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Sin Shall Not Have Dominion Over You

Dennis Priebe

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  • April 15, 2006
    10:00 AM
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Charles Fitch is a name that is known to students of Adventist history, because of his association with the Millerite movement, he joined the Millerite movement and began preaching soon advent of  Jesus Christ, but unfortunately if you remember your history, he conducted a baptism on a chilly day, three baptisms, he caught a serious illness, and he died one week before October 22,  1844. 

Can you imagine what his first question will be on the resurrection morning...  What happened in that week?  But now we're going to go back.  Before he became a member of the Millerite movement, he was a Presbyterian pastor, and in the year 1840, in New Jersey, he was asked some questions by his Presbyterian board, the Presbytery of his church.

They appointed a committee and they asked him some questions.  These were the questions they posed to him:
Number one, do you believe that the Bible teaches men are perfect in holiness in this life?  I ask no more than yes or no. 
Number two, what cases or characters were without sin in Bible history, except Christ?  Merely name them.
 Number three, of all among the martyrs whose memoirs of come down to us, how many do you find perfect?
Number four, in modern times have not the best of men evidently been sinful, more or less, and have they not thought themselves to be so?
 Number five, in the circle of your acquaintance, have those who claimed perfection generally turned out as well as those who feared always?
Number six, are those around you who claim this, more meekly and heavenly than others?
Number seven, do not perfection people very frequently run into some palpable inconsistencies?
Number eight, do you allow the belief that you are generally without sin in thought, desire, word and deed or defect?
And number nine, have you made up your mind publicly to teach and defend the position that there are men among us who are without sin?

Nine questions.  I think you get the gist of that discussion very quickly.  The brethren were not happy with the teaching of Charles Fitch in that Presbyterian Church, and they wanted to know what was going on.  Sound familiar to some questions being asked today, in the Seventh-day Adventist church?  Exactly the same kinds of questions are being asked today as were being asked back then over a hundred fifty years ago, and this morning, I am going to share with you a non-Seventh-day Adventist message, because it comes from the voice and the pen of one who was a Presbyterian pastor before there ever was a single Seventh-day Adventist on the face of this earth.  I'm going to share with you this morning the texts that he used.  That’s all we’ll do.  

The texts that he used in defence of what he believed and taught at his church in New Jersey.  We're just going to go through his texts that he used, and sample them and see what he could find in the Bible to defend this crazy belief that men will be perfect in this life.  

1 Peter chapter one.  1 Peter 1:15-16 is where he started: but as He which hath called you is holy so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, and the word conversation means conduct, because it is written, be ye holy, for I am holy.  Not a bad place to start is it?  He who has called you is holy, so be you holy also, in all your conduct, as the One who has called you.  Now as we go through this, here and there, I will share some comments that brother Fitch made on some of these Bible texts.  

Here's what he said on this point.  He said I ought to have no expectation of dwelling where God dwells, unless I have a character fully assimilated to His.  Unless I love with a full and undivided heart what He loves, and hate what He hates, and all that He hates, with a hatred, full entire uniform perpetual like His own.  There must not be in me an approach to any thought or feeling which is not in perfect, full hearted  and joyous agreement with everything that God is, and with everything that God does.  Isn’t that  just a little bit logical?  

Why should we expect to be happy in God’s home, if the things we like are the opposite of what He likes?  What kind of heaven would it be, if we, on our first day there were searching for all the things we’ve come to enjoy and find happiness in, and not one of them were there.   Would we be running behind trees, to participate in what made us happy, so that we would hide from the presence of the One who was making us unhappy?  Do you see why there will be only some, who will be in that heaven?  They’ll be the only ones that would enjoy it.  God is not going to plant people there who would be miserable.  And so maybe, just maybe, if we're planning to be there, if we’re planning to walk with God in that place, that we can't even begin to describe right now but we know some of its characteristics, shouldn't we be learning the lifestyle, the words, the attitudes, that are going to be prevalent up there, and maybe even possibly the diet?  

