Sunday, March 23, 2014

THE CHANGE

Dear friends, what I wanted to talk about today particularly, was about the change that we get -- well I got -- when you come to Jesus Christ. Jesus is all about change and he makes people changed persons. A lot of people they are not changed and they know they are not. Many Christians are not changed either. They don't have a changed part of them. They just chase after their useless empty life, that they used to chase after, and everybody can see that there is no change in their life. But somebody who comes to know Jesus, it is a very different story; they get a complete and total change. I have seen this time and time again of people who got on their knees and decided to repent, and decided to seek Jesus, they got a change that came. Not a change from their own turning over a new leaf, but they got a change because they sought the Lord, and the old ways passed away. When I first came to the Lord, that was when I decided to repent, and I decided to turn away from my evil deeds, and the sins I was doing: various lusts, and all kinds of sins. When I turned to Jesus and turned away from all kinds of sins, it was then that he came into my life and he set me free from these things; and when you are free you are truly free. There is no sitting on the fence half in sin and half out of sin. When you are free, you are truly free, which means that you no longer have to do your sins, no matter what it might be. Whatever sin might be, anything that causes you guilt and you feel are addicted to and cannot stop, that is what sin is like. It is a bondage. What happened was, when I turned to Jesus and when I decided to repent, that is when his change came into my life, and he gave me power to live a new way.

That is why I am here, because he changed me to a new person, and he took away the old ways that were keeping me in bondage to the powers of darkness. He gave me hope. He gave me his love in such a way, that I could tell other people that, 'If you want to be saved from hell, you go follow Jesus and seek him yourself.' You see, Jesus is a reality, and when people seek him, they find to him. If you seek Jesus, you'll find him. That's what happened to me. I have seen a lot of people who decide to take Jesus seriously, and I've seen change come into their lives. When a person turns from their sin, and they decide to repent, that's when they overcome. They overcome their sin and it has to leave. They are no longer in bondage to doing acts of sin. That's the wonderful thing about Jesus: he means a changed life, not the same old life where you're in sin, he means a changed life. He can change your circumstances as well. Whatever it is, it is a changed heart inside of you that gives you a new way. That is what Jesus is all about; he is about a new way. He is not like the empty Christians, who don't appear to know Jesus at all, because they are just the same people as they always were. I have talked to many like this, and they are all interested in their own fun, and own ways, and they don't have a reality of Christ in them. They just don't know him. They are not changed, they are still in sin. That is because many of them don't realise that Jesus does change people.

You see friends, you can get the change in your life, if you bother to get on your knees, and start seeking him, and start obeying him, and reading about his words in the Scriptures, and taking the Lord seriously every day; then you're going to come on a new way. But it is a realisation, and we have to get to that point where we decide that: 'I am going to stop doing my own way now, and I am going to start to dedicate to Jesus instead.' You have to get to that point. People they just don't seek. They are not ready to let go of their life. That is what happens dear friends; so many of us not ready to let go of our lives. That is not what we're here today for, we're here to let go of our old life and embrace the new life, hallelujah. The old life leads to the fire, and it leads to destruction, but the new life leads to life hallelujah! That is the big change that we have when we come to follow Jesus Christ: is that the new life leads to eternal life, but the old life leads to hell. That is what Jesus is all about, and that's how I came to know the Lord, when I realise that: Jesus is not just in a book, he is not just a story, he is actually a real person. Jesus is not just about going to church and having a bit of belief about him -- everybody believes about Jesus, a lot of them -- It is more than that you have to really believe and come to understand, that Jesus is here and now. He is here now. He's waiting to change your life. He is waiting to come into your life and change you. Everybody who seeks find and that is the wonderful thing about Jesus, is that if you seek, you will find. Anyone who is serious about the Lord and wants him, these are the people who find the Lord. That is so wonderful friends! We serve a God who cares for people, and who loves you, but a God who doesn't love sin. No he doesn't! He doesn't love the ways of wicked persons. He doesn't love our ways of sin. Dear friends, as much as you hate somebody treating you badly, or maybe treating your child evilly, Jesus hates it even more. He really hates it when we go off and sin. It's very offensive to God when we just want to carry out our lusts. He doesn't have sympathy and empathy for us, when we just want to go and sin. Instead we're inviting the wrath of God upon our heads, when we just want to go off and sin. I don't care what sin, just any sin. Jesus just wants us to repent, and come to him, so that we can have changed life.

