Joyce Meyer - Who Is God?
Who is God? That's the name of the series this weekend. And you might think, "Well, what a unique title that is". Well, thought it might be kinda catchy, and actually we're even throwing around the idea of writing a book with that title on it, because I think a lot of people either know a little bit about God but they need to know him a lot deeper, they need to know a lot more about him, and know him in a more intimate and a more personal way. I tell people all the time, Jesus did not die so we could all have a religion. He died so we could have a deep, intimate, personal relationship with God through Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, in the temple, the physical temple that existed then, there was a very thick curtain that was 3 feet thick that separated the presence of God from the people. And only the high priest could go in there, and then only once a year, and he went in to make sacrifices for the sins of the people. There was an outer court, an inner court, but then this holy place into the presence of God. The people were separated by a curtain 3 feet thick.
When Jesus died, that curtain tore, quote, "By itself," with no human instrumentality, not from the bottom up, from the top down, because it was so high that no man could have reached it and God did it just that way to show that when Jesus died, the way was opened up into the intimate presence of God. Now every person can go in and come out and go in and come out. And that's why Jesus died, so our sins could be forgiven, so we could have eternal life, and so we could have an intimate relationship with God while we're here. Let me tell you that God has a lot more for you than just a weekly trip to church. He wants you to learn how to do life with him.
So, who is God? I believe that anybody who really knows God, if anybody really knew God, they would definitely want him in their life. How could you possibly reject God or say you didn't believe in God if you really understood his character, and the kind of relationship that he wants to have with you, and the beautiful, amazing, wonderful things that he's done for you. And so the redemptive names of God that are seen in the Old Testament that all culminate and come together in the name Jesus in the New Testament tell us a lot about what God does. So, we connect who people are to what they do. And certainly we're a lot more than what we do, we're children of God, but that's one of the ways we know people, by what they do. So, we've been looking this weekend so far at what God does.
And I can't go back and cover all the ground I've covered already, but tonight we have three that we wanna do, and there's four more for tomorrow, so pray for me. But Jehovah, which means God, dash shalom, means "The Lord is peace". So, anytime that you feel real peace in your life, it's God. The devil never brings peace. The world doesn't bring peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. And I think one of the things that people want more than anything... matter of fact, I believe the three things that people want are the things that the kingdom offers us. Romans 14:17 says, "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink". It's not things, "But it is righteousness," feeling right about yourself, not having to go around feeling like something's wrong with you all the time. And we can only have that through Christ. He is our righteousness. So, the only way that we can feel right about ourself is to know him. "Peace and joy in the holy ghost".
I mean, how awesome would life be if we just didn't have to feel bad about ourselves anymore ever for any reason? We just knew that we were loved, and we had peace, and we had joy. So, he's the one that gives us peace. You don't even have to pray that God would give you peace. He's already given you peace. You need to know that he is your peace. How many of you enjoy the atmosphere in here? Okay, you know, even right now, what we feel in here is the presence of God. How many of you would say it doesn't feel like this where you work? And so we need to realize that, you know, this... wow. This wonderful peace. And boy, it even increases when we begin to worship, doesn't it? That's God in our lives. And so I would suggest that you hang out with the Prince of Peace so you're not frustrated and upset all the time.
Isaiah 9:6-7, "For unto us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father of Eternity, the Prince of Peace. And of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end". I love that, that the more we let him govern our lives, the more peace we're gonna have. His government and his peace go together. Now, we can be believers and still be trying to run our own lives, and we still won't have much peace. But as soon as you say, "God, your will be done," your peace is gonna begin to increase. We always think about what God's taken away from us, and really the only things he ever wants us to part with are things that are hurting us anyway.
Ephesians 2:14 says, "He is Himself our peace. The bond of unity and harmony. He has made us both Jew and Gentile one body, and has broken down destroyed, abolished the hostile dividing wall between us". Now, this was very pertinent in Paul's day because nobody hated each other any more than Jews and gentiles. They absolutely despised each other. Well, has anybody noticed that somewhere in the world, there's always hatred between races? And it's amazing to me that we think we have to hate people just because they're not like us, or even just because they don't think the same way that we think. You don't have to necessarily agree with somebody in order to live in harmony. Dave and I are very different and I can tell you that there's a lot of things that we don't think the same way about or feel the same way about, but I can also tell you that we literally almost never have an argument or have a fight now. You know why? Because we have learned how to disagree agreeably and respectfully.
And boy, do we ever need unity among all the church denominations. It's time for us to stop fighting about the few things we don't agree about and begin to fellowship around the name of Christ and the blood of Jesus. And that's one of the things that I love about the kind of conferences we do. I can pretty much guarantee you that we've got people here from every religion that exists and some who haven't even made your mind up yet. And I love it. You know why? Because the word of God is for everybody and the word of God works the same in everybody's life. And so I really like this scripture because it says in Christ we all become one. And why is that? Because everything that I am, I owe to Christ and everything that I'm not, I have to trust him to take care of.
And so when I understand that he is my bond of unity, then I no longer need to compare myself with anybody else. I don't need to look down on them if they're not like me and I don't have to look down on me if I'm not like them. It's wonderful to have peace, amen? I no longer have to be jealous of other people when I know that my only worth and value is in Christ. Jesus gives us a different kind of peace. I'm not gonna have you turn to the scripture. It's quite long in the amplified, but in John 14:27 it says, "My peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives do I give unto you, but my own special peace I now give and bequeath unto you". And then the amplification says, "So stop allowing yourselves to be upset and disturbed". I like that part. Jesus said, "Look, I've given you peace. Now you need to hold onto that peace and stop getting all upset about everything that's going on. Because if you really know who I am, you know that you don't have to worry about all the junk you're worrying about because I'm taking care of stuff".
How valuable is it to have a relationship with God? It's amazing. But then one of my most favorite scriptures and one of the scriptures that has probably helped me more than any other to really begin to access the peace that Jesus died to give me is found in 1 Peter 3:11, and I'm gonna quote you the last half of it because it simply says that we are to pursue peace. If you look down about halfway, it says... well, we'll just read it. "Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony: undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!"
So, here we see three different relationships where we need to pursue peace. I need to have peace with myself, you need to have peace with yourself. Until I have peace with me, 'til I'm getting along with me, I'm never gonna get along with you. It was impossible for me to be mad at me all the time and ever get along with Dave. And so the question always needs to be asked, how do you feel about yourself? What kind of relationship do you have with you? To be honest, you spend more time with you than you do anybody. Did you ever think about that? Hey, like, wow, I'm with me all the time. I never get away from me. And so really, the way you feel about yourself is much more important than the way anybody else feels about you. And the way you think about yourself is more important than the way anybody else thinks about you. And the way you talk about yourself is more important than the way anybody else talks about you.
