Description: Many of us have tried the power of positive thinking with limited success. Can we ever break free of this vicious circle of living inside our little world?
Bank on the Lord’s Life
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Two weeks ago we saw how we normally reacted to two situations. The situation that I described was
this: we’re used to 7 hours sleep and one night we go to bed late. We get up in the morning having
had only five and half hours sleep. We remember the way we used to react in that situation; our
bodies were tired, our emotions were ragged and so we looked forward to the day expecting it to be
like that for us. We almost provided for sin.
We almost expect to get irritable before the day is out. Above all, we expect everybody to be a
little more considerate of us that day because they must know that we have bravely made due with
only five and half hours of sleep. They should take that into consideration and extend to us special
privileges. You know what happens, before that day is out, you have lost your temper 10 or 11 times.
You come back at the end of the day worn out absolutely.
The other situation we described was; you come home and your roommate or your wife or husband is
lying flat out watching TV. Now, you have faithfully and courageously prepared the supper for the
previous four nights in a row. You ask them to help you and they don’t move an inch. They just lie
there watching the TV.
And you know how sin rises up inside you. The body gathers itself for a show of indignation. It
pumps the blood into the veins, gets the adrenal circling and the acid into the stomach. Then you
burst out in indignation. You tell them how much you’ve done and how they should help you today
because you’ve been doing it for four nights now. You let go a stream of language that settles the
scores of that evening and the course of the next 7 or 8 evenings that week.
You remember that we said that all that ceases when a supernatural power is released against that
kind of self-centeredness that gets you into that situation. A supernatural power is released
against that self-centeredness, the moment you really believe that our old self was crucified with
Now that old self with all its rights to get irritable, all its rights to get angry, all its rights
for people to treat it properly and fairly — all that old self was destroyed when Jesus submitted
his own will and our will on the Cross to being maligned unjustly, insulted unjustly, judged
unjustly and executed unjustly. When that took place with Jesus, that took place to our old selves.
The moment we really believe that, there begins to be a deliverance from that old self-centeredness
that we have.
You remember that we saw that that is made real in our own lives in inward victory when we begin to
reckon upon it that it is true. It’s in Romans 6:11 if you want to look at it. Some weeks ago we saw
that the way to actualize within us the victory over self, irritability and anger (that has been
wrought for us when Jesus died on Calvary), is in our own attitude of reckoning or considering.
Romans 6:11, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
God destroyed you in Jesus and you must consider yourselves dead in Jesus. We talked about the Greek
word “logizesthe” and how it was the word that meant “consider”. It meant that you were to set your
mind on the past fact of your death with Jesus, not on the present fact of your irritability, bad
temper and your anger.
You weren’t to look inside and say, “I lost my temper again today, I must not be crucified.” You
were to look at the past fact that God said, “You were crucified with his Son”, and you were to hold
onto that truth through thick and thin. You remember we used the water skiing illustration. You hold
on even if all the facts seem to say that you’re going to sink. You put your mind on the past fact
of your death with Jesus. That’s part of what considering or reckoning means.
It means that I regard myself as a man whose funeral took place 1900 years ago. Therefore I am a
man who has no rights to these clothes, no rights to this car, no rights to these possessions and no
rights to have my way on earth. You set your mind on the past fact of Jesus’ death and you set your
will on the present fact of the rule of Holy Spirit in your life.
Those are the two parts of ‘logizesthe’. Considering or reckoning yourself dead with Christ in the
past and then submitting yourself absolutely to the present rule of the Holy Spirit in your life. As
a result of that, God miraculously delivers you from things like anger, envy, jealousy, unclean
thoughts, irritability, impatience, and from all the things that portrays self at its worst. The
Holy Spirit really does that. Then we dealt with the second part of that ‘considering’ when we
discussed Romans 6:12 the last time.
Romans 6:12, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies to make you obey their passions.”
Submit to the Holy Spirit. Do not submit to sin but submit to the Holy Spirit. You believe that
you’ve been crucified with Christ, you believe in that past fact. Then, you submit to the present
fact of the rule of the Holy Spirit in your life. So you “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal
bodies.” You don’t provide for sin.
