Tony Evans - The Lord
You and I when we were born, picked up from our parents, not only our skin tone and type and racial identity, and hair texture, and the other things that are part of the physical DNA, but they also transferred to us a sin nature. A nature that is prone to rebel against the standard of God. It's built in and it is known as indwelling sin, it is inside your human nature that has transferred it to your damaged soul that manifests itself by the activity of our bodies. So your body does what your soul says, your soul does what your human spirit has allowed and since the human spirit at birth is affected and infected by the virus of indwelling sin, the soul becomes distorted, and the body winds up doing stuff is not supposed to do. The question is, how do we address this infection that we all have?
Now, most of the time we try to manage it. We try to do external reforming of it, but then most of us just try to hide it. We try to camouflage it with the way we look, the money we have, the car we drive, the place we live in. We try to hide the fact that we have been infected. But the infection just keeps showing up. It shows up in anger we can't control. Language that we shouldn't be using that spurts out all the time. Addictions that take over, that we keep hidden in secret, discouragement and that rules our lives because of this infection. You may think you're okay, but your soul has been distorted, and it comes up with all kind of configurations.
Verse 18 says three words I don't want you to miss. He says, "But we all," so this applies to you and me where you are, how you are, to transform you from there, to where God wants you to be. He says over and over again in verse 17 and 18, "The Lord is the Spirit and the Spirit is the Lord". He says that over and over. So the name of the Spirit we want to focus on, is the name the Lord, because he says, "The Spirit is the Lord". Now the Lord refers to Jesus Christ. The problem is, as we said last time, Jesus Christ physically is in heaven, he's not physically on earth. But he is spiritually in you if you become a Christian. So the Spirit is the Lord who is physically in heaven, but is spiritually in you. You have spiritual Jesus, and spiritual Jesus is in you by means of his agent, the Holy Spirit.
So if you have the Holy Spirit, you have Jesus operating in you because the Lord is the Spirit. He says, "Where the Spirit is, there is liberty," verse 17 says. Liberty means release from anything or anyone who's holding you illegitimately hostage. So if you are being illegitimately bound by something or someone, by some habit or some circumstance, by some attitude or some action, the reason you have the Spirit who is Jesus inside of you, is to release you. So there is a release mechanism operating inside of you, "For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty". How does this spirit begin to release you from the infection that we all have? How does it begin to set us free? "By transforming us," verse 18 says. He says, "We are being transformed".
God's goal is not external reformation or infection management, his goal is spiritual transformation. The only way you know that you are growing in your Christian life is that you are changing. If you are not changing, it means you are not growing, even though you might be shouting. Until there is change, what he calls transformation, spiritual development is not occurring because the infection is still operating 'cause you're not changing. He says in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, "You are transformed from your spirit to your soul, to your body". Let's review, the anointing the presence of the spirit, invades your human spirit. The Holy Spirit when you're converted invades your human spirit. Your human spirit sits inside your soul.
As the human spirit is amplified by the Holy Spirit, it penetrates the soul and begins to address the infection of indwelling sin in all of our souls. When the infection of indwelling sin is being addressed by the expansion of the Holy Spirit in your human spirit, then the soul gives new data to the body. When the body gets new data from the soul that's being corrected by the presence of the anointing, the Holy Spirit that's invaded the human spirit that's now dictating to your soul, that means you're doing new things with your body. You're changing on the outside, because you're being transformed on the inside. This is the key to beginning the process of becoming better, and becoming different, and becoming free. There must be the move from the inside out, not the outside back in.
So, "The Lord is the spirit where the Spirit of the Lord is". He makes a contrast important contrast because in verse 14 he says, "Their minds were hardened for until this very day reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, but it is removed in Christ". So he says that, "The eyes of the people were blind". They had a veil on a covering talk about that more in a moment. So that even when they read Moses, that means read the Old Testament, even when they read Moses, it didn't do 'em any good. So you can read the Bible and it do you no good. You can come and hear a sermon and it do you no good because there is a veil blocking the Word from doing its work, okay?
