What can we believe? Can the Bible offer reliable guidance for our careers, relationships, financial problems and the evil that appears to control our world today? Here are 300 intelligent, thoughtful “verse-by-verse” half-hour video expositions of the classic explanation of reality as explained in the Book of Romans.
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Accepting One Another - Romans
Accepting One Another
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Have you felt at all what I think some of us are beginning to feel in these days — that the society
is getting so coarse and crude that it’s beginning to get a little difficult to remember even what
should be your attitude to certain things?
I didn’t think that it would come so quickly but don’t you think it’s beginning to get to that point
that the whole society is getting so coarse and crude that you begin to lose touch with the things
that actually your fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers taught you.
We always said that this would come about but I think a number of us are surprised at how fast it’s
happening now. So it does seem vital, loved ones, to stay close with this dear book [the Bible] and
that’s one of the reasons I’d ask you to get back with me to our study of Romans which has been
proceeding for over a decade and it’s Romans 15. It just is refreshing and good to see the way the
things are meant to be and the way they can be in our own lives. So it’s Romans 15:7.
Romans 15:7-8, “Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
For I tell you the Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order
to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs.” You may remember that we have dealt with that
Romans 15:7 before.
“Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” And you
remember one of the translations says, “Accept one another.” So what we’ve been studying is Jesus’
attitude to people and about our attitude to each other. You may remember one of the instances was
the time when some Pharisees actually caught a woman in the act of adultery.
Now, where they were when they caught the woman in the act of adultery, one hesitates to think. But
they apparently caught this woman in the very act of adultery and brought her before Jesus, this man
who was praising purity and obedience. Then you remember what happened. It’s in John 8:3.
John 8:3, “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and
placing her in the midst, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of
adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?’ This they
said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote
with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let
him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once more he bent down
and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one,
beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus
looked up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one,
Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.'”
Now why? Why did he not condemn her? Would you say because he condoned her sin? No, because he gives
her a command that is even stronger than many of us would dream of giving. He said, “Go, and do not
sin again. Don’t sin again. Never commit adultery again. Never sin again.”
There’s a great belief today that you have to sin a little — there’s no way of getting out of a
little sin. Jesus said, “Don’t sin again,” so he didn’t condone her sin. So it wasn’t because he was
easy on sin, loved ones.
Well, why did he not condemn her? Because the only condemning you and I are able to do is, “Tsk,
tsk, tsk…what a terrible thing to be caught doing.” That’s it. That’s the only condemning we human
beings can do. “Tsk, tsk, tsk… what a dreadful thing to be caught doing,” with emphasis on the
But the only condemning that you and I can do is kind of putting a person down. It is, it is, loved
ones. You’ll see as we go through the study, it is. I know we have all high and holy thoughts about
it but finally the only condemning that human beings can do to other human beings is, “Tsk, tsk,
tsk… what a terrible thing to be caught doing.” The tragedy of that is that it actually condemns
us ourselves. I’ll show you where it says that.
Romans 2:1, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in
passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same
things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who do such things.” That’s why.
When you condemn somebody else for doing something, you’re only bringing more guilt on yourself
because the Bible says, “You yourself are doing the same things in some way in your life.” Loved
ones, you know it yourself. It’s obvious, in some things that we just project our own problems on to
other people and we beat them to death in the other person.
We can recognize some of those things but the tragedy is there are many things like that that you
don’t recognize; that you are, in a subtle way, doing the same thing with. And God’s word says,
“Every time you condemn somebody else”, (condemn means put them down), every time you say, “That’s
wrong and you’re going to hell for that,” that’s what condemning means, here in amongst human
Every time you say that, you are bringing guilt upon yourself because you are doing the same thing
or worse in your own present life. Actually you’re compounding your own sin because you’re setting
yourself up as God, who is absolutely pure and perfect. You aren’t that and yet you’re condemning
somebody and showing that you yourself are aware too that that kind of thing is wrong.
Indeed, there’s only one condemning that achieves anything. I’ll show you that condemning. It’s
Romans 8:3, and loved ones, this is the key to the whole study this morning.
Romans 8:3, “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son
in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” Here’s what it means.
God took that lady with her lust — though we assume it’s lust, who knows why she committed adultery
— but God took that lady with the lust in her heart and with a body that maybe had become used to
that kind of promiscuity. He put that body and that old lustful heart into his Son Jesus and
condemned it to death. That is, he didn’t say, “You bad, bad adulteress, how bad can you be? You’re
terrible. You’re dreadful.” You shouldn’t condemn that way, which is useless. It’s just verbal
whipping. It doesn’t do any good.
He did the only condemning that does any good. He took the lust of her heart and her old body that
was used to the promiscuity and he put it into his Son Jesus, and he condemned it, [damno, damnerie,
Latin for condemn] he destroyed it. He destroyed its power over her. He destroyed it in his Son
Jesus. That’s the only condemning that means two bits to anybody here in this room. It is.
It’s no use you looking at some of the rest of us and saying, “Tsk, tsk, tsk… how dreadfully
lustful you are. How terribly irritable you are. How terribly critical you are.” It does no good. We
need to be delivered from our lust. We need to be delivered from our criticism. Do something for us.
Help us. Destroy us and make us over again. Do something to help us. Stop looking down upon us.
That’s what we’re crying out, that’s what the world is crying out.
That’s why Jesus did not condemned the woman– because he knew the only condemning that would do any
good had already been done by his Father in his death on Calvary and that that woman’s lust and that
woman’s desire for her own pleasure had been destroyed in him on Calvary and that was all that was
needed except for her to believe that.
Now why is it always wrong to condemn a person? Because you make it more difficult for them to
believe that that has been dealt with in Christ on Calvary. That’s it. You make it more difficult
for them to take the only step that is able to deliver them — that step of faith that they have
been delivered. They have been destroyed in Christ on Calvary; they have been made completely new.
And they can get up and their Father will accept them and they can just walk away from their sin,
that’s what they most need.
When you keep condemning them and pointing out what’s wrong, the only thing you can do is convince
them that that sin is un-crucified. Have you ever thought of that? You are not able to reveal to
them sin crucified, do you see that? You’re not. You’re not. I mean you may say, “Oh yes, I am. I
can sidle up to them and say, ‘Well, you’re pretty wretched and pretty rotten and pretty miserable
but you know that’s all crucified with Christ, so you’re okay.’”
Well, it doesn’t come home to them, the wee souls. They say, “If you really believe that, you would
see me as I am in Christ. You would see me whole and complete and your faith would raise and stir my
faith and I would grab hold of it and I’d walk away from this sin.” That’s it.
What we most need is somebody not to believe in us that we’re hardly worth believing in, we’re such
a mess. But somebody to believe in us crucified and made completely new in Jesus, that’s what’s
needed. And every time you draw attention to a person’s failing or a person’s fault or a person’s
sin, all you can do is draw attention to un-crucified sin. That’s the very nature of the beast.
That’s the very essence of your attitude to them.
