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Encapsulated in Christ

November 12, 2005
Dubuque, Iowa

(For printable version click here.)

There was a time when we opened a church in Modesto, the town that I come from, and the only place that we could find to meet was above a bar.  So, while they honkey-tonked, we preached Jesus.  I think we can probably do the same here; after a while everything got kind of quiet.  I don’t know if they went away or if we just got lifted up to where they didn’t make a difference anymore.  Praise the Lord.

It’s good to be here this evening with you.  I trust the Lord will open His Word to myself, as well as to you.  Praise the Lord.  If you have your Bibles, you might want to open them to Romans 8.  Romans 8 is a very good chapter.  I’m sure you all are very, very familiar with it.  There have probably been many, many, many, many sermons preached out of it.  Well, I guess you’re going to get one more.  I want to start at verse one.  It says, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  Now, the word condemn there is a word for judgment, and because of the way that it’s put there, it means a judgment that comes as the result of something.  Hallelujah.  It says that those that walk not after the flesh, …which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…  The biggest battle that you and I have – it’s really not your husbands, aren’t you glad, ladies?  It is not your wives.  It is what Paul calls the “enemy within.”  Paul said in another place, For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing (Romans 7:17).  You know, there are a lot of things going on, and there are a lot of things that people do, that create problems for other people.  None of us live in a vacuum.  There are things that we do that cause others a lot of trouble.  But the trouble that they create for you isn’t the thing that you have to beware of.

There’s a little testimony of a lady who, for many years, was a very fervent Christian, seeking the Lord and moving in the things of God and her husband was not saved.  In fact, he had several bad habits, drinking and smoking and sometimes abusing her verbally, if not physically.  She would always come to church; she would always ask for the church to pray for her husband, that he might get saved.  She was convinced that when her husband got saved, all of her troubles were going to be finished.  I bet a lot of you can testify as to some thought that if a situation would change it would make things in your life a little easier. 

When I first began to seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost…  They told me that when you get the baptism of the Holy Ghost, all your troubles are over!  I found that when I got the baptism of the Holy Ghost, my troubles just started beginning!  I thought I had troubles before, but the good news was that the Holy Ghost gives you the wherewithal to overcome those troubles.

Well, she prayed, the church prayed, and God was faithful.  One day the husband got saved.  Not only did he get saved, but man, he got revved up for God.  He got so revved up for God that it started giving her a problem.  So I would really judge, from the outcome of all that, that her husband wasn’t really her problem.  Of course, many of you ladies are probably convinced otherwise, but the Bible says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).  Hello!  Do you hear that?  Personalities really do not have anything to do with the fact of what we wrestle with.

Brethren, I think we’re living in a critical, crucial time.  I really do.  It says that wickedness will increase, and I see much evidence to that in our time frame.  I don’t know what it must have been like in Sodom and Gomorrah, but I do know one thing that Jesus said when he was in Capernaum.  He said that if the miracles that had been done in Capernaum had been done in Sodom and Gomorrah, Sodom and Gomorrah would have repented (Matthew 11:23-24)!  So, that tells me that the time frame that Jesus was living in was somewhat worse and the people that were involved were somewhat more hardhearted.  What must it be like in this day and in this hour, almost two thousand years down the road?

Sometimes I think that I’m going to have to get away from it, but I have a lot of information that comes across my path with regard to the Signs of the Times articles in the K.I.T. Bulletin.  It seems like everybody is sending me these little articles, and, you know, I have to read them.  They are about all of the things that are going on in the political arena: the sodomite’s agenda, the ACLU agenda, all of the things that are going on.  We’re like the frogs in the pot.  You know, the frog is in the pot, swimming around in the water, and it’s not hot, it’s just kind of tepid, and then the fire gets turned up and the frog just keeps swimming until he gets anesthetized and boiled to death.  Then he ends up on the plate for somebody’s dinner, or at least his legs do; I don’t know if they eat the rest of him.  But the fact is, that is something like a picture of the condition of the church.