There is no excuse to stay in sin. There's no excuse to have un-forgiveness. We can just decide to forgive, and take the road to heal and forgive, and to pursue it. There is no use staying in hate, or staying in certain sins that you just want to do because our flesh loves it. A lot of people are bound to lusts, and of course your flesh loves it, that's why you have a problem with it. But the thing is, Jesus doesn't want us to love our flesh, the things that our flesh wants to love, otherwise we will perish. Because the flesh way will be done away with one day, along with all its lusts and desires -- and they are all going to disappear -- but you don't want to be destroyed along with them, by choosing the ways that God hates. God hates that stuff. He hates sin, because sin always basically hurts people in some way and it gives the power to the powers of darkness over more people on this earth. If you want to believe all the Christians that tell you, that it's okay to go on in sin even just a little sin -- of course they will say not big sin, because they want to cover themselves, because everybody, especially unbelievers, don't accept big sin; so they say, 'that person is going to hell because he continues in his big sins, that guy should be kept in prison', or whatever -- but friends what about the little sins? Why do people just want to forget about that? Because little sins lead to the big sins. When you start treating people badly, you can start to lead a person on the way to destruction. There're so many stories of criminals who talk about how badly their father or people in authority over them, treated them, or put them down, or were unkind, and one thing led to another, and they let bitterness into their hearts, and the little sin of the fathers often began just with meanness, bullying, and kindness.

And that often pressed people over the edge, to going to deep sin and hurt many people. People who bully others they will not inherit the kingdom of God. They just don't know Jesus, they are just in their old ways. That is why I want to talk about the new way that Jesus gives us today, and the freedom from the old ways. There is no use claiming to be a Christian if you're just following your old ways still. You are just the same old person bullying other people, or being mean and unkind, pushing people over the edge to become bad sinner. Obviously it is still there fault, they are making their own choices, but Jesus said, "Woe to the stumbling blocks." He said, "Woe to those who cause people to stumble. Woe to those who cause sin." He said on his return, he is going to remove everybody who causes them, including the people who do their sin. He said he will remove them all, and cast them into the lake of fire. So you can say: 'Who on earth is going to be saved? Because does not everybody sin?' Well actually not; not everybody does practice sin any more. That is the thing: just because you haven't stopped practising sin, or you just see people living around you in lives of wickedness, doesn't mean that there are not people who do not (sin). We live in the days of Noah, so you are not going to see many people who don't sin. In the days of Noah, there was only one person, or maybe two or three in the family, but one that we know about, and we know what happened next: we know that destruction came.

We know how God decided that he had enough of it all. We know that we're back in the days of Noah, so you're not going to see too many righteous people, friends. You are not going to see too many people who have left their sins, but they are out there. I'm not saying that those people who have left their sins, cannot go back to sin, no they can, and often they do and end up in a worse situation than they ever were. Some people they just never return again; they just stumbled one too many times, and that last one was fatal. That is the very sad thing, friends, with sin: you are never going to know which time is fatal. Sin is going to end up destroying you. These are the sorts of things I say to people who try and condone their continued lack of self control. They say: 'Jesus is so loving and he understands all these things, it is going to work out in the end', but sometimes it just does not work out. I know people who just have stumbled and they have not come back. It can happen to anybody. It can happen to you. If your heart gets hard, it can come become impossible to repent. People have a lot of faith in their repentance on their death bed, but friends, a lot of people just cannot repent on their deathbed; they cannot find it, they cannot find repentance. It is very sad. That is why I'm here today: I am here to talk about being changed, so that you don't have to go the old way. Now people know that they are in the old way. I was talking to somebody the other way and he knows he's in the old way. He doesn't even know the Lord. People know that they are looking for something and they are empty right now. They know that its pointless the way they are living; they know there is something they need that they don't have yet. They know that. So when I start talking about the change and the way of Christ, how he makes you a new person and he set you free from sin, people start to think about their life, and they start to think why is this guy so sincere and sure? 16:26 They can see that you had indeed found the Lord.

