TD Jakes — Cheering You On
Are there some things you need to lay aside in order to be the champion you were called to be? Are there obstacles, baggages that weight you down and stop you from soaring as high as you were designed to go? The message today is challenging you to rethink some things, to set some priorities. The message is called "Cheering You On".
The pinnacle of faith is built on the backs of real, ordinary, pulse beat, bad breath people. Not angels, not celestial beings, not heavenly choirs, people with pain, and passion, and problems, and struggles, and mistakes, and mishaps, and delays, and yet they finish what they started. "Wherefore seeing as we". It's our turn. Look at somebody and say, "It's our turn". "Seeing as are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses," seeing as we are surrounded.
The writer here has put the text in an amphitheater, as was the custom of the times, that the gladiators fought in amphitheaters. He has filled the stands with winners. And while you are fighting your opponents, he has filled the stands with people who have already won the fight. And he says, "How can you give out, seeing as you are compassed about with such a great cloud of witnesses"? I would have dropped the ball, but because you were cheering me on. Oh my God.
Sometimes, you win because of who's watching. Where are my fellas at? Make some noise, fellas, talk to me. Have you ever been in the gym, lifting weights, and you really wanted to quit? You just wanted to just stop it? But because your homie was in there lifting weights too, and you didn't want him to see you just give out like that, you found out you could press more weight than you thought you could press because somebody's watching you.
Somebody's watching you. That's the spirit of this text, that all who have gone before you, the patriarchs and matriarchs, the prophets, the priests, the kings, they are watching you. The women who did their laundry in the creek are watching you, who raised their children out of the garden in the backyard are watching you. The people who survived the Depression are watching you with your Apple phone saying you can't survive. How did they make it with so much less? And you've got so much more, and you're about to faint in your mind?
Normally I'd tell you touch your neighbor, but don't touch them, just shake them a little bit and say, "Wake up". I'm wondering, how does one faint in your mind? And could it be possible that your mind has fainted through the weariness of the struggle"? You've stopped thinking, and creating, and breathing, and doing, and going forward in your life because you have become weary in well-doing.
In the gym, they call it muscle fatigue. Pushed to the limit, carrying so much weight that you fainted. Or I what, David? I would have fainted. I almost fainted, I came close to fainting. I almost left you. I would have divorced you, I would have died, I would have quit. I would have sent you to my mama's to raise you. I would have fainted had not I believed. Whoo, here comes faith, reviving you when you're about to faint. Had not I believed to seek the good... see, if you don't believe right, it won't come out right. No wonder he says, "Wherefore seeing".
See, if you don't see it right, you won't stand right. In fact, the voices that are fighting you in your head are fighting to gain control of how you see your situation. "Wherefore seeing as we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that does so easily beset us".
I want to differentiate weights from sin. Procrastination is not a sin, oh, but it's a weight. Avoiding your responsibilities may not be a sin, but it's a weight. Not confronting issues because of your timidity may not be a sin, but it's a weight. Are you blaming God for things not working, when in fact it is the weights that you will not lay aside? Are there some things you need to lay aside in order to be the champion you were created to be? And by the way, did Jesus come and dwell amongst us 33 years, get beat with a cat-of-nine-tails, stripped of his clothing, nailed to a cross for you to be a church person who still lives in sin?
I hear you talking about you're saved and that's wonderful, but I wonder what you're saved from if you're going to live like you lived before. Ooh, it got quiet. Y'all would normally be shouting by now. How have you changed? Can you show me your before and after? You know how they do those makeovers for the women? And they say, "This is how Sally looked before. And this is how she looks now". Show me your before and after pictures, between who you were before and who you are now. Or have you just added Jesus to the agenda of a life you continue?
I was talking to an old friend on the road that I hadn't talked to for years and years and years, and we were catching up. And we went back to some stuff we used to do that I won't detail. And it was a fun vacation from who I am to discuss who I was. And as he went on and on and on about it, you know, we were laughing and talking, and I could put myself right back in the situation, and I visited it.
Now, when we talked again, he brought it up again, and started talking about it again, and I visited it. And then we talked again, and he brought it up again, and I thought, "Can we talk about something else"? Suddenly, I recognized that all we had in common was our history and not our destiny. Do you have those people in life that appeal to the worst in you and not the best in you? And whenever they connect with you, they bring you down to where you were before?
Now, I want you to understand something. I'm not judging him or criticizing him because it makes me feel hypocritical to criticize his sin because I must humbly admit that there is a part of me that leans, but not enough of me to make a life of it. And what I realized in our conversation, that though I am still somewhat kin to who I used to be, I live a life of contradictions because there is not enough of me left that related to what we were talking about to build a life around it. Suddenly, I recognized that my friend has no struggles because everything he feels like doing, he does. And I am left in the struggle because when I would do good... can I be real this Sunday? Evil is present with me. I'm not all the way right, but I'm not all the way wrong. And so, I must be prepared to struggle between the contradictions of who I am.
For the purpose of pastoring my church, I want to be sure that you understand the theology of the text. God has taken off of you what you could not remove. The whole purpose of Jesus is to lay aside the penalty of sin. Okay, there are three aspects of sin: the penalty of sin, the practice of sin, and the presence of sin. On the cross, he removed the penalty of sin, paid the debt for me, went to the cross as me, was cursed because of me, took my penalty by proxy. He was lifted up as me so I could live as him.
