Creflo Dollar - Never Go Back
If you have your Bibles, go with me to the book of John. I think this is something that everybody can and will be able to relate to. And I'm excited about talk to you about it. We're still talking about here on Wednesday night how important it is to locate change in our lives. And so, a lot of times, people want to use the grace of God as a cover-up and not understand that the grace of God doesn't cover your sin, it changes you, amen? I've said the grace of God changes you. And so, we've been talking about this grace given power to change. You've always had the ability to change. It's not something that's impossible for you to do, you can do it. And we've given you a list of things to help you where change is concerned. And tonight, we're going to talk about how important it is to never go back to what God has delivered you out of.
Turn to your neighbor and say, "Never go back. Never go back". When God makes you whole, don't go back to the thing that robbed you of that peace. So, let's begin this today in John, St. John chapter 5. And let's read verses 1 through 14 'cause I want you to get ahold of this one character and how Jesus, what Jesus said to him, which was really, really significant. John chapter 5 and verses 1 through 14. Verse 1 says this. If you're there, say amen. He says, "After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem".
He says, "Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind folk, halt withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at the certain season into the pool, and he troubled the water, so that whosoever then first after he troubled of the water stepped in, then he was made whole of whatsoever disease that he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity 38 years. And when Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, 'Wilt thou be made whole?'"
I mean, imagine 38 years in that situation. You know, some Christians have been in situations for a long time. What do we need to do so we can be made whole? And he asked him, "Will thy be made whole"? "And the impotent man answered him, 'Sir, I have no man when the water is troubled to put me into the pool. But while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.'" We talked about excuses. He made an excuse, and we told you that an excuse will always keep you in the season of failure. And Jesus said unto him, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk". Don't procrastinate, do what you got to do, and do it now. "And immediately the man was made whole", so he was made whole of a 38-year infirmity. "And he took up his bed, and he walked on the same day. It was the Sabbath".
Now, that's going to be a problem because on the Sabbath, you're not supposed to do anything. And so, he's picking his bed up and walking on the Sabbath. Now, if a religious Pharisee sees them, there's going to be an issue here. He says, "The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, 'It is the Sabbath day. It is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.'" They'd even stoned a man under the law for picking up sticks on the Sabbath day. And so, he says, "It's not lawful for you to carry your bed on the Sabbath". And he answered them, "And he that made me whole, the same said unto me, 'take up thy bed and walk.'" So, he says the guy that made me whole, referring to Jesus, he was the one that told me to take my bed up and to walk.
Now, watch carefully, verse 12. "Then asked they him, 'What man is that which said unto thee, "Take up thy bed and walk"?'" Verse 13, "And he that was healed wist not who it was", he didn't know, "for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place". So, he kind of left. But look at verse 15. Well, yeah. "Afterwards Jesus findeth himself in the temple". Now, this is interesting, "Afterwards Jesus findeth himself in the temple, and said unto him, 'Behold, thou art made whole.'" So, notice where he finds the man who was made whole, he was at church. That's where you ought to be when Jesus does something to make you whole, amen? I say that's where you ought to be when Jesus does something that makes you whole. And he says, "Behold, thou art made whole".
Now, notice this next statement. "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee". He says you're made whole, sin no more. Don't go back to what you were doing that put you in that situation in the first place, that broken situation in the first place where you had to be made whole. Don't go back to there. Turn to somebody else and say, "Never go back". And look at the last verse, verse 15. Well, 14 was good 'cause we're going to focus on verse 14 'cause he departed, but there were a couple of things we see here. Here's a man who was made whole. Here was a man that, after he's made whole, was found in church. Here's a man that encountered Jesus that says, "Don't go back to doing what got you broken in the first place".
There are a lot of things that we see here in this story. "Afterwards Jesus found him in the temple, and said unto him, 'Behold, thou has been made whole. Sin no more, less the worst thing come unto thee.'" How many of you know sin has consequences, right? And so, we have to break the old habits. We have to get out of the old ruts in our life. If you want to see change in your life, you must never go back to the way things were. There's always going to be a call to try to go back to the way things were. Perhaps you had been hanging around the wrong crowd, and then you got away from them. But one day, all of a sudden, you start to miss their coarse jesting, and you miss their dirty mouths, and you miss laughing and joking around, all the things that you used to do. And it was filthy, but you missed it.
You forget how filthy it was, you just remember the laughter. But if you go back to those relationships, the Bible compares it like a dog returning back to his vomit. In fact, Proverbs 26 and 11 says that. Pull it up right quick. Well, we don't want to be like a dog going back to our vomit. And I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, we probably have all done it sometime in our lives, where we have been delivered from something, and for some reason, you found yourself going back to the very thing you were delivered from. God delivered you from a crazy man and you went back to that same crazy man. He delivered you from a terrible situation, why would you go back? And he describes it here, he says, "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly". And I'm saying don't return.
