Creflo Dollar - Understanding Before and After The Cross Truths - Part 1
Acts chapter 16, verses 30 and 31. And you know, this is a story about the Paul and Silas. You remember the earthquake came and the jailhouse doors opened and the guard was freaking out. He's like, "Man, they're gonna kill me for sure". And he asked this question, and he brought them out and he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved"? All right. Similar to "What do I need to do to have eternal life"? And listen to the answer. "And they said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house.'"
He said that's the only thing I want you to do. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. And if your house believes on the same way, then they shall be saved. But that's not enough because when you're conditioned into this self-performance mindset, believing the Lord Jesus Christ is not enough, it's just I gotta do something, I gotta do something, and I gotta do something. You don't believe God. If you believe God, he'll give you, he'll lead you, he'll show you on the things you need to do. Just put first things first, believe God. After the cross, it was not about your performance, after the cross, it was all about his performance, which he did a great job and me believing him.
How do I get saved? I believe Jesus Christ. Yeah, but don't you have to do something? What you gonna do? What are you gonna do? And it'll end up being phony, and it'll end up being fake. What do you do? You believe Jesus Christ. See, people don't go to hell for bad doing and they don't go to heaven for good doing. Doings are no longer factored in. You go to heaven or go to hell based on whether or not you believed and received him as your sin sacrifice and the ransom paid, or you denied him. If anybody in here goes to hell for what you do, everybody going to hell. We go to heaven because we believe Jesus Christ and have accepted him as our Lord and personal savior.
So why do you have those two extremes? Because they don't understand, people don't understand the difference between what happened before the cross and what happened after the cross and you're still stuck in something that is no longer valid. Scripture says it over again. No longer valid. Why? The better has come. Why? Because after the cross, you can be born again. Before the cross, you could not be born again. There's no Holy Ghost living in anybody before the cross. That was the most powerful thing. When divinity decided to move into humanity for the first time, it never happened before. You're talking about people who have never experienced what we get to experience after the cross. Divinity, the presence of God moved in me, he lives in me. There is no comparison to nobody. The law and the prophets ended. Apologies. Am I getting too excited?
Number three, let's look at forgiveness and unforgiveness. This is huge. I see this one all the time. Under the old covenant before, before the cross, you must forgive others or God can't forgive you. Before the cross, you must forgive others or God can't forgive you. Look at Mark 11:25 and 26, and Matthew 6:14 to 15. Mark 11:25 and 26, and then Matthew 6:14. Now, again, pay attention to that. If though, when a condition is required of your performance, you automatically know you're before the cross. Look at this. "And when you stand praying, forgive". Now please, lemme qualify what I'm about to say. It's never good to hold on to unforgiveness. It's painful and harmful and hurtful to hold on, so that's not what I'm saying. You need to figure out how to do that but you're gonna need some help in doing that.
Look what he says. "And when you stand praying, forgive if you," there it is. It's requiring a condition of performance. "If you have all against any: that your Father which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you," if you, if you, if thou, if thou. "If you do not forgive," watch this. If you, see the law is based on a blessing and a curse. So what are the things you're doing in your Christian life that's based on you getting blessed if you do it right, you get cursed if you do it wrong. 'Cause you're operating on before the cross principle. "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven, forgive you your trespasses".
That freaked me out. I'm like what? You're saying, how you treat me is based on how I treat others. I heard that all my life. Now, it's not good to treat other people. God's very concerned about how we treat other people. But you don't go to God and say, "Well, you know, God is a parent just like I am". No, he's not. He's God. You ain't. Excuse me, improper English. The Queen's English says you are not. No, man. And I had an issue like, wait a minute. You're God, I'm frail. You said I can't do without you. I'm a branch and now you're telling me that if I don't do something, you're gonna hold this against me? And I'm thinking, so I'm scared now. So I'm like, every time something happen that will be a part of my checklist.
Have I forgiven anybody? Even on something confessions, when you're confessing your healing. And there was some people that said, "All right, Lord, I come before you and I forgive everybody so I can be healed". I remember doing that. I'm sick and it's not working and I gotta make sure I forgive everybody. And you think you really did it while you were opening your mouth. You really didn't do it. And I had preachers, great, great preachers say to me, "Well, the reason why she died, she died in unforgiveness and that's what killed her". And I'm like, that is just not right. Or say stuff like, you know, the little baby died and then the little baby died and then you say, "Well, we didn't have enough faith that was wrong".
There's just something so wrong with that, I didn't know what it was at the time, but there's something wrong with you going and tell a parent that your baby died 'cause you didn't have enough faith. I'm like, dude, I can't do this no more. I can't do this. This is not making, and I'm starting to look at God and say, "I don't know, I don't know".
