TD Jakes - A Three Dimensional View
He said, "When I went to Asia, I was pressured in a way like I have never experienced before". This is Paul, baby. He's been stoned. He's been left for dead. He's been shipwrecked. This isn't a wuss talking here. When he talks about pressure, we have to respect Paul's ability to endure pressure. But he says, "I was pressed above measure". Now we're getting down to some really good stuff. Does the Word of God speak to people who are stressed out? Absolutely. Does the Word of God speak to people who are depressed? Absolutely. Does the Word of God speak to people who are being affected by external circumstances to the point that they're about to implode internally? Absolutely.
That's why we're looking at this text tonight, because this text admits flamboyantly that the writer of this epistle, after all of this worrying about comfort and all of this worrying about ministering to other people, he now comes down and says, "I myself, when I went through Asia, was pressed". He said, "I couldn't even calculate or quantify what it felt like to be me". Is there somebody watching me right now who's goin' through something, and part of the pain of what you're going through it's feeling like nobody knows what it's like to be you? There is no measurement, there is no ability to quantify the amount of stress you're under. I'm so glad you're tuned into this Bible class. I'm so glad you're watching me right now, 'cause I have a word for you.
There is a pressure that is above measure, that you cannot calculate, that makes you feel like you're gonna explode, that makes you feel like you cannot survive, that makes you despair of life itself. And that pressure doesn't just come to sinners, and it doesn't just come to people who don't know the Word, and it doesn't just come to people who are living ungodly. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God is writing, and in spite of him being an apostle, in spite of the fact he was chosen, in spite of the fact that he is responsible for writing more epistles in any other person in the New Testament, says, "I was discouraged. I was at my wit's end. I know that Jesus appeared to me on the Road to Damascus, knocked me off the horse. I had amazing testimony, great encounter. I won all kinda souls for Jesus". He said, "But when I went through this period in my life, I was discouraged. I was pressed above measure". And then he goes on, let me see, I want to read it, 'cause I could quote it but I don't want to miss anything.
Okay, "Have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure and above strength". Now, it's one thing to be pressed above measure. We can't quantify the pressure. He said, "But the pressure was also beyond my strength. This was too much for me". I want to talk about too much. It's not always allocated according to your strength. Sometimes your pressure exceeds your ability. If it didn't, why would you need God? That I can't handle it, that breaking point, that tipping point, that edge, somebody's at that point right now. You're watching me right now and you're saying, "My God, it feels like he's talking right to me". I am. I'm talking right to you right now. And you say, "I can't handle that". I know. I get it. "It's beyond my strength. I can't. This is too much for me". Why do you think he said, "Cast all your cares on me because I care for you"? He said, "You gotta cast it on me 'cause you can't handle it".
Watch this. The apostle is saying, "It was beyond my strength. It hit me so hard I didn't have an answer. I could not handle it". So stop beating yourself up because you can't handle it, beating yourself up because you don't have an answer, and most importantly, beating yourself up because you can't fix it. There are some problems you cannot fix. There are some mountains you cannot move. Oh, this is not popular. There are some things that happen in your life that all you can do is tuck your head down and go through it the best way you can because it's too much for you to bear. The writer here says, "I could not handle it. It was too much for me. It was above", it was, "I was pressed out of measure, above strength". Here's the shocking part, "In so much that I despaired of life itself. I was so pressured I wanted to die".
Now, listen, friend. If the gentlemen who's writing the Scripture says, "I know what it is to be pressured so bad that I wanted to die," then the rest of us jokers who are reading the Scriptures, surely we have gone through some moment, whether you talk about it or not, or tell anybody about it or not, or admit to it or not. I know it'll mess up your resume. I know you want everybody think you're Superman that you don't have a Clark Kent, but there are moments in your life that your cape doesn't fit anymore, and your boots hurt your feet, and you have to admit, "I am not Superman. This is too much for me. I cannot handle this. I'm pressed above measure. I can't even articulate, or count, or explain to anybody how bad this is and it is beyond my strength".
