John Bradshaw - Fully Charged
I'm really grateful to have this opportunity to open up the Bible with you, and, I want to encourage you in your walk with the Lord. Aim high, that is, aim at Jesus. Expect God to do big things, and hang on to God by faith. He, Jesus, is the author and the finisher of our salvation. Thank you so much for joining me. Let's pray as we come to the Bible and open it in God's presence. Let's pray.
Our Father in heaven, bless us now as we come to Your Word. Speak to us, I pray, and thank You, in Jesus' name. Amen.
I think everybody's had this happen at least once or twice in their lives, most likely more. You know, you grab the phone or the camera, you want to video the kids or the grandkids doing something you want to remember, you press the button, but...there's no power there. What's the problem? The battery is flat, and you've lost the moment. Or you're working on your computer when suddenly you get a warning that you had better save your work or plug the electricity back in or else everything's going to be gone. Now, these days there's all kinds of devices and digital this and that and so forth. There's, it seems like, everything we use depends on battery power and, therefore, has the potential to run out of juice. And when there's no power there, you can't take your photos, and you can't connect to the internet, and you can't film... your little one's piano recital, and so on.
Here's something similar, but different. A few days before our family was about to start out on a long road trip, out of the blue, the car would not start. Flat battery. We jump-started it. It ran perfectly...until the very moment we got in the car to leave on the trip. I turned the key, and nothing. There was nothing there. No power. We weren't going anywhere. We've all learned from experience that the best thing to do is to keep the batteries for all of your electronics fully charged at all times. That way, when you need the power to get going, there isn't going to be a problem. You'll have the power when you need it. The Christian life is very much the same. There's a need for the Christian to be fully charged. The Bible teaches us that when we are connected to Jesus, we are connected to the source of all of God's spiritual power.
We're told in the Bible that the gospel "is the power of God unto salvation". The wonderful message about Christ and the experience of having Jesus in your life, it's powerful. And there are times you really need that power. I mean, all the time, but when temptation comes, you want to know that you have the ability in Jesus to overcome and not instead be overcome. Keep in mind that in the book of Revelation, Jesus says repeatedly, to the one who overcomes will be given, "to him that overcometh," she who overcomes, will be given. So how in the world can we not only experience the power of the gospel, but do so consistently? It's one thing to get fully charged. How can we stay fully charged?
Let's remember some things that really ought to be foundational for us. You remember Paul the apostle; once he was Saul the Pharisee. The Pharisees were a sect of Jews that tended to be very concerned with correct forms and methods and practices. They believed very much in righteousness. But when Saul became Paul, he learned that his righteousness, uh, his righteousness in and of himself, his righteousness did not mean that he was actually righteous. Not at all. He referred to his righteousness as being that which was "of the law". His righteousness as a Jewish believer, frankly any kind of believer, it did not mean that he was truly righteous in the sight of Almighty God. Because what he had was self-righteousness, when what he needed was the righteousness of God. The only person who ever lived on this earth and lived with a sinless life, without falling in some moral way, was Jesus.
And Paul came to the realization that having faith in Jesus as his Savior, by that he would receive Jesus' own righteousness. Then, possessing the righteousness of Christ, credit for Jesus' righteous life, he was, therefore, righteous. By believing in Christ as his Savior, he was considered as having Christ's righteousness. Now, clearly the Bible considers a couple of important factors in association with this. One is that Christ's righteousness is not simply a covering to cover your sins and leave you unchanged, still exactly the same before you met Jesus. Far from it. Remember John wrote this in 1 John 1 in verse 9, that God not only forgives us our sins, but cleanses us "from all unrighteousness". God wants to forgive us, and clean us up. Second, is that in our lives sin is a choice. We have sinful flesh, that is true. But the act of transgressing the law of God is something that we either choose to do or choose not to do.
