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Stop Trying So Hard! - CONSECRATION
Stop Trying so Hard!
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
A lot of us listen a great deal to the truths that God will bear our burdens and we keep thinking,
“Well, that’s right he does bear our burdens and sometime we ought really to give him our burdens.”
But yet, we never do really do it. And I know old John – I know John maybe better than Tom [young
men who sang as Pastor mentions later], but I know that he has found that God really does bear the
burden and really does carry it. And there comes a time when you have to stop saying, “Well, maybe
he will and he’s done it for Abraham, and he’s done it for Moses, and he’s done it for all the other
fellows, but will he do it for me?” Maybe there’s a time you ought to stop saying that and actually
release it to him. And I think a lot of us are just playing along far, far too long.
We play it along with our futures. We feel, “Yeah, well maybe he can take care of my future,” and
yet we keep worrying about our future and we keep thinking that we have to make our own way through
life somehow or another. Or, we think, “Yes he can take care of my reputation. I can trust him
with it,” but we never actually get that burden off our hearts. And I think a lot of us come Sunday
after Sunday and we listen to the things about God, and we believe that they’re all true in our
heads. But loved ones, there comes a time when you actually have to take the burden off your
shoulders and put it on God, and stop thinking about it, and stop worrying about it.
I think a lot of us are foolish about this. You wouldn’t act with a lawyer this way. If you had a
case and you presented it to him, you’d leave it with him. You wouldn’t come back the next week and
say, “No, I think I’ll take care of it myself for a while,” and then have a go for a week and then
come back to him the next week and say, “Okay, you have a go I can’t manage it.” You know the
fellow would tell you, “Look, you take care of it if you want, but you must leave it completely to
me, or you must take it completely.”
Now brothers and sisters, do you see it has to be that way. And you know the sense of liberty that
some of you dear ones felt as the brothers sang. Some of it can just be emotional unless you’re
actually releasing your burden to God, and then there is a real sense of liberty and freedom. And
so that kind of a song just gives us the release that we know we have already. But do you see you
actually have to give the burden to Jesus? And if you don’t do it, you can say you believe
intellectually, but you’re not trusting in your heart, you see.
And it was so with old Abraham, I mean, he could believe, “Oh yeah Lord, I believe I’ll have
children as the sand upon the sea shore. I believe it. I believe it.” And his wife was 91 years
of age and had no children and then he had to really decide, “Do I really believe or do I really
not?” And you know, he tried it the way we do. For a while he hesitated on the whole business, and
he went in to Hagar, you remember, his wife’s maid, and he had a child by her. And then he got back
onto it and he saw, “No, God will keep his promise with me.” And you remember, God tested him on it
and said, “Okay, I’ll give you Isaac,” and at 91 years of age old Sarah had a son.
And you remember what God said, “Okay, take Isaac your only son and sacrifice him on the altar.”
Now that was a moment when really Abraham had to determine whether he trusted God or not and it had
to be action, you see.
Loved ones, it’s no use this business of praying for the exams and then worrying about the exams.
It’s just no use. If you really trust God, then you put old Isaac on the altar and you leave him
there. And you trust that if you have to kill Isaac, God will raise him up for you.
And it’s the same with our money; we really are not getting the benefits of the Father’s success in
managing money. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but we’re really not benefitting from all
his possessions, because we sort of surrender our money to him and then when it begins to get tight
and the rent begins to be due the old worry sets in again.
Now loved ones, do you see you cannot experience the freedom from your burdens unless you actually
do let go of them. It’s no use you saying, “Oh, God has to lift them off me.” Loved ones, God will
not force you into something. If you’re bearing the burden about marriage on your shoulders and
you’re determined, “I’m going to marry whether he wants me to marry or not,” or, I’m going to marry
this girl whether he wants me to marry her or not,” then God can do nothing for you.
But it’s essential loved ones, that you begin to take God at his word, you see. And that’s what we
mean by trusting him, by actually trusting him and putting Isaac on the altar, by actually trusting
him for the money.
Really, oh we had a wild experience when we were first moving into some reality of the Holy Spirit.
My wife and I pastored at Calvary Methodist Church which was in North Minneapolis and we were naïve
little souls at that time, we didn’t really know what we were doing.
I remember that we had this wild ex-Marine came and preached in the church, and he said “Okay, now
we’re going to have an offering and I don’t want you to put in what you decided to put in before you
came here, I want you to ask God about it.” And you know, I had never heard of that deal before and
I sort of felt in my pocket and my wife had the checkbook. So I began to pray very hard and it was
the first time we had ever had the release – yeah, it cost us $50 that night — but it was the first
time we had ever really entered into freedom as far as money was concerned.
And it was at that time, and my wife won’t mind saying, because she and I had both pursued this
intellectual approach to Christianity for years in the universities in Ireland and in England, and
it was the first time really that she had gone out in trust that way. And it was that same time
that God did a work in her heart.
Now, do you see that for years we had known all this, and we believed that God would take care, and
we believed that God would look after money, but we never actually took a step and actually put it
into his hands and trusted him with it?
And brothers and sisters, that’s it: there is no release from burdens unless you actually take the
step and put them into the Father’s hands. And I’m with you; I think it takes some real mental
discipline. I know as it comes up towards the examination time, I know that Satan is worrying you
and worrying you and saying, “Look, what about the consequences? What about the grades? What will
happen if you are thrown out of school?” But loved ones, its there that you exercise faith you see.
Faith is not just a feeling; it’s a belief that God will take your burdens if you put them on his
shoulders. And that’s what justifies you in His sight. It’s not making a success of your lives.
It isn’t loved ones. It isn’t even living morally that pleases God. It is the fact that you trust
him with the things that are concerning you and binding you uptight. You know if I asked you this
morning, “Well are you uptight this morning?” Well, some of you are. You’re uptight about all
kinds of silly things that Satan has persuaded you are vital to your welfare. And loved ones, do
you know that 15 years hence you’ll have forgotten those things but you’ll be uptight about half a
dozen other things?
Now, do you see that we don’t need it? Brothers and sisters, we don’t need it. There’s someone who
put this world here. There’s someone who gets that sun up out of the horizon every day. There’s
somebody who keeps the galaxies going in the right order. There’s someone who keeps the thing from
crashing. We call it law of gravity but you know we’re bluffing our way. We give it a name, we’ve
explained nothing. We can’t explain why it occurs. We can’t explain why the atoms hold together.
We can explain partly how they hold together, we can’t explain why. Do you see that there is some
being behind the whole thing that made you and put you here and he didn’t put you here to make your
own miserable way on your own? He just didn’t. Its just silliness you see. It’s just silly.
It’s like that old fellow, he was driving the old horse and cart along the road and he had his
little dog beside him. And the old donkey, you remember, was just striving up the hill and could
hardly make it. And then the old fellow lifted the dog onto his lap and held him there. And
someone watching him said, “What did you do that for?” And he said, “Oh, I didn’t want the poor old
donkey to have to carry us both.” Well, do you see that some of us are like that? Some of us are
saying, “Well, we don’t want God to have to carry this too; he has enough.”
Loved ones, he is carrying you. It’s the Father that sustains your life. It’s the Father that
keeps the oxygen flowing through your body. It’s God who controls your life and who keeps the earth
on which you’re resting spinning. Now he’s carrying the whole burden anyway and you’re only
pretending that you’re carrying it. God is able to carry it.
To Here 2016-03-06
And that’s the kind of thing, you remember, that we talked about last day. And maybe it would be
good to look just at the promises here, because sometimes they spell out our faith more than all
kinds of examples. Do you see it there in Romans 4:3, “For what does the scripture say?” And then
Paul quotes it, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” And Abraham’s
trust in God was looked upon by God as if it were righteousness.
Now, you remember, where that occurred. 2000 years BC it was, and you might want to look at that.
It’s in Genesis 15:5, “And he,” God, “brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number
the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’
And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.” And so even though you see
in Verse 3, “Abram said, ‘Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will
be my heir.’” Even though that was the situation physically speaking, yet God said that he would
have children, and he would have descendants beyond the number of the stars. And Abraham trusted
God for that, and God looked upon that as righteousness.
The amazing thing about that was really, that Abraham wasn’t a righteous person at all, you see. He
was in fact, just a cowardly liar. If you look at Genesis 12, he really was, really. Genesis
12:10, he was prepared to lie up and down in order to get out of difficulties. You see, I think we
end up doing that. Loved ones, you’re not made to live life on your own. You’re not made to bear
all the burdens on your own and the only way actually we can manage to bear them is by lying, isn’t
it? I mean, we’re deceiving. We don’t get an assignment in, so we make what we call an excuse.
It’s not an excuse it’s a lie. We fail an appointment and we make an excuse. It’s not an excuse
it’s a lie.
Without God bearing our burdens and carrying us we’re always driven into this kind of compromised
situation that Abraham was. Genesis 12:10, “Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down
to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt,
he said to Sarai his wife, ‘I know that you are a woman beautiful to behold; and when the Egyptians
see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say
you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on
your account.’” Now that was Abraham’s attitude to life, and he really was not a righteous person
himself. And yet, do you see that because the underlying basic attitude of his life to God was one
of trust, God counted his trust in place of righteousness. Now really that’s what the Father wants
with you and me.
A lot of us are feeling, “Well, I have to straighten up my life first.” Loved ones, God is saying,
“Look, if you start trusting me, if you’d start trusting me to give you all you need in your life
then you could begin to find that my Holy Spirit would straighten up your life.” But a lot of us
are saying, “No, we must be moral. We must be moral. We must obey everything before God will deal
with us.” Loved ones, God takes you as you are and then he works on your morality. But you must
take the first step of trusting him.
Now what have you to trust him to do? Well, trust him to give you his own life. You have mental
life this morning. You have emotional life. You have physical life. But God has an uncreated
spiritual life that he can give to you miraculously this morning, and it’s the life that makes
everything come together. It’s the life that makes all the other lives work right. If you say to
me, “What is it?” It seems it’s a kind of invisible electric dynamic that God gives to you. He
called it different things in the Old Testament. At one time it turned out as water. When the
Israelites were dying of water, this life of God became water to them. At another time they were
dying of starvation in the wilderness and this life became manna that was found on the ground every
morning, and they ate it like bread. At another time this life became healing to some of them. But
this life Jesus talked about is the Holy Spirit. He said, “My Father will give you his own
spiritual uncreated life and that will enable you to do whatever you need in this life. It will
meet all your needs.”
Now that’s what you’ve to trust God to do, to give you that life. We don’t deserve it you see. We
don’t deserve it at all, because God, you remember, wants to put a flaming sword at the gate of the
Garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life and he said, “Look, you people have given up any
right to receive this spiritual uncreated life from me. From now on I condemn you to absolute
destruction.” And you remember that that is our real position. And the only reason God can give us
this life again without condoning cowardly liars is because Jesus has paid our debt to God’s
unbending law of justice. And because of that God is able to come out to us again this morning and
say, “Look, I’ll give you this life if you’ll trust me to give it to you.”
And of course, most of us don’t work that way at all. Most of us work the way – well, it’s the
first verse that we could look at just this morning Romans 4:4, “Now to one who works, his wages are
not reckoned as a gift but as his due.” I think a lot of us are in that position. A lot of us know
that our lives are not satisfying. We know we don’t feel much significance in life. We’re really
troubled about what the meaning of our lives is and we’re troubled that nobody seems to think much
of us, and we’re troubled that we don’t feel any approval of the great Creator of the universe upon
our lives. And we begin to work at it. We work at it! And a lot of us spend our time working at
it. We’re always trying to work at it, and striving and straining to try to prove that we’re good,
or that we’re moral, or that we’re spirit filled Christians, or that we’re good people, or that
we’re worth looking at. And really, many of us are in that position where ‘we’re working’.
Now, do you see that when you’re working like that to try to prove to God, and morality, and all
your peers that you’re right, you’re bound to fail? You’re bound to futility, because you’re trying
to prove that you’re right by works of the law. And it just isn’t possible to prove yourself right
that way. I’ll tell you why, if you’d like to look at it. It’s in James and I think a lot of us
are involved in this. We’re trying to prove that we’re socially responsible, or we’re trying to
prove that we really care about people, or we’re trying to justify to ourselves that we’re really
going to contribute something to the world, or we’re trying to prove that, “Well we obey some of the
laws.” And we’re in this position in James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one
point has become guilty of all of it.”
In other words, even if you spent 50 million hours, obeying all kinds of good things that you
thought you ought to do, and living up to all kinds of high standards; even if you failed in one
point, it’s like disobeying the whole law. And that’s the difficulty about trying to justify
yourself by doing works of law, you see. I mean, dear ones, they are not only the works of law
detailed in the Bible, some of us live under the works of law that our parents have given to us.
Some of us have ideas that our parents gave to us, and we’re trying to live up to those ideas all
the time and prove ourselves, and justify ourselves, because we do that. Some of us have standards
for ourselves that are not fair standards at all. Sometimes they are not high enough, sometimes
they’re too low. But we’re trying to prove ourselves by living up to those standards. The
psychologists love to call them goals. We always have goals in life, and we all try to keep
striving to those goals. And the Bible says that you’ve only to fail in one point and you’ve failed
in the whole lot.
You see in Verse 11, “For he who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ said also, ‘Do not kill.’ If you
do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law.” In other words, if
you try to prove yourself by obeying works of the law you have to obey the whole lot. You have to
do everything! And it’s so with those standards that your parents have given to you. You have to
keep living up to all of them all the time otherwise you’ll never feel justified. And do you see
loved ones, it’s impossible ever to justify yourself in God’s eyes by that means? Particularly in
his eyes, because he didn’t give the law so that we would try to live up to it.
Why did he give it? It’s in Romans there if you look at it. And why can we never justify ourselves
in God’s eyes by living up to all the law? Romans 3:20, “For no human being will be justified in
his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” It is because the law
is a diagnostic instrument. God said, “Look, if you had my Holy Spirit in your life you would have
no other gods before me. You would not commit adultery. You would not bear false witness. Now,
this is a diagnostic instrument. If you do these things it proves that you haven’t the life of my
Now do you see that when we take that diagnostic instrument and try to use it to prove that we can
be like him without his Holy Spirit, do you see that we’re compounding our rebellion against God?
The law is not given by God so we can try to live up to it by our own strength. The law is given by
God to expose to us that we have not trusted him for his Holy Spirit and therefore we are not living
up to the standards that the Holy Spirit brings to our normal life.
So loved ones, when we say, “Oh yeah, we live by the golden rule. I live by the golden rule.” Do
you see that first of all we can’t live by the golden rule? None of us who say that are actually
living by it. And secondly, it wouldn’t matter if you lived up to the golden rule if you’re living
it independent of the Spirit of God’s life then you’re rebelling against him anyway. All it is, is
you’re a moral sinner. And really, there are lots of dignified moral sinners among us who are
really most moral people, but they do it all without God. And they have no sense of dependence upon
Now it’s that that is God’s controversy with us and that’s why you see it says in Romans 4:4 there,
“To one who works, his wages are reckoned as his due.” And then it goes onto the situation that
Abraham was in in Verse 5, “And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly,
his faith is reckoned as righteousness.” So really what God is trying to say to you this morning
is, “Would you stop striving? Would you stop straining? Would you stop trying? Would you stop
trying to be the kind of person that you think you should be? And would you start looking upon me as
your dear Father who is willing to give you my own life, my own ‘Holy Spirit life’, if you will only
trust me to give it to you?” And he’s saying, “Would you stop working so hard? And I tell you, if
you would trust me to give you this life I will look upon your trust as if it were righteousness.
And even though it’s just trust, because I know through that trust you’re going to receive my Holy
Spirit who is going to make you like me, I will immediately lift the guilt off your conscience and I
will accept you as my own children — even though you’re not perfect yet. Even though you aren’t
like me in every degree, yet because you’re trusting me I will count that trust or that faith in
place of righteousness; and I will look upon you as if you were as righteous as my own Son Jesus.”
Now that’s what God is willing to do this morning, brothers and sisters. God is willing to impute
the righteousness of Jesus to you, if you will trust him. And the old Greek participle is the
present participle. It means, if you’re trusting him now, God counts that present trust as
righteousness. Now, that’s all you have to do, really. You don’t have to start cleaning up your
life now, this morning. You need to say, “Father, I have been living independent of you. I’ve been
working at this. I’ve been trying to prove myself to everybody. But Father, I do believe that you
are my father and I do believe that I can trust you with my burdens, and I can trust you to give me
your Holy Spirit. And Father, I will receive that Spirit of Jesus now into me and I trust you then
to look upon me as righteous. And I trust you by your Holy Spirit to make me righteous as the days
But that’s the way it works brothers and sisters. It’s glorious. I mean, it works backwards
because we were in an impossible position before you see, you couldn’t be good without the Holy
Spirit and you couldn’t receive the Holy Spirit unless you were good. It was an impossible dilemma.
And now God says, “If you trust me to give you the Holy Spirit because of Jesus dying in your
place, then I will give you the Holy Spirit as you are now, today. And then when you have him all
you have to do is begin to submit to him and obey him and he’ll make you like me.”
But brothers and sisters that’s why it can change right this morning, and why it’s important that
you actually take the burden off and you lay it on God, you see. And if you’re worrying, if you’re
worrying this morning about the money, or if you’re worrying this morning about that relationship
with that professor, or if you’re worrying this morning about that kind of grind that you have there
with your roommate, do you see that God is saying to you, “Look, will you trust me with that? Will
you trust me to give you my Holy Spirit of life who will sort that out? And if you do, I will
regard your trust as righteousness and you’ll be my child.” And that’s why it can take place so
suddenly, you see.
But it does demand — and brothers I say it to you because we seem expert at this — it does demand
that we stop trying to do it ourselves. It does demand that we stop trying to prove ourselves to
the whole wide world, and stop trying to achieve all these great things that we think we ought to
achieve, and instead say, “Father, I’m willing to take my place in your world, the place you want me
to have. And I trust you now to give me the Holy Spirit.” And do you see that faith in the New
Testament sense is not just belief, it is John 1:12, “To as many as receive him to them gives he the
right to become the children of God.”
You actually have to receive the Spirit of Jesus this morning into yourself. In other words, it’s
not enough to say, “God, I’ll believe I have the Holy Spirit when I feel I have the Holy Spirit.”
God is saying, “No, you have to believe by faith. I said I’ll give him to you. Now, he isn’t in
you until you believe he is in you.” Do you see that?
The Spirit of Jesus cannot come into you until you believe that he is coming into you. It’s no use
standing back saying, “I’ll believe he has come into me when I feel him inside me.” He will never
be in you unless you exercise faith, because Jesus comes into you through faith. And what is faith?
Faith is believing that God will keep his promise and adjusting your life to make room for that
promise. That’s what it is.
So faith this morning would say, “Father, I believe that you can give me the Spirit of your Son into
my spirit and you can change my life. And I am now willing to make all the adjustments and
arrangements in my life that may be necessary because of that.” And that’s what governs God’s life
coming into you this morning. If you only believe but aren’t prepared to make the necessary
adjustments in your own life for that, then you’re like Abraham saying, “I believe that you’ll
restore Isaac but I’m not going to risk it. I’m not going to kill him.” But really, we need to
say, “I believe you will give me your Spirit of life and I am prepared to make what necessary
adjustments are necessary.”
Now brothers and sisters would you – you see it’s a very down to earth sensible transaction. It’s
just good common sense. Now if you’re sitting there and you’re saying, “Well Pastor, I’d love it to
be real to me, but I’ve tried it 20 times before.” Loved ones, do you see that it works if it’s
belief plus obedience, if it’s belief plus adjusting the life to make room for the Holy Spirit. But
if you’re sitting there saying, “Father, I really need you with the finances, but my relationship
with the girlfriend — I’d like to control that myself.” Do you see the Spirit of Jesus cannot come
into you to be a prisoner? Or sisters, if you’re saying, “Well I’d really like him in me for the
business of my relationship with my roommate. But I’d like to just control what I wear myself; I
don’t want him to bother with that.” Then do you see the Spirit of Jesus cannot come into you
unless you’re willing to trust him in every area of your life and make all the adjustments that are
I think dear ones, with many of us in our generation — I think a lot of our problems in this area
are just in the problems of relationships between men and women. And I think many of you brothers
and sisters are having real trouble ‘really’ receiving the Spirit of God into you because you won’t
come down the line on that issue. And I agree with you, it’s because they persuaded us that so much
is necessary. They persuaded us that we’re not healthy unless we engage in so much of this. But
loved ones, believe me God knows the way it should work, and has a perfect and a beautiful way for
us to live our lives together. And if you are willing really to surrender that whole thing over to
God, he will give you his Holy Spirit this morning, and he’ll count your trust, or your faith in
place of righteousness.
Then there’s no longer that old hassle, “Boy, I’m trying to please God. I’m trying to be good
enough for him to accept me.” You’re only good enough to accept him when you accept that you’re
impossibly bad, and you can never please him on your own, and just cannot deal without his life. So
that’s why the Bible says that you’re not to work because if you work, then your wages come to you
as a due, and they’re never enough. But if you believe him who justifies the ungodly, then your
faith is counted as righteousness. And it can happen today.
So would you really seriously think about it during the next few minutes? I think it’s madness to
keep coming on Sunday mornings and believing that it would be true if I did something. I think
sooner or later you have to act. Really, and let it be true, and let the burdens come off.
Let us pray.
The Christian’s Ministry - CONSECRATION
The Christian’s Ministry
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Will you turn please to Romans 1:9 in your Bibles? Romans 1:9 reads, “For God is my witness, whom I
serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son.” This is the third Sunday that we’ve talked about
the ministry of the Christian and the third Sunday that we’ve spent on this verse and I think God
has insisted on us doing this now because there is so much bewilderment today about the ministry of
Christians. Even Pastors are having difficulty distinguishing between their ministry and the
ministry of a social worker, or their ministry and the ministry of a psychiatrist.
I think many Priests and many Sisters in the Catholic Church are having the same problem, so there
has been a great falling away into what we call secular occupations because of this failure to
distinguish what is significant in the ministry of a Christian. I think it has entered even the
lives of those of us who are lay people because we have begun to wonder, “Well, what makes me
different in my Christian ministry as a doctor?” “What makes me different in my Christian ministry
as a nurse?” ‘What makes my ministry as a teacher significantly different from other non-Christian
teachers?” I think throughout all Christendom there is this bewilderment about what is significant
and what is special about the ministry of the Christian.
Let’s look briefly at the three significant characteristics that we find about the ministry of a
Christian and we’ll find some examples in the life of Philip. Perhaps you’d turn to Acts 6:2-5. I
think it’s first of all important to see that Philip was a layman, he was not a full time minister
as we think he was, “And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right
that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out
from you among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint
to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’ And what
they said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy
Spirit, and Philip.” They also chose five others and appointed them deacons.
God saw how anxious they were to have a clerical class on one side and deacons on the other and he
upset their plans because he started to use Philip mightily. So Philip was a layman. Then will you
look at how he was used in Acts 8:6-7, “And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was
said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of
many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.”
The center of Philip’s ministry as a Christian was the work that God was doing among the people.
In other words, they didn’t listen to him just because of the things he said but because of the
signs that were done among them, “For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying
with a loud voice; and many were healed.” In other words, the central feature of the ministry of a
Christian is the work that God is doing in other people’s hearts. You remember that we emphasized
that a Christian is not called to do God’s work, God alone can do God’s work. God alone can heal,
God alone can convert, but the ministry of the Christian is based on the work that God is doing in
Would you look at Acts 8:8, “So there was much joy in that city.” And no doubt many people said,
“Philip, you must stay on and we’ll have a mighty revival here. We thank God for all that he has
done through you, so stay on because there’s much joy in the city and there can be greater joy
still.” And then in verse 26, “But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Rise and go toward the
south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is a desert road.” A Christian
serves God not people. Philip was not so bound to the people among whom he had ministered that he
stayed with them even though they probably pleaded with him to do that, but he served God.
The ministry of a Christian is service to God first and foremost, not service to man. It’s service
to God; their desire is to obey God and to please God, the things they incidentally do for other
people are really side issues. They’re simply side shoots of the service that they are performing
to God. But they’re not serving men, they’re serving God.
The third characteristic that I think we should know is in Acts 8:29, “And the Spirit said to
Philip, ‘Go up and join this chariot.’” And then I think again in verse 39, you can see the same
thing repeated, “And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught up Philip.”
Philip ministered with the spirit. He served God with the spirit. That’s what Paul says back in
Romans 1, “For God is my witness whom I serve with my spirit.”
Now those are the characteristics of your ministry as a Christian. So if you’re a nurse, you are,
in our terminology, a lay woman, but you’re asked to do nothing less than Philip did because he was
a layman. Now first of all, your ministry as a Christian nurse depends on the work that God is
doing in the hearts of the nurses and doctors and patients with whom you work. In other words, you
can have no ministry as a Christian unless God is either awakening them to their unlikeness to
Jesus, or convicting them of certain things that are wrong in their own lives, or regenerating them
and making them new Christians, or he’s cleansing their hearts by the Holy Spirit, or he’s moving
them on out in the power of the Spirit. Unless God is working in some way in the hearts of your
patients, your doctors, or your nurses, then you have no ministry. So you depend on the work that
God is doing in the hearts of the people with whom you come in contact day-by-day.
Now be assured dear ones, the spirit of man is in an arena where something always happens. Either a
person is giving more and more to God, or a person is giving more and more to the power of evil in
the world. Something is happening in the hearts of your patients; they’re either going a little
more towards their complacency and a little away from God, or they’re becoming more aware of God and
his reality and they’re drawing towards him, but something is happening in the hearts of those with
whom you are dealing. That is the central feature of your ministry as a Christian; that God is
doing some work in those people’s hearts.
The second feature is that you’re serving God; you’re not serving that dreadful head nurse that
tears you apart. You’re not serving the hospital that has dealt nicely with you therefore you think
you’ll stay with them next year. You’re serving God and you do what God tells you to do in that
hospital. You stay as long as God tells you to stay. You do what God tells you to do with the
patients. You say what God tells you to say, but you’re serving God and your desire is to please
him by what you do, not to please the head nurse, not to please the doctor or the patient, but to
please God and therefore to do the best for all these other dear ones. Thirdly you serve God with
the spirit and we’re going to try to talk about that today, what it means to serve God with the
spirit, but suffice it to say that you don’t serve him with your own cleverness, you serve him with
the spirit that he has implanted in you.
I think it’s important to see that those three things apply to those of us who try to perform a
specifically Christian ministry in our ordinary job. Now you may say, “Well, why serve him with the
spirit?” Because every work that God does in a person’s heart is like an operation. He brings them
into the operating room and he decides what is needed: maybe it’s a mother and it’s the birth of a
new Christian, so he’s bringing a new Christian into life. Or it’s a Christian that needs some part
of him amputated; maybe some jealousy that needs to be cast away or maybe it’s a car of which
they’re too fond. Maybe it’s a certain job that they won’t give up even though God is asking them.
It’s an amputation that God has to perform in the operating room of their spirit. Or maybe it’s a
heart transplant, maybe they need a new heart given to them by the Holy Spirit and God wants to do
this operation at once.
Now he has lots of assistants — all of us. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:9 that it is God’s work
that counts, but in verse 9, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
Or you are the sphere in which God is operating, but we are fellow workers for God. In other
words, gathered around every heart that God is trying to operate on are many people like you and me;
we are his fellow workers.
Now how do you know when he wants a swab or when he wants scissors? How do you know when he wants
you to hold this at this time — only because his Spirit directs you to do the right thing at the
right time for his dear ones. This is why we have to serve God according to the spirit. Now, you
can stand there and while the surgeon is operating you can use your own mind and say, “Now, what
about this? Do you want to do something with this? No?” You can imagine the chaos and disorder if
that happened. When we try to serve God with the mind or the intellect that’s what we’re doing;
we’re only suggesting to him something else that he should be doing with this dear one. Instead, we
should be guided by his Spirit to do the right thing with this dear one at the right time.
You may be called upon to speak a certain word to a Doctor on your floor. You may be called upon to
say a certain thing to someone in your classroom. You must be in touch with God’s Spirit so he can
tell you this. You say, “Why?” Well, it’s stated in I Corinthians 2:11b that this is the way God
directs his fellow workers. In other words you may say, “Ah, but sometimes I don’t know what the
surgeon wants; sometimes I don’t know what God wants me to do.” Well, here’s the answer, “So also
no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
The Spirit of God knows what God wants done at that moment; look at verse 10a, “God has revealed to
us through the Spirit. “ In other words, God tells you what to do in your Christian ministry
through your spirit. His Spirit communicates with your spirit. That’s why it’s so vital to serve
God with the spirit. I think it’s important to see that there is a distinction made in the Bible
between God’s Spirit and our spirits. Would you like to look at it in Romans 8:16, I think many
people feel that there’s just one spirit. Well, no there isn’t. There’s a distinction made in our
English language by the capital letter S. Romans 8:16, “It is the Spirit himself bearing witness
with our spirit,” our spirit has a small s and God’s Spirit has a capital S. In other words, it’s
through God’s Spirit impressing our spirits that we know what to do in our Christian ministry, and
it’s only that way, dear ones.
Now I think many of us are a bit glib about this word spirit. We say, “You just serve God with the
spirit, that means serve God with your soul.” But the Bible emphasizes this word spirit very often.
In several places, as we noticed last Sunday, you’re urged to pray with the spirit. Now, why is he
saying, “Pray with the spirit?” Is he is just saying pray religiously? No, every word in the Bible
has a meaning. He says, “Pray with the spirit.” In another place he says, “God is a Spirit and you
must worship him in spirit.” And in this place in Romans it says, “You must serve him with the
Now what does it mean to serve God with the spirit? Well, do you see the spirit is different from
the soul? 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your
spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The
Bible sometimes mentions those three parts of us: the body, the soul, and the spirit. In other
words, it’s vital to distinguish between the soul and the spirit in our Christian ministry.
Many of us are falling back into self-centeredness in our ministry as Christians because we’re not
distinguishing between the soul and the spirit. Many of us are having failure in our Christian
witnessing because we have no idea of the difference between the soul and the spirit. Will you look
with me at one verse in the Bible that states categorically that it is essential to distinguish
between the soul and the spirit, it’s Hebrews 4:12-13, “For the word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit.”
Now it wouldn’t pierce to the division of soul and spirit unless it was necessary to make a
distinction between the soul and the spirit. But in the Christian life it’s not enough to be
forgiven your sins. It’s not enough to have your heart and your inward jealousy and envy and
irritability cleansed by the Holy Spirit, it’s not enough to be filled with the power of the Holy
Spirit, but you must have your soul divided from your spirit so that you serve with the spirit and
not with the soul.
Let’s get down to deciding just what the soul is. Most of us think about it in terms of Revelation
20:4. We think of the soul as the part of us that will live after the body dies, “Then I saw
thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of
those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not
worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.”
In other words, we normally think of our soul as the part of us that lives after the body dies, but
the Bible says more about the soul than that. Let me show you what I mean; would you turn to 2
Peter 2:7-8, “And if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the
wicked (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his
righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds).” The soul was the part of Lot that felt
distressed. In other words, when the Bible uses soul it means your emotions, for one thing, your
emotional nature — that’s one of the vital parts of the soul.
Another reference that will take us to another part of the soul is Psalms 119:167. “My soul keeps
thy testimonies; I love them exceedingly.” “My soul keeps thy testimonies.” God’s testimonies are
his commandments and it really means I am keeping your commandments. The part of you that keeps
God’s commandments is your will. So part of the soul as it’s talked about in the Bible is your
will. Whenever the Bible talks about soul, one of the things it’s talking about is your own human
will. So the soul consists of the emotions and it consists of the will.
Then if you’ll look at the third reference in Deuteronomy 11:18 there is revealed to us another part
of the soul, “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul; and you
shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” “You
shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul.” Now, you can’t lay up words
anywhere but in your memory and your mind. That is where you remember things and where you remember
the things that you have to do.
In other words dear ones, the soul consists of the mind, the will, and the emotions; those three
things; the Bible divides us into three parts. In 1 Thessalonians 5:3, the spirit wears the soul
and the soul wears the body and God commands us to serve not with the soul but with the spirit. He
commands us not to worship with our emotions, or our minds, or our will, but to worship with our
Now this is what distinguishes a lot of what we call emotional Christianity from real Christianity.
When God begins to get you to deal with your spirit and serve with your spirit, then you enter into
spiritual Christianity. Many of us are serving God all the time with our minds or our emotions or
our wills, but not with our spirits. So we get into some situation and we start working out with
our minds what should happen here. “The walls of Jericho — ah, dynamite is a possibility!” And we
decide, “Well no, we’ll try something else” and we try to serve God with our minds. Or we get into
a certain situation where we need to witness to someone and we decide we must reveal to them how
joyful Christianity is so we generate a lot of emotional enthusiasm and we give them all that and a
whole spiel about what life is like in Christ, but we give it with the power of our emotion and not
with our spirit and it comes over to them as a hard sell; it does not come over to them as Christ.
It’s vital, in other words, to realize that we need to start serving God with our spirit and not
with our mind or our emotions. Many of us are eager to serve him with our minds. We’re eager to
work out what he needs to do in this church so we think “You need, first of all, a good visitation
campaign going and you need a bigger building. Let’s tear all this down and get a bigger building.
Then you need an attractive frontage there so that people will be attracted to it” and the mind
starts to serve God. But we’re called upon in our Christian ministry to serve God with our spirits,
not with our minds.
Could I just give you three illustrations and then we’ll finish and next Sunday I’ll try and show
how God distinguishes for you between your soul and your spirit and he can. God is anxious to show
you when you’re serving him with your soul and when you’re serving him with your spirit, there is a
way in which he does it and I’d like to try to explain it to you as God gives me light in his word.
I went to my first church and decided that what we needed was Bible study groups. I thought that
people weren’t studying the Bible enough, that they needed to know more Christian doctrine. So I
organized six Bible study groups and had 10 people in each and handed out question sheets such as we
use as a rough guide in our Sunday morning Bible study. So I had six Bible study groups going every
week and I led each one of them myself for an hour each week and nothing was happening. Everybody
thought the Bible study group was good, but nobody’s life was changing. There was no spiritual work
being done in anybody’s heart, because I had worked that out with my own mind.
I had not done what God’s Spirit had told me to do; I had tried to work out what is best for this
church. Again and again I was guilty of what I explained to you; I was so eager for people to enter
into the glory of life in Jesus that I would generate my own emotional enthusiasm, instead of
serving him with my spirit and it kept them from seeing Jesus. Again and again I got into
situations where I wasn’t too keen to preach a certain sermon but I went forward and said, “Well,
I’ll will myself to preach that sermon and I’ll do it.” I didn’t serve God with my spirit; I served
him with my will, so there was no blessing that came to anyone else.
Now do you see dear ones, there’s a real difference between serving God with what is the human part
of you, your soul, and serving him with your spirit? Next Sunday I hope that God will show us why
psychology is so limited in its effect on personality, because psychology deals with the soul,
whereas God deals with the spirit. But meanwhile dear ones, in this coming week, will you ask God
to help you to see where you’re serving him with your soul; with your mind, with your emotions and
with your will instead of with your spirit?
Let us pray.
Holy Spirit, will you implant the truths of these words in our hearts and in our spirits so that we
ourselves may become effective Christian witnesses, something beyond church goers, something beyond
just good people so that we’ll become co-workers for you. We ask you this in the name, and for the
sake of, our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
What Controls Your Emotions? - CONSECRATION
God’s Love and Our Emotions
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Probably the most real moment all our lives will be the moment of death. Really, because it’s there
that you forget all your pretenses, and all your big talk, and it’s there that you have to be what
you are so the moment of death is very real and the moment of death really shows what a man or woman
is. And I’d ask you just to look for a moment at words that I think we’ve looked at before, that a
man spoke at the moment of death. It’s Luke 23:46, “Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said,
‘Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”
So I don’t know if you’ve seen people dying, but there are always people who die in great pain and
then there are others of us who die with great freedom from physical pain. But it seems that there
always comes a moment there, just before death, when your senses are able to be gathered together
and you can declare what you really are. And of course at that moment, only one person loomed large
in Jesus’ eyes. Really, only one person’s love mattered to him at that moment. It wasn’t the love
of the Jewish people, and it wasn’t the love or hatred of his friends and disciples, it wasn’t the
love or hatred of his mother, it was the love of his Father, his dear Father our Creator. And he
lived and died dependent on that Father’s love just the way we are meant to live and die ourselves.
We said last Sunday that there’s only one place to receive that love and that is in Jesus. There’s
only one way to receive it and that is by identifying ourselves completely with Jesus’ death to all
other loves. That’s the only way to actually experience the love of our Creator for us.
Now loved ones, what is that love like? What is God’s love like for you and me? Well, Jim and
Kris, when were you married? About October ’75 I married Jim and Kris and God has given them a wee
gift and here he is and maybe he’ll compete with me, but here he is David. David, there he is, you
are a famous fella. And maybe you should stand Jim and Chris so everybody just sees you. You’ll
hate it. Good. You can imagine the love they have for him and you know that old Kris probably
knows exactly when he’s restless during the night. She knows exactly where he plays during the day.
She knows everything he does. She knows what he eats. She knows when he sleeps. Just loves him
with all her heart and you know how precious he has to be to them. And I reckon they’re just, oh I
think praying and trusting God, that he’ll grow up and live a beautiful life as a man of God.
I want you to imagine something that might happen, say in 20 years’ time whenever he grows up.
Imagine that in 20 years’ time he’s given his life to Jesus and that Jim goes in with David to a
hospital someday and they find there an old drunk, an old drunk who has raped and stolen his way
through life. Who has drunk and murdered his way for years. And the old drunk’s heart now is just
broken and battered and is hardly pumping any blood at all. And they’ve just dragged him off of
skid row really, because he’s about to die. And the only thing that will possibly save him is a
heart transplant and the doctor says to Jim, “David’s heart is one of the few that will work.” And
Jim gets together with David, that dear little fella there, 20 years hence, and he talks it over
with him and Jim says to David, “Would you let this fella have your heart so that he’ll have enough
years to have a chance of dealing with Jesus?” And little David agrees and he goes on the operating
table and the old drunk goes on the other operating table, and the heart transplant is made.
And then can you imagine Jim sitting at the bedside of David, now a 20 year old man and seeing him
struggling, breathing out his last with that old broken battered damaged heart that he now has from
the old drunk. And the old drunk comes into the room and can you doubt that that old drunk knows
that this Jim loves him with all his heart? Can you doubt that? You just couldn’t. When you can
imagine the love that Jim and Kris have for David and then if they were to do a thing like that for
some old bum who really had destroyed his own life, that old drunk would have no doubt that he was
on the receiving end of love that was real.
Now loved ones, when you think of God’s love this morning you just have to get out of your mind the
idea of some impersonal philosophical transaction that has taken place somewhere in the cosmos. In
fact, the situation is exactly like the one that we’ve outlined. God had far more love for Jesus
than Jim or Kris have for David and that relationship was far warmer than any we can imagine. God
said that. He said, “This is my beloved Son,” and you can almost feel the pride of a father in a
sense, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” And that son was the apple of his eye as
David is probably the apple of Jim and Kris’ eye. And yet when it came to the time when the Father
saw that the only hope that we would have of ever receiving his life is if we were given the very
heart of his Son Jesus.
At that moment, God didn’t hesitate and in actual fact, it’s even worse than the analogy that we
used about David because the old broken hearts that you and I have developed, these old hearts that
are so drugged and addicted to man’s praise and man’s condemnation, these old hearts that are so
addicted to sensual pleasures and physical possessions, these old hearts that have become useless
for any kind of outgoing life at all, they actually have not only to be placed in Jesus’ own heart
and cause in fact his death, but they themselves have to be exterminated. And really it isn’t quite
like the analogy we moved with David, it’s slightly different.
It’s as if God took that broken old heart of yours that is so addicted to man’s praise and so
addicted to its own way, that with it you can only go to one place and that is into hell. God took
that old soul, or old personality, or heart of yours and put it into his Son Jesus and he knew that
the chemotherapy that he would use to destroy that would actually destroy his own Son. And so when
he looked at his Son on the cross he saw him dying because of the pain that was caused by the
burning Spirit of God as it put an end once and for all to that heart you have developed inside
yourself. And that’s really what the death of Jesus is about.
That’s why the Bible says, “God made him to be sin who knew no sin.” That’s what it means. God
took your heart and transplanted it into Jesus so that he could burn it out into destruction there
and purge it. And that was the pain that Jesus felt when he cried out, “My God, why has thou
forsaken me?” Because even he felt the tremendous pain that was caused by that x-ray of the Holy
Spirit getting to work on the heart that you have developed.
But that’s God’s love for you, you know. And that’s what is meant this morning when we say that
God’s love in Christ is to you personally. It’s that kind of love. It’s not a love that costs
nothing, it’s a love that costs everything, that destroyed the warmth of a family the way it would
destroy the warmth of this dear family here. And that’s what is meant when we say that God loves
you personally. He loves you in fact, as much as he loved his own Son. That’s it.
He loves you as much as he loved his own Son because he was prepared to let his Son be destroyed so
that that selfish heart inside you that is given over completely to dependence on people, and to
things, and to experiences, and all kinds of outward things that makes you a slave to them, that
heart was put into his Son Jesus and destroyed there. And God loves you therefore, as much as he
loves his own Son. And loved ones, I honestly think that if you’re sitting there this morning and
you’re trying to wheedle out of this situation, you’re really – it’s really like that old drunk
coming into Jim and saying, “Thanks for your son’s heart,” and then going out and getting drunk and
murdering and raping his way through the rest of his life.
It means the sacrifice may as well not have been made. It means that as Jim puts the body of his
son into the ground he senses the terrible futility of it. And really you can sit here very
sophisticated this morning in Minneapolis here in the United States of America and you can go out of
this room and really just continue to live that rotten selfish in turned life whereby you suck love
from everybody and you’ll suck security from everybody but really you may as well be the old drunk
who is saying, “Thanks,” and then going out and living the whole life over again. And of course,
you can imagine the pain that must be in the Father’s heart as he sees you do that.
Loved ones, God loves you as much as he loves his own Son. He loves you as much as he loves his own
Son. I think you see a lot of you have an almost satanic talent for agreeing with that in regard to
everybody else in the universe. I mean, it is almost satanic that you can listen often to that
statement and you can say – and there’s something inside you that ticks and says, “Well yeah, that
would be lovely if he loved me that way.”
Well certainly he does love the world that way because John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that
he gave his only begotten Son.” So I’m glad he loves the world and loves everybody but loved ones,
he loves you, and me, and you, and you, he loves you that way. It’s not everybody else. If you had
been the only person in the whole world with a selfish rotten heart that was enslaving your life God
would still have let his Son die so that he could destroy that heart in him. God loves you that
It’s really important for you to realize that God is able to do that. God is the Creator of the
whole universe, he made it all. He made everything in it and so he can conceive of it all, he can
understand it all. And I think sometimes your mind doesn’t rise to that that computer we have is
not one of the biggest computers at all but it takes five million bytes of information, five million
different bytes they call it of information. Now that’s just a computer.
Now the Creator who made us knows everything and can conceive of everything at one moment and he can
see the whole world at this moment and he knows all the details of it and he controls it all. And
that’s why he has the ability to see each one of you. You know, we kind of think, “Oh well four
billion people in the world,” but loved ones, four billion is nothing. There are billions, and
billions, and billions of details that the Creator looks after in this universe.
Now maybe you’d look at one of references that states that, it’s Psalms 104 if you look at it.
