Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
Now brothers and sisters, I remember in my own life when I saw the defeat in my own Christian life was due to a power beside myself but it was a tremendous step in my own Christian life when I saw that I couldn't deal with that power and honestly, I am afraid that many of us are under the deception that we can deal with that power, and while I was under that deception it was like struggling in quicksand. You know, you struggle, and the more you struggle, the deeper you'd go down and of course, that's God's good plan.
It's God's good plan that that would happen. Now why, why does that power have any control of you and me? Why does it? After all, most of us would say here, "We don't want to rebel against God, we don't want to get independent, we don't want to be jealous, we don't want to be filled with lust. Now why has that power any control of you? After all, it is a spiritual principle that no spiritual power in the universe can take control of any human's will unless that human being is willing for it. That's a spiritual principle.
No spiritual power, whether God or Satan can take control of anybody's will or mind or emotions unless that human being is willing for them to do it. So why is this power able to control us? I remember asking the Holy Spirit you know, to lead me into truth about that. Jesus, you remember said, "The Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth", and I remember asking the Holy Spirit, "Will You show me why this is so? Why does this power take hold of me at times when I don't wanted to", and bit-by-bit the Holy Spirit began to show me something inside that was more grotesque and more monstrous than anything I ever thought belonged to me.
Dear ones, it was an attitude that I had never really seen before until He showed me it, and it's referred to in different ways in the bible, if you like to look at Romans 7:24-25, you'd see one phrase that is used to designate it there. Point said ,of course that the defeated Christian life is not God's will at all and it's not where Paul was left you remember. A lot of us read Romans 7 as if Paul's final word is so then I do not do what I want but the evil I want to avoid is what I do. Well, that isn't the final answer at all, 24 and 25 is the final answer.
Romans 7:24-25, "Wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?" Then, he answers, "Thanks be to God", that there is a deliverance through Jesus Christ our Lord, then here is the phrase dear ones, that describes this spy within us that unites with the power of sin, "So then I of myself", now that's it. 'I of myself', and the Holy Spirit revealed to me a whole 'I of myself' attitude that I have never seen before.
A whole attitude of independence and rebellion against God that I had covered up with a whole lot of pseudo-Christianity for years and the Holy Spirit began to show me there is some attitude within you that has an aversion to that and I would say, "Oh no, no. I love God. I want to pray to Him. I want to serve Him", and the Holy Spirit kept getting me down to it, "There is a something inside you that has an aversion to God and it's that something that allies with this power of sin from Satan.
It's that attitude that is a spy within you and that opens the door and let's the power of sin into your life", and you know I kept refusing to believe it because I was a pastor and I spent all my days trying to serve God and enjoyed going to Him in prayer very often that other times I didn't enjoy but there were times when I really did enjoy going to God in prayer and I kept arguing with the Holy Spirit, "No, no. That isn't really me", and He kept showing me more and more of that old 'I of myself' attitude.
That old attitude that wanted to be God, that wanted it's own way, that persisted in insisting on it's own right, that was very dame you know to be religious and to appear very prayerful but wanted it's own way as far as God was concerned. Now that attitude is referred to you know, in different ways. Galatians 5:17 is one of the other words that is used to talk about it.
Galatians 5:17, "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit", and that's another word used, the 'flesh'. It's that attitude within us that wants to be independent of God, though a great deal of us wants to depend on God, this attitude wants to be God itself and you know that we've used the word in the past months, the 'old self', it's the 'old self' that wants to run it's own life and have it's own way and it's the old self therefore that produces bad temper because bad temper always comes out when you feel things aren't going away you planned them to go, things aren't going the way you wanted them to go and they're getting out of your control so you lose your temper in order to bring them back into your control.
It's the old self that produces the cold war between husband and wife. He won't do what you tell him, so okay, you've strong emotions, you'll call him back to heel just by running a cold war. He'll get tired before you do and it's the old self that takes that attitude. The old self that takes that attitude with our roommate, dear ones.
