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Sermon 101 – Born Again?

11 Jun

The Catholic religion believes that you become a Christian by being baptized as an infant. The Evangelical Churches teach that you become a Christian when you invite Jesus Christ into your heart to be your lord and saviour. The Catholic option is definitely not biblical, but what about the evangelical theory?

I was counselling two brothers who were constantly bickering with each other. Although nothing was being said, they vied for their father’s value and whenever one was corrected for their attitude or made a bad decision, the other promoted himself above him.

The blame exercise

I suggested an exercise. Each one was to write down “I’m blaming you for ….. ” and complete the sentence. They both came up with several justifiable blames against each other.

The purpose of this exercise was to expose them to the fact that they were Christians operating under Satan. In the Garden of Eden, Adam came under the power of Satan when he blamed Eve for causing him to fall. What he should have done was take the blame for his own sin, but because he wouldn’t he was separated from God.

The temptation to blame others for our hassles and failures, is inherent. It has been passed on as a sinful trait in the heart of every human being as a consequence of Eve’s sin. What you don’t realise when you get caught in the blame cycle is that you are making judgments against your neighbour and thus proving that you are proud and more concerned about yourself than your neighbour. You’ve unwittingly fractured the second great commandment and therefore it’s you that has sinned even though the other person started it.

Demons have power over you through the grievances you hold

As we talked they realised that they were both holding grievances against each other which was just causing division between them and they were using their energy resisting each other instead of working together. It was actually wearing them down physically. Knowing their family situation, I suggested that their sister-in-law despised them because they were more popular and more happy than her and their reactive bitterness towards her for her spitefulness unwittingly gave licence to the demonic power she was under to enter through this open door of hurt and initiate destruction against them whenever they took the bait of promoting their own self-value over each other.

There’s a difference between saying you’re wrong and faith

At this point they had the opportunity to take on guilt and feel bad for their behaviour which would just keep them bound to the power of Satan, or by faith give the issue and outcome and the fear of what people would think of them, to the Lord. They both chose the latter option.

Faith knows it is wrong and turns to the Lord. Pride can say it’s wrong when cornered, but it turns to itself and justifies its feelings. There are plenty of Christians who believe and try to do what’s right and are willing to admit they’re wrong when found out, but their selfishness holds the truth in unrighteousness. They will be exposed to God’s wrath, Romans 1:18.

Repentance

The average Christian thinks they repent but they don’t. Repentance is when you stop your blame and stop your guilt (which are just selfish ways of prolonging your mood) and by faith turn to the Lord and wait on Him. Adam could’ve said he was wrong but that would not have been good enough. He had to also give up his self-defense and turn to the Lord.

Victory

Satan’s purpose is to destroy and he can do it just as easily from within as from without. If you want to win against satanic forces, it’s not by taking them on, it’s not by shouting the Name of Jesus at them, it’s by dying to your will by faith in God’s plan. This is how Jesus won against Satan. Up till the time He died, he was vulnerable to Satan’s temptation. He withheld against it but in His humanity He was still vulnerable. The vulnerability ceased the moment He died. Once he was dead, Satan could no longer touch Christ; He’s future reign had been set in stone. It’s death to self by faith in Christ’s justice that gives you the victory and that’s the only way you can win.

What does this have to do with Born Again?

Everything. If you constantly fall to blame, it’s a sign that you’re not really born again.  You see, Satan is the one that manipulates humans to blame one another, whereas, Jesus died on the cross and copped the blame of the world on his spirit. If you are genuinely under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you will routinely cop the unfair blame and by faith, trust the Lord’s outcome.

Satan’s argument is based on fairness … “it’s not fair; I haven’t done anything wrong.” This is the argument he sold to mankind through Eve and all of mankind is vulnerable to this temptation. The only way you can defeat this temptation is by being Born Again. You won’t beat this human trait with your mind; you can’t be born again by making up your mind to follow Christ.

God’s argument is based on sin … “you did the wrong, as well as the other person.” But, humanity argues with God that they made me do it and in its pride refuses to agree with God’s view.

The disciples weren’t born again until after Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 22:32) and came back and encouraged them to walk the true walk (John 21). Up till then they were of another spirit (Luke 9:54,55) even though the Holy Spirit operated through them. They first had to give up their personal intentions of what Jesus was going to get for them and give to them because they followed Him. The death of Christ was their stimulus of salvation because it shattered their personal agendas and hopes.

So what is ‘Born Again?’

Well, if you’re born again you obviously must have died and started life again (Luke 14:26,33). You’re only born again when you have died first. You die when you see your pride and unconditionally surrender to the will of God and by His faith, trust in His atoning blood for your sin. Unconditionally means that you now stand on the principles of the Word of God (the Bible) and not the popular lie of grace, and you know when you’re dead when you do not bite back.

The measurement

You measure your surrender by the principles of the Word of God. When the Word of God says do this or don’t do that (e.g. no work on Sabbath, no retailing on Sabbath, separate from those Christians who teach that gain is godliness (1Tim.6:5), and separate from those Christians who fornicate with the world, and separate from those Christians who call homosexuality a normal phenomenon instead of sin … Romans 1:27,28) and you use your modern religious thinking to routinely compromise His Word, then know that you’re not surrendered unconditionally and therefore, not born again.

You measure your surrender by whether you routinely fall to blame and judgment. You measure your surrender by waiting on God by faith in His outcome and final plan.

The fruit of unconditional surrender is being blamed

If you’re truly born again you’ll be hated (Mark 13:13) by those who are supposed to love you, you’ll be envied by those who are supposed to love you, and you’ll be cursed by those who are supposed to love you. You see, the price of born again is to be de-valued by your fellow-man, to be misunderstood by your relatives, and to be cursed for not doing the church-way. That’s why almost all western Christians believe in the grace theory and not the death theory. It’s easier that way.

Jesus Christ made Himself of no reputation and took on Him the form of a servant and trusted His Father’s plan … Philippians 2:7,8

 

Pastor Mike Clifford

 

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Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Blame

 

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