have faith in what God says is reality? Or do we turn it the other way around as we pretend we did with this video? But here we’re looking just at something that has already been passed, but we get so involved in it that we think that’s reality. And what we have here — It’s such a real thing. And obviously it out does ‘computer simulated reality world’, where you put on gloves and you can actually feel what you’re going through. It out does that, because it seems so real to us. It seems so real.
That is, it seems so real until a hydrogen bomb goes off. And then, of course, you remember the cindered bodies that were in Hiroshima, and just were there. And then you touched them and they disappeared, because the heat was so intense it just paralyzed the whole thing right there. So it looked like a real person, but the moment you touched it, it disappeared.
That kind of thing brings home to us a little how very unreal this whole existence is that we have. That it is, in fact, just a passing façade, and an outward form. And the Father is saying to us, “You have died, and your life is hid with me in Christ. And you have now been made a new creation. Welcome into this new creation that I have made.” And what he’s asking us is just to respond with full faith. And there’s a whole new wonderful mysterious life of discovery that each of us has to see unfold over the next years of our lives. That’s it.
“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” is right. What most of us here in this room have seen is years and years of the old self that was crucified with Christ. And the bits of it even that still remain in us, show that, in some sense, we still haven’t accepted fully the complete change that has been wrought.
And of course, as Mary says to me when I say, “No Mary, that’s passed. That’s passed.” And she says, “Yes, but I feel it. I feel my heart beating faster. I feel the excitement.” I mean, do I say, “Oh, well if you feel it, it must be real. Try to feel differently?” No, I don’t. I just say, “No, it doesn’t matter what you feel. You can make yourself feel anything if you move your thoughts around, but the truth is, that’s just a video. That has passed. You’re no longer in the glider. You’re here in London in the chapel at Cedar House.”
So when Satan tries to get you with feelings, “You feel tired. You feel worn out. You feel sick. You feel a bit depressed.” The answer is not, “If I feel it, I must be.” The answer is, “No, what is reality? Has God said that I have died and my life is hid within him? Then that’s reality. Has God said, ‘I have been crucified to the world and the world has been crucified to me?’ Then that’s reality.”
So the center of everything is our faith in what is true, in Jesus, of each one of us. And that’s where the battle is. The battle is not in the individual skirmishes with anger or lust, or jealousy, or pride, or anxiety. The battle is not there. Those are all games that people play, people who pretend they’re in Christ. But the battle is a single, simple one, “Lord Jesus, have you taken me, Ernest O’Neill, have you taken me, Marty Poehler, have you taken Joanne, Joe, have you taken me and destroyed me, and now there’s a new ‘me’ that I haven’t yet seen? Is that true? Then, Lord, thank you. That is true, and I am going to live in that every second of every day.” And then as you begin to exercise that faith, the whole realty of it breaks out in your life, and it becomes real. Let us pray.
Dear Lord Jesus, “from now on we know no man according to the flesh,” we look upon no human being “from a human point of view.” We don’t even “look upon Jesus from a human point of view.” From now on we see things as you see them, Father in heaven.
We thank you that you have given us a choice. We thank you Lord. Thank you that you have put us into your Son Jesus, and in him we have all ended our lives. And in him we have been resurrected as a new human race that is filled with his Spirit and with his heart. And now you graciously, out of your great love for us, allow us to see what would have been if you had not done that, so that we may have a true choice, so that we may choose whether we stay in Christ, where you have put us, whether we remain in the reality of having been crucified to the world and the world crucified to us, or whether we step out of Christ, back into that old condemned world, back into that old independent self, trying to fight its way through the world, and trying to make its own way, and trying to establish its own security.
Lord thank you. Thank you for your great graciousness, your great love in bearing, Lord Jesus, the pain of our destruction, and then your incredible graciousness in saying, “Now, I’m not going to force you. You can leap out of me if you choose to. Here is what your life will be like.”
And oh Father, thank you for showing us that there is no life outside Jesus. That this passing façade that you have allowed to be seen by us is already condemned, is already doomed for complete destruction at the end of this world. And that if we choose to live in that, we choose to live in a living death.
Oh Savior, we want to dwell in the ‘ark’ of your own heart. Lord Jesus, we want to get to know the rooms in this ‘ark’. We want to get to know all the beautiful places in it. Savior, we want to walk out like little babies into this new life with which you’ve surrounded us. Savior, we want to know more of your wonderful body. We want to enter into more of its parts and more of its beauties, and its wonders, and its energies, and its liveliness, and its graciousness. Savior, Savior, we want you to live fully your life in us.
Dear Father, we ask now by your Holy Spirit, that you will make that the norm for each of us, that in the morning when we waken up, we will live in the reality into which you have brought us in Christ. We ask Holy Spirit that you will give us eyes to see and light to understand when we are deceived into mistaking the picture for the truth, the movie for the reality, the video tape of the past for the reality of the present. Holy Spirit, will you awaken us to this, so that we may live and walk each day by faith in reality?
Now Father, we know this dear world around us that knows nothing of this. Lord, will you write through us, and speak through us, and live through us, and work through us so that some of our dear brothers and sisters may catch a glimpse of reality and may be lifted into it by your life in us. We ask this for your glory, Lord Jesus, and our Father, for your satisfaction and for your pleasure, and for your glory. Amen.