บทเทศน์โดย สาธุคุณเออร์เนสต์ โอนีล
I don’t know how often you’ve gone out of here and said, “Boy that was a long sermon”, but sometimes I think you can go out thinking, “That was a long sermon” and sometimes you can go out thinking, “That was a short sermon”, and really it doesn’t bear any relationship to the amount of time that’s passed. Both sermons can be the same length but you just thought one was short and you thought the other was long. It’s the same with a loved one who is on a sick bed and you’re sitting beside them and you’re sitting there and the night seems endless. It just drags on and on and on and they can’t breathe and they’re having trouble and the night seems never ending and yet another night you go to bed after an energetic day and you sleep like a top and the night seems to go like lightening. Or you have an awkward job at work and it seems that week is endless. It just will not end, it just drags on and on and on but the next week, you have vacation and it just goes like that.
We know that there are enough experiences that we’ve all had in this present life to persuade us that even for us who aren’t great Einsteins or aren’t great philosophers or aren’t physicists, it’s easy for us even to see that time is relative. Time is very relative. Indeed if we hadn’t these watches and clocks, we wouldn’t be aware of time at all. We’d just be aware of experiences. Actually it would seem to us one great present now. You know that because you have real difficulty distinguishing between yesterday and very vivid experiences of ten years ago or very vivid experiences of 20 years ago.
Indeed, I’ve put it to you if you forget yesterday and you go back to last week, is it not true that you’ve real trouble remembering some of the things that happened last week, but you have very vividly in your mind, some of the things that happened to you when you were eight or nine years of age. So, you can see that once you get rid of clocks and watches and once you get rid of numbers of course, you’d really find yourself living just in one moment, the present moment, the now. The truth is, brothers and sisters, that’s the only reality there is. It is. It’s the only thing we have control of, you must admit that.
You’ve no control of what happened in the past and you’ve no control of what’s going to happen in the future. The only thing you have control of is this present moment. In other words when people like Einstein said to us, “There is no such thing as time. It is simply something that the Creator of the universe has graciously allowed us to have, as a technique for managing to live in this time space world, but in reality there is no such thing as time. It is just one great eternal present now.” When Einstein says that kind of thing and then he does his experiments and then his mathematical theories to prove it, it’s very easy, I think for people like us to believe.
Now, loved ones, that is in fact reality. That is reality. You know all the arguments we have about when Jesus said “Today, thou shall be with me in paradise.” How is that thief going to be with Him in paradise, while we’re all going to be queued up here waiting to get in. I mean we’ll all have to wait till we die and then we’ll be in. Now, how is he going to be in then back there and yet we’re not in yet. Now how can that happen?
Well, you can see. It’s a great eternal now, that’s the real thing. To a certain extent the idea of time is an illusion that we have here. In actual fact, everything is already done. That’s it.
Everything is already done. I know it’s a baffler, but everything is already done. God has already created heaven. It already exists. God has already gathered all to Himself. It’s all already done. God has already, the bible says, “Seen every difficulty in your life, every sin in your life, every piece of guilt in your life, every piece of powerlessness that’s in your life and He has included it in His Son Jesus, destroyed it all and remade it. You are remade at this moment in Him, that is all already done.
In other words, when you say you know, “I have such guilt, I have such guilt,” I just feel terrible guilt about some of the things I am doing in my life, I know they’re wrong and yet I can’t seem to stop them and I keep on doing them. I have such a sense of guilt, I feel God is just condemning me. I feel that I am going straight to hell.” God has already destroyed one person who bore your sin in His own body on the tree. He has already done that and He has no intention of destroying you too. He has already destroyed one person for all that you have done in your life and He has nothing but love towards you this morning. He has nothing but forgiveness in His heart and mercy towards you.
God already has accepted you in His son Jesus. If you say to me, “I know that in my head. I believe it in my head but I can’t seem to get free from this guilt in my conscience. I can’t seem to feel that I am a child of God. I can’t seem to feel that He has forgiven me.” I’ll tell you why. There’s no mystery about it. God has shown you some of the things in your life that are wrong, that you are doing wrong and that are bringing guilt to you.
