Well good evening folks! Well, I’m glad to be here anyhow, and I think I have an important message for you tonight that I started working on this morning. The good news, I grew with people telling me what the good news was. Jesus Christ came into this world to die for our sins. One of the most incredible facts of our day, it seems to me, is the fact that the word sin has disappeared out of our vocabulary, hasn’t it?
Isn’t that amazing that Jesus Christ came into this world to die for our sins, and nobody knows what sin is? I’ve been taught that the only time I heard this word sin used in my graduate work was to warn me not to use it. It’s a bad word. People have got enough trouble without making them sinful on top of it.
Well, I’ve come to realize that that’s the most important message that I can give to anybody, if I can make them aware of their sins. As I said this morning if it’s sin we’re talking about, that’s pretty good news because it’s easily dealt with, and I want to call your attention once more, to review what I’ve been saying. I just want to have a burden on my heart to get these ideas across to you.
I’ve been talking about peace. Peace, comfort. You know in John chapter 14, Jesus said to His disciples, this is John Chapter 14, verse16, “I will pray to My Father about you.” Can you imagine God and Jesus talking about me? He said, “I am going to ask the Father to give you …”
Now if you were the Creator of the Universe and you had some influence over God, what is He going to give me? That’s what the kids wonder at Christmas time, isn’t it? “What am I going to get?” A lot of kids are so disappointed when they see what they got, because they didn’t get what they thought they would get.
Jesus said, “I am going to send you another Comforter.” Is that all? Just a Comforter? Well listen folks, this is a restless age, isn’t it? People come to me for that reason. They say, “I’m restless, I’m anxious, I’m nervous.” Those are the symptoms that people describe to me. “I’m under stress, I’m tense, I’m worried, and I’m disturbed.”
This is that kind of a world, and yet we have access to a Comforter, and Jesus told us, “Turn to me for comfort. I want to comfort you. Not My world.” I trust that you’re becoming aware of that. I hope that you’re paying attention to what’s happening to you during these days.
Now what interrupts peace? Remember what I said? What interrupts peace? Something outside of you changes something inside of you. Isn’t that amazing? The best illustration that I use is my crabby old boss, remember? He would say to me, “Brandt!” I’m getting along just fine, and one word, just one word out of the blue, and I am furious from head to foot. That man determines what’s going on in my heart.
Has that happened to you? It’s an obvious fact, it’s easy to demonstrate. Something out there upsets something in here and when that happens, there are some signals, just like a red light on a dashboard, and I just pray that you’re becoming aware of that. When something happens that you don’t like, there’s a signal. You’re heart starts beating a little faster, and maybe your hands get a little sweatier, and your mind starts moving, and your emotions start racing, and your muscles start tensing. That’s a warning. What causes that? Something out there.
I was driving along awhile ago on a highway. I’m a law abiding citizen, and the only way I can possible abide by the law is I’m a hopeless rebel behind a car wheel, and I just praise the Lord every day for a cruise control because I can push that button and I’m within the law and all I’ve got to do is turn that thing off, and I’m a hopeless rebel. I cannot control my car. I’m always going over the speed limit. Very obvious isn’t it, how easy it is for us to be rebellious?
Well I was driving along awhile ago, and a car pulled in front of me. I was talking to my wife, and I didn’t even interrupt my conversation. It didn’t disturb me one bit, I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision, and I didn’t even interrupt my conversation, and I thought to myself, “Isn’t that a miracle?” I can remember when I used to let go a stream of theological words toward people who would do that to me on a highway, and imagine a fellow driving on a highway passing you can transform you into a furious individual and there you are. You’re never going to meet the guy. Isn’t that amazing that such a thing as that can happen?