Now, I'm very serious in what I'm saying here tonight. I got a lot of ground to cover, and I don't plan to stick a long time with this subject of peace. I'm just gonna go through some things and read you some things, and each one of them would deserve a whole night of teaching in themselves. But boy, if there's one that catches your attention, you need to hold onto it and do some more study yourself or look for some more material along these lines that we have available. One of the ways that you can have peace with yourself... well, not one. There's about... Eight I'm gonna talk about. Don't continually inventory your faults all the time. If you wanna have peace with yourself, just don't sit around all the time and think about what's wrong with you. God will deal with you about each thing as he chooses and the Holy Spirit will convict you about things that he wants to convict you about. Stop comparing yourself with other people and competing with them all the time. You don't have to pray like somebody else. You don't have to memorize scripture because somebody else memorizes scripture.
I was with another well-known Bible teacher the other day and she just made a comment in talking. She wasn't trying to brag or anything. She said, "The other morning when I was doing some memorization work in," and she named a book of the Bible. And I can remember days when that would've made me feel threatened because I don't sit around and try to memorize large portions of scripture. It's just not my thing. I know a ton of scripture, but I just know it from all the years that I've taught the word. And I can quote a lot of scripture, but if you said to me right now, "Can you quote the whole book of Philippians," I'd have to say no. But I know Bible teachers that can do that and I think that that's wonderful. But you see, we're never free as long as we have to compete with somebody else and we feel like that we need to do what they do. Can anybody give a big shout for being who you are? Amen! And isn't it wonderful to be able to be happy for what somebody else can do without letting it threaten you or feel like that now you gotta have this wall of division between you and them because they kinda threaten you even when you're in their presence. Amen?
Number three, listen to what God's word says about you, not what other people say about you. But one thing's for sure, if you listen to everything that everybody has to say about you, especially if you're around a lot of people. There's nobody that can please all the people all the time. I don't care what you do, you just can't do it. If you wanna have peace with yourself, let go of the past and press toward the future. If you wanna have peace with yourself when you make a mistake, repent, receive your forgiveness, and go on. Don't spend a month in condemnation before you decide to come back to terms of peace. Guilt is useless, all it does is weaken you and make you fall into more sin. I said guilt is useless, all it does is weaken you and it actually makes you fall into more sin. One more time. Guilt is useless, it actually weakens you and makes you fall into more sin.
If you wanna do the same thing over and over, just every time you do it, feel guilty about it for a month and you can be guaranteed that you'll probably do it again. But if you repent, ask God to forgive you, and then ask him to strengthen you, and do what his word says, let go and go on. Study in that area. Don't just feel guilty about it. Study the word in that area and that will give you the grace that you need to overcome that problem. Don't just feel guilty if you got a bad temper. Study what the Bible says about anger. There's power in the word to set you free, not power in guilt.
Number six is decide - make a decision to like yourself. What was that again? See, to be honest, probably some of you have never even given 2 seconds worth of thought to how you feel about yourself. You have a relationship with you, and you need to have a good relationship with you. Now, I hope this doesn't sound haughty and prideful because I don't mean it to, but I like myself. I kind of enjoy myself. You know, I think I'm kinda funny sometimes and a little bit ditzy sometimes. And you know, I do some kinda interesting things.
The other day, we were on the... we got here. We were sitting on the plane. Our number got drawn for the customs agent to come on board, which always takes longer. So he came on board. You know, I think they try to look mean on purpose. I don't know, but it's like... "What are you in Canada for? How long are you gonna be here? You bringing anything in? You taking anything out"? You know, and then he says to me, he says, "What are you doing here"? I said, "I'm doing a conference here". And he said, "What's the name of your company"? But I thought he said, "What's your name"? And so I said, "Oh, we're Dave and Joyce Meyer". He said, "No, the name of your company". My mind just froze up and I'm going, "Um, um, um". I couldn't think of the name of my own ministry. And finally I said, "Uh, uh, oh! Joyce Meyer Ministries," and even he laughed at that.
So, last conference I went to, first time I've ever done this in my whole life in 37 years of teaching. I forgot my Bible. So, I forgot my Bible that conference. This conference, I forgot who I worked for. Really interesting. And you know what? I could think, "Oh, how dumb! How stupid do you look"? I just think it's funny. You know, when you can learn to laugh at yourself, you can really have a good time. Stop being angry about every little thing that you do wrong. Make decisions and be confident. Don't always second-guess yourself and go to other people to ask 'em what you should do. Hello? Make an agreement with God tonight to never again speak negative things about yourself out of your own mouth.
How can you have peace with God - I got a whole bunch of those too. Give up trying to control your life and realize that your times are in his hands. You know, being upset because God's not hurrying will not make him hurry. I mean, however long it takes, that's how long it's gonna take. Don't be mad at God because he's not giving you everything that you want. He's got a better plan than you do. Man's mind plans his way but God directs his steps. God finally taught me, "When you ask me for something and you don't get it, it's not because I'm holding out on you. It's because I've got something better in mind and you don't know enough yet to ask me for that". You might be single and say, "I wanna marry that guy," and God may be saying, "No, you really don't. You may think you do, but trust me, you really don't".
If you wanna have peace with God, stop trying to figure out what he's doing in your life. God is many times a mystery and we don't always know what he's doing. We live life forward, but we understand it backward. When you're walking through your life, you're like, "What is going on"? And then, I mean, things that just worried me, and had me upset, and frustrated me so many of the early years of our ministry, I didn't get it at all. But now I can look back over here and I can point to every one of those things and say, "This is why God let that go on that long. This is why God had me in this place. This is why God didn't deliver me from that when I wanted to be". They all help make you who you are and they help you become what God wants you to become.
Stop trying to figure out what God's doing in your life. You say, "Well, all of this is a lot easier than you make it sound". Well, I didn't say it was easy. I'm just telling you this is what you gotta do to get to where you can have peace. 2 Thessalonians 3:16, I wanna put this scripture up. I think this is so amazing. 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, verse 16, "Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace (the peace of His kingdom) at all times and in all ways under all circumstances and conditions, whatever comes. The Lord be with you all". Don't you love that scripture? That's awesome. And then lastly, how can you have more peace with people? Does anybody need a little more of that? Well, you can only have peace with people when you're willing to accept them the way they are and know that only God can change them. Hmm. Some of you made bad faces at me before you clapped. "Well, I just can't put up with them the way they are anymore". Well, God put up with you. Amen?
Listen, here's the deal. If you're in relationship with somebody that is difficult for you but you feel like that you're supposed to be in the relationship with 'em, then understand that God is not going to ask you to be somewhere and not give you the ability to be there and be happy. Something's wrong with this part of the room. Only these people over here are clapping. I mean, it all came from right over here, this one little pile. All right, I'll go over here and try it. You gotta realize that if you're in relationship with somebody that's difficult for you to handle and they've got a bunch of stuff that you'd like to see changed, if you're in there because you feel like that's where God wants you to be, then you have to understand that God is never gonna ask you to be somewhere and not give you the grace and the ability to be there and enjoy your life.
