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How To Receive A New Heart
Most of this message was extracted from 6 audio messages by Ernest O'Neill
The Bible tells us that our old self was crucified with Christ, and that our old sinful heart has been crucified with Jesus and destroyed. Now we may say that we believe that, but now we think that we have to make that real in our life. This is completely untrue! The new heart is a miracle that is worked by the Holy Spirit in you, in a mighty work of grace. You don't read books to get control of the jealousy, you don't read books to clean up your mind. You need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit something like this, "You said that You would lead me into all truth, that's what Jesus said about You, now will You go through the depths of my heart, that heart of darkness, and will You show me what my sins look like in God's eyes? Will You take me down underneath the subconscious into my mode of life and the place where my reactions and my responses dwell, the place where I have not surrendered to God, and will You expose that to me until I am so sick of it that I am willing to accept the only remedy that forever solves the problem?" You have to want this. You have to want the Holy Spirit to show you this because the Holy Spirit will not do what you don't want Him to do, so you have to want to. You have to see first of all that you are a dirty sinner and rebel against God in your heart. You have to stop rationalizing the old sins and pretending that those things are not really sin and you have to want to be clean. That's why the Bible tells us that if you seek God with all your heart, you'll surely find Him.
God, our Father is not hiding from us, He's looking for you harder than you are looking for Him. You just have to want to be clean with all your heart. Start with the Holy Spirit. Start asking Him to show you anything that is preventing you from having a clean heart. Secondly, see what God says about that self of yours. Romans (8:7) says "the mind of the flesh is enmity against God" it is not subject to God's Law, neither indeed can it be. Just see that. Stop thinking, "oh I just have a little problem with sin, it is not really pure rebellion, I do have good in my heart." Stop that silliness! God's word is plain, the only reason there is sin inside anyone one of us is because our heart is rebellious against God, it is not subject to God's Law and it can not be, and see that it cannot be. See that your heart that you have developed over the years of your life cannot be subject to God. That's why you have such problems.
That's why sometimes you think you may have your sin fixed but then it bounces or springs back up again. You must face it! You can never fix it or solve this rebellion in your heart! All you have been doing is making your life appear to be better on the outside, but you're not really curing it and you're not cleansing it. It is like you have this massive evil German shepherd dog inside of you that you are trying to keep down. The problem is you are not willing to shoot him, you're trying to contain him by putting him in a big chest and closing the lid on the chest and then sitting on the lid hoping to hold him down. Your heart, your selfish heart wants only one thing: YOU! That's right! That's why we're in such trouble. We say all these wonderful things you know "oh, I want to serve the Lord! Oh, I love the Lord with all my heart! Oh, Hallelujah!" Deep inside you there's a whole level of life that says "I love me with all my heart! I want me exalted! Hallelujah for me! I praise me!" That's it, that's it! And you see, while you are pretending that doesn't exist and that these sins are just things that you have to work through, you're on Satan's side. You're protecting that thing. You alone can protect it. You alone can hand that heart over to Jesus. Only you, nobody else can. He won't take it from you.
Will you ever be real? Be real! Anything else isn't worth the name of Christianity! Only real Christianity is worth going for and you remember what Oswald Chambers said: "if this is all there is to Christianity, then I don't want it." And oh, that's the way I felt before Jesus dealt with me in the Holy Spirit. If this is all there is, this struggling against these feelings inside, then it's not worth it. It isn't, because that isn't Christianity. Christianity is not only receiving the forgiveness of sins by faith, but receiving a clean heart by faith and the same conditions are fulfilled. Confess what your need is, turn honestly from self and give yourself wholly to God and He will cleanse your heart.
It's in that position of helpless despair that the Holy Spirit then brings home the truths of the Gospel to us: God commended His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and to him who does not work, but believes on God who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. When we see this, we sink in relaxation and peace at last into the arms of Jesus. We see that God has made it right, that Jesus has died for us and that God accepts us as His own children. We sink in faith into Jesus. Most of us at that point in the evangelical atmosphere in which we now live, most of us at that point enter into the Gospel that was preached by a Jewish preacher called John the Baptist. You remember how it's described: John the Baptist came preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. That's the Old Covenant, that's before Jesus ever died. That's the Old Covenant. Now, most of us in that situation and in this evangelical atmosphere enter into
believe it or not, the Old Covenant. That's right! You know that is true, you know that the primary truth that you grabbed hold of when you became a Christian was repentance for the forgiveness of my sins. That's the Old Covenant.
