Jesus or Barabbas?

 mp3

Are you a believer? If you are, do you ever doubt you will be in Heaven? If you doubt, are you a believer or a doubter? It’s very easy for a believer to doubt but believers shouldn’t doubt, so that is a problem. How can we know where we stand with the Lord? Some people sincerely love the Lord yet there is a suggestion that they will not make it to heaven. The standard is very high and there is an underlying stress that they are not ready. Some don’t want Jesus to come soon because they aren’t ready. Some think they are predestined to not make it to heaven. How can we know whether we are the Lord’s or not? The Spirit of Prophecy says that the latter rain will fall on hearts all around but some will not see it or discern it. Is that you? Have you missed out? Every true Christian longs to have the Holy Spirit as the apostles had on Pentecost. Why did Jesus go to the cross?

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

What do we need before receiving the promise? It is the blessing of Abraham. Jesus endured Calvary so blessing could come upon us. That blessing will bring the promise of the Spirit. What is this blessing of Abraham?

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 7 [Saying], Blessed [are] they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him righteousness. The blessing is to have your sins forgiven. Unless your sins are all forgiven which is the blessing of Abraham, we cannot receive the Holy Spirit. Upon whom does this blessing fall?

Romans 4:8 Blessed [is] the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

4:9 [Cometh] this blessedness then upon the circumcision [only], or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

Is this blessing only for good church going people or for Gentiles, uncircumcised worldly people too? Was Abraham circumcised when he received the blessing?

Romans 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which [he had yet] being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Abraham received the sign the seal of righteousness before he was circumcised. What does circumcision in the flesh typify?

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Abraham received the circumcision of the heart before he was circumcised in the flesh. The circumcision of the heart was the seal of righteousness. Circumcision of the heart means loving the Lord with all the heart, soul and strength loving God entirely.

Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The circumcision of the heart is the implanting of the love of God in the heart. How is that done? It is shed by the Holy Spirit. We cannot love God in our human strength. Our love for Him is given to us. The sign of circumcision is the Holy Ghost shedding the love of God in our hearts. How then did Abraham get this blessing? He believed God. He didn’t doubt. This blessing that came to Abraham through belief is the assurance. Many people think they need to belong to a church to have assurance. They cling to their baptism as their assurance but baptism in the New Testament is the same as circumcision of the flesh in the Old Testament. Circumcision of the flesh was a token to signify the thing that they could not see, the circumcision of the heart. It is the same with the form of baptism. Baptism it is not our assurance. How do we know if we are God’s like Abraham was? Abraham received it by believing not doubting. It is amazing how many people profess to believe but actually doubt. What do the scriptures say?

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:

It didn’t say God would bless. He has blessed us already. We have been blessed with all spiritual blessings. Do you believe that?

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

1:5 Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

When did he choose us? He chose us before the foundation of the world. He predestined us unto the adoption. That was His will His good pleasure. Do you believe that God will do all these things? No. God has done all these things. He has blessed us already with every single blessing you could ever imagine and more. He has chosen us. He has blessed us and he has predetermined us before the foundation of the world to the adoption of children. Has he made us accepted in the beloved already? Yes He has but do we believe Him? How many people has he done this for? He wants every person and has made every person in the world accepted in the beloved. That includes you and me. Do we believe it?

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Has He given Himself for you already? Are you sure? How do you know? We know because he has said so. Do you believe it? Do you feel it? No, it is not because we feel it but because He said He gave Himself for you. When did He do this?

1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers;