Psalms 104:14, “Thou dost cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his
face shine, and bread to strengthen man’s heart. The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the
cedars of Lebanon which he planted. In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in
the fir trees. The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the badgers.
Thou hast made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. Thou makest
darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep forth. The young lions roar for
their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they get them away and lie down in
their dens. Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until the evening.” And a million other
things our Creator controls and he can see them all and see the details.
But the amazing thing is this, that you, you yourself, I mean you may think, “Oh for goodness sake
I’m just one of a bunch here and one just of a larger bunch outside,” but do you know that you’re
different from the whole of the creation? That you’re the only creation that is made in God’s own
image? You are actually made in the image of God. That’s what it says, the Bible way in the
beginning of Genesis 1 says, “God spoke,” and presumably to his Son and he said, “My Son, let us
make man in our image.” And so we are the crown of creation loved ones. And it’s important for you
maybe to just see that, those of you who don’t realize, we were the greatest thing that God made and
it’s in Genesis 1:26. Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness,’” and then you see He put us over the whole universe, “And let them have dominion over the
fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and
over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the
image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” And you are special to God.
And really I think if the old evolution game has done any harm, it’s stolen from some of us who
absorbed so much of it in high school it’s stolen from us the realization that we are vitally
different from animals and plant life. And you are loved ones there is no animal that has the
self-critical faculty that you have. There is no animal that can worship as you can. You are
different from everything else in creation and you are in fact the whole purpose that God had in
making creation so God has a different attitude to you. You’re special in his life and in his mind
and he loves you. And you know loves you not just in a general sense, but if Kris knows when David
needs food, if she knows when he’s restless at night, if she knows where he’s playing, if she knows
what clothes he needs, so does your Father. Your Father loves you as much as he loves his own Son
and he takes the same care of you.
You know loved ones, honestly I don’t want to insult you but you’re just dumb if you keep on
thinking that God started the whole thing and has left you to make it on your own. Can you not see
that the whole thing is held together by his hands, or by some power? I mean, it’s only last week
that we’ve learned that the dust bowl is almost repeating itself in the western states. The earth
is so dry that the earth is just blowing off with the snow. Now do you see that if God stopped
maintaining the balance of nature the whole thing would fall apart? You only have to look at your
own life, how many times could you have been killed, how many times could you have made the wrong
turning into a car? How many times have you got passed an intersection and you’ve said, “Ah that
was almost it”? And loved ones, you have to face it, that there is somebody somewhere, either that
or you are the luckiest person but there is somebody somewhere who has the whole thing in his hands
and holds it together in this precarious balance of nature that exists. And loved ones, that
someone watches you day after day, after day. That’s it. That’s what his Son said. His Son
implied to us that his Father did not just watch the stars, and did not watch just the main
movements of the great nations, but that his Father watches individuals’ day-by-day.
Now loved ones, you need to look at that again with me because I think this is where – well, this is
where sister’s parents are in agony and how many of the rest of us? How many husbands and wives
have been in strain because the bank account is low? Well you know it would almost be like all of
us standing up here if I asked you to stand up if you’ve ever allowed strain to come into your home
relationship because of the state of your finances or your possessions. And loved ones, it’s so
vital to see that God loves you enough to be concerned about those and it’s Matthew 10:29. Matthew
10:29 and the tiniest bird in the whole universe, he knows when it dies. He knows when it dies.
Matthew 10:29, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground
without your Father’s will.”
Not a sparrow dies unless God allows it to die and if he allows it to die he knows the plan he has
for it because he is a loving God. And not a sparrow, loved ones, dies without God knowing. And
you know, Verse 31, how many sparrows do you think you’re worth? “Fear not, therefore; you are of
more value than many sparrows.” And loved ones, that’s the truth, God not only destroyed his own
Son for you and loves you as much as his own Son, but he loves you more than well what would you
say, three billion sparrows? And he knows when one falls to the ground.
Now, could you get that into your head? When a sparrow falls to the ground the Creator knows.
Isn’t that amazing? He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground. Now, does he know when you have
gone from blue into red or from black into red? Yes he does. He knows immediately that bank
account is turned, he knows. In fact, he knew before it happened, he saw the trend. Does he know
how you’re feeling this morning? Of course he knows. If he knows as relatively simple an organism
as a sparrow he certainly knows a complex an organism as you.
In fact, the truth is, and you know, this is so funny that you and I have difficulty getting a hold
of it, but the truth is that your wife, or your friend may know when you go to the barber’s or the
hair dressers but God knows how many hairs you got cut off. That’s right. And you know, Jesus –
it’s so ridiculous isn’t it, it’s so corny that Jesus had to mean it because it was such a
ridiculous way to put it but you know, you see it there in Verse 30, “But even the hairs of your
head are all numbered.” And loved ones, that’s true. God loves you and knows everything about you
and is vitally concerned about how things are and he’s walking side-by-side with you.
You know how Kris does it with David, I imagine, you know how she tries to get him to do things and
she’s there every moment and if he looks as if he’s falling she’s right there and so is any mum or
dad. We’re dealing with the most beautiful, most wonderful, most loving Father that ever existed
and do you not think he’s walking that way with you? Do you not think he’s walking right alongside
you and when you look as if you’re going to stumble he’s right there? Of course he is.
He watches you day-by-day loved ones. And really Jesus said there’s a way for us to walk in the
face of that reality and its there, if you’d like to look at it in Matthew 6:25 and this is really
it. Matthew 6:25, and this was this only begotten Son whom God gave for you, this is him speaking
and he knows his Father and he says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what
you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more
than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap
nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father fees them. Are you not of more value than they?
And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious
about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I
tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes
the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much
more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’
or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your
heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” Then in 34, “Therefore do not be anxious about
tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the
And I think some of you will feel, “Well, maybe for Carter and maybe for good people, maybe for
righteous people, maybe for famous people, maybe that’s true.” Loved ones, if that’s the case why
did Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, the express image of our Creator, why did he spend all this
time with the little nobodies in the world? Why? I mean, that’s the truth, that’s what his enemy
said about him I think its Matthew 11:19. Matthew 11:19, “The Son of man came eating and drinking,
and they say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” And the
truth is that God loves you.
Whatever you’re like this morning, whether you’re the rottenest person here in this room, whether
you’re the most unknown person here in this room, whether you’re the most unimportant person in the
whole universe, God loves you and he knows you personally and to him you are the dearest person he
ever created. God loves you like that loved ones. And of course the amazing thing about that love
is that it’s different from all other loves.
If you depend on your father’s love even, your earthly father’s love there comes times when he gets
impatient with you or when he’s not there to help you. If you depend on your wife’s love there
comes times when she doesn’t understand what you’re experiencing. She tries to love you but she
can’t love you. If you’re depending on your roommate’s love, or your friend’s love there comes
times when they aren’t there and it’s hard for them to keep the love the same all the time.
Loved ones, would you look in James at the special thing that’s different about God’s love. It’s
James 1:17. James 1:17, “Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down
from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Your Father
loves you the same all the time. And so if you get up in the morning and you’re depending on a sun
shining day to make you feel good you end up with highs and lows. That’s what this part of the
verse of Romans 8:9 is talking about our emotions because it says, “That nothing will separate us
from the love of God neither height nor depth.” And if you’re depending on sun shining day or snowy
day, whether there’ll be snow on the slopes or whether they won’t, if you’re depending on external
things you’re up and down all the time.
It depends on whether the thing was good you have an emotional high, you have a height an emotional
low you have a depth. It’s the same if you’re dependent on people, if you’re dependent on other
people’s love for you they smile at you you’re up there, they frown at you you’re down there. Your
life is a continual switchback experience. But do you see that if you begin to live your life, an
inner life, an interior life in your spirit preoccupied with your Father’s love for you, preoccupied
with what he wants to do with you today, preoccupied with what he plans for you today, then do you
see you at last come onto a constant? And it’s possible to have neither heights nor depths that
separate you from that love of God and that’s the promise, that neither height nor depth will
separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. And if that’s a promise there’s a condition.
What is the condition? The condition is that you would start concentrating on your Father’s love
for you instead of on other people’s love. That’s it.
What you look at will run your life. That’s right. Tomorrow through the mail comes the bank
statement. If your eyes are on that and if you depend on your bank account for your security, if
you have said, “Yeah, well all this is true enough but I’d rather look after my own security,” and
so obviously your money is your security, do you see that that bank account determines whether you
have a high or low that day? But do you also see that if that bank account comes and it just looks
bad but you are used continually to believing in your Father’s love and looking up to him
immediately and saying, “Father, I know you’ve clothed the lilies of the field. Father, I don’t see
how we’re going to get through this but I know you love me otherwise you wouldn’t have allowed your
own Son to die for me. Father, I know you love me so thank you. I don’t know how this is going to
turn out but I know you want me to rest in your love and rest in the peace that you are going to
pull this through in some way that I don’t understand.” Then loved ones, you walk in peace.
It’s the same in regards to your friends. I mean loved ones we’re at the mercy of the media who
encourages all the time to be preoccupied with what everybody else thinks of us. Do you see that
you’re just the play thing of other people if that happens? Don’t you see you’re the play thing of
the next person who smiles at you, or the next person who frowns at you, the next boss who
criticizes you, or the next teacher that praises you? And the only way to walk in the love of the
Father is to begin to teach yourself inside, to begin to look at things that are unseen, the
attitude of your Father Creator to you. And loved ones, that’s the way God wants us to walk,
really, in dependence on him and his love.
I know that you’re – I’ve sat where you sit and I know – I know the feeling that goes through us, it
goes through us, but other people aren’t living this way, and is it real and does it really work?
Loved ones, it’s real and it works. There are hundreds of us even in this room who can testify to
that. But you, to make it work in you, have to start depending on your Father’s love. Start being
preoccupied, “Lord, what are you thinking of me?” Start treating him as a warm loving father person
and not as a philosophical idea in your head and start dealing with him as your Father. And loved
ones, you really will begin to find a life that is without heights or depths. Really, it’s
So I really pray – in thinking of that I don’t know, I look over and I think of the little one here
who thinks, “Well, it’s true for everybody but me.” Well loved ones, if you’re thinking that then
it’s you I’m speaking to, God loves you. Your Father loves you and he does know about your clothes,
and he does know about the car, and he has planned a way out. But, he wants you to look to him
instead of fretting yourself by looking at the external things. Stop looking at the things that are
seen, that’s the key, and start looking at the things that are unseen. The dear Father that you
remember Manley Hopkins says in one of his poems, “That hovers over the world,” that dear Father
that hovers over the world and has his hands around your life, really.
Now loved ones, if all you do is take those ideas you haven’t even begun. You need to begin
tomorrow morning to get up and say, “Father, thank you that you love me, thank you that you’re
taking care of this whole day and Lord, I want you to show me in your word what way you want me to
behave this day.” And then open that dear word there and start a relationship with your Father as
the one who gave his Son to die for you to change you. Let us pray.
A Simple Gospel - CONSECRATION
A Simple Gospel
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
From time to time, loved ones, what we have done is pause in the study of Romans, and that’s what
I’d like to do just today, before we begin to tackle in detail Israel and all that God has to show
us through the people of Israel, and I’d like once more just to preach the gospel, very briefly,
just a simple, clean gospel, because I think we allow it to get dirty by all the frills we add to
it. Again and again I think that some of you loved ones are anxious to know and understand, and yet
because of the presuppositions that you have in your mind and because of the background that we all
come from, you still don’t see it as clearly and cleanly as it really is, and so I’d just like to
share a clean gospel with you this morning. It’s Matthew 1:21. That’s the cleanest gospel you can
get, before we’ve tampered with it. Matthew 1:21. All of us will know the words that the angel spoke
to Joseph telling him about the coming birth of His son, “She will bear a son,” the angel said, Mary
will bear a son, “and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Now would you just look at your translation there and would you notice the preposition, the
preposition before the phrase “their sins”. The preposition is “from”: He will save His people FROM
their sins. That’s what God has promised to do for us in Jesus. Now, could I push you again by
pointing out to you that there’s a great difference between the word for “from” in Greek and “in”,
just in case you think Matthew could have fumbled over the spelling. The word “from” is “apo” in
Greek, or it looks like that in English transliteration, a-p-o. The word for “in” is “in”, or it
looks like that in English letters. So this is the word for “from”, and that’s the word in Matthew
1:21. It’s “from” their sins. This is the word for “in”, and it isn’t there, it isn’t there at all.
Now loved ones, just to startle you into reflection for a moment, the great bulk of fundamentalist
evangelical Christianity believes that THAT is the word, “in”. Now really, truly. In practice, and
often even in the way we preach and share with each another, the greater number of us translate the
gospel as if the Greek word was “in” and not “apo”. In other words, we translate that verse not as
it is, “you will call His name Jesus, for He will save his people FROM their sins”, we translate it
as if it was “you will call His name Jesus, for He will save his people IN their sins”. Now loved
ones, that isn’t the gospel. And yet brothers and sisters, that is what the great majority of us who
think of ourselves, vaguely even, as evangelicals, teach.
Now really, if you’re honest with me, I think you’ll have to admit that the great majority of us
believe that Person A may sin and Person B may sin, but Person A is a Christian, so he knows that
Jesus died for him, and therefore Jesus’ blood covers his sins. He may be sinning like mad and
beating his wife every night, but yet he’s a Christian, and so his sins are forgiven, and so he’s
saved IN his sins, or despite his sins. Whereas Person B is a miserable old wretched pagan, a
non-Christian, and he beats his wife every night, but he doesn’t believe that Jesus died for him,
and HE is going to hell. That’s normally the way we all interpret the gospel. We really, in other
words, say that the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that one can sin with
immunity, or with impunity, without being punished, and the other can sin, but IS punished. Now
loved ones, that is not the gospel. The gospel is not “Jesus will save you IN your sins.” The gospel
is, that “Jesus will save you FROM your sins.”
I don’t think there’s one person here that won’t see what the outcome of that has been. The outcome
of that truncated version of the gospel has been a name for Christianity which is pitiful in secular
society. Because secular society will say the same thing about Christians again and again, “if they
practice what they preached,” “they talk big, but they don’t do big,” “they talk about what they
should do for God, but they don’t do it.” Indeed I put it to you, what has put you and me off
ordinary church life and ordinary Christianity? Is it not seeing often moms and dads, often friends,
often older people, believing, believing, preaching, preaching, arguing over doctrine, arguing over
church denomination, but not living like Jesus. Now loved ones, it’s really because we’ve perverted
the gospel. We’ve made it mean Jesus will save us IN our sins, not FROM our sins. That’s why we get
the bumper sticker, “Christians are not perfect, only forgiven.” Now it’s nice, it’s nice in a way,
except that, I know as a person who was not a Christian, I would look at a bumper sticker like that
and say, “Yeah, that’s their excuse” and I would think to myself, “Yeah, yeah, big talk” “Yeah,
mercy, mercy, but I have to live with them and all their misery.” Now loved ones, do you see that
the gospel is that Jesus will save us FROM our sins, not IN our sins?
I don’t think there’s one of us here that doesn’t have tremendous respect for old C.S. Lewis. Now I
think probably almost all of us, whatever our background is, have great respect for the man’s
clarity of thought and for his own integrity. When he says things, you can see the reason behind it,
and you can go with him in it. I remember even before I would have stood with him spiritually, I
respected what he said because he seemed an honest, intelligent man. Now, you may not know it, for
old C.S. Lewis had mentioned this one Sunday morning, old C.S. Lewis came to Jesus primarily through
the writings of one man. That one man was an old 19th century Scottish preacher called George
MacDonald, whom some of you may have met through his novels. George MacDonald saw to the heart of
what we’re talking about this morning, just very clearly. He almost put it in the same words that
we’ve been using, he says about that verse, Matthew 1:21, “Jesus will save us from our sins.” He
says, “the Lord never came to deliver man from the consequences of their sins while yet those sins
remained.” The Lord never came to deliver us from the consequences of our sins, you see, which is
usually in our minds hell, you see, while yet those sins remained. Then I’ll read it slowly because
the logic is a little … tricky. “That would be to cast out of the window the medicine of cure.” He
regards, you see, the punishment as a medicine of cure. “While yet the man lays sick, to go dead
against the very laws of being.” Then he says, “yet men have constantly taken this verse Matthew
1:21, to mean that Jesus came to save them from the punishment of their sins. This idea, this
miserable fancy has terribly corrupted the preaching of the gospel. The message of the good news has
not been truly delivered.”
Now loved ones, do you see what really he and countless others are saying? That DEATH is the wages
of sin, in order to DESTROY sin. Death is not the wages of sin, that somehow you have to try to get
somebody else to pay for you. Death is the wages of sin in that it DESTROYS sin. God is not sitting
up in heaven saying, “How will I show these miserable creatures that I made that I’m real mad, I’m
just real mad with them, and I just am real mad with their sins. I know! I’ll roar and I’ll huff and
I’ll puff, and I’ll kill my own son.” It’s not so, loved ones. The very picture of it seems
ridiculous to us. The Father hates and detests sin, and has to destroy it, and has to burn it out of
existence. That’s why he said, the wages of sin is death. That’s why the Bible says “he who has died
is free from sin,” — not from the consequences of sin. The consequences of sin is death, and death
is there to destroy sin. That’s the very purpose of death. The purpose of Jesus’ death is to free us
from our sins — to destroy sin in us — to free our lives from sinning. It isn’t so that we’ll be
able to go on sinning in this life, and yet have the feeling, “yeah, yeah, but that neighbor of mine
or that colleague in the office, he sins and I sin, except that he’ll have to face the consequences
of sin, but lucky old me, I’m not going to have to do that. Loved ones, that’s not true. God’s
desire in Jesus, and in Jesus’ death, is to free our lives from our sins.
Please don’t sit there and say, “Oh, you’ve destroyed my peace, you’ve destroyed my peace!” Loved
ones, if you really want God with all your heart, you’ll respond, you’ll say, “Oh, that’s what He
wants, that’s what He wants. Ah, I know He’s a merciful Father. I know He’s going to continue to
forgive my sins until he can get ahold of them, but Lord I know you want rid of them now, I know
that’s the purpose of Jesus’ death, I know you want rid of them, I know you’re not going to kill me
this moment just because I have something in my life that’s not right, but Lord as long as I side
with you and say that’s why Jesus died, ok Lord, I want rid of the sin in my life.” Loved ones, if
you’re sitting there with that complacent, lackadaisical attitude that says, “Ah well, I may not
have all the sins out of my life, but I know that I believe Jesus died for me, so I believe I’m ok
anyway, I’ll do my best.” Loved ones, that’s a perversion of the gospel. The gospel is not, “believe
that Jesus is going to die instead of you and do your best to please God,” no. It’s not “believe and
try.” The gospel is, “be willing to die with Jesus, to running your own life, and come alive in the
power of His Spirit to living like Him.” The gospel is not an autosuggestion.
Now loved ones, I would point out to you that if you believe the other way, all you are is a Jew.
That’s all you are. If you believe the other way, that you can sin with impunity because Jesus died
for you, you’re a Jew. The Jews knew that their sins could be covered: that’s all they could be.
Now I point that out to you, in Psalm 32:1, and that’s a Jew speaking, Psalm 32:1. The Jews knew
that they could have their sins forgiven. They knew that their sins could be covered. “Blessed is he
whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” That’s all that could happen. Jesus was the
lamb that was slain from before the foundation of the world. He was slain in the heart of God before
the creation ever took place. In virtue of that, God refused to flood the world out with another
flood. So in that sense, he gave men respite. He forgave them for the rebellion against Him, giving
them a chance to deal with them during this life, so he could forgive sins even in the times of
Now, Jesus had not died on the cross. It was virtually impossible for anyone but the outstanding
prophets and priests and kings, who had drawn very close to the Spirit of Christ, to experience that
deliverance from self that can take place in us because of Jesus’ death. They did know that their
sin could be covered. Look at verse 5. “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.” Now loved ones, Jews could have the guilt of their sins forgiven. They could have the
GUILT of their sins forgiven. God was satisfied with that in those days. You’ll find that, remember,
when Paul was preaching to a group of people in Acts 17:30, that’s part of what that verse means,
Acts 17:30, “The times of ignorance God overlooked.” Now not only the ignorance of the pagans, who
didn’t know anything about God, but even the ignorance of the Jews, who did not know the truth of
the lamb being slain from the foundation of the world, and all of us being destroyed with him with
all our self-centeredness and our self-will. “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he
commands all men everywhere to repent.” That’s why, loved ones, you’re under a different situation
now and dispensation than the Jews. You can’t sit there and hear me preach this stuff Sunday after
Sunday and say “Well, well, I don’t want to go that far, I just want to be a good Jew.” Because the
times of ignorance God overlooked, and He would overlook that kind of thing in those days when they
knew no better. Now you know, and I know, that we, with all our right to ourselves and our right to
our own way, because these are all the things that bring sin in our lives. All our pride, and all
our preoccupation with people treating us the right way, and resenting people who criticize us
wrongly or treat us unjustly. All that was crucified with Jesus, and if we’re willing to die with
Him, and identify ourselves completely with Him, we know we can be freed from that, and from all the
sin that stems from it.
Now loved ones, that’s the light that you and I are responsible to respond to. That’s the difference
between a Jew and a Christian. A Jew is one who all he knows is that his sin’s forgiven and the
guilt taken away. A Christian knows not only the guilt taken away, but the power of sin in his life
destroyed by the power of Jesus’ death.
Would you like to see what the life of a good Jew was like? Now don’t faint: Romans 7. Dearly loved
ones, you know we think of ourselves better than we ought, cause I know you’re all fighting this and
saying, ah I know you got this one wrong, brother. Loved ones, this is it, you know, Romans 7:15,
this is a Jew speaking. I know the argument over this is a defeated Christian, loved ones, I’ll show
you why it’s a Jew in a moment. Romans 7:15, they had no power in their lives. “I do not understand
my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do
not want, I agree that the law is good, so then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells
within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is in my flesh. I can will what is
right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I
do.” Now loved ones, you may say to me, brother do you not think that’s a defeated Christian? Loved
ones, no, no that’s a Jew. Even a baby Christian has the power that is stated clearly in 1 John 3:9,
if you’d look at it. Even a little one who has just begun to know his position with Jesus or her
position with Jesus on the cross is in the same situation as that described in 1 John 3:9, “No one
born of God commits sin.” In other words, when Paul says, “I do what I do not want,” he’s saying,
I’m not a Christian, because a Christian never does what he doesn’t want to do, because that’s the
word, it’s poieo, those of you who know Greek, and it’s p-o-i-e-o in English letters. That’s the
word used in 1 John 3:9. It means “to do,” it becomes poet, you know, in English, poetry, you make
something, you do something. Poieo is “to do.” That’s what that verse says. No one born of God DOES
SIN. That is, even a little child Christian, even a little one who has just begun to know Jesus has
enough power of Jesus’ Spirit in his life to hold down what is wrong. At least he can rise to the
level of the noble pagans, that’s it. That’s what that verse says.
I know, loved ones, all of us have been taught, “ah brother, you can’t say that – “that sin is
perfection”. It’s nowhere near perfection at all. It’s just that outwardly you’re able to conform
your life to what you know is true and right, that Plato could do, that Socrates could do, that
Confucius could do. You read their lives, their lives that are flawless outwardly. Now loved ones,
even a little baby Christian who has really dealt with Jesus and seen that God’s purpose in
including him in Jesus’ death on Calvary was to destroy his life, to destroy his right to his life,
his right to his own way, his right to plans, future, those are all the rights that we defend, that
actually produce sin in us eventually.
Loved ones, those are what make us gods of our own lives. I know we all like to think, ah that’s
what a good red blooded American has a right to, you know, the right to his own decisions, the right
to his own future, no. That’s only the right of a person who is running his own life, who is trying
to be his own god. It was on Calvary in Jesus you and I were included in his death, and those rights
were destroyed, and the moment we agree to that, and that’s what it means to become a Christian, the
moment we agree to that, that moment we’re freed from all the resentments that come from not getting
our own way, from having other people treat us unfairly. Now loved ones, that’s what it means to be
a Christian. You don’t do sin, you may feel sin within, and that I’d like to deal with in some
future Sundays, you may feel anger within, you may feel resentment within, you may feel jealousy
within, but you have enough power in Jesus’ Spirit to hold that all down and to be outwardly a
person that’s pleasant to live with.
Loved ones, do you see what I’m getting at? I think a lot of us have taken the current thinking of
our society, and we’ve used it as an excuse to say, “Well you know, I’m not through to the fullness
of the Spirit” or some other phrase that we use as an excuse, and “that’s why, I’m so hard to live
with.” “That’s why, I lose my temper every week.” “Ah, you know, I’m not through to those heights of
Christian sanctity that we’re meant to get to.” Loved ones, there’s no heights there. An ordinary
little Christian will not commit sin. He has the power, she has the power to live in conformity
outwardly to what they know to be true and right.
Did you see the commercial last night on television, a little girl about to steal something from a
store? It wasn’t put out by Lutheran League or something like that, or the Catholic church or
something else. Isn’t it dreadful that it was put out by the businesses instead? It was put out by
retailers, and it said, “Shoplifting is wrong.” There’s something funny, isn’t there, about, it’s
the retailers that are trying to defend absolutes, of course because they know we’re going to
destroy ourselves if we keep at it. It’s interesting that it’s the business people that start
coming off with commercials pointing out “that is wrong.” Why do they have to do it? Well you know
why, because we’ve all encouraged each other to think, “you can’t help doing wrong things, you
can’t. With these poor wee weak wills that we have, ah we can’t, you know. We feel temper, oh we
just have to let it rip, in fact if you let it rip, maybe the more you express it the more you get
rid of it.” That’s just silly, you know, the more you express it the stronger it grows.
We’ve been taught to believe that we’re poor puny little human beings, and after all, human beings
can’t be perfect, and that’s the excuse we use to be absolute ogres, you know, we can’t be perfect.
We don’t realize that, and we’re not talking about perfection, we’re talking about horror stories,
really. You know that we’ve brought ourselves up on that. We’ve been teaching ourselves, “you can’t,
you can’t, your wee weak will can’t do it.” Loved ones, you have enough of Jesus’ Spirit in you to
obey outwardly all that he says is right. Now I agree with you, we have to deal later with that:
can you be delivered from inward sins, from feeling anger, from the inclination to sin. The truth is
you can, but at least the first step in Christianity is not believing that Jesus died instead of
you, because the Bible doesn’t say that anywhere. The Bible says Jesus died for you. But it means so
that you could die with him, to yourself and to all the powers within you that make you do what you
don’t want to do. If you’re willing to identify yourself with Jesus, he through his Spirit can give
you enough power and enough grace to live like him.
Just finish in this. That’s why when the people on the day of Pentecost asked Peter, “What do we do
now, after you preached this to us?” He said, “Be baptized,” it’s Acts 2:38, “Be baptized in the
name of Jesus for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
And in other places he talks about being baptized INTO Jesus, and the word “into” in Greek is
different from the word “in”, that’s the word “in” there, you see. “In” means “in”. “Into” is e-i-s.
It’s a different word entirely. In other verses, you get that phrase used, “Be baptized into Jesus.”
It means, if you want to be a Christian, you identify yourself totally with Jesus. You say, Lord
Jesus, I’m willing to die as you did, to all the things that we human beings think we should have,
to reputation, to position, to our friends and our peers praising us, to security and finances and
material things. To fame, to being well-known, to being looked up to, to getting our own way, Lord
Jesus, if you had nowhere to lay your head, I’m willing to identify with you. Loved ones, that’s
what becoming a Christian is: it’s identifying yourself completely with Jesus, because as you do
that, the power of his miraculous death on Calvary begins to destroy sin in your life, and begins to
free you from your sins.
I’m just anxious that, on these Sunday mornings, when we enjoy being with each other and in God’s
presence so much, I’m just anxious that you won’t misunderstand what the simple gospel is. The
simple gospel is, Jesus will save you FROM your sins, not IN your sins. Now oh I pray that nobody
will meet any of you in this family and have to mutter under their breath, “I wish they practiced
what they preached.” (What’s Campus Church, what’s Fish Enterprises? They’ll all be gone and dust in
a few years.) I really pray that you won’t be hypocrites, and that none of us will be those
intellectual believers who are just good Jews, but that you’ll really come into a relationship with
Jesus that will free you from your sins.
Now while it’s so late, I can’t ask for questions loved ones, but do come up after, if you want to
talk. Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank you for your words to us that if we walk in the light as you are in the light,
the blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin. Thank you, Father, that if we set our hearts against
all that is wrong in our lives, and we move towards an identification with Jesus with all our
hearts, you will be merciful to us. Lord, you will not forgive those of us who camp on the sides of
the river and try to get forgiveness without any deliverance in our own lives. Lord, we know that
you will not tolerate the Pharisees or the hypocrites, so Lord we would come to you now, and Holy
Spirit ask you, is there any way in which we are not entering into Jesus’ death? Is there any sin in
our lives that we need to be freed from, that you can free us from? Lord we know you’ll forgive us
until you free us, if we give our whole hearts and lives to you, for that freedom and deliverance.
Lord we would do that this morning, trust you to make us people that live like your Son, and that
will be enjoyable to be with in heaven. We ask this in His name.
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.
Willing to be Changed - CONSECRATION
Willing to be Changed – (Open Microphone)
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
At 6:30 this morning perhaps 40 of us went down to Lake Calhoun and about 20 or 25 of us were
baptized. You know that none of us think that you have to be baptized before you can have a real
relationship with God. I was a Methodist and I was baptized as a baby and I have never really felt
the need to be baptized again. But many of us have sensed that Jesus did want us to be baptized as
a matter of obedience to him. So, that’s why we have baptism services, maybe twice in the summer
time and once in the winter.
Of course the baptism that we need to experience is a real one but it is not just the baptism into
water. It’s a different kind of baptism. You know when you go under the water, you have to
suddenly begin to live independent of the life that you have already stored up within you, haven’t
you? Then you have to live certainly by the breath that you have taken before you go under the
water and you have to live by the energy and the strength that you have stored up in the past
because you are cut off from any more food while you are under the water. You have to live by
whatever inner contentment and peace about yourself you have because you can’t have any contact with
other people; you are cut off from them and from their approval or their recognition. So, you can
see that when you go under the water you’re in a sense cut off from any external supply of life.
Now of course, most of us can’t take that for more than three minutes and unfortunately, there the
reason is not just because we don’t have the lung capacity but because so many of us during our
lifetime have been utterly dependent on people for our sense of identity. We’ve been utterly
dependent on circumstances for our sense of happiness or contentment. We have been utterly
dependent on things for our sense of security. So, when we are cut off from the external world like
that, many of us have a real traumatic experience of frustration and we lack satisfaction in our
lives if we are for a moment cut off from all those things. Loved ones, that’s the kind of baptism
that we do need to experience because you can only have a relationship with God if you have been
baptized into a death to all other relationships that would try to supply what He alone can supply.
Now that baptism you do need to experience.
You might not experience baptism with water or you may, but you do need to experience the baptism
into dying to all other relationships that will try to supply you with what God alone can supply
you. That’s the true Baptism that is necessary. Loved ones, unless you do experience that, you
will never experience spiritual regeneration. Unless you come to the point where you die and are
willing to be cut off from people as the source of your identity. Unless you are willing to die and
be cut off from the external world of circumstances to provide you with happiness or uplift or
optimism, you can never enter into a real relationship with your Creator. It’s the same with
things. Unless you are willing to be cut off from the sense of security that you get from the world
of things and possessions, you can never really experience a real relationship with God, because
that’s really what sin is, you know. Sin is depending on people for your sense of identity instead
of God. Sin is depending on things for your sense of security instead of God. Sin is depending on
congenial circumstances for your happiness instead of depending on God. That’s what sin is, really.
Being baptized into a death to those things is being freed from sin and declaring to your Creator,
“Lord, You alone can supply me with these things.” That’s what it means to be baptized into Jesus’
death, loved ones. It means that you’re willing to identify yourself with Jesus in his death to
people and to the opinion and the approval of people for your own sense of significance.
It means you are willing to be baptized into that with Him. It means you are willing to be baptized
into His death to food and shelter and clothing as a reassurance of security. It means you are
willing to be baptized into His death to congenial or convenient circumstances as the source of your
happiness. In a way, it means that just as you are cut off from the life-support system of this
external physical world, when you are buried in the water — so when you are buried with Jesus you
are cut off from the life-support system of this present external world.
Of course, the killer for most of us is, we are so used to that life-support system that our whole
personality reacts against that kind of death. Indeed, our personality cannot adjust to it; it
cannot adapt to a different life-support system and the only reason it can at all, loved ones, is
that God took your people-addicted, thing-addicted, circumstance-addicted personality and He put it
into His son Jesus on Calvary and He destroyed it. He destroyed it in a cosmic destruction, and for
that reason your personality is able to change like that in a moment, if you’re willing. If you’re
willing, your personality can change like that — in a moment. It can be looking that way for
security, significance and the happiness — and it can change like that.
Loved ones you can, you can! It is Satan and the whole trend of his servants that we have in our
society today; the trends you can change, you can change. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
you can change because God has already worked the change in His Son and all you are doing by being
willing for that change is to allow Him to actualize that in you this very moment. That’s why it is
so important to take a definite step of commitment. Doesn’t matter whether it’s going down into the
water or not, doesn’t matter whether it’s coming up here to the altar or not, and doesn’t matter
whether it’s sitting in your own chair at home — but a definite moment of commitment when you say,
“Lord God, I am willing. I am willing to die to the life-support system that has been my only
reinforcement and my only strength. I am willing to die, Lord, to people and their opinion of me
for my sense of identity and significance. I am willing, Lord, to die now to things and possessions
for my feeling of security. I am willing to die to congenial circumstances for my sense of
happiness and contentment and Lord I am willing to depend on You, and You in me, and I am willing to
live off our relationship and that alone, and anything else that comes to me is just an extra that
You give me, but I am willing to depend on You only.” Loved ones, the moment that you part company
from your last relationship of dependence on this external world, that moment God is able to cut the
umbilical cord that connects you to people and things and circumstances and He is able to energize
you by his Holy Spirit so that you immediately sense that He is real, and you enter into all the
security and the significance and the happiness of a real personal relationship with him. So loved
ones, He can only work that, if you are willing on this side to part company from those things. If
you are willing to die to that life-support system, if you are willing to be cut off from that
physical external world as the source of your security, significance and happiness. May I just make
I am not saying that you stop eating. I am not saying that you stop having friends, not saying that
you stop owning things, but you know what I am saying. You stop using those as your source of
security. You stop using those as your source of significance and sense of identity. You stop
using those as your source of happiness because loved ones, it’s using those things that makes you
so obnoxious when you don’t get what you want. That’s what makes you so obnoxious to the loved ones
that live with you — to your friends, to your colleagues, to everybody you come in contact with.
What makes us obnoxious is we get so irritated when we don’t get what people we want or what things
we want or what circumstances we want. “It’s raining today and I was going to go sailing. It’s not
snowing and I was going to go skiing.” Loved ones, that’s the source of sin in our lives and being
freed from that means dying to all those things as our right.
Now really the moment you are willing to give up your last relationship of dependence on whichever
it is — maybe it’s your dependence on your bank account, maybe it’s your dependence on your car or
maybe it’s your dependence on other people’s opinion of you — but the moment you are willing to die
to that, the moment you are willing to be identified with Jesus in his attitude to that, that moment
actually God regenerates you and makes you a child of His. The death with Jesus and the
resurrection in the new relationship with God is proved by the first word or the first act that you
say or do, that shows to the world and to the angels and to your friends that you are in a new
relationship — that’s right.
God is only glorified when you speak the first word or do the first act that declares that a change
has been brought in your life. It could be anything. It could be writing out a check to someone
for sheer love of Jesus. The moment you put the pen to the paper, that is a proclamation to God
that no angel can question that you have entered into a new relationship to God and that you’re now
looking to Him for your security and your significance and your happiness.
It could be someone criticizes you in the office and you don’t whip back at them, you’re silent and
you’re quiet and you’ll love them. That is the first thought or act that signifies to God and to
the whole world that you are in a different relationship. Loved ones, I think that’s really what is
meant in Romans 10:10 and maybe you’ll look at it, because it is a different interpretation but I
really think it is the meaning of the verse, “For man believes with his heart and so is justified
and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.” You remember that in the letter to Timothy, Paul
talks about Jesus making the good confession. We so often think all confessions have to be speaking
with your mouth. Well, really no. Making a good confession is being what you now are, whatever
that is. It’s the act or the word or the thought that proclaims to everyone that you are in a new
relationship to God and that you have ceased your old relationship of dependence on people and
things and circumstances. That’s really what the good confession is and that’s why many of the old
martyrs that died are talked about as making the good confession, they made it with their lifeblood.
They declared there and then, I am not dependent on this world for my safety or for my importance.
There is another world that I depend on. So making the good confession, loved ones, is the act or
the word or the thought that occurs in the practical everyday lives of all Christians. Acts or
thoughts or words that can be observed and seen by anyone who cares to listen or to look that
declare that these people are not dependent on things or people or circumstances for their happiness
or security or significance but they depend on God Himself.
I think what really helps so many of us is to hear some of the rest of us share the first little
steps that we took that way in our relationship with Jesus. That’s what I had asked you to share
very briefly this morning. If you could just keep it to a minute so that as many of us can share as
possible. Would you share the first signs in your life that you saw that plainly showed you that
something had happened inside you, that a mighty work had been done in your life that had changed
your attitudes and changed the way you dealt with people and the way you thought about life. That
will really help because some of the rest of us probably are having trouble with some of those
things and it just makes all the difference to know that yes, you can actually be freed from that.
Now if you want to share other things that’s good but it would really help if you would concentrate
on that. Those of you who are just new in Jesus this summer and those of you who have been long run
away, if God prompts you, will you try to share just those first signs in your own life that showed
you that you were in a new relationship to God and a different relationship to the world because I
think a lot of us wonder, is it possible? Is it possible ever to cut that old cord? And it’s good
to hear that it is. I could share for the next half hour myself but I will keep quiet.
(Members of the congregation were then invited to share their testimonies.)
Speaker 1: You know it’s easy to come up here and say something or sit there and explode. Today is
an anniversary in my life because just about a year ago, I finally stopped running from the Lord and
allowed Him to come into my life and to manifest His love to me, in my life. In all my life I had
been kind of a nominal Christian and I knew about the Lord and I knew that He loved me but you know,
it was just too much pain to think about His love constantly and think about Him walking with me
everyday and in my life because actually I didn’t really want Him to. There were just too many
things in my life that I felt that I couldn’t change but it turned out that I really didn’t want to
change them. About a year ago today it was in a midst of a time, a personal tragedy, that I finally
realized that if I looked to the Lord, He could give me peace and joy even if the world around me
was falling down.
And I took this inside and it was really a great experience. Then after that, He didn’t leave me
alone although I probably wanted to just take His gift and then use it and then forget about it. He
began to point out things in my life that would make me consistent to having His love in my life
every minute and every second of the day, things that were more important to me than Him and He’d
show these things to me and I’d immediately jump back and say “Oh no, I can’t do that, it’s too
important to me.” Then He kept confronting me with these things and He did it very gently. After
He confronted me with them I finally realized that, “Yes, Lord, if I wish to have You continue
walking with me I have to deal with these things but I don’t have the strength to do it myself.”
Then what was really neat was that He showed me strength and He gave it to me and then it became
really easy and so I’d have that moment of personal victory and then I’d sit down and say “well,
fine — now everything is wonderful” — then he’d point out something else. Even after a year, He’s
still doing those things for me. It has just been really amazing everything that I learn every day,
all the moments of a personal victory that I have and the moments that I think of defeat but then He
turns around and turns them into victory. That’s what I wanted to share.
Speaker 2: This is the first day at the rest of my death. Today I was baptized at 6:30 a.m. in
front of witnesses, the people who are the closest to me, my friends and my parents, my relatives —
and it was just an outward sign to see all my commitment to God — that my life is turned around to
Him and as the first outward sign to the people that I am closest to.
Speaker 3: Well, by nature I am afraid to get up and talk in front of groups but when I was baptized
this morning I left that in the water. So, I am not afraid anymore. What’s always been my
experience is that whenever I take a little step for Jesus there is an immediate sense of peace, and
then all kinds of doubts and fears. It’s like Jesus gives me a big white blank wall of peace and
Satan takes his crayon and puts graffiti all over it.
Right after the meeting last Sunday for baptism, Satan started putting doubts and fears and
confusion into my mind and I just kept pushing them off and brushing them off, like the little pest
that he is. He got really desperate and yesterday morning he started telling me that the baptism was
at Lake Harriet instead of Lake Calhoun. So this morning I got up and got dressed and drove to Lake
Calhoun and was baptized.
Speaker 4: I had the privilege of finding Jesus. Jesus found me in 1947. In 1952, I had marked in
my Bible after a message by dear Pastor, alongside of Galatians 2:20, “Key to Victorious Living” but
never entered into that experience. On March 6th, 1973 that verse became alive. Then I started
looking for a place that I could just kind of grow in Galatians 2:20. Galatians 2:20 says “I am
crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life that I
now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
My eyes were opened to the realization that victory in Jesus had to be promoted and worked up by Him
through me. All I had to do was be willing to align my will with His will.
Then He showed me Philippians 2:13 which says, “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and
to do of his good pleasure.” I said, “Lord that’s how it’s done: by Philippians 2:13, ‘For it is
God who worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.'” Then I was on the road to
victory and it’s been marvelous. I have been listening to Pastor, I have been sitting there on my
seat, I said, “Lord, help me get in the cross, get it into those people’s hearts,” — and it’s just
marvelous, especially after you come into it. Now I heard our Pastor mention this morning a sinless
perfection. He said he did not believe in it, neither do I. I have found that as the Spirit shows me
things that are not right with God, then I am responsible to Him for those things and then I come to
Calvary and I bring that to the Lord and He washes it away. Then I depend on Him to have victory in
whatever that was and then you know as our dear brother said here he thinks He shows me something
else and that’s been going on since 1973. God bless you.
Speaker 5: I was just sitting in my seat and I had to say something. I just felt God wanted me to
come up here and I was scared to death because I really am afraid of talking in front of people but
this week something happened to me that I just felt God really wanted me to share. I guess when
Pastor talked about baptism this morning, it just really hit me because I gave my life to Christ
three years ago, but I’ve felt in the last year that I guess things are really going kind of badly,
and I was just frustrated a lot and then Pastor O’Neill talked this morning about just making a step
of commitment and just dying to everything. This week I went to a little church on Wednesday night
and I was in the service and the pastor said, “I really have a feeling that some of you there want
to re-dedicate your life to Christ” and I just really felt it. My sister was with me, and we both
had our eyes closed and all of a sudden we’re up in front together and I just felt that I needed to
make that step. After making that step this week He just really has blessed me in so many ways and
one of the ways was I had a headache all week and I had had it for seven days. And the headache
stayed and my husband prayed for me and I thought the headache was going to go away and it didn’t —
but you know the headache’s gone this morning, praise God! It’s just the commitment that has really
showed me that there is just freedom in Christ and I am just so excited to start living for Him and
I now have a lot of growing to do and a lot lot of dying to do but just making that step, it’s just
such a blessing to me.
