This a sermon transcript preached by Timothy Williams. These were preached many years back, some decades ago. Preacher Timothy Williams is not associated with any church, denomination, or ministry. Blessed are those who love the honey of God’s Word!

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
(Psalm 119:103)

This sermons transcript is located at www.luke1425.org


Sermon Area Basic Introduction

Not Even Death

Not even death can keep a preacher from preaching. A godly preachers words come from fire in the bones. But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)



On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.

There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.

Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted. (Acts 20:7-12)

The sermons normally lasted 45 to 60 but do not grumble that my sermons were long. True by today’s milk toast entertain me Christian standards they are lengthy. But not long when one considers the days are evil and that ignorance floods the church. …making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16)


Preach The Word
www.luke1425.org


I never preached about the Word of God. Rather I was led by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word.

What I Mean By Sound Doctrine

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season;
correct, rebuke and encourage
with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2)

Audio Sermon Files


 

Holy Spirit And Your Sin
Year 2001

I know this will apply to everybody.

Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil

The Israelites were also led into the desert. God leads us into the desert to deal with our sin. He doesn’t tempt us. But He brings us into a place where He can discipline us and show us our sin; where we can allow the Spirit to crucify our sins. The problem is that we won’t allow the Spirit to lead us. We want to deal with our sin in our own timing. We also want to decide what is right or wrong about our life and then deal with that sin. Or if the Holy Spirit does come to us and says, “Okay, you have this sin that needs to be dealt with,” we then begin to deal with that sin. And because we take matters into our own hands, the sin never really gets dealt with.

Hebrews 3:12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

Now that’s the first place we need to start. We need to say to each other that every single day we will encourage each other not to have a sinful, unbelieving heart. What does that mean? It means that we are to encourage one another every day to believe that God will lay hold of us. He will lead and fill us with His Spirit to deal with the sins in our life. We are not to take matters into our own hands. We are not to deal with sins as we see fit. We are to let the Spirit lead and show us how these sins are to be dealt with.

Hebrews 3:12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

You can turn away from a living God and turn to a god that you create. You can turn to a dry kind of god that doesn’t really deal with his people. God comes along with his Spirit and says, “Okay Steve, I will take hold of you and put your sin to death in the way that I see fit and in my timing.” You can say, “Oh, I don’t want that. I want to deal with the sin as I see fit and maybe deal with the things that I think are wrong.” We are to see to it that each of us does not turn away from a living God and turn to a religious kind of god or a god that we have in mind.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

We will see from the book of Genesis the way most people deal with sin. Sin comes in with its deceitfulness and begins to cloud over what really goes on in our hearts. We don’t turn to the living God. We take matters into our hands and deal with sin in our own timing, thus we’re not able to see the sin that needs to be dealt with. It is only the Holy Spirit that is the Spirit of truth and has the power to deal with sin and take care of it.

Hebrews 3:14-15 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

Why did he say, “Don’t harden your heart to the voice of God”? He said the Israelites heard the voice of God but hardened their hearts to that voice. They turned to a different voice. They turned to people who would allow them to have golden calves. They allowed other men to teach them, but they hardened their hearts to the voice of God. So in the same way, many people worship God, but when God’s Spirit comes to deal with their sin and his voice begins to speak, they start to harden their hearts. Let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to follow a man. It’s easier to follow yourself. It’s easier to follow all kind of outward rules than it is to follow the voice of the Spirit. God is able to deal with the smallest part of our hearts and come to us with such power. You know that you are dealt with inside deeply, not just outwardly.

Hebrews 3:16-19 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

Now verses 18 and 19 say the same thing, but one says they were not able to enter because of disobedience. Because of their unbelief, verse 19 tells us they were disobedient. They would not hear the voice of God, which would create faith in them that, would lead to obedience by the grace of God. They would obey things in terms of an outward kind of law. Remember when they built the golden calf, what did they say? Let us have a festival unto the Lord. They did all of that in the name of the Lord but not according to the voice of the Lord, which are two separate things.

