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Understandest Thou What Thou Readest?

March 26, 2000 

(For printable version click here.)

We’re going to read in Matthew, and then we are going to go over into Mark.  Jesus is going through the parable and He is giving the explanation of it.  I want to find the right place, Matthew 13 and in the 22nd verse, He comes to the end of the explanation.  Then the 23rd verse, He says, But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it;  Did you hear that?  He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth itThere is a difference between hearing and understanding.  You can hear all day, everyday, all of your life and never receive the benefit of what you’re hearing, because you do not understand it.  The understanding is not so much something that is dependent upon your intellect, as much as it is dependent upon your desire.  Desire.  Hello?  If what you desire is contrary to what you are hearing, it will interfere with you coming to that place of understanding.  Even though you may have heard it and heard it, the hearing of it has done very little with regard to your position in the place that you are in.  You know, children that are brought up in a godly home hear a lot.  But, I found out that understanding is not conditioned upon hearing alone.  Hello?  Understanding comes from a motivation that is within to investigate and to disseminate the thing that they are hearing. 

One of the problems that I have seen in the construction industry is that many times people do things without the knowledge of why they are doing them.  Many times when they do them, the way that they do it, without that knowledge the thing that they do is inappropriate.  Many times you have to come back and re-do the thing that was done.  Hello?  That is why they have men that are called architects that have an understanding of load, stress, sheer, all of those different strange sounding and often misunderstood terms are used to develop the foundational principles on which the construction is going to be constructed.  They understand the ramifications of building a two story building on a one-story foundation.  Many times I’ve found that when you talk to people who are wanting to do remodel work or something of that nature, they’ve got a single story building and they want to put a second story on it.  What’s the big deal?  Well, you tell them what the big deal is and they don’t understand the ramifications of the foundation not being adequate to hold the load that you are putting on it.  Therefore, down the road somewhere, it may be years you understand, and oftentimes the trouble is so minutely small and insignificant on the day by day, week by week, year by year, basis that you really don’t see the complications of what is happening inside.  Until one day you walk out there, and all of a sudden you’ve got this nice big crack running across the wall of your plaster.  Now, in this part of the country, they don’t do it so much, but in California they do a lot of stucco work.  They put cement on the walls.  And it will only stand, will only take so much stress, or so much pressure that is contrary to some other aspect of its frame before it begins to show the mar of what is wrong on the inside.

I think that there is a problem in the Body of Christ today that makes that situation very apropos.  There has been a word that has been ministered.  There has been a position, there has been a place of revelation that has come to the church.  Now, when I talk about church, I am not talking about the organized structure that many of us have been in and have come out of, for whatever reason we came out of it.  But, in the coming out, there was a word that was delivered unto us that our ears heard that we in turn have turned and brought to our children and to those that we are in fellowship with, or who we come in contact with.  But, I think that many of those that have heard the word have not understood the ramifications of what the word required.  We did not understand the full implication, or did not have a grasp upon the awareness of the stress and the strain that the word was going to create in the fabric of our environment in which we found ourselves living!  Consequently, we are seeing cracks.  Consequently, we are seeing things that are happening that should not be happening within the church that God calls His own!  But, you know, I found out something, that you cannot make a man desire God.  Do you know, it is not something that I was born with that I can pass on to my children?  As much as I desire my children to be righteous.  As much as I desire my children to be pursuing after righteousness.  There is nothing that I can do on a physical natural plane that can bring them to that place of wanting righteousness.  All I can do is paint the picture for them of what righteousness is!  All I can do is allow the righteousness that I desire to become a part of my fabric, that it begins to manifest in a manner and fashion that confronts them in their unrighteousness, hoping to create within them a desire for something other than the aspect of what is in their flesh and manifesting itself.  There is nothing that I can do, do you hear me?, on a natural plane.  It is not something that I was born with the first time around.  What I was born with is flesh.  What I was born with is the lust and the desire to be carnal.  What I was born with was the lust and the desire to be independent!  What I was born with was the aspect of finding out who I was, what I was, and doing it to the maximum of my ability to do it.  That is what I passed on to my children.  It wasn’t until I met God and was born again, not after the will of flesh, not after the will of man, but after the will of God, that something was given to me that had a desire in it for righteousness.  Now, everyone that is born again has this same gene, for lack of a better terminology.  You know, you are what you are because of the chemistry makeup.  I don’t understand it.  I don’t understand how they can take a gene out of one thing and put it into another and that thing do something that that gene was doing in a different type of plant.  I don’t understand that, except I know that they can do it, because there is a Biblical principle.  He says that you and I were wild olive trees. (Romans 11)  Do you hear me?  We were taken off of the wild root and grafted upon the cultured root.  Do you hear me?  It says that you’re engrafted, and it’s not you that supports the tree, it’s the tree that supports you.  So, everything that is in the tree should be within the fabric or the character of that which was grafted in, if it’s of the same type. 

