Creflo Dollar - How to Empower Change
If you have your Bibles, let's go together. I changed it a little bit. Let's go to 2 Corinthians chapter 13 where we ended off on Sunday. 2 Corinthians chapter 13. So here's what we're gonna be dealing with and I really went to bed on some things and meditated on this last night. We understand that the power of God's grace is the result of the blood of Jesus and it's a result of what Jesus has done and that grace is a person, amen? Jesus full of grace, and Jesus full of truth. And we do understand that we do not perform to try to do what Jesus has already done; we're not performing. Or through our efforts to try to get or to become righteous; Jesus took care of that. Or get healed; Jesus took care of that.
Everything that pertains to life in godliness, Jesus has already taken care of. So when it comes to trying to do something to accomplish what Jesus has already accomplished, that's futile. And so in context, performance-based religion is just people trying to do something to accomplish and to do what Jesus has already accomplished and finished. Say, "It is finished". So that's within the boundaries of what I'm talking about. And so what happens is, you know, Jesus shows up, decides to allow his great grace to minister to our lives and, through his grace, we were saved, and by his grace we were delivered, and by his grace we're healed, and by his grace we're righteous, we're holy. By his grace, we're sound, we're prosperous. We have everything that pertains to life in godliness by his grace, amen?
So what we see is a man by his grace showing up to change things. It didn't stay the same. He showed up to change things. He changed from the first covenant to a better covenant, okay? And then we heard the message and we got excited and we found out we don't have to be condemned. We we found out we don't have to do all these things but then there's this little gap between what Jesus has accomplished, what grace has provided, and our cooperation with it all. And so what I've seen lately is people saying, "Well, praise God I'm under grace with no changes. I'm under grace; therefore, I don't have to feel guilty or condemned", and somehow we threw in there, "I don't have to feel guilty or condemned or change".
And I feel good about the fact that under grace you don't have to feel guilty or condemned but under grace change should be the evidence. Do you follow what I'm saying? And I apologize for having to go this long way but I really want us to kind of get in this together. Change should be the evidence. I do think there's something that we need to evaluate when a person says, "You know, I'm hooked to cocaine but God loves me and under grace and I'll still go to heaven, but I don't experience freedom from cocaine". So I'm, like, thinking, "Well, how powerful is grace if all it does is make me feel better about what I'm doing"? You follow what I'm saying?
And so religion, and I'm just not gonna stand by and let it happen. You see, I'm hearing a lot of it. Religion is saying I'm covered by his grace. You know I understand what you're saying, but I think some people don't understand what that means. Grace, just like the blood of Jesus, grace just like the blood of Jesus doesn't cover sin. Grace just like the blood of Jesus removes sin and changes things. The blood of animals cover sin. So what happens is they walked in there, presented the blood of the animals, and it could never get rid of sin. Nothing changed when the blood of animals were presented. They just walked away covered. So, literally, back then they were covered. So it would be more accurate back then to say, "Yeah, I know I got a lot of issues but I went to see the priest, I bought a sacrifice, and I'm covered". So you can't take that and come over to the New Testament where the blood of Jesus removes sin and grace changes.
So I believe that when the grace of God is accepted and received in the life of a believer, the first thing that grace is gonna do is work on your desires and then this is so cool, if you cooperate as far as renewing your mind, exposing yourself to the Word, delighting in him and learn to take pleasure in him. See, that's the part that's kind of missing out. Yeah, he'll give you a desire but you not gonna really get no desire if you're not renewing your mind. We have to see Jesus. It's not, "I'm saved, I'm under grace", and forget about any kind of relationship with him and then grace is gonna force a change on me. I don't believe that. But I think that's what religion will do. They'll take something so beautiful that Jesus has done and then somebody who won't expose themself to Jesus, won't expose themself to the Word, will now up and say, "Well, I'm under grace but nothing's changed in my life".
I don't believe you can stay the same if you're really under grace. I believe that grace changes, not covers. Let me say that again. I believe grace changes, not covers. And when you have a person living a certain lifestyle, in a certain addiction, in this, and proclaim, "I'm under the grace of God", and say, "God doesn't judge me by my behavior. He judges me by my belief". I see what you're saying. You're exactly right. He does judge you by your belief and not your behavior. But can you now take that and use it to say, "I will not change"? "God loves me but I'm not gonna change. Grace has provided a way for me to be delivered but I'm not gonna change. Jesus died on the cross and he loves me and he doesn't judge me based on my behavior. He judges me based on my belief, but I'm not gonna change". Can't you see something's wrong with that?
