Monday, 16 June 2008

Freedom from Dead Works!!

The first City Church International Meeting in Hong Kong!

Here is a slightly older sermon of Rob Rufus's - again this is thanks to Todd - a member of City Church International in Hong Kong. This sermon was Part 1 from the series; "Grace for Freedom and Fruitfulness Series (1)" preached on February 19th 2006.

"Alright. Asking Ryan to come and just pray for us as we get ready to receive the word of God, so while he's coming, please just open your bibles to Colossians Chapter 1;

Lets close our eyes and fix them on Jesus this morning, I just as I was sitting there I just sensed that God wants to release a fresh grace even before we hear this message. I know something of what dad wants to speak on this morning, and I just feel that God has a release of grace for us this morning and he's already been releasing it but, no to, not to, not for that grace to kick in right before the message but right from the very start so that we here everything in grace and out of grace and as I was sitting there I just sensed that the enemy wants to come this morning and rob us of what God's doing this morning ah by a feeling of unworthiness. That's the word I had going around in my spirit, unworthiness, unworthiness. And many of us come in here this morning just feeling a but unworthy whether it's a great degree of feeling unworthy or even a small degree of feeling unworthy.

And I just feel that God wants to get rid of all of that, he doesn't want us to feel unworthy at all because Christ Jesus has made us worthy because what he did on the cross. This morning I felt God saying that I have qualified you. I have qualified you.

So Father we just pray that we come before you by your grace by your anointing, by your spirit and just pour out fresh grace in everyone's heart here this morning. Holy Spirit, we open our hearts to you, would you just come and flood us and saturate us with grace. We take authority over feelings of unworthiness, we take authority over demonic oppression and heaviness trying to crush God's people. We take authority over it this morning and break it in the name of Jesus by the blood of Jesus, by the name of Jesus, and by the word of God we break it in Jesus's name and release freedom, and grace, and life and peace and joy in every spirit here this morning. Holy spirit open our hearts to hear exactly what you are saying this morning Lord God and to hear it with your heart. Not the emphasis of the world not the lies of the enemy but with the very heart of God. May the heart of God come through this morning we pray in Jesus Name Amen.

I just feel like the Holy Spirit wants us to start a new series called "Grace For Freedom and Fruitfulness". Freedom is the cry of every human being's heart but if we are free without being fruitful, then we become unfulfilled and if we are fruitful without being free, we become frustrated. And I believe there is a kingdom release of freedom that guarantees fruitfulness that we don't seek fruitfulness, we seek the grace of God to bring us into freedom and in genuine freedom we find fruitfulness in our lives in every area of our lives. Productivity and fruitfulness that fuitfulness is not something that we work to achieve so that we become proud of our efforts. Fruitfulness in the kingdom is supernatural and it flows out of the kingdom that is supernatural in grace. While I was in Dubai just a week ago, and by the way the report came back again by email that the day after I flew out that Mat's physiotherapist was amazed and astointed to use her words at the increased mobility in his arms and legs, so there is a real progression of a miracle there and we are all part of it by God's grace.

But wlaking on the beach there I really felt God say,

Son, be careful not to drift away from your foundation in grace. Be careful not to go back to human effort because it is so easy”.

Most of the apostles were, in a few years, drifting back into a mixture of law and grace. And Paul the apostle and champion of grace had to rebuke John and Barnabas to their faces because they had drifted from grace and they were starting to mix grace with law. And that's why God did not tell Paul to go down to Jerusalem and learn the gospel from the existing apostles. He took him in to the desert for three years and taught him from heaven the grace of God And then he went back down to Jerusalem and checked out the gospel is what they had heard.

And they confirmed it was, but I tell you this that if Apostles can drift from Grace, and they are the masters, the champions to make sure the church is kept in grace, and not under religious laws and legalism and regulations that rob our joy and rob our freedom and fill us with condemnation.

So I felt God say to me;

Son, you're just beginning to drift, you're beginning to stress out. You're beginning to push in your own effort. You're to make things happen. You're taking on the responsibility for the church. Unless the Lord builds the church, you labour in vain. I'm the builder of the church and you're not. You just co-labour with me so enjoy the and freshly teach my people grace because whenever you are going to build further up, or higher up in your life, or in any structure in terms of spiritual structure or relational or emotional structure you have to make the foundations go down deeper. If you are going to add on to the existing house, they will get the building inspectors in to check the foundation and if the foundations are inadequate, then they will not allow you to build upwards. They will say that first you have to reinforce downwards so you can go upwards.

Grace is the foundation everything we do, our marriage, church life, everything we do must come from a foundation of liberty and freedom in grace otherwise it's just dead works and counts for nothing".