He says, he that received seed…and understandeth it.  Receiving and understanding.  It is one thing to receive.  I can come in here and I can begin to hand out coupons for a free meal at Hardees.  I could hand them out to every one of you, but not all of you are going to partake and do the thing that is necessary in order to receive the benefit of the coupon.  You have received the coupon, but the coupon is of little value unless you put it to work for you.  The problem with Christianity is, many of us have received, many of us have heard, but many of us do not understand!  Many of us do not understand.  You know, there is something contrary, there is something wrong in the mentality that is contrary to the will of God, contrary to righteous, in the thinking that asserts one’s position or his right to a position of independence!  Do you hear me?  It is impossible for a man to be independent, to be a self made person and be in the kingdom of God!  It is an impossibility!  It is not what I say, it is what God says.  I can tell you what God says.  I can amplify it.  I can bring it out.  But the fact still remains, you and I are not coming in under the kingdom carrying the load of our own personality!  As though our personality was God, because I’ve got news for you.  YOU AND I ARE NOT GOD!  What we are is not something that is beneficial to the kingdom of God.  It is what God instills and imparts and brings into your being and begins to have the liberty to begin to expand.  Hallelujah! 

He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it.  That is something else.  You know, I don’t know if you know much about farming.  But, a farmer does not go out here and sow amongst the thorns and the rocks.  Do you know farmers spend million of dollars every year just to eradicate weeds?  Why?  Why does he do that?  Why does he invest so much of his profit?  Every thing that he invests in that aspect is something that comes out of his plus column.  Do you understand?  It is taken, it is subtracted first.  It means that he has that much less.  Why?  Because he knows that, for the benefit of the plant, and the nutrition that is in the soil or the things that he is expending, the money for fertilizer, and all of that, will be sucked up by the weeds!  Now, I don’t know one farmer that wants to produce a good crop of weeds!  It is the responsibility of the farmer.  It takes time, it takes energy, not to mention the fact of all the equipment that is involved, and the expense of maintaining it and the expense of taking the time to service it and to get on it and drive it.  All of it requires an effort, a determination!  All of that requires diligence.  You have got to do it at a particular time in a right arena.  Or, if you come in too late, you spent a lot of money for half the results that you would have gotten, so, you’ve wasted half of your investment.  I tell you what, there is a lot that I didn’t know about this flat land farming that I’ve had to learn by experience.  God is so faithful.  Everything that I am involved in is not for the benefit or the purpose of expanding my knowledge as far as what a farmer should do, but it is expanding my knowledge of the kingdom, and the principles on which the kingdom functions by which I might receive some portion of righteousness.  Most people go into business with the idea of making money.  That is contrary to the will of God.  That is contrary to the principle of righteousness.  You do not go into any endeavor thinking about that aspect of financial remuneration.  You go into it with the aspects of knowing what the will of God is, and how God might be able to utilize you in that position, and bring that awareness or knowledge that you gain to a place by which it might benefit the Body! 

There is something wrong.  There is something dreadfully wrong with the church.  I am talking about those that are called out of the church.  We know the dreadful wrongness of the organized system that has categorized and brought God down into a box and they dispense Him as though you would go to a pop machine and put your money in and bring the pop out and drink it and get some blessing, because you wanted that type of drink.  That is what they have done.  They have commercialized God!  They use all sorts of gimmicks by which to move and to propagate what they call the kingdom of God.  That is not what I’m talking about.  That is not the kingdom of God out there.  The Bible tells me that the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy.  Those are not external things which you can lay hold of, they are not physical like that chair.  They are not something that is of natural substance as the wood that is in this podium.  They are something that are supernatural, and they are invisible.  Yet they have an ability to move within the visible realm, as we appropriate them on a spiritual level.  An appropriation is what we need, brethren.  It is not more knowledge.  It is not more awareness.  What we need is an understanding and a basis on which to realize the concept of heaven and hell.  I think we need to get back to the basics.  I believe in heaven, I believe in hell.  I believe in it so much that there is a fear that possesses my soul, that I walk in a manner and fashion that is conducive to righteousness that insures my position, my place of coming into a relationship with God that says, well done thy good and faithful servant, not depart from me thou worker of iniquity!  Something is dreadfully wrong. 

There is nothing I can do to make you righteous.  There is nothing I can do to make you want to be righteous, except for bring forth the word of the fact that there is a desire in God for you to be righteous in order for you to get into the kingdom of God.  I think the word there in Exodus that Sister Nancy brought this morning is very apropos.  God said, O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29).  There is a desire in my heart to see my children and my grandchildren walk in righteousness, to be a magnification of righteousness.  There is a desire within me that makes me minister correction, that makes me walk circumspectly!  Do you hear me?  I don’t say certain things to my children, or in the presence of my children.  I don’t act a certain way in the presence of my children or my grandchildren.  There are certain things that I put my finger on with my children and my grandchildren because I know that the spirit of compromise is always working.  Not that I can make them righteous, not that the thing that I am doing is righteousness, but it might make them aware of the ability that they have in God to be righteous!  I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe you out there that are acting and moving in a manner of mental unrighteousness, you think because you haven’t been judged, or there isn’t some major tragedy in your life that is happening, you think that you are ok.  Have you ever wondered?  You think that you are ok.  In Exodus 32 God withstayed His hand of judgment upon the children of Israel.  He wanted to wipe them out.  Hello?  He wanted to wipe them out.  Now, you can say what you want to say about me and my position of righteousness.  Or you can say what you want to say about what I’m saying about righteousness.  But, as long as I pray for you, it might be that prayer that withstays the hand of God from moving to bring dire judgment upon you in your position of transgression, or your position of mockery.  God is not mocked!  God is not a God of mockery.  You can talk bad about Him.  You can do bad about Him.  You can move in a way that you want to move, but somewhere along the line, justice is administered out.  Justice is administered out.  I have seen it time after time worked out in peoples’ lives.  I’ve seen it time and time again where they have been tempted and tried and led astray and they’ve wound up losing their position, their place of salvation!  I KNOW THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO LOSE SOMETHING IN GOD AND NOT HAVE IT RETRIEVABLE!  I know it.  I know it’s a fact.  I know it’s a fact, I don’t care what you want to say about it.  I know that you can lose something in God and not achieve it on the other side.  I don’t believe that it is achievable on the other side.  Hello?  Are you listening to me?  “Oh, I can sin, I can go out and do this.  Oh, I can resist change.  Oh, I can resist righteousness.  Oh, I can be this portion, this part or this piece!”  I’m telling you, there is something that you work in your heart that is unchangeable!  Unchangeable!  Unchangeable!  Unchangeable!  You know, the Bible talks about 30.  It talks about 60.  It talks about 100.  Now, why would the Bible talk about that?  The sad part, sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, absolutely terrible, sad part about it is that we wake up to the reality too late.  Have you ever thought about that? 