Now, you know fine well that there is also a coming up from deep, deep down inside you
a fountain of filth and dirt and sarcasm and anger and bad temper that you are not able to control! Your spirit is alive to God and you're regenerate and your spirit is born again. Your conscience is alive to God and knows what it ought to do, even your will wants to obey and your conscience tries to constrain your will to do what you know you should. So there's this stream of evil that comes up from deep, deep down inside you
a stream that opposes both your conscience and your will and feeds your will such a powerful stream of filth that the will finds itself unable at times to hold it in! Even when it does hold it in, it holds it in by a powerful repression and great strain in your own life. The problem is that sometimes you are not able to hold it in and against your will and conscience you will have to let that stream forth and you lose your temper. You know that there's something inside you that is not Jesus if you are sarcastic with somebody or you are dishonest and lie to somebody. The same is true if you are absolutely dishonest to somebody or you give a wrong impression to somebody else or you get proud of something you've done,
The truth is all that stuff comes from your heart. Your heart is still as unclean as it was when you were first born of God, that's what's wrong. Your spirit is alive to God, even your mind and your will and your conscience, but your heart
the deepest part of you, the place you really live, your own deepest self is still as unclean as it was when you first heard of Jesus. That's the problem. The heart needs to be cleansed. Now, how do you get your heart cleansed? The same way you got your sins forgiven, the same way. Same way you got your sins forgiven
by faith. That's it!
When we first came to Christ we did not see how exceedingly sinful and powerful sin is, until the Spirit of Jesus begins to influence that part of our lives. That's true. Many of us don't really see how absolutely intractable the power of sin is until we can set it against something pure and beautiful like the Spirit of Jesus.
Now, the reason you did not enter into a clean heart by faith and the reason you haven't entered into a clean heart by faith since, is because you don't really want a clean heart. that's right. Then you may say "What do you mean, I don't want a clean heart? That's what I want! That's what I want. I want to be rid of this stream of filth that comes from inside me, I want to be able to look a friend in the eyes and think all the way through loving thoughts about them, not have those kind a critical thoughts inside me that I don't let them see. I want to be able to look my wife or my husband or my children in the eyes and for them to see outwardly all that is inside me. I want to be real! I want to be rid of this! I want to be rid of this unclean heart, all this sarcasm that spews up from inside me, this envy and jealousy that makes me feel a creep, I want to be rid of it! I want the stream of Jesus's pure and gentle sentiments coming up from inside my heart. That's what I want more than anything in the world."
Well, you want it
that's true. You want it in the sense that you desire it
but for all kinds of motives you desire it, but you're not willing to face the consequences and implications of having a clean heart. That's it. That's true. That's what it was with me, that's what it is with all of us who haven't a clean heart. God gives to us readily and freely, He's more anxious to give to us a clean heart than we are to receive it. The problem is that we cannot receive it because we're not willing to face the implications and consequences of having a clean heart like Jesus.
So you're kind of half-converted. Your nature is still that of a child of Satan actually. This is because your heart looks for those things and those things draw your whole being out so your mind is running that way. I mean you hit the check book, the bank balance is wrong, the mind connects right up with the heart that depends utterly on a bank book and depends utterly on your ability to have money and sends up anxiety. So your heart now has rearranged your whole nature
really not rearranged it that it always had control of it. Your nature, your mind and emotions and the way they work in your body and your will, it's still the nature of a child of wrath. It's still actually an unchanged nature, that's the incredible thing. That is the reason why God says that He does not deal with us according to our sins, or reward us according to our iniquities, because if He did not, none of us would ever find Him.
You may sit there and say "oh, that isn't true, I mean I do have the nature of Christ, don't I?" Stop that silliness. You can not have two natures at the same time. Nature is the deepest part of what you are, it's what you really are, that's what we mean by your nature. It's what you really are, you can't really be deep down two things. You can really only be one thing and at times another. The truth is you're basically a child of wrath, but it depends on the world of people and things and circumstances and from time to time because of the gracious influence of Jesus' Spirit upon you, you want what He wants.
You're really like the disciples. You remember Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit is with them. That's the situation with us. The Holy Spirit is with you. Jesus said you remember "He will be in you" and we're not at that place yet. We're not at the place where the Holy Spirit is a permanent, abiding resident within us, He is just a visitor. He is the One who said "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears My voice and open the door I will come into him" and we've reached that stage, He's come in, He's our guest. We sit and dine and we say "oh, we'll obey You now, now we don't obey You, now leave the room please, we want to do this. Oh, come in again now, we want to obey You, oh no leave the room, I want to do this." He's our guest, but we haven't reached the second stage. I will sup with Him and He with me. I will become the host and he will sup with me. The Holy Spirit is not the host, the abiding ruler and master of our hearts and lives. He is just a guest.
Now, if you say "how do I change? How do I get changed? What do I do?" Enter into the New Covenant! Enter fully into the New Covenant. That's it. What's the New Covenant? Well you remember John the Baptist pointed that out. He said "I am preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of your sins, but the One who comes after me, will baptize you with the Holy Spirit" That's it. That's the New Covenant.
