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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 91 – Why did God create Satan?

Surely God knew that when He created Satan it would lead to a complete mess and men would go to hell; so why do it?

Finish this sentence …

If someone doesn’t agree with my thinking, I think they’re ……………….

The blindness of pride

Every human is born with the arrogance of thinking that everyone else is stupid when they hurt our feelings. We might be polite and say something like ‘you don’t understand’, or ‘I feel fragile’; but what we really mean is ‘you hurt my feelings, I feel stupid, so you’re stupid.’ Our whole life is really built around protecting our feelings and promoting ourselves because we think we’re the most important, and we go about our life proving it and at the same time resenting those who are above us or below us. This is the selfish pride that God tries to address in every human being. It has to be exposed in order to find salvation, but most people try with all their might to deflect attention from their pride, and inadvertently miss the call. Instead they opt for goodness as their valid excuse for a ticket to heaven, conveniently forgetting that the Word says ‘not by works lest any man should boast.’

The danger of thinking everyone is stupid

Regarding your neighbour as stupid simply because they don’t agree with your opinionated opinion is grounds for being convicted to go to hell, Matthew 5:22. The finger points back at us but we’re blind to it; that’s how stupid we, ourselves, really are!

The conversion of Saul, Acts 9

Saul thought he was the man. He was highly educated, legally correct and in his opinion he was on the side of right, but he couldn’t see that he was actually totally wrong. He was spiritually blind. God intersected with him, made him physically blind to see if he would permit his arrogance to be broken, and then opened his eyes to not only see physically but primarily his own stupidity. Saul could’ve said ‘how dare you treat me this way’, but he didn’t. If he had of done that, God would have chosen somebody else for the task, and Saul would have died in his pride.

Why did God allow Saul to murder His people?

So the persecuted could share in His glory and so Saul could be saved and thus save more.

Why were the disciples blind even though they were walking with Christ?

The pride of the disciples blinded them from the Christ they walked with. They confirmed this when they argued over who was the most important, Luke 22:24. They couldn’t understand Jesus’ intentions because they were too proud and even though they had the power to do miracles, Luke 10:17, they weren’t saved until they gave up everything that gave them personal status, Matthew 7:21-23 & Philippians 3:7-10.

Why did God allow His disciples to be blind?

So that they could be saved and thus save more. What was the thing that saved the disciples? … the sifting of Satan, Luke 22:31. Their whole life changed and their purpose in life changed and their thinking and vision changed, but only after Satan misused them and this exposed their pride and they could see. Their life was no longer their own and thus they willingly suffered for the name of Christ; not for the reward and benefit, but rather, in gratitude for His love. Sadly, the majority are too proud to be stupid.

Envy repels; it only attracts evil to itself

After weeks of consultation with a fellow Christian I still hadn’t been able to discover why his family had suddenly become dysfunctional. That was until the man used the word ‘distant’ to describe his feelings about a friend. Now … the word ‘distant’ seems harmless enough but if you stop for a second and think about it, ‘distant’ really means the friend is leaving me out of things, and ultimately the man is saying that the friend likes someone more than me. And there we have it all over again; the envy of the human spirit when allowed to fester will always over-ride the new nature of God in you.

The trap of offence

What caused this old nature reaction and the side-effects to infect his family’s dynamics? The answer is, he got offended with a woman who was having a big paddy because his wife had exposed her evil to the church authorities. This woman had attacked his wife for pimping on her an had called her stupid, and he had automatically defended his wife against her. The problem was that his wife had also got offended at the unjust blame and the husband was inadvertently defending a demonic spirit operating through his wife. The evidence of this was that his wife was now telling her husband what he wasn’t doing right. She had usurped his authority.

What the husband should have done was support his wife but not defend her offence. In other words, he should have told his wife that she was right but that he would not support her case until she forgave the person for the offence.

The purpose of this trap is to snare you into the devil’s power and thus to disintegrate your family, and separate you from God.