We decide we'll bring them back to heel like a dog because we'll run them into the ground emotionally. It's the old self that wants it's own way and that wants to do that kind of thing and the bible calls it 'flesh'. It calls it the 'old self' and it describes the attitude that the old self has very clearly dear ones. Romans 8:7 and it certainly leaves no room for us saying that there's a little good inside us and talks about the attitude that this old self has.
Romans 8:7, "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot", that would really help us a great deal. If you really recognize that that's what does happen right in us, if that old self is still alive inside us, God can tell us to tithe and we'll tithe without tithing, that's right. The old self is subtle. It'll appear to be obeying God's Commandments yet it will get it's own way by some corny little compromise.
The old self will get it's own way because it is hostile God. It has no interest in obeying God and it's subtle and shrewd and it'll give you lot's of signs that you are a very religious and very Christian person as long as it can still get it's own way because it is hostile to God, it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot, and loved ones, it never does. We bluff ourselves, you know. We think, "Oh no, no, brother, sometimes it does", no, it never does.
It makes you think it does, but it continues to get it's own way deep-deep down in your life and that's where that this piece is and that's that old self. Now the big step that I took in my life was when I discovered that God had done something with it because I tried for a while to strangle that as I tried to strangle the power of sin. I tried to tame the old self. I thought all that needed was discipline.
You ought to discipline it, just get it used to obeying God, but I wasn't up to it's subtlety and it's cleverness because it had really the subtlety of Satan himself and it kept getting away from me and dodging and I couldn't track it down with all the introspection that I practiced and it was, oh just a great step you know, and I saw the truth that we have shared, that God has actually already dealt with that old self and that that old self was crucified with Christ and that God in fact took that old attitude of self-centeredness and self-deification and He placed me in Jesus on the Cross 1900 years ago and He destroyed that old self there in there. That was a great relief you know, when I thought that that had actually happened and you remember it's there in Romans 6:6 and it's good to look at that verse because it shows you what effect that had on the power of sin.
Romans 6:6, "We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed and we might no longer be enslaved to sin", and it's 'Hay Humartia' to these sin. In other words you see the old self is the middleman. It's the old self that lifts up the power of sin and rebellion against God and independence of God, that power that we cannot control that is under the control of Satan, it's the old self that links that power up with our body and what God did was to knock out the middle man.
He knocked out this middle man, the old self that kept opening the door and letting that power of sin in and it was just such a relief when I realized that God had destroyed that power and really that's what we mean dear ones, in Romans 6:14 you see, when we come to that last phrase there of Romans 6:14, "For sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law, but under grace", that's what it means to be under grace, to realize that God of His own good, free generosity has destroyed all the evil that is giving you all the trouble in your life. He has destroyed the old self that wants it's own way. He alone has destroyed.
You see, our reasonability is to stop trying to suffocate it ourselves. Our responsibility is to believe it to death, to believe it to death. God has already destroyed it, our job is to believe God and then it will become actual and real in our own lives and I remember when I first saw that this believing involved two things, it involved considering and it involved submitting and you remember, over the past weeks we have talked about those two things.
Romans 6:11, you remember, talks about the considering. This is the way to make this real. We are mad people, you know. We will hear that God destroyed the power and yet we'll still, the old self will still want to destroy itself and that's the subtlety you see. We find something inside us that really wants to go after this old self and we say, "Oh, that's my will. My will is getting better so my will really wants to destroy my selfish will".
Well, it's that you're lost. The selfish will never wants to destroy the selfish will but it makes some thrashing and some kicking and some effort and we are bluffed by it and we hear of this message you know that the old self has been destroyed with Jesus but then we find the old will trying to act against the selfish will and we accept the bate and the deception again and we say, "Oh well, that may be true what pastor said but no, my will seems to be getting hold of the thing".