The New Covenant is not just the forgiveness of sins, the New Covenant is the baptism with the Holy Spirit that changes your nature, that does what the Law was not able to do for the Jews over thousands of years. The Holy Spirit changes your nature. I am referring to being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Greek word has the meaning of immersed in it. Now don't say to me, "are you talking about water immersion?" No, we are not talking about water immersion now. We are talking about being immersed in the Holy Spirit, being washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit, being saturated by the Holy Spirit, being permanently surrounded by the Holy Spirit and supported by the Holy Spirit like water, as if you were swimming in the Holy Spirit utterly dependant on the Holy Spirit! That's what it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Looking to Him alone for all your real needs, your heart utterly dependant on Him and you knowing your heart is dependant on him. That's what entering into the New Covenant is about!
If you say, "well, how do you get baptized with the Holy Spirit?" Well Paul explained it to those who would come for baptism at the side of the river in the first century. He would gather them round and he would say "Do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we also might walk in newness of life." In other words, being baptized into Jesus is seeing that what happened to Jesus on Calvary happened to us
that Jesus did not die just for the forgiveness of our sins, He did not just die to bear the punishment for our sins! In fact, you have all died with Christ! Our own self was crucified with Christ and you all died to the elemental spirits of the Universe that have enslaved you for so long. Those chains and fetters of greed and anger and desire for position and desire for approval, those all were broken and shattered on Calvary in your life, in Jesus! This is true, because you were in Christ when He died! Your nature was changed in Jesus on Calvary. That's what the Gospel is. It's in that sense that Jesus died for us. Not that God took it out on His Son, like some madman who couldn't discern who was the real evil person, not that God took it out on His Son! So He put us in His Son, and His Son bore the pain that would otherwise have destroyed us utterly and yet at the same time God with His wrath burned out that old selfish nature of yours and when he raised Jesus from the dead, He raised you up a new creation.
Now, how do you enter into that? Believe it, that's it! Believe that! Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, that is to getting anything from the world of people and things and circumstances, to getting anything good or bad from them. Die to that! Reckon yourselves dead indeed to sin. That's what sin is. It's not just crime, it's not just immorality, it's the whole power of life that operates independent of God. It's the world of things and people and events. Die to that! Reject that! Look to God as you did when you were in Jesus and say, "I commit my spirit to You! I receive what You wish to give me in this life and what You don't wish to give me, I don't want. I depend on You utterly Father! So, now I turn away from this world of people and things and circumstances for anything that I need and I look to you." Then, God will fill you with His Holy Spirit and cleanse your heart by faith, and you simply put off the old nature because it has already been crucified! So you're actually doing something that has already been done in the Spiritual realm, you simply stop doing and stop thinking and stop feeling the things that have burdened you for years.
If you say to me "if I have difficulty putting off the old nature, what do I do?" the problem is always a controlled surrender, or an incomplete surrender, that's always the problem. Now my problem was, that deep down inside me I still wanted to be in control and that I was totally unwilling to give that control up. That was my problem! When I knew this to be true that put me in position of helpless despair. I could do nothing to solve this problem at all. Here are some points I considered:
1. I did not have the love that God required. It was not a question of my willpower. I did not have it nor could I even create it.
2. I did not have the faith that God required. It was not a question of my willpower, I did not have it nor could I even create it.
3. I did not have a new heart. It was not a question of my willpower. I did not have it nor could I even create it.
IMPORTANT!! If God's promise, provision or free gift can't reach you while you are entrenched in your sinful condition then His promise is completely and absolutely useless!!!
I saw that love, faith, grace and light are all gifts that were made freely available to me. Then I realized that the gift of the new heart in Christ was already made available to me while I was living this state. The new heart was designed by God, Himself to take care of my present problem. If you do not receive His solution, then you remain with the problem of sin. I knew it was true, I could do NOTHING to somehow improve my situation at ALL!! The only thing I could do was either accept the gift of Christ or reject Him. The gift of God was designed by God to meet me while I still had an unclean heart and offer the gift of the new heart to me which is done by grace. I had nothing but death and rebellion, but then I realized this, that God has fully prepared this new heart for me while I still had an evil heart.
I knew that no amount of striving, struggling, efforts, or religious activities I could do, would ever produce this new heart within me. In fact, nothing I could ever do, would even put me in a better position to get these things from God. It was like being dead and without any hope of me giving myself life or a new heart. Yes death is the only way out this evil heart of mine and receive Christ's heart within me. My flesh faith had to die. No more striving to believe. If I was to have faith, true faith, the faith of Christ, He had to give it to me. I had been given a measure of faith, but I knew I could do nothing of myself, and this included me having His faith. That is why the scripture calls it "the faith of Christ." Christ makes everything freely available that the law demands. The gift satisfies the demand. God had already made the ONLY provision possible to me. I could only surrender and place my total confidence in Him for what He had already done in Christ for me. I could accept or reject God's free gift of the new heart.
Look at these promises:
Isaiah 1:25 "I will turn my hand upon you, and purely purge away your dross, and take away all your impurity. ( I will turn my power against you. I will remove your impurities with bleach. I will get rid of all your impurities.) "
Micah 7:19 "He will turn again, He will have compassion upon me; He will subdue my iniquities; and He will cast all my sins into the depths of the sea."
