Creflo Dollar - How to Take Possession Through Grace - Part 1
Go with me to 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 1. We're going to pick up where we left off last week. We've been talking about grace, God's provision for the believer, and all of this started with us defining grace; and that's what we're teaching from, that definition. The unmerited, abounding provision of the unrestrained operation of God's infinite love that works through Jesus Christ, glory to God, for mankind, especially for those who depend on him. Now, I know that's a big definition, but that's putting... grace is big. Why? It's Jesus. Grace is not a curriculum; grace is a person, and his name is Jesus. Jesus, full of grace and truth.
So there's Jesus, and then out of Jesus comes grace and out of grace comes truth. So you can't declare the truth without declaring grace, without declaring Jesus. See, we just kind of take words and we just use them. We need to go and find out where they're coming from. Jesus gives birth to grace, and grace gives birth to truth. And what happens as a church, if we don't know Jesus and if we don't know grace, we really don't know truth. We're just using the word truth and not knowing what it's attached to. And so we've been talking about grace, God's provision for the believer, and one of the things we've been reiterating is that grace is not merely the means whereby God forgive sin. Grace is God's way of dealing with someone who's received Christ.
And so when you get born again, grace is the way God deals with you. And religion may tell you all this other stuff; that God's trying to kill you, God's going to get you, or God... no, no. Grace is how God deals with you once you get born again. There's something that happens if you just get that in your head. He's going to deal with you through grace not only during this earthly existence, but it's also going to be throughout eternity. So how God deals with us right now on the planet is through the grace of God. And so we started off talking about three aspects of grace.
Number one, that grace gives us a standing before God. Our stance is determined by grace. The day you get born again, grace now says you're righteous. Out of grace you're redeemed. Out of grace you stand before God blameless. You're not earning these things or deserving these things. By pure fact that you got born again, you're the righteousness of God. You were redeemed. By pure fact you got born again, you're holy. Somebody say, "I'm holy now". Say, "I'm redeemed now". Say, "I'm righteous now". Okay? And what you do doesn't determine that stance. You didn't do anything to earn that stance in the first place. It was Jesus that through his grace declared. Because you believed him, he says you're righteous, you're redeemed, you're saved. You stand before him, one translation says, without one single fault. Not because of something you earned or something you did, it was because of his grace.
So grace gives us our stance, our posture, and our position before God. And then we began to deal with the second aspect of grace is grace provides for our daily life on the earth; and that's what we're talking about now, that the grace of God provides for everyday living. The grace of God provides for everything you do. So your life as a Christian now may not be flawless. It may not be with perfection. You still miss the mark, but the grace of God is working on you and providing for you. There is provision through God's grace. The definition of that says that there is unmerited, abounding provision. That word abound means increase.
So the provisions of God are increasing in our lives every day, and listen, look at your life and take note of the provisions that are needed in your life, take note of the provisions that are needed in your life. God has already decided that through his grace those provisions are going to be met. Now somebody says, "Well, why is that important"? He didn't say through your good behavior we'll see if we'll meet those provisions, he said through grace those provisions are met. Well, you got to be careful of this. You got to be careful not to determine God's power operating on your behalf based on your behavior. 'Cause if you go around thinking, "Well, I got to be good in order to get God's goodness," you're missing the whole thing. God is not good to you because you're good, God is good to you because God is good. All right?
And so that's the whole deal right there. Grace provides for you as a Christian, this sounds weird, but that's what grace is. It wouldn't be grace if it's any other while any... otherwise. Grace provides for you as a Christian. You know, I'm getting to a place now where I'm just kind of start saying stuff. I'm trying to search for words not to shock you so much. I'm getting to the point now where I can't do that anymore. I mean, I can do it. I don't want to do it anymore. But grace provides for you in spite of your behavior or it wouldn't be grace. If you're going around and say, "No, I got to have this kind of behavior in order to get the provisions that come out of grace," it wouldn't be grace. It's like it's a double-minded thing.
You're thinking, you're saying, "Yeah, that's grace you don't earn it, yeah, but you got to earn it". No. You know, somebody says, "I'm nothing but a sinner saved by grace". Well, which one are you? You follow what I'm... and we've been doing that for years in the church. "I'm nothing but a sinner saved by grace". No. If you've been saved by grace, you're no longer a sinner. Now you're a saint. And so likewise the provisions of God's grace show up because of your belief in Jesus and not because of your performance. I'm not preaching the gospel of performance. I'm not saying you have to perform on this level in order for God to do that on this level. It wouldn't be grace. You frustrate the grace of God. God's intention is to blow your mind with the wealth of his grace so he can use you for an example in the ages to come.
That's Scripture. He's going to be bragging on us to somebody in the ages in the future about how awesome his grace was to a whole group of people who didn't deserve it. "And look how good I have been to them. Ain't not one of them deserve to be here, but my grace". So not only does he provide for you in spite of your behavior, he trains you out of your bad behavior. Grace teaches us not to deny God, and it teaches us to live holy and righteous. So grace is not teaching you to sin, but grace is saying, "If you miss the mark, it won't stop what I promise to give you through grace. And at the same time if I'll continue to show my goodness through grace, it's going to motivate you to change your mind about your bad behavior".
