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Sermon 148 -You can’t get NEW Nature by fixing your OLD Nature

Most Christians believe that they’re good with a few character flaws. If these character flaws are ever challenged or exposed, they try their best to fix them.  Most often, the motivation for the fix is so one doesn’t look bad or feel bad. Consequently, old nature isn’t changed, just better camouflaged.

Old nature

Everyone is born with a nature that is prone to sin … all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The thing that drives this sinful nature is our pride. Our old nature is really just an expression of our pride. Pride wants to be superior and look cool, but pride is also the mood of inferiority or failure. Ultimately, pride doesn’t like being told what to do, or told it’s wrong, but it likes to tell you that you are wrong.

Every time our pride rises up, our old nature will automatically show itself, and we will have a mood, either silently and internally with a smile, or outwardly with a change of facial expression, and quite often, conveniently ignorant that we are even having a mood. Fixing our old nature is simply just another self-tactic for reinforcing our pride and promoting one’s ability. Trying to get ourselves right by our own will power will never produce new nature … it’s just more pride.

The problem of Pride

The reason God hates pride (Proverbs 8:13) is that it gives Satan licence to dictate over your spirit (2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV). Pride keeps you in old nature and makes you susceptible to operate under Satan’s evil works against the kingdom of God, whilst all the time you believe you are a Christian and a good person. Pride pollutes your heavenly walk and if left to run its course, will block you from heaven.

New Nature

New nature is the nature of God. This nature cannot be produced by our own effort. Rather, it’s a gift from God. The modern church teaches that this gift is free, but that’s not the whole truth. Yes, it cannot be bought with money or earned with effort or good works (Ephesians 2:8,9), but there is a price that you have to pay to receive it.

The price for New nature

The price for new nature is death. The death I’m referring to in this case is … saying NO to yourself. In other words, giving up your want because you trust what God wants is the best. You can’t enter new nature without this trust.

The old nature is quite capable of improving itself and stopping itself from doing wrong. You don’t have to be Christian to achieve that. Old nature can be made to look like new nature, but, it can never become genuine new nature.

The new nature of God is implanted in someone’s spirit when they decide to follow Christ, but this doesn’t mean they are saved for heaven. Judas and King Saul both had the new nature of God but they fell to their old nature, did not repent and return to new nature, and consequently missed out on heaven. You can lose the new nature of God and be cut off the vine, but you can also be grafted back into the nature of God.

How do we make sure we run the race to the end with God’s nature?

Jesus taught that you have to die to yourself, daily. Just about every Christian I’ve counselled believes that if they address a character fault or sin, then they’ve fixed it and it shouldn’t have to be dealt with again. But, that’s just a fallacy of pride. The reality is, that your character fault will live with you forever, and Satan will be forever tempting you to fall to it. Thus, Jesus said it’s a daily battle to say No to yourself, even if the issue is the same as it was yesterday or last month.

Why must I say No to MYSELF?

The only way you can enter new nature and also return to new nature after failing, is, via the cross. The modern church teaches that once you accept Christ as your Saviour, then you are under His grace, you’re a child of God and a son of God and joint heir with Christ, so therefore you should expect His blessing and His favour. This half-truth deceives the average Christian into thinking that Christianity is a casual and comfortable walk to heaven under God’s grace. The modern church doesn’t teach death as the path to heaven, but rather, it promotes only the benefits; namely, the pursuit of happiness and contentment, attached to niceness and helping.

The Cross

The cross is not the path to happy feelings. Rather, it’s a path of pain, and embarrassment, and put down for the name of Christ. It’s the path of being misjudged, of being mocked, of being hated, even by family. It’s having to wait for God’s plan instead of purporting your own. It’s the path of separating from the world even though you live in it. It’s the path of disciplining yourself to say No to yourself, and Yes to Christ. It’s the path of accepting correction, and not necessarily defending your rights.