Turn your neighbor, say, "Don't return". You're like a sow returning to the mud and the mire. We've got to go forward and never go backwards if we want to see change in our lives. We've got to go forward and not go backwards if we want to see change in our lives. What is it? Look at Philippians I believe chapter... see if I can find it, 3. Philippians 3, verse 13 and 14. Philippians 3:13 and 14. We've got to go forward. We've got to go forward. We can't go backwards. We never go back to the old relationships. We don't go back to the old way of thinking. We don't go back to the old way of looking. We don't go back to the old way of acting. We never go back to find the old things in our closet. We want to get rid of those old things. We want to go forward.
Now, look what he says in verse 13. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do". You know, out of all the things I know that we can do, Paul zeroed it down to this, just this one thing I know I do. I'm forgetting those things which are behind me. "Here's one thing I know I do. I'm forgetting the things that are behind me, and I'm reaching forth unto those things which are before me". How many of you know if you don't let go of the things that are behind you, it is going to greatly challenge those things that are before you? I'm telling you, man, it's just certain things, don't allow the devil to sit there and take you through a dramatized version of all of your mistakes. That's not you anymore, and you don't go back. You don't go back. No, it don't look good, but you don't go back.
All of us have a past, we just don't live there anymore. That's good stuff right there. We all have a past, we don't live there. He says, "I don't count myself to have already obtained or apprehended". He said, "But there's one thing that I do". Which to me, when you're living this life as a Christian, the enemy is going to attack you all the time in one place, right up here. If he can affect how you think, he will affect how you live. For as a man thinketh, then in his heart so is he. If he can affect how you think, he can affect how you live. So, that's why the most powerful thing you can do as a Christian is to renew your mind. Renew the way you think. Don't go back.
Sometimes, it feels like it's easier to go back because of the challenges that await you by going forward. Satan don't want you to reach this place of destiny. He don't want you to reach this place where you've been called, this place where you've been anointed, this place where, you know, you couldn't see it, but once you got there, you had no idea that looking at where God wanted me to be. And Paul describes it like this, he says, "I'm reaching forth unto those things which are before". Here's how he describes how that process is going to be. Verse 14, "I press, I press towards that mark". You have to press towards that mark. And when you press toward something, it's always because opposition faces you. You press towards it regardless of what's coming your way. You press towards, I am going forward. And sometimes, it may be just a little forward.
Remember when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane. And the great torment in the garden was on him, to the point where he began to sweat blood. Somebody says, "Well, what do you do when it gets that rough"? The stress of all of what he's getting ready to go to, to become the sin offering for mankind. What did he do? The Bible says he prayed and he went forward. He went forward. There are a lot of things that are going to confront you, and those things are designed to paralyze you, those things are designed to keep you thinking that that's where you're supposed to be all of your life. But I'm telling you I believe there's a press on the inside of everybody in here, amen? There's still a press on the inside. And even if you don't go but a little bit forward, praise God, you're not in the exact same place you were in before. He says, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God that is in Christ Jesus".
We all have a high calling. That is the very purpose and reason for which God has allowed us to be on this planet. Sometimes, you can't get satisfied for where, you know, concerning where you are. It's bigger than where you are right now. I can say with confident that it's bigger than where all of us are right now. I feel like we're getting ready to put a press on right now, a full court press on anything that the enemy brings our way. And we're going to say, "No, we're not staying the same". There's something greater, there's a high call, there's a prize that's waiting on us, and I'm going to get my prize, praise God.
I am not going back. You ain't in high school no more, you ain't going back to that. You ain't going back to that. Some of the stuff, you just ought to be blessed that God delivered you out of 'cause you can't keep, a lot of times, when people go through real crazy stuff, it's cause they keep flirting with their past. It's time to leave it. Excuse my English, but that ain't you no more. Quit flirting with the old you. The new you trying to stand up and take you to that place of the high call. Man, I'm gonna give myself an offering, I ain't got nothing. I'm doing everything electronically, I'm going to send some to myself, amen? Are you listening to what I'm saying?
So, if you say, "Okay, from this day forward, I'm not going to eat such and such anymore", then they don't eat it anymore. Don't say, "Oh, but I just can't help myself. I got to have that sugar". No, don't eat it. Don't go back, don't go back. I've seen people get into adultery and destroy their families because they've gotten close to someone at work. And what you don't understand is intimacy is a very, very important thing. It's a matter once you're married who you decide to become intimate with. Listen to me carefully, intimacy is the invitation to invite somebody to come in and to see something that should only be seen, it's something not everybody should see. Come into me and see. You don't let the whole world see some things. And then you have a circle you let people see. And then there's certain things that in a marriage that only you and your spouse should see, intimacy.
And somebody says, "Well, you know, I just feel comfortable talking to this person". You know, if you're a woman, "You know, I talked to this man. We're not doing anything wrong, we just go eat. It's the same lunch that everybody else, we're not doing anything". Yeah, what you're doing is you're letting them come into you and see something that should be reserved for your spouse to come in to see. You know, some people call this emotional adultery, isn't that right? Emotional adultery, it's where you have allowed intimacy to take place where it begins to impact you emotionally, and then you have a grudge against your spouse because you don't know why they're not responding to you that way. And you don't realize you've not ever allowed them that opportunity to be that intimate. You didn't let them in to see that, you let somebody else in to see that.