John was a man that was very close to Jesus.  How many of you know that?  He was very close to Jesus.  We are told in the scripture that he often laid his head upon Jesus’ breast.  Times of intimacy and sharing went on.  I don’t know the things that Jesus must have discussed with John.  He must have really told something to John.  He must have really imparted something to John.  There must have been something in John that Jesus saw and was ministering to the whole time that He was ministering.  It wasn’t that He wasn’t ministering to the rest of them.  He was.  And you know, we are told about the exploits of the three.  We are not told so much of what happened with the other apostles.  Do you understand that?  After a certain part, we don’t hear anything else from them anymore.  But, we know that James was captured.  He was killed by Herod, the grandson of Herod the Great.  He was killed by him, and he reached out to take Peter, too.  Hello?  Tradition tells us that Peter, oh, my, the word that was spoken over him.  How would you like to have that word spoken over you?  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. (John 21:18)  What did He mean by the days?  He says, “I am looking down the road.  I see into your future.  I know your beginning.  I know your end.  I see down the road, Peter, someone is going to gird you up, someone is going to restrain you and you are going to be carried you where you would not go.”  Tradition tells us that he was crucified upside down.  I can’t imagine what kind of hell, what kind of agony, what kind of pain that would be.  But, he insisted.  That is what tradition tells us.  I don’t know whether it is true or not.  I can imagine that it was.  There was tenacity and a determination within those men to serve God, to move into a position and a relationship with God!

Some of you have problems, some of you have contentions, some of you have strivings, tribulations.  You know, I don’t know, I don’t know the fabric.  I don’t know the fabric.  I don’t know the fabric.  I am befuddled by the fabric of Christianity today.  I am puzzled by the tendency to always look for the easy way out!  Always going down the pathway of least resistance…I am puzzled by it.  I am puzzled by it!  Do you hear me?  I AM PUZZLED BY IT, I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT!  I was young once.  I had a position, a place, and a relationship with the world.  I knew the lust of the world that was drawing me, and yet I also knew the reality of the kingdom of God!  I also knew the reality of the kingdom of hell!  I didn’t want to have anything to do with that pit of horrible agony and suffering.  I didn’t want anything to do with being separated and left away from God.  Do you hear me?

I once asked God to give me an experience so that I could understand what it was to be in hell.  He took me seriously, because He gave me a visitation.  In the visitation I died.  Now, I don’t know whether I was physically dead.  I don’t know whether I was asleep.  I don’t even know if I was awake.  All I know is that I remember it.  To this day, it is as vivid as the time that it happened.  There were these angels that came for me.  At the time I was working as a filing clerk in my dad’s business, you understand.  Filing files.  We had what we called the “dead” file.  You know, God is so simple.  He is so simplistic that He takes some situation that you are familiar with and that you are involved with and you have somewhat of an understanding of what happens.  In this dead file we would take these different customers that had been our customers, but over a period of time had dropped away and they had not answered any of our solicitations that were going out.  We would take these files and we would file them in what we would call a “dead” file.  The tomb.  In fact, we wrote on it the letters, “the tomb.”  Once you put it in there they were forgotten.  They were forgotten.  They were no more in existence as far as you were concerned until maybe one day some name would come across the desk and someone would have a remembrance, and you would go back into the dead file to see if you could find them.  But, after a certain amount of time, those files were destroyed.  We only kept those files for a certain length of time.  Do you hear me?  We only kept them for a period of time and at the end of that time frame they were taken out and they were shredded. 

Well, in this visitation, God came into my place there.  He picked me up, these angels picked me up and I knew that I had just died!  I knew that my soul was leaving my body, that they were taking me to this place and they took me to this big huge drawer and I heard the drawer pull out.  It was like one of those crypts, you know, you see some of these scary movies.  Well, at least in my day they were scary.  They were nothing compared to what they have today.  They have hell in actual visual representation.  And people go there to be entertained!  It would scare me to death with my knowledge of hell, my knowledge of demons, my knowledge of devils.  It would scare me!  I would run just as fast as I could to get away from that position, that place, and find some position, some place of peace and security and comfort.  Hallelujah! 

