Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Rob Rufus - Session 3 - Glory and Grace Conference Holland

Here is Session 3- Rob Rufus at the "Glory and Grace Conference" in Holland preached on the 4th September 2009:

“Open your Bibles please to Romans chapter 4. Isi’s ministry just makes you hungry for more of God doesn’t it? I want to talk just briefly on the gift of righteousness. Romans chapter 4 – there is so much I would love to read here, but I will just keep it brief and am going to go straight to verse 8. “Blessed is the man who’s sin the Lord will never count against him”. That was David saying that. David saw the New Covenant coming far into the future and he knew there was a covenant coming with such blessing that no one would walk around crippled by condemnation, that they would have a confidence that their sins would never be counted against them! David did not live in the fullness of that. His sins were counted against him and it was devastating even for Israel. He saw the day coming when a people would live where God would never count their sins against them. That doesn’t mean we want to run out and sin. When you are born again you have a new creation nature. How many of you want to run out and just commit adultery? It is not in your heart! I have been married nearly 34 years and my wife and I have never had physical intimacy with another human being. So we are not preaching this message of grace because we want to run around and do stupid things. If you go out of here and say “Rob is teaching that we can just go out and do whatever we like because the Lord won’t count it against us” – if you say that, then may the fleas of 10,000 camels infect your armpits.

The truth is that none of us are living a sin-free life. Anything that is not of faith is sin. So if the Lord was counting our sins against us, then we would not have the blessing of face-face intimacy. How many of you have a revelation that God is not counting your sins against you because He fully counted them against Jesus? God is not soft on sin!

The full wrath of His intense anger against sin has been FULLY satisfied at the Cross! The integrity of the High Court of heaven is satisfied – justice has been done. The desire of the Father is that we walk around with consciousness that

my Father is NOT counting my sins against me! If you break the laws of the land, then it will be held against you. If I do something stupid like go and commit adultery then my wife will count it against me! If I don’t pay my taxes then I will be in jail. But my Father in heaven will not count it against me – that constantly He simply sees me as righteous.

The Gospel is not a message of right living but a message of right believing. What do we believe? We are the righteousness of God. Right believing leads to right living. There is the obedience of faith and when we are confident He is not counting our sins against us then we want to be led by the Spirit and obey the prompting and leading of the Spirit.

You and I have died to the law. We don’t belong to the law at all but we have died to the law so we can belong to someone else – the Lord Jesus.

The idea that this grace message turns us into lazy irresponsible and self-centred Christians is a TOTAL lie.

If I wanted to live for what I want to do then I would not live in Hong Kong but in Amsterdam. Or in Australia or South Africa! Hong Kong is not my choice! There is not a day when my flesh longs to be in a country where I know the culture and the language. It is because of the leading of the Holy Spirit that we lay our lives down for the purposes of God. Following Christ is not always convenient to our flesh but when I know He is not counting my sins against me then it gives me the confidence to come in close to the Father’s hugs and my Father’s love and to not live for this life or the convenience of this temporary world but to be arrested by eternity. Though we make our mistakes and sometimes do something that aren’t consistent with the character of Christ – but we are where He is not counting our sins against us because He counted them against Jesus. We can obey Him.

Let’s look at 2 Corinthians chapter 5. A well known passage but let’s read verse 19. “That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ – not counting men’s sins against them”. Religion is obsessed with this idea that God is always counting our sins against us. When people flew into the Twin Tower buildings or the tsunamis in Asia that killed people by the thousands – they said that is God judging because of men’s sins against them.

If there was no Cross and God was counting our sins against us – according to the perfect justice of God’s holiness and His law there would not just be a few isolated tsunamis. This entire planet would be sucked up into oblivion and into hell. When Jesus was born the angels appeared to the shepherds and said; “Goodwill to ALL men – peace on earth!”. We have come into a different time. We are not under the Old Covenant and God is not judging or counting their sins against them! God was “in Christ reconciling the world” – not just Christians!

If someone dies outside of Christ then they will be judged to the full extent of the law and be lost forever. In this time frame God is not holding men’s sins against them. You find in the Old Testament talk of “days and days” or “years” of judgement. It talks about a “day of judgement” but speaks of God pouring out His Spirit on ALL flesh in the last days. God will prove He is not holding men’s sins against them by pouring the Holy Spirit out on every human being.

The word “pour out” is a secular word in the Greek and speaks of a man saying to his girlfriend; “I love you and I want to pour out my love on you. God is not counting men’s sins against them and wants to pour out the Holy Spirit on all men.

He is going to fill the red-light district with His love and His glory. The prostitutes standing in that place will suddenly feel the love of God and KNOW that He is “not counting my sins against me”. The goodness of God will lead people to repentance.