Speaker 6: I asked Christ into my life about four years ago and it seems like for the last three
years or so I really had a dryness in my life and nothing seemed to really be going anywhere or even
growing. And it wasn’t until about four or five months ago that I really discovered why — after
somebody told me that prayer time each day and just study time each day would really help me even if
it’s five minutes or an hour — whatever time you have to spend doing that– and so I started doing
it and I started discovering so many changes in my life just through the fact that so many prayers
were answered. Then I started discovering growth and just a real peace in my heart and this
relationship that was built was building everyday with God and so I just wanted to share that today.
It’s so important for me in my life– this daily prayer — and to have this relationship growing
everyday just studying His Word.
Speaker 7: When Jesus Christ came into my life in 1974, I had been an artist and I had also been
interested in music but to me my whole life was really involved with painting. The most important
thing in the world to me was the paintings and I just loved painting. Jesus showed me the real
shallowness of my life and my reputation and that it wasn’t anything — and to quote Pastor O’Neill
that I was a “self-gratifying, self-glorifying miserable rat.” So, I had said “yes” to Christ in my
life and I found it. I had a family, two brothers in particular, younger than I, who have been sort
of following in my footsteps and it turned out that they were getting interested in drugs and things
and Jesus gave me something to say. He gave me something to say to them, whereas before that I
couldn’t ever relate to my brothers. I tried to get them interested in art but now they’re both
saved and we have a real brotherhood in Christ and there is hope, while before there was really
nothing that we had to share.
Speaker 8: I had a couple of jobs in my life where I kept on for two or three years but they were
usually jobs that were exciting or at least interesting and in February the Lord gave me a job that
was really boring. So after three weeks, after the newness wore off, it was really boring. But He
kept me there for seven months and during that time He showed me what you’ve been sharing on
Sundays. I was really brought to tears. I began to see that, I began to believe Him for making
Himself real in even those eight hours in an exciting way in being my joy, my excitement instead of
my job. He just opened up so many things at work, different people that needed to be prayed for and
He showed me what He was doing in a way that I could never see before. I just praise Him for that
because He drew me closer to Himself and made me realize that He was all I needed in the way of
excitement in what I was doing to and now two weeks ago God gave me a new job and I thank Him for
Speaker 10: When I was a teenager I would have loved to join a church and I wasn’t able really to
make the connection so I decided that the best way to be a Christian was to never join, and that
seemed ideal. Now the Lord has really shown me that I am to be dependable and I am to be a part of
this and I do identify myself with my church and with each one of you and that really does mean
being a part of the family. God really has been doing wonderful things within me.
Speaker 11: I found kind of recently that I had a different attitude towards sins, things that I do
and things that I do not. I used to really kind of like my sins – such as sometimes doing something
I knew was wrong — and I felt resentful and I really wouldn’t want to give that up. I did like
doing them you know, but God has really shown me that sins are really nasty. I was praying one time
about a month ago and I had gone fishing for the first time–and I saw some leeches. I never saw
those before and it looked really nasty to me and so I was praying later and God just showed me that
those sins are like leeches on me — and I thought that they were cool and really it is so nasty,
leeches coming on me. And I have a really different attitude towards my sins now and if I see one, I
am just very anxious to get rid of it. Really, I just hate it — and I didn’t before.
The Cure for Carnality - CONSECRATION
The Cure for Carnality
1 Corinthians 11
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Let’s look at I Corinthians Chapter 11 and it’s the part of God’s word that explains the communion.
So, brothers and sisters if you’re here maybe for the first time this morning and you think taking
communion is all wrapped up with whether you’re a member of the church or not, just forget that.
You know, that’s not what it’s about. So you can take communion this morning if you really
understand what it’s about and if you are willing to submit your will to the things that God
outlines in your life through your conscience. So, it’s important to see that it’s not connected up
with church membership but with whether you’re willing to live your life the way your God wants you
to or not.
So, this might help you to see that and I Corinthians in 11:23, Paul says, “For I receive from the
Lord what I also deliver to you. That the Lord Jesus, on the night when He was betrayed took bread,
and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in
remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup after supper saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant
in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this
bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the
bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty of profaning the body and
blood of the Lord.”
“Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and
drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you
are weak and ill and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But
when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the
world.” I pray that that may apply to everybody here. Amen.
Smallpox has been virtually wiped off the face of the earth. Forty years ago it was a killer
disease. It was known as one of the most disfiguring and fatal diseases that we human beings
experienced and yet, now it hardly exists anywhere in the whole earth. Why? Because of the almost
universal use of smallpox vaccine. Not because of the discovery of small pox vaccine, not because
of the existence of small pox vaccine but because of the almost universal use of small pox vaccine.
Now I think you see the difference.
One of the places we visited in India, 30 years ago, the people there knew that the smallpox vaccine
was effective but they decided not to take it and they all died. So it wasn’t enough for them to
believe that the smallpox vaccine was effectual. If they didn’t take it, it was not the remedy for
the disease in their own lives. Loved ones, every secretary that ends up in bed with her boss, every
cold war and every home represented here that destroys a beautiful Saturday and turns the Sunday
into a hell, every one of you here who has experienced somebody stabbing you in the back, all those
situations are the result of a disease among us that is far more disfiguring of beautiful lives and
far more destructive of health and happiness than smallpox ever has been or ever will be. That
disease is just sheer carnality, just carnality — just determination to get from people what they
should get from God. That’s why some dear girl is taken advantage of by some guy. That’s why you
even in your own apartments and your own homes, why we all can hurt the people that we say we love
the most. Loved ones, it’s because of carnality, because of selfishness, because of wanting to get
from others what you can only get from your Maker. The tragedy is that this disease will not only
destroy your health, will not only destroy your body but it will project yourself into a lonely
eternal darkness after this life is over, unless you get it remedied.
Loved ones, there is only one remedy for it and that is Jesus’ death. That’s the only remedy. There
are thousands of people even in Christendom who say if you believe that, you’ll be healed. It’s
dumb! Believing that the smallpox vaccine cures smallpox heals nobody, unless you take the vaccine
and apply it to your own life. It heals nothing. Loved ones, I plead with you, don’t you see the
great deception that runs through all of us here? We wouldn’t dream of thinking that way. In
ordinary medical problems, we wouldn’t dream of it. You know you wouldn’t. You know fine well that
believing that smallpox vaccine cures smallpox does not cures smallpox. Believing it does not cure,
only taking the vaccine cures.
Now it’s the same with this dear death here that we remember here on this communion table. This
death of Jesus will cure carnality in you, not if you simply believe but if you believe in a
scriptural sense — and the scriptural meaning of believe is “believe and submit to.” Now loved
ones, you have as selfish a personality as I have. We’re all equally caught here this morning in the
desire for our own pleasure and our own gratification and our own aggrandizements and our own
advancement and our own glory. You cannot get free from that any easier than you could get free from
smallpox. Loved ones, there is only one cure for it and that is the cure that God, our Creator,
worked 1900 years ago in Jesus when He put all of us with our selfish personalities into His son and
destroyed them there. That death can cure that carnality in you this morning, not if you believe but
if you believe and submit to that death this morning.
And so the reason we gather together today is not to keep urging each other to believe; there is too
much easy believism in Christendom today. Believing never cured anybody but believing in the sense
of the Greek word in the New Testament “pisteuo”, which means submit or obey, that cures carnality.
So why we’ve gathered together is to receive this dear remedy into ourselves afresh this morning,
and that’s why I have come to communion. But you’re mistaken if you think I’ve come to explain it to
you. I’ve come to communion this morning because I want to receive this death of Jesus into myself
in a new way that I know I need to receive it. There’s a new way in which I need to die to what I am
expecting from other people or from the world. There’s a new way in which Jesus wants to show me
what happened to me when I died with him on Calvary. Now loved ones, it’s true with all of you.
Do you realize that you break hearts and I break hearts? We break hearts. Our loved ones and our
friends and our relatives get used to us, but we break hearts. God is able to cure that in you this
morning. He is able to give you a light about some way in which you’re still expecting too much from
your dear roommate, some way in which you are expecting too much from your colleague at work, some
way in which you are looking to them for the significance and the acceptance and the recognition and
the security and the happiness that your God alone can give you. I ask you, brothers and sisters, to
join with me this morning in receiving this dear vaccine of the death of Jesus into yourselves.
There’s a verse in the Bible that expresses it. It says death is at work in us but life in you.
That’s it. Every time you let Jesus’ death work in you in a new way, you begin to spread life to
somebody that you meet week by week. Really, it’s true. So I ask you, will you deal with the Holy
Spirit yourself? Ask Him, “in what way. Holy Spirit, is my Lord trying to draw me into His death on
Calvary, so that I may experience His resurrection?” Loved ones, that will cure carnality, honestly
it will. And it is a continual remedy that needs to be applied day-by-day and week-by-week.
So loved ones, the Holy Spirit will presumably say to you that you keep expecting your husband or
your wife to do this, will you die to that? Probably say to you if you live with your roommate, you
keep getting resentful when your roommate doesn’t do this or doesn’t do that, will you die to that?
And will you be prepared for a clean heart towards it, to have a pure heart towards him, no
resentment? Will you die to your right to have him act reasonably and will you accept that it is
your right to have him act unreasonably and yet you will still love him. The Holy Spirit will deal
with you in ways like that and I ask you what I am going to do is say yes when He shows me what it
is because I know the Holy Spirit will then bring the beauty of Jesus into my life that is new and
that will spread life to the loved ones I meet this week.
So loved ones, if you are ready to do that, if you are ready to submit your will and maybe this is
your first time, you should take communion. I know a brother here who came to me through the week
and this is his first communion and this is his first commitment to Jesus; that “Lord, I’ll no
longer try to fix my own life but I am going to come under the influence of your Holy Spirit and
allow You to fix it for me. I’ll respond by submitting my will to what you say” — and maybe if
this is the first time for you then just do it. Don’t feel you have to go through some other
ceremony, just do it this morning and deal with the spirit of Jesus as he talks to you during the
Now if you are ready loved ones to do that, will you stand?
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors
and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His
holy ways, draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble
confession unto almighty God. Let us be seated as we pray.
Lord Jesus, we know we’re pretty coarse people and we know Lord that there are all kinds of cracks
that we’re trying to cover up. Lord we know that those seem to be cracks to us but to the loved ones
that we work with during the week and live with during the days, they are ugly disease that spoils
their lives continually. Lord, we want to be free and so we ask you by your Holy Spirit to show us
in what way you are asking us to enter in more deeply to the dear miraculous cosmic death that we
experienced in Jesus. I want to thank you Lord for getting us into yourself. We want to thank you
Lord Jesus for bearing needlessly the pain that our carnal selves bring upon us. Lord we thank you
for that. We know the least we can do this morning is to ask You to explain to us what particular
part of the remedy You want us to receive this morning. Amen
Commit Your Way to God - CONSECRATION
Commit Your Way to the Lord – Altar Call
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
I just sensed loved ones that God didn’t want me to preach the sermon that I have prepared and so I
will preach it next Sunday — and that I should ask you to take part with me in doing something this
morning so that there would be an opportunity for everyone of you to do something, instead of just
me speaking. So to that end, would you open the Bible at Psalm 37:5?
It’s God’s word I believe to many of you here and certainly to me this morning. “Commit your way to
the Lord; trust in him and he will act.” I just thought that if you go into the car park this
morning, or you walk up and down the sidewalks and you try to make out what kind of people we all
are, I am sure if you looked at some of our cars and some of our clothes and some of the jokes maybe
that we crack as we come up the stairs, we maybe all look at each other and almost think, “Oh, I
just wish I was like them”, or “They seem to really have got it together. They seem to have it
together financially and professionally and personally and every way.”
I think it’s very easy in a body like ours where God has shown us that it is possible to live
victoriously and joyously, for many of us to look at each other and think, “Well, I certainly wish I
was like them”, and yet, do you know loved ones, that it doesn’t matter what clothes each one of us
have here. It doesn’t matter what job we have. Actually, it doesn’t matter even how we appear to be
on the outside on a Sunday morning but all of us here in this room have some burden or some burdens
that God has allowed us to carry for our good and so, there probably is not one person sitting next
to you at this moment who has not something that is lying heavier on their dear hearts than it’s
God’s will for that to lie.
I think many of us may be lying under the business of the final exams and that’s exactly what we are
doing, we’re lying under it, we’re not on top of it. As brother prayed, we have not taken that
attitude. We have not given it over to God, we’re carrying it. We’re carrying not only the burden of
the study we have to do but we’re carrying the burden of the results of the examination and indeed
you might say we’re worrying about it. And there are many of us here who, when we read that piece
from Jesus’ words, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow”, we want to be that way but we are not that
way and we are worrying about our job situation although we haven’t a job or the job we have is not
We are worried about some relationship that we’ve got tangled up in a mess and we’ve been trying to
sort that out for a long time and we can’t do anything with it and it’s a burden not that we’re
carrying joyously, not a burden that we’ve joyously handed over to the Father so that we can walk
free, but it’s a burden that we’re bearing on our own shoulders, and we know we’re bearing it. We
tend to be preoccupied with it.
You know the easiest example of it is what we have all experienced – money. That’s the easiest
thing. There isn’t one of us here that doesn’t know what it’s like to have a financial worry in your
life and you know you try to push it away, but that thing grips you and grips you and wakens you up
at night and worries you and makes you anxious and it’s something that possesses you it seems,
instead of something that you possess or control, and that’s what I mean loved ones.
You all, I bet, look at each other. We all look at each other and we think ‘Oh, I wish I was as free
as that person is’, and loved ones, the key to being free is not to have no burdens, because there
is not one of us, thank God there is not one of us in this room that has not been given something to
carry. If we ever had nothing to carry, we would sink into passivity and we would lose all touch
with God, and there is not one of us in this room that hasn’t been given something to carry except
that we’ve been given it to hand over to the Lord and that’s the distinction. Some of us have handed
it over to the Lord and have left it with Him and some of us worry and fret and are anxious and we
give it over and then we take it back and we trust Him and then we stop trusting Him, and that’s
what I want to speak to you about.
Do you not think there are some burdens in your life? Maybe with some of us they’re just downright
sins, maybe with some of us here the burden is we’ve never given ourselves to God at all, but
whatever it is you know, whether it is a job situation or a marriage situation or a relationship or
a financial worry or a business or a school crisis, whatever it is, do you not think you should take
a stand this morning and commit it to the Lord? Do you not think you should stop just reading this
word again and again and this morning you should do it? You should commit your way to the Lord.
That’s what this verse says, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will act”.
Really, what came home to me was a number of you know you should do that, but you’ve never actually
taken the step and you’ve, maybe during prior times here, just kind of half done it. Maybe if it’s
the business of committing yourself to Jesus you know and trusting Him to regenerate you and make
you a Christian. You have often half done it when I prayed at the ends of services but you’ve never
really done it — or maybe some of you are here and you know it’s wrong to worry, it’s wrong to
worry for one moment, it’s wrong in this beautiful world that the dear Father has given us to spend
a moment in anxiety. It’s wrong to spoil a moment in a cloud across the horizon and yet, you’ve
often tried to give it and to pray about it and you have never really committed it to the Lord.
Now what I am asking you to do this morning is, will you take part together with me in committing
whatever it is in your life that is a burden and is preoccupying you and is making you tight and
tense? Will you commit it to the Lord this morning? I am going to explain a very definite way to do
Now I point out to you that there are dear brothers here who are attorneys and if I go to some of
the other brothers here who are in the legal profession and I say to them I have a problem and I
explained it all to them and I committed to them, then they expect me to keep my hands off it. They
will soon tell me where to go over if I keep coming in and trying to advise them what to do with it.
They will say “No, this is our case, you committed it to us, you’re trusting us with it, you leave
it in our hands, you keep your hands off it.” That’s what it means loved ones to commit your way to
the Lord. Whatever it is that is niggling away or causing you unrest and anxiety in your life at
I am going to ask John to play a little and during the 10 or 15 minutes that are left to us of his
service, I’m going to have an altar call. We’re not very churchey here, so this stage is as near to
an altar as we’ll get here. And I am asking you to come up to just kneel, that’s what I am going to
do with something that I have to give to Him. Just kneel and commit it to Him. Now, I’ll tell you
how to commit it to Him.
Commit your way to the Lord. That means let Him control whatever it is that you’re committing to
Him. So if you’re concerned about marriage, all that about the marriage that you have that is not
right or the marriage that you would like to enter into, then take your hands off that, you see,
commit your way to the Lord. That’s the way to do it. Stop trying to control it yourself. The same
if you have never committed yourself to God as His child. It means coming up here and saying “Lord I
take my hands off my life. You run it whatever way You want”.
Same with finances, if it’s a financial situation, you come up and you say “Lord, I am taking my
hands off my finances. Lord if You want me to be absolutely bereft of money, if You want to take it
all, if You want me to fail or succeed-whatever — I now exercise my will”, and loved ones that’s
it. The symbolism of coming up here does nothing. Only if while you are kneeling here you get that
out of the control of your will and you say, “Lord, these final exams, I take my hands off them.
Lord, whatever You want to do with them, that’s up to You and I let them go out of my control now
and I commit them to You.” That’s the first step in committing.
The second step is when you get up from your knees and walk back to your place. Leave those things
here. Leave them here, leave them on this kind of a stage, this altar here, leave them with God. Now
if you say, “How do I do that?” I’ll tell you. It’s a very simple thing. Tomorrow or today on the
way home in the car or bus, when the thought comes into your mind, “What about this bank account”,
“What I am going to do about this exam”, at that moment take your eyes off the thing because that’s
just Satan’s temptation to get your mind wound up in it again. Take your eyes off the thing, turn
them up to God and say, “Lord I thank You that You are controlling this thing and that it is in Your
hands and I thank You for the way You are controlling it.” That’s the way to leave it with God,
For next Wednesday, when the whole thing comes up before your very eyes and you see the results or
you see what’s happening to the office situation, you see it’s as bad as ever it was, at that
moment, instead of allowing your little old mind to get wrapped up in the thing again which is just
Satan’s trick, so that you become absolutely paralyzed and unable to do anything about it, instead
of that, look away from the situation up to God and say, “Lord, I thank You that I left that with
You in Campus Church last Sunday and I thank You for the way You are controlling it”, and thank the
Lord and praise God and as you begin to thank Him and praise Him in all circumstances for all
things, He begins to realize this person is leaving the judging to Me. This person is beginning to
accept what I give to them as success and not want what they think of success, and God begins to see
that you’re letting Him be God and then He begins to be able to act in the situation.
Loved ones, that’s what it means, those two steps, committing your way to the Lord means at a
definite point of time and that’s why I am suggesting this, this morning, even though it’s so unlike
us to do this kind of thin. I am suggesting that you come up here during these next 10 to 15 minutes
and you take your hands off the thing. None of those easy prayers: “you know Lord I give this to
You, You take it from me, I can’t release it.” No. You let it go and some of you need to see that
any tension in your life comes from a closed fist, that’s where the tension comes from.
The knuckles get white because of the tension and the moment you open your hand, the tension goes
and some of you will find that you’ve some things in jars, glass jars with narrow necks and during
these next 10 minutes you will be burrowing in there and you’ll get the hand in and then you’ll find
you can’t get the hands out and there’s only one reason why you can’t get the hand out if you got it
in and that’s because you’re holding something in it and you won’t let go of it. The moment you let
go off it, all the tension goes from your life and you’re able to commit it to God.
So the first step is to come up here and give it to God’s control. Say, “Lord, I take my hands off
this. I no longer want to control it my way. I give it to You. You be God.” That’s all we’re saying.
That’s a small thing. “You be God in this part of my life. You have Your way Lord, have Your own way
Lord.” That’s all you are saying and exercise your will to let go the control of this thing and let
God run it whatever way He wants and then when you get up from your knees, leave it here and say,
“Lord, I thank You for the way You are controlling this”, and each time that subject comes up
through the rest of your life, look away from the subject to God and say, “Lord I thank You for the
way You are controlling this.”
Loved ones, that’s what is involved in committing your way to the Lord and that’s why some of us can
work joyously, not because we have no burdens, but because we have handed them over to the Father.
We have let Him take over control and we thank Him daily for the way He is controlling them. So
loved ones, I would just ask some of you, you know as husbands and wives who want to come up
together, some of you will want to come up singly and individually and I just say do it.
The Father is here and if you let the thing go to Him, He will more than bless you and more than
release you. But the beauty of it is, of course, you’re not giving it to Him so that He’ll succeed
in the way you want Him to succeed, you’ll let Him do whatever He wants to do with it and take your
own hands off.
Okay, just come, I wouldn’t wait for others, I’d just come. I think it’s really good that we’re
natural about it and so that people will feel free to go who want to leave. I think just let’s
continue praying and those of you who’re waiting just wait and we’ll pray, and those of us who’re
sitting, maybe you would just turn to song number 34 and while the rest of us are seeking God, then
we’ll sing and I’ll just pronounce the benediction and then those who want to leave, can leave and
then the rest of us can remain and I would urge you to remain and deal with God. Let’s just remain
sitting loved ones, as we sing and those of us who are praying just continue praying and getting
these things into God’s hands, that’s what He wants.
Lord Jesus, we know that You are taking from us burdens, now that we are letting go of them once and
for all. Lord we would pray for the loved ones who are now doing that. Lord Jesus we thank You that
we’re putting them into the hands of Him by whom all things were made. Oh Lord we thank You that
these are strong and mighty and powerful hands and that they will not drop what we have committed on
to them but we are persuaded that You will keep what we have committed unto you this day and Lord we
thank You for that. Lord Jesus we thank You for that and so far as we let go of these things so You
are able to take them over and oh Lord we thank You for the joy with which we will be able to walk
these coming days.
Each time the thought occurs, Lord we will be able to look up to You and thank You for the way
You’re controlling this thing which now is no longer ours. Lord we thank You for that. Lord I pray
now that as John continues to play on the organ and as others of us go home, Lord Jesus I pray that
You now will continue to take from us the things that we have to give you. Lord I pray for the loved
ones who are standing here that they will have a real freedom just to stand and wait until they can
put these things on the altar so that they will deal with You and complete their business with You
this day, so that they can walk out of here free.
Now Lord Jesus I pray that the grace and the love of your dear Father, our God and the fellowship of
the Holy Spirit will be with each one of us now and until we see You face-to-face. Amen.
Uncreated Life - CONSECRATION
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
I think it’s good especially on a day like today when we’re all so happy and laughing, to talk
realistically about death. So, maybe you would just think for a moment or a two of deaths that you
have known and I could remember my dad’s death. It was about 17 years ago and he died on the 17th of
March, it was St. Patrick’s Day in Belfast and he died in the morning and I remember being with him.
And I was probably like all of you. I just couldn’t conceive of life without my father and you know
the way you feel that. You feel that it’s unbearable. I couldn’t even think of it, life without my
dad. Yet it’s amazing, isn’t it, that the mind is incapable of conceiving the magnitude of the last
beat of a loved one’s heart. Isn’t that right?
I mean the last beat occurs and the mind can’t conceive of it and that inability to conceive of it,
kind of, is God’s good gift to us because it kind of dulls the pain and I remember seeing him just
brave, you know and then I thought, “Well, he has just died,” and then I asked the nurse to come in
because I thought my dad had died and would she make sure that he was dead. Then you know over the
next few days, the continued closeness that you feel to the loved one. You feel that they’re kind of
just around you, that they’re still around you in the rooms. That’s so good of God to give us that
Then especially after the burial, you know how you just feel, that’s it. There’s a separation
between anyone who passes through death and this present world, there’s just a separation. They’re
separated from us and probably all of you, even maybe the youngest, can think of some experience
that you’ve had like that. You know too that we human beings have been trying to crack the finality
of that experience in all kinds of ways.
You know that all of our attempts seem to end up as kind of cheap frauds or just inappropriate
fakery of some kind and we have made many attempts. The mediums, and the spiritualists have claimed
to be able to communicate with our loved ones who have passed beyond, and yet don’t you agree that
if you’ve ever heard or read any of their communications, they always seem to have that static,
lifeless quality of evil spirits that are imitating our relatives, rather than the bright vitality
of expressions of living people.
I don’t know if you got involved in it but I think most of us at some time wondered, “Could they
communicate? Could they communicate?” And yet you feel at the end of the day, that all they’re doing
is communicating with evil spirits who are imitating some of the words and some of the attitudes of
our dead relations — and of course that’s why God condemned mediums and witches and all that kind
of attempt to communicate with the dead, as rebellion. He said it was as the sin of rebellion and
that’s why you remember the witch at Endor was struck with fear when God made Samuel materialize in
reality instead of the evil spirit that she expected to call up to imitate him — and she was
God really has indicated to us that that whole world of spiritualism is evil and is not inside his
will, and if you have had any experience of it at all, you’ve probably felt as I have had that it is
evil and that it destroys the dignity of your loved one and destroys the dignity of life, destroys
the dignity even of death. And of course our television programs recently and our books have been
filled with those dear ones who have lived in that twilight zone between biological death and
technical death. They have lived in the twilight zone where their heart has stopped beating and
their mind’s pulses have continued.
So technically we’ve said they were dead and yet they were able to be revived and you know that they
have written or they had their experiences recorded in books and we’ve had television programs about
those things and yet, I don’t know how you feel, but I always feel, “Well, yeah, but I don’t really
feel they died — whatever the technical definition is or whatever the emotional experience was that
they had. I don’t really feel that they died, that they passed beyond and they experienced what life
after death is like and that what they’re telling us is what it’s really like. I feel, look, their
bodies were still warm. They were still just on this side of death and I myself don’t feel I can
trust that what they’ve talked about is anything more than their own ideas or their own feelings of
what life after death might be.”
Of course, it’s for that same reason that most of us I think are skeptical of the gurus and the
yogis who can control their breath so precisely that they are able to be buried for days at times
and apparently come back to life. I think most of us feel, “Look, they’re not dead at all. They have
just controlled their breaths so that they appear to be dead and they appear to be able to stay
buried longer than any of the rest of us.”
But I think most of us feel, “Well, they never died. It’s all a hoax,” and of course it’s that sheer
difficulty of faking death and resurrection that has probably prevented the followers of other
religious leaders like Muhammad and Buddha, ever claiming that their great leader had been raised
from the dead, because it is a very difficult fact to prove. It’s a very difficult fact to hold up
in court that a person has died and has risen from the dead.
Loved ones, do you see that all those examples make the one great exception so much more striking,
because there was a religious leader who was different from all the other religious leaders. His
life is perfect. Theirs was not. His miracles were greater than theirs, his teaching transcends
theirs. But the one great fact that distinguishes him from them is the one event, the proclamation
of which brought persecution to his followers — and that was the resurrection from the dead. This
great religious leader was raised on the third day, stayed alive for 40 days and then his body
lifted off the earth and it has never been found since and that is what distinguishes him from
everyone else — that resurrection from the dead.
Loved ones, that is why we’re meeting together here — because such an event as that took place.
Many of us see of course that if it did in fact take place, if in fact Jesus did rise from the dead,
then it means that he is alive now and it means that if he is alive now, he is the one important
person in the whole universe for you and I to contact if we possibly can contact him and if He will
bother with us at all, but really that’s the crux of the whole issue, isn’t it?
Is this Jesus really alive? Did He actually rise from the dead?
There are four rules that philosophers and historians have accepted down through the years for
determining a matter of fact, and they not only appeal to historians and the philosophers, they’ll
appeal to your own common sense and my common sense this morning. And a man called Leslie summarized
those rules and he said for instance the first one is, “In order to determine a matter of fact of
any kind and to find out if it really happened, the matter of fact must be such that men’s outward
senses, their eyes and ears, may be judges of it”, and you can see that.
If a thing is a matter of fact, either in history or today, it must be such that man’s outward
senses, their eyes and their ears may be the judges of it. Now, if that had not been the case, big
honest fisherman like Peter and cynical skeptics like Thomas would never have believed that this man
rose from the dead. It was only because He appeared to their outward senses, to their eyes and their
ears. You can see it yourself if you look at John Chapter 20.
John 20:24: “Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So
the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his
hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his
side, I will not believe.’
“Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were
shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas,
‘Put your finger here and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be
faithless but believing.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you
believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this
book, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that
believing you may have life in his name.”
The men and women who gave us the first record of Jesus rising from the dead were actual
eyewitnesses. They ate with him, they slept with him, they talked with him, they traveled with him
both before and after his death. They knew him. Their eyes and their ears had perceived him. He was
a fact that was present to their outward senses. Now you may say, “Yeah, but can you trust them? Are
they the kind of people who can be trusted to tell you what they actually saw?”
You know that again and again we have tried to impugn their trust and we have tried to suggest that
maybe there are other explanations, but it never really works and probably the most popular today,
with our preoccupation with psychology, is hallucinations. Maybe these men, maybe they were honest,
good, down to earth fishermen, maybe they were ordinary people like us — but do you not think they
could have had hallucinations and that the 12 or 14 so-called appearances of Jesus during those 40
days could in fact be hallucinations?
And what makes that difficult to believe is that the appearances to the disciples and the friends do
not fit the laws that govern hallucinations. Hallucinations, for instance, occur to certain kinds of
people and those are people with vivid imaginations who perhaps have a nervous kind of makeup to
their character and when you look at big, honest, bluff Peter the fisherman and you look at hard
headed James and you look at cynical, skeptical Thomas, you must admit that those were not the kinds
of people who were likely to have hallucinations.
Another law that governs hallucinations is that the person wants something to happen. They want
something to happen. They want this event to take place and so they project that into their
imaginations and then they blur the distinction between their imaginative life and reality and they
have a hallucination.
But why did Mary go to the tomb with spices to anoint the dead body if she actually hoped that he
would be alive? You remember she went and told the disciples that he was alive and they wouldn’t
believe it. They said, “No, we don’t believe it. You’re just imagining it,” so that when Jesus
actually appeared to them, they said, “He’s a ghost” and Jesus had to say to them, “Look, a ghost
hasn’t flesh and bones as you see that I have. Come, let’s have fish for supper. Let’s eat together
and you’ll see that I am not a ghost.” Now those were not men and women who were expecting Jesus to
appear. Those were men and women that had given up any hope that this man was anything more than a
Hallucinations are things that have to appear over a long, long period of time and keep on appearing
for years. These appearances of Jesus took place during 40 days and then they stopped and that was
it. Some of us say, “Well, yes, maybe not hallucinations, but do you not think that the disciples
themselves had an interest in getting us all to believe that Jesus had arisen from the dead? Do you
not think that they would become very important religious leaders of this new sect if they could
persuade others that their Master was someone who was different from every other religious leader?”
“Do you not think that they could have been con artists who were out to make up for the
disappointment that they found when they discovered their Master had died instead of leading them
into a military victory? Do you not think they could have stolen the body and then could simply have
pretended that he was alive?
You know the difficulty: why didn’t they stop the lie when they saw the first child being
slaughtered? Why didn’t they stop the lie? Why didn’t they stop telling the lie when the first
family was imprisoned? Why didn’t they stop telling the lie when they themselves began to be
slaughtered by their thousands — when they saw their friends used as torches at the garden parties
of the Roman Emperor? Why didn’t they stop the lie?
And you know that men and women will not die for what they know as a lie, they will not. When they
see that it’s gone that far they’ll stop and they’ll say, “Listen, listen, we just want to pass on
his teaching but we don’t want to pass on that lie that is bringing upon us all this persecution.”
So really it’s hard to explain in any other way but that the resurrection meets that first rule —
that it was an event that presented itself to the outward senses of the men and women in that age.
It presented it to their eyes and their ears, not to their hearts or their emotions or their
Leslie has another rule. He says that the fact should be done publicly in the face of the world.
That is, that it shouldn’t be done in a corner, shouldn’t be some little guru somewhere telling some
of his friends that he was actually dead for three days and now has is alive, but it is something
that is done publicly in the face of the whole world. That was the very complaint of the Roman
authorities loved ones, if you’d like to look at it, it’s Acts 17:6.
Acts 17:6, “And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before
the city authorities, crying, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.”
And that was the problem for the Roman authorities. If these people had kept this thing quiet, they
might have been able to cover it up — but these people were turning the then known world upside
It isn’t only writers in the Bible here that write about them, you can study Roman governors like
Pliny and you can study their letters to the emperor asking, “What am I going to do with these
Christians? Here is what I do, and if they confess then I let them free and if they don’t, I kill
them. Now what do you think I should do?”
Celsus and Porphyry wrote continually about this Christian group, and there’s a Tertullian who kept
the archives in Rome, and here’s the way he writes about it, “Tiberius accordingly, in whose days
the Christian name made it’s entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from
Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter
before the senate, (that’s the emperor) with his own decision in favor of Christ. The senate,
because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Caesar held to his opinion,
threatening wrath against all the accusers of the Christians.” The thing wasn’t done in a corner.
This matter of fact was known throughout the world. It was not something that was done in secret.
Leslie is interesting because he then goes on to the difficulty of preserving correctly the memory
of an event and he says the third rule for establishing particularly a historical fact as a fact is
that not only public monuments be kept up in memory of it but some outward actions be performed. Not
only that some public monuments be kept up in memory of it but that some outward actions be
performed, and that’s the guarantee you see that the event will be remembered as it actually took
place and that that memory will be accurately passed down from generation to generation without any
exaggeration or without any distortion and that’s why he says, the only way to be sure of a
historical fact is that public monuments be kept up in memory of it.
That is, monuments that are obvious to everybody and that certain actions be performed. Maybe the
most obvious monuments — because monuments are not necessarily statues — they’re just things that
make it clear what actually happened and remember it — maybe the clearest monuments are the
manuscripts that hold the written record of that event, and of course that’s what you look to when
you study any ancient history.
If you look at Caesar’s “History of the Gallic Wars”, you immediately ask yourself, “Well, how do we
know that this even was remembered as it actually occurred and how do we know that over this passed
down through the years reliably without distortion? What you do is you go behind the manuscripts.
You try to get to Caesar’s original manuscript and you find out where he wrote the history, because
it was written at the time the event took place so you try to find the original record of it. Then
you find the next record maybe a hundred years later, check that up to see if they confirm each
other or if somebody changed them. Then you check the other manuscript.
Caesar’s “History of the Gallic Wars” has a grand total of 9 or at the most 10 manuscripts, that’s
all. We believe ancient history on the basis of 9 or 10 manuscripts and never question it. Those are
all the monuments you have to Caesar’s “Gallic Wars”. Do you know when the first one was written? It
was written 900 years after Caesar wrote his original history. 900 years! 900 years elapsed during
which all kinds of myth and legend could have developed, yet we never question Caesar’s “History of
the Gallic Wars” as being true.
We say no these are public monuments. These are literary manuscripts that give us the original
record. We can check them against each other and they are more or less the same so we believe it.
It’s even worse with Livy’s history. His history has two manuscripts and the oldest one is a
thousand years after he wrote his original history. The monuments and the manuscripts behind this
book, the Bible: 4000 Greek manuscripts. And the oldest one is written 30 years after John completed
his fourth Gospel.
In other words, there is no manuscript evidence for any history as reliable as the manuscript
evidence for this history. There is not. You cannot find it. If you throw out this book as
unhistorical, you throw out not only all the ancient Roman and Greek authors, but you throw out half
of our own history because there is no manuscript evidence for any history up to maybe three or four
hundred years ago that is as solid as what lies behind this. These manuscripts have been found
throughout the ancient world and we have 4000 of them, plus thousands of scraps of manuscripts.
Then the actions that need to be performed: here it is today. Here it is today. This action has been
performed for 1900 years. Ever from Peter’s little Jewish son asked him, “Dad, why do we worship on
Sunday when all our friends in the Jewish church worship on Saturday?” and Peter answered, “My son,
because our Savior rose on this day of the week”, — and loved ones ever from that first Easter
Sunday, there has not passed one Sunday but there has not passed one day in the world’s life, when a
group of people have not got together and celebrated the communion of the Lord’s Supper. That action
has been performed down through the years for 1900 years.
Now, you see the importance of that. We human beings are pretty dumb people but we will not keep on
doing something like that again and again and again without some horrid little cynical son sometime
persuading us this is a ridiculous game we’re playing, there’s no reason for it. There’ll always be
somebody to say, “Dad, why are we doing this?” and unless Dad really can show that there’s a reason,
the thing will die out, that’s what happens in our society. Things die out when there’s no
sufficient reason for them or no sufficient basis.
Then Leslie adds one other fourth rule. He says that “such monuments and such actions and such
observances be instituted and do commence from the time that the matter of fact was done.” You see
the importance of that. That the monuments and observances and actions be performed from the very
moment that the original act fact took place. The reason for that is so that there’ll be no time gap
during which legend and myth could develop and that’s the difficulty you see with the lives of
Muhammad and Buddha. It’s years afterwards that we wrote of their lives — and myths and legends of
all kinds surrounded them. But if you have no time gap between the original fact and the first
record of it and if that record is the same as all the other records that you have down through the
centuries, then you can be sure that that fact actually took place as it was written about.
Of course, that’s the situation with this Book, the Bible. The letter to the Galatians was written
in 48 A.D. In 48 A.D. there were thousands of people alive who had seen Jesus die, there were
thousands who had observed him and seen him alive. All they had to do was, as this letter to the
Galatians was circulating round all the churches in the world at that time, they simply had to say,
“No, it didn’t occur this way.” There were many eyewitnesses alive at the time that these records
were circulating and all they had to do was contradict them and that would have been the tale
It’s the same loved ones with the actions that are to be performed. If you like to look at it, it’s
there, it’s Acts 20:7: “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread,
Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until
“On the first day of the week, we gathered together.” That was five, six years after Jesus rose from
the dead. Right from the earliest times, Easter has been observed, the communion of the Lord’s
supper has been observed.
In other words, the most amazing thing about this fact of Jesus destroying death is that this
incident, that stands so unique in the lifetime of the world, this one event in which a human being
so absolutely demonstrated control over death and life — that this incidence has been studied and
discussed and criticized and examined more than any other event in history and has now come out
among all scholars and philosophers and historians as the most established and the surest fact of
There’s an old brilliant scholar at Cambridge – an old cynic too — but he says this about the
resurrection, “Taking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic
incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ.” If you say that
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is not a fact, let’s throw everything away. There are no facts
then. There are no facts anywhere in the world. Because if you say that is not a fact, there are
millions of facts that are far less surely established than that one, and this life that we live is
not real at all if you say that that resurrection of Jesus from the dead is not a fact.
Do you see the conclusions? If Jesus destroyed death once, then he can destroy it however often he
wants and that means he is alive today — and he is alive and can see us all here. See, you have to
conclude that, don’t you? You must admit that if he is able to pass through death and if death does
not keep him away from us, then he must be here in this room this morning. He must be here, right
here. And do you see that that means there is an elixir of life. It means there is a fountain of
rejuvenation and of eternal youth such as all the old explorers searched for.
There is an uncreated life that turns death into sleep, because that’s what it did in him. There is
an uncreated life that comes into this created life we have and changes it completely. There is an
uncreated life that can change you and can enable you to exist forever. But loved ones, what we find
is that that same life is able to change the bitterness in your heart into love because that life is
the Spirit of Jesus and that life can change you completely and it can change you from being a
miserable, petty, selfish creature into a person that is the image of Christ and that’s what
uncreated life did in Jesus. It’s what uncreated life did in me and it’s what uncreated life has
done in hundreds here in this room and it’s what uncreated life can do for you.
You have created life, and you can see it there, but there is an uncreated life that can turn death
into sleep. If you say, “how?” all you do is be willing for that life to come in. You have to be
willing for that life of Jesus’ Spirit to come in and reproduce in you himself, and you may think
that’s easy but that is the hard part. And the reason you don’t experience that life, the reason
you’re still bitter at times, the reason you’re still angry at times and selfish is you won’t let
that life come in and control you and that’s the same reason that will force you to go out into
lonely darkness at the end of this life.
And loved ones it is a package. It’s either Jesus and the beauty of love and the kindliness of his
spirit ruling your life now and that continuing forever — or it’s you continuing as you are with
that created life that you’ve got with your selfishness and your pettiness and at times your misery
and it’s that going on forever after this life is over.
So Easter is not a day for spectators. Easter is not a day for applause. Easter is not a day to
stand outside the tomb and look at the mighty thing that happened. Easter is the day to go into the
tomb yourself and ask this Jesus, “Lord, if you are alive now, and it seems I am led by my own logic
to believe that, will you begin to show me how to let your life come into mine — because I sorely
need a change.” Let us pray.
Lord, that is what we would pray. Death is something that is so real that we have no trouble
imagining it, Lord, and we have trouble with imagining what we mean by anger or jealousy or envy,
but we know what we mean by death and we know as sure as anything that we’re going to meet that,
that’s the one thing we’re sure of, Lord. We’re going to meet death. And Lord, you seem to have a
way through and Lord Jesus, we want to find that way ourselves. We feel we’re made for something
more than just a gravestone. We feel we’re made for something more than just to be forgotten.
Lord, we ask you now to show us why your Spirit that enabled you to rise from the dead has not been
able to come into us. Show us what we have to be willing to do for your spirit to come in and change
us, and Lord we want to do that. Lord, I pray for our brothers and sisters here that they, in spite
of all the excitement of the lunch time and the lilies and all the brightness of the day, pray that
you’ll give them grace to settle down somewhere in their room today for 15 minutes and pray to you
and ask you to begin to change them and to give them the Spirit that will enable them to live
forever. I ask this in your name and for your glory. Amen.
How to Walk in the Light - CONSECRATION
How to Walk in the Light
1 John 1 & 2
Sermons Transcript by Rev. by Ernest O’Neill
I John 1:5 – 2:6: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is
light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in
darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in
the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all
sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our
sins he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If
we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am
writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but
also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his
commandments. He who says,’I know him’ but disobeys his commandments, is a liar and the truth is not
in him: but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure
that we are in him: he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
I remember the first time I was in the company of people I thought were holy people or were
Christ-like people. I felt very uneasy. I remember the first thing I was aware of myself, was my own
dirtiness and my own coarseness and of course it made me take a lot more care with what I said. In a
way I wasn’t really free because I was aware of how Christ-like and how gentle and how pure they
were in their hearts, and I was very aware that I was not at that time like them. That’s the way it
will be in heaven. I was sitting down there with my wife and I looked at the stage and it is
interesting, this stage has a lot more light, hasn’t it, about it than when you are out there. This
is bright, illumination. It will be like that. It will be like us all coming into bright, bright
light where nothing can be hidden and where every blemish shows up. It won’t ever be a case of God
rejecting us; it will simply be that we cannot bear the light. It will be the same as I was with
those dear people that I met. It will just be so uncomfortable that we won’t feel at home there
unless we have allowed God’s Spirit to fit us for that place.
Loved ones, that’s why tonight is such a dear feast for all of us who believe that in Jesus, God
included all of our uncleanness, all of our dirtiness, all of our coarseness. This is a feast for us
tonight because we realize again that there is nothing in us that is bad, nothing in us that is
sinful, nothing in us that is coarse that God has not destroyed in His Son Jesus, and that we can
now be freed tonight by the power of His Holy Spirit. That’s why tonight is a celebration for those
of us who are children of God. We believe that here is the secret to all of life, the death of our
Lord Jesus. We believe with all our hearts the words of scripture, “God made Him to be sin who knew
no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
There is no one here with a resentment in their hearts that they cannot get rid of. There is no one
here with a bitterness at the bottom of their hearts that they cannot get rid of. There is no one
here with a mind filled with unclean thoughts that they cannot get rid of. They can put all of those
in Jesus by faith tonight and say, “Lord, I believe you allowed these to be destroyed with you on
Calvary and I want now to let these go. Will you show me tonight what I have to be willing for, in
my identification with you, to be freed from this sin?” The Holy Spirit, if you take that attitude,
will answer you, and He will show you if it is resentment, or sarcasm, or if it is bitterness, or it
is a critical spirit, or it is uncleanness, or selfish ambition, or the drive to be the most
important person in the situation. Whatever it is, loved ones, the Holy Spirit will speak to you
this evening and will say to you, “I want you to be willing to be treated like Jesus in this way,”
or “I want you to be willing to be identified with Jesus in this way” or “I want you to be quiet
with Jesus in this way.” He will explain it to you. Then all you have to do, and I know it from my
experience, all you have to do is say yes from the bottom of your heart, and there will come a clean
Spirit into you this evening: the gift of the Holy Spirit.