So I want to look at I want to unpack this thing sequentially over the next six to eight sundays. Just sequentially unpack. What about law and grace. Law and grace. What does the bible say about his. How to discern the operation of religious spirits that try to drive you off grace all the time. How to detect legalism that's developing in your life. There are some early warning signs that indicate legalistic living. Bwop, bwop, warning, danger, condemnation, guilt and loss of joy is coming if you go further down this track and we will learn how to detect legalism in early warning signs and symptoms. We are going to look at the great doctrine of justification by faith that is lost to most of the church, and we're going to examine these things little by little every week. We are going to cover some stuff we covered about a year ago and then we're going to go onto new stuff that God in one day opened up a whole new set of stuff. A whole lot of understanding on grace that I've never seen before as clearly as this. It really was.

Walking out in the country park he began to say this, this and showed me from the scriptures. And I tell you my heart just came into rest. My heart came into relief. And through this series, you will increasingly find that condemnation will increasingly become a stranger to you and grace will become a very dear friend. Full of peace and a lot of loy and a lot of deep breaths. Ah, thank goodness, rest in the grace of God. Alright? So lets enjoy this journey together. I want to get to the new stuff that I have never taught before but that can only really come in one on about the fourth teaching, alright? We've got to sequentially move there because if you get people there it will sound too good to be true. Our legalistic minds that are conditioned by legalistic propaganda will just automatically, subconsciously reject it, so we are going to have to move through the scriptures so you can clearly see this is God's gospel this is not Rob's gospel. This is God's gospel. This is not Rob's opinion. This is not NCMI's opinion or philosophy. This is not a denominational view that we want to give you, this is God's beautiful, clear, word, the New Testament.

Do you know that the New Testament, the whole essence of the gospel in the New Testament is to give people confidence before God so that they can approach God with confidence. They reason they can't approach God with confidence is they are living under laws that condemn them rather than living under grace that liberates them.

And yes, down the road we are going to talk about how a Christian can overcome sin and how a christian can have vistory over sin. But, folks, if we get to that too early, before a sufficient foundation of grace has been laid, then people will try to become holy and overcome sin froma faulty and inadequate foundation even an erroneous foundation that is motivating them to try to get over sin, and it will only condemn them to misery and deep disappointment. You can make your new year's resolution and you can set your world but unless there is a grace foundation, you are trying to change without a right foundation, and anything done on a wrong foundation will always lead to misery and disappointment.

You know the gospel is not about us changing, you knows you need to change in some areas. If you think the gospel is talking to you about changing, you don't know the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the gospel of man where it talks about you having to change. The only thing about the gospel regarding change in the gospel is it's god's change. God changed the way he relates to you. He changed the way he relates to you from the old mosaic law. Now he's changed the way. He's not going to relate to you anymore by law or by your performance, but he's going to relate to you by grace and grace alone. Amen. And so we need to understand grace in all it's truth and then we will become fruitful. So let's read from Colossians chapter 1 and lets read from verse 3.

"We always thank God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all of the saints – the faith and love that springs from the hope that is stored up in you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit growing, just as it has been doing since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth".

Folks, we need to understand Gods grace in all its truth in order to come into freedom, in order to come into fruitfulness. It is not enough to have a superficial understanding of grace. It's not enough to pop into church and hear an odd sermon on grace and get a little aspect of grace. That will condemn you to destruction. To know just enough about grace and not the breadth of grace will get you confused, you see. You've got to know grace in all of it's truth.

It's not enough to have a few little cliches. "Well Grace is G-R-A-C-E, God's riches at Christ's expense". Folks, in the middle of a battle in life, cliches do not help you. You need a bedrock of the theology of the word of God. And too many churches and Christians have been built now on froth and bubble and hype and a lot of you know, skills on how to be practical and win in life. But folks, it's not about human skills and practical and how to win in life, it is on a rich foundation of understanding God's grace in all of it's truth that will produce fruitfulness and freedom in your life.

You need to on monday, tuesday wednesday when condemnation comes, you need to go ah wait hold on I can discern, I can detect legalism I know the operation of a religious spirit that is contradicting the word of god. I understand God's grace and all it's truth. I know what is the old covenant is, I know what is the new covenant is, the old covenant, and I know what covenant I'm in. I'm in Christ Jesus. That's what we need.

So now go to 1st Thessalonians which is, just turn right to the next book. And today I want to talk about freedom from dead works. Freedom from dead works. You know God wants us to live in works of freedom works that have life in them, alright. So we are going to look here, and I want you to see, what motivated the Thessalonians. What was the motive behind their works, their deeds, their labour and their endurance. This church was a model church and paul wrote about this - if you want to know what a model New Testament church is, if you want to know what a New Testament church he is saying is, “look at the Thessalonian church.”.

Now he would never say look at the Galation church because they went from grace back to law, he would never say look at the Corinthian church because they were so crazy. He spoke about, in scripture the Thessalonians were a model church. I pray that God will make City Church International a model church.

That when God want's to show off something of his grace and people say what is the new testament church like? Is it a denomination, is it a religious tradition, is it a mixture of dark ages and a little bit of superstition that came in from paganism, 1500 years ago when the church lost the grace of God and went into the dark ages and paganism came in and pagan rituals and pagan clothes and cloths that the priests wear that are not in the new testament at all. You know, what is a New Testament church?

