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Self-Preservation

July 31, 2005
Mahomet, Illinois

(For printable version click here.)

I personally do not know that the church is aware of what salvation really is.  I grew up in a denomination, where the theme song was, “When We All Get to Heaven, What a Day of Shouting that Will Be.”  It’s not that I don’t appreciate the song, it’s just that that theology is not in line with the doctrine of salvation.  You see, it is not God’s purpose to get you into Heaven.  God’s purpose is to get Heaven into you, and then get the Heaven that is in you out of you, so that it begins to invade the environment that you are in.  Consequently, the theology of “when we all get to Heaven” is a theology that is prevalent in all of the different churches, and especially so with regard to the end-time church. 

I appreciate Sister Shari’s little skit for the children today because it accentuates a thought that all of us have to deal with, and that is the thought of self-preservation.  They tell me the physical body will go to great extremes to keep itself alive.  Where there is the deprivation of food, I am told (I do not know that it is a fact, although they say that it is a medical fact because they have done examinations on people that have starved to death) that some of the lesser organs in the body will give themselves up as food to sustain the other major organs in the body.  So, those things that begin to shut down because of the lack of food give themselves up for the purpose of maintaining those things that are necessary for that body to live.  It’s self-preservation.  It seems to be one of the strongest instincts in the human realm, and consequently, it is something that we as Christians have to deal with, and very often we are dealing with it without an awareness of what we are fighting. 

If you have your Bibles, you might want to turn with me over into Romans 5.  We know, as the scripture talks to us about creation and the things that transpired, that man was at one time in a position of life, and in that position he enjoyed fellowship with God.  I don’t believe that we really understand the environmental consequences of that place or, for that matter, the position that Adam held.  We really do not understand the reality of what Adam must have had in the very beginning, before sin came into the world and manifested itself, and gave birth to the spirit of self-preservation.  You see, in the beginning, nobody would have had to tell Adam what he did not have to do.  Do you understand what I’m saying?  He was a living man with the breath of God in him, there was no sin yet in the world, and consequently, there was no evil that he was cognizant of.  Therefore, there was no need for the spirit of self-preservation.  Self-preservation is a spirit of antichrist.  Self-preservation is a spirit that works contrary to the position of salvation.  The sad fact is that most of humanity dies – not everyone – but most of us die not having overcome the spirit of self-preservation.  There are many of those that are in the great cloud of witnesses that did not overcome the spirit of self-preservation.   Are you familiar with the scripture that says that they without us could not be made perfect (Hebrews 11:40)?  Well, perfection is the position or the fullness of the manifestation of salvation, or one could say, the destruction of the spirit of self-preservation.  It’s not just an experience; it’s the culmination, it’s the end result, it’s the thing that happens at the end of the day that manifests the totality of the overcomer’s nature. 

I don’t know if your life is somewhat like mine in that almost every major confrontation that comes to me in the arena of my humanity deals with who I am, what I am and what others may think or perceive me to be, and what my attitude is with regard to that aspect of their thinking.  Somebody does something and I feel bad.  Why do I feel bad?  I feel bad because they did not consider my position.  They did not consider me as a living being, and because of that lack of consideration, I feel bad.  Now, we can feel bad in different ways.  You can feel bad by being angry.  You can feel bad by being depressed.  You can feel bad in so many other different areas or ways, but the fact is, the feeling of badness or how we are viewing the situation, if it’s less than life and liberty, the nature of the spirit of self-preservation is present and working. 

There have only been a few individuals who seemingly have overcome the spirit of self-preservation.  One of them was Enoch.  Another that we are told about in the Bible is Joseph.  To some degree, Joseph must have made great inroads into overcoming that spirit of self-preservation, because God continually put him into situations and circumstances where he was, to say the least, less considered than anyone.  And yet, in those situations, he must have received or found the grace of God to overcome the attitude of “poor me.”  “Poor me” is your number one enemy attitude.  “Poor me” is your number one enemy.  When my mother told me many, many years ago, “Burt, you are your own worst enemy,” I did not understand what she meant until God began to reveal to me the nature of “poor me” that is within me. 