They took me over to this drawer and there were files in there.  Do you hear me, files in there, and they didn’t have any names on them.  Do you know what that means to someone who is a file clerk?  Going into a file with no names and trying to find a name?  Confusion, ignorance, total oblivion, everything is mingled and mixed in together, there is no individuality.  We spend so much time trying to be individual.  We comb our hair in a certain way.  We put on a certain look, wear certain clothes, wear certain shoes, act and move in a certain manner in a certain behavior.  Oh, yes, that is us, that is our identity!  There was no identity!  That is another thing that often puzzles me, is we try to be so separate, we’re so uniquely like everybody else!  “Oh, I want my hair cut in a ridiculous manner.” You know, the devil makes clowns of us.  He makes us look like clowns, do you know that, makes us look like clowns.  Makes us look like clowns.  I don’t know what’s so attractive about somebody that has got their head shaved all the way around, and has got this little tuff of hair up here.  We try to be different.  Or, “We’re going to be different, we’re going to put earrings in our ears.”  So, we bore our ears and that isn’t enough, we line them up.  Have you noticed that almost everybody has earrings?  But, they are “different.”  Next, we are going to be getting our nose pierced.  Well, they do it now.  They have got them in their eyebrows.  They have got them in their cheeks.  They have got them in their tongues.  They have got them in their lips.  They have got them on all sorts of body parts.  Come on, brethren!  World?  Being different?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  That is like trying to believe that the world was square.  “Oh, yes, the world is square, you go so far, you will fall off the edge of it!”  Give me a break!  Just give me a break! 

Filed away.  Filed in that thing of conformity!  Utter confusion, utter oblivion.  Then I heard the door.  I fell into the file.  Hello?  I fell into the file.  I was dropped, unceremoniously dropped!  Not, “Well, so long, good luck!” Just dropped.  Cut off, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye.  Hell and damnation in a drawer.  I heard it shut.  You know, I’ve heard doors shut in the spirit, do you know that?  I mean, I have heard them shut.  Now, I have heard a lot of doors, do you understand, and a door that is hung right makes a certain sound.  I don’t know that anybody would hear that that wasn’t aware of that.  I am not talking about metal frame doors.  I am talking about wood doors, built on a wood casing in a proper manner, in a proper way.  When it is shut, it makes a particular sound.  By the sound, you know that the door is hung right.  It makes a sound that is final!  It makes a sound that is definite.  To my ear, it is WOMP, and you know the door is shut.  Well, when that file shut, I knew that it was shut.  It was shut, shut, shut!  And there was no opening that door!  There was no opening of my own volition.  There was no way that I could get out of there.  And cry as I would, “God, get me out of this place!”  I became very much aware that as far a God was concerned, I ceased to exist.  And the hell of it was, not that I ceased to exist.  The hell of it was that I was still conscious of God, without the ability of coming into a position or a place of communication with Him!  Without ever having a position or a place or hope of deliverance.  Do you think that that is unscriptural?  Oh, no it isn’t.  You just turn over in your scriptures to the story of Abraham and the beggar that was at the rich man’s table, begging for the crumbs at the door.  And the man said, Oh, Father Abraham, send Lazarus that he might dip the tip of his finger…and quench my thirst.”  And he said, “No way, there is an inseparable gulf between you and me.”  And the rich man said, “Well, then send him back from the dead.”  And Abraham  said, “No way, if they do not believe what they already have, they will not believe though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:22-31)  Can you imagine what an incredible statement that is?  That if a man was raised from the dead, that you would not turn to righteousness anymore than you will turn to righteousness by hearing the word of righteousness that comes out of a minister’s mouth!  That is an incredible statement.  And yet, we have Biblical proof that it is true.  Do you know that?  Do you know that there is Biblical proof and evidence in this book that is true?  It is funny how it was, that it was another Lazarus, at another particular time that Jesus rose from the dead.  And do you know what the Pharisees sat around determined and counseling among themselves to try to figure out to do?  Put him back to death again.  You talk about being incredulous!  My question would have been to the Pharisaical council that was sitting and promoting, and scheming ,“Can we kill him again?”, is it human logic?  If you see a man that is raised from the dead, I mean, you know he is dead, he has been dead, you know he has been dead, there is no doubt in your mind that the man is dead.  Yet, the man is living and walking and talking among you, and you are wondering, “How can we kill him?”  Human reason, can we kill him again?  Human reason did not enter into the picture because the picture was overshadowed by demonic influence!

Independence!  Position of self worth!  Come on, brethren, there is none of that outside of being a son of God.  There is none of that outside of denying yourself.  He says that he that does not deny himself, hello, that does not deny himself.  He’s what?  What is he?  He is not worthy.  It is not a matter of how much money you’ve got.  It is how much integrity and intensity and a desire that you have for God!!!  I believe in hell.  I don’t want to see anyone go to hell.  Do you know that?  I don’t want to see anyone go to hell.  I don’t.  I don’t.  But, that isn’t going to stop some people from going to hell.  Hello?  THAT IS NOT GOING TO STOP SOME OF YOU FROM GOING TO HELL!  AND SOME OF YOU ARE GOING TO GO TO HELL IF YOU DON’T CHANGE!  If we don’t begin to understand the magnitude and the implication of what the Word saysHe that heareth the word, and understandeth it!

