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Watch 2022 online sermons » Creflo Dollar » Creflo Dollar - The Purpose of Suffering - Part 4

Creflo Dollar - The Purpose of Suffering - Part 4

Creflo Dollar - The Purpose of Suffering - Part 4
TOPICS: Sufferings

Mark 14:29 through 31 in the NLT. Let's see this. Verse 29, he says this, "Peter said to him, 'Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.'" This kind of sounds like Satan. Somebody says, "Well, how you figure that sounds like Satan"? 'Cause Satan always talkin' about what he would do. Next verse, "Jesus replied, 'I tell you this truth, Peter. This very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.'" 31, "No". Now, he tryin' to debate with... how're you gonna debate? That's just like when God tell you somethin'. You're like, "No, Lord". And he like, "Yes". He said, "'No!' Peter declared emphatically. Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.' And all the others, they vowed to do the same thing".

Now let's look at this real quick. His words were full of self-confidence, right? We established that last week. His words were full of self-confidence. So the question is this, Peter's failure then was a failure in self and not of his faith in God, a failure in self. So, but, before Peter's fall, Peter had faith in Jesus as the Son of the living God, but his faith was mixed with a whole lot of confidence in self. That describes religion perfectly, faith that's mixed with a whole lot of confidence in self. Somebody said, "What're you talkin' about"? Well, "God helps those", watch this, "who helps themself". You see that? See what we've done? And then we say, "Amen," to that. "God helps those who helps themself," when actually that's not truth at all. God helps those who need help and depend on him.

And so in permitting Peter to fail because of confidence in self, in permitting Peter to fail because of confidence in self... see, that's what I don't want. I don't wanna see failure because of confidence in myself. I wanna avoid failing because I had confidence in myself. Now, I was talkin' religiously to make it sound like I had a confidence in God, but I don't wanna fail because I had confidence in myself. And what happened? Grace taught him to depend wholly upon God. So now how does Peter's trial relate with all of us? Well, with all believers, failure of the flesh may be God's mean, I believe this. It may be God's means to bring about a greater dependance upon him that grows into an enriched spiritual life, trials to bring you to a greater dependence upon him. The trial here of Peter was to bring him to a greater dependence upon God.

If you'll start paying attention to the trials that you go through, you'll start recognizing that you have a greater dependence on God that maybe, somehow, you went in there, admitting it or not, but maybe there was some mixture of, you know, some self-confidence in with God, but he wants to burn off the self-confidence so that nothin' else remains except your commitment to be dependent upon him. So I believe failure is due to dependence upon self, should be stepping stones to a deeper spiritual experience. And there are going to be failures because you depend upon yourself. Oh, I got a lot of testimonies on those. It's the danger of marrying a method. It's a danger of saying, "I depend my experience more than I depend on God," the danger of saying, "I depend on my money more than I depend on God," "I depend on my talent more than I depend on God".

See, your talent is even no more an anointing. It's an anointing that God gave you, but the world doesn't understand "anointing," so they call it your "talent," and then you don't understand that you're depending on your talent more than you depend on God. See, God is working diligently in the body of Christ to burn that off of your life because greater fruit comes when you recognize you ain't nothin' but a branch. Somebody say, "What're you talkin' about"? He said, "I'm the vine. You, the branch. If you live in me and I in you, you will bring forth much fruit". And we wanted to bring forth fruit, but we wanna do it independent from the vine, and what Jesus has come to do is to make sure you know you can't do nothin' disconnected from the vine. If you understand that, say, "Amen".

So let me, once again, I believe that, you know, when God delivers us from dependence upon self, it's a stepping stone to a deeper spiritual experience. The more you find that you're dependin' upon God more than yourself, the deeper your experience with God goes. You can't praise him without really sensin' it, man, because you're like, "I know I depend on God," and all of us have had the opportunity to make, you know, if you're just willin' to be honest about it, where you have faced some things that's like, "I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do". And you go in a quiet place, and you get quiet, and you're like, "Lord, I'm talkin' to you 'cause I don't know what to do". And then you come out with wisdom. Wisdom is knowing what to do when you don't know what to do, and God begins to lead your path and your step, but we're constantly in, as Christians, lookin' for stuff to do so we can boast about what we do. We're saved by grace. We got it through faith, and he says, "So don't boast about your salvation 'cause it's nothin' you did to get it except to believe and to depend on me for what I've already made available".

All right, let's go to Paul's trial of faith, 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 7 through 9, in the NLT. Let's look at the apostle Paul. Now, from this point right here in this teaching, I want you to follow me now. I'm about to disrupt some religious beliefs, and when I say, "disrupt your religious beliefs," it disrupted mine. See, mine gets disrupted first, and then I come disrupt yours, and it's the things that we kind of look over, the things that we were taught. You know, you do all you know to do until you can understand deeper and do some things better. All right, now watch this. Here's the apostle Paul, the trial of his faith.