There are a lot of things that you and I can get caught up into as far as religion is concerned, but religion isn’t something that you and I want to focus on.  What we need to be focusing on is our relationship with Jesus Christ.  That is what you and I need to be focusing on.  The more that you are at odds with humanity, the more that you should be in tune with God.  Hallelujah.  Because it says in the last days it shall be, what?  Brother against brother?  Children against parents?  Parents against children?  A spirit of lawlessness (Matthew 10:21, Mark 13:12).  That’s something that you young people and younger young people should be really considering in the aspect of your relationship with your parents.  When you are at odds with them, and contention and strife and things are going on, and you just don’t like the way you’re being treated and all of that, and in you rises up something that wants to resist the authority that is over you, you need to remember what age of time you are living in.  I’m not saying they’re right, I’m not saying they’re wrong.  I’m talking to you kids; now, I don’t care, if you consider yourself a kid at my age, that’s fine.  I’m talking to you.  But you have been put in a particular place for a particular reason, you have been delivered a particular word.  Be that as it may, I don’t know what kind of job your parents have done, I don’t know what kind of example they’ve set.  The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter, do you understand?  It doesn’t matter because in God, there is much capability and potential that is at your disposal as a young person.  It does not matter what your age is, whether you’re five, six, seven, eight, nine, four, three, two, one!  I don’t care.  I don’t care what it is, because the Holy Ghost has no basis of numerical value.  It doesn’t look at you as something of an entity that cannot comprehend.  Of course, the older you get, the more responsible you become and the more liable you are before the Lord.

We don’t believe the Holy Ghost.  We don’t believe the power of the Holy Ghost to circumvent any and every situation.  We do not believe that it can give us the power to move beyond the place of our humanity and our finite thinking to where it can expand out and beyond what we can see with our eyes, touch with our hands or hear with our ears.

You know, my body is telling me something and what it’s telling me I don’t like.  I don’t want to hear it; I don’t want to recognize it.  It is not as though I am playing the game of denial.  Believe you me, in the morning there’s no denying, or at the end of the day, there’s no denying.  There’s no denying the fact that I’m not as strong as I used to be, I don’t have as much wind as I used to, I don’t have as much strength as I used to.  But the fact of the matter is, there is something that God has given me that has given me the ability to circumvent my weakness.  Come on!  It can circumvent my weakness, for it says when I am weak, who is strong?  He is strong (II Corinthians 12:10)!  That means that there is something that He has to do in the fact of me being weak!  That is why Paul could say, “I glory in my infirmities” (II Corinthians 12:9).  If Paul had never been stoned, how would he know he could be lifted up and go on and do whatever he was doing?  If he had not been flogged, how could he have stood at the end of the day and said, “I bear in my body” (Galatians 6:17)?  How could he have said that?  He couldn’t have said that.  Now, it’s not as though we go and say, “Alright here, beat me with the cat-o-nine tails thirty-nine times.”  Don’t worry.  God will take care of it.  He’ll give you the opportunity if you’re fortunate, maybe.

Now, the Bible says that there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1).  Did you hear that?  There is no condemnation.  What did they teach me in science?  For every cause, there’s an effect.  For every disobedience, there is a judgment that comes, not for the purpose of chastising you and making you feel bad that you were such a naughty person, but to get you to recognize your position of being out of harmony, out of sync, out of position, out of place with Almighty God’s intent for you in the plan and the purpose that He has.  My goodness.  We are so easily, easily diverted.  Of course, you’re not easily diverted, right?  You probably pray four or five hours a day and are out on the street witnessing, and doing those things that are necessary to perpetuate the Kingdom of God, right?  You go to church every other night, at least, right?

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  There is a difference between being in Christ Jesus, and having Christ Jesus in you.  Then why do we have so much trouble with it?  Why do we have so much trouble with that thought?  We have trouble with the fact that we are not demonstrating the reality of what it means to be in Christ.  If I am in Christ, I am encapsulated.  Not only am I encapsulated, I am incarcerated.  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you… brethren, …that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called (Ephesians 4:1).  Did you hear the word vocation?  Oh, he probably meant being an electrician, being a carpenter, being a plumber, being an accountant, being this, being that, whatever it is to make a living.  Right?  Or going to school or learning your ABCs or your 123s.  Or maybe what was meant by vocation was being a part of a five-fold ministry.  Oh, yes, that must be what it is!  No, he’s talking about one thought, one thought alone.  Have you ever given it any thought how it is that we, being so many and varied in abilities, are required to be the same in one certain respect?  Because the focus is not supposed to be on what we are, but on what He is and what that translates into with regard to the thing that He, God, expects.  God wants a son!

