Gregory Dickow - Freedom From the Religion of Misery
Well, merry Christmas, global family, and welcome to the Power to Change today. You know, wherever you're watching our program from around the world, I want to remind you that the best is ahead. Yes, the best is yet to come. Something good is going to happen to you today. And listen, I'm about to share one of my favorite teachings with you about pure joy, how to be free from the religion of misery. The truth is, religion causes misery. And Christianity isn't a religion.
You see, religion makes people sad, but God's grace makes people glad. And the greatest gift that I can give you this holiday season is the gift of truth. The truth that your relationship with God will never again have to be based on what you do for him. But your relationship with God will forever be based on, and rest on what he has done for you. That's the good news. This is what the holiday season is all about, and every season is all about. Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Enjoy today's teaching and share it with someone who needs to hear it. God bless. Watch this.
There's two kinds of relationships, and two kinds of, well, two versions of Christianity in the world. There's the version that is servant-based, "I'm a servant of God", and then there's the version that is son-based, "I'm a son of God. I'm a daughter of God". And you see the difference is: the servant or the slave mentality that "God saved me, so I have to obey him now, and I have to submit to him now, and I'm going to serve him now". That mentality will rob you of all joy. Your Christianity will be a joyless Christianity. You're still might be saved, because you put your faith in Jesus Christ, but you still have a slave mentality, or a mentality that "I'm a lowly inferior servant to God", but that is how people related to God in the Old Testament. But that's not how we relate to God under the New Covenant, after Jesus died on the cross.
So let me take you to a scripture that will kind of bring clarity to that, and then we'll build on this, and soon you'll be you'll be happily leaping and skipping, and being so filled with joy that you'll have the best meal you've ever had at lunch time, all right? Are you ready for that? So look at Hebrews chapter 3:5, and we're going to contrast Moses with Jesus, and we're going to compare the two. Moses represents the law, the commandments, obedience, and Jesus represents grace and his sacrifice, his obedience so that we can be made righteous. And that is the difference. And now watch the mentality, the difference in the mentality between being under the law, and being under grace.
"Now, Moses was faithful in all of his house as a servant". Now look at what he how he describes Moses. "Moses was faithful in all of his house as a servant". So Moses saw himself as a servant. Verse 6, "...but Jesus was faithful over his house as a Son", as a son. So we have this contrast between the version of religion that "I'm a servant of God". And don't get me wrong, serving is great. But it should be the overflow of what we do because we're so grateful, not because we're trying to perform so God will accept us. But notice, the Old Covenant, under the law, you have a servant-master relationship with God. People had a servant-master relationship. But under grace we have a son-Father relationship, a daughter-Father relationship through Jesus Christ.
So Moses presided over as a slave-based, servant-based mentality of religious misery. Jesus presides over a grace-based sonship, sons and Daughters of God relationship with God. Now, I'm going to tell you something in your spirit, if you're born again here today, in your spirit, no matter what you do, no matter how you think you are a son or daughter of God. The problem is, is that most Christians, they're born again in their spirit, but they're still operating under the religion that Moses presided over as servants, rather than the relationship that Jesus presides over as sons and daughters of God. Are you with me still? Does that make sense? Do you see the distinction?
The reason why we have the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is the Old Covenant reveals man's sins so that they realize their need for a Savior. The Old Covenant reveals our sins, exposes our sins, so that we realize our need for a Savior. The new covenant removes our sins so that we can be grateful for our Savior. Look at how the Father relates to to his children in Mark 1:11, a very familiar scripture here in this church at least, one of my favorites, if not my all time favorite scripture. After Jesus comes up out of the waters of baptism, a voice from heaven, it is the voice of God. It's the voice of love, really. It's the voice of God. God is love. And a voice comes out of heaven and says, "You are my beloved Son. And in you I'm well pleased".
And now that verse is awesome, just how it's stated right there. But sometimes we kind of get too familiar with certain terms like beloved, the word beloved. It sounds like something we say at a funeral, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to mourn the life and the death. The home going of brother, so and so". And so it takes away the power of the word beloved, and then well pleased, the Son in whom I am well, pleased.
