The Life of Power
The Life of Power
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
What I am going to try to share this morning is possibly the most dangerous truth that we’ll ever share on Sunday mornings. The powers of evil that are in our world are most opposed to this truth but I think I need to share it with you, otherwise you only have half the truth of Calvary. But you need to remember that and deal with it gently and in faith.
We’ve been talking about how to get free from the personal vices within us that keep us enslaved to self. We’ve been talking about things like seething anger or silent resentment that we can never get free from. We’ve shared, you remember, how Jesus’ death was not just so that we would have these things forgiven and then would have to continue in them for the rest of our lives. If that were the case, we would enter heaven and turn it into hell because we were just the same as we had always been. But Jesus died so that we could be freed from those things. That comes about because when He died, the Bible says, all men died. It says clearly Christ died for all, therefore all died. That means you and me, we all died.
In other words, God, in a great eternal cosmic miracle, destroyed you and me and our old selves and all the anger that our old self can produce and all the envy and the jealousy and the pride and the possessiveness that it has. All that was destroyed in Jesus — and you and I are able to have that made real in us by faith. That’s what we’ve been saying. You’re not only justified by faith but you’re sanctified by faith. You don’t only have your sins forgiven by faith but you have sin cleansed out of your heart by faith and we’ve been sharing how the greater part of Christendom doesn’t believe that.
The greater part of Christendom says, “You’re forgiven your sin by faith but it’s by works that you gouge the sin eventually out of your heart. It’s by works that you eventually train your bad temper or you overcome your jealousy or you overcome your anger and there are thousands of us who will testify that by works we have utterly failed to do that, year after year after year. The Christian body known as the church has become a stain on Jesus’ reputation rather than a blessing to it. That’s because the entire world is saying, why don’t you live what you preach?
Of course, so many of us are unable to live what we preach because we’re still trying to overcome our temper, overcome our selfishness, overcome our jealousy by all kinds of temperament training and self-discipline. It is overcome by faith. You are made holy by faith. You are delivered from the power of self by faith. Now, if you are made gentle, and the Holy Spirit brings about patience in you and a kindliness and a continued purity and a continued believing the best about all men and a continued submission to God’s will and a continued gentleness towards other people, how on earth are you going to survive or succeed in your jobs or your businesses? How are you? They’re going to kill you! They’ll smother you! They’ll bury you! Out there it’s “win by intimidation”. They’ll destroy you, because that kind of thing is looked upon us weakness in the business world. It’s looked upon as something to be taken advantage of. This is so even in the educational world.
How will you survive out there in that world? You’ll survive by an entirely different power and energy than you used when you used the vices of the old self. Loved ones, that’s what I’d like to
share this morning.
David Wilkerson put it this way, “There are some people that live continually in crucifixion and they don’t live in resurrection. There are some people that continually talk about crucifixion because they never enter into it. They talk about it all the time, but they never get through to resurrection.” Do you see that the only purpose of crucifixion is resurrection? The only purpose of dying with Jesus to self is so that you’re raised with Him into a position where you can live this life as God meant you to.
Now here’s the truth. Why, when you’re getting into the car and you have your raincoat on and it has a long belt, why does it always fall outside the car door and never inside the car door? Why are you facing situations in the office, which will not yield to your very best efforts? Why are you facing those things? Why at home have you standing problems that will not yield to the best energies you use? You must admit, those are the agonizing things.
The agonizing things are not the many problems that we are more or less solving with our own little methods. The things that destroy us in this life are these perennial, chronic problems either in people or in circumstances that will not change. They are the ones that drive you to distraction. They are the ones that eventually wear you down. They grind you down, down, down until you just settle for a kind of half-hearted victory in your life over outward circumstances. Now why is that?
Loved ones, let me show you one of the reasons. It’s in Romans 8:20. Your belt always seems to fall outside the car door… “For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope.” That’s true. God saw us rebelling against Him. We had been given authority over this world and when we rebelled against Him and fell out of fellowship with Him, so did our world. He allowed the world to be subjected to futility. He allowed a streak of perversion to come into the circumstances of this world so that we would be in no doubt that there’s something wrong here.
In other words, our Father could have arranged everything to flow beautifully. He could have arranged the world to work as He planned it originally. But that would have encouraged us in a deception — a feeling that we’re all right with God. Instead of that, God subjected the world to futility so that all kinds of earthquakes came in; disease came into the world through our rebellion against God. The whole psychic psychological world is knit together spiritually and mentally and emotionally and that whole thing went astray, the whole fabric of that world broke apart and became twisted when we rebelled against God.
