Creflo Dollar - God's Ways vs. Man's Ways - Part 1
We started this some weeks back. We talked about God's ways versus man's ways and we have to know this, 'cause we keep trying to bring God down on our level and he ain't coming. He came down on our level when he bought Jesus, yeah, who was touched with the feelings of our infirmities. But not so we can stay at that level, but to come up to where we need to be. And so, I need you to listen, man. I need you to listen. Let me start off with this. It's one of things God instructed me to begin to do everywhere I go. Life, once you get born again, you get on a journey, life is a journey life, that spiritual life, your saved life is a journey.
I may have mentioned this to you before, but it's like if you take a road trip from Atlanta to LA, you're on a journey, okay? And there will be different things that may come up on that journey. You might be on your way to LA and take a wrong turn and you're off the path. And it may take some time to get back on the path. You may be on your way to LA from Atlanta and you're gonna have to have a pit stop. You might have to stop and get some gas, or a tire. There are a lot of things that could happen on the way to the journey. But nobody is there to condemn you to hell just because you took a wrong turn, just because you had a flat tire, just because it was necessary for you to get a refill. Nobody's gonna condemn you to hell.
And yet, as Christian people, we don't understand that this life is a journey and on this journey you're gonna fall, you're gonna say the wrong things, you're going make, but that doesn't mean condemn them because the journey continues. And you know what's great about the journey? Is Jesus is going on a road trip with you, not to beat you up but to say to you, "Okay, I got you, let's get back on the journey here. Oh, okay, no problem. You need a refill? I'll go ahead and fill you up again. You need your wheels aligned? I'll line you up. You're out of balance? I'll give you a balance". There's nothing wrong with all the stuff that happens in our lives on this journey. It's like God says, "That's the stuff that's to be expected on the journey".
Why do we get on this journey and don't expect for anything to show up on the journey? So, it's all right. You don't spend two years in condemnation because you had to fill up. You don't spend ten years in shame because you had a flat tire. You're gonna get fat tires on journeys but it's okay because Jesus is your role dog. No, no, no, you know, the dog park God, that's the illustration, you know. Forgive me, Jesus, again. We gotta start thinking like that.
So, what happens sometimes is in real life you mess up. It took you probably 30 minutes to mess that up, and you spend ten years being condemned by it. He says, "Stop doing that, you're on a journey. We still got a ways to go. Nobody has time for you to sit at the rest station for a week. Nobody has time for you to sit there pitying yourself for another week. You had the flat tire, change the tire and get back on the road". You might be tired, take a nap, get back on the road, that's how life is. So, shake off all the things you've encountered and thank God that today you are still on this journey. You're still on this journey.
So, stop beating yourself up. Stop beating yourself up and stop beating one another up. That's how God's looking at it. You're on a journey. Your kid first started walking, your kid's gonna fall, that's what happens on the journey of learning how to walk. When he falls, you don't beat his brains out and speak all kinds of crazy stuff to him. "You ain't no good, you fell. Now don't fall no more, if you fall I'mma..." Nobody does that, everybody understands this is for a time. You wear a pamper for a time. How many of you know there's a problem if you're still wearing a pamper and you're 21? You're on a journey.
Now God has a way of doing things. And human mankind, natural man has a way of doing things, and we need to see the difference because too many times we're coming up with ways of saying, "God's just like this". No, look what he says here, Romans 55, verse 8 and 9. Isaiah, thank you. You can tell I'm excited. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth," heaven's ways are higher than the earth, God's ways are higher than your ways. He says, "So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts". And there is no instance, that this is more true than in the connection with promptings to proper conduct. There's no instance where this is more true than in connection to proper conduct.
So, we look at your conduct, and you look at how you have chosen to conduct and carry yourself. And God is saying, "My ways are higher than your ways where this is concerned," because under grace, God does everything apart from human merit. When I use the word merit, it really means being good to deserve a reward. So, God does, under grace, everything apart from influencing you to do something in order to deserve a reward. And so, under grace, he does everything apart from that. He's not doing anything. Under grace, he does everything apart from any thought of repayment.
So, God under grace, is not trying to do something because you've been good, so you deserve a reward. We may might do that. "I'm gonna be good so I can deserve a reward". God is so far from that. God is so far from the thought of repayment. You know, you've been good, so, he's gonna do something good to you to pay you for being good. That is not his way, that has never been his way. But us humans have kind of made it like that. And his way's much higher than that. He cannot offer his blessing as an inducement or influencing someone to do something. He can't offer his blessing, he can't say, "I'm gonna bless you if you do this". He's not saying, he can't say, "I'm gonna bless you if you're good". He cannot say, "I'm gonna bless you if your behavior lines up right, then I'll... and bless you".
God can't do that. His blessings, he cannot offer his blessing as an inducement, nor can he offer his judgment as a threat to encourage godly living. So, he wants you to live godly, but he can't use the blessing to get you to live godly. And he can't use judgment to threaten you to live godly. He can't do it and I am telling you, all my life, I'm thinking that's how it worked. I go to church this Sunday, God gonna repay me by letting me get a raise. How many of y'all thought that? Raise your hands or come up here and let me cast that lying devil out you. And I guess that's why it's taken me so long to preach this, 'cause this goes against everything that we heard about God.
Now, it is true that what I just said, it's true for humans. If you do good, I'm gonna do something to reward you. If you do good, then I'm gonna repay you for doing good, that's our way. But what's gonna happen now, I'm gonna judge you if you don't do good. Then we do that with our kids. "If you act right in school, I'm gonna do you good, but I'm gonna threaten you if you don't act right in school". That's our way. And somehow, we have made our way, God's way. And that ain't God's way. Oh, Jesus, everybody still on the bus with me now? You still on bus with me? You still on the bus with me? All right. Therefore, under grace, under grace, God first reminds us of what he has done in grace and then on the basis of that, he appeals for a life of godliness, with that in mind.
