Strongholds in our lives can bring us down from living in the purpose of God. The new heart that He has given produces the glory of God. Spirit takes us into deeper understanding. (Romans 1:18-22; Romans 8:6; 1 John 1:7)
Speaker(s): Pastor Justin Schaller
Sermon # 11375
7:30 PM on 11/29/2017
Good evening. Good to see everybody. Valentino, I want to hear multiple amens! Dec. 15th we have a Christmas concert in Federal Hill. Some of you came last year for it. Please come and bring someone. Music and a message. Our first night is Saturday night in our own church. Amazing! It’s coming together. We’re really excited. God is doing it.
Rom. 1:18-21 Romans is laying out the Gospel for the church. He’s saying before they were believers and unbelievers in the world, this was the condition of man. A darkened state or heart. Few points I want to bring out. When we are in church, we talk about sin and the evil heart because they are important that have to do with life for us. The natural man in his own heart suppresses the truth. The truth is there. Creation is showing the glory of God. They see a moral code. They have this truth but suppress it. People are lovers of darkness Jesus said. Our sinful heart hates something. The heart is the place where all the thoughts and imaginations are produced. It’s the factory that pumps out the thoughts in the mind and through the mind actions come. We see the heart is wicked and deceitful. Man can believe the lies coming from the heart. When the truth of God comes, man tries to suppress the truth.
Paul says in vs. 21 when they knew God, they glorified him not as God. The reason is because they don’t want to thank him and don’t want to acknowledge him or glorify him. They don’t think he’s worthy to glorify or worship. They suppress the truth and their heart is made to love something. What it loves is vain imaginations. For you and me, we were in that place. We weren’t just running from God but an enemy of God. In our old heart, I don’t approve of you God. I’m an enemy against you. You want me to worship you and glorify you and thank you. God, I don’t want to do it. The heart wants to love these vain imaginations produced out of the heart.
vs. 22-23. Man in the world separated from God is loving something.
Jn says in 1 Jn 2 the pride of life, the lust of the eyes, the image I have of the ultimate man I’d like to become. I bow down to the altar of this image produced in my heart. They are thinking they are so wise. They love the Creation but don’t bring God into the picture. I’ve heard atheists says the debate of God exists is not a relevant one but should be asking about suffering and things like that. We don’t need to talk about that. We don’t need to glorify God. That’s who we are in our natural. These things in our mind that we exalt. Now we are saved. Halleluiah. Valentino, amen!
Rom 8:5-6 God gave us a new heart and a new spirit. We do see that we have the mind of Christ. He’s given us a new spirit and a new heart. The heart is the important thing. The heart generates the thoughts and images in the mind. We can know Scripture in the mind but if it doesn’t come into my heart, it’s useless. Information but not dealing with my belief systems or what I’m bowing down to in my life. The flesh or sinful nature minds the things of the flesh. It doesn’t know anything about the things of God. It doesn’t know how to comprehend spiritual things. Carnally minded is death, not just physically but spiritually. You and I can be in that place. We can be in that place, can’t we?
I remember when I was 20 years old in college. I didn’t have a spiritual thought for years. I was saved. I don’t think I had a spiritual thought for, I don’t know, three years maybe. I remember sitting in my dorm room with my TV and the 700 Club was on. Pat Robertson. I think he was 87 and that was 15 years ago! He’s still kicking. I watched him the other night. I love him. As long as you and I love him, that’s all that matters! I remember watching the 700 Club and he was saying if you are watching, God loves you. I remember it going to my heart. When it went my heart, it went passed the K of my mind and where I was living.
This is the life we are living in. The sinful heart affects the mind and produces excuses and sin in our life. God has given us a pure heart. This new heart produces the glory of God. The spirit in us is warring against the flesh. The Spirit is drawing us to receive this truth where we are living in our heart. I had to make a decision. Do I agree with what he is saying by faith? I made a decision right after. Yes. As born again believers, how do we change in our life? It seems we can get confused with the idea of the law in our life. It’s clear.
Eph 5 we see one time in the Scripture the command to be filled with the Spirit.
1 Jn 5:7 walk in the light. What does that mean? Right there as a 20 year old watching Pat Robertson, I had a sea of issues in my life. I didn’t love God in every aspect of my life. The little bit of light is what he wanted me to walk in. You walk in the light.
1 Jn 1:7. I’m saved by grace and therefore don’t have to uphold the law or all the law. We don’t believe in either. If I walk in the light, that’s what God has commanded me to do. If I walk in the light, I will fulfill the commandments. Greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. I see him in every aspect of my life. We walk in the light as he is in the light, and we have fellowship one with another. The blood of J.C. cleanses us from all sin. Pat Robertson speaks the truth that I know in my mind and now it goes to my heart. I have to make a decision. Lord, I don’t love you with all my heart. I have all these images of the pride of life. Jesus is saying I love you so much I gave you my Son. That sin of going against me all these years is cleansed by the blood of Christ. I make a decision Christ has thrown a light on my unbelief. I agree with that position and walk in light.
vs. 8. I know I’m not perfect.
vs. 9. This picture in our life is that we move from light to greater light to greater light. This is the term of sanctification. Justified when saved but now called to be sanctified. He is doing it progressively as I walk in the light right now and I walk into deeper life. It’s the holiness of God. It’s the work of sanctification in our life. The Holy Spirit is leading us in a deeper understanding of the holiness of God. When light comes in in different aspects of our life, we realize the holiness of God and the sin in me. The Lord will lead me deeper into areas I don’t know about today. This is the light he brought me to this day. I’m thankful this is where I am this day. Our spiritual life is about this maturity, walking further and further into the light. It sets us free.