In the illustrations that we used, when you come to the point where you haven’t had enough hours of
sleep, you don’t provide for sin. You say, “Holy Spirit, You’re well able this day, even though I
still feel the sleep in my eyes and the tiredness in my body, you are well able to fill me with the
healthy, energetic life of Jesus. I receive it now. Lord Jesus, I am going to live off you this day.
I am going to live off your patience because I have none myself. I am going to live off your
concentration this day because I have none myself.”
Or in the situation when you come home to the apartment and the friend won’t help you, you look to
the Holy Spirit. You look to Jesus and say, “Holy Spirit, will you bring me the patience of Jesus?
Will you enable me to serve yet again and to be prepared to be a doormat if necessary in order to
live in victory this day?” The Holy Spirit will give you that kind of thing.
You do not provide for sin but you provide for the life of the Holy Spirit. Now the next verse,
which is today’s verse, deals with the positive side of that submitting a little more. There are two
ways that we need to reckon ourselves. We consider ourselves dead with Christ in the past. We look
at that past fact and with our wills submit to the present fact of the Holy Spirit. We submit to the
present fact of the Holy Spirit in two ways. We don’t provide for sin and today we bank on God’s
life coming through. We bank on God’s life coming through.
Don’t provide for the old way you used to deal with things. Don’t go into a situation saying, “I
know I am going to lose my temper today.” No, bank on God’s life coming through. This is the
positive side that we’re going to talk about in this verse. You can see it there in Romans 6:13, “Do
not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who
have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness.”
That’s the positive side of banking on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Unless you do that, you’re
left with just a half consecration.
Paul, first of all points out that this is not the power of positive thinking. The victory that
comes from Jesus’ death on the cross is not the power of positive thinking. It is not just the
exertion of psychic forces to hold down and suppress emotions of anger and envy with emotions of
patience and love. It is not just the power of positive thinking. Paul went out of his way to
emphasize that again. All of us have tried that kind of activity. We’ve tried this ‘I am all right,
you’re all right’ business. We’ve tried it and it’s exciting after you’ve read the book and can work
it for a week. Then the next week it isn’t so good. And a month later you’ve forgotten the whole
deal. It just doesn’t work.
Or there’s the kind of attitude in the power of positive thinking, ‘Think right and you’ll be right.
Think patient and you’ll be patient. Think love and you’ll be love’. But I don’t want to be patient.
I don’t want to be love. You try to think on top of your unwillingness. Now Paul emphasizes that it
is not the power of positive thinking that delivers us. It is an actual power that is released from
Jesus, released from God. He emphasizes that the vital thing is the initial act of full
consecration. Now I’ll show you how he emphasizes that dear ones, if you look at it even though you
haven’t the Greek there.
Romans 6:13, “Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness.” Now take my word for
it that the Greek there is a Greek verb called ‘Parasteneta’. ‘Parasteneta’ is don’t yield, stop
yielding — stop this yielding that you’re doing of your members to sin as instruments of
And then you see the word again. “But yield yourselves”. The yield here is the same verb but a
different tense. Those of you who are Greek scholars will know that it’s ‘Parasteseta’ which is the
aorist tense. It means yield now at a definite time.
So Paul is saying, “Look, stop this yielding that you’re doing from day-to-day. Stop doing all this
yielding of your members to sin as instruments of wickedness. At this point in time, yield yourself
to God. Now it is different in English because we don’t have an aorist tense. An aorist tense in
Greek means that you do it at a definite point in time. The International Critical Commentary is
quite a liberal commentary in some ways but it’s reliable as far as the text goes and he says, “Make
a decisive act of yielding yourself.” Yield yourself in a decisive act.
In other words, brothers and sisters, to enter into the victory, it is important that there comes
some time in your life when you see all that is involved in being crucified with Christ, and at that
time you yield yourself to him in one act of full consecration. Maybe God will show you more in the
future but up to that time that he shows you all the backlog of resistances against his will that
you’ve had for years you yield yourself to him.
Now loved ones I know you live in the light of that act from then on throughout your life. I know
that he’ll give you more light as you move on with him. But do you see that Paul emphasizes that
there is a time when you enter into this initially. That initial act is important. In other words,
being delivered from the power of selfish anger, jealousy, pride and irritability, is not just a
matter of thinking differently about yourself.