Those are the very things that He put into His dear son Jesus and destroyed there. And He is saying to you, “These are destroyed, so now just stop them.” But you’re not stopping them. That’s why you don’t feel His forgiveness. Not because He hates you, not because He is condemning you at all, but you yourself are not living in the reality that God has destroyed those things in Jesus and so you can’t feel the forgiveness.
See, the fact is, faith is something that God allows to spring up in your heart when you have done with those things that He destroyed in Jesus. But you’ll never get that sense of forgiveness that is reality unless you have done with those things. That’s why so often, at this dear altar, the problems that you and I face are not really faith. We keep thinking they are, and I don’t blame, you think you know and I thought the same, “If I could only have faith, I could feel God’s forgiveness and I’d be free from guilt and I’d be born of God and I’d be His child–if I could only feel it.”
Faith is not the problem. Repentance is the problem. Repentance is the problem. You stop doing the thing. I could give you an example. Perhaps God has zeroed in on you, and said, “the smoking”, that’s it, “I want you to end that.” Or we could take something else. He says “you have a caustic tongue, a critical tongue. You’re always saying cutting things to people.” God zeroes in on that, shows you and you feel the guilt of that. You come up to the altar at the end of the service and you begin to ask God, “Lord forgive me, forgive me for this.” God can see into your conscience and your will and He can see if your will is really committed to do what your conscience says it should do. He can see that. And if it is, God allows faith to spring up in your heart and you sense that God is accepting you, that’s it.
That’s the way the miraculous transaction works. It’s not working up of feelings loved ones. It’s not working up of feelings inside, it’s simply accepting. God has destroyed this in my Savior Jesus, I have done with it now that’s it and then you come together like that. It’s synchronized, the whole thing becomes synchronized. But if you don’t repent, if you don’t stop it, you’re trying to belief for forgiveness over un-repented sin and it’s impossible. Your feet keep slipping. You keep
slipping. You try to climb up Calvary but you’re slipping down because you’re continuing to use the old caustic tongue or you’re continuing to smoke.
Now many of us I think have come through to the new birth experience and we’ve come through to that, but we’re in the position that we talked about last Sunday. We find that we stopped sin on the whole in our lives, but we still feel sin within. In other words, by dint of obeying the Holy Spirit, we’re able to keep away from many of the things that filled our lives before but we still feel sin within. We feel at times anger, we feel at times selfishness, we feel at times a critical spirit and we don’t like it and we don’t want it but we feel it rising from within us.
Now, the fact is there is a beautiful experience in the Holy Spirit that cleans that all up so that you no longer have that garbage coming up from deep down in your heart but you have a spirit of beauty and the spirit of fragrance and a spirit of love. That’s what God’s word says, “I will write My laws in your inward parts. I will cause you to walk in my commandments. The fruit of My spirit will be love and joy and peace. It’ll rise up from within you.” Loved ones, that’s God’s will for you.
So, if you’re in that spot that I and many of us were in, where on the whole, your life outwardly is an obedient Christian life but inwardly you have a mess of jealousy and pride and irritability and resentment that keep rising up inside you, keep trying to hold it down and more or less you do, but at times it gets out. If you’re in that position, see this, God has already dealt with that also. God has already dealt with that also.
All of that comes because you still are depending in some way on the world. You’re in some way still depending, and all of us, that’s why you get resentful you know. That’s why we all get resentful because somebody is not treating us the way we think they should and we’re depending on them treating us that way and we resent when they don’t. That’s why we get jealous. You wouldn’t get jealous if you didn’t care what everybody thought of you and what everybody thought of everybody else. But it’s because you are more concerned about what people think of you than what God thinks of you, that you get jealous when somebody else is praised and you’re overlooked.
So all those works of the flesh we call them, those carnal attitudes come because we ourselves are in a way depending on God but still in a way depending on the world of people, the world of things, the world of circumstances. Now, in fact, that is because you are attached to that world by all kinds of subtle powers and forces. The truth is, God has already cut those. He has already destroyed those things. He has destroyed your dependency on the world. He Himself has done it in Jesus. He put you into His Son Jesus, and He crucified you to the world and crucified the world to you and that is already done. You may say, “Well, why am I putting up with all this stuff if it is already done?” It’s back to the same thing, it’s not the lack of faith.
