So today I want to talk about sin. Sin is a big issue to us. Along with sin comes a host of other issues such as “sickness, shame, anger, confusion, and condemnation”. I want to tell you that your sin does not have the Father packing His bags and leaving you. Think about it the Father knows all things. He was not surprised that Peter was going to fail and deny Jesus. What was Jesus response to Peter? I will pray for you to remain faithful. Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never fails. So many times we believe that the Father has left because of our sin but that is not true. The truth is quite opposite. Lets look at some scripture to clarify Gods response toward us.
We are first going to look at the original sin of man in Genesis.
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Genesis 3:4)
So before we continue lets take a look at a few things that sin does. Before the fall man had unrestricted communion with the Father. There was no veil separating man’s heart from seeing the Father. The spirit of Adam dominated our current reality and thinking. His heart was pure therefore projecting a purified imagination. So the bate of satan was to appeal to their vanity and to pervert the word of God. He said, “If you eat of this tree you will become as God!” The reality was that Adam and Eve were already walking as gods on this earth. The Father had given them full access to Heaven. Their mission was to expand the garden till it took over the face of the earth. Earth and it’s fullness was under their dominion. So when they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil their eyes become opened to our reality and closed to theirs. Our reality which was there supernatural reality became theirs. The veil was placed upon their hearts and the heavens closed.
You can see that the moment sin had entered their hearts fear came upon them. All they ever knew was the love that pass understanding. Their Fathers love was manifest physically upon them without the the battle in the mind. Fear is the absence of love. John said that Perfect love cast out all fear. Their eyes became opened. They no longer saw only light but the darkness that always lurked at a distance is now filling their heart. As Jesus said:
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22)
The darkness was condemnation. Condemnation says your disqualified to receive the Father’s love. You now have a concubine attitude. You begin through servitude to earn the Father’s love hoping to be seen. No longer do you feel loved but now you need to be loved. So man sought love through creation. Something was birthed inside of man. A conscience! Here is the definition of Conscience:
The inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience.
Inside their heart was now the ability to choose right and wrong. The only was to have an ability to choose right and wrong is to have a way to measure it such as a law. The law reveals sin. Paul says, The strength of sin is the law! Man now walked in his flesh instead of out of his spirit. I believe that is why the author of Hebrew stated this:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
I believe that when the Gospel or Good news is believed that we are now born of spirit and the word of God separates soul and spirit.
So man’s first response was fear his second response was shame. They covered their sin and hid themselves. So who separated from who? Man hid himself but where is the Father? Did He also depart? Did He remain on His throne? No! He pursued man. He sent His Son the Christ the word of God to walk in the cool of the day seeking man.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8
So you see sin does not separate God from man but man from God. Jesus later comes as the savior of man seeking relationship and cleanses the world of Sin so that whoever would believe in Him would have everlasting life.
Now sin does carry consequences? The consequence is it does remove us from the reality of our Fathers love.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith. (Col 1:21)
When we sin we are no longer beholding Jesus. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. The hope of Glory. The captain of our salvation. In Him is no sin! 1 John 3 says, “He who abides in Christ can not sin”! Sin removes the reality of the Father and exalts itself above the knowledge of God. This carries depression, shame, guilt, sickness and many other negative feelings and manifestations. But the reality of the Fathers heart is the same toward you. He sees you Holy, Blameless and above Reproach. But you must stay in this reality to benefit from it. Out of this which is walking in the spirit and abiding in His presence comes His fruits. Notice I said His fruits. Righteousness, the absence of sin is a fruit of Christ. Everything Christ did and was on this earth is who we can be. We overcome through living and abiding in Christ.
So if sin is a struggle of your life I want you to know that its not your battle but it is finished in Christ. Now that does not mean you sit back and do nothing and expect to live righteous. Faith without action is dead works. You have a laboring to do. Not in trying not to sin but to enter into His rest. In His rest we cease from our works and the Father manifest through us. Our rest is the submitting to God and resisting the devil. So lets look at the book of James and learn the key to overcoming sin.
Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:6)
This verse lays the keys to overcoming sin. Lets look at them
1. God opposes the proud
2. He gives grace to the humble
3. Submit yourselves to God
4. Resist the devil and he will flee
5. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Lets look at the first one. God opposes the proud or self righteous. Ask yourself this question. What would have become of Adam if he had only taken a heart of repentance and asked for forgiveness. But that is not what happened. He blamed Eve for his sin and then blamed God for giving him Eve. He resisted the grace that was being given to him from the Father by standing in self righteousness. I will stand on this statement with all my heart. God does not send men to hell. Men reject the grace of God through hardening their heart. God resist the proud which moves us to point two, He gives grace to the humble. When we stand in self righteousness we resist the grace of God that was provided to all men.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
All men have access to this faith but the god of this world has blinded the hearts of men that they might not see the light of the gospel. So in relation to sin when we stand in a place of control or in other words we try to overcome sin through the flesh we resist the grace that empowers us to overcome it. Paul says it this way:
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…
(2 Cor 12:9)
His grace is what empowers us to over come all sin. Sin is to have no dominion over you. So you must submit to God through acknowledging that you can’t bare righteous living outside of Him. By taking your sin issue to God and humbling yourself by acknowledging that it is through Him you have the victory, sin loses its strength and grace releases power.
