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TD Jakes - Potent Faith

TD Jakes - Potent Faith

When life seems crazy, when life is confusing, when it's unfair, when you lose your baby, it defines a moment. When your husband walks away, it defines a moment. When you lose your job, it defines a moment. When you feel like you're about to lose your mind. "On a hill, far away, stood an old rugged cross. T'was a wondrous attraction for me". That's what it is to us. It's getting-up power, it's resurrecting power. This is a defining moment because the greatest enemy in the world is death. And for Christ to overcome death means I can overcome debt, means I can overcome grief, means I can overcome pain, means I can overcome agony, means I can overcome trouble, means I can overcome rejection, means I can overcome denial. It means if he can get up out of this, I can get up out of whatever you send in my life, come hell and high water.

I'm just enough like my Daddy to rise again. Oh, yes, you might hold me down for a few days. You might have me shackled on Friday night, hands tied behind my back. You might have my finances shut down and my mind confused all day Saturday. But look out. Look out, because Sunday's coming and they didn't make a stone he couldn't roll away. And I want all of you that are listening to me out there right now, no matter what dark hole you have climbed into, no matter what dark addictive hole you have succumbed to, no matter how dark and dank the hour may be in your life right now, I want you to hear me. The stone is rolled away and you can get out of this.

God has given Paul this assignment to write to Rome and there are several reasons why he would do that. Paul, whose surname is Saul, he is a Hebrew, but he is also a citizen of Rome, okay? He is a citizen of Rome. And many times they sought to kill him, but because he was a citizen of Rome, they had to let him go because Paul is a citizen of Rome. So when you think of Rome, just for the purpose, I've been to Rome, but just for the purpose of thinking about Rome, think about Rome like New York. And you go in New York and you walk down the street and somebody is speaking Mandarin and you go down a little further and there's a couple speaking French and you go on a little further and somebody's hollering Spanish off the back of a truck and you go a little further and somebody's speaking Swahili and you're still in New York.

That's wrong. It is the epicenter of government, of political prowess and power. It is the America of its age. It has taken over colonizations and territories around about them and extended its power until Caesar has become an emperor of such influence and such power that people were terrified of him because he was taking over dominions and territories of which Rome is at the apex. And Paul has come to Rome. He writes to Rome. His coming to Rome was preceded by a storm where the ship fell apart. Because when the enemy knows that you're about to come into your destiny, he will send all kinds of storms and all kinds of shipwrecks to stop you from getting there. The snake comes out to bite him and he shakes the snake but he can't stay at Malta because he must proceed to Rome because Rome is to be the place where Christianity is to flourish and spread across the world.

Rome is the epicenter of government and Athens is the epicenter of language. The Greek language was like English is. You can go to almost any country in the world and somebody there speaks English because English has become a common second language, even if it's not your first language. That's the way the Greek language was in that day. And so when Paul comes to Athens and he starts preaching the gospel there and he says, I perceive that you are superstitious and he calls to them and begins to teach how they have a sign up to the unknown God. And he starts teaching them about Jesus. It is because they have the language that will spread around the world. Rome has the government, the Greeks had the language. Ephesus was the epicenter of finance and commerce.

Now, government is controlling everything and Paul has come and he is now writing to Rome. You understand that? So when you read his writings, you have to understand that he is a citizen of Rome, but he is a Hebrew by descent, like I am African by descent, but I am a citizen of America. So when I go to Africa, no matter how much I look like the Africans, they will always say, "He is an American," and that just hurts my feelings so bad because I got on the dashiki and everything and I got corn rows in my hair and I'm eating Fufu and Jollof rice. And they still say I'm an American because they do not color code as we do in this country. I am a citizen of America, but descent, I am an African, okay?

So, if you did my DNA, you would find out that I am African. But if you check my driver's license, you would find out I am a citizen of America. That's who Paul is in this situation. So he has a certain ambidextrous ability to be able to ascend and condescend and reach all levels of people, because when it comes to being a Jew, he is a Pharisee, which means that he is an adamant, orthodox, historical Jew. That's the background he comes from. He comes from a background that wouldn't touch the Romans. And yet God sends him to the very thing that he once hated. Ooh, that's a message all by itself. So regarding tribe, he is from the tribe of Benjamin, which is the tribe from which Saul came, the beginning of kings.

