This morning Pastor Larry wanted me to share with you the book that I have been reading called “The Power of Right Believing” by Joseph Prince. In this book I learned some truths that have revolutionized my walk with the Lord. These truths I want to share with you because God is not into behavior modification. He is into HEART TRANSFORMATION. And the way to the heart is through the mind.
Romans 12:2 in the Living translation says: Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think (and then believe). Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The first truth that I want to share with you is that JESUS LOVES YOU!
Romans 8:35, 37-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, not height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The key to this is: for I am persuaded. This morning I would like to persuade you about the truths that God has shown me.
There is a disciple in the bible who believed that Jesus loved him. It says in John 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.
Now Jesus loved all the disciples but it was John who believed that Jesus loved him. He is the only one of all the disciples who BELIEVED that Jesus loved him. You won’t find that in any of the other gospels.
For Peter he declared his love for the Lord. Matthew 26:31-35 Then Jesus said to them. “All of you will be made to stumble because of me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so, said all the disciples.
Jesus was about to tell them while they were all sitting around the supper table who was going to betray Him. Peter asked John to ask Jesus who it was. Then John asked Jesus. It seems that Peter had a distant relationship with Jesus. He asked John to ask Jesus who was to betray Him instead of asking Jesus himself. Where was Peter when Jesus was hanging on the cross? Gone! He had denied Jesus three times with cursing. Where was John when Jesus was hanging on the cross? John 19:25-27 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdelene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son! Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
Jesus had given John spiritual employment. When you believe that Jesus loves you things change on the inside of you and in your circumstances.
There is a story of a minister from Oregon who was assigned to provide counselling in a state mental institution. His first assignment was to a padded cell that housed deranged, barely clothed patients. The stench of human excrement filled the room. He couldn’t even talk to the inmates, let alone counsel them – the only responses he got were groans, moans, and demonic laughter.
Then the Holy Spirit prompted him to sit in the middle of the room and for a full hour sing the famous children’s hymn that goes, Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; they are weak, but He is strong.” Nothing happened at the end of that first day, but he persisted. For weeks he would sit and sing the same melody with greater conviction each time: “Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.”
As the days passed, the patients began singing with him one by one. Amazingly, by the end of the first month, thirty-six of the severely ill patients were transferred from the high-dependency ward to a self-care ward. Within a year, all but two were discharged from the mental institution.
When you believe that Jesus loves you good things happen and you can face any challenge thrown at you because you have a brother and a Heavenly Father backing you up. If God is for you who can be against you.
Every day I thank my heavenly Father that He loves me. I make it very personal. My ABBA DADDY loves me. At first it felt uncomfortable but now it’s what I believe with all that is in me. Because He loves me I can now love Him back.
The next truth I want to share with you is the gift of righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Christ Jesus).
Righteousness is a legal term. It means to have right standing before God. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words defines righteousness as “that gracious gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God. “ In other words, your right standing before God is based upon Jesus’ right standing before God.
When you asked Jesus into your heart you automatically became righteous. You are not a sinner. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. You are in right standing with the Father. You are saved and made righteous by grace through faith. As a believer, you will still make mistakes, you will still fail, and you will still be tempted. From time to time you will fall into sin. But having sinned doesn’t turn you back into a sinner. You have been purchased and redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and in Christ, you are still the righteousness of God even when you fail. Why? Because your righteousness is not a result of your right doing – it is a result of your right believing. It is a gift of God, not something you can earn through your obedience, right doing, and sinless perfection. That is why you can have eternal security, knowing that you are saved by Jesus and not by your own works!
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Today, instead of seeing ourselves reigning in life, we see more evidence of death reigning in the world. The Bible tells us that is was because of “one man’s offense” – Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden – that death began to reign. It is important that you realize that our lives are wrapped up in those of our ancestors. You wouldn’t exist if there hadn’t been your grandpa. So we are sinners not because we sin, but because of Adam’s sin. Many believers still think that they become sinners by committing sin, but that is not what the Word of God says. What it says is that we are sinners because of Adam’s sin. By the same token, we are made righteous in the new covenant not because we do righteous deeds, but because of one Man’s (Jesus) obedience on the cross.