Now, I know you might say, "Oh, man, this thing I did just happened. It happened before I knew what was going on". Sure. And that's the result of a choice, to either surrender in that moment to Jesus, or not to surrender in that moment to Jesus. It's really hard to sin if you are saying at the time, "Lord Jesus, I surrender my life to You at this moment". Now, a third thing is that Rome was not built in a day. We've talked about this, I'm sure we have. I know I have to be very careful in saying this, but when a person comes to Jesus, and Christ enters their life, that person isn't guaranteed of making 100-percent right decisions from then. In fact, I would guarantee the person won't. And you know why, don't you? That's because, simply, there is a process involved called growth. Jesus called our coming to Him in faith being "born again". And newborns grow. They learn. They develop.
While your eyes are on Jesus, you remember the verse in the Bible that says, "My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous". I hate to use a terribly inadequate analogy, but let me put it this way. I drove a friend's Dodge Viper once. It was an earlier model. The Viper is a sports car that has about a 500-cubic-inch engine in it. It is power on wheels. The very first time I drove it forwards, I put it sideways. Now, that's not how you drive a car, but I'd never driven one of these before, and it was something I needed to get used to. It was a beast. It was beautiful. But before long, I was able to drive down, I was able to drive down that road. I was able to drive, before long I was doing 35 miles an hour down the street.
You see, you've got to learn to cooperate with the power and the presence of Jesus. That's just true. I had to figure out how to handle that much power, how to handle the car. As I said, it's an inadequate analogy. But you have all this power on offer extended to you from heaven, and it's utterly imperative that we learn how to cooperate with the power that God wants to bring into our lives. Related to this, we come into faith in Christ with a whole lifetime of history. Have you ever thought about that? We inherited tendencies to evil that we have to deal with. Born that way. Your dad was an angry man; you grew up in his shadow; you, too, might have a hair trigger. And as well as inherited tendencies to evil, we cultivated tendencies to sin as well. We develop certain thinking habits, substance abuse issues. We can become liars and thieves, and that can become a part of life, part of the fabric of our being.
Let me suggest this. Don't you think that might mean that it's really important to stop and think about the habits that you're developing in your life? You heard that old, old saying, "garbage in, garbage out". The Christian version of that saying is a paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 3:18, which says, in the paraphrase version, that by beholding we become changed. And it matters. What you focus on impacts what you are. It, it, it's just a basic law of the way human beings function. It's a basic but very important law of the way spiritual beings function, that is, human beings who are, uh, reaching out after God. There's a lot to work through in a person's life that just doesn't mysteriously go away when you come to Jesus. Of course, many things can happen like that. You can come to Jesus and suddenly the desire for this is gone; the desire for that is gone. But somewhere else there'll be something else, doesn't just evanesce like the dew before the morning sun. And when you come to Christ, and you're born again, and you receive Christ's righteousness, and you have salvation, the power of God comes into your life.
Now, that's not a power that's given to you to do whatever you want to do with. But when Jesus comes into your life, He brings His power, and the power of God is great. It's great enough to change our lives, help us to grow so that we can experience what Paul described as "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ". God does not want our experience with Jesus to be up and down. So how do we stay close to Him, remain close to Him? How do we get connected and stay connected? Your cell phone battery is going to run down unless you plug it in and keep it plugged in. That's what God is wanting for you, for you to be fully charged. Is there power in the experience of salvation in Jesus? Yes, there is. Whose power is it? It is Christ's power. Paul wrote that he wanted to be in Christ and "know...the power of His resurrection".
Jesus promised that that power would work in us. He said in John 5 in verse 21: "For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickeneth", uh, that means makes alive, "as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, even so the Son quickeneth", or makes alive, "whom He will". Now, in practical terms, how does this happen? It happens by faith. And faith is exceedingly practical. "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith". "The righteousness which is of God by faith". And what have we suggested faith is? We've discussed together that faith is believing in God's word and expecting God's word to do what it say it will do. Why do we say that that is faith? Well, when that centurion was wanting Jesus to heal his servant, he said, "Don't come to my house. Just say the word only". Jesus said, "That is faith".