I fear God.  I fear God!  Do you hear me?  I fear God.  I fear God.  I have something against a brother or I know something that brother has against me.  I fear God.  I have to deal with it.  I have to deal with it.  I have to go to that individual.  If I see unrighteousness moving in the midst of my environment, I have to somehow, someway, come into a position or relationship with God by which I might raise up a standard in the midst of that unrighteousness!  Why?  Because people are working and laboring and moving in order to go to hell, and I don’t want to see anybody go to hell.  The Bible says that the righteous are scarcely saved.(1Peter 4:18)  Righteousness, by it’s own definition, is one that is in a position of right standing with God, not from your position or perception.  Do you know that God will give you a stamp of approval?  Do you know that?  In the midst of tribulation and accusation, God will give you a stamp of approval that He will assure you that you are in a position or place that you are needing to be in.  Do you know that God will not leave you without that word?  God will not leave you without that word.  I AM TALKING TO YOU ALL!  GOD DOES NOT LEAVE YOU WITHOUT THAT WORD! 

I Peter 4:18.  Yes!  Let’s get some context.  Verse 14, If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you…  Reproach, what does it mean?  It means trouble.  It means trial and tribulation.  Hello?  It means persecution.  It means adversarial position of confrontation!  It doesn’t mean having a good time!  It doesn’t mean you are not in a place of difficulty.  It doesn’t mean that it is smooth sailing.  It doesn’t mean that all your bills are getting paid on time.  It doesn’t mean that you have all of the right clothes to wear.  It doesn’t mean any of those things that are going well for you!  It means just exactly what it says.  It says, if ye be reproached for the name of Christ.  It is not just some man rising up with a verbal accusation against you!  Although, that will come too, if you preach it long enough, preach it hard enough, and with enough fervor.  How popular do you think Elijah was?  Hello?  How popular?  Well, he was so popular that the queen and king were trying to kill him.  How popular do you think Jeremiah was?  “Oh, yes, here comes Jeremiah, let’s throw open the door, let’s have a feast for this young man!”   Oh, no.  He was so popular they wanted to keep him for themselves.  They put him in a pit.  It took the king of Babylon to get him out.  Do you know that the king of Babylon exalted Jeremiah?  Hello?  It wasn’t the house of Israel!  The house of Israel was trying to kill him.  It was the king of Babylon that brought him out of the place of his captivity.  Oh, you talk about stiff-necked.  Jesus didn’t leave it there you understand.  He said, “You hypocrites, you whited sepulchres, you’ve killed the prophets.” (Matthew 23)  Even up to the prophet that they slew between the porch, Zechariah, they slew between the porch and the altar! 

You know, everybody feels sorry, everybody feels sorry for things that happened to nations and peoples.  But you know, I believe that nations and peoples bring a judgment upon themselves by their position and the pronouncement of things that they say with their own lips.  You know what the Jewish nation said when they were bringing Jesus Christ before Pilate?  Pilate brought Jesus Christ before the public.  Do you know what they said?  He gave them an opportunity, do you know, to release Him!  Hallelujah!  They all said unto him, Let him be crucified.  (Matthew 27:22)  But, they didn’t stop there, they said, His blood be on us, and on our children. (Mathew 27:25)  They determined their national destiny in the action of rebellion and stubbornness and wickedness!  What do you think happens when you or I move in that same vein, that same place, that same spirit of independence and defiance of the will of God?  Not the thing that the preacher says, but the thing that the word says.  BRETHREN, I THINK THAT WE NEED TO GET BACK TO BASICS!  I think that we need to be a Bible toting, a Bible preaching, Bible speaking people!  A congregation, a nation of priests and kings that are called not unto the world and to have a mixture of religion and world mixed up all in it, but of kings and priests unto God, not unto each other!  You know, you can do nothing unless you do it unto God first?  I’ll tell you something else, if a lot of the things that we were doing were being done as unto God, there are some things that you and I wouldn’t do if we had a relationship and a knowledge that God is there.  Why do you think that Jesus came?  Why do you think that Jesus came?  So that you and I might be saved?  Just so you and I might be able to speak in tongues?  Just so you and I might prophesy?  Just so you and I might be able to lay hands on the sick and see them healed?  All those things are an effect of the thing that you receive when you receive God.  They become a by-product of the relationship that you have with God.  Hello?  They become a product of the relationship that you have with God.  The more relationship you have, the more the evidence of that relationship in the aspect of the countenance on your face.  So simple a thing as the countenance on your face.  Have you ever seen a person that is in adversity and trial and tribulation and you know that they are being vexed to their toenails?  And yet, out of their face comes a smile of divine peace and serenity and joy unspeakable and full of glory.  Doesn’t it do something in the aspect of your character and say, “There is something that he has, or she has, that I do not have?”  How much of that is being evident or giving evidence? 

Boy, I tell you what, you better know the will of God.  You better know the reality of His will.  In your getting, get a little understanding.  It does no good to come here and receive seed if you’ve got rocks, if you’ve got weeds, if you’ve got stones.  The farmer goes out there and he removes those things.  He doesn’t sow around them.  We’re sowing around a lot of them, do you know that?  You know, the farmers take pride in the straightness of their furrow.  At least they used to.  I don’t know, they’ve got these GPS systems and everything that seems to monitor everything.  The farmer just sits in there with his air conditioning on and the radio going, listening to the stereo or something and let the thing drive itself across the field.  I don’t know.  But, I know if you are on one of those two dollar tractors that you set yourself a mark.  You don’t just get on that tractor and randomly begin to go over the field.  It doesn’t make any difference how irregular or ill-shaped your field is.  Hello, hello?  It has no bearing.  You set yourself a mark across the field and then you keep your eyes glued to it!  You line that tractor up with that mark.  And you know something?  If you take your eyes off for one moment, one distraction…  You look back.  You look over here.  You look over there.  You look back and the mark is way over…oops!  Paul said that I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)  Why did he do that?  Something inside of him desired it.  Something inside of him wanted it.  There is nothing…I can just tell you something about the ramifications of sin.  I can tell you something about the glory that is in God!  I am finding out something very stark, and very real and very true that brings a great deal of consternation to me.  That is, if they didn’t believe Jesus, there are many that are not going to believe what I have to say about what Jesus said and many are going to go to hell.