Now mixed up with these bodily changes are some emotional changes, and I call your attention to some of those. We’re all familiar with these, aren’t we? We're not stranger to these. Anger, I’m just grateful for the anger. I make my living off of angry people. Bitter, resentful, hateful, rebellious, deceptive, ill will, you mix those up with these bodily changes, and you have produced a condition that you must do something about. You cannot exist with your muscles tensed up, and your mind racing, and your emotions in high gear, and you’re fighting anger or resentment or hatred. You’ve got to do something about it don’t you?
Now I spent a long time talking about what you can do about it. What in the world can you do? I pointed out to you that there are many things that you can do about. By the way, I looked at that clock, and they short changed me here tonight, and I’m not about to be short changed. So, if you see that me going by there, I’m warning you right now that I will quit at twenty- after, okay? Because I want to finish what I’m saying here tonight. I believe it’s that important.
We must be aware of the fact that that mixture of emotion and bodily change you cannot endure, without doing something about it. You’re either going to turn to the world, or you’re going to turn to God for help. And I’ve been talking about turning to the world and now I want to talk about turning to God for help.
We’re talking now about anger, resentment, hatred, bitterness, selfishness, and those very same words that the psychologist uses when he says these are emotional problems; those very same words the Bible calls the works of the flesh. The very same words. Works of the flesh are called what? Sin. That’s the best news in the world. Just think, anger and wrath, and bitterness and resentfulness, and hatred and rebellion, and sensuality and premarital sex, and adultery, they’re only sin. That’s the easiest thing in the world to deal with. Sin.
Jesus Christ came to die for our sins, and all we need to do, but one thing we want to remember, is that if it’s sin, there isn’t a human being in the world that can help you. There isn’t a thing in the world that you can do about it if it’s sin.
Now us psychologists, if we’re going to follow the lead of the people who wrote the psychology books, and you must understand that psychology does not take God into account. And if there is no God and you’re mad and stubborn and hostile and rebellious, then what in the world are you going to do? The only thing you can do is calm this person down, but the sin is still there, right? There’s no way to deal with sin on earth, and so what we’ve learned to do is to manage sin.
Now folks, I can help you manage your sins if you and I work together, because you’re going to be my client the rest of your life, you understand. That’s a hundred bucks a throw these days twice a week. I’ll tell you to deal with the miserable people I deal with; it’s worth every penny of it. Some of you know what it’s like, don’t you? What do you do with sin?
Let me repeat, these are the very things that the psychologist works on and the psychologist can help you find relief. I can help you find relief without giving God a thought, and one of the most popular ways of finding relief for our sins is chemistry. Another way of saying it is drugs.
I recently had a fellow sent to me by a physician. He couldn’t swallow. He couldn’t get any food down his throat and he said he went to his physician and they put him through every kind of test there is and he said, “Finally to my surprise, my physician looked at me and he said, “What kind of problems are you having, because these tests reveal nothing.” You must have some very severe emotional problems. You need a psychiatrist.” So he said, “Well, I’ll go see Brandt.”
Now remember, this guy can’t swallow. My question is very simple, so what can’t you swallow? Who can’t you swallow? Have you ever heard people say that, “I can’t swallow that?” Have you ever heard people say, “I can’t stomach that?” You’ve got a stomach ache. Well you know I got into that and it didn’t take me more than an hour to find out that this fellow had a whole long list of gripes and complaints against certain people in his world that disappointed him. They let him down. Dirty, lousy tricks and he was just absolutely furious. He’s so mad that it actually closed the muscles in his throat, so he couldn’t swallow.
I listened to that man pour out a story of venom, hatred, and hostility toward those people, and by the time he got through, I’ve seen this many times folks. People come in like this, and they say, “I want to save my marriage.” I say, “Well I can give you some hints right now without going any further. Cheer up!” “Cheer up? Why should I cheer up?”
“Well you want to save your marriage don’t you?”
“Let me tell you about my marriage. My husband left me with two teenage kids, and he’s off with another woman, and he’s got an apartment over on the other end of town, and I’m stuck with these kids, and he’s got his lady over there, and he comes and sees me every Friday night. He’s all fresh and washed, and comes whistling up to my house, and I’ve been working with these two teenage kids all week, and I want to tell you, when he comes up there, I’m going to let him know what I think of him.”