1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

When was it that Christ was ordained? When was the plan set that you and I would be chosen and have all spiritual blessings? Before Creation! When was it manifested? It was manifested on Calvary. Everything in its entirety was conceived before the foundation of the world and manifested on Calvary. Were you there? Were you a good Christian then? When did He do it? He did it while we were yet sinners.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Can every single person in the world reading that verse apply it to him or herself? Yes. Does that include those who doubt whether God accepts them? Yes. He gave Himself for us all. Can anyone doubt that God has already done this? If we doubt it we are saying what God said is not true. If we don’t believe God we make Him a liar but if we believe that He has given us all blessings and has predestined us to become His children and He has already made us accepted in the beloved, why would we ever doubt? Did God give Himself on a condition or is it unconditional love? It was unconditional love. He paid for you regardless of whether you would accept Him or not. God paid for the goods but He stops short on one line. That line is free will. He comes to that line with every gift of heaven but He won’t go over that line because He respects the intelligence, the free will and the dignity of His creation. He has bestowed all His wealth and power and is standing at that line. He has fully paid every debt we have every incurred. All we have to do is accept it. Do we believe that? Has he paid for you? Are you sure? Why did he pay for you? Because He wants you personally? Not just you as a part of everyone else but just you. He paid for you. He wouldn’t pay for something He didn’t want. He emptied His entire bank account for you. Just for you and everything about you. That is His will. Is it your will for Him to have you? What in the whole universe could ever separate you from Christ if your will and His will are to have each other? Nothing at all can create that separation. The only thing He stops for is your permission. If He wants you and you want Him, are you His? If you want Him, are you His? How do you know? It is because He said so. If you want Him, then it is so. How do we know if we are His or not? If we want Him and tell Him then we are His. Never doubt that. If you wake up feeling miserable and sick and your day is horrible, how do you know if you are His? Because He said so, but did you feel it? No. What if you had a great day? How do you know then if you are His? Is it because you felt it? No. Feeling doesn’t have anything to do with fact. If you were having a miserable day is 1 + 1 no longer 2? No. It is what God says that counts. God’s word is the same yesterday, today and forever. If God says so it is so whether we feel it or not. Some people say that their heart tells them that they aren’t God’s. Some say their hearts tell them they are God’s. Is that proof? The heart is deceitful above all things. That means the heart is more deceitful than even the devil himself! Do we know that?

Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

We aren’t to trust our hearts. If the heart tells us that we are saved are we to trust that? If we do the Bible says we are fools. If our heart tells us that everything about us is wretched, do we trust that?

1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

Does your heart know everything about you? No. So if you feel in your heart that you are not God’s, it doesn’t mean a thing. What means everything is whether you have chosen Him or not. He has bought us no matter how we feel.

Many are inquiring, “How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?” You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him. {SC 47.1}

How can we really know whether we are God’s? We need to understand the power of our own will and choice. God has given to us all the power of choice and He will not exercise it for us. When we chose to give our all to God then we are His. Elijah’s message is a last day message. He said on Mt Carmel chose whom you will serve. Make a choice. There are many people who desire to choose but don’t do it.

Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. {SC 47.2}

Many people want to choose Him but unless they actually do choose Him they are not His. It’s simple and practical to make a choice. Choose you this day. If you chose yesterday does that make you His today? No. Many people say on a certain day they chose Jesus and that makes them His. Does that mean they are His today? Make your choice today whether you are His or not. Then you will know. If you doubt then make the choice again. Then you don’t have to doubt. The blessing will be manifested in you today if you make your choice.

1 Corinthians 6:19 … and ye are not your own…

We are not our own. It doesn’t matter what religion we profess, we are not our own.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price:

God has bought us yet he will not take us unless we let him take us. Some don’t choose God. They are saying that the price that was paid wasn’t good enough. They are saying that they are worth more that the price that was offered. They are saying that they are worth more than Jesus Christ. That is the mind of Satan. If we don’t give our all to God, we are thieving from God. Then we turn our backs on Him and love pleasure more than God. How much has he bought? Everything. What exactly did he buy?

Isaiah 1:5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

1:6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

This is the type of person that he bought. The most disgusting thing in the universe and he emptied his bank account for us! How valuable must we be to him? What are these sores and wounds in practical reality?

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.

3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

After such a wretched life Jesus appeared.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

He purchased a pleasure loving, deceitful, foolish, disobedient and hateful thing. That is what we are but look at the love of God in what he did.

