TD Jakes - Following God In Transition
This is the inaugural reign of the Holy Spirit as he sets up residence in the earth realm to rule and control. And anytime you go to an inaugural service there's gonna be a processional, so the wind comes first, and then cloven tongues of fire come next, and then you see the Holy Spirit come in and sit down and take his authority and his rule, and he begins to reign and he begins to take over this era. And the kingdom has slipped into the spirit, it has moved from the physical manifestation to the spiritual manifestation of Jesus Christ. You missed that, the kingdom has slipped into the spirit. They were looking for earthly kingdom but the kingdom has slipped into the spirit. It's not meat or drink we will later hear, but joy and peace in the Holy Ghost.
A lot of people are stuck in the flesh, but God has slipped this thing over into the spirit. He said, "I was with you, but I shall be in you". Come on, talk to me somebody. So we are seeing the kingdom come in a spiritual way, we are seeing the disciples then having to move from understanding the temple to be a place of worship to understanding that their body was the temple of the Holy Spirit, that God has moved inside of you and that he reigns inside of you. This is a new idea, are y'all following me right now? So what we're seeing is a transition, and in transition there's stumbling, there's stumbling, there's confusion, there's uncertainty. And we see the disciples trying to figure out certain things like who was gonna be a successor now that Judas has committed suicide. "Who's gonna be a successor"? And the one guy says, "Well, let's cast lots".
And so they took one stick and made it shorter than the other, and then in the book of Acts they began to cast lots. And the lot fell on Matthias, and Matthias was inducted in as who they had chosen to be the next apostle. As they were choosing Matthias, God was picking out Saul. See, but they're stumbling trying to figure out their way and they figure they're gonna cast lots. And a lot of us find ourselves in places where we're casting lots and gambling on destiny, gambling on purpose, playing little manmade games trying to step into the purpose of God. But you never have to go by chance when destiny is already predestined, it's not up to a lot, it's not up to a game, it's not up to ritual. God already knew that he was gonna take Saul and Saul was going to have an encounter on the road to Damascus that would turn him into Paul, that would be so transformative. And he couldn't have told them that he was going to use Saul, because at that time Saul was a Christian killer.
And sometimes people won't let you evolve into who you're gonna be because they're so stuck on who you, oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying, they're so stuck on who you used to be that they cannot update their understanding of you. And so, we are following God in transition. Most of the epistles are written in transition, and if you study them closely the epistles are argumentative because everybody has an opinion of how much do we bring of our history into our destiny? So there are debates about circumcision, "Should we circumcise or not circumcise? Should we eat meats, these types of meats, or not eat it?" because their present is informed by their past. And this is the problem with transition, because anytime you're going through a transition the only thing you have to draw from is past references.
See, all I know is all I know, and all they knew was Orthodox traditional Judaism, and they were walking with Jesus but they didn't understand, "How much do we bring and how much do we leave behind"? And Paul begins to make a strong argument for the grace of God, whereas James is talking about works, and there's a debate because they're trying to figure... they're like you and me. We're trying to get it right. We don't really know what we're doing, we're in transition, and we go on to know, but we stumble into destiny. You will notice in the early part of the book of Acts, and I won't even take the time to have you turn to it, they started out, they commanded everybody to sell everything and said, "We're gonna have all things in common," okay? We're gonna bring it all down to a level playing field where we were gonna have all things in common and we're gonna distribute out to each man according to his need.
And this is the interesting thing about that, obviously that was not God's plan, but even though it was something that they came up with, God honored it. You know, God will honor things even though they're not his ultimate destiny. How do you say God honored it? Because when Ananias and Sapphira came in and lied to them about not bringing all the money, it was serious enough that God killed them for lying to Peter even though Peter's plan was flawed. I want to talk to some people that God defended you when you was wrong. Oh, I need two or three witnesses, that you didn't have the full revelation but God still didn't let the witch have you, he still didn't let the enemy have you. You didn't really know what you was talking about but God protected you in your foolishness. Oh, my God, hallelujah, glory to God. I gotta stop a minute and praise him myself, thank you Jesus. And God stood up for them and still would not allow them to be disrespected. What a mighty God.
See, we're following him, we haven't caught up with him. We're following him, we're looking for footprints and we're tracing his steps and we're trying to understand his way and get in his path but we have not caught up with him nor have we overrun him, we're stumbling. Yes, your pastor is stumbling, I'm stumbling, the bishop is stumbling, the super bishop is stumbling, the Pope is stumbling. All of them are looking through a glass darkly, don't nobody know what they're talking about as much as they'd like to make you think that they do, because God is so high you can't get over it and he's so low you can't get under it; his ways are higher than our way. There's nobody in the church world that's gonna be selling their books in heaven, so whatever you write you better sell it down here because you're not going to be teaching theology when the master himself comes along. All of these teachers are gonna have to sit down and shut up because all of us at our best are just trying to follow him. Are you seeing what I'm saying to you?