The cross is serving God, not man, and setting your path to heaven, no matter the cost. The cross is hating your pride (Proverbs 8:13). The cross is trusting God with the unfair deal, and ironically, the peace of God only comes via this pathway of the cross.

The cross is the only way to heaven. You can’t get there by just asking Jesus into your heart. Without the cross, Jesus is just your buddy, but not your Saviour.

The cross is the action of your faith (James 2:17,18), yet, you can’t walk the pathway of the cross by yourself … it requires His faith (Galatians 2:20).

The easy path

Obviously, the false church is not going to promote this path. The easy path of happiness and fun and friends and purpose and wealth through giving, is far more favourable and enticing. The church promotes the broad way to heaven, not the narrow way. But God calls His disciples to be soldiers, not comfortable pew sitters and TV watchers. God calls His people to be separate in spirit from the world; not comfortable to mix and mingle with the world.

God calls his disciples to not expect the fair deal. God calls his disciples to object to the world’s moral decline (Proverbs 8:13), generally silently in our hearts, sometimes publicly, but always on alert, and never complacent and tolerant of sin, especially our own pride.

The reason for the problems we face is so we learn to not look to ourselves but turn to Christ and trust His plan. Problems toughen us against Satanic attack. We’re not fighting flesh and blood but demonic principalities and evil powers (Ephesians 6:12). You can’t fight Satan except through the cross. By saying NO to yourself, and instead, trusting God, you walk the path of the cross and inhibit the evil work of Satan.

The Fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13)

Who do you fear the most … God or man? God calls His people to fear Him, not man. The fear of God is the fear of missing out on heaven and ending up in hell. If you love the Lord, you must hate your pride; that’s the fear of God. Disciples must walk in the fear of upsetting God, not man; they must object to giving one’s self the right to have a mood, give up the right to expect fairness, give up the ambition of looking good in the eyes of people, and give up worldly position. This is the cross. The cross is God’s training ground for learning how to fear Him, because you have to face the fear of man. It’s a process of being born again and maturing into His faith. It can take years, but, if you don’t walk the way of the cross, you’re simply stating your lack of fear and love of God.

The primary objective of Christ should be the same for every disciple of Christ

Jesus came to earth. From the moment He arrived, He was targeted. He healed the sick and preached the gospel of good news, but, His primary objective was to die on the cross. If He hadn’t, no one would be saved. Despite all your goodness, is the cross your primary objective?

Friend of the world, enemy of God (James 4:4)

If you’re comfortable with the world, if you like the comforts of the world, the Word of God describes you as an adulterer. That is, a fake Christian who says they’re married to Christ but who is actually intercoursing with Satan.

Thy will be done, not mine

This is the prayer of Christ on the cross, this is the commitment of Jesus on earth (John 4:34), this is the Lord’s prayer, and this is the prayer of every genuine soldier of Christ.

 

May the Lord stir His remnant to look beyond the pain, to look beyond the moral demise of society, to say No to one’s self, and be servants to His will only.

 

Pastor Frederick Jamieson

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2020 in new nature

 

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Sermon 129 – Faith through Revilings

My wife and I were casually walking through the local markets when all of a sudden, a woman stood next to us and demanded that we shop on the other side of the street. We somehow ignored her intimidation and moved on. Later that day a man confronted my wife with swearing when she politely asked if he could move to let her pass. Then later-on, an incidental incident happened that resulted in us being distant from each other.

Whenever the demonic is active, there is division

I stopped what we were doing and suggested that the demonic was taking advantage of us. Now, my wife trusts me, but still defended herself by saying that she couldn’t recall any incident that had offended her. I suggested her defence was further evidence that the demonic was active. She reluctantly agreed, and then began the search for where pride had entered and made her susceptible to the demonic.

What happens when someone has a go at you?

Demons very often use people to stir your emotions. The defensive feelings such as fear, guilt, and being bossed or manipulated, start taking over. We then try to solve our feelings so we feel ok again, and once we do that we’re caught in Satan’s snare.