In other words, God has this work of grace. He reminds us of his grace, and he reminds us of his mercy and then he makes an appeal for us to live godly. But not without us understanding his work of grace. Let me show you the phrase that God gave me to pull all this together. It may help you. I wrote it down. I was so excited about it, I signed my name just in case I leave it back and hundreds of years later, someone, nobody else won't have to struggle with what I'm getting ready to preach. And it's no longer a struggle but here's what he said. "God will not make an appeal". When I use the word appeal, he won't appeal to you to say, "All right, you need to live godly", or "All right, you need to present your body as a living sacrifice holy, and acceptable unto God".
All right, you need to treat everybody, that's what I refer to as an appeal. So, I'm going to use the word appeal this morning. The appeals that God make. He appeals to you to live holy, appeals to you to do right, appeals to you, to do that, but he never appeals to you, here's what he says, "God will not make an appeal without first providing mercy and grace for our failures". Oh, boy. So, what he means there is, "I'm not asking you to live right until I first of all have a work of mercy and grace for when you don't live right that day".
So now, all of a sudden, you're not too afraid to accept that appeal because the threat of me not being able to do it has been taken away because he said, "Before I ask you to live godly, notice my mercy and grace is at every beginning of every appeal that I have asked you". So, I went and checked that out. I said, "Oh yeah"? And I started seeing it. I saw how we skip the mercy and grace part and went straight to the appeal. "Live godly". But God says, "No, no, no, I won't ever request for you to do anything without first of all recognizing my work of grace in being able to ask you to live this way. So don't be afraid that you can't live this way because I've already worked this thing out for your bad days". Oh, now, yeah, I know, I know, I got my handkerchief, I got my handkerchief here. Any time, we're gonna cry in a minute, babe, I got, one for you.
All right, now watch this now: "But man's ways are not God's ways". In general, man clings to the idea that benefits always come because of good conduct, and man's ways are that losses come because of bad conduct. So, man's ways are, "All right these good things showed up because we did something good. Or this bad thing showed up 'cause we did something bad". That's man's way, losses and rewards based on our conduct with no consideration of the grace and mercy that has been put in this place. Natural man always feels that he must contribute something to earn God's favor. That's what church has been like for some of you, for the last 10, 20, 30 years. Natural man saying, and based on church and based on pulpit and based on sermons, natural man says, "I've got to contribute something in order to get God's favor. And if I don't contribute something, I can't get God's favor".
In the pulpits of the world, this is what you have to contribute to get God's favor, but you have to understand, you did not contribute anything at the beginning of God's favor. God's favor was God's idea, not mine, not yours. Think about this, think about always thinking, "I've got to contribute something. I gotta go", it so contradicts everything. If you have to contribute something to get God's favor, it's not favor. How is it favor if you had something to do with getting it? It's not. I contributed nothing to get born again except I believed. I believe there's a way. A lot of gifts that you're walking in now, you keep trying to find where your contribution made this happen. That is not God's way, it's man's way. God's method under grace is seen in Jesus dealing with that woman taken in adultery.
Let's look at that. John chapter 8 verses 3 through 11. "And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery". I mean, in the very act of adultery, they bought the woman, sheets and all. Ain't no, "We think she in adultery". "And when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Jesus, 'Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.'" Now, 'cause they're trying to trick Jesus because Jesus is supposed to be there fulfilling the law. And according to the law, this should be this woman's last day. "Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned, but what do you say"? They're trying to trip Jesus up. Watch him, this is why he my King.
"This they said tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down and with his finger wrote on the ground as though he heard them not". He was egging them, you understand what I'm saying? "I ain't got time for this tomfoolery". "So, when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself and said unto them, 'Okay...'" and I like this 'cause he can't go against the law because he had come to deliver people from the law and he couldn't deliver them from the law unless he operated and fulfilled all the law. So, what do you say? So, he didn't say, "Don't stone her". Here's what he said. "He lifted up himself and said unto him, 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.' And he again stooped down and wrote on the ground".
Somebody said, "Do you know what he was writing"? No, I don't know what he was writing and you don't either. So don't get up and peach a sermon talking about what Jesus was writing, you know, the day that he were... no, you don't know. He might have been doodling, 'cause that's what you do when people talking tomfoolery. You're just like, hmm. He says, "All right, fine. I'm not telling you not to stone her, here's all I'm saying, anybody, anyone of you who don't have sin in your life, go ahead". And the Bible says, "The older people left first," because they knew they had a whole bunch going on. The older people just got on out of there like, "Man, let me go".
The younger people thought they had hope, but they eventually left too. "And they which had heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, they went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last. And Jesus left her alone. And the woman standing in his midst, when Jesus had lifted up himself and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, 'Woman, where are those, thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?' She said, 'No man, Lord.' Jesus said unto her," watch this, "Neither do I condemn thee. This sin of adultery will not condemn you".
What you did deserved death and condemnation, you should have been condemned to death because you broke the law, and the law said you should be condemned to death. But in a sense, he said, "But mercy has come before you today, Jesus, full of grace and truth, and I forgive you. Now take this mercy and this grace that you've received today and go and sin no more, because grace has come unto you".
Now it's possible for her to actually walk without sinning and doing this again, because before there was no mercy and grace, there was just the threat of death and people telling you, "You're going to hell for this and you're going to hell for that". But now I see mercy, I see grace, I see Jesus. I see that I can do what I didn't think I was able to do before, because his way showed up and he reversed what was supposed to happen under the law. Huh, and that same thing going on today. We still trying to send folks to hell when we catch them in stuff.