Do you know that Paul was a one thought person?  It’s amazing how many times he could write that thought.  In all of the epistles and books, I mean, the one thought developed into an entire New Testament.  It wasn’t so much that Paul was so concerned about what was going to be.  It seems like we’re always looking off, “What’s going to happen?  What’s going to happen out there?  What’s going to happen over here?  What’s going to happen over there?  Or what kind of revelation can come forth in the midst of all of that?  What does it mean and how does it work and what can I do with it?”  Paul wasn’t so much into that type of thinking.  He did have the revelation of the end time, but he had a revelation of the end times from the perspective of God’s thought and intent from the very beginning.  He said, “Whether I’m in the body or out of the body, who cares?” (II Corinthians 12:2-3)  Who cares?  We would probably try to psychoanalyze the feeling or try to figure out just how it worked and what kind of feeling we had, and so forth.  “Were the lights down and was the music playing and what song were we singing and what Bible verse were we reading?  What thought was coming to me when all of this happened and I had this experience, ‘Whether in the body or out of the body’?”  “Did you see me around that day?  Did you recognize me?  Did you see me there?  I was there.  Did you see me?!”  No, his attitude was, “Whether in the body or out of the body, God knoweth.  I don’t care!”  But he says he was lifted up into the third heaven.  Praise God!  Do you understand?  There was something of a reality, there was a thought, there was an intent that was so much before him, and we’re missing that mark, brethren.  We as a church, collectively, probably individually as well, are missing that mark.  I’m not here to get you all out into the mully-grubs because you’re, “Oh, we’re missing the mark.”  That is not my intent.  My intent, God help me, is to get you excited, to get you endeavoring to look beyond the end of your nose.  We’re like the man where it says he beholdeth himself in a glass and he goeth away and forgets what manner of man he was (James 1:23-24).  We are stuck with our nose glued to the mirror.  All we see is me, myself and I.  Government of the people.  Government of Burt Asbill, for Burt Asbill, by Burt Asbill.  Hallelujah!  “We just had a landslide vote!  It was unanimous!  I’m president!”  Of course, your lifestyle is probably a little different than mine, the devil you’re fighting is probably a little bit nicer than the one that I’m fighting and he probably hasn’t done as much damage to your psyche as he has tried to do to mine.  Of course, the little devil that is inside of you is probably not as bad as that little devil that is inside of me.

Brethren, there’s something that you and I need to come to grips with: when we got saved, we got born again.  The church doesn’t understand what it means to be born again.  It is like, “I get born again and I get up in the morning and I’m still Mr. Burt Asbill, not Burt in Christ or Christ in Burt.  Oh, I’ve got something of a twinge, and sometimes I think it’s indigestion.  I get these little hiccups of righteousness that kind of bring me back, or jerk me up and bring me back to some cognizant knowledge that, ‘Oh, there’s a God out here somewhere!’”  Most of us really don’t even really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, I mean really,really know God.  To a lot of us He is still something of a figment of our imagination.  He is something that is written about in this Bible.  He is something from which we get, oh-oh-oh, revelation!  But what God wants you to know is, if your revelation of God doesn’t do something for you personally, individually, to where you become something collectively good, then you’re missing God!  You’re missing God!  God is not interested in knowledge without the reality of Him being manifested in the midst of that knowledge! Now, He could come down and vaporize Himself, or whatever you call it.  Manifest, materialize.  You know, whoomp – and there is God!  But that’s not how God wants to manifest Himself.  God did that at one time.  What God now wants to do is to manifest Himself in a greater measure, in a greater way, in a fuller dispensation, in a fuller magnitude, in a fuller, visible, viable, real set of circumstances in real honest to goodness God people!  That’s what God wants to do.  That is what He has always wanted to do.  That is what He said back there in Jeremiah, but alas, we have gotten so bogged down.  The house bogs us down, our kids bog us down, our wives bog us down, our husbands bog us down, the guy at work bogs us down, our paycheck bogs us down, or we begin to have this ache and that ache and we begin to have this problem and that problem and we don’t sleep at night.  Hallelujah.  Well, if you can’t sleep at night, I say get up and go pray.  That’s what I do, I get up and go pray.  I mean, Holy Ghost prayer.  I don’t mean, “Oh, God, help me go back to sleep!”  Of course, none of you have laid in your bed for an hour-and-a-half looking at the wall, saying, “God, I wish I could go back to sleep,” and the only thing you prayed for was sleep.  You finally you got your sleep, but unfortunately, that was all you got.  That was all you got.

There’s something about the reality of the business of God that God is wanting to do in the midst of a people that are willing to give themselves over to the doing of it!  Let me affirm something; whatever you do for God isn’t going to be comfortable!  Hello!  There went my prosperity doctrine right out the door.  It’s not going to be comfortable; it’s not going to be fun in the sense that the world looks at fun.  Oh, it might be exciting for a while, until you get really scared to death!  You know what being scared is like, don’t you?  Oh, of course, you probably haven’t had that experience over there in Africa.  Let me tell you, I’ve been over there so many times and every time I go over there, I always get scared to death!  Because I’m always being put into a situation that I don’t want to be put into!  Well, we want our little oatmeal in the morning and we want it a certain way, and our toast has to be buttered just the right way, and then we have to have our coffee and we have to have the right amount of sugar and the right amount of cream.  And if everything isn’t right where it’s supposed to be, something happens!  Then everybody starts looking for flack jackets and helmets. 