Now, as we come in, we're coming into this spiritual thing, this spiritual thing, this spiritual thing. See, Christ has birthed the church, and the church is a thing, it doesn't even have a name yet, it's a spiritual thing. Some people, later at Antioch, will call them Christians, and some called it The Way, and then I could show you the Scriptures where they called them believers because we go through many phases of understanding who we are, but it is a holy thing. That term, "Holy Thing," I didn't create that, that's what they called Jesus. When Mary was having Jesus, they called him, "That Holy Thing". Anytime God births something in you it's a holy thing. Before we get a name for it, before we can induct it into our vernacular and make it fit into our theology when God first births it, you don't even have a name for it, it's just a holy thing. And the church in its core is a holy thing. Not much has been said today, a lot has been said today about, you know, the churches and who's open and who's closed and this and that and the other, and how are we're doing this or that or the other. And the problem begins when you start thinking that the church is a building.
See, that's the first problem, we have to get down to that because the kingdom is not meat or drink but joy and peace in the Holy Ghost, it was never about a building in the first place. When Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church," he wasn't talking about your church building, your building fund committee, your cathedral, your temple of the living God, fire baptized, got it going on in Jesus's name incorporated. He wasn't talking about any of this manmade stuff; the church that he's talking about building is a holy thing. Oh, my God, it's a holy thing. It has no address, it has no location, GPS can't track it, the church is a holy thing. It'll get in the car with you, you can be in the shower praying and wherever you lift up holy hands the church is right there. It's not a building, it's not a stage, it's not a platform, it's not a choir stand, it's not an usher board, it's not greeting committee, the church is a holy thing.
The only reason this building is a church is when we come in here. If we start serving liquor in here and put poles in here it could be a club, this is just a building. So don't get into a fight with somebody about whether we meet in a building, because if you start fighting about locations and addresses you're driving me back into the Old Testament, which is a shadow of things to come. The truth of the matter is the early church didn't have a building, they went from house to house, breaking bread and in fellowship. And when they went in the temple they were going into the temple to persuade the theology of the Jews to embrace Christianity, they weren't going there to worship, they were going there to make a defense for the Gospel. That's why when you see later, in the book of Acts, when Peter and John came up at the hour of prayer it's not so much that they're coming to worship, they're coming to lay out a case to see if they can convert the Jews.
And they were successful at converting some of them for a while, but the book of Hebrews will show you that many of them went back. They went back and the Bible said, "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and tasted of the heavenly gift, if they should fall away, to renew them again to repentance, seeing as they crucify the Son of Man afresh". That whole, "Crucify the Son of Man afresh," is a clue that this refers to the people who crucified him the first time. By rejecting him when they backslide, they go back into the apostasy of rejecting him and crucify the Son of man afresh. A careful study, my brothers and sisters, in the book of Romans, will show to you that the whole call of the Gentile nation is a result of the rejection of the Jews. He comes first to the Jew and then to the Greek, that's what the Scripture says, and so as the Jews began to reject them, more and more we see the transition over to the Gentiles.
And what Jesus is trying to teach the disciples is that you must have him on the inside. He says, "I'm going to send you another comforter," allos parakletos, one who stands alongside to help, that at its rudimentary understanding of the Holy Spirit he is your helpmate. He stands alongside you to empower you to make you effective. You can sing, you got a gift, you got a talent, you can sing, you can sing, that's nice, but if you want to be effective you got to go past talent to anointed, 'cause the world got talent, the thing that sets us apart is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. How are we doing so far? When you think about transition, I'm going to say this and then I'm going to take a few questions, when you think about transition, I went back to the Old Testament and thought about how difficult it was for the Old Testament Israel to come out of Egypt and make that transition. And an entire generation died in the wilderness in the middle of transition because the influence of where they came from, they came out of Egypt, but Egypt didn't come out of them. Are you hearing what I'm saying?
And it took an entire generation to scrub Egypt out of them enough to get them ready to go into the promised land. Sometimes God will delay in your promise in transition because he's still scrubbing out your perspective. Oh, y'all ain't gonna talk to me tonight. See, you're out and you got the promise but your perspective is tainted by your experience. Do you hear what I'm saying to you? Now I'll prove it to you. As long as Moses was with them they were good, but when Moses went up on the mountain and had to go away for 40 days, when he came back down, they have built an image of God and the image of God looked just like the Egyptian god because they'd been with the Egyptians so long that it affected how they saw God. You cannot hang around the world all the time and get a good glimpse of who God is, and so we we begin the scrubbing process. This is grandma stuff, y'all don't scrub nothing now, but I can see my grandmother's arm shaking, scrubbing out a stain, and life will scrub out a stain.