 Wouldn’t it be a terrible shame, to walk up to that table that's going to be spread out for miles on either direction walk up to the table, take a look up and down at table and say, Wow! There isn't a thing I like on this table.   Let's learn to live the heaven life now, what do you say?  Maybe then we'll like it up there.  That's all that Charles Fitch is trying to say.  Then he went to Luke chapter one, Luke chapter one, and he started in verse sixty eight:  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for he has visited and redeemed his people and raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.  Go down to verse seventy four, that He would grant unto us that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.  Isn't that the right way to serve God?  Without fear, without being afraid, in holiness and righteousness all the days of his life.

And then he went to one of the most powerful texts in the New Testament, the sixth chapter of Romans.  If you've not spend much time recently in that chapter, I encourage you to make a study of it.  Romans the sixth chapter, it is amazing what Paul says about baptism.  Beginning with verse two: God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Are we dead to sin?  That's the question isn't it?   Or are we half dead to sin?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?  Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.  

 What a contrast he is painting here.  The old man, the resurrection life.  What is destroyed?  What is alive?  We take texts like this with a grain of salt, don't we?  We say, well that's a nice ideal.  That's the way life should be.  I guess maybe some people have come into that experience but that's not the way normal life is.  We die, and then we kind of live again in the old man for a while.  And then we die, and and then we live again in the old man and that just seems to rotate down through life and there's nothing much we can really do about this, after all we're born of the fallen nature, and our circumstances don't allow us to live the kind of life that Christ did.  Do we really believe texts like this?  That are just right above the level of human experience, seemingly.  They just don't quite mesh, with what our lifestyle has been, and the lifestyle of our friends.  Look down to verse eleven: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 

With a passage like that, how could it ever possibly be interpreted that because of the fact that we are not under the law, sinning will just be going on and grace will just be applied right down to the second coming of Jesus Christ.  How can that be interpreted?  For sin shall not have dominion over you, because you are not under the law.  You're under grace.  That's why.  Sin is a powerless foe right now.

Over to verse twenty two: But now being made free from sin,(is that true or not?) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.  Romans six my friends, do we believe it or not?  Do we believe the impossible dream that is being spelled out in these pages or do we have to revise it to come into harmony with cultural and rational norms?  That we just have to make it sound less offensive in our ears.  Well brother Fitch had a comment or two on this particular text as well, he said: no man is dead to sin who commit sin.  He who is dead to sin sins no more.  If he falls into sin, he is no longer dead to sin.  If a man is crucified with Christ, he must be dead to sin.

Rather odd little logic wouldn't you say?   Just very strange to have it black and white like that.  It can't really mean what it says.  Absolutely impossible.  And then he went to 2 Peter 1:4, second Peter chapter one verse four: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, now folks some people think that this business of overcoming sin is a demand that the Lord places on us to see if we can jump through the right hoops and qualify for eternal life.  Do we believe that we have been given great and precious promises?  That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  Demands, commands or promises?  I think God is saying something we need to hear.  Whenever we talk about the word 'perfection' or 'living without sin', we are not talking about human abilities human demands or God's commands.  We are talking about God 's promises and his willingness to give us more than we ever dreamed possible.  We need to get our thinking changed on this subject just a little bit, and ask for promises to be fulfilled in our lives that are not completely fulfilled at this point.  

Then he went to 1 John 3, one of the most, shall we say, disliked texts in the New Testament, by those who don't believe in what were sharing this morning.   1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him (what hope? the hope of seeing Jesus soon) purifieth himself even as He is pure.   Then verse six: Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.  Verse nine: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.  And oh, those texts are so impossible, that we've come up with beautiful explanations for them.  You see, they happen to be in the Greek present tense, so this is how we should read them.   Go back to verse six, whosoever is abiding in Him is not habitually sinning.  Whoever is habitually sinning, has not seen Him neither known Him.  There's our answer.  It is habitually sin that disqualifies us.  It is habitual sin that causes us to work the works of the devil.  Occasional sin, hey, that's okay, because it's not habitual.  And now we've solved our problem haven't we?  Or have we created a whole new problem?  What is the difference between occasional sin and habitual sin?  

