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Seek That Above

August 21, 2005
Mahomet, Illinois

(For printable version click here.)

I thought Melissa was going to preach the word this morning.  I thought she was just going to go right from the children’s word into the congregational word, but she stopped a little short.  So, praise the Lord, let me pick up where she left off, if I may.  I want to put her diagram back on the board, but I want to put it in a little different perspective.  Let’s put it in this perspective.  Instead of it being side by side, let us make it one above the other, and we will call this hell,  and we will call this heaven.  Hallelujah.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I think it fairly well demonstrates to you and me a perspective that we need to have with regard to where we are, what we are, and the goal or the dimension to which God is calling us. 

First of all, you might want to turn with me over into Romans.  We are all born in the same position, at the same place, on the same level.  We all have the same propensity or the same nature, and though it may vary from family to family, or from ethnic origin to ethnic origin, it’s basically one and the same thing.  It is in Romans where it makes this thought very plain.  I believe it’s the 5th chapter that I want to read from, where Paul is beginning to bring forth the revelation of sin and death and its position of preeminence.  He starts out by talking about Christ and the reason for which He died.  Verse 7, For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.   We are all naturally born in the same place, with the same destiny, coming forth out of the same position; we were all born dead.  We are all in need of a savior.  There has to be some sort of consciousness and an acknowledgement of that condition in order for there to be any change.  Is there anyone here who got saved without the conscious awareness that they were dead?  Or that they were going to hell?  I mean, okay, let’s put it that way, that you were going to hell.  Hell is death.  Death and hell are one and the same thing.  It all has the same objective, and that is total, absolute, complete separation from God.  What God says is that if you are separated from Him, you are dead. 

Is there anyone here who was feeling, at the time of their conversion, that they were alive and still needing a savior?  Or did you feel the hopelessness of your situation, and the total futility of your circumstance, and in that need, and in that awareness, you reached out for something that was greater than what you had and greater than what you could do, and in your desperation you reached out to God!  Hallelujah.  We are all born with the same disposition, with the same nature.  That nature is dead and it is called sin.  Dead nature equals sin.  It’s not a thing, it’s not an act, it’s not a deed.  The act, the deed is derived and finds its strength in that dead nature that promotes it, that generates it.  Romans says that because of one man’s sin, all have died (Romans 5:12).  Salvation does not deliver us from the situation of death that we are in; salvation brings life into the midst of death.  So, the environment that you have is life encapsulated by the nature of sin and death.  The Scripture says that death is to be swallowed up by life (I Corinthians 15:54).  So, salvation in its entirety is not just the new birth that we experience, but it also entails the development of that life as it displaces the nature of sin within us with the nature that is the new birth.  I hope that you are following what I’m saying. 

It’s not a matter of just being good.  God doesn’t want us just to be good.  God doesn’t want us not to do certain things because we’re Christian and we can’t do them.  What God wants us to do is to resist and overcome that nature of sin that we are born with, overcome it by the Blood that He gives us and the fact of our new birth.  That is really what being born again is all about.  It’s really not a matter of going to heaven.  It’s really not a matter of working to get into heaven, because the Bible tells us that when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, heaven comes inside of us.  Heaven comes inside of us.  Isn’t that what the Bible says?  Heaven comes inside of us.  A man wrote a song, “Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul.”  There comes an awareness of the reality of another realm, another nature.  We become cognizant of another position of existence that heretofore we were ignorant of. 

Do many of you remember your initial conversion?  Were you aware, or did you have the sense or the reality of the thought of eternity prior to that position?  Or was it just the fact that you were aware of your trouble, your consternation, your conflict, and your inability to cope?  Were you just wanting some sort of relief from that position of frustration?  I don’t know, maybe your conversion was different than mine.  I got saved within a system that had a theology that said you had to hang on to the end to make it into the place that was called heaven.  Quite frankly, brethren, that is not Biblical.  It is not a spiritual concept, nor is it the intent or the will of God.  The Bible says that we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5,8).  The Bible also says that you and I, when we receive God, we are translated.  We are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light (Colossians 1:13), though our natural environment remains the same, and the people around us remain the same.  They can be just as provoking, just as irritating, just as aggravating, and just as obstinate as they’ve always been.  Of course, it’s always them and never us.  It’s always them and never us, so it’s always us and them, or them and us.  But that isn’t the point, that isn’t the place, that isn’t the concept, that isn’t the reality of what God is talking about when He talks about salvation.  Hallelujah.  What happens when you get saved is that there is something of God that comes down into your soul.  He doesn’t lift you up, He comes down – He comes down into your personal hell realm.  You have the cosmos out here that is a hell realm, but you also have the cosmos in here that is also as much a hell realm and as compatible with hell as Satan is with the hell that he created.  It is into this environment that Jesus comes down.  There’s something of an understanding that the Lord is giving me with regard to some of these things.  There is a verse in the Bible that talks about “He that descended and ascended” (Ephesians 4:9-10).  I was thinking of a song this morning, “After two days, death’s hold is broken;” first and foremost, something is broken, then it says that “on the third day,” He what?  “Raises up” (Hosea 6:2).  Raises up where? 