I pray that God will say City Church International. Look at them. They haven't arrived, but they're on a journey to discover what grace is about what new testament life is all about. Not to boast and show off and think that you are elite. Now, because grace will never allow you to be elite or arrogant. Grace will cause you to say man, I just boast in the grace of God. I am weak but he is great. Come on, can you say amen. So lets look at what motivated the Thessalonians. From verse 2;

"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ".

See here we've got a church. They're not just sitting around passively. They're not just doing nothing. They're not sitting around saying, praise God I'm under grace so I do nothing. They're working and they're labouring and they're enduring hardships and persecution and difficulty. The motive behind their work is produced by faith. The motive behind their deeds is that it is a motive of love. And the reasons that they are enduring hardships is that they are inspired by their hope in Christ Jesus. Now Jesus writes or speaks to seven churches in the book of revelation. And he uses to the one church, Ephesus, he uses the same three words that Paul uses to the Thessalonians. And he says this to them in Revelation chapter 2, he says:

"I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance". Then he goes in and he says; "But I hold this against you: You have lost your first love for me".

Now, let me ask you, what is the difference between the Thessalonians and the Ephesus church? Well the Ephesus church is working hard, they've got good deeds, they but the motive behind it is gone. It's no longer faith, it's no longer hope, it's no longer love. It's just religious mechanics, it's perfunctory performance. It's just going through the motions. And Jesus says to the seven churches, he brings correction to every one of the seven churches. But they are all loving corrections, they are redemptive corrections. They are not saying I hate you. I dissaprove of you because you're not lining up, here's corrections that are redemptive.

But to only two churches does Jesus give this warning, “If you do not change, I will close you down, I will take my candlestick away” to three churches. The other five had things wrong with them but he didn't threaten to close them down. But there are two churches that he said, I'm going to close you down if you don't change. The one was the Ephesus church. They were working hard, they were enduring they were doing deeds. The other was the Laodocian church which had become luke warm. The two churches he threatened to close down was because of the motives behind what they were doing.

We are very caught up in our society with what we do but God is concerned of why we do it. Because the motive behind it is more important to God than what we're doing. And that's where we are going now.

You say, does Jesus close churches down? All these churches closing down, is this Jesus? Yes, Jesus is the only one to close the church down. I don't have a right, no apostles, no prophets have a right. Jesus does close churches down. Because, you see, Jesus is life. God is absolute life, and He cannot be represented by creeping death.

Dead works, works done without fath, hope, or love are dead religious activites. The Christian world is filled with dead hyperactivity and much of it is dead works that represent God because God is a supernatural God, a miracle working God, and he can only be represented by life. I understand that every year in the United Kingdom, several thousand churches close down. I'm not exaggerating, that's well reported. Several thousand churches close down.

I heard from Terry Virgo recently that in the city of Brighton were I will be preaching at a conference this July, how many churches? Fouteen churches have closed down in 2006 already. People say why do we need to plant more churches, if we planted fourteen new churches into Brighton, we'd only be keeping pace. See, churches are closing down all over the world because of dead works, and Jesus will close things down that deosn't have life in it. But wherever the gospel is preached, wherever the grace of God is revealed, fruitfulness and life spring up. Jesus endorses that and there is freedom and and enlargment. Amen

So let's quickly have a look here at Hebews chapter 9. How does dead works creep in to our lives? How is it possible that people that are made alive in God can become so dull and dead? What happens to it. Have you ever felt yourself dying a little bit as a Christian? It's not a case of losing your salvation, your salvation is very secure in Christ. It's not about losing your salvation, you are safe and secure in Christ forever. The scriptures are very clear on that in my opinion. So, how does death creep in? I felt death creeping in to my prayer life, into my life, sometimes as a Christian. How does it happen? What is it that brings dead works? Well lets read chapter 9 of Hebrews, beautiful, and wonderful and passage of scripture. It just thrills me to read this every time. And we will have an insight here about what brings in this terrible phenomenon called death. Ok? Dead Works, verse eleven to verse fourteen.

When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through a greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal (not temporary) redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

So the scriptures are saying here that the unblemished of Jesus, his shared blood cleanses our consciousness from acts that lead to death that we may serve the living God.

Now I want to show you from the context. I don't have the time know but we will see from this series, that the acts that lead to death that the writer is talking about here have nothing to do about sinning. This is not about sinning, this is the motives behind why we do what we do. In fact, the NIV is the only one that translates it “acts that lead to death”. Almost every other translation will say, “the blood of Jesus cleanses our consciences us from dead works that we may serve the living God.”This scripture here is talking about having your conscience cleansed so that you can serve the living God with faith, hope, and love. With living works and not with acts that lead to death, or with dead works.