Because you see it's not just a matter of theoretical reasoning.  It says that he that is committing sin is of the devil.  You can't be saved while you're of the devil.  So, if we are habitually sinning,  we're of the devil.  But if we are occasionally sinning, we are of God.  That's what we're being told is the meaning of this text.  So now we have created a new dilemma haven't we?  What is the difference between occasional sin in which I stand saved in Jesus Christ, and habitual sin in which I stand lost and controlled by the devil.  How many losses of temper per week is the dividing line between occasional and habitual? three, five, seven or twelve?  You see, I need to know because in one case salvation is mine and the other case, I'm of the devil.  

It is not a minor issue how many times do we cheat on our income tax before it becomes habitual? And on and on the list goes.  No, that can't be the answer to our dilemma here.  You see, the text is that the words are in the Greek present tense, and the present tense just as in English means present continuing action.  It doesn't refer to the past, it doesn't refer to the future.  It refers to present action, going on at the present time, so what the text is really saying is very simple. Whosoever is abiding in Him is not presently sinning.  Whosoever is presently sinning has not seen Him neither known Him.  It's talking about present action, continuing action, at the present time.  Not about how many times it is done in a five day period.  It is talking about the present experience that we are having today, with God or with sin.

 1 John 3, a pretty powerful text, and here again is what Brother Fitch had to say about the subject: There are provisions available to enable the Christian to walk before God in holiness and righteousness all the days of his life, and so to abide in Christ, that he sin not.  There are provisions available.  They're there, if we can reach out far enough for them.  There is a gift that He is provided for us.  All right, next text 2 Corinthians 7:1 , second Corinthians chapter seven verse one, and notice again how the text starts: Having therefore these demands, is that what it says? Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.   How much filthiness of the flesh and spirit can be overcome? By what?  Willpower?  By promises!  And faith in the promises!  You see, what we're talking about today is all about faith.  It is not about ability.  It is not about demands.  It is about faith in the impossible just as Jesus Christ exercise faith in the impossible when he was dying on the cross.

 Faith in what has not been seen.  Faith in what God has said to be real.  Do we have faith in the promises of God, that all filthiness of the flesh and spirit?  And spirit, did you notice that?  It's easy to think about the things of the flesh, but what about the attitudes of the mind?  The little irritations that we have toward the person next to us, that isn't very nice to be with?  The feelings of wanting something that the other person has so badly that we'll undercut him or her to get it?  The feelings of self-pity because someone has hit us where it was totally unfair of them to do it?  All these filthinesses of the spirit.  Those are the impossible ones to cleanse by willpower, and strength of will. They are going to take a miracle of God.  And it says that all of them can be cleansed.  

Now we're going to go the Old Testament for a moment.  He spends most of his time in the New Testament, but in the book of Ezekiel, he finds one chapter that he wants to emphasize.  Ezekiel 36 and here he emphasizes the how of all of this.  He has told us that God expects this, God promises this, and now in Ezekiel 36 he is talking about how it will happen.  Beginning with verse twenty five Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean.  You must notice 'shall be' from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you (are you getting the picture?) will I cleanse you.  A new heart also will I give you the new spirit will I put within you and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh and I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and you shall keep my judgments and do them.  

How do we keep his judgments?   By letting Him do the miracle of the new birth.  Letting Him do the transforming of these brain waves, that we are all messed up with.  Getting some new butons into existence, getting some new pathways formed in our brains.  That's the new heart.  You do recognize that always in the Bible when it talks about organs, it's always one step up, the heart is the mind, the bowels are the emotions, etc etc.   So here we're talking about the mind.  The mind of a person.  And so here, God is going to put His mind, His Spirit in us.  And then, you can obey.  That's what God was saying.  Not until then, obviously.  