God doesn’t change His mind.  God doesn’t change His mind.  You may not line up with the plans or the purposes of God, but God does not change His mind.  Hello?  It says, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17)  I have found that God can make up His mind for one particular reason for you to do and to be, and that that reason and that thing will always maintain itself all throughout your life.  You turn here, turn there, only to find yourself coming back to that position, that place of what God had said to you in the very beginning.  God does not change His mind.  You know, He wiped out all of the children of Israel that rebelled and that were stiff-necked against Him.  He did just exactly what He said that He was going to do to Moses at the mount only it took forty years.  God is exact.  God is a reality.  God is an essential part of the makeup of this whole world and the things that are happening and hell is just as much a reality.  You may think that you are having a good time.  You may think that you are getting away with something.  But, I’m telling you, you dance to the tune of the piper, you will pay the price.  You will pay the price.

You can be thirty-fold.  What is it in a man or woman that will make them settle for less than for what God wants to give them?  If somebody has the answer for that, I would appreciate you sharing it with me.  What would make you settle for something less than what God wants to give you?  God makes different categories, makes different positions or places that one can slip into.  It takes more effort to be in one hundred than it does in sixty.  It takes more determination, more tenacity.  Some of you young people, you really send me for some loops some times.  Not only the young people, but some of the older people, too.  You know what?  I knew a young man who was a young man faced with all the contradictions of life that you are being faced with.  Faced with all the desires of life that you are being faced with.  Faced with all the decisions of life that you are being faced with.  Yet, in the young man’s heart was a desire for God.  You guys come and you fast for one day, two days, three days, four days.  This young man fasted, there was something in his flesh that was bringing him or subjecting him to a position of death and damnation and he knew it without a shadow of a doubt.  Do you hear me?  Hello?  The man was a sinner and yet he knew that he was going into hell!  He fasted forty days.  Hello?  Not once, not twice.  He fasted more than once or twice for forty days.  He said, “God, if you can’t deliver me, kill me!  I don’t want to live in this wretched state!”  God delivered him.  Isn’t that funny?  Isn’t that strange?  If we really make our plan, our purpose, known to God and we show God the determination by which we are determined to achieve the objective in Him, God will respond! 

I don’t know, there is something that is delegated to you and me as a position of personal responsibility.  Most of you are employed in some activity of work.  There is a position of responsibility that you have.  There are chores that are delegated to you as an employee.  There is an expectation.  Do they have to come in and tell you, “You need to be a good employee”?  That you need to abide by the rules?  They tell you when you go to work, “This is the law, this is the rule, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, such and such and such and such.”  What happens if you don’t abide by those rules?  You miss out on the blessings.  The paycheck is cancelled.  You are terminated.  Do you hear me?  We have all of these things on a natural plane to exemplify and to bring to us an understanding of what it means to be separated and out of the will of God.  Do you know, my Bible tells me that there is nothing in the world that was made that was not made by Him, that all things in the world that exist are existing because of the substance that was of Him that is in it?(John 1)  What happens if that substance is withdrawn?  It no longer exists.  Life becomes a lot less than what it was intended to be.  You can moan and groan and complain about your circumstances.  You can bellyache all you want to.  You can resist.  You can rebel, but it doesn’t change the outcome.  It doesn’t change it at all.  It doesn’t change it at all.  You’re going to either be in God in the end or you are going to be out there without God somewhere on your own, separated in what they call “hell.”  You want an experience?  Ask God to give you the reality of what hell smells like. 

There is an expectation, a fruit that God has.  The more care, the more tending that is involved in the care of the plant, the more, the greater the expectation.  Do you know that?  Remember the parable of the man with the vineyard.  He had an unproductive vine.  Here again we have the travailer, we have the intercessor, we have the one that many of you might think about in a despicable manner!  I wonder what that vine’s thought was with regard to the husbandman that was always coming with his hoe and digging, digging, digging around it?  Always coming with his shears and pruning, pruning, pruning, pruning.  I wonder what his thought was.  “Ouch!  Here comes that horrid man again with that sharp instrument that is cutting off my branches.  I wish that he would quit poking around in my roots!  He brings this nasty tasting stuff and he spreads it all over the ground and he works it in there!”  Without the awareness, and without the knowledge of the fact that the thing that he is doing is producing the life within him, maintaining a certain quality of life without which you would become dead, stagnant, and of no value! 