You see, God never intended us to end up in a place other than where He originally created Adam.  There was something in the mind of God…  Now, God could have put Adam anywhere.  Do you understand that?  We’re not the only planet, we’re not the only galaxy, we’re not the only part of the universe.  God could have put man anywhere He wanted to put man, but He chose to put man in the place that He did, in a position or place called Earth, and He breathed eternity into that man.  Hallelujah.  God doesn’t want to take us somewhere as much as God wants to bring the somewhere to us, into the midst of our environment.  First of all, your personal, individual set of circumstances.  I’m not talking about your private, corporate (marriage) circumstance.  I’m talking about your individual position and place , that  personality that you know as you.  Paul had the revelation that God has been trying to give the church for a number of years, for 2000 years, and that is: within you dwelleth no good thing.  In me dwelleth no good thing (Romans 7:18).  Now, we’re talking about a man who had a standard, a position of excellence in the natural realm that many of us really have no comprehension or knowledge of.  And yet, God said all that Adam had in the realm of the cosmos, the realm of the world, was not fit for the things that he was destined for on an eternal level. 

Romans 5 talks about being justified by faith in verses one, two and three, but also about the position of tribulation that we find ourselves in.  Now, tribulation isn’t just trouble, but it’s trouble of a particular kind.  God does not trouble you just to trouble you, to see you in trouble.  God troubles you, or allows you to be troubled, for a particular reason, because it is the trouble that is to provoke you and to push you out of the realm that you are in, into a higher realm that is called spirit. 

Now, trouble comes to you in many different arenas.  Trouble can come to you in the arena of personalities.  Trouble can come to you in the arena of economics.  Trouble can come to you in the arena of physical maladies.  But all of those troubles – you might have all of them, if you’re really fortunate – are designed to provoke you, to push you into a different position of understanding, to give to you a different position or revelation of what it is that God is looking for in the midst of your particular trouble.  Hallelujah.  If, at the end of the day, we do not have that revelation, to me, that is something of a great loss.  I have seen many people, and I have experienced it personally, going through certain situations and not coming out of them as they would have come out had they had the understanding that it was God that was dealing with them, and not just something that was troubling them. 

Romans 5:12 says, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world…  I said that Adam was alive at one time, he was without trouble.  He had fellowship with God.  He didn’t need trouble, but because sin came into the world, something about the environment changed drastically.  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world…  Now, sin not only entered into the world, but sin took command of the whole environment in which man lived.  It became a hell realm.  Hallelujah.  It became a hell realm.  Some of us think the world is pretty good.  That’s because we don’t know what it was like in the beginning.  We don’t know what it was like in the beginning, so we think that what we’ve got is pretty good.  We think that because it’s hot outside and it’s cool in here we have it pretty good, but we don’t know what it was in the beginning.  I don’t believe you needed all of this in the beginning.  I believe that there was a power that was given to Adam in the way that he controlled his environment that is beyond our ability to even imagine.  Did you know that Adam controlled his environment?  He was in total, absolute control of his environment.  We are born into an entirely different set of circumstances.  We have been born into an environment that controls us.  Hallelujah.  God, to remedy the problem, was to put the fix inside of us in order to fix that which is outside of us. 

The problem with the church is that they are satisfied with trying to get into heaven, making it through, hanging on.  It says that, by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.  That doesn’t just say that all men have sinned and therefore all men are dead.  It’s saying that the total environment that man was in was that of a hell realm, a realm of death and degradation.  Anywhere you have death without the hope of life, you have hell.  And it is maximizing, brethren.  The only way that you could deny the fact that hell is maximizing itself is if you turn off your TV, turn off your radio, don’t go anywhere, isolate yourself, and stick your head in the sand like an ostrich.  But, quite frankly, you would still have to deal with yourself.  This is a hell realm.  I personally don’t believe that God created this realm just to give it over to the devil.  In the very beginning when He created it, He said that it was good.  That, therefore, means that it has a purpose and it has a day that it’s going to manifest that purpose in a people.  It says, by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinnedHallelujah. 

The ministry that has been given to the church is the ministry of reconciliation.  Reconciliation means that you begin to bring back order into the midst of disorder.  Hallelujah.  You know, it’s one thing to think about what Jesus would do; it’s another thing to think about Jesus and the doing of it.  You see, we as a church should be beyond the thinking of, “Well, what would Jesus do?”  Because, in actuality, what God wants is that you respond and act as Jesus without thinking about it.  But you and I have a little problem and that problem is that we have “us” to deal with.  We have certain characteristics that are “us.”  We have certain personal preferences that are “us,” and we are not really willing to give up those positions or those things, those personal preferences.  We have a certain way of thinking that is “us.”  I think that one of the major factors in the destruction of homes is the spirit of self-preservation, or the fear of losing one’s own position of personal identity.  We all want to be recognized for who we are, or what we have.  We have certain talents, certain abilities, and when we think that those talents or abilities are not being appreciated, or that someone is trying to eliminate them or take them away, we become defensive.  Being defensive is not a mechanism of the working of the Spirit of God in you, it is the spirit of self-preservation.  Hallelujah. 