There is only one sin that the Holy Spirit convicts us of. In John 16 Jesus said when the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. Is that true? It’s there – John 16:8, 10. In the very next verse Jesus said; “Of sin – because they do not believe on me”. There is only one sin Jesus could not die for – that is the sin of unbelief in grace. Grace is not a doctrine. It is a Person. His Name is Jesus. It is unbelief in Jesus that is the only sin He cannot die for. The second thing He said He would convict the world of is; “righteousness – because I go to the Father where you see Me no more”. What is He doing at the right hand of the Father? He is the great merciful High Priest of the New Covenant. He is mediating for us – what is He mediating? A covenant that brought the gift of righteousness.

Then He said; “Judgement – because the prince of this world has now been defeated at the Cross where He disarmed them by taking away the law”.

He is wanting to pour out His love by pouring out the Holy Spirit so on this planet sooner or later, all flesh and all peoples – all 1 billion 300 million Chinese – will have the Holy Spirit poured out on them. And that prophecy hasn’t been fulfilled yet!

What will He show them? They are not believing in grace but in religion and their own self-righteousness. He will convict them of their unbelief in grace. Some will fall to the ground in shock and awe at the arrogance of unbelief and the sin of self-righteousness. Then he will convict them that there is a righteousness not their own and the devil has been judged! Let’s look at (v21). We have heard this before but it is good to hear it over and over again. It is like climbing a spiral staircase and you keep coming to the same view over and over again but always from a higher place. Let’s read (v21); “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God”. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us.

He did not carry our sin – He BECAME our sin – so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus with a complete co-equal righteousness to Christ.

Let me ask you a simple question. How did Jesus become our sin? By sinning? No blasphemy – of course not. He became sin because He was given the free gift of first Adam’s sin and the spiritual death of first Adam that passed on to all generations. Past, present and future. He became our sin not by committing any sin. How did we become the righteousness of God? By committing righteous acts? No not by doing righteous things but by God GIVING us the free gift of the righteousness of God that is ours in Christ Jesus.

As soon as Jesus was given the free gift of our sin on the Cross – did He have to cry out and pray to God; “Curse Me with judgement, bring the curse of the law, wrath, sickness and disease on Me, disfigure My body so I will not even look like a Man anymore because the laser-like focus of Your wrath will be focused on Me”? Did He have to ask that? No He didn’t have to ask God to do that. As soon as He was made our sin, it was the automatic response of a holy God to pour that out on Jesus.

Then He went to the grave saturated in our sin. When Heaven’s high court was satisfied that justice was done He was raised from the dead with all sin obliterated and terminated and gone out of existence – He was raised for our justification! On the Day of Pentecost we were given the free gift of His righteousness.

It is based on HIS righteousness – not on your performance. It is not based on your obedience or disobedience for the next 100 years or as long as you live. It is the eternal permanent position that you have in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews chapter 10:14; “By one sacrifice you have been made perfect FOREVER”. This is not a temporary salvation. The book of Hebrews calls it “eternal” salvation. The moment you believe you are the righteousness of God in Christ – do you have to pray for the Father to bless you? Did Jesus have to pray for the Father to curse Him when He was made our sin? You don’t see in the New Testament the apostles praying for blessing. The law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus. From the fullness of His grace we have received one blessing after another.

Deuteronomy 28 says if you will fully keep and obey all the law then all these blessings will come on you. But if you do not keep the law then all these curses will overtake you. Galatians 3:13-14 shows that Christ on the Cross redeemed us from the curse of the law that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through faith.

The moment you believe that you are the righteousness of God in Christ; you do NOT need to pray for blessings to come on you. They come on you and they overtake you! What do you see the apostles praying for in the New Testament? Not bless me – bless me. Blessings come on you when you believe. They pray for revelation to come to the truth! They pray for the eyes of the church’s understanding to be opened so they can see the hope of our calling and how good the gospel is! As soon as the lights come on and you believe then the blessings of God start coming automatically over our lives. When you go back under the law, then faith begins to crush. “I am not going back under the law – the law is a yoke of bondage” – (Galatians 5:14).

Galatians 5:4; Paul says if you go back under the law to gain righteousness then you have made Christ of nothing and have fallen from grace. How do you fall from grace? By breaking the law? No – by trying to keep the law to earn favour with God. In the modern church, they say you fall from grace – you have fallen into sin. But Paul the apostle said you fall from grace when you go back under law.