If there is an animal trapped in a trap, say a bear trap – someone yell out an animal. Buffalo! In a bear trap! Someone comes along and sees a buffalo and let’s name the man George. George loves this buffalo. He goes over and the buffalo has no understanding of what George is. He knows the pain pulsating in his body. To get him out, you have to push the spring loaded trap deeper in the buffalo. Don’t you know I’m in misery and you are making it worse? George is thinking I will produce the pain so I can set you free.
It would be easy to suppress the truth of who we are. Jesus is in the business of setting us free. The truth of God. It goes straight to where I am living. It hurts. Why is it? It hurts so it can set us free. When the prophets saw the glory of God, they fell on their face because they realized how wicked and sinful they are. In the Body is God’s way of leading us into the light. If I’m by myself, I think I’m a good guy. If I’m with people rubbing me the wrong way, I realize I don’t love you the way I should. I know the Spirit is working in me and the Spirit is able to do that commandment God has called us to.
2 Cor 10. Anyone ever eat at Cracker Barrel? They line them up on 95. You eat a gallon of gravy and get behind the wheel! They know what they’re doing. They set the shop up. You buy a rocking chair for $90. You’re not thinking straight! I just paid for that! I always fall for it. Ever drive through North Carolina? I know you stopped at the Cracker Barrel and have a rocking chair!
2 Cor 10:4-5 what produces these imaginations but our wicked heart. The wicked heart suppresses the K of God because it wants to love something else.
vs. 5. This is the gusto of the message. You and I before we were believers and now as believers can operate in this old heart that produces imaginations. Produces your self-image, your idea of the world, of love, of happiness. They are ingrained in our minds. There are things that can set off these imaginations that have been so long implanted in our minds.
Paul uses this word “strongholds.” Strongholds in the Promised Land. And God is saying take them out. This is a shadow of reality we are living in. Positionally we have the land but patterns of thinking in our life that have been there a long time, they exalt themselves above the truth of God, the reality of who we are in Christ. Paul is saying we need to take out these strongholds. If we believe in the power of positive thinking, we are dealing only with the mind but we don’t. We deal with the heart. We have to agree with it over the K we have in our minds that are causing us to sin and fall. We have to agree with it in our heart. God gave the Jews going into Jericho a game plan. Seven days circle the city. God is saying I want to teach you something. I work a little slower than what you think. I want to teach you to trust me in this process. They march around seven days. They are agreeing with God in their heart. On the seventh day, they blow the trumpet and walls come down and it’s a giant victory.
Do not despise the prophecies of God. I think I need to deal with this problem this way and God says you need the Word to circle around that stronghold you have in your life. Maybe it take seven days, two months. Don’t despise the Word of God, the preaching of the message. Don’t despise your prayer time.
I think God is saying this is the light you are in right now. I’m going to move you into more light and more light. If I have hopelessness, what do I surround it with? It’s a pattern of thinking in tough situations and I lose hope. I circle it around with the faithfulness of God. I could say the Bible. I don’t know. Is it so practical? In my new heart I want to say the Bible. That will set me free. I will circle around that problem of sin with the grace of God in my life. Above my own K and experience and what sight is telling me. I’ll set my mind on those things. It happens. All of a sudden I don’t have that problem anymore. I don’t even have a desire for it anymore. God, did you do that? How did that happen? Don’t even worry about it. It happened. Walk in the light and walk in more light.
Maybe someone here has issues or patterns of negative thinking that govern their life and sabotage their life. How do we deal with those? Ever notice the brain sabotages you? Why do I always react that way? Why do I have fear that grips me? God is saying be patient. I’ll give you a game plan. You’re trapped. It’s going to hurt. Everything you have been living has been a complete lie. It’s a waste. That hurts. Imagine telling someone what they have been doing for 30 years is a waste. That hurts. He doesn’t mind hurting us to set us free. Your old way of thinking doesn’t work. This is the game plan. I’m going to give you my thoughts and my Spirit is in you. Agree with it in your new heart.
I start to operate in my new heart. The new heart produces new imaginations and desires. The actions change. Religion gets it backward. Change your action and change the mind. They don’t know about the heart. God says start with the heart, have your mind changed and act out what you have in your mind. I love these people. I care about other people more than myself. Maybe sometimes. God has expanded my capacity to care for people and love people to lay my life down for the brethren.
People think if you live according to the law of God there is no freedom. I experience new freedom in Christ. Greatest thing is to worship the Lord by myself in the shower, the closet. That’s so amazing. To love somebody is so amazing. And it’s genuine. There is no motive behind it. It’s just pure love. You are telling me I can have boldness in the Spirit? I can be with all these people and worship God and glorify him?
Do you know what that trap of sin and old pattern brings? Death. No life there. Images they think will bring satisfaction. It doesn’t. This one does. The new heart producing a new mind, produces new actions that give us freedom and liberty. More come into the light, the more I realize it’s the grace of God. I know more and more about my sinful nature. I didn’t know I was that bad. I can apply the cross and be set free forever.
If I was God, I would say you’re good. Don’t dive too deep. Just be nice and shiny on the outside. But Jesus goes deep. Christ didn’t talk to the intellect. He went straight to the heart. We can get too wrapped up. The Spirit is going straight to the heart. Make a decision. It’s better to receive it now or get sunk in the future and go down in the ship. Be set free.
God is doing that with us. I love this church and ministry. It preaches the truth. If it’s not the truth, what else do we have? I know you know it. The truth will set us free. The truth will cast down those strongholds in our life. Maybe 20 or 30 years and still struggling. God will set us free. He’s not done. I want to be set free from my flesh. Set free from my ego and God is doing it. He is. Amen.
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