Let’s think about programming.  There are a number of things in the scripture that talk to us about how one is to program themselves for the things that pertain to God.  One of them that comes to me is Psalm 119:9, Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.  Then again he says, Thy word have I, what?  Thy word have I hid in mine heart(Psalm 119:105).  Another place that the Bible talks about programming is where Paul says in Romans, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).  Well, if you’re not spending time in the Word, personally, individually, in the natural realm – I’m talking about the natural Word – if you’re not taking time to ingest, or to digest – isn’t that what you do before you digest? – the Word, then you’re not going to be a person of faith.  Faith requires Word.  When I say, “Word,” I’m talking about Bible; first the natural, then the spiritual.  Hallelujah.  You need to spend time in the Word.  I know, as a young man, I spent a great deal of time, not only reading the Bible, but listening to the Bible and going through tapes and all of the things that we had back there as  I was growing up in the Lord.  I have found out that the more Word I consume, the more Word I want, the more I want to hear about God and talk about God.  Have you ever gotten together with a group of people – I’m sure you have – and they’re all Christians, and they’re all loving the Lord, and they all might even believe in the sons of God message?  How much time is spent discussing the things of God as far as the sons of God message is concerned?  What are some of the things that you talk about?  Well, you may talk about your day, you may talk about some of the things that went on, you may talk about your children when you ladies get together.  What do you talk about?  When you men get together, what is the central theme of your discussion?  Hallelujah. 

You know, I traveled with the ministry for many years, and the one thing that I appreciated about the ministry that I traveled with was that everything was God-oriented.  I can remember one time we were checking into a hotel.  I was tired.  We had been traveling all day and the only thing that I was thinking about was bed.  All I wanted to do was get in my room and unpack my bag, if I could last that long, crawl into my bed and sleep.  All of a sudden, the man I was traveling with was talking to the receptionist about where she went to church, and what it was that she was hearing in the church.  And it was taking time.  Now I’m telling on myself.  I wanted to go to bed, and I found myself becoming irritated with the fact that we were spending so much time just checking into a room.  Of course, you have never found yourself in that situation, right?  Hallelujah.  But the fact is, everywhere we went, everything was God.  We would be talking about this, we’d be talking about that, and all of a sudden in the middle of the conversation, out of seemingly nowhere, this word or thought would be dropped in the midst of us by him, and we’d all have to kind of back up a little bit and begin to think about it.  But, you know, the fact is, you and I do not think in a heavenly way, or that we have been created personally and individually and naturally and put in an environment for a heavenly purpose.  Most of us are just trying to hang on, get by to the end, somehow, some way make it through the day, and by some fate, some means, some manner that God only knows, get our foot into the door of Heaven, and enjoy that land of euphoric blessing and live happily ever after. 

Well, I suppose if that were the total intent and purpose of God it would be okay.  I suppose if that is what gets you into Heaven, it’s okay.  But I do not believe that is the intent that God had in the very beginning.  I don’t believe that He wanted to create a people that would be self-serving, self-centered and self-oriented, who just give Him a little bit of themselves in order to get by so that they might make it into Heaven.  I think He had a total, absolutely different thought in His mind.  I think that when He created Eden, in the way that He created it, there was something of the nature and the consistency, as well as the quality, of Heaven.  I think that all those things that were in that environment were things that were pricking Adam to a position of greater God-consciousness. 

I really believe that Adam had a lot to do with Enoch’s training.  I just believe that.  He was a grandfather, and I know that, as a grandfather, I have an aspiration for my grandchildren to overcome the nature that they were born with.  I have that aspiration.   So, anytime that we have our grandchildren, or anytime that we have an opportunity to involve them in the things of the gospel and the things that pertain to the theology that we are pursuing after, I am very involved with talking to them about those things.  I’m not interested in making them better sportsmen.  I’m not interested in making them better athletes.  I’m not interested in making them better lawyers or doctors.  I’m not interested in even making them better community service people, an asset to the community.  I’m not interested in it.  What I am interested in is pricking them and stirring their consciousness with regard to the fact that they were created, not for a natural purpose, a natural place, a natural reason, but with a heavenly intent, on the basis of the Word of God.  They were not created to carry on the progeny of Asbill.  Do you hear me?  I made a commitment with God that whatever I could do to contribute to the demise of Asbill, then that is what I would do, and that is what I would submit to with regard to my own personal set of circumstances.  Hallelujah. 