Brethren, the world is going to hell!  THE WORLD IS GOING TO HELL!  You and I are supposed to be saviors of the world (Obadiah 1:21).  Saviors of the world, sons of God.  Oh, hallelujah.  But we have difficulty manifesting our saviorhood in the midst of our personal, private environment!  My God, hallelujah!  There is just so much to do, so much to do, and not enough people to do it.  I don’t care what it is, anywhere that you are, there is just so much that can be done, with regard to God, if it is nothing more than fasting and praying and seeking the face of God!  The fact of the matter is, God is trying with all of His might to get us into Him, so that when the indignation comes we can be hid!  That doesn’t mean that He is going to take us and stick us over in a corner and put a box on top of us where nobody can find us.  Hallelujah.  What it means is that you and I will have a position, a place of authority.  We are so rooted into the things of the world.

I have been thinking about a particular set of circumstances concerning some that are in this word.  It is a situation that I have been thinking and praying about all this week, looking to God.  We came with a word that they should begin to knock on doors and look for the opportunity of God moving with them collectively to accomplish the will of God.  But, you know, the devil is not dumb, so what he did was to kick every one of them upstairs.  He gave them good jobs and good benefits and all the things that go with that kind of environment and now they’re hooked; do you know what I mean?  They’re hooked.  So now they don’t only have to struggle with doing what God wants them to do, they have to get unhooked!  Well, some of us are hooked.  Some of us are hooked with our own smartness.  We’re hooked with our humanity.  My God!  There is something that God wants to do; there is something that God wants to manifest and the fact of the matter is, none of us can do it.  It is only God that can do it, but we have to make ourselves available to Him in order for Him to do it!

Somebody recently sent me an article.  We think we’re so far advanced.  I say we have degenerated.  I was reading in this article about these young men, one was sixteen years old and a commander-general in an army, one was representing as an ambassador at seventeen or eighteen.  There was a twelve-year-old that was teaching.  These are not people that had gifted IQs.  They were just people that were diligent and dedicated and they applied themselves.  If we applied ourselves to fasting and prayer and to seeking the face of God, and then walking it out in our everyday experience, what is there that could stop us from accomplishing the purpose for which we are born again?  Hello!  You know, I don’t have to tell you that you’re not acting like Christ.  I don’t have to tell you that; I don’t have to explain.  “Well, A, Christ would do this and B, Christ wouldn’t do that and C, Christ wouldn’t do that and D, you did this and you did that and you did this and that and this and that.”  Then you would say, “What do you mean, I did all that?!  Well, what about you?”  Pretty soon, you’ve got hell.  Not God, hell.  You got, not heaven, you got hell, that’s what you got.  Somewhere, somehow in that equation, somebody has to begin to act like God.  That doesn’t mean, sanctimonious, better-than-you, I’m-not-going-to-answer-you, I’m-not-going-to-talk-to-you.  No, it doesn’t mean that at all.  It means with a broken and contrite heart, not before an individual, but before God!  I can make you think that I’m this or I’m that or whatever, but God knoweth the frame, God knoweth the problem, God knoweth the trouble. 

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…  In Christ Jesus is a position that is designated for you and me.  In Christ Jesus!  Now, if Christ is in me, everywhere I go, Christ has to go, for He says He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).  So that means I could go out this door, go into that pool hall over there, begin to shoot pool, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and God is right there with me.  Now, to you, that may seem bad, but what about getting into a temper tantrum?  What about getting into some sort of depressed funk because somebody did something you didn’t like?  That attitude that is not Christ, is it any worse?  What about not aspiring to the things of the Kingdom, but instead, pursuing after the things that are out there in the world?  I told a young man here the other day, “You know, affluence and natural blessing are not a sign of God’s favor.”  To think everything is fine and hunky-dory because you have finally achieved some extent of financial prosperity.  “I got a little nest egg.”  Poof – and nest egg’s gone.  You can’t control the economics of tomorrow.  You can’t even control the economics of today.  You can’t control your health.  You can’t control the weather.  One thing that I found out in farming is that, unless you have an inside track with the Boss, it’s an impossibility.  When it’s supposed to rain, it doesn’t rain.  When it’s not supposed to rain, it rains.  It doesn’t just rain a little bit; it comes down in buckets.  It came down so hard one time that our corn just all went flat on it’s face before the Lord, only I didn’t think it was before the Lord, not until it got resurrected, anyway. 