It isn’t just a matter of thinking, “I am crucified with Christ so I have no right to do these
things. I mustn’t do them. I have no rights now because I am dead and a dead man can’t be irritable
or impatient.” It’s not just a way of thinking about self that kind of takes from self the power of
vehemence”. (The transcriber had the word “demons” – I can’t quite tell in listening). It isn’t
It is a natural initial yielding of yourself in full consecration to the death which Jesus died on
the Cross. Most of us who have entered into any experience of inward victory have had a time in our
lives when we saw it all for the first time and we came to a point where we did yield ourselves
definitely to God. Now this is the same emphasis that you get in Paul’s writing in other places.
If you like to look at, there are two separate places where he talks about it.
One is Galatians 2:19. Even those of you who do not understand Greek will understand now from what I
have explained that it is this aorist tense which means a thing took place at a definite time as
opposed to the ordinary present tense that it’s going on in the present.
Galatians 2:19, “For I, through the law, died to the law.” The word ‘died’ is the aorist tense in
the Greek. I died at a certain time. At a certain moment I committed myself to the truth that God
showed me that I had been crucified with Christ.
Colossians 3:3 is the same aorist tense but here God is talking about all of us. Colossians 3:3
says, “For you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God.” It’s that same emphasis of
finality. You have died. There came a time when you died. George Mueller said this, “There came a
day when I, George Mueller died to self and died to sin.” I could testify to the same thing. I even
happen to know the date. I have written it in a certain book. I know well the date when I came to
the point where I said, “I am willing to die Lord.”
Now if you say to me, “Was there not a series of partial consecrations before you came for that
moment?” Yes. There was a gradual process when I often thought that I come to the ground of my
heart. I often thought that I was willing to die to self. But the anger the next day showed me I
wasn’t or the irritability a week later. So yes, there is a series of partial consecrations and
partial surrenders. But there does come a time when the crisis takes place.
Now maybe I should explain crisis. It’s not a big deal. It’s not a big emotional thing with thunder
and lightening. No. It’s a crisis, in the sense of an end to the struggle. I know that death can
often be a convulsive thing depending on what a person dies of. But very often death can just be a
quiet slipping away to Jesus. For me that’s what it was. It was just a quiet coming to the ground of
my heart. There was no excitement, no emotion, no tongues, no great show but just a quiet assurance
that I had stopped breathing the inadequate air that I had been breathing for so long — that
inadequate air of self.
So loved ones, the initial act really is important. I think a lot of us have real trouble with the
day-to-day submission to the Holy Spirit because we did not complete the initial act. We kept on
saying, “I don’t want to seek an experience. It’s wrong to seek an experience. I don’t want
something definite. I just want to grow out of this gradually.” Loved ones, cancer will grow in you
if you feed it. The cancer has to be taken from you. You have to be delivered from it. You have to
be healed of it. It has to be displaced by the healthy life of Jesus.
Many of us struggle unsuccessfully with the business of daily submitting to the Holy Spirit because
we do not complete the initial act of really dying to self at some point in our lives. It’s really
the fullness of that consecration that enables the power of the Holy Spirit to come down upon us
Now that’s important. Whether you’re going to a Baptist church and call it full consecration or
whether you’re going to call it full surrender or whether you’re going to call it death to self or
whether you’re going to call it coming into a place where you’re ready to be baptized with the Holy
Spirit, it doesn’t really much matter. But it is important that you see that there comes a time when
you count the cost of all that it is going to be to you. You count what you are worth to yourself,
what you want out of life, you look at what the Holy Spirit is showing you and you come to that
place where you say, “I am willing to go.”
Then some of you may say, “How do you ever come to that place?” Well, it’s not by introspection. I
did it by asking the Holy Spirit. I said, “Holy Spirit, I have no idea what it means to be crucified
with Christ. I have no notion of what it means that God destroyed me in Jesus on Calvary. I agree
with the truth but it’s an intellectual idea in my mind. “Holy Spirit, will you show me in what way
I am not willing to take part in that?” The Holy Spirit will give you revelation as to what way
you’re not willing to die to.
Then if you say to me, “How do you know that you’ve come to that point of initial consecration
that’s a full act?” The Holy Spirit witnesses to it. If you say to me, “What about all the other
times you thought you’d come to the ground of your heart?” Well, there was always doubt. There was
always uncertainty in me.