God knows better than us. God's not sitting there saying, "I'm going to get you. I'm going to get you. I'm going to get you, you. You're going to hell now. I'm getting you. I'm getting you. You'll be in hell by 12 o'clock". That's not God, that's religion. That's religion thinking that they can threaten and put fear on people and then that'll make them start living right. That's what the law did. That's what the Mosaic Law did. Grace wouldn't be grace if you had to do something to deserve it. Grace couldn't be grace if you had to achieve a certain status to get it. Grace would not be grace if you had to earn it. Grace is only grace if it's a gift that you received in spite of yourself. The only qualifications of receiving his grace is getting born again and believing him.
Now, do you know the thousands of Christians who have left Creflo Dollar 'cause they say, "I got a problem with the grace message"? You don't know enough to have a problem with the grace message. It ain't like you know Jesus like that. And Paul came and rebuked Peter because Peter was trying to get them to base their salvation on circumcision and what to eat and what not to eat, and Paul was like, "What's up? You were running well. What happened? Who has bewitched you? Who changed your mind? What's the matter with you now? After you've experienced the freedom of grace, you now think you've got to do something to deserve it"?
Paul went off on Peter in public, and that's what happens to religion. It has trained us in the gospel of performance, like we got to do something in order to enable God to do something out of his grace. It wouldn't be out of his grace if you still trying to do something to get him to do something. Uh-uh, no. "Well, I asked the Lord to do this". Most of the time we're asking and thanking God for stuff concerning us instead of thanking God for what Jesus has already made available to us. When's the last time you thanked him that you're righteous? When was the last time you praised him because you're redeemed? When was the last time you praised him that you stand before him blameless? That was a big job Jesus did. He shed his blood, got mugged, got beat up, got stripped, got whipped with a cat o' nine tails. And if that weren't enough, went to hell, the hell we were supposed to go through.
Went there for three days, three nights and then got up with all power in his hands and said, "All right, I've already done the work. So out of my love and grace receive it". And you turn around and try to redo the work again. Well, why won't you go to hell then? He went. If you want to redo the work, if you're going to really redo the work, go to hell like he went to hell. Y'all ain't ready to go to hell. Somebody like, "I'm already in hell". You ain't never known a hell that you... Shoot. Okay, let me calm down. Does everybody understand that? I feel like that's taken 12 years for me to be able to just say that, and even when I said it some of you look, were looking like, "What the heck"? Because you're thinking, "So you're telling us we can do anything"? You don't know Jesus yet.
When this grace starts operating in your life, the Bible says those who believe, this grace will start teaching you and changing you and transforming you. "You mean to tell me I can just go sleep with ten prostitutes and grace will take care of me"? That's not in the equation. You don't understand that once the presence of Holy Spirit comes in your life, there are things you ain't going to do no more because of the guest that you have living in your house. You know, when you have a guest living in your house, you and your wife might have an argument, but it's going to be a little quieter than normal. "I don't appreciate you talking..." "No, no, no. Don't start..." Why? Because you are aware that there's a guest in the house.
And so likewise, the stuff you used to do the Holy Ghost is coming in to change your mind about it. And what better way to change your mind than to show mercy and do something that you know you don't deserve? You know you don't deserve it. It ain't like you walking around like, "Thank you, Lord. I deserve it". You know you don't deserve it, so that cautions you to say, "Huh? God did that for me? Look, if God did that for me, I know... thank you, Jesus". He know how to get to you. That's what this grace is all about. That's why I'm teaching this so intently and so, I mean, with intensity but also with intention. We got to get it, and we got to get it now 'cause things are happening in the world.
Society as we know it is being transformed and changed. Religion is not going to get it. This is what you got to have to be ready, and I don't care how many systems fail, how many governments fall; I don't care of the lack of something that can't come over the water, God will take care of you through his grace. 2 Timothy chapter 2:1 the NLT says, "Timothy, my dear son, be strong. Timothy, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus". Be strong through the grace that God gives you. So strength comes through grace. Through grace a believer becomes strong. Now, as I was reading this Scripture, and you read on down and you look at verse 3 about being a good soldier and, you know, you strive to be crowned, I had to pause and I said, "Okay, God, I see all the things that come through grace. I see all the things that are made available through grace, and I appreciate that, Lord". I said, "But how do I explain to people how to position themselves to be on the receiving end of all the stuff that comes through grace"?
I've said for 2 weeks this comes through grace, and that comes through grace, and that comes through grace; and we know that when we talk about grace we're talking about Jesus. That strength comes through Jesus. Strength comes through Jesus. You can be strong through grace. But what does that look like in your everyday life? You need strength, and you know it comes through grace. That's good. "But how do I take possession of the strength that comes through grace"? Does everybody follow me? "How do I take possession of everything that comes through grace"? He's made everything available. "How do I take possession of everything that comes through grace"?
