Creflo Dollar - Is Your Belief System Offline? - Part 1
Let's begin this morning in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 28, Deuteronomy chapter 28. Is your belief system offline? Is it possible that you can call yourself a Christian and your belief system be offline? The next couple of weeks, I'm going to show you that ungodliness is more prevalent in Christian people's lives than it is in, you know, in the lives of people who are not Christians. Because you have to understand what ungodliness is all about. And so let's look at this in Deuteronomy chapter 28, verses 1 through 13, and let's read this in the... I'm going to be studying most of this out of the New King James Version of the Bible. The King James, that's fine. You can just leave it there.
All right, verse 1, he says, "And it shall come to pass, if thou shall hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee," condition, "if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall thou be, the fruit of thy body, the fruit of thy ground, the fruit of thy kine, cattle, the increase of all thy kind, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy baskets and thy store. Blessed shall thou be when thou comest in, blessed shall thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face. They shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou setteth thy hands unto, and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he has sworn unto thee, if thou, if thou shall keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy ground, and in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. And the LORD shall open unto thee his good treasures, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in its season, and to bless all the works of thine hands: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearkeneth unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:"
And so what we've just read, we've read the rewards and the blessings of perfect obedience to the law. So, basically, this was calling on perfect obedience to the law. The covenant of the law was a performance-based covenant. And in the book of James, he says if you offend in one or if you fail to keep just one commandment, then you're guilty of breaking all the commandments or not keeping all the commandments. And so here he's talking about these blessings, and remember, there's 613 laws. He says you've got to perfectly keep these laws in order to get all of these blessings. However, since no one except Jesus has ever obeyed the law perfectly, you do know that, right? Nobody but Jesus has obeyed the law perfectly. And since Jesus, he's the only one to obey the law perfectly, we all are disqualified, listen carefully, we all are disqualified from these blessings, based on our performance.
If it was based on our performance, we would all be disqualified for the blessings. But the good news is these blessings are a part of our inheritance, because we've been given the gift of the perfect obedience of Jesus. So, we don't get none of the curse; but because of the gift of perfect obedience of Jesus, we get all the blessings and none of the curse, not because of what we did, but because of what he did. Jesus perfectly obeyed. We are not blessed because we obeyed perfectly. We are blessed because Jesus obeyed perfectly. You get that? In fact, Matthew 5, verse 17 through 18, everything we have and everything we get now as New Testament Christians, we get it because of what Jesus did. Don't ever look at your performance to try to qualify why you have something. Everything you possess and everything you have, it came through the perfect obedience of Jesus.
Look at what he says in verse 17. He says, "Think not," Jesus is talking, he says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill". Verse 18, "For verily I say unto you, 'Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till it all be fulfilled.'" So, Jesus perfectly fulfilled all 613 laws, perfectly obeyed all those laws. And so now we've been given the gift of the perfect obedience of Jesus. And so now, through the perfect obedience of Jesus, we now have all those blessings I just read to you, not because you perfectly obeyed, but because he perfectly obeyed. Does everybody get that? All right, so one of the questions that many people have when confronted with the gospel of grace is, "How does obedience fit into this new covenant? How does obedience fit into this new covenant"? Because in the Old Testament, it was all about your performance and your obedience to do.
The Old Testament was all about doing. This New Testament is all about done. The Old Testament was all about you working for God. The New Testament is all about God working for you. Amen? So, let's answer the question, "How does obedience fit into the new covenant that we are under"? Now look at Hebrews 3:18-19 in the New King James Version. Hebrews chapter 3, verse 18 and 19. This is such a significant Scripture. Guys, if you can put it on the screen, this is big, this is big. All the Scriptures are big, but this is big, okay? Somebody said, "Well, big means big". Yeah, big. All right, now watch this. "And to whom did He sware that they would not enter in His rest, but to those who did not obey"? So, he's dealing with Israel. "You're not going to find a rest from your enemies". He says, "I sware that you won't, and I'm talking to those who did not obey". Then in verse 19, he basically says the same thing, but a little differently. "So we see that they could not enter in". But this time he uses a different word, "because of unbelief".
In verse 18, they couldn't get into the rest because they, if you did not obey. You did not obey, you couldn't enter into the rest, disobedience. But then in verse 19, he refers to that as unbelief. Look at it one more time. Verse 18, he says you don't enter into the rest if you do not obey or disobedience. Verse 19, he confirms it again. So they could not enter in, but he call sit this time unbelief. So, we need to note that God equates unbelief with disobedience. Did you see that? He equates unbelief with disobedience. For Israel, not trusting in God's promises and ability, that was called disobedience. And because of unbelief/disobedience, Israel did not enter the promised land and the corresponding rest from their enemies that God had promised them. So, if Israel's unbelief was called disobedience, then belief on their part would have been called obedience.