Let us look first at the verse found in Ephesians 4:1.  Paul is talking about being a prisoner of the Lord, and he is talking about the nature that is needed for that position.  He talks in verse 2 about the quality and the substance of that nature, and in verse 3 he begins to speak about the tenacity and the determination that is needed to maintain the unity of the Spirit.  In verse 4, he then talks about the fact of the Body and the place that it’s in, and the fact that it is our hope.  He then says that there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism (verse 5).  He goes on then in verse 7, But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Every one of us is given grace.  Grace is the ability of God’s nature in us to circumvent the situation of our natural set of circumstances, both internally as well as externally.   

You see, in the beginning the devil had a plan.  The devil had a plan to usurp the position and the place of God’s desire and make of himself the preeminence that was God’s alone.  God wanted a son.  So, the devil took his position in the realm of darkness, thus creating an environment that is called hell.  It was out of this environment that the devil began to administrate the work of rebellion and lawlessness.   It was not to produce sons of God, but in opposition to the will of Elohim, he began to produce sons of hell.  He thought that he had a decisive victory when he took that which God created to fill the position of authority, and caused them to move contrary to the will of Yahweh, to do what God told them not to do.  Hallelujah.  Stupid devil.  Yet, sometimes I think we’re just as dumb as the devil, because we do not seem to understand the ramifications of the outcome of some of the things that we do that are not consistent with heavenly thinking.  Hallelujah.  You and I have to be heaven orientated in our thoughts.  Can you say that God is in control or in a position of supremacy and authority in everything in this realm, cosmos speaking?  Now, I’m not talking metaphorically, I’m talking subjectively.  In actuality I am aware that the grand finale hasn’t yet arrived, that day where the sons of God have risen up and taken that position of authority.  That day has not yet come to a position or a place of fullness.  What we are living in is in the day of the supremacy and the manifestations of the gods of this world, who are working to compromise the plan of God in you and me.  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Ephesians 4:7).  Hallelujah. 

Let me tell you, your position of tribulation is always going to be tougher, it is always going to be harder, there’s always going to be more for you to overcome.  The devil is going to be more conscious of you on the basis of the word that you and I are hearing, because you are a threat.  If you ever grasp the reality of what I am telling you by the Spirit, if you ever come to a place where you begin to understand it, not in your mind, but in your heart before the Lord, you become an effectual, fervent weapon against hell.  This is the truth, because you have a desire, because there’s something in you that causes you to want to listen, or makes you come back again and again and again, and makes you want to know something more.  There is a potential that you have that a lot of people don’t have.  You know, there are a lot of people who have heard this word, and for whatever reason, there are a lot of people that have rejected this word.  They are not a threat to the devil.  They aren’t, they have been neutralized.  Those that are a threat to hell are those that hear the voice of the I AM and that something that they have heard stirs them to know more about Him.  They begin to wrestle with the fact of who they are in this natural realm, wrestling against that something that is in opposition to who the I AM wants them to be in the spiritual realm.  Hallelujah. 

Therefore, it is necessary that you and I have to be people of vision, and we have to be people of faith, because the I AM is not going to take us out of this realm in order to perfect us.  The Bible is quite specific in saying, “They (the heavenly host) cannot be made perfect without us” (Hebrews 11:40).  It is not the desire of Elohim for us to be raptured out of this realm of darkness.  Do you hear me?  That would defeat the whole entire purpose of the plan of Yahweh.  Yahweh is not interested in delivering you and me from a set of circumstances.  What He wants to do is to destroy the circumstances that created the problem in the very beginning.  He can’t do that if He removes you or takes you out of it.  Hallelujah.  You know, we are really rapturous in our thinking because we are always looking for that easy way, the avenue of escape it seems, that pathway of least resistance and less pressure.  But you can’t overcome in this world without overcoming strong men, and to overcome strong men, you have to be strong in the Lord; you can only get strong if there is a program of exercise with due diligence that you apply in the midst of these cosmos situations.