Do you get the picture? Here’s this fellow with his lady over here, this little kitten, she does everything he wants her to do. She’s just such a nice lady. And now he comes in, he goes to see the kids on Friday night, and when he braces himself because he’s going to knock on the door and there will be a furious woman.
“You dirty dog, do you realize what you’re doing to me?” She's going to make sure that by the time he leaves the house on Friday night that he knows what she thinks of him.
I said to her, “Did you say you wanted to save your marriage? I mean, who would want to be around you?”
She said, “Oh, you make me mad.”
“What did I do? I tell you one thing, if you're going to save your marriage you better get happy first.”
“Happy, why should I be happy?”
“Look, I didn’t make the appointment. I just asked you who in the world would want to be around you? You are purposing in your heart to make your husband’s visit as lousy as you can make it.”
I’ll bet you that you’ve all taken sides already, haven’t you? Look, I’m not sticking up for him; I’m not talking to him. I’m talking to her.
“Well, why don’t you go home and think it over, and if you want to save your marriage, you come back and see me.”
So she called me up and said she wanted to come back to save her marriage.
She comes in, and she’s lambasting him. She tells me how upset she is, and she just thinks about what he has done to her, and she works herself into frenzy.
“Lady, you mean to tell me you worked yourself up into frenzy, and there’s nobody there, just you? Why would you want to do that to yourself?”
“What do you expect me to do?”
What do you expect her to do? What would you tell her?
“I would expect you to love him.”
“Love him?!? I could take a survey of any group you give me and they’ll tell me that I’m entitled to feel the way I do.”
“Well sure you’re entitled to feel the way you do. I’m not knocking that, you can be as miserable as you want to, as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t bother me one bit. But you came to ask me if you want to save your marriage. Isn’t that what you’re talking about? Do you want to save your marriage? Then you’re going to have to get happy. You’re going to have to face the fact that you are a mean, nasty, sassy, selfish, woman.”
Is that right? How many of you would agree with that? What would you expect under these conditions? Alright, alright, let’s change the conditions. That’s all that a psychologist would do who doesn’t know God. He’d have to try to rearrange the conditions out there in order to make her happy. I tried to tell her, “You're going to have to repent of your sins first, if you want to save your marriage.”
Well she went storming out of there, but she comes back the next day. It’s incredible to me these awful meetings that I have, and these people come back. I thought I recognized her. I mean, she’s looking like this and all I ever saw was this. Did you ever look in the mirror, just look in the mirror and see how miserable you can make yourself look? So, she said she repented.
“Now are you ready to save your marriage? Let me tell you what I would do if I were you. When your husband comes Friday night to see the kids, you melt into his arms, and give him a kiss like you never gave him in all your life, and just give it all you’ve got.”
You know what she said? “Yuck!”
I said, “Lady, you’re not ready. Let me warn you if you do that, don’t be surprised if he gets confused. I mean he’s expecting a wildcat. He’s walking up to the door and he’s bracing himself for your onslaught, and you’re going to melt into his arms and give him a kiss. What do you expect him to do? I predict he’s going to run.”
Sure enough that’s what happened. She melts into his arms and he unravels himself as fast as he could, and ran for his car and took off. What is she up to?
Well that’s kind of sad when you go out of your way to be nice to somebody, and they want to know what you're up to. That just gives you an idea of how mean we are all the time, doesn’t it? Well, I tried to warn her, don’t expect him to change. He’s not going to repent just because you did. But you’re going to have to demonstrate what God has done for you. And you know for seven long months I worked on that case. Seven long months that man went out of his way to make life miserable for her.
You see, she gave him every excuse he needed to be on the other side of the town with his lady. I mean she had made life so miserable for him he was without excuse now. She says, “Welcome home. I haven’t got anything against you anymore. I faced myself. I’m sorry about the way I treated you. I’m through with that kind of life. I don’t want to live that kind of a life anymore.” She proved it, too.
