Creflo Dollar - How to Experience The Love of God - Part 5
I wanna start off a little different here today, and I'm leading in these next three verses of Scriptures to a question that I think I need to ask, you need to hear, and we need to answer. John 3, in 17, says, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but he sent his Son that the world through him might be saved". So you can tell by the Scripture, he's not talkin' about the earth. He's talkin' about people, okay? He said, "God didn't send his Son into the world". The "world," it is a system of operation. The "world," it's the way people think. The world chooses to live in opposition to the Word. The world, they choose to live and to think in opposition to the Word.
In other words, what the world does is the "world" would be those who have yet to be transformed by the Word of God. Remember Romans chapter 12? He says don't be conformed to the world's way of operation, the world's way of doing things, the world's way of thinking. See, people that are "worldly" are people that live in the world, but they go against the Word. People who have been born again have been born again out of the world because now they choose to be transformed by the Word, and so you see the difference. When somebody talks about the "world," they're talkin' about people who are outside of Christ, who've not accepted Jesus as their Lord and personal Savior, those who don't believe the Word, and their operation is not based in the Word. Their norms and values go against God's Word, and what's right and wrong in the world is based on if a whole bunch of people say, "This is right," then it's right. If a whole bunch of people say, "This is wrong," then this is wrong. That's the way of the world. That's the system of operation.
Now, sometimes, church people get that kind of mixed up a little bit, and they get a little bit too deep, and they call everything "worldly," and so you don't know how to enjoy life. God's objective is for you to enjoy life, but some of you have gotten so religious and so deep, you don't even know how to enjoy life. Everything's "worldly". You can't dance. That's worldly. You can't go to the movies. Remember those days? That's worldly. You know, you can't wear, what? It used to be you can't wear... what was it? You couldn't wear pants. "That's worldly". We come out of a lot of that stuff, but some of it still exists, so let me give you the definition of what's "worldly," okay, so you can have that.
In 1 John chapter 2:16, in the NLT, let's read it there. 1 John chapter 2:16, in the NLT, and we'll come back to the Scripture in a moment, but I wanna take a opportunity to really explore this. In 1 John 2:16, he says, "For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but they are from this world". All right, now go to the King James. So, basically, he's talkin' about "So what is 'worldly?'" He says, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world". So if it involves the lust of the flesh, it's worldly, if it involves the lust of eyes, it's worldly, and if it involves the pride of life, it's worldly. I need to break that down a little bit more, all right? So what do we mean when we talk about "the lust of the flesh"?
The lust of the flesh, they are cravings for physical pleasure. The lust of the flesh is always about the gratification of the flesh. "Nothin' else matters except gratifying my flesh". They don't consider if it's right or wrong. If it gratifies my flesh, that is "worldly". So what does it mean to have "the lust of the eyes"? The lust of the eyes is like you're craving for everything you see. It's the allurement of things of this world, and so every time you look at somethin', you're craving for this. You're craving. In other words, you don't know how to be content. You're craving for everything. The thing that you desire may not be wrong, but the fact that you're just craving for everything and you just can't be satisfied, that's the problem, the lust of the eyes.
And then "the pride of life," now, this is interesting. The pride of life involves pride in our achievements and our possessions. Here's what it literally means: obsession with status and importance, so the pride of life is all about you wanting to be important in the eyes of other people. The pride of life is you working real hard to be validated by others. You're working very hard to achieve so that you can have the status of being important, and he says, "These things are not of God. These things are of the world". Let me give you a simple illustration.
You know, some people say, "Now that I'm born again", you just ought to listen to church music. "Sign me up". I don't wanna hear that. I don't wanna hear that, especially when it's your night with your husband or your wife. You don't wanna put on "Sign Me Up". You wanna put on a little Lou. "You will never find" "Sign me up"? See, what you don't understand is that, I remember, when Taffi and I came out, I forgot what conference we were in, and we were, actually, it was a Christian song by Kirk Franklin, and we came out dancin' with it, and some of the comments we got, "That's just worldly. That's just not a good example". What?
See, I don't wanna hang around you because you don't understand how to have fun. You call everything "worldly," and you're tryin' to invite me into the bondage of your sad life. But there are a lot of good songs that are not tagged as "Christian songs" that can be for your enjoyment, especially back in the day. I mean, there were just so many amazin' songs, and we just, you know, "I can't hear that because", no, please listen to me: God's number one objective is that you get to know him, that you learn how to enjoy life and that you live it, enjoying life. Here's what I have to say: If you don't get anything else out of this sermon today, learn how to enjoy life. Learn how to enjoy life.
Me and Taffi went hikin' through canyons this past week. Well, I don't know how you hike. I don't hike. It's just there wasn't no way through except walkin'. Learn how to enjoy your life. Quit being so stuck-up in your holiness that you end up not bein' holy at all. So the world, these set of people who have yet to accept Jesus, the world, these set of folks who are still not thinking in line with God's Word, that's the world. See, you're only one Jesus away from hell yourself. Do you understand that? You're not heaven bound because of your wonderful works. You're not heaven bound because of all your beautiful things you do, and while you do your wonderful work, you condemn other people for not doing what you do. The only reason you're getting in is because you accepted Jesus and what he has done.
