Kenneth Copeland - Overcoming Religious Traditions About God's Goodness
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— Hello, everybody. I'm Kenneth Copeland. And you know him. Greg Stephens, Professor Greg Stephens. Talking about the goodness of God.
— God is a good God. There is absolutely no bad in Him. He is light, He is life, He's absolute good. Here again, my funny kind of way of getting a concept of what that means. I thought, how can I do this? I need something to measure it by... You can research this yourself. Absolute cold. Now I'm not talking about space, because there is no heat there. But absolute cold, Fahrenheit, no heat at all, would be 459.67 degrees below zero. So see, you can't imagine that because you can't imagine how good God is. We don't know what absolute good is. We've not known anything like that other than our knowing God, but we still don't have that kind of concept Jesus knew, because He knew Him. Well, we can grasp that that way so that we know that He is that good. There is no bad in Him. None. And the devil would lie to you and say, "Well, maybe He's not". No, I just know maybe nothing.
— He's good. The devil, he's 100% bad. They've never changed jobs. That's the reason like what yesterday I said, the dividing line is John 10:10. "I have come that you might have life. The thief come up but for one thing, to steal". Gloria said this, "The reason he has to steal is because he's a thief. He doesn't own anything. He has to steal it".
— The Father doesn't allow Lucifer, the devil, to do things so that he could teach us something. Doesn't use bad...
— ...to make good. He's good.
— Now He'll take a situation and teach you something from it, but He wasn't behind it.
— At all.
— Now, you were talking about here in fourth and fifth chapters of 1 Thessalonians. Oh, in that fifth chapter, how many of you partners, do you realize that this is on the bottom of that partner list? 1 Thessalonians 5:23, "And the very God of peace, Shalom, sanctify you, separate you wholly. And I pray God, and I pray this for you, that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless under the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calls you and He'll do it".
— Yes, He will.
— Why? Because He's so good.
— He's good.
— He is so good. Amen. Now we've talked about the trumpet belongs to God.
— Yes. Chapter four?
— Chapter four. Now the Holy Spirit through the great apostle is talking about, "He's coming. He's coming". And he begins to give instructions here. Oh, let's see. The 11th verse, "That you study to be quiet and to do your own business and to work with your own hands as we commanded you. That you may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that you may have lack of nothing," because God is so good. "That you may have lack of nothing, but I would not have you ignorant brethren, concerning them that which are asleep, that you sorrow not even as others, which have no hope". Now I picked up on that many years ago and I'm sorry, Greg, I'm sorry. I said that. I'm not saying that anymore. No, I apologize. That's fine.
— I'm sorry.
— There was a time when I said, "I'm sorry". And I was sorry, as you could imagine. Because I didn't know the Lord.
— And I was a sorry human being.
— Anyway. No, look it up for yourself. The Greek word is grieve. Grieve not. Don't do it. You're not a people without hope, don't do that. Don't do that. Grief is a killer. Grief is a companion of death and it'll keep the door open for more death. Anyway, "For we believe that Jesus died and rose again". Now, come down. Well, "For this we say by the Word of the Lord, that which are alive and remain under the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them that are asleep". Oh, this is us. Glory to God. "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel".
— Yes. "And the trump of God".
— "And the trump of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first". The trumpet belongs to God.
— Yes sir.
— We will all hear it.
— Oh, yeah.
— Those that are in faith.
— When I return will I find faith? You have to have faith for this.
— Now, and people say... In fact there was a time, you know my being interested in aviation, there was a time because of things that people had said, that they wouldn't pair a Christian and two Christians together in the same cockpit of an airline. Because they'd go in airplane and crash. You believe that?
— No, of course not.
— God is good.
— God is good. They take care of business. They land the airplane, all the passengers that didn't know God get out and the rest of them are gone.
— This was all written to a church, Thessaloniki, now in Greece that believed they had missed the coming of the Lord.
— Under great persecution. Paul's explaining.
— My granddaughter lives right there.
— Yes she does.
— In Thessaloniki.
— Yes she does.
— I married her and her fine Greek husband. They're about to have a fine Greek son.
— Glory to God.
— Hallelujah. Glory to God.
— He talks about us fighting the fight, just like we did yesterday in Ephesians. If you flip over in 1 Thessalonians, let's look at chapter five, it's talking about, comforting the feebleminded, comfort, support the weak, be patient toward all men. Verse 15, look at this, "See that none render evil for evil unto any man, but ever follow that which is good".
