Part of a Sermon by Pastor John, February 18, 2012
If you people here are not living the way you want to, please leave! Go somewhere and live the way you really want to live. If you are not living the way you want to, you obviously need to change something. If you want to do the will of God and you are not living that way, you need to repent of something and be filled with the Spirit. If you want to live like the world but you are too ashamed to do it here, you need to repent of wanting to live that way – or leave and go do it! I believe and preach a gospel that liberates people to live the way they want to!
Many years ago, on a Sunday morning before we left to go to our afternoon prayer meeting down at Grandma’s house, I was listening to a local minister on the radio. He was talking to his congregation, warning them against living the way they want to. “You can’t live the way you want to!” he demanded. “You need to live the way the Bible says!” And I thought, Those poor people who want to live in sin! And their pastor isn’t helping them! If that minister had been of God, he would have told those people that Jesus delivers from sinful desires and replaces those unclean desires with holy desires! Then they could live the way they wanted to, and it be good! Instead, he berated them for wanting to sin, and gave them no way out. People cannot help wanting what they want, and if they are languishing in a life of evil desires, they need to be set free, not condemned for it.
My message is, and always has been, “Be filled with the Spirit and then live the way you want to!” Are you living the way you want to? There is no other way to be happy, in Jesus or otherwise, than to live the way you really want to live. The person to whom God has given the holy Ghost and in whom He has created right desires, can live the way he wants to live, and it will please God! But if you do not want to live right, then your options are either to seek God for deliverance or leave this congregation and stop tormenting yourself with a pointless act. Seek God for a desire to live right, or go live the way you really want to!
Thank God, I’m living the way I want to! I drink all the liquor I want to drink. I go to Las Vegas and gamble every time I want to. I commit adultery with all the women I want to. I tell all the lies I want to tell. I live the way I want to! And I praise God the way I want to. And I love others all I want to. And I tell all the truth I want to tell. Jesus came to create holy desires in our hearts and then to give us the power to live the way we want to! In Christ, we are not doomed to force ourselves to live contrary to what we want; on the contrary, we are liberated to really be ourselves!
Brother Earl Pittman once testified – and it’s a true testimony of all of God’s people – that a long time ago, he wanted to live without sin and he just could not do it. So, he kept repenting and seeking God until he could do it, until the power of God came in so that he could live the way he wanted to! That’s my testimony, too. As a young man, I wanted to truly understand the things of God. I wanted my words to reflect His wisdom, not my opinions. That’s what I wanted from my heart, and I sought Him from my heart, and He taught me from His heart so that my words would reflect His heart. That is the kind of thing Jesus came to do for us, and he did it! So now, just how do you want to live? If you want to live a right life, tell Jesus! He’ll accommodate you. He’ll make room for you at the table and let you live exactly the way you want to.
Some years ago now, Brother Bob was alone in his peach orchard one day, and he wanted to live right but didn’t know how. He prayed, “God, there’s got to be more to life than this.” God made room at the table. Shortly after Bob prayed that sincere prayer, God sent a sister in the Lord to invite Bob to the supper. The same thing happened out in San Francisco with Brother Gary, wanting to know the truth. “God, there’s got to be something better than this.” And God invited him to the table with a gospel tract that he received in the mail. Praise God! Every one of the people in this congregation have had similar feelings at some point in their lives: “God, where is the truth? Who is right? I want to live right; I want people in my life that I can trust, people that I can love and they’ll love me back and not do me wrong.” And over time, God has created this congregation to meet that need, to answer those prayers. Here we are. And it has nothing to do with me manipulating you, or you manipulating me; all of that kind of stuff is in the world, not in our heavenly Father’s kingdom. We do not manipulate each other, we relieve one another; we edify one another; we build up one another; we help one another; we love one another.
Every creature in heaven – the cherubim, the seraphim, the archangels, the angels, the Father and the Son – all of them are just doing what they want to do. For them, living a life of holiness and goodness is just as natural as can be. They do not have a “live holy and good program” to go by. They just do what they want to do, and it is holy and good. And if the Son of God has made you free, you, too, are doing what you want to do. Holiness is easy when Jesus creates a desire for it in your heart. That’s what John meant when he said, “His commandments are not burdensome.” God’s commandments were not burdensome for John because he wanted to keep them. Every commandment of God opens up a door so you can live more like you want to, if you want to keep God’s commandments. But let me tell you, God’s commandments are very burdensome if you do not want to keep them. If you do not want to know the truth, the truth is a burden, the truth will seem like an attack to those who do not want it. To them, the truth is bad and is cast aside as irrelevant. But if you do want it, the truth tastes sweet. It is a relief. Oh, what a refreshing it is! When Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” this is what he was talking about. He was promising to re-create us so that we can live the way we want to, and it be good!
God has given us holy desires, and then given us the power to live the way we want to! That’s really living. When we are living from our heart, we are living the way we want to. And when we live the holy life we want to live, there are no regrets.