And how do you know it's beyond your strength? Because now I'm despairing of life. That means the pressure on the outside has gotten so on the inside that the Apostle Paul... we're not talkin' about Snidely Whiplash here. This is the Apostle Paul, he's writing the New Testament and he is admitting that, "I went through somethin' comin' out of Asia that made me want to die". The hardest thing in the world for a Christian is to admit that they felt like that, because we feel like we make God look bad if we went through a period in our lives of forlornment. We don't want anybody to know it, so when people ask you how you're doing, "I'm blessed in the Lord. Thank God in you".
You know, we got all of those Christian colloquialisms. "Oh child, I'm blessed and highly favored. Glory to God, hallelujah". And we're goin' down the road because we know what we're supposed to say, but I'm talkin' about when how you feel doesn't line up with what you are supposed to say. There are moments in your life that you cannot really tell people how you really feel because they couldn't handle it. They see you as invincible. You're super mom. You're super mama. You're super daddy. You always got it together. We always call on you. You're the Wonder Woman of our family. You are the Hulk of our house. We're always calling, and they don't know that even the Hulk gets tired. Don't call me 'cause I'm right at the edge. And Paul says, "I despaired of life itself".
Have you ever had someone hurt you so bad you wanted to die? That's the question. I'm asking you, have you ever had someone hurt you so bad that you wanted to die? With your saved, Holy Ghost-filled, talkin' in tongues, got it goin' on in Jesus's name self. And secretly, you went through something. And I think that the secrecy is worse than the thing itself. We have something goin' on with us as a people and a culture that we don't like to talk about things that overwhelm us. So we want to act like we got it all together all the time, and yet we've got mental health issues out of control, suicides are breaking out, particularly amongst African American children in epidemic rates. And as long as we get our dance in on Sunday, we think everything's okay. This is not about you getting your dance in. This is not about Reverend Flip Flap, hooped at the end of the message, change keys 12 times. He can change keys 100 times and you still wanna die. You can dance all over the church and get in the car, and that same spirit will be waiting on you in the car. It'll follow you back to the house and you go home in agony. And the worst part is you can't even tell anybody.
But if Paul outed that devil and said, "He got on me so bad I wanted to die," then you don't have to be ashamed to say, "I'm dealing with depression. I'm fighting with suicide, and I feel like it's beyond my strength and it's beyond my capacity". Did you know that the Bible has a word for people who are suicidal? Did you know that God has a word for people who are depressed? Do you know that God has a word for people who are stressed out and feel like, "I cannot handle it. These kids are driving me crazy. The kids, the bills, the storms, the job, the problems have all overwhelmed me". And they're angry and they're frustrated, and depression is really just anger turned inside. Yeah, depressed people are people who have swallowed so much anger that the anger has started attacking their emotions. And if you don't resolve it, it will attack your body.
He said, "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves". He said, "We had the sentence of death in ourselves". Hello, I felt like dying, so I knew not to trust me. Oh God, hallelujah. I went through this period that was too much for me so that I would not be walkin' around counting on my own power. This is not about willpower. This is not about pain tolerance. He said, "I went through this so that I would not trust myself". Good God Almighty. This is good enough for me to get my own tape. I will not trust myself. We had the sentence of death working in ourselves so we would not trust ourselves. Are you takin' on so much and trusting yourself more than you should? You handle everything. You don't delegate anything.
Are you trusting in yourself more than you should? Come on, this is getting good. And then he says, "That we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead". He said, "We're gonna trust in God who raised", I'm suicidal, but I'm preaching this morning. We're going to trust in God who raises the dead. He's gonna raise me. He raises people who did die. If he raises the dead, he can raise somebody who's feeling like dying. Oh, you don't hear me. I got good news for ya. Get ready for a resurrection to happen in your life. Get ready for a resurrection to happen in your spirit. Get ready for a renewal to come into your heart because God raises the dead. If he raises the dead, he raises people who feel like dying, and raises people who feel like quitting, and raises people who are at their wit's end. Are you with me? I said, are you with me?