What we will find is the blessing in these evening communions is if God has
given you light during this past month, that is why I read those verses. The verses say if we walk
in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, first of all. Then
secondly, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. Walking in the light means a readiness to
call sin, sin. If God has shown you something that’s wrong in your life, call it sin. Then walking
in the light means a readiness to walk into obedience in regard to that area of your life and a
readiness to have the Holy Spirit melt you and mold you into Jesus on the cross in whatever way is
necessary. So what God has used is when some of us have felt free just to come up to this open
microphone — we will leave it just like that for the next 10 or 15 minutes– and simply to share
any light that the Holy Spirit has given you about your own walk and about your own life.
If I could encourage you, I think that it will be two kinds of light. I think with some of us it
will be new light on a willful, rebellious attitude that we have had on something that we have been
hiding in our hearts, a bitterness towards some person, or a resentment towards some person, or a
critical attitude towards some person. That is, it will be an expression of our selfish will and
something that is keeping us from being crucified with Christ. Loved ones, if the Holy Spirit allows
you to do it, I would just share that and say, “I am done with that,” and I would encourage you not
to tolerate that kind of sin at all. I would share my own experience that God has taught me to be
like a watchman with a telescope, and if I see anything that even looks like sin approaching my
life, I fly from it. I get it out before Him. I confess it, I declare it publicly and get rid of it.
If it is a selfish, willful thing like that, don’t hesitate for a moment.
Then there is another kind of light. Many of us have been crucified with Christ and have no more
trouble with “the good that I would I cannot do and the evil that I hate is the very thing I do.” We
have no trouble with that, but the Holy Spirit still leads us into new light in our lives, and
that’s precious light to share, because God can use it to light something up in some of our own
hearts, those of us who are listening.
So I would encourage you above all not to hide anything and not to feel you are being particularly
humble by sharing it. All we are doing is responding to God’s light, and the more we do that, the
more light will be shed abroad here in this room. So loved ones, we will just leave the microphone
open and really, just as the Holy Spirit guides you, certainly not apart from that, but just as He
guides you, I would encourage you just to share briefly if you would, because that enables more of
us to speak.
Forsaking Every Sin - CONSECRATION
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
If you arrived this morning early and saw the sunshine on the water and heard the birds and saw the
new leaves, you know how clean, in many ways, nature that is untouched by us men and women can
appear, and I am sure you must have felt some of that simple, clean joy that we really remember as
children before life got complicated.
You know how beautiful it is just to be able to remember that — and at times don’t you find
yourself trying to get into it. You try to just jump up a little and get into that kind of life that
you knew when you were little and when you just had a dear Dad and Mom who took care of everything
for you — and that is the kind of joy that many of us want with all our hearts. And all I want to
share in about three minutes is that, that’s what everybody is trying to get. Do you see that?
Everybody is trying to get that. Most of us conventional people think we’ll get it with the right
wife or the right husband and the right family and the right home and the right car and the right
vacations. Most of us feel if we can only get to that, we’ll get again that joy, that magnificent
joy that birds seem to have and that nature seems to have. And you know what happens: we lose our
original destination on the way to it. That’s what happens.
You look around, you see us all burdened with our mortgages and burdened with what’s going around
with the car and mileage, our child isn’t developing the way we thought it should and even those of
us who seem to have it virtually together in regard to those possessions, even we seem to have lost
some of the freedom. We do not have spontaneous joy; it seems to be a kind of dead happiness. It’s
the freedom from pain but it doesn’t seem to be a joy and a delight in life and it doesn’t seem to
be a freedom from burdens really.
We’ve just exchanged some burdens for other burdens and I think you all know that’s what everybody
is trying for with more alcohol than really you can control, that’s what we’re trying for. We’re
trying for freedom from worry, freedom from anxiety — get the old Zeppelin, cut the strings and
break loose from the world, get up above it somehow, that’s what we’re trying for. You know it’s not
difficult to see that’s what we’re trying for in the drugs, we’re trying to just blast ourselves off
the launching pad and somehow get up there. Isn’t it strange that most of us here in this room do
know what I am talking about? Most of us here sense we were made for something like that.
We sense on the spring morning, “Boy, it’s so clean and beautiful and that’s what I am made for but
oh, inside I don’t seem like that, I don’t feel like that”, and we want to be like that. So it goes
on and that’s why we try the occult and we try the imitations of it, that’s why we try Buddhism.
We’ve got to eliminate suffering, eliminate feeling, eliminate the self somehow — we spring into
this and so everybody is trying to get it.
Of course the key is that the spirit of those little birds this morning and the spirit of the
branches and the trees, the spirit that is behind them is the spirit of the dear person who made
them and it’s by Him that all those things were made and without Him was not anything made that was
made. It is His Spirit that gives life to all those things. That’s why when a Manson family tried to
get out into the world of nature and get from nature itself the joy that seems to be in nature, they
end up in a hell of their own making — a hell of murder and of drugs and of sex, because the joy is
not in the nature itself. The joy is in the hand that made the nature and that person lived in the
first century of our era and it’s His death that we’re thinking of now. Most of all, we know that
He rose from the dead and that every morning is a spring morning for Him and that He is able to
impart that Spirit to us, and that’s why we’re here this morning.
You can have that Spirit in your life. You can have that free joy in your own life, you can, right
from the bottom right up to the top, you can live like that inside, you can loved ones, you can.
Those of you who have heard all the people at times saying “Ah, that’s all right for kids, I am an
ancient 44” — you can have it despite the mortgages and despite the responsibilities. You can live
free, you can. I live free, you can live free. Jesus, who made all the spring mornings can give that
Spirit of His to you, He can. You can receive that Spirit this morning and all I want to say is one
thing killed Jesus — one thing killed Him. People who lived independent of God, people who sinned,
they killed Him. They didn’t care about God, they didn’t care about Him, they killed Him.
I just want to remind you, I don’t want to even look it up but I’ll tell you it is James 4:17.
“Whosoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it for Him it is sin.” That’s the only thing
that will keep Jesus’ Spirit from coming into your life this morning, that’s right, honestly. That’s
the only thing that will keep Jesus’ Spirit from coming into your life this morning. Something that
you know is wrong for you — doesn’t matter about all the other people — but it is wrong for you
and you keep on doing it. That will keep Jesus’ Spirit out of your life and you will see that what
all the other things are trying to do is get Jesus’ Spirit without getting rid of sin.
That’s why the drugs really are wrong. That’s really why the alcohol is wrong, that’s really why the
occult is wrong, and that’s really why Buddhism is wrong. It’s because they’re trying to get that
exhilaration and that freedom from our self and that joy in life without getting rid of the sin or
the independence of their maker. So I just say to each one of you this morning, anybody can take
communion this morning and anybody can have communion with Jesus’ Spirit who made the birds if you
will, with your own will and your conscience, have done with the things that you know are wrong in
Stop today, just commit yourself. “I will stop it now, Lord.” Whether you feel it or not is not
important, but the free spirit of Jesus who made the world will come into your life. That’s true.
And you’ll begin to respond spontaneously to Him until you’re freer and cleaner than a spring
morning — and that is some freedom and some cleanness — but until you’re freer and cleaner inside
than a spring morning. And that’s what we’re doing, loved ones, this morning.
So, that’s what I’ll be doing and I would ask each one of you what sin is — I don’t know it. If for
some of you, you drink, you drink until you lose self-control, that’s sin, you should stop that now,
stop it now. I don’t want to get into arguments of whether you drink at all or not, but certainly if
you drink to the point where you’re out of self-control or at the point where you are substituting
that false joy or false bluff freedom for this real freedom that God can give you, you’re wrong,
stop it. You don’t need long philosophical arguments about it, it’s just wrong to substitute
superficial joy for the joy that God can give you.
Same with the sex thing. If some of you are being promiscuous — that means that you’re going to bed
with somebody that you are not married to — if you are doing that kind of thing or if some of us
are engaging in dreams and in erotic fantasies to get again the exhilaration that only God can give
us then that’s wrong, you know it’s wrong, you are not dumb — you know that’s wrong. Stop it.
Anybody who knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. And then the rest of
us, you know all of us are noble sinners, all are sophisticated sinners that just make a little
critical comment about the poor soul in the office and just that destroys the reputation, all that
You know it’s wrong, stop it. Those of us who are involved in habits over a long period of time,
stop it, otherwise you will eat and drink damnation unto your own soul, that’s right, you will. You
will take this bread and wine and it’ll just be damnation to you. It will almost stick in your
throat. You just won’t have any sense of cleanness, you will have no sense of life, you’ll just have
a sense you’ve gone through a ritual. So be real this morning. I intend to be real in my response to
this and I would ask you to be real. Are there any questions, loved ones? Anybody not sure what is
needed? Really just be real about these sins in your life, have done with it.
If you are sitting there and you are saying, “Well, there are some things I am not sure are wrong
and I would like to ask you but I don’t want to ask out here”, if you’re doubting, then cut it out,
if you’re doubtful about it, cut it off. It’s probable that God’s Spirit is trying to get through to
you and you’re still not letting Him speak. Okay.
All right if you are willing — that means the willingness to do that — then will you stand
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your
neighbors, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from
henceforth in His holy ways, draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort, and
make your humble confession unto Almighty God.
Let us be seated as we pray.
We do not presume to come to this, Thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness,
but in Thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under
Thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore,
gracious Lord, so by faith to receive thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, that the bread which we
break may be unto us the communion of His Body, and a cup of blessing which we bless, may be the
communion of His blood, and that we may evermore dwell in Him and He in us.
The Lord Jesus, in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread and broke it and said, “This is my
body which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of Me.” In like manner He took the cup after
supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in
remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat the bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s
death till He come. Amen.
The Love we were Meant to Know - CONSECRATION
Do We Love Jesus?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Would you take a Bible please and turn to John 6 and just listen to those words again. John 6:53.
So, Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and
drink his blood, you have no life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life
and I will raise him up at the last day for my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He
who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.”
That’s why the early Christians in the first century were called cannibals by their Roman
persecutors. That was one of the charges that the Romans made against the early Christians. They
said, “These people teach their children to eat flesh and drink blood”, and really you can see why
they said that, because the words are so explicit. You must admit they are amazingly explicit. “He
who eats my flesh and drinks my blood” –and these words set Jesus apart from every other religious
Neither Mohammad nor Buddha nor Confucius nor Zoroaster ever directed their followers to regard them
as an end in themselves, and that’s what Jesus does. He says it’s an end in itself to eat me and no
other religious leader has said that. Even the Gurus who try to draw attention to themselves in
these days never succeed in substantiating their claim to divinity the way the man from Nazareth did
by His destruction of death and His resurrection.
These words are also the reason why we have bread and wine here on this table this morning. This is
the heart of being a Christian, these words, and this is the heart of the purpose for which all of
us, Christian or not, were created. This is the heart of life, loved ones. This is the very heart
of why you were made. We all may never know the full meaning of Jesus’ words but even a little child
realizes that this dear Jesus is saying, “Come to me closer than close, Come to me closer than
A little child wouldn’t get tangled up with the blood and the flesh. A little child would just know
He is saying to me I have to come right up to, I have to get nearer to Him in breath, that’s what He
wants. He wants me to come right into Him. He wants to come right into me and that’s at least part
of it, loved ones. Don’t let’s get all technical about eating flesh and drinking blood, let’s just
be sensible and say this dear person is saying, “Come closer to me than close, come nearer to me
than breath. Let me come into you and you come into me.”
That daily relationship with Jesus like that is the heart of life and what gives life richness and
sweetness and fullness. Actually, most of us have at some time or another experienced that kind of
closeness with a person. Most of us here have had a dear Dad or a dear Mom who were just very
precious to us or we’ve had a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a husband or a wife or a Mom or a Dad or
a son or a daughter who’ve just been dear to us and we’ve experienced that with them. Not the
intercourse that the world is preoccupied with, the physical intercourse that is just a shadow of
the deeper intercourse — but we have experienced real intercourse with these people.
Most of us here have had at least one dear person with whose personality ours has interpenetrated
and our minds and our emotions and our wills have become just one together and we’ve been utterly
involved in an intimate absorption with each other that gives life meaning at last. Most of us have
experienced that with somebody. That’s what Jesus is saying is the whole purpose of our live; that
we should experience that with Him and with our Creator who is really our father and that’s the
whole purpose of our lives and that’s what gives life richness.
Is your Christianity getting dry? Are you finding that love isn’t quite rising up from within you as
it used to do? Are you finding that the duties are kind of bearing heavily on your shoulders? Are
you finding that you are getting a bit brittle, just a bit brittle? You believe all the things, you
talk about them, you even do the work of the Lord but it’s all a bit dry and brittle. It’s because
you’re trying to make one monthly face-to-face love session do you for the whole of your life.
That’s why. It’s because you’re trying to substitute one monthly love session face-to-face for a
daily love session with Jesus. That’s it, really. You’ll never get a better answer than that, you
If your life is getting dry, if your Christian experience is brittle, if you’re not finding it real
inside you, that’s it, believe me. Not that you need to read more books, not even that you need to
be baptized with the Holy Spirit — that would all come, if you would get back to having a daily
love session with Jesus. That’s what sets him apart from every other religious leader. A love
session face-to-face with Him is an end in itself, that’s the purpose we were made for.
Actually all of us know that too in human experiences. Every husband and wife here knows it. In the
early days, when you first met, I mean the Dad was often maybe right that you were doing something
wrong, when you arrive so late in the car. Often he was right but just as often actually he was
wrong and you were just sitting in the car looking at each other, just staring at each other and
there were arguments. That’s all you did and it was just great, it was wonderful! That was enough,
just to be with each other and to be staring into each other’s eyes and to be totally absorbed in
each other — a great sense of rest and peace, a great sense of the eternal moment, that life is
just time passing.
I remember when we fell in love, we couldn’t believe the evening had come. We fell in love in the
morning and we couldn’t believe the evening had come so fast because time does stand still, you just
are utterly absorbed with each other — and then the wedding, then the babies, then the diapers,
then the mortgages, then the church meetings and the sewing meetings and somehow it isn’t as much
fun as it was.
And we all like to think “Well, well, you know love has to grow up” and it has, love has to express
itself in practical everyday acts of obedience and service, that’s right, it certainly has. But
isn’t the tragedy in so many relationships that that practical obedience and service has utterly
supplanted the face-to-face love sessions? It’s not the tragedy until you begin to feel “well, we
are too old to do that in any way; the magic is gone and well, it takes too much effort.” I don’t
know what we do just sitting, watching each other and yet, that’s the way it started and it will
take application to get back to it but that’s what makes the marriage rich and full and real and
makes the diapers easy to wash and makes the mortgages easy to bear, that’s what makes it all
possible. When you lose those face-to-face love sessions, you lose everything and it all becomes a
bore and a round of duties and obligations and responsibilities like Christianity. It all becomes a
weight and something to carry when you stop having a face-to-face love relationship daily with
That’s it, loved ones, that’s what communion is. Communion is that and it takes just as much
application to do it as it does to do it again with your loved one. You do have to get back into the
way of it, you have to get back into the way of appreciating each other as you are without all kinds
of side issues, all kinds of considerations about doctrine. You have to just get before Jesus and
love Him and draw Him into yourself and eat of His flesh and drink of His blood. That’s amazing but
if you’ll do that, you’ll certainly begin to find sweet water coming up from inside again.
So, will you regard today — Holy Communion we call it — will you regard Holy Communion this
morning as the pattern for your daily life? Will you? That’s what we believe about Sunday. Sunday
sanctifies all the rest of the days. Not it’s set apart from them but it sanctifies them, it sets a
pattern for them. Will you let Holy Communion set a pattern for your days and would you get your
relationship with Jesus back into repair? That means, would you talk to Him? Would you love Him?
Would you spend time in His presence? Just spend time in His presence. Stop babbling, stop talking.
Do you remember when you first fell in love? You couldn’t talk. That’s what Thomas found, “My Lord
and My God”, so it is when we’re in love, we just haven’t words to express, it’s just too great,
that’s what loving Jesus is. So those husbands and wives who need to get back to that, I’d ask you
to get back to it together and you’ll need to have discipline — need to get the television off,
need to get the children and the dogs out, all the rest of it. You might even need to arrange a nice
situation to do it in. See you’ll have to work at it a little to get back to it.
Same with Jesus. Don’t think it’s going to be any easier. You’ll have to work at it. You’ll have to
get up at 5:30 in the morning, give him half an hour – “half an hour Lord, just to think about You”
— that’s it. And bit by bit loved ones, after the first few sessions, you will begin to hear Jesus
speaking to you. It’s amazing, you will begin to hear Him speaking to you, and that’s the purpose of
our lives. That’s it. I don’t know if you’re really getting that one, because it is the end of the
message, but that actually is the purpose of our lives. No more than that. So don’t expect anything
greater, that’s it. That’s the purpose of our lives, to love our Father and His son and enjoy them,
When you begin to do it, you’ll find your life becoming richer really. So I’d ask you loved ones as
you take part in communion today to look to Jesus and then to do it each day of your life — to have
a daily love session with him face-to-face. Let us pray.
We do not presume to come to the this table most merciful Lord trusting in our own righteousness,
but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under
thy table, but thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore,
gracious Lord, so by faith to receive thy son, our Savior Jesus Christ, that the bread which we
break may be unto us the communion of His body and the cup of blessing which we bless may be the
communion of His blood and that we may evermore dwell in Him and He in us.
The Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread and broke it and said, “This is my
body which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of me.” In like manner he took the cup after
supper saying, “This is the cup of the new covenant in My blood, this do as often as you drink it”
for as often as you eat the bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He come.
How can you Live up to Your Ideals? - CONSECRATION
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Someone has said that a comedian laughs because if he didn’t, he would cry at the state of the world
— and two of the comedians who are among the most serious commentators in our modern life at the
moment are Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. Now in mentioning their names I am not at all recommending a
lot of their movies because their movies often include the worst in our society as well as serious
commentary, but it is interesting to see the confirmation of the truths that God is helping us to
see by looking at a comment of, for instance Mel Brooks’, in an interview recently.
The interviewer asked him, “Do you no longer believe there is a Supreme Being?” — because of course
you know a lot of his fun is based on belief in a Supreme Being — and he said, “Yes, of course I
believe there is a Supreme Being” and the interviewer asked him, “Well, are you afraid of Him?” and
Mel Brooks answered, “No, I am not afraid of Him” and then the interviewer said, “Is there any power
that you are afraid of?” and Mel Brooks thought for a moment and he said, “Yes, there is. When I get
mad at somebody, and I sense within me a power that is stronger than myself and I realize that that
power exists in everybody else who lives in this world, then I get scared.”
It is interesting, isn’t it, that both Brooks and Allen lay a lot of emphasis on that streak of
perversity within us that makes us lose our temper. It’s interesting that a lot of their present day
work lays emphasis on that strain of perversion that seems to be deep down within each one of us —
that seems utterly uncontrollable. We so often talk about the hating, killing, Mr. Hyde that rises
up within the quiet civilized Dr. Jekyll that everyone thinks us to be, and of course you know we
have often discussed why it is that we seem to be bound by a chain to the words and the actions of
other people. We seem to be bound by a chain to the circumstances we’re experiencing, to even the
very things that we own We seem in our personality to be bound and enslaved by a chain to them so
that instead of being free self-determining individuals that do what they really think is right, we
seem to be bound in such a cause and effect stimulus response reaction to these things around us
that we’re forced to respond in ways that we don’t want to and we can’t control it and you know that
all of us have experienced it from time to time. We will act or think on principle, just from time
Normally, we act according to a blind stimulus response reaction to either what people have said to
us or what things are happening to us or what kind of things we own. Loved ones, Jesus and his
disciples have explained to us that that old personality of ours that is enslaved to the world of
people and circumstances and things in that cause-effect stimulus response way — that old
personality has been destroyed.
Do you remember Jesus calls it, “It’s your old self” and He says, “That old self was crucified with
me, that’s why I died.” For those of you who have never heard it before it’s stated this way in
Romans 6:6. “Our old self was crucified with Christ so that we may no longer be enslaved.” When did
it happen? Well, in time, in our history, in our space-time universe. It happened around 1900 years
ago, that’s when it was manifested in the death of this Jesus in Jerusalem. But actually it happened
long before that because the need to break the chain that binds our personalities to other people
and other things and other events and other happenings and makes us slaves and robots, the need to
destroy that and to recreate it was foreseen by God before he made us. Do you realize that? Our
computers can perceive our food needs and our oil needs a hundred years hence. Don’t you see that
the great Creator of the universe was able to foresee what we would do and how we would enslave our
own personalities to people and things before He ever made us? It doesn’t mean He made us do it, but
He foresaw it– and loved ones, He destroyed our old perverted personality in Him, His son, in
eternity before creation. That might be new to you so I would ask you just to look up the verse
where it states it.
Go to Revelation 13:8. And those of you have heard me translate this in the RSV before know that
they have mistranslated it compared with the King James and in fact in Greek it is in a different
order. Revelation 13:8. “And all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not be
written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.” Now you
have to trust me that if you look at the Greek New Testament, you will find that the adverbial
phrase of time “before the foundation of the world” actually occurs after “that was slain”. You see
that. So “before the foundation of the world” goes not after “written” and does not modify the verb
“written” but modifies the verb “that was slain”. So the verse should read “And all who dwell on
earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written in the book of the Lamb that was
slain before the foundation of the world” — “whose name was not written in the book of the Life of
the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world.” In other words loved ones, God foresaw
all that would happen and He made provision and He slayed His own son in His own eternal mind before
He created the world, who were included in that death. I think a lot of us have a tendency to say
“well, probably all the Christians, isn’t that right?” No, look at 2nd Corinthians 5:14 and you will
be amazed with the answer.
2nd Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ controls us because we are convinced that one has died
for all” — that’s for all people on the earth. Therefore, all people on the earth have died. Do you
realize that loved ones? That means that every one of us in this room and every one of us in the
lounge, and every one of us throughout the whole world were put into Jesus before the creation of
the world and our old miserable perverted personality that makes it impossible for us to obey the
best that we know, that was destroyed in Jesus.
In other words, God simply allowed us to live in this Satan dominated, self-gratifying world that is
an absolute lie so that we would have a clear choice. We could either continue to live in this lie
of a world that says that you’re on your own, there’s nobody will take care of you but yourself and
you better use people and circumstances and things to make yourself as important and secure as you
possibly can — you can do that — or you can affirm the actual truth that that personality that has
become enslaved to that world has been destroyed in Jesus and has been recreated in his
So here’s the amazing thing. Nobody in this room will go to hell or will suffer eternal loneliness
or will be alienated forever from God or will burn forever in their own selfish lusts because they
have not been put into Jesus. They will suffer hell, they will burn in their own lusts, they will be
alienated from the God who loves them because they have refused to accept what God has done to them
in His son, and loved ones that’s it.
There is not one of us here this morning who can say “I can’t obey, I can’t. There were other people
who have been placed into Jesus and have been destroyed and raised within. They can, I can’t.” No
loved ones, every one of us has experienced in reality the same deliverance in Jesus that everyone
else has experienced and there is none of us here who cannot obey God’s word to us in our conscience
if we so choose this morning. That’s what communion is. That’s why it is open to everybody here,
that’s why any of you can take the bread or the wine, who are willing to affirm that your old self
has been crucified with Christ, that you are now in Jesus, that you’re part of Him, that you have
all the power that He has to obey his Father and to love and to do miracles.
All you have to do this morning is to choose that by faith and live like that in the coming days and
you have that opportunity. Now I know it’s a deep kind of truth. I know that. But loved ones, it is
actually true that all that has needed to be done to enable us to be free people has been done and
here this morning is another opportunity for you to listen to Jesus’ spirit as He outlines to you a
new liberty that He has provided for in your life, a new liberty into which He wants you to enter.
So will you listen for His spirit? And don’t be discouraged, no, He says it. If it’s the smoking,
you can do it. A thousand times you might get up and fall, but you can do it because that chain that
binds the nerve endings and their usage to nicotine has been destroyed, and you can do it. And you
with the old unclean thought problem, you can do it because the old track in the cortex of the brain
that has continually got used to thinking unclean thoughts at night, that was destroyed with Jesus,
has already been destroyed by God’s word in Revelation 13:8, has been destroyed and you can think
cleanly, you can, and the same with all our other sins.
So this morning as you hear God’s voice, stand up claiming your dear Savior Jesus and do what He
tells you, because you can through Christ and the strength in you. Loved ones, if you are ready to,
will you stand and I’ll give the invitation.
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors
and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His
Holy ways, draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble
confession unto Almighty God. Let us be seated as we pray.
The Changed Life Available to Us - CONSECRATION
Jesus’ Travail For You
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
If you have a Bible with you please turn to Isaiah 53:11. This is the real reason for taking
communion and it’s the basis of really taking it and not just eating bread and drinking wine. You
remember it’s the miraculous description of Jesus’ experience on the cross, written eight centuries
before Jesus was crucified. It’s one of the greatest prophecies we have.
Read verse 11, “He, my righteous servant,” originally Israel and really meaning Jesus, “He shall see
the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge, shall the righteous one,
my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and He shall bear their iniquities.” Do you see the
beginning of the verse, “He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul,” – and it’s just “ma
mal” in Hebrew. “Amal” is “trouble” or “travail,” and the “min” is “from” or “after” or “in
consequence of.” So it means “in consequence of the travail of His soul, He shall see a sight that
gives Him pleasure.” He shall see and be satisfied or be pleased.
Do you know what the travail of Jesus’ soul was? I think a lot of us when we first heard of Jesus’
death thought, “Well it was the pain, the physical pain that He was bearing.” Then we thought a
little more about it and read a little more about it and heard a little more and we went a bit
further and we said, “Well it was His own feeling of loneliness being away from His Father and being
surrounded with all these people who hated Him.” Then some of us went a little further and we said,
“Well it’s more than that; it’s the pain that any of us would feel if somebody came in here and just
started to swear in Christ’s name. It would hurt us deep down because there’s something in us that
loves Jesus.” We would say the travail of Jesus’ soul was the pain of a pure clean loving heart
being surrounded with so much hatred and so much dirt, and so much blasphemy against God.
Well loved ones, it was deeper than that. Do you know the moment when you have had real trouble
speaking the truth to other people? You know those moments when you want to say what you really
believe but you’re afraid of what they will think of you? Inside you want to you want to say what
you know is right, but you’re afraid of what they’ll think of you. And you find that even though you
want to please God, for years you have been pleasing men and women and your whole personality seems
bent that way. You know that feeling? Sometimes you say, “My personality is so used to this, I can’t
do it. I want to. I want to. I want to say what is right but I can’t because my personality seems
bent in that direction. I’ve got it used to this like a drug addict for years. I’m so used to
praise, that I’m like a little puppy dog. I’ll just beg almost for it. I sometimes go home at night
and I’m surprised at what a fool I have made of myself in my own eyes, if in nobody else’s, just
because I’ve wanted them to praise me. I’ve seen what a conceited ass I am.” Have you ever felt like
Now what Jesus did on the cross, and I know it’s hard to realize, but what he did on the cross was
take your personality that is so enslaved to people’s opinions that it’s bent that way, and He took
it in His own heart inside His own Spirit. He allowed it to become Himself. Then He looked up to His
father and He said, Lord “Burn this out and destroy it in me. Destroy it utterly and absolutely.
Send it to hell in me.” That’s part of the travail of Jesus’ soul. Loved ones, He bore the pain that
you and I could never have faced and that we would have had to face at the end of this life, and it
would have utterly destroyed us.
If I could describe it to you like this: It’s as if God is surrounded by an invisible curtain of
pure holiness and He is here and you come through it when you die. And it burns you up if there is
anything unholy in you. It burns you up. If there’s someone who loves men’s praises more than God’s,
that someone would turn heaven into hell, and so as he comes through that curtain of holiness he
himself is repulsed. Now that’s what Jesus bore on Calvary for you. Jesus bore the agony and the
pain of that. So do you see how true it is that you don’t have to get into Jesus?
See I think a lot of us misunderstand this because we think if tonight I repent really and I believe
truly I’ll somehow get into Jesus. The truth of this dear word is that we judge that one died for
all, therefore all died. Every one of us here in this room were crucified with Jesus. Every one of
us here, our personality, that intractable part of us that will not obey, it was destroyed and made
anew in Jesus. It was. It is not as you think. You think when you lose your temper, “I can’t do
anything else because I’m made that way.” That is the lie of Satan. God says He has put you into
His son Jesus and He has completely renewed you. That has been done. It has been done.
The only question is whether you will believe that or not, and act upon it. Do you see why it is
such pain to Jesus when you continue to say, “But I can’t, I can’t!” He knows you’re not seeing that
you’re actually in Him. And that “can’t” personality of yours was destroyed in Him and that He is
in you. He is in you and He can through you. He is in you at this moment. See some of you don’t
really believe that tonight. You think, “No you mean He will come into me.” No, the Bible says God
was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. God has already placed us all in His son. He has
already changed us all completely. The only question is whether you will believe that now and will
live in the power of that.
Now do you begin to see? The verse says Jesus will see of the travail of His soul and will be
satisfied. Or after the travail of His soul that He has borne for you, He will see a sight that is
pleasing to Him. What is that sight? Well it certainly isn’t thousands and thousands of people
saying, “I can’t help losing my temper. I can’t help wanting the praise of men, I try but I can’t
help it.” When Jesus knows all the time, “my son, my daughter, that personality of yours was
destroyed in me and now I have become you, and you have become me. You can, by one little turn of
your will and one little turn of your mind to believe that I have destroyed everything in you that
will not obey.” Jesus looks down on us tonight here in this room, after all of the travail of His
soul that He has borne for each one of us, and He’s looking not at all at our prayers or songs so
much or our good intentions. He’s looking at the way we are living tonight. He’s looking at every
one of us that is using the miracle that He wrought in our personalities to actually live like Him
and obey him.
Do you see that? See it’s like, it must be like a mom you know, who goes through all the agony and
travail of bearing the child and at last the child is born and then the little one stops breathing.
Won’t breathe. The mother has travailed to give it life but the little one won’t breathe or it won’t
eat. It must be that ten thousand times worse, when Jesus looks at us tonight and remembers the
travail of soul that He bore to allow all that is wrong in you and me to be destroyed and then sees
us not making a move but still pleading that we can’t be like Him and He’s saying, “you don’t need
to be like me. All you need to do is believe that my Father has put you in me and that I am in you
and I can be like myself in you, if you will just give me freedom. Just believe that I am in you.
Just believe that I’m able to love, believe that I am able to repeat again what I did on Calvary’s
cross, to live independent of people’s praise or people’s approval in your life.” Loved ones that is
part of it. That after the travail of His soul He will see a sight that is pleasing to Him. You see
that’s the meaning of that verse, “He has borne our iniquities,” not the punishment for our
iniquities — He has borne our iniquities.
There is not one unclean habit in your life that Jesus did not take into Himself and allow to be
destroyed in Him. There is not one unclean way of thinking that you have that Jesus has not borne
the pain of its destruction already on Calvary. In other words He knows you and me better then
anybody else because he knows the worst sides of us that nobody else knows, because those are the
sides that He bore on the cross, and He bore them so that we would live free from them. That’s why
we always say the victory is faith. The victory is — do you believe that? Or do you still keep on
pleading the good that I would I cannot do. The evil I hate is the very thing I do. Do you keep on
pleading, “I want to care for God’s praise and be contemptuous of men’s praise. I want to but I
can’t.” Loved ones, Jesus has destroyed that personality that was enslaved that way. You can, and
that’s the meaning of this communion service.
What is Jesus looking for? Spoils, the spoils of victory. That’s the beautiful thing that He wants
us to present to Him tonight, the spoils of His victory. New places in your life where tonight you
are changing. New things that you’ve seen Jesus has destroyed, and I don’t need to put up with them
any longer. So Lord, I’m finished with them. That’s it. That’s what Jesus wants to see. And that’s
all you have to do to take communion seriously and really tonight, loved ones, ask the Holy Spirit
to reveal to you if He hasn’t already revealed, and He has revealed to me just tonight something.
Now if He hasn’t already revealed anything to you, just ask Him to reveal to you something that
Jesus allowed to be destroyed in His dear heart on Calvary. Something that He bore travail of soul
for and something therefore that you can be free of tonight and that you can stand up in his
personality and say, “Lord I am finished with that. I will obey from this moment on.”
Loved ones, what I thought might help, and what we did in Ireland, I remember in the old days, we
would read some of God’s laws. Usually we had it written into our liturgy and we would read laws
like the Ten Commandments. I thought it would be good to read some laws in the New Testament that
the Holy Spirit might use to bring home to your heart something from which the Holy Spirit wants to
free you tonight. Will you turn to Matthew 5, and I’ll just ask us to read two chapters, or parts of
two chapters, and then we can pray, but it’s Matthew 5 and many of us know these verses.
In Matthew 5:21, and these are just very plain down to earth commandments that Jesus has freed us to
obey. And that it’s a delight to obey and that it’s natural to obey. “You have heard that it was
said,” verse 21, “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘you shall not kill and whoever
kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother
shall be liable to judgment. Whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council and whoever
says ‘you fool’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering a gift to the altar, and
there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar
and go, first, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends
quickly with your accuser while you are going with them to court, lest your accuser hand you over to
the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never
get out till you have paid the last penny.
“You have heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who
looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye
causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better that you lose one of your members
than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off
and throw it away. It is better that you lose one of your members than that you let your whole body
go into hell. It was also said whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of
divorce. But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the ground of unchaste,
makes her an adulteress, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
“Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall
perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven,
for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is
the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or
black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do
not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other
also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if
anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not
refuse him who would borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to
you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father
who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just
and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax
collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others?
Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is
perfect.” This means if any of us have anything between ourselves with another person here, or at
home or at work, we should fix it this very night or first thing tomorrow morning. That’s the way
Jesus would see after the travail of his soul, he would see a sight that is pleasing. He would see
that it was worth it all.
You see, just a few verses, loved ones, in Philippians 4:4. Just ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to
you if this has something to say in your life and about your behavior. “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
Now that means “don’t complain.” Do you see that? Some of us have a little trouble with the
translation there, but it means “don’t complain.” Wonder how often, how often we don’t see that as
failing to rejoice, but it isn’t. When we complain it brings pain to others. It spreads Satan’s
negativism and it destroys and kills. You can’t rejoice and complain at the same time, you see, if
you are complaining then you’re not rejoicing. If you say to me, “Well can you rejoice when your
house is burning down?”, yes you can. Yes, many people have rejoiced as disastrous things have
happened. They have seen God turn them around because they kept faith that He was in control.
Whereas the complainers have shown that they didn’t trust God at all. They were utterly caught up
with what they could see, and they walked by sight and not by faith.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice,” — whether you feel like it or not. That
is a command. “Thou shalt not kill,” — well I feel like killing today. “Thou shalt not covet,” but
I feel like coveting today. Well this is the same order. “Rejoice,” well I don’t feel like
rejoicing. It doesn’t matter it’s a command. You will rejoice.
I remember a brother who went into one of the Anglican brotherhoods in England and that’s the way
the day starts. The brothers are all sleeping in their cells and then the brother whose job it is to
wake everyone up knocks on everyone’s door, knocks on the door and says, “This is the day that the
Lord hath made,” and the brother has to answer him with, “We will rejoice and be glad in it.” It’s
good in a way. It’s good you know. Start the day rejoicing, obeying God’s commandment.
“Let all men know your forbearance; the Lord is at hand.” I just ask you who are in offices and me
who are in offices all day: do all men know our forbearance? Or do all men know our irritability and
our impatience? Do all men think it’s amazing what he puts up with? Do all men think that of us, and
the ladies among us? Do all men think that? “Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let
your requests be made known to God.” Do you see the command, “have no anxiety?” It’s not an
exhortation, it’s not a piece of good advice, it’s a command, “have no anxiety,” so there is no room
for self pity, “Oh but poor me. If you knew what I had to put up with you’d be anxious too.” No, God
says have no anxiety. That’s a command. You have no anxiety; I’ll take care of the thing. If you
have anxiety, I can’t take care of it. Have no anxiety about anything, “but in everything by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,
which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And then this
is beautiful. In verse 8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is
just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if
there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” No negativism.
Now if I could share one little thing with you, it’s very interesting that those men and women who
are suffering the most, in the Siberias of this world and in the prisons of this world, are those to
whom those verses are most precious and are those who are most positive in their thinking. It is
very interesting that it is often those of us who have so much and have so many good things that
find it so hard to be positive, and to keep our eyes on the blessings of God. So, let’s just go
before God, and I’m going to do the same thing, and let’s ask him to give us light, and just pray as
God guides you, sometimes with praise and sometimes confession.
Dear Father, we come before you as a people who want to be honest and real with you tonight. Father
we want first of all to thank you for Jesus, and Lord Jesus, we cannot thank you enough when we
consider the travail of your soul for us, Lord thank you. Lord you have borne what we couldn’t bear
ourselves and what no other man could bear. Lord thank you. We can’t understand how you still love
us, having seen all the things that we are, and then having borne them in your own clean and
spotless dear heart, but Lord we thank you tonight. We see that there is only one thing that we can
do, if we really believe we are in you, Lord, there is only one thing to do, and that’s to repent in
dust and ashes and turn gladly from those things that you are showing us tonight, and to commit
ourselves to a new way of life and to a new attitude, taking up our position in you. And from now
on, we will treat ourselves as you, as you, treating this body as yours, and all our jobs as yours
and letting you be yourself Lord. Thank you. Amen.
Why is Christmas Important? - CONSECRATION
Christian or Christ Like?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Why would you say Christmas was important, yourself? If somebody asked you this morning, why is
Christmas important, how would you answer? Now obviously we get a day off work and that’s important
and you get presents and you have office parties but most of us realize that those are incidental
by-products of Christmas, however important they may have become to us. they are not really the
important thing about Christmas and most of us know that and we’re well-trained and coached and
brain-washed and so we would answer safely, “Oh, the important thing about Christmas is it’s “Christ
mass”, it’s the mass of Christ, it’s the feast of Christ. It’s the time when we remember Jesus’
birthday,” and I think that’s how we’d answer.
But do you see that to most people on the earth, that’s begging the question. It’s really begging
the further question, “Well, what’s the big deal about Jesus’ birthday? Why is it so important?”
That’s what I just ask us to look at together. Why is Jesus’ birthday important? A good place to
begin is the Nobel prizes. You know they are those financial rewards and international recognitions
that are given by Sweden to outstanding human beings who make great contributions to human
knowledge. If you have been following the award of the prizes this year at all, you’ll probably
agree that this has been the year of the origin of life prizes.
There has been tremendous emphasis on how life originated in recent research and that’s been
recognized by the Nobel Committee this year. Some prizes were given to two astronomers who measured
the energy that comes from outer space and have been able by measuring that energy, virtually to
prove that the universe did not evolve gradually over billions and billions of years from the
collision of two atoms, but that it has originated suddenly from a catastrophic release of energy in
something like a big bang and so a Nobel prize was awarded to them for that tremendous clarification
about the theories of the origin of the universe.
Three other prizes were given to men who have identified enzymes that may be used to program the
genes that govern hereditary diseases and hereditary traits and may therefore enable us to know how
we’ve become what we’ve become. One interesting fact that you might have noticed about leading
scientists today is a new humility as they have pushed beyond the frontiers of our present
knowledge. They have begun to be able to identify more precisely what they don’t know. And they have
been willing more and more to humbly admit that there are things that they can’t know.
One science writer in the New York Times about two weeks ago said, “The big bang theory argues for
belief in creation of the world in an instant rather than its evolution over a long period of time,”
but the problem is that if it all started with an explosion, then we can no longer find anything out
about what exploded and so scientists are realizing that if we posit a big bang theory, that’s as
far as we can go. We can never go behind the big bang because the big bang destroyed all that caused
it and so scientists are realizing we can go up to there but by our own definition, we can’t go
beyond it because all that was there has exploded and we can’t tell what was there before the
This same science writer you put it like this, he said, “We are now faced with the ironic picture of
scientists for years struggling to reach the summit of the highest intellectual mountain of the
world. At last they are able to pull themselves over the top of the last peak and there in front of
their very eyes sit the theologians who were there all the time saying, ‘In the beginning God
created the heaven and the earth.’”
It’s interesting that that isn’t, some pastor or some theologian trying to push his own party line
but it is a science writer saying that. In other words, scientists are beginning to say, “Could be.”
Now, that’s what Christmas is about. It’s about our knowledge of where we came from and where we’re
See, after Adam and his successors refused the communications that God had made to us about his plan
for mankind, thousands and thousands of our forbearers have looked up into the sky hour after hour
and have wondered, “Is there somebody behind that sky?” And many of them in primitive times would
look at the thunder clouds and say, “Yes, there is and he’s angry. He’s angry. I can hear his voice
and his anger.” And on another calm, sunny day they would look up and say, “Look at the sky, look at
the cloudless sky and the blue sky, the Creator obviously is pleased with us today.” And they would
look at the mountains and think now, “Boy, he must be a great and a mighty person to put that
mountain there,” and others would look at themselves and their own fingers and their own faces and
they’d say, “Well, he must be something like us if he was able to make people like us.”
But in spite of all that loved ones, there was constant vagueness and uncertainty. Various people
illustrated and organized those thoughts into statements and beliefs and that was how the original
nature religions came about like Hinduism and Zoroastrianism and various other human beings among us
wondered how we should behave and we devised little ethical systems and those became Buddhism and
Confucianism. Yet despite all these attempts at describing how we came about and why we came about
and where we’re going, there was always great vagueness and uncertainty.
Men were just doing their best. A shaft of sunlight came into the picture during the 2000 years of
the revelations that the Jewish people received because they seemed to receive revelations of a
Creator who had a consistent character that remained the same year after year after year and
generation after generation. Moreover, it seemed that their information about him came not just from
men’s opinions or men’s ideas or imaginations, but it seemed that the information that they got came
from events and miracles that were written into their own history.
Indeed that we can see enshrined in their own civil organization and their own religious rituals
today. And yet even their revelation was able to be manipulated by a man like Mohammad and
interpreted in his own way and that’s always been the problem. In our attempts to discover our own
roots and to find out why we were here and who put us here and where we’re going, we’ve always had
to come up against this problem.
We have had the scientists say, “Yeah, but Mohammad, Buddha, these guys are just ordinary people
like us. They are ordinary human beings. They have no more access to the reality behind the universe
than we have. So why should we believe that what they say about our roots and about where we came
from is true, any truer than what we think ourselves?” That’s what Christmas is about.
Christmas is our Creator coming to our earth and saying, “This is the way it is. This is how it
happened,” because that’s what Jesus is. He is not just a prophet like Mohammad. He is not just a
philosopher like Confucius. He is not just a religious leader like Buddha. Jesus, when he was asked
by the high priest at the very point of death and under pain of death, “Are you the Son of God?” he
said, “I am and you’ll see me at the end of this world sitting at the right hand of the Creator and
having power to settle all the whole universe.” That’s what Christmas is, loved ones.