So now let's look at these Scriptures. Go back to where we started. Everybody cool with where we are now? So you know what the "world" is. Now, we live in the world, but we're not of the world. You understand that? We're here, but we don't believe like the world. We don't think like the world. We don't speak like the world. We don't panic like the world. We try to respond to the Word of God by faith instead of the way that the world wants. Now, that type of response is gonna draw people to wanna be like you, but you cannot continue to wear the T-shirt that says, "I'm a Christian," while you demonstrate the character of the world.
So what's the difference, you see? All right, now let's go back to where we started from: "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world". Another translation says, "to judge the world". Jesus didn't come to condemn everybody. Jesus didn't come to condemn you because you did that or you did that, or Jesus didn't come to condemn you because your behavior was bad. He didn't come to forgive you because you didn't speak the right words. He didn't come to condemn you because you miss a week of prayin'. He didn't come to condemn or judge you for that. I want you to get this. With all of the things that are in this world, with all of the things that are within the lives of Christian people, Jesus didn't show up to condemn you and judge you with all the messy stuff that people have in their life. Jesus didn't come to condemn your mess.
Think of that. Jesus didn't come like some church folks: "Look at her, mm, oughts to be ashamed of herself". Jesus didn't come to do that, so why are you doin' it? Why are church people constantly condemning other church people? When you have enough stuff to deal with concerning your own self, you find the time to get in somebody else's business to judge and condemn them as if you have "made it". Now, maybe you didn't break the top ten, Ten Commandments. Maybe you didn't do this, maybe you didn't do that, but your attitude, there's no other way for me to say this, sucks. Probably could've got a better word, but your attitude is bad. Every time you go somewhere to eat, you're hard. You're real hard on the servers that come and try to... waitresses and everything, you wig out, "I ain't leaving you no tip," and, you know, they make their livin' that way. That is as much as sin as the guy committin' adultery.
All right, so, now listen to this: But Jesus didn't come to condemn the world. See, the world's not even saved, and he didn't come to condemn all... imagine this stuff, and you ain't gotta imagine it. You were in the world at one time. You were of the world at one time. You already know. He didn't come to condemn or judge the world, and that's all we do. "Look at them, mm-mm-mm, child, Lord, have mercy. Help 'em, Jesus. Uh-uh-uh, oughts to be ashamed of themselves". And we shame people. I hear preachers. When they preach, they say to people, "You ought to be ashamed". You get shamed from the pulpit, and Jesus didn't come to condemn the world.
Okay, so if he didn't come to condemn the world, why did he show up? So that that world, with all of that mess and all of that junk and all that bad behavior and all of that lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, with all of the stuff that's goin' on, Jesus said, "This is why I came: I came so that the world, through me, can be saved. I came to rescue a world that was swimmin' in mess". And he said, "They can't do it on their own. I came to get them out of it. I am their way out of their bad behavior. I am their way out of the stuff that came from abusive stuff in the past. I am their way out of being raped. I am their way out of hating and being hated. I am their way out of gossip. I am their way out of the secret closet sin. I am their way out. I came to be their way out. I didn't come to beat 'em up because of their sin. I came to be their way out".
Jesus is our way out. He is our way out. Now, he came to be the way out for the world, but he's also the way out for those of you who are born again and still strugglin' in certain areas. Your answer is Jesus. So here's what we substituted for Jesus, for Christian people: "I'm gonna learn these seven ways of doin' it, and with my own effort, I'm gonna do these seven things, and I should be good". Now, here's the sad part about it, is you did those seven things, and they did pretty good for maybe a week or two, but you found yourself right back in it because you ignored the way out for your own self-preservation. You wanna preserve yourself by yourself. You're tryin' to be like God without God. Somehow, you think through your own self-effort that you can overcome your bad behavior, you can overcome your idiosyncrasies, you can overcome all of that stuff without Jesus. "I don't need a Jesus".
I hear these intelligent folks who think they figured life out, and I'm sittin' back here, thinking, "Bless their heart. They're havin' a pretty successful season right now, but all hell is gonna break loose again because they try to be like God without God". There's so many people who say, "I don't need God. I don't need the world. I don't need the church". I'm sorry that you had a bad experience at church, and you're right, you know, God tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but that doesn't mean "come to church". It means get together as a community and keep building one another up, so if one of 'em is tippin' to fall, you'll be there to kind of help 'em.
So it's more than just comin' to church. It's community. Don't forsake community. Stay around saved people. Stay around people who are strong in the Lord, so if you feel like you're about to give up, cave in, and quit, there's somebody that can be used by God that can speak a Word into your life. That's what that means. We're not to change the Scripture and manipulate it to try to get you to come to church and then put fear on you and say, "If you don't come to church, then you ain't no good". No, no, no, no, I'm not gonna condemn you and judge you. I'm sayin', "You need Jesus 'cause, if you get Jesus, you're gonna want to come to church. You're gonna want to be around those people that are saved". But I don't wanna be around somebody, every time I show up, you condemnin' me, beatin' me up, and tellin' me I'mma be in hell by noon.