He cut off his funds, he refused to cooperate, he just made life miserable for her for seven long months, and finally after seven longs months, he came to her one day and he said, “You know, I’ve been watching you for seven months, and I’m convinced that you’re different, and I talked to God last night myself, and I repented of my sins. I just wonder, would you be willing to take me back.” I wished I could have been there that night.
You know, that fellow and his wife run a bookstore today, a Bible bookstore. They’re the nicest couple you ever wanted to meet. What happened to those people? They were just sinful people. Sinful, unrepentant people, that’s all. I’ve seen this happen so many times when people would come in looking like this, and they would pour out their hearts to God, and then they’re transformed in front of my eyes. You don’t need to be a mean, nasty, crabby, sassy, snippy person any longer, unless you don’t want to change.
Listen, I’m talking about the power of God. I’m talking about the fact that if you will confess your sins, but that’s one of the problems today. We don’t even know what sin is. So we need to get familiar with that word, and I tried to do that in this book. I started working on showing you a chart this morning, and just a few comparisons on one of the pages in the book.
You know, when my wife and I became Christians, we didn’t know any. As I told you, Youth for Christ didn’t exist. Back to the Bible didn’t exist. Billy Graham didn’t exist. Navigators didn’t exist. Young Life didn’t exist. It was just me and my pastor and my concordance. I asked my pastor for some help with my Christian life, and you know what he told me? “Buy yourself a concordance and start using it.” That’s all he told me.
Well I was an engineer, so I bought myself a concordance, but I didn’t know what a concordance was. Scary word to start with, isn’t it? Concordance. ‘Cause I was an engineer, and so I knew a little bit about how to set up a problem. What do I need to know about being a Christian? I decided one of the things I need to know since I’ve been saved from my sins is what was I saved from.
So my wife and I started finding out what sin was, and the more we studied, the bigger it got. Sin is a pretty awful thing. You had better know what it’s about. Then we got to seeing another side of the scriptures, and that is what the work of the Spirit is, and so we made this little chart on the one side we have like the mind.
What kind of head have you got? A Spirit filled mind? Let’s look at this mirror and see how you're doing. A Spirit-filled mind is forgiving and hopeful and appreciative and willing and impartial and thankful and humble. Does that sound like you? Now a sin- filled mind is like this. Unforgiving, evil thoughts, covetous, greedy, lustful, proud, ungrateful, selfish, deceitful.
You know folks, I’ve come to realize that if there are two sins, two major sins that plague us these days if I were to rank the works of the flesh. I’m talking about murder, and violence, and theft, and sexual immorality, and the rest of the works of the flesh. If I were to, if somebody forced me to rank them in terms of the frequency and the difficulty of sin, I would put anger on top, and number two, I would place deception. Those two.
Let me illustrate what can happen when deceitful people, nice, you know deceitful people don’t have to be evil, very bad people, just deceitful. A fellow was telling me about his. This was the first week of his wedding; this was Saturday night, and they were married the Saturday before, and they were on a trip and they were all tired out and he woke up Saturday morning and said to himself, “Boy, I’d like to just spend the day resting and laying around the room.”
They pick up the newspaper, and were browsing in the newspaper and he saw a full page description of the local zoo. This was in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Zoo, and he thought to himself, “I think my wife would like to go to that zoo. Boy, I sure wouldn’t want to go myself, but I think she would like to go. If she wants to go, I’m willing to go.”
So he said to his wife, “Look at this write up about the zoo.”
She says to herself, “I was hoping we could just lay around the house (she said to herself), but if he wants to go to the zoo, I’m willing to go with him.”
So she says, “Boy that's a nice article. What do you say we go to the zoo?”
He says, “Great idea, I thought that would be nice, too.”
So they went to the zoo.