He expected the Word of God to do what it said it would do. He knew that if Christ said, "Your servant is healed," that the servant would be healed simply because Jesus had said so. Jesus puts mud on a man's eyes. "Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam". He does. That's faith. Why did he do it? Because he expected the word of Christ to accomplish what it said it would accomplish. He could have argued the point, but instead he believed, and he was healed. He trusted the word of God to do what it said it would do. You see, faith and the word of God are inextricably, inseparably linked. The Bible tells us that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God". You can't have faith independent of God's word. Our connection with Jesus is based on His word. Here's what Peter wrote: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever".
See? We are born again by the word of God. Let's look at this another way. You come to Christ. You accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You accept the fact that God saves you and that He gives you a new heart. What then forms the basis for the rest of your life as a Christian? It's got to be the Holy Bible. So consider this. Speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 1, verse 3 says that He was "the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power". That last phrase, Jesus is "upholding all things by the word of His power". Think of the sun for a moment, the sun up there in the sky. Do you know how big it is? It's huge! It is 865,000 miles across. It is so big that it accounts for 99.86 percent of our solar system's mass. In relation to the center of our galaxy, the sun is moving at 140 miles a second. What holds the sun in the sky right where it is? Or, what holds it in its orbit? You might answer by saying, "Gravity," and that would be fine.
There might be a plethora of scientific explanations that could be discussed and debated, but here's what we know for sure. The sun is being held in the sky by the word of His power. How can we be sure? Well, I'll ask you this. Is the sun part of all things? I think we would agree that it is. And Hebrews says that Jesus is "upholding all things by the word of His power". What is preventing Mount Everest from collapsing in a heap? It is being upheld by the word of His power. It, too, is part of all things. The great redwoods of California, they are part of all things. And so we would have to conclude that they are being upheld by the word of His power. And so, we've got the sun and Mount Everest and the redwoods.
Now let me ask you this. Are you part of all things? I should think you are. Therefore, we understand that you, too, are being upheld by the word of His power. Question: Do you ever worry, do you ever spend any time fretting that the sun will just fall out of the sky? Do you ever waste energy considering or contemplating that Mount Everest might just slip right out of the Himalayas? I would think not. Have you ever walked through a redwood grove, where you stand under great big trees, thinking, "Wow, my goodness, all these things could just, phoosh! sink into the ground". No, you don't. You are confident that they will stay where they should stay for the simple and yet very profound fact that God is upholding them by the word of His power. So, therefore, you can be confident that God will hold you up, too. You are part of all things, and God is upholding all things by the word of His power.
Two points: You can be confident God will hold you up, and you know how He will hold you up. He'll do it by the power of His word. He will do it by the power of His word. Remember what Peter wrote, 2 Peter 1, after greeting the ones to whom he is writing, he says, "According as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust". Do you hear what the Bible is saying? Through the promises of God we can be partakers of the divine nature. In other words, we may be just or righteous. We can be righteous through the promises of God.
What do you do with the promises? What do you do with any promises? You either believe them or you don't believe them. It's that simple. Believing the promises and expecting them to do what they say, that is faith. So we become partakers of the divine nature; we become righteous through belief in God's promises. Faith! Righteous by faith. And you see we start to bring this into our entire life. Jesus said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'" What forms the basis of your experience? It better be the Word of God. When the Word of God forms the basis of your experience, you start to live by it; you start to bring it into every aspect of your existence. You say, how do I now live this life of faith? And the answer is, you live your entire life based on the Word of God. How can you be sure it's a good, safe way to live? I'll tell you what, if you don't live according to God's Word, you're going to be living according to someone's word.