People can see it. People don't see that in lukewarm Christians; lukewarm Christians, who read the Bible and talk about stuff, but they are not interested in Jesus so, and they (unbelievers) cannot see any change in those people. But when they see somebody who has really been changed by the Lord, who has indeed come from a different life, and then turned their life around because of Jesus, it is then that people start to think: 'I want that too.' Because they already know their life is bad; they know they are wicked. They know they're empty wild living, and sin doesn't bring pleasure in the end. I met a lot of people who wake up after their night out and they say they don't feel any good. You know friends, it might be wonderful to have your sin for the night, but then when you wake up you just feel regret, emptiness. You just feel you are wasting your life, and it is true, you are. You're just headed down the broad road to destruction. What happens is: we're just headed down the broad road to destruction. That is the unfortunate truth; if we follow the ways of the flesh and we follow our sin, we're just heading down the broad road to destruction. Do you know what friends? It is time to just repent, and come on the new way by coming to Christ, and get his new way in your life. You don't have to go the old way, because I found a new way. I was going the old way, then my life changed, and here I am today. It is wonderful! That is what Jesus is all about; Jesus is all about change: change of heart, change of mind, change in your life, no longer condemned and bound to sin.

Then people say to me, 'Well I cannot stop sinning. I'm just stuck in doing it.' Some people feel so guilty, because they are addicted to all kinds of things like masturbation for instance, or fornication, or are addicted to swearing, or addicted to drugs of some sort, anything that they are addicted to, and just can't stop! And of course they feel guilty, because sinning just does not make you feel any good. Sin just brings you guilt and condemnation. Just around and around in a circle -- of guilt and condemnation. And of course you're not going to feel any good listening to all your greasy, grace preachers, because at the end of the day, if you're going to be honest with yourself, you're going to know that you're not right with God. When you sin -- even if you believe in greasy, grace covering your sin -- you're still not going to feel any good, friends. The conscience doesn't lie. You might believe lies, but in reality there is no lie, because we know we're not right with the Lord if we're IN sin. The only way to get free from this sort of thing -- sin and addictions, the power of bondage of a sin over you -- the only way to be free from it, is repentance. That's the only way. Repentance is what people do when they come to Jesus Christ. You cannot repent and NOT turn to Jesus, that's not repentance. Repentance is deciding you don't want to go that way anymore, and it is deciding you're not going to love sin any more, even though your flesh loves sin, and instead you go to Jesus. Because you see what happens is, when you do that, you realise that you want Jesus more than anything, and you don't want to end up in hell. So even if your flesh wants you to do something, you're going to put it down, because Jesus comes into your life. You don't have to do these things any more.

They don't have to rule you. Of course when we're just living our life, without the hope of Christ, without his new way, and without the realisation of the fire and judgement, we're just hopelessly enslaved to our desires; and we just do them, we're on a mad roller-coaster ride to the fire. That is true. But friends. when we decide to repent. that means you just don't want to do it any more. You come before the Lord, and you say: 'I just don't want to sin any more.' But the thing is it doesn't stop there: I know a lot of people including myself in times past when I was in sin, and I would say that I didn't want to sin, but I would just keep sinning. That is not the way. First we have to decide that we don't want to sin. But then, when we've turned to the Lord, we have to do back up our actions. There is no use just being a procrastinator and saying you don't want your sin, but you just go and do it! That's not the way of a right heart, is it! It just means that you're saying: 'Hey I don't want to do this, but part of me really loves it, so I'm just going to go and do it. In the end it was YOU who made the decision. It wasn't God, and it wasn't the devil, nor was it the sin: it was you. So you are the problem, if you want to continue sin. But the way to freedom is: you decide that, 'I am going to follow Christ.' It always comes down to the sorts of decisions you make, especially in the temptation, because Jesus said himself: "I came to call sinners to repentance." You go read it. He said: "I came to call sinners to repentance." He didn't call the righteous, he came to call sinners to repent. He didn't come to condone sin, or for you to continue sin. He didn't come to forgive sinners while they continue to sin; he never said that. He said: "I came to bring sinners to repentance." He is the doctor and he heals them. So because you repent, he will heal you. When I see true people who actually do come to Jesus, I ways seen them change. Some of them they get on their knees, and they are in tears before the Lord of their many sins. They start to realise he is wonderful grace.