So, here in the New Testament, in the New Testament what he says is, he says, "You want to know what obedience is in the New Testament? Obedience in the New Testament is called belief. Disobedience in the New Testament is called unbelief". So, now we can see a practicality there. In the Old Testament, it was all about your behavior, and what you did, and what you didn't do. But in the New Testament, he says when you don't believe, that's disobedience. In the New Testament, he says, "If you believe, that's obedience". So, we've got to follow the context of this meaning all the way through the New Testament. And so in the same context, God went on to say that his rest, go to Hebrews chapter 4:3. In the same context, he says that his rest is still available, not just to Israel, but his rest is still available to those who believe.
Look what he says here. He says, "For we who have believed," or obey. "To the ones that believe or obey, they enter in that rest, as He has said: So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter in My rest, although the works were finished from the foundations of the world". So, notice what it says. "We who have believed", he calls that obedience. "We who have obeyed do enter into the rest". And then you look at Hebrews 4:11, look at that in the New Kind James Version. Hebrews 4:11. In fact, we are exhorted in verse 11. He says, "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience". Or what? Unbelief. So, he continues to use those words interchangeably, why? Because they're the same.
Now, here's the point I want you to get out of that. "Man, I feel like I'm in school. We're going through this". Yeah, because we're living this, and so we have to be confident in understanding what the Bible is telling us. So, we're not, you know, living the old way of living when there's a new way of living, I'm understanding this. Now, look, in the light of God equating belief and obedience, this is a radical statement. In the light of God equating belief with obedience, our actions are not the first place where obedience must occur. In the Old Testament, our actions were the first place that obedience had to occur. You were either obedient or disobedient based on your action in the Old Testament. But now our actions are not the first place where obedience must occur. Obedience begins in the same place where everything in our relationship with God begins. Where does that begin? It begins with believing the gospel. Your obedience begins with believing the gospel.
So, I want you to consider something. Go to Galatians chapter 5:7, Galatians chapter 5:7. Consider the Galatians when Paul wrote to address a real crazy problem that was going on at the time. They had received the gospel, and they had received the freedom of Christ, and they were doing well, and then I believe it was in Galatians 2, he asked a question. He says, "Who has bewitched you? Who's come in and got you to no longer believe your freedom in the gospel"? The first part of this verse 7 says, he says, "You ran well". So, he starts off, and he says, "You know what? You received the freedom of Christ, and you were, in fact, running well, but something happened". They had come under the influence of religion. They had come under the influence of the mixture of the gospel of grace with performance and legalism. Something happened.
And what did Paul have to say about it? Look at verse 5:7. I'm gonna read the whole thing. He says, "You ran well. Who hindered you from believing the truth? Who hindered you from obeying the truth"? The very context communicates that they changed what they were believing, and yet they used the word obey. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? Who hindered you from believing the truth? So, if the Galatians were not obeying, they must have been disobeying or not believing. And what they were disobeying or not believing was the truth of the gospel. Paul didn't write to them about any commandments they were violating or any traditions that they were not keeping. He was writing to them about standing in their freedom in Christ.
Look at Galatians chapter 5 and verse 1. Paul was addressing that. He wasn't addressing, you know, what you were doing. He was addressing your believing system. In verse 1, he says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free. Stand in that, and do not be entangled again with that yoke of bondage". You get under the law. So, for the Galatians, and for us today, obeying God was and is a matter of believing the gospel. Obeying God was and is a matter of us believing the gospel. This issue in the New Testament is about your belief, something that's so simple that we, you know, somebody talks to some Christian about believing, they're talking about, "Yeah, but what I'm gonna do"? I need you to believe. "Yeah, but what I need to do"? You're so concerned about what you need to do, you're failing to understand that your belief system is offline.
Somebody turned your Wi-Fi off. You don't even know it. All right now, does everybody understand that first part of what we just said? That's key. All right, now here's something interesting. Understanding what I just said shouldn't be a hard thing unless you're having a hard time letting go of your old way of understanding. If you're sitting up here thinking, "Well, yeah, but it's obey," but it doesn't mean doing. It means believing. This whole New Testament of grace is about believing. It's simple. Believe. It should be more complicated in the Old Testament because you've gotta figure out what to do. But Jesus done, excuse my English. I was gonna get College Park. I'm gonna stay that way. He done already done, done all everything that need to be done. He's asking you to believe it. How hard is that? "Oh, this grace message is difficult". No, he says believe it. Get your belief system online. Believe it. If you have questions, just stay in belief, and they will be answered.