Let me say this, if you think that the way to have a clear conscience is by your moral code, then all you are is setting yourself up for pride, arrogance, and self righteousness, and deep condemnation and then elevated into pride, arrogance, and self righteousness, and deep condemnation because you think that the basis of having a clear conscience is on the basis of your moral lifestyle, then when you are doing well, then you will feel arrogant and in your conscience, and when you fail you will feel absolutely crushed with condemnation.

Because to think to have a clear conscience in Christianity is on how moral you are, you have shifted from the finished work of the cross sacrifices of Jesus to a performance based lifestyle. When you are doing well, you have a clear conscience. Then when you are failing you feel a condemn conscience.

The Bible has nothing to say about the conscience of a Christian being based on their moral lifestyle. It's right here in the word of God. Not religious opinion, the word of God says, our conscience is clean through Jesus Christ offering him self unblemished and through the blood he cleanses our conscience from acts that lead to death, or dead works so we can serve the living God. So how does creeping death come in? By not being secure in grace and trying to cleanse our conscience by our own moral living. It's a clever dception of the religious spirit but it's happening world wide. Let's read Philips, sorry Petersons translation of verse 14. It's brilliant. Listen to this:

"Think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives inside and out. Through the spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead end efforts to make us respectable so that we can live all out for God".

That's a good way to define or describe dead works – freeing us from all those dead end efforts. That's what dead works are. I'm trying through dead end efforts, trying to do good things to gain some respect with God. But the bible says that the blood of Christ so cleanses our conscience that we are freed up from our miserable efforts to make God to like us more, to impress God with our goodness so that our conscience is clear so the motive behind which we do things cannot be manipulated by guilt or condemnation or have to but a supernatural want to joy springs up in our hearts. Come on can you say amen?

Go to Romans chapter 4. What have we just said here. What we just said is this: If your conscience is not secure in grace, if you do not have a clear revelation that the only way your conscience can stay free, and live free is by the sacrifice Jesus made. Your conscience cannot be free on the basis of your performance. That is not Christianity. That may be the Zama zama religion. That may be certain religious traditions but we have just read from the word of God that it isn't. It does not say through your own efforts your conscience is clean to serve the living God.

If you kept your conscience clean by your efforts, then we blaspheme and spit on the finished work of the cross. We trample on the blood and we say that the blood wasn't good enough to keep our conscience clean, I'm so self righteous I'll keep my conscience clean. That is self righteous that is Pharisee. The curse of the self made man is in the earth today, pride, arrogance. That's why people reject God. They say I don't need God. Look at me, I've got education, I've got this, I've got that. Yes but look at their lives, it's like a bomb hit it.

God's not calling strong self sufficient sophisticated, people. He doesn't need... You know some people think that when they volunteer to become a Christian, wow God's lucky he's got me now. I'm here, God, watch out. God says, is that what you think? Alright Moses, forty years in the desert. You want to use all your wise secular training of Egypt, forty years in the desert, then we'll find out. Amen? While you're still trying to justify your conscience by your personal ambitions of morality and your good works, and your achievements, you are basing your life and setting it up for dead works.

You’re setting yourself up to be manipulated, to be bullied, or through your pride to volunteer for every committee, every group that solicits your help because your pride and your conscience is driving you for greater and greater achievements because you want to fulfill more and more things out of pride and you think that your conscience will be cleared by being on this moral group and on that society and this group and running around the world doing this and that hoping that your conscience will be cleared but I challenge you in the wee wee hours of the night when everything is still and the radio is off and nothing is distracting you, check inside your conscience and see how clean it really feels.

Because every persons conscience is absolutely dirty, it is vile, it is polluted, it is driven by some of the most vile things, it is confused and lives in condemnation. And there is only one thing that can take that guilt away from your conscience, not your works, the unblemished sacrifice of Jesus and the blood.

And if you’ve got elements of condemnation in your conscience, then you will do Christian activity to try to ease your conscience and the motive is not faith, hope and love, it is guilt and condemnation. It is a dead work, it doesn’t impress God, he just doesn’t even give any rewards for it, doesn’t even acknowledge it. But once you’re secure in grace, and once your conscience is clear through grace, then when the spirit of God leads you and guides you, you can say yes there’s faith hope and love in this, there’s joy in this, wow I want to do this and you can say no to that, no to that. Well everyone else is doing it. Yes I know, but I’m not because I don’t need to do it to clear my conscience from condemnation. My conscience is clear to listen to the sweet voice of the Shepard inspiring me to do living works. See you sign up for things that are based on trying to feel important, or clear your conscience, you’ll sit on committees and everyone in your home is frustrated and eventually your frustrated saying why am I actually doing this? Why is my diary so full? Where’s the quality of life?

