A Cure For The Serpent’s PoisonDr. Erwin W. Lutzer | November 19, 2013
Selected highlights from this sermon
We all share some similarities with Satan—pride, self-rule, and rebellion. It starts with our tongues, as we are filled with slander and silent about Christ. Then there are the unclean lusts and the desire for control. Finally, we deceive ourselves so that we can’t even sense our own evil.
We must put these desires to death by our faith in Christ. We must give up whatever it takes in order to free.
Let me ask you something. Would you be offended (I hope you are in a good mood.) if I were to say that ysou probably have some of the same characteristics as the devil? (chuckles) Believe it or not, you and I very probably do, because let us remember that a little drop of his rebellion has fallen on every single human heart.
I want you to take your Bibles and turn for just a moment to Galatians 5 where we have the works of the flesh that are listed. Always remember that even if Satan were banished from this planet right now, we’d have many of the same sins committed, and still read many of the same headlines. We would still be in much the same predicament around the world because we have enough sinfulness in our nature to do many terrible things.
Galatians 5 lists the deeds of the flesh and it says in verses 19 through 21 that they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. Quite apart from the devil, these are the things that we are capable of doing. And one of the things I want you to notice is the diversity of the list. It has everything from sorcery to drunkenness to outbursts of anger to all manner of impurity. There’s something else about this list that is striking. Let’s think of every one of these sins as branches on a tree. Actually God has cursed the whole tree.
See, perhaps you look at this and think, “Oh, I would never be involved in drunkenness. That’s not my temptation. I don’t drink.” Well, that’s wonderful if that’s true of you, but is there envy? Is there dissension? Are there factions? Is there impurity? It’s not as if we can pick and choose in that sense because God says, “I hate the entire tree.” It is all cursed.
Now let me answer another question. What is the root of the tree? What is it that really lies at the heart of the evil that is within us? And the answer to that in a single word, or a hyphenated word, is self-will, which is, of course, Lucifer’s sin. “I will be like the Most High.” This happens to be number seven in a series of messages on God’s Devil, and we learned that it was because of that pride, because of that desire to be number one. It is then that sin began and the whole sordid story began to be told.
Now what I’d like to do today is to make, first of all, some parallels between us and Satan. Yes, that’s what we’re going to do. Maybe you didn’t expect that, coming into church, but that is what you are going to be served in this message. But then afterwards what we’re going to do, by God’s grace, and it does take God’s grace, is to put the ax to the very root of the tree and deal with that thing that we call self-will, which is the playground of the devil. That’s the agenda.
First of all, some of those similarities, some of those parallels! And for this I’m going to be quoting verses of Scripture. I will give you one verse. We may not turn to all the verses. You simply jot them down, and then you can read them later.
First of all, verbal slander! A very interesting passage occurs in 1 Timothy 3:11. That’s the verse to write down. First Timothy 3:11 where the Apostle Paul is talking about the qualifications of leadership. And he says this about the wives of deacons. Now if you are a deacon here at the church, listen up at this point. And if you’re an elder, listen up. And if you’re a staff member, listen up, because it really refers to all those who are leaders, and all believers in every era. This is what Paul says. He says: “I exhort the wives of deacons that they be not… My translation says malicious gossips. The King James says slanderers. But do you know what the Greek says? “I exhort them not to be diabolos (devils). That’s the Greek word that he uses because the word devil means slanderer. That’s the way it’s translated in the New Testament. Whenever you have a reference to Satan it is diabolos, and the plural is diabolos. “I exhort the women that they be not devils.”
What is he talking about? He’s saying that if you slander someone, you are doing the devil’s work. That’s his job description. That’s what he does day in and day out, and you speak ill of others and you are on his playground—on his turf.
Of course, slander refers to making accusations that are false in order to ruin the reputation of someone else. Have you ever had that? Oh, I know that you have. We all have. Have you ever had that good feeling of being able to tear down somebody else, especially in an area in which you are strong? That’s when it feels the best. “This is not my problem. Think of what he is doing.” Slander!
I was with a young pastor recently in another state who was having a conversation with one of his staff members, and they weren’t getting along very well. And eventually I think one or the other is going to have to go, but anyway, he was telling the staff member, “There are three things we need to be reconciled about; go home and pray about it and then come back and tomorrow we’ll talk about it.” The young staff member went home and called all of his friends. The pastor’s phone is ringing off the hook with all of these false accusations. My dear friend, that is the devil’s work. Do not be a devil. Don’t you dare pick up that telephone and call someone who is neither a part of the solution nor a part of the problem and slander someone else.