The Bible says that Adam sinned, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned (Romans 5:12).  So, my home is that of a sepulcher and my heritage is that of a graveyard.  It has embossed upon it, “May he always be restless.”  That is where I’m born.  I’m born dead, I live dead and I die dead.  Only, if I die dead, then I’m really dead, dead.  In the fact that I am born again, I have a responsibility before God to LIVE.  God designed me and my set of circumstances to prove that death has no power to reign and rule over me as an individual or over my family.  It has no position of predominance.  Hallelujah. 

That’s why He created me.  He didn’t create me to wait for Heaven.  Hallelujah.  Come on, brethren.  There’s something wrong with our theology.  There’s something really wrong with it.  Because we preach and believe – at least, most of you do, because by coming here, you’re preaching that you believe in a message that’s called sons of God.  I would dare say that any of you that went anywhere else would be dissatisfied with any message other than a message that tells you, “You can do much better than what you are doing at present.  You can have much more than what you’ve got, and you can have it to the extent of your desire for it.”  Because the Bible says that God will withhold no good thing from him that walks uprightly (Psalm 84:11). 

The problem is, we have us.  We have certain aspirations and desires.  I had a person say to me, “Well, what’s wrong with my desires?  They’re not unclean, they’re not perverted, perverse in any way…  What’s wrong with me?”  I said, “Well, unless it is the new ‘you,’ it’s of no value to God.”  Because it cannot fit, it cannot fit.  Do you hear that?  It cannot fit into an environment that is totally righteous.  I don’t know if you understand that.  I really don’t know that we understand the reality of that.  We want God so much, don’t we?  We really think that we want God, but yet, if we were in an environment that was totally righteous, absolutely righteous, I think that we would be uncomfortable, to say the least.  Well, now we’re living in an environment that’s absolutely wicked, and because the nature we’re born with is the dead nature, it has a compatibility with the wickedness of that environment, and we are somewhat content.  But what if you take that nature and put it in an environment of total, absolute, complete holiness and you can’t do what you want to do?  You wouldn’t be able to think some of the things that you think.  If you weren’t able to participate on the level that you participate on with other individuals in certain situations, what would you do? 

You know, you all need to go back and get the word that Brother Gruver prophesied in the July 2004 Illinois conference.  The word really was, “If I, God, pour out My glory upon you, what will manifest?”  If Joseph had not attained to a position of excellence before God regarding his position of self-preservation, what do you think  he would have done when he first came into power, concerning Potiphar and his wife?  What do you think he would have done?  He would have thought, “Well, I’m going to give her what she deserves and what she’s earned,” right?  But he was like as Christ, not imputing.  Isn’t that what it says?  Not imputing.  “For this ministry of reconciliation has been given unto us, in that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself – God – not imputing” (II Corinthians 5:18-19).  That means that there was no place of self-preservation.  “Self” was an aspect that was no longer a consideration or a detriment to his position of authority.  Can you imagine that?  I hardly can, thinking about the circumstances and situations I find myself involved in.  “Not imputing,” means that you have totally, absolutely moved beyond the place of self-orientation.  You no longer have the ability to be pricked or moved because somebody stepped on your toes, or said something about you, true or untrue, and told it to somebody you didn’t want to have hear about it.  Hallelujah. 

I got an understanding, a little light came to me this morning as we were sitting back there reading in John 1.  I was reading verses 12 and 13.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become…  Now, you probably already have this revelation, but it excited me, so I want to share it with you.  Hallelujah.  He says to them that believe gave He power to become sons.  To become something means that you aren’t in that position yet, you haven’t achieved it, there’s still something that needs to be done.  You haven’t yet gone from point A to point B.  Now, you may be in the process of movement, but you haven’t yet acquired or come to that position, that place.  So, the place that you are presently in is not the good place that God saw in the beginning when He said it was good.  It is not  a place that you should stay in or be satisfied with as far as God is concerned.  Come on.  Are you following the thought?  It says, “To them that believe gave He power to become sons.”  The responsibility of becoming is on the basis of our believing that it is something that is available and that it is what God intended from the beginning.  What if you don’t become a son?  What is your accountability?  What is your position of transgression?  There’s a scripture that talks about frustrating the grace of God (Galatians 2:21). But it seems to me that, to him that knoweth to do right…   Now, it’s not a matter of just not taking advantage of what is being made available, though there is a consequence to the fact of you and me not taking advantage of it.  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:17).  So, it is not a static position, is it?  Well, my mom used to say, “No decision is a decision.”  It’s just a lazy man’s way of making a decision. 