And you just feel manipulated and bullied by guilt and condemnation and vulnerable to say yes, yes, yes until you’ve said yes so much to everyone else you’ve said no to your wife, your children and you’ve cursed your destiny and your grand children yet to come. Because you filled your life with dead works that are conscience driven out of condemnation and not out of a free conscience that follows the leading of the Holy Spirit. How many thing that this is really important for the church? In this hour you are going to hear more prophesies and more preachers coming on Christian TV telling you what you should be doing and not doing. Come on, do more, do more and if you’re not secure in grace, you’re going to sign up for some deception. You’re going to sign up for a whole works program that so distract you and seduce you from the freedom you have in Christ to obey what the spirit of God’s leading you to do. And what the spirit of God leads you to do he smiles on you and endorses you and gives vision and favour and liberty and you will enjoy doing it.

Alright. Romans chapter four. We’re talking about dead works or life works, ok. Look at Romans four. Now are you going to have enough courage to believe what I read to you? Say yes by faith. Listen to this now, see if your heart can receive this. This is not my opinion, this is God’s word. Romans chapter 4 verse 4;

"Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works".

Say apart from works. Credits righteousness apart from works. The next verse says;

"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sins the Lord will never count against him."

Let me say that to you again:

"Blessed is the man whose sins the Lord will never count against him."

You know that word never is a big word. It’s a long word. Blessed is the man whose sins the Lord will never ever ever ever never never never never ever ever ever count against him." Don’t you like that book keeping? Blessed is the man whose sins the Lord will never never never never never. For those of you on the CD may it crackle in your ears. Never never never count against you. Now when does that happen? Does it happen the moment you get born into this world? You come out of your mothers womb, eeeaa! No, you come out of the womb under law, under condemnation. We’ll see that in a moment. You come out of the womb spiritually dead. You can know about God and you can make imaginary gods in your head and you can serve any imaginary god or cult or no matter what you do in your head. But the moment you recognize the God of Abaham, Isaac, and Jacob, the creator of the heavens and the earth.

The living God. The triune God. When you recognize that God and you recognize Jesus Christ as the Lord, you are born again, you become a new creation. And from the time you were born again. From that moment, God is not counting any of your sins ever against you. He will never change his mind because he will never count them against you from that moment. Now lets ask this question: How many Christians in the world do you really believe have a clear, graphic, revelation in their conscience that their father in heaven is never ever going to count their sins against them. Not their past sins, not their present sins, not their future sins according to collosians chapter 2. How many do you think? How many in this room have total a freedom in your conscience. You walk around with every day. I’m so blessed because God will never count my sins against me.

See I know the religious minds are already going, yeah but if I believe that, I’ll just rush out and sin as much as I can. Now you see, you’re just jumping ahead. Just stay with what we’re reading right now. Ok? Just come with me on the journey, ok. Don’t get ahead. You’re going to run … you’re going to be like the centipedes that are trying to work out which foot of their thousand they should move forward first. Stop the paralysis of analysis. Just come with us step by step. Ok?

Wolfgang, how long have you been saved? 10 years. Since you got saved, have you ever sinned? Stella, Won’t you to… has he ever sinned Stella? Never, ok. And you’ve never sinned at lying either. He can’t remember any sins, ok. Let me find someone in this room who’s not on drugs ok. How many times have you sinned. No. What are your sins my son. Wolfie, you’ve done a few sins since you’ve been saved. One or two eh? Lex, have you done any sins since you’ve been saved? Plenty, ask Marike And you’re a pretty decent man, I don’t imagine you’ve run out with armed robbery and smashed peoples faces in, and ah. Do you have a revelation that God is never going to count one of your sins that you’ve done ever against you? I do. That’s wonderful, that’s wonderful.

Now go to 2 Corinthians Chapter 5. 2 Corinthians Chapter 5. Now in this passage we are going to see a favourite phrase of Paul the apostle. One of the most often repeated phrases of Paul the apostle was this phrase, in Christ, in Christ, in Christ, in Christ. What does it mean to become a Christian, Rob? It means to be born again. It means at a certain point in your life you turn to Jesus, you recognized that you are condemned under the law, you have committed sins, you have turned away from that you turn to Jesus as Saviour. You are made a new creation your spirit is made alive in Christ, you are born again, and you are placed into Christ. You are taken out of first Adam and you are placed into Christ. That’s what the Bible clearly teaches. Now lets read from 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and then lets just read form verse 17:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them".

Not counting men's sins against them. Not counting men's sins against them. Why is religion so obsessed with accountancy of men’s sins that are heaped on people because they know they want to get people addicted to the religious system under the condemnation of guilt and then the priests or the pastors have got them. But the Bible teaches that those that are in Christ God is not counting their sins against them. Wooohoo! Now God counts a few of the women’s sins. If they don’t make their husband breakfast in bed, he does count that as a sin. I’m glad you brought that up because I was getting into some bad theology there. He does not count any of our sins against us.

Now let’s look why.

Is God so stupid, is he so unjust? He just says look, I’m just such an immoral God that I’m not going to count anyone’s sins against them. No, God’s got righteous justice behind this, folks. In fact he’s never going to count your sins. There is a transaction that’s taking place behind the scenes to set you up for the privilege to wake you up and walk around every morning with a clear conscience, God’s not counting my sons against me. Hallelujah, I’m blessed, he never will. And that way I’m just so motivated, I don’t want to sin. Oh what a wonderful God. And if I do sin by accident, I trip into it, he doesn’t count it against me, he never will. Hallelujah, my conscience is clear. I don’t have to do things out of condemnation and guilt to earn my justification. I’m free. Look at verse 21.

