TD Jakes - Believing Matters - Part 2
If the enemy's gonna come after anything, he's going to come after your faith, he wants to break down your faith. He don't mind your singing, he doesn't mind your preaching, he doesn't mind your church building, he doesn't mind you giving an offering, he minds you believing because believing is the commodity of commerce in the Spirit. You give your faith, God gives his righteousness. I take a 10 dollar bill; I can't eat the 10 dollar bill but I can buy a sandwich with a 10 dollar bill; I can't travel with a 10 dollar bill but I can pay a toll with a 10 dollar bill. It is a medium of exchange. So, "Whatsoever you desire, when you pray, believe you have received it". Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying to you. "Believe you have received it," not that you're gonna receive it, not that you might receive it, not that you could receive it, "Believe ye have received it, and ye shall have it". Oh, somebody oughta shout me down, somebody ought to shout me down.
Now, let's go back, let's go back for a minute, let's go back. I went and got my Bible, my real Bible, my messed up, marked up, torn-page Bible, and I wanted to go back and see if Paul knew what he was talking about. So I went back to Genesis chapter 17, for a minute, "And when Abraham," 17, verse 1, "And when Abram," Abram, not yet Abraham, "And when Abram was 90 years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, 'I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me,'" "'I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.' And Abraham fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 'As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shall be a father,'" "And thou shall be a father of many nations".
Oh-oh-oh-oh, that's good, wait a minute, wait a minute, I'm looking down and getting sweaty but I gotta work, I'm working, I'm working, I'm working, I'm working, I'm working, I'm working, I'm working, I'm working 'cause I gotta, I gotta check Paul out and see if he's right. Drop down to verse 11, "And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your fore," what? You mean you entered into covenant with him in the first part of the 17th chapter, and didn't even bring up circumcision until the 11th verse? So Abraham has had a conversation with God, enters into covenant with God, and has not even, they have not even discussed circumcision. The covenant precedes the circumcision, that's why God says, "No flesh can glory in my sight". You can't run around with your chest out and say, "I did it," because you're circumcised, because I did through my favor. And you keep wondering why God blessed you, what good did he find.
It wasn't nothing good that he found in you. In fact, there ain't nothing good in you, it is not because of your goodness that God blessed you, it's because of God's goodness that he blessed you. And you don't deserve it, you deserve to go to hell but God, God accounted you with righteousness. That's why hell hates you, 'cause hell thought sure it had you, and just when the devil was coming in for the kill you messed around and believed God and God snatched you, he snatched you out of darkness into this marvelous light. "By grace are ye saved". Somebody shout a minute about God's grace. What Paul wants the early church to understand is that Christianity is not just an evolution of Judaism, it is a new thing, it is a new thing.
Go to Ephesians with me for a minute, go to Ephesians. Y'all doing good tonight? Y'all doing good? Y'all gonna work with me tonight, you going to work with me? C'mon, work with me, work with me. Come on, yeah, this is good, go to Ephesians, I think I need 2. Ephesians 2, you got it on the screen. "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins," keep going, yeah-yeah, "In which you used to live when you followed the ways of the world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air," that's Satan, "The spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also," all of us also, all of us also, all of us also, all of us also, all of us also, "All of us also lived among them at one time," don't forget yourself, "Gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But"...
"But God, who is rich in mercy, wherein he hath loved us, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in the transgressions, it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' by those who call themselves 'the circumcision' (which is done in the body by human hands), remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenant of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ".
Hold on a minute, I have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Oh my God, they had been brought near by the blood of circumcision, I have been brought near by the blood of Christ, Christ is my circumcision. "For he himself is our peace, who have made two groups one". Y'all don't hear that. See-see, you notice I keep talking about, "Hath raised us up together," "Have raised us and made us sit in heavenly places". You've gotta ask yourself, who is the us? It's not just Gentiles because the Bible said he took the two and made them one. Who are the two? The two is the Jew and the Gentile have come together and the two have been made one, and now that's us. So if we're us, we can't be them, we can't be them and be us, for the twain have become one.
Verse 14, "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility". Oh God, this is so beautiful. "He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit". If you understand me clap your hands, let me know I'm teaching you.
So the church is neither this nor that, it is a new thing. And what Paul is doing is trying to heal the tribalisms and the ritualisms and the hatred and the malice in the church by saying God has made us one; both the Jew and all of these different versions of Gentiles have been made one through the cross. That through the cross we have become one. Okay, I'm gonna take you just a little bit further and then I'm gonna stop. We are in Rome, Paul is teaching them this truth. It causes Christianity to spread like fire because it opens up the doors of the church to all of these people who had other deities, to run in through the cross and be drawn nigh; who were once not a people, now they have become a people, by grace they are saved. Fast forward. Eventually, the Roman Catholic church forms around it, which is in Rome today.