Galatians 2:21, I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.  There is a grace that God gives in the midst of our set of circumstances.  In the midst of the Word and the message that is delivered to us, there is a grace that is as an active agent.  It has an ability to do something for you that you cannot do for yourself.  That’s why they call it grace.  But it’s not just some mystical, magical word or thought, some feeling of fuzzy-wuzzy.  It’s an entity of God, it’s an active agent that is working on your behalf, and it’s working to produce one thing and one thing only, and it wants to see that manifestation.  “To them that believe gave He power to become the sons of God.”  Well, unfortunately, some of the power that God gives us to become sons, we squander in other avenues.  We can become prosperous, we can become knowledgeable, we can become many different things on the basis of the power that God gives us to become sons and yet not achieve the objective that has been set before us.   

There’s something of a revelation in the story of the prodigal son that I don’t know that the church has really come to grips with.  You see, the prodigal son had a position, he had a place in the father’s house, and he had an inheritance.  Now, if you can look at that inheritance as being his portion or his position as a son, had he turned around and used his inheritance in a wise and appropriate manner, working with the father, things would have been different.  But he chose to use his inheritance in a different way.  When the Bible talks about you and me being given power, it’s talking about an apportionment of God’s grace that is part of our inheritance.  It is given to us to work out the purpose and the intent of God in our lives.  There is an inheritance that we have via the virtue of the desire of God to have us be in a particular place at a particular time.  The Bible says that you and I are to do what?  Seek first the Kingdom of God.  We are supposed to seek the Kingdom of God first.  That means that everything we are involved in should be Kingdom of God oriented.  It should be the first and foremost thought in our minds, no matter if we’re out here doing this or that or somewhere else, raising children, working in the kitchen, doing the dishes, cooking the dinner, pulling the weeds, driving down the road or shopping in the grocery store.  Whatever the situation is, everything should be overshadowed with the intent and the desire that God has for the purpose for which you and I were created.  We weren’t created for a natural set of circumstances, to be in a natural position of preeminence and predominance, unless it furthers the position and the desire that God has to bring forth sons.  The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is full of God’s desire to produce sons.  God wants SONS!  He doesn’t want Christians.  God wants sons!  He wants us to think like sons.  He wants us to raise our children like sons untoHim and not unto ourselves.  He wants us to raise our grandchildren like sons.  We are to promote the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of this world, nor the kingdoms of self.

I’m not saying that you can’t have times of fellowship and good times.  I’m not saying any of that.  You know, when I was young in the Lord and in the work of the Lord, we were in care of a fellowship for many years.  God told us that we needed to fellowship with them on a natural plain, in a natural environment.  But I want to tell you, wherever we were in a natural plain and a natural environment, we were preaching the Word of God, whether it was out water skiing or whatever we were doing with the fellowship.  The intent was not just to have a good time, but to bring forth and produce the Kingdom of God.  It was to get those people in a position and in a relationship with God, to get them in a position or a place of God-consciousness.  Hallelujah.  God ever before their eyes. God ever-present in their thoughts.  Why do you think God commanded Aaron to wear the Plate of Gold upon his forehead, those little epaulets and plaques they put between their eyes? They were to wear them on their shoulders and they were to have them girded about them.  The Word of God was always ever-present.  What is the Word of God?  It is God expressing His desire for you and me to be sons! 

God wants sons!  He wants us to think like sons!  He doesn’t want us cosmos-oriented, He wants us Heaven-oriented.  We spend so much time programming ourselves for the things that pertain to this world.  Jesus was praying His prayer of faith in John 17, and He says, “They are in the world, but they are not of the world.”  Well, that was a statement of faith.  We know how much world they had in them when we read about what happened in the garden of Gethsemane and the Word that Jesus spoke there, “NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE BE DONE.” 

Doing the will of God is never easy.  If you’re looking for easiness, that’s a lazy man’s gospel.  Doing the will of God is never easy.  Doing the will of God is never easy.  Dying isn’t easy.  “Oh, we’re ready to die.”  I had that experience one day.  I found out I wasn’t so ready to die.  I had a collapsed lung many years ago, and I thought I was having a heart attack.  I said to God, “I’m too young to die.”  It wasn’t that I didn’t have this Word or this message.  “Oh yes, I want to go all the way with You, God… (gaaaasp) …I’m too young to die!  I’ve got all these babies and they need me.  God, what are You doing?”  We think we’re ready to die.  I found out that I wasn’t so ready to die, and I’ve been working on it ever since.  Hallelujah.  I hope next time around I do a little better.  Hallelujah.  Well, we had a situation in Africa one time.  The only thing I was afraid of was that somebody else wasn’t ready to die!    Hallelujah. 