The snare of the Devil

Judgment against a bitter moody woman who had hurt his wife’s feelings was fuelled by the wife telling her husband that he was responsible to defend her. This led to husband and wife disharmony, which then led to envy of a friend’s relationship with someone else, which led to the wife befriending their child instead of the husband, which led to the child being the authority in the house, and thus you have family dysfunction, reversal of headship and eventually satanic destruction unless it is addressed with repentance.

Judgments against people put you above them and results in you acting just like them, Matthew 7:1-5, and binds you in the snare of the devil, Matthew 18:34. Falling for the emotional trap to defend your wife or child will put you in the same snare. Instead, trust God in the offence and refuse to let your wife or child have their own reactive manipulative mood.

Why was this Christian’s family in a mess?

So that they could be saved by the exposure of their selfish pride and thus save others, but only if they wanted to see it. If you don’t want to see, you’ll blindly stay under the power of the devil and be absolutely convinced you aren’t, and just blame everybody else for your hassles.

The currency in the kingdom of heaven is blood and faith

The currency in heaven is not goodness. Our heart secretly does good things to avoid being corrected, to feel good about ourselves and to look good in the eyes of others. Man can’t do righteous good except by God in him because only God is good. If you want to enter heaven it’s only by repentance (= washed in His blood), and by His faith implanted in you. In order to meet these requirements a person must have their pride exposed to themselves, for it is only by the repentance of one’s pride that results in the washing of His blood and the implantation of His faith. There’s no other door.

It’s only after God is in you that you can do good, and it’s only this God good that verifies your faith, James 2, and this good is not by deeds but by repentance of pride.

So, why did God create Satan?

  1. Because man is made in the image of God, and like God he has to choose between good and evil. If there is no evil then there is no evidence of a person’s genuine goodness and commitment. Evil exposes good and differentiates what good is.
  2. Because evil is the thing that God has designed to actually save the remnant and at the same time destroy the wicked and self-righteous. You need evil to fuel faith to drive you to the Lord and trust His will and plan. Faith is inactive when you’re surrounded by comfort and no hassles. You need evil to waken you to yourself; therefore, God places around you, people who offend you and thus expose your own pride. You’re saved from evil (the Lord’s Prayer), not from good, so if God is to save you, evil must exist, and you must be personally exposed as evil if you’re ever going to be good.
  3. To demonstrate the power of God, Romans 9:17
  4. If you want to know Christ you will be sifted by Satan, like Peter (Luke 22:331-34), till you are humbled and all the struts you rely on for your self-reliance are dismantled. Pride closes your understanding (Luke 9:44,45), exposure of your pride opens your understanding.
  5. You have to share His suffering to share His glory, Romans 8:17, Philippians 3:10. In the Eastern world, suffering is generally physical; in the Western world, suffering is generally emotional eg. misjudged, mocked, separated, criticised, made to feel stupid and inferior. Eventually suffering will be physical in both hemispheres, Revelation 13:7. All that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, 2 Timothy 3:12.

The solution

The solution to pride is found in Philippians 2:3 “don’t do anything for vain glory but esteem others better than yourself.”

That just simply means … always start by considering others’ opinion better than your own. This is the 2nd Great Commandment, but, you won’t be able to do this until you’ve been exposed and like Saul you kneel to His will and see that you’re the one who is actually stupid.

I repeat; you won’t be able to do this until you see that you’re the one that’s blind and stupid.

Once you surrender, you’ll not need to be offended that someone disagrees with your opinion; your confidence will be in God, not your pride; and then the irony will be that you will humbly see that everyone is stupid who fails to see.

Pastor Rick Mathews

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2015 in Pride

 

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Sermon 2 – “Don’t call me stupid”

SERMON 2. Don’t call me STUPID!
How do you react when someone calls you ‘stupid’? Most people bite back. In Matthew 5:22, Jesus challenges people who call others ‘stupid’ to think before they accuse, because the act equates to killing the person’s character and earns hell punishment. Therefore, the person who brands others as ‘stupid’ is actually passing judgment on themselves because it’s the height of hardness to have experienced the pain of being called ‘stupid’ and then to turn on others with the same hurtful brand. Jesus doesn’t judge them; they’ve judged themselves. Everyone has said in their heart, Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Pride

 

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