Now I have a question for you. What is the difference between Satan, whose main business is slander (In fact, that’s what his name means.), and some carnal Christian who goes about stirring up strife, slandering other believers? Now there may be some difference, but a drop of Satan’s rebellion has fallen on every single human heart. When we slander we do his work.
Well, number two! You’re getting seven of them so we need to go quickly. Number two: the refusal to publicly confess Christ. The refusal to publicly confess Christ! Someone says, “Well, you know, I can talk about the World Series. I can talk about politics. There’s lots to talk about in politics, but the problem is that I cannot speak about Christ to anyone, even if God opens the door. My tongue is tied suddenly.”
I had a Christian man tell me he was sitting in a barber chair, and the barber actually began to ask him questions about what he believed about Christ and the whole bit. I mean, it was as if the barber was saying, “Here I am. Tell me about Jesus.” And the man said he couldn’t open his mouth.
And you know it’s interesting that in 1 Corinthians 12:3 the Apostle Paul is talking about speaking in tongues. Remember this: The devil wants your tongue. We learned that about slander just a moment ago. You say, “Well, what is the most important part of my body that the devil would want? Answer: your voice box, your tongue, because that’s the best way you can do His work.
Well, he wants to use your tongue to slander people, but he wants to make sure also that your tongue is not used to witness for Christ. And Paul says that no man, speaking under the inspiration of an evil spirit, will call Christ Lord. Demons never confess Jesus Christ as Lord unless they are forced to. Well, but there are believers who are not willing to public confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
Now, maybe I’m being a bit hard on us because certainly there is a difference. A believer would love to be able to confess Jesus Christ to be Lord, but maybe he doesn’t know how to do it. Maybe he needs some training. He has to overcome fear, and so there is a difference. But there may be this similarity. Whether it is Satan who will not confess Christ Lord or a Christian who is afraid to confess Christ Lord, the similarity is that both of those actions stem from a lack of fervent love for Christ. We love to sing “Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing.” And God gives us a good one that really works, and we find that we can’t use it to witness for Christ. So secondly, the refusal to confess Christ publicly.
Third, uncleanness. Uncleanness! Twenty times in the New Testament, at least, the Bible uses the word uncleanness to refer to evil spirits. For example, in Luke 9:42 it says: “Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit.” Now, we’re not talking about physical uncleanness. We’re not talking about that. You know, according to a poll, I think a majority of Americans actually believe that the expression “cleanliness is next to godliness” is from the Bible. And that is rather humorous. I want you to know that that is not found in the Bible, and I already know that I am telling you something that you know, so we can hurry on.
We’re not talking about physical uncleanness. Cleanliness may be next to godliness in America where we’ve got lots of soap and water, but it may not be that way in other parts of the world. I’m talking about moral uncleanness. Second Peter 2:10 uses the very same word—uncleanness—that he’s used for evil spirits to speak of the lust of uncleanness. That’s the same kind of uncleanness.
A woman, in whose heart God had done a wonderful work of transformation, had come to a crisis in her life and finally dealt with an issue that had dogged her spiritual life for years and years and years. She had to burn more than 300 trashy novels. She said it was like taking a file drawer, opening it up and then turning it upside down and allowing all that trash to just fall away, and cleaning this file drawer. And she referred to it as cleaning because the novels were uncleanness.
Do you want to know what uncleanness is? Turn on the talk shows on modern day television! Uncleanness, movies, video tapes, CDs, certain kinds of music filled with uncleanness and impurity. Now I have a question for you. What’s the difference between an unclean spirit and a carnal Christian with a very cluttered unclean life? Both are the fruit of self-will.
Well, hurrying along, number four: a passion for control. A passion for control! And there are so many passages that could be used here. You can simply just write down Mark 5. That will do. Remember the demon who wanted to control that man who was there in the tombs? And he did a pretty good job until Jesus Christ came along and cast the demons out and they went into the swine.