I can’t have thought, “Boy, that’s a deep place that I’ve come to in surrendering to God.” Maybe
this is it. But when you come to that point, (when you’ve reached the ground of your heart, dealt
with all the resistances to God’s will that have built up in the past, dealt with all the desire to
be God and to have your own way), the Holy Spirit witnesses that you’re at that point. There’s just
a quiet assurance within you that you’re ready to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Now it’s very important to go on to what is the real topic for today, which is banking on God’s
life. It’s very important to see that when you come to that place where you’re willing to die to
self with Jesus that you do bank on the Holy Spirit coming through. That’s what Paul is emphasizing
in the second part of Romans 6:13b.
In the first part of Romans 6:13, in ‘a’, he says, “Do not yield your members to sin as instruments
of wickedness but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life.” So yield
yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life. That’s the initial consecration.
“And your members to God as instruments of righteousness.” That is the day-to-day submission to the
Holy Spirit but making room for the Holy Spirit, banking on the Holy Spirit coming through.
In other words, it’s vital to bank on being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Now don’t let’s get mixed
up over the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I don’t mean tongues. Yes, tongues is one of the gifts of
the Holy Spirit. But I mean that the Holy Spirit comes and fills you completely with Himself. From
then on you live regarding him as the master and the boss of your life. You depend on him utterly
and completely for guidance, ability and grace.
It’s a baptism of the Holy Spirit in that sense. But if you don’t bank on that, then you’ll go away
from an act of full consecration that is very little better from the power of positive thinking. Do
you see that? In other words, you’ll go away having come to a place of full surrender but not
banking on the Holy Spirit, not trusting the Holy Spirit, not depending upon him. And so in fact you
won’t move out into situations that he’ll guide you into.
So it’s vital after coming to the place where you’re willing to die with Christ to see that now God
wants you to raise you with Jesus. He wants to put you at his right hand. You can see that position
in Ephesians 2:6. After God destroyed us in Jesus, Ephesians 2:6 says, “and raised us up with him”
— it’s the past tense. “And raised us up with him and made us sit with him in the heavenly places
in Christ Jesus.”
Now it’s vital brothers and sisters that you obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit when he wants to
put you in situations that are viable only if he is available. In other words, if he wants you to
walk around the old Jericho city then you do that. Even if you know full well that this is no way to
have victory over the city, that the way is to blow the walls out from under them, you parade around
and around if the Holy Spirit tells you to do that.
It’s vital to bank on the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s vital to begin to put yourself out on the
limb for God in situations that would not be bearable unless the Holy Spirit comes through. So, in a
resentment situation; you resent that person because of what they’ve done to you. They haven’t been
fair and they’ve treated you unjustly. They’ve let you bear the whole burden of finances or the work
at home or the work in the apartment and you resent them.
It’s vital not only to come to a place where you die to your right to resent anybody, but it’s vital
to go forward to them and choose to love them, trusting the Holy Spirit to fill you with love. You
see that you were so bad yourself that God destroyed you and you’ve no right to tell somebody else
that they should treat you differently.
In other words, it’s vital to start banking on the power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to love
them. Otherwise, you stay back and you say, “I can’t love them. I don’t feel love for them. When
I’ve prayed a bit then I’ll go and love them.” No, you bank on the power of the Holy Spirit. You
don’t decide, “Lord, when I feel power to knock down those walls, then I’ll start walking around
them.” You’ll never feel the power. You have to start walking around them first. That’s how it is
with the resentment situation. You need to go into the situation and trust the Holy Spirit to fill
you with love. You choose to love and God fills you with love. You act and God gives you the
feeling. It’s vital to begin banking on the Holy Spirit.
Let’s take a witnessing situation. If you hold back until you feel you’re ready to speak, you’ll
never be ready to speak. You start going into situations banking on the Holy Spirit. You go into the
situation, you go forward to the person, you open your mouth and trust God to fill it. You make
yourself available for God. And that’s what is involved in the positive side of the day-by-day
submission to the Holy Spirit.
It’s vital to die to self in the initial act. It’s vital day-by-day not to provide for sin but to
provide for the power of the Holy Spirit — to bank on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Tithing — it wasn’t new to me the idea of tithing. I know many of you have known it all your life
but I was a liberal Methodist and we had that thing pretty well organized. I couldn’t believe that
you were actually expected to give a tenth of your money to God. Gradually I got it through my head
without the use of Hebrew or Greek, just understanding the English.