When they’re aware of your condemnation, you understand, loved ones, it doesn’t have to be verbal, I
mean the condemnation doesn’t have to be verbal, we all know that. They just know that you look
askance at them. They just know that you look a little down on them. They just know you criticize
them. They just know it. They just know there’s a critical attitude in your heart to them. And they
know it. It’s strange but there’s something inside them that lets them know that you don’t really
believe that they have been changed in Jesus, because actually they know full well.
If you knew they had been changed in Jesus, you would be condemning a shadow and who would condemn a
shadow? Do you see we all know this, and we have it built into us, loved ones? That’s the strange
thing. It doesn’t matter whether it was Hitler. It doesn’t matter whether it was the latest murderer
in New York City; we all have this built into us. We know whether you believe that we have been
changed and made completely new or whether you don’t.
That’s why it is a blasphemy against God and it is a service to Satan when you condemn another human
being because of what they are and because of what they do. That’s right. It is a service to Satan
and it is a blasphemy against God. It is making Christ’s death vain. It is, loved ones.
It’s making Christ’s death vain when you treat another person as not having been crucified,
destroyed and buried and raised up new with Christ. It’s making Christ’s death vain. It’s
blaspheming God and it’s serving Satan.
I’ll tell you Satan’s only job in this world. His job is to sidle up to human beings and say, “You
have no chance of getting into heaven. You are not like God. You will never be like God. You are
hopelessly lost and you will never get into heaven and anything that Jesus has done has not been
done for you.” That’s it. In other words, you side with the great enemy of God. Look at it, loved
ones, in Revelation 12:10.
Revelation 12:10, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and
the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren
has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” That’s all you do. You just
You see I know what we all say. We all say, “No, no, we’re not accusing them,” but do you see that
that’s what you’re doing. If Christ has died for all and all have died, then that person has been
made new in Christ. And all you’re doing is accusing them wrongly, because they actually have been
crucified in Christ and that’s why God allows them to live today. Why do you not think God flooded
us all out with another flood? Why does he allow people to continue to be alive? Because he has
crucified them in Christ and the moment they believe that, they are changed.
So, if you condemn a person, you’re not even condemning something that is there to be condemned.
You’re simply accusing them. You’re saying they’re wrong. Loved ones, it’s always wrong to do it. It
is. Now, I know what you’ll say. “Brother, who will tell them? Who will tell them that they’re
wrong? Who will tell them that they’ve sinned? Who will reveal to them sin crucified? Who will
reveal to them sin forgiven? You say, “I can’t.” All right, who will reveal to them sin forgiven?
Who will reveal to them that they’ve been crucified with Christ?”
One, not even the Son, not even the Father, just one. Just one person in the whole universe has that
responsibility. Not the Father, not the Son, not you and not me, just one Person loved ones. If you
look at John 16:7, you’ll see.
John 16:7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do
not go away, the Counselor will not come to you.” [Counselor is the Holy Spirit] “But if I go, I
will send him to you and when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness
and judgment.” You remember there’s another translation that says, “When the Holy Spirit comes, he
will convict the world of sin.”
The Holy Spirit — he will convict your friend, my relative, you and me. He will convict us of sin
and he will convict us of sin in such a way that we will see ourselves crucified with Christ and
made completely new. It will come not as accusation but as life-giving conviction. Our place is the
same attitude as Jesus, to accept one another as being crucified in Christ and to help each other to
I remember what the biggest problem was for my brother when we were young. He is two years younger
than me. A man who worked with my dad used to say a certain man had two sons because it was the
prodigal son story. I was the good guy. I was the guy with the white hat and therefore, of course,
the worst one, really. But on the surface I was a good guy and he was a bad guy and I was the bright
guy and he wasn’t the bright guy; that whole mess that I had enough problems to deal with later on
when I thought I was something but what happened was the usual thing.
I went through school first in Belfast and the poor, younger brother comes behind and Ernest always
did this right and did that right. The poor guy comes in and hears, “Why can’t you be like your
brother?” That was the hardest thing. We’re all in that.
Most of us don’t need to be convinced that we’re sinful or convinced that we’re bad but we have an
impossible time believing that we have been crucified with Christ and made whole and that God
accepts us and loves us and looks upon us as he looks upon his own Son, that’s the hard thing for
us. If anybody can help us with that, that would be great. That would build up our faith.
Who will convict the world of sin? It is the Holy Spirit. Now, I’d like to blow the whole thing out
of the water by contradicting it all. It’s vital. If you’d like to look at it, 1 Corinthians 5:1
and you can see it plainly without me explaining that, just as we read it.
First Corinthians 5:1, “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind
that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are
arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For
though absent in body, I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment
in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled and my
spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the
destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
Now that seems just to contradict all that we’ve been saying. Here is Paul saying, “I am present
with you and I am pronouncing judgment on this man and not only that, you’re to deliver this man to
Satan for the destruction of the flesh.” Now surely if that’s condemnation, that’s condemnation of
an extreme kind and surely that is one of God’s apostles pronouncing judgment on a person.
Do you see it’s vital to remember what we shared some weeks ago, that there is responsibility for
the external order of the world laid upon judges, upon policemen, upon teachers, upon fathers, upon
heads of families, and that external order of the world is preserved by the rule of law, so that if
a son does something that is contemptuous of his mother, the father has a responsibility to step in
there and to rebuke him and reprove him and so, there is an administration of law that is for the
external order of society that must continue.
So the elders of a church have to discipline a church member who is involved in outward immorality
or immorality that is of such an obvious kind that he or she is doing despite the witness of God’s
Spirit. That’s presumably what they did. They disciplined the man. They actually expelled them from
the church so that he would sue for forgiveness to God and he would be delivered from Satan, as he
realized how serious his position was.
And we all have those responsibilities, loved ones. What we’ve said earlier this morning does not
cut across our responsibilities as fathers, mothers, teachers, as administrators, as law enforcement
officers, as judges. There is a right execution and administration of law that we ought to
What Jesus is talking about is the judgmental attitude. That’s it. Jesus is talking about the realm
of personal relationships where we do not have a responsibility to a child as his father, where we
do not have a responsibility to an employee as their employer, where we do not have responsibility
to a subordinate as their boss, where we do not have responsibility as a policeman to a culprit.
He’s talking about personal relationships, where we take attitudes to each other that are condemning
and that are judgmental and that build walls between us and build up our self-righteousness as we
find ourselves able to poke holes in other people’s lives.
In other words, Jesus is talking about the things that destroy our relationships, really. He is
talking about the things that destroy our marriages and destroy our personal friendships and destroy
our intra-personal dealings with one another.
He is saying, “In that situation, your heart must be absolutely clean of any judging of the other
person, of any pointing out to the other person where they’re wrong.” If you’re a policeman, if
you’re a teacher, if you’re a father, if you’re a mother, if you’re a boss, if you’re in
relationship with the external order of society that requires you to administer a rebuke or a
reproof, then be sure that you administer it with a clean heart that has no judgmental attitude in
it or no feeling that the other person is worse than you are. Administer it with a cool and a calm
and a clean heart, seeing the person as absolutely, completely changed in Jesus and made new.