1 Peter 4:1 tells us that we will experience the same wrestling with sin that Jesus experienced. This is why most people will not wrestle according to the Spirit when it comes to dealing with sin.

1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

When God begins to lay hold of us, and the Spirit starts to deal with our sin, what will happen? We literally suffer within our body and battle with sin. That kind of suffering doesn’t compare to anything that man can bring about. We can be Hindus trained to lay upon a bed a of nails or stand in one position for 30 years with our legs cocked up but nothing compares to the power of the Spirit and how He is able to deal with sin. Hindus know nothing of the suffering that the Spirit brings in dealing with the pride, lust, and all of the sinful nature of man. It’s much easier to move away from the voice of the Lord and the Spirit of God because you won’t have to suffer deep within your body with sin. Look again at verse 1.

1 Peter 4:1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

This scripture prepares me to know that when the Spirit lays hold of me, I will begin to suffer in my body with sin. It’s not an easy wrestling. There’s no magic to get it over with in a day. It’s called a crucifixion of the flesh.

1 Peter 4:2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

You want victory over sin, don’t you? If I were to ask people in a multitude of churches, “How many people want to be delivered from their sin?” Everyone would raise his or her hands. The only way to get rid of sin is to allow the Spirit to lead us into a place where we will suffer in our body. As a result, we do not live the rest of our earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. It’s only when the Holy Spirit lays hold of me, leads me out into the desert, brings a cross in my life and begins to work the crucifixion process that I am in a position to live for the will of God. We have a choice. We can deal with our sin as we see fit, or we can follow the Spirit.

I will emphasize to you again: this is a powerful God. You go into the prayer closet before Him who is holy, the living God who created the whole universe and a multitude of angels that can’t be counted. This God, in all of his wisdom, has created hell and prepares paradise. Look at all the things that this living God does. We come in before Him on our knees and say, “Oh Lord, I want you deal with my sin.” Now if it’s true that we come in to meet that kind of God, what kind of God deals with our sin? What do people see? This is not about religious things. My goodness I call upon the living God to lay hold of Tim Williams and to deal with my heart. Every day ought to be new in the sense of a tremendous amount of power working and dealing with me. When the living God humbles you, remember he is the God who created the whole universe. We need to communicate to other people that this is a kind of humility that no man can bring, no church can produce, and no sermon can bring about. It doesn’t even compare. People don’t know the difference because they really haven’t let the living God lay hold of their life.

Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

1 Peter 4:2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

How much do you really participate in the sufferings of Jesus Christ when it comes to God dealing with sin in your life? It’s easy to talk about persecution. Moslems are persecuted. Religions all around the world are persecuted. This is about God laying hold of our life. When the living God of the universe deals with each individual heart in a congregation, people know that He is indeed the living God.

It’s a lot easier to have me rebuke you for sin. The truth is if you find that to be difficult, what does that tell you about hearing the voice of the Lord? If you really find it a difficult thing for me to point out some things that are obvious in the Lord, then how in the world will you hear the voice of God?

Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’“ “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Most people still have not even seen the original sin in their life. What is the result of the original sin? People think they know good from evil. Then you become a god unto yourself deciding what is good and proper, what is holy, and what is evil. Most people pick up the Bible with their own concept of who God is. They begin to decide what is good and evil. Most people look in the mirror at their own life and they begin to examine themselves and decide what they do and don’t like about their lives. Don’t they? Most people look at other people in the church and because they think they are like God, they begin to decide what is good and evil in the person’s life. They continue to commit the same original sin because they will not let the Spirit lead and give the enlightenment as to what is good and evil. They still listen to the serpent; “You will not die.” In other words, “You’ll live!” We think that if we, as God’s people, could only decide what is good and evil, we will surely live. We believe the same lie. I am not competent in and of myself to decide what is good, evil, holy, or wrong. The quicker we believe that, the sooner the Spirit will lead us because then the humility sets in. We lay before God and say, “Oh sovereign Lord, guide and show me your truth.”

