THIS WEEKS MESSAGE
THE MIND AND CHARACTER OF GOD
"THE SPIRITUAL WEAPON OF CONFUSION"
Presented to you by Pastor
John S. Torell from his home church
Your responses and comments are always
1 February 1998
THE MIND AND CHARACTER OF GOD. We learned a few weeks ago that God is faithful. This is a strong statement. GOD IS FAITHFUL.
Turn to Isaiah chapter 45 verse 20. [We're going to learn today that God does not change his characteristics.] "Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell you, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." [Verse 22 is the key in this passage. "Look unto me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."]
God, does not change. How important is this? I believe that it is absolutely vital that we understand that God does not change. What is integrity? Integrity is, when something has been designed to something, so that it can be trusted to do the same thing over and over and over again. It will always be the same. That is integrity. You and I could not function without integrity. It has been said by many that we do not like to be restricted. We like freedom. Look at how God has made our bodies. We have a rigid skeletal system. The bones are rigid. You cannot bend them. You might think that this is not very good. Because of the integrity of the bones, we can walk. Because of the integrity of the bones you are able to have movement. You are able to work. If your bones had no integrity you would be like spaghetti and you would fall. God never changes. This is wonderful because our entire society is built on God's integrity. If we had no integrity we would not be able to work with electricity. We would not be able to work with anything. We have to rely upon God. He never changes. Integrity! His creation is the same.
Turn to Isaiah, chapter 46 verse 9. "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea: I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have proposed it, I will also do it."
A few weeks ago I started a personal program of reading through the Bible again. I have read the scriptures many times. I began in Genesis and I worked my way through the scriptures. It struck me as I read about Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jacob's sons, that there was no consistency among these people. There is a consistency of deception. You'll find in generation after generation these people were saved by Grace. They were given the righteousness of God, but as I told you before, Abraham was a habitual liar for many years after he came through. His son Isaac was a habitual liar. Isaac's wife was a liar. Jacob was a swindler. Esau was rebellious. Jacob's sons were horrible. Ruben went to his father's wife and had sex with her. Judah had sex with his own daughter-in-law. In scripture we read, God said this, "I did not choose you Israel because you're great or better than other people. I chose you because I loved you." Then the impact of all this hit me. Man is a fallen creature. We are fallen creatures. You and I, in the flesh, cannot be relied upon at all. We will even deceive ourselves. We cannot even trust ourselves. You cannot trust yourself that you'll be true to what you are. In Jeremiah it says that the heart is evil continuously and the wickedness of it is great. As we see the difference between God the Father and His created man, we can see the flaw that man has. We make promises. We make all kinds of different statements. Many times we cannot keep them.
If you look at the Constitution of theUnited States, you will see that it is the most unique document that has ever been produced by a society in this world. No one has had anything like it before and no one will have anything like it after. It is a miracle that it has survived over 200 years. It is attacked and manipulated. Many are trying to change it. It is still on the books. The most precious thing in the Constitution is this. All men are created equal in the image of God. That is a divine statement. Most societies do not believe that all men are created equal and in the image of God. They say certain people have rights and others have no rights. That is a true statement, all men are created equal and in the image of God.
We need to now look upon the greatness of God.
Turn to Hebrews, chapter 13 verse 8. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." [Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.]
If you listen to our government you will find it does not matter who is in the White House and who runs the Congress and other branches of government. It is stated that we have vital American interests. The American people are told that we have to defend vital American interests. Are vital American interests the same as God's will? I would say not. What are vital American interests? We can call them by another name. Business! It is simple. We, as a nation, have to ask for forgiveness. Every nation tries to throw its own weight around to make us much profit as possible and to control as much land as possible. Have you noticed that the American interest always change depending upon who is in power and whose corporation it is that is threatened. I hope you appreciate that God does not change. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Turn to Matthew, chapter 24 verse 4. "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." [In the Greek it says, because lawlessness will increase the love of many shall wax cold.]