So he is a descendant of a king coming into a kingdom to represent a kingdom that is not of this world. And when he introduces this kingdom, he sets himself at odds with both the circumcised and the uncircumcised. The uncircumcised find him strange because he has opened the door to have access to Yahweh in a way that the Jews have not. And the Jews think he is a heretic because he is now sitting down, eating with these sinful barbarious-type people. Grace does not seek to exclude anybody from having a seat at the table. I'm still just setting it up. I haven't even gotten into it. He is converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus. He is a theological scholar. He is an intellect. His work here reads like a legal argument. When you read the way he processes his argument, he does it by bringing up Abraham. He brings up Abraham, so I'm gonna talk about the person, Abraham. He brings up Abraham because Abraham, ultimately, will represent intersectionality.

Let me break that down. I'm gonna take my time. This is Bible class. This is not Sunday morning, okay? You must first realize that Abraham wasn't always called Abraham. He was called Abram and that when God first called him, he was living in Mesopotamia and he was a Chaldean and he was an idolater, Abraham. And God called him, "Get thee away from thy country and away from your kin and go to a place that I will show thee". And God called a covenant and called the Hebrew family out of the loins of a Gentile. If you miss that, you miss the whole thing. If you don't get that, you're gonna be lost. Abram was a Gentile that becomes a Hebrew because of the covenant he has with God. He is to Hebraistic theology, the Adam of the faith. He is the beginning of a new order and a new thing.

See, God will do something new in the middle of something old. God does a new thing. He starts a new race of people out of an old race of people. He starts a new ethnic. It's like when God had the children of Israel in the middle of the wilderness and he says, "This shall be the beginning amongst you". It wasn't the beginning. But God said, "It's New Year's Day". "Why is it New Year's Day"? "Because I say so. And if I call it new, you can't call it old. And if I call it clean, you can't call it dirty. And if I call it righteous, you can't call it unrighteous, because I am not a man that I should lie or the Son of Man that I should repent. If I speak a thing, it is what I say it is". Glory to God.

So God comes along and takes this idolatrous family. Abram's father, Nahor, brings him out of Mesopotamia, which is the modern-day Iraq. He brings him out of Mesopotamia, away from his country, away from his kindred, and says, "I'm gonna start a race of people with you and you will be the father of many nations". And Abraham says, "Excuse me, Lord, I don't have no kids and my chance for having kids is gone". I ain't gonna explain that. "But you should have done this sooner". Look at the many people today who think you are no longer eligible for what God wants to do in your life because of a mistake you made or an age you have or a circumstance you're in. And you're telling God, "You should have done this sooner".

God waited till you couldn't do it so that you would get no glory out of it being done. Come on, somebody. And so God says to him, "Through thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed. You will be the father of many nations". The Chaldeans were people who lived in southern Babylonia, which would be the southern part of Iraq today. That's where Abram comes from. And now we see him as the father of the faith. Sometimes the term "Chaldean" is used to refer to Babylonians in general. But normally, normally, normally, it refers to a specific, semi-nomadic tribe of people that lived in the southern part of Babylon. Are you following me? The land of the Chaldeans was the southern portion of Babylon or Mesopotamia or in the Old Testament, they called it Ur. Follow me, I'm gonna go deeper. Y'all with me?

It was generally thought to be an area about 400 miles long and about 100 miles wide, along the Tigris and the Euphrates river. The thing you must understand then is that Abraham, the reason I want you to understand that Abraham starts a new race but was born a Chaldean and an idolater, is that Paul uses Abraham's testimony to convert Rome. Then how can you say you're the seed of Abraham and reject these people when what you are rejecting was in your father? So it is the shrewdness of an attorney that he brings up Abraham, who they accept to explain who they reject. The mastery of his mind is paramount in this text because they cannot reject Abraham because he is the father of their religion and they cannot deny the fact that the father of their religion was an idolater.

If you study the Word closely, you will find when God says to Abraham in Genesis 22, "Take now thy son, thy only son and go to a place I will show you and there I want you to offer him up as a sacrifice". If you study his Chaldean background, it was not strange that one of their gods would receive human sacrifice. So when God says to him, "Take now thy son, thine only son," he knows that Abraham will not stagger at this because this is not as strange to him as it would be to you because it aligns up with his history.

But God gives himself distinction because he will not allow Abraham to react to him the way he would those idolatrous gods. He says, "Stay your hand, Abraham. Now I know that you love me more than you love the gods you had before me, that you would offer up if I were to", if I were, if I were. "If I were to ask for your son, I could get him. But all I wanted you to do was understand how I felt when I give my Son. I wanted, if you're gonna be my friend, you have to have empathy for how I feel because just the way you felt walking your son up to have him offered up, that's the way I'm gonna feel when I offer up my Son. And if you're gonna be my friend, we have to have shared experiences in order to have deeper relationship".