Jer. 32: 39-40 "I will give you one heart and one way, that you may fear me always, for your own good and for the good of your children. And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, that I will not turn away from you, to do you good, and I will put the fear of me in your heart so that you will not turn away from me."
Ezek: 36:25-29; 36b "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save and deliver you from all your uncleanness: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it."
Deut. 30:6 "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live."
Jer. 24:7 "And I will give you a heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and you shall be mine, and I will be your God: for you shall return unto me with your whole heart."
Jer. 31:31-34 "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with you: Not according to the covenant that I made with Israel, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with you; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in your inward parts, and write it in your heart; and I will be your God, and you shall be mine. You shall know me, for I will forgive your iniquity, and I will remember your sin no more."
Ezek. 11:19-20 "And I will give you one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh: That you may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and you shall be mine, and I will be your God."
Ezek 37:23 Neither shall you defile yourself any more with your idols, nor with your detestable things, nor with any of your transgressions: but I will save you out of all your dwelling places, wherein you have sinned, and will cleanse you: so you shall be mine, and I will be your God.
I Thes. 5:23-24 "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it."
God comes to us in our deluded, bound condition with powerful promises of full and complete deliverance. He says, "I pledge to deliver you and keep you from iniquity. And I will give you a heart to obey me. Now, let my promises lay hold of you!" The Lord says, "I will no longer ask you to bring me a godly heart. Instead, I will remove your heart of stone - and I'll put in you a new heart, one that has a desire for me. I will cause you both to will and to do my good pleasure, through the power of my Spirit!"
If you are troubled about the power of sin, and about the evil tendencies of your heart, as you should be, here is God's promise for you. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." Have faith in God's promise, for is that covenant of grace which He has ordered for you and is as sure as He is. God, cannot lie! You see, it is all "I will," and "I will." "I will give," and "I will take away." This is the royal style of the King of kings, who is able to accomplish all His will.
You may say, "I cannot make this change." Who said you could? The Scripture which I have quoted speaks not of what man will do, but of what God will do. It is God's promise, and it is for Him to fulfill His own engagements. Trust in Him to fulfill His Word to you, and it will be done.
You need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what you're still depending on instead of God, He will show you that. You may have to seek Him for hours, you may have to weep before Him, but the Holy Spirit will show you because that's the only reason He's here on earth, to reveal to you the things that you have in Jesus. The most precious thing that you have in Jesus is a clean heart that the Holy Spirit is able to give you.
That is what I did. I started to ask the Holy Spirit in my prayer time to show me what was inside me that I had never yielded to God. Over weeks and months I saw things that I could not believe. The Holy Spirit was faithful and He will be faithful to you if you are willing to look. The Holy Spirit began to show me that it wasn't just the outward sins that were the problem, but there was in me inward sin which was me. I couldn't believe that. I felt that a feeling of sin was a feeling of sin, or a desire for sin was a desire for sin, or a sinful act was a sinful act, or a sinful word was a sinful word, but at first I could not believe that I was sin.
The Holy Spirit began to show me that when I would wake up in the morning with praise on my lips it was pride in my own insights into Christianity and my ability to explain it to others. I would see, "This is hopeless. If I'm that corrupt, I can never clean myself. If I am that proud I can never overcome it, because it is self itself that is proud." I knew the lust -- that was clear and easy; but I didn't know the depth of my selfishness, the selfish ambition. I was proud of what I could achieve and I always had this burden to achieve something. I had that: selfish ambition to be successful and to be well-known. I saw that there was such dirt and rottenness in me that there was no way in which I could separate it from myself. It was true what the Holy Spirit was saying: I myself was sin!
Loved ones, I became utterly convinced it was me that was the problem. It was myself. Yes, it was clear to me that I myself was the problem! In spite of the fact that I appeared to live for God, I really lived for myself. I wasn't really living for God at all, I was making use of clever and indirect methods to elevate myself and to gratify myself and to get others to exalt me and not to exalt Jesus. Bit by bit the Holy Spirit convinced me that there was no way in which I could deliver myself from this.
Then a whole area of truth opened up to me that I had never seen before; I just never knew of it. This truth will not be made real to you by the Holy Spirit until you are in the desperate need for that experience. Now if you do not have that desperate need now as you read this, your mind may agree with the words, but you will not truly experience this until the Holy Spirit Himself makes it real to you. The Holy Spirit pointed me to Romans 6. I read there: "All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death." I always read that as being baptized into the benefits of His death. Then I began to see that the Greek word "baptizo" means to be immersed, and it means we are immersed in His death. Then I read these incredible words in verse 6: "We know that our old self was crucified with Christ so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin."