There is a position, a place that God is bringing us into.  There is something that God is wanting to give unto us, an understanding, a glimpse.  If we could be like Moses was, just to have some of the desire that he had to know Yehovah!  Can you imagine going in before the Lord?  Having Him talk to you?  Having Him give you instruction?  Being called up on the mountain?  Wouldn’t you like to have been in his shoes?  Well, the problem was, my humanity probably would have been just as scared as the other two hundred and ninety-nine million Israelites that said, “You go, Moses, lest we die (Exodus 20:19)!”  He wasn’t high priest, but he could go into the Holy of Holies and commune with the Lord and have that fellowship.  We seek the wrong things, do you know that?  We seek the wrong things.  He didn’t say, “Well, I want to know what’s going to happen in the end time.  I want to know what’s going to happen.  What is this thing called the five-fold-ministry?  What is the thing that is called baptism of the Holy Ghost?  I want to know these things, God.  What are all these?”  No, he said, “I want to know You.”  He didn’t want to know anything but God.  Somehow he had this understanding that everything else was irrelevant and had no value, unless he knew God.  He said, “I want to see You.  I want to see Your face (Exodus 33:13,18).”  Did you know Moses was not ignorant?  This man was a learned man.  He wrote part of the Bible; they say he wrote the first five books of the Old Testament.  He knew that no man can see God and live! (Genesis 32:30, Exodus 33:20).  But, you see, that didn’t make any difference.  You and me, there’s a difference.  We want to hang on to some sort of shred of our personal environment, our personal identity, our position, our place of being human, of having the right of being human and being considered by those around us as being a little bit more special but still human!  Of course, that is not the church’s problem.  Yes, it is.  It is the church’s problem, from the least to the greatest.  We are trying to hang on to some shred of our personal identity!

Today as I was driving over, I was pondering a word that Jesus said.  He said, “No man can take My life from Me (John 10:17-18).”  Now, you may think He was only referring to the end of the matter.  That is not what He was talking about, in reality.  You see, He had a walking personal relationship with God, but He was also in the midst of gross humanity all around him, making demands upon Him, creating problems for Him.  You don’t think Peter wasn’t a problem?  Squabble and bicker; this man, Yeshua, had His head in the clouds, feet on the earth.  He was talking to the Father and hearing the bickering of James and John and Peter and the rest of them.  We are not much farther along than them.  We’re thinking that we are much farther along in the the sense of what is before us, the magnitude of eternity that is staring us right in the face!

We get so easily offended.  It says, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…  That means if you and I aren’t in Christ Jesus, there is a condemnation that we are bearing.  We think it is because the other person is thinking bad thoughts about us.  Sometimes those bad thoughts are not necessarily right, but they’re not all necessarily wrong.  You see, when our humanity becomes so stubborn and so resistant, then God will go outside of humanity and He will use the mule, the jackass, to talk to you with regard to your rebellion, your place of resistance.  The authority that you are resisting isn’t the authority that is in the house or in the home or in the land or in the things of the government.  That is not the authority that you are resisting, because God says He put those authorities in their position, in their place – to do what?  What are they to do?  They are for the purpose of chastising the wicked.  If you get in your car and drive down the street like a maniac, how far do you think you’ll get?  Well, you will get just about as far as the next cop.  That is as far as you are going to get.  Now, you might luck out and make it down to the end of the street and not get it, or you might make it past the end of the street and out into the freeway and not get it, but somewhere along the way you’re going to get it!  Because, let me tell you something, your eyes can’t be everywhere at the same time and still drive!  These guys are really sneaky.  They hide behind trees, they hide behind barrels, they hide behind signs, they hide everywhere!  Somewhere, sometime, the finger of God is going to come down on you – if you are lucky!  Or you might find yourself wrapped around a guardrail.  Somehow, someway, judgment always comes to you and me when we’re outside of God.  If we knew that, if we really believed that, I think we would be a little more fearful, a little more cautious, a little more careful about relationships, for one thing, and also with regard to our attitude towards God.  Proverbs tells us that to fear God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

How many of you know that God is not a part-time job?  Hello?  Have you figured that one out yet?  Amen.  God is not a part-time job.  God is not someone Who wants just a piece of you ten percent of the time, twenty percent of the time, thirty percent of the time, forty percent of the time!  God didn’t create you for that purpose.  Now, you could say, “Well, it was unfair.”  Maybe it was, who cares?  You can take it up with Him in eternity.  He created us to need Him, because He put something of Himself in us, and that something is incomplete without the rest of what it is that that little something is a part of.  As long as you and I are out there pushing and testing and moving and doing this and doing that without fulfilling the will of God, it is nothing more than a lesson in futility.  You can be the best mother, you can be the best wife, you can be the best husband, the best brother, the best sister and still be totally, absolutely unfulfilled.  Why?  Because, in all of that, unless you’re doing it as unto the Lord and working toward His objective, it brings no revelation, it brings no infilling, it brings absolutely nothing of God into your soul to complete the thing that is inside of you that needs the fulfilled will of God!