Jesus came to a fig tree expecting to find fruit thereon.  It was not the time of harvest.  That scripture always bothered me.  There are some things in the scriptures that are just so contrary to what we think is the nature of God.  Can you imagine a gentle, loving God that loves humanity, and He says, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God? (Mark 10:14)  Who walks with these ignoramuses for three years.  You know, He has walked with an ignorant church for a long time.  He suffered, longsuffered  with their dullness, with their individuality.  Peter always rising up.  “Oh, as long as I’ve got this sword, your kingdom will survive!”  He takes one swipe and runs.  Where is the mighty man of valor whose hand was cleaving unto his sword?  Where are the Jonathans and his armorbearers?  Jonathan, you would expect that of a king’s son, but a nobody out of nowhere comes and stands with Jonathan and he shares in the glory.  It is like us, we are nobody, a figment of some man’s imagination!  Do you hear me?  And yet, God is willing to bequeath and to give unto us all of His glory!   He said, And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:5, 23)  Who are we?  Nothing, nothing, nothing, dirt, ashes, just ashes, dust to dust!  Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:19)  What do you have in the midst of all that?  You have nothing without God!  The body that you live in is perishable, damageable, fragile, fragile, fragile.  You know, the Bible says that flesh is as grass.  That God blows over it, and it is here today and gone tomorrow.  Oh, we are so presumptuous in our attitudes.  We are so presumptuous in our attitudes as to our positions of reality as far as life is concerned.  “I am king of  my kingdom, I am king of my domain!  People come into my domain, they have to submit to my will, they have to submit to my doings!”  Phooey, you are dust, you are grass!  I fear God.  He says today it’s cut and thrown into the fire and it’s burned.  If you don’t think that your day of burning is coming, you have got another think coming.  He says, the day is coming that every man’s work is going to be tried, and that which is wood, hay, and stubble is going to burn.  What I am praying for is that we have more hellfire preachers raising up out of the youngsters that will preach the unadulterated word of God!  That will preach the death to self message!  Young people that desire God with all their heart and have a burning fire!  I am not talking about religious zeal!  I am talking about a reality of the God that is inside of them.  Willing workers that have a compassion and a desire to reach out to humanity to grasp it away from the devouring lion.  I am wanting to see some of that coming up within the midst of the Body!  DEATH TO SELF MESSAGES!  DEATH TO SELF, DEATH TO SELF.  PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO PICK UP THEIR CROSS AND BEGIN TO WALK AFTER JESUS!  DENYING THEMSELVES, DENYING THEMSELVES THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD!  Denying themselves of it!  As much as I desire to see it, there is nothing that I can do to create it in you.  You have to do that.  You have to do that.  It is not something that someone else can do it for you.  Do you hear me?  We can’t do it for you.  Nobody can do it for you.  If we could, we would. 

Paul said that he wished himself accursed for the sake of Israel that they too might have come to a place of revelation and understanding and have for them that position of safety, secure and dedicated with their name upon it.(Romans 9)  But, you know what?  As much as he wished it, as much as he desired, as much as he prayed, he couldn’t do it.  He could just expend himself, that’s all, expend himself, expend himself.  Do you know that we as Christians are expendable commodities?  We are not recyclable except in the eternal sense.  You have so much strength, you have so much flesh, you have so much vitality.  You have a certain amount of time that has been allotted unto you.  To the degree that you cast yourself upon God, it becomes God’s decision, God’s choice to how and where and when that life expires and how it is used.  You want your careers, you want your positions of security.  You want your fun, you want your pleasure, you want your little things that glitter.  All those little things out there.  You want the sensual, the sexual aspects, the sexual revolution.  Give me a break.  There is no sexual revolution.  It has been going on from the day that Cain slew Abel.  And Cain was marked!  He was marked!  SOME OF YOU ARE BEING MARKED!  YOU ARE BEING MARKED WITH A MARK THAT IS INDELIBLE!  Unerasable!  It is not a mark as a physical thing.  We have may theologians that spent years trying to determine, trying to determine what the mark…IT WAS A NATURE THAT WAS WITHIN THE MAN, A NATURE THAT RESISTED AND REBELLED AGAINST GOD UNTIL IT ERADICATED ALL KNOWLEDGE OF THE FACT OF A LOVING CREATOR THAT LOVED HIM SO MUCH AND DESIRED FOR HIM TO BE RESTORED!

How much fruit do you want to bring forth?  What is the desire that is within your heart?  What is the thing that you desire to do?  Is it of the world?  What are you setting your goal upon?  What are you looking at across the field?  How straight do you want your furrow?  Do you want it going off to the left or going off to the right and maybe missing the mark entirely?  And winding up out there in the ditch?  There has to be some Joshuas.  There has to be some Calebs somewhere, somewhere, somewhere.  There has to be some young people that desire God with all of their heart, with all of their being, with all of their soul.  People that are willing, willing, willing to expend themselves for the purpose of receiving God, that God might be exemplified, that God might be glorified.  Not that they might be glorified, that they might financially prosper, that they might have a good time, that they might be hanging out with the boys or the girls, that they might be wearing the latest fashions.  Come on, brethren, desiring God and the things that are of God. 