You know, I was working in Day Camp years ago. I was a freshman year in college and I was a summer job and there was a kid that drowned under my watch. I was the director of the Day Camp and the kid drowned and I felt so bad and I did little dumb stuff. Like I went into the kid's room while he was on all of the stuff and man and I stood for his bed and I said, "Oh God, take my life and let him live. Come on, God, take my life and let him live". And then he died. And I went into a three-day period of, "I don't know if I want to do the Christian stuff. I think I want to be an atheist because you're not real. You let this kid die and I told you to take my life and take his and let his come and do what I mean," and I just thought, I don't know about this. I ain't. Mm-hmm.
I said, mm-hmm I'm praying and I'm praying and fasting. I'm doing everything. Everything they told me to do, I'm doing it and he died. The guy who led me to the Lord called, he said, they got a meeting downtown. There's a special speaker coming in from Africa. "I think it'll make you feel better. You want to go"? I said, "Dude". I said, "I don't know about the little God stuff. I'm not interested". He called back, he says, "Okay, I'll make a deal with you. Just go with me this one time, I really feel like you need to be there and, you know, after that, I'll leave you alone". I said, "Okay, you promise don't call me, don't come by. Leave me alone 'cause I don't wanna do the God thing no more. I was getting ready to be a hell, you know, and I'm gonna go hurt people who I've been wanting to hurt since I've been saved".
So he came and picked me up, went down, came in the room with attitude, big attitude like Christian, man, this stuff don't work. Sat down and the guy said, "There's a man in here who's mad at God because somebody died. And the Spirit of God... I'll never forget the Spirit of God spoke to me and to tell you that that little boy knows more about God than you'll ever know until you get there". And he says, "It's a trick. It is Satan that's trying to destroy and steal your life because of the mighty calling that you have". And I hit him. I said, "Why you tell this man what was going on with me"? I said, "I can't believe you did that. I came here, you probably know him". He said, "Dude, I ain't never seen this man before in my life".
I got up and went out and went down in the parking lot and it was like the light came on. I was like, "Oh, man. Oh, man". And then I realized, I'm like, "That's the devil. You tried to deceive me like that". I said, "I don't like that you tried to deceive me". And I heard this little voice, "you wanna get him back"? I said, "Yeah". I didn't realize I was hearing from God. "You wanna get him back"? "Yeah". He said, "Then act more like me". I confirmed my life to Jesus Christ, weird things started happening. I think you were there when I got baptized by the big old standing guy, this big old prophet. He was big dude, took me in the pool. I just was having a hard time believe anything. The guy baptized me in water and I came up and then he started prophesying and he prophesied everything that I am operating in today.
Wait a minute. But when he prophesied it, I laughed. I'm like, "Man, he gotta be crazy". I ain't gonna be talking in front of people like this. I said, "There's no way that's gonna happen. Haha, I'm sorry bro, you missed it". And he didn't. And it started happening. That religion, self-righteousness, performance. It almost got me 'cause I thought God was doing all this. I thought it was God that was killing people. And I found out that he didn't come to kill, steal, and destroy, but he came that I might have life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows.
Look at Matthew. Matthew, I think it was 6:14 to 15. And I'm like, "This isn't God man". And I start realizing this isn't God. God doesn't do that. "Yeah, but it's in the red". I don't care what color it is, it's not God. But at one time they had me convinced, it's in the red. You better do it. Somebody said, "I just read, I just read the red and do what it says". And I'm thinking, you're probably a messed up person. And I'm like, "You don't believe all the red because it talked about cutting off hands and stuff. And I knew you did all that stuff Jesus was talking about 'cause he made it virtually impossible for anybody to live without sinning". Mm-hmm. Even though you walk around, try like you ain't. A bad attitude is a good cover for the sin that you have in the bad attitude.
"For if you," there it is again, "If you forgive men their trespasses, your heaven Father will also forgive you". Watch this. "I gotta forgive. I gotta forgive". "Why"? "So my heaven Father can forgive me. I gotta forgive. I gotta forgive. So my heavenly Father can forgive me. It moved me into performing". Now watch this next verse. "But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses". I'm like, what is wrong with that? What is wrong with that? And what is wrong with that is that was absolutely true before the cross, but after the cross, Jesus did something different.
Look at Ephesians. Now here's what it was after the cross. Here is the rightly divide and you got to do, or you're gonna leave people astray. You are gonna have to stand before God. See, the problem is not in the congregation, it's in the pulpit. It's ignorant people who've been, ignorant preachers who think they know it all and they have stopped growing and now they're spreading that same thing on church and you're raising up this monster. Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind one to another". Yeah. "Be tenderhearted". Yeah. "Forgive one another". Oh, here we go again. How do I do this? He said, "Even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you".
So what God says is that, "I'll forgive you first so I can equip you to be able to forgive others. I require nothing of you first in order for me to do something, I'm gonna change the order after the cross. And it's what I do first that's gonna equip you to be able to do it second rather than you having to forgive first and then I forgive you later. No. I am gonna do it first". It's just like 1 John 4, we'll see it in a minute. You love God 'cause he first loved you. If you still struggling trying to love God 'cause you hadn't realized that he first loved you, equipping, and enabling you to do what you could not do before.