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

Doesn’t that sound a lot like what goes on today? It was good for food. It was good for you! It wasn’t something poisonous hanging on that tree. She looked at the food and saw that it was good for food. How many people look at the wisdom they think they have and it looks like it’s good for them. It was also pleasing to the eye. There was nothing outward that would have indicated it was wrong. More than that, it had the attraction of gaining wisdom by eating it. It reminds me of Colossians 2:23; “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” It was pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom. What do we see over and over again in the church but a gaining of more and more wisdom? Everybody’s goal is to know the know Greek and Hebrew. Whoever has searched the scriptures with a fine-toothed comb, has memorized the indexes and has all the cross-references down, are the people who are held up as wise. Very seldom do you ever find people who think it’s more important to hear the voice of the Lord and let him deal with the sins in their life. Why? Because we love the fruit of the tree that is pleasing to the eye and tastes good.

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

She also gave some to her husband.” The first act of evangelism took place. Winning converts comes naturally to the sinful nature.

Genesis 3:6-7 She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Of course, men always try to cover up their sin. They just ate of the sin that said they would know good from evil. In all of their grand wisdom and knowledge they have supposedly just gained, they then try to cover up their sin. It will never work or succeed. The only thing that will succeed is following the Spirit and having him deal with us.

Genesis 3:4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.

She listened to the serpent. How many people listen to brothers and sisters and say to them, “You will not die”? How many people go to seminars and listen to all the gimmicks and plans that promise “You will not die”? We read book after book, go through one study guide after another, and listen to one minister after another. Everybody tries different plans and concepts to obtain the promise of “You will not die.” Nobody stops to consider and think for a moment who they are listening to. What voice have they hardened themselves to? Have I hardened my heart to the voice of the Lord or the voice of men? We continue in our sin and the result is we sew fig leaves together. We never find the life we say we want because we refuse to be led. We don’t want the living God dealing with our sins. You would rather have me or your brothers or sisters dealing with your sin.

Genesis 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.”

Cursed is the ground because you listened to your wife. We listen to everybody but the living God. We don’t have the faith to believe that he will speak, and we don’t want him to speak because we know that when He speaks our soul shutters. We know He can really deal with us and that he demands a crucifixion of our sinful nature. You can fool me by saying the “right” words. We can debate from now until Jesus returns and never have the sinful nature put to death. But if the Holy Spirit comes to you and says, “Look, this has to go,” you know that it has to die. Instead of death we run to all kinds of gimmicks and different programs. We run anywhere except to the living God. We harden our hearts in rebellion as Hebrews says. Let us run to the Holy Spirit and seek the living God. Plead with him to lay hold and not let go. Let us allow Him to crucify the sin in our life, and then we’ll be allowed back into the garden of the Lord. There we can eat and fellowship and regain that which we lost. Quit trying to find your joy from me or from fellowship or from anything other than the living God. Then all of that will be where it needs to be.

Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

We lost paradise because we chose to know good from evil. We chose to be gods in and of ourselves. We chose to have our own little programs and techniques. We chose to become independent and not surrender to the voice of God. Oh, we still do it in the name of the Lord, but because of that we have lost paradise. So what is the solution? What is the remedy? Fall before God and to pour dung upon our thoughts. Apply the cross to knowing good from evil. Lay humbly before God and say, “God, I do not know good from evil. You become my source of wisdom, grace, and strength.” Only when we begin to do that will we begin to return to paradise.

Genesis 3:23-24 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Do we really want the tree of life? If we do, we will begin to listen to the voice of the Lord. Those who say they want God but do not allow the Spirit to deal with the sins in their life are liars. If you really want it, if it is your desire to eat of the tree of life and return to fellowship, it will be yours. That’s the whole purpose of the cross.

Psalms 25:4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;

Another way to say it is, “Do not lead me in the paths of men. Deliver me from knowing good from evil. Free me from what I choose as proper and what I think is the right path.”

Psalms 25:4 -5 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

He appealed to God himself to understand the Word of the Lord. He knew that it wasn’t just him gaining head knowledge or outward wisdom.

Psalms 25:4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths

Deliver me from every other path in this world.