He says, But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  So, in the midst of this environment, the I AM speaks a word to us, a word that comes out of the midst of heaven.  Heaven comes down, and glory fills my soul.  God condenses Himself into a Word and drops it into the midst of my eternal environment of sin and hopelessness.  This word, He brings it down and drops it right in the middle of my personal hell and it has the capacity to procreate Himself within this entity of sin with the potential of creating an entity of righteousness.  Now, tell me, does this picture tell you something?  I don’t only have to overcome the world, but I have to overcome me.  Unfortunately, when God saved me, He didn’t deliver me of me.  Have you ever found that to be true? 

Let me tell you a little story.  You’ve probably heard it before, but some of you may not have heard it.  You know, I was very much involved in the world.  One of the things that I had a problem with was that I was a very heavy smoker.  I’m going to deal with the smoking thing because that’s what the Lord is bringing to my mind.  I was a very heavy smoker and I had tried everything that I knew to quit.  You know what I mean.  First you quit buying, but then you start bumming.  I tried everything to try to stop.  Now, they didn’t have the patches and the shots and all those things.  They had little tablets and pills and stuff of that nature, and I did all of those things that they had at that time.  None of those things worked.  So, the more I was aggravated by this situation, the more desperate I got.  I began to talk with different people, (this was before I had my baptism in the Holy Ghost) and they said, “Well, what you need is the baptism in the Holy Ghost.” Well, I didn’t say, “Praise the Lord,” I just said, “Well, okay.”  You know, that wasn’t something that was in my vocabulary at that time.  I said, “Okay, let’s see about this baptism of the Holy Ghost.”  So I began to earnestly seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  But I want to tell you something.  When I got the baptism of the Holy Ghost, do you know what?  It did not deliver me of cigarettes.  Now, some people have gotten the baptism of the Holy Ghost and I suppose have been delivered of their bad habits.  I am sorry to say, maybe my baptism wasn’t as good as theirs or as great as theirs, because I was just still me.  I was still me, and “me” was a vexation to the me that was inside of me!  So, I had to go to God and I had to begin to understand and get some information from God as to what was wrong with my scenario.  Now, the devil came and he said, “Well, you really didn’t get the baptism.  Oh, if you did, you wouldn’t do this, you wouldn’t think that.  Oh, you’re not even really saved.”  You know.  All of these things are talking to me about the place of my frustration with regard to the condition that I am in.  The funny thing is, it wasn’t until I began to cry out to God in the midst of my dilemma, that God brought me deliverance.  I found that I had to come to a conscious conclusion that if God was not able to do something concerning this problem, I was not willing to live with it any longer.  I had to come to this conscious conclusion.  I said, “God, I don’t want to live in this condition.”  Now, it wasn’t only the cigarettes.  There were a lot of things going on in my life at that time that were a lot of trash.  I had made up my mind, “I don’t want to live in this condition.  If You can’t do something about it, then I don’t want to live; You take me.  I cannot live in this condition.”  It was on that basis, at that place that God came into my life.  Now, He delivered me of that insatiable desire.  Those of you that never smoked, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about.  I want to tell you, though, there are other things that are just as bad as cigarettes and create just as much of an appetite as what I had for cigarettes.  But God delivered me of that propensity.

There was also something else that I found out.  There are things that always go together.  Do you know that?  Coffee and cigarettes, oh my.  Hallelujah.  The devil was always putting me into situations that were conducive to smoking.  Hallelujah.  But there was always a covering that God gave me in those situations, because He delivered me.  Now, He began to strengthen me, and as I was beginning to grow in the Lord, and as I began to expand my experiences in God, and as God began to reveal Himself to me in this arena, it developed a desire within me to please God.  The more that I desired to please Him, the easier it became to resist the devil.  Now, you know, I could draw a great big heart and put little hearts all around it.  You understand.  Because this is only one area of my soul that God is dealing with. 

As God began to deal with me, and I began to get strengthened, I began to come to a position of a realization of my heavenly destiny.  The church says it is just heaven and getting into it at the end of the day is the only goal.  That’s what the church says, and that’s why the church has so much time and trouble getting there.  Heaven is not a place or a destination; heaven is an entity.  Heaven has a personality.  Heaven has an authority.  Unless you and I understand the concept of heaven in relationship to the God that is heaven, then it is not something that is of much value to you and me from this natural position of cosmos.  “Oh, pray for me that I can hang on to the end!”  You ever feel like that?  “If I can just make it through the day.”   “If I can just get through this situation.”  “One more day, Lord!”  Or how about, “One more step, God!”  “One more minute, one more second!”  Well, that’s all well and good if it gets you to the next second and the next second, but there is something more of a reality that you and I have to come to grips with regarding the intent and the desire of God!  God doesn’t want us just to hang on, God wants us to be overcomers!