Look at Colossians chapter 3:13. Colossians chapter 3:13, "Forbearing one another". Another, yeah. "Forgiving one another". Yeah, absolutely. He says, "If any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you first so you also in addition do the same". It's what he did for me first. The order changed after the cross. It's him, it's what he does first enabling and equipping us to be able to do second. But before the cross, it was what you had to do first in order to get him to be able to do something second. That changed. You have to rightly divide that or you will put people in such bondage that Satan will hop on that thing and just ruin people's lives.
I've seen it happen. I've seen people who used to be very faithful, faithful to God. They just quit 'cause some guy got up there and said, "You know, God did that. That's his fault". Yep. And it's really your fault. And now you walk away condemned. Somebody says, "Well, you know, shame is a hard thing". Yeah. But you know where most people are getting their shame from, their big dose of shame? At church. You come to church and you get a big old dose of shame. Y'all ought to be ashamed of yourself for not coming out to the church picnic and being a part of what we need to do. You've been ashamed of yourself. We had seven players with baseball and you like, "I ain't come here to get no shame, bro. I already got enough problems. I'm not here to get no more problems".
And the little preacher think that, you know, he's anointed to do that. And then, you know, the prophets come out and say, "Well, you don't know if you get anointed. I gotta do something for you to be anointed". Since when? Seriously. "Yeah. You treat the prophet wrong, you'll fall in death". Yeah. That was before the cross. We have a more sure word in the prophecy and they're still the ministry of the prophet but not to threaten and put fear into people. That was before the cross, but there's still some people teaching it just like it is today 'cause they don't rightly divide, know where the truth. All right. What about love? Ooh, what about the love? What about love? Before the cross, it was love God first with everything. The emphasis was always put on your performance and your effort to love God first.
Look at Mark chapter 12, verse 30 and 31. Love God first with everything. I mean, I bought this, I wrote two books on this boy. Some of the stuff good, but I'm like, "Wow. It's like this big part I didn't get". Watch this. "And thou shall love the Lord thy God". Now watch this now. "Thou shall love the Lord thy God". That's the first commandment. Well, see. First of all, I'm trying to tell you about the commandments. "And thou shall love the Lord by God with all your heart". Yes, yes. Amen. "With all thy soul, with all thy mind, with all thy strength: this is the first," the first not the third, "The first commandment". Watch this. "And the second is like, namely this, thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these".
Have no problem with that commandment. That is something that we operate in deeply right now. The issue I have is under this and before the cross, the pressure to do this is all on me. And there have been some egregious things to happen in the lives of people. And they're like, "Love, love that guy that raped me brutally". Hmm. "Love, love the guy that killed my relative and left him in the trunk with no clothes on". Love? I ain't there yet. I don't know if I'll ever get there yet. And then I thought, love the Lord your God with all your heart. And I'm thinking, let's be honest. I love God, but not with all my heart. I got Taffi in there and some other people in there and it's not, he don't have it all. Love the Lord with all your soul.
"Oh yeah. I love him with my soul but my soul's got some, he's sharing it". With all your mind. "Oh, I know. I ain't loving him with all my mind. Sometimes he gotta get my attention just to get my mind back on him". I mean, I'm being real, right? Loving with all thy mind which concludes your wealth. "Well, I still got some money in savings. I ain't loving it with all my mind. I give him 10% of that mind but I ain't loving it with all my mind. No, not all my mind". And I asked myself, I laughed because I thought I was actually doing this. I'd get up in the pulpit and say, "I love the Lord with all of my heart and all of my soul". Thank you. Thank you. I better stop while I pull somebody in place. "All my heart, all my soul, all my mind. All of my mind. Thank you, Jesus. Yes".
And then soon church was over, would I cuss you out man and then I asked, I'm like, "Who can do this"? I said, "Seriously, who can do this like this"? And I heard, "Jesus did". I said, "Well, who else"? I said, "I can't". But you know, I ain't tell nobody I can't 'cause I thought everybody, all the other Christians I thought they were. And they thought they were. And so I ain't say nothing 'cause I didn't want nobody to know that I wouldn't. So I just, when they say, "I love the Lord with all my heart," I said, "Yes. Say, amen. Yes, all, all". And on the inside, it was just like this little, two little, the devil this side and angel this side.
That devil was like, "You know you lying". And see this time the angel said, "You do know you lying, right"? I'm like, "Whose side you on"? So that was before the cross. You guys know. That is still there. You hear that all the time about how much they love God and brag on it. "Oh, I love God. I love the Lord. He heard my cry and pity me with throne. As long as I live in trouble eyes". How he's into that throne. "Because I love him. I love him. I love him. Woo. Woo. I love him. I love him". Sing about it, they do all kinds of things and it's not the truth. You didn't do this. The only way you could even do this, right? You don't even have the capacity to do this. That's what the law was all about. Giving you rules and regulations he knew you couldn't accomplish. The law was given for you to fail.