Before any feeling, there’s always a voice … something like … you’re an idiot, or, you’re rude, if you don’t do what I say. The voice is always designed to get you to react in fear so you do what it wants. We usually don’t hear the voice because we’re absorbed with our emotions; so, we fail to realise that we respond to the voice with something like … don’t tell me what to do. In other words, we speak self-defensively to the voice, yet often in fear we end up doing what the voice wants. Why? Because, we don’t like looking bad.

What’s really happening?

What we’re really doing is defending our pride by protecting our reputation. Jesus said you can’t be a disciple unless you die to yourself. Perhaps the best way to understand dying is to look at the opposite to dying; and that is … to defend your reputation. If you’re always looking to defend your reputation, then you’ll never find death, and thus, Satan will keep you from heaven. Salvation is via death to self, and access to hell is via preservation of one’s reputation.

That’s the very reason that we read in Philippians 2 that Jesus made Himself of no reputation. He set the example. In fact, if you open your heart to death-to-self, you’ll begin to see that the whole of the Word of God teaches this truth. The modern religious system is into life and happiness through grace, but grace is just the easy path that avoids the revilings for standing up for God and His principles and His Ten Commandments when everyone else is compromising them and tolerating people’s sin and falsely calling it love.

Without faith it’s impossible to please Him

God plants the seed of faith, but it’s the disciple’s responsibility to water it. Faith doesn’t grow through the comforts of wealth and prosperity and things always working out; it grows through revilings. Jesus said, woe to you when everyone thinks well of you (Luke 6:26), but blessed are you when men revile you for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven (Matthew 5: 11 & 12).

Jesus isn’t preaching this lightly. It’s not just an instruction to try and honour; beside, you can’t do it without faith. He’s actually teaching you the path to salvation.

The man born blind

In John 9 we read the story of the man born blind. Jesus healed the man on the sabbath by spitting in the dirt and making clay and putting it on the man’s eyes. In envy, the Pharisees are offended. The Pharisees refused to believe he was really blind so they questioned the parents. In fear, the parents said he was blind but their son was old enough, so confirm it with him. The Pharisees take on the man whose sight is restored and threaten him with being an idiot.

In this story, Jesus is reviled, the blind man is reviled, and the parents are threatened with being reviled. Jesus suffered their reviling. The blind man suffered their reviling, but the parents protected their reputation and passed the buck.

The point is, the blind man could have gained his sight by interacting with Jesus, but he would not have gained his salvation without the reviling. It was the reviling that forced him to decide whether he would believe in and walk the way of Christ, or simply take the gift of sight and be cooperative with the demonic-inspired Pharisees.

Reviling is God’s way to strengthen your faith. Reviling is God’s way to save you. If you’re not being reviled then you’re comfortable with protecting your reputation and you’re not saved, no matter how much you pray, no matter how much you give, no matter how much you help. This is confirmed in 1 Corinthians 13.

The other point is, it’s more likely that the ones who have the problems will seek out Christ. The son had the problem. He needed Christ. The parents and the Pharisees didn’t need Christ, they were only interested in protecting their reputation. Problems from Satan are a gift from God.

Address your pride vs fix your feelings

Most people get hurt and try to fix their feelings, but Christians should use both their hurt feelings and their puffed-up feelings to put their pride on trial.

If you want to grow in faith, then take a pen and write down your feelings when someone offends you. You need to write it down otherwise your feelings will over-ride your spirit. Then write down what they’re really saying to you. Then, write down what you’re saying back to them. Ask yourself … is my reply, Holy Spirit or am I protecting my pride? Then repent, by transferring you trust to Christ with … ok, God, if they call me stupid, I’ll trust you. This is how you reinforce your faith. If you don’t practice faith, you’ll lose it. It doesn’t work by technique alone; it requires God’s faith, but God’s faith will grow if you water it, by trusting Him in the face of revilings.

 

May God strengthen our faith by helping us to be willing to suffer for His sake.

 

Pastor Rick Ramsley

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2018 in Faith, Suffering

 

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