God wants us to be sons.  Not… What do they call it?  Pseudo-sons.  He doesn’t want us to be pseudo-sons.  He doesn’t want us to be imaginary sons.  He’s not like humans in that He takes pleasure in teasing us.  You know how they get these old donkeys to move, or these stubborn horses?  They put that little carrot or that piece of hay out there on a stick.  There’s no hope of obtaining the promise of the thing that is out before them: that donkey will follow that stick all day long, or that ox will be chasing that carrot all over everywhere and never get it!  That is not God, that’s not the thought of God, and that’s not the mentality of God.  God wants to give you every good thing.  God wants to give you every opportunity, every chance and every ability to manifest the thing that He wants to see.  In fact, God wants us to be sons more than we want to be sons! 

The problem is not the devil, if you can see it from God’s perspective.  In reality, it is the fact of who we are in relationship to the devil, because we’re all born with the same nature box.  Do you understand me?  We’re born with the same nature.  It’s the nature that is called sin.  Come on, brethren, it’s not that I didn’t love my mom and my dad.  It wasn’t that I had this vendetta against them or that I am part of their progeny.  That has nothing to do with it.  I have come to a conscious reality that this spiritual destiny, this magnificent desire that God has for me is more of a reality than this natural position of flesh.  If God used this natural realm to bring forth the reality of the heavenly disposition, then this reality has had something imbedded, impregnated, injected into the substance of its being that desires something more than what I see around me.  I don’t care how you dress it up.  I don’t care if you give it a good house, give it a good car, good clothes or good food.  I don’t care how you dress it up, there’s nothing about this realm that is comparable to the realm that is out here, because of what God has put in my soul, put in your soul.  If it weren’t for that, every one of us would be out there in the cosmos doing something other than what we are doing right at this moment.  You are here this morning because of an entity of life that has been issued forth out of God into you, and it stirred something of a conscious recognition within your soul that there is something out there in front of you that is more important.  Well, at least at this point in time. 

However, the purpose of God is a progressive one, as Heaven came down and filled my soul and as glorious as that is, God does not want this kind of environment to remain.  What God wants to do is to illuminate the area of hell in which you were born, so that death is swallowed up in life.  What does Isaiah 60:1 say?  Arise, shine; for thy… what?  …light is come, and the glory… what? …of the Lord… is where? …is risen upon thee.  Well, unfortunately the glory of the Lord is more or less inside of us in many situations and many circumstances than it is upon us.  The intention of God is to get Himself from the inside of you to the outside of you.  The Bible also says if that happens, what happens?  The Scripture says kings shall come, to what?  The brightness of thy rising (Isaiah 60:3).  You know, He’s talking about this place of existence that you and I are in, both familially and naturally.  Oh, hallelujah! 

All right.  The Bible says, Every one of us is given grace, (I’m still in Ephesians the fourth chapter, verse 7) according to the measure of the gift of God.  By the way, if you were to go into the Greek and begin to examine that verse, you would find out that that measure, that gift, has an expandable capacity.  Expandable in the manner which one would exercise like a muscle.  I’ve got this muscle, and it is this little puny thing, and as I begin to work it, and I begin to work it, and I begin to work it, it gets stronger, it gets stronger, and it expands in its bulk, doesn’t it?  So, there is an effect that is visual.  You begin to change in the physiological arena, but you also find that you are able to pick something up that you weren’t able to pick up before, lift something higher than you were able to lift it before.  There is also a physical change in the aspect of the body with the exercising that you’re doing.  So it is also in the realm of the Spirit with regard to the salvation that God has given us.  We are still waiting to get to Heaven.  Well, some of us are.  Maybe not all of us, but some of us are still waiting to get to Heaven, and that isn’t the plan.  That isn’t the plan at all. 

