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Sermon 147 – IMAGE

I was counselling two Christian men who were struggling with each other’s attitudes. I asked them if they thought they had an ‘image’ problem. They each declared that they didn’t think they had. I was flabbergasted at their blindness.

Truth

The truth is, everyone is born with an image problem. Satan has an image problem. He is full of his own importance. He hates Jesus Christ being the Son instead of him. When Satan manipulated man to sin, he implanted the lust for ‘image’ into our spiritual DNA.

When Adam and Eve hid from God, they were protecting their ‘image’. They didn’t have the problem before Satan sucked them into it. When they lied, they were simply protecting their ‘image’. When they blamed each other, they were protecting their ‘image’. When Cain killed Abel, he was simply envious that God liked Abel’s sacrifice and not his. Cain’s image was hurt.

Questions?

  1. Do you get offended if your opinion is challenged, mocked, or misunderstood? If so, you have an image problem.
  2. Does your inner self react with self-defense when you are intimidated, or made to feel stupid? If so, you have an image problem.
  3. Do you have a mood if you don’t get what you want or it doesn’t work out the way you want? If so, you have an image problem.
  4. Do you think you are stupid, or someone else is stupid, and do you crave to be someone special? If so, you have an image problem.
  5. Are you envious if someone is more intelligent, comes up with an idea you wish you had’ve thought of, is more popular than you, or more suave, or has more money than you? If so, you have an image problem.
  6. Do you think you are more intelligent, more creative, more capable, or more skilled than someone else? If so, you have an image problem.
  7. Do you believe you should figure it out yourself and asking for help is a show of weakness? If so, you have an image problem.
  8. Do you get offended if you’re corrected or told you didn’t do it right? Do you say … how come I’m getting corrected? They’re just as bad as me! If so, you have an image problem.
  9. Are you willing to share your knowledge and expertise and money, or would that threaten your ego? If not, you have an image problem.

Deceived

Image is really just ego. If you believe, like these two men, that you don’t have an image problem, then, the truth is, you have a serious image problem. To deny that you have an image problem, is the height of arrogance. This means your spirit is blind to God even though you think you serve Him to the best of your ability.

Fake

No one believes that God would reject them if they’ve tried their best. But, the truth is, that’s an image problem. That’s telling God how He has to do it. The Word of God says the opposite … by grace you are saved through faith. Not of yourself; it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

What’s this got to do with salvation?

The answer is … everything. The Word of God declares that you cannot be His disciple until you give up your image. Salvation lies on the other side of killing your image. That’s what God means when He says ‘hate your own life’ in Luke 14:26, and ‘die to yourself, daily’ in Luke 9:23.

How?

You have to make a choice but you can’t do it with just a choice. First, you need God to open your eyes to your lust of yourself, and see that you DO have an image problem. Then you have to repent of your selfish lust. Then you have to commit your will and life to His plan. The only way you can beat the image problem, is death. It’s only through death that your image is annulled.

Repentance

Sadly, most people say sorry for hurting someone’s feelings or for getting caught for doing something wrong, but they never repent of promoting or protecting their image. Consequently, they have never truly repented. They’re just practicing image defence, like Adam and Eve.

King Saul vs. David

Image is always the fruit of making yourself great in your own eyes (1 Samuel 15:17). Image is always more concerned with what people think of me (v.30), than what God thinks. King Saul was only interested in preserving his image in the eyes of others, whereas, David, by God’s grace, saw the evil of his image and repented. It wasn’t good deeds that saved David, because what he did was completely evil. It was the sacrifice of his image … the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).

False teaching

Image is really the love of yourself. The modern church thinking teaches that you must love yourself first, before you can love your neighbour. That’s a lie. The Word of God teaches you must hate yourself first (not the hate of spite, but the hate of your evil image), before you can love God and your fellow-man. You can’t love God and love yourself at the same time; that’s a contradiction. Jesus came to save you from the love of yourself.

10 Commandments

Most people defend their image … I don’t lie, I don’t steal, I don’t kill, I don’t commit adultery, so I must be a good person. The problem is, image can’t see that it worships itself. It can only see that you are hurting my feelings or you are being unjustly nasty to me.

But, worshiping your image, blindly or not, is a fracture of the 2nd commandment. It may not be graven in stone or wood, but nevertheless, it is image worship. From that foundation, it’s impossible to worship God 1st, and whether you accept it or not, you are lying to yourself, you are killing your neighbour with hate and envy, and you are committing adultery in your heart. You are literally living in the deception of your image. It’s all a lie.