But then he is saying to us in our own personal relationships, there is no place for regarding each
other as sinful but see each other as crucified with Christ and as made whole. The Holy Spirit, he
will convince them quickly enough of their sin. What you need to do is convince them of their
acceptance by God in Jesus.
In other words, these are saving days. These aren’t condemning days. We have just a short respite
here on earth to convince as many of us as possible that we’ve been utterly changed in Jesus. We
have just a short respite, just a short 70 years, most of us much less than that now. We have just a
little time. These are saving days. These are days to convince each other that we’ve been crucified
in Christ and made completely whole and new. These are not condemning days.
There will be condemning days. There will be a day that has been fixed by God. He has fixed the day
on which he will judge the world by a man whom he has appointed. And, of this, he has given
assurance to all men by raising that man from the dead.
There’ll be a time when we will all face Jesus as the great judge of the entire universe, but until
that time, loved ones, these are saving days. Our task is to see each other in Jesus completely new
and completely made whole and to have not a taint of condemnation to each other’s attitude to see.
Now, apart from anything else, believe me, it makes the world a clean place to live in. I don’t know
if you’ve thought about the people who say, “Oh the world is so terrible. It’s a terrible world.
It’s just bearing down upon me.” We’re not meant to live like that.
We’re meant to see the world whole and crucified and raised in Jesus. We’re not meant to be burdened
down in that sense with other people’s sin. That world has been crucified with Christ. We’re meant
to walk joyfully through it. We’re meant to see people through rose tinted spectacles.
Not if you’re a policeman, I agree with you. A policeman has to arrest a culprit. Not if you are a
father. If you are a father, you have to reprove a child. Not if you are a teacher, you have to keep
order in your classroom, but in your personal attitude to all those people and to all the rest of
us, you’ve to have rose-tinted spectacles. Why? Do you say to me, so that you won’t be able to see
Reality is rose-tinted with the blood of Jesus. Reality is rose-tinted with the precious blood of
Jesus. Reality is that Christ has died for all, therefore all have died. Reality is that the world
has been crucified with Christ. Reality is seeing things as completely redeemed in Jesus and we have
70 years to stir each other’s faith to believe that and then if we don’t believe it after that, then
the condemnation comes and is manifested.
How far do you go in that? I mean, let’s face it, how far do you keep on with that? Because you and
I know that human nature can persist in persevering sin for a long time. Loved ones, you keep on as
long as is needed to convince that person that they’ve been crucified with Christ. You keep on
loving each other. You keep on bearing with each other’s sin, as long as it’s necessary to convince
the other person that they’ve been made whole in Jesus.
I don’t know if you know any saintly grandmothers, saintly grandfathers. I know there are lots of
nice grandmothers but if you have ever known any saintly grandmother or saintly grandfather or any
saintly old man in some church, you know the amazing part about them. They can meet the most
wretched, miserable, sinful guy or girl in the family, or the worst scoundrel in the church who has
come back from all kinds of wastage of his life and that old saint looks at them with the same love
that he looks at the dearest friend he has.
Sometimes, in fact, you would like to shake him. You’d like to tell him, “Listen, let me tell you
some of the things this guy has been doing.” But those old saintly people, it’s as if they see right
through all of that and they see that all were crucified with Christ and they have the love of God
for that person.
Now, let me ask you, when that old saint dies, have you been around those scoundrels at the time of
his death? Have you ever talked with them about that old saint, and if you have, you know the story.
“That was a godly man if ever there was one. I got more from God through that man than anybody else.
That was somebody that believed in me when nobody else believed.” That’s it. That’s what this is
How long do you keep on doing it? Until eternity begins. As long as is needed to get the other
person to see that they’ve been crucified with Christ. In other words, God calls us to welcome one
another as Christ has welcomed us for the glory of God and to do it as long as we have to do it
because that is the only thing that will save. That’s the only thing that will save. Let us pray.
Dear Father, we come before you for each other this morning and Lord, we come before you in regard
to our own attitude to each other. Father, we see either Jesus has been crucified and we’ve all been
crucified with him or he hasn’t been and we haven’t been. Father, if he has and if we’ve been
crucified with him, then there’s no point in us poking our little fingers into corpses. There’s no
point in us condemning sin that has already been effectively condemned to death and has been brought
So Father, we look up to you this morning and we repent of this attitude that we’ve had. We change
our whole mind and our whole way of thinking. Lord, while we lift up our responsibilities for the
external order of society and our functions, yet Father as far as our hearts are concerned, we now
commit ourselves to looking upon each other as people who have been crucified in Christ, raised up
and made whole.
We commit to you, dear Holy Spirit, the task of making that real to our friends and our relatives.
Meanwhile, we undertake our responsibility of loving them and welcoming them and accepting them as
Christ has loved and welcomed and accepted us. We do this in the name of him who has borne the pain
of the death and the condemnation, even Jesus, our Savior.
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.
What Happens when you return Good for Evil - Romans
Exercising Faith For Others
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
You have a friend, who unlike you has a besetting sin. That besetting sin is breaking a confidence.
And so you share something with them that you expect them to keep in confidence and they break that
confidence. Next thing you know that comment comes right back to you through some other person. What
do you do? Well, of course, you just never trust them again. Never trust them with another
confidence until you’re sure they’ve dealt with that besetting sin.
Or, you have a friend, a colleague at business, or a husband or a wife or a relative who hurts you
in a certain way. They just hurt you. What do you do? Well, you just don’t open yourself to being
hurt by them in that way again. You make sure you don’t open yourself to them in that way again. You
never give them another chance to hurt you like that. We react just the way God has dealt with us
when he finds that we have a failing or we have a besetting sin of some kind or, we do something
that hurts him — he immediately cuts us off and never gives us another chance to hurt him that way
So that’s the way we deal with people by our own reaction to their hurt or our own response to their
breaking the confidence. We exert pressure upon them by our response to force them to change. We
keep exerting that pressure on them until they change, just the way God has done with us. You
remember, just the way Jesus did with Peter, if you would like to look at it.
It’s Mark 14:27, “And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away; for it is written, “I will strike
the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” But after I am raised up, I will go before you to
Galilee.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even though they all fall away, I will not.’ And Jesus said to him,
‘Truly I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’
But he said vehemently, ‘If I must die with you, I will not deny you.’ And they all said the same.”
Mark 14:66, “And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the maids of the high priest came; and
seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, ‘You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.’
But he denied it, saying, ‘I neither know nor understand what you mean.’ And he went out into the
gateway. And the maid saw him, and began again to say to the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them.’
But again he denied it. And after a little while again the bystanders said to Peter, ‘Certainly you
are one of them; for you are a Galilean.’ But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, ‘I
do not know this man of whom you speak.’ And immediately the cock crowed the second time. And Peter
remembered how Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’
And he broke down and wept.”