If you want to get along with people, you got to learn how to keep your opinions to yourself. "Well, I think: well, I think: well, I think: well, I think". Well, who asked you what you think? And even if I did ask you, I probably don't want to know, so. And yes, there's a scripture to back it up that says, "Mind your own business and stay busy with your own hands". Stop letting your emotions rule you. You can have emotions, but you dare not let them run your life. Be willing to keep quiet sometimes and say nothing in order to avoid strife. Believe it or not, you don't have to always have the last word.
Forgive quickly, don't be easily offended. Don't be easily offended. "Well, you hurt my feelings". Well, don't get your feelings hurt. Why is it more my responsibility not to hurt your feelings than it is for you to make a decision to believe the best and not get hurt? Very good, I've never said that before. I like that. Meditate on people's strengths and not their faults. If you have to, get out a piece of paper and make a list. Treat other people the way you'd like to be treated. Give mercy, on and on and on. All right, Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our peace. Who is God? He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our provider. Hallelujah, wow.
Okay, now let me just tell you that we miss so much in our life because we go to people to give it to us instead of to God. How many times in my life have I gotten mad at somebody, maybe Dave, maybe somebody else, probably Dave because he didn't comfort me when I needed to be comforted? But you know what I had to learn? When I feel like I need to be encouraged, which I do sometimes, instead of getting mad at Dave or one of my kids or one of my friends because they're not giving it to me, how many of you know when you're having a rough time, the first thing you do is start looking for somebody to blame it on? Go to God. When you need encouragement, go to God and say, "God, I'm feeling kind of low today. I need some encouragement". And then let God pick who he wants to work through. God is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our provider. And he is El Shaddai, the all abundant one who can... nothing is too big for him. God cares about everything that you care about. God provides so many things. I tried to make a little list, but I would have still been writing if I would have kept going. The Bible says he is our shelter, he is our refuge, he is our hiding place. He's our keeper. He's the one who comforts us. He provides finances, he provides work, he provides strength, he provides grace, he provides healing, he provides wisdom, he provides relationships. The Lord is our provider.
We're going to look at 3 scriptures, Philippians 4:19. Who is God? Pretty much everything. Where is he? Everywhere. When is he everywhere? All the time. What does he know? Everything. "And my God will liberally supply". Aren't you glad he's not El Cheapo? My God will liberally, abundantly - I love the words that it uses to describe God's character. Exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond. "My God will liberally supply (and fill to the full) your every need according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus". He'll meet our needs. Thank God every day for meeting your needs, even when you don't see them met yet. God is my source. He is my provider. Now just to be fair, I need to tell you that I don't think you should just pull Philippians 4:19 out of the Bible and just quote it. You need to read the stuff around it. And Paul was actually talking to his financial partners in his ministry. And so the Bible does tell us that the way we release the blessings of God in our life is through being obedient in being a blessing to other people, in helping. "Give and it shall be given unto you good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Shall God then bring a harvest in your life".
If you have not yet learned to be a generous giver, I mean a radical, generous giver who looks for opportunities to give, you are missing one of the best things in your life. One of the best things that you can do for yourself is be a generous giver. Always do more than what you have to do. And anytime that you give to anyone, to any ministry, to any church, to any friend, to anybody in need, always see it as if you're giving it to God. "God, I'm giving this to you. I want to help because I love you. You gave to me and I want to give to you". And then you can get up and quote every day, "And my God shall supply all of my need according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus".
I think sometimes we get really good at just pulling a scripture out here and there that we like and ignoring all the stuff around it. Hebrews 13:5 and 6 are just phenomenal scriptures in the amplified Bible. "Let your character or your moral disposition be free from the love of money including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions and be satisfied with your present circumstances and with what you have because God Himself has said, 'I will not in any way fail you, nor give you up, nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not.'" Oh my gosh. "I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless, forsake my hold on you, let you down, relax my hold on you assuredly not!" exclamation marks all over the place.
What a comfort that should be to single parents. What a comfort that should be to someone who's lost a loved one and now you find that you need to take on responsibilities that you're not used to having. What a comfort to someone who's in a position that you feel is way, way, way over your head. What a comfort to someone who's been laid off from your job. God says, "I will not fail to support you and take care of you. I will not, I will not, I will not relax my hold on you and let you down". My, my, my, that is shouting ground. And then Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added unto you".
One of the reasons why we don't have the things that we desire is because we seek the things instead of seeking God. If we seek God and the right way to live and the right way to be and do, for example, if I spend more time praying about how I can walk in love and treat other people right and just mention to God my needs, I'm more likely to get what I would really like to have because I've got my mind on the right thing, not the wrong thing. Jehovah Jireh is your provider. He's Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our healer. He provides healing. He's your strength, he's your wisdom, he's your peace. Who is God? He is amazing. Why would anybody not want to have a relationship with the kind of God that we're talking about tonight? Who in the world would not want to be taken care of? Who would not want to have comfort every time that you feel afflicted? He is the God of all hope. He is our salvation. My, my, my. He's the one who provides grace, forgiveness, mercy. He's our hiding place, our shelter, our refuge in a storm. And he provides the strength that we need to do everything that we need to do.
And then the last one is Jehovah Tsebaoth and it's spelled T-S-E-B-A-O-T-H, and it means the Lord of hosts. And you're going to like this one because what that literally means is that he is the head of the army of God. He's the captain, he's the general, he's the admiral. And when you're in a war, you're fighting a battle, and you've got God as your captain, now understand this, there is no way that you are not going to win. Did you hear me? I said there is no way that you're not going to win. Matter of fact, we've already won. We're just walking it out in our life right now.
Now I think we need to see ourselves a little differently than what we do. Matter of fact, we need to see ourselves a lot differently than what we do. If he's the captain of the host, the head of the army, then there must be soldiers. And although there are angels and things like that that fight and do battle for us, the Bible teaches us that we are the army of God. And I'll tell you the truth, if we could ever get together, mm mm mm, it would all be over and it wouldn't take very long because we are a mighty bunch. And no wonder the devil comes all the time trying to bring disagreement and disunity. I mean, it's hard to even get a whole worship team that can get along, let alone a whole church, or to get denominations to start agreeing with each other. It's difficult for people to work together because people have not learned how to set aside their own little picky preferences and have unity and harmony for the sake of the Gospel. We are an army and we need to have each other's backs, amen? I said we're an army and we need to have each other's backs.