Think about your job. You know very well that your supervisors, the people that are in charge of you, the people that own the company, really don't love you. Let's be honest, unless you have a Christian owner that really cares, Corporations, like IBM or Hewlett-Packard, Standard Oil or whatever large company that you may work for. There is only one reason that they are nice to you. They need your services. In order to have your services they have to pay you and give you certain benefits. Do you trust your company? Can you trust an ungodly supervisor? No! You can trust them as far as you can throw an elephant. This is where we have to come to understanding. Outside of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Ghost, there is no stability. There is nothing that we can hang onto and say, "This has integrity!" If you know this you'll not be disappointed when you get fired for not having done anything wrong. They might not like the way you look. It could be for any reason. You may say it is not fair, but this world is not fair. Satan is not fair. He has no credibility. He has no integrity. He is nothing but a rotten, dirty, no-good scum. That is the world. God will never change.
The Bible tells us that we should try to imitate God. That we should try to have the nature of God. The mind of Christ. What you and I need to do is to see how we can get close to God and be more like Him.
Turned to John, chapter 13 verse 12. "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, happy are you if you do them." [Jesus said he gave us an example.]
Turn to John, chapter 17 verse 15. "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." [Jesus prayed that we would not be part of the world.]
Turn to First John, chapter 2 verse 7. "Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him."
Why does God not change? The Bible says that God is love. God's love never changes. The way that you and I can begin to move in, is to have God's Agape love. Not Phileo which is brotherly love. Not Eros which is sexual love, but Agape, which means that we love each other with a divine love. What is divine love? It is not you or I trying to work up something from the flesh. It is when we open ourselves to Him. His love flows through us. That is the love we are talking about. Do we have that love? It is something we have to pray about everyday. It is not easy. You may be on your job or driving home from somewhere and someone cuts you off. Do you become irritated? Do you let Satan take control and let hate come in? We need to have the love of God so much in us that the anger cannot surface.
The other week there was a highway patrol man in the Bay Area, he was trying to flag someone down. The person got so angry that instead of slowing down, he started to chase the motorcycle police man. He chased him for 20 miles. The motor cycle policeman realized that his life was in danger. This person was trying to kill him. First the policeman was doing the chasing, then he was being chased. This policeman was driving in and out between cars to protect himself from this mad driver. Finally the driver lost control of his car when he sideswiped someones car and then he was arrested. He refused to talk to the police afterward because he was so angry. He was filled with Satan's anger. It is going to cost him. What did he accomplish by doing this? Nothing! This is the fruit of the devil. We have to come to the place when we see someone challenging us, no matter who it is or what they say, we have to remember, that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believe upon him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. Yes, all the rotten, stinking people that agitate you, Jesus Christ died for their sins. His soul is just as precious as yours and mine. If we can obtain the right perspective, we can look at a person and feel pity for them. What did Jesus say? Can you imagine the feelings going through Jesus Christ? He had been lied against. Then He was spit upon. His beard was ripped off, so that his face was raw. He was whipped with 39 lashes. He was made to carry his death cross to Calvary. He was pushed to the ground by the Roman soldiers. Jesus looked up and could see 72,000 angels hovering above with flaming swords. Their eyes were riveted upon Jesus waiting for his command to take him out of this torment. Can you see Jesus looking into the eyes of the Roman soldier? They probably cursed him. Can you see the temptation that the devil was laying upon Jesus, saying, "Are you going to take this?" We don't know if this took place but we do know that Jesus was tempted very hard at this time. Would you have laid there, bleeding? What did Jesus say? Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. I thank God that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. If Jesus would not have said those words you and I would not be here today. There would be no church. There would be no salvation. There would be nothing for you and I but hell and the lake of fire. There would be no hope.
Can you imagine when these roughnecks took His hands; forcing Him down to the wood and then driving the big rusty spike into them. Telling Him to shut His mouth. Keep your hands still, as they drove it in. Think about this. In Isaiah it says He did not open his mouth, that he was dumb as a sheep before the shearer.