So what is the submitting to God? It is allowing the thoughts of the Father and His words to wash your mind till you live in the identity of a sons or daughters. You begin to come into the knowledge of the love of Christ that surpasses all understanding. You are the righteousness of God separate from the law. Its not your actions that make you righteous but it is His. When this becomes heart revelation the devil flees you. Why because he has nothing in you. You are all His. Living in the reality that you are righteousness of God through faith will release the power of God over your life to take dominion over all sin.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), (Galatians 3:13 NKJV)
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11 NKJV)
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (II Corinthians 5:14-21 NKJV)
Righteousness is a gift like salvation. It can only be conceived through Faith.
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26 NKJV)
For righteousness comes through Faith not Works
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. (Romans 3:27 NKJV)
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. (Romans 9:30-32 NKJV)
So this is how we overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony!
I will be talking to you about true repentance today. Repentance is a well known subject within the church and there are many things spoken on this subject. I want to talk about some revelations that I believe the Lord has given me. I first want to state that repentance is the key to your relationship with Jesus. Paul has this to say in Hebrews 6:1
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Paul states that repentance is the foundational step toward maturity in Christ. Without this foundation laid properly the steps of Faith and Baptisms I believe can easly function out of gifts and not relationship.
Lets look at the strongs definition for repentance
3340 metanoéō (from 3326 /metá, “changed after being with” and 3539 /noiéō, “think”) – properly, “think differently after,” “after a change of mind”; to repent (literally, “think differently afterwards”).
I believe that this is a good place to stop but it means way more then to change your mind. I would step out and say that you must not only change your mind but renew it through beholding Jesus. He is the word made flesh and we are not to be conformed to this world but transformed through the renewing of our minds. I know many who repent “change their mind” only to believe another theology or belief. Their repentance is based upon a rebuke instead of a reconciling. So it becomes a worldly sorrow and not Godly sorrow. Some define repentance as turning a 180 degrees but what or who are they turning to. You can find yourself turning ever direction but to Jesus.
I think that Paul gives a great deffinition on repentance in 2 Corinthians.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit. 1 Cor 3:18
To look upon or behold Him is to be transformed from glory to glory. Only in beholding Him do we see the heart transformation through the renewing of our mind. The heart that is standing in repentance is a heart that stands in the reality of His Kingdom.
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2
The other thing I want to talk about is forgivness. Repentance is seperate then forgivness. They are connected don’t get me wrong. But they are two very seperate actions.
Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Repent, for the forgivness of sins. The forgivness of sin comes directly from the beholding or abiding. I know many who have said a sinners prayer and never believed in there heart. They received religion not a abiding relationship. They turned to a church not to a savior. So there hearts never receive the new nature of righteousness. They find themselve very frustrated and angry because sin still dominates their heart. Lets look at 1 John for greater insight:
God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7
If we abide in the light as he is in the light His blood cleanses us of all sin. Jesus said that if your eye be single your whole body is filled with light. What I am saying is even if your one degree off your casting a shadow. To truly walk in repentance is to fully gaze into the eyes of your savior. Buzz Aldrin once said that on the mission to the moon once they left the atmosphere they would course correct every 20 minutes till they landed on the moon. He said that sometimes they would be two degrees and other times as much as nighty.
Your life in Christ is going to be a constant course correction till you die. We have to cast off every vain imagination. Every thought must be captured. This allows the mind to be transformed into the mind of Christ. The enemy is after your mind. His plan is to overthrow your identity in righteousness for a sin conscience. To behold Him is to walk in self control which is a fruit of the spirit. As you are in the light sin shall not have dominion over you. You then are walking in the spirit and not of the flesh. For those who walk in the spirit are the sons of God – Paul. We are to walk in the reality of His kingdom. That only becomes reality when He becomes ours.
I want to tell you that Jesus is healer and awesome in power. He wants to touch your need. Here is the testimony of a woman healed of AIDS and my buddy Scott is giving the interview. This happen a year ago on the streets of Nashville. I saw this girl during a AIDS walk and was lead to pray for her. She told me she had AIDS and I asked to pray for her. She allowed me to and after I told her to get a free test that had 15 min results. She did and she was healed. Jesus touches this woman’s needs.