Do you realize what I’m saying? Nobody wanted to go to the zoo. He was lying to her. How does a bridegroom start off a good marriage? You lie to your wife don’t you? She lies back. You just take that simple little illustration. It happens all the time. Where would you like to go to eat? “Anyplace.” You’ve got a sizzler in your mind; he’s got a hamburger in his mind, so he says, “Let’s go to McDonald’s.” She says, “I don’t want to go to McDonald’s.” We manipulate and maneuver one another, don’t we?
Deception is a terrible thing. Well, emotions, Spirit-filled emotions, love, peace, gentle, joyful, long suffering, kind. Does that describe you? How about this one? Hatred, rebellion, bitterness, envy, bad tempered, anger, unloving attitude, jealous, malicious. I mean, sin is not that far away from us is it? Let’s take another one.
The Spirit-filled mouth: truthful, thankful, gentle, encouraging; praising, timeliness, soothing tongue, pleasant words. A sinful mouth: lying, complaining, yelling, contentiousness, boasting, slandering, disputing, back-biting, quarreling, blasphemy. I think one of the most common things I hear people talk about in family life is arguing, griping, complaining, murmuring. The Bible calls that sin.
Behavior: kindly, righteous, obedient, courageous, gentle, self-controlled, cooperative. Sinful behavior: fornication, adultery, drunkenness, murder, revelry, brutality, without self-control, stealing, violence. You get what I’m saying? If Jesus came to save you from your sins, you had better find out what sin is. And if it’s sin, this is a very important point that I expect we need to make these days.
If it’s sin, there isn’t a human being in the world that can help you. If it’s sin, it involves a transaction between you and God. You must enter into the presence of God, and to put it in a Bible verse, “If you will confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin, and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”
Folks that’s the trouble with the verse. You’ve got to confess your sin. I trust this is my wife. Are you here tonight, Jo? I hope she’s listening. She needs to confess her sins. I can help you out if you need me to. If she confesses her sins, that doesn’t help me one bit. Nobody can do my confessing for me, except me. Now I have a worn out illustration in this book that I’ve used for twenty-five years. People write me letters, and say I’d like you to come to my church and use this illustration. So I might as well use it. I was talking like this one night about on what it is to deal with your sins and being cleansed from sin, and walking in the Spirit.
You would think I meant it, wouldn’t you? Listening to me tonight. Well, we left the church and drove a little while after church to the next stop we were going to do the same thing. We pulled into a motel; I like to go first class, myself. I don’t know, I just somehow adjust easily to first class living. I would rather be miserable in a beautiful home than a shack. Well anyway, we had the best mattress money could buy. We had a good night’s sleep, and in the morning, we had a bath. We used the deodorants that the ads say you use to promote good will. We had a good breakfast under our belts. We had expensive clothes, I know that. We spent a lot of money on those clothes. We had a new car, money in my pocket. I mean according to sociologists, we’ve got it made; we can’t help but have a good day, can we?
We start off, stereo music, quiet car, satisfied, well-fed, well educated, opportunities galore out there, and everything is going fine until we come to a crossroad, and we’re headed for Detroit. And I head for Detroit. I certainly know where Detroit is. I’ve been over this road over and over again. My wife says, “Henry, you’ve turned the wrong way.” That burned me up. Folks, this stuff doesn’t work in the car. I said, “Eve, for goodness sakes, don’t you think I know where Detroit is? Do you want to drive this car or do you want me to drive this car?”
Now that woman did that to me. I’m calm and quiet, and relaxed until she said that, and that’s the only thing that changed, so it had to be her that did it to me.
Well there I am, we come to the first exit, and there’s this great big sign with an arrow pointing in the direction that we’re going and above the arrow it said “Chicago”. I don’t know if you know your map or not, but Chicago is that away. We’re going towards Chicago and Detroit is that away. Now I’m a Ph.D., a Ph.D., that’s as high as you go, and my training is in evaluation of data, and people hire me to be objective.