Well, I knew I was enslaved to sin. Then I saw that my old self was crucified with Christ, and I could not believe it. How could my old self that I was experiencing now, be crucified with Christ? Then I saw it was the same way as my sins. My sins were borne by Jesus, but they weren't taken away from me, they weren't forgiven until I believed it and was willing to let go of them. I saw it was the same with myself. I was crucified with Christ but I would have to bear it in my own being and personality until I was willing to let it go. I saw that it had been crucified with Christ in eternity--the self that was proud and selfish and lustful was actually destroyed in Jesus, and it didn't exist anymore except in the deception that I was under in allowing the ghost of it to remain and to retain an influence in my life.
Bit by bit I began to see that it was true: my old self had been crucified with Christ. There was actually no problem in getting rid of it. God had already done that and the Holy Spirit would take the things of Jesus and make them real to me if I wanted it. That was the crux -- if I wanted it. So I began to wrestle with whether I was really willing to live no longer for myself but for God. I had often said I wanted to live for God, but the Holy Spirit began to point out the thousand little ways in which I drew attention to myself in conversation, the thousand little ways in which I was worried more by what people did to me rather than by what they did to God. The thousand little ways in which I wanted people to think well of me, the thousand little ways in which I lost my temper not because God was being abused but because somebody was getting in my way.
The Holy Spirit showed me that it meant letting go of all these things, and then I began to see a little of the Cross. I began to see that my life was always concerned with whether I was in control or things were going my way. The Holy Spirit came more and more home to me, "Are you willing to die with Jesus to yourself and to your own satisfaction? Are you willing to live only for His glory?" Loved ones, I don't knew what it will be like with you, but I was 30, so I had masses of controlled surrenders that I had only made use of clever and indirect methods to achieve something in my life. I had a hard-packed soil of rejection -- and remittances to God's will that I had built over the years. The Holy Spirit had to go down through all that stuff. There would come days when I felt I was willing, and the next day I'd be back in the old anger and temper and envy and selfishness, and I knew that I wasn't willing. These books kept saying when you get to the ground of your heart the Holy Spirit will witness that you are there. I would get to a place where I would feel I was there, and the next day I would know I wasn't there; I was back in the old life.
Gradually over a period of weeks and months the Holy Spirit dug down underneath the layers, underneath all the mass of that inward self, until one morning in North Minneapolis in the parsonage, the Holy Spirit put me the question: "Would you be willing to be nothing for Jesus' glory?" Self, of course, always pops up and says, "What good would that do, being nothing?" By that time I'd begun to listen to the Holy Spirit and to hear Him over the noise of self and He said, "That isn't it. Would you be willing to be nothing, to be a failure, not be known at all, to be ignored, to be an absolute failure for the rest of your life if it was for Jesus' glory?" I at last whispered, "Yes."
Loved ones, that is full consecration, just presenting my body a living sacrifice which is our reasonable service. I was at last saying, "Lord, I will live for you only because this is the only purpose of our lives, and there is no point of me building up a little temporal kingdom that will end after seventy years. I am here for your use and for whatever you want." It was the lifting of the center of my life from self unto God. I just had a quiet assurance that the Holy Spirit had come in and cleansed my heart.
God is always so good. The next morning, I received a letter from a colleague whom I was ahead of academically in Belfast but he had concentrated on getting the doctorate in psychology while I was slogging my way trying to find out how God worked in churches. Every time I received a letter from him I thought "I should have done that," and the old envy always popped up. I received the letter, opened it and there was no envy -- nothing! That was good. So it is real! The Holy Spirit can actually cleanse and fill your heart. He can take away the selfishness and the hatred and the resentment and He can bring about in your heart love, joy, and peace so that it comes from inside. The issue is not, "Do you sin?" I'm sure I sin a hundred times. Before I couldn't help sinning because of the mess that was rising inside. Now if I sin it is my own fault--just my own fault--because now there is a desire to obey God rather than to disobey Him. That's the change, loved ones. It is not the issue of whether you never sin. The issue is that you are free from the power of sin. You are at last free not to sin if you so choose. It's natural to obey, where before it was natural to sin.
My life just changed from then. I never had trouble until then, of course. I never had problems. I never had difficulties with the congregation, because I always preached so nicely that I persuaded everybody to agree with me. Then I started to preach that sin was a problem in our lives; that we did not obey God and we wanted to elevate self and play all kinds of spiritual games instead of obey God. Then, of course, the trouble came, but I never had such glory until then. I never had such outward trouble. I eventually left the Methodist Church, taught in Benilde High School and preached in a Presbyterian church on the campus, fought most of my way--but never such peace in my heart, never such freedom from inward conflict.
Here is the point: you will just be a hindrance if you are not filled with the Holy Spirit. You will just be a hindrance until your heart is clean. But when your heart is clean and when you have entered into that crucifixion with Christ, Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and you will have power to do things you cannot do at the present. Until you are baptized with the Holy Spirit, you really will not only have a powerless life on the outside, but you will have an impure, defeated life on the inside.