The world is subjected to futility — that’s really why we can’t get money for certain business projects. That’s why at times your money doesn’t work out right. God actually planned for the whole thing to work beautifully, but the whole world is twisted and perverted by that. There is a whole system of loans and a whole system of obligations and a whole system of diseases and a whole system of political and domestic strains that work in our world to prevent God’s will being done in our lives.
That whole thing, loved ones, is linked together by thousands of little spirits and little attitudes that are just crazy. I put it to you. Have you ever understood why Wall Street will go up and down so quickly? Why, why does it take so long for interest rates to come down or why do they suddenly pop up or why does the Dow go up or go down? Even the men themselves that are involved in Wall Street can’t tell. There are all kinds of strange powers that work, strange powers that work in our
world and then our own personal world of family and of business. They are all the time working against God’s will in your life.
That’s why you feel such frustration about these things. You know how you and I tackle them. We tackle them with our best knowledge and our best understanding. We tackle them we say with our knowledge of good and evil. We see this thing going a little astray, this son is beginning to get off track or this job situation is beginning to go astray and we tackle it with our own knowledge of good and evil. We try to rectify it but we can’t. We feel like puny little dwarfs that are unable to change it in any way. The reason is that we’re dealing with elemental wrongness and perversion that is built into our world.
Now here’s the incredible truth loved ones. Look at Galatians 6:14, as it is the other side of the crucifixion. “But far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I, to the world.” God not only put you and me in His son Jesus on the Cross to destroy us and resurrect us, He put the world, (the cosmos in Greek which stands for the whole world system that works independent of God and works in a perverted and twisted way) He put that whole world into His son Jesus, destroyed it there and resurrected it new and whole and well, so that it works right the way it was meant to.
If you say to me, “Well, why isn’t it working right?” Well, it doesn’t work right for all of us, only for those of us who believe this truth, for those of us who have faith. That’s why you remember, in another part of scripture it says, “What is it that overcomes the world? Our faith!” It is our faith that overcomes the world. Now if you say, “Wait a minute, that can’t make a difference in your circumstances?” Look with me at Acts 12.
Acts 12:8-10: “And the angel said to him, ‘Dress yourself and put on your sandals.’ And he did so. And he said to him, ‘Wrap your mantle around you and follow me.’ And he went out and followed him; he did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened to them of its own accord, and they went out and passed on through one street.”
Look back at Acts 12:7, “And behold, an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side and woke him saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his hands.” That’s it. Even physicists say that this is not solid. It looks solid but it’s made up of protons and neutrons and even smaller particles that are whirling around at tremendous speed. God has put all of that into His son Jesus and He can release it and re-mold it, as He pleases, according to our faith.
How else, tell me, did the walls of Jericho come down? They certainly didn’t come down by Joshua and the guys getting together and saying, “Now some dynamite here would do the job, let’s put it in.” They did it by believing that God was able to do what He had promised because He had brought those walls down in His Son’s death who was the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. He was able to bring them down and manifest that in time and space whenever He found somebody who had faith that that was so.
Now, loved ones that’s the power that we have, and that’s how we deal in our businesses and in our schools. We do not need to use the carnal weapons of intimidation and anger and competitiveness and rivalry and under-handedness and dishonesty. We have a power through faith in what God has wrought in Jesus’ death that can actually manifest itself in changing circumstances, in freeing money so
that it’s available, in overcoming attitudes that people have towards you that are twisted and that you cannot change yourself. That is part of the resurrection power of Calvary.
Now, I agree with anybody here, you can’t just use that whenever you please. Yet it is amazing how many other people than those who actually trust in Jesus use that spirit power. You remember in the New Testament the disciples came to Him once and said, “Here is somebody casting out demons in your name and yet they don’t walk with us.” In India, they can do all kinds of incredible things. A man can stand here and another man there and they can create welts on each other’s bodies with the psychic powers of the mind. They don’t have whips in their hands and they never touch each other. They use their psychic powers and at times the evil, spiritual powers of the world.
So these powers are there and other people at times make use of them. Indeed, they’re probably much more in use than you and I realize such as the strong power of advertising and the strong power of commercialism in our world. But loved ones, so often you and I have made no use of these powers and if we don’t begin to move into this realm and exercise faith, these coming days that are advancing on us, will destroy us. It just will not be enough to be quietly in Christ and to have victory over inward sin within you. It’ll be vital to be able to move out against these powers in the faith of what God has done in Jesus’ death.