You know friends, we all already feel that we're under condemnation, when we're in our sins and bondage. Especially when you come before the Lord. You feel the need to repent even more, and fell you're way more condemned before the Lord, than you do if you block him out. When the presence of God comes to a person, they feel so condemned. They feel that they are really close to hell. They feel that there's just no hope. God strikes so much fear into peoples hearts, because they are in sin. But the reason they start to feel so grateful and really want to cry out to the Lord, is because they suddenly realise that Jesus has MERCY for them. He has change. He's not like this on the day of judgement, because on the Judgement Day, there is no hope. Coming before the Lord at the moment, is not like the day of judgement. If you come before the Lord on the Day of Judgement in your sin, you've got no hope. Do you realise that? You'll come before him, and be condemned, no ifs or buts. You know, you will be condemned and you'll be only looking forward to that condemnation written out against you. But not at the moment, for now is not yet the day of judgement. So right now we can realise that Jesus went to all that trouble -- even though he was equal with God in the form of God, as it is written -- to put on flesh and made himself a servant -- that is why he talks about being a servant -- and he came to serve and served until death on the cross, in humiliation, even though he was one with God, and he and God are one. He went all the way to the trouble of it all, to do all this just for humankind. So when you realise that your God died for you, you can realise that he is not a scary false god like allah, who doesn't care and doesn't listen. Rather he went to a lot of trouble to save us. So we gotta start to realise that today. All these other gods out there, they never went to any trouble to save us. They (false gods) don't give any hope in any religion. But not our God, he went to a lot of trouble. Even sacrificed himself for us. That is why Jesus Christ is such wonderful news, because he means CHANGE. God meant it when he decided to redeem us through faith in Jesus Christ. That is where the change comes.

Change will come into your life, when you start to realise that your sins are condemning you. We don't have to deceive ourselves here. We just have to accept that our feelings are right that indeed our sins are condemning us. We certainly are choosing that way, and we're not helpless sinners. It's our decision. We can't deceive ourselves and start blaming everybody else. That is what narcissistic people do. Narcissistic people are all about themselves. They can never blame themselves, they have to pass blame off to everybody else. A lot of these greasy, grace believers, are like that. They go and do sin, and blame onto everybody else. But when it comes to them, they are saved. But that's not how it is before God. We've gotta stop blaming sin, and blaming Satan, and blaming other people, for our lack of self control, and make a decisions to stop going to commit wickedness in the sight of God. Even if its small wickedness, like lying, dishonesty, unkindness and meanness. It is these little things that cause major problems later on. These are the pre-curses to terrible sins. And dishonesty is what ends up bringing a country down. It all begins with small sins, friends. The devil doesn't begin with any thing bigger than a seed of thought, or seed of desire inside of you. He can't begin with anything, because if you're not doing it, then where is he going to start? He is going to have to plant the seed and see if you're going to make a decision to follow darkness. Now of course we all have the flesh of Adam, and we are born to love to choose evil in the end. That's why there's pretty much no hope for humankind, unless Jesus came. But the wonderful thing friends, is that we can decide that we're going to repent and turn away from our sin. We can decide to not let bondage of sins rule us, by making honest decisions, and deciding to be honest before Jesus. When temptation comes, deciding instead to put it out, and come to Christ, and get the change. It's the change from Christ, which is real, real change. He is actually a change. We don't need to be in bondage any more to the ways of the devil. I'm telling you, we just don't need that. Satan can tempt us, and our flesh can tempt us, but we can just get on knees, and we can decide to no longer chase after our evil, and we can decide to full heartedly give ourselves to Jesus and think about serving him every day. I know it's not easy, but if we really want to do that, that is what we're going to do. Simple as that. Jesus is change. He changed me, he changed me to go on a new way. We have to stick with that new way. I can go off back to the old ways if I wanted to. After all, we have the old way within us still. But we have a new way as well. But the thing is, before I didn't have a new way; I couldn't defeat myself with myself. How can you defeat yourself by yourself?