Oh, y'all not shouting like I'm teaching. I'm teaching better than you're shouting. So it is no accident that Paul has called and evoked Abraham to make this case to the Roman Jews because he puts them in a paradoxical situation that causes them to have to open up the door because he reminds them that your father's father's father, father, for which you have all this respect was just like these people that you won't eat with. I was thinking the other day how they're doing all of these genealogies and everybody's getting their genealogy to find out what's in them. And if that continues to happen, prejudice is gonna have to be a thing of the past because what you're gonna find out is white folks ain't as white as they thought they were and black folks ain't as black as they thought they were and Hispanic folks aren't as Hispanic as they thought they were and how you gonna hate what's in you?

And eventually you're gonna come down to there's only one race and that's the human race. And when we get down to that, we ain't gonna have nothing else to hate each other about because you're gonna find out that you ain't pure and I ain't either. And we're a strange mix of everything and if you hate me, you hate yourself, because somewhere in your DNA, you got a little bit of me. Yeah, so it's that kind of situation that Paul has put them in when he now evokes the story of Abraham. The process of Abraham's faith is based on the premise that his faith conviction is not convenient to his physical predicament. His faith conviction is not convenient to his physical predicament.

That means that God will always put you in a situation that contradicts the situation you're in. God will not ask you to do the easy thing. He will ask you to do the very thing that you think you can't do. He will ask you, "Widow woman, you getting ready to die. You don't have nothing but a handful of meal. Bake a cake for me first". He won't ask a rich person to bake a cake. He'll ask a widow who's about to die to bake a cake because your extremity is God's opportunity. And God will come to you when your hand is withered and say, "Stretch forth your hand". And God will come to you when you're lame and say, "Take up your bed and walk". And God will come to you when you only have one lunch and say, "Everybody sit down in groups of 50. We getting ready to break some bread in here today," because the facts are you got two fish and five loaves of bread. But the faith is God can take what you got and multiply it to be more than enough.

And so don't let your feelings about your situation stop your convictions about your conversion. The improbability of Abraham's seed is that time is not on his side, and let's face it, even if God were to roll back the clock and make him a young man, Sarah was always barren. She was beautiful, but she was barren. She was so fine that even when she was an old woman, he had to lie because she was fine old. Abraham said, "I got to lie because if I tell them she's my wife, they gonna kill me and take her".

Now that's fine, when she 90 and you have to lie. Don't let it escape you that our couple beautiful were barren, because beauty does not negate barrenness. And man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. She was beautiful, but she was barren and it is out of her barren womb that God must incubate the seed. So there are layers of impossibility to the promise. "So I don't need, I don't just need one miracle because even if you resurrect my little friend down here, her little friend has gone home to bed".

And so, this is a double whammy, you understand? I wanna talk to people that God keeps saying something to you that is so different from your circumstance that you can't even find anybody to tell what he's saying to you because it's totally ridiculous that God would say something like that to you. And yet God is gonna give you potent faith. He's gonna give you powerful faith. He's gonna give you yoke-breaking faith. He's gonna do a thing in your life. Even though everybody voted you out, said you'd never be nothing, threw you out, never thought you'd be any good, cursed you out, laughed at you, made fun of you, spat on you. You flunked out of school, you dyslexic, and now God's gonna do something fresh in your life.

Yes, because God said, "My strength is made perfect in your weakness. And if you were strong, I wouldn't have any place to be perfect. But I am the most potent when you are the most impotent. And I waited till you were limited so I could be limitless in your life". And that's why we praise him. Not because we're potent, but because he's potent. Not because we got money, but because he got money. Not because we got resources, but because he got resources. Not because we know the King, but because the heart of the King is in his hand. And if God gets ready to bless me, no devil in hell can curse me. And if God gets ready to set me free, you can't put me in jail, for he whom the Son has set free is free indeed. Don't pay these shackles no mind. I'm free indeed. Don't pay these handcuffs any mind. I'm free indeed. Look at somebody and say, "I got potent faith".

I got potent faith. I got potent faith. I got potent faith. I am not like Israel who is like Sarah, who is beautiful but barren. I am not like the temple which was beautiful, but it did not have any ark of covenant in it, and behind the veil there was nothing, which means that the womb of the temple was barren. So what was going on with the temple was going on with Mother Sarah. She was beautiful, lots of rituals, feast of weeks, feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Pentecost. But there was no glory behind her. And God revealed that she was barren when he went to the cross and the veil in the temple was rent from the top to the bottom. It exposed the barrenness of their theology. Because how can you offer up sacrifice in a place where there is no Ark of the Covenant?
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