It says, But as many as received him…  You don’t receive God to get saved, to do good, to be better.  All of those are side products.  They come because of the position.  You know, the benefits.  You go to work for someone and you get certain benefits.  That’s not the job; that’s not the position.  The truck you drive isn’t the position.  The office you fill isn’t the position.  Those are the benefits that come with the job.  You know, eternity is something that you get at the end of the day.  It comes with the job, if you’re doing the right job and you’re doing the right thing!  There is no employer that I know of in the natural that will deal with you indefinitely if you don’t fulfill the obligation for which you were employed.  And yet, we do it all the time with God!  We think, “Well, because He’s God, He’s always going to extend mercy.  He’s always going to love us in spite of our faults.”  Well, it’s not that God doesn’t do that, but I want to tell you, there’s a time frame.  There’s a time frame for everything.  That’s what the preacher said, wasn’t it?  There’s a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  We’re living in a dispensation of time when there is an intent that is drawing closer that God wants to have manifested in the nature and the quality of integrity in the individuals that are involved with Him. 

We want a little bit of God, but we want a whole bunch of ourselves.  We’re not willing, it seems to me, to give of our position, give of our place, give of our soul.  We’re kind of like “ten percent” Christians.  Ten percent of this, ten percent of that.  Well, it should at least be thirty percent, or sixty percent.  But somehow or another we got that ten percent, I guess because it’s less than thirty percent.  If you have two cloaks, two coats, and your brother has none, what are you supposed to do?  Give him the one you don’t want.  Give him the one that you don’t really care about, you didn’t like that color anyway.  “You can have this, it’s a new coat.  I didn’t like that color anyway.”  Of course, you don’t do that.  I had an experience one time.  We went through a fire that burned our house down to the ground, and the church responded.  I got worn-out sofas, broken dishes, worn-out clothes, and all the things that were necessary to live.  But everything was broken, unfixable or had a patch on it.  Something is wrong with our theology.  Something is wrong with our perception – the way that we view things.  Something is wrong!  There is something definitely, definitely wrong.  And you know something?  I don’t know that the accountability is going to be as great out there as it is going to be in here, in accordance to the Word that we have!  It says, Unto them that believe… or received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.  We’re not talking about semantics, a syllable-ized enunciation of vowels and consonants.  We’re talking about the original intent, the pattern.  Do you know that it says that Adam was the pattern or the intent of God in the beginning that prophesied of the coming of Jesus Christ?  Most of us are satisfied with being part-time Christians.  We’ll give so much of this, so much of that, so much of this, and that’s all that we’re wanting to give, on the basis of our environment!  We have this demand here, this demand here, this demand over here.  “Oh, I can’t do this because of that and because of that.”  Now, I’m not saying you’re not supposed to do the “because of that,” but is the “because of that” promoting God and the reason for which God elected you, is it promoting the intent that God has for you in the midst of your circumstances?  Is it going to produce a son nature, is there going to be a demonstration of that son reality and son authority?  Is there going to come forth such a manifestation that God is going to say, “This is my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased”?  Do you think that that was something that was reserved for Jesus Christ alone?  Absolutely not.  The worst thing about it is that God hears everything.  He even hears those things I don’t say!  And He’s assessing me.  He’s assessing me.  He doesn’t hear me on the basis of Him wanting to condemn me, He’s assessing my position on the basis of His desire for me to succeed!  So, He puts this into my path, and He puts that in my path, and He puts something else in my path.  You know, some of us are facing certain trials and tribulations, but what they are really like are final exams.  Not really final exams, but those mini exams that lead up to the final exam.  Quizzes.  Little pop quiz here and there, right?  You get involved in something and somebody asks you to do something, this or that or that, and you develop an attitude or a reason for why you can’t do it. 

There’s something wrong with our theology if that is our response.  You know, we need to understand the reality of the consequences of our non-participation or our non-action.  To become a son means that you have a certain position.  There is something of a requirement, there is something of God’s earnest expectation and love and adoration for us to move into that certain direction!  But in order to have that place, in order to have that position, we have to deny ourselves, we have to say, “No!” to the spirit of self-preservation. 