Like the disciples many were looking for a King a Savior, someone how would deliver them from their circumstances. Instead they found a cross. On the other side of that cross they found that they were free. What they thought was bounding them was nothing more then a evil and wicked mind separating them from their Father (Col 1:21). Sin had lost its dominion.
Now many of you also received a Jesus in hopes that life would become better the moment of salvation. But that has not been the case. The reason is that between you and your freedom is a cross. There is a denying of self and a crucifying of the flesh that must take place. Now this seems hard but it takes place in one area of your life. Your mind!
You must renew your mind and place upon it the helmet of salvation. You have to speak His word over your mind till it submits to The Father. Only in they place of submission to the Father are you fully able to resist the devil and he will flee. He will have no place in you if your mind is renewed.
But what is the word you say that renews your mind? The Good News of Jesus! For it is the power of God unto salvation. And the good news says you who have believed are righteousness before you Father. And He chose you before the foundations of the world to be in Him Holy and Blameless before Him in Love. Your not a sinner saved by grace but your more than that. Your a child of your Father redeemed by His love!
About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. (Matthew 14:25-32)
There are a few truths that I want to point out in this passage.
The first being that of the boat. The disciples were in the boat during a storm. They were safe from the elements of the world. I want you to see the boat as the church. Though we are not forsake the assembling together to exhort one another but it’s not so that you can be feed a glutinous meal to survive the week. He is our daily bread. So many people today attribute their salvation to church and not relationship with Christ. They need it to survive their week not knowing that Jesus will walk on the water with them. You are more then conquers.
Second is the winds and waves. These are the trials of this life. We often find our true character in these moments. Paul says that God tests the hearts of men. The water is this life. The wind is the adversity of the enemy manipulating this elements of this life. So many people walk into church every week as if they escaped with their very life holding onto the boat “church” for their salvation. Today is the day if salvation. I look to Him everyday through adversity to pour out grace upon my need and to strengthen me in every weakness. Do not be like the waves being tossed in ever direction. Christ has called you to walk on the waves.
Third is Jesus. Where is Jesus? Walking on the waves! He is literally walking on adversity. Jesus came to this world and defied the laws of this world putting away the flesh and walking in His spirit. Where so many men fell into sin Christ walk through the temptation without sin. He had the authority to speak peace to the storm but He had no need to because in Him was peace. He was not worried for one moment of death because He is resurrection and life. He walked on what man feared.
Fourth is Peter called out upon the water. I first would like to say that Jesus did not call Peter by name but it was an open invitation for all the disciples. But let’s return to Peter walking on water, the one thing that jumps to mind to me is that Christ did not calm the storm before He called out to Peter. Many I know would jump out of the boat to walk on calm water after all Peter looking unto Christ had no problem walking on the water until he saw the winds and the waves. I see that many times the reality of this world drowns out the reality of heaven touching earth. Peter was manifesting Gods kingdom in that moment. This world was Peters domain at that moment when the kingdom of God was at hand.
When we change our perception of who are Father is and who we are in Him we will find that I don’t need church to survive the world but He who is in me is grater then the world. The wind and waves still know His name. Jesus wants to manifest in the boat “church” and outside in the world. Don’t fear the trials of this life but embrace them. God is exposing your heart and revealing your unbelief. He is strengthening you and He will never put more on you then you can bare. When Peter began to sink The Lord pulled Him out and they walked back to the boat. Your spiritual family is there to encourage you in your weakness. But your strength comes from Jesus. He is the author and finisher of your faith. I will leave you with the wisdom of Solomon:
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace is for gold, but The Lord test the hearts
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it…” Gen 2:2-3
On the seventh day God rested in the completion of His work. The Sabbath was not the source of rest for God, He was the source of rest for the Sabbath! So then the Sabbath became Holy when He rested upon it. True Holiness comes when we walk in the reality of Jesus’s finished work. As Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” It is in that place of total surrender that we cease from our own works and the Father’s works are made manifest in us. Holiness is not to “be seperate” it is to be complete in Him. As Christ said, “you are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. “Abide in Me,, and I in you. As the branch cannot bare fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
You will never overcome your sin, sickness or fear unless you abide. You will never bare fruits worthy of repentance unless you abide. You will continue in cycles of failure unless you abide. Your strength is not enough to conquer sin. You must deny yourself pick up the cross and follow Him. The kingdom is revealed through surrender. As Jesus said, “The kingdom is like a treasure in a field, which a man found and hid; who sells all he has to buy the field.” Are you willing to surrender it all to Him. Lay down your self righteousness and He will pour out His grace upon your humility.
Picture this with in your heart. As the dove in flight above the Noah’s ark looking for a place to land, so is it with the Father looking to create in our own hearts a sanctuary for Himself, a place where He might rest. As our Savior spoke in John’s gospel, “if anyone loves Me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love Him, and we will come to Him and make our home with Him.”