It’s God himself coming to us and saying, “I can scatter all the myths of doubt that you people have
had over the years, about why you are here and what you are doing. I’ll tell you myself in my own
words through my Son here.” Loved ones there’s no question when you look at Jesus, we’ve said it
often before but you do see immediately that he is just different from every other man that ever
He is absolutely unlike Mohammad and unlike Buddha and many of the other religious leaders in that
his life was absolutely perfect and absolutely sinless. He is unlike all the lunatics that have ever
claimed to be the Son of God or claim to be uniquely related to God because their lives are filled
with imbalance and extremes. His life is filled with balance. In fact, we look at Jesus’ life and we
regard it as one of the most perfect integrated lives that was ever lived. And he had the kind of
power over disease and over nature that we would expect from the son of the person who made the
nature and who made the bodies to have.
Of course you know that what sets him absolutely apart from every other so called authority about
where we came from is the way he himself came to earth and the way he left it. Mary and Joseph
weren’t married. They weren’t married. That’s what that verse means in Matthew, they were betrothed,
kind of engaged. So they never had intercourse but he was conceived in Mary’s womb because the Holy
Spirit put the sperm created by God into her womb and he was born by that miracle.
If you ever wonder if it was anything worse than that, all you have to look at is history. Is there
any evidence of anything other than that? There isn’t. Not even among those greatest critics of
Jesus and of his followers and the incredible way that he left the earth; you remember he explained
to all his followers that he was going to be executed but that he would come back and he did that.
He came back for more than a month and confirmed that he had power over life and over death so that
he could destroy either one when he chose.
That’s what Christmas is about. It’s God coming into our world in a body like ours in his own Son
1900 years ago and explaining to us personally, “Look, my Son made the world. He made it. It was all
made by him. There’s nothing here that wasn’t made by him and both of us made all of you because we
want you to live with us in love forever and we both want you to become like us and enjoy the same
joy that we two have together.” And so Christmas has scattered all the vagueness we have.
You know if there’s anybody here who wonders, “Oh what is life about?” or “Why am I here?” or “Where
are we going?” or “What am I supposed to do with my life?” look at Christmas. Jesus has given us the
authoritative explanation. It’s our own Creator coming to earth and telling us. That’s the
importance about Christmas loved ones. Every other religion has its prophet and its outstanding
preacher and its outstanding leaders but this Christianity is reality because it has at its center,
the Son of our own maker and that’s why Christmas is important to us.
It’s our own Maker coming here and explaining it personally face-to-face with us. So really it’s God
incarnate. And incarnate means enfleshed. God in a body like ours explaining all the mysteries to us
and really that’s the key to everything. That’s the key to life. It’s the key to the meaning of
everything. If you can once get the Creator who originated it all to stand in front of you and
explain it to you, that’s the answer. You can have no greater answer than that and that’s the only
certainty that you can finally have, God incarnate.
We do not need to be the dupes of people like Jim Jones [a cult leader], we don’t. We don’t, none of
us. If a Jim Jones was to stand here, we do not need to be the dupes of him, we don’t. However
eloquent he may be, we are not at his mercy because ever since Jesus came, we have the norm, we have
the standard, we have the authoritative revelation of what our God is really like and we can compare
everything that comes across our path and claims to be explaining the will of God to us.
We can compare it all with this Jesus and that’s the beauty of God incarnate. Really alive. And you
can look at Jesus and you can see does Jesus commit adultery? Does Jesus stash money all round the
world? Does Jesus steal from people? No. So whenever any man comes who claims to speak God’s word to
us, we can compare him with this authoritative Word that we have received through his Son and it’s
true too that every time you come across a man or a woman that speaks like Jesus or lives like
Jesus, you can be sure that again you’re facing God incarnate. You are facing Jesus having been born
in a person’s life and having developed and grown and then burst forth as he did in Mary’s own body.
Every time you meet such a person, you see God incarnate and that’s what convinces you finally and
that’s what final personal certainty is, you know. It’s an ordinary human life being filled with
God’s Son. That’s what convinces people of truth: God incarnate. You can’t argue with Christmas and
you can’t argue with Christmas when you see it in a person’s life. So I would ask you, are you a
great talker or are you a great liver?
Do you talk well or do you live well? Are you Christian or are you Christ like? Have you experienced
what Mary experienced? Loved ones, that’s what China needs to see, God incarnate, but that’s what
your friends and my friends need to see. They have had enough talk. Talk is cheap. Preaching is easy
but living is the proof and I’d just ask you, has God become incarnate in your life? Because the
world is dying for that kind of certainty and do you know that God can become incarnate in you, do
you know that? Do you know that when Jesus died, you as you are now were destroyed and he is able to
renew you completely by coming into your life this very day, do you know that?
In fact, do you know that God has already put you into his Son and you actually have to reject him
to keep away from becoming like him? Did you ever realize that? I think a lot of you feel, “Oh,
being bad just comes naturally to me,” actually it doesn’t. You have to actually reject life, just
as you keep the rain off with an umbrella and keep the sun off with a sunshade. You actually have to
reject the life of Jesus that is struggling to be born in you and you know that.
There’s a little thing inside you that says, “You should do this or you shouldn’t do that,” and you
know that thing keeps on going even though you strangle it to death, it’s still there. It’s still a
tiny little voice of conscience and actually to avoid becoming God incarnate, you have to
deliberately reject the movement of Jesus’ life that you’ve already sensed at times inside you.
I would ask you, why not this Christmas, begin to take steps to let that Christ life, the life of
Jesus’ spirit inside you, have his own way in your life? Why not take a step towards it? And I’d
point out to you that it’s action finally that counts. So you can go to work this coming weekend,
you can shake your finger all you’re worth and say, “Oh you shouldn’t drink so much at the office
party,” or you can say, “Oh you shouldn’t spend all that money in Christmas presents,” or “You
shouldn’t be so happy,” or “You shouldn’t buy a Christmas tree,” but finally all that does is turn
people off reality and turn people off God.
What people desperately want to see is God incarnate– Jesus alive in another person’s life. And the
only way for that to happen is for you to stop living and to give the right to your life completely
to Jesus and let him reproduce that miracle. Have you ever thought there may be about 1300 of us
here and there may be another hundred upstairs? Have you ever thought, what would it be like if we
had 1300 Jesus’ in this room, really? That’s what God intends. That’s what God intended when he made
you. Let us pray.
Dear Father, we would come to you even though some of us are very uncertain about the whole deal. We
would come to you and say that we see many things in ourselves that are not at all like you. We see
many things in ourselves that would make heaven hell and Lord we don’t understand it all but we do
believe that you’ve done something in Jesus in His death that is able to free us from these things.
So Lord, will you help us to believe that we were crucified with Christ 1900 years ago, that we were
completely renewed in a mighty cosmic miracle and that it is possible by simple faith to enter into
the reality of that this morning. Lord, we see plainly that talk is cheap and it’s not Jesus’ words
that convince us, it’s his life. It’s the things that happened in his life that convince us that he
is your Son and Lord. We realize that our friends and our colleagues have the same right to be able
to see Jesus incarnate, God enfleshed, so that they have the same opportunity to believe you as we
Lord, we would give our lives to you for this purpose that you might be incarnate again in each one
of us for the sake of our friends and our colleagues at work and for the sake of those millions that
do not know you. We give ourselves to you for this purpose in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Getting Proper Perspective on Your Life - CONSECRATION
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Loved ones, will you take a Bible and turn to John 15?
I don’t know how many of you are here this morning, who really are just beginning to think about the
possibility of Jesus being really the son of the Creator. Maybe you don’t know much about the real
truths of Christianity but do you see that many of us here believe that Jesus is alive at this
moment and that He was more than just a human being and that it’s possible to have an intimate
relationship with Him? And that’s what this chapter is speaking about, you see. This it’s impossible
if He is just a dead body. I mean, who can live in a dead body? But we believe that He is alive at
this moment and that He has a spirit in which we can be, and in fact in which all of us are, as I’ll
try to share later. So, that’s the meaning of these words just in case you think, “oh, this is crazy
John 15: “I am the true wine and my Father is the wine dresser. Every branch of mine that bears no
fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I and you. As
the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you
abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he it is that
bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast
forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If
you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By
this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father
has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments you will abide in
my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have
spoken to you, that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.” God help us to live in
This is a solemn day for all of us in this room because it is the first Sunday of our new year 1979
and most of us here will only have 70 such days in our lives and probably almost every one of us
here has only about 50 such days left so it is a very natural and obvious time for standing back and
examining the course that our lives are taking. For those of us who are in Christ it is an even more
solemn occasion because it’s the first communion of the new year 1979. It’s the first observance of
the Lord’s supper, it’s our first mass.
Being in Christ means believing that when Jesus of Nazareth died and came back to life again in the
first century of our era, we all were destroyed and recreated new in him by our infinite Creator.
Being in Christ means that you believe that in a cosmic miracle in Jesus we were all changed, and it
means respecting and obeying the Holy Spirit and trusting Him to make that change real in us more
and more. So that for those of us who are in Christ, every day is a dynamic new change and a new
birth and maybe especially so at a time like this because it will be unto us according to our faith.
It’s something like what the astronauts experienced in their space capsule. You remember that they
were able to do certain things because the space capsule took them beyond the earth’s atmosphere.
You remember how they experienced weightlessness and they were able to float in mid-air? Now it’s
like that for those of us who are in Christ. Being in Christ means that we have been put into a
space capsule that is able to take us outside the limitations and the pettiness of this present life
and we are able to live in the transcendent love and then a magnanimous piece of Jesus himself.
We believe that God did actually put us into His son symbolically in the first century A.D. – but
realistically in the super space, super time world of eternity — and He destroyed there our
dependence on people and things and circumstances for our security and our happiness and we are able
therefore, and free to live above all those things and to live by the power of God’s own life.
You remember just as the astronauts were able to be freer and freer and to ascend further and
further away from the earth’s atmosphere as they were willing to accept increasing limitations on
their own personal freedom — because that’s certainly what it meant, putting yourself in that
little capsule — grave limitations in all kinds of ways to their own personal freedom — so it is
in Jesus. We are able to ascend more and more into the liberty that God has planned us to
experience in this life, we are able to rise from glory to glory into more and more of His lightness
and His power as we are willing to accept more and more limitations to the free exercise of our
So, I would ask you, are you willing this coming year to stay in Christ? Because actually even those
of us who are not believers in Jesus, even we also have been put into Christ and we are simply cut
off from the benefits of this because we don’t believe. So I’d say to all of us this morning, are
you willing to stay in Christ for another year? If you are, then in this service here, God’s Spirit
is going to reveal to you further limitations to your selfish will that He wants you to accept,
further attitudes of Jesus himself that He wants you to allow to be made real in you. And if you are
willing to accept those, you will move into new levels of personal freedom and personal liberty and
personal power and peace and love in these coming 12 months.
So really what I am asking you to do is, will you join me in renewing your covenant with God in
Jesus this morning? Or if you have never made a covenant with God in Jesus, and in the light of what
God has done to all of us in Him, will you make that covenant this morning?
Loved ones, above all, I would say if you don’t believe any of this, or you don’t agree with any of
it, by all means, stand with the rest of us so that you don’t feel uncomfortable — but don’t take
words foolishly on your lips — because it is true what God said to Paul that if you eat and drink
without discerning the body in this communion service you eat and drink damnation onto your own
soul. So I’d ask you to be honest and real today. So, loved ones will you just stand now as I
outline to you what this covenant means.
Dearly beloved, the Christian life to which we are called is a life in Christ redeemed from sin by
Him and through Him consecrated to God. Upon this life we have entered, having been admitted into
that new covenant of which our Lord Jesus Christ is mediator and which He sealed with His own blood
that it might stand forever.
On one side the covenant is God’s promise that He will fulfill in and through us all that He
declared in Jesus Christ who is the author and perfector of our faith. That His promise still stands
we are sure, for we have known His goodness and proved His grace in our lives day by day.
On the other side, we stand pledged to live no more unto ourselves but to Him who loved and gave
Himself for us and called us so to serve Him that the purposes of His coming might be fulfilled.
From time to time we renew our vows of consecration, especially when we gather at the Table of the
Lord. But on this day, we meet expressly as generations of our fathers have met, that we may
joyfully and solemnly renew the covenant, which bound them and binds us to God.
Let us then, remembering the miracles of God and the hope of His calling, examine ourselves by the
light of His Spirit, that we may see wherein we are failed or fallen short in faith and practice,
and considering all that this covenant means, may give ourselves anew to God.
Let us be seated as we pray.
Dear God, we thank You for creating us and Lord we would start right there. We thank You for the
faces You’ve given us, we thank You for these bodies and for these personalities and Lord we would
step right back from any resentment because we’re not different. Lord, we want to thank You for
making us just right for Your son’s image to be shown to the world. Lord, we thank You. Lord if any
of us have been resentful about the bodies we’ve had, or the personalities we have, we repent of
that right now. We want to thank You Lord for the way You’ve made us. We know that You have lived
and You’ve said, “Behold, it is very good,” and if You are satisfied Lord, so are we.
Then Lord we thank You for our families. Lord we thank You for the moms and dads that we have. Lord
again we would not resent but thank You for the good things that You gave to us through them. We
thank You for our brothers and sisters. Lord if we have been remiss in our love for them during this
past year, will You show us that? God we intend to change that this year, we see Lord Jesus how You
provided for Your brothers and sisters when Your father must have died and Lord we see that in us,
You want to love our brothers and sisters and our fathers and mothers the same way.
So Lord, if any of us have failed to give them a sense of warm affection, we would change that this
very day even if we have to write a letter to do it. Then Lord, we thank You for our friends that
You have given us. Thank You for the people that we live with, thank You for the people we work
with. Lord, we see that it’s a unique time together that we have, but some of them will move on to
other jobs, some of them will move on to other living situations. Lord, if we have failed to be what
You want to be to them Lord Jesus, we repent of that right now and apologize to You for keeping You
a prisoner and for presenting a cold unfeeling picture of You — for really massacring You in us —
instead of allowing Your warmth and Your affection and Your interest in them to come forth from us.
Lord, we would examine our relationships with our colleagues at work and our relationships with the
friends that we live with. Lord, forgive us if we have left them out of any plans that you have for
their lives or if we have made use of them and failed to shoulder our responsibilities for them.
Lord, we thank You for our jobs or our skill situations or those of us who are wives for our
ministry at home. Lord we want to step right back now from any resentment about any of those things.
Lord we see that it’s casting your gifts in your face, if we resent the job that we have. Lord, we
see that it doesn’t matter very much what job we do. It’s the attitude of our hearts that we allow
Jesus to take over, that means everything. So Lord forgive us, if we have regarded our jobs as
boring and therefore have made them more boring. Forgive us Lord if we have resented our jobs or
thought we were too good for them. Lord we see that a job will never be the measure of the child of
God that we are and that will always be bigger than our jobs. Lord we thank you for these jobs.
Thank you that all things work together for good to those that love God and that these are just the
right jobs for us at this present time and that You will move us on from them when we have learned
what You have to teach us in them. Lord we thank You for our skill situation. Lord if we have been
indolent or lazy or careless about our academic work, we repent of that right now and Lord Jesus
would allow you to be yourself in us instead of making you out to be a lazy easygoing creature.
Lord we would allow you to come through us and to do the work well, and to study hard and to bend
our minds and our wills into Your image. Lord those of us who work at home, we would thank you for
the dear homes we have, thank you for the fathers and the husbands and the children that leave the
stuff all around for us to pick up. Lord we would ask You for them now, pray that as they see our
own patience and our own order in our lives that they will be moved to pick up after themselves but
Lord we would not resent them, we would repent of that. Thank you for them. Thank you that we have
such an opportunity to make that home a palace of the King for them to come home to.
Then Lord we would examine before you the course of our own lives during these past years. Lord if
we have drifted, we would see the desecration that we do to Your original plan. You sent us here for
a certain purpose and if we don’t fulfill it, nobody will and there’ll be a continual gap left in
the symphony that You have created here on earth. So Lord forgive us if we have drifted, forgive us
Lord if we have not respected the dignity of our position — that we are not flotsam and jetsam in
the world of seas, we’re not chance items — but we were sent here by our loving Father fitted for a
Lord we would stop the drift. We would ask you why You have sent us here and Lord we would begin to
move in that direction however difficult it may be. Then Lord, as we see the way our world is going
and we’re approaching now the last 20 years of this century and we see all around us change and
chaos, and people who are striving for self-expression and people who are striving for more consumer
goods, Lord we see the need for more of us to be abroad in Your world living as children of a loving
Father who will take care of them and living in the faith and peace that that brings and the social
responsibility that that produces and Lord we would come before you and ask you, “Do you want us
abroad, do you want us somewhere where more people will see what your children look like?”
Lord if we have drifted into life here in Minneapolis by default, we would stop that this moment.
Lord we see that Your work is not done by default and by drifting but by decisions consciously and
responsibly made. Lord we bring before You our lives and tell You we intend to find Your purpose for
us and fulfill that purpose. Lord we thank You for this family into which You have brought us and if
there has been any tendency in this to take and not give, then Lord we would ask You to show us
that, enable us to begin to give the beauty and the life that You have started to make real in our
lives so that these people here this morning, our friends and our neighbors will begin to touch you
Lord we would give ourselves to You so that You can express Your image and that of Your son Jesus in
the unique way in which we are designed to present that image. Lord as we come to your table, we
would be honest about our sins and Lord if we have got used to a dirty mind or we have got used to
careless thinking or we’ve got used to careless words, we know fine well they’re wrong. Lord we
would repent of those sins. If we have gossiped and criticized and worked havoc where we needed to
work peace, Lord we would repent of that now and commit ourselves to stopping at this very moment.
Lord if some of us are caught in the old drugs or caught in the alcohol or caught in the sex, Lord,
we’d stop at this very moment. Lord, we commit ourselves now.
We see that all things have been changed because we’ve been put into Jesus and all His power is ours
and Lord we would stand up against these wills that have become so weak over the years and we would
determine to change by Your power and to begin to go the way You want us to. Those of us Lord who
have been resolving forever to read the Bible and pray everyday, we’d start this very day. We’d make
a change now and continue to make that change until it becomes permanent in us. Lord we thank You
that all you’re asking us to do is express the reality that has already taken place when You put us
into Christ and that we are in Him at this very moment and that all You are asking us to do is let
Him out of us and that is reality, not the lie that we treat so often as reality.
So Lord, we thank You for that. Lord Jesus we thank You that as we approach Your dear table You are
already in us and this bread and wine coming into our mouths, signifies something that is already
true. As Christ died for all therefore all died but all of us are in You Lord Jesus and You are only
asking us to believe that and act in the light of it, that we intend to do it Lord this day and this
coming year for your glory. Amen.
Where do You Look to Meet your Needs? - CONSECRATION
Putting Jesus First
John Chapter 15
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Here at this table, stands Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of our Creator and the One who made you and
made me and the One by whom all things were made and without whom was not anything made that was
made — and this bread stands for His body and this wine stands for His blood and you, by your
attitude this morning, are able to meet Him and you’re able to come into a relationship with Him of
love and of total dependence and that’s what you need.
The satisfaction you get out of seeing a beautiful sunset is nothing compared with the satisfaction
you get from knowing and loving the sunset maker. The excitement and exhilaration you get from
skiing down a slope is nothing compared with the excitement and exhilaration you get from loving the
One who made the slope and made the skies, and the peace you get from having a fat bank account and
investments and a good job is nothing compared with the peace you get from living dependent on the
One who made the bank and made the money and made the job. And He is able to make available to you
any of those that you need at any time.
What you have to decide this morning is not, am I a member of this church? Because we don’t really
have any paper membership here at Campus Church, and it’s not for you to decide this morning, are
you good enough to take communion, or have you been to confession or have you a letter from your own
church? The question this morning is not even, are you a Christian? The only question you have got
to decide this morning is “Am I willing to change the whole orientation of my life from trying to
get from the world the love that I should be getting from my God and from His son?” That’s the only
decision. You may say, “I would like to do that, but I have been so long dependent on my friends’
opinions that I cannot change the orientation of my life just in one moment like that. I have been
so long used to worrying about my bank balance that I cannot suddenly change and get my peace and
security from this dear person that you’re talking about.”
Loved ones, ordinarily you couldn’t. Ordinarily you couldn’t change in a moment what it has taken
you years to pervert and twist and develop except that this bread and wine stands for His death and
when He died, all of us died with Him. That’s what our maker says, “I took all of you with all your
twisted minds and your imbalanced emotions, and your weak bodies, and I put them into My son in
eternity which is above time and beyond space and I destroyed you all there and I’ve made new in
you.” So this morning you are able to change in a moment, you are — and that’s the only condition
that you have to fulfill to take communion this morning.
Are you willing to live the rest of your life off the love of Jesus? To put His love first in all
your thinking? You ask me what that means tomorrow morning? Tomorrow morning a thought will come
into your mind, “I didn’t have enough money in the bank to cover that thing that I am going to have
to pay for next week,” and your mind is immediately used to going out after that thought and getting
worried and anxious and trying immediately to work out all kinds of ways to solve the problem. At
that moment, depending on Jesus’ love means turning to Him and saying, “Lord, I can’t see my way
through that, but I believe that if I do my work honestly and if I obey you, then by this time next
week, I will be able to face that bill or You will show me a way. You will show some saving that I
can make, something that I can do without, in order to meet it.” That’s what it means.
It means that tomorrow at lunchtime, when they all go to the cafeteria and they ignore you and leave
you behind and a thought comes to you, “I am not popular and they don’t really like me and they’re
talking about me behind my back.” Your mind and emotions are used to going out after that thought
and you then think “I am no use, I am worthless, I am not popular, nobody likes me here.” So at that
moment, depending on Jesus’ love means you stop all those thoughts, you will yourself to stop them
because you have been changed in His death. Then you say, “Lord, I thank you that you love me and I
thank you that you care for me, and that at the end of the day you’re the only one who will be alive
to care for me when I die and I thank you Lord Jesus that that’s all that matters tonight. Thank you
for your love and I am going to go down to that cafeteria and be honest and balanced in you to those
friends of mine.” That’s what it means.
So, really the decision you have to make this morning in taking the bread and the wine is, are you
willing to live off Jesus? Loved ones, that’s why we were put here, to live off Jesus. He is a real
person. He is richer than the sunset, He is more beautiful than the trees and the lakes. The Creator
of all these gifts that we see around is greater than the gifts themselves and you can begin to know
Him this morning as a person if you will set your whole life upon Him. If you will put His love and
what He thinks of you first before everything and everybody else — and that’s what communion’s
If you will, and you will receive the bread and the wine with that attitude, then his spirit will
begin to make Him real to you and you’ll begin to know Him as a person and you’ll begin to find a
flood of satisfaction and of love, and of security and of peace and of guidance from within you,
that you’ve never had in your life before. So I don’t know how many of you have felt that, but I
think that I have felt at times, you know, kind of empty — when you really were dying for some
television program to come on that would give you some interest or you were dying for somebody to
come and call by and ask you to go out that would give you something to do — that emptiness. The
emptiness is there because there is only one person that can fill it, and that’s this Jesus, who is
here this morning at this table and will give to you not only his bread but will give to you his
body and his own blood and his own spirit.
So, will you decide what you want to do this morning? I know that all of us will stand because we
don’t want to be foolish and make each other feel uncomfortable but I do ask you, even if you stand,
to decide in your own heart, am I ready to receive his bread and wine? Because loved ones, if you
are not willing to fulfill the condition of putting Jesus first, then you will eat and drink
damnation onto your own soul.
So it’s very important even if you stand with everybody today, that you don’t take bread and wine
unless you really mean it. Unless you really mean it, don’t. It’s not worth the eternal damnation
that comes upon you, if you just pretend. Nobody will see whether you take it or not, so you don’t
have to worry about preparation, but really decide if you are ready to do this, and if you are, then
take the bread and wine and most of all meet the Person that you were created to meet and allow Him
to be your dearest and really at the end of the day your only friend, because He alone is able to
fill the gap that friendship has for each one of us.
Now, if you’re ready loved ones, will you stand to receive the invitation?
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors
and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in his
holy ways, draw near with faith and take this sacrament to your comfort and make your humble
confession unto Almighty God.
Let us be seated as we pray.
We do not presume to come to this, the table, most merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness,
but in your manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under
thy table. But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore,
gracious Lord, so by faith to receive thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, that the bread which we
break may be unto us the communion of His body and the cup of blessing which we bless may be the
communion of His blood and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us.
The Lord Jesus on the night in which He was betrayed, took bread and broke it and said, “This is My
body which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of Me. In like manner He took the cup after
supper saying, “This is the cup of the new covenant in My blood. This do as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s
death till He come. Amen.
Crisis transformed - CONSECRATION
The Power of the Resurrection
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
We had friends in Ireland whose little daughter of seven caught pneumonia, and as the little girl
Rosemary grew weaker and weaker, her mother prayed that she would be healed. Eventually, there came
that night what the doctors warned the parents would be the last night for the little girl on earth,
and 2:00 a.m. struck — that hour that is probably for most of us the lowest hour in sickness — and
the mother just sank down in absolute weariness and feeling that she could no longer produce any
strength that she could lend to her little daughter at all. And she and her father yielded up their
little girl to God to do whatever he wanted with her and they gave her up as their possession and as
anything that belonged to them. Then, they heard just a little gentle sigh and they looked up and
the little girl had opened her eyes, and from that moment on she recovered and she is a
schoolteacher, I think, in Ireland today.
But it is amazing, isn’t it, how many of us who aren’t even religious people have experienced the
same kind of thing. Isn’t it true that many of us who don’t think of ourselves as religious at all,
have experienced a turnaround, a complete turnaround in that crisis moment, that is due to some
mysterious strength that seems to come from outside ourselves.
I mean, all the endurance experiences of explorers and of escaped prisoners of war are full of that
mysterious life power that seems to come to them from outside of themselves. It seems to come to
them when they are at the absolute end of their own resources. Massive surprising thing about it,
isn’t it? It seems it come to people when they’ve at last run out of their own strength, they have
nothing more to give. I mean you must have read as I have read of explorers who have for days upon
days driven and tried and fought the elements and again and again, until they reached the point
where they felt they had nothing more to give themselves, and yet they kept on and on producing
strength that they didn’t know they possessed until they came to a place where they had nothing else
left and they just sank down into unconsciousness and they yielded up their lives. And then there
surges up, from hidden depths, a life power that surprises them –because it seems to come from
beyond themselves and it seems to be actually more powerful than what they were able to produce
themselves during the last few hours.
That’s one of the surprising things about it, isn’t it? It’s like the wine that Jesus made at the
party at the wedding in Cana. It was the last wine of all and should have been the poorest, but it
surprises you by being actually stronger than the life that you are putting out at the beginning,
and I think many of us have experienced that kind of power and we just cannot tell where it comes
Do you know where it comes from loved ones? Well, I’ll show you if you look at a verse in the bible.
It’s Philippians 3:10.
Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.” It comes from the power
of Jesus’ resurrection. I mean, haven’t you been in the same position yourself? Have you been in a
crisis situation when your mother or your father have died, or a career situation that you’ve been
working on for months suddenly falls apart, or a financial arrangement that you have been putting
yourself into planning for years just absolutely collapses, or a personal relationship that you have
devoted a great part of your life to suddenly just ceases to exist and at last you feel a terrible
You just feel you have nothing more to give. You have no more ideas left, you have no more twists or
turns to make and you just sink back and you give up any control over the situation you have and you
just step right back from it and sit down — and then it’s strange. Things begin to come into a
little order, circumstances begin to fall better than they were and you yourself experience a kind
of fresh gentle breeze of life that seems to come from beyond yourself.
Loved ones, it comes from the power of Jesus’ resurrection. You may say, “wait a minute, you
yourself said that many of us experience this who aren’t religious people at all. There are many of
us who have experienced this but don’t even believe in Jesus. Now, why do you say that what we’re
experiencing is the same kind of thing as this very religious person Paul was experiencing?”
Loved ones, first of all could we agree about the fact that this life power or this force that we
experience at such times of crisis does seem to be different. Would you agree about that? It seems
to come from beyond ourselves. Now, isn’t it true that it’s different from the kind of life that is
produced by great emotion in a time of crisis? I mean we all know that.
You know, the father rushes out from the house as it bursts into flames and he just manages to get
down the stairs, out through the door, and he falls to the ground exhausted and just glad that he is
out of that inferno and he is weary and worn and has nothing more to give and then you remember
somebody tells him that his little girl is still in her bedroom and emotion of affection rises up
within him and drives him back into that house in order to rescue the girl.
Now, would you agree that the life power that we’re talking about is different from that kind of
thing? We all know that, but this life power that we’re talking about is different in at least two
ways. One, this life power comes after we have exercised our last efforts. It doesn’t come indeed
from our effort. As he goes back into the burning house because of exercising effort, because of the
strength of his affection — this life power that we’re talking about comes when you have ceased to
exercise your own effort. It comes from not exercising your effort, it comes from being in the place
where you have no longer any effort to put forth. So it is different in that way.
Secondly, don’t you agree it’s different in that it’s a quiet, gentle, strong, effectual power,
which actually is able to touch things that we ourselves cannot touch with our efforts? So first of
all I’d like you to agree that it is a power that is beyond us. It seems to be a supernatural rather
than a natural power. Now, let’s get back to the question, how come even non-religious people can
experience the power of Jesus’ resurrection? Well, loved ones it’s easy and obvious, you know. Would
you look at II Corinthians 5:14?
II Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died
for all, therefore all have died”, — all, not only those of us who believe in Jesus, but all of us
have died. That’s everybody on earth, that’s everybody who ever lived, has died with Jesus.
Do you see that Jesus’ death was not just what it appeared to be, the death of a political victim,
or the death of some idealistic teacher or the sacrificial death that was a bribe to God to forgive
the Jews their sins — but Jesus’ death was the recreation of all of us human beings by our maker,
the complete recreation of us, the destruction of us as weak little beings who would run out of
strength and the recreation of it in Jesus as part of a being who has infinite strength.
Now, you may say, “but you say recreation, but that verse there only talks about death.” Yes, but
loved ones the consequence of that is in Ephesians and maybe if you’d look at Ephesians 2:4-6.
Ephesians 2:4, “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even
when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” That’s not just the
Ephesians he’s talking about, but he says all of us were dead, “made us alive” and it’s past tense,
“together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit
with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Every one of us has been resurrected in Jesus. There is a version of you and a version of me that
dwells in Jesus at the Creator’s right hand and that is the real you and that is the real me, and
that real you has all the power of Jesus’ life inside us. Now, if you say, “Well, how come, how come
we only experience this at moments of distress or in moments of great hopelessness?” Because all the
rest of the time we live as if we don’t need it. All the rest of the time we live the great lie:
the great lie is that you’re not in Jesus, that you’re on your own down in this world here and you’d
better make what you can of your own life by your own power and your own effort. And your own life
is your own to manage as you want and you have every right to do that and you can do what you want,
when you want. We live that lie, loved ones. That is a lie, that is not true.
Final reality is what God has done to us all in Jesus: destroyed us all in him and raised us up in
him. So that as a mother’s womb is the method by which a little unborn child lives, so Jesus is the
method by which you and I actually live. That is reality. But all of us live as if that isn’t a
reality and so the only time we ever fulfill the condition for that resurrection life to be
manifested in us, is at times of absolute hopelessness. It’s only in those moments that we fulfill
the condition that is needed for the reality of our position and Jesus to be manifested, and that
condition is absolute yielding up of our lives and our plans and our wishes to God. Now, do you see
See, it’s amazing that God, in his great grace, at those rare moments, when all of us, (I know that
this may upset some of us), but all of us — Muslims, Hindus, — whatever we are — all of us who
come to those moments when we see that we can’t manage ourselves and we at last yield up the control
of our lives and simply step back. At those moments God graciously gives us a hint and a sample of
resurrection life by which he turns the dead winter ground into life and the dead winter trees into
foliage and the dead winter plants into flowers and blossoms.
Loved ones, the power comes from the same mighty resurrection. It doesn’t come from nowhere, it
comes from Jesus’ resurrection and many of us think “well, maybe it does, but still I have to live
the way I live” and so, loved ones, you see what we do? We spend our time developing friendships and
relationships to provide us with the love and esteem that we have already because of our position in
Jesus and our Father’s heart. So we develop these things not in order to show love — that’s why
they are really here at all — but we develop relationships with other people to provide the love
and esteem which we have already because of our position in Jesus in our Father’s heart.
It’s the same with careers. We developed careers and financial situations and bank accounts not in
order to assist God to subdue the world, but in order to provide ourselves with the security that we
actually have already because we are in Jesus by God’s mighty action. But we develop these other
things to provide a substitute and actually a counterfeit for the security and the self-esteem that
we have because of our position in Jesus as part of His dear only son.
And so, because of that, we’re always living in unreality and because we’re still living in God’s
world, that unreal life that we’re developing is bound to come for a moment to some points of
frustration and futility. So we’re bound to find that relationships have a real limitation, that
finances have a real limitation in providing us with security, and it’s at those rare moments when
we come to points of futility and frustration that God is able to get through to us and make real to
us the real resurrection life by which he intends us to live all the time.
In other words, it’s only those rare moments, when he manages to get many of us to a point of
yieldedness where we experience that effortless resurrection life that makes a daffodil grow. Ever
seen a daffodil trying hard, or a tree? This is interesting, isn’t it? The same kind of life that we
experience in crises has the same effortlessness as those trees and flowers, and it gives us a clue
that that is the way we’re meant to live. That this other life that we are trying to produce is an
artificial thing that continually ends up at these crisis moments. And you may say, “Oh, what do I
do then? Do I do nothing? Is it passivity, is that what I need to do to experience this resurrection
life everyday? Is that what it means to let go and let God?”
Well, certainly not with Jesus, was it? It certainly wasn’t passivity with Jesus. I mean it was the
very opposite. It seemed that he treated his Creator as his loving Father every day. It seemed that
he spent his whole life in the context of that reality finding out what has Creator put him here to
do. Trusting his Creator to give him the directions or the power to do it and then above all getting
from his Creator day-by-day what other people were getting from each other. And then at the very
end, actively cooperating with God and saying, “Into thy hands I commit my Spirit.” Certainly in
Jesus’ life it wasn’t passivity, it was a life lived in the midst of the reality that he was part of
his Creator’s family and that his Creator loved him as a Father. That’s what it means, loved ones.
It means identification with Jesus. That’s the way to experience resurrection life everyday. Total
identification with Jesus in his attitude to our Creator, treating him not as some being beyond the
sky, but as a dear Father who loves you, who knows your name, who has counted the hairs of your head
and has put you here for a purpose. And he is not going to step back and leave you on your own. It
means believing that and living like that and refusing to cut the legs out from other people in
order to preserve yourself, but trusting that living the way his Father wants you to will enable him
to protect you in a way that you cannot protect yourself.
Do you know how many alcoholics have moments of sobriety? Do you know that there are many? That
there are many alcoholics that have moments of sobriety when they are dry for a week or two weeks?
Do you know that those moments are given to them, to let them see what life can be like? And you
know how many of them slept back into the squalor in the drunkenness?
Now, loved ones, those moments that you have experienced, whether you are religious or not, those
are rare moments that the Creator has given to you to show you what life can be like all the time.
If you yield the control of your life to him, and begin to treat him as your Father. But do you
realize that this is yet another Easter? Yet another year has gone past from last Easter and you
have to choose whether those moments are going to be rare interludes in your life or whether they
are going to be the establishment of reality in your relationship with your God, you have to decide.
This real decision, you know, you can make today. You have to choose today whether Easter is a rare
occurrence in your life or whether it is your everyday normal experience. And honestly, the decision
will be made immediately after this service. Immediately after this service, you either go right
back to hacking it through on your own and clearing them out of the way, or you look up to that dear
person who made you. You know you didn’t make your own hands, you know your mom didn’t make your
hands, you know that fine well. You know that they came from somewhere else. You know that’s the
only thing that makes any sense. Or you look up to that person and you say, “I am sorry. This has
been ridiculous. I believe in you, my Father, and I am going to trust you as my Father and I am at
least going to start walking my life in partnership with you and thank you, thank you, for all your
patience with me.”
Loved ones, you have to decide whether to do that or not. I do pray, I do pray that, and I mean that
honestly. I do pray that you will decide to live in reality, this day.
“Dear Father, we do see that these things have not come about by chance. It’s just an impossible
myth to believe that these things came about by their own power. We do sense that you’re there and
Father we’re often put off by the religious people who speak up for you but we see that we can’t
throw away reality just because of poor examples. Father we see that you’ve given us plenty of
evidence here and evidence in our own experience of resurrection life and there’s a feeling we’ve
had at those moments but this is really living. It’s a feeling our Father we’ve had that this is
At those moments that have been the worst in our lives, we’ve sensed almost an exhilaration, and
then because the life seems to be strong and seems to be invincible, Father we see that that’s the
way we’re meant to live, every day — and that what you want is for us to yield our lives and our
plans up to you now when we are not pressured, to yield them up of our own free will and to begin to
be the person and the child that you have made us to be. Father we’d start — however weakly — we’d
start today. We’d begin to ask you what you want us to do in our lives, what you put us here for and
Lord we’d begin to exist in Jesus and believe that we have been put into him by you and we are a
part of him, and to live the way he lives for your glory. Amen
The New Birth - CONSECRATION
The New Birth
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
We’re learning, loved ones, about communion and what we said last Sunday was that you can only have
communion with God if you are born of God and it’s very easy to illustrate that. I have this silly
little dog that is about that size and 5 lbs and at times I’ll say to him, “Do you want to go for a
walk?” And you know his eyes are so full of intelligence that I am utterly convinced he understands
what I say and then I try him with “To be or not to be? That is the question: whether tis nobler in
the mind to suffer the slings and arrows” — and he is just dead, absolutely, and it just suddenly
comes home to you, you know, if you had a little pet, you project your own thoughts into their eyes
and if their eyes happen to look alive when you have a thought, you think they have the same thought
— and they haven’t at all and so it comes as a shock when you say something to them and their eyes
Now, that’s what it’s like when, as C.S. Lewis says, “An animal lacks intellect.” There’s just a
vast gap between you and the dog, just a vast gap. At times it looks as if that gap is narrowing
because the dog or the animal appears to understand — but it doesn’t really. The gap is vast
between an intellectual being and a physical being. That’s the same if you’re not born of God, you
If you’re not born in your spirit, then communion with God is actually impossible and all you
experience at times is the foxhole prayer that you cast up to God in times of great danger or
despair and that he graciously answers. The rest of the times you spend your days pretending that
you have communion with God and learning how your eyes should express feeling or how your heart
should express love for God.
In other words, you’re like the little dog; you imitate others who have that life. So loved ones, it
is vital to see that unless you are born of God in your spirit, you will not experience communion
with God at all. That is, prayer —
real prayer to God — and you will spend your days trying to imitate others who experience that
communion. I would just like to point out to you that that is the situation when you’re dead in your
spirit, you see.
It really means that that whole of you there (in your spirit), is dead. That spirit part of you is
dead and you’re alive in your soul and your body. Now, our little dog is alive there, you see (in
the body). So he can experience nothing up here in the soul, but a person who is dead in the spirit
is dead there and so, their interaction is between the world and their body, and their body and
their soul, and they can’t have any communion with God until they’re born of the spirit.
Now you can imagine what a miracle it would take — in fact, it’s beyond me who could do it to
implant in that little dog an intellect — but it would certainly take a miracle to implant
intellectual life into him. Now, do you see the vast miracle that is required to plant spirit life
in a person who is dead in their spirit?
So, it is important for you to see that unless you are born of the spirit, you can’t know real
communion with God and you can pretend but you’ll never experience it. Now, why are we dead in our
spirits? Well, you know we’ve talked about it so often, we’re dead in our spirits because we live
off the world.
I won’t elaborate too much about it, but instead of getting our love from God we get it from the
world. We’re born of the flesh and from the moment our mom pats us on the head right through till we
receive our gold watch at retirement, we live off pats on the head. We live off the love that the
world can give us, we live off the security that the world can give us. We scrounge and scramble for
our salaries and our insurance policies. We live off the sense of significance the world can give
us. We strive to be good at sports, then as we grow older we strive to be good at our job, then we
strive to please our wives or our husbands or our children and then we live off the world for our
happiness. We feel if we can get more thrills or more excitement or better boats or better
motorbikes we’ll have more happiness. So, we live off the world. That’s why we’re dead in our
spirits and so our personality is hopelessly perverted that way so that even when we pray a foxhole
prayer and we sense some life coming from beyond to us, yet we still can’t live that way, our
personalities are so perverted.
Now, of course the miracle of Calvary is that God in Jesus destroyed that perverted personality and
has given us a new one that we can have by a miraculous gift from him. But loved ones, we have to
receive it from him. Now, do you see, do you see the massive task that is required? You have a
personality that was meant to operate that way. Now it operates a different way and God has to
restore it to that. Now that is a massive miracle, that’s a massive transplant operation.
Now what happens is, the Holy Spirit, with most of us, begins to show us not this whole situation
that we have just described but it begins to convict us in the one part of our spirit that is still
a little alive, begins to convict us in our conscience. So, we depend on the world for security and
of course eventually you end up coveting, you do. If you depend on the world for security, you end
up wishing you had what somebody else had and the word of God comes down to you and says, “Thou
shalt not covet” and the Holy Spirit convicts your conscience of that. Not your mind — your mind
has often read the commandment “Thou shalt not covet”, and you’ve said “Oh, yeah, I shouldn’t do
that, — but now the Holy Spirit convicts your conscience and you sense, “I cannot do that and live,
“I am dead in my sins and I am going to remain dead forever in outer darkness of hell unless I do
something about this” and suddenly the Holy Spirit stabs your conscience alive.
For years you’ve been aware that you have borne false witness against your neighbor because you
depend on the world for your significance and when somebody else is praised instead of you, you’re
unhappy, you’re jealous, you’re proud and therefore you end up telling little lies about your
neighbor or about other people to make yourself feel better. So for years you’ve done that, your
mind has known it for years, your emotions have felt the swell of self-pity when you’ve done it but
now the Holy Spirit convicts your conscience and says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against
thy neighbour because you will die forever in your sins if you continue to live that way.” Do you
see the difference, loved ones?
It’s very different to perceive a thing in your mind and to have the Holy Spirit in graciousness
begin to cut into your conscience. That’s the first step towards bringing you alive in your spirit
and it’s a completely different experience from the purely mental one of knowing, “Yeah, I do seem
to get a bit jealous at times”, “Yeah, I know that I am a bit proud”, but now the Holy Spirit
convicts you in your conscience that you’re going to lose forever any chance of fellowship with your
God who made you if you continue to be this way.
It’s the same with the happiness. For years you’ve depended on the world, on other people, on
relationships, on circumstances for happiness. So adultery means nothing to you, adultery in your
mind, adultery in reality, anything that will give a thrill and so for years your mind and your
emotions have known the sense of thrill from unclean thoughts and from having your own way with
But now, the Holy Spirit convicts you and says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery. Because if you do,
you are guilty of the judgment and even if you have unclean thoughts, you are guilty of the
judgment” — and suddenly the Holy Spirit stabs you in a deeper place than anyone else could stab
you because only He can touch your spirit and loved ones that’s a very different experience, do you
see? That conviction of sin is a very different experience from sharing things in your mind or
feeling things in your emotions or even willing yourself to do certain things to improve your own
life or to better yourself. At this point, you are the privileged receiver of the Holy Spirit’s work
in your spirit and that’s a totally different experience.