You know, brethren, the whole structure of the Bible is based on this one intent, that in the very beginning God desired to make man after His image, after His likeness.  Not just to raise children and to program them to be you all over again – only magnified and worse!  You can’t raise children the way we used to raise them and have the children survive.  You can’t do it.  And yet, we do it, over and over and over and over again.  We spend eighty-five percent, ninety-five percent of our time putting into them the theology of this cosmos.  Reading, writing and arithmetic – that has nothing to do with it.  It’s a theology of worldliness, lawlessness, wickedness.  Come on!  The church should be functioning and moving in a position that is actively resisting that demonic overshadowing.  But we’re so wrapped up in our individual environments, and we come to church at a particular time, and we hear a particular word, and we sing particular songs without understanding or coming to grips with the reality of what is facing us, and the accountability that we have before God concerning the bringing forth and the manifestation of His Kingdom. 

He says, But as many as received him…  AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM  …to them gave he power to become the sons of God.  My goodness.  Now, I suppose you could develop the doctrinal position that that power to become sons of God is in eternity, that it is at the last day, the last trump.  But what about the scripture that says, “They without us cannot be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40)?  Cannot be made perfect!  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  That means that, in spite of the position we are in as far as natural birth is concerned, there is the availability, the avenue of access that we have, not on the basis of our desire for God, but on God’s desire for us to be in that position.  So, any and every opportunity, any day, any minute of the day, things are coming down on us, pressing us this way, pressing us, that, in that time, in that place and in the things that God puts upon our shoulders or puts out in front of us, or the consciousness of the burden that is around us, there is something of God in that situation!  He has an expectation with regard to us to perform in a manner that will be consistent with His theology!  Not a theology of “some day on a shore far away, when we all get to Heaven what a beautiful day that will be.”  Some of us are waiting for that.  We’re waiting for that.  We’ve kind of got this spiritual thought of raptur-ism, waiting for God to redeem us out of all of our trouble, when the redeeming of our trouble comes from within, from the propagation of the Kingdom of God in the midst of our soul.  Hallelujah. 

You know, as I was reading this verse, he says, John 1: 13, To them which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  That means that, no matter what your condition is, there is the power and the grace of God that is ministered to any individual in any given situation, to translate them out of that place!  In natural understanding,  to translate them out of that realm or mindset into a realm that is Heaven.  As I was reading this verse, I was reminded of the scripture where Paul was writing to Timothy, and he said that in a great house, there are many vessels.  II Timothy 2:20, But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.  Now, if God would leave us at that place, we would be men most miserable, and we would always be trying to figure out, “Well, who is the vessel of gold?  Who is the vessel of silver?  Oh, who is the vessel of earth, and who is the vessel of honor?  And who is the vessel of dishonor?  Oh, the vessel of dishonor is over there.”  But God doesn’t leave us in that position, He doesn’t leave us without a further Word.  He says, If a man therefore purge himself from these…  What shall he be?  …he shall be a vessel unto honour…  So, it doesn’t make any difference where you are, what you are and what you’re doing or how you’re used, if you begin the active process of participating with Him in the working out of your salvation!  Hallelujah.  If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.  There is something that God requires of us, there is something of an understanding that God wants to give to us with regard to the position of the church. 

Let me read to you the definition of preservation.  It says, the act of preserving or keeping safe; the act of keeping from injury or destruction or decay, as the preservation of life or health.  Hallelujah.

Let’s read the philosophy of humanity.  This is the philosophy of humanity and it is out of the pit of hell. Genesis 3, Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  Now here it is.  Here’s the punch line.  4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die…  Well, surely there can be nothing wrong with that?  “There can be nothing wrong with doing that, we’re only human.  We have to live in a human environment, we have to be human to a certain extent.  God really wouldn’t require me to do this or to do that.  He wouldn’t want me to be an extremist.  God wants me to have some sort of peace of mind.  After all, I can have more time to serve the Lord!”  Hallelujah.  4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened…  Your eyes shall be opened.  All of a sudden, the conversation is away from God and on to who?  On to self.  “Your eyes are going to be opened, you’re going to have a position or place of preeminence, you’re going to have a place of predominance, people are going to recognize you for what you are.  You’re going to have some sort of talent or ability, you’re going to be something that excels in a particular area!”  Oh my.  5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened… 