Now in terms of the whole church, he mentioned another verse here that is often not mentioned: verse twenty three, in terms of what God 's plan is.  And I will sanctify.  Now the word sanctify also has another meaning that I think would be a better translation of this text it also can mean vindicate. Let's try that.  And I will vindicate My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be vindicated in you before their eyes.  Ah, what a huge text for the last generation my friends.  

When will the world know that God is right and Satan is wrong?  When will the world know and when will the whole universe know that only God 's way works and satan's way is flawed from the very beginning, and he is a murderer from the beginning?  When he will be vindicated in us.  Before their eyes.   I've heard it sometimes said that even if the Church of God fails miserably, God will still vindicate His name, and win the great controversy.  That is never the way God operates.  He could've done that centuries ago if that's the way He wanted to do things.  Because His people never were too great at vindicating His name.  And so God has waited patiently, patiently, patiently, because He has said, I will find my vindication when a people that call themselves by my name are totally one hundred percent with Me, and that will prove that Satan 's way is flawed and cannot succeed.  

When will the Great Controversy be over?  When will it all be settled?  See, here we're not talking about whether I am saved or lost.  We are talking about when and how God wins the great controversy.  When He finishes up the struggle that began so many centuries ago.  He will finish it when He is vindicated in His people before the eyes of the universe.  And not until then.  That is the reason for the calling into existence of a remnant church at the end the age.  That is the only reason I know of.  Yes He wants us to win souls, and yes He wants us to tell about His will, His ways and expound His truths, but more than anything else, He wants a generation that will be one hundred percent on His side.  In the same way that Romans six is described it.  That is the last generation then he went back to the New Testament in second Corinthians once again.  

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.  What agreement does the Lord have with idols?  What agreement should our temples have with idolatry, of any kind?  That is a contradiction in terms isn't it?  Then he went to 1 Thessalonians chapter five.   1 Thessalonians chapter five, too bad he couldn't find many texts in the bible to support his view, isn't it? 

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.  There we are again.  Who is going to make the person blameless?  Certainly not us.  Certainly not any teachers that we have.  Certainly not any programs that we have.  Only He can make us blameless, under the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Praise God!  One of the outstanding of our pioneers.  And brother Fitch had a few comments on this as well, he had a thought or two.  He said, through the promises of God, the promises we cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that these promises will be fulfilled to us for His sake.  

The question is very simple, isn't it?  Do we believe in His promises?  Do we believe that what He has promised He is able to carry out, and fulfil?  Do we believe that God can really do that?  Or do we think it's just impossible?  He said also, he who trusts in Christ to be kept from sin is the man and the only man that does fear always.  He knows that he never shall in any instance keep himself.  And therefore always flies to Christ.  Do we have that confidence?  Do we know that we can come to Christ whenever, whenever we need to?  I expect that He, according to His own promise will be faithful to sanctify me holy and preserve my whole spirit and soul and body blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I therefore expect to abide in Him.

And whosoever abideth in sinneth not.  Do we expect to abide in Him?  Or is our track record such that we really can't expect that on a regular basis?   We'll abide sometimes, but not always.   You see, sometimes the word 'perfection' is used, to show, in the Bible that it doesn't mean living without sin.  It simply means maturity or completeness, and therefore doesn't really mean overcoming all sin.  We haven't even talked about the word 'perfection' now, have we, very much? We have just talked about promises of God, dying to self, living for Christ, blameless, in Christ, abiding.   You don't have to use the word 'perfection' at all.  It is a very clear concept without ever touching the word in the Bible. 

Then he goes to Ephesians 5:27 Ephesians chapter five verse twenty seven, That He might present it (that is the church)to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  Can God do that?  Can He really take a whole body of believers, from here and there and everywhere in all parts of all and also other kinds of status and and economic situations, and make them holy and without blemish?  Can He do the impossible because it does seem it's impossible.  And one last text Romans chapter four, Romans 4:20 Abraham,  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.  