Now listen carefully. This passion to control is demonic. It is a characteristic, first of all, of cults. There are false cults who say, “You come to us. We will train you. We cut you off from your family. You can’t talk to anybody who disagrees with us. We want you to no longer have association with your friends and anyone else and your church, because we will tell you the whole truth.” And then they stick with you all the time. You can never really be alone because you must come under their authority. And they will tell you what to wear, what to believe, who you can speak to, and they’ll do it under the name of Scriptures and say, “Well, this is just obedience to elders,” and what they want is demonic, satanic control. Get out of a cult like that if you happen to be in it. Get out! Don’t believe their lies.
Here in the Chicago area there was a man many years ago who, in effect, left an evangelical church and belonged to a cult. And he wanted to meet with me for some reason, and at the end he wanted me to come under his authority. I was supposed to be totally dominated by him, and then I was to kneel at his coffee table and repent basically of my unwillingness to submit to his authority. Do you know what I felt? I felt that if I had knelt at his coffee table, it would not have been to God. It would have been to him. I can still see those beady eyes saying, “I want to control you.” Devil! Devil!
You know that we can see the extremes, but what are some of the non-extremes? If you happen to live with a person who is always right, who has to win every argument and every fight (I wasn’t expecting any Amens so I’m not surprised that I have all of this silence suddenly), somebody who is always right… He has to be. He has an ego need to prove that he is right. “I need to control. I need to hang on to who I am.” This macho! Oh my, how God has had to drag some people from one briar patch to another to humble them to finally break them and smash them. And I’ve seen people on their death bed finally admit to their families that they had been wrong. Think of what it took to get a confession like that out of their mouths until God finally took all the control away, until something serious was happening in their lives that they could have no control over whatever. They were dying and now suddenly they say, “I was wrong.” What a tragedy to wait until a time like that!
Or somebody who hangs onto his possessions! Same thing! Control! Power! God gives them the opportunity to earn money and they think that when we have an offering at church that they are really doing God a favor by giving something, when in point of fact, number one, we are always only giving back what God has already given to us. But there’s no joy, there’s no generosity, there’s no hilarity. There’s no willingness to take risks with giving because they want to play it safe. Control! Control! I want it to be mine. Ownership! Demonic ownership!
Now what’s the difference between Satan who wants to control others, and someone who maybe can’t control others, but he wants to control himself and his wealth and all that he is? There may be some difference, but in every case it is the fruit of self-will.
Number five, and here’s one for you if you haven’t been hit yet. It’s coming! Just wait! We’re only now at number five, and we still have three to go. Number five, the love of praise! Matthew 4:9! Satan takes Christ and shows Him the kingdoms of the earth, and says, “If You worship me I will then give them to You. Just worship me, notice me, admire me, bow before me.”
Have you ever been miffed because you have been overlooked and not properly thanked, admired and appropriately praised? I was working on this sermon and, you know, you’ve heard me say that my sermons do me a whole lot more good than they ever do you, but I remember in the first year of Bible school my roommate was elected to be class president. And he was a fine enough chap, but I thought to myself, “What a wrong decision that the class made.” I thought, “This guy’s roommate would have been much more qualified for the position.” I also remember that this guy’s roommate later on was elected student body president two or three years later, and thought, “Well, it was about time that somebody recognized the gifts that God had given him.” (laughs)
Oh, I’ll tell you something. Envy! The love of praise! Can’t you see my gifts? Am I being properly thanked? Am I being properly honored? What a… I want to say the word, though I’m overstressing the point. What a demon in all of us that must be slain! The love of praise! Oh, Satan wants it, and you and I want it too. And sometimes God takes us through circumstances where we are stripped from that just to see what’s there, just to make sure that we have come to a death of self-will, which is what we’re going to talk about in just a moment.
Number six, lawlessness! Lawlessness! And here 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says that Satan or Antichrist is that lawless one, but here you can also put John 8:44: “You are of your father, the devil.” Notice those characteristics that Christ said of the Jews of His day. He said, “The lust of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and he was a liar, and you murder in your heart, if not literally, and you lie and you deceive, and that is the devil’s work.” That is characteristic of demons.
And finally (We must hurry on.) number seven, self-deception! You see, Satan was deceived about himself because he thought that he could rebel against God and things might in the end might go well with him. I think he expected God to kind of tap him on the wrist, so to speak. In fact, in the first message you remember we emphasized that point. And so he was self-deceived about himself. He was deceived about God, and now he wants to lead us into deception.
You know, the Scriptures talk about Satan’s ability to deceive. In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul says, “I fear that just as Satan deceived Eve that your heart should be deceived from the simplicity which is in Christ.”