Well, I decide to ignore the sign. (laughter) What did I say that was funny? Well anyway, away we go in air-conditioned comfort. We come to the second sign. There’s this big sign, arrow pointing in the direction we’re going, and above the arrow it says “Chicago”. Did you ever get that cold, clammy feeling when you’ve set your wife straight that it’s just possible you might be wrong? And I decided, well, it may be possible, but I’m going to try one more sign.
Well folks, what I’m illustrating is the weakness of education. I mean in a fit of bullheadedness, you can act like a fool, and all you know can get short-circuited, and there I am headed for the third exit, and I’m getting madder and madder at her. Well, we got to the third exit, and you know you’re getting desperate by now. Well what in the world are you going to do?
Well by the time I got there, I decided I’m going to take one more exit to try to give me time to figure out how to get to Detroit without turning around. This is a sad story folks! You know why you’re laughing? Because it's so sad. One man actually came up to me; this fellow didn’t get the point at all. One time he came up to me after the meeting and he had a diagram, and he showed me how I could have made it.
How are you going to get turned around when you’re headed in the wrong direction? Anybody in here, you’re consciously, knowingly, and deliberately wrong right now, and you know it, and you’ve been wrong for a long time.
You know I sent this illustration to a friend of mine who was a publisher, and he said, “You can’t use that story in a book. People wouldn’t believe you. Three exits, yes, but you’re pushing your credibility, Henry, if you’re using three exits. Four, nobody is going to believe you.”
I got to thinking, that’s right, I’d better make it three, and I decided I’m writing about honesty so I’m going to be dishonest in my book? No, I’m not gonna to do that. It was four and I’m going to leave it at four.
Listen, a lot of people do things more than four times. I had a very wealthy, successful lawyer come to see me one time, not very long ago. He had everything money could buy. All the prestige and just anything he wanted he could buy, but you know what happened? His marriage, he just about destroyed his marriage because he overworked night after night after night, he overworked. You know anybody like that? He knew perfectly well what he was doing, and he did it over and over and over and over again.
I had a lady come to me, she was anorexic. She looked like a skeleton. Over and over and over and over again she starved herself.
Another one of my clients comes in and she can’t fit into her chair. Over and over and over and over again she ate the wrong thing.
Many of us are deliberately and consciously wrong over and over and over again, are we not?
For instance, have you ever been sitting at a table and you just got through eating too much, and you’ve said, “Oh, I’m full,” and then they pass the apple pie ala mode and you sit there with fork in hand, and you announce to the whole table, “I shouldn’t do this,” and you proceed to do something that you have already declared wrong. You realize that’s simple, don’t you? Oh no, we say, “Go ahead, have another one, have another one.” Listen, we get very comfortable with our sins.
Anyway, we were headed in the wrong direction. What in the world are you going to do? That was me. The Bible says, “If…if…IF, you will confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you your sins, and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” Now folks, if I were going to confess my sins, what were they?
Can you help me out a little bit? Let me hear from you. What were my sins? That’s enough. Did you hear what they said? Proud, stubborn, angry. What are you doing trying to diagnose me anyhow? You don’t have any training. Here you are ordinary laymen and you rattle off my sins just like that, and you’re right. But you see, that’s the trouble with the verse. Here I am in air conditioned comfort. Educated, talented, in demand and I’ve got to come to the Lord and say, “Lord, this is Henry, I’m the guy that travels all over the world in Your name. Hope you appreciate it.” No, that kind of praying won’t help me. I gotta say, “Lord, this is Henry, and I’m too proud to turn around, Lord, and I’m three exits down the road. Too proud to admit it and I’m mad at her, Lord. I mean, how illogical can you get? I’m mad at her because I’m three exits down the road, and I’m stubborn and bullheaded.”
Now that’s the trouble with that verse. You say, “But you’re a Christian, aren’t you through sinning?” Not me, I’ve never figured that out yet how to get rid of it. I know what to do about it, but I still have to do it constantly don’t you? Well anyway, I finally had to pray, “Lord, I’m sorry. Would You forgive me and would You please cleanse me and restore Your joy and love and peace to my heart?”