Now, once a man or a woman begins to experience that, you are facing your God. You have to decide
whether to suffocate that conscience, whether to grieve the Holy Spirit there and then, and whether
to reject your God, or whether to follow on through and plead that He will do further work in you.
But loved ones, with anyone who is to be born of God it has to start with that stabbing alive of the
conscience. Now there’s no other way. You can’t be talked into it, you can’t look at this stuff
tonight and say, “Well, it makes sense. I would like to experience those things.” Because do you
see, it’s not your liking at all. You can’t create spiritual life inside yourself. No more can my
little dog create intellectual life. Only God can create spiritual life in you. And you have to
depend on him to do it and you have to depend on his gracious working to do it. And you have to
plead that the Holy Spirit will stab your conscience alive. And then if He ever does, then you have
to run towards it.
Now loved ones, I would plead with you again to see that, that you have to want it with all your
heart. All the great ones, you know, — Pascal, everyone that has ever come to God– has pleaded and
hungered and yearned for God to bring them alive. So you know, never sit there and say, “Oh I have
tried and I have tried and I have tried”. loved ones, that’s your place, that’s our place. We have
to hunger for our God to stab us into spiritual life.
And so be glad when the Holy Spirit begins to deal with your conscience and if I could share with
those of you who are alive spiritually, be glad when God continues to deal with your conscience, be
glad. Oh don’t, don’t show yourself to be followers of false prophets by hating it when God stabs
your conscience and shows you more light to walk into. Be glad loved ones, rejoice in that, the
child of God rejoices when the Father corrects him, the child of God rejoices when the Father shows
him how he can be more like him.
So, it’s vital before you’re borne of God, to come into real conviction. Now, do you see that that
goes against the normal shallow superficial healthy minded teaching? Do you see that? That goes
against that. The normal healthy minded teaching is, we have everything we need, to be like God and
we can be like him by just exercising ourselves fully as human beings and living as well as we
possibly can. Now, that’s exactly what Satan said in the Garden of Eden, “You shall not surely die,
you’ll be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil.”
Now this is entirely contradictory to that. This is a mighty transformation. This is a convicting in
your conscience that leaves you laid out flat on the ground, crying for mercy. Loved ones, it’s
nothing less than that, honestly. It’s nothing less than grasping at the Savior’s feet and saying,
“Lord Jesus help me, help me, help me. I can do nothing without You. I am lost, I have no communion
with God at all. Lord, I want to have communion. Show me what I have to be willing to change in my
life for you to make me alive spiritually”. It’s that kind of yearning, you see.
Every time loved ones you take the attitude in your own hearts you know or with some of the rest of
us and say, “Listen, I have really been trying, I have really been trying and God isn’t coming
through” — loved ones you’re not nearly in the right spot. Old Pascal says, someone comes and they
say to a priest, “Oh I have read a book for an hour and I meditated there for another hour, but I
can’t still find God” and Pascal says, “God is a hidden God and He will only reveal Himself to those
who seem Him with all their hearts”. You must seek Him night and day, night and day, week after
week, only when you want God with all your heart will He come and reveal Himself to you.
So loved ones, being converted or being born of God is a might work that begins with the Holy Spirit
touching your conscience and you know, that’s why I shared as I did about well, you need your
emotions healed to receive the love of God. No, you may need your emotions healed after you have
received forgiveness in order to minister that forgiveness to other people but what you need most of
all is to see that God loves you so much that he crucified you in his Son and wants you to be
willing to experience that and to allow him to change your life and you need to see that you have to
deal with your conscience.
So, the start of it all is dealing with your conscience and I don’t know how many of you have made a
point of getting down on our knees in your own bedroom somewhere and confessing your sins, really
confessing them. I don’t know how easy you think it is, but I would like to testify it that I wanted
God so badly that I would have stood on my head and said the Lord’s prayer backwards for a thousand
weeks. I would have done anything to get God. And I remember looking at a little Billy Graham tract
(I was a minister, I was supposed to know it all)– I looked at a little Billy Graham tract to find
out how you found your way to God and I did it, I did it, I did it! The confess and the repent and
the committing your life to Jesus. I would have done anything to get peace in my conscience and
forgiveness of my sins and a sense of communion with God.
Now, I just push you a little, isn’t it very easy for us all to meet together here Sunday after
Sunday and talk about these things so well that you understand them perfectly and you misunderstand
the understanding for conversion, and you think, “I understand it, I agree with it, I do the things
you say but somehow I can’t have real communion with God.” Loved ones, could it be because you have
never, never ever, ever committed yourself to Jesus?
Maybe I could give my wife’s testimony, because it was maybe more what many of us need to
experience. As I was seeking the fullness of the Holy Spirit, so the blessed spirit came down into
our manse in North Minneapolis and gave a real sense of his presence and she noticed a change in my
life and at the same time the Holy Spirit began to deal with her own heart and her conscience. I
thought she was a Christian as much as I thought I was an obedient Christian. I was a Christian but
not an obedient Christian.
The Holy Spirit began to deal with her and she began to see – (my wife is a dentist and we think of
ourselves as kind of intellectual, we’re not, but you know you think yourself that way) — and so
hell was a very unsophisticated concept for us to entertain. But the Holy Spirit began to show her
that she was going to hell — that that’s exactly where she was going. She was dead in her sins. She
was not like God, she had never received Jesus as her Savior, she had never committed herself to
him, though she had heard about it and knew all the teaching about it, but she had never committed
herself. So the Holy Spirit convicted her and give her a sense that she was going straight to hell
for the kind of person she was.
She is a very nice person, she didn’t do any terrible things, she really didn’t but the Holy Spirit
showed her that the things that she did and the self that she loved were in God’s sight as bad as
adultery, as bad as the worst sin you could think of, and so the Holy Spirit convicted her of sin
and she would waken up nights feeling that she was going to hell. Now, that’s how real it was and
you know, if you knew her you’d know, “Boy, that kind of stuff is okay for somebody who is
uneducated or somebody who can’t read or somebody who can’t intellectualize, but let’s face it,
college people shouldn’t experience that kind of thing.” Yes they have to experience that. If they
are going to be borne of God, they have to see that they’re starring straight into a loneliness
forever unless they change and unless they convert and are born of the Spirit.
So, I remember one night, when I was fellowshipping with a dear man who shared with me about the
fullness of the Holy Spirit. She had gone up to bed and she came down again she could not sleep, and
she came down into our living room and it’s very unlike her to do that, especially when there was
this other mad evangelist in the parsonage with me but she came down the stairs and she had all her
clothes on and we talked and talked, and eventually of course, obviously it came around and the
conversation came around to whether she had ever committed her life to Jesus. And of course, she
was, that’s what she was down for, that’s what she wanted to talk about and so the three of us got
down at the davenport and we began to pray together and the other fellow, Bob, and I prayed and then
she was to pray but she wouldn’t touch it, because she didn’t like public prayer and she didn’t like
talking out loud and I remember my friend saying, “Oh, you want to be, you’re a child of your Father
but you don’t want to talk to him.”
So eventually at long last, she did begin to pray and she began to confess her sins, some of them
aloud and some of them were between her and God. But she did it, she confessed her sins. I remember
Finney saying, “You committed them one by one, confess them one by one”, don’t confess them all in a
heat, confess them one by one, face each one of them because each one of them indicate ways in which
you are not willing to submit your life to God and as you confess them, the Holy Spirit brings more
and deeper understanding of your rebellion against Him into your own conscience” and that’s what
happened with her.
You will find that. The actual confessing of the sins allowed or at least moving your lips to God
will enable the Holy Spirit to bring greater revelation to you and you’ll begin to remember things
that you had never thought of for years before and that’s what she did, she remembered things that
she forgotten long ago. Loved ones, it’s that deep cleansing that has to begin before you can move
towards God. Now do you see that that’s an actual work of the Holy Spirit?
That’s important for you to see that. It’s not enough here tonight to say, “Well, I do confess all
my sins”, no, the Holy Spirit is your counselor, you work with Him, you confess openly to Him and He
then more deeply touches your conscience and brings up stuff that you never knew was there. You see
there is stuff in your life that is preventing God’s Spirit regenerating you and you don’t know what
it is. That’s why it’s so shallow to say tonight “oh I know, I know, I am born of God because I know
what’s wrong”, no, there is stuff down there that only the Holy Spirit knows.
Now I am speaking to those of you who may have trouble with your communion with God, I am not
speaking to those of you who are born of God. But those of us who are in doubt about our spiritual
life, confessing our sins is an interaction with the Holy Spirit. It’s a dialogue with the Holy
Spirit and so, she confessed and really, I mean it took half an hour, three-quarters of an hour, to
get through that kind of stuff, and some of it aloud, some of it privately between herself and God.
And then it comes to really in many ways the most difficult part, repentance. And we knew both of us
that repentance is not just being sorry. We knew that.
We had seen people crying at altars and they were crying as much out of self-pity as anything else
and some of them were crying because they didn’t want to let go their sins. So it wasn’t tears of
repentance it was just “I don’t want, let go, you’re a nasty God wanting me to give up these
things”. So, we both knew that repentance is stopping doing the things. It’s what Jesus said to the
dear woman caught in adultery, “Do they condemn you? Neither do I ,but go and sin no more, sin no
more”, and it was very tempting you know for her to think as I had thought, “Well, I mean I’ll
repent but I can’t possibly stop these things, I mean I’ll stop them for today and I’ll ask you will
you forgive me for the sins that I am going to commit?” Well no, not in your life. That’s you saying
to the Lord Jesus, “Lord I will stop sticking my spear into you today, but will you forgive me if I
stick my spear into you tomorrow?”
Well, no one will be your friend in that situation. So, we both knew repentance was cutting all
connection with your sins and that’s the most difficult, loved ones and she struggled with that for
half an hour, an hour. Was she willing to turn her life right round and to go towards God, not to
live for herself, not to do the things any longer whatever it cost, to make whatever apology she had
to make, to make whatever restitution to people she had to make, whatever was needed to put things
right as far as she was able, was she willing to do it?
Now that’s often where many of us stumble. Many of us see the Holy Spirit saying, “Will you make
apology to that person?” and we say “Oh well, yeah, yeah, all right, okay”, but we don’t really mean
it and we never do it and so we don’t enter into anything real or the Holy Spirit says, “Will you
stop that sin?” and we say, “Well, yes.” But we know in our heart, I can’t stop that, I wouldn’t
face the consequences of stopping that. Now, loved ones, repentance is doing whatever is needed to
have done with those sins. Repentance is not assuring God of how things will go tomorrow, repentance
is saying, “Lord, I am determined that moment by moment, I will live the way you want me to. I will
stop doing these things.”
Loved ones, believe me, repentance is stopping sinning. Repentance is stopping sinning. It isn’t
being sorry or filled with remorse or regret, it’s stopping sinning. And the last step is asking
Jesus to send his Spirit into your heart so that you can be born of God. And it came to that point
where she had to invite Jesus to come in and take over her life and do what He wanted with her life
and she asked Him to come in. Then, I remember my friend saying, “Has he come in?” and that was so
strange to us you know, we were brought up Methodist “Yeah, I mean, “we got this far, don’t push
it”, you know, and she said, “Well, well no, no I don’t feel anything” and then I remember him
saying, “Well, I mean it’s not feeling that counts, but do you know that He has heard you? Do you
know that He is in your heart and in your life?”
She said, “Well”, and prayed a little more and said, “No, no I don’t” and then it was so good, it
was so good to see that that was because either the confession was not complete or the repentance
was not complete. That was so good because we had seen other people at altars, you know, putting
their arms around each other and trying to assure each other “now God loves you, you know he loves
you, you know Jesus died for you” and that didn’t seem right to us. It seemed “Oh you’re trying to
suffocate the sin almost” or you’re trying to assure them against what they knew better and we saw
that “Yeah, this is good, you mean Jesus’ Spirit will come in if I honestly confess and I honestly
repent and you mean that the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit of truth knows whether I have done that or
not” and all that was so good, it was so good you know to see that there was solid rock, there was
ground under our feet, we weren’t involved in a kind of pretending or a kind of psychological
reinforcement game with the three of us in that living room. We were involved in dealing with our
We were carrying out a transaction with the Spirit of Jesus and it was so good to know that if we
dealt fully with our confession and repentance, then we’d have an assurance that the Spirit of Jesus
had come in. I remember about midnight, that night you know, she at last came to a place, after
settling the confession and the repentance completely, after settling things that she had forgotten
about or she wasn’t willing really to come under God’s will on, at last welcoming Jesus into her
heart. And of course, her life changed from that day on and of course our marriage just changed
Now, I wonder loved ones, is that light to anybody here this evening? Because sometimes I think that
because we don’t have altar calls and you know we don’t, and I sense that on campus that would be
the wisest thing, especially in morning service. But because we don’t have altar calls, I wonder is
it possible that there are some loved ones here that have kind of thought their way into conversion
or into the new birth or they think that new birth is just a change of opinion or a change of your
way of thinking?
Do you see that it is an actual mighty transaction with the Spirit of Jesus? That that’s why so many
of us stand on Romans 8:16, “The Spirit himself bears witness with my Spirit that I am a child of
God”. The Spirit within of Jesus witnesses that He is there, not feeling, not great feelings–there
were no great feelings that night, no great feelings,– but the Spirit Himself lets you know all is
I remember being with a brother — I at one time did evangelistic services or meetings you know,
around churches when I withdrew from the Methodist church and before we started Campus Church. I
remember being with a brother in his car at a golf course after a meeting that we have had in the
church and he had been in that church for years and had had no reality in his relationship with God,
though he was regarded as a leader and as we say a “born again Christian” but he knew he wasn’t and
I could smell why he wasn’t and so would you with the old nicotine filling the car because he knew
fine well that God had been at that for a long time.
We began to talk, and began to talk the way we’ve talked tonight and he began to pray and began to
confess his sins and began to repent and then came to the place of receiving Jesus’ Spirit into his
life so that Jesus could rule his life completely and do what He wanted with it and I said, “Has
Jesus come in?” He said “Well”, and I said, “You know you’ll know, you’ll know if Jesus is there”,
and he said, “Well, no, I don’t know.” And we talked round and round and round and then of course he
revealed a big secret that was such a secret to anybody sitting beside him, “Well, you know I do
have one sin that the Holy Spirit has been convicting me of”, and he surprised me by saying, “You
know I smoke 40 a day,” and I said, “Yeah, I could tell that you smoked.”
And loved ones, it’s important to emphasize to all of us here that smoking for many of us may not be
a sin now, I think probably for most of us it is a sin against the temple of the Holy Spirit, but I
don’t think you should point your finger at somebody, because the Holy Spirit may not be dealing
with them about that and so it’s important for you not, you know, to come along and say, “Oh yeah,
anybody that smokes is a sinner but you can be proud as anything and you don’t sin”. So, you have to
watch what the Holy Spirit is dealing. You see, it’s what the Holy Spirit is dealing with in a
person’s conscience that matters, not what you bring to their minds.
So, he said, “Well, I just can’t give that up, I can’t. I mean I have been at it for years”, so if
we were there half an hour, an hour, and at long, long last —- after totting up the costs and
seeing that he was only going one direction in his life if he did not deal with this and have done
with it — he would have no assurance of pardon, no assurance of forgiveness, no assurance of
Jesus’ presence in his life unless he dealt with this thing. At long last, you could feel the peace
in that car. Now, I really mean that. You could sense the peace. It was just “Haaaa !”, I just knew
that he had at last given that up. Do you see if a person can know that, the Holy Spirit can tell
when you’re serious.
See, He knows when your repentance is real. He knows when it’s real and in response to that, He
comes in and He regenerates you and you suddenly feel Jesus is your closest friend and God, your
Father is your next door neighbor and the saints are all around you. It’s a birth into a new world,
it’s a new awareness of all kinds of life around you that you’ve never seen before and it’s filled
with a perfect peace and a great sense of pardon and when some mad Irishman gets up on a stage like
this and ploughs right down the middle with the law of God and the Holy Spirit convicts your
conscience or something else, you just walk into the light, you walk into it joyously, you don’t get
mad at the guy, you don’t get mad at God’s word, you just walk into the light.
The Holy Spirit is bringing light to you and your spirit rises to it because the truth is, God will
shake what can be shaken. God will shake what can be shaken, and what cannot be shaken God cannot
So every time God’s Word comes upon you, if there is something shaking inside, deal with it, deal
with it! Get it out before God, don’t argue with Him, don’t say, “Oh you’re wrong to bring that up”,
no we aren’t meant to live like that, don’t fight it, don’t be found fighting and opposing God.
Respond and say, “Holy Spirit, whatever is needed I want to get rid of that and whatever else is
underneath that, I want to get to.” But loved ones, “God will shake what can be shaken”, and when
you’re born of the spirit, nothing can be shaken and I would attest to that even in regard to the
fullness of the spirit or to conviction that precedes death to self with Jesus. Even what was to me
a second experience of coming into a death to self on the cross, even that was a blessed experience,
there was no loss of a sense of my salvation, no loss of a sense of God’s peace but it was a new
convicting that there were other things to be dealt with.
So, loved ones, when you have settled things truly with Jesus and He is in your heart, no man, no
woman can shake your sense of peace and your assurance. Any questions loved ones? I meant to do more
than talk about the New Birth, but I think it’s good, I think it’s right and that we talk about it.
Well, could I ask you then if you are not settled in your assurance, if this old mad Irishman can
come down the middle with God’s law and can shake you, will you go to God tonight and will you say,
“Lord, I know that you only shake what can be shaken, so if there is something inside me here that
isn’t as solid as it should be, Lord I want to settle it and I want to get whatever conviction of
sin is needed on my conscience and I want to plough right through real confession, real repentance
until Lord, I know that You’ve stood at the door and knocked and that I have heard Your voice and
I’ve open the door and I’ve invited You to come in to sup with me and You come in. Lord, I want to
Now, loved ones you can, you can know that. The new birth is a mighty transaction with Jesus’ spirit
that is real and actual. It is not a mental gymnastic, it isn’t. It’s a real transaction with Jesus.
So, if I could suggest to you, if you’re born of God you know, just thank Him for that and just
rejoice and next Sunday I’ll talk about communion and the further steps in the Christian life but if
tonight you sense well, “That’s kind of foreign to me, I haven’t done that, I’ve certainly prayed to
receive Christ. I have certainly given over my life to Him but I don’t have the reality that you’re
talking about there”.
Well then, loved ones it’s not complex. Confess, repent and receive Jesus and you can know you’ve
received Him and if you say to me, “Well, brother I mean, could we pray with some of you?” Yes,
there’ll be people up here that you could pray with or you can go to the prayer room if you want to
be alone or everywhere in this building there are plenty of rooms where you can settle through with
God and there are some of us who can help you, but frankly it’s at the end of the day, up to you and
up to me. Jesus is there beside you, the Holy Spirit is your counselor. He will lead you into all
I don’t know how often I have spent, I remember one time spending all night with a loved one, a
brother who was a Methodist minister in a summer camp and we spent the whole night, him and his
wife, praying through to receive Jesus. So, don’t be ashamed or don’t be surprised, if it takes
time, it does take time. And it may with you just be the beginning, tonight may be just the
beginning and you’re going into a series of days when the blessed Spirit will bring that dear
conviction of sin that precedes deliverance to you.
Yearn for it — and to those of you who are borne of God and who feel “Well, I have nothing to deal
with”, well, I yearn for the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I ask him, “Holy Spirit show me, show me
where I can be more like Jesus. Show me where Jesus wants to be more Himself in me.” That’s the safe
thing for anyone who has dealt with Jesus themselves.
So, will you do that loved ones? Will you do what you think is right? But I’d love you to see that
pardon and assurance of forgiveness and peace does not depend on the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
The baptism with the Holy Spirit is for ministry and for sharing with others, primarily. Really, a
person is to experience pardon and forgiveness and peace through the New Birth. They can know God as
their dear Father, Jesus as their loving Savior just in the New Birth experience because it is
really everything and if they continue to walk in that they need nothing more because they’ll walk
into everything that God asked for.
So, well, shall we pray?
Dear Lord, we know You’re here tonight and we know You only come to bless. We know You don’t come to
condemn but You come to save. But Lord we do see that the dear Holy Spirit never condemns either, He
convicts. He lovingly shows us the things that You bore on Calvary. The things that You bore away
from our lives. The things that You want us to let You bear away here and now, so that You will not
have died in vain. Lord Jesus we thank You for Your counseler the Holy Spirit who convicts us of
sin, and oh Holy Spirit, we would ask you, as Jesus’ other self among us, to convict us deeply where
we need convicted, show us the things that we are doing wrong or saying wrong, and things that we’re
thinking wrong, the things that our crucifying You again in our hearts every time You try to rise.
Holy Spirit convict us of those things. Will You convict us especially of the things that we do not
want to agree with You, are wrong, those things that we’re arguing about and trying to rationalize
and trying to protest that they’re just human weaknesses or they’re just personality traits that are
special to us. Holy Spirit, strip away all our pretences and all our protestations and enable us to
see these things are stark rebellion. They’re plain and blunt rejection of our savior. These things
are spilling your blood again in our lives.
Holy Spirit, we would plead with you for a conviction of sin that is deep and real so that we may
deal with these things. We do not want to be lightly healed Holy Spirit, we don’t want somebody to
assure us we’re forgiven. We want to be deeply healed. Deeply cut and then deeply healed, blessed
Spirit, we ask for that holy cutting that You can do, that faithful wound of a friend. Holy Spirit,
we ask you for that. We ask you to wound us as our faithful friend so that we may deal honestly with
anything in our lives that our Father is condemning at this moment.
Holy Spirit we ask You now to show us those things and we would confess them, confess them
one-by-one as You bring them up to our minds. Thank You for drudging deep in our subconscious. Thank
You for bringing them up to our conscious minds. We would confess them now. We would agree
one-by-one Holy Spirit as You show them to us, yes that is wrong. Yes,it isn’t just a human
weakness, it isn’t just a personality trait, it isn’t just something that my personality or my life
ought to have in it to be healthy, this is wrong, this is sin against God, against thee, and the
only have I sinned and done this wrong.
Holy Spirit, enable us to see it’s our God that we’ve sinned against, it’s not our human beings,
it’s not ourselves, it’s our God. We have cut deeply into His heart with these things. We have
declared ourselves rebels against them.
We would look especially dear Spirit for the point of controversy that we have with you at the
moment. We would look especially for the point of disagreement where we’re protesting and we’re
saying, “No, no, keep away from that, keep away from that”. Holy Spirit we know that that’s the
growing edge of our relationship with You, that’s what we should deal with. That thing that we don’t
want You to touch, that dear and darling sin that we don’t want to admit. Thank You Lord for showing
us that You can only be Lord if You have control of everything.
And now Lord, this repentance. Lord, to stop some of these things seems impossible to us and yet,
Lord, we see that that is true, that on our own, of ourselves there is no good thing that we can do,
and we cannot stop these things on our own. But Lord, we believe that you are dealing with us now
because you can give us grace to stop these things. So Lord what You are asking for is a
determination on our part that we will commit our wills wholly to obeying You in these concerns.
So, Holy Spirit will You show us if our repentance needs a change in our way of life even. Maybe a
change in our friends, our relationships, maybe a change even in our jobs — but assuredly a change
in our own attitudes. Show us if it needs apology to some loved one. Holy Spirit, we know that here
is where You’re testing us. Are we really willing to forsake all for Jesus? Are we really willing to
face anything for Him? Are we really so anxious to be God’s child that we’re willing to forego all
pride, all opinion of man, all approval of ourselves?
Holy Spirit, will You reveal to us what is involved in truly repenting of these sins and truly
stopping doing them and making whatever things right that need to be made right. Holy Spirit, help
us to see tonight that unless we have a full and a ready heart to forsake these things, there will
be no New Birth for us. Help us to see that repentance is a complete turning around of our minds, a
complete changing of our attitudes.
Dear Spirit of Jesus, if You see any unwillingness in us, will You convict us of it now? Enable us
to see if there’s any sin that we’re not willing to stop, whatever the cost. Then Lord Jesus, we
look to You, You are our only hope Lord. Unless You come into our hearts and take over our lives, we
are lost. Lord Jesus we know that we cannot ask You to come in and dwell in the midst of the very
sins that killed You. Lord, we can only ask You to come in if we’re willing to sweep this house
clean and let You dwell alone, Lord of all.
Lord Jesus, we invite You dear savior and dear friend, will You come in and will You take over our
lives and Lord whatever You want to do. Lord Jesus no longer my future and no longer my job but
whatever You want me to do, that’s what I am willing to do Lord. Lord, whether at home or abroad,
whatever You decide. Lord Jesus, we want to be real about that; if You give your life
unconditionally for us without asking, then Lord we say that You are asking us to give our life
unconditionally to You without asking that it be lived in some place or in some way.
Lord Jesus, will You come in and be our friend and our Lord? And Lord Jesus from this day forward,
we will make our first concern each morning, our communion with You. Lord Jesus, You will be the
first one we speak to. It is Your dear Word that we will soak ourselves in each morning so that You
may grow within us and make our lives a blessing and a delight to Your Father, Lord Jesus.
Dear Lord, I pray that any loved one who has welcomed You will thank You for coming, will never turn
from You Lord again, and will never ignore You again and never put anybody before You. And dear
Lord, I pray for any loved one here tonight who still needs to deal more deeply with You, that they
will take these steps towards You in honesty, taking as much time as is needed to settle things with
You who have graciously begun to deal.
Lord, thank You tonight if someone tonight even has just begun to experience conviction of sin,
thank You for it, such a holy moment that they can be assured then that the God of the universe is
beginning to deal with them. Thank You Lord, thank You for that. Thank You for that first step,
thank You for the last step.
Now, dear Lord, we commit ourselves into Your hands for the things that You may want different ones
of us to do, some to go home and some to deal with You in our rooms tonight, some to deal in the
prayer room here or in the auditorium but Lord we would give ourselves to You and thank You for
being here Lord Jesus.
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.
Path To God: Repentance - CONSECRATION
Path to God: Repentance
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
I think all of us here know that we’ve been sharing that our Creator is a person and that he really
is our dear Father. I think that all of us know that and are aware of it, but you know as well as I
do that some of us are still in a position of hearing about a friend’s friend. That is, I am your
friend and you’re hearing about my friend. You’re hearing me talk about somebody that I know
personally, but you yourself do not know personally. And there are some of us in that position this
morning. There are others of us here who not only believe that God is our dear Father but we know
him as our Father ourselves, we know Him personally.
Now, I am concerned about those of you who are like I was. You believe all these things, you believe
that God is your Father, you believe that He loves you but you yourself don’t know Him and you have
no personal feeling for Him. You agree with all the facts but you don’t know the person about which
the facts are stated. So, how do you come into a personal relationship with God?
Loved ones, you have to respond personally, that’s the secret. You yourself have to respond
personally, you have to. You know the situation so well here even. You know how well you feel you
know me and I try to be just myself in every way so that you can see, warts and all — you know that
you feel you know me very very closely and intimately, and you really do — you know me as I am,
that’s what I am. I am no different from what you see here, and you know what happens then, when you
come up to me, you treat me as a dear and old friend and of course I am seeing you for the first
time but your whole attitude immediately welds us together in a friendship because, of course, I
immediately can love you because you’re loving me.
It’s the same with God. He has been giving you things and showing you His love since you were born
but there’s going to be no friendship that’s personal between you until you come forward to Him and
take a step in faith. Now, that’s the opportunity that you have at every communion service. You
really have it every day in your life, but especially here at communion.
Now, if you say to me, “Well, I agree but I don’t know what to do.” There are three steps and you
can explain them in all kinds of ways but I think this is an easy way to explain them. The first
step is, agree with what God is saying to you. Now, you may say, “But that’s my problem I can’t hear
Him, I can’t hear Him saying anything to me. You seem to be able to hear Him speaking, I can’t hear
Him speaking.” Loved ones, your conscience is part of God’s Spirit in you, your conscience —
honestly it is. Now you may say, “Oh no, no, I don’t want to listen to that,” but that’s God’s voice
So the first step this morning is, listen to what your conscience has been saying to you, maybe for
some years. If your conscience has been saying to you, “you shouldn’t be doing this”, or “you should
be doing that”, this morning, agree with that, agree with it. That’s the first step to making up any
personal relationship with anybody. At least come to an agreement with them about what they’re
saying to you and God is speaking to you through your conscience.
So, now you each know your conscience at this moment. You know what your conscience is saying to
you. Now, if your conscience is saying, “that is wrong, you shouldn’t do it”, stop arguing, stop
rationalizing, stop pretending, stop procrastinating, listen to your conscience, agree with your
Now, I don’t want to draw it out but that’s what confessing is, that’s it. In Greek it’s
“Homologeo”. “Homo” is “the same”, “Logo” is “to say, say the same thing”. Confessing is saying the
same thing as God’s voice inside you saying, see? Now, if some of you will be like me and you’ll
say, “Look it’s not a matter of that, it’s a matter of my mind, my mind has to absorb more what
you’re saying here on Sundays, and as I absorb more of it, I’ll come into agreement with it, that’s
what’s necessary”, no, no you won’t, you won’t.
I can talk here for generations and you can agree with every detail I speak. You won’t make one move
towards God until you respond to His voice in you, not my voice; His voice is your conscience. Agree
with your conscience. Confess that the things He says you ought to change in your life, you ought to
change. Now a lot of you are stopping right there, a lot of you have sexual sins that you’re just
bluffing along on, you are. We’re all the same, so you needn’t pretend that you’re not doing it, a
lot of us of a certain age are just bluffing along on some relationships that aren’t right, we know
they’re not right. Or we’re playing along with certain ideas in our minds that we know aren’t right
and we’re pretending they’re healthy and they’re red blooded and they’re not. The conscience has
been convicting us for a long time about those.
Others of us who are at a different age bracket have been convicted for a long time about what we
are doing with our money, or what we’re doing in a certain personal relationship or what attitude of
criticism we have to a certain person. Deal with those things, do honestly, that’s the start. You’ll
get nowhere if you keep bluffing that. You needn’t do anything more with this bread and wine you
know, unless you deal honestly with your conscience. Confess that the things that you’ve known to be
wrong for years are wrong. Do you see what I am saying, even if you don’t see how to stop them,
that’s what I am saying.
Even if you’re getting yourself in the corner, even if you’re painting yourself into that corner,
the first step is to agree with God against yourself, that’s the first big step towards God,
confess. The second step is: stop doing it, repent. That’s what repentance is, stop doing it. If you
say to me, “Brother, I can’t stop doing it,” I am saying stop doing it now — and you say, “But I’ll
find myself doing it this afternoon,” then stop doing it again, — “But I’ll find myself doing it
tomorrow”, — then stop doing it again. That’s right. Declare with not only your conscience but
with your will that you’re going to move towards God’s plan for your life even if you stop smoking
2,400 times. You’re going to stop doing the things that He says are wrong in your life.
Loved ones, keep at it, please keep at it. That thing helped me a lot that some saint said, “A saint
is not someone who never falls but one who gets up each time he falls.” Get up, get up! Say today,
“I am going to stop doing it, I don’t know what I’ll do this evening but I am stopping it at this
moment,” and then you’re only responsible for each moment, each moment, not for tomorrow, not next
week, each moment. Satan wants to bluff you, you see. He wants to steal from you the power that you
have. The power that you have is that which God gave you in Jesus to stop it, but Satan wants to
bluff you and say, “Oh no, you’re not going to be able to keep it going for the next two years.”
That doesn’t matter. You’re not responsible for the next two years, maybe you’ll be dead after three
months. No, you’re responsible for today; today is the day of salvation. God is so good. Not
tomorrow, not next week, today is the day of salvation. Tell Satan “forget it, I am living at this
moment, I am going to stop doing it at this moment. When the next moment comes, I’ll stop doing it
then, but I’ll stop doing it at this moment.” Stop it loved ones, don’t let Satan in and don’t let
him steal your relationship with your God from you by persuading you to say you can’t do it. No you
can, you can stop, repentance is stop doing it.
The third step is the miracle. God has changed you in His son, absolutely. His death is simply a
physical expression of a great miracle whereby God put you and me and all of us into His son and
destroyed this old personality that cannot obey Him and recreated us new. Give your life to Jesus.
Just say to Him, “Lord Jesus, I have tried to change this life of mine for years, I have tried to
change my attitude and my habits for years, I cannot. Lord, I do believe I don’t understand it all,
but I do believe that on Calvary, You in some way bore me to death and you destroyed this
personality that is so intractable. Lord, I give it to You. I give You my life. I give You my
personality. Do whatever is needed, however long it takes to change me and make me a child of God.”
Loved ones, that’s it.
If you say to me, “what will happen?”, God will do what he promised, he will give you the gift of
His Holy Spirit. He will begin to speak to you, you will begin to sense His voice in you, you will,
that’s guaranteed, you’ll begin to sense God’s voice inside you and you’ll begin to sense a strength
that is not your own. Simply because you’ve been prepared to set your face the way God wants you to,
really that’s it. But it requires you to make the steps.
What I would do after service is then, if I’d never had quiet times, a prayer time at home, before,
then I’d go down and see Tom or some of the others in the bookshop and I’d ask them, “Give me a
Bible study course or something that I can read morning by morning.” There are several and begin to
read it every morning and begin to pray to your Father and give Him a chance to speak to you. Loved
ones, that’s it. I must say it’s easy as that, yet, it is not easy. Costs us everything we have, it
costs us our whole lives really.
So loved ones, that’s what you need to do if you’re sitting here this morning and you’re thinking,
“Well, I do agree with all that you say but I don’t have a personal relationship with my God at
all”, take those three steps. Confess and repent and give your life to Jesus for Him to change it as
He pleases, and then you’ll begin to sense a life from your Creator coming to you.
Now, most of us can do it during the time while the bread and the wine is being distributed. There
is quiet time there while the organ is playing so I’d ask you to be real about it, okay? So some of
you can enter into a new life this morning, just a new life. I’ll pray that you will and loved ones
will you stand and receive the invitation?
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors
and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His
Holy ways, draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble
confession unto Almighty God. Let us be seated as we pray.
Overcoming Sin - CONSECRATION
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
One of the marks of the great artist is that he speaks truths that universally appeal to all men and
women, and Shakespeare did that probably as well as any other great writer. And in his play Hamlet,
he has Hamlet pass through all the hesitating and doubtful experiences that we ourselves have passed
through. And he has Hamlet at times speaks “soliloquies”, we call them in Shakespearian criticism.
That is, speeches where the man is talking to himself, and one of those soliloquies runs like this,
“Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew. Or that the
everlasting had not fixed his canon ‘gainst self-slaughter. O God! God! How weary, stale, flat and
unprofitable, Seem to me all the uses of this world!”
And I don’t know about you personally but I would guess that many of us in this room have felt that
kind of thing at times, especially those last lines, “How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, seem
to me all the uses of this world!” I would think most of us here have experienced the kind of
depression and introspection that that expresses. And loved ones, the reason for it is that we
insist on running closed universes, we do. You and I, that’s what we’re doing all the time.
We run a closed little universe that we call our life, really. That’s it. Doesn’t matter whether
we’re tight little Belfast men as I was, with a grim little grip on our lives — or whether we’re
Minnesotans or Americans trying to make sure that life doesn’t go off the rails. The reason for most
of our depression and the reason for most of the emptiness that we feel about life is that we have
set up a closed little universe that we control absolutely. We will not let anybody affect it or
endanger it in any way.
Of course that wasn’t the plan at all, we weren’t made to operate like that. Apart from anything
else, it means that you have three and a half billion closed little universes who never get to know
each other and never interact with each other. But the tragedy is that when you run your life like
that, nothing works right. Nothing works as it was meant to, that’s why you get depressed, that’s
why you get frustrated, that’s why you feel empty — because you weren’t made to operate like that
but you’ve got a tight little operation going and you won’t change for anybody and the tragedy is —
and I would say this to my younger brothers and sisters — the tragedy is that as the years pass,
you become more and more unchangeable, really.
And I think most of the older loved ones here would agree that apart from some power coming into
that universe from outside, the people that we know down through the years have become the same,
only moreso, than they were when they were 17. The tragedy is that you get smaller and smaller and
more and more intense and more and more yourself and more and more unbearable. And loved ones the
reason is we run a closed little universe.
You may sit there and say, “Oh brother, I have had depression that has come just because I have
given all my money away”, well, that’s very unlikely. Most of our depression comes because we’re
downright self-centered and we’re wrapped up in ourselves and are preoccupied with making sure the
thing goes right for us. That’s why Ponce de Leon has such a fascination for us, do you see that?
Ponce de Leon and the pumpkin in Cinderella and the white swan that the ugly duckling turned into —
all the same. Ponce de Leon was one of those great explorers that was always searching for the
elixir of life, the fountain of eternal youth, that rejuvenating power that would keep life
eternally fresh and new and exciting. That’s why the pumpkin has the fascination for us in the story
of Cinderella. We always like to think that maybe the coach-and-four can turn in, or the pumpkin can
turn into a coach-and- four, and we always like to think that maybe an ugly duckling can become a
beautiful white swan.
Now, why do you think we feel those things? Do you think that’s just an aberration that we men have
invented in our little myths and stories? No, it is pointing to the fact that we can be changed. We
can be changed, it is possible to be changed. It is possible for your life and your attitude and
your whole approach to life and yourself and the future to be changed, if you let a power come in
from outside, if you’ll open your universe. Loved ones, that’s what this communion table stands for.
This dear person died and then got up from being dead and His body was never found and the truth is
that He is the Son of our Creator and once He rose from the dead He was let loose as a spirit into
our universe and it is possible for His Spirit to come into us and change us completely and
transform us and make us feel the same way as He does. I mean you must have been like me, gone out
on a spring morning at times and felt, I wish I was as clean as that spring air. I wish I was as
bright as those happy little birds.
I should tell you a little joke.
A guy was in the French café eating lunch and Jacque is our bird. Do you know Jacque? He is a happy
little soul, a little canary that we bought when we first opened the restaurants down there and he
sings madly away all day. So, this guy was waiting to have his order taken and I think it was John
Spalding who was a Harvard graduate who was waiting upon him and John was asking him in his best
intellectual tones, “What would you like?” and the guy, Jacque, of course was blasting away
whistling like mad and the guy said, “I’ll have a shot of what that bird’s got”, — but haven’t you
felt that at times? You’ve looked at these other little creations of God and you’ve thought, “Oh I
wish, I wish I could be as joyful or as happy or as free as the rest of God’s creation.”
Loved ones, all those things, little Jacque, the little birds, all the beauty in the universe was
created by this dear person Jesus, and His Spirit is more joyful than all of those, brighter than
all of those, freer than all of those and that Spirit can come into you this very day and that’s why
most of us not only look forward to each morning of our lives, but look forward especially to
communion because for us, it’s an opportunity to receive more of that free liberating life of Jesus
in a new way into our own lives, and you can, this morning. That’s why we eat the bread and drink
the wine, do you see that? Because we believe that that’s an outward expression of what is actually
happening spiritually as Jesus’ Spirit comes into us.
Now, let me tell you this. He can only come in if you’ll open up the closed universe, you have to
open it up. There are three steps that you need to take. God has been indicating to you in your
conscience some things that He thinks are questionable in your life, you know that. Agree with Him,
that’s the first step. Agree with Him. You see what that does: it opens the universe, it opens your
closed protected little universe, it says to God, “Lord, I don’t really want to do this but I know
You’ve been troubling me about these things in my conscience so I am going to agree with God.” Move
off dead center.
You know it doesn’t much matter what it is, for some of us it’s some silly thing like smoking, for
others of us it’s real promiscuity, either physical and actual — or internal and in our minds. For
others of us, it’s a kind of sarcastic critical attitude to certain people, for others of us it’s
just a real greediness about food or about money. For others of us it’s just this desire to be one
up on everybody else and never to be put down but God has been troubling your conscience about some
of these things and He is asking you to agree with Him that these things are wrong. That’s what it
is to confess, it’s to agree with God.
Loved ones, if you want this life that makes a spring morning spring, if you want this life within
you that raised Jesus from the dead, take the first step and agree with God about the things that He
is troubling your conscience about. You know, go on, be a devil, agree with Him, get off dead
center, stop this business of saying, “Well, well, no, I mean I don’t think it’s really wrong.” If
you’re questioning it, it’s probably wrong. If you’re doubtful about whether you should do it or
not, it’s probably God trying to get through rather deaf ears.
Agree with God, please, do, agree with him, get off dead center, open the closed universe, please,
otherwise there’s nothing will come in and you will shrivel up inside, you’ll get worse and worse as
the years go by, you will. So, the first step this morning, if God has troubled you about some
things in your life, confess it. There will be a quiet time when we’re distributing the bread and
the wine, so during that time, agree with God, stop arguing from Him, stop rationalizing about them
saying, “Oh well Lord, I am a little emotional or a little artistic in my temperament and I need
that mode of expression even though I know it’s sinful.” Stop that silliness, agree with God.
Second step, stop doing it. Stop doing it. Just stop. Now, if you say to me, “Brother, I have
stopped smoking so often I can’t count the times”, or if you say to me, “Brother, I have stopped
swearing so often I can’t remember”, or you say, “I have made countless new year resolutions not to
criticize other people and I am still doing it”, stop doing it. If you say to me, “But I have
stopped a hundred times”, I say there’s only one right thing to do. Repent means you stop doing it
and eventually one of those stoppings will stick, really.
Eventually one of those times you stop will stick and it will work. Do you see there are two kinds
of stoppers? One is a resentful stopper. They say “Oh, I’ve tried a thousand times, it doesn’t work,
oh I don’t know what’s wrong, it’s God’s not coming through or something’s not working, oh I’ve
tried stopping” — that’s a resentful stopper. Doesn’t really want to stop at all. He is kind of
glad that he can’t stop and feels that he has the extravagance to criticize God or be resentful. He
doesn’t really care.
Then there’s a joyful stopper. There’s a stopper who is so sick of the things, so fed up with it, so
anxious to get hold of God, that he’ll hear this this morning or she’ll hear this and they’ll stop
yet again and eventually after they’ve thrown away the cigarettes for the 27th time, or after
they’ve apologized to the person for the 47th time, eventually those joyful stoppers will stop for
good. But you stop sinning, you stop it.
The third step is, don’t just give God a little bit of your life. If you want the Spirit pervading
your whole life, it’s life for life. Jesus gave his whole life for you, so give your whole life to
Him this morning, hand it over to Him. Say, “Lord God, it’s You that made me, and it’s You that has
bought me with Your son’s death. I owe myself twice to You. I give You my own life here. All I have
done is make a kind of boring mess of it, Lord I give it to You and You run it from this day forward
and do what You want. And loved ones, whether you end up in Switzerland or Africa or in New York
slums or here in Minneapolis, you’ll find a new fresh spirit of Jesus that will come into you and
will lift you from the bottom up so that you won’t live under pressure and you won’t live in that
self-centeredness that destroys life.
Now, it works, it works if you’re real this morning. If you’re real with God this morning, God will
give you not only this bread and wine but will give you the lively Spirit of His own Son into your
heart deep down and then it’s so incredible to spend your life in constant levitation because that’s
what it’s like. It’s living constantly above yourself and looking down at your own life and you’re
again at last able to live the way Jesus did Himself.
So, loved ones will you think about those things during the quietness that we’ll have. And you see
the things to do and you can see what they are. They’re actually saying to God, “I’ll go your way”
and actually doing it instead of playing mental games with Him and refusing to change, that’s it.