Now, let's go to Romans chapter 6, verse 16, New King James Version. Romans 6:16. Now, I wouldn't normally not teach this. I would maybe teach it at a seminary or a Bible college, but I'm thinking, dude, I'm teaching it to you 'cause the devil is busy. He's trying to knock us off, and you've got to know this. And so when he show up, you need to know how to laugh at him, bruh. You picked the wrong one. I already know. When he show up to say, "Look at what you didn't do, look at what you did do," and you think, "Hold on, bruh, wait, wait, wait, wait. Have you seen how I believe"? See, I've entered into the rest. I ain't got to do something to show you what I believe. I believe, and by me not doing nothing most of the time but resting in what I believe is what God commands of me. The rest is still available for anybody that want to believe. I'm not going to be walking in cares of the world. I'm not gonna be walking stressed out. I'm not gonna rent space in my mind for somebody else's drama.
If Jesus said it, I believe it. If he promised it, I believe it. And what you gonna find me do is I'm gonna be talking about how I believe it, acting like how I believe it, testifying about how I believe it, singing songs about how I believe it, and I'm gonna be chilling out while you sweating like a sinner trying to get something done to satisfy your own fleshy desires. What authenticates faith is not your works. What authenticates faith is your rest. Wow. All right, Romans 6:16, he says, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey". Now, again, what's happening in your mind? Slaves to obey. You're thinking about what you're doing, all right? He says, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey". So, you're thinking about, "Yes, sir, master. Okay, yes, sir, all right, we'll do that". You're thinking about carrying out an order of some type of action. He says, "You are that one's slave who you obey, whether of sin leading you to death, or of obedience leading you to righteousness".
All right, now let's milk this now. You can use your own, you've got computers. You've got little phones. You can test this thing out while I'm teaching it to you. The word obey in the Greek, the Greek word for obey means to listen to. It means to hearken to. And when you hearken to something, it means to pay attention to. So, literally, what Paul is saying here in verse 16, he says, "You are a slave to whomever you pay attention to. You are a slave to whomever you listen to and take heed to what they are saying. You are a slave". That's what he's talking about. Paul is not talking about performance and obeying the law here, but it's talking about the message that we are listening to. He is talking about what we believe. Are we listening to the one whose sin was unto death? That's Adam. Or are we listening and paying attention to the one whose obedience is unto righteousness? That's Jesus.
In other words, do you believe that you are still in Adam's sin as a sinner, or do you believe that you're in Christ's righteousness as a saint? He is saying, "Whatever you're listening to and whatever you're giving your attention to, that is what you're going to believe". So, you can't say you don't believe that, and that's what you're listening to. Let me give you a little bit more. Romans 5, Romans chapter 5 in the NLT, guys, Romans 5 in the NLT, verse 18 to 19. Romans 5 in the NLT, verse 18 and 19. Why am I teaching this? Oh, man, it's because it's like there's so many places you go that you don't hear this one, and you continue to do the things that you're doing, and you're trying to figure out why are things not working? You're not reading right.
Look what he says. He says, "Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everybody". Yes. "But Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everybody". So, which one are you listening to? But he uses the word obey. Which one are you obeying, or which one are you giving your attention to? Which one are you listening to? See, the church, as a whole, if you haven't noticed this yet, the church as a whole doesn't understand the fact that we are under grace.
Okay, look at Romans 6, verse 14 in the King James. Romans 6, verse 14. The church, as a whole, we kind of mention grace like a bypass subject. It's who we are now. It's who we are now. Grace is not a subject. It's Jesus. Grace is not a curriculum. It's Jesus. Jesus, and out of Jesus comes grace, and out of grace comes the truth. It's Jesus. "For sin shall not have dominion over you". Why can sin not have dominion over you? Because you're not under the law. So, he says living life under the law gives sin dominion over you. You behave crazy, and sin is conquering your life because you're still living under the rules and regulations that administer the law. He says, "But we are under grace". Say out loud, "I'm under grace".
Now, I don't know what else to do except show you that. If you're sitting there reading, "We are not under the law, but we're under grace," and then walk out here and say, "Well, I don't believe we're under grace," I don't know what else to do. 'Cause if we say we live by the Word of God, and I'm showing you the Word of God, reading the Word of God, I ain't switching up words, all right. I ain't doing nothing but reading it straight, and you can still walk out of here and say, "I've got a problem with the grace message". He said your life instruction is under grace. And so we're trying to teach you how to live that life under grace, and it's still this thing. Do you know the reason why Paul wrote the book of Galatians? Because there were fake Christians going around trying to take people who heard the message of grace, and bewitched them into thinking, "No, that's wrong. You need to be living by the law". You've got circumcision is still important. And Paul showed up. It's like not no more, because in Christ there's neither circumcision or uncircumcision.