So he says, "They were reading Moses" the Old Testament, "But they weren't changing," they weren't being transformed. He calls it the old covenant, because God has a new way of working now, this is the new covenant. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people, in the new covenant, he dwells inside of people. In the old covenant David said, "Take not your spirit from me". In the New Testament he can't leave you, because he's been permanently placed inside of you. It is a different way of operating. So when you go back to the old way, you find out that you're not making progress, because God not using that way now, he's using another way. The beauty of the new covenant of the Holy Spirit's work in the human spirit inside the soul in order to change the body, is because now you have a built-in power source to kick in addressing the infection of the soul, because he now indwells you, which is the anointing.
So, you have now a new arrangement. This new arrangement is designed to release you, free you, change you, and heal the infection in order to transform you. You look at the damage people did to you, the damage you do to people, the habits that we've developed that we shouldn't do, the language that we use, the hatred that we give, the racial strife we're dealing with folk with damaged souls, who wanna pass laws to fix souls. You can't pass laws to fix infection. He says, "But we all," verse 18,"with unveiled face". Let me talk about how you must approach this issue. You must approach your need for spiritual transformation with unveiled face. When a woman gets married, not so much today but in years gone by, they would virtually always have a veil over their face. He says, "The reason in the old covenant that even though they read the Bible they weren't changed, is they had a covering over them".
But if you come to the Lord who is the Spirit with an unveiled face, what does that mean? A willingness to be fully exposed. To be fully exposed. You can't come to God and be changed, if you come to him shucking and jiving. You can't come to him acting like everything's alright, when you know it's not alright. You can't come to him faking it to make it. You must come to him raw. You must take off the pretending that you do at work, the pretending that you do by yourself, the pretending that you do on the job, the hidden that nobody knows but you. When you come to him, he says "You got to remove the veil off of your face 'cause I know you playing if you talking to me with a veiled face". That means you got a cover up going on and I won't change you if you're covered up.
So you must come to God raw. The moment you come covered up, it doesn't matter that you're reading the Bible. Doesn't matter that you're praying, doesn't matter that you're in church, because you're doing a cover up. He says, "You must come with unveiled face". "When you come with unveiled face," he says, "You are to come beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord". All right, so we got first thing is that if you want to deal with the infection, you gotta come clear and clean and honest with no camouflage. He says, "You must behold as in a mirror the glory of God". There it is. He says, "You must come before the mirror," the mirror is his Word 'cause he says in the previous verse, "When they read Moses" so he's talking about the reading, he says, "You must come before the mirror, with an unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord". He says that's why he says you must behold, which means stare at you must behold, as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.
Okay let me take you deeper. James chapter 1, James chapter 1 talks about the mirror. He says in James chapter 1, beginning with verse 19, these words, "This you know my beloved brethren, but everyone must be quick to hear," quick to hear what? What God's point of view is. "Slow to speak," slow to speak what? What your point of view is. "And slow to get anger". Anger over what that, that what God says and what you say don't agree. So the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Just 'cause you mad about what God says because it's different than what you say God says, "Tough". "Therefore putting aside all filthiness, all the remains of wickedness in humility receive the Word implanted which is able to save your souls".
Now he's writing to Christians 'cause he calls them my beloved brethren. Remember, when you accepted Christ your spirit God saved not your soul. Your soul is being saved, that happens over time. Your spirit is saved instantaneously. So he says, "I want your soul, the infection, to be delivered saved, and the way that is, is you must receive the Word" but notice the Word implant has an E-D on it. You have an implant, that's already inside of you that's ready to receive. The implant is the Holy Spirit operating in your human spirit. You got an implant in your soul, that's ready to receive the Word. Let me say this again, the Holy Spirit that's infused the human spirit, stays hungry and wants to eat in order to expand and it is hungry, the implant is hungry for the Word.
Stay with me. He says, "Prove yourselves to be doers of the Word and not hearers who delude themselves for if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror". Okay, here we go with the mirror. "And once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately has forgotten the kind of person he was, but the one who looks," watch this, "Intently" 'cause it's a brass mirror you gotta work with it. "Who looks intently at the perfect law the law of liberty, and abides in it not having become a forgetful hearer, but an effectual doer, this man is blessed in what he does". So watch this. He says, "If you wanna be transformed," have your soul saved, have the infection dealt with, "You must come to God with an unveiled face, and you must come to the mirror, which is his Word. But don't come like a man who looks at his face and turns away".