We use the illustration of cutting off the hand and putting it on the table.  How much a part of the body is that hand if it is on the table and it is separated from the body?  That is basically what you and I do in our everyday activity as we are endeavoring to be human in a human environment.  We do not have the fulfillment, unless what we are doing is the thing Christ wants us to do, or let me put it this way: it is the thing that Christ Himself is doing

I made a discovery, and probably some of you have made the same discovery.  It isn’t what I suppose, or it isn’t what I think, it is what I know because God has given me an assurance, God has spoken to me a word, and I don’t mean, “Thus saith the Lord.”  I mean, there is something of God that says, “This is Me!  Move hand!  Move foot!  Move hand!  Move foot!”  And it’s there, it’s working, it’s bringing forth the reality of God!  When all hell is breaking loose around me, it is not bringing me into a place of tumult and confusion and trouble and tribulation, where I begin to look at myself instead of God.  “Oh, woe is me, poor me, I’m gonna be completelydissolved.”  But the Word holds me steadfast to His plan and His purpose to bring me to a point of fullness.

It says, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh…  Brethren, let me put it as simple as I can: “flesh” means doing whatever it is you’re doing and doing it, not as unto God, but as unto yourself.  As it is in school, so it is in God.  God gives us instruction, He gives us the mechanics and we begin to act as though we are Christian and move in a Christian environment and become, as it were, “Christian” in our actions, but in the midst of all that Christian-ness, God gives you an exam.  An exam!?!?  You know, I used to hate them.  I had this teacher and he would always give these pop quizzes.  There was nothing “pop” about them, except for the fact that he just popped it down on my table, on my desk.  And, of course, you know, I didn’t have time to read, I didn’t have time to study.  Who needed to study?  I have five fingers on one hand, five on the other hand and five toes on each foot.  I can count up to twenty!  Consequently, I never passed them.  God gives us pop quizzes, He gives us pop tests, to determine how much of your doing is really God.  Hallelujah.  Somebody looks the wrong way, somebody says the wrong thing, somebody does the wrong thing and what happens?  What goes on in that arena?  What happens in that environment?  What is your attitude?  Is it Christian?  Is it reconciliation?  Is it harmony and peace and love and camaraderie?  Is it, “Oh yes, yes, yes, you’re absolutely right.”  Of course it is, isn’t it?  Just sweet, loving, everything’s so hunky-dory, so much fun, all this good time, isn’t that right?  Or maybe you are like Mount Vesuvius?  Smoke starts coming out your ears?  Maybe not quite so visible.  You just start rumbling, your earth starts shaking and you get that growling down inside, and it begins to shake a little bit.  Maybe even after the first and second shaking, a little sssppttt – you just kind of spew out.  Nothing like that ever happens to you, does it?  Nothing like that at all.  You’re so loving, and oh so humble and absolutely Christian and so forgiving and everything is just good, and it just takes you minutes to get over everything!  Praise God!  I thought I was speaking to the wrong crowd.  Well, would you say that you’re in Christ?  Would you say that your action is excusable before God?  Do you think that there is something that is required in that kind of circumstance, that kind of situation?  You know, I always told God, “God, just put me up in the mountain someplace, put me in a cave and I’ll be fine.”  It wouldn’t be fine.  I find myself fighting with myself.  Paul repeatedly speaks of the inward conflict, the war between his two selves (Romans 7:14-25).  Have you ever been in those situations where you just start kidding around with each other and it gets a little serious and a little more serious and a little more serious, and pretty soon everybody’s not kidding anymore.  It’s not fun, is it?  It’s not something that you can think back upon with pleasure.  You walk away from the situation more damaged and more hurt than edified or exhorted. 

