John Hagee - Grace That Yields
Read with me Romans 15:1 and 2. Ready? "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification". Verse 3: "For even Christ pleased not himself: but it is written, 'the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me'".
Father, thank you for your word. Let us hear and practice this great principle of the faith so seldom heard and so little practiced. In Jesus' name, we pray. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. According to saint Paul, the mark of spiritual maturity is your ability to yield to the needs of others. The text again, Romans 15:1, "We then that are strong". Hear that word? Say that with me. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities", underline that word, "Of the weak, and not to please ourselves". The word "Infirmity" in the Greek word is the Greek word "Astheneia", which means to be feeble in any sense. That means mentally, emotionally, or physically.
The point is your spiritual strength is measured in heaven by your ability to endure the physical or emotional weaknesses of other people. An all-powerful God, as pure as he is, never writes anyone off, never. David wrote, "Lord, if you keep score on our iniquities, who of us can stand"? And what a true statement that is. Aren't you glad God doesn't tally up your sins every day? I think that's why his mercies are renewed every morning, because he couldn't stand us by night fall if that wasn't the case.
The 1st century Christians never wrote off anyone. They didn't write off prostitutes, not even tax collectors, not even the gentiles. Paul said we were outside the covenants of God, without hope, without God, of all men most miserable. Gentiles were nothing and nobody until Jesus Christ, a Jewish rabbi, died for us on the cross, and he adopted us, and made us sons and daughters of the Most High God. Now, we are heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Can I hear an amen?
God didn't write anyone off. God didn't write Moses off and he committed murder. Jesus didn't write Peter off. The Bible says, "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father and his angels". If you deny God before men, your eternal soul is hanging on a thread. And Peter denied Jesus on Pilate's patio, "I don't know the man", three times. And whenever Jesus rose from the dead, he said to his disciples, go tell Peter, that loud mouth, the guy that can't keep his mouth shut, I forgive him. I want him to be a disciple. And he was one of the ones who carried the Gospel to the ends of the world.
God didn't write off saint Paul. Saint Paul was a blasphemer. Saint Paul was a murderer. Paul was putting Christians in jail and having them beaten to death. When Paul called himself a murderer in the New Testament, that's not hyperbole: he was a killer! That's why the New Testament church was afraid of him. God looked down and said that guy is brilliant, he's stubborn, he's just exactly the kind of guy I can use to establish the New Testament church. SWAT! He knocks him on his back and calls him into the ministry.
Think about that. God, in his mercy, has not written you off. When you used God's name in vain last week, he could have caused your tongue to melt in your mouth. He didn't but he could have. When you slandered another believer, the Bible says, your tongue was set on fire of hell. But God, in his mercy, did not write you off. My question to you is, who have you written off? And just why did you write them off? Do you have the grace of yielding? Or do you have to be the dominant thing in every moment of your life?
Saint Paul said you must learn to say "No" to yourself. Saint Paul wrote in Romans 15:1, "We ought not to please ourselves". Say that with me. "We ought not to please ourselves". Boy, that's kind of weak. Say it again. "We ought not to please ourselves". That's not a message America wants to hear. Luke 9:23, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me".
Let him... What? Self-denial. Self-denial is not a message America wants to hear. Taking up your cross is not a popular pulpit theme. However, it is the heart of God and it is the core of the Gospel message. Jesus said, "No man is going to take my life. I'm going to lay it down". I'm going to yield to the will of the father and let him crucify me, so that you, and you, and you, can come to redemption! The grace of yielding bought your salvation at the cross of Calvary! Give the Lord praise in the house.
Before you reach your spiritual destiny, you're going to have to lay your life down to God. He's not going to take it from you. You must lay it down. Listen. The distinctive mark of maturity in Christianity is not tongues. It is not interpretation of tongues. It is not visions. It is not dreams. It is not miracles. It is not gifts. But it is having the spirit of Christ. Listen close. Romans 8:8 and 9, "They that are in the flesh cannot please God". Now there's a message. "But we are not in the flesh but in the spirit if the Spirit of God dwells in you". Paul writes, "Now if any man does not have the spirit of Christ he is none of his".
If you do not have the spirit of Christ, Christ is not in you! Your spiritual strength is not measured by what you can believe: it's measured by what you can obey. I'm going to say that one more time. Your spiritual strength is not measured by what you can believe: it's measured by what you can obey. The rich, young ruler, he believed. He believed that Jesus was the Messiah. He believed that he wanted to be a part of the 12. He just couldn't obey. When Jesus said, "Go sell all you have and give it to the poor", that was the bridge too far. And he went away exceedingly sorrowful, because the price of discipleship was too high.