Now loved ones, there is no mystery to it. You just start seeking Him. The first thing I did was to settle in my mind that the Bible promised this. The Bible said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." The Bible promises clean hearts. Acts 15:9: "And God who knows the heart bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us; and he made no distinction between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith." "Create in me a clean heart, 0 God, and renew a right spirit within me." The first thing is to settle: Does God want this in your life? The second thing is to go for it with all your heart and not to pity self or cry over self or protest that you have a right to sin or rationalize your sin. You must go for it with all your heart knowing that God will answer you just as Jesus promised, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled."
For those of us who want to continue the old half-life, where we want to have our sins forgiven but do not have victory over sin, the Bible doesn't give much reassurance. That's up to you if you choose that life. I don't know that it is actually an alternative. I think you either go all or nothing. You have to decide. It doesn't matter how long it takes you. It doesn't matter even if you are in it this moment-- but are you hungering for it?
God wants people who are hungering after this with all their hearts. It is not whether you are in it or not, but whether you are hungering after it. John Wesley used to ask the preachers who were going to candidate for him, "Are you hungering with all your heart for cleanness and purity within?" He didn't say, "Are you crucified with Christ?" but "Are you hungering for this with all your heart?" That's what I'd say to you. Are you hungering for this with all your heart? If you are, then welcome to the family, and let us go for purity and cleanliness and for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
So when you come to the very bottom of your heart at last, there will be a witness of the Holy Spirit, that you're looking only to Him for all that you need and you'll have that witnessing yourself and your faith will rise up, and your heart will be cleansed by faith. Now you'll be a different person inside, out as well, but inside. So that you understand fully, there will no longer be evil rising up from inside us, that's right. It may seem miraculous to you, and it is! It may seem incredible to you, but, there will be no evil rising up from inside. That's why I say after you've got a clean heart, it's just your own fault if you sin, it means you're choosing to. You're not sinning because of the evil in your heart, you're just choosing to.
The clean heart produces the very sentiments of Jesus, the very fragrance of His own heart within you, and it's easy to be a Christian because you are one inside and you feel like one. I would say to you that you should get down to dealing with God, and I would do it whatever way you think it's best for you. Now, just get alone with God and get down to business with Him. Find out why He is not able to baptize you with the Holy Spirit this very minute. He will deal with you and He will show you. Now this will take time, take time to be holy. You know, it takes time! It takes time, because you've been listening to everybody else for years! It takes a while to get on the same wavelength as God's Spirit. Now if I were you, I'd do that.
The first step in getting rid of your dirty heart is surrendering your whole life absolutely to God and giving Him the right to run every part of it, the innermost part of your being. Do you keep that private spot for yourselves, do you? I mean, that's what I did. I kept a private place right inside, which no one knew about and I kept that for myself. Even from God, that was a place where I could do what I wanted to do. Have you a place like that? Getting a clean heart is when you surrender everything to God, even that part of you that refuses to give up control. You open even that up to God and say: "Lord, I give what seems to be my very self that seems to be making me so terrible, that seems to be myself, dear God, help me. I give to you my very self, my deepest place, the place where I alone know, I give that to you, Lord, I surrender that to you, for you to rule as you please. Lord, I give my entire self to you."
That's the obedience that God requires. Now after doing this, just believe that evil heart of yours was crucified with Christ as it was. The old heart was crucified with Christ and He has already given you His clean and pure heart. In other words, faith like that, springs up in your heart, the moment you've given and surrendered everything to Jesus. Thats how you get a clean heart. Now the Holy Spirit comes in and cleanses your heart by your faith and keeps it cleansed as you continue to have faith that you were crucified with Christ and as you continue to submit to the Holy Spirit and it's a miracle, it's a miracle! It is not done by all the silly books and all the psychological games many people go through. This clean heart deals with the true core of sin. Now you no longer need to excuse your anger or justify it or justify your criticism, your sarcasm or your jealousy or trying to justify the things that you know are sin. You no longer attempt to justify any sin by calling it just one of your personality traits or human weakness. With a clean heart you find these don't even rise in your heart. That's what a clean heart means.
Honestly, you know, you may want to challenge me on this, you may want to say "brother, don't you mean that those things still come up, but you have more power to suppress them?" No, no, no, no
No! It is not suppression, it is not repression. That's the old game that we all have been involved in. It is a true cleaning and cleansing that's the word that the Bible uses. He cleansed their heart by faith, the Holy Spirit was given to them and God cleansed their hearts by faith. That means wash the stuff right out, so that it's clean, washed it right out! you do not have to keep a lid on it or try to keep it down with a cork so that it will not come out. No, it is not that at all, The heart is now cleansed right out and washed out, so now your heart is truly clean. Now, at last, there's nothing coming up from inside, but beauty and love and purity. The full New Covenant that we have available to us is that God will cleanse our hearts.