God wants us to be Godly.  That means I have to respond like God.  I have to spend time with God, I have to have God inside of me and me becoming a part and being made up in the aspect of His character.  That is where God and I get so mixed together that you can’t see me anymore because you can only see God!  That’s what God wants.  He has therefore, what?  Given you and me this ministration of reconciliation.  What reconciliation?  Whereas, He was in the world and the sin that was in the world He did not… what? …give it to them, or count it against them.  But He took it upon Himself (II Corinthians 5:18-19).  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t say you can go out and start sinning for other people.  That’s not what I’m saying.  What I’m saying is that there is a position, there is a place that the church has to be in at a certain time.  There has to be a manifestation of that thing that God calls son!  And if you’re not manifesting in your home or in your private set of circumstances, you’re not going to manifest it out there no matter how much you know, or what you got, or how many times you speak in tongues a day!  You see, the Holy Ghost wasn’t just given to you for the sake of you edifying yourselves, and speaking in another tongue.  The Holy Ghost was given to you to lead you into truth.  Truth about whom?  Truth about Him, that the more truth I know about Him, the more truth I know about me and I find out that the truth about me isn’t something that I necessarily want revealed anywhere other than in His closet, with Him.  So I have to be covered over with Him.  So completely, so entirely, so absolutely, totally encapsulated inHim that I cease to be.  I really think that’s what happened to Enoch, do you know that?  I think that He got so close to God that He just walked into God.  He pulled God down around Him.  Hallelujah!  Can you imagine knowing God so intimately, so closely, that one day you get up to God and just reach out and pull God over you, and as far as everybody else is concerned, you’re God.  “Where did he go?  Where?  I don’t see him anymore.  He’s gone!  He was here a minute ago and all of the sudden he’s gone!”  And all the time he’s standing there with God!  Maybe you don’t want it.  I want it.  I want it!  I want it!  It doesn’t make any difference what my circumstances are.  God created my circumstances.  Of course, I may not think He knows what He’s doing because I don’t like what he’s doing.  Don’t like it at all!  Don’t like the place I’m in.  I don’t like the thing I’m doing.  I don’t like what I have to do and here and there and all the demands that are being made on me.  It’s God.  It’s God!  It’s God!  It’s God, do you hear me?  IT’S GOD!  I have to buckle down, I have to get down before God and submit myself to that washing machine.  Have you ever watched those washing machines?  Back and forth, back and forth.  I throw something in that water and it just pulls it down in there.  Do you know, I really like doing that.  I just throw it in and it just pulls it down!  I say, “This is fun!  I just put it in there, and it pulls it down.”  I don’t know what you girls find hard about washing.  I could sit there and watch that washing machine all day long, just pouring clothes in there.  And when you pull them out they’re nice and white and clean.  But you know something?  I not only see it going in, I see it coming out.  I see it go in dirty and I see it come out white.  I don’t know that down there it’s getting crunched and beaten and kicked and stomped and flipped around and twisted around.  The sheet gets twisted around the towel, and the shirt gets twisted into the midst of it and it’s all twisted up together!  But they all come up clean.  They all come up clean and so entwined.  Of course, you can grumble and complain, “Oh, oh, oh, I have to get this all straightened out, blah, blah, blah, who ever invented this washing machine!”  Hallelujah.  Or, just watching the clothes dryer going around.  I’m kind of strange, I guess.  I remember when I was in the service, we had to do our laundry down at the Laundromat, and we would throw our clothes in that big old dryer.  Now, of course, we just threw everything in there.  We didn’t take the whites, and put them in there and take this and put it in there and wait, wait, wait, or put them in another machine, we just threw everything in there!  The dryer would be going around and around and around and this shirt would be diving this way – almost flying – and then this towel would be going around like this – and you’re watching it and you can almost hear Beethoven – and in the midst of the dancing, here comes a sock!  Oh, and when they come out…  Ahhhhh!  Just put your face in it.  Course, that’s a no-no, I understand.  You don’t want your greasy hair and face all over your clean clothes!  But, boy, they smell so good!  Clean!  They smell clean.  And, you know, the shirt didn’t care if the sock was going in it’s sleeve and coming out at the end of the cuff, or that some other piece was wrapped up in the midst of it.  It didn’t care!  Didn’t care!  They were all in the fire together!  In the fire together!  To make it smell so sweet, do you know it took the heat of that drying element and the tumbling around together?  Tumble, tumble, tumble, tumble, tumble, tumble.  Sometimes we think we’re just going around and around and around and around.  Well, you’re just in your dryer.  Because I don’t believe that it isn’t without purpose.  God is not foolish.  God is not foolish.  The fact of the matter is, God knows the end of the day, where you need to be, and He knows what it takes to get you there.

Therefore, those that are in Christ Jesus!  Now, we could say, “Well, blah, blah, blah.  Because of this, I’m out of sorts,” and we begin to make all kinds of excuses.  Let’s just use it as a positive, and not as a negative.  If you know you’re under some kind of judgment, repent!  It’s quite simple.  It’s quite one, two, three-ish.  You repent!  “God, forgive me for being in the flesh.  Forgive me for losing my temper.  Forgive me for being frustrated.  Forgive me for being rebellious.  Forgive me for seeking to achieve my own way, my own way, my own way, my own way, my own way!”  Quite frankly, quite frankly, I think the church needs to get back to basics in order to get on into heaven, into the revelation of God!  It’s not a word, it’s not a knowledge, it’s an entity, it’s a personality.  It’s a personality, do you hear, that has to be demonstrated within this vessel right here, in the circumstance that God has put me in!  I don’t have to like it, but I can do it with joy as unto Him.  You know, I can do a lot of things that I don’t like to do, IF I do them as unto the Lord!  I mean, there are a lot of things that I don’t like to do.  I just don’t like to do them!  And yet, God puts me there again, and again, and again, and again and one day He says, “Stop looking at it and look at Me!”  I said, “Okay, let me try that for a while.”  I found out it works!  Now, that doesn’t mean that I like it any better, but there is something of a joy that I have in the midst of my “not liking.”  In the midst of what I’m in and what is going on, there is a joy that I have, an expectation of a hope that something is coming that is much better!  Oh, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