The next truth I want to share with you is the gift of forgiveness: Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
There is another reason we can rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus has borne the punishment that was due us: forgiveness and healing go hand in hand. The Bible says that He who never broke a single law of God”… was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed”. Do you see how healing and the price for our forgiveness are so closely intertwined in God’s Word?
Many today are struggling to heal themselves from their sicknesses, diseases, mental dysfunctions, and addictions. I want to announce to you today that our part is to receive forgiveness from Jesus and to believe that we are forgiven every single day. The more forgiveness-conscious we are, the more easily we will experience healing and liberty from every bodily ailment, mental oppression, and destructive habits.
One of my favourite psalms goes like this: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases” Psalm 103:1-3. Now which comes first? The consciousness that all your sins are forgiven precedes the healing of all your diseases!
And the operative word here is ALL. Some of us are comfortable with receiving partial forgiveness in certain areas of our lives. But we refuse to allow Jesus’ forgiveness to touch some dark areas – areas that we can’t let go of and that we can’t forgive ourselves for. Whatever those mistakes may be, I encourage you to allow Jesus to forgive you of all your sins and receive healing for ALL your diseases.
My friends, let the past go. Let the mistakes go. Allow yourself to be free, and learn to forgive yourself by receiving with an open heart Jesus' total and complete forgiveness today.
The next truth I want to share with you is the gift of no condemnation – John 8:2 – 11 Jesus demonstrated something very important in the account of the woman caught in adultery. What enables someone to have the power to overcome sin? The threat of the law obviously didn’t stop the woman from committing adultery. But receiving Jesus’ acceptance – knowing that even though she deserved to be stoned to death, He did not condemn her – that gave her the power to “go and sin no more.”
Let’s take a step back to examine what Jesus did. Jesus saved the woman righteously. He didn’t say, “Don’t stone her. Show mercy to her.” What He said was, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” And on their own accord, the Pharisees and religious mob all left one by one.
Notice how, after that, Jesus did not ask the woman, “Why did you sin?” No, what He asked was, “Where are those who accuse you? Has no one condemned you?” It seems as if Jesus was more preoccupied with the condemnation of the sin than the sin itself. He made sure that she walked away not feeling the condemnation and shame. Let’s not reverse God’s order. When God says something comes first, it must come first. What God puts first, man cannot put last. God says “no condemnation” comes first, and then you can “go and sin no more.”
Christian religion has it in reverse. We say, “Go and sin no more first, then we won’t condemn you.” What we need to understand is that when there is no condemnation, people are empowered to live victorious lives, lives that glorify Jesus. This is where our empowerment comes from. Grace produces an effortless empowerment through the revelation of no condemnation. It is unmerited and completely undeserved. But we can receive it – this gift of no condemnation – because Jesus paid for it at the cross.
Truth be told none of us could have cast the first stone at this woman. We have all sinned and fallen short. Our confidence today is not in our ability to keep God’s laws perfectly, but in the only one, Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of the law itself. In Christ, we are all on equal ground. If a brother or a sister gets tangled in sin, our place is not to judge them, but to restore them by pointing them to the forgiveness and gift of no condemnation that is found in Jesus.
The only person who is without sin and could have exercised judicial punishment on the woman was Jesus. Only He was qualified to cast the first stone, and He did not. Jesus was in the flesh to represent what was in God’s heart. It wasn’t judgement. His heart is unveiled in His grace and forgiveness. Let’s put it this way when describing what happened as the Pharisees waited to stone the woman: The Pharisees would if they could, but they could not. Jesus could if He would, but He would not. That’s our Jesus.
In God’s kingdom if you want to see His glory in your life you need to believe in order to see.
The most humble thing you can do is take your place as a child of God. When the enemy comes at you like a roaring lion seeking to devour you that’s when you stand firm in your faith and declare that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, I am forgiven of all my sins, past, present and future and there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. There is only one true lion and that is the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ (Rev 5:5)
My friends I want to highlight one more verse in Matthew 3:16 – 17 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Do you know that Jesus had not yet performed one miracle. God loved Jesus for Jesus.
He is saying the same thing to you today. You are His beloved son or daughter in whom He is well pleased.
Preached by Sue Weiler