Ephesians 6:11 and 12, "Put on God's whole armor, the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies, that you might be able successfully to stand up against all the strategies and the deceits of the devil". We have an enemy, the devil. I know nobody likes to talk about him, but he is alive and well on planet earth. "For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, contending only with physical opponents, but against the despotisms, against the powers, against the master spirits who are the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly supernatural realm". So maybe an unpleasant thought, but nevertheless one we need to think about once in a while. There are demonic forces that are against us. They hate God and they hate anybody that is of God. And they will oppose us. Paul said a wide door of opportunity opened unto him, and with it many adversaries. I always tell people new level, new devil. You ask God to promote you and do something greater through you than what he's doing now, you don't expect the devil to roll out the red carpet and say, "Oh goody for you. Let me help you". You're going to get opposition.
So we're soldiers. We're in a war. Satan doesn't want you to be saved. And if you are saved, he doesn't want you to live like you're saved. He doesn't want you to have a close relationship with God. He'll do anything and everything to try to keep you from developing relationship with God. 2 Timothy chapter 2, verse 4. "No soldier when he's in service gets entangled in the enterprises of civilian life: his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him". So, surprise, we're not here to get God to please us. We're here to please God. Every day, very early in the day, we should say to God, "What can I do for you today"? Not give God a list of things that he has to do for us to keep us even walking in the plan of salvation. "Well, God, if you don't do this and if you don't do this". No, God, I don't need anything but you. Yeah, there's things I'd like you to do. I can live without them, but I cannot live without you. Amen?
What does it mean to be entangled in civilian life? It doesn't mean that you can't enjoy things in the world. We can enjoy things in the world. Some things we can't, but many things we can. God created everything that we see. Everything that he created was for our enjoyment. But for example, what would it mean to get entangled in the world? Okay, let's just say that somebody has such a strong desire for things that they have now created a whole mountain of debt because they had to have things right now. They couldn't wait and so now the only thing that they can do is have pressure on them all the time because of all the debt they have. That's called getting entangled. Well, boy, am I encouraged about... oh my gosh, the devil has just done a number on people, like, "Here, you got to have this right now. You can charge it up and no payments for a year," or whatever.
Learn how to have patience to wait on some things. And even if you are in a mess now, pray and ask God to help you get out of it, but don't expect him to just come along and supernaturally wipe out all your debt. Pay it off. Don't worry, I won't stay here long. I can tell you're getting antsy. Well, how many of you know that a lot of debt puts pressure on you? And it actually can take you away from what you need to be doing in serving God. The more stuff you have to have on your mind, the harder it is to recognize when the enemy's working and to have the zeal that you need and the spiritual strength that you need to resist him and stand against him.
Something that God has been teaching me, and I love this, is that he put in my heart, "Joyce, the more relaxed you are, the more easily you're led by my spirit". The more relaxed we are. So when I get, like, worried about this, thinking about this, trying to figure out this, how many of you know what it's like when all those muscles tighten up in the back of your neck and down your back and you're just like, "What am I going to do"? So we need to eliminate as much pressure from our lives as we possibly can. And as God gets us out of messes, let's don't go just make more messes, where we've got to constantly beg God for a miracle to get us out of trouble. Let's be in the world, but not of it. Let's not get entangled. And I'll tell you something else that we can avoid being entangled in, and that's other people's problems. Well, aren't we supposed to help people? Yes. But if you've been trying to help somebody 4 years and they're still not helped and they're calling you 3 times every day, dragging you down, that's entanglement. Help people, pray for people, but don't get all entangled in their messes. Sometimes we know too much about what's going on in other people's lives and it turns out not to be good.
Paul told Timothy that he was going to have to fight the good fight of faith. So soldiers fight in a war. The devil doesn't want us to believe in God. He doesn't want us to ever do the right thing. You know, there's a war going on all the time just between your spirit and your flesh, constantly. The Bible says constantly. I wish it didn't say constantly. I wish it said on Friday afternoons. But there it is, there's a constant battle between spirit and flesh. You know why? We're dead to sin in our newly born again man. We don't want to sin, but sin is not dead. I don't want to sin, but sin is still after me. And the Bible says that our flesh is the instrument that the devil works through. What is your flesh? It's your body and whatever part of your soul has not yet been given over to God.
God lives in our spirit and he's always urging us to do what's right. Satan lives out in the world. He comes against us this way, urging us to do what's wrong. You have a wrong thought drop in your head, Jesus rises up, makes you realize you've got a wrong thought, now you got a choice to make. I'm going to cast that thought down and think something good. Somebody makes you mad, they hurt your feelings, right away the first thing you feel is hurt. Here comes the thoughts and all the feelings. And God rises up and says, "Forgive quickly before it takes root in you".
Well, we have the Holy Spirit living in us to teach us all the time, to bring things to our remembrance. I'm so grateful that when I need to remember what God has taught me, that the Holy Spirit brings it to my remembrance. Let's look at Galatians 5:17. I think it'll be good to see it. "For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the Holy Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are opposed to the flesh (which is Godless human nature) for they are antagonistic to each other (continually withstanding and in conflict with each other), so that you are not free, but you are prevented from doing the things that you desire to do". So it's not saying that you can't do the right thing, but it means that you won't just automatically do the right thing and it be real easy all the time.
We get better at some things than others. I mean, there's a lot of things that I'm... like, really aren't that much of a problem for me anymore that used to be a problem, but I don't know, if you're like me, you realize there's always something new coming up. And then sometimes there's those things that you think you've totally conquered and you haven't had a problem with for a long time, and all of a sudden it comes back to life and you're like, "Where did that come from? I haven't had a problem with that for a long time". But I think walking with God is a lot of fun. It doesn't have to be a burden. We don't have to think, "Oh, this is so hard, you know, these battles all the time". I just personally have come to the point where I just make a game out of it. It's like a goal to defeat the devil every day. It's like a goal to keep the junk out of my mind and to try to get through 1 hour without complaining about something. I still need help in that area, how about you? It is amazing how blessed we are and what we can find to complain about. Why? Because we're in a war. But we're soldiers in the army of God. And if we fight the way God fights, we'll always win. God is on our side. Hey, come on, you got to get this. The devil's fighting all by himself, but we've got God on our side.
We've been talking about the different names of God in the Bible and the reason why I'm doing that is because a name tells you about someone. They're properly called, especially the ones in the Old Testament, the redemptive names of God because each one tells you something that you can expect God to do for you. And we started out with Yahweh which literally means "I am" and that's still my favorite. I love that thought that who is God? He is. Hebrews 11:6 says, those that come to him must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. God has a reward for those that are faithful. You have a reward coming.
And I could even go so far as to say that I believe that since you took your time to be here this weekend, many of you made a real investment to be here. You've spent money for hotels, and you've traveled, and just sacrificed time. And I believe that you will have a reward. When we make right choices, there's always a reward that comes in our life. God doesn't owe us anything for us making right choices but he loves to bless his children. So I always like to tell people, payday is coming, amen? So we've talked about a variety of these names. I cannot go back over all of them but the reason why I wanted to do this and why I'm calling it who is God? Is because I think that God's reputation in the world needs to be better. I think that we need to do a better job of letting God shine through us so people can think better of God.