Then look at Jesus’ treatment of him, loved ones, in John 21, after warning Peter that he would deny
him and then after Peter’s denying him, so blatantly and so repeatedly, in John 21:15, “When they
had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than
these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A
second time he said to him, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you
know that I love you.” He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son
of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’
And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed
In other words, the Savior went right out on the same limb all over again, just as God has done with
you. You may think of how often you and I have messed up. You may think of how often he has
convicted us of some failing or of some place where we have hurt him repeatedly. And you think of
how we have made resolutions not to do it again and we have done it yet again and our God has not
cut us off. You know fine well he hasn’t.
Our God has not cut us off. You know how good he has been to us. You know how he has trusted us the
very next day with something even more important. How he has opened himself up yet again and treated
us as if we have never sinned; as if we have never failed him at all. He has gone out on a limb and
trusted us all over again and you know that that’s what keeps hope eternal in our heart.
You know the only thing that makes you think that you might possibly be what you could be is because
God keeps on trying, keeps on risking, keeps on opening himself. He doesn’t exert the old, subtle
personality pressure. He doesn’t draw back from us with the attitude, “No, they broke confidence
with me last time. I am not risking it again.” He doesn’t draw back and say, “You hurt me last time.
I am not opening myself to that hurt again. I am not going to be hurt. I am not going to be
vulnerable.” The Lord opens himself all over again to us, loved ones, to all of us.
In fact, the truth is this: if you’re a judge, you’re responsible for exerting justice on a murderer
to protect society from that murderer. You’re responsible for exerting justice upon him. If you’re a
parent, you’re responsible for exercising discipline on your child to protect the rest of the
So there are certain functions that we all perform in our society where we are responsible for
exercising pressure on the other person to do what is right. But if the only person to be hurt by
the other person’s failure is you, then God’s word is very plain. We’ve to welcome each other as
Christ has welcomed us. We’ve to treat each other as Christ has treated us. We’ve to refrain from
this subtle personality response and reaction to the other person to try to get them to change and
we’ve to continue to love them as if they had never done it.
That’s what Jesus’ attitude has been to us. Why? Because the other person has been delivered from
their untrustworthiness. They have. They have already been delivered from their untrustworthiness.
The other person has already been delivered from their disregard for you and for your pain. They
have already been delivered from that. They’ve been delivered from their lying and their deception
and their gossiping and their criticism. They’ve already been delivered from those things. That’s
why God tells them, “I want you to regard them as already delivered from this, even though you are
still feeling the effects of the fact that they don’t believe that.”
Now if you say, “Why? That’s madness. We haven’t been delivered from it, that’s why I am suffering,
that’s why they broke confidence with me — because they haven’t been delivered from it. That’s why
they hurt me — because they haven’t been delivered from their disregard for my pain. That’s why
they haven’t been delivered. You’re mad, you’re mad.” Old Paul was accused of being mad too and I’ll
show you the place. It’s in 2 Corinthians 5, and at first sight, it seems like craziness. They said,
“You’re beside yourself, Paul, you’re not yourself, you’re beside yourself.”
2 Corinthians 5:13-18, “For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind,
it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for
all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for
themselves but for him, who for their sake, died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard
no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view,
we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has
passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to
himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
A person breaks confidence with you yet again, embarrasses you thoroughly in front of a mutual
friend. Satan comes to you and says, “That person is not to be trusted ever again. Don’t make
yourself vulnerable to them yet again.” The Spirit of Jesus says, “Christ died for all. Therefore
that person died with Christ and that person has become a new creation in Christ. The old has passed
away and your job is to see them as they are, crucified in Christ — that is spiritual reality. Your
job is to continue to treat them that way until they catch the same faith from you, because it’s
going to be by grace through faith that they are saved from that dishonesty and that
untrustworthiness.” That’s it, loved ones.
We have one responsibility — to see each other as already crucified and changed in Christ —
because that is spiritual reality. That’s what this dear Book says, “Christ died for all, therefore
all died.” Right up to the last moment of Hitler’s death, Hitler had been crucified with Christ.
All his cruelty had been destroyed in Jesus. And all his indifference to the other human life had
been destroyed in Jesus and he had been raised up and made a saintly man. Up until the moment of his
death, he had the opportunity to believe that, to have faith in that, and to have that made real in
his life. After death, the Bible says, “Then comes the judgment.” Then there’s no longer
opportunity. But up until that moment of death, our responsibility to each other is to see each
other as crucified and completely renewed in Christ.
You see, man’s way is utterly different. You know it. We all know it. We know the kind of people we
are. You know what we do at home. The other person gets the knife in, you get the knife in just a
little differently, or you twist the knife, but it’s all personality pressure. They do that to me,
so I exert pressure on them to change, because I don’t believe they will change if I don’t exert
pressure upon them.
Indeed, how many of us would say that that’s the way families go. Back and forth, and back and
forth, until after about 15 years, nobody really knows anybody else’s heart. “Why do they do that?
Because this person, it’s this one?” No, we back up from them so they won’t hit me again. Then they
lash out and we back up so that they won’t hit me again — we just keep backing from each other to
protect ourselves from each other. And as we claim to change each other through the war of nerves or
the cold war that we exercise on each other, the result is simply distance and separation.
The Father’s way is utterly different. It is, “See the other person as absolutely crucified in
Christ. See them as changed completely. Treat them that way, and believe that yourself — because
the only hope for them is that they catch that faith from you and they begin to realize they have
been changed — and that change is manifested to them through the Holy Spirit.”
If you say, “They’ll murder me. They’ll murder me. If I do that, they’ll cut me up in little
pieces.” Well, look at 2 Corinthians 4. I suppose there is “no gain without pain” and there is no
easy way, loved ones.
2 Corinthians 4:10-12, “Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, [You will be doing that.
You’ll be bearing their sins and absorbing them.] so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested
in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the
life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
You’re right. You are right. You will have to bear their sins, you will. And there will be pain and
if you say to me, “There might even be death,” — yeah, but aren’t you looking forward to heaven
That’s what we all say we’re living for, at least this big talk, if it’s not real in us. We’re all
saying we’re looking forward to it. Yes, it may bring death. If you say, “Yeah, but the worse of it
is” — we love to be very high and noble about this — “The worst of it is, it’ll frustrate God’s
will for my life.” Well look at Galatians 6:14 and it’ll give you reassurance about that.
Galatians 6:14, “But far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” No, it won’t frustrate God’s purpose
for your life. The world has been crucified in Christ. The world that would frustrate God’s purpose
for your life has been destroyed. Whatever those other people do to you, they can’t frustrate God’s
purpose for your life. God has crucified that capability in Christ. He has destroyed the
principalities and powers. Whatever they do to you, they won’t frustrate God’s purpose for your
No, you can afford to treat them as crucified and raised with Christ and let them destroy your free
will because God will never allow his purpose to be spoiled for your life. Now, why do you do it —
for their salvation? Well yeah, but actually that’s secondary. There’s a bigger reason, it’s Romans
15:8, that’s the verse we’re studying today.