— Which is good. "Both among yourselves and to all men. Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing. Everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you".
— Talk about that one just for a moment. You know what? People without working knowledge of the goodness of God, in everything give thanks. Oh God, thank you for this cancer it made me closer to you. That's ludicrous.
— Absolutely. No, it is.
— You give thanks in that situation. Now I've told us before, I'm going to tell a piece of it again today. This happened years and years ago. We had people call them Ottomans their footstools. This good, big green footstool. Thing was huge. And we got home and I'm so at home when I get home. I did something absolutely stupid. I turned the light out and then walked across room and I kicked that big green footstool and broke my toe. It popped, I knew I broke it. But the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "Glory to God, thank You Jesus". Not because I broke my toe. Thank God that was in me, and I didn't say something nasty, and then after repent.
— That's right.
— Curse myself. "Oh Lord, I shouldn't have said that". Yeah, you shouldn't have said that dummy. But if it's not in here, it's not going to come out your mouth. So that thanksgiving has to be in there and you have to realize He's good. He didn't put that big green footstool there, I'm the dummy that did that. And it broke my toe, and I wouldn't look at it and I wouldn't claim it, because He's good.
— That's right.
— I'm separated unto Him and I'm sanctified wholly unto Him. And so the next morning, I mean the devil was right there to welcome me. He said, "Why don't you look at it? Is black and blue"?
— Yeah, right.
— I mean, he was right there. I said, "No, I'm not going to do it. I'm not looking at it. I have good friends that their toes are black and they're not hurt". And so I wouldn't look at it. I wouldn't look. Well, got over to the drawer where my socks were and I looked at my left foot when I put that one on, but this one, I wouldn't look at this. No, this other way around. No, now is my right my foot. Anyway, I wouldn't look at it and I went out to look at that little red airplane. I hobbled in there, and when I walked up and I said, "Is Mr. Spinks here"? She said, "Let me get him. What's the matter"? I said, "Oh, about two o'clock this morning I broke my toe". But Jesus said when He was on them. "And whatsoever thing you desire when you pray, believe you receive it and you shall have it". And so I believe my toe's healed. She was a good 10' back away from that desk before I got through. Anyway, I had my business deal with him and got in the car and drove away around the other side of the airport where the airplane was sitting and got around there and got out of the car. My foot was healed.
— When I got home and looked at it, it was black and blue. It was totally healed. Faith.
— Faith in God, knowing how to use it.
— His goodness. Faith will attract that. Faith will activate that goodness. How do we do this? We started this week talking about the rich young ruler coming to Him and He said, "Follow me". He called him into the ministry. This phrase in 1 Thessalonians 5:15, "See that none render evil for evil unto any man, but ever follow that which is good". That which is good. That phrase in the Greek and I went to Rick Renner, that's where I got the definition. Made sure I was right. Dr. Renner, I want to make sure I got it right. And it said this, it's in ancient Greek, it's a hunter pursuing game. You don't just go sit on a mountain to get an elk.
— No, you don't.
— You study the map and you've scouted and you have everything planned and you're taking everything with you. And so that's the pursuit. We pursue goodness.
— That's our responsibility.
— Oh, that's good.
— And so this is what he was trying to get him to do, was follow him that day. "Come pursue good with me. You want to know, you call me good, but let's go find good. Let introduce you to good and begin to pursue that". That becomes our work every day. That's what you were doing with your foot. You're not going to pursue, well, I better go get this x-ray, I better go. I'm not coming against the doctors, go to the doctor.
— But the moment that happens, first words, first thing, first word, good words or bad words?
— Faith words or bad words? God words or devil words? First words, that is so important. And if they're not in here, they're not going to come out, for "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks".
— That's right.
— That's the way faith is released. You believe it in your heart and you say it with your mouth. That's first fundamental of faith.
— That's right. When that whole thing happened with that young ruler, you look and the Pharisees were involved in this and you understand the Pharisees, the best of them had the first five books in the Bible memorized. They memorize the thing and knew the Word forward and backward. But for all of the knowledge they had, they didn't have understanding of truth. Grace and truth were standing right in front of them. Jesus Christ.
— Well, and here we're talking about wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to correctly use knowledge. The statistics are there, they rarely change, that a great number of university graduates never use the education for any reason. Now, a person that had a specific purpose, I'm thinking about Dr. Avery Jackson.