You know, it is amazing, but the vision that Jacob had at Bethel when he saw angels, doing what?  Ascending and descending (Genesis 28:12).  There was a means of traveling in the Spirit.  There was that activity going on in the realm of hell into the realm of Heaven, and vice versa.  Aren’t you so glad that God didn’t leave us in darkness?  It’s not an afterthought.  It was something that was in the mind of God from the very beginning.  That gift of Christ.  Now, you could say, “What is that gift of Christ?”  It is the thought and the intent of God to have a son.  So it is a SON nature that God wants to give us in lieu of the nature that is given to us at birth.  But that thought and that intent of God is always in a position of conflict with the nature of Asbill.  Hallelujah.  Now, there is no camaraderie between these two people (God and Asbill).  I’ve got both of them inside of me.  You talk about schizophrenic.  I’ve got both of them in there.  You know, the cartoonists, they were really more accurate than you think.  You’ve got the little devil on this shoulder, and the little angel over here on this shoulder, and they’re talking back and forth and bickering and fighting.  The devil is trying to make him do this, and the angel is saying, “Oh, no, you don’t want to do that  That’s not good, that’s not what you want to do.”  And you always see the little devil kicking the angel out the door or something.  Unfortunately, that’s what really happens.  Do you want a scripture for this?  Romans the seventh and the eighth chapter.  Both chapters give an in-depth description as to what flesh is.  Very simply put, it is Asbill = flesh.  I’d put some of your names up there, but you’d probably get offended with me.  (Laughter)  Oh, my goodness.  Flesh is one of the attributes of Asbill.  Asbill and flesh are synonymous!  Another verse you could put up there is, “Inside of Asbill dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18).  Yes, one of you is saying, “Amen.”  Isn’t this great?  Inside of Asbill there is nothing, there is no good thing.  It’s flesh.  It’s dead.  Another attribute.  It is flesh, and it is also dead flesh.  Have you ever smelled dead flesh?  Have you ever smelled it?  Nasty, nasty stuff.  That’s what we are, but we don’t think that, because when we look in the mirror we don’t see putrefying flesh.  We see, well, somebody that looks pretty good, hair’s all fixed up, nice, clean-shaven, right?   Clothes on straight, tie’s right, shoes shined, oooh, ahhh.  Really looking sharp, sharp, sharp.  We don’t see dead, dead, dead flesh!  How about some of you girls, you know, combing your hair, putting on your perfume, fixing yourselves up to look nice and pretty and presentable.  Looks pretty good.  Of course, you probably don’t think that, right?  You look in the mirror and say, “Yuck!”  If you really thought “yuck,” you wouldn’t be here this morning!  It all equals dead, dead, dead flesh and it’s dead!  Do you hear me?  Dead!  All this can be labeled the mind of man.  Hallelujah.

Okay, Romans the eighth chapter.  Eight is the number of new beginnings.  I’m sure glad he put in the eighth chapter, especially after the seventh chapter.  You could really get depressed reading the seventh chapter.  Hallelujah.  But here we have the eighth chapter.  And he says, let’s try verse 10.  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead, hallelujah, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  Two entities, right?  We have the nature of sin.  Let’s just do it this way, if I may.  The nature of sin.  But over here we have life.  It is Christ in Burt.  May I use me, or would you like me to use you?  It is life.  Hallelujah!  Are you getting the point?  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin  It’s still there.  It’s still all around you.  It’s still encapsulating something that is in you.  Now, you think dead is dead, right?  No reaction.  But this is active death.  Death is not something that is passive, did you know that?  Death is something that is always working, because it’s not a thing, it’s an entity.   It’s not an abstract thought.  Do you understand what I’m saying?  It’s an entity.  It’s got a personality!  Go into Revelation where it talks about death and hell riding.  It says death was riding and hell followed after him (Revelation 6:8).  It’s an entity, it’s a personality.  It’s got a nature and a mind of its own.  It’s got a destiny to fulfill.  Do you think that that is a passive position?  Do you think that it’s a position of lethargy?  Absolutely not.  There is nothing passive or lethargic about death!  He has a job!  He’s to snare you and me through the nature that is compatible with him!  Loose ‘em!  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.  The body is dead because of sin, but the spirit, the spirit!  We’re talking about the spirit of the thing.  How many of you knew that when it talks about the spirit it’s talking about the original thought of God?  It is talking about the intent of God in the beginning.  We put these little spiritual terms on things, and we really don’t comprehend the magnitude of what is being spoken.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  Nothing in the world was created without the Word, who was God.  And the Word was life; and the life was… what? the light of men (John 1:1-4).  Come on.  We’re talking about the entity, the reality or the thought of God manifesting itself in the midst of humanity.  Can anybody convince you that you’re not alive in God?  Can anybody tell you, “Well, you really aren’t saved.  You really don’t have an experience in God.”  Can somebody tell you that?  And do you believe it?  Maybe it’s just a figment of your imagination, it’s pressure, it’s psychological drivel. 