Psalms 51:5-6 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

I cannot teach you wisdom in the inmost place, can I? You cannot have a Bible study and teach yourself wisdom in the inmost place. If you were a sinner from the time that you were conceived, your only remedy is to give yourself to God. Acknowledge to God that you were a sinner from the time that you were conceived and from the time you were given birth. If we see that much sin within us, what do we do but to fall prostrate before God and say, “Oh Lord, deliver me from this totally corrupt person that I am. Teach me what is right.” Most people don’t get to this place because they don’t really believe they were sinful in the womb. We’re not dependent upon the Spirit because in our pride we think somehow we still have some inkling of the knowledge of good and evil. We do not believe in God’s word as it is written down in ink.

Psalms 86:10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.

He basically said, “I’m not God. I don’t know good from evil. I don’t understand the right path. You desire truth in the inmost parts but I was a sinner in the womb.” I was conceived in sin. I was completely dark. But you, Oh Lord, desire truth in the inward places. Lord, guide me along your paths and teach me your ways.”

Psalms 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Can you give yourself an undivided heart? Could you fast and pray for forty days and achieve an undivided heart? Can you do 5,000 pushups for the Lord and get an undivided heart? There isn’t anything you can do in and of yourself to get an undivided heart before God. So why do we go around playing God? Why do we think we know good and evil?

Galatians 5:24-25 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Why do we think we understand the difference between right and wrong? Because we still like the serpent’s call. We listen to our wife or husband, a teacher or friend, or someone we respect anything but the living God because our flesh would have to go.

Psalms 119:12-16 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

I’m not saying to take this and throw it in the trashcan. Let the Spirit you lead you into all of those things, and give you wisdom.

Romans 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

I can remember sharing this passage with elders and teachers. They responded, “God will make you into a robot.” They have every justification and every reason for not really surrendering their lives. To them, this is robotic, but to me it’s life. As I become nothing and God dwells in me, that’s life. For many people that is becoming a robot. They don’t want to lose their lives. The mind controlled by the Spirit is life. I know, sense, and feel the living God laying hold of my mind and beginning to control it. I can’t do it by sheer self-discipline. Have you ever tried not to think about something? Just try it for a few seconds. You can’t succeed. Something far more powerful than me will have to lay a hold of my mind if I will to have the mind of the Spirit. I can meditate and read this word day and night, yet if I continue to do it from my own intellect, I’ll never ever become pure. I’ll just be sewing fig leaves together. “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life.” Oh yeah, you have to lose your life amazing concept, I know. Your mind will then have peace because somebody else, namely the living God, has laid hold of your mind and is honestly controlling it.

Romans 8:7-9 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.

So all you have to do is ask, “How much does the Spirit control my mind? How much is it just me who tries to pick and choose from scripture when I’m under conviction?” A lot of you will come to me feeling guilty about certain things and I’ll say, “What are you feeling guilty about that for? Where did that come from?” You try to deal with your sins as you see fit. It’s a lot easier if you deal with it. You can cry a few tears, get into self-pity, and then feel okay. But if the living God lays hold of you, and begins to deal with something, you’ll never be able to run from the Spirit or try to smooth things over.

Romans 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.

He wrote this to Christians, didn’t he? The key word here is “if.” Who lives in you?

Romans 8:9-10 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

All of our grand plans, mighty wisdom, programs, sermon tapes and checklists, mean absolutely nothing if we are not led by the Spirit to deal with sin. It’s that simple. You can pray and fast for 41 ½ days, but if the Spirit does not lead you, nothing will change. You can sing hallelujahs for the next 80 days, go to an evangelistic campaign for the next 300 days, sell everything you have and give it to the poor but if the Spirit does not lead you, it will not accomplish anything in terms of dealing with the sinful nature.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,

The Spirit comes along and says, “Tim, give me your hand.” I lay it on the board and he puts the nails in. “Now give me the other hand. Now cross your feet as I put the nails through your feet and crucify the sinful nature in you.” I sense, know, and feel the Holy Spirit’s work. Nothing compares to it. Absolutely nothing! That’s why I am not taken in by foolish seminars that give me 10 easy steps to deal with my sin. He who has suffered in his body, wrestled with sin, and armed himself with the same attitude as Christ Jesus is through with sin. I know when the living God has laid hold of me, and I know when a man tries to deal with my sin. Nothing compares to God in dealing with me. Nothing.