Do you want a clean conscience? Do you want a clean heart? Do you want a clean heart? Because The New Covenant is a clean conscience and a clean heart. Will you begin to ask God to show you where you stand in regard to this? Will you now ask God to show you where you stand? Is there something rising up inside you that doesn't like this? Is there? Is there something inside you that's saying "oh no, that's not true, it's not true, it can't be, nobody can be like that, It is impossible!" That's your unclean heart! That unclean heart can take you all the way down to hell, if you don't allow God to deal with it, as He promised. So, be prepared for it and be prepared for opposition inside you, there will be plenty of opposition because the devil will resist you. Do not forget that Jesus, Himself is also there in you. You must deal with the devil according to this dear word. Read Acts 15:9 and say now, does it mean that? Does it mean that God can cleanse my heart by faith? Does it mean that there is a miracle than can happen inside me that can clean me out? And that's what it means, loved ones.
The new covenant takes care of the clean heart, it cleanses your heart through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, so that you have a center of motivations and attitudes that are pure like Jesus, but the problem for so many of us is we don't realize that it is received by faith. We believe we receive our forgiveness of sins by faith, and then you know what we do, you know what we do. We say alright, I receive the forgiveness of sins by faith, I know I am on my way to heaven, now I've got to work on my unclean heart, isn't that right? I mean how many of us believe that we can receive a clean heart by faith, we don't. We believe we work on our unclean heart, by amateur psychology and group rationalization, that's it. Now, because we haven't experienced the miraculous deliverance from the unclean heart, the only way we can align ourselves with biblical standards is by lowering those standards, and so that's what we do. You know we fill each other's heads with the thoughts, anger is okay, you can't get over it, let's face it, it is just human. Gossip is okay, let's face it, you can't over it. All unclean thoughts are only human, you can't overcome those things, a little slander, a little jealously, you can't help it, those are normal human feelings, and you will always have them, its not the way we are? So we excuse anger, and we excuse gossip, and we excuse sarcasm, and we excuse slick asides to other people, and gradually the whole life in Christ lowers, and lowers, and lowers.
It is the desperate crying out to God. It isn't the crying out to man, why, why can I not stop sinning? While you are crying out to man, while maybe having little achievements and accomplishments, while you are reading the books, while you are talking to other people, saying why can't I stop sinning, even though I am a Christian? While you are doing that, you are just pretending. While you are trying to justify your situation, you are not even serious, but when you are desperate enough to cry out to the Holy Spirit, "Holy Spirit, why can I not stop this, why?" Then you are coming into the place of full surrender, where the dear Holy Spirit Himself can begin to deal with you, and can explain to you in what ways your heart is not clean for Him to dwell. He will explain it to you, because He wants to dwell in your heart, your heart was made for His indwelling, that's why your heart is there. You were made for the Holy Spirit of the God to stay and dwell and live within you day after day, night after night, moment by moment, and the Holy Spirit's dearest desire is to come there, and make that His home.
You may say, "oh, my heart is not totally rotten, I mean it has some good things there." No you must face it. Your heart is totally dirty. Your heart is unclean all the way. The only reason that you have anything good in your life is because the Holy Spirit manages at times to get His life through to you. Your heart is just filled with evil. It's not filled with good. That's part of Satan's trick. You're saying "Now, look, it's not as bad as he says." Your heart has some good things. Look at what you did yesterday. The fact is that even that is tainted with evil and dirt and selfishness, if you see it as it really is.
In Jesus, on the cross, all of us were placed with our unclean hearts and the whole attitude of our heart which was wrong was changed and made right. In other words, our hearts, for years and years, have been trained to depend on the world and not on God. That's actually
that's the basic problem with the whole thing. Our heart is unclean because it actually depends on the world and not on God. Even though you're born of the spirit, even though you like God, even though you try to obey him, your own inner heart still depends on the world. It depends on the world of things for your food, for your clothing and for your shelter. It depends on the world of circumstances turning outright for your own happiness. It depends on the world of people for your self esteem and your self worth.
Now in Jesus on the cross your heart was changed and you were crucified to the world. Jesus on the cross turns His own heart away from the world of things and away from the world of people and away from the world of circumstances and turned your heart as well and changed it. In that moment, you remember, when there was darkness upon the whole earth until the night our Jesus looked to God alone for all that He needed and your heart also was changed to look to God alone. That has happened to you. Your heart has been changed and it can be changed in you if you are willing to be baptized with the Holy Spirit because He alone can take that new clean heart that exists in Jesus and make it real in you. Baptism with the Holy Spirit means being immersed in the Holy Spirit, means being immersed utterly in Him, looking to Him alone for all you need, just as a fish is immersed in the ocean and looks even to the ocean for the oxygen that it needs. So in Jesus, you and I were immersed in the Holy Spirit and were separated from the world as the source of our resources. Now we died to that world and we came alive to all the resources that God alone can give us.
