TD Jakes - Let's Go to the Mountain
It doesn't matter what the principle is. It works the same. Lawyers run with lawyers. Preachers hang out with preachers. They have a language. There's a system that supports the course you're in, so when you get ready to change course, you gotta be willing to be changes systems and adopt new languages, okay? The Bible said, "You walked according to the course of this world". That's one thing. So you were in it because the world was in it, and then you were in it because of the prince of the power of the air. Satan manipulated you, your weakness, your childhood, your background, your need to be acknowledged, your need to be heard, your need to be touched, your need to be this or that or the other.
So there's a spiritual dimension and there's a natural dimension. Come on, let's go, and this is good. This is good. This is good. Anybody gettin' somethin' out of this? He said, "The spirit that wants control of you," I'm still in the B clause of verse number 2, chapter number 2, 2:2, Ephesians 2:2b. He said: "The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience". He said, "The thing that's workin' in them was workin' in you". So I don't know why all of a sudden, you don't understand how they could do it. You just finished doin' it. I'm confused. Just 'cause you graduated don't burn down the school.
"Oh, they can't sit beside of me. Smell like smoke". Really? You can't stand it? I ain't gonna get ya like I could. I'mma be nice 'cause we got company. But when I get you back home, I'm gonna give you a good illustration. He said... watch this, watch this because you gotta understand some things here. He says, "Among whom also we," what? "All," "All". No, no, no, let's not get that, let's get all. Somebody shout, "All". Punch your neighbor and say, "They're talkin' about you". Yeah, "Amongst whom we all had our conversations in times past".
It's sayin' we all did a little somethin', somethin' now. Yeah, you know we all did a little somethin', somethin', now. Yeah, I know you mother missionary of the supreme court of the superintendent of the Sunday school, fire baptized, Church of the Living God. But back when you could, you would. A lot of you were not delivered till your factory broke down. Alright, "Among whom also we all had our conversation," the word "conversation" means "lifestyle". "We all had our lifestyle in times past in the lusts of the flesh," in the lusts of the flesh, "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind," of the flesh and of the mind, of the mind, that mind, that mind, that mind. It's where our imaginations and our memories are. "The desires of the mind". "The desires of the flesh and the desires of the mind". "Desires of the flesh and the desires of the mind". "The desires of the flesh and the desires of the mind".
Some of it is not just comin' from my flesh. It's comin' from my mind. It's comin' my from my mind. It's the way I think about it. It's what I need. It's what I remember. It's what I saw. It's what happened, "The desires of the mind". "Be ye transformed by the", Oh, until I change my mind, I can't change my behavior. "And were by nature," underline "nature," "were by nature". This is what the change is. "You were by nature the children of wrath, even as others". It's not the act God is talking about. It is the nature. It is your nature.
Let me explain it to you 'cause I want you to see this. Here's Brother Christian, and Brother Christian has done somethin' wrong. Here is Brother Sinner, and Brother Sinner has done the same thing wrong. Now, they are both sinners in terms of the acts they did, but they are not in the same position because he is a sinning Christian, and that means he went against his newborn nature to do it. He's just a sinner. He doin' what he supposed to do. No need in tellin' the sinner not to sin. That's like tellin' a monkey not to eat bananas. If you leave me in the room with the bananas, I'm gonna eat it 'cause that's in my nature. Now, you can help him to change his behavior because he has a new nature. To the world, "That's why I ain't in the church now 'cause ain't none of 'em, they doin' the same thing I'm doin'".
Let me clear this up. They both fell in the mud, but Brother Sheep, when he falls in the mud, is uncomfortable with what he fell in. But Brother Pig, when he falls in the mud, he wallows in the mud. Why does the sheep cry and the pig wallow? Because they have different natures. It is not in the sheep's nature to be in the mud. He fell in it. He got trapped in it. He's prayin' and sayin', "God, help me out of it". The pig says, "Don't bother me. I'm havin' a good time". Thank you.
Okay, can you see it? Can you see it? So, what Christ comes to do is to put a new nature in you. And to those of you who are trying to change your behavior, it begins with a new nature. Then allowing the new nature to overcome the behavior is a process. Don't let any of these church folk fool you. It is a process. You can change your acts, but changing the way you think is a process called "transformation," which you will go through in degrees the rest of your life.