It’s very different! Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3 that carnal, worldly Christians are those who believe they gain righteousness through the law. The gospel isn’t good advice – it’s good news! If you are in serious debt and go to your bank manager and ask him to help you and he says “No – we are going to re-possess your house but maybe if you get three jobs and sell all your furniture and everything you have got and send your wife and children out to work and have no fun and just work 15 hours a day, 7 days a week THEN you can save your house”. That may be good advice, but it certainly isn’t good news. Imagine if you go to your bank manager and as you walk into his office, he comes running around from his desk and gives you a big hug and pops a big bottle of champagne and he says; “You know just before you came in here, someone you don’t even know came and says that he loves you totally and that he wanted to pay all your mortgage off and you don’t owe him a thing! And he did it to make you free! And then he put £10 trillion into your bank account for you to spend as you want!”. That is not good advice! That is good news!

The gospel of grace that the church has got is infinitely better than that! What breaks my heart is that most of the church don’t have a clue how GOOD it is! When they convert someone they convert them into death and misery. Let’s read one more Scripture just for the heaven of it. Colossians chapter 1. There are Scriptures in the New Testament that people say; “What about that one?! What about that?!”. I say; “Shut up!”. They are asking questions inside a question! It’s like those who went to Jesus and said; “Jesus what happens if this woman is married to a man and he dies and then she marries another and he dies and then she marries another one and they die and another and they die” … if I was Jesus (and thank God I am not) but I would have said; “Any woman who marries him is stupid!”. “So when they all get to heaven who are they married to?”. His answer? “You are wrong because you don’t know the power of God or the Scriptures. There wont be any giving or taking of marriage in heaven. Next!”. There are questions we need to ask about grace – but not questions within questions but because we want to know the truth of this freedom that we have in Christ.

My son Ryan and myself have gone through all the so-called difficult passages in the New Testament that appear to contradict grace and we have found they are very easy to answer! They actually strengthen the message of grace if we will just read them in context! We are going to put them up on our website soon – all the difficult questions answered! So the New Testament becomes a beautiful love letter to the children of God and the devil can’t take any more verses out of context and confuse.

The Reformation began just down the road in Germany and it has not finished yet. There are still traditions of men in the church and as we recover truth we are going to put those traditions to death. We are not trying to change the Bible – the Bible changes us. Remember there are people who have been reading the New Testament with the wrong lenses. These are New Covenant lenses with Old Covenant scratches on them. When I read the New Testament I will see judgement and confusion and condemnation everywhere. When God opens our heart with revelation and takes the scratches off, you can de-code the New Covenant and see how glorious it is and consistent with the finished work of the Cross. You are in Christ – when the Father said “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well please” – at that point Jesus hadn’t done any preaching or any healing. He hadn’t achieved anything but the Father was still well-pleased with Him. Now you are in Christ! The Father isn’t saying “Yes you are My beloved son or daughter but if you would just stop that and stop that and do that and do that then I will be well pleased with you”. There is only one thing that pleases the Father in the New Covenant (Hebrews 11:6) – “without faith it is impossible to please God”. What is the one sin that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of? Unbelief in grace. Unbelief in Jesus.

What does Galatians 3:12 say? The law is not based on faith. How does the Father see you and me all the time?

Let’s look at Colossians 1:22; “But now He has reconciled you through Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight without blemish and free from accusation”. So the Bible is saying here that in God’s sight (and may not be in other people’s sight – the Bible says that we should not look after each other in the flesh anymore but in the spirit) He sees you as holy, without blemish and free from accusation because of what Jesus did on the Cross! Chapter 2:6; “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him”. How did you receive Him? Grace through faith – so how do you continue to live in Him? Grace through faith!

People say “Well you got saved by grace through faith but now you need to be sanctified by coming back under the law!”. No – it says just as you received Christ so continue to walk in Him. Right believing – not trying to be right living! The sanctification is a fruit of a changed life that believes this message and gets into the Presence and glory of God and God begins to change him. He changes our heart first. Some Christian behaviour embarrasses some people but the Father isn’t trying to say “Stop that! Stop that!”. He wants them to believe this message so He can change their hearts and as they believe this message then the weird behaviour will get less and less until it falls away. I know you know this – but God wants it really in our hearts and He says “Don’t let anyone deceive you with empty philosophy”. “For in Christ all the fullness of the deity live”. Then let’s read from verse 13. “When you were dead … He forgave us all our sins”. He circumcised our old nature – where did we get that old nature from? First Adam! What was Adam’s sin? Was it pornography or adultery? No – it was unbelief in the goodness of God because God said “I have made you in My image and likeness” and Satan said if you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then you can become “like God”.