Why was Abraham considered righteous by faith?  Because he believed the promises of God.  When He had promised.  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.  Why was he considered righteous?  Because he believed all the promises of God.  Yes he slipped and failed, but he came to believe.  Just as we have slipped and failed, but we can come to believe all the promises of God.  If we will allow that to happen.  And then we have the decision, after Charles Fitch presented all of these arguments and all of these Scriptures, what was the decision of the Presbytery regarding his situation?  

"After being made acquainted with my views and feelings on the subject of sanctification, you have passed a resolution declaring them to be important and dangerous error, and admonishing me to preach them no more.  I must therefore say brethren, and I hope to do it with all meekness and humility and lowliness of heart, that I cannot regard your admonition."  Brother Fitch had a decision to make.  He preached what he believed, what he was convicted of in his Presbyterian Church.  The ones who have an oversight of the church were displeased.  They challenged him with questions and he gave the best scriptural evidence that he had for his beliefs and they said, it's error, you must stop preaching it.  

And now he had a decision to make.  Do we have the same decision to make today my friends?  Because the same questions are being posed to us.  The same issues are at stake today, as were there.  Why do I share this non-Adventist the sermon with you?  Because I want us to see so clearly, that this is not based on Ellen White, this is not based on Adventist theologians, this is not based on Adventist tradition.  Here is a man, who had none of those things, never an Adventist in existence, and he went to the Bible, and this is what he found.  I think we need to know that my friends.  And I think we need to be convicted on that over and over and over again, because the same questions are being posed to us now, as were being posed back then.  

And we, each one, will have decisions to make that may cost us something if we take the decision that brother Fitch did.  And I'm going to finish up this morning by sharing just a little bit of his concluding thoughts, as he finished up his reasoning.  "While you" (he was referring to his committee in charge), "while you tell your people that they ought to be free from sin, and are wholly inexcusable for not being so", (isn't that exactly what every theologian Adventist and non-Adventist says today?).  "You want to be free from sin.  Sinning is not good.  Sinning is something that is not in harmony with God 's will.  And while you pray that they may be redeemed from all iniquity, they know (they, the people), know perfectly well that you have no expectation that it will take place while they live.  And hence all your exhortations and prayers are wholly lost.  Your people know, and you expect that they will live along in sin until death.  And while you exhort them to be free from sin, you show them no way by which they may become so, and maintain that it would be an important and dangerous error to expect to be so, until they die.   Hence all your efforts for the sanctification of God 's professing people are rendered perfectly nugatory".  Now there's word to conjure with.  

 How some of these brethren used the language, didn't they?  Nugatory, null and void, irrelevant, meaningless.  All your efforts for the sanctification of God 's professing people are invalidated.  "I am not urging them to chase the Phantom, which however earnestly and laboriously sought will lose their grasp till death.  I am leading them to the enjoyment of a blessed and glorious reality which is treasured up for them in Christ.   And which they may, every one of them secure and most richly enjoy.  There seems to be a wonderful and strange inconsistency in urging Christians to holiness of heart and life, and at the same time telling them that they can never be without sin while they live.  And that if they think that Christ who was manifested to take away their sins will ever do it, till He takes away their breath they have embraced important than dangerous error.  When the watchmen of Israel cried out in the ears of the people that no man ever did or will abide in Christ and sin not, on earth, that God who has sworn to do it, never will grant to us what can we expect but that many who desire deliverance from sin will despair of attaining it.  And submitted despondency  to the will of their spiritual foes, and groan away their lives in grievous bondage, when they might be enjoying the liberty wherewith Christ would make them free.   And then others, glad to have such an excuse for their sins, will comfort themselves in their worldliness and their unhallowed indulgences by the feeling that they are not expected while they live to be free from sin.   This looks to me like a subtle, and dangerous snare of the great enemy of Christ and his church.  Herein it seems to me, lies the important and dangerous error".  