Some of you, right now, you think that the enemy's attacking you, it's not the enemy, God is scrubbing out a stain, changing your perspective so that you can see him more clearly. And he's got you in transition because you have come out of who you were but you're not ready to go into who you're gonna be and so you have to get into a little wilderness and a time of transition. We see it clearly in the Old Testament; it is less clear but equally true in the New Testament, that the epistles are written in the wilderness of becoming. Yeah, they have come out of the relationship that they had with Christ where he walked amongst them, which incidentally was Old Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke is all Old Testament to begin with. Why is it Old Testament? It has to be Old Testament because Hebrews says that the testament is not in force until the testator dies. So it's not divided by where King James divided it, what divides Old Testament from New is the cross.
So Jesus died under the law, and rose up under grace, that's where the transition occurs right there, but they're still trying to understand, "What does that mean? What do we take with us? What do we do"? And so they're in a wilderness, where they're having to be scrubbed out, they almost got into a fight at Antioch over, "What do we take? What do we leave"? 'cause God is scrubbing out. See, this uncomfortable stage of disagreement and controversy and what we call haters and people saying this and that, that's not new. That's not new, that's always been, it's tragic but it's true. We are most often and most likely to be wounded by our own brethren, yeah, sometimes you're safer with the sinners than you are with the saints. If there's anybody gonna come out and criticize you and attack you a lot of times, and it's because we have different levels. We're all in one house but we have different levels of understanding and we tend to criticize what we don't understand and we tend to criticize what we can't duplicate and we tend to criticize, often, what we admire.
Yeah, criticism is often a sign of admiration, because if they didn't want to be you and they didn't see you where they see you, they wouldn't attack you like they attack you. So when you have haters you ought to thank God because you are significant enough to be attacked, because if you weren't effective they wouldn't fight you. C'mon somebody. Yeah-yeah, don't nobody fight somebody who's losing, no nobody fight somebody who's failing, nobody wants to stick up a bag lady; she can walk down the roughest part of Chicago pushing her cart and nobody bothers her because nobody thinks she has anything. In order for somebody to wanna mug you, they have to respect that you got something. Oh, y'all not talking to me. So you got to begin to understand that these, "Light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding weight of glory, for we look not at the things that are seen, for the things that are seen are temporal, and the things that are not seen are eternal".
Are you in a transition tonight? Are you in transition in your life? I'm not just talking about coronavirus, I'm talking about in the entirety of your life, this just made it worse, but are you in transition? Are you trying to follow God and change your perspective of who he is and who you are in him? If you are, you must understand that the God that you perceive on the outside has to come and dwell on the inside and become more intimate and more personal in your life. If this is helping somebody, give him a praise right now. I'm gonna take a few minutes and I'm going to begin to answer some of the questions. Put some of the questions that have come in and we'll see where we go with them. Thank you, Jesus.
"Is the coronavirus part of God's plan to wake us up"? I am careful about definitively saying what God is doing by any particular thing, because I have lived long enough to see people misrepresent God in crises like this. I remember 9/11, and they said that God was trying to purge New York, and people are always quick to speak on what God is doing. But the truth of the matter is, I don't know whether it is part of God's plan to wake us up but I do know that the coronavirus is waking us up. Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, I don't know whether he sent it or whether he allowed the enemy to send it for whatever reason, but I know that one of the benefits of the burden of the coronavirus is that it is waking us up. How is it waking us up? It's waking us up in a lot of ways, it's waking us up that the silly bickering we have been doing for the last decade now seems foolish in the face of a real attack. It is waking us up to appreciate the walk of faith in a way that we didn't appreciate it before.
See, now you're fighting wanting to come to church, but before when you could come you were staying at home in the bed. And some of the very people who are complaining about not having church weren't half-coming when we could have church. Come on, talk to me for a minute somebody. It is waking us up, because sometimes we don't appreciate something until it is pulled back from us, and when it is pulled back from us we have a deeper appreciation. It is waking us up to the perspective that we must bring our church experience into our house. Yeah, it's waking us up to the experiences that we must read our Bibles. What happens if they shut us completely down? What happens if we get into a war and we're unable to do it? And to all of you who think that the church cannot survive save we meet, can I take you to China, where the church was meeting underground in basements for years?
Can I take you to the upper room where the disciples were locked up behind closed doors for fear of the Jews? The church has often had to go underground, and even when it had to go underground it has never been destroyed for 2.000 years. Many times, we have gone through periods and eras where the church had to go underground to survive. Hitler was trying to kill the church, the enemy's always been after the church, but the church is always survived every attack, whether it was a virus or a man. Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". What is happening now is that these new kinda saints we got now, who are more church members then they are saints, are having to become saints in a way they didn't have to before, because the pacifier is taken out of your mouth of being able to depend on somebody else to pray for you.
Now you got to get down by the side of your bed like your grandmother and pray yourself through and drive the enemy out of your house. Now you got to go, I'm going to really go old fashion and get you some consecrated oil and anoint your house and say, "Coronavirus, you shall not come in my dwelling place," and I anoint the head of my doorposts and I anoint every wall and every window, and you got to walk through your own house and plead the blood and sanctify your space. Since you in the house anyway, you might as well use it to overcome the enemy that's come against your life. Yes, it's waking us up.