I read this testimony about this man who was an atheist and he always took pride in his ability to destroy a Christian’s faith with regard to their salvation experience.  He had this little girl working for him, she must have been a teenager, I think, or early twenties maybe.  I don’t know, I don’t remember entirely.  But he began to work on her.  And one day he said, “Well I’m going to give her the coup de gras, I’m going to give her the final blow.”  He said something to the effect of, “If Jesus is real, how do you know He’s real?”  And very simply, in a child-like manner, she said, without hesitation, “Well, because He lives in here” (her heart).  Her reply was immediate.  She didn’t have to stop and think about it.  It was on the basis of her testimony that the man got saved.  Because of her wisdom, though simple, no theological conjecture there, “Because He lives in here.”  “He lives in here.”  It confounded the atheist.  There was nothing he could retort or retaliate verbally that would change the fact of her confidence, and her simplicity, and her sincerity with regard to the living reality that was in her.  Because when she spoke it, she spoke life and liberty, and he felt the life!  Hello!  There was a projection of life that penetrated his darkness and struck a responsive chord, do you hear me? 

Not only is it life, but it is also righteousness.  Righteousness.  All right, Romans 8:11, But if the Spirit of him that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  13For if you live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit We’re talking about the ministration of heaven, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  Hallelujah.  Now that I read all that, I want to go back up to the verses that preceded it.  Verse 5, For they that are after the flesh do mind  Now, that word is intentionally there, because it’s not only indicative of a position of focus, but it’s also indicative of how we think about things.  Aren’t you amazed about how you compartmentalize things?  At least, I always am.  You know, it’s like taking off your Christian hat and putting on your work hat.  Or taking off your work hat and putting on your politician hat.  Or you take off your politician hat and you put on your father hat, or your mother hat, or your grandfather hat or your grandmother hat.  Or you take off all of those hats and you put your hat back on.  That’s really what it is.  One minute I’m in me, and the next minute I’m in God.  The next minute I’m out of God and I’m in me, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.  Paul talked about it in Romans the seventh chapter.  He said, But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is…  where?  Come on!  in my members (Romans 7:23).  What does that say for your members?  It says that it is an environment of hell.  You cannot separate things that pertain to sin out there and sin in here.  It’s all one and the same thing.  The struggle that we have is not between you and the devil. 

The struggle that you and I have is between what is in me that is sin, and what is in me that is God and the desire that God has for us to move in a particular direction.   The sin that is in us wants us to be contrary to that move in that direction.  We say, “We rebuke you, devil.”  It’s all right to rebuke the devil if you know what devil you’re rebuking.  It was not by chance that when Jesus was addressing the religious organization, the hierarchical system, he called them what?  O generation of vipers (Matthew 3:7, 12:34, 23:33, Luke 3:7).  So much for the religious environment.  There was a thought that came forth this morning around my table.  I love those little sessions that we have at my house around the breakfast table.  Here we are, you and me.  We’ve got this path that we’re walking on, right?  We’re born in this condition  (Laughter)  Oh, I love it.  I’m sure that when you look in the mirror you don’t see that, right?  Well, nevertheless, Jesus comes into our heart, and our heart that was dead, now, all of a sudden, is alive.  Maybe for some of us, the manifestation that is seen is…  Oh boy, watch this.  Maybe we get de-horned.  Maybe some of your deliverances are bigger than other people’s, and maybe you lose them both.  The nature inside of you that caused that manifestation is still just as belligerent, still just as obnoxious, still just as anti-God, still just as contrary to righteousness, still just as self-willed as it ever was, and still just as “me” orientated as it ever was except for there’s been a little fluctuation in the harmony of your body because something went on inside of you that developed another consciousness.  And now you’re in trouble.  Why are you in trouble?  Because, there is now present within your being another law.  Over here in our original condition of sin and death, we have certain hopes, aspirations, desires, and hopes that have set for us certain goals, right?  The goals are both immediate and futuristic.  Do you understand what I’m saying?  At the same time over here in this arena of the newness of life, we find that otherness of me also has hopes, aspirations, desires that have an objective as well as goals, both immediately as well as futuristically/eternally.  Now, whatever is going on in this realm, it is working for this realm as well.  Hello!  Do you hear me?  Whatever is happening in this realm, as far as goals are concerned, is working for this realm. This is all hell.  This is all heaven.  I guess I should have reversed them, but that’s not the order in which they are presented to us when we meet God. 

