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Description: Living by Faith or Repression?
Living by Faith or Repression?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
I was going to try loved ones, to go onto the next verse in Ephesians and it’s 4:23, and I think
both London and Raleigh are more or less together on that verse. Ephesians 4:23, and it runs, “Be
renewed in the spirit of your minds.” And the previous verse you remember, was, “Put off your old
nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts,” and we
talked about deceitful lust, that it’s not just sex and all that stuff but it’s desires that deceive
you into thinking that’s how you’ll get satisfaction in life. And of course, if we had the diagram
I’d show you again how we tend to use our minds to get satisfaction from all kinds of things, and we
try and get a sense of importance from people’s attitude to us, and happiness from our
circumstances, and a sense of security from the things we own and possess, and those are the
They’re desires that we think will give us the satisfaction that we can only get from God himself.
And what Paul is saying is our whole natures are corrupt because of those. They’re corrupt and what
I think we don’t realize is they’re corrupt to the point where they can’t help us. And I think
that’s part of the mistake we make in regard to the mind. We forget that the mind of the flesh is
enmity against God it is not subject to God’s law neither indeed can it be. And we don’t take that
seriously. We really think that the mind is still able to help us and that actually, believe it or
not, is the heart of what’s wrong with the how to books. The how to books are very good in many
human ways, but they’re useless for bringing us into freedom from self because they work on the
basis of a mind that is itself not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be subject to God’s
law because it’s utterly, utterly corrupt, and it’s utterly used to depending on people, and things,
and circumstances for all that we need. And so the mind itself is corrupt and it can study the how
to books and it can study and agree with the how to books, but it cannot do what God wants it to do
and it will never do it. And it seems to me that is one of the errors we keep making.
And we agree with the Romans 8:7 and we agree that it says that the mind of the flesh is enmity
against God, it is not subject to God’s law neither indeed can it be and yet we think, “Yes, yes,
that’s the old mind it’s not the mind that I have now.” And too often we’re living with the mind of
the flesh and that’s what we’re using and that’s why when we introspect with the mind of the flesh,
we get as deep as doesn’t matter. This business of getting to the ground of our hearts, we’ll never
get to the ground of our hearts. Why? Because the mind of the flesh doesn’t want to get to the
ground of its heart, and the mind of the flesh is not subject to God’s law and it can’t be. It
But I really think that many of us spend our lives in slavery because we hear the message of victory
over sin and we think we can get into it ourselves. We think we can think our way through this
thing and we can obey our way into it. And we think that somehow or other with the aid of our
minds, and the help of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to come into deliverance, and we are still
in charge of the whole operation. And we end up self-managing our sanctification which is
impossible. What we end up with is a very, very serious consecration. A very serious setting
ourselves apart as well as we can do it from bad things and setting ourselves apart to God as well
as we can do it.
So we end up with a human consecration and we wonder why there’s no power over sin, because of
course there hasn’t been a real act of sanctification. There is only one who can sanctify us and
that is the Holy Spirit and he is only able to sanctify us when we have faith. That’s the thing
that comes home to me. I think that many of us listen to the whole message and we say to ourselves,
“Yes, I’ve got the idea. I’ve got the idea. It’s as you say, as if my old self had been crucified
with Christ. That’s it. I’ve to grasp that idea and I’ve to exercise my mind about that and then
I’ve to exercise my will.” And to us it’s still an idea. It’s still an idea.
I was awake at three, 3:30 and at 4:30 I was rowing, or at five o’clock I was rowing. And of
course, if anybody is affected by a cold English morning, this here’s the guy that’s affected by a
cold English morning. And so when I headed out there in the shorts, etcetera, and walked down and
then got to that gymnasium, that was the last place I wanted to be and it was just great, because I
settled – I set myself right away that old poor creature that used to be uncomfortable in this
situation that could not produce any energy at this time of the morning when he hadn’t slept too
well, that old creature was crucified with Christ and is dead and gone. And then of course, I had a
good time on the rowing machine.
There’s magic in faith. There’s magic in faith. It’s not just an idea that you were crucified with
Christ, it isn’t. You were crucified with Christ and that’s the only reason that anything can
happen in your life here. And if you keep on thinking that that’s just an idea, or a mental thought
that will help you to exercise your will, you’re nowhere near truth. The fact is each one of us has
been destroyed in Jesus and that thing has gone, and is dead, and is destroyed, and the only thing
of you that really lives is living at this moment at the right hand of God in Jesus. And that is
the truth, and then on the basis of that you use the mind that is in you that you have in Christ
You use that mind, you have that mind anew which you have in Christ Jesus. You have Christ’s own
mind within you and you use that mind to show you your life and to show you the truth, and to lead
you forward, and to go step-by-step with the Holy Spirit. But it’s first on the basis of that faith
that you have been crucified with Christ and that that’s not just an idea. You have to finally face
all the consequences of that. If you’re crucified with Christ, then you do not deserve that amount
of respect here on earth and you don’t need that amount of respect here on earth and you don’t need
anybody to look up to you, or to praise you, or to avoid criticizing you because that has all been
crucified with Christ and you are in Jesus at the right hand of God, and everything is different.