There are three things that he teaches us in the 10th verse about God. I'm going to give you these three things and I'll be gone. It's a three-dimensional understanding, 3D understanding of God that he doesn't drop on us 'til the 10th verse, but it is powerful, and you need to know it and you need to understand it. It is a three-dimensional comprehensive understanding of the delivering power of God, hallelujah. Shout, "He will deliver me". Glory to God, you're absolutely right. Shout, "He hath delivered me". Shout, "He will deliver me". You're right on both hands. Both of those things are two different things working at the same time. He hath delivered me. He is delivering me. He shall deliver me.
This is a three-dimensional understanding of God. He hath delivered me. I'm delivered right now. I am delivered right now. My life is hid in Christ with God. My sins are remitted. I'm delivered. I'm saved, past tense. It's complete. It's finished. It's done, hallelujah. It is finished. It is done. It is history, devil. You should have killed me when you had the chance. It's too late. It's over. It's done. It's set aside. It's finished. Hallelujah, when Jesus got up, I got up with him. It's over. He hath delivered me. You gotta settle that part. If you don't know that you are saved and that you are delivered, past tense, that it is finished, that it is irrevocable, that it is immutable, that it is unchangeable, that it is done by the power of God and not by the power of Jakes, if you don't know that, you won't be able to withstand the wiles of the devil. You gotta be able to throw Jesus up in the devil's face and say, "He hath delivered me".
It might not look like it. I might not feel like it. I might not see it. I might not understand it. He hath delivered me. I thank God for my early childhood teaching and my understanding of justification and understanding that I am justified by faith. He hath delivered me. That's over. A lot of people have never graduated to understanding that their deliverance is done, not by what they did or don't do anymore, but on the finished work of Jesus Christ. He hath delivered me. It's over. That's past tense. It's settled. It's not up for debate. It's not up for discussion. It's not up for you to vote on it. What you say about me doesn't have anything to do with it. He hath delivered me. Oh, that's good news. That's good news. That's why you're saved. That's why you're a Christian.
That's what it means to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. He hath delivered me. And then he goes on on the premise of understanding that I have been delivered, so you can't get out of that first grade, that first grade teaching that I have been delivered. If you're not settled on that, you're not ready to graduate to the next class. So you gotta understand I have been delivered. That's over. That's settled. That's finished. That's done. That's complete. That's over. It's mine. I have possessed it. It is a reality. I am saved, hallelujah. I'm saved. From the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, I am saved. Not because of what I did, but because of what Jesus did, I am saved. I am a recipient. I'm an heir of salvation. This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long. Are you with me? I said, are you with me? Ain't no need in sitting here if you ain't gonna be with me. I said, are you with me?
Now, let's settle that. Let's settle that 'cause we can't graduate if we can't settle he hath delivered. So you gotta know that. You got to know that. It's not important that other people believe that. You have to know that for yourself. He hath delivered me. That's done. That's not up for debate. Devil can't have that. Witch can't have that. Spell can't do that. Trouble can't take that. I am delivered. And yet he takes us to the second step. You ready to go to the second step? 'Cause this is three-dimensional, so let's go to the second dimension. The second dimension is he doth deliver. Wow, I am delivered. I am yet being delivered. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You see, I am delivered. That's past tense. That's historical. That is my standing. That is my state. That is my position. I am delivered. My life is hid in Christ with God. That is my position in him, and yet I am being. I am being. The God who hath delivered me is yet delivering me. So he hath delivered me in terms of my position, but he is delivering me in terms of my conditions. Come on, stay with me. Stay with me. Stay with me. He hath delivered me according to my position. He doth deliver me in terms of my condition. Okay, so the God who hath delivered me, he purchased me. He bought me out of the marketplace. My life is hid in Christ with God. I've been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. I'm in the finished work of Christ, and yet in my conditions, I am being delivered.