We think, "oh, Jesus pleaseD God. But I could never please God". But you know what? Jesus, when God says this about him, Jesus hasn't even preached a sermon yet. Jesus hasn't done a miracle yet. Jesus hasn't raised the dead yet. Hasn't died for our sins yet. Hasn't fed the multitude yet. Hasn't cast out a demon yet. Hasn't cleansed the leper yet. Hasn't done anything yet. And yet God is already pleased with him. That ought to tell you something: All the things you do do not equal pleasing God, But what equals pleasing God is when you accept. When you accept your place as a son or daughter in the family of God through Jesus Christ, that makes God happy.
So let me read this verse to you from a version that I think brings clarity and illuminates our minds a little bit better, in the New Living Translation. He says it this way, he says, "And a voice from heaven said, 'You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy". Now, to feel that is what Jesus felt. And so, he went, the rest of his life on this earth, healing the sick, raising the dead, not to try to get God to approve of him, but because he was operating in a place of complete approval. He knew the Father's love. He knew the Father's heart. He wasn't trying to perform. He wasn't trying to earn anything from God. He got all that before he ever did anything for God.
And this is where most Christians miss it, is that we think "Well, God's not pleased with me because I haven't gotten the sin out of my life. I haven't changed this. I haven't fixed this. I'm still undisciplined in my prayer life. I still haven't done all that I'm supposed to do. I still haven't changed my attitude". But God does not measure you by that. All of those things are better for you. If you do change, your attitude is better for you. If you do stop sinning, it's better for you. But none of those things shape God's view of you. That's hard only for religious people to swallow, because religious people want to feel like they did it, and that they're better than the people that didn't do it.
So a voice. So how does God speak? How do we know God's voice? Because sometimes we feel condemned. Sometimes we feel guilty. Sometimes we feel ashamed. Sometimes we just beat ourselves up. Sometimes we think God's mad at us. Sometimes we think God's judging us. Sometimes we think God's not listening. Sometimes we think God so far away, all of those feelings and thoughts have to subject themselves to this truth. And what is the truth? You're his dearly loved son or daughter, and you bring him great joy. What? When will I bring him great joy after I do some stuff for God, after I clean up my act? Wait, wait a minute. Jesus didn't do anything yet. He didn't do anything yet. And he brought the father great joy, just being his son brought the father great joy. He says he loves you just the way you are, but he'll never leave you. He'll clean some stuff up and he'll help fix it. And you know, he will.
But but here's the thing. He doesn't clean you up and then say, OK, now accept you. He accepts you just the way you are. And then a process of transformation takes place because now your life feels safe in the love of the father. You see, if you don't feel safe in his hands, none of that's going to happen. You're not going you're going to be defensive and then you're going to be like, oh, I'm not coming to this church. This church judges people, this church judges me, this church judges. And then we got religious people that are like, well, we better judge because, you know, we we can't let we can't let people think that abortion is OK and homosexuality is OK. We don't want people to think that everything's OK, but we don't want to hinder people from having a chance to feel the love of God.
And then then their heart opens up, and then by the grace of God we can delicately, and if I'm involved, not so delicately, but we can delicately operate in the hearts and the souls of men and women so that they realize how to renew their minds, which will transform their life. Because you can't change your behavior long term until you change the way you think. But you won't change the way you think if you're defensive. So what do you what's going to lower your defenses? Love the father's love. But when you're not sure of the father's love, you'll do one of two things. You'll rebel against it like the prodigal son did, or you'll try to serve so hard and obey so hard to try to perform for the love, which is what the older son did. Neither of those things were right. Both of those men were sons. Both of those boys were sons, but they thought like slaves.
And one emancipated himself. I'm getting out of here. Give me the money, Dad. Give me my portion. I'm out of here because I want to find my freedom because he felt like he was a slave. So he thought escaping or leaving was his way, his path to freedom, while the other son thought his path to freedom was total obedience. Never miss a day out in the field working for the father, never celebrate or rejoice or have fun, or let your guard down because you got to perform for the father. If you want the father's love and if you want the father's approval that that kept him in bondage. Both of the sons were sons in their position with their father, but they were slaves in their mind, which always leads to one or two things total. Throw off all restraint and just do whatever you want to find freedom, which you won't find or be a slave to obedience. And you'll never have any joy and you'll never be good enough.