We sing a song here from time to time, His Kind of Love. It says it was not the nails that held Him to the cross. It was His love. You and I get stirred up over small things. We have not understood what Jesus said, "What they did to the Master, they will do to the servant." Part of being a Christian is to suffer. It is not sickness, but it is to suffer shame, humiliation, slander, gossip and injustice.
God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Turn to Malachi, chapter 3 verse 6. [In every war that America has been in there has been turncoats. In World War II there were Americans who sold out in the P O W camps. They were in Korea also. We had turncoats in Vietnam. People always betray one another. The reason being, we do not have integrity.] "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed." This is a strong promise. God is saying this. "Because I do not change, I have not destroyed you. If I would change, you would not be alive. I would have judged you and destroyed you a long time ago." He said, "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers you are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not them. Return unto me, and I will return to you, saith the Lord of host. But you said, Wherein shall we return?" Then he goes on to tell them what they did.
Turn to Malachi, chapter 2 verse 11. "Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: for Judah has profaned the holiness of the lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacle of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts. And this have you done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering anymore, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Yet you say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit, And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that you deal not treacherously. You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, Wherein have we wearied him? When you say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, where is the God of judgment?"
In this nation the curse of divorce has reached epidemic numbers. It is increasing. The reason for this is, men and women have not understood that God is faithful. They have not ask God for his love. If you are not saved you cannot have that love. It is a tragedy. What do you think it will do to children when they see Mom and Dad in a final argument? They are screaming at each other and then one of them walks out of the door. The little children are crying, "Pleased don't leave us. Please don't go." When they are shaken off what you think it will do to the child? There will be irrevocable damage that only God can heal. Why do you think our children are so rebellious today? Why do you think that they are on drugs today? Why do you think the juvenile halls are filled with our young people? They have lost their homes. They have lost their security. They have no love or stability in their life. Most Americans under the age of 30 come from dysfunctional homes. They have no security. They do not know what security is. What a tragedy! Praise God, that He is in the restoration business. God will rebuild. God will start something new.
Turn to First John, chapter 1 verse 5. "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you , that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." This is what we need to understand about God. God did not create evil. There is no evil in God. God is Light.
The Cabala has been teaching that God has created evil. NO! God did not create evil. Evil created itself. Where does evil come from? Evil was born when God's created angels rejected God. They had a free will and they said, "We want to do our own thing!" That is when evil was born. Evil is born in you and I when we reject God. When we go into rebellion, evil is born.
Turn to John, Chapter 8 verse 44. "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Every lie spoken on this earth has its origin in Lucifer. He is the father of all lies. God did not create evil.
Turn to Ezekiel, chapter 28 verse 14."Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted the wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before Kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thy iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee." Evil was born when Lucifer resolved to make the decision to sin.
Divorce is a tragedy. It is terrible. You that have been divorced go back in your memory to the moment that you met your spouse. Think about the early days. The love, the sweet words the fellowship. In your heart you looked upon that woman or that man and you felt on your inside being that finally I have met someone that I can love, that I can trust, that will not betray me, that I can share my most secret things with, that I can rely upon. Those were your feelings. These were sweet moments. Where did the hate come from? As you were standing in the divorce court and property and children were divided, you stood there and you felt betrayed, naked and lonely. You looked upon the person that you once loved and this time the love was replaced with anger, hate and resentment. Where did it come from? It was born in your heart because something had broken down. Rejection had come. It takes two to break up a marriage. It is never one persons fault. Whatever it was, it was destroyed and rejection came in. There was a division. When you start with love and you breakup you never leave with love, you leave with rejection, anger and hate. What a tragedy!
There was an execution in Indiana this past week. There was a video interview with him to show to children. I watch it. The person was about 45 or 50 years old. He made this statement, "I have been a drug addict for many years. I've been a thief. I am no good. I am not going to change. I want out." This is what he did. He was sent to prison and he wanted out, so he murdered his cell mate. He pleaded guilty, but he said there is one thing that I want, "Put me to death." His request was carried out. The tragedy of this man is this. He said, "I am not going to ask God for forgiveness. I'm not going to try to get out of this." He did what Judas did. He tried to be his own god. This is where Satan lies to us. He thought he had to have some kind of integrity. All he had to show for his life was failure. So he said, "At least I will pay for my own sins." What a tragedy! God cannot create evil. There is no evil in Him. God is light. Evil was born when Lucifer on his own made the decision to sin. Evil is born continually when you and I sin, and do not follow God.