Listen very carefully. Did you know that if you are deceived you don’t know it? You don’t know it, because if you knew it, it would not be a genuine deception. That’s why there are so many things in our lives that God has to reveal to us because we need to deal with self-will, which lies at the root of this awful tree that God has cursed.
Now, in order to relate this to demonic activity and for you to understand its significance, I want to tell you the story today of a woman by the name of Laura. Laura came to Moody Church ten years ago, and I might say that she is no longer here. And more importantly I might say that she has given me permission to share her story. In fact, in writing she said, “You can share it, and you can even use my name.” So we are going to use her real name—Laura.
Laura came to the attention of the staff here at the church many, many years ago because of divisiveness. She was a problem, causing division within the church, speaking ill of others, even manipulating to the extent of being able to divide a friend from a friend, causing problems all the time. It became very clear to some of us that Laura was indeed struggling with deep demonic oppression. And she came to us for counsel, and another staff member and I counseled her. And this may really surprise some of you, and if you’re not used to this you have to simply understand that it’s not as shocking as it first appears. But when you counseled her and spoke to the spirits that clearly oppressed her, the spirits would take her vocal cords and speak. And frequently they would not only harass us, but they would mock us, and they would make fun of our ability to cast them out in the name of Christ. They were just really wily evil beings. And we couldn’t help Laura.
In fact, about a month later, after we had done some counseling, she came to me here at the church, right here at the platform, and said, “Pastor Lutzer, I want you to know that I have hated you ever since I have come here.” And I asked her, you know, what I had done to deserve this, and she said, “Really, it’s not your fault. It’s just mine, but I wanted to make sure that I was reconciled with you.” And so I accepted that.
About a month later she called me on the telephone at 11 o’clock at night and said, “You know, I’ve been battling these spirits all evening, and at last I think I am free, and I want to call and tell you.” So I said, “Fine,” and I said, “Laura, I’m going to pray with you on the telephone that you might be able to sleep well.” The minute I began to pray a spirit took over her vocal cords and said, “Why did Laura call you so late? I’m going to wear you down.” And I recognized again that I was talking not to her but to a spirit. I said, “What is your name? In the name of Christ tell me your name.” He said, “My name is Love.” I said, “Will that stand as truth in the sight of the living God?” and he said “No.” And he said, “I have caused her to hate you at Moody Church so that she wouldn’t listen to a thing that you say.” And on and on this went for about fifteen minutes.
And then I rebuked the spirit, and I spoke to Laura. I said, “Laura, do you know what’s happening?” And she said, “Oh yes, I know.” She said, “I am so oppressed that a spirit speaks through my mouth.” Well, we never helped Laura, and Laura moved on to another state and left Moody Church. And I never heard from her and thought, “Well, that’s too bad.” I didn’t know what happened to her. Ten years later she writes me this letter, and I need to read it to you because it is a powerful letter. Just listen.
Dear Pastor Lutzer,
I wanted to write to you to let you know some of the things the Lord has taught me concerning spiritual warfare. A few years ago when I was attending Moody Church and experiencing demonic oppression, I had a low self-image and was not able to experience the victory that had been already purchased for me by Christ. I was beaten up with guilt, shame, despair and hopelessness. I saw no way out.
Since Moody Church I was involved in two other ministries where practically the same thing happened. I was not even aware that I was being manipulated by demons to try to destroy my pastor. I was not getting along with others in the Body of Christ, and I couldn’t like myself. I couldn’t maintain a decent job. I could not grasp the love that God had for me, nor did I understand that He had gained the victory for me.
For many years I drifted in the same direction—nowhere. About a year ago the Lord brought me to Tulsa where I joined a very powerful spirit-filled ministry. In the beginning things sort of happened the same—still the same guilt and shame and low self-esteem. But the Lord helped me to determine that I would not run anymore. Besides, I had run out of places to run. With the Lord’s help, and the love and patience of the pastoral staff, and the support of brothers and sisters in the Body, I began to believe that God loved me, too, and that I could take Him at His Word, and that I could have victory over the devil and his schemes.
I can now see that the battle does begin in the mind. If the enemy can get you to focus on the things that he has planted in the mind, he has you where he wants you—defeated and miserable. (Now notice this sentence, and this is crucial.) All the knowledge that I had obtained through the years was powerless. (That’s humbling. That means that everything she learned at Moody Church, everything we tried to do with her in counseling was of no value.) It was powerless because it was not coupled with faith.