It is possible, because it says, “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has, what?  Made me free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2)!  What it’s really saying is, “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death in the aspect of my humanity!”  You know, my humanity is under the law of sin and death and the only way that I can circumvent that law is to get up in Him and stop being human and start being divine!  What we are speaking about is resurrection!  I don’t need to be whooshed off my feet, I don’t need fuzzy-wuzzies going up and down my spine, I don’t need the hair standing up on end nor chills running up and down my spine.  I don’t need to be speaking in tongues in some glorious, assertive way.  All I have to do is to know the reality of His presence!

It is not that we don’t have to overcome things.  Brethren, may I say to you that we are all put into circumstances that we don’t like?  Something about them pricks us.  It’s not the utopia, the epitome of absolute happiness, the fulfillment of one’s aspirations and dreams.  Somewhere in the midst of that euphoric realm of humanistic thinking, something is not right.  Something is pricking us.  Something is saying, “You’re not happy!  You’re not content!”  The devil, he flashes this in front of you, he flashes that in front of you, he flashes this, he flashes that.  Flashcards.  You know what they are?  And because we’re not where we’re supposed to be, we look and we begin to falter.  You know, you think you’re above certain propensities, at least I do, only to find out you weren’t as good as you thought you were.  Something happens, something is flashed before your face and it looks nice.  “Weeell, that wouldn’t be so bad, would it?”  If it isn’t God, if it isn’t God, if it isn’t God, it is of no value.  Not only is it not of any value, but it is detrimental, detrimental to your position and – watch out – it could be hazardous to your spiritual health.

Romans 8:3, For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled… not in Him alone, but in us, who… what? …walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  After the Spirit!  Oh, hallelujah.  There is just so much going on, brethren, that needs the strength of the Son.  As the church has lost its strength, wickedness has increased in its boldness and the agenda of Satan has been politicized and manipulated to bring about an era of sin and death.  There is no hope for our country, there is no hope for the world, outside of the intent and the plan of God.  No hope.  No hope!  I don’t believe that you young people have the twenty, or thirty, or forty years that I had to get ready.  Things are changing.  What are you going to do if they come knocking on your mom and dad’s door and want to arrest them and take them off because they’re preaching the gospel?  What are you going to do?  It’s coming.  It’s coming.  It’s a sobering thought, but nevertheless, it’s coming.  The anti-Christ spirit that hates God, hatesyou.  The more that you preach God, and the more that you bring forth and manifest the nature of God, the more it hates you.  Without God, we don’t stand a chance.  That is how serious it is.  I can paint it up, make it like cotton candy, but it is not.  It is not.  It is not.  It is not.

There was a bill that was being pushed through the government.  It went through the legislature, and I don’t know if it’s gone through the Senate yet.  It is an agricultural bill, concerning subsidies for the agricultural community.  Sounds harmless doesn’t it?  But do you know what the writers of the bill did?  They took the sodomite agenda that says that if I talk to you about what the Bible says about sodomy, I am guilty of hate mongering, and they’ve attached it to an agricultural subsidy program.  Now, this isn’t state, this is federal.  So that means, what they did in California, although it has no affect on you, could one day become a reality.  Where is the strength of the church?  Where is the power of the sons of God?  What are you going to do, children, when you find yourself confronted with the reality of sin that wants to kill you?  There has never been a day like we live in, where the malice of hell is being manifested in humanity, do you know that?  It is because God has been cut out of the realm of humanness.  He’s been eliminated!  He has been taken out of the schools, He has been taken out of the government, and He’s being taken out of church.  That is what people are doing, you know that?  They are legislating what you can preach from the pulpit and if you don’t think it is not going to be a reality to you, you better think again.  You better think again.  Hallelujah.  Oh, God, help us.

I was watching the news the other day, and they were reiterating what they did there in Jordan.  It’s unbelievable to me, inconceivable.  I cannot conceive how man can inflict death and destruction on someone whom they don’t know or have no cause against and then take credit for it.  Where is your safety?  Where is your mechanism of escape?  What is it that God had planned and purposed for this time?  God has purposed and planned that the Son might rise forth out of the midst of humanity!  He says, “I will call my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1).  Let us begin to rise up.  Let us begin to rise up in the midst of our personal environment, our personal position of humanistic thinking.  Our position of carnality and flesh, let us begin to subject it to the power of the Blood of Jesus Christ.  Let us begin to rise up as sons and move to do the Father’s will, that the Father might receive that which He has labored for.  God bless you.  God bless you.

 

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