And what happens is, you know, if you're not careful, then eventually it's going to end up into a physical relationship because that's what real intimacy is about. If you feel it's a safe place to talk to this person that you think is safe to talk to them instead of your wife or your husband, then all of a sudden you become vulnerable around those people. And then once you become vulnerable around people, then real intimacy takes place. And sometimes, real intimacy is more dangerous than a sexual encounter because it involves your emotions. You let somebody else in, your emotions are all tied to that kind of thing. That's the very thing we try to counsel people in marriage, we try to save the married people.
There's got to be a safe place in order for there to be vulnerability. And then once you become vulnerable, then you enter into intimacy. And once you have real intimacy, you don't ever have to worry about the things that follow that because that becomes the springboard into all types of wonderful things where marriages are concerned. But sometimes people, you know, they neglect that whole deal. And they decide, "Well, I want to go back and continue to talk". They don't recognize this is not good. You go back and you want to continue to talk to that person. You want to continue to tell them how you feel about something when your wife does this, when you need to be telling your wife how you feel about that.
Nobody else needs to have the invitation to come in and see something about your wife. And then when your wife meets her, she knows more about how you feel about her than the wife does. That's spelling trouble. And the result of that is going to be an affair. It's going to be, you know, you know, all kinds of weird stuff because you allowed that to take place. And you've got to make sure that doesn't take place. You've got to rid yourself of that. You can go around and say, "I've never committed an adultery, I never had sex". And you think it's, "I've never committed adultery, I never had sex", but it's something worse. You allowed yourself to develop a relationship with someone that you invited in to see something. And that's going to take you to places that you need to go.
"Well, we're just good friends". I told my wife when I got married, she had this guy, she said, "We've been friends all our life". I said, "I'm sorry, that's got to be over with. That's got to be over with 'cause I don't want him knowing more about you than I know about you". And in them days, she used to wear these little cutoff shirts and these little shorts, so I said, "No, you can't be hanging around him doing that". And I told him, I said, "I don't feel comfortable with you hanging around here". I said, "'Cause you a dude, you a man. Don't be come talking about you ain't looking". Them big pretty legs, "You ain't looking, you lying". Like, "Where you been to? Y'all went out to where? Dinner? Ain't you dating me"? "Oh yeah, but we're friends".
Oh, we're going to have to change that. And my fear was, are you going to let him in to see something that you hadn't let me in to see? Intimacy, it's a strong, powerful thing. And if that has always been something that has caused problems in your relationship, don't go back to it. Make your mind up that there are certain things that are only going to be shared within the context of my marriage, my family. Do you understand what I'm saying?
John 5:14, let's focus in on this now. And he says, "And finding him in the temple, Jesus said to him, 'You have been made well. Stop sinning so that nothing worse happens to you.'" In other words, your lifestyle didn't prevent your miracle. Obviously, he was sinning before that or Jesus would have said, "Don't go back to it". So, his sinning lifestyle didn't prevent his miracle, but if you don't live a new way, things are going to get worse is what he says. Isn't that interesting? Your lifestyle didn't prevent your miracle, but if you keep going back, things are going to get worse. That's powerful to me.
You can't say that, you know, whatever you were doing stopped your miracle. This guy was doing something and still got the miracle. And when he got the miracle and got whole, he was in church, and Jesus says "Don't go back. Don't go back or you're going to cause something worse to happen". Now, somebody says, "Well, I thought I was under grace". Under grace, you got your miracle. But in the world, you're going to make stuff worse because sin has consequences. Like I said, grace is not going to give you an open opportunity to just go do stupid stuff. Stupid stuff in this world becomes a part of the law that says while the earth remains, sintime and harvest, excuse me, sintime, that's about right, seedtime and harvest shall not cease.
And so, there are consequences. You know there's consequences for sin, right? There's consequences for sin, but it won't stop your miracle from Jesus. But there are consequences for sin. And I think people, they kind of don't get that. Don't go back. If the mercy of God showed up and you didn't get the bad you deserve, thank God, show up at church, and don't go back. Amen, be grateful. There were a plethora of things that could have happened to you. That thank God, but for 'cause of his mercy, it didn't happen to you, and you ought to give God some praise for that and thank him that it didn't happen to you. It could have. It could have. You could've been dead, shot, beat up, all kinds of stuff. It didn't happen. Don't keep flirting around with your past. Never go back.
Now, it's interesting to note here that Jesus is now controlling, or excuse me, he's confronting this man about his sin. He never brought it up when he healed him. Not one time did he bring his sin up when he healed him because God wants us to understand that we cannot earn our healing through our holiness. We cannot earn our healing through our holiness, whoo. And so many people are trying to still earn what grace has made available through their behavior. You can't, he didn't earn his healing because he was holy. He earned his healing because he believed Jesus. And thank God we're healed because we believe Jesus. We're delivered because we believe Jesus. We're blessed because we believe Jesus, amen? Praise God.
So I think that believers often feel that they cannot receive anything from God until they get all the sin out of their lives. And while I am not endorsing keeping the sin in your life, the two are often unrelated. Since Jesus told him to stop sinning after he healed him, then we can know that sinlessness is not a prerequisite to our healing, belief is.