Romans 8:14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

The Holy Spirit came to Jesus Christ and said; “To the desert, my son.” Moses said to all the Israelites; “To the desert.” God comes to each one of us and says, “This is what we will deal with this week. This is what I will crucify and put to death to bless you this week.” Most of us get up and say, “I need to work on my temper,” or “I wish this sin were out of my life or at least controlled a little bit better.” So, we as God, knowing good from evil, know how to apply the word and crucify ourselves. Sometime literally try it. Lay yourself on a cross and take your right hand and drive the nail into your left hand. Now try to take your left hand and drive the nail into your right. It just doesn’t work. You cannot commit suicide by crucifixion. Somebody else has to lay hold of you, literally lay you on the cross, and begin to deal with your sin. You won’t want to be on the cross. It’s embarrassing and humbling, but it’s an act of the living God moving in your life. No church service, no sermon, absolutely nothing compares to a living God laying hold of your life. If you don’t know what I am talking about, if you don’t know the difference, you need to get before God quickly and stop playing God.

John 16:5-7 Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

What does a counselor do? He encourages, gives wisdom and guidance. He is the one you go to and ask, “Lord, what in my life needs to change?” The counselor is the one you ask what needs to be crucified. It’s the counselor that you ask for guidance as to how to deal with your sin. Isn’t that what you go to a counselor for? When you go to a counselor, you go in weakness and say, “I don’t know how to deal with this problem. How do I overcome it?” And so we come before God every single morning and say, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, I know not good from evil. I don’t know how to deal with these problems. How are they to be dealt with?” Then the counselor begins to give correction. He might work it through other people or circumstances, but you will know it’s the living God. Now don’t even think for a moment that this only applies to the apostles.

John 17:20-21 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Jesus said that all of this is for the benefit of everybody else, not just this group. So let’s not think that was just for John and Peter. We, too, can have the grand pleasures that Paul had-shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonment, and riots. Those things can be ours, too, if we would ask. We too, can have a thorn in the flesh and be blessed in God if we but surrender.

John 17:20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,

Remember what this says, “My prayer is for those who will believe your message.”

Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.

Most people do not know the power, humility, or breaking of the cross. Before your very eyes, we portrayed Jesus Christ as crucified to you.

Galatians 3:2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

My prayer is for those who will believe through your message.” Paul wrote to the Galatians who had heard the message and begun in the Spirit but then turned to all kinds of human effort. They decided good from evil, and used gimmicks. He wanted to know if they received the Spirit by observing the law with a checklist of 5 things to do, or by believing what they heard from the living God.

Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

The whole nature of the law is summed up in one thing. Trying to live the Christian life in your own strength and your own wisdom of knowing good from evil. That’s all that it is. We either let God begin to deal with our sins as he sees fit or we are simply not Christians. It’s that simple. If the living God lays hold of you, some things will begin to change.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

It’s alive. More than alive, it’s active. It seeks me out to teach me to worship God. The Word of the Lord seeks to lay hold of me and deal with me.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

We are talking about listening to sermons and reading the Word of God, and then having the living Word of God actively seek you out, penetrate into your heart and divide the smallest thing that is right from wrong. Bone from marrow. A hair’s breath of what is right and wrong. God will judge the thoughts and attitudes of your heart down to the smallest, and what you consider to be the most insignificant, details of your life. How many people want that kind of living God? A lot of people can’t even stand sermons that bring judgment. We are talking about the Word of God dealing with us in such a way that we complain like Jeremiah; “I am no better than any body else.” Do you really want the living God to come to you, take the Word, go into your heart, and begin to divide soul from spirit, and bone from marrow? I want God to penetrate down to the smallest detail, the most microscopic part of my heart to show what is good and evil. It will judge the thoughts, attitudes, and motives of the heart. Two people set out to evangelize and God convicts one that they are in terrible sin. He divides and tears you to pieces. It’s an amazing concept isn’t it? “Anybody who falls on this stone will be shattered to pieces.

Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Is this the kind of living word that we believe in? The problem is we harden our hearts. We read the word of God, then set out to go about our day. We start to get a little bit of conviction, the sword begins to flash and do its work, and we silence it. We call somebody up and basically say; “I feel a little guilty. Smooth it over for me.” We say it a little more eloquently than that. If we are blessed, if we really love God and have a hunger for him, he will not let us get by with it. He’s a great God that way. You get a few moments of relief, somebody pats you on the back, you do a few more good deeds, and feel good for about 15 minutes and then the living God says; “I am still here. Let’s do a little more surgery, a little more cutting.”

Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Do you see why most people don’t want to believe this? Because it leaves them without excuse. If this is the Word of God that deals with my sin, and I am called to run in before the throne of grace and humble myself, I am without excuse in terms of change. The living God says, “Come on in. Let’s divide bone from marrow. Let’s lay it all out for all of creation to see exactly what needs to be dealt with and I will forgive you. I will change your life and give you grace.” The man who will not run in before God, who runs to his own laws and gimmicks, does not want God. It’s that simple. He likes to have a fig leaf factory that covers over everything he thinks is evil.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I guarantee, if you get yourself before God, you will find this surgeon at work. I have seen God take the smallest of things that are so insignificant and turn them into the largest, most major stumbling in a person’s life. Why? Because it’s an act of the living God. There are many times as we’ve watched God work, we’ve had to say, “I couldn’t have done that if I tried.” The Word of God penetrates. It’s active and living.

The sooner you quit deciding what is good and evil about your life, and what’s “proper” and “Christian,” the sooner you will get on with being led by the Spirit. Then everything will be in its proper place. In Matthew 12:1, Jesus tells how David did something unlawful, yet God’s grace was in his life.

Matthew 12:1-3 At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?”

The law says you are not supposed to work. The Pharisees quoted the law and it was good in their eyes. They chose what was good and evil. They stood before the living Word of God, and told Him what His word meant. How many Christians do the exact same thing? The Holy Spirit tries to get through to them with what the scriptures mean, yet they turn to the living God and tell him what he really meant to say.

Matthew 12:3-4 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.”

He admitted that what David did was against the law. Yet, David had God’s blessing on it. How many times have you heard people say that God will never go against his Word? I have to agree with the statement, which is 120% correct. But who has the correct understanding of the word, you or God? That’s the whole issue. Who has the wisdom God or me? I think you know the answer to that.

Next we will look at a story of someone who attempted to do good for God, and was killed by God. David went into the temple, took the bread that only priests were to eat and God said; “Fine, no problem.” But in 1 Chronicles 13, a man tried to do some good for God, and look at what happened.

1 Chronicles 13:7-10 They moved the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets. When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.

Here people celebrated before God with all of their might and rejoiced before him as they took the Ark of the Covenant up. The oxen stumbled and Uzzah, in a natural reaction reached out to steady the ark so it would not fall over. God’s anger broke and out killed the man. I don’t know about you, but I would be highly indignant and angry with God for doing such a thing. David was.

1 Chronicles 13:11-12 Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. David was afraid of God that day and asked, “How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?”

Why did God strike Uzzah dead and yet let David live? All through scripture God decides what is good and evil. There is a reason. The answer is easy. The Ark of the Covenant, the Word, needs no help from man. God is able to hold his Word firm. He is able to keep it strong though the oxen stumble, though the cart break and though everything else crumble around the Word of God. He is able to hold it up. No man is ever permitted to reach out and touch that Word or support it in any fashion except by the Spirit of God. If God tells you to steady the cart then you do it. How many of us lay hold of the Word, take it in, and just like him we try to keep it steady, to make sure it keeps it’s proper balance. When we do so, the anger of the Lord breaks out. So go ahead and try to fit all this together. The word of God penetrates in dividing motives of the heart.

Romans 10:1-2 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

How can this be said about the Pharisees? How can this be said about the Israelite people and nation? They are the ones to whom the covenant was given.