And so it is with many of you. You want what God has, but you don't want to surrender your life to God to get what God has. Many of you want more of God, but you're not willing to lay down your life. You're not willing to endure the weaknesses of other people. You are self-centered and self-serving, and you have nothing to do with Christ. That's not my opinion: that's saint Paul's opinion. And those words are inspired of the Holy Spirit, according to this book. The grace of yielding will bring you your destiny.
Genesis 13:17, Abraham was following God, looking for a city whose builder and maker was God. He had a nephew named Lot, Lot, the troublemaker: Lot, the arrogant, self-centered twit: Lot, who demanded his way. Abraham yielded to Lot's arrogance, and he let him choose which fields he wanted. And he left. And when he was gone, God said, Abraham, let me show you your inheritance now. I want you to look north, and south, and east, and west. And as far as your eyes can see, I'm going to give that to you. The wealth and the blessing he has prepared for you, are you willing to yield to have God's best? God will give you and show you your destiny when you allow Lot to leave. Listen to this. What you can walk away from will determine what God can bring you to.
There are six things in the Bible to which you should never yield. The first one, obviously, is the devil. The Bible says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you". Say that with me. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you". You remember that comedian on television years ago that said, "The devil made me do it. The devil made me do it". How many of you remember that guy? All you gray-haired people remember that. Christians blame things on the devil that embarrass the devil.
Do we resist the devil? Is America resisting the devil? Go home and look at the television screen tonight. All the occultic movies that your children are able to watch, even some of them sponsored by Disney Land. Witchcraft, witchcraft is not from heaven, folks. It represents the prince of darkness. Is America resisting the devil when satanism and the occult practices are allowed in the military and military institutions? Churches are ordaining homosexuals in major denominations to fill the pulpit. Pedophile priests are being protected by the Roman Church by being transferred from place to place without exposure or expulsion. The Ten Commandments are being removed from state capitals, from schools, from colleges and universities.
Jesus said, "You are my disciples if you keep my commandments". But we're ripping the commandments all out. Why? Because we are shunning God. John 14:15 said, "If you love me, keep my commandments". We fill the air with profanity and we call it "Freedom of speech". The Book of Revelation says, if you use God's name in vain, you will wind up in hell. That's a black and white in your Bible. You should clean up your language. We have refused to discipline our children and we call it "Building self-esteem". Now our streets are flooded with lawless people attacking the police. We have turned our back on the God of Israel. And the God of Israel has walked out. And what we have is a mad house right now!
Secondly, do not yield to self-pity. All of us are limited in some way or another, all of us. In yielding to your limitation, you fail to grow, you fail to develop, you fail to achieve your destiny.
Thirdly, never yield to failure. There's not one of us who does not know the bitter taste of failure. There are those who sit beside the failure of a broken home. A dream marriage that started out with high hopes has floundered and now it's on the rocks. Love has become hate. Joy has become bitterness. The dream has become an unending nightmare. There are countless thousands, who made a wonderful start in the Christian life, but somewhere along the way, they failed. And they gave up and they quit trying. You hear their carping voices every day, well it's no use.
"I tried religion but it just didn't work". You didn't try Jesus, my friend. You may have tried religion. It will never work. But when you try Jesus, he'll never fail. So now they're sitting in some hog pen in the far country, trying to be satisfied with the husk of a third-rate life when they could be enjoying the joy of the Lord that maketh rich and addeth no sorrow in the Father's house.
Is this you? Is this you? Let me tell you that the Father is waiting for you to come home. And through repentance and reconciliation, he can help you move past your failure, move past the heartache, move past the bitter memory. Climb out of the hog pen and start walking back to the Father! The greatest tragedy in your life is not falling down: it's staying down! Get up and go back to the house of your Father! As long as God lives in the heavens, there's a new beginning. As long as there's a desire to live again, to laugh again, to love again, to believe again, as long as your heart beats, you get up, get up, get up and try again! Can I get a witness in this house?
Fourthly, do not yield to your success. Did you make a million dollars last year? Did you pay tithes? I just threw that in for free. Were you salesman of the year last year? Forget it. Where you secretary of the year last year? Forget that. If you made ten million dollars last year, forget that. Did your team win the championship this past season? Forget it. Whenever a man, a business, a sports team, a church, yields to past success, an all time record of production, from the moment satisfaction sets in, satisfaction becomes stagnation. And stagnation is a word for death.