That's why he gave me the Holy Spirit to work in this present world to continue the deliverance process in my conditions. The Holy Spirit doesn't have to continue to work on my position. When Christ said, "Tetelestai, it is finished," that settled my position. The Holy Spirit came to deliver my conditions so that there is equity between my conditions and my position. Okay, are you following what I'm saying? So he doth deliver. He hath delivered. He doth deliver. He is delivering. So right now, I am being delivered. I have been delivered. I am being delivered. Let me stay there just a minute or two. The progressive regeneration of the soul is an ongoing process. So even though I have been redeemed positionally and I am still being redeemed conditionally, my conditions don't always reflect my position. That is a progressive, ongoing relationship that continues to exist between me and Jesus. Am I teaching good? Are you getting anything out of this?
I am being delivered. You oughta get somethin' out of it 'cause it's true. It's true about you. You can't sit there and act like you don't know this because that's true in your life. You are saved, yet you are being saved. You are delivered, yet you are being delivered. You are free, yet you are being liberated. Come on, talk to me, somebody. Unless you have been translated, you are still in process even though your position is finished, you are still in process as an individual. And so he said he hath delivered, he doth deliver. He doth deliver. Oh, thank you, Jesus. Whatever is gonna face me tomorrow, I'm happy to know that he doth deliver. Whatever I'm going to go through next week, hey, it's good to know, April, he doth deliver. Whatever my family is going through, whatever my finances are going through, whatever I'm goin' through in my body, my emotions, my flesh, he doth deliver, okay?
And so we are here right now in the being delivered stage from God. We're being delivered. We're being delivered. We're being delivered. Every time the enemy thinks he's got me, I'm being delivered. Every time I'm backed in a corner, I'm being delivered. Every time I'm stressed out, I'm being delivered. To those of you who we were just talkin' to who are pressed above measure and beyond strength, this is the good news. God is getting ready to deliver you. Paul didn't stay like he was. He didn't stay depressed. He didn't stay suicidal. He didn't stay at his wit's end. He didn't stay there because God continues to deliver us. We are renewed. He is the Father of mercies. He got new mercy. He got a mercy for Monday, a mercy for Tuesday, a mercy for Wednesday, a mercy for Thursday, a mercy for Friday. Whatever Saturday's got for you, God's got a mercy for that too.
"Give us this day our daily bread". "As my days are, so shall my strength be". God continues to deliver us. So he's not finished with me. Though I have been delivered, yet he doth deliver. And then he goes into... this is the third dimension. I shall be delivered. I have been delivered from the penalty of sin. That's over. I have been delivered from the penalty of sin. "There's therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus". I have been delivered from the penalty of sin, okay. I am being delivered from the habit of sin. I am being delivered. I have been delivered from the penalty. I am being delivered from the habit of sin. I shall be delivered from the presence of sin, okay.
This is the blessed hope of the church, that we shall be delivered from the very presence of sin. Right now we're being delivered from the habit of sin. On the Calvary, we were delivered from the penalty of sin. This is the three-dimensional deliverance that occurs in the life of every believer. Now, I'm gonna test you. Where are we back here? Hath been delivered. I've been delivered from what? The penalty of sin. Where are we right here? I'm being delivered. He doth deliver. What am I being delivered from? The habit of sin. What's up ahead of me? He will deliver me from what? From the presence of sin.
That's what it is to be caught up to meet the Lord. That's what it is to be absent in the body and be present with the Lord. That's what happened to your grandmother. That's what happened to your mother. That's what happened to your grandfather. They were delivered from the presence of sin, hallelujah, caught up to meet him. Oh, hallelujah. Oh my God, I felt that down in my soul. He delivered me from the presence of sin. That is the blessed hope of the church. Three dimensions. So tonight, you can say, "I went through a three-dimensional Bible class. I learned a three-dimensional way to attack the enemy that's been attacking me. I learned the three-dimensional understanding of how to overcome the pressure that's trying to come over me". But right now, what I want you to understand is how God is doing a present work in your life right now. And the God we serve is able.