The Greek word for man is the word "male". Don't come like a male. To put it another way, if you wanna be transformed, come to the mirror like a female, not like a male. A male will look, see, and turn away, females don't look, see, and turn away. Females hang out in the mirror, stay in the mirror, meander in the mirror until they get it right. If the soul is going to be changed, you must come to the Word with an unveiled face, and when you come there, don't be like a man who wants to read it and go, hang out there a little bit. How long? Till you see your face in it. Till you see you.
See people read the Bible but don't see them. He says, you hang out, "Look intently," James says, abide in it, until you see God is talking to you. Not just talking about David, not just talking about Solomon, but he's talking to you. You hang out in that mirror until you get exposed. Why? Because you see, no man or woman can see their own face. You don't see your face. Help me now, right now, look at your face. You can't see your face. The only way you know what you look like, is you have a mirror. And guess what? The mirror tells you the truth. He says, "You must come with unveiled face". With the bubo in your eye and the hair messed up, you come with the raw reality of the infection of the soul, then you sit down, and you read, and meander, until the Holy Spirit sees, lets you know I'm talking to you.
Now the Word is speaking personally, you're not just reading a page. He said, "Don't just be a hearer but be an effectual doer". In other words, what am I gonna do now that I've been exposed? Now that the Word has exposed me, what am I going to do differently? What action am I going to take? Because he says, "If you hear it and are exposed to it but take no action, it will not benefit you". Action activates what you read being exposed. So the reason that we are not changing, is we either not coming with an unveiled face, we're not coming honestly, or we are not allowing the word to be a mirror, we just reading it 'cause we supposed to, but we are not giving God permission to show us what's wrong, to expose us, or if he shows us there is no action taken to show we are serious about what we saw.
What good is seeing, that you're messed up in the mirror, if you don't pick up a comb? What good is seeing, that you're messed up in the mirror, if you don't pick up soap and a washcloth? It was good that you saw it, but you still haven't changed. There's no transformation. But when the unveiled face meets the mirror of the Word, and you see it's talking to you, and a step of action is taken, transformation begins, and you will discover something. "You are being transformed" he says, "into the image of the Lord". Change is the proof of growth. He says, and you are being transformed into that same man.
Now let me give you a warning, let me give you a warning, here's the warning. The warning is, if you take this seriously and you go before the mirror of the Word with an unveiled face until God exposes something in your life, the flesh is gonna throw a temper tantrum. Your unredeemed humanity is gonna rebel 'cause it does not want the expansion of the spirit messing with the soul. But he says, "You are being transformed from glory to glory". Okay, from one level to the next level. A test is a adverse circumstance that God causes or allows in your life to take you to the next spiritual level. And you know God is ready to do something new, when he puts you in a test. All of our human reaction, is to react to the test rather than to react to the reason for the test.
That's why the Bible says in James 1, "Let patience have its perfect work while you're in the test". We try to illegitimately get out the test, which only means there'll be a retest. See, I don't care how hard you get you may even get out of it for a minute, but God believes in retesting until you pass that grade level to take you to it. He will put all kind of things or allow all kind of things to test you because when you pass the test, you now move to a new level of glory and a new level of spiritual transformation.
And here's the thing, when you see God changing you, when you see the Spirit of God doing his thing in you, you'll almost welcome the test, 'cause you know something new is coming down the pipe. When a woman is pregnant, it shows. Belly, change in appetite, shift in mood. I mean numbers of things change. You know why they change? Because life is growing on the inside, and it's just showing up on the outside. And you know how life got there? Intimacy. There was intimacy that produced life, life began to expand and it began to change her. When the Holy Spirit entered you, there was a conception in your human spirit by the Holy Spirit and he wants your soul to get bigger. He wants your soul to expand so that there's a birth of a transformed life emerging from you. Guess what? The infection I have, and you have, and we have, God has already come up with an antidote.
We're standing here in the Rocky Mountains, you can see that Jesus is indeed Lord of creation. When you see the perfection he brings about in nature. Well, that same Lord can transform our lives so that we can be what he has created us to be, and he does that by means of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as we exalt the Lordship of Jesus Christ translates the benefits of His Lordship to us, so that we can experience the transformation power of God, taking away the things that ought not to be part of us and placing on us all that the new nature is designed to bring about in us. The same Lord that brought about the Rocky Mountains, is the same Lord that can bring about a productive, a successful, and an impactful Christian life to those who recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ, activating the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, minds, bodies, and soul.