Some of you think, “Oh, if I could only have faith that I was crucified with Jesus, if I could only have faith for that, if I could work up a faith, then I could be filled and baptized with the Holy Spirit and I could walk in this victorious life that you talk of within. If I could only have faith.” Faith isn’t the problem. Faith is in a sense a gift of God. You do have to exercise it, but actually when things are right at a deeper level, the moment you exercise faith, God comes in and enables it to blossom. That’s what happens. But do you not often find yourself in the position where you say to yourself, “Yeah I have faith, I have faith that I was crucified with Christ. I have faith that the world was crucified to me, I have faith, I have faith”, and you try to have faith but it won’t lift, it won’t lift.
Now, it will lift through the power of God if your consecration is complete. Just as in the new birth, your repentance had to be complete. In your consecration, it has to be complete. God delivers you from the guilt of sin through the new birth and through forgiving your sins because Jesus died for you and you have faith in that and you repent. God delivers you from the power of sin through your death with Jesus, through the sanctification that He works, through the fullness of the Holy Spirit in response to your consecration. It’s our consecration that is not complete.
In other words, there is still some way in which you are depending on the world. There is some way in which you are depending on people. There is some way in which you’re still depending on circumstances. There is some way in which you’re still looking to something other than God for all that you need and the moment you stop doing that, and say, “Lord God, I consecrate all I have and all I am to You for Your purposes, whatever they are”, that moment, you are able to exercise faith for your crucifixion and resurrection with Christ and the Holy Spirit sanctifies your heart and cleanses you within. And He does it miraculously, if you consecrate everything to God. That’s it loved ones.
It is just incredible you know, but you’ll get no faith rising in your heart unless you have settled, “Lord God, you’re my Creator, I owe You everything, and You’re the only one I can depend on anyway at the end of this life. I give You everything to use as You please.” But if you hold back you know, if you kind of hold back your money or you hold back your future, you hold back your career, or you hold back your marriage or you hold back your preferences, you know you say, “Well, I’d like to give everything to God, but I’d sure like to be able to do these things too.” If you hold back to any of those things, then faith cannot rise in your heart for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
So that’s what God laid on my heart–to bring home to you and to myself again that what prevents us entering in to the deliverance that God has wrought for us in Jesus is not that He hasn’t done it. It’s all done, at this moment, it’s all done. And it’s not our lack of faith. It’s our failure to deal in a down to earth practical way with any sin or disobedience there is in our lives. When you deal with that, and then you have your faith in Jesus’ death for you and your death with Him, God works the miracle in your heart.
I know this is a strange conclusion but any questions, anybody? I know sometimes it’s good to question and sometimes it’s not, but it’s so long since I have asked you.
Q: Is it an ongoing process in the Christian’s life?
A: It is an ongoing process but often the ongoing process was impossible because we didn’t experience this crisis that we’re talking about. And so most of us would witness with the people of old that it is both a crisis and a process. I think many people have thought they can grow into being a Christian without being born of God, you can’t. I think many people have thought I can grow out of the evil within without being filled with the Holy Spirit. You can’t. But– after those two events, it is an ongoing process because there is a whole maturing in the beauty of Jesus. There is a whole ruling and bringing into order our personalities.
But the crisis loved ones is by faith, done in a moment in a twinkling of an eye. Whatever is by faith, can be done in a moment. That’s why faith is such a crucial thing. It rises in your heart when the repentance is complete and there is the obedience of consecration. Where does the blood of
Jesus come in? It’s only because of Jesus’ blood Susan that this is possible at all. It’s only because God has put us all into His Son and has destroyed us there that we can even enter into this. That’s why we say the blood of Jesus cleanses you. But you remember that promise is, if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sin. And many of us have difficulty experiencing the blood of Jesus cleansing us from sin because we don’t walk in the light. But in order for that to happen, you have to walk in the light.
So it’s the work of Jesus on the Cross that enables us to be done. Otherwise we all would continue in the midst of these habits that we have developed over the years continually undelivered or trying to psyche ourselves out here.
So it’s only because of what God has done in Jesus loved ones. It’s only because of that base work of Calvary that we can experience this at all. But even the Bible is very clear, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin and we have fellowship one with another.”
Q: What does consecration mean?