Consequence of your choice

If you choose to die to your image, Satan will hate you and throw everything at you … family, friends, employers, work colleagues, the church, the world … and you’ll have to rely on God to sustain you. It’s persecution that strengthens your will to His will (Mark 13:13; 2 Timothy 3:12). Stand up silently against homosexuality, divorce and re-marriage, abortion, and fornication and you’ll soon find out how unpopular is that position. If you’re not being persecuted, in some form or other, for your love of Christ, then know that as much as you say you love Him, the real truth is you love yourself more.

No persecution, no salvation.

If we be dead with Him, we shall live with Him. If we suffer (for Him) we shall reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us. 2 Timothy 2:11,12

The modern church is doing its best to escape persecution by tolerating sin and calling it grace and love. Thus, it will never find my God, only the refection of its own image, and it will walk in the imagination of that image.

 

I suggest you get on your knees and cry out to God for Him to expose you to you.

 

Pastor Jonathan Samuels

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2020 in image

 

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Sermon 144 – It all depends what you call it

I’m only helping

I was addressing a young woman who couldn’t believe that she was doing anything wrong. Her defense was … I’m only trying to help. But what if the help is contaminated with selfishness? Her defense challenged the authority of my query about her underlying motive, and actually confirmed my suspicions. Holy Spirit would not have retaliated against my inquiry.

You see, selfishness always calls it something else other than what it really is. Everything we do is either the love of God or it’s selfish. 1 Corinthians 13 states that you can give all your money to the poor, and even your body to be burned, but it will profit nothing if it isn’t for God.

You call it helping. I call it showing-off.

You say “I’m just helping”, but more often than not, it’s a lie. What you’re really doing is showing-off how capable you are, or how clever you are. Your inner spirit is saying … “don’t tell me what to do. Look at me, I already know without you telling me”. This is really having a spirit of self-authority, which means your spirit disrespects authority. When someone questions, either verbally or silently, the correction of an authority, they reveal what spirit they are of. Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. The façade image has to be broken if you want to be truly honest about your heart.

You call it helping, but it’s really trying to gain points of favor

I once asked a young man … why are you so willing to help? His reply was more honest than I was expecting. He said … so that when I’m having trouble, you’ll be obligated to help me. This is selfish help. God calls it holding a debt over the person you’ve helped. That’s sin, not love. It gains no heavenly credits.

You call it helping, but it’s really so the person will be obligated to like you or help you back.

You call it charity. I call it control and obligation to get others to do what you want.

You call it helping, but it’s really trying to gain position due to hatred-envy of your more favoured sibling.

You call it helping, but it’s really to make yourself feel worthwhile and look good in the eyes of others.

It’s hard to pin contaminated help. Helping is a tricky way of promoting your pride because no one can say you’re doing something wrong. But, you can smell contaminated help … eventually, it smells ‘off’.

You call it used and then dumped

I call it … asked to leave because you wouldn’t do what you were told

You call it independent thinking

I call it … challenging the thinking of the authority, so you can live in your own self-authority. I call it … no one’s going to tell you what to do.

You call it friendship. I call it servitude.

When you expect a friend to act a certain way towards you so you feel good and valued, that’s not friendship, it’s servitude. On many occasions I’ve asked people … what’s a friend? The common reply is … someone who will listen to me, support me, and be kind to me. Sounds right, but it’s all a lie.  God says ‘friendship’ is serving God, not keeping people happy (John 15:14). I’ve discovered that selfishness gathers friends for its own self-value and wants, because that same person that demands friendship will invariably TELL that friend how they’re supposed to behave towards them, expect them to be loyal to them first, and TELL their friend off if they are not being nice to them. That’s usury. There’s no freedom to have a differing opinion, share another friend, or say any truth that might offend their feelings.

You call it sorry. I call it selfish

I queried a young man as to why he felt so sorry for a woman who was having a mood because she was told she was wrong? His response was … so that when I have a mood, others will have to be sorry for me. This is contaminated sorry. It’s not love; it’s fake and selfish.

You call it protecting. I call it possessive, manipulation and control

I once queried a young Christian man as to why he was so protective of his family. He informed me that his domineering father had demanded of him to protect his mother. He complied because it gave him value in his father’s eyes and made him feel good. It fed his self-value. The value of protection became inherent is his spiritual DNA. His own family loved his protection, but they also feared his control. His protection looked good on the outside, but it was contaminated and used to manipulate the family to do exactly what suited his agenda. There was no freedom of opinion or choice. It was all a sham to protect and promote his own personal image. Protection made him feel ‘the man’ and it won his family’s support and value.