2 Corinthians 12:7, we're gonna look at 7 through 9, in the NLT. He said, "Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God", now, the apostle Paul is receiving these revelations about Jesus, the revelations about grace, all right? And he's receivin' revelation. No man, no man is teaching him this. He's receiving it from Jesus Christ. "Even though I've received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud," "So to keep me from becoming proud," you know, a prideful man is interested in doing it his way. A humble man is interested in doin' it God's way. And when you do it your way, you're probably dependin' on yourself, okay? When you're doin' it God's way, you've got to depend on him. He says, Paul says, "So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud".

Now, we argued about, you know, "Did God send the thorn"? "Where the thorn came from"? I ain't gon' get into all that. There was a thorn in his flesh to keep him from becoming proud. Since they that live godly shall suffer persecution, his was a thorn to keep him from becoming proud 'cause he was gettin' revelation that no man had ever gotten before, and it would've been easy for him to go around and claim himself as big-time importance. All right, look at this, "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need.'" So he's teachin' him right now, "You've got to depend on this grace. He says, 'My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast," he says, "about my weaknesses. Instead of boastin' about my revelations, I'm boastin' about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me".

So notice here God is tryin' to keep him humble, and notice, once again, the trial of faith then is not a testing as to whether or not there is faith. The trial of faith is not a testing whether or not that your faith is sufficient, but rather, this particular trial was a purifying of his faith, and it was a removal of all impurities of dependence upon self. That thorn there kept him from being proud, and it was removing dependence upon self to let him know, "This is not you. This is happening because of me, and I don't ever want you to think it's happening because of you. I got the thorn there to humble you so you don't go around tellin' people, 'Look at me, I'm great, I'm wonderful. I am awesome 'cause I have a whole lot of revelation.'" And God was, like, sayin', "Without me, you ain't got nothin', boy".

I know you know some Christians like that. They talk about how wonderful they are, how awesome they are, and it's like you've got to go back to understanding it is God that determines who's lifted up, and it's God who'll determine that'll be put down. You gotta understand how powerful that is. Now, in 1 Peter, he says, you know, he talks about goal, how your faith, how your faith... go to 1 Peter 1:6 and 7, again, how your faith, your faith, not your works, not your accomplishments, the pure faith that emerges from the trial of faith is said to be "more precious than gold that's tried by fire". Says, "Your faith is more precious than gold that's tried by fire. Your faith is more precious than gold". The subject here is how your faith is more precious than gold, and in the sight of God, pure faith in him, uncontaminated by confidence in self, has great value. So he's tryin' to get us to value our faith.

All right, now, I'm gon' say somethin' here. Just watch, watch this carefully. He said at the end of that scripture that your faith is gonna be "found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus". So when Jesus appears, guess what the honor is gonna go... why the honor is gonna come towards you? It's gonna come towards you because of your faith. Let me break it down. It's gonna come towards you because of your dependence on God. He said there's comin' a time when Jesus appears that the praise and honor and glory because of you dependin' on God, we've been taught that all the praise and honor and glory is gonna come because of our works and because of our accomplishments. That's not true. Huge surprise if you think that, when you go to heaven, they're gonna be celebrating your works and your accomplishments. I don't care how much I do. There will not be a celebration of my works, and there'll not be a celebration of my accomplishments. There will be a celebration of my faith, of my dependence upon God.

Now, I know the good works come out of your dependence upon God, okay? But we gotta dig. We gotta go a little deeper here to the root of it, the praise and the glory and the honor coming because of purified faith where it was a total dependence upon God and not a total dependence upon self, and there'll be glory and praise and celebration because "Here comes one that depended upon me in everything they did in their life". That's what I'm interested in. And religion tells you, "He is gonna celebrate that you fed 5,000 people. He gon' celebrate that you did good works of", 'cause that's how the world does it, "Oh, they lived a wonderful life. They did this, they did that, they did that. They fed the poor one time. You know, they just did all these things". That's not... okay, you can get the celebration and the praise from the world. You'll be dead so you won't be able to really enjoy it, but what's gonna matter is when you see Jesus, when you get to a place you ain't never been before.

Are you ready to take a chance on doin' what religion tells you to do and ignore that the praise and the glory and the honor is gonna be because you depended completely on him? That's where we gotta grow up. See, when you start talkin' about works and all that other kind of stuff, that's where the competition comes in. "I gotta do more works like them. I gotta do more works like that". And you become works-based-minded, and a lot of times, you're doin' work just 'cause you're just dependin' on yourself, and you do works out of the fact that you married a method and out of the fact you know what you're doin' and out of the fact you went to school for it and all that. I'm talkin' about a life that's totally dependent upon God, where sometimes you go in your closet, and "I don't even know what to wear, Lord, but I depend on you. You're gonna help me". I'm talkin' about when you can't sleep. "I totally depend on God".