Now, I'm about to enter into a pretty intense moment because I'm rebuking even some of my teaching in the past. Not really much as much as bringing a lot of precision to something that's just really in your head, and I may lose some preachers friends from what I'm saying. Whatever. And I just need you to hear me. How do I take possession? Some of y'all already know this. You know what's getting ready to come out of my mouth. How do I take possession of strength that comes through grace, of righteousness that comes through grace, of everything that comes through grace? All right, so look at Romans chapter 4, verse 16. Let's look at it in the King James and then in the NLT. Okay. Don't say what I want, what I did not say, just listen to what I'm saying. Now, this is a sacred cow here. He says, "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace". Underline that. It is of faith, that it might be by grace.
Now, let me ask you something. What did you... that first line, what does that mean? What did it just say? Talk to me. I can hear 1,000 people at one time. Talk to me. I didn't say repeat it. What did it mean? Now y'all getting religious, just shouting anything out. Right? All right, let's look at it. He says it's of faith that it might be. So I'm trying to figure out how do I get strength to be. What by faith? You all heard. I heard. What? What? Faith is the doorway for that strength to come through. So it comes out of grace, it's available, but to get it to come through the doorway of my life it's got to be by faith, right? So faith is the doorway that allows the strength that comes out of grace to come into my life. Everybody agree with that? I'll take that. "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace".
Now check this out, and I love he brings Abraham in. He said, "To the end the promise might be sure to the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all". Come on, the faith of Abraham. He says, "As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations". You know the whole deal about Abraham, calleth those things that be not as though they were. All right, so here's the awesome thing. In the same verse, a couple of Scriptures here, he's talking about everything that's been made available by grace you can only take possession of it by faith. Are you the righteousness of God? When did you become the righteousness of God? The day you believed, and by faith you received the righteousness on your life.
So what happens when you wake up one day and you don't feel righteous and you open your mouth and say, "I don't feel righteous"? You did not become righteous 'cause of how you felt, you became righteous because of your faith. You believed God and you were made righteous. Abraham believed God and he was made righteous in Genesis 15. That's awesome. Abraham becomes this picture of you can't get what grace has made available except by faith. I'm now seeing, "Oh my God, I know what this faith is for. This faith is not for my performance, this faith is for Jesus's performance". See, we've been putting faith in what we do and not putting faith in what he has done. And so you're talking about, "Well, I got faith that if I do this, if I go outside without my glasses on, I got faith that God's going to let me be able to see enough to get home right".
You're going to mess up. He didn't tell you to have faith in that. This faith is designed to get what grace has made available. Grace has made everything in life available. Your faith is faith in the grace of God. Your faith is faith in the gracious God. We got all over the place with our faith. We just think you can, "Well, by faith, by faith I can do, by faith I can become a millionaire doing this job". Well, wait a minute. Where's that you... how's Jesus related to that job? Is that something you came up with and you just said, "Well, I'm just going to believe God for it"?
See, we've turned faith and grace into a genie lamp. We wishing. It's not faith, we wishing. We do stuff and we say, "Come on, Jesus". And Jesus says, "I've already done it. Find out what I've done. Believe that. Don't try to get me to move on what you doing. I need you to believe what I've done". You're having faith in what you're doing, and God wants us to have faith in what is done. He wants you to have faith in what he has done. What has he done? He says strength comes out of grace. "I have faith that I am strong". I find out what grace is made available. "I have faith that I'm strong. Now, I have faith that I'll be wise".
You know why God gives you wisdom? 'Cause wisdom shows you what to do when you don't know what to do. And so I have faith that I have the wisdom of God. You don't just go and try to be an entrepreneur because you saw three people on the internet doing it and you thought it'd be a good idea for you to do it, too. He gave you wisdom so you can hear from him. Glory to God. And so he can confirm, "This is what I've anointed you to do. This is what I've called you to do. This is the will of God for your life. Have faith in the wisdom that comes out of my grace and I'll show you how to do it". And in some cases he'll call you to do something you haven't been educated to do, but once he has stamped it grace is the provision for that thing to come to pass. Did y'all get... okay, let me go a little bit farther on this one.
So I'm strong. That's something that has already been identified. Go to Hebrews 13 now. I'm strong. Grace has made me strong. Grace has redeemed me. Grace has made me righteous. But do I have any faith in it? Do I have any faith in the provisions of grace? Do I have faith in the provisions that's come out of grace? Do I have faith in what Jesus has done? I really got convicted. I'm going around here trying to use my faith for everything concerning me and I'm not using my faith for everything that Jesus has already done for me. I'm using my faith to, "Lord, give me a promotion. Lord, do"... No, no. Back up first.
I use my faith to believe that I'm righteous. You know why? The devil is not going to ever be able to condemn me and shame me no more because my faith has received my righteousness. I receive my redemption. I've been redeemed. I receive that I stand blameless before God. I receive what Jesus has done. I receive wisdom. I so receive wisdom that I declare there's never going to be a spot that I'll be put in that I don't know what to do. How many of you have ever been in a spot and you seem like you were stuck? Don't you ever say you're stuck, just paused. Just paused. And if you have to run to the restroom right quick and just say, "All right, Lord, I thank you. I have the wisdom of God. I know what to do even though I standing here not knowing what to do".