So, look to the cross of Calvary and ask yourself, can I trust His word? Can I believe what Jesus says? Does Jesus have my best interests in mind? You can know that the One who made the universe, the One who put the stars in the sky, the One who made us from nothing, you know that He can be trusted. He hasn't ever let anybody down. God's love. God...is patient. God is faithful. And His word is sure. The word of God becomes the basis for every aspect of your life. Now, that requires some humility. You've got to admit that God knows more than you. That shouldn't be too hard to understand seeing as God, after all, is, well, God. You've also got to be prepared to let go of some things. There might be some stuff in your life that you really like having there. But then you find out that God doesn't want you to have that in your life. That's kind of a battle sometimes.
So now we have a decision to make, don't we? Whether or not we want to go all the way with God or our own way. And we have to trust, trust that God's Word is true and right and the best way to go. In other words, faith is required, a belief that what God's Word says is true and that it can be counted on to do what it says. And when you make the decision to allow your life to be lived God's way, that's when God can come into your life and bring His power and His presence and His righteousness into the very core of your existence. You're living by faith then. You're living by faith in the word of God. You see, there is power in the word of God and you want to be connected consistently to that power. And that woman taken in adultery, what did Jesus say to her? He said, "[I do not] condemn you; go and sin no more". So, do you think she carried on in her sin? Well, we would think not. Would it have been easy for her to make a turnaround from immorality to morality? Most likely not. But what did she have going for her? She had the word of God. Jesus had said, "Go and sin no more".
So, based on the power in His word, she was able to go and sin no more through what Jesus could do in her life. There is a real need for constant dependence upon Christ and His power in our lives. Look at verse, uh, I'd like to investigate this verse with you. It's really very good and very important. Philippians 1 in verse 6, it says: "He [that] hath begun a good work in you" is faithful to "perform it until the day of Jesus Christ". Isn't that something? You might have thought that you began the work in your life. Huh? Is that what you thought? "I came to faith in Jesus, and then I burned my rock music albums and I dumped my boyfriend and", whatever, "I came to Jesus, and I got started, I started cleaning things up". You think you began the work. "I accepted Jesus into my life, and I turned my life around". Oh, not so, friend, not so. Repentance is a gift given to us by God. Faith is a gift given to us by God.
That inclination to yield to God and to surrender to Him, that is the work of the Holy Spirit operating in your life. Who began the work? Jesus did. And who is going to carry the work on? The verse tells us. He that has "begun a good work in you," He is faithful to "perform it until the day of Jesus Christ". Jesus started the work, Jesus will perform the work all the way to the time of the Second Coming. What are we doing? We are yielding our will to Him. We are cooperating with Him. He says, "Let's walk right on past this bar and not go in for a drink," and we say, "I'm willing to do that if You give me grace". You might even say to Him, if you're honest, you might even say to Him, "I really want to go into that bar". And Jesus wouldn't say, "Oh, you rascal"! Jesus would say, "I know you do. I know you well". You know, if you read in the Psalms, you will read a verse that says, "He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust".
Do you know that that is saying, God knows what you're made of? Did you know that? God knows what you're made of. He knows that you're just dust. Loves you anyway. So you're walking past a bar, and, and the, the liquor is calling your name. And you say, "Ah, I want to go in". And Jesus says, "No, come on, eyes front, keep on going". And, and you might say to Him, if, if you're an honest Christian, "Ah, it's calling to me". That's when you say, "But I'm willing to do Your will". You don't even have to say to God in the middle of temptation, "I can do this. I can do Your will". You don't have to say that. In fact, it's better if you don't. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall". It's probably better if you say, "You know what I'm made of. I'm so weak. Just about everything about me would, would, I'd love to do that. But I'm willing to do Your will.