Come on, talk to me, church. He became so much me that when God looked at him, he did not see his Son, he saw my sin. And I told you perspective is everything. The Father saw sin, and there he is, dying on the cross, crying, "Why has thou forsaken me"? He had not forsaken him. He had forsaken me because he had become me. Can you see that? Seeing, wherefore seeing. He could not see his Son for my sin. And when he saw my sin, he was smitten of God. God smote the sin that the Son carried. And because he became me on the cross, I became him, the body of Christ in this present world. And he told me before he left, he said, "I'm going to superimpose my identity on you, and baptize you into the body of Christ. And you are going to become so much me that when you go to the Father, don't say this is Jackie praying, but whatsoever you ask the Father in my name".
Y'all can't handle that, let me come up out of there. Do you not know the reason you have to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus is that Jesus has so become your identity that you stand in the power and the authority of Jesus Christ when you go before the Father? And whatever you ask the Father, when you say, "I ask it in the name of Jesus," it is because you have been baptized into the body of Christ. Do you not know this is what the text means when it says, "In him I live, in him I move, in him I am my..."
Y'all ain't talking to me. Look at it. It's about seeing. The Father saw my sin, and smote his Son. And I need to see myself. Beloved, now are ye the sons of God, though it does not yet appear what we shall be. It doesn't show yet. But when we see him, we shall see him as he is, and we shall be like him, so I am changed by what I see. How you see God determines how you are changed while you go up and down on the rollercoaster ride of life. "Sir, we would see Jesus".
Praise team, when you sing, we don't want to see you. We didn't get out of bed this morning to see you. We would see Jesus. Preachers, we don't want to see you. Touch everybody you can reach and say, "I want to see Jesus". That's why I'm online because I want to see Jesus. That's why I'm screaming, oh, because I want to see Jesus. All hell is breaking loose, and I'm going down, and I need to see Jesus. Help, I've fallen, and I can't get up. When I'm sick, I want to see Jesus. When I'm well, I want to see Jesus. When I'm broke, I want to see Jesus. When I'm rich, I want to see Jesus. Whatever state I'm in.
So, Jesus laid aside the penalty of sin. And the third one, he's going to take care of that either when he comes to get us or when we die to meet him. He will snatch us from the presence of sin. Dead people can't do wrong. Raptured people are taken from wrong to right. Both of them Jesus took care of. The middle one is on you, the practice of sin. That's where the struggle is. The penalty, he said, "I got that". The presence of sin, he said, "I got that too. But I left the practice of sin for you to have something to work out on".
That's your gym equipment. That's where you learn discipline, and strength training, and muscle development, and the ability to say no to the lesser so you can say yes to the greater. Am I feeding anybody? So, he says to the struggling souls like you and me, who struggle against who we were and who we are every day, and sometimes get so tired of fighting, get so tired of fighting that we faint. Not outside, we faint in our minds.
Give me a minute, let me we work on this fainting in your mind. See, the guy who smiles in the light is only sustained by the guy who prays in the shadows. And what happens with living with contradictions is that there's always a struggle between the light in you and the dark in you. Come on, somebody. If you give way to the dark in you, you could go all the way down, do something stupid, marry somebody crazy, end up with a disease, get locked in jail. You could do something so stupid. That's why you can never be arrogant because you're just one stupid decision from wrecking everything you've got.
Am I preaching this thing right? And there you are, struggling with the discipline because whatever you yield yourself to the most, that is what you become. And the reason my friend could talk filth all day is because he yields to what I struggle with. And I want to know this morning, are you a yielder or a struggler? Neither one of us are perfect. Neither one of us have mastered it. If you feel the fight, if you feel the weariness, and sometimes you faint in your mind, you only faint because you fought. You only fought because you struggled. You only struggled because you refused to give in to the lesser you, that you might be the greater you.
Am I helping somebody today? And so, this little thought the Lord sent me to tell all of the struggles, and all of the strugglers, and all of the people who live with the shame of not quite being either one, but wrestle betwixt and between the highs and the lows of life. There are people in the balconies cheering you on. There are patriarchs and prophets cheering you on. The sages of the ages are cheering you on. There are praying grandmamas and mamas cheering you on. There are people who had less and did more who are cheering you on.
What God wants you to know is that you came from too good of stock, that you came from warriors, and fighters, and people who endured afflictions, and endured tough times, and agonies, and oppositions, who prayed in the rain and danced in the storm, for you to get here and die. Tell hell, "No, I will not die, I will not die". Having done all to stand, I will stand anyway. And even when I feel like I'm standing alone, I will always remember the balconies are filled.
And all that have suffered before me are cheering me on, whether it be your natural heritage or whether it be your spiritual heritage. Because while I was preaching, God said, "Go and get that," because somebody out there says, "I didn't have no praying mama. That's what's wrong, I didn't have no praying daddy". If you can't claim it on your natural side, reach on your spiritual side and touch Esther, and touch Naomi, and touch Paul, and touch Peter. Oh, oh, sing. As we are compassed about, oh, with such a great cloud of witnesses. Devil, you thought I was going to faint? Tell hell NO. There's too many in the balconies cheering me on. So, let us not be weary in well-doing, for we shall reap in due season.
Oh, beloved of God, I've got to stop. It's been such a joy to spend this moment with you in the Word of God, strengthening the brethren in the faith, causing us to understand who we are in Christ Jesus. I hope the message "Cheering You On" inspired you in some way. All who have gone before you are watching you, cheering for you. You can do this.