He was already in the image and likeness of God – so he had unbelief in the truth of God’s goodness and tried to develop self-righteousness apart from God! When you were born again it was because the Holy Spirit convicted you of that unbelief in grace and He circumcised your heart. We don’t have a sinful nature and a righteousness nature! That old nature has been cut away! Under the Old Covenant you had physical circumcision. I am not trying to be crude – but it was a snip on the tip and then they threw the tip away. They didn’t try to stick it back on again with Bos-Stick or glue! So when your old nature is cut away it is thrown away!

So you do not have a sinning nature on the inside of you! You have a new creation nature that wants to believe in the goodness of God! It doesn’t want to run out and do terrible things! Yes you still have appetites in your physical body and memories in your mind. Some of our appetites want to do wrong things and it is not coming from the old nature but memories of the flesh.

But as Isi preached – our bodies were made for pleasure! The word “Eden” in Hebrew means “pleasure” – the “place of pleasure”! God wanted Adam and Eve to enjoy the most amazing pleasure with God and each other there! So as we walk in the goodness of God, little by little some of the old appetites and memories will start changing if we stay in the flow of grace. The religious world tries to force artificial change on people. It is behaviour modification principles so we all look good on the outside but there is still frustration and desires to do wrong. God wants us to live in joy!

In a grace church, some of our mistakes and failures and short-comings will come out in the open. We are no longer ashamed and hiding in the dark! The religious world says “Look what grace did!”. But go and look in law churches – there is a LOT of sinning going on! But it is all done in secret. The Bible says that the law stirs up sin. In a grace church people feel safe when they make mistakes. They are not attacked and jumped on. People can help them and support them and walk them through their moral failures and restore them.

This is good news! It says that He forgave us all our sins. ALL. There are no sins left over that aren’t forgiven. When did He forgive your sins? 2000 years ago on the Cross.

Before you had even sinned, they were all already forgiven. Before you had faith for forgiveness – you were forgiven!

So that day that you confessed and said “Jesus I am a sinner and I confess that You are my Lord and I believe in grace and I turn to You Jesus and turn away from self-righteousness and turn to You Lord” – on THAT day you received the BENEFIT of all your sins forgiven. You don’t get your forgiveness in instalments. I make a mistake and sin as a Christian and you say “I’m sorry! I’m really, really sorry!”. “Okay it’s forgiven!”. No! It says ALL were forgiven here at the Cross 2,000 years ago! Should a Christian say “I’m sorry Lord” if you sin? I think you should. BUT! It’s not to get your fellowship back or your intimacy back – it is just honesty! You are still the righteousness of God by a free gift. Just as Jesus never became our sin by sinning but by the free gift of our sin.

Let’s read this last verse here and then I will close. (v14); “He took it away nailing it to the Cross, having disarmed … triumphing over them by the Cross”. Who wrote the 10 Commandments? God with His finger! 2 Corinthians 3:7 said that the ministry of death that was written on tablets of stone that brought condemnation came with glory – fading though it was. The ministry that brings righteousness brings unfading glory. There is a ministry of death that the Bible says stood opposed to us and was against us and was killing us. Through the Law I died to the law! The law killed us! It has no more claim over us! At the Cross He cancelled the law! He is the One who wrote it! He doesn’t want you under it! The whole point of the blood and guts of the Cross was to cancel the law and by cancelling the law God triumphed over the powers and authorities and disarmed them! So to preach the Law to the Church is to re-arm powers and authorities!

Let me ask you this question – if God cancelled the Law and we preach to the Church something God has cancelled then the Holy Spirit will not empower you to preach something that God has cancelled! So what spirit comes on ministries who preach the law to the church? It is not the Holy Spirit! What spirit? Galatians 3:1 – it is the spirit of witchcraft.

“Who has bewitched you?”. It is a bewitching spirit. This law/religious thing is not a small issue. It is a big issue! We should make it a big issue! The religious world doesn’t want us to make it a big issue because they have the leverage of the law to beat people up and control people. Jesus said “My yoke is easy and My burden is light – come unto Me all ye who are heavy laden with law and legalism”. As we walk and live in the Holy Spirit we will become more like Jesus, love one another like never under the law! The 10 Commandments say “Love the Lord your God!”. The New Covenant says “We love Him because He first loved us!”. If you try to love God then you will just come under the Law again! The religious spirit says you don’t love God very much! You wouldn’t do that if you really loved God! Let Him love you! The disciple “whom Jesus loved” at the Last Supper leant on the chest of Jesus! Why was he so close? “I am the one He loves!”. Peter was about five men down the table and he was saying; “What’s He saying?!”. When you know you are the one He loves then people will come and say “What’s He saying?”. “He is saying – He is not counting your sins against you!”. John was the last disciple with Him at the Cross. Peter was like many modern Christians and will prove how much he loved Christ. “You will be sifted like wheat and be taken out”.

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