If You give me the grace, You tell me to walk on past the door of that bar, I'll just walk, I mean, I'll put one foot in front of the other, I want You to direct my steps, and I'm willing. I, I'm willing. I surrender". You set your face like a flint, eyes forward. You march right on past that bar. How'd that happen? It happened by the power of God. You see? Jesus began the work. Jesus will perform the work. Let me give you another example of that. Somebody is needling you. And you want to react. Maybe someone in your home. Because it's at home, unfortunately it becomes so easy just to...vent when we shouldn't. And something rises up, and you recognize it. And now that you've been praying about it, you know, you've been saying, "God, hey, change me. Lord, don't let me fly off the handle. Lord, speak to my heart". And someone is intentionally or otherwise needling you, and you, instead of reacting, you turn in the direction of heaven and you say, "Lord, I need You. I need Your help. I need Your help". The Lord will say, "You've got it". "Jesus, take my mouth. Take my attitudes. Take my reaction. Do what I cannot". And Jesus says, "Here's peace. Keep your mouth shut. It's going to be okay". And the peace of heaven will flood your life.
Now, of course, somebody's gonna try this, "I didn't feel the peace". That's why we walk by faith and not by feelings, you know. You just believe the peace. And as you continue to grow, and this first time around might be a little raw, you know, but the more you yield to Jesus, it's going to become more and more natural, and He'll continue to do the work. Jesus will perform the work in whatever temptation. And what you do is continue to live that way, with God's word having complete sway, complete authority in your life. You can live a life that isn't one of futility and endless defeat. You can live a life where you are fully charged. You see, when you realize that Christ has begun the work, that Christ Jesus will finish the work, suddenly you realize where lies the power for getting the job done. We come to Jesus weak, but we connect to His power. Righteousness by faith is about a continual leaning on Jesus and trusting in His word to do what it says it will do.
When we do this, continue to yield and surrender, that's when we experience resurrection power. The power that brought Jesus back from the dead, that same power will make us alive in Christ. You see, where there was no life, there'll now be life. "Lord, I don't have any power to keep my mind clean". So, you remember the Bible says, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind". So you go to God and tell Him, "You've asked it of me. I want it done, but it will only happen through Your ability and not mine, so I'm expecting You to do it in me. Thank You". And God will. When I first became a Christian, I had a job working one day a week, and that one day of the week was Saturday. The other six days I didn't work. You're saying, "Wow, man, you were doing great if you could get by on one day a week". No, I wasn't doing great.
There was real economic difficult times. I was living not in my hometown, not even in my home country, and all I could get was one day a week. I needed that, as little as it was. I learned that Saturday was the seventh day of the week and that the Bible said that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, and that believers who love Jesus are to keep the Sabbath day holy. I wondered about that, but looked and realized it was valid in the New Testament as well as the Old. Jesus kept the Sabbath. The early Christians in the book of Acts kept the Sabbath. Jesus said, "We're going to keep it in the earth made new". It was one of the Ten Commandments, so, therefore, it was on exactly the same level as "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not commit adultery," so I thought, I'd want to keep the Sabbath day holy. That would be God's will. But then I had my job to consider. Well, here's what I thought. I thought that if it was God's idea and if it was God's will for me to keep the Sabbath, then surely He would take care of all of that for me.
So I contacted my boss. We were about to resume a project after some time doing other things, and I told him I would not be able to work on Saturdays anymore, and I explained why. He said, "I'm fine. No problem at all. You've been a terrific employee". He was very cordial about it, very nice. He said that he had someone else who could work for him just as well as I could, and so that was that, and I was out of a job. Eleven and a half thousand miles from home, and I had no job and very little money. But I had faith in what the Bible said. I knew it was God's will for me to obey Him. I had no idea how I was going to find another job, none. Now, whose idea was it that I keep the Sabbath day holy? Was it my idea? Did I make it up? Did I write the fourth commandment on tables of stone? No! It was God's idea. It was God's Word.
And so I prayed to the Lord and I said this, "You got me into this mess. You are going to have to get me out of it". It was His idea. I was obeying His Word, not my word. Now, so what happened? Phone rang, I got a job immediately? No, that's not what happened. Nothing happened, not right away, and I was plenty nervous. But, you know, it wasn't that long and I got a great job working six days a week, and then, I had that job for two weeks, and someone came and offered me a job earning twice as much, but working five days a week. Hallelujah! I just had to trust in God. Now, it needs to be said that if you're going to grow very far in faith in the Word of God, you've got to know what God's Word says. How can you be a partaker of the divine nature based on the great and precious promises in the Word of God when you don't know what those promises are?