I’m good

You can’t correct ‘good’, or ‘help’, or ‘protection’; they look good. But, if they’re contaminated, they’re evil. If I find myself challenging a person’s ‘good’, I’m actually challenging the demonic spirit. It’s easy to forget that Satan comes in sheep’s clothing.

Many times I’ve challenged the evil in people’s spirit, but they invariably discredit my correction by justifying their goodness. All they’re really doing is preserving their image by trying to manipulate me to focus on their goodness, and hide the spirit that dwells within them. From God’s perspective, it’s what’s behind the image that’s important. If I’m correcting, I’m addressing the evil spirit behind the human façade. If you protect your image all you’re doing is reinforcing your pride, hiding the evil in you, and running away from God.

Good and help is not of God until your image has been smashed.

Keys to the Kingdom (Matthew 16:19)

The one key that unlocks the door to the kingdom of heaven, is “the DEATH of IMAGE”. That is, how I look in the eyes of other people. Until you give up the preservation and promotion of your image, you can’t be saved. King Saul talked himself into thinking he was great (1 Samuel 15:17). The fruit of that decision was envy and hatred of David because people sang his praises more than Saul’s. The consequence was hell.

‘Self’ rises up daily, so ‘death-to-self’ needs to be a daily exercise (Luke 9:23-26). You can’t do this in your own strength and you can’t do it without being treated unfairly, and like Christ, you learn to take it for His will.

The Ten Commandments are simply designed to expose my image

Image is another word for idol. Promoting or protecting IMAGE is a contravention of God’s second commandment … ‘do not make a graven image’. It may not be graven in stone or wood, but it’s engraved in your spirit. Protecting or promoting my image is the same as worshiping myself. The reason people lie and pretend to be good is simply to protect their image. It’s either image or it’s God. You can’t have both. Image is seeking the world’s favor. You can’t serve God and the world. Most Christians live in the middle, but that’s really just keeping the world happy so you don’t look bad in the eyes of the world, or get persecuted by the world.

James 4:4 … friend of the world, enemy of God.

Devaluing the Ten Commandments is a satanic plot to con humans to lower their resistance to sin and thus promote their image so they miss out on heaven with God

Satan tricked Eve with the temptation to be her own god (Genesis 3), and the same scam is still working today. It’s a clever GRACE scam, but it’s idol worship without even knowing it. It separates you from God because it’s wilful sin (1 John 3:4). Be as good as you like, it won’t save you. In fact, it conversely promotes evil (Proverbs 28:4 … they that forsake the law, praise the wicked), and that’s why the world is rising up and Christianity is decaying under the world’s intimidation.

The fruit of devaluing God and His commandments is a chaotic world, climate disasters, wars, disease, and a fake church that silently condones the world’s behaviour and undisturbingly watches sin being legalised. The world calls homosexuality, ‘love’. I call it ‘hate’ God. The world’s argument is … if God is irrelevant, then His laws are irrelevant, and thus I can do what pleases my flesh without any conscience. Plus, if a man is allowed to have sexual relations with a woman, who says it’s wrong for a man to have sexual relations with another man as long as they’re both consenting. The world defiantly says … I will do what I like and no God is going to tell me what I can and can’t do!

You can’t REPENT until you let God smash your IMAGE

Gideon smashed the image, then God could use him. Phineas speared the mocking evil that was destroying the Israelites (Numbers 25:8). You can’t escape destruction until you repent of your sin, and you can’t see your sin without letting God smash your image.

There’s a big difference between … I’m sorry for hurting your feelings, or … If I’ve done something wrong, I’m sorry, or … I’m sorry, but you make mistakes too, or … I’ll say sorry if you say sorry, too!

and, … I’m wrong, and I apologise unreservedly, and Lord God, I’m sorry for protecting my image and feelings instead of trusting you. Please forgive me.

The Truth

Why are people trying to be good? The answer is … Fear of looking bad and the pride of looking good. Until you sacrifice the fear and pride of what the world thinks of you, and the need to promote yourself in the eyes of others, and instead, give up your image to the will of God, Jesus will not open the door of heaven to you (Luke 14:33).

 

May God open the eyes of His remnant.

 

Pastor Samuel Abbel

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2020 in image

 

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