Turn to Deuteronomy, to chapter 7 verse 1. [There is another murderer scheduled to die in Texas next week. It is a different story. She was a prostitute and a drug addict. She killed one or two people with an ice pick. While in prison someone led her to Christ. She looks totally different now. She said this, "I wish I did not have to die, but if I die I will go and be with Jesus, because I am forgiven. This is love to be forgiven.] "When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shall smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take onto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall you deal with them; you shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou are an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God has chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more numbered than any people; for you were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh King of Egypt."
In verse 5 we read again, "thus shall you deal with them; you shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down the groves, and burn their graven images with fire." You and I are no longer in the occult. We are not into pornography. We have been able to destroy those things and we have been able to conquer. But there is an altar inside of us that has to go. It is the altar of offense. When we become offended and cannot forgive or release, when we cannot do these different things we go to that altar and we sacrifice to the devil and evil is created in us. It shows in sickness, anger and resentment. A person who is healed is one who has destroyed all the alters of Satan inside of themselves. This is a person who can look around with eyes full of the love of Christ. They can say this, "I have no more resentment. I've no more malice. I can afford to love unconditionally, because I have been forgiven. We forgive those that first forgive us. We forgive those whom we think there will be a benefit in forgiving them.
Go back to Calvary, look at Jesus Christ thrown down on the ground. It would be about the same as you being thrown down to the ground and be hand cuffed by the police today. They do not talk to you very kindly. See Jesus thrown down to the ground, His face looking up, destroyed with pain. A Roman soldier is standing over him and laughing. These my are thoughts now, but I believe the soldier forced his hands down with his foot. What did Jesus do? Looking up at that ugly Roman soldiers face, He said, "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do." That is God's divine love.
I challenge you today, for your own release. When we can release the hurt and pain in our lives, then God can heal us and minister to us! Are you willing for your own sake to say, "Pastor John, I know my weaknesses. I know the pain that I have in my life. I know what is hurting me and I realize that I will never become complete on this earth until I conquer that. I will be able to look into that persons eyes and say, "I release you. I forgive you. I love you with God's love."
I talked to a person this week and they mentioned that they had a daughter who was a diabetic. The daughter is about 50 years old. She has turned to Christ. She no longer has feeling in her feet. When this happens and the circulation is gone they usually remove their feet. Then someone else said, "You know that disease is a spiritual disease. The root problem is the desertion of a father, rejection in the home." Instantly, I saw tears come to the mothers eyes. That is exactly what happened in this family 45 years ago. We said, "Let this person know that there can be forgiveness. Let them know that there can be release."
I covered these two points today and I believe the Holy Spirit has been leading me. I believe in my heart that God is speaking to several of you. Today, praise God you have victory over the booze, drugs and pornography. All this stuff is under foot. You have victory. But there is an altar in your heart that you climb up everyday. You sacrifice your anger, hate and your resentment. Are you willing today to destroy that altar? If you are say, "Father, God, it has to go. I want to deal with it now. I do not want to deal with this at the judgment seat of Christ. I want to deal with it here, so when I come to the judgment seat of Christ, I can be ushered in without having to stand there and be tried for that. Wouldn't you rather deal with it here than there?
Let us pray. My heavenly Father, I thank you for taking your plow and going deep into the hearts of the people. God there has not been a person who has not been bruised in some time of their life. Father, we have cried at times because of the pain we have suffered by others. We felt that we could not ever receive a release and we have carried this with us all these years. The pain Lord, that is so heavy effects everything we do. Holy Spirit, move upon us today. Father, God, let them begin to say, "Jesus, Jesus release me! Release me from the burden and help me to let it go."
Jesus Christ is there wherever you are. Call upon his name today.
May God richly bless you is my prayer.