Romans 15:8, “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised, to show God’s
truthfulness.” That’s it. That’s why you do it, to show God’s truthfulness. You do it to show in
this world that all people were crucified with Christ and that that particular person was crucified
with Christ and was raised a new creation. That’s why you do it.
Yes, you do it for their salvation. Yes, you do it because it’s right. But you do it for a far
bigger reason than that. You do that to show God’s truthfulness: that that person actually was
crucified with Christ and that all their selfishness and their indifference to your pain was
destroyed in Christ in Calvary. You do it for that reason — to show God’s truthfulness.
See, Satan is involved in trying to destroy the truthfulness of God. Satan is involved in trying to
fill this world with people whose old natures have not been crucified — with people who are demons
and devils in their life here on earth. In fact, God has crucified them all in Christ and has raised
them up new and made them new creations and he has called you and me to demonstrate his truthfulness
by seeing them that way through our own way so that they will catch that faith themselves.
But that’s the only thing that will ever save them and it’s the only thing that will ever show forth
God’s truthfulness. You’ve to do the same with people who are narrow-minded. For instance, some
people who are, you would say, legalistic. They think some things are sin that you don’t think are a
sin and you think, “Oh, they’re just narrow. They’re just legalistic.”
God calls you to do the same with them. Don’t look upon their legalism. Don’t look upon their
narrow-mindedness. Cast that out of your mind. See them as crucified in Christ, as pre-created in
him as whole and completely new with the magnanimity of Jesus running through their whole beings.
Treat them as that. Treat them as absolutely perfect people in Jesus.
If you say, “Well, it’s like being some kind of a servant to them. I mean you love them as if
they’re exactly the same as you are and then they come around the back, knife you in with one of
these narrow-minded comments and you’ve to go back. It’s like giving them something and they throw
it on your face. It’s a thing like being a servant.” That’s exactly what the verse says. Romans
15:8, “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised, to show God’s truthfulness.”
You know more than a servant, if you look at Isaiah 53.
Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that
is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his
mouth. By oppression and judgment, he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that
he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they
made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.”
That was much more than becoming a servant. That was allowing them to buffet him and to put a spear
in his side and to kill him and nail his hands to a Cross. Why? To show God’s truthfulness. One of
the ways that he showed it there was even by his burial, “And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death.” And when Jesus was buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, that
prophecy and God’s truthfulness was demonstrated. Jesus suffered whatever was needed to demonstrate
God’s truthfulness. Probably one of the greatest promises that God made to the patriarchs was in
Genesis 18:17, if you look at it there.
Genesis 18:17, “The Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham
shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by
him?’” So God has promised that not only the Jews would be blessed by Abraham but everybody would be
blessed by Abraham, all the nations. And that was fulfilled in Galatians 3:6-9.
Galatians 3:6-9, “Thus, Abraham ‘believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ So you
see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham saying, ‘In you shall
all the nations be blessed.’ So then, those who are men of faith are blessed with Abraham who had
In other words, everybody, from every nation who has faith in Jesus, is blessed with Abraham. And
the promise that was given to Abraham was made real because people are able to have faith in Jesus,
who became a servant to the circumcised, to show God’s truthfulness. So that the promises that were
made to the patriarchs would be fulfilled. That’s what that Romans 15:8 says.
Romans 15:8, “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s
truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs.” That’s why we treat each
other as crucified and raised with Christ, to show that God is true. Let every man be a liar but God
is true. You were crucified with Christ.
The most agonizing thing about the little soul who says, “I have tried and I have tried and I have
tried and I have tried and I cannot stop drinking. I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve
tried and I cannot stop lusting. I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I cannot stop criticizing or lying.”
The worst thing is, it’s throwing God’s truthfulness back in his face because that person has been
delivered from that in Christ. All they have to do is catch the faith that that is so, and that’ll
be manifested in it.
Loved ones, you and I can either beat each other down or we can lift each other up. You can. You can
either beat the other person down by distrusting them and playing the old self-defensive game, “I am
not going to let you hurt me again. I am not going to let you get at me again.” Or, you can open
yourself as a man did with just a loin cloth on, on a Cross and said, “I trust you. I love you. I
think you’ve been completely changed and renewed and by my attitude you can see that I trust you.”
Even if the very next moment, a spear comes into your side. That’s it.
That’s beginning to bear the sins of others with Jesus and through that, he will begin to see of the
travail of his soul and be satisfied. Because through your faith, in that other person being
crucified and raised with Christ, the Holy Spirit will be able to make that real in the other’s
life. That’s the only way.
Actually, as you sit there, you know it’s the only way. How many moms and dads here, how many of us
as colleagues, have tried the other route, the subtle pressure on the other person, the subtle
defensive reaction against them? It does nothing. It just builds walls and we separate more and more
from each other. The other way is the only way, “I believe that you have been completely changed in
Christ and I thank God for that.”
“Feed my sheep.” Loved ones, that’s it. So really, was it Dean Martin who had a song “Welcome to my
World”? Well, welcome to a new world. Come on, come into a new world. Live in a new world. Live in
a world full of saints. Live in a world where you look upon people as they really are in Christ.
Bear a little of the pain that comes from it, knowing that this is the only way that change will
ever be manifested in them.
So come in, come into a world where we know no man after the flesh but we know all men after the
Spirit. Where we no longer know anyone from a human point of view, but from now on, we know each
other from a spiritual point of view. Let us pray.
Dear Father, we want to thank you this morning for every one that we know, friend or colleague,
roommate or relative, that has hurt us in some way by some sin or by some failing. Lord, we want to
thank you for that because we know it is you telling us that this too passed away on Calvary, that
this too was borne by you into death and into extinction. We know that this old has passed away and
the new has come in this person’s life. And you expect us to look upon them as completely crucified
and raised and made new in you and you expect us to act in accordance with that, trusting them yet
again and in every way making our response to them consistent with a person that we can trust
So Father, we’re going to back off this human pressure that we exert to make them change. We’re
going to back off our sarcastic comments. We’re going to back off the cold war that we exercise
against them. We’re going to back off these things that simply separate us more and more.
Lord, we want to thank you that as far as we’re concerned, we agree with you — Christ died for all,
therefore all died. Therefore this person has died with Jesus and has been crucified and raised up
and made new and they are a new creation. Lord, we aim to treat them that way until we die and we
ask you dear Holy Spirit to work through our faith and our attitude of respect and love and trust to
bring them into the same faith and into the same manifested change so that God’s truthfulness will
not only be respected by us but will be respected by them and will be demonstrated for all to see in
this life. We ask this in Jesus’ name.
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.
What’s your basis for Hope? - Romans
Abound in Hope
Sermon Transcripts by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
We were in Italy when we heard that even American tourists had to have visas if they were going to
return back through France. Of course that was because of the terrorist bombing in Paris. So we all
went to the French embassy in Florence and I had my Polaroid camera and I took pictures of everybody
for our visas. Then we handed them our 4300 Lira which is of course just three dollars and agreed
that we would come back at 4 p.m. to collect our passports.