A lot of the division in churches and the foolish ways that some believers act, especially people that are publicly known and then they do all kinds of goofy things that gives a bad name to Christianity, it's a shame the way that the world now seems to disrespect God and so I'm busy trying to make his name famous and I'd like you to help me. Amen? And obviously there's lots of other people doing the same thing around the earth. Who is God? Well, he's just absolutely the greatest, the Most High, the most amazing, the most wonderful. I mean he's just everything and anything that you could ever hope for or want. And my contention is is that anybody who really knows God, any person in the world who is not a believer, or who claims to not believe in God, or even those who don't have a relationship with God, anybody who really knows him could not possibly not want to have a relationship with God. Period, end of the conversation.
In him we live and move and have our being. God is not a sideline to me. He's the mainline in my life. He's not just something, he's everything and I know that many of you feel the exact same way. So we've gone through several of these names and we have these messages from the weekend recorded if you weren't here and you'd like to get them. Today I have three of the redemptive names left that I want to go through and then end up with a few things about the name of Jesus because the interesting thing is that all these other redemptive names that we see describing who God is all culminate and come together for us as new covenant believers in the one name that is above every name, the name of Jesus. You know, it's interesting to me, I don't know about you but even when I speak that name and I purposely think about what I'm saying, I almost feel like I can sense an atmosphere change. There's something powerful in the name of Jesus. Let's all say, "Jesus". Wow. There's no other name that does that for me like the name of Jesus.
And so today we've come to the name Jehovah Nisi which means the Lord our banner and it basically means that he is our victory or he's the one who gives us victory. And we can really expect God, expect God, not just have to kind of wait and see, but we can expect God to give us victory over sin, over addictive habits, over all kinds of bondages, over a painful past, victory over the enemy. He is in the business of giving his people victory. You are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. In Daniel 11:32 the Bible says, "Those who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand strong and do exploits for God". I love that. If you know God, not just if you go to church. Going to church is lovely. I highly recommend that everybody be very regular in being plugged into a good, local church where you can learn and grow and be accountable, but it's those who know their God.
I went to church for a lot of years and didn't know God. Is there anybody here who agrees with me that you can go to church a long time and not know God? You can know doctrine. You can know church rules. You can know religious regulations but that doesn't mean that we know God. And sadly, very sadly, heartbreakingly sadly, the way that religion presents him sometimes is so far away from who he really is. It just seems like that many times by the time somebody gets you very indoctrinated in religion, you just everything is deep, and serious, and sad, and sour, and you can't enjoy anything, and everything's about what you can't do. You can't do this. You can't do that. You can't do something else. Well, what about the things we can do? Let's think about the things we can do. My Bible says that Jesus came that we might have and enjoy our lives and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows. And the only things that God asks us not to do are the things that are killing us anyway, all the rest of it he wants us to enjoy and have fun. Being a Christian doesn't mean that you don't have fun anymore. It means that you have more fun than you ever have in your whole life because you can enjoy things that other people couldn't even possibly enjoy. I mean I'm telling you the truth, lighten up. Get over yourself. Come on.
Religion is intense. But Jesus said, "Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". I will ease, relieve, and refresh your souls. Actually the amplified Bible says, "I will give you blessed recreation for your souls". And so literally if you understand that, you can live your life with your soul on vacation. Thank God in him you don't have to wait to go take a trip to enjoy yourself. You can enjoy yourself every day of your life. Amen? Some of you are thinking, "Oh man, this has been so great, I hate to go home". But see, you're already setting yourself up for a fit when you walk in the door. "This house is a mess and I told you" and then people think, "Yeah, well going did you a lot of good. Maybe you ought to go back again". So don't dread going home. Don't dread anything in your life because Jehovah Nisi, the one who gives you victory is with you. You have victory in your life. I mean if a sink full of dirty dishes is gonna depress you, what hope is there for anything else?
Yeah, in case you didn't hear me I said, if a sink full of dirty dishes is gonna depress you... no, you're a soldier in the army of God, you attack those dishes. You attack that closet that needs to be cleaned out. You stand up to the things you need to do. Matter of fact why don't you on purpose do the hard things first and just get them out of the way. Let's stop being so wimpy and whining about everything. Those who know their God shall be mighty and do exploits. See, I had to start with little things like that in my home. I can tell you the truth, if these things that I'm teaching you are not working in your home, then you can forget about them working anywhere else. If the only place where we have the victory is in church, then we have a deep problem. Amen? Get it working at home where it really counts.
Exodus 17:8 through 15, "Then came Amalek the descendants of Esau and fought with Israel at Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, choose us out men and go out, fight with Amalek. And tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand". Now, God had placed his power in that rod that Moses had and that rod is what was stretched out over the Red Sea when it parted. "So Joshua did as Moses said and he fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the hilltop. And when Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed: and when he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy and grew weary. So the other men took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it". So don't ever complain about your seat. He was sitting on a rock. "Then Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side and one on the other", and we all need people to hold our hand up when we get tired and weary. And that could be your whole ministry. You may not be called to be the main person. You may be called to hold up somebody's hands.
"And Joshua mowed down and disabled Amalek and the people with the sword. And the Lord said to Moses, write this for a memorial in the book and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua, and I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under the heavens". And verse 15, "And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, the Lord is my banner," which means sign of conquest. So really in essence when he said, "Jehovah Nisi, the Lord is my banner," what he literally meant is, "Make no mistake, God is the one who has given us this victory". And let me tell you, God is a God who gives victory. And whatever situation you're in right now, you need to stop being afraid of it and you need to know your God and know that you can do whatever you need to do and that however long it takes and nobody knows exactly what that is but the battle's already won and when it's over, you will have the victory. You will have the victory. I know it by experience and I know it by the word of God.
Now one of the areas that God always gives us victory over is sin, but I want you to notice in what we just read in Exodus, and this is gonna be kind of a high point of what I want to bring to you this morning, Moses followed God. He did what God put on his heart to do. And when I go back all the way to the condition I was in when I first got into a real serious relationship with God, I was a churchgoer long time before I got serious and I always like to kind of share that because I think a lot of people are going to church and think that's all they need to do but what you need is victory. And if you don't have victory, then you need to start asking yourself why and you need to start looking at the word to see maybe what you're missing that's available to you.