"God made him who had no sin (that's Jesus) to be sin (why) for us, so that (there’s the phrase again) in him we might become the righteousness of God".

I want to read that again, just to bring pain to the devil.

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of …...".

Billy Graham, the righteousness of Mother Teresa. The righteousness of the Pope. No. That in him . in him, we might become the righteousness of God. Here’s the deal. God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us. Now let me ask you a question. Let me logically take you through this. Very important that you listen very carefully for the next five minutes are the essence of the centrality of the gospel of grace that has been stolen from much of Christianity.

When God made Jesus sin, it was not because Jesus had to go out and do acts of sin because Jesus had no sin. So when Jesus was made sin, he didn’t earn the status of being made sin by doing sinful deeds. Let me say that again because some of you have already gone where I am going. For Jesus to be made sin, the bible is very clear he was one who was without sin. So him to be made sin or have that status he did not have to earn the status of being made sin at the cross by doing sinful acts. Why can’t we equally accept that for us to be made the righteousness of God, it is not because we go about doing righteous acts. It’s amazing to me to hear people say how could I be made by the standing of God righteous when I don’t always behave righteous. That’s not the most difficult thing for me, the shocking thing for me is he who knew no sin was made to be sin.

And he didn’t have to earn it by sinful acts. He was made it. Neither do you need to earn the status of being the righteousness of God by righteous acts. It is called what’s been imputed to you. Do you know what the word imputed means? It mean credited to your account freely. It’s a gift. Now you see, folks, every single morning you wake up doesn’t matter what you’ve done the day before, it doesn’t matter what’s gone wrong in your life. When you wake up, if you are living as a New Testament Christian, you should increasingly feel this wonderful thing in you conscience when you wake up. I am the righteousness of God and he's never counting my sins against me.

The religious mind is already going, if you teach that stuff man, everyone will just go out and sin. You know what you are arguing with? You are arguing with God's word. See, why would God put that in his word if he believed it would have that result? God knows what he's talking about.

Until you have a clear conscience knowing you are the righteousness of God, you are going to be vulnerable to clear your conscience from condemnation by empty, hyper, religious activity or sign on to every club and activity that demands your attention. And wreck your health, and wreck your family life and every demand out there because you think I owe it to this and I owe it to that. You owe nothing! You are free in Christ Jesus. You are the righteousness of God without hasving to do righteous acts. Just like Jesus didn't have to do sinful acts to be made sin, you don't have to do righteous acts to be called the righteousness of God. It's in Him.

Now, Romans 5 teaches this and I'm going to introduce it in the subject further down the road, but let me just briefly look at it quickly not. And we will not be much longer so just hang in with me. Romans chapter 5 very clearly teaches that everyone on this planet is either under the federal headship of first Adam, or under the federal headship of last Adam, Jesus Christ. So every person walking around, no matter what colour, creed, culture they are. They're either in first Adam, or they've been born again and they're in Christ Jesus. There's no middle ground, there's no neutral territory, there's no place where people can hide in between. They're either in Adam or in Christ. Now the bible teaches very clearly, it's class one, fundamental, basic gospel that needs to be recovered in the Church. It teaches this very clearly that if you are in Adam then Adam's sin and disobedience is imputed to them. If they are in Christ, then Christ's righteousness is imputed to them.

Are you still with me? Now come with me further, Romans five, we will clearly check this out. Romans five clearly teaches that people do not go to hell because of their sin but they go to hell because of Adam's sin. And people do not go to heaven because of their righteousness, they go to heaven because of Christ's righteousness. That is so plain and clear in Romans five but as I said it, I felt that it was going over like an atomic bomb here. Do you know what happened there? Supernatural power which is called divine power legalistic thinking patterns that where in your mind and went boowoowoo.

That's Romans five. It's right there. We're going to read it clearly one day. Now let me go a little bit further. I can hear religious demons beginning to shriek now. This is clearly the new testament teaching. That if a person is in first Adam, they can run around doing the most moral acts. They can do the most kind deeds, they can support everything and feed everything and give to everything but the bible says their righteousness is like filthy rags. But those that are in Christ, some of them can be a little bit of a rascal, mess up, make mistakes, even occasionally sin, and they are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Folks, when that's established in your heart, you hear the Holy Spirit call you to do something, you will do with freedom.

Let me close. I haven't got anywhere near where I wanted to go but this is a good foundation. You see if this isn't foundation in our lives, then how are we going to go on to the spirit's leading? With living works. Because we are going to have to say no to a lot of good activities in
And we will have the authority so say that if our conscience is clear. But if your conscience is vulnerable to condemnation, you're going to find it very difficult to say no. One of the most difficult things to say no on un uneasy conscience. Well everyone else has volunteered for this!