Loved ones, your selfish will is not able to destroy your selfish will because it does not really want to destroy your selfish will. The only one who can destroy it is God and He has done that in Jesus and the only way we can have that made real in us is not by self-effort but by believing and believing means considering and submitting. Now look at the considering in Romans 6:11.
Romans 6:11, "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus", and you remember the Greek word 'luggedso' means not only to think intellectually that you're dead to sin and not only this kind of self autosuggestion, "I am dead to sin, I am dead to sin, I am dead to sin", not just that, not just pretending with autosuggestion but it means treating yourself as really dead with Christ.
It means treating yourself as really crucified with Him and as having no right to your own way and no right to other people's respect and no rights to other people's prayer. 'Luggedso' considering means treating yourself as really crucified and really dead. Now you can see loved ones that that involved a willingness. It doesn't involve the exercise of your own will, which you are unable to do, but involved a willingness to be crucified.
It involves a yieldedness, a willingness for God to get rid of that selfish will. In other words, 'luggedso' is not just 'think that it's so and it'll be so', it's 'treat yourself as really willing to be crucified'. So you see there's no point in saying, "Oh yeah, Lord I consider that I am crucified with you", and someone comes to you, insults you as he insulted Jesus and you whip right back with sarcasm. That's not a willingness to be crucified with Christ, that's a mental ascent to the truth that you were crucified with Christ but an absolute unwillingness to be treated by others as if you're crucified with Christ or someone takes your coat and you get mad because you spent so much money on that coat. That is a mental ascent to be crucified with Christ but an absolute unwillingness to be treated as if you're dead.
"No, I am very much alive. I want my own coat. I am alive and I need it." So considering really involves willingness to be crucified and you remember that we did say that that willingness needs to be expressed at a given point in time. You remember that comes out in Galatians 6:13a, that we read a couple of weeks ago.
Galatians 6:13b, "Do not yield yourself", you remember as the sin as instruments of wickedness and you remember, the Greek word is 'Paresdano' and it means 'stop yielding' you remember as the sin is to sin as instruments of wickedness and then, "But yield yourselves to God as men who have brought from death to life and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. Yield yourself", and there the word is 'Parestasata' and it's the airous and it means yields yourself at a given point in time, dedicate in a moment of time yourself to crucifixion with Christ.
You remember we emphasized that considering that you crucified with Christ is not just a matter of continually trying to brainwash yourself, "I am dead with Christ, I am dead with Christ." It's really a matter of asking the Holy Spirit to show you, "Where am I not willing to be dead with Christ, so that I can come to a point in time where I reach the ground of my heart and I am willing to really be crucified", and it's very important brothers and sisters that the Holy Spirit sets that feel upon you at some time in your life that you are really at the ground of your heart and you are really willing to be crucified with Christ.
You are willing not to have your own way anymore in your life. You're willing not to insist on your own rights anymore. You're willing not to assert yourself or defend yourself anymore whatever it may cost you, even if it costs you death itself. It's very important to come to the point that the bible talks about there, a definite time when you yield yourself to this crucifixion with Christ, a time of full consecration because it's from that instantaneous moment of readiness to die with Jesus that will come the power of the grace to walk in the submission.
The second part that you do, you consider yourself crucified with Christ, you submit and submission has two sides, a negative side and you get the negative side there in Romans 6:13a, "Do not yield", you remember as the sin is instruments of wickedness, stop yielding, you remember as the sin is instruments of wickedness. Stop providing for sin. Stop expecting to get irritable because you have only had five hours sleep the night before.
Stop expecting to lose your temper when a certain situation crops up that always makes you lose it. Stop expecting other people to make special allowances for you that day because you were late in bed the night before. Stop providing for sin, that's the negative side of submitting and the positive side is Romans 6:13b you see.