So over the next several Wednesdays, we're gonna do a in-depth study on grace-given power to change. You have been given power by Jesus to change. But what happens when a person rejects change but wants to ride on the back of grace and, all of a sudden, grace becomes what it really does, it relieves you of condemnation, you feel better about yourself, you don't feel condemned, you don't feel guilty, and that's cool but then at the same time you don't change either. And I'm thinking, "Well, you know, I could possibly be wrong about this", until I saw what I saw in 2 Corinthians chapter 13. Let's start there tonight.
Does everybody see where I'm trying to get to? And you have to understand for me, when I get these things, and I'm getting ready to preach something, and it's a little... I don't know what it is. It's a little something that requires courage on my part to step out and just teach something that I believe and could possibly be extremely wrong but at least you're gonna have to show me how extremely wrong I am by the Word. Because I'm gonna be able to prove what I believe here and somebody else has gotta come and disprove it because I know in my own life, the first experience I had with this gospel, is it change and changing me. I am not the same since I've encountered Jesus and I am not the same since I've encountered this grace.
So there's no way it's covering up stuff in my life. It's changing those things in my life. How to articulate this, now we all come together. That's the birth of the Wednesday night crew, for your prayers to come together so we can develop a way to articulate and to get into this until one day it sounds normal to me when I get ready to teach it to a general public of people who say, "I am under the grace of God so I can do all of these wicked, evil, sinful things, you know. I can even commit adultery and feel all right about that because I'm covered by grace". No, grace changes the desire to wanna do it. I so believe that. I so believe that.
So now, let's go through the Scripture 'cause part of me was thinking, "Oh, well, people are gonna be disappointed. They're not gonna come to church anymore because I'm telling 'em they gotta change. They can't have grace and smoke weed at the same time". Think of that, all right? All right, so let's look at this. 2 Corinthians chapter 13. You have to really read the previous Scriptures as Paul began to show up and he was addressing sin in the Corinthians church. And one of the things he was addressing was incest and fornication. And Paul really challenged them as he was teaching the grace of God but he was also talking about morality throughout this thing as well.
So in verse 1, he says, "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established". So he says, "What I'm about to tell you, let's let this be established now. This is the third time". He says, "Now I told you before, and I foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all others, that, I come again, I will not spare: since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which is to you-ward is not weak, but it's mighty in you. For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God towards you".
So he's talking about a life, you know, he starts off saying, you know, "I'm addressing your sin", but he starts addressing this power that's been made available to us. Now let me give you a definition of the word "power". Power is the ability to get results. Do you agree that we have power that has been made available to us? It's the ability to get results. And so he goes on here in verse 5 and I'm gonna read verse 5 in the King James and in the NLT. He says, "Examine yourself now". Why? "Whether you be in the faith".
So he says, "Okay, examine what you say you believe, examine to see if you're in the faith where this grace is concerned, whether you're in the faith where the finished works of Jesus are concerned". "Examine yourself; prove your own selves", okay? "Don't you know or know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you", oh, praise God. He says, "How that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates"? And I gave you a definition Sunday that said, "Unprincipled lifestyle". That's what that means: reprobate. Unprincipled lifestyle. Now, so he said, "See if you were in the faith. Take yourself through a test and see if you're even in the faith".
The context here is if you can continue to get involved in incest, in fornication, we have to question whether or not you're in the faith. He says because being in the faith doesn't produce these things. So the only issue, it's not whether grace works or not, it is are you in the faith or not, and the implication is if you can do these things, you must not be in the faith. All right, look at this in the New Living Translation. Whoo, the New Living Translation of Hebrews. The test of it, I really believe the test of our faith in Jesus Christ can be demonstrated in the fruit we produce. I don't believe this, you know, "I'm in Jesus Christ or I'm saved", and nothing at all has changed. "Shall we continue in sin or the sin man, that grace may abound"? And Paul said in Romans 6, "Absolutely not". And then he said, "How can you"? 'Cause you can't, you're not subject to that.