I went through a period of about seven days. I just, I mean, I'd go to bed, I'd sleep tight, and then I get about four or five hours and wake up the same time every morning, 4 o'clock, 4:30. I mean, wide awake to the point where I'm just like, "Jesus? Where the sweet sleep"? Said, "I ain't doin' that". So my final attack on this was not to go to the doctor and say, "Give me some sleeping pills," 'cause I'm not gonna open myself up to get attached to somethin'. I don't wanna be, watch this, I don't wanna have to depend on no sleepin' pills 'cause I've now idolized the sleepin' pills over him. "So what did you do, Pastor"? I looked up every scripture I could find on sleep and rest and peace, and I'd go up in the room, and I'd just read all the scriptures.

Oh, but I'd look at the bed while I was readin' the scriptures. I wouldn't lay in it. I'd look at the bed, and I'd say, "When I lie down in peace, my sleep shall be sweet," and I depended on him. I depended on him. Well, last night, boy, I mean, well, last night, this mornin', the other night, the other night after that, I was like, "I know, brother don't feel like movin'". I had that hard sleep, that call apart sleep where you curl up. They say you're not supposed to sleep on your side, but forget that, boy. I curled up. No, heh-heh-heh. But you follow what I'm sayin'? I choose. There's an opportunity for me to depend on him, and those opportunities will come every day, but what do you choose? It's enough to depend on him.

Now watch this. Let's go, 'cause I believe the purpose of the trial of faith is that the purified dependence upon God "might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus". Now, real quickly, let's look at the faith of Abraham. Let's go to Romans 4, verse 18 through 24. Romans 4, verses 18 through 24. All right, we're gettin' a little closer now, Romans 4, verse 18. Somebody says, "Well, what've you done so far"? I'm tryin' to feed you the context. Context is king. I have found, when I have misunderstood certain things in the Bible, it's because I ignored the context. I could say, "Jesus wept," but out of context, I'll never come to the place of understandin' that weeping was a prayer of groaning that raised Lazarus up from the dead 'cause you gotta read the before and the after, context.

Now, verse 18, "Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hopin'". That's heavy. I've been in situations in my life, like, there's no reason for hope, but you keep hopin'. "Abraham kept hopin', believed that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him", he's hoping 'cause of what God said, "God said to him, 'That's how many descendants you will have.'" Next verse, "And Abraham's faith", now watch this, "And Abraham's dependence upon God did not weaken. And Abraham's dependence upon God did not weaken". See, the thing that we've got to do as Christians is, when trials show up, we won't let it weaken our dependence upon God. Your attitude ought to be "Come hell or high water, but I'm gon' still depend on God. If I get the money to keep the house or I lose the house, I'm still gonna depend on God".

Man, sometimes God'll let you use it just so he can show you he got somethin' better because your faith is being tested. And I know too many Christians, they don't depend on God no more. Rona has messed their faith up. But "Abraham's dependence upon God did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead", that meant you're not havin' no babies. Ain't no sperm racin' nowhere. It's dead. I just wanna make sure you understand. And he said, "and so was Sarah's womb". There are no babies comin'. There are no eggs. There's no sperm. They're too old. It's not going to happen. There was no hope, and he kept hopin'. Oh, please get this. There was no hope, and he kept dependin' on God. Have you ever been in a hopeless situation, and everything around you, they told you, "This one gon' happen, that one gon' happen"?

And I'm saying, I don't care what they tell you. You are going to keep dependin' on God. That's when them powerful things start happening in the lives of people who won't stop dependin' on God. It's not based on what you see. It's not based on what happened. It's not based on what somebody did. It's not based on what came through or what didn't come through. It's not based on if the pain stayed or the pain left. You gotta keep depending on God and demonstrate the authenticity and the genuineness of your depending on God. "Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger". In the midst of hopelessness, his dependence upon God grew stronger. In the midst of hopelessness, his dependence upon God grew stronger, grew stronger. In the midst of hopelessness, his dependence upon God grew stronger.

Someone says, "How to do that"? Well, you have to practice that. Wake up every day, "Lord, I depend on you". Every opportunity, "Lord, I depend on you". You walk like that. "And in this he brought glory to God". Look at what he did. His faith brought glory to God. "He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he's promised". Now watch this, "And because of Abraham's dependence upon God, God counted him as righteous". He was counted righteous 'cause he was good, and he did good works? No, he was counted righteous because God saw his dependence upon him. So, likewise, so, likewise, go to the next verse, "And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded for our benefit". He said, the only we're reason we're readin' this is "for our benefit too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead". He said, "Just like this miracle came through from Abraham because he depended upon God, those who depend upon Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they'll be made righteous the same way".

I'm righteous because I depend upon God's righteous. I'm not righteous 'cause I did somethin' to be righteous. Would you, let me read somethin' to you real quick. If you have your Bibles, look at this. Don't ever forget this scripture. Galatians chapter 2:16, in the NLT. I depend upon God for my righteousness, and I depend upon God for my provision, and I depend upon... Abraham depended on God. That's why Isaac showed up because they depended upon God, and God says, "I'm gon' count you righteous because you depended on me". He says, "I can count you righteous because you're dependin' on me. So if you depend on me for everything, I can make you righteous". And this is a picture of what I want New Testament believers to do, depend on Jesus Christ, and don't depend on yourself. You're gon' be righteous because of him, not you.
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