I thought, “Well, I have to see if I can afford to tithe.” So I started to calculate whether I could
afford to tithe. Dear ones, you bank on the power of the Holy Spirit. You tithe first; calculate
later. That’s it. You tithe first and you calculate later. You go out on limbs banking on the power
of the Holy Spirit to come through. Then, you begin to find miracles happening.
You, begin to find that a sweet fragrant life of Jesus is starting to come through you — a life
that seems not your own. You begin to find that God is faithful. He does in fact, send the Spirit of
his Son into you and pour the life of his Son through you. Really the secret of it all is God has
done all the acting already that is needed in Jesus, now it’s our turn to act. That’s why
Christianity is really a very active thing. It’s a real initial commitment to being crucified with
Jesus. It’s not only a mental commitment but a volitional commitment. And then, it’s a daily
committing yourself into situations that are possible only if the Holy Spirit comes through for you.
Dear ones, are there any questions just for even a minute?
Q: Is it possible to die to self over a period of time and years?
A: You can see that it’s very important that even as I emphasized the completion of death that I can
understand many of us will come into it in all kinds of different ways. I know that. All I am
pleading is that if there are a series of near deaths, there must come a time when you stop
breathing and when you’re dead. And so, all I am pleading is that I can see that many of us have
come to massive surrenders down through the years.
I just think that there comes a time when you come to the real ground of your heart and you really
know that you’re living for Jesus glory and for that only. Why I am answering you that way, instead
of saying, “No”, is that a number of us use your words and we really mean that the final one of
these series has been death. Whereas some of the rest of us say, “Is it possible to die gradually?”
And we mean we just die a little bit at a time hoping that we’ll get rid of anger today, envy
tomorrow, jealousy the next day and impatience the next day.
So it’s vital to see that it is self that needs to be dealt with. Even though it may come through a
series of near deaths, it has to eventually come to an end.
Q: “Is there more light that you come into after being crucified with Christ?”
A: Yes. And if you say to me, “Is it a struggle and is it a death?” I would answer “No, it’s a
joyous entering into what your Father wants you to do.” And that’s what I would see as a difference.
The Holy Spirit delivers you from resistance to God’s will so that any further life is a beautiful
and willing entering in. You can’t call it ‘deaths’ because it isn’t an agonizing suffering thing.
It is more light. God shows you more light.
A: I think everything in Jesus surely is dependent on our faith. Surely we cannot say that we enter
into anything that we can maintain apart from faith. Even those of us here this morning who would
hold to the doctrine of eternal security would still believe that it is possible only because we
continue to exercise faith. I think even Watchman Nee says that. He holds to eternal security but he
would say, “You begin to act as if you are not dead, if you don’t continue to exercise faith.”
It seems to me that it’s possible to lose everything. It’s possible to lose all sense of the reality
of our being in Jesus. All of us know that you can lose the reality of Jesus’ presence as a
perception in your spirit if you don’t continue to abide in faith. I think we have to stay well
clear of that old holiness heresy that there comes a time when you don’t need to bother whether
you’re going to sin again or not. It seems to me we’re not talking about that. That’s dangerous
where you come to the place where you say, “I can’t sin. I can murder anybody, but I can’t sin.”
It seems to me everything is dependent upon our believing that we’re crucified with Christ
day-by-day and day-by-day we are submitting to the Holy Spirit out of our respect for him.
Shall we pray?
Dear Father, we thank you for your love of us. We thank you for the sense we have that we’re a
family and that it is possible to clarify things for each other and to just enjoy talking about you
and about Your truths which are alive, dynamic and active. Father we thank you for showing us this
morning that no man or woman can enclose in ordinary human words the truth of what you have achieved
for us in Jesus. We thank you that only the Holy Spirit can make all this real to us.
Holy Spirit, we would trust you to apply the truth of our death with Jesus to each one of us. Apply
the truth of our resurrection with Jesus to the right hand of the Father so that each of us will
come to that place where we really say, “Yes, we are willing Lord Jesus, for that to be made real in
us.” Holy Spirit, we trust you to fill us with the life of the risen Son. Father, we trust you to
enable us this coming week not to provide for sin in our lives but to bank on the life of the Holy
Spirit for Jesus’ glory. Amen.