When God sees you’re serious about changing, He begins to be able to give the life of His Spirit to
you. So I pray that somebody here this morning will do it for the first time. And those of you who
have done it before — I mean that’s what I am going to do this morning — I am going to receive
something new of Jesus for myself today and I know he’ll be faithful to us.
Now will you stand loved ones, and I’ll give the invitation.
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors
and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His
Holy ways ,draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble
confession unto Almighty God.
Let’s be seated as we pray.
Freedom From Bondage - CONSECRATION
Freedom From Bondage
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever noticed how an alcoholic stops drinking? He stops drinking. Have you ever noticed how
a chain smoker stops smoking? He stops smoking. Have you ever noticed how a drug addict kicks the
habit? He stops shooting heroin. Have you ever noticed how a homosexual stops being promiscuous? He
stops being promiscuous. Have you ever noticed how an over-eater stops over-eating? He stops
If you say to me, “Didn’t Alcoholics Anonymous help?” Yes, it did. Did Drug Treatment Centers help?
Yes they did. Did love help? Yes, but anyone here in this room who has escaped from any of these
addicting habits would testify to the same truth: that even though other people were a help to them
and it was encouraging when other people were patient with them, yet finally, no one could exercise
their will for them except one person only, and it was when they finally did that, that success
And if you say, but what about the chemical changes that had taken place in their bodies that had
prevented them responding like ordinary people? What about the alcohol level in the blood that
prevented them exercising their will like ordinary people? What about the way their nervous system
had become accustomed to the sedation of the nicotine so that they could not exercise their will
like ordinary people? What about the way their emotions had become so used to over-eating as a
comfort for them in their anxiety and their worry?
Do you know that millions of people down through the years would testify to the fact that none of
those things mattered? That none of that pre-programming of their personality or that addiction of
their body or their emotions mattered, once they had decided that they were willing to face the
consequences of stopping that particular sin. They would all testify to that, that none of those
things mattered once they had determined that they would set their will against this thing and it
You may say, “Well, do you mean that just their will, the naked exercise of their will, in a
fraction of a second, changed the whole make-up of their personality that had been developing in
conjunction with these structures for years and years and years?” No, the will tried to do that for
years but the will couldn’t change the whole personality make-up. The will simply signaled to our
Creator that the person wanted to be rid of the perverted personality that had been crucified with
Christ and was willing to step into the new personality that had been made available for them in His
resurrection and the moment that happened, all the perfect personality of Jesus became available to
them and they were able immediately to be free from the things that had dogged them for years.
Loved ones, that’s what this is all about here this morning. Once a person has decided that they are
willing to do without the blurring of reality that nicotine creates for them, once a person has
decided that they are willing to do without the cushioning and the false comfort that alcohol brings
to them, once a person is willing to do without the self-love that they get from promiscuity, once a
person is willing for that, then the whole perverted personality that has developed in conjunction
with that selfish desire to be self-sufficient, that whole personality is rendered inoperative.
That’s interesting, that’s the very meaning of the Greek phrase in Romans 6:6. It’s translated in
our Bible, “The body of sin may be destroyed”, but the Greek means the body or the personality that
has been used for years by this sinful desire to be self-sufficient, that whole thing is rendered
inoperative. That’s what Jesus achieved for us on the Cross, and the moment you decide you’re
willing for that to be made real in you, that moment you’re able to be free.
If you say to me, “Could you prove it by life itself?” Yes, there are many, many people who have
broken absolutely addicting sins and the hold that it has on their life, in the most unfavorable
environments. There are drug addicts that have come out of the center of drug holds and they have
broken that sin. There are countless other people that have persisted in much less-addicting sins in
much more favorable conditions and they have persisted in them even though on the surface it would
be much easier for them to break them.
Yes, if you ever think to yourself, “Oh no, it’s the unfavorable effect of these sins in my body
that make it impossible for me to break from them” I say to you, do you know of anyone that has
faced the beginnings of cancer in their own lungs and then have stopped smoking? If you don’t know
of any, I can mention several television personalities that smoked and smoked for years and years
until they saw death starring them in the face and then they were willing to face whatever
consequences they had to, in order to be free — which seems to suggest, doesn’t it, that the will
is the key.
Once the will determines, there is a miracle that has been wrought on Calvary, which enables the
personality to follow the will. Oh, I just point out an instance that all of us have experienced.
How many of you here, have found a whole day becoming miserable because you set your will towards a
miserable day? How many of you have found a day becoming beautiful because you have set your will
for a beautiful day? How many of you have experienced vast changes in not only your own personality
but in the personality of your dear partner at home, because you have set your will to love instead
of hate? And how many of us who aren’t married and maybe live alone have experienced a total change
in our financial situation because we set our will towards victory and optimism.
Loved ones, doesn’t it suggest that that are two versions of our life available to us? There is a
version that is addicted to all kinds of habits, that is tied by all kinds of circumstances. And
there is another version that has been raised up in Jesus that is free of those things. And that we
can determine which version we live simply by setting our wills in that direction.
And really that’s what communion is about. It’s really an opportunity for us to lay hold on the
version of life that God has recreated in Jesus. The version of victory and purity in your life that
God has made available to you in His son and it’s possible for you at this very moment to enter into
it. It’s possible for you to set your will this morning towards the beautiful person that God has
made you in His Son and at that very moment, Jesus’ pure, unstained, untouched body becomes yours.
Jesus’ balanced emotions become available to you. Jesus’ uncluttered, unconfused mind becomes
available to you if you will just set your will in that direction.
If you say to me, “Do you mean then that it is blasphemy to say, I can’t do it?” Oh yes, yes, that’s
what God is showing us here in Jesus, sure it is. There is no one can’t do it. There is no set, our
Dads and Moms were right though they didn’t maybe know how deeply right they were. There is no such
word as “can’t” in God’s world. There is only won’t, there is only won’t. Oh yes, if you sit there
or I stand here and I say, “I want to be free, but I can’t”, I may as well take a hammer and a nail
and put them through those Dear Hands all over again. I may as well laugh at that dear blood that is
pouring from His side because what I am saying is, “You did nothing for me, I was not crucified with
You, my old perverted self was not destroyed with You and I’ll prove it by living in the middle of
this perverted self and in all of its own inadequacies and all its failures.” Loved ones, that’s it,
Our God is a good God and He does not tell us to do anything that He has not enabled us to do by the
miracle of the Cross. Our God is not an unjust God. Our God does not say to you “be clean”, and you
find you have a mind that is filled with such wandering thoughts that you cannot be clean. No, our
God has a new clean mind that He has made available in His Son Jesus and it becomes yours the moment
you truly want it. The moment you truly want it and are willing to face the consequences of living
in a clean mind. That’s true, and it’s the same for all of us.
It doesn’t matter whether it is masturbation or evil thoughts or gossip or criticism or whether it’s
drug addiction, it doesn’t matter what it is. Loved ones, none of us here in this room — and I
think we’re all been involved in this in some way — None of us are so holy that we don’t know what
we’re talking about here. We’ve all been involved in this kind of thing, none of us here is in a
position to stand up before God in the presence of this dear table that sets forth to us our
crucifixion with Christ and our resurrection anew with Him, none of us can stand up and say, “I
can’t obey you, I cannot abandon this sin.” Loved ones, God will say to you on the last day, “You
could, if you would. You can, if you really want to. You are able, if you set your will”, and loved
ones that’s it.
Ask those of us who have been freed, we’ll tell you the same thing. At last we got honest with God
and honest with ourselves and we counted up what it would cost us and what consequences we would
face if we would depend only on His love and not on the adulation of other people and we determined
we were prepared to face that. And then heaven broke upon us, that’s what happened. Heaven broke out
in our personalities and we found ourselves new people, because we’d set our wills to what God has
done for us in Jesus.
I mean this with all my heart. I pray that some of you this morning will step into life and will
forget that business that “you can’t” — because that’s a blasphemy against God and an insult to
Jesus — and see that you can, because of Jesus and his miracle. Loved ones, you don’t need to be a
member of this church to have communion, you don’t even need to have been a Christian. All I ask you
is that you take seriously with all your heart what I have shared now, so that during the communion
service you are able to deal with God about the sins in your life and you’re able to set your will
against them. That’s it.
It doesn’t matter if you say, “I’ve been drinking whisky for years. I cannot stop.” You can, I know,
I stopped. You can stop today. You can stop today because God has created a new personality for you
in Jesus that is available to you. So, go through your own life, that’s what I do in communion. Go
through, while the other loved ones are giving out the bread and wine. I go through my own life and
I deal with those things that God has been troubling my conscience about and I don’t cry over them,
I don’t say I am sorry, I say I am stopping today. That’s what God wants from each of us this
morning and that’s the greatest gift we could offer to our Savior at this table.
So, loved ones if you are ready to do that, will you stand now and receive the invitation to
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors
and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His
Holy ways, draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble
confession unto Almighty God.
Let’s be seated as we pray.
Willingness To Change - CONSECRATION
Willingness to Change
1 Corinthians 11:23
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
On the first Sunday of every month, we here re-enact the last supper. Those of us who are Catholic
in background know it as the Mass and we think of it as the Mass and there are maybe those of us who
are Baptist who think of it just as the Lord’s Supper. Others of us with Episcopal or Methodist
background think of it as Communion or the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
But whatever we call it, to us here, it has meant the clearest explanation that God has ever given
of why His Son Jesus died and that’s of course what it was to the disciples around that table. They
were Jews and when Jesus said, “This is My body”, as He broke the bread which is broken for you,
they as Jews had often heard that language used before because in the ancient days of Israel, when a
priest offered an animal on the altar, he would explain that, “This is offered for you, this is
offered for your sins”, and the Jews knew that they weren’t simply trying to appease a heathen God
by killing their own animals. They knew that this animal stood for some incredible event that had
taken place somewhere in eternity that somehow enabled their God to be satisfied with the death of
this animal instead of their death, and so they knew very well that when you said, “This is for
you”, it meant that this animal was bearing the death and the punishment and shedding of blood that
you yourself should have borne.
So when Jesus looked at them over the table and gave them the bread and said, “This is My body which
is for you”, they knew very well that at least it meant that somehow Jesus was bearing some pain and
some agony that they should have borne for their sins. And yet loved ones, in a way there was a
sinking of their hearts because that’s all they had ever known in Judaism. All they had ever known
was that they could make sacrifices to God that He would regard in place of themselves and He would
therefore forgive their sins.
But the next day they would be back in their same sins and they would make more sacrifices for those
day’s sins and then after the night passed, they would be back sinning again next day. Every Jew who
heard those words, “This is for you” had a sinking feeling in his stomach because he knew the agony
that Paul knew. “The law was good but I was carnal” and “The good that I would, I cannot do, and the
evil I hate, is the very thing I do.”
So Jews for thousands of years had known that God was willing to forgive them of their sins. For
thousands of years people like David had written in their songs, “Blessed is the man whose sin is
covered”, but they longed for another promise that was made in the Old Testament. Jeremiah put it
like this, “Behold the days are coming when I will make a new covenant with the children of Israel,
not like the old covenant which I made with them in the days of their fathers when I took them out
of the land of Egypt. I will make a new covenant with them and I will put a new spirit within them.
I will write my laws on their inward parts. I will write them in their hearts.”
And Ezekiel said the same thing, “A new spirit I will give them and a new heart I will give them and
I will sprinkle clean water upon them” and every Jew knew that promise and he longed for a day when
he would be able to stop this eternal sinning, this eternal sacrificing for sins that he could not
avoid. He longed for the day when he would have a new heart and when he would want to do what God
wanted him to do from inside his heart and not just from outside in the books that he read.
That’s why the disciples’ hearts rose when Jesus, after He had distributed the bread, took the wine
and said, “This is the cup of the New Covenant in My blood” and their hearts bounded because they
realized then the promise is going to be made real. We are not only going to be free from the guilt
of our sins but we are going to be free from the power of sin. This man is somehow going to write
God’s law in our hearts so that we’re naturally and spontaneously like God.
Loved ones, that’s how the disciples explained it to all those who listened to them. Paul said to
them, “Now are we to sin, that grace may abound?” because that’s the way some Jews were doing it.
They were saying, “Well, God blots our sins out from His memory, He forgives us for our sins, so the
more we sin, the more He’ll be able to show us forgiveness”, and Paul said, “Are we to sin that
grace may abound?” And he immediately answered “by no means! How can we who died to sin still live
in it?” and then loved ones, he explained the miracle that took place in Jesus’ death.
He said, “Do you not know that all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into
His death. We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death so that as Christ was raised from
the dead, by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For we know that our old
self was crucified with Him, so that the body of sin might be destroyed and we might no longer be
enslaved to sin.” Loved ones, that’s what happened in Jesus on Calvary.
It wasn’t just that an angry God beat up on His son instead of those of us who really ought to have
received the beating, it wasn’t that at all. Our God is not a God who is unjust. The truth is that
in Jesus’ death, God did something to free you and me from that irrational streak of perversity
within us that prevents us being what we want to be, that’s it. And you know it, you know what it
is, it is actually the body of sin. Our body has been so used to living independent of God that it
has come under certain habits and addictions that we cannot get rid of.
Oh the easiest one is the dirty joke. You know that you don’t, you shouldn’t laugh at it, you know
you ought not to laugh at it but you are so preoccupied and so enslaved to the esteem of your
colleagues at the office or in class that you have to in some way appear to appreciate it or enjoy
And you know that their opinion often dominates your life. You know that you often go into the
office or you go into the classroom and that little eye is looking out for someone’s approval.
Looking out for someone to praise you so that when you come to situations where you know what is
right to do, you can’t do it. The good that you would, you cannot do, because this body of sin, this
body that is used by this independent life, this life that is rebellious against God and that runs
itself the way it wants. That body of sin prevents you doing it. The same, whatever the problem is,
whether it’s the diet problem or whether it’s the sex problem or whether it’s the worry over money
problem, they’re all the same, aren’t they? They’re all the same.
It’s our personality, that has got so used to trying to live depending on money for its security,
and pleasure for its happiness, on other people’s approval for its sense of importance, that it is
utterly enslaved to these things. So that many of us here this morning don’t feel in charge of our
own lives; so that we hear the things that God tells us he wants us to do this morning but we have
to cry out, “The good that I would, I cannot do”. And the answer is, “Because my personality is so
addicted to things for its security, to people for its sense of significance, to experiences and
events for its happiness that it won’t obey me.”
Loved ones that’s why Paul said, “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the
body of sin might be destroyed, might be rendered inoperative and we ourselves might no longer be
enslaved to sin.” This is what happened in Jesus’ death. God took your personality with all its
addictions and with all its habits and with all its compulsive feelings and He put it into His son
Jesus and when Jesus died, your old self died with Him and when Jesus was raised up, God raised a
version of you up that is new, clean and free and is able to obey Him. That’s it.
Einstein has only helped us to understand it more. Einstein has shown us how every event that takes
place in the universe, somehow is happening somewhere in the universe throughout time. That somehow
if you could get far enough away, you could see the events that took place 2000 years ago, that
they’re still occurring. And so it is with this eternal death of Jesus, loved ones.
God has put your personality into His Son and has utterly destroyed it with His Son that’s why Paul
says, “We were buried with Him”, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the
Father, we too might walk in newness of life and you can be free today. That’s what this communion
is about. This isn’t us offering up another sacrifice to God, trying to bribe Him to forgive us and
overlook our shortcomings. This is an opportunity for every one of us again to come into a new
deliverance from our old selves.
God is able to make real in you the transformation of your personality that took place in His Son
Jesus. God is able to do that for you today. He is able to recreate you. Why even question it when
you see new primroses every spring, why even doubt it when you see trees that look dead with brown
leaves or no leaves come alive in the springtime, why even question? But that of course God is
trying to get over to us in every way possible, “I can make you new this morning”, and He can.
If you say to me, “What do you need to be to do?” Ask God where He wants to change you today, what
part of your life He wants to change and then decide whether you’re willing to have that changed.
See, lust finds its power in your feeling that your body is your own and you have a right to make it
happy whenever you want. Now, being changed in Jesus, being baptized into His death means saying,
“Lord, you never had a woman. You were willing to be without, what physical happiness or
satisfaction you maybe had some right to. Am I willing for the same thing?” And you can see the
issue is not asceticism. The issue is not, never having intercourse again. The issue is, are you
willing to have only what Jesus wants you to have, are you willing therefore, to die to your right
to have what you want, when you want it.
The incredible thing is that if you come to a willingness to join Jesus on the Cross, God will give
you a new spirit this morning that will bring purity and cleanness and incredible though it is,
satisfaction and peace and fulfillment in that part of your life and of course it’s the same with
everything else. The same with the enslavement to people’s opinion. Would you be willing therefore
not to be liked by people? Would you be willing therefore only to have God’s approval on your life?
Would you be willing to be criticized tomorrow morning, to be run down, to be thought the most
foolish person in your class, would you be? That’s what God wants each of us to deal with this
morning and He will minister it to us if you look to Him, you know. The Spirit of Jesus is here in
this room and He will explain it to you and our place is to be willing for Him to change us.
Well are you willing? If you are, doesn’t matter whether you are Catholic or whether you’re
Presbyterian, doesn’t matter whether you’re Christian or not, doesn’t matter whether you have ever
taken communion or not. If you are willing for God to change you so that who you are the kind of
person He wants you to be and you’re willing to face the consequences of that change, then you can
receive the bread and the wine this morning and know that you are receiving the Spirit of Jesus into
your life and that Spirit is supernatural and miraculous in its power and can transform your life
Loved ones you need to decide if you’re willing for that. I think in a moment we all should stand so
that none of us feel embarrassed at all, but even if you do stand, only take the words to yourself
and the invitation to yourself, if you really are willing, really, do. Because otherwise you drink
damnation unto your own soul, you do. You just bring God’s wrath down upon you if you are unreal
this morning about the things. So only receive the invitation if you are willing to be what Jesus
actually made the new version of you to be in His death and resurrection. Only if you are willing to
live like Him, I ask you only then receive the invitation and take it to yourself. But if you do,
you can go out of here a changed person, changed and transformed.
Will you stand and receive the invitation.
You that do truly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors and intend to
lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His holy ways to
draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble confession
unto Almighty God.
Let us be seated as we pray.
Deciding For God - CONSECRATION
Deciding For God
1 Corinthians 11:23-29
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
For over 1900 years, on this day, the first Sunday of the year and the first communion, those who
have believed that Jesus is the Son of our Maker have renewed their covenant with God, and so we do
here in this family. We renew the covenant that we have made with God on this first Sunday. It’s
even more important for those of us who are wondering what we’re going to do with our lives, because
this is not only the beginning of a new year but it’s the beginning of a new decade, and it’s
momentous because even the most optimistic person wonders if this world will reach the end of this
decade? And so for all of us here in this room, it is a solemn and a serious moment. We are about to
set out together on a new decade in the life of the world and in our own lives.
So, it’s right for me to ask you and to ask myself, what we have done with our lives during the past
decade? And I would ask you to think of that just now as I am talking. Where has your life gone
during these past 10 years? What were you doing in 1970? All the uproar and excitement of the 60’s
had past and now the 70’s have passed also and you and I are about to go into the 80’s. I am 45,
I’ll be 55 this time 10 years hence. Many of you are 20, you will be 30 10 years hence, some of you
are 30, you will be 40 10 years hence, some of you are 60, you will be 70 10 years hence. Now, think
what are you going to do with your life during these next 10 years?
Loved ones, could I say to you that if you don’t decide, it’ll be decided for you. It seems only
yesterday when I graduated from Queens University in Belfast at the age of 20. It just seems
yesterday, and all of us who are at all past 30 or 35 will say the same: if you don’t decide, and if
you don’t determine the cause of your life, it will drift along on it’s own and you’ll waken up some
day and find that it’s all gone.
I’d remind you of the stanza in Robert Frost’s poem “Two Roads” where he says, “Oh I kept to the
first for another day, but knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back.”
“Oh I kept to the first” — the first road that he chose, “Oh I kept to the first for another day,
but knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.”
Many of us in this room will testify to the truth of that. If you don’t decide for yourself, the way
your life is going to go during this next decade, it will drift along in its own fashion and the
years will pass and you’ll wonder where they’ve gone. And you’ll wonder why you didn’t think about
it or get hold of yourself earlier.
So loved ones this is a solemn time this day, and I’d ask you, what are you going to do with your
life? Now, what are you going to have achieved at the end of these 10 years? And what is worth
achieving? So it’s worth having the $50,000 or the $100,000 in the bank or in the stocks and shares
— it’s good — but is that the whole target and goal of your 10 years? To have a home and the
automobiles and the equipment and the wife or the husband and the beginning of a family, they’re
good, it’s good to have that, but is that going to be the whole aim of your life during these next
Do you see that all those things disappear very fast? And it’s not that they’re bad but it’s that
they are not worthy for you to devote your whole precious life to. The fact is that those are the
other things that will be added unto you, and even those here who have them would say, “They’re
options, they aren’t the heart of life for us”, and many who have more of them than they would even
need, will say, “With all of those things I haven’t satisfaction in my life and I haven’t a sense of
meaning and worth and value in what I do day by day.”
So loved ones I’d ask you to consider this very day the direction of your life and where it’s going.
And then I’d ask you to re-examine your covenant with God. I’d remind you that a covenant is an
agreement. On God’s side, it’s His promise and His action in Jesus. It’s the mighty work that He has
done for us in Jesus, His Son, whereby He took our personalities that are so selfish and so enslaved
to people and so dependent on circumstances for their happiness, and He put them in His Son in a
cosmic miracle and destroyed them and recreated as new and fresh and clean, fit and able to trust
Him and to obey Him as our dear Father and to live a life of joy and liberty. That is what God has
done, that’s His part of the covenant. Our part is to allow that to be actualized in our lives by
submitting to the Holy Spirit whom He has promised us.
So I ask you, would you with me, examine again your covenant with your God? Have you done that
during this past year? Have you in fact given yourself to what God has done to you in Jesus? Have
you in fact begun to turn from people and things and circumstances for all that you need? Have you
begun to live depending on God for those things? And to what extent have you failed to do that? To
that very extent, the joy and liberty is either present or absent from your life. To that very
extent, you are either a man or woman that lives in joy or you are a man or woman that lives with a
burden on your shoulders. And I’d ask you now to examine your covenant with God.
Here is the way one dear man expressed it almost 200 years ago. “Dearly beloved, the Christian life
to which we are called is a life in Christ, redeemed from sin by Him and through Him consecrated to
God. Upon this life we have entered, having been admitted into the New Covenant of which our Lord
Jesus Christ is mediator and which He sealed with His own blood that it might stand forever. On one
side the covenant is God’s promise that He will fulfill in and through us all that He declared in
Jesus Christ, who is the Author and Perfector of our faith. That His promise still stands we are
sure for we have known His goodness and proved His grace in our lives day by day. On the other side,
we stand pledged to live no more unto ourselves, but to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us,
and has called us so to serve him that the purposes of His coming might be fulfilled.
From time to time we renew our vows of consecration especially when we gather at the table of our
Lord, but on this day, we meet expressly as generations of our Fathers have met that we may joyfully
and solemnly renew the covenant which bound them and binds us to God. Let us then, remembering the
mercies of God and the hope of His calling, examine ourselves by the light of His Spirit that we may
see wherein we have failed or fallen short in faith and practice, and considering all that this
covenant means, may give ourselves anew to God. Let us pray.
Dear Lord, we would now examine ourselves before you, humbly confessing our sins and watching our
hearts, lest by self deceit we shut ourselves out from your presence. Father, we would confess with
shame any slowness to learn of Jesus, any reluctance to follow Him, any time when You have spoken
and called and we have not given heed. Any time when Your beauty has shown forth and we have been
blind, any time when You have stretched out Your hands to us through our friends and we have passed
by, anytime when we have taken great benefits with little thanks, when we have been unworthy of Your
changeless love. Dear Lord we would confess before You any poverty in our worship, any formality and
selfishness in our prayers, any inconstancy or unbelief, any neglect of fellowship in the means of
grace, any hesitating witness for Christ. We would confess any false pretences or willful ignorance
of your ways.
Lord we would confess before You anytime that we have wasted our own time or misused our gifts, when
we have excused our own wrong doing or evaded our responsibilities when we have been unwilling to
overcome evil with good or have drawn back from the Cross. Father, we would confess before You that
often so little of your love has reached others through us and that we have borne so lightly wrongs
and sufferings that were not our own, times when we have cherished the things that divide us from
others, when we have made it hard for them to live with us, when we have been thoughtless in our
judgments, hasty in condemnation and grudging in our forgiveness.
Dear Lord forgive us if we have made no ventures in fellowship, if we have kept in our heart a
grievance against another, if we have not sought reconciliation, if we have been eager for the
punishment of wrong doers and slow to seek their redemption.
Dear Father we know that You have put those things as far as the east is from the west. So you have
removed those transgressions far from you by putting us into Your dear Son Jesus and destroying
forever the source of all that rebellion. Father we know therefore, that as the 70’s have ended, so
has ended our lives as they have been lived up to this present moment. and as far as You are
concerned, they are finished and dead and crucified.
Lord we thank You for that. We thank You that we are able to rise up and to begin again this present
year. We thank You Father that You are the God of new beginnings. We thank You that insofar as we
are ready to believe it, so our old self and all our old life has been crucified with Christ. Lord
we leave it now behind us.
Father we would take hold of the resurrection that has taken place in Jesus and we would accept that
there is a new us that is available this moment from heaven and Father we would receive that new me
by faith and we would trust You by Your Holy Spirit to manifest it in us and through us day by day
so that, our Father, the old will pass away and all things will become new for us this day.
Our Father, we would begin this year and this decade as new people who have finished with the old
ways and have turned from the old method of living and are living in a new way trusting You as our
dear Father and giving ourselves wholly to Your purposes and no longer turning to our own. Dear
Lord, we thank You that this is possible because of what You have done in Jesus and we grasp it with
all our hearts for Your glory. Amen.
The New Year’s Resolution? - CONSECRATION
A New Year’s Resolution?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
One of the rituals that we went through in Ireland at the opening of a new year was the question
that was always put by our mom or dad to us on Old Years Night and the question was what New Year’s
resolutions have you made and then we would reply: to speak more respectfully to our parents in the
new year or to have our homework done by Saturday morning or to get up for prayer faithfully every
morning in our rooms. And that kind of practice, I think, has diminished in Ireland and probably
here in America, too. I think there are several reasons for it. I’m sure that one is in our free
swinging society we have tended to dilute the absolutes more and more and so we have tended to feel
that whatever we were doing was right as long as we enjoyed it and as long as it felt good. So I
think there has been a tendency in us to feel that the kind of behavior that we’re practicing at the
present time is what comes naturally to us, it’s what feels good, so it must be right. I think that
has tended to discourage us from this practice of making New Year resolutions. I also think there
has been an increasing feeling among us that to use your will in any way was, if not an un-American
activity, at least it was apt to bring terrible inhibitions to your life and terrible guilt.
So there has been a tendency among us to feel that exercising your will to hold to some resolutions
is not the healthiest thing and you should just be what you are and let it all hang out. I think as
well as that, many of us who have entered in some sense into the spirit filled life have gotten the
idea that God does it all. You know that comes from our emphasizing that the Father actually
delivers you. I’ve noticed within some of you, loved ones, there is a tendency to think that
therefore there is no place for exercising the will. You just kind of “let go and let God” and I
recognize that some of the expressions that we use in connection with the fullness of the Spirit can
be misinterpreted that way. I think that many of us who regard ourselves as being spirit filled
think that all you do is lie back and let God do it all. So that also discourages us from the idea
of making New Year resolutions. So I put the question to you, is there any place for New Year
resolutions and if there is some place for New Year resolutions, what is it?
I would like to start first of all by pointing out plainly to us all what the place is not for New
Year resolutions. You’ll get the clue about that place from a phrase that we often use, “New Year
resolutions are made to be broken.” We say that because we will make a resolution to do something
like “I will never lose my temper throughout 1980” and then on the second of January we blow it and
we kind of try to laugh it off and say oh, well, New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken. Loved
ones, there are obviously things that we make resolutions about that cannot be affected by our
resolving and it’s important for us to see that. There are things that we try to deal with by means
of our will power that obviously have a greater power than our will has and these things simply
cannot be subdued by our will power.
We need to know where those things are and the clue is if you make a resolution that you cannot keep
— not a resolution that you do not keep — because some of us decide that our resolutions were not
a very good plan anyway at the beginning and we simply change them– but if you have made a New Year
resolution and you cannot keep it then you’re dealing with a power that cannot be tackled purely by
your will or the exercise of your will. It would just help us all a lot if we saw that plain fact.
If you make a New Year resolution or any kind of resolution that you find you’re not able to keep,
you can’t keep it, then you are dealing with a power there within your personality that will not
yield to will power. In other words, you’re dealing with downright, plain carnality. It will never
yield to New Year resolutions.
That power of carnality is described there in Romans and it might be good just to look at it because
it states plainly where that power comes from. It is Romans 7:15, “I do not understand my own
actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Now that is carnality, loved
ones. See, it is described in the verse before, “We know that the law is spiritual but I am carnal,
sold under sin. I do not do what I want but I do the very thing I hate.” If you find yourself making
a resolution and you find you cannot keep it then that’s what you’re dealing with. Now what is the
power that is opposing so successfully your will? Well, there it is in verse 17, “So then it is no
longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.” Sin is a power within you and that’s the
You remember we used to explain it often on this diagram of body, soul and spirit. You remember
we’ve described, loved ones, how you either work from within yourself, from within your spirit
through your soul and through your body to the outside world or you work from the outside in through
your body and in through your soul and into your spirit. We’ve said often that real sin is trying to
get from people and things and circumstances. If you think of the personality as governed by your
spirit and then expressing itself through your soul and then expressing itself through your body,
we’ve said often that sin is trying to get from the world, from people and from circumstances and
from things, the happiness and the security and the significance that you are meant to get from God.
That is what sin is, it’s a power.
When you find yourself making a New Year resolution that you cannot keep, it’s because that power
still operates in you in some way. It doesn’t matter how much resolving you do, you will never, in
fact, be able to overcome that power. There is only one way to overcome that power and that is the
crucifixion that took place on the Cross with Jesus, when that old self that operated the wrong way
was crucified with Christ. The only way for that to be made real in you is for you to be made
willing to die with Jesus and that’s what Paul says, you remember, in Romans 6:7, “He who has died
is freed from sin.” Not he who resolves or makes New Years resolutions, but he who has died is freed
from sin. Now if I could just explain it in a plain example. If you find yourself being jealous and
you know that jealousy is a problem in your life and you resolve at the beginning of 1980, or you
resolve at some time in your life, I will not be jealous. Then someone comes along, sings
beautifully and everybody praises them or speaks cleverly and everybody thinks they’re wonderful,
and you begin to find that jealousy rising within you. Then recognize that there you are dealing
with carnality and you’re dealing with the power of sin that at least in that area of your life is
still ruling and still running your life, that at least in that area of life self still rules. In
that area of your life you are still living a life independent of God. You are still in some way
looking for things and circumstances and people for the love that you were meant to get from God and
so you begin to track that down. Really, that’s what you do.
A New Year resolution that is broken is a beautiful gift from the Father to give you a clue as to
where you should begin to track down your state of consecration in Jesus. That’s what you should do.
You should simply say to the Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit I have this jealousy within. Now jealousy, we
all know is connected with what people think of you, it’s connected with their approval of you, it’s
connected with your reputation compared with other people’s reputation, so obviously you begin to
deal with the Holy Spirit in that way. Holy Spirit in what way am I not really dwelling at peace in
Jesus as He was insulted and despised and looked down upon and unjustly criticized by those around
Him, in what way, Holy Spirit, am I not willing to take my place permanently with Jesus? In what
way, Holy Spirit, am I still yearning for other people’s praises, in what way do I still want to
live independent of God’s approval, trying to get man’s approval. Then allow the Holy Spirit to show
you, loved ones. Allow Him to show you where you are still yearning for every little bit of praise
that comes from your peers. Then of course, try to deal with that question.
Would you be willing to die to that? Would you be willing to be ill thought of by your friends, to
be despised by those around you, to be looked down upon as long as you had your Father’s approval?
Loved ones, New Year resolutions that are broken are dear gifts and guides from God to you as to
where you are still not on the Cross with Jesus. It’s the same with greed, you see. If you resolve I
am not going to be greedy in this New Year, I am not, I am not going to be greedy or covetous, and
you find greed or covetousness rising up inside you, then don’t be silly. Don’t keep on resolving I
am not going to be greedy; I am not going to be covetous. See that there is still sin dwelling
within you. There is still within you the power of independent life. In some way you are still
living from the world in instead of from God out. Ask the Holy Spirit, why am I covetous? In what
way am I still depending on things for my security? In what way am I still depending on things for
my happiness? Then begin to deal with your dear Savior on the Cross and look into His eyes and say,
“Lord Jesus, you had a loin cloth, just one coat, and even on the Cross you hadn’t even a garment
on. You had nothing that you could call your own. Lord, you’re asking me would I be willing to
accept my place with you and accept that kind of life.” Then be down to earth about it, you see, ask
yourself if you would. Continue to do that over the days and the weeks until you come to a place
where you’re absolutely willing to have only what Jesus wants you to have.
Loved ones, that’s the place when you’ve come to a death to that self that wants things from the
world. That’s what you do when you find you are making New Year resolutions that you’re breaking.
See that it’s a guide to carnality within you and that in some way you have to come into a full
death with Jesus. So would you think of that just for a moment then before I share the last part? Do
you know in your life somewhere where you are making New Year resolutions and you’re not able to
keep them? That’s a sin and that’s not God’s will. Don’t get desperate about the thing in the wrong
way. Don’t go on trying to beat it down with your will power. The issue is not your will power
there. The issue is that there is sin still dwelling in you and that’s due to a completely wrong
attitude that you have towards Jesus, a completely wrong attitude in a whole area of your life.
I’ve shared with you brothers and I’m sure you sisters have something of the same problem we have
with evil thoughts or with unclean thoughts, but I’ve shared often with you that when you have a
problem with lust, the issue is not overcoming by will, the issue is find out where you do not have
the same attitude to women as Jesus does. That’s it. In what way are you still wanting something
that Jesus was willing to be without? Are you wanting something that God does not want to give you
at this moment? In other words, the problem with New Year resolutions that are broken is bigger than
just the little tip of the iceberg. It usually involves a whole attitude in your life towards Jesus
on the Cross, an attitude which is really rejecting Jesus and saying, “Lord, you can die for me, but
you’re not getting me onto that Cross. I am going to stay here where I am.” Loved ones, it is a
basic rejection of your Savior. So deal with it that way.
Now, is there any place for New Year resolutions? Well, the beautiful truth is this: once you allow
the old self to be slain and that spirit within becomes not only a capital “S” as the Spirit
regenerates you, but the massive “I” that is there is crossed out on the Cross — that moment when
the Holy Spirit completely fills your spirit and gives you a freedom from that problem of Romans
7:15, a freedom from carnality — then loved ones, you’re at last free to express that throughout
the rest of your personality and the vital factor in doing that is the part of your soul that
connects up with your spirit. You remember that we’ve talked often about the conscience as being the
part of your spirit that connects up with your will and your soul and the only way in which the Holy
Spirit can express the purity of Jesus throughout your personality is through your will. The Holy
Spirit can do it no other way. Unless you exercise your will, the Holy Spirit can never redeem the
rest of your personality.
There are many, loved ones, who have experienced some fullness of the spirit and have experienced
some measure of a crisis death to self with Jesus on the Cross but they have kept it there. They
hold that spirit within until eventually they draw back even from that surrender and fall back into
self. So there are many, loved ones, who have the wrong idea that somehow the Holy Spirit will
spread Himself throughout their personality without any exercise of their will on their parts and so
they fall into absolute passivity. Eventually, of course, they fall back under the domination of the
elemental spirits of the universe. Now the truth is that the only way that the Holy Spirit is going
to be able to redeem the whole of your personality is through your will. So after you have settled
yourself on the Cross with Jesus, the rest of your redemption throughout the rest of your life is
going to be exercised by the exercise of your will. If you remember it’s like the conquering of the
land of Canaan. You remember how that land was conquered by the Israelites as they came through the
wilderness and then came to the Promised Land and they could do nothing until God, by a mighty
deliverance, moved them across the River Jordan. So it is with us.
You can do nothing about the redemption of your whole personality until you experience that great
deliverance whereby God slays the old man on the Cross. But then you remember there took place the
detailed, day by day redemption of the whole of the land through human commitment and through
detailed battles that were fought on different mountains and different valleys. So it is with our
own personality, loved ones. The only way that personality will ever be redeemed is by our will
exercising power and control over our mind and emotions and then over our bodies so that our whole
personality comes under that purity. So God, through His Spirit, will show you that Jesus wants to
waken up in the morning to a different way than the way you’ve been doing it for years. So the
Spirit of Jesus will want to express that to you and say to you, “When you get up in the morning I
want your mind to be bright and alert, I want you to meet me and be filled with my presence before
you meet anybody else.” So that will mean making resolutions about the time you get up in the
morning. You get up at 6:00 or you get up at 5:00 to give yourself time. It will mean resolutions
about the book that you’re going to use for Bible study. It will mean resolutions about the time
you’re going to spend in prayer. Unless you make those resolutions, unless you exercise your will to
bring those things about, your life will go nowhere, it won’t, honestly.
Loved ones, God does not force you, only Satan forces you. God requires the cooperative action of
your will and if you don’t exercise your will in this way, the Holy Spirit will never be able to
redeem your life. I do think that if you don’t mind me saying, I think that some of you do wobble
like jellyfish for years. You wobble over onto the Cross and then you wobble over this way and you
wobble over that way and you drift and you hope somehow that the Holy Spirit will rock you into a
heavenly victory and it doesn’t work that way. The fact is the Holy Spirit delivers you from the
power of sin which prevents you obeying God and then you exercise your will to obey God — but the
Holy Spirit will not make you obey God apart from the exercise of your will. What the Holy Spirit
does through the victory of Jesus on the Cross is to deliver you from that power that prevents you
obeying God so that you are free to obey Him. In other words, the victory on the Cross means you are
free not to sin. You can still sin if you want to but you are at last free not to sin if you don’t
want to. You don’t have to lose your temper, you don’t have to lie in bed unable to get up, you
don’t have to be an invalid. At last you are free to obey God and so the Spirit of Jesus will point
out to you ways in which you speak to your friends that are wrong, ways that are harsh and
sarcastic, ways that you have at work that are not right, ways that are unkind and cruel, attitudes
that you have to other people that are critical, ways in which you don’t accept other people fully.
The Holy Spirit will reveal habits of mind and habits of emotion that you have developed over the
years as a servant of sin and you need to make resolutions to change those because, of course, sin
is no longer your master, Christ is. He makes new your personality.
So really, it is in a way like a great mountain that was at one time dominated by the river of sin
and it made all kinds of ruts in your personality and now sin has been destroyed on the Cross with
Jesus and there are new ruts that have to be made by the Spirit of Jesus, completely different ones
in different ways. There are new mental habits and new emotional habits; there is a renewing of your
emotions and a renewing of your mind that has to be exercised by the power of your will. Therefore,
loved ones, it is vital to make New Year resolutions. It is vital to note carefully the ones that
you are not able to keep because they require a different kind of treatment to the ones that you’re
able to keep. But it is vital to make New Year resolutions. You will move nowhere in your life in
progressing with God unless you align your will strongly with His. Unless you exercise your will
with His there will be no victory in your life. You remember Jesus said that. He said, “Be it unto
you according to your faith.” As you believe and as you will, so it will be in your life. I would
ask you at this moment what New Year resolutions are you going to make for 1980, where is the
growing edge of Jesus in your life, and you have to know where it is. You have to know where He is
beginning to deal with you. So I put that to you. Where is Jesus maturing and growing in you? In
other words, what resolutions does He want you to make for 1980 and then have you any besetting
sins? Have you any New Year resolutions that you cannot keep? Those are the areas where you have to
examine your attitude to Jesus on the Cross. Have you really come to the place where you’ve died
with Him there? Loved ones, will you think about that because I would rather you make clear
decisions tonight and take action.
(Questions from the congregation):
John: Can I ask a question about the basic necessity of the will over a problem? I want you to
clarify something. You said in the beginning that there are some things that cannot be subdued by
willpower. In what way do you suggest you employ the will to solve the problem?
Rev. O’Neill: Yes, I think so. I would say, first of all, John, that the things that seem unable to
be dealt with by the sheer exercise of our will are those things that are listed as the works of the
flesh in Galatians 5: envy, strife, jealousy, that kind of thing. And it seems that the will cannot
deal with those because those themselves are an expression of a will that is hostile to God. So the
fact is, you’re trying to exercise a will against an evil will within you that has no intention of
yielding and so the issue to be dealt with is that evil will within. But the evil will within comes
because we have a totally wrong direction in our lives in that area — because in that area of our
lives we’re living completely the opposite way from the way God intended. That’s what has to be
dealt with in that instance. In order for the will to be able to exercise itself over, for instance,
jealousy or greed, the whole wrong orientation of the personality towards people and circumstances
and things instead of to God, has to be changed. That can only be changed by the Cross and that can
only be changed if we’re willing to have that change be made real. So you have to be willing. You
have to be willing to take your place on the Cross with Jesus.
John: (Question inaudible)
I would say not but maybe I could explain my own situation. I found that one of my problems, and I
think I have many problems, but one of the problems was selfish ambition — a desire — and you can
see it in those silly guys like ourselves that find ourselves on stage and nearly always have this
problem or come against it sooner or later — selfish ambition, a desire to be well thought of, a
desire to be well known, a desire to be looked up to, to be respected, all that kind of thing. I
found that however much I resolved, from that comes pride and jealousy and envy and criticism
because you have to knock down other people to make sure that at least in your own eyes, you are
more important than them. So I found that however much I resolved to overcome the pride or the
jealousy or the envy or the criticism, I could not. So I went to the Holy Spirit and said what is
the basic problem underneath these works of the flesh — jealousy, envy, pride — and the Holy
Spirit gradually over a period of days and indeed weeks began to show me the problem was a simple
one. I think this is the heart of it, John. This isn’t something that I can tell you how to do, it
is something that you have to find out from the Holy Spirit yourself because your situation and
everybody’s situation is going to be a very personal one and different from mine. But I went to the
Holy Spirit and asked what lies under this jealousy and under this pride. Of course, gradually over
the days and the weeks and the months the Holy Spirit began to show me the very simple fact that it
was a selfish ambition within me, a desire to be somebody. Then the Holy Spirit gradually began to
show me how utterly opposed and different that was to my dear Savior who was the King of the
Universe and yet, was willing to be regarded as a criminal, as a political odd man out, as somebody
that was despised and insulted and struck with whips for me.