And some people say, "Well, he's preachin' that greasy grace". No, you don't understand. You don't understand. Until you believe and trust in Jesus, only then will you understand that he can do stuff on the inside of you that you've been tryin' to do all your life, and you'll change your behavior because you trust him. "Well, you know, this group said, 'There ain't no Jesus,' or that group say, 'You know, don't believe in Jesus 'cause he was white,' or that group said, 'You know, don't believe in Jesus because, you know'", la-la-la-la-la-la-la. There's all kinds of people. Jesus already prophesies there was gonna come in the last days antichrist spirits that are gonna try to get you away from the Lord Jesus Christ.
All right, now let's look at the same Scripture. I am on one Scripture, wow. Let's look at the TPT version of the same Scripture. Jesus didn't come to condemn. Look at this in TPT, "God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it". Jesus wants to rescue you from your bad behavior. Jesus wants to rescue you from your bad attitude. Jesus wants to rescue you from your secret sins. Jesus wants to rescue you from your condemnation 'cause all that stuff brings about condemnation. He wants to rescue you from your shame 'cause all that stuff brings about shame. He wants to rescue you from you guilt because all of that stuff brings guilt, and when you're operating in condemnation, shame, and guilt, it'll stop you from going forward because, every time you go forward, the condemnation pulls you back.
Every time you go forward, the shame pulls you back. Every time you go forward, the guilt pulls you back, and you're stuck in shame and guilt, and Jesus says, "I have come to rescue you from the shame and the guilt". You know what he said about shame? He said, "He that believeth in Jesus shall not be put to shame". You know what he said about condemnation? "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus". In both cases, Christ Jesus is your way out of condemnation, guilt, and shame, amen? All right, look at 1 John chapter 2, verse 2, in the King James, 1 John 2, in 2. "Well, Pastor, you know, you need to tell these people about their sin".
Let me tell ya somethin'. Let me tell ya somethin' I've learned about people: People gonna do what they wanna do. People, some people say, "I need my sin". Somebody says, "What? Why would you say that"? They say, "The only way I have relief from all of this that's happened to me in my life, this makes me feel good. This sin makes me feel good. I need my sin". And they go into self-gratification, and they trust theirself to deal with their issues rather than trust in Jesus, and people gonna do what they wanna do, and you know what? You're a free moral agent. You get to do whatever you wanna do, but there are consequences for your choices. Choose life or death. Choose the blessing or a curse. You choose. You have to make that choice, and that's what, I mean, I would love for, when I preach the gospel, that everybody respond, but it's just not like that.
"I hear what you're sayin', Reverend, but, you know, I'm shackin' up, and now I got two more folks in here. You know, I'm a man, and now I got two women, and we're havin' this poly-thing goin' on, and there ain't nothin' wrong with it". Well, it actually is because there's an inequality in this one man havin' multiple women. What you're doing is you're robbing those women of the opportunity for them to mature greatly in who they are and mature greatly in the security of what they have, and you're robbin' them for that because it's just you and three of them, and you have to come and choose, which, you know, brings about rejection and all kinds of stuff. There's a lot of damaging things, but if you're just getting with somebody in multiple marriage, just so y'all could have some money, there ain't gon' be enough after a while because, you know, he choosin' her every night and choosing you maybe once a year, and that's rejection.
That's a lot of emotional stuff that's comin' in and damaging you, and you're never being able to grow in the fullness of who God wants you to do because you're in a perverted situation and thinkin' that it's okay. Now, you can make a decision to do that, and Jesus is not gonna condemn you from doin' that, but there are consequences for makin' those bad decisions, but he says, "I can save you from that. I can rescue you from that". Now, I'm speakin' these things, and some of you are thinkin', "Really? People do that"? Girl, you ain't heard the half, for the half ain't been told. There's some stuff goin' on I don't even know what to call it. I don't even know how to talk about it. I'm talkin' about that old stuff, 30 years ago.
There's a lot of new stuff goin' on now 'cause the norms and the values of the world has reached their ultimate place, "Whatever makes you feel good, do it". Jesus says, "I wanna rescue you from that," and he's the only way out, and you may enjoy it for a moment or for years, but you'll end up, one day, in such regret, and Jesus will still be there to rescue you from that. He's never gonna quit on you. He's never gonna quit on you. Maybe you lost a lot of years of your life, and maybe you have a lot of regret, a lot of pain, and maybe I can go back in the past and find out what happened to cause you to be like that, but at the end of the day, Jesus is still standin' there with his hands wide open and his arms open, saying, "I'm still here. All of the junk you just went through is still not enough to drive me away. I've been waiting on you, son. I've been waiting on you, daughter. Come on, I wanna rescue you from that".