What would the Lord say, “Look buster, you’re three and a half exits down the road. Call me tomorrow and I’ll think it over.” The Lord is there anytime you want to call on Him. You know what happened to me? When I prayed my prayer of repentance, He answered. Something changed. I said to Eva, “Eva, we’re headed in the wrong direction.”
You know what? Up to that time you couldn’t have dragged me off that freeway with a tow truck. Now all I wanted to do was get turned around. I couldn’t wait for the next exit. In my mind I’m rejoicing. Only one more exit and I can get turned around and I’m going to head back in the right direction. Oh what a wonderful feeling to be headed back in the right direction.
Are you headed in the wrong direction, sir? Lady? And you know it? What are you going to do about it? How long are you going to wait? You see, you can come anytime you want to the Lord, and I don’t know what the Lord is telling you in you’re heart, but He must be talking to you about something.
Now just quickly, I’ve come to recognize that repentance involves five steps, and that each one gets tougher than the next one. I am wrong, I have sinned, is number one. I find it very difficult to get anybody to admit I’ve sinned. I’ve told you this morning what people tell me. They tell me they’ve lost their heads, they tell me they blew up.
I had a man try to tell me his blood was boiling. Another guy told me his blood froze. It’s amazing what people will say. But the one that really gets me is the one that the guy insists that his wife gets under his skin, but nobody sins, and finally I get them to say, “All right, all right, I admit I’m mad. But you mean to tell me if you were in my place, you wouldn’t get mad?”
All of a sudden, I’m getting interviewed. Just because, have you ever heard anybody admit, “I have a temper,” that’s not a repentant statement, that’s a warning. I have sinned is pretty good, but it doesn’t go very far.
The second step is “I’m sorry.” You see you may be sinning, but you're not the least bit sorry and you don’t intend to quit either. You may even be sorry, but you still don’t intend to quit. “Forgive me.” Oh, I’d like to be forgiven, but the fourth step, “Cleanse me.” There’s something about us that resists that kind of a proposition. Cleanse me.
Listen, people think, “Now that I know what the problem is, I’ll handle it. I’ll take care of it from now on.” That’s a struggle. The worst struggle of all is the next step, “Lord, empower me.” If you come to the Lord as a repentant sinner, you’re going to go away washed and clean, and restored and renewed. That’s what a lot of us want, isn’t it? You’re going to be released; you’re going to free to be conscious of your sin. And to allow the Lord to wash away your sin is not a horrible experience, it’s an exhilarating experience. It’s a freeing experience. That’s the good news.
He’ll just wash away your sin. The only person that can understand that is the person that’s tried it. I don’t want to argue with you, all I’m suggesting with you is to try it.
Now let me point out that as you get working on it, those five steps melt into one. We call it repentance. I’ve sinned, I’m sorry, would you forgive me, would you cleanse me, and would you empower me?
Now just stop and think about that last one. Lord, empower me. Not only have I sinned, but unless You help me, I’m going to keep on doing it, and I have to accept the fact that I’m going to be dependent upon the Lord for the rest of my life to keep me from repeating that kind of behavior.
Now, the smarter you are, the more educated you are, the more talented you are, the more trained you are, the more you will resist that proposition that I must be a dependent person for the rest of my life. And you depend on the Lord for three or four months, and you’re bound to say to yourself, “Some of this has had to rub off on me. I mean this isn’t all the Lord, part of this has to be me.” You just try it and you’ll find out.
He that thinks he stands let him take heed lest he fall.
Well, goodness sakes, I’m working overtime again. I guess you can see that I’m serious about this, can’t you? I guess it’s time for me to close and I’m going to have to leave you with this information, and what are you going to do with it? You’re stuck with it now, aren’t you? I have prayed as I came here tonight that the Lord would lay upon your heart anything that would be necessary for you to get cleared up with Him