Now, watch this 'cause I still haven't shown you why I got this text. "Among whom also we had our conversation, lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature," were by nature, "the children of wrath, even as others, but". You were helpless, but. You couldn't change your life, but. Your whole family was hookers, but. Your daddy was an alcoholic, your granddaddy was an alcoholic, all of your uncles was an alcoholic, but.
Touch somebody and say, "But". This is where the story changes. This is where the curse is broken. This is where the yoke is destroyed. This is where the breakthrough happens. "But God, who is rich in mercy". Touch three people and say, "God is in it. God is in it". Somebody who can do it, jump up and turn around right fast. That's what God does. He turns the story around. He turns it around and delivers you. He turns it around and brings you out. Tell your neighbor, "I'm in the middle of a turn. I'm in the middle of it. I haven't changed completely. I'm in the middle of a turn. Don't bother me 'cause I'm turnin'.' I'm in a twist. I'm in a process. This is delicate. This is between me and God. Leave me alone. I gotta make..". C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, "I don't cuss, but I want to. I don't fight no more, but I still feel the urge". I'm just talkin' about the process, the process, the process.
Sit down and let me show you one more thing. I'm gonna close. I'm gonna close. Anybody glad you came to church this morning? This is the good stuff. Y'all with me? "But God, who is rich", You know somethin'? I was readin' this this mornin' and I got so, "But God, who is rich," you know what "rich" is? "Rich" is "when you have more than you need, abundance, overflow, excess, increase". God said, "I am rich in mercy". He says, "I will not run out of mercy. I got new mercies every morning. When you seek my face, I will never be bankrupt in mercy. I am rich. I am the God. You say I'm the God of second chances? No, I'm the God of 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6, 7, 8 .9, 10, 11, 12. You know you not on your second chance. You on your 1.978th".
That's why Jesus said, " You ought to at least forgive seven times seventy. If you forgive seven times seventy with your poor mercy self", "God is rich in mercy". Watch this, watch this, 'cause we're gettin' to, the "but" is rhe turning point, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his," not just his love, "his great love wherewith he loved us". I wanna apologize to him 'cause I don't have the time or the ability to broach his love. I'm limited by language and metaphors and articulations and parables to be able to describe something that defies human logic and imagination. There is nothing comparable to it. "His great love". "His great love wherein he loved us". "His great love".
I think it is his great love that we have been looking for all our lives, and we have been going to the limited, seeking the unlimited. We have been going to a finite fountain searching for an infinite love. And the reason your relationships are so disappointing is because you seek an infinite supply from a finite person. People cannot give you what they do not have. No matter how much you need it, just because you need it doesn't mean that you can get it because you cannot get what I don't have because I'm not rich in love. So we're two beggars fightin' over a crumb. You need it and I need it. And when your need and my need collide together, we have a crisis. "But God, who is rich in mercy, wherein he loved us".
Let me just park here just a minute. I'm so limited. I'm frustrated standin' here right now. I'm frustrated because if I could make you know how much he loved you, if I could find a way to make you know how much he loved you, all fear would go. Do you not know that he said, "A perfect love casts out fear"? When you know that you're walking in absolute love, it will change your life. Cravings, and frustrations, and mood swings, and disappointments, and worries, and anxieties. And most of the stuff on your prayer list would wipe out if I could make you know his great love, his great love. If you ever touch it or taste it, it will flow through you better.
You know, one of the reasons we cannot conceive God's great love is because we are not willing to love people enough to imagine a forgiving love. And here's the problem. When you cannot imagine a forgiving love, you cannot fathom receiving a forgiving love. You cannot receive what you will not release. "Father, forgive us as we forgive those". "Love your neighbor as you love yourself". See, if you can't do it, you can't receive the idea that maybe God has really, truly forgiven you, really, for real. As long as you are a grudge holder, you're not a grace receiver. Because you can't fathom that you could be that bad and God's, his great love, somebody say, "His great love".