Now this is only part of it. How does it work? Well, in very simple ways. You may sit there and say, “Well brother, this is new to me and I think you’re talking about what giants of faith are able to do.” Loved ones, it’s amazing. The fact is that all of us are in this position, all of us here. Even those of us who aren’t Christians have been raised into this position and the moment we believe it, the moment we actually believe it and begin to live that way, that moment these powers become available to us. I’ll just point out before I read a little illustration of it, where it says that in Ephesians.
Ephesians 2:4: “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us,”… and then for those of you who hardly even believe you’re Christians, it is really important for you to see this next verse- verse 5: “even when we were dead through our trespasses”, (even when we were dead in sin, even before we had ever come to any church) “even when we were dead through our trespasses,(God) made us alive together with Christ”, (and then he explains), “it’s by grace you have been saved.”
God has done all that is needed to make you alive in Jesus. He has already done it but you have to believe it before it will be manifested in your life or you’ll receive any benefit of it. He made us alive together with Christ, and by grace, you have been saved. This is the other side of crucifixion — the resurrection. “And raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” That’s where we actually sit at this moment in reality.
Why? So that in the coming ages, 1984, He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. In other words, God has raised us up with Christ, above the power of this world and if we believe that, we can actually see those things manifested. Any of you who doubt just think of Jericho. Think of the walls of Jericho, think of the water from the rock, think of the Israelites going over the Red Sea, think of all those miracles. I mean those were not wrought by man’s brilliance and cleverness. Those were wrought by men who had faith that God could actually change the material structure of this world and make it meet His purposes. And so it is loved ones.
This man was a missionary in China, I think 30 years ago. This is for those of you who think, I have to be a giant and how do I do this? “Some months ago, after a service in one of our cities,” (he is speaking presumably before Mao took over) “two women came asking for an interview. The appearance of one gave an immediate understanding of the situation. She had been earnestly seeking a deeper spiritual experience, which was followed by a sudden attack of intense despondency.”
So she had sought a deeper spiritual experience and then terrible depression hit her. “The attacks persisted until after three years the mind was in complete bondage.” How many of us know people who are worn down by depression and you can drug them for years but they never come clear of it and you can talk till you’re blue in the face but there is no change. “All joy had fled and only a feeble hold of salvation was retained. Suggestions of suicide were frequent.”
Our dear society is being decimated by suicide. Is it suicide among old people who are about to end their lives? No! Suicide among the teenagers! “So, as suggestions of suicide were frequent, pressing with an urgency that was hard to resist, the following line of approach was taken: (after definitely asserting in prayer, the power of the ascended Lord and the believers throne union with Him) Sister this trouble is clearly the oppression of evil spirits, which have obtained a hold over you in some manner. These thoughts of self-destruction are directly prompted by him who is a deceiver and a murderer.”
Loved ones, we’re so dumb. We tackle these teenagers as if we can analyze them out of the stuff and we don’t believe Jesus’ clear words that the devil is a murderer from the beginning. We can’t explain it by analysis. We explain all kinds of things about the parents’ attitude, but you can always find other teenagers who had the same kind of parents and they don’t want to commit suicide. We still keep saying “Oh it’s not Satan but that’s not what Jesus said. The devil’s job is to get you to destroy yourself if he possibly can.
“These thoughts of self-destruction are directly prompted by him who is a deceiver and a murderer. You are a Christian and united with Christ. This afternoon may be for you, if you will, the last occasion of the manifestation of satanic power.” In a simple manner, her place of victory on authority in Christ was shown from the Bible. She was urged to take it audibly before those who were witnesses. After full assertions of her faith and her acceptance of what Christ had gained and the Father had bestowed, the group kneeled in victorious prayer. As the group arose, one of her friends remarked, “She looks different already.” There was a life and animation most noticeable after the deadness of her previous expression. A few weeks ago, a letter came, “I feel as if I were saved all over again. Joy and peace had returned, the Holy Spirit had come and soul saving work had been granted to her.”
That’s depression. I don’t blame you if you’re skeptical. I was as skeptical of this stuff when I first heard of it. But loved ones it is true, and the Bible is full of such examples. I don’t know how many of you are troubled with fear. I think many of us are. We don’t know why we’re afraid but we are afraid. You’d think we would have got used to the “mushroom cloud” and by this time have learned to live with the thing.
In Ireland, they just learn to live with the bombs and the bullets. But it seems we haven’t. It seems even our young people are hit by all kinds of wild fears. We have fears of our economy, fears of where the world is going, fear of what we’re doing. “In traveling among the islands of the coast of Mindanao in a native boat, a considerable swell was encountered. The son of the writer, this man began to show fear, which became almost uncontrollable. This was most unusual as he was normally
fond of the water and was an excellent sailor, having frequently traveled up and down the entire China coast where storms are severe.