God has called us to be lights shining out brightly in a dark world and that doesn't mean we have no problems but it means that we have victory over our problems. Amen? And so if I look all the way back to the condition I was in, I mean God has given me so much victory in my life. And it's been 37 years worth of little victories, and little more victories, and little victories, day after day, little by little. And you know part of our problem we don't like the little by little. We don't like the from glory to glory because in between those glories there's sometimes a pretty long span of time where not too much of anything is going on. Amen? But as I look back I can tell you that it wasn't just because I loved God or just because I read the word of God. I give God all the credit and all the glory. But let me tell you, you and God are partners and God will give you things that he wants you to do and he will also tell you some things that he doesn't want you to do. Some of them are in the word and they're for everybody, but there are things that God speaks to us specifically, things that he lays on our heart that are just between us and God, times when maybe he requests sacrifices.
There was one time when I had a whole bunch of money saved up for something "I" wanted. And I mean we gave on a regular basis. We weren't stingy people. We were givers but God asked me to give away everything that I had saved. Man, I tried to get out of that. But you know the best thing is is to follow God when you feel like he's leading you to do something. Now listen to what I'm gonna say, God is never ever trying to take anything away from you. He didn't need my little money that I had saved up but it was something that I was a little too attached to, and sometimes God will request something from us because he wants to get us detached from our attachments. And when we say, "God, you're first and you're everything," sometimes he asks us to prove it. And I can pretty much guarantee you that some of you are still holding on to things that God told you to get rid of long time ago. You're still in relationships, friendships that are hurting your walk with God and you know down deep inside that it's something that's not healthy for you but rather than be lonely for a little while, you keep unsafe relationships rather than maybe be by yourself for a little while and wait for God to give you the right relationships.
So I want to tell you that along with all those little by littles and from glory to glories, there has been a lot of little obediences and little things that God asked me to do, and some of them were things that didn't make any sense, and some of them were things that I did understand. And I just feel that I really need to make a point today that when you're born again, let's just say you're living in total darkness, now you step out and you're born again, well, one of the first things that you begin to realize is "Hey, somebody has provided for me," somebody being Jesus, "This awesome place down there as an inheritance where there's righteousness, and peace, and joy, and all my needs are met and I, boy, it's just gonna be wonderful. I'm gonna be free from all these bondages". But you can kind of see it but there's a jungle between you and it and that jungle is that mess in our lives that needs to be straightened out. And we have a roadmap through that jungle and it's the word of God. It's our roadmap and if we simply will just one step at a time, one thing at a time, one step at a time, one thing at a time, one step at a time.
Let me tell ya something, get over being in a hurry and make a decision today that you're in for the long haul. And don't ever say to God, "If I don't have a breakthrough soon," don't say that. We can't threaten God. What we need to say is, "God, I trust your timing in my life and this is hard because it's been so long, but I'm in for the long haul. I'm in for the long haul". And I'll tell you one even better and you can even go ahead and say, "And God, even if I never get what I want, I'm still in. Even if I never get what I want, I'm still in. I'm all yours because nothing makes any sense except my relationship with you".
Let's quit having all these conditions that God has to meet to keep us serving him day by day. My gosh, I mean so many things and I believe with all my heart that any person in here who is still under a burden of sins, something that you can't seem to get free from, there's some kind of bondage or addiction in your life, maybe it's bad temper, maybe it's bitterness. So many people have such a hard time not being angry about the things that have happened to them in their life and that is so destructive to our walk with God. You cannot have unforgiveness in our heart and have a great relationship with God at the same time. It just doesn't happen. It's in the scripture from one end of it to the other. If we won't forgive other people, then we can't receive forgiveness from God and it hurts our fellowship with him.
And, you know, let's just take that as an example. My father abused me for many years. My mother knew about it, didn't do anything about it. I even had other relatives, male relatives that had also abused me. There was a real mess in my father's bloodline. And I mean I had a bad case of bitterness, and resentment, and a chip on my shoulder and even after I was already in ministry because I had done the what I call the official "I forgive you" thing. You know most of us that have been walking with God for very long, we know that we're supposed to forgive and so we'll say, "I forgive". But a long time after that when God really began to deal with me that it still wasn't what it needed to be. I said, "It's hard. I don't know how to do it". And God said, "If you'll pray for them and bless them". They were older by then, needed help. "Help take care of them".
Well, that's the last thing in the world I wanted to do. I didn't want to do that. They didn't deserve that. I was the one that had been mistreated. They never did anything for me and I mean I had my conversation with God. You ever notice that sometimes God says something, you argue with him and then after that he doesn't say anything else? It just kind of hangs there like... and I always like to think about Jonah. "Jonah, go to Nineveh". He didn't want to go to Nineveh so he went the exact opposite direction, got in a storm, got swallowed up by a whale, spent 3 days in the whale's belly, got vomited out on a beach. Finally went back to God and God said, "Go to Nineveh". Come on, we can avoid a lot of side trips in our life by just doing what God tells us to the first time.
Please understand that obedience is important. Yes, there's grace, and there's forgiveness for sins, and there's mercy, and God's never gonna stop loving you no matter what you do. And maybe you'll still get into heaven. It's not our obedience that gets us into heaven, it's faith in Jesus Christ. But I tell you what, I think we need to stop pushing the envelope and we need to get really committed and obedient to God. And this morning I want to talk to you about really letting the Holy Spirit sanctify you because he is also Jehovah M'Kadesh, the Lord who sanctifies us and that means to take the holiness that's in us by his grace and mercy and work it out in our lives. What if we have holy minds and holy mouths? What if we have some holy relationships? Come on, there's too much compromise in the church today, too many people that got one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom. They want to do what the world does and still think they're gonna go to heaven and it's just not working. Follow God. Don't expect him to follow you. Amen? Don't make your plans and then pray that God will make them work. Pray, see what God says, and then make your plan. Amen.
2 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 14, three scriptures here. "But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus leads us in triumph as trophies of Christ's victory and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere". God always leads us in triumph, A.M.... amen. Amen and not just in the A.M. But all day long. Mercy. 1 Corinthians 15:56, "Now sin is the sting of death, and sin exercises its power upon the soul through the abuse of the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory making us conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ". How about if every day early in the morning we say, "Thanks be to God who gives me the victory this day and every day of my life".
Jehovah-Nissi, he is our victory. Jehovah-M'Kaddesh, the Lord who sanctifies us. And what that literally means is God is the one that changes us. Oh, that's relaxing. I don't have to try to change myself, God will do it. Wow. Thank you Jesus. Now, does that mean that there's nothing for me to do? No. I need to put the grocery cart back. I need to pray for my parents. I need to help them in their old age, whether they were good to me or not. There's thousands of things like that throughout my life, and how many of you know exactly what I'm talking about? You go through this all the time. All the time.
Well, let me tell you something. Every time that you obey God, and I might even add, the harder it is to obey God, the more valuable it is to you because when we do what's right while it still feels wrong, we are growing spiritually. Let God into these areas of your life. You don't have to go to Bible school. It's nice if you want to, but you don't have to. You can get a degree from the school of the Holy Ghost if you'll just let God be involved in everything you do everywhere you go. Leviticus 20, verse 8 says, "I am the Lord who sanctifies". When we try to perfect ourselves, it only causes frustration, struggle, and failure. Now, we should want to change. The more I read the word, the more I want to change. We should pray to change. We should study the word in the areas where we want to change and make choices that go along with the change that we want, however it is only God that can ultimately change us.