— He's neurosurgeon. He knew in his heart that he was to be a brain surgeon when he was a little boy. They used to just kind of pat him on the head and say, "Well, yeah, little boy what are you going to be when you grow"? He said, "Brain surgeon". When he was eight. But God put that in his heart. Well, that's a different situation, of course. But there are people that have good college education and never use it.
— It's true.
— A lot of education doesn't mean you know God.
— That's right.
— You may have studied about God, studied theology and know about God, know a whole lot about Him and know a lot of traditions. I've met wonderful men that told me that... One man had pastored a church for something like eight years and realized he wasn't saved. I met a man years ago. I won't go into the background, but I had dinner with him and one of the men that was responsible for our being in this city with our meeting. He wanted me to meet his pastor and talk to him, because he was pretty crossways of the things that... So I had dinner with him and we sat there and we talked and he said a lot of things. I tried to be quiet as much as I could. I went ahead and talked about faith a little bit. We got all the way to the front door of my friend's home. He turned around and looked at me. He was walking out ahead of... He and his wife, I was right behind him, Gloria was behind me and our host was back here. He got just outside the door and turned around and fell on his knees in front of me and grabbed my hand and stuck it on my head. He said, "My God, man, pray for me. I've substituted work for prayer". And he just admitted to me right then he didn't know anything on earth about faith. That's what I'm talking about.
— That's how you're saved.
— With your faith. Just this as we're listening there. John 5, if I could flip over there real quickly. See these people knew the Word, they knew the Torah. They were zealous students of the law. They memorize the first five books of the Bible. Keep this in context with the rich young ruler when it came to... Look at John 5, and beginning, verse 39. "Search the scriptures for in them, you think," what did he say? What must I do to be saved?
— Have eternal life. "You think you have eternal life and they are they which testify me. And you will not come to me that you might have life". And look, verse 41, because remember he was trying to honor Him. "I receive no honor for men". That was the question. "What must I do to receive eternal life"? He said, "Search the scriptures". "You quote me the scripture. I've done this". "Well, search them. They talk about me". And that's the thing. That's what you're talking about here, Brother Copeland. It's not head knowledge.
— That's it. Well, he points it out. "But I know you that you have not the love of God in you".
— That's right. And that compassion to go sell what you have and give. All of this was trying to point him to Jesus. He was trying to point him to himself. And that's why He said, "Come follow me". Search the scriptures. You know the scriptures? Good. You followed this, then you ought to know, it talks about me. And I'm asking you to come follow me, come partner.
— I'm thinking about what he said. "You know all of this, you know the book by heart, but you don't have the love in you. And love is good". So they did not know the goodness of God. They spent all their time arguing and going back and forth in the scriptures, but they didn't know the scriptures. They had it memorized. I was in a very painful situation. I had, what I believe now, was a blood clot. I never did know because I received my healing of it. When I told this and then I looked over there at Dr. Avery Jackson, he was just like this... It was just such pain that I'd walk out on the platform and the anointing, I wouldn't even know it was there. I'd walk off the platform and it hurts bad, I would scream before... Stop it.
— Anyway, I just fell across the bed. I said, "Lord, you can't miss it, I've missed it. What is the matter"? He said, "You're quoting all your scriptures". And I was. I was just quoting every healing script that I know of. And I know a lot. But I'm quoting them. He said, "I said in my Word, don't let them depart from your eyes. Keep them in the midst of your heart for they're life to those that find them and health or medicine to their flesh". And that's when He brought this up to me. He said, "The memory of a potato cannot nourish you. You have to get it in the system".
— That's good. So you didn't quote a verse, you didn't go from memory the night you hit your foot on the footstool.
— That came out-
— It came out of me.
— The goodness of God poses a problem for sinful people, it reveals their alienation of the relationship. God came to-
— Say that again.
— The goodness of God poses a problem for sinful people and skeptics. Skeptics want, if God's good, then it's a Disney movie and it's little butterflies and things all around you and everybody's singing and nothing ever bad happens. And they say, "Well, see, because bad things happen, God's not good". That's not true. There's sin in the earth.
— What's true is we're supposed to walk in the goodness of God. That's what the earth is groaning to see, the Son of God be made manifest. The goodness of God poses a problem for some people, sinful people because they're alienated from Him. And if they'll get connected, like He was trying to do with that young, that guy that day,
— We're out of time. My, what a week? Give the Lord praise and thanksgiving. Hallelujah, come on, Jeremy.