At 4 O’ clock, up there in that little corridor in the French embassy, you faced the sheer chaos and
anarchy that our world has now come into. Because there you had one little Italian in the uniform
trying to call out these American names and I think I was ‘Ernesto O’Neal’ and I think Colleen was
‘Colleeno Donahuae.’ There were a hoard of us in the corridor, and as he called out names, we just
put up our hands and any terrorist could have had as many American passports as he wanted.
It just came home to you again that really we’re doing our best but we can’t actually do very much
about the international anarchy and chaos. I don’t know if you realize it but there is a guy that
was actually interviewed by a British newspaper, who in Amsterdam, sells stolen American passport
appropriately personalized to any terrorist for a couple of thousand dollars.
You just begin to realize that we’re doing all we can but really, we haven’t a chance of doing
anything to bring the chaos and the anarchy under control. When you see things like Chernobyl or you
see events like the AIDS time bomb, that is just still waiting to explode, you begin to realize that
it’s getting outside our control, that this world situation that we’re facing today is something
that we’re just making gestures at. We’re just making stabs at it but actually we have no sure,
confident way of protecting ourselves or defending ourselves.
It is interesting all of us here this morning that are more than 15 years of age and remember a
world that we could control, we keep on irrationally hoping that it will get better. We just can’t
believe that we’re facing something that will not get better.
But it’s interesting those under 15, the kids in our schools, have no such illusions and that’s
partially why the biggest killer among our school kids is suicide. They can’t articulate the
meaninglessness of life or the purposelessness of it. They can’t really articulate the uncertainty
that they see in their parent’s attitude towards each other. And they can’t actually blot it out
with cocaine, the way Hollywood does, but they can remove it by removing themselves from it.
Loved ones, more and more, that is the kind of feeling that is pervading many of our attitudes
towards the world today. It’s really what one of the French existentialist [Manoe] said on radio
about 20 years ago. He said, “If there is no hope, then we have no hope.” That’s really what a lot
of us are feeling.
The statesmen make their attempts at doing something but they know fine well, there is really no way
to protect any of us from the kind of chaotic, anarchic, international terrorism that we now face.
You know fine well, we blasted right at Gaddafi because we reckoned, you better hit him early, maybe
it’ll kind of discourage him but we don’t really feel it will finally discourage him. We know that
somebody sooner or later will get hold of some bomb that we cannot control.
In a sense, therefore, we are living in a different world from when we went off to war in 1418, or
even when we went off to war 3945, we’re living in a world now where there is less feeling of hope
than ever before. Hope, in the sense of human hope. Less and less do we see any hope for things
Human hope is based on the way things look as if they’re going to turn out. It’s the kind of hope
that actually was mentioned in that New Testament lesson that Gentry read. Maybe you’d look at it.
It’s Luke 24:21, and the two men you remember are talking about their leader.
Luke 24:21, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is
now the third day since this happened”. In other words, they were saying, “Our leader was tried and
executed and he was supposed to rise on the third day but we see no signs of him rising.”
In other words, human hope is based on looking at the outward circumstances and events remembering
how those events have turned out in past experiences that we’ve had and then calculating on the
basis of that, how we think things are going to turn out in the future.
That’s human hope. Of course, on the basis of human hope, those of us who see how the world war
started and see how things are developing today, we calculate with absolute certainty that the whole
thing will blow into bits in a matter of a few years. Because human hope depends on what we see with
our eyes. It is a matter of observing what we see around us and calculating what we think is going
to happen. That’s the way most of us use the word hope.
If you think of the way you use the word ‘hope’, you know that’s what you say. You say, “Oh well I
hope I’ll be able to do that. I hope I’ll be able to go on vacation.” You look at the way your job
commitments are, you look at the way your money is in the bank and you calculate, “Well I hope I’ll
be able to do that”.
We actually use the word ‘hopefully’ or misuse the adverb ‘hopefully’ in the same way. When we say
‘hopefully’, we don’t really mean we’re thinking hopefully or even we’re speaking hopefully, we mean
we hope this is going to happen. We expect this will happen in the light of what we’ve observed
In that sense, fewer and fewer of us see any hope for our international situation and of course,
fewer and fewer of us even in our own lives see any hope for our lives. I don’t know what you think
of the thing like AIDS, but it is mind-boggling, isn’t it? It is hideous. Do you know what’s going
to happen? They’re talking about the fact that we’ve seen the tip of the iceberg?
It’s hideous to think what is going to happen and then when you realize that there are things like
legionnaire’s disease and other things that we actually haven’t solved. You begin to realize even
the inhumanity of man-to-man and the lack of concern that we now have, the more of us that gather in
large cities and the lack of care for each other, and then you begin to see the way the kids are
going in the schools.
It’s very easy, isn’t it, to come to the place where you say on the basis of human hope. There is
really very little to hope for. I would submit to you that that’s why some of us even have more
trouble with depression in these days about our own personal lives, because when we say we hope for
something, we mean we’re expecting it to happen in the light of the circumstances in our lives at
present and fewer and fewer of us see hopeful circumstances developing in our lives.
So, it’s amazing how many of us are caught in depression. It would surprise you how many of us
operate on uppers and downers [pills] as a normal part of our life. It would surprise us how many of
us depend on pills just to keep going day-by-day. And on the basis of human hope, loved ones, that’s
about all you can expect. That was the kind of hope that Abraham had when God promised him that he
and Sarah would have a son, even though they were almost 100 years of age, He promised him that, and
you remember how the record goes, if you like to look at it in Romans 4:19.
Romans 4:19, “Abraham did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as
dead because he was about 100 years old or when he considered the barrenness of Sara’s womb.” In
other words, when he looked at his own body, which was as good as dead and when he saw Sara’s womb,
a woman of over 80 or 90 years of age, he saw that from a human point of view there was no
likelihood that they would have a child, then how did they end up with a son called Isaac? Well,
you’ll see it there in the verse before.
Romans 4:18, “In hope he believed against hope that he should become the father of many nations as
he had been told, so shall your descendants be”. In hope, he believed against hope because there’s
another kind of hope. That’s it. There’s another hope besides human hope. Human hope is based on
what the circumstances seem to indicate in the light of your past experience of similar
circumstances. Human hope is based on what you see with your eyes and what you hear with your ears.
There is another kind of hope and it was in that hope that Abraham hoped. He hoped against his human
hope. He looked at Sara’s womb. He looked at his own body as good as dead and yet against that human
hope, he hoped with a different kind of hope. What kind of hope is that?
Well, loved ones, you’ll see it there if you look at it in Romans 4:17. It’s a hope that is based on
different facts than those of the world and you might say, “Well, what facts are better than those
in the world?” Well, these, in verse 17.
Romans 4:17, “In the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls
into existence the things that do not exist.” This hope is based on a different set of facts. It’s
based not on the facts of your present situation at home or your present situation in your finances,
or your present situation with your friends, it’s based on other facts entirely.