A: Consecration is “secro” in Latin-“to separate” and con is “with”. And it means to separate together with, to separate from and to separate to, separate yourself from the world and from people and things and circumstances and separate yourself to God. So that’s it brother, it means to separate yourself wholly to God and to give yourself wholly to Him and so for most of us, we’re giving ourselves to ourselves or often we’re actually giving ourselves to each other. But often there’s some self-interest in that. Consecration is giving. It’s the right thing.
Loved ones, we have only one God. We have only one Creator. None of us here will be around you probably when you die. You’re going to meet one God and one Creator. It’s just common sense that we should consecrate everything to Him. We owe Him everything, we have nothing that He has not given us and so consecration is giving everything to Him.
Q: Along with the things that are destroyed, does it include sadness and bad emotions and feelings?
A: It does. It’s the promise in the bible and the promise that many of us have experienced is that God has destroyed in Jesus, the works of the devil and the works of the devil are all those dreadful feelings of worry and anxiety and sadness that come from living, as if there’s no God.
The tragedy is of course we all begin to realize that’s what we’ve been doing, but then those things have got so deep into us that we can’t get them out. Many of us try analysis and all kinds of things to get them out but we can’t get them out. That’s what Jesus did on Calvary. God in Jesus destroyed us and remade us there and we can have that remade being manifested in us through the power of Holy Spirit. It’s glorious, that’s why we have no anxiety about anything. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say rejoice. That begins to surge up from within you instead of being something that you try to obey.
Q: How do you resolve the fact that as long as we are in the flesh we’re going to sin anyway?
A: I resolve it by the bible saying, “Whosoever is borne of God does not commit sin.” And I say that the bible promises that we are able to avoid conscious sin. Seems to me we’re always going to make errors, we’re always going to make mistakes, we’re always going to be in a position, you know where
we say something to someone and we get home and we say, “Oh, that was wrong, that was wrong”, and we go before the Father and say, “Lord, I am sorry, I didn’t intend that.” But brother I would push you those aren’t the things that bring agony to us.
We all have a general sense from God that He does forgive us for those involuntary or unintentional sins or unconscious sins. What brings death to all our hearts are the conscious sins that we do again and again and again and cannot get free from it. It seems to me that’s what the bible talks about when it says in James 4:17, “Whosoever knows what to do and fails to do it, for him that is sin”, that’s the sin I think that we’re talking about.
I agree with you that I don’t think we’ll ever get to the perfection that God has. We have imperfect minds, we have imperfect emotions, we have imperfect wills. We will never get to His absolute perfection. But the bible encourages us to get to the perfection that is perfect love, where we want what is pure and good and where we consciously do what we know is right. I think that is right through the bible loved ones, from the first chapter to the end. It’s “do this, do this” and Jesus of course said, “If you don’t do what I tell you, you’ll be like a man that builds his house on sand, and when the storm comes, of course it will be blown away.”
So brother I think it is important to make a distinction between conscious sin and unconscious sin and to say in that sense, you’re right. Probably we’ll never be free from unconscious sin yet, as we go on and that’s what sis was talking about in the process experience, as we go on growing in Jesus likeness, we can all say that as we develop in selfishness and anger, it’s possible to develop in patience and kindness and goodness and it is possible increasingly to come to the place where I think many of us would say that the old saints have reached. It seems to us as if they’re free from sins because they’re so kind and so saintly.
I think you oppose any idea that anybody can get into sinless perfection. That is where there’s absolutely no failure to conform to God’s absolute perfection. But that is usually not the problem we have. Our problems are usually at a much lower level. I keep losing my temper with her or she keeps losing her temper. That’s where the torture is. And that is what God saves us from through the work of Calvary.
Loved ones I should begin to close. Shall we pray before the Lord who alone can do it?
Dear Lord Jesus, we would bow before You now to ask You for each other and for ourselves Lord. We desperately need these works done in us. Some of us need real freedom from guilt, and we need to know that You’ve forgiven us Lord. Some of us need freedom from the power of sin within us, we need to know that we’ve been crucified with You and raised with You. Oh Holy Spirit of God, we would ask You to come among us even as we deal with You in these last moments of this service and we would ask You to bring us right through to full faith, to glorious confidence that of course, God has already forgiven us.
He loves us, He’s filled with acceptance towards us and of course He has remade us in Jesus and we’re with Him now remade completely with new emotions and new feelings. Lord, help some loved one this morning to realize that in their own hearts for the first time for your glory. Amen.