It's just not going to work. There has to be a new way in us to defeat the old. And that's what happens when Jesus makes you born again. Dear friends, that is why I want to talk today about this wonderful change in Christ, that Christ gives you. It happens when you decide to take Jesus for real. That is what true belief is. You start to realise who he is. When you start to realise who he is, you become not only a hearer of the word, but also you become a doer also: because you repent, you strive to lay your faith in the Lord everyday, you become born again. You're like the seed that grows on the good ground; you hear the word and become born again. You read the word, and you pray, and believe the Lord, and you decide to repent, and because you repent, a change comes into your life. A new way comes, hallelujah! That's what Jesus is all about. Jesus is all about a new way, a new change. It is something that you have to pursue with the Lord. You've got to want to, and you've got to pursue it. Pursue repenting. If you decided to repent, you will see the change. It doesn't have to happen over weeks and months either; it can happen when you decide to repent and be free.

I know people who hear the gospel of Jesus, and they realise that they can repent, and they can accept Jesus, so they feel so wonderful. When it happens, they just realise how wonderful the Lord is; they have joy and the fresh feeling in their heart as God touches them. They feel wonderful. But then a little bit later over time, they fell away and went away. They just went back to sin. They went back to the old ways. They didn't endure and in time the flesh just took over them, and they were like the seed that landed on the shallow ground that didn't have roots. They didn't have roots in the heart. They were not able to completely dedicate themselves to the Lord. It's very sad. We need to think about this dedication to Jesus. We've gotta start to take him seriously so that we can get the change coming to our life. You can't take Jesus seriously if you just want to keep sinning and chasing your own way. You've got to start turning away from your old ways, and you've got to want the new way. You've got to want the Lord, and go and seek him. I can go back to my old way if I want to: I would stop praying and stop clinging to the new way in my heart, and the hope that I have, and instead I could just go off onto other paths. If we do that, the change will not come back. But dear friends, we must seek the Lord, and let us stay on the path, the narrow path. A lot of people try, as Jesus said. A lot of people will try to enter the kingdom of God, but there are not so many that end up going through the narrow gate. That's why Jesus said: "Strive to enter." He said of the broad way, that it is very wide and many people take that way. And if we want to just live on the broad way to destruction friends, we're not going to find salvation. That is what it comes down to, that we're just not going to find salvation on that way.

We've got to leave the broad path and leave the old ways, and we've got to start looking for Jesus. If you really think he is reality, then you should be praying, having faith. You know, we make the Lord what we live for, why you live, living for the Lord now, not living for your pursuits goals and dreams you have, any more. People they just live for these other things, but they are not interested in living for Jesus. But dear friends, we don't want to be like that, we're here to live for the Lord, to obey him, to have the new way come into our hearts. All you have to do is start praying and being serious about Jesus. You go do it. You go and pray seriously to the Lord, in faith, I tell you, you will get changed. That's what's so wonderful about the Lord; the Lord Jesus is all about change. He is a new way and a change, so you can enter the kingdom of God, hallelujah! That's why we want to be here today, so that we can be in this wonderful change that the Lord gives us. If you don't have that change, and you're still in sin, then you got to seek him, until you find him. He will give you the new way. The new way is when you are longer bound to sin and you can have victory. You can turn away from future temptation. Temptations will come against you, and try and bring you into more sin than before, a higher level of sin and more evil, and you're going to have to have self-control and the fruits of the spirit to stand. That's why you need to put on your ARMOUR. Once you believe in Jesus and take him seriously, he will definitely change you, and you're going to be a different way, but you've also got a put on your armour. You can't just stay there doing nothing. You have to prepare for the enemy, because he will come. When you belong to Satan in your sins, he didn't worry you too much. But when you come to the Lord, there are going to be worse things trying to come against you from the ways of darkness. And so we put on our armour as it is written. Our armour is our faith and prayer, and our salvation, hope, righteousness -- which is turning away from our sin daily keeping overcoming -- the helmet of salvation.