In the early 90's when the allies went in to the Gulf War, Desert Storm. And they chased Sadam out of Kuwait, and they didn't finish the job. Whether that's right or wrong, I'm not giving you my opinion but that's Many of you would know what my opinion would be. If you've got someone on the run, just press harder. But anyway. Anyway, I gave it away. But anyway they didn't and for whatever reason, they pulled out. And I think secretly, the Allies hoped that Sadam, now weakened, would be in a vulnerable place, and the Kurds would rise up and take over the country. It didn't happen that way.

As they tried to rise up, Sadam used the most brutal force to crush them and kill thousands of them and they retreated right up on the Turkish border into the mountains and then winter came. The United Nations and the world forgot about them. And thousands of babies where dying of the cold. And every night I'd see pictures with these little funerals, these funerals with these little graves. These little children just wrapped in whatever they could find and being buried. Night after night I watched this. I tell you it just broke my heart. I was going crazy. Glenda was watching me going through the emotions of this.

I'm just giving you a drastic example, here. Eventually I said to Glenda, ”Listen, how can I sleep in a warm bed every night when children are dying on the mountains on the Turkish boarder”. I said “I'm selling our house.” We owned a house in Australia. We're selling this house. I'm going to travel to Iraq. I'm going in through Turkey. I'm going in were these people are. The Kurdish people are. And I'm going to buy food and clothing for them, blankets out of the sales of our house, and I'm going to preach the gospel of grace to them. I said “I don't want to give money to an organization because I'm never sure where that money really goes.” Take it to the people. So, I phoned up several agencies that were operating into that area. They all thought I was crazy. No, you can't go in there. No, no, no, just give us the money. And it went on for about a week. I was going out of my mind and then one day I went out to pray and I said, “Father, open a door, get me in there to save these children that are dying.” Then I heard the wonderful voice of the father say;

Son, I love those children, and my heart breaks with what's happening. But did I ask you to go to the Turkish boarder?” I said “No, Lord you didn't”. He said, “Well, I am the Lord, and because I am the Lord, I deploy my people where I want them to go. And if you go to the Kurdish (Turkish) boarder, son, people may thing you are righteous and that you are so holy and dedicated, but it will be a dead work because I've deploy some of my people to the Turkish boarder already and I'm about to deploy you somewhere else. And if you go there you go in disobedience impressing man with your good works but it dead works without faith, hope and love it's to ease your guilty conscience. And you will miss where I am about to supernaturally deploy you for a mighty work”.

Instant peace, instant peace. And within a few weeks we were deployed into another situation that had a huge amount of fruit. See, is grace teaching important? It is absolutely essential and central to everything we do in these days. Can you say Amen? Let's just stand together.

"Father, we are enjoying an amazing flow of life in this congregation, just the flow of the life that was in the service this morning, and just the worship and the gifts of the spirit and the ministry to one another and the Children. It's such a wonderful thing, Lord. We believe you can only be represented by vitality and dynamic life and we pray that we would nurse and and preserve and protect this life. We are aware, Lord, how much the enemy would love to drive us off the foundation of grace push us into a place where are conscience becomes unsettled, and uncertain, and filled with condemnation and we begin to do good works out of obligation and guilt. Father, it's not that we don't want to do wonderful things, we want to touch the nations but Father, we want to do it in the freedom of grace, by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

And so we know Lord you are positioning us to take us into a higher place of life and so you are wanting to reinforce our foundations deeper in Grace. So that we do not get sabotaged or hijacked on this adventure of faith in flowing in the Holy Spirit. We truly ask for apostolic, prophetic foundations in this church with Christ Jesus as the chief cornerstone. We truly pray that upon that foundation and no other foundation, we would build. We pray that when Chris and Merril Weinant (spelling) come next week, that they will build in and add to that foundation of grace as we believe they will.

But right now, we look away from all of that and we just look up to this fabulous Saviour Jesus, the lamb of God who was made sin for us that we could be made the righteousness of God in Him. Father thankyou that your word has come with the power of the spirit this morning. Strongholds have been destroyed in our minds. We thankyou that the Holy Spirit has replaced legalistic, old covenant, guilt mentality with and increasing sense of freedom and grace.