Romans 10:2-3 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

They tried to submit to God’s law. But Paul said their zeal is nothing. They will go to hell and he wished they were saved. We have to understand the righteousness that comes from a living God. It doesn’t come from study or intellect. It doesn’t come from you trying to decide what is good and evil, or Christian and non-Christian. It comes from a living relationship with God by him telling you, “This is the sin. This is evil. This is good.” This scripture says they sought to establish their own righteousness. What has each denomination done? They have established their own ideas of what is right and wrong. Don’t they have their own set of codes and conduct? What you are indoctrinated in is human interpretation. Let’s begin to let God deal with what is right and wrong and the word will indeed become alive. We will be awestruck.

John 5:37-39 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,

Day in and day out, quite time after quiet time, one study group after another, we diligently study the scriptures.

John 5:39-40 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

So we study, study, study, and examine. I just talked to a man this weekend who was proud of himself for taking the book of Romans and translating it from Greek to English. He thought that by having that knowledge he possessed eternal life. Yet men fail to run toward and cling to a living God.

John 5:40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

All the scriptures say to run to a living God in order to know him and be led of the Spirit. They all say to let the Spirit deal with your sin, bow before God, and learn from him. But that’s who we refuse to turn to. What do we do instead?

John 5:41 I do not accept praise from men,

There’s the key. This is the secret of why men refuse a living God. We accept praise from one another. What difference does it make to me if someone turns to me and says, “You are really a spiritual brother.” So what? Who made you God? Now if the Holy Spirit leads someone to tell me something encouraging, that is fine, but I have to know it’s from the Spirit or it means nothing. You like to accept praise from one another therefore you should also accept the rebuke, challenge, and encouragement from one each other.

John 5:41-43 I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.

This happens all the time. The advertising reads, “Revival at such and such meeting with famous pastor so-and-so. Such a grand brother, or such a tremendous sister. They’ve done all these things we listed.” Oh, you accept praise from one another but you refuse the living God. Let us have the attitude of Jesus Christ who accepts praise from no man. In verse 44, look at the question he asks them.

John 5:44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?

How can you ever come to believe in and know a living God as long as you seek to accept the praise that comes from each other? Yet you make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God. Let the Holy Spirit deal with your sin. Don’t worry about what I tell you and don’t worry about what you tell yourself is good or evil. Listen to the living God.

John 5:45-46 But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.

How many people put their faith and trust in the word of God. It’s said all the time; “The word of the Lord, the word of the Lord.” These will be the very scriptures that will condemn them because they didn’t obey them. Let us seek the living God.

Galatians 5:24-25 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Your whole source of life is not the church, religious works, your understanding of scripture, or your knowledge of what’s good and evil, but it’s the Spirit. You must live by the Spirit. Someday there will be a test when God’s Spirit is removed from everyone. How many people would literally drop dead? Paul said we live by the Spirit and he’s our source of life. He is what controls my mind, leads me, counsels me, gives me grace, and shows me the way. If God removes His Spirit and I am really dependent on the Spirit for my very life, then I should physically die. He is my source of life. Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let God deal with your sin in the way he desires and have a soft heart. Don’t harden yourself to His voice. Don’t smooth it, justify it, or find somebody to placate you to make you feel okay. Humbly submit yourself before God and say, “Oh sovereign Lord, I will follow your Spirit.” Then we can go into the garden and fellowship with the living God. Stop choosing how you want to deal with your sins. It’s that simple. Find the real joy that He has in His hands.

Let’s pray.

Father, work a weakness and humility in us that humbly lies before you. Teach us, oh Lord, that we are not able to deal with our sin. Teach us, oh Lord, to cling to you and run in before the throne of grace. To have faith to believe, oh Lord, that if we run to Jesus and come to him for life that He will work life in us. Lord, write on everyone’s heart in this body not to accept praise from one another but to seek to please you only and hear your voice. Then Father, we know we will be able to recognize your Spirit as you move and work with each of us. Oh sovereign Lord, let your name be the only name that is glorified. Crucify our sin, oh God. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.

 


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