Boy, what a relief it was to Dave when I found out that I couldn't change him. That only God could change him. And then it was even quite shocking to me to find out that maybe, just maybe, God liked him just the way he was. I couldn't quite figure that out, but. And then even beyond that, and this was really hard for me, that maybe it wasn't him that had the problem. It could be me. Oh my gosh, this growing up thing is so hard. I can still feel the pain in my soul from all those years of trying to learn how to just keep my mouth shut sometimes. 'Cause you see, sometimes the thing that God will whisper that's between you and your victory is just, "You don't need to say anything". Come on, does anybody understand what I'm talking about?
I'm gonna be very honest with you. To me, living this life with God, doing life with God, and being obedient to him everywhere you go, in the grocery store, you know, whatever it is, to me, that's more important than if you answered a call on your life to go to Africa and live there as a missionary all your life. I think a lot of people maybe will submit to do these big things that's gonna impress everybody, but when it comes to the little private things that you wouldn't even be worth telling anybody... come on. We have a private life with God. He is Immanuel, God with us. He lives in us. And everything about our life should be dedicated to him. Paul writes to those that he calls consecrated, purified, and made holy in Christ Jesus.
Let's look at Philippians 2:12-13, quite long in the amplified Bible, but very much worth looking at. Philippians 2:12, "Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed my suggestions, so now, not only with the enthusiasm you would show in my presence but much more when I'm absent". And I love this. It's almost like a pastor saying, "Okay, you behave in front of me, but the thing I really want you to do is go home and behave at home". Come on, you know how it goes. Dave and I would fight all morning, and fight all the way to church, and argue in the parking lot, and have the kids all crying, but boy, when we saw the first person at the church, "Praise the Lord. Thank you Jesus". "Glory to God! Amen! Yeah"! Get in the church service, sing the songs, jump up and down, and I'd be thinking, "If he thinks I'm fixing him anything to eat today, he's got another thing coming".
Come on, that's not consecration. That's phony-baloney religious. It's me-pretending something that's not real inside. Get in the car and fight all the way home, then get mad because Dave watched football on Sundays, and cry the rest of the day, and feel sorry for myself. I went to church, praise God. Amen, we went to church. So, not only when I'm with you, but when I'm absent. Now watch this. "Work out". I'm gonna start over, 'cause I don't want anybody lost. "Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed my suggestions, so now, not only with the enthusiasm that you would show in my presence but much more because I'm absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation". Sounds like a lot of work to me. "Timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ" and boy, I love verse 13. "Not in your own strength for it is God who is all the while effectually at work in you energizing and creating in you the power and desire, to will and to work for his good pleasure".
So, long, you may have missed half of it. But basically what he's saying is, "Okay, when you're saved, you have all the good stuff in you". Man, you got it, you know? You've been made right with God through the blood of Christ. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. But now that righteousness needs to be worked from the inside of you to the outside of you. So, the first thing that happens is God begins to renew our mind and teach us how to think right. And then when we begin to think right, we'll begin to talk right. And then we'll begin to act right and then we'll begin to treat people right. And so now a little bit of what is in us has been worked out through us where maybe somebody else can witness it and believe that God is real and believe there might be some hope for them. And it's a lifelong process. "He who began a good work in you will complete it and bring it to its finish".
Now you know, when I really fell in love with Jesus and started reading the word, I mean, I had a whole different set of problems because the more I read this thing, the more I saw that was wrong with me. And it was very hard to go to church and not go home depressed because I don't care what anybody preached on, I needed it. I mean, I had every problem. I just didn't have some problems: I had every problem. Does anybody kind of feel like that? Okay. But let me tell you something. Conviction is totally different than condemnation. We need to be glad for conviction and resist condemnation. And what I would do is the Holy Spirit would use the word to convict me, whatever it was. You talk too much. That one always worked. You talk too much.
And so then I would go home and I would decide that I was gonna fix it. So, I would decide then that I was gonna not say anything at all. And then the same people that were telling me, "You talk too much. Can't you ever shut your mouth"? Now were telling me, "What's wrong with you? Why are you not talking"? And so, then I would do what we always do, "You're never satisfied. I don't care. If I talk, you don't like it. If I don't talk, you don't like it. I will just never change. I can't suit people no matter what I do". See, what I should've done and what you should do, if I say anything today that God uses to convict you in any area of your life, don't you dare go home and say, "Well, bless God. I heard, I'm gonna change". No, you're just looking for another disaster. What you say is, "God, I agree with you. I felt your conviction and I agree with you. You're right and I'm wrong, and I repent. I wanna change and turn away from that. And now I trust you, who has begun a good work in me, to complete it and bring it to its finish. I trust you to change me".
Now, here comes some really good news. I don't know if you can handle this or not. But you can actually enjoy yourself while God is changing you. You don't have to wait 'til you're perfected to like yourself. I like myself right now. And I still have a long way to go. You have to learn how to say, "I'm not where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be". 1 Thessalonians 5:23, "And may the God of peace himself sanctify you through and through separate you from profane things, and make you pure and wholly consecrated to God: and may your spirit and your soul and your body be preserved sound and complete and found blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ". Let's look at verse 24. "Faithful is he who is calling you to himself and utterly trustworthy, and he will also do it".
May the God of peace himself sanctify you through and through, and so you go, "Yes God, I want that. Lord, I want that. I wanna be holy in every area of my life". And then it says, "Okay, trust me and I will do it". God will work it out in your life little by little, from glory to glory. He shows you something. By his grace, you do it. You fail 20 times. You finally get it right. There's a little change. God shows you something else. You're stubborn for 10 weeks. It takes you 2 years to put the grocery cart back. You finally get it. "Okay God, you're not gonna leave me alone. I'm gonna put it back". And there are just thousands of little things like that. But part of the purpose of somebody like me doing what I'm doing is I can save you a lot of turns around that same stupid mountain if you'll listen to me. If God is telling you whatever, whatever it might be, stop playing on your computer all day at work when the boss is not looking. 'Cause here's the truth, it's stealing. Don't do anything behind your boss's back that you wouldn't do if he was watching.
Okay, well. Come on, how many pencils and ballpoint pens do you have at home that came from your place of work? And you know, whatever, you do what you want to with this, but I'm telling you, there were times in my life when God said, "You gather 'em all up and take 'em back". And I've learned how to try to be obedient to God in all these little things. And I don't have to do that to go heaven. We don't have to do this to go to heaven. I'm talking about doing life with God. I'm talking about living for God's glory. I'm talking about living a sanctified life. Listen, I'm going to heaven even if I take pencils from the office. I don't go to heaven because I do everything perfectly. I believe in Jesus Christ. Now, there are some things that I think can get you in worse trouble than a pencil, but my point is is I'm not talking about legalism and living this life that makes you a nervous wreck because you're petrified you're gonna do something wrong all the time. Yes, I could've let the grocery cart out there and let it chase cars around. I could've done all kinds of things. I could've done that, but now, watch what I'm gonna tell you, I wouldn't be here today.