Galatians 1:3 Grace [be] to you and peace from God the Father, and [from] our Lord Jesus Christ,

1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

What did Christ give himself for? He gave himself for our sins. He gave himself for us and we are grateful but our sins are too precious to some of us. We want to keep them. Christ purchased our sins. They are his. He cannot have them unless we chose Him to have them. When we give him permission he will come in to us. He will not take our sins unless we give him permission to take them. Our sins are ours if we haven’t given them to him. If they are ours we will die in our sins. But if they were his then he would have to die. He has already died on Calvary. Today right now God wants to take your sins off you. Are you willing to give him your sins? Are you willing to deny yourself of your sins? When you choose God, count the cost as it costs everything in your whole life. When he comes in he will hold up a sign in front of your eyes and you will need to make a choice. Do you want that sin or Jesus? He’s going through every secret place in your life and saying do you want that or me? Christ or Barabbas? Are you going to say away with Christ I want Barabbas? That is what many people do and so they have every reason to doubt whether they are God’s. Is this something that we cannot attain or is it practical for us to give up our sins? God will not take away our sins without us knowing without our permission. If He did so we would be robots. He cannot have you unless you consciously make a choice. That is how we can know if we are His. If you didn’t have to choose and he did it for you then you wouldn’t be able to know if you were his. This is a choice we need to make every single day of our life. The Bible says confess your sin and he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. Confess comes from two root words – to speak and to be in unity with. To confess means to say the same thing. When Christ holds up a sin and says it is a sin, then to confess that sin is to say that it is a sin too. When God says emulation (the desire to do better than others) is a sin and you say no, no, no, you have made a choice for that sin over Christ. Then when you kneel at your bed and say Father forgive my sins today you will not be forgiven because you said that emulation was not a sin when God said it is. God only wants to show us our sins so that we can choose Him. When God says the vanity (the pride of life) in your apparel is sin then to confess that we need to say that it is sin too. Would you say that is fanatical? No it is sin. When God says it is sin, it is sin whether we feel it or not.

Conviction

Some people say I’m just not convicted of that yet and I will do it when I feel it in my heart. The biggest deception in this world is to wait for a conviction in the heart. The heart is deceitful above the devil and he won’t tell you that it is a sin so surely your heart won’t tell you either. We need to rely on God’s word and if His word or one of God’s prophets says it is a sin what shall we say? God said so and so it is so whether I feel it or not. That is belief. Do we believe him when He says something is sin? If we believe him accept him and receive him and then we have the power to become the sons and daughters of God. God will take away our confessed sin if we acknowledge it as a fact and not a feeling. The gospel doesn’t get any more practical than that. If we have the blessings of Abraham which is our sins forgiven then the promise of the Spirit will be shed abroad in our heart.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Is he really a comforter? Does he really comfort us?

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, …

If we are shown a sin regardless of whether the message came from a pastor, a little child, or a donkey, who actually was it that showed us that sin? It was the Comforter. Is that a comfort to you? When he shows you a sin, he also shows you Jesus. Grace abounds much more when sins abound. We should have comfort when our sins get revealed.

Thy Rod and Thy Staff Comfort Me

How many children get comfort from the rod? Not at the time but when the rod is used with love those children are very comforted because the love of God is displayed through their parents. God is no different. When our sins are revealed there is one blessed thing: that Jesus is there to choose. Every time we are shown a sin we should say that we would rather have Jesus. That is being a believer and then we are His. We can know these things because he said so. No matter how we feel about it, we know that He loves us and gave Himself for each and every one of us, personally.

Isaiah 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul [delivered it] from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.

Every time God shows you something that you are ashamed of and you say take it away, where does it go? It goes behind his back. We are in front of his face and our sins are behind his back. Then God is between our sins and us. Who then can remind us of our sins? If people want to remind us of our sins they need to get past God first. If they can’t get past Him then they shouldn’t talk to us about our past sins. What will you say when God gets to the very last sin? Away with it, kill it! If so then God can place his seal upon you. If every sin is taken out and you have surrendered up the last sin in your life then you are full of the Holy Ghost. Pride is one of those things that are pulled out so we cannot be proud of every sin being removed. When the Holy Ghost fills the vacuum that is created when the last sin is removed that is the latter rain. That is the seal of God. It is very easy in theory but it is extremely hard in the flesh. As we read the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy we will come across slaps in the face. Every choice we have to make is working for our purification that we will be holy and without blame before God. Let us never think that believing God is to let sin continue. This isn’t a mere acknowledgement of facts that sin is sin, it involves a decision. I pray that we know whether we are God’s or not. You can know if you choose. Sanctification is an application of justification all through the life.

Amen.

 

Posted on July 2, 2011, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons For Sabbath and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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