And God doesn't even measure you by that. But you think he does. And that's total bondage. And there's no there's no joy in that relationship either. In Galatians four, verse four, look at what he says. When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman born under the law to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. When when he says sons, he's not talking about gender. He's talking about sonship, which is sons and daughters. A boy and girl is gender, but son here is a person with the full rights of the family. That's what the word son means. So this translation, this is actually translated as when he says that we might receive the adoption as sons is literally translated as that we might receive the full rights as sons, the full rights.
You see, if you're living in somebody's house, you don't have the full rights just because you're in a foster home. You have the full rights just because you're living in that house. You don't have the full rights just because you're visiting that house. You have the full rights when you're adopted, when you're adopted, you have all the rights that a son or a daughter would have. So when you're born again, you not only are in the family of God now, you're going to heaven, but you have all the rights, the full rights of a son or a daughter of God, the full rights. And this is what the devil doesn't want you to know. You know, Adam and Eve, when they were in the garden, God spoke to them and he said, hey, hey, Adam, Eve, you see this garden that I put you in? It's beautiful, right? Oh, yeah. It's beautiful lawns. Beautiful. It's great.
OK, see all these trees in the garden? Oh, yeah. Lord, I see all the trees. The Lord said eat from all of them freely. The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve was not don't. The first commandment was do eat freely. And it wasn't due this holy thing. It was eat, enjoy. It's free. Then he said after that. Then he said, Oh and you see that one in the middle. The tree of knowledge of good and evil. Don't eat from that one because the day you eat from it, you'll die. Like what loving father wouldn't tell his kids. Don't go out in the street when the cars are passing by. What loving father wouldn't say? Don't you know? Don't drink that poison. It'll. You are a loving father is going to tell his child that that's what he was saying, he wasn't like, I'm going to tempt you. He was like, let me tell you, the trees in the garden were the trees in the garden.
The fact is, is there is a tree of knowledge of good and evil in the universe. And there are trees of life and there are trees of plenty and fruit. It's not God couldn't say, well, I can't put that tree in there because that because the knowledge of good and evil existed. It was in the garden. It wasn't like God made up a tree that he was going to now tempt Adam and Eve with the knowledge of good and evil existed in the world. It existed in the universe. It exists. The fact that there's evil is only because there is good. The fact that there's darkness is only because there is light. Darkness is the absence of light. Light dispels the darkness. Light is more powerful than the darkness. Good is more powerful than evil. But what what God told them was he was giving them a pattern for living.
The pattern for living is don't focus on what you can't eat, focus on what you can eat and eat freely so that when you do walk by the garden, the tree in the middle of the garden, you're so full from eating freely of all the other trees that you don't you don't even have an appetite. It's not because I'm so holy I would never eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I'm to hold him to good for that. I would never nuh nuh nuh nuh anathema. I curse you tree in the Garden of Eden. I will not eat. I will not touch. I would not look at you. No, no, no. But we think when we, we think by avoiding sin we are so holy. And it's not about Our Holiness. That's not God's way. God's way is to eat freely as sons and daughters in his house. And then when life brings other trees, bad trees that are not good for you, you don't have the appetite for it. It's nothing about religion.
It's nothing about how good and holy you are. It's about you're full. Yeah. Oh, I'm too full. Like, what do you say when you you go to your favorite restaurant, you eat everything that they give you order three meals, you just eat it and eat appetizers. By the time the appetizers have come, you're not even hungry for the meal. The meal comes, you stuff that down. I'm not saying you. I'm just imagine. I'm just saying imagine that. I'm not saying anybody here is a pig. I'm just saying imagine imagine that. And you're full now, you're like man you gosh, now you don't even like food, within 30 minutes you're like, "I'm never going to eat again". And then they bring the dessert tray and it looks good. There's no doubt it's beautiful. It's pretty, it's colorful. But what is the first thing that comes to your mind? "Oh, I'm so full. I couldn't eat another bite". That's what happens when you taste and see that God is good. And when you eat freely of the good, you lose your appetite for the bad.