Now to enter into that, you enter into it by faith, not by masochism, not by mental assent, not by self discipline, not by trying to make it real in yourself, not by brainwashing, not by reading more books. The Bible says "Your heart is cleansed by faith". Faith is belief plus obedience. In the case of this full experience of the New Covenant, belief plus the obedience expresses itself in full surrender. You need to put your full confidence in HIM! Do you believe that Christ destroyed your old heart with all its stubbornness and pride on Calvary? Do you? Do you believe Romans 6:6, that your old self was crucified with Christ? That's the first part of faith. Do you believe that? Secondly, do you want that? Do you want a clean heart? That's right. Do you want a clean heart? You know, not want in the sense of desire, emotional desire, but want in the sense of willing?
Are you willing to have a clean heart? Are you willing to go before God and cry to Him "Into Thy hands I commit my spirit along with my dear Savior. What You give me is all I want and what You do not give me I will not take. I depend on you utterly and I give myself to you only. Whatever You want me to have that I will receive, whatever You do not want me to have I gladly do without. I consecrate myself wholly into your hands". That's it!
Look at what God's word says to you. You will never find faith in yourself or even your ability to surrender to Him. The power to change you is in His word. The word can be made flesh and a reality to you right now. Look again at His word. His word is like a seed that will bring forth His desired result. The life you need is in the seed. Listen to His word again and yet again. Let your mind and heart become occupied the whole day with the thought: God says it; it must be. Continue looking at the word expecting the word to work within you no matter how wretched and dark the condition of your heart may be. Now the word itself does the work, not your ability to consider it. It does not lie in you, nor even in the word regarded in itself, but in the faithfulness of God, who has said: "He that believes shall not be ashamed." You must know that it is by the word the Spirit works. The word not only gives you the reason to believe but it also gives you the right to expect Him to perform it.
See that Christ has been given by God also to you as a Savior from all sin. "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ is come into the world to save sinners," -- all sinners without distinction, even the chief. Hold fast to this truth, and be occupied with it. Let your heart be filled with it: Jesus is come to save sinners, even me; Jesus is given by God also to save me: Christ is certainly for me. Not because I have believed all this or have a clean heart yet; no, but because I am an ungodly one. And, whether I believe it or not, it remains truth that Christ is offered by God also to me. Before I believe it, it is the truth. The truth of it does not depend on anything in me that is yet to take place. The truth of it is grounded in the fact that God has said it. I have, therefore, nothing to do but to hear according to the word of God, and to receive it in my soul, until it becomes with me a settled conviction: it must be true, Christ is a Savior also for me, for God has said it. Now it really does not matter when questions seem to pop up in my mind like, am I already converted? - Am I worthy of it?- Am I indeed sincere enough to get it? No, all these questions are silenced in Him. No mater who I am or what my present condition is, Christ is for me.
True faith rises up when we are awakened by God's promises. Faith is nothing but the acknowledgment of our own weakness and a consent to be willing to receive everything God has already made available in Christ, His Son. And it is only in the strength of this faith that you shall enter heaven. Understand that Jesus will do it all for you: receive Him this day as the guide on the way given by God. However wretched you are, just simply believe that it is truth that God has given His Son Jesus also to you to save you. Be willing and acknowledge Him as your Savior. Rejoice in the thought: God has given Him to you. Although you may still feel nothing in yourself, grasp firmly this thought the whole day and carry it round with you in the midst of all your work and over it. It is certainly true, God has given Jesus also to me, to save me. This simple thought is faith. Hold fast to it and thank God for it. It will speedily send forth roots in you, and you shall rejoice in the assurance that Jesus is leading you to heaven. By this faith, you also, having been called, shall be obedient.
Believe in Jesus, that He is given by God to be your Savior: stretch out your hand to lay hold of Him and to appropriate Him for yourself. Listen to Him, be willing to obey Him; remember that with the command He also gives the strength; begin NOW, although you do not yet feel the power, and, although you can still do nothing, say, "I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God." Show Him that it is your desire to believe. As the man with the withered hand obtained power to stretch it out at the command of Jesus, so shall it be with you. The command, "Believe," will no longer oppress you with the thought, "I cannot do it," but encourages you to entertain the confidence: "Jesus commands it, thus it is to be, thus it may be." And if, with every inclination again to be discouraged, you look to Jesus and hear how cheerfully He calls to you, "You may, you must, you can believe in Me," your soul will be strengthened with an ever-growing steadfastness to entrust yourself to Him. In the endeavor to believe, strength for it is given and exercised: the hand of faith will soon be entirely healed.
God has given you His seed already. In fact it is inside you and working right now as you read this. Yes, it may seem dark and dim now, but you are now pregnant with God's seed just like Mary was when the Holy Spirit came to her. This seed is inside you now. It is growing and will continue to grow. It WILL birth Christ within you. His heart is in you now. Will you just believe and surrender to this truth now no matter what? Do you see it?
"Oh, there it is!" Now just, receive it and take it and embrace it NOW!