If you don't put this armour on, then you're just like the seed that landed on the ground where the cares of the world and the lusts of the flesh, the things of life, they come up and choke you out. If you are like that, then you're not standing with your armour on. That seed is the person's heart who didn't persevere. They didn't put on Hope daily. They didn't put on prayer. They didn't put on praise. They didn't put on righteousness by overcoming, by overcoming temptation. They followed temptation. When you follow temptation, that's not being righteous. Righteousness is resisting the enemy and he will flee. The enemy is sin. You know friends, resist and put on the armour, and you will not fall. But if we put our guard down, and we don't have the shield of faith up, we start falling into doubting, worry, cares of life, we start following sin, we're no longer walking with shoes of righteousness, and then we are going to be without hope, so all our hope goes; Game for the enemy he will just destroy you. This is what goes on spiritually in you where you cannot see. Of course we're not much for the enemy. He takes many away, but it all came down to, not the enemy: he was not the one who destroyed that person, it was the condition of their heart. That's what it all came down too in the end. The person who had the ground, the weedy ground, or the shallow ground, it was his heart in the end, it was his own doing. Because if he had been the good man's heart, and he had put on the armour and withstood, the enemy would have never got him. We do not fight an enemy that can destroy us, even though we're the strongest, because we've got an enemy that has already lost. He has lost to Christ. Christ has already defeated the enemy. So we fight someone that will always be defeated as long as we put our armour on.

So is really not that bad at all. But friends, people they just don't put their armour on, and it's just the condition of their heart in the end. I just pray that your heart and all of our hearts are in such a condition, that we can just decide to put our armour: the shoes of righteousness -- which is repentance and overcoming sin, doing righteousness not doing sin -- the helmet of salvation, and that the shield of faith, hope, all these things. These things are the result of faith in Christ and these things are because of Jesus. That's where the armour comes from; it's from Jesus Christ. Your righteousness is from Christ, because he set you free from sin. So you fight in the armour of hope which keeps you from temptation and overcoming temptation. So in the end these aren't your works, they are the work of God in you. Because when you did the first work, which was repentance and acceptance of Christ, then you entered into his rest, because he has already done the work for us to be free on the cross! That is the wonderful thing about Jesus is that you don't have to strive after religious ways to be saved. You just have to accept him and be changed. I don't say, 'Change yourself,' because you can't. I say, 'Decide to repent and go to the change Jesus Christ.' For the change, you need to go to him.

I could sit here and say, 'Go change yourself and stop doing this and stop doing that.' You could listen and go try and do that, but you probably couldn't, in fact you wouldn't be able to in the end. The thing is sin has a powerful hold and the more you fight it, the more it grabs you, because you are already under its control anyway. So I can say to you, 'Decide you want to change and go to pursue that. Go to Jesus Christ who is the change.' But once you are with him, you must put on the armour and stay with the change, because you don't want to go back. You don't want to be the shallow ground and just go back. You don't want to be the weedy ground, and over time get choked out by progression of your heart's condition. You would slowly just get worse and worse. That is not what we want to do friends. We want to make a full commitment to the Lord today. We want to progress with him. We want to walk in his righteous paths. That is why I say, 'Have hope, and have faith,' because if you decide to believe in Christ, you'll get those things, and have your armour on. Praise the Lord. So I just want to encourage you, to obey Jesus, to seek him, to give yourself to him, repent, do the first works and go to the change by accepting Jesus and he will change you. Then put on the armour and stay with it until the end, and then you'll be saved. That is what it comes down to dear friends. And that is the way of change, hallelujah…. ...