I was complaining to God one time because I just felt like he was just, you know, pretty strict with me about what I could and couldn't do, what I could and couldn't watch on TV, and the kind of movies I could go to, and different things like that. And it was all just stuff between me and God in my heart, and you have the same kind of stuff going. And you know, when God asks you not to do something, don't go back and tell him, "Well, everybody else does it". You're not everybody else. You're you and God's got a plan for you. And if you listen to God for you, then you can have the blessings that God has for you. If everybody else in the world wants to do without theirs, that's up to them. And so I mean, I knew pastors and other spiritual people who did a lot of these things that I felt like God was telling me I couldn't do, and I just got kinda ticked off. And I was like, "Well God, I don't understand. Everybody else does this stuff, and you know, you're still using them". And boy, boy, boy, I still remember it. He said, "Look, you've asked me for a lot. Do you want it or not"?
Sanctification, separation unto God, for a special purpose. We are separated unto God for a special purpose. I'm talking to each one of you individually. Stop acting like you belong to yourself because you don't. You've been bought with a price, paid for with a preciousness. You are no longer your own. You belong to God. You are a vessel that should be set aside for his use. So, it goes like this. God, here I am. Your will be done and not mine. Whatever you want, wherever you want me, it's up to you. You know, we need to live without all the mixture that we have in our lives. Don't be one way on Sunday and a different way the rest of the week. One of the greatest compliments that anybody can give you is to say that you live out during the week what you say you believe when you're in church. In revelations, there's a lot of interesting scriptures. I won't take time to go through many of them. But in revelation 2 it says, "You've done good works, but you've left your first love". Matthew says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom because I never knew you".
He told some they were clinging to false teaching. You know, it's very popular today in the name of freedom to support everybody in their own particular belief no matter how cultish or unholy it is. We call it tolerance. Well, you gotta be a little careful with some of the stuff that's going on today. You might work with somebody who's off base spiritually and living in some kind of sin, and it is important that you're cordial and present yourself in a loving manner. You can't preach to people everywhere that you go, but neither can you agree with them and let them think that whatever is okay, because whatever is not okay. What's the essence of what I'm saying? Let's let God do that sanctification work in us, where every day, we're moving deeper into new levels of holiness and new levels of commitment to him.
And you know, one of the things that I would like to ask today: are there people here that are ready to make a deeper commitment to God? You're ready to let him get out of Sunday and get into Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and into the grocery store, and into the Marketplace, and where you work, and where you go to school, and into your neighborhoods. Don't tolerate Jezebel anymore. We don't need to tolerate sin. And on, and on, and on, and on. I don't have enough time to do it all. Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. My goodness, I love that. Let me tell you something. You need to learn how to separate your who and your do. You may not do everything right, but you are God's child, and he loves you, and he's never gonna stop loving you. Amen? And if you just throw your heart open to God today and you say, "God, I want your will in my life. Please don't ever stop working with me," God will work with you, and work with you, and work with you, and work with you. And you don't have to be condemned, you don't have to not like yourself while you're in the process.
Listen, I'm enjoying this thing with God. I'm enjoying this. God change me and make me more like Jesus every day. Please don't ever leave me alone. Don't let me just live like an idiot and not even know it. Tell me, God, the things that you want me to see. Let's quit all this, "Ugh, got another thing wrong with me". Be glad that God loves you enough to show you when you need change in an area, and then ask him to change you. God, change me. You're the only one that can change me. How many of you have been struggling with yourself trying to change yourself and it's just been so frustrating? Are you understanding that only God can change you? Only God can change you. Whatever you hear today that might convict you, what you should do when you leave, is say, "God, I agree. I heard you speak into me. I want your will. Now I ask you to change me, and whatever thing you might want me to do, or if you want me to do nothing, show me what it is, make it plain, and give me the grace to do it, and I'll walk it out. Well, when push comes to shove, God, only you can change people".
So man, we got it all. And then over here in the New Testament, we've really got it 'cause we've got the name of Jesus. The name that is above every name. Let's look at Philippians 2, verse 8. "And after he had appeared in human form, he abased and humbled himself still further and carried his obedience to the extreme of the death of the cross! Therefore because he stooped so low God has highly exalted him and has freely bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that in (and at) the name of Jesus every knee (must) bow, in heaven, on earth and under the earth". Everybody say, "Jesus".
Now, we've been given that name. We have been given the power of attorney to use the name of Jesus. You know, there are times when I will tell people, "Well, call my office and if you have any trouble getting through, tell them, 'Joyce told me to call.'" So, I give them permission to use my name, and that is just so very minor compared to what we're talking about here today. When we use the name of Jesus properly, Jesus said it's no different than him being there. When he left, he sent us the Holy Spirit and he gave us his name, and he said, "Now you can pray in my name, and when you do, you're presenting to the father everything that I am".
Aren't you glad that you don't have to present what you are when you go to the throne of God? I love that. But let me give you a little insight that I got a few years ago, and I love this. I share this pretty often, but I can't not share it here today. You know, when I married Dave, I got his name and now I can use his name. It's my name. It's been given to me. And when Dave and I got married, he had money, I didn't have any, and all of a sudden I had money. Good deal, amen? When we got married, I didn't have a car, and Dave had a nice, pretty new car. Man, all of a sudden, I had a car. Well you know, that's pretty much the way it is when you come into a relationship with Jesus. We come pretty much bankrupt and he's got everything. And then all of a sudden, because we've got him, now we've got everything.
But here comes the really good part. However, I didn't get any of that while we were dating. Are you dating Jesus? Or are you married? Amen? When you're married, then you share everything. What's mine is his, what's his is mine. I get his name. I can use his name as if it was my name. But that means faithfulness in every area of my life. Amen? Let me tell you something. God is everything that you will ever need him to be in any situation. How can anybody possibly know God and not want to have a relationship with him? He is your peace, your righteousness, your sanctification, your victory. He is the one and only true God. He's everything that we need him to be. So don't let him be too little in your life. Let God be big to you. Go to him for everything all the time. Let's let him be number one, amen?
Well, the Gospel is good news for us. We learn in it that we don't have to struggle to try to change ourselves. If we allow God into our lives, because of who he is, he will change us. We do need to cooperate with the work that he wants to do in us. We have a free will and we can resist him as well as submit to him but God is the one who does the work. It's his strength in us that makes the change. And so look more to him than you do to yourself for the changes that you need.