Now, let’s read about it.  What I am doing is diagramming for you Romans the eighth chapter and verses 4-10.  Let’s read it.  Verse 4, That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  All right, we just got two more terms, spirit and flesh.  Hallelujah.  5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  Hallelujah.  6For to be carnallyWe just got another word, carnal.  to be carnally minded is death.  Now, you could very much just as well put that verse from Revelation that talks about the rider into your reference list on this page of your Bible.  Is it the pale horse?  Is it the pale horse that goes forth with hell following after?  You see, brethren, what this tells me is that for every action, there is an occurring set of circumstances.  Are you following what I’m saying?  It’s not that we just do something wrong, it’s that, the wrongness of our doing it, creates a scenario that works out the intent of the action that it was intended to do from the very beginning.  Hallelujah.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because, what?  The carnal mind, that mind, is at enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can beMost of us want a spiritual remodel.  We want to keep the frame of the old and maybe just redo a few things in the old and call that Christian, or call that the will or the intent of God.  God never intended for you to remain stagnant in the position or capacity of being saved.  Hallelujah.  God doesn’t want heaven to be up here somewhere.  God wants heaven down here.  He wants to displace the old.  All right.  Hallelujah.  7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God.  There is a war going on right here.  War, war, this is war.  This is war.  No quarter given.  Do you know what it means, by “no quarter”?  It means no mercy.  I’m talking about this side in opposition to this side.  Do you want a scripture for that?  Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows (Psalm 45:7).  Hallelujah.  There is no quarter given… This is war, this is war.  No compromise.  There’s no compromise.  The devil does not understand the word “compromise.”  What the devil understands is that, if you compromise, he wins, because the devil is a liar.  “Oh yes, you just do this, you can do that and it will be all right.” 

Many of you probably read Brother Martin Kluson’s testimony.  When he was a young man, we were there in the Czech Republic, I think it was either the first or second time we were there, and we were at a conference.  We began to preach about the end time, about the overcomers, about the sonship message.  Brother Martin was very confused or somewhat betwixt the devil and the deep blue sea, I guess.  Maybe I’m putting words into his mouth, I don’t know.  But he took a walk out into the forest that was around about the place that we were meeting in and there was this messenger from hell that met him.  The messenger said to him, “You know, if you want to be a Christian that’s okay, be a Christian.  I won’t bother you.”  He said, “If you want to be a preacher, that’s okay.  Go ahead and be a preacher, and I won’t give you a lot of trouble.  But if you want this message, if you begin to pursue after this message, I will kill you.”  Aren’t you glad it was Brother Martin and not you?  Why?  Because the devil knows the reality of this set of circumstances.   There’s no quarter given, no quarter.  No mercy in the devil.  How many of you believe the devil is a merciful fellow?  “Aw, surely you won’t die.  God knows that in the day that you eat the fruit you’re going to be wise, and you’re going to be good looking, and you’re going to be prosperous and you’re going to have all the things you ever wanted.  You’re going to be just like Him!  You’re not going to die!” (Genesis 3:3-4). 

Do you know it’s the same thing that the devil comes and tells you and me?  In the midst of our circumstance, we’re faced with a situation, a circumstance.  Hallelujah!  The carnal mind is enmity against God.  There’s no compatibility!  Do you want another verse?  John, the 17th chapter in the prayer that Jesus was praying, or the conversation that He was having with God.  We’re only getting one side of the conversation, you know.  He said, “They are in the world, but they are not of the world (verse 14).”  He says, “I pray that You deliver them not out of the world, but You deliver them from the temptation that is in the world!  From the evil that is in the world (verse 15)!”  How do we work out that position of deliverance, in the aspect of rising up in the Spirit to resist the flesh? 

All right, I started all of this on the basis that we all have goals and objectives.  Hallelujah.  We all have goals and objectives.  Right?  Hallelujah.  This was something of an understanding that was coming to me this morning.  The goal of this objective runs parallel with the goal of this objective.  Did you know that?  I’m not talking just in a futuristic sense, I’m also talking in the temporal realm.  Like today or tomorrow, or the next day, or two days down the road, or a week down the road.  I’m talking about the goals and objectives that we have that can work together because they’re not in conflict with one another.  Hello!  All right, let me just use me as an example.  As I did this morning, I’ll share it with you.  I wanted to go to Africa.  I could think of all sorts of reasons that are spiritual, righteous reasons for me to go to Africa.  So here I am talking about going to Africa.  I’m walking along this pathway, right?  I don’t know how you’d illustrate that, but I’m walking along that pathway and there’s no conflict.  But the Word of God comes to me: I’m not to go to Africa.  “But I want to go to Africa.”  “But you can’t go to Africa.”  “But I want to go to Africa.”  There’s no conflict until the goal here in this parallel, is for me to stay.  Over here in this parallel, the goal is to go.  You notice I put it in black.  “But I could do good.  Oh, I’d probably prophesy, I’d probably preach, I’d probably see people delivered, I’d probably see order set in.  I’d be involved in all of the counsel of God with regard to those that are going, and ministry and all of those things that are going on, and plus I’ll be where I want to be!”  But it isn’t the will of God.  Hello!  So, what was good, and what could be good, and utilized as good or presumed as good, becomes what?  Evil!  Why?  Because it’s not in the will of God for my eternal destiny.  Now, I don’t know what it is that God works in the realm of me staying in this position, but whatever it is, I can trust Him that ALL things work together for good (Romans 8:28).  Hello?  And you know, there are so many things we do every day, every day, that have a similar set of consequences, either good or bad.  The fact is that in our obedience to Him, it creates within us something that is un-erasable that would not have been there had we not done what we did. 