The cosmos is ordered under the direction of hell, under the direction of Satan.  I believe all of this out here that is not touched by the Blood of Jesus Christ or is not under the jurisdiction of the Holy Ghost has one objective, and that is to reduce everything down to its own level of depravity.  Now, what happens if I submit myself to that environment?  There’s a scenario I want to put before you.  Have you heard of Special Forces?   Do you know what they are?  I think the army has their part that’s called the Rangers or something like that.  Every branch has its own special unit.  They are often involved in what they call “covert action,” which means they go deep down inside enemy territory.  Oftentimes the government says, “We don’t know anything about it.”  Now, do you think they’re going to take somebody off the street and stick them in one of these units?  Do you know that they have special schools and training centers?  You know, you’re not even aware sometimes of what they do with these individuals!  They helicopter them out into the midst of the Mojave Desert, parachute them out with a little flask of water and some K-rations and tell them they have two weeks to get back!  And we think that we can take our children, put them in that environment and think that they’re going to survive.  It’s absolutely ludicrous.  Those men go through training.  They go through basic training, they go through advanced boot training, they go to special service boot camp, and then they go to other types of camps, and those camps are six to eight weeks long.  I knew a man that was in training for two-and-a-half years before they even put him into a unit and sent him behind the lines!  Yet, we think that in this environment out here, because we have a man in a blue uniform and a badge on his chest, our children are going to be safe!  My God.  It’s only really, quite frankly, mercy that God extends to us in certain situations because of our ignorance.  But you know something, we’re not being ignorant any more.  God is eliminating our position of ignorance.  God is taking away our excuse, “Well, God, I didn’t know any better!” 

4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die…  “Oh, it’s okay.  It’s all right.  God loves you, He wouldn’t let you die!  He wouldn’t let you be put in a position like that.  Oh, you know, God, He’s a good guy.  He’s a good buddy.”  4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food…  “Oh yes, a man has to take care of himself, he has to have an education to do that.”  Well, my answer to that is, if education is something that God has for you, go for it.  But listen to me: you have to be trained in the things of God.  You have to have the input, you have to have the discipline, you have to have the tenegrity – that’s tenacity and integrity.  I just put two words together.  It takes special equipment to be in certain environments.  Special equipment.  It takes special anointing.  It takes an individual who loves God with all of their heart and with all of their being.  God’s not going to take some little wimpy wimp out of a protected environment and slap them down in the midst of a hell environment.  God knows what the situation is. 

6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food…  We can always find an excuse – do you hear me? – to do something that brings ourselves, our children, our fellowship into a place of jeopardy.  We can always find an excuse!  Always.  The woman saw that it was good for food, …and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.  And so sin passed upon all men, and heaven was defiled. 

Turn with me over to II Corinthians 5:1, For we know… do we really know? …that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God…  Do we have a building?  How much time have you spent building your house?  What is the reality of Heaven that is within you?  What is the reality of God’s ability to be sufficient for whatever set of circumstances that you find yourself in?  …we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  I don’t know that we really understand.  2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house…  Groaning entails more than just guttural sounds.  Groaning is a demonstration or a reality of the desire that you have, and the tenacity with which you push toward God to achieve something that you see in the scripture that will bring a fulfillment and a deliverance to your life that you are aware that you don’t have at that moment, at that time.  Not talking about just groaning, “Ooooohhhhhh.”  We’re talking about the position of your participation with God, and working out your salvation in the intent of what God has for you in the place that He calls being a son.  God wants sons!  He doesn’t want good citizens.  Good citizens are a quality of sonship, it’s a benefit, it’s something that comes because of that.  Hallelujah. 

3If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.  4For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Why would he be groaning for something that was unattainable?   There was a reality that this man had.  How many of you would have liked to travel with him?  16Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.  17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…  A new dimension, a new position, there’s a new realm which he is striving to obtain.  …yet now henceforth know we him no more.  17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  Unfortunately, I don’t know that we have the reality. 

18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead…  Get your dictionary out, get your concordance out, check out those words.  It means just exactly what it’s saying, only there is more of a definiteness with regard to the thought and the intent of where we are, and the accountability and the responsibility that we have before the Lord as individuals that carry the mark of sonship. 

One more scripture.  Romans 8:18, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed… Where?  …in us.  Hallelujah.  19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption…  Creature understands the position of corruption in hell.  …into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.  24For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  Hope in the intent, hope with a purpose, hope for the reason and the thought of what it is that God created in the very beginning, and the reason for which He created it.  Hallelujah. 

25But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.  26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings… everybody’s groaning …which cannot be uttered.  27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 

Now listen to this.  28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Not your purpose, not your aspirations or desires, HIS purpose.  29For whom he did foreknow…  This is His purpose  …he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son… HIS Son …that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.  That is the position, that is the place, that is the thought, that is the intent, and that is the will and the desire of God.

God bless you, and thank you very much.

 

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