Friend, the power is in the Word of God. And if the Word of God gets in you, then the power is working in your life. What do you need power for? Power to believe. Power to be strong in a marriage where your spouse is pulling in another direction. Power for purity in your life, in an age where it is fashionable and acceptable for impurity to dwell. Power to resist peer pressure. Power to resist indulging your appetite when you shouldn't. Power to keep a bad temper from controlling you. Power to not say things that once you just would have blurted out. Power so that you can manifest in your life, sorry, power so can be, so that can be manifested in your life the character of Jesus. Power so Jesus can be seen. What too many people ask God for is a little help. "Lord, can You give me a bit of a push"? It's like me jump-starting the car when our own car battery was down and then having battery trouble later. We don't want a push, man; we need a new battery, fully charged.
Two people are asking God for a push to get us going so that we can get on our merry way. Instead of asking God for a leg up or for a little help, we go to Him and find help in Jesus. Not a push, not a shove, not mere assistance, but we go to Jesus and have Him come into our lives and live His life in us. And then His power works in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure". Too many people see faith in Jesus as being like these home renovation programs on TV. Start with an old house. Uh, put siding on the outside. Build a deck out front. Put some shrubbery. Uh, uh, what's that stuff? Uh, granite in the kitchen. A new bathroom, all-new wall hangings. What have you got? You've got an old house. It's just been spruced up.
Too many of us are satisfied with being same old house, but spruced up. God wants more for us. If God was doing that building renovation program, here's what He would do. He would dynamite the house. Boom! He would scrape the lot entirely clean and build a new house. This is what God does for you. He doesn't renovate you. He re-creates you. There is power in the Word of God. No power in human beings, none at all. Jeremiah wrote, "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, [that] maketh flesh his arm". That's Jeremiah 17, verse 5. There is power in the Word of God. Not when the Bible sits on the bookcase. There's no power in a Bible on a bookcase. The Bible isn't a good luck charm. Those promises need to get off the paper and into your heart, and they'll only do that if you read it, listen to it, memorize it, hide it in your heart.
David wrote, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee". There is power in God's Word. Jesus says, "Ask, and it shall be given unto you". Friends, we ought to be doing some asking. You know what Jesus said? He said, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him"? Luke 11 in verse 13. He will give the greatest gift, the Holy Spirit, the presence of Christ Himself to them that pay. No! To them that, argue. No! To them that bargain? No, no, no. Jesus will give the presence of the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. It's like saying, "If you want a million dollars, just ask". You'd ask! Except it isn't like that. It is so much better.
God promises to pour His presence and His power into your life, if you would just ask to do so. If you repent, if you're genuine, if you're not hanging on to some dirty sin somewhere 'cause you love the sin more than you love Jesus, if you recognize your great need, you can be certain that as you pray, God will change your heart and mind and life. Through prayer and the Word of God you can live a life that is fully charged. There'll be no lack. There'll be no doubt. There'll be no turning back. But there will be instead the presence of Jesus and the presence of His righteousness. You can have it all by faith. Let's tell Him we want it. Come on, let's pray together now.
Our Father in heaven, enough of a life that's kinda 10 percent and, and draining fast. O Lord, let us be fully charged, connected to Jesus through Your Word, connected to the heart of heaven by faith.
Friend, would you be connected to God today? He loves you. He will accept you. Doesn't even matter where you've been, what you've done. He will accept you. He will forgive you and make you new. What does the Bible say? If anyone is in Christ, that person is "a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things... become new". "There is...now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, [those] who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit".
So, Lord, before we can walk this way or that way, we need to be in Christ Jesus. Father, let it be so. By faith we claim Jesus as our own. Friend, God will forgive you, make you new. You have assurance now through faith in Jesus. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Amen.