Thankyou that when we wakeup tomorrow morning, we can, even before we get out of bed. No matter what we feel. No matter how miserable or unworthy we feel, we can say with integrity from the word of God and by revelation, in our hearts, I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I didn't earn it by righteous deeds, it was a free gift. And Father thankyou that you are never never going to count me sins against me. What a wonderful gospel. What full assurance of faith. What a guarantee of confidence before God. May it be reflected in the way we abandon ourselves to praise and worship you. May it be reflected in the way we make decisions and values and priorities. Lord may we find our life less cluttered with frenetic and frantic activity.

may the drivenness depart our soul. May the rat race and the performance treadmill be absolutely terminated. May we find the unforced rhythms of grace, may our hearts harmonize with heaven's peace. May we volunteer for those thinks that have the smile and the whisper of the precious comforter in them. May we gladly say yes, Lord, to the leadings of the spirit. But God, as we go on in this series, teach us to discern the counterfeit, the operation of religious demons. Teach us to detect the symptoms of legalism in our lives. Oh Father, that we may model to a society that's enslaved by feeling important and valuable by their achievements, by their education, by their position, by their titles, by what they wear and what they drive. Oh , God what a sacrifice they make to obtain those petty, trivial, temporal things. When the greatest sacrifice has already been made for us to be the righteousness of God.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,
Oh what a foretaste of Glory devine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of his spirit, washed in his blood

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Saviour, all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Saviour, all the day long

perfect submission, perfect delight
visions of rapture now burst on my side,
angels descending, bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Saviour, all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Saviour, all the day long

I sing praises to your name, most high
praises to your name, most high
for your name is great and worthy to be praised
I sing praises to your name, most high
praises to your name, oh Lord
for your name is great and worthy to be praised

Just going to linger just a minute or two. But just, without musical instruments, we are deliberately not doing it [to] create a mood or atmosphere. Just stand in it, give your mind permission to believe the word of God. Do you know that even, just in a few minutes, the spirit of God by his power can do with years of conditioning, religious propaganda, and indoctrination, and demonic lies have taken to establish in your thinking patterns. Just in a few minutes, the spirit of God can take his word and demolish those lies of your thinking. Set you free. The free conscience to have confidence to come before the Father, he's not counting your sins against you. He's looking at you like you are the righteousness of God. Just let that sweet anointing. Lets just stay one or two more minutes. Just let that anointing just wash over your mind, wash over your emotions.

Jesus is the sweetest name I know
and He's just the same as his lovely name
that's the reason why I love him so
for Jesus is the sweetest name I know

His name is higher than any other
His name is Jesus
His name is Lord
His name is higher than any other
His name is Jesus
His name is Lord

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

Jesus, oh Jesus
Jesus, oh Jesus
Jesus, oh Jesus
Your presence makes me whole.

Wonderful Lord Jesus, we've been terrible sinners Jesus, and you've been a wonderful savior. Where our sin has abounded. Where our pride and our independence and our arrogance and our betrayals has abounded. Our unfaithfulness has abounded, your grace has much more abounded. Your antidote for our sin was so awesome and so sufficient, that we are no longer criminals condemned under the law of God waiting a sentence that's irreversible. Judgment. And we are elevated to the stature of joint equal heirs with Christ, heirs with God and declared the righteousness of God.

If you've never taken that step of faith to say “Lord Jesus I stop trying to save myself by my good works. I give up trying. Would you please save me today by your grace." If you would do that today. Just say Lord, I need you, save me. This very day, the Holy Spirit will take you out of first Adam, and put you in Christ. See I say that it is not our sins that lead us to hell. Not me, but the bible teaches that. That's Adam sin. But you say, hold on, hold on, but I've sinned. The reason why people sin is because of first Adam. But that is not what sends you to hell. It's from his fall. First Adam's disobedience and his sin. So, in the same way it is not your righteousness that gets you to heaven, it's Christ's righteousness to you. And as you walk in the freedom of conscience, you will find yourself living more and more righteously. Not to earn it or deserve it, but because your conscience is free you can respond to the Holy Spirit. But do you now to the last day, if you lived a hundred and twenty years, there would still be areas in your life that would need to change.

And you've got to know this that contrary to religious obsession, our heavenly Father is not at all focusing on your faults and failures. He's looking at you through the eyes of grace and through a covenant of grace. He's not relating to you any more on the basis of religious law. That is the clear, plain, obvious teaching of the new testament. The reason it has been so messed up is because of religious devils. And the fear of man to preach it clearly because of fear that people run out and do all kinds of weird things.

Father, I pray for everyone in this room that says Jesus come into my life today. They will be born again. And I pray in this coming week Lord I don't want us to mess up and make mistakes or sin, but I pray even in advance, throughout this week until the next sunday, if any of us mess up, trip up, sin, make a mistake, I pray Father will pick ourselves up, lift our hands up and say Father I thank you that my heart wants to obey you. But I want to thank you that you're not counting my sins against me. And I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus not because I made this up but you revealed it in your word. You might even need to turn back to Romans four and just say let me check that it really is still in the bible. And turn to 2 Corinthians five seventeen to twenty-one and say let me just check that it's still written there in black and white. And then when you're clear about that again, just say now Lord, my faith is in what you've said, not what my feelings are saying, not what my head is saying, not what the devil is saying. I am still the righteousness of God.

Even if you mess up this week, would you please do that. And now may the Grace of the Lord Jesus, the unmerited favour of God. The love of God that never fails, and the sweet and delightful fellowship with the wonderful Holy Spirit, be with all our brothers and sisters in this place now and forever more. In Jesus's name. Amen.

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