I began to see, of course, that my attitude was utterly opposed to His and not only utterly opposed
but was ridiculous in the light of who He was, and that He was asking me, “Will you join me on this
Cross, will you be willing to be what I am?” — and it was at that time that I saw that there wasn’t
a real choice. The only choice was you reject Him completely or of course, you see that you have to
be willing to take your place with Him on the Cross. So that was the question that I had to settle,
John, was I willing to take my place with Jesus on the Cross, which meant was I willing to be badly
thought of by other people. Not only that, was I willing to be despised by other people, not only
that, but was I willing to be an absolute failure as Jesus appeared to be in the eyes of His friends
and His relatives, not only that, but for me was I prepared to be a nothing, a zero if God wanted
that for His glory. It was in that deep area that I had to make my peace with God and I think each
man and woman has to do that separately and alone because I can try to tell you it, but it’s
impossible to tell you all that is involved there. Suffice it to say that I did come to a place
where at last, Lord Jesus, I would rather be with You than with all the important and the famous
people in the world, I would rather do something that would bring glory for You than do something
that will make me approved of by my peers. It was then that the Holy Spirit cleansed me — and I
hate to say this because I know you shouldn’t say you are free from sin, you should let other people
say that — but at least I don’t have problems, it seems to me, with the pride, ambition, envy and
the jealousy that I had in those days because the Holy Spirit cleanses that out from you. So John,
when that is cleansed by the Holy Spirit then it seems to me it’s easy to make resolutions about
other things that took place in your life as a result of that.
John: Would you say that before when you were talking about the will that it could also be described
Rev. O’Neill: I would say that the attitude was what I was describing there. The attitude is the
attitude of the whole spirit to things and the will is the agent that expresses that attitude and
the fact is that while that inner attitude is unchanged, the will will express that but when that
attitude is changed so that the beauty and the love of Jesus comes into it, then the will can
express that. I would say that there is where the work needs to be done, in the spirit, which is why
we talk about the spirit needing to be filled or the cleansing of the spirit and then the will is
simply the human agent that expresses that to the rest of the psychological being and then to the
physical being. I would say that this is more the realm of attitudes because that’s where I had my
problems. It was not so much in individual actions or individual words, it was an attitude or a
response or my whole motive life that was unclean and it was unclean of course, because I wasn’t
willing to be on the Cross with Jesus.
So Susie’s bringing up the issue could you be delivered from the old self or delivered from
carnality, delivered from the power of sin in your life and still have problems exercising your
will, because for instance of demonic oppression. There are three levels of demon activity in a
personality. There is demonic obsession where the mind becomes obsessed with certain thoughts,
certain ways of thinking, gets certain fixations. Then there is demonic oppression, which is simply
Satan oppressing us with maybe many temptations or many hard or heavy trials. Then there is demonic
possession, which is the possession of the spirit by demons and that can only take place, it seems
to me, when the will is submitted to Satan. I believe it’s a contradiction to say that your spirit
could be filled with the Holy Spirit and get possessed by a demon, so I think that you cannot have.
It is possible that a mind could be obsessed by Satan with certain ways of thinking to such an
extent that the mind would be reluctant, for instance, to obey the will, and it is possible in that
case that the will will have to exercise itself often over the mind. All I would say is that victory
is assured because the victory has been won in there and the mind has to eventually submit.
Now it may take continual exercising of the will over it, but it will submit and it’s not something
where a person has to be delivered from a demon. In fact, the Bible says “He who is within you is
greater than he that is without” and so you are able, once your spirit is submitted to Jesus, to
exercise your will successfully and victoriously over your mind or emotions. So I would say yes, it
can make it a longer, drawn out battle than would otherwise be the case, but to a certain extent it
is just a variation of the need to have our mind and emotions renewed that everybody will face. I,
in my own life, have tried to steer well clear of what you remember the black comedian joked, “the
devil made me do it.” I have tried to steer well clear of using any excuse that, “well, it’s Satan.”
Instead I have tried to deal very strongly with “Holy Spirit, it’s me, deal with me, show me, and if
it’s something else then show me that later.” I would tend to go that way. If I could put it this
way, obsession of the mind is a pretty obvious thing. It is fairly obvious when a loved one’s mind
is obsessed with Satanic activity. Similarly emotions, when their emotions are controlled by Satan,
it’s pretty obvious. I think the greater number of us who are out operating in the ordinary world
are not facing that kind of problem.
Speaker 3: How much time should we spend in praying or reading the Bible each day?
Rev. O’Neill: I think all of us have gone through all our times when we’ve said an hour was
necessary for us, a half an hour was necessary for us, fifteen minutes for us, one minute as we get
into the car, that kind of thing. We’ve all gone through that so I think, brother, you can’t settle
it by stating a time but it is obvious that a certain amount of time is required to withdraw the
mind from its normal activities, from thinking about your job, thinking about your clothes, thinking
about your money situation, thinking about your friends, thinking about your studies. It takes time
for the emotions to be withdrawn from their interactivity with other people and it does seem very
difficult to get together with God in a quiet, peaceful way, so that there’s a real relationship
between you and Him set up in under half an hour. It seems very difficult to do it. Presumably it is
like most other things, as you do it over the years, so you are able to come into His presence much
faster and much more effectively. I would say this: the guideline should be when do you really feel
you’ve got hold of God? Do you feel you have really got hold of God? That should be the guide for us
and we should not get up off our knees until we do get hold of God.
I think one of the great mistakes that many of us make is we say 15 minutes is the time I can give
or half an hour is the time I can give, and then we get up from God’s presence whether we’ve got in
touch with Him or not and that is what turns our prayer life into just our kind of prayer wheel that
we turn every day. So I would judge it maybe more on that level, brother, have I really got hold of
God? In regard to Bible study, it is very difficult to see that you can do more than just read 10
verses and read a brief comment very quickly in less than 15 minutes. It is very difficult to see
how you can do much more than just superficially accept somebody else’s comments on scripture in
less than 15 minutes. It would seem, again, that you need at least half an hour to begin to wrestle
with scripture in yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to interpret this to you. So brother, maybe
that’s some guide.
It is obvious loved ones, that if you – and I guarantee this, and I am prepared to bet heavily if
you were betting people — but you’re Christians and you cannot bet — but I am prepared to bet
heavily that if we went round all of you here in this room, the problems that you have in your lives
stem from lack of an effective and regular Quiet Time. I would say that without any question, if we
went around each one of us here in this room, you would be heartily amazed and ashamed at the five
minutes, the 10 minutes that we give to prayer three times a week, sometimes once a week, some of us
don’t pray at all regularly. You would be amazed how few of us read the Bible regularly day after
day. You would be amazed how few of us read it with any kind of Bible study notes by our side. You
would be amazed how few of us read it with commentaries that will take us any deeper in our
understanding of scripture. Of course, it would be surprising to find any of us that actually write
notes as we study the Bible. So I think you’d be surprised and yet, loved ones, that’s where
It’s on that that our whole relationship with God hangs and if all of us in this room would only
begin half an hour of prayer and half an hour of Bible study every day, in the morning if you can do
it, but as long as you do it regularly, it would change your life. Your life would be changed and
you wouldn’t be always asking to find out how things come about, you would know it. You would have
no need for anyone to teach you because the Holy Spirit would teach you and that is the greatest
need. Jesus spoke the truth when He said, “Unless you become as little children you will in no wise
enter the kingdom of heaven” and most of our relationship with God comes back to very simple things
like regular prayer and Bible study every day.
Speaker 4: (Question inaudible)
Rev. O’Neill: Yeah, that was my excuse. That was my excuse: my mom was illegitimate and I felt that
I had inherited from her her inferiority complex and I felt in some way that was not only the
rationalization for my situation but it was justification for it. I felt that and the Holy Spirit
just showed me that wherever there is an inferiority complex, it is still a preoccupation with
position one way or the other, in that case, inferior position, but it is still preoccupation with
position and with whether we are inferior or superior and therefore self is still seeking for a
position apart from God. I think that things are very understandable. I think that’s the cleverness
of Satan that he makes it all very reasonable and very rational and very plausible but it is still a
sin that will cast us into hell and steal from us the brightness and the beauty of heaven. It is
still, therefore, a hateful thing in God’s eyes and still will bring about our destruction.
So loved ones, will you deal with the things in your life as they need to be dealt with? I would
encourage you strongly to make some resolutions for 1980. That’s the only way you are ever going to
redeem and reclaim the whole of your promised land and that personality of yours is precious, it is
precious, it is unique, there is no other like it and there is no other to replace it in heaven.
There will be no other to replace it in God’s friendship. If you miss heaven, God will miss you and
he will mourn over you. Your personality is a precious one and Jesus came to redeem it wholly and
fully. I ask you to allow Him to do that and to take part in it with Him with all your heart. Let’s
Dear Lord, we thank you for your death on Calvary, the great mystery and great miracle that changed
us and transformed us. Lord Jesus, if you can see any area where our will has no power in our lives
then will you make that plain to us now so that we can deal with that carnality, so that we can come
into a right relationship to you on the Cross. Then Lord, will you show us where our will is to
exercise itself over our mind and emotions, where we are to make New Year resolutions, where we are
to change our ways, to change the way we talk to people, to change the way we think. Then Lord
Jesus, we pray that you would be pleased with the beauty and the glory of our lives that results
from such resolutions. Lord, we thank you for 1980. Thank you for a whole decade stretching before
us. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the joy of looking forward to years where we don’t need to fear
because we know that our place with You is already settled and should we die tomorrow, we will be by
Your side. Lord, thank you for that we can now enjoy the ride through this decade and we can enjoy
it with you and have our lives made useful by your life and count for something in eternity. Lord,
thank you. We give ourselves to you now for this New Year, the first year of the rest of our lives
as newly born babes this day who will live for your glory. 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.
Acknowledgement of Belief - CONSECRATION
A Good Confession
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Could you take your Bible and turn to Romans 10:10. I’ll just mention a few things, loved ones and
then we’ll open the microphone up for all of us to share. Romans 10:10, “For man believes with his
heart and so is justified and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.” That’s what faith is,
both of those things. Believe in your heart inside and then make your outward life match what you
believe in your heart, confess with your lips. And if you are anxious to be closer to God and to
have a living and a real relationship with Him, you need to do those two things. Believe in your
heart and then confess with your lips and the Greek word is “make your lips agree with what is in
your heart” and that’s true, loved ones. It’s true in ordinary life. Faith includes inside belief
and outward action, and you never get the benefits that are promised to you by your belief unless
the outward action takes place.
I don’t know if you have a gas guzzler, but many of us who have tend to say, “I believe if I would
only buy a Rabbit diesel I would save a mint” and if you keep on saying that week after week, you
will save precisely nothing — until eventually you go into a car lot and you actually buy a Rabbit
diesel. Then you fill it up with regular gas and it coughs and splutters and you spend most of the
time pushing it and you can keep on saying, “I believe if I only would put diesel oil into it, it
would go like a bird.” But if you keep on saying simply “I believe if I put diesel oil into it, it
would go right,” but you never actually put diesel oil into it, then you will never get the benefits
of what you say you believe — until eventually you draw up to a pump someday and you give up the
unequal battle and you put diesel oil into the diesel. Then you begin to experience the benefits.
Now loved ones, it’s the same with our Father. You will not receive His life, the life of the Holy
Spirit into you unless you act in accordance with your belief. So sometimes I think we run the risk
in a group like ourselves of being mental, closet Christians. That is, we say we believe that we
were buried with Christ and that we were recreated new persons who can depend on Him and not on
people or things, we continue to say we believe that but we never actually do it.
I could give you one fairly plain instance and then I’ll sit down. It is the last page of the Old
Testament if you’d look at it. I use it because I fought over it so much myself and it’s such a
plain promise and it comes home to so many of us because we all have pocketbooks. Malachi 3:10, the
last page of the Old Testament, Malachi 3:10, a promise: “Bring the full tithes into the storehouse
that there may be food in my house and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will
not open the windows of heaven for you and poor down for you an overflowing blessing.” Tithes are a
tenth of your income, that’s what it means, and the promise is if you give me a tenth of your
income, I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.
Many of us lie awake, tossing and turning at night, worried and anxious with our stomachs churning
inside because our finances aren’t working out and we keep on saying,” I believe if I would only
give to God what is His and not rob Him, if I would only give a tenth of my income to Him, His
promise is sure, He will pour out blessings from the windows of heaven.” We keep on saying “I
believe that, I believe that”, but do you know all the powers of Satan are organized to prevent you
ever actually putting your income on a sheet of paper and dividing by ten and then making a check
out for that. That’s it. And I think you all know I am not talking about giving it here. Give it
here if Jesus guides you but getting rid of it somewhere, even if you burn the stuff, doing what God
tells you to do.
It’s interesting, loved ones, all the powers of Satan are against you actually doing the doing part
of faith because that’s the part that opens the power of the Holy Spirit. I’d just finish on this:
I wonder how many of you are really people who love Jesus and who believe in Him in your heart and
you’ve actually never confessed it with your lips. I wonder do you see how important that is, that
when you confess with your lips you start the life of the Holy Spirit flowing through your being and
you begin to be saved. That’s it. You begin to be saved, your personality begins to be saved and
renewed and cleansed and changed by the Holy Spirit pouring through you as you give an outlet to the
Holy Spirit at the other end — be that some kind of outward obedience or some kind of confession.
I would just mention this, if you are someone that is in your heart respectful and loving of Jesus
and you have never actually said that aloud to anyone, I would urge you to do it even this morning.
If you’re very shy and you’re just very uncertain, I would just come to that microphone and I would
just say my name is Ernest O’Neill and Jesus is my Savior and my Lord. I would just start there. If
you are in that situation where you’ve never actually voiced it, here are loving friends and family
around you and they certainly are rooting for you. Now some of the rest of us may want to share some
of the light that God has given us, but I would urge you to do it briefly so that as many of us can
share as possible.
Superhuman Life - CONSECRATION
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Here’s an ordinary phone booth and up to it walks an ordinary man called Clark Kent and he steps
into the phone booth and then his suit jacket bursts open and his muscles swell and his chest swells
and his glasses fall off and suddenly out of that phone booth walks, no out of that phone booth
flies a projectile of blue and red color and that is Super Man! I think wherever you look in human
history, whether it is in the Greek and Roman myths of gods who come to earth or whether it’s the
Celtic sagas of those heroes who are half man and half god, or whether it’s our modern space fiction
stories of “the force which is with you”, all of us human beings, it’s incredible, but all of us
throughout the centuries have dreamed of some super life, some super life that will enable us to
fly, to transcend time, to somehow overcome even the powers of nature itself.
It’s as if there is something in all of us, in all of our forefathers, that wants to burst the bonds
of this earthbound existence that we have. It’s strange because it kind of ties up with a personal
frustration that probably every one of us in this room have felt at some time or another. Probably
every one of us here has felt at some time in our lives, that we were put here to achieve something.
As you look back to the twenties or if you’re in your twenties, you know that you have a great sense
that you are here to achieve something. You are here to do something that nobody else can actually
do and that, of course, kind of ties up with a commission that the Creator has said he has given us
way at the beginning. If you’d like to look at it in Genesis, it’s Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed
them and said to them be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion
over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon
It’s interesting that probably every one of us in this room didn’t need to read that verse because
we would testify that in our twenties especially, we sensed we are here to do something that nobody
else can do. We are here to achieve something. And then in the thirties, in our thirties, we begin
to get preoccupied with survival, with just economic and financial and social survival. And this
great subduing of the world that we were going to do begins to fade into the background as we start
to depend on this world for survival. Then it’s not long before far from subduing the world, we’re
being subdued by the world. And yet there isn’t one man or one woman in this room that has not
dreamed at times of those early days when you thought you were going to do something in the world,
you were going to achieve something. Probably there isn’t one of us here who hasn’t little
wonderings and little regrets. I wonder, could we have lived this life by our youthful aspirations?
I wonder, have we been right to join the middle age cynics and decide that we were foolish young
It’s true, loved ones, that this desire or feeling that there ought to be a super life somewhere, is
not only found in our subjective yearnings. Because you can kind of get rid of that with a little
psychoanalysis and say it’s just wish fulfilment. But there is indication in history that there are
some objective facts down through the centuries that suggest a super life. For instance, the first
half of this Book is absolutely unlike the unsubstantiated myths of the Greeks and Romans,
absolutely unlike the uncertain sagas of the Celtics. The first part of this book is history; it’s
history that has better documentation, manuscript documentation, than most of the rest of our world
history. It’s history that can be corroborated by the history books of other nations, and it’s
history that has the one great indicator of historicity. I don’t know if you know the greatest proof
of historicity, it is that certain ceremonies and customs and memorials are established at the time
a historical event takes place. And then that those continue to be observed down through the
centuries to this very day. Of course there are ceremonials and customs and memorials in this book
that are observed by the Jewish people to this very day. So when you look at the first part of this
book, you are looking at history. This history contains evidence of a super life that is able to
affect the flow of rivers and tides, that is able to turn inanimate objects into living creatures,
that is able of all things, to destroy the affects of death. This history includes records of men
that didn’t die.
Now I will point you to one of them, loved ones, if you want to look at it. It’s Genesis 5:23, “Thus
all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him.” He
didn’t die, he just disappeared. And there is another instance in II Kings 2:11, “And as they still
went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And
Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, ‘My father, my father! the
chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ And he saw him no more.”
Loved ones, the important things for us is that what makes these translations from earth to heaven
instead of death, what makes them a pattern of super life instead of strange exceptions, is that men
like these two during these same days raised people from the dead and turned back the deteriorating
effects of sickness and disease. Of course, our great privilege this morning is that we are facing
the plainest and the most obvious expression of this uncreated life that has ever been given here on
earth. We are facing the clearest expression of the very essence of this super life because we are
facing not the myths of the Celts, we are facing this morning not the breathing experiments of gurus
who pretend they’re dead and then appear to be alive. We are facing not even the reasonably reliable
history of a man like Mohammed. Loved ones, we are facing this morning the most incontrovertible
fact of our history. That moment in 29 AD when Jesus of Nazareth destroyed the power of death.
It’s important for us to see how clear and clean that evidence is. It’s important for us to see that
there is no other evidence like this, loved ones. This fact is the surest fact in our world history.
There is no fact that has received more legal, historical, psychological, literary, critical
examination than this one fact of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. And no fact has come forth from
that continuous, that century’s old examination and skepticism, no fact has come forth so unscathed.
It really is true there is no fact of history that is surer and firmer than Jesus’ resurrection from
the dead. There is no clearer evidence of a super life, of an uncreated life that actually overcomes
the limitations of this earthbound existence of ours than this resurrection from the dead. Loved
ones, it doesn’t matter where you look for documentation. You’ll never find the kind of manuscript
documentation that lies behind this resurrection of the dead from Jesus. There are 4000 Greek
manuscripts aged from 125 AD to 1000 AD. There is no history at the time that has such overwhelming
manuscript evidence. It’s those manuscripts that transmitted those facts to us here in our day.
The psychological balance of the original eye-witnesses, the persecution that they underwent, the
desire of both the Jewish and the Roman authorities to discredit the whole resurrection if they
possibly could, all these provide cumulative, overwhelming evidence that mean if you reject this
fact, you may as well reject all of history. And loved ones, that fact is just plainly stated if
you’d like to look at it there in John 20:24, “Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was
not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said
to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the
nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ Eight days later, his disciples were
again in the house and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut and Jesus came and stood among them
and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands; and
put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.’ Thomas answered
him, ‘My Lord and my God!”
If we are honest, intellectual people, we have to include that fact in our knowledge of this world.
That there seems to be a super life in this world of ours that enables these hands, after they
appear to have ceased to move forever, enables these hands to continue some kind of existence. There
seems to be a super life that enables me to continue to exist, to continue to have relationships
with others, to continue to think and live even after the blood has stopped flowing in these veins.
Loved ones, that’s a fact that you have to begin to include in your understanding of life. That all
the blood drained out of Jesus when the spear was thrust into his side, that his lungs stopped
breathing, that his hands stopped moving, that all physical life stopped from Friday to Sunday
morning — and then that on Sunday morning he was alive and traveled the country for over a month
and was eating and talking and touching and touched by other people, by hundreds of people. That’s a
fact of our life.
Maybe what is equally important for us to see is that it’s not an exception. I think some of us get
the wrong idea. We think “oh yes, this is a magical day, I mean it feels different. We all have
daffodils for one thing and it’s different, we all feel different, so Easter is kind of special, so
Easter Sunday it was kind of a magical once for all event, it was an anomaly, it’s an exception to
the natural laws of the universe.” No, it wasn’t. You can see that these things took place long
before Jesus lived, that men overcame death, overcame sickness and disease, overcame the limitations
of gravity and our natural forces of the universe. It wasn’t just an exception, it wasn’t just an
anomaly. Indeed in Jesus own life it isn’t just an anomaly, it isn’t just one strange aberration
that occurred in our world and has never occurred again.
I’ll show you why we say that. It’s in John 8:56, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see
my day. He saw it and was glad. The Jews then said to him, ‘You are not yet 50 years old and have
you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘truly, truly I say to you before Abraham was, I am.'” Just
as an ex-English teacher, it makes chaos of the tenses. All historians know that it makes chaos of
history because this man is saying before Abraham was, and he was more than 2000 years ago, “I am.”
In other words, this man who rose from the dead in 29 AD is saying “I was alive before I came into
this world, I existed before the creation.”
Then you get interesting events in Old Testament times. You get three men being thrown into a fiery
furnace by Nebuchadnezzar. You probably remember that at least from the songs about it. You get
those three men walking in the fiery furnace and Nebuchadnezzar looks into the furnace, it’s in
Daniel if you want to look it up when you get home, and he says we threw three men in but there is a
fourth man walking there and the words are actually there in the King James version, “And he looks
like the son of God.” But that was four, five hundred years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
On countless other occasions there are times when men say they see the face of God in spite of the
fact that you’re supposedly not to be able to see the face of God and live unless it was the face of
the Incarnate One and in that case you could live. There are countless times when the angel of the
Lord is referred to as the Son of God. Do you remember that Psalm that said, “The Lord said unto my
Lord sit thou at my right hand and I will make thine enemies thy footstool.” Loved ones, this man
Jesus exists above time. He exists above time. He existed before he was born as a little baby in
Bethlehem and do you see what that means? He exists after that. He exists now, today. He is a Prince
of Life that lives above the centuries. He is alive at this moment. His resurrection is not an
aberration, it is a moment when that eternal life that is going on continually comes to the surface
like a fish coming to the surface and showing itself and then down, but it’s there all the time.
How do you explain the spring? You can’t can you? I know we explain the symptoms of the sap coming
up through the trees. We describe it. That’s what we scientists do, we describe and we explain very
little. We describe what is happening. It’s very difficult to explain why it’s happening. Suddenly,
we look out on this winter landscape and we see green shoots coming out where there is apparent
death, we see brown twigs beginning to bear green leaves, we see plants that are dead and seem to be
dead forever and they come up in beautiful colors that we didn’t imagine were there.
Loved ones, this Jesus life moves through all of our natural world. Even we, even our oldness is
affected, even our old hearts, and our tired hearts and our weary feelings, isn’t it amazing that
even we for a moment or two at springtime begin to feel life again. Loved ones, it’s that life that
keeps the renewing going on in the world, it’s that life that enables the oceans to overcome the
incredible battering that we give them with our oil spills. It’s that life that enables animals to
be renewed, it’s that life that enables limbs to develop, it’s that life that lies underneath all of
our life. And loved ones, it is that life that is available to all of us here. Because Easter isn’t
an exception. Easter isn’t just a once only. Easter is a super life that is able to transform our
feelings inside, that’s able to enable us to live above ourselves, enables us to live above the
particular limitations of our present life. That super life is available and real and it exists, and
it can change us here.
And it can come into you. You see, the interesting thing about it, it exists along with the hole in
the side. That’s important. It exists along with the hole in the side. He comes with the hole in the
side and the holes in the hands. In other words, it’s a life that works inside your present life as
it is. So in the morning you still have the arthritic pain, in the morning you still have the sense
of physical debilitation. That life works along side that. The symptoms are still there, the hole in
the side is still there, the holes in the hands are still there. You don’t know why but you’re able
despite them to do what God wants you to do this day. That’s the miracle of it. That that strength
is made perfect in your weakness. That’s where a lot of us go astray. We think it’s going to remove
the difficulties or it’s going to remove the physical symptoms. It doesn’t. The difficulties are
still there, the problems are still there, the physical life debilitated is still there but there is
something else that is tasteless and that has no smell and that has no sight, and it seems to enable
us to get up. And you know fine well that we have seen countless moments when this has illustrated
itself on athletic fields, when it’s illustrated itself in us, there have been moments when we’ve
been at the end, we’ve had no where to go, nothing left, and there’s some life that we cannot
understand that seems to move inside us. Loved ones, that’s the norm.
The only reason you and I experience it periodically is it’s only once in a while that we give up.
It’s only once in a while that we decide we can’t manage it ourselves. Because you might say well
how do you get it? Well, loved ones, by taking the same route as Jesus, by dying to your own
survival. Why all of us hobble along with only created life is because we are always fighting for
our own survival. That’s all we care about. We are fighting day after day for our financial
survival, our economic survival, that’s all we care about. Let us get some more money that we need,
let’s make ourselves happy, let’s have some good feelings. The moment you die to that kind of
selfish in turned existence and the moment you identify yourself with Jesus and you say my meat is
to do the will of him that sent me. In fact, the moment you get back to those youthful aspirations,
that’s it. However ridiculous it may seem, the moment you get back to asking your dear maker, “Lord,
why did you put me here? What do you want me to do? Even if it costs me money, even if it costs me
some degree of disaster I want to know why you put me here.” The moment you begin to be interested
in why your maker put you here, the moment you’ll begin to experience the beginnings of that super,
uncreated life force beginning to give you new energy and new ideas and enabling you to live above
yourself in joy. That’s it, loved ones. It will work.
The moment you will identify yourself with Jesus who is the life person, who has lived above the
centuries forever, the moment you begin to identify yourself with him and you begin to say, “Lord,
why was I put here? I’ve slogged away at this job, got the children up, got the home together,
getting the degree organized, getting the school organized, I’m beginning to make a life for myself
but Lord, why did you put me here? What did you have in mind either here in America or in some other
country, what did you have in mind for me?” The moment you begin to turn your life out to what your
maker put you here to do, that moment loved ones, you’ll begin to identify yourself with Jesus and
you’ll begin to experience this uncreated life moving in you. That’s what the Bible says. If we are
planted together in His death, we shall certainly be planted together in His resurrection. If we die
a death like Him, we shall certainly experience a resurrection like Him. That’s it and that’s true.
There is no mystery. There is a bubbling spirit of joy and delight that can move your life above the
events and experiences and the people that you meet day by day. It affects everything you do; it
affects your love for other people. You know the way we love them if they love us, we resent them if
they resent us, we criticize them if they criticize us, we’re jealous of them if they’re jealous of
us, and instead of subduing that part of our life to God’s order, we are subdued by it. We are
overwhelmed by relationships.
You remember Jesus on the cross as they put the nails in his hands he said, “Father, forgive them,
for they know not what they do.” This life produces a love and affection that goes out from you
however people are treating you, however they’re dealing with you. And of course, you and I both
know that is the only thing that will ever transform relationships. It’s the only thing that ever
transforms another person. Criticism never does but love and continual acceptance and continual
beneficence does. Loved ones, that’s part of what this uncreated life will bring into your heart. It
will enable you to live above the world. “Make the world go away…” — No, but live above it. The
best that most of us can say in our little prison is “make the world go away.” No, that wasn’t meant
to be it. We are meant to live above it as this Man did by the same life that moved him and you can
do it, you can.
Decide why did your maker put you here. Start getting interested in why He put you here and that
life will begin to move in you. It will. Let us pray.
Dear Father, when we see the daffodils and we see the spring flowers we are envious. When we see the
little ducklings and the children playing we are envious. We do realize there is an oldness so often
about our life; there is a self-preservation urge that is so unadventurous and so deadening and so
tiring and weary. Lord, we sense that surely in some way we should be able to take part in this
renewal that comes into the world. Oh Lord, we see this fact of your resurrection from the dead and
Lord, we begin to see that it’s not an aberration; it’s not an anomaly. You are alive all the time
and this life is not only one that overcomes death but it overcomes all the limitations of our life
here on earth and enables us to live above them and then to transform them. Lord, thank you. We
would begin to ask not what do I want; we would stop the me, me, me. We would begin to ask you, Lord
God our Creator, will you tell us why you put us here. And we’ll begin to get about our business and
begin to live by that uncreated super life that was so plainly set forth in 29 AD in Jerusalem.
Thank you, Lord. Amen.
Letting Jesus In - CONSECRATION
Letting Jesus In
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
(cid:9)The phone rings at home and somebody else answers it and they say “it’s for you” and you say, “Who
is it?” and they say it’s your bank — and the killer is, there are about a thousand such phone
calls that stir up the same anxiety inside in your tummy that that one does. Loved ones, have you
ever thought at times that I am just like a puppet, a puppet that is controlled by strings that my
bank manager pulls, that my professor at college pulls, my mom pulls, my boss pulls and I just react
in a certain way and my life is hardly my own. Have you ever felt that? Sometimes you just step back
for a moment from your own life and you look at it and you think I am hardly living. I am just a
bundle of reflex responses. My life isn’t really my own. I seem to have all the life squeezed out of
me. It’s not only the people that you fear that seem to squeeze it out of you but it’s even your own
silly habits that you’ve gotten into, the people you want to smile at and please so that you are
hardly in charge of your own life.
You know, it would be amazing to see how many of us really do feel like that. We feel that all the
life is squeezed out of us and often we look back to when we were five or six years old and we
think, then I was a person. I was small but I was a little person, I was real, I was living. Now I
am more like a robot that is driven. I’m a driven man or a driven woman. My options seem to be cut
down by all the necessities and the needs I have to meet. I have to smile at this person, I have to
please that person, I have to pay this monthly payment, I have to do this thing, I have to do that
thing, I have to get up at this time, not because I want to get up but because I have to get there
in time. I wonder how many of us feel we are hardly even alive inside. It is interesting, loved
ones, isn’t it that sometimes you look at yourself in the mirror physically and when you look at
yourself in the mirror introspectively or psychologically, you think I have just become like all the
rest. I used to think I was different, I used to think I was an individual, I used to think I had
something to give this world that nobody else had to give, but I am just in the same rat race that
everybody else is in.
Loved ones, I do think a lot of us feel like that. I think a lot of us would like to break out and
try to find ourselves and try to find out what we really are and what we’d really like to do and be.
I think a lot of us have the feeling that if we ever did find that out, we’d be actually more
valuable in society than we are now. It is incredible how many of us die without ever finding
ourselves. In fact, it’s amazing how many of us die without ever really knowing who we really are.
You know the efforts that we make at trying to be ourselves. We say, “All right. I am not going to
get up in the morning. I am not going to go to work. I am not going to smile at this person. I am
not going to smile at that person.” You keep it up for a couple of days and your world is all
falling apart and so you sidle back into it. You do what we all did, remember in the Jesus movement
of the hippy days, we all decided that we’d be different so we all grew the same beards and we all
wore the same jeans and we all did the same things and sat down in the middle of the same
intersections on campus.
It seems as if there are invisible fetters that are almost spiritual in their nature that bind us to
these things that control us and really that’s true. Every time we try to shake loose of them we
just get more entangled. Loved ones, there is only one person that lived above those fetters and
then was able by His death on the Cross to break those powers. That’s what God says happened on
Calvary, that Jesus broke the powers of the elemental spirits of the universe that bind us to our
boss’s smile. It’s not the boss’s smile that is wrong, it’s not even us appreciating his approval;
it’s this other sinister power that gets underneath that and makes us a slave to that smile. It’s
not that we shouldn’t get up and do our jobs and get up at some time in the morning but it’s that we
don’t do that because we freely want to do it, it’s because we feel bound to do it because of fear
of the consequences. It’s those elemental powers of the universe that were destroyed by Jesus on
Calvary. God put those powers into His Son and destroyed them so that Jesus lived above all that and
lived freely. Loved ones, I believe that’s part of the meaning of that incredible verse. “He that
eats me has life.” The only way you and I can be free is to actually absorb or consume or abide
completely in this who is the one free person in the universe. He is the only one who won’t take
advantage of you. He’s the only one who won’t make you a stereotype. He’s the only one who won’t
overrule your free will. He’s the only one who can free you to be what God originally made you to
be. Loved ones, that’s the only way to be free. You have to actually absorb this person into you.
I’ll just read it. (John 6:57) “As the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so he
who eats me will live because of me.” I really do believe that’s why Jesus said what is an extreme
set of words, “He who eats me will live because of me.” He wanted to point out that it’s not our
belief in His death, it’s not our belief in some theory of the Holy Spirit, it’s not our thinking a
certain way about Him, it’s eating Him. Even though we eat this bread and wine as a symbol of that,
it’s eating Him. Loved ones, you have to reach out and draw Jesus into you by faith. It is He
Himself who will give us eternal life and it’s He Himself who will give us liberty to be ourselves.
You see, I think why so many religious people are so boring is they don’t eat Jesus, they don’t
receive Jesus into themselves, it isn’t a living, personal relationship with a free person. It
isn’t. It’s a relationship of their mind to a set of beliefs or the relationship of their emotions
to certain ways of expressing and ways of saying Hallelujah that the group has. It’s that kind of
thing that they get into and they say they are really receiving Jesus but they’re not. They are
receiving all kinds of words about Jesus; they are accepting all kinds of beliefs about Jesus, but
not Jesus himself.
Loved ones, that’s who we need. We need Jesus, Himself. If your life is getting a bit dead or dry or
you don’t know who you really are or you are finding yourself becoming a robot, grasp out for Jesus
today, Him, His whole self. In a marriage your bodies interact but it’s about more than that, you
can see that. He somehow is able to come right inside you by your own desiring faith. He is able to
come right inside you and you experience a new personality inside you. That’s what it is and that
new personality will be you as you are meant to be. That’s a beautiful thing. He won’t make you as
He is in Billy Graham, He won’t make you as He is in Dan Fowler or Ernest O’Neill or Stan. He won’t
make you as somebody else. He’ll be Himself as you so that you actually for the first time come into
being what you really are. That’s it. So it is a miracle but you have to grab all of Jesus. It’s
Jesus you have to draw into yourself by faith.
There is nothing corresponding to it in nature. Even the intercourse — you can see that –sexual
intercourse, even that doesn’t express it because it’s still two bodies — but somehow Jesus is able
to come right into you and is able to be inside you so that you actually sense there is another mind
inside mine and there is a rising series of optimistic thoughts that I am not producing myself.
That’s what it is and He will come into you if you are willing to let Him be Himself in you. That’s
it. So loved ones, that’s why they are incredible words. They just make nonsense of the English
language, “He who eats me will live because of me.” That’s what it is and that’s why we eat the
bread and we drink the wine here this morning.
If some of you here have never taken communion all I say is that it doesn’t matter. We don’t have a
membership here except in so far as we all take part in things and take part in the fellowship so
there is no membership barring you but I would say to you if you’ve never taken communion before, be
very honest that you’re willing and you want Jesus to come in. You do need to do that because there
are certain words in scripture, “He who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks
damnation unto his own soul.” So you see, don’t take it lightly. Don’t think it will make me feel
better. No, unless you are actually willing to receive the Son of God into you and to then enjoy
living with Him moment by moment, then don’t. Just pass the bread and wine on. It’s far better to be
honest and real like that until you’re ready to receive than to be hypocritical. But loved ones, to
the rest of us I would say it’s Jesus we need. It’s not a new theory of the baptism of the Holy
Spirit; it’s not to see clearer what it means to die to self. It’s not sanctification or
justification or half a dozen other things about Jesus, it’s Jesus himself we need this morning and
you can draw Him into your life by faith if you’re desperate enough to be a real person that’s free.
I pray that you’ll see it as God has shown it to me and that you’ll do it because it will make you
the person you were created to be.
Now loved ones, if you’re ready to receive will you stand and receive the invitation? You that do
truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors and intend
to lead a new life, following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His holy ways,
draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble confession
unto Almighty God. Let us be seated as we pray.
Supernatural Living - CONSECRATION
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
This is a piece of bread and if you eat it, it will give you energy for the things you have to do,
it will strengthen your body and it will give you a sense of well-being, ability and health. Do you
believe that? Now do you feel a lot better now that you believe that? Do you feel the energy pulsing
through you now that you believe that? Do you sense that you have power and ability to do everything
that you have to this coming week? Do you? I feel good. You say, yeah, you should. You ate it. We
believe what you say because we’ve done that kind of thing. Sure, we’ve eaten bread and we’ve eaten
potatoes and taken in protein and all that kind of stuff. Sure, that’s how we are here. We believe
that but we don’t feel what you feel. You ate it. We didn’t. We just believed you. Oh, I see. Well,
do you understand that you take in the bread, you eat it, you swallow it, and then little acids and
enzymes get going on it and break it down into a kind of fluid that then is filtered through the
various organs of your body and then it turns into energy. That’s how it works. Now do you feel a
difference, do you feel the energy pulsing through the body now that you understand how it works?
You say no, I understand how it works, but I didn’t eat it. I believe that it works and I understand
now a little more you’ve explained how it turns to energy, but I still don’t feel the energy. It
hasn’t made any difference to me because even though I believe and I understand, I haven’t eaten it.
Isn’t that true that a little dog that actually eats the bread is still better off than you are even
though you believe that if you ate it, it would give you energy and life? A little dog that eats it
— that doesn’t believe and that doesn’t understand — is still better off than you are who
understand exactly how that bread turns into energy — if you don’t eat it yourself. Now there are
all kinds of loaves and fishes situations that you and I get into, all kinds of moments when the
energy we have is not enough, all kinds of moments when we feel worn out, all kinds of moments when
we feel emotionally worn out, when we just cannot stir up the love that is needed or the persistence
or the endurance that is needed. All kinds of moments like that, all kinds of moments when we cannot
stir up the patience that is needed, all kinds of moments when we cannot get rid of the resentment
that is in our hearts, all kinds of loaves and fishes situations, situations when the few loaves and
the few fishes of your love or your patience or your physical energy, or your mental understanding
are not sufficient. Now there is a life that we were never meant to do without that can do the same
miracle for those loaves and fishes as it did for those loaves and fishes that we read about in the
New Testament lesson.
Loved ones, there is physical life and physical energy that comes from eating this bread and
drinking this wine but there is a supernatural life, a supernatural energy that we were never made
to be without and it alone is the catalyst that makes life possible in the way that God intended us
to live it. Without that life, your life will always be filled with inadequate loaves and fishes, it
will. That’s what Jesus said. He said your fathers ate bread in the wilderness, the manna that my
Father gave them, but I am the living bread from heaven and whoever eats of it will never die and
the bread that I am will provide life and energy for you and for your life such as I have for mine.
Loved ones, that’s Jesus’ promise. Some people have called it the Holy Spirit, some people have
called it abundant life, some people have called it Jesus’ Spirit, but it’s that invisible power
that affected the protons and the neutrons of the bread and the fishes so that they were somehow
stirred into life and they multiplied beyond what they would have done otherwise. This is the same
life that touched the withered flesh of a leper and made it whole, this is the same life that turned
a petty, little, small minded, bitter heart like Paul’s, into a magnanimous, generous, gracious,
courageous heart. That’s the life that Jesus is offering you this morning. Do you believe that?
That’s good. Do you understand exactly how it works? It doesn’t really matter. Will you receive it
this morning? That’s what matters. How do you receive that bread? You believe that it will give you
energy and you eat it. How do you receive Jesus’ Spirit this morning? You believe that Spirit alone
will transform your life into the supernatural life that God intended it to be and you eat it. How
do you eat it? You turn from all substitutes for it. That’s it.
So this morning you simply believe that Jesus is here and you turn from all the substitutes for him
in your life. The Holy Spirit will show you what those are. Some of you is Valium, some of you is
tranquilizers, some of it is the nicotine, some of it is the right to be resentful, some of us it is
the right to be proud, some of us it is the right to be gluttonous, some of us it is the right to be
an invalid. If you’ll turn from those sins — because sins are simply things that you do because you
haven’t Jesus’ supernatural life within you — if you turn from those and receive him by faith this
morning that life will become real in you. So loved ones, that’s it. This morning all you need to do
is believe that Jesus is alive and that he has this life within him and he can give it to you and
then you turn from all the substitutes in your life that you have at present. If you are honest
about your sins this morning and put them far from you, Jesus’ life will become loaves and fishes,
patience, purity, generosity, energy to you.
Now just think for a moment, pause for a moment and think what you’ll do at lunchtime. Will you
struggle over that hamburger? Do I believe that will give me energy? I’m not sure. Do I understand
how it will give me energy? No, I don’t. Could you explain it to me again, enzymes, acids break
down? You don’t. You know. You eat that hamburger and don’t fiddle around forever with mental games.
You don’t juggle thoughts back and forward, you eat the hamburger. That’s what it’s like. Today get
rid of the sins in your life and receive Jesus by faith and go out rejoicing, depending on that life
by faith. That life will become energy that is supernatural to you. I felt I should share this
because I think that many of you got into the same difficulties that I got in at college where I was
constantly thinking that if I only knew it enough, if I only understood it enough, somehow Jesus’
life would become real in me. All the time I was eating at the tree of knowledge. Stop that. Stop
trying to understand. Put away your sins far from you this morning, be done with them, and receive
His Spirit by faith this day.
Jesus is so good, that’s why He did the bread and wine thing. He wanted us to realize that it’s not
believing in the bread, it’s not the understanding how the wine turns into energy, it’s eating the
bread and drinking the wine, very simple acts. So it is this morning. Are you aware of any sin in
your life? Do you know of any sin in your life? Anything that your conscience is troubling you
about? Then stop it today, this morning, at this moment. Stop it. Have done with it. Say to Jesus,
“Lord, I’m finished with that. No more playing with the unclean thoughts, no more playing with
resentment, no more pretending that I’m not angry or I don’t lose my temper. Lord, I am turning from
that now whatever it costs me. I am stopping that.” Do that and then as you take the bread and wine
into your own body say, “Lord Jesus, I receive your spirit now into me and I trust that you will
make it whatever I need this coming month.” He will. Suddenly you will find energy that is
Loved ones, if you’re willing to do that in all honesty then I would ask you when we do stand to
take these words of invitation into your own heart and to do what you’re encouraged to do by those
holy words. Let us stand.
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors
and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His
holy ways, draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble
confession unto almighty God. Let us be seated as we pray.
Lord Jesus, when we want to eat we take the knife and fork and the spoon and we eat. Lord, we see
that we do not juggle thoughts around or get all twisted up inside, we just do this. Lord, you have
given us clear directions that we have to repent and believe the Gospel, we’ve simply to turn from
our sins and receive you by faith without getting all entangled in endless thought processes. So
Lord, we would be honest this morning and we would put our sins out of our lives this day. Lord
Jesus, especially those darlings that are the very ones that prevent us receiving you into our
lives, Lord, we would turn from them now, stop them. We commit ourselves to stopping them now.
Lord Jesus, we reject the rationalization that would try to continue within us that these aren’t too
bad. Lord, you’ve given us no doubt about them. Whatever is not faith is sin and we know that doubt
is not of faith. Lord, if we even suspected that certain mushrooms were poisonous we wouldn’t touch
them. Lord, we intend to do the same about our sins. If there is any question about them we are
putting them far from us this moment. We commit ourselves, Lord Jesus, to stop doing those things.
We know that your grace can only come in when we set our wills fully against these things.
We do not presume to come to this, Thy table, most merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness,
but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under
thy table but thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore,
gracious Lord, so by faith to receive Thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, that the bread which we
break may be unto us the communion of His body and the cup of blessing, which we bless, may be the
communion of His blood and we may evermore dwell in Him and He in us. The Lord Jesus, on the night
in which he was betrayed, took bread and broke it and said this is my body, which is broken for you.
This do in remembrance of me. In like manner, he took the cup after supper saying, this cup is the
New Covenant in my blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as
you eat the bread and drink the cup you proclaim the Lord’s death till He come.