It’s based on the facts of God himself and his reality. He is the one that called things into
existence out of nothing. He is the one that can change things. He is the one that can make things
where there is nothing. Divine hope is based on the reality of God himself and his own action and it
was in that hope that Abraham began to believe. That’s the meaning of hope that transforms the
things in our life today. That hope has a different kind of basis. It’s in Romans 4:21. This is the
basis of that kind of divine hope.
Romans 4:21, “Fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” That’s divine hope,
“Fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised”, and it’s not based on seeing. Human
hope is based on what you see with your eyes but this kind of hope is based as it says in verse 18,
“In hope, he believed against hope.” It’s based on believing. It’s based not on seeing but it’s
based on believing, on believing that God is still in existence and that he is able to do something
about our present situation. That’s why this verse that we’re studying today in Romans is so real.
It’s Romans 15:13.
Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace and believing so that by the
power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.” Our God is a God of hope. He is the God of hope
and he has fully intended you and me even in the midst of this nightmare in which we live, to
actually abound in hope. That’s his intention.
His intention is not that we wring our hands over AIDS. His intention is not that we lie awake at
night worrying about the finances. His intention is not that we worry ourselves sick about what is
going to happen in the international situation. His intention is that we would abound in hope.
If you say, “Why? Why can he himself have any hope when he looks at this headiest world? How can all
the strain and the agony and the futility of this world allow him to have any hope?” Would you
believe it? That’s the very heart of his hope. That’s the very basis for his hope. The futility and
the strain of humanity in these days, is the very basis of God’s hope. I’ll show you why. It’s in
Romans 8:20, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him
who subjected it in hope, because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and
obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been
groaning in travail together until now and not only the creation but we ourselves, who have the
first fruits of the Spirit, grown inwardly, as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our
bodies. For in this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he
sees, but if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
God has subjected the creation to this futility in hope. What does it mean? If there were no AIDS,
we would never know that what we call love is not love. We would live in a world filled with
promiscuity, filled with adultery and fornication, filled with lust, filled with our own desires. We
would never know any better if God had not built into the whole system, a dreadful disease like
AIDS, not that he causes it but he has built-in certain consequences of our actions to let us know
that there’s something wrong with the whole world. There is something wrong in our attitudes to each
other. If terrorism did not exist, we would continue in our own self-will forever, never knowing
that we were trying to be our own gods.
It is God himself who has subjected the creation to these futilities, who has built-in certain
natural consequences of our actions that act as signposts, that stand up and say, “You’re going the
wrong way. You’re going the wrong way. There is a God who loves you and cares for you himself.”
In other words, the Father looks at the strain and the agony of our present international situation
and sees that as the very basis for hope that we men and women will begin to realize that we’re not
trusting the dear Creator that made us, that we’re not submitting ourselves to his will, that we’re
not respecting and acknowledging him. There is hope in the midst of this situation that men and
women will begin to question the way they’re going.
Loved ones, it’s far worse to go like lemmings over a cliff, not knowing that you’re going over it
until you’re dead. That’s far worse than to be facing the futilities and the strains that God has
built into our present world — not that he has caused them, not that he has caused venereal
disease, not that he has caused the terrorism — but he has built it into the consequences of our
actions so that we will have hope of seeing that we are not living in any kind of relationship to
the dear Creator that has made us, but we are living in a wild, desolate, lonely world that is not
his intention for us at all.
You see, he subjected it in hope, not that we would just sometime after death, be set free from
these things. But he subjected in a hope so that we would be freed from these wild spirits of
anarchy and terror that rule our world, so that we would begin to be freed from the fear of these
epidemics and these diseases, so that we will begin to be freed from our dreadful anxiety neurosis.
How can we be freed from those? By a great fact that has occurred in our universe and you find it
there in Galatians 6:14.
Galatians 6:14, “But far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” God foresaw how little ones in
Cologne and in Hamburg and in London and in Paris, would lie under the stairs at night trembling as
the bombs fell on their house.[World War II] God foresaw how many of us in these days would begin to
be bewildered and fearful when we looked at what was happening internationally. God foresaw how many
of us would fall into anxiety neurosis because of the weight and the burden of our ordinary everyday
lives and he took those powers because those are actual spiritual powers that impinge upon you.
So often we think, “Oh no, they’re just rational”. You know they’re utterly irrational because in a
given situation a few hours later, they’re lifted off you completely. God saw that those spiritual
powers would impinge upon us and he put them into his Son Jesus and in a death that was actually
cosmic, because the temporal death of Jesus on the Cross is only an expression of a cosmic death
that God executed in his Son. And in that death, God destroyed the power of those spiritual forces
to send you into chaos and fear. It is possible, loved ones, if you believe that, because that’s why
the verse says, “May the God of hope give you all joy and peace in believing”, if you believe that,
you can live in the midst of this chaotic world, free from the effects of those powers in your own
heart and life. So that you will not live under their domination or under their fear. You will not
die before it is God’s time to receive you.
In other words, the Father in his Son Jesus has destroyed the power of those forces to destroy you
or me. That’s why the woman and the children went into the lion arenas with such peace in their
faces. They knew that no lion would kill them. The Father might designate to take them at a certain
moment, but no lion would kill them because he had already shown them that Daniel could not be
destroyed even in the fiery furnace. He had already shown them that the Israelites again and again
were delivered from powers that were overwhelming — that a little David could destroy a massive
giant Goliath — because those forces had been destroyed in Jesus’ death from before the foundation
of the world.
That is the hope that God intends us to live in. It is not a hope that is based on the way things
look but a hope that is based on what he has done in his Son Jesus to destroy the powers of those
things to affect us in anyway. Loved ones, we need to come right back to home — how are you living
yourself these days? How are you living? By what hope are you living? Are you living by human hope?
I feel for you because I think some of you are and I know what it has been like in my own life to
live that way.
You know, where you kept watching the way your life’s going, you know the way it goes? You keep
watching the way your life’s going. You keep watching the way things are falling out. You keep
watching the way your job’s going. You keep watching the way your money is going. You keep watching
the way your marriage is going or the way your hope of marriage is going. You keep watching the way
your life is draining away as the years pass. You know that? You keep watching. I feel for you. I
can cry for you because I think many of us live in that situation. You keep looking getting the old
binoculars out to see the future. We torture ourselves. We do. We just torture ourselves.
It’s like some unseen hand fascinates us and mesmerizes us with those things. So we keep looking at
these so called facts of our lives and you know the effect, I mean at times it’s just a drain to get
up. It’s a miracle to get up some mornings and go through the next day. Loved ones, there is no
human hope. There isn’t. There is no human hope.
Let me tell you — it’s nothing very deep but it’s the deepest things, one of the deepest truths we
have — you’re going to die. You’re going to die. After you’ve taken all the vitamins and after
you’ve slogged yourself around those running tracks for miles, you’re finally going to die. It’s
funny but after 16 or 13 maybe it’s all downhill, isn’t it? More cells are dying than there have
Stop that. Stop that human hope thing. Stop torturing yourself with human hope. There is no human
hope. Stop getting worried and ringing your hands in despair over the terrible things that are
happening in the world. Stop letting fear grip you when you read something new in the newspaper.