“How could God love someone as awful as me?” I thought. He’s going to leave me just as I am because He didn’t care. These are the very words I listened to for years and I believed them. Praise be to God. He doesn’t give up. Today I understand the position that I have in Christ. I am a joint-heir with Him, and enjoy the same privileges as Christ. I thank Him for His forgiveness. I keep short accounts with Him. He has given me a tongue that gives praise and speaks confidently of all that I have been blessed with in Him.
Everything isn’t perfect because we live in an imperfect world, etc. but now I enjoy a sense of freedom and victory because “whom the Son sets free, he shall be free indeed.” It is my desire to share what I have gone through, and to pray for others who are also a victim of the devil’s lies. Thank you for the part that you played in recognizing that I was being tormented by evil spirits. Please continue to pray for me.
I wrote back and said, “Laura, your letter is so fantastic. Can I use it?” And she said, “Yes, you can even use my name.” She said, “Tell anyone you like.”
In her second letter, in which she confirmed that, she said this.
Please tell others that a life of praise to the Lord is one of the most effective weapons against the enemy. Satan hates praises to Jesus, and so I have grown to love using praises against him. Also, if anyone is harboring sin in his life—unforgiveness, lying, hatred, hostility, anger, etc.—it only gives the enemy a foothold to torment them so you must forsake sin, not making any excuses for what has happened in the past. And I have found that demonic oppression can also be transferred and passed on through the family line.
I praise God that He will (and He can) never lie. If he has said that the devil is a defeated foe, then he is. It was so hard for me all those years to believe this because Satan made himself to appear very strong. He made me feel that I was no match for him, and that I would have to live the rest of my life in torment. But praise be to God, “Whom the Son sets free, he is free indeed.” I am grateful for the blood of Jesus Christ that bought this freedom for me.
And then she expresses the hope that others will be brought to the same deliverance.
I know that time is hurrying along, but I would like to share with you very quickly what it means to die to self-rule that is the fruit of sin, that is the root from which all the other troubles and sins stem.
Very quickly, number one, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, remember that in Christ you died to self-rule.
Romans 6 says that we have been placed into Christ. “Shall we then continue in sin that grace may abound? No! How shall we who have died to sin live any longer therein, knowing this, that our old man, our old nature was crucified with Christ?” In Galatians 6, the passage that we began with, it says: “Now all those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.”
Why is it so important to begin there? Listen carefully. It’s because some of you, listening to this message, say to yourself you are a hopeless and helpless case. That’s what you are saying. And the reason that you are saying that is because you think that God is going to ask you to do the impossible. But remember that God never asks us to do anything that Christ has not already done for us. All that we are asked to do is based on what He has done, and therefore I want to give you hope, and I want to give you confidence that you, my dear friend, today can be changed. You can be changed. Christ already paved the way.
Number two! We can die to self-rule by a choice. We can choose to. Could Laura have been helped here at The Moody Church? Yes. Maybe we failed in counseling. Maybe we didn’t explain it correctly. I don’t know, but if she had grasped the fact that she was going to have to lay down all that bitterness, and she was an abused woman so we can understand how hard it was… But if she had grasped that she had to lay all that down and to believe in the victory of Jesus Christ, why then indeed that transformation could have happened years earlier. This letter is a great joy, but the downside is it’s too bad that she had to wander around for ten years with that kind of a lifestyle and torment before she was set free.
Now for Laura, dying to self meant getting rid of that bitterness. It meant believing God. For you it may mean something else. It may mean giving up that stronghold of uncleanness. It may mean surrendering the control of your life and your business and your bank account. It may mean something different to everybody. But it is that that God wants.
You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, what shall I give up to God today?” I can tell you very quickly. Give Him the thing that is hardest for you to give up. There you’ve got it, and for every one of us it is different. But we come to the point where we make a choice. We simply say that I am no longer going to rule my life. I submit the matter that is dearest to me to God, and I come under Spirit rule rather than self-rule. And God always puts His finger on the thing that is dearest to us, and oftentimes, the thing that hurts the most.