But it’s all based on the reality that you actually have been crucified with Christ. That you’ve
been destroyed in him and that you no longer exist. And if you say to me, “Isn’t the mind of the
flesh always trying to avoid that?” Of course it is, you betcha you betcha. Of course the mind of
the flesh is always trying to avoid death. It’s always trying to avoid destruction. It’s always
trying to get around it. It’s always whispering to you, “Now yes, just think that way and then
exercise your will and it will work, you’ll see. You’ll see, and you’ll still be in control.” And
then the Holy Spirit is saying things to you like, “Would you be willing to be thought the stupidest
person here in this group? Would you be willing to be thought the stupidest, the greatest failure
in this group? Would you be willing for my sake to be that? Would you be willing never to have
your own way again? Never to have a cup of coffee when you want to have a cup of coffee? Would you
be willing? Would you?”
So they give them vinegar and you can’t do without coffee, so that’s what it means. It means the
Holy Spirit interpreting to you what being in Jesus means for you personally. What the consequences
of it will be for you personally. Are you willing never to have just physical comfort? Would you?
Would you be willing never to have physical comfort? Never to be just as warm as you want to be?
Would you be if it were for Jesus’ glory?
Would you mind a little cut Lord? A little cut in your side, perhaps? A little scrape on your
head? That’s what it means. It means you facing Jesus who bore you to death in himself on Calvary
and saying, “Lord, whatever, whatever. Yes, I will be thought of as the dumb dumb in this whole
operation. I will be thought of as the greatest failure in this operation. Yes, I will be willing
never to have clothes that are warm enough if that’s your will. I will be willing never to have
complete rest and peace physically if that’s your will. Yes, whatever Lord. That’s what it means.
It means getting – well, that’s what one of the old saints said, you remember, the story he had
been seeking clean heart, sanctification, fullness of the Holy Spirit for years and at last he said
to his friend John, “John I got it. Yesterday I got it.” And John said, “How did you get it?” And
he said, “I just got honest with God. I just got honest with God.” And I think that’s what it is
the mind of the flesh will not bring you through. You using your own head and your own cleverness
will never get through to a work that only God’s Holy Spirit can do in you. You’ll get through to a
fine degree of consecration and commitment, but you’ll never get through to the work of the Holy
Spirit cleansing your heart through faith unless you see that faith is not just believing, it’s
accepting fully what has happened to you in Christ. It’s accepting that fully with all its
implications for your present life and for your future life. And then when you come into a
willingness to do that you experience the light of the mind of Christ within you and he then takes
you on through and into resurrection.
But it’s vital to see that it’s faith that you have been crucified in Christ. It’s faith that that
has actually happened. It’s faith that you have actually ceased to exist and you only exist now in
Jesus hid with Christ in God. And then when you come to that willingness, then Holy Spirit brings
to you the mind of Christ and cleanses your heart and then you are delivered from self. But I think
that many of you are trying to carry out that verse, “Put off your old nature which belongs to your
former manner of life and is corrupt through deceiving lusts,” and you’re trying to do that by your
own effort. You’re trying to shrug it off and there’s a certain couple of verses you remember, in
the New Testament that says, “That’s to try to bring Christ down or to try to bring Christ up.” And
that’s often, it seems to me, what many of us are doing, we’re trying to struggle up into Christ or
bring Christ down to us, but we’re not allowing the Holy Spirit to take us into Christ and up with
him to the right hand of God.
So it’s vital to see that it is by faith, if you by faith through the Spirit put to death the lusts
of the flesh. If you by the Spirit through faith do that, not through your own efforts, and not
through a mind that is hopelessly corrupt and that is not subject to God’s law, and indeed cannot
be. I know that was – that was important for me because I just thought – you can think through this
stuff, you know, you can think through it and you can apply it to yourself. And then I realized no,
there is a deceiving spy within me that will always deceive me and that is myself and I need
somebody from outside to come in and lead me through this. And then it was that I realized the Holy
Spirit is real and he is within me, and he is able to lead me out of this, and lead me through this.
And a person has to come to that place where you see that you cannot do it yourself, that it has to
be the Holy Spirit and that this is something that God has already done.
It is a work that has been done. It’s based on a fact. It’s based on the fact that you have been
crucified with Christ. You start with that fact and you live therefore in that fact. Let us pray.