And then he said something very important, as a principle of Bible study.  "There is a large class of Scripture texts which are designed to set forth the truth that by nature and by practice until regeneration, all mankind are evil, only evil, and that continually.  But if any man be in Christ, is a new creature.  Old things are passed away and all things are become new.  The character of such a one is precisely what it was not, before.  And those passages of Scripture which describe his character before, cannot describe it now.  The Scriptures used to describe the two characters stand in direct opposition to each other".  

And that's the point we've missed, isn't it?   There are texts in the Bible that say, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  And if you say you have no sin, you're lying.  There are texts like that all through the Bible.  What do they apply to?  Whom do they apply to?  That's the question.  Those passages of Scripture which are relied on, to prove that God 's people never will be presented perfect in Christ Jesus while they live, are designed to set forth the characters of the un-renewed, and not the characters of such as are in Christ Jesus,  and who are therefore new creatures.  That's a very important principle of Bible study.  Context, time and place, what is it referring to, what experience?   

A few last thoughts "Can I tell the people of God that they have no savior from sin their whole lives?  That live long as they may, and labor as hard as they may, to find out the path of life and pray fervently as they may, and trust in the Savior, for the fulfillment of the promises as fully as they may,  they are doomed hopelessly to sin against the Redeemer they love, more or less, even at their dying hour.   That all their cries and struggles for help are vain.  And that they must to some extent be rebels against the heart of infinite love until the grim monster death appears or their deliverance.  It seems to me, that God 's professing people do not know their deliverer.  And there are vast multitudes who seem altogether unwilling to know Him.  That I hold the doctrine, which you call important and dangerous error, and believe it to be the brightest glory in my bleeding Savior 's gospel is true, and I know that, if you knew the blessedness of trusting fully in Christ as your Redeemer, from all iniquity, there is not a man of you, who would not choose that his tongue should perish, rather than be used to pronounce such a doctrine importantly and dangerously erroneous".

The testimony of a brother who never even knew Ellen White and the Seventh-day Adventist church. Do we have evidence from God 's word sufficient to meet all of the arguments of Satan and all of the impossibilities of the human soul?  Do we have sufficient promises to cast our faith on, to believe in, to trust, the impossible?  Are we impossibility dreamers?  I hope so.  Let's make it more than a dream though shall we.  What is impossible with men is possible with God.  Have we learned nothing from the experience of the Israelites, and walking through the Red Sea, and manna from heaven and their clothes not wearing out, and no diseases of the Egyptians laid upon them.  Have we learned nothing about possibilities and impossibilities?  

When God promises something, He means it.  When He promises that His people will have the experience of victory over all sin, He means it.  We just have to decide to believe the impossible promises.  And I trust, that today, we got a little help from a brother.  A brother that I hope to meet when He asks that question, what happened during the week after I died.  And we will fill in a little of the history that took place, and show him that what he believed back then was actually fulfilled in the living reality in the last generation of people that will ever exist on this earth.  That he was not running down a wrong track, that he was on solid ground, and he did not lose his pastorate for nothing.   He lost it for Truth.  And some of us will lose reputations and credibility for Truth as well.

May God help us.  Let us pray.  Father as we have read these texts this morning, as we have searched the impossibilities.  Lord help us to believe that Your word is truth, no matter what our experience or our teachers say.  May we also believe, that when You have said this You expect to fulfill it.  And may we offer the hope that every child of God, that there is hope in Jesus Christ for all the impossible promises.  Lord we want the new Spirit.  We want to be cleansed.  We want to have a new heart.  And I pray today, that we will have this new heart implanted deeply within us, so that very soon, a seal can be placed on our foreheads, because there we have come to the point of being intellectually and experientially rock-solid, so that we cannot be moved, I ask in Jesus name.  Amen.

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