Romans 6:13b, "Yield yourself to God as men who have been brought from death to life and your members to God. Yield your members to God as instruments of righteousness", begin to bank on the life of God coming through you to submit to the life of God. Begin to bank on God filling your mouth with words when you go forward to witness to somebody. Begin to bank on God filling you with love and with consideration for the person that you've had resentment towards.
Begin to bank on God coming through with power of His Holy Spirit, and really that's the way the reality of Christ crucifixion is made real in you by believing and submitting, by considering yourself crucified with Christ and coming to a real time when you are willing for that to take place and then submitting yourself utterly to the Holy Spirit day-by-day. Now, loved ones, the miraculous result in my life and I came into maybe 8 years ago, the miraculous life result in my life was Romans 6:14 and it's good just to see it.
Romans 6:14, "For sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law, but under grace", and sin there is not 'Hay Humartia', it is not re-sin, the power of sin but it is sin, it is inward sin of any kind, jealousy, envy, self-pity, anger, pride, all those things that destroy our lives. God's promise is real that that kind of thing will no longer have dominion over you in your own life and that's really it loved ones.
It's a real freedom from sin in your own daily life and that's what God's will is for us, that's why old Augustine, I won't give you a Latin but old Augustine said, "Grace does not only dismiss or remit sin but it makes it so that we ourselves do not sin". So Augustine said that grace not only remits our sin but it makes it so that we do not sin and old Luther put it this way, "The Holy Spirit sanctifies people not only by the forgiveness of sin but also by the laying aside, expelling and destroying of sin", and oh loved ones, so many of us who have been Lutherans for years, you know have maligned Luther.
We said, "Oh no, Luther taught us that we couldn't avoid sinning everyday in our life". Loved ones, this is old Martin speaking, "The Holy Spirit sanctifies people not only by the forgiveness of sin but also by the laying aside, expelling and destroying a sin". Loved ones, that's why a certain man in England 300 years after Luther said, "He breaks the power of cancel sin. He set the prisoner free. His blood can make the phallus clean. His blood avails for me", and loved ones that, you know, and that's what the world wants to see.
A body of men and women who do not just say, "Our sins are forgiven, our sins are forgiven", but a body of men and women who live in victory over sin, and that's why the bible says you know, that sin will no longer have dominion over you because you are not under law but under grace and you know what we've been. We've been a bundle of little objectors. We say, "That's right. We're not under law so we don't need to obey the law so it doesn't matter whether I lose my temper or not, I am under grace. God will forgive me. It doesn't matter what kind of miserable life I continue to live throughout the rest of my day".
Oh loved ones, it's a travesty, you know. God's word is just sure and firm. "Sin will have no longer dominion over you because you are not under law, but you are under grace", you're not trying to obey the law on your own but you have allowed that old self to be destroyed and it's now the power of the Holy Spirit obeying the law through you.
I really thank God that that's His will for us, and don't get shook, you know, if you're not in that spot yet, don't get shook but see that that's where God wants you loved ones and don't tithe, you know, don't tithe it was clever as to Jesus. You have to wipe out too many parts of the bible to do that. Really, just believe God's word and say to Him, "Lord, I want the power of cancel sin broken in my life and I want to live like Jesus", and really He will enable you. Let us pray.
Dear Father, Our whole nation is in a crises because we have not lived what we were preaching and Father, we see brothers and sisters likely turning away from You and from Your work because so many of us have been preaching what we did not practice.
So Holy Spirit, we trust You to deal with it now and show us that it is not the way of self-help that brings victory over sin, it is the way of deliverance through experiencing the Cross and the crucifixion of Christ in our own lives. We would trust You to make that real in each of us here this morning and make it real in these coming weeks in life so that there will begin to be a light up on the way and there will begin to be a group of people who practice what they preach and who not only talk about Jesus but live like Jesus.
Father we trust You for that, for Your glory and for Your working in our homes and in our families and in our dormitories and our schools and our offices that people may begin to see You living in front of You and not just heroes talking about You. We trust You for this our Father, for Your sake. Amen.