I’ll give you an example.  You’ve heard it many times.  Abraham was told to go up on the mountain and sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:1-3).  Do you think he wanted to do that?  Do you?  No, sir.  Do you think that it was an easy thing for him to do?  No, sir.  Yet, he did it.  He could have told his wife and let her persuade him not to do it by her emotional dependency, mental and otherwise; she might have even persuaded him not to obey God upon the fact of the promise of God that came forth from her.  But he didn’t.  He did what?  He stayed the course.  He stayed the course.  It was only when he stayed the course to the fullest that God gave him a release.  It wasn’t his thought, it wasn’t his mental perception or his spiritual sensitivity to the fact of what the will of God was, other than the fact of what God told him to do.  As he did it with all of his heart, all of his might, and all of his strength, it was God that intervened and stopped him!  The word that He spoke to him was, “Now I know you (verse 12).”  “Now I know you.”  Why?  Now, all of a sudden, the omnipotent, all-powerful, first and last, Alpha and Omega suddenly knew the reality of who this man was!  Because something in him at that moment, at that point in time was created.  He did not have it before.  Now, what would have happened if he had gotten up there and had decided he wasn’t going to do it?  He loses out.  It’s the same with you and me.  I’m going to close, but I want to take you back into Colossians, because that’s where I started.  I really was preaching to you out of Colossians.  Colossians, the third chapter.  I believe, now, this is my personal belief, but I believe it’s God that each and every one of us have a destiny in the plan and the purposes of God.  I believe that that destiny can be attained and achieved on a daily position of experience.  It will not be without conflict, not without trouble, not without tribulation.  It will not be without making some decisions that are uncomfortable and sometimes totally in opposition to everything that we desire or want.  But I believe that we have that ability, that authority. 

Chapter 3, verse 1, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.  What we’re talking about are goals, both temporal and futuristic.  If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  That’s what we’re talking about; your job, the things that you encounter in your home, all of the things that are going on personally and privately have an eternal purpose if we are looking at them with the right thought, through the right mind, using the eyes of the Spirit.  Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.   2Set your affections on things above, not on things of this earth.  We’re talking about goals. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.  If you meet the qualifications.  Verse 16, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  That does a lot for a grumpy countenance.  Verse 17, And whatsoever ye do in word or deed… Oh, whatsoever.  That means cooking dinner, washing dishes, doing your laundry, sweeping the floor, going to work, talking to the people on the job, on the street, in the restaurant, the bill collectors.  Andwhatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name…  Hmmm.  …do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Well, if we’re doing it in the name, we have to do it in the realm that is called Heaven.  Giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.  All right.  Then he covers, 18Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.  19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.  21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.  22Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart…  Singleness of heart!  My goodness.  Singleness of heart, fearing God: 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily…  Heartily.  Don’t you like that?  Heartily.  As what?  …as to the Lord, and not unto men.  That’s a mouthful.  24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of your inheritance:  You remember talking about Abraham?  His obedience to the Word of God, and his fulfilling of it, walking it out, step by step, day by day, in situation by situation, in circumstance after circumstance, until he came to a position or a place, to the culmination of all his deeds, all his actions, and the one final act of obedience?  It’s a little like Jesus Christ, don’t you think?  It says, He learned obedience by the things that He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).  Well, it also has the connotation of allowing.  That means He had the power and the strength to not allow them.  What does it say?  Romans 8:3-4, 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… in where? …in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after… what? …the spirit.  Hallelujah.  Colossians 3:24, Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.  Oh, you thought it was some man you were working for because he had his name on the bottom of your check.  That had nothing to do with it.  25But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respecter of persons.  I think we have an awesome responsibility.  I also think we have a glorious opportunity.  God bless you.

 

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