It said that Abraham desired a heavenly house.  Do you understand that Abraham was not looking at the natural realm?  That is why he could say to Lot, “You look around and you take whatever you want.”  How could he have done that if he was not looking for a city whose builder and maker was God?  Where are you looking?  What city do you want?  The city of Asbill, the city of Peckmann, the city of Shaffer?  What kind of a city do you want?  He said he looked and he saw afar off.  Don’t you see Abraham looking down on Sodom and Gomorrah, do you not think that the man prayed to Almighty God about the condition of that wicked city, all the things that were going on, and his relatives?  He must have had some affection for his nephew, Lot.  He risked his life for him.  Was it a sense of obligation and responsibility that he felt, because he was his brother’s or his sister’s child?  I don’t think so.  I think it took more to motivate the man to go and risk entering into conflict with a warlike nation in order to redeem him.  I want to ask you.  I am trying to think the best way to phrase it.  How do you think the sin or one of the ways the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah had come up before God?  Well, I don’t know about you, but I can suppose.  I suppose that I could probably even find it if I really put myself to it in the scriptures.  But, I believe that Abraham must have prayed about it, and talked to God about it.  It is like this abortion clinic that is going up out there in Savoy.  Do you know that it is on my list, on my prayer list?  I bring it up before God.  Do you hear me?  I bring it up before God.  Do you know that there are names of people who are moving contrary to the will of God, hello, that are on my list?  Hallelujah!  I don’t pray for hellfire and damnation and judgement to come down upon their head.  I pray, “God, redeem them!  God, save them!  God, move in their circumstance!  Bring righteousness!  God, do something about them, that they might not be condemned!  That they might not be eternally separated!”  Now, how God chooses to do it is His business.  If he chooses to send His angels down to walk amongst the situation to inform Him as to whether or not the situation is thus and so, although God already knows that it is.  But you know, He was trying the man, do you know that?  It was for Abraham’s sake that the angels came.  Hello?  They didn’t go to Sodom first, they went to Abraham.  What did Abraham do?  “God, wait a minute, wait a minute.”  I don’t know how many of you have ever thought of pressing God like Abraham did.  “God, wait a minute, for the sake of ten righteous.  Please God, for the sake of ten righteous.  I you find ten righteous souls, spare the city.  Have mercy on me, God.  Let me bring this petition before you.  If there is ten righteous.” God said, “OK, for your sake and because you are asking it of me, and because you are my friend.  And because I am in harmony with your desire, if there is ten righteous.” (Genesis 19)  Abraham knew the condition of the city.  Hello?  Abraham knew the condition of the city.  He knew the judgment that was coming.  He said, “Wait, wait a minute, God, now that I’ve got my foot in the door, maybe for five righteous.”  Same story. 

We need intercessors.  We need people that are willing to pray for people and for things, for the will of God.  We need people that will intercede, not in public.  Not telling, going out and giving their lists of conquests, but moving in a place of secret.  Going into their closet in private.  In the midst of Abraham’s camp they must have known there was something different about these three men, especially the way that their master was serving them.  He goes out and he kills a kid and he makes a big feast for them.  Now, God didn’t need to eat all of that.  Why did he do it, have you ever wondered, ”Why did you do that, God?  Why did you take time, you and your angels, who don’t live on natural food, take time to eat the kid that Abraham killed?”  Because He was honoring Abraham.  He was exalting Abraham.  He was allowing Abraham to be lifted up amongst the congregation.  God exalts those who He wants to exalt.  But it requires a relationship with Him!  A relationship.  It requires picking up our cross and following after Him.  Are you willing to pick up your cross?  Are you willing to follow after Him?  Only you know that.  Only you know that.  You think that things are going to change when you walk out the door?  Oh, no!  Same devil.  Well, I was going to say, that you left out there, but, you might have brought him in here with you.  Same devil that you have been associated with is still going to be there, because he is not going to believe you.  Your way of life have not demonstrated to him that you really mean what you say.  You have always made those good resolves, New Year’s Resolutions.  My mother used to say, “The only resolution that anyone should make is a resolution and a covenant with God, and he better keep it.” New Year’s Resolutions are something that someone said somewhere that are made to be broken.  Now, I don’t know, maybe there are some people that keep their New Year’s Resolutions but somehow I doubt it that there are very many.  It is better for a man not to make a covenant with God, than to make a covenant with God and not keep it!  Hello?  You say, “Well, OK, God, I am going to live right.  I’m going to do the right thing.”  That is not what He is talking about.  He is talking about the initial relationship to where you said, “God, I want to be like you.  I want You to be in me.  I want Your blood, I don’t want to go to hell.  I want to go to heaven.  God, I want to be righteous!”  You made a covenant and the only way that you can get outside of the covenant is to break it.  Break it, break it, and once it is broken, it is irretrievable.  Hallelujah!  Once it is broken, it’s irretrievable.  You do not get it back after you cross over that line of demarcation and you don’t know when that line is.  Thank God.  That keeps me on my toes.  Would you consider Moses righteous?  Would you consider him righteous?  I think so.  I would consider Moses righteous, and yet, he was denied the entrance into the Promised Land.  Do you hear me?  On a natural plane, a natural level.  He was denied the entrance into the Promised Land because he failed to sanctify God before the people.  Why?  Because he knew better.  He knew better.  He knew better.  He gave himself to a spirit of anger and he lifted himself up as though he were God.  And God said, “For that, you will not enter.”  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah! 

Father, we come to you in Jesus name.  Father, I pray that the words that have been spoken that they will be words of life.  That they will come into the midst of our soul.  Father, not only as hearers, but also as speakers.  That we come into that place where we begin to repent.  Father, where we begin to rend our hearts, not our garments.  Begin to move and find out what it is that you expect of us and begin to move in that direction, Father, with a tenacity and a determination.  Father, I just pray that you would help us in Jesus’ name.  In Jesus’ name.

 

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