Leadership in this book demands constant achievement, going from glory to glory, to glory, to glory. No one who lives by this book has a life that goes, beeeeep it's this. Moses writes about the eagle's nest. When the young are ready to learn to fly, the mother goes and takes the soft feathers and throws them to the wind so nothing but thorns are in the nest and the birds are not comfortable there. So she takes the little eaglets and shoves them to the edge of the cliff thousands of feet down, and pushes them off. And they're screaming and screeching as they're flopping and flying. And at the last moment, the mother reaches, sails down, and picks them up, brings them on her wings, and sets them on the edge of the cliff. And they're sitting there, don't do that again.
And just about the time they get their breath and she does that over and over and over until they learn to fly. What's the point? The point is when God starts moving you out of your comfort zone, it's not to harass you: it's to develop you. And he will push you into opportunities that you think you can't handle. But just about the time you splatter, he'll pick you up and bear you on his wings, and say, let's try this one more time. I know you can do it. And off you go. And suddenly after about the gillionth time, you say, I can do this. I can be more than a conqueror through Christ. I'm going to make it! God is with me! It's a beautiful life! Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!
Don't let fear destroy you. The two words that Jesus used most in his life were "Fear not". Don't fear death. He is the resurrection and the life. Don't fear the past. It's forgotten and it's forgiven. Do not fear the unknown, because God is the revealer of every secret. Do not fear powers and principalities, because you have the blood of the cross. You have the power of his name. You have the power of his word. You have the power of his blood. You have more fire power than the president of the United States. And it comes to you with just the mention of the name of Jesus. Don't be afraid of people. Don't be afraid of situations. Don't be afraid of the unknown. Don't be afraid of life. Don't be afraid of death. Fear not!
And the sixth in closing. Do not ever yield to greed. Do not yield to greed! Isaiah 56:11 says, "Yes, they are greedy dogs, which never have enough". I believe that's the prophet Isaiah's one sentence description of congress. Saint Paul wrote, "Having food and raiment therewith let us be content". Which of these two people are you? The one screaming for more, more, more, or the one who's living with godly contentment?
I will tell you this true story and close this sermon, told by Russell Cromwell and published all over the world by Earl Nightingale. Not far from the River Indus in 1870 lived a farmer, who had a large farm with orchards, with grain fields, and gardens. He had a wife and two children. He was wealthy and he was contented. One day a priest came by and told him about diamonds, diamonds that could put his children on the thrones of countries around the world, diamonds that could buy many farms far larger than the farm that he had.
That night the farmer went to bed a poor man, poor because he was discontented for the first time in his life. He had become obsessed with the thought, I can be super rich, I can have a diamond mine vast and awesome. The farmer sold his farm and began his passionate pursuit of riches. He left his family, in a neighbor's care, and went from country to country year after year until his money was gone. One day, standing in rags at Spain's bay of Barcelona, he cast himself into the surging sea and drowned himself.
The man who purchased his farm was digging in the garden, and he found a massive diamond in that garden. He continued digging. And to his amazement, diamonds were everywhere. Thus, the diamond mine of Golconda was discovered, the biggest diamond mine in the history of the world. For decades every shovel full revealed gems that would decorate the crowns of kings and queens around the world.
Here's the point, had the farmer who owned the land originally embraced contentment and stayed at home, and dug in his own garden rather than submit to greed and the get rich quick fever, he would have discovered what he desperately wanted God to give him: that it was right under his feet all the time. I'm saying to many of you in this room and those of you watching by television, what you're desperately searching for is right under your feet. It's in your own house. It's in your own backyard. It's with your own children. You need to hear what I'm saying. Who am I talking to? Who is throwing your life away, looking for what's in your own garden in your own house? Can we stand, bow our heads in the presence of the Lord?
How many of you in this room can say, pastor, I have yielded to the prince of darkness. There's unconfessed sin in my life. Or you can say, I have yielded to pity, I have yielded to failure, I have yielded to fear, I have yielded to greed. Do you have the spiritual maturity to yield to the needs of others? Let me ask you: is any of that in your life and you would like to ask the Lord to forgive you and to take it out of your life, would you slip your hand up right where you are right now? Dozens. Raise your hand high. God knows it. You know it. That's it. Hundreds now. Those of you watching by television, I want you to pray this prayer, because there's no distance in prayer. Pray this prayer.
Heavenly Father, in Jesus' name, I ask you to forgive me of all of my sin. Forgive me for yielding to the prince of darkness. Forgive me for wallowing in self-pity when I have been given so much. Forgive me for fearing, because God has conquered everything. Forgive me of the greed that refuses to enjoy what you've already given to me. To this day, I want to yield to the grace of yielding: that I may know the love, the joy, the peace, the prosperity, and the contentment that God has already given, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Give the Lord a shout of praise in the house of God. Amen. Come on, come on, come on. Bless and glorify his name. Bless his glorify his name. Amen.