Now listen to this in the New Living Translation: "Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine", whoa. Is your faith real? Is it genuine? "Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith". Here, it talks to me about relationship and me having faith in that relationship. And I just don't think you can stay the same when there's relationship and faith in that relationship. So now, I am gonna try to walk very carefully through this, through Scripture, and I am gonna talk to you and show you about change and I tell you, people who don't change are also people who no longer will grow. People who don't change are people who no longer will grow.
Now, let's look at Romans chapter 12, verses 1 through 2, because change begins with the renewing of the mind. That's where change begins. Change begins with the renewing of the mind. We don't throw that all away now that we're understanding grace. Change begins with the renewing of the mind. With everything that grace has made available, until we knew about it, we couldn't walk in it. We couldn't walk in it. Renewing the mind is not a one-time event. It's a lifetime process. You've heard me say this before. The most important thing you can do as a human being is to get born again, but the most important thing you can do as a born again Christian is to renew your mind.
The renewing of the mind is the exchange of your ideas and your thoughts and your opinions for what the Word says, for God's ideas, his thoughts, and his opinion. And that's something you have to do. God is not going to renew your mind for you. Jesus is not going to renew your mind for you. Grace is not going to renew your mind for you. But grace has allowed for the Word and the Spirit of God to be available so that when you renew your mind, there will be ability that will begin to take place in your life as you renew your mind.
All right, now, watch this. He says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God", listen to this. He says, "I'm doing this by the mercies of God. You don't deserve it but I'm doing it by the mercies of God". "That you present your bodies a living sacrifice". Notice, you do the presenting. "Present it holy, acceptable unto God, that's your reasonable service". Look at verse 2. He says, "And be not conformed to this world: but be", what? "Be transformed". He says it starts by the what? "Renewing of your mind", and then by renewing your mind, "then you will be able to prove what is the good, acceptable, and the perfect, will of God for your life".
Now, look at this in the Amplified. "The good, and the acceptable, and perfect, will of God for your life". He says, "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of all the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies", so notice a decision is involved. These are all the things that come as a result of us being free moral agents. God created us with a free will. You have a right to choose. You can choose life; you can choose death. You can choose a blessing; you can choose a curse. You can choose to say that grace changes you or that grace covers and there's no change. But remember, he says, "It's a decisive dedication of your bodies presenting all of your members and faculties as a living sacrifice, holy (and devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship".
Now watch this. "Do not be conformed to this world (to this age), fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs". The weird thing that I see is there's a lot of grace people that are celebrating the liberty of grace but they're becoming more like the world that they got saved out of. It's okay now to be worldly again, huh? Huh? Uh-uh. You gotta be careful because that liberty and that freedom kind of makes it seems like, well, we're free and we're liberated so it's okay to go back from that which we were delivered out of? Hmm. "Don't be conformed to this world (this age), fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs". He said, "Be transformed (changed)", be changed. How? "By the entire renewal of your mind by its new ideas and its new attitudes".
Now, notice something, folks. So renewing of the mind is like it is vital. And part of renewing your mind is a connection with a church and a fivefold ministry gift, the apostle, the prophet, the pastor, the teacher, and the evangelist, for the perfecting of the saints. We just threw that all out. And so you know what happens? Under grace, nobody thinks it's important to go to church anymore. And I can kind of understand that because it's, like, "I ain't learning not'ing. It's just being entertainment and the frustration of it". But that's not you. You and you who are online, you have a place you can come where you can renew your mind. You follow what I'm saying?
You can renew your mind. Every visit can be a renewal of your mind. Your mind was attacked on Sunday to be renewed. It's being attacked tonight to be renewed. And that's totally on you. You have got to make the decisions to do the things to renew your mind. And it's not a one-time event. It's a lifetime endeavor. I'm renewing my mind in my own personal time with the Word. Renewing my mind with the Word and the Holy Spirit at home. I'm renewing my mind with my association and connection with a local church, with a ministry gift, who has been... he watches over my soul. Renewing your mind.
But it's gotten to such a point in the world that church has been looked at as this, ah, it has no purpose. It's been dogged out, all these weird things going on because what should be happening at church is no longer happening and that is I am not here to entertain you but to renew your mind, to challenge your way of thinking, until it begins to line up with the Word of God and to show you Scriptures and to take you line by line and to do all of that and get your thinking to contradict how you used to think. Because as a man thinketh, in his heart so is he. That's all based on what you think which is your decision, which is your choice. You have a right to choose what church you wanna go to and if you chooses the one that gives you chill bumps rather than the one that can renew your mind, that's your decision.