And eventually, a gentleman named Martin Luther starts reading the book of Romans and discovers justification by faith which contradicted the idea that I had to be justified by a priest, and he nailed on the church door the 96 thesis that were protest to the traditional Catholicism of that era. And out of that protest, the Protest-ant, Protestant, the Protestant church evolved in protest to the treatment that people were receiving in the isolation of the original Catholicism. Protestant, protest. Martin Luther, not King, but the original Martin Luther read the book of Romans and the more he studied Romans the more he knew the church could not be exclusive, it had to be inclusive.
In this world that we're living in with all of the doctrines and all of the ideas and all of the theology and all the Wiccans and all the Black Hebrews and everybody's fighting to justify themselves through roots, through blood, through lineage, through weeks, through days, if you would study the book of Romans and know what the church is, you would understand that I am just as much connected to Abraham as any Jew in the world, that I have the same lineage. Because Abraham was not always the father of Jews, he was a Gentile who entered into covenant, and he represents me just as much as he represents you and I can be at peace with all men because, "By grace". See, but because we have a church that's been raised to off of praise and they have no teaching, anybody can come along and pull you away because you don't know what you believe, and what you believe matters.
I'm gonna say it again, what you believe matters, what you believe defines who you are. There is no black church and no white church and no Baptist church and no Methodist church and no AME church, and there is no First Assembly and Church of God and Church of God in Christ, there is but one Church that's been washed in the blood of the Lamb, for there is but one Lord and one faith and one baptism and one God who is above you all and in you all and through you all, and the only way to access that God is by faith. "By faith Abel offered up a more excellent sacrifice than Cain," "By faith Enoch walked with God, and was not," "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not yet seen, built a house to the saving of your finally". "Through faith also Sarah, received strength to conceive seed, when she was past childbearing age, because she judged God faithful who had promised". "By faith".
Stand on your feet, I'm gonna stop there, that's enough for tonight. Everybody who got blessed by the word clap your hands. I want to challenge you with this little bitty two-part series. Was it alright? If Romans started a revolution that liberated thousands, millions of people, if Romans started a revolution that caused Christianity to catch on fire and spread throughout all of the world maybe you should read the book of Romans. So that when the enemy tries to put a guilt trip on you and says, "You haven't been good enough and you haven't been right enough and you haven't prayed long enough and you haven't fasted enough and you haven't done this enough and your dress isn't long enough and your hair isn't straight enough and your eyes aren't blue enough and your teeth aren't white enough," you can tell him, "By grace I am saved, it is the gift of God".
And with all due respect with the singers that we have, we shouldn't have to have people who can sing that good to get you to worship. What ought to get you to worship is the gift that God gave you in salvation when he sanctified you. They shouldn't have to break a sweat to get you to praise God. When you recognize that, "This is my story, this is my song, praising my savior all the day long," when you understand, "I'm an heir of salvation, purchase of God, I'm born of his Spirit and washed in his," oh.
This is my story, I don't know what kind of story you got but this is my story. I want you to get it in you 'cause I see a weakening in the teaching of the Christian faith; we make more noise but we have less truth, we beat on tambourines and shout but when the enemy comes against you he's gonna try what you know about God and your foundation has to be solid so that you can be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. Oh, bless his high name, glory to God. Anybody got the Holy Ghost? Give him some praise in here right now. I said, "Anybody got the Holy Ghost"? I better stop. Anybody got the Holy Ghost? Give him some praise. Anybody been set free give your God some glory tonight, give him a little bit of praise, give him a little bit of praise, give him a little bit of praise, give him a little bit of praise. Praise him till you get an understanding, praise him till you get a revelation, praise him till you get a quickening in your spirit. You were dead in sin and God quickened you by grace.
I grew up in a church a long time, the church was always selling dinners, and selling cakes and cupcakes in the lobbies and having pew rallies and all such things as that, and prophecy lines. But what you ought to invest in is not pews, it oughtta be truth because, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free". When everybody investing in lies and division and divisiveness you ought to invest in unity, us. "He hath raised us up together to sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus".
You think I'm sitting at "The Potter's House"? I'm not sitting at The Potter's House, I'm seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and my life is hid in Christ with God. And whether I live or die, it won't make any difference because the most you can do is kill my condition but you cannot kill my position because my life, my life is hid in Christ with God. Stop telling people your mama died, your mama didn't die, she just moved. For we know if this earthly house or tabernacle shall be dissolved, we have another building eternal in the heavens. Shout, "Yes". "Some glad morning, when this life is over, I'll fly away, When I die, Hallelujah, by-and-by, I'll fly away".