Now, let me tie this up. "Even when we were dead in sins," he didn't wait to love you till you got better. He found you dead in your sins and he loved anyway, "And quickened us together with Christ," made us alive together with Christ, "(by grace are ye saved)". Now, this is what attracts me to this text. Last week I talked about going to the Mount of Transfiguration to watch Christ be transfigured. This week we're going to the mountain to watch us be transfigured. "And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ. For by grace are you saved".
I want to show you this. What the writer is telling us is, "My conditions are down here. My circumstances are down here. But positionally, I'm already Raptured in heavenly places in Christ Jesus". And the transformation is not the Christ this time. And then, maybe it is. Because when we went to the mountain before, we saw the body of Christ transfigured. And now if we go to the spiritual mountain, you see us transfigured. But then us, we are the body of Christ. So that means that as we go higher in Christ, we are made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And we are all being transformed on our Mounts of Transfiguration.
The change is coming. The water's broken. Goodbye to where I came from. Hold it, hold it. Goodbye to the systems that held me. Cut the cord. I'm dying out over here and I'm being transformed over here. Get the mucous out my nose. I never used it before, but I'm havin' to use new tools. And here, and ahh, I'm learnin' how to operate in a new dimension. Because the higher I go, the less I need of where I came from and the more I need of where I'm going. I'm gonna cut what I don't need and experience what I do need because a change is coming in my life. And it only happens when you come to the mountain. You can come to church the rest of your life, but if you don't come up higher to the mountain, you will always be in the valley while a few of us go to the mountain.
As I close today, when Jesus went to the Mount of Transfiguration, while they were experiencing glory on their mountain, the people on the bottom were dealing with demons, demons that they couldn't cast out. While Moses was up on Mount Sinai walkin' in glory, his people were down in the valley dancin' naked around the calf. At the end of the day, they are both in the same place, same area, but location, location, location.
As I close today, I wanna ask you a question. And only you can answer it. You've come a long ways, but are you gonna stay in this dimension where you started for the fellowship and the company of being in the course of your friends, or are you willing to die out to them and step into the next dimension of becoming who God called you to be? You cannot be who you were and be who you are at the same time. The more you change over here, the more you're gonna die out over there. The more you are absent in this dimension, the more you are present in this dimension.
A sure sign that you are changing is when they change how they feel about you and they change how they support you and they change how they like you. Their hatreds are the birthing pains that is necessary to get you to the next dimension. When you feel the haters, don't go back in the womb. Push your way on out. When you feel the rejection, don't go back where you came from. You've come too far to turn around. You've got to go into the next dimension, location, location, location.
Heads bows, eyes closed. I'm gonna close with this. If you're in this room and you have learned as I have learned that life is tough and hard, it is not easy. You've spent all your life workin' on yourself and on your world and on your family, tryin' to become what God has in mind, tryin' to get through this world. If you thought enough of God to get up out of the bed this mornin' and come to church, that means there's somethin' on the inside of you that feels the push to go higher in Christ.
I ministered a word this morning I hope as I ministered you got something out of it. I hope in one way or another you are saying, "Bye," to where you came from, and "Hello," to where you're going. I hope you understand that you might be in the mud as a sheep. You need to cry out to God, "Get me out. I wanna change my life". But right now I wanna go after that pig that's layin' in that mud, and it's always been your nature to lay in it.
I wanna say to you, Brother Pig, you have a chance to become Brother Sheep. You might be goin' through the same struggles, but your nature will change. That Christ wants to get into your heart and give you new life and bring you out of the mud you're in. You're right, we are no better than you are. You're right, we've made the same mistakes you have made. You are right that we are but mortal flesh, but we have a new nature inside of us, a nature that makes us apologize to people that we wouldn't speak to, a nature that makes us go back and do right when we've done wrong, a nature that makes us fight on when we would have quit, a nature that has brought us this far by faith, and that same nature, which is Christ, could be in you today if you would stop using us as an excuse for you not changing.
This is the most important part of the service. Zion has gone into a birthing position. The lurching pains of new birth are coming upon this church as a woman in travail. There is somebody in this house that God wants to give new life to. It may be you. He wants to put his nature in you, a new love, a new life, a new destiny. You have to make a decision. Will you stay in the world you're in, or will you say, "Yes," to becoming who God wants you to be.