Thirdly, we must die to self-rule by faith. It must be by faith. Faith that what Jesus Christ accomplished for us is already done! Yes! Faith that we can receive the fullness of the Spirit, but even more than that, faith to believe that God can use whatever He wills in our life to perfect us. You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, I don’t know whether or not I have died to self. Have I?” Of course, it’s a continual process, so we cannot answer just with a definitive yes or a definitive no, but let me tell you something. A person who has died to self-rule has stopped telling God what He can or cannot use in the process of refinement. A person who has died to self does not say, “God, you cannot use injustice. I will fight injustice. I will get victory in injustice. I will not tolerate injustice.” No, because the person who has died to self-rule says that God used injustice to put Christ on the cross. He might also use injustice to put me on the cross, too.
The person who has died to self does not say, “God, you can’t use betrayal. You cannot use betrayal.” Oh yes He can. He used the betrayal of Judas to get Christ to the cross. God can use these things to, so to speak, put us on the cross. And so, that’s what I’m asking you to do today. It’s to die to self-rule, to say that the things that I hang onto, the things that I will not give up I will surrender in faith, believing that God’s way is best.
Now, I can imagine that there is somebody here today, maybe a visitor, who says, “Well, who in the world would want to do this anyway? I mean, who would want to die to self-rule? Who would want to turn over the reins of his life to God? I mean, who would want to do that, and why?” One of the reasons is to increase the joy.
Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full,” but you can’t experience that joy unless you realize that “without Me you can do nothing.” Nothing! That is death to self-rule. One other reason might be to take away the loneliness. Not all loneliness but some loneliness is due to a refusal to submit to the sovereignty of Christ. Jesus said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abides alone.” And there is companionship in fruitfulness. There is a breaking of our wills, a work of God that is so deep that we give up the surrender of our own lives to Christ, and then the Holy Spirit of God and the work of God can break out of that hard shell that we have so confidently and completely sealed ourselves within. And that’s what God does.
Now let me say also, folks, that when I was out on the farm, you know, I used to frequently walk along in the grass, and suddenly you’d come across a whole bunch of flies. What is a bunch of flies? It’s not a herd of flies. It’s something. Anyway—lots of flies! That’s what I remember. Lots of flies! And then you’d look and find out why. You’d discover that perhaps a bird had died there and was rotting, or perhaps a rodent had died and was rotting. And you know it would have been interesting to try to get rid of the flies, to do an analysis of the flies, to try to see the different kinds of flies, to observe the behaviors of the flies. And we could have written a book on flies, and I’m sure somebody has written a book on flies.
There’s another way to get rid of them. Just get rid of the rot! Just get rid of the rot! This isn’t true all the time, but in most cases the reason that we are so harassed by Satan is because there is something within us that we will not give up. And it becomes his playground. And you can counsel Laura, and you can exhort Laura, and you can try to help Laura, and you can pray with Laura, and you can do everything, and it doesn’t work. She said it was powerless. Powerless until she dealt with the fundamental issue of who will rule my life completely and totally and give up the thing that is hardest to give up. And that is what I am asking you to do today. I’m asking you to die. That’s what I’m asking.
Jesus said, “If you come after me you have to take up your cross and follow me.” And whoever Christ bids, He bids him die. Are you willing to die? That’s the antidote to the serpent’s poison.
And if you will, let us pray.
Father, we invite Your blessed Holy Spirit to do what no man can. We’re humbled by the words of this letter, that everything that was learned was powerless. And Father, that’s the way we feel today. Everything we’ve heard is powerless unless it is mingled with action and faith. We ask today, Father, therefore that You will do what only You can do.
What I would like to do today is to read a prayer. And this prayer is basically a prayer that is an admission that we are dying to self and we are receiving the life of Christ into our lives, that we are being broken, that the thing that we hang onto is finally being given up. And I would like you to have an opportunity to recite this prayer out loud after me if you would so desire. I would think that most of you would want to. For whatever reason others of you might not want to. But it’s a prayer that I want to pray, and I hope that many of you want to pray it with me as I give it phrase by phrase and line by line. Will you join me out loud?
My Father, I want to thank You that Jesus Christ died for me. I thank You that I also died with Christ. I now accept His death on my behalf. In faith, I choose to die to self-will. I surrender every struggle I have with sin (pause) into your hands. I receive your cleansing and forgiveness and I crown Christ as Lord of my life. I resist Satan. I affirm his defeat at the cross. I accept the truth that His defeat is final and complete and now in faith I accept what You have provided for me. I receive the fullness of the Spirit and I desire to walk in obedience. In Jesus’ name, Amen.