Stop that. There is no human hope. It is all going to end up in disaster. It just is. The Bible has
told us that.
Just stop human hope, stop it and switch to divine hope. Switch to believing that the Lord God did
really what he says he has done, that he has crucified the world, the whole complex system of world
events and will powers and will forces, he has destroyed it in his Son Jesus and he has destroyed
its ability to effect you in anyway so that a thousand will fall to your left hand and a ten
thousand at your right hand but it will not come now you.
Start exercising divine hope. Start today after service. Stop the business of thinking what’s going
to happen this afternoon and how on earth are you going to make it reasonably happy or satisfying or
how you’re going to avoid doing the thing you don’t want to do. Stop that and think at this moment,
“Lord God, you knew the way things would go this afternoon and you foresaw it and whatever
unpleasant things are set to affect me this afternoon, you have put into Jesus, your Son, and I do
not explain it and I cannot explain it, but you have destroyed their power to take away from your
life and peace. I thank you for that Lord.” And go into this afternoon trusting in your Father.
Trusting that he has a good afternoon for you and when things happen that you don’t think are so
good, trust him. “Lord, you want only good for me and so I know that there’s good in this for me.”
When a bad thing happens, see that the Father is using that to do something in you to bring you
closer to himself than you have been in the past.
In other words, throw away human hope. You can’t get anywhere. You can’t buoy up your feelings with
human hope. Forget it. And begin to believe God. Do you know that your Father who made you, loves
you more than your own dad? Do you know that? He loves you more than your own dad and more than your
own mom, and you know fine well that when they thought of this afternoon for you, they did
everything they could to make it a good afternoon for you. They did. And when they thought of next
week, they did everything to make it a happy time for you. That’s what your Father is doing. He, at
this moment, in his great infinite mind, is working out how to make these next hours good for you
and he has the power to do it.
Loved ones, “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace and believing so that by the power
of the Holy Spirit, you may begin to abound in hope.” We are meant to be the most ‘filled with hope’
people that have ever walked on this earth and that’s God’s will for you. Let us pray.
Dear Father, we know that you ensure that the planets do not collide. We know Lord that you
supervise all the intricate movements of protons and neutrons. We know Father that you keep the
blood in every human being on the earth circulating. Father, we know these things. Yet Lord, we have
somehow thought that you did not do this with our own individual lives. Father, we ask forgiveness
for thinking of you as some great managing director who only looks after the big things. Father, we
see that you look after us. If you have numbered every hair of our heads, and we see our Father that
you have a way for us. You have a way through for us.
We see, Lord, that in Jesus’ death, you destroyed all the things that would destroy us. Father,
thank you. Thank you, Lord, that we don’t need to mesmerize ourselves any longer or torture
ourselves any longer with the fears of what else is going to happen in our homes next week, or the
fears of what is going to happen in our jobs or the fears of what is going to happen in the
Father, we thank you that we can commit all that into the mighty death that you worked in Christ and
that we can be confident and fully expect with absolute certainty that none of those things are able
to destroy us or take us out of your hands. And we expect that nothing will happen to us unless it
is permitted by the Father who has the most loving heart of all, the one who has even died for us.
Father we thank you for that.
We now, Lord, turn away from all the frustration of human hope and we turn now to you and we begin
to exercise good hopes, good hopes for our lives, bright hopes full of expectations of things that
are good and well and fulfilling. Father, we thank you that is because of Jesus that we are able to
Now, dear Father, we would ask that you, the God of hope, would fill each one of us here this
morning with all peace and joy and believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we might
abound in hope.
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.
How Do We Determine Subjective Fantasy From Biblical, Historical Fact? - Romans
HOW DO WE DETERMINE HISTORICAL FACT FROM SUBJECTIVE FANTASY?
Video clip transcript extracted from the talk: ISRAEL-Romans 9:4a
By Rev. Ernest O’Neill
The continued existence of Israel as a nation is one of the greatest arguments for believing that
our Creator is as He is described in the Bible. Those of us who have begun to allow the Spirit of
Jesus to run our lives, and certainly those of us who have not, all of us occasionally wonder, “Is
this a perfect description of reality?
Is this a perfect description of the Maker of the universe? I listen to it Sunday after Sunday, but
there are other scriptures–the Koran, the Buddhist scriptures and the Book of Mormon–that claim to
tell us what the Creator of the universe is like. Why should we believe that this one is the only
perfect picture? Why should we believe that Moses is
right in what he says about God, and Joseph Smith, Mohammed and Buddha are wrong? After all, they
all spoke about miraculous events and they all said that God spoke to them.” Why believe this Moses
above them? Why believe he is right and they are wrong?
Of course, the real issue is what really did happen when Moses said that God spoke to him. Was it
actual fact or was it subjective fantasy? When Buddha sat under the bow tree, was it just a
subjective vision or was it solid historical fact, God showing himself in a way that was undoubtedly
God? When Mohammed had a vision, was that a historical fact or
was it a subjective fantasy or illusion? When Joseph Smith claims to have received those golden
plates that the Mormons base their religion on, is that historical fact or just a subjective
fantasy? Loved ones, in our present age we are tending more and more towards irrationality. More and
more men and women are saying there is no rationalism anywhere, there is no reason anywhere. All you
can have is some kind of experience under drugs, or some kind of experience that is hedonistic; that
is all a man or woman can hope for for reality. You can’t find reason anywhere now in our universe.
You can’t find reality by reason. At a time like this it is really important for us to hold solidly
to reason. If you do, it will become clearer and clearer to you that the God who is behind our
is exactly like the God who is revealed in the Bible.
Let me share with you what one of the old theologians said, a man called Leslie. He said there are
certain common-sense guidelines to help people to determine what is historical fact and what is
subjective fantasy. There are four criteria that a fact ought to satisfy if it is a historical fact.
First of all, it should be such as can be judged
by the senses, by eyes and ears. That eliminates all purely subjective visions that people have.
Secondly, it should be something that is done publicly before the world. It should not be something
that is done only in the presence of a small group who have a vested interest in believing
it. It should be something that is done publicly for the world to see. Thirdly, and this is kind of
interesting in regard to ancient history, there should be not only monuments and memorials to this
fact, but there should be acts that have been performed down through the centuries to insure that
the public memory has never been distorted. That eliminates most of the myths and legends that
gathered around the non-Christian religious leaders down through the centuries after their deaths.
Fourthly, these memorials and monuments, or these customs, habits and practices should have been
present ever from the time when the original fact took place. If you examine these books in this
Bible under those four criteria, you will become convinced that the revelation of
our Creator that you get here is the truth and the things actually happened as they are recorded
Full Sermon: ISRAEL-Romans 9:4a By Rev. Ernest O’Neill