He begged to be taken ashore and as the whole affair seemed to be directed against the progress of the trip, the writer quietly took the authority of Christ over the spirits of fear and rebuked them, though saying nothing openly.” That’s it. It doesn’t have to be a showy thing, doesn’t have to be a big, “I rebuke you” so that everybody knows. No, it’s not a show. It’s not a circus. It’s an attitude of quiet faith in yourself that you have been raised with Jesus above these things and that you can command them. I don’t know if you remember, Jesus said, “Whatsoever you demand in my name will be done.” Not ask–the Greek word is demand. “Whatsoever you demand in my name will be done.”
“The writer quietly took the authority of Christ over the spirits of fear and rebuked them though saying nothing openly. In a few minutes, the lad seemed to change completely and for the remainder of the journey, lasting several days, there was no further difficulty. The second night after, while in the center of a wide bay and about 12 miles from shore, a heavy squall was encountered and an outrigger broke. The danger was eminent and the lad was fully aware of it. Though the waves were washing over the boat, he manifested not the slightest shrinking.”
Loved ones, it works. It works and it’s the only power that will enable you to live in freedom from the power of self and yet have victory in your job life and in your career life and in our life together. Increasingly in these days, if we don’t learn to take this kind of authority, and learn to have this faith built up in us in Jesus name, this world is getting pretty wild and it will crush us. It will just destroy us as individuals. And all of us who band together in groups like this, to become like Jesus, it’ll destroy us unless we use this power that is available.
I feel for all of you, to whom this is new and think, “Oh, he is a witch doctor.” It’s wild and new to so many of us and yet loved ones as you look at the Bible, it’s the only explanation of what these dear defenseless men and women were able to do through the power of God and it’s available to you.
So if you say, “Well brother what should I do?” I think some of these books will help that I mentioned on faith, the evening services, (this is what we’re talking about); most of all start taking that attitude yourself. Start rebuking the spirit of fear within yourself. Start rebuking and resisting the spirit of anxiety within yourself. Start resisting in Jesus’ name, just quietly do it, just do it in Jesus’ name.
You can say to Him, “Lord, I feel dumb doing this,” but do it, do it and begin to resist those powers. Then begin to walk in faith and confidence. Just one more thing, I remember when I had to go to doors of houses and there was a dog that was not too friendly. My dad always said, “Show no fear, show no fear!” And you know the story, it’s hard to show no fear, but that’s the truth of it, it’s amazing.
There are powers in this world that if they see fear in you at all, they’ll run right through the middle of you and back through you and through you again. They’ll destroy you utterly. There need be no fear of the powers of this world or the spirits that work in it because you can deal with them as Jesus has already destroyed them in His death on Calvary. And that’s the truth of it. That’s why you don’t have to put forth any strength.
God has already destroyed the world. The world has been crucified in Him. All you have to do is deal
with it in the light of that fact, instead of dealing with it in the light of the fact that it has all power over you. So it is by faith, loved ones. I’ll pray for you that you’ll begin to move, because that’s the way of victory that God has for us. Let us pray.
Dear Father, we’ve run from so many things that this seems new to us to run towards the danger with complete confidence that you have already destroyed it. And yet Father we must admit that’s obviously what the Israelites did with overwhelming enemies. They walked towards them in absolute confidence that you had already given them victory.
Father we would now take quiet positions of faith even though we’re new to this. We would take quiet positions of faith in Jesus’ name in regard to all kinds of situations that we’re facing. Some of us today are worried about things that are coming up this week. Some of us are anxious about some things that might come on top of us in a month’s time. Some of us have been continually frustrated by certain relationships that have never rectified themselves. Some of us cannot change the attitude of certain people towards us.
Father we would now take a position in Jesus’ name against these things. We would rebuke Satan and the powers of evil or the powers of anxiety or fear and we would resist them in Jesus’ name quietly. We know that it’ll be like switching on a light. The moment we touch the switch, all the power of the generators come through and illuminate the room. So all the power of Calvary will come into that situation and will deal a deathblow to it. And we’ll continue to deal that deathblow as long as we continue to rest in faith.
So Father, we would cast from our minds all the worries, all the anxieties, all the feelings of impotence and we would move into this resurrection life that can begin to govern our business dealings and our home life and our school and our education and our career and our marriages. We thank you for the power, Lord Jesus, that we have with you at God’s right hand.
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 evermore. Amen.