Sermon: Holy Spirit & True Christians

Written by Timothy

Holy Spirit And True Christians

This sermon discusses true and false Christians and how to tell the difference. 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that we are to test ourselves and others. We are to measure who is a Christian and who isn’t.

2 Corinthians 13:5-6 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

Only genuine Christians can recognize other Christians who are truly genuine. People who are false Christians will always discover those who are false. Paul said the first thing you need to do is examine yourself to see whether or not Jesus Christ is really in you. Let’s understand he’s writing to the Corinthian church. He’s writing to Christians. He addresses a whole church of believers. No doubt they have been through communion, singing and passing the plate. He tells them to examine themselves to see whether or not they are in the faith. This is how he closes his letter right before he said goodbye. Then he concludes by saying that as they test themselves, they will discover that he did not fail the test. He too, is in Christ Jesus.

How do we tell whether we are true or false Christians? How do we tell whether somebody else is really in Jesus Christ? Let’s put this in proper prospective. We are not to declare that someone is in Christ Jesus, we are to test and see whether or not he is in him or her.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Most people want to know whether you are in Christ Jesus, not whether He’s in you. There’s a vast difference. People who want to know whether you are in Christ Jesus are talking religiously. They want to know if you are religious or not. The crucial question remains. Does somebody else dwell and live within you?

Two things have to be present and are essential. These two things demonstrate whether somebody is in Christ Jesus or not. 1. The Cross. 2. The Holy Spirit. Some people try to have one without the other. Some people try to live without the Holy Spirit so they carry their cross. It’s not those who say with their lips, “Oh, I love Jesus Christ. I am a Christian.” What signifies whether someone is a Christian is the combination of the cross and the Holy Spirit. Again, a lot of people try to live one without the other. Many people try to carry a cross without the Holy Spirit. There are lots of reasons why they might be in that of condition. The point remains that they are in a position of picking up a cross, that is not by the power or leading of the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules:

People who are just picking up a cross have all kinds of rules for proper conduct for living the Christian life. This is the first thing you will notice. There are certain standards and things that must be lived out in their church or denomination.

Colossians 2:21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”

If you don’t abide by these rules, this will signify that you are really not in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 2:22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.

This is the central difference. We see a cross but it’s a cross by human standards, human teaching, and man’s wisdom. Man goes to the Word, he takes that Word and says, “This is what is means to be a Christian and this is how people should live their lives.” So man in his wisdom outlines the basic things for you to do. He lays them into your life to be lived. That is how they begin to say, “Do not handle. Do not taste. Do not touch.”

Colossians 2:23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom . . .

This is what attracts people. It looks intelligent, smart, livable, and holy. You can outline it and people can do it. They have Christianity all down in a nutshell. They think that’s what it’s all about. It looks wise.

Colossians 2:23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship,

What they have left out is the Holy Spirit. They are imposing upon themselves certain rules of conduct for worship and manners of seeking and serving God. But it doesn’t come from the living God.

Colossians 2:23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

They talk about dependence upon Jesus Christ. They talk about how they are nothing and how humble they are. They talk about how God really moves, works, and answers their prayers. This has a false humility. They have a cross, but no Holy Spirit. The bottom line of all this self-imposed worship, and all these rules about how to deny yourself, is that self is never crucified. The flesh just transposes to do something else. In other words, if I were to say; “You need to give up TV, don’t touch this over here,” the flesh is not really being crucified. This leads to self-righteousness. So self is never put to death, it just transposes itself into something more sinister. It looks holy and has an appearance of wisdom. These are the classic Pharisees.

Don’t forget that scripture says it does not produce any type of death to self. “It has no value in restraining sensual indulgence.” It does not change the inner man. It’s like people who give up smoking only to overeat. There is just no way to deal with the flesh except by the power of the Holy Spirit. I don’t care how hard you beat your body.

2 Corinthians 3:1-3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

There are many study guides and programs written on paper. That is the result of most ministries, not the Holy Spirit writing it in their hearts. He said, “Our ministry is not written with ink.”

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Some carry a cross without the Spirit. They have all the books and programs, but because it is the letter of man and with ink, it produces death. Many of us in our Christian walk try to do with same thing, even as we say we believe in the Holy Spirit. We go to the Word of God and read the pages. We then say, “I will set out to live this.” Hopefully, you have found how frustrating and impossible this is to live. There is no way you will know how to live those scriptures out, or have the power to do so. The only way you know is if the Holy Spirit writes it on your heart. Some of you would do far better to lay the Bible on the table and never open it. The kind of ministry that God has brought in the New Covenant is different than ink on pages.

Jeremiah 31:31-32 “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, “ declares the LORD.

We are under a new covenant.

Jeremiah 31:33-34 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

The new covenant is this: That we know a living God. When we say “Word of God,” we mean something that is alive and real. We mean Jesus Christ living in us. However, most people live a religious Christian life. Their church has certain doctrines, creeds, functions, and traditions. That’s what they know, not the living God. They do not live their daily Christian lives saying that God is writing on their hearts and minds His word. They do not live their lives saying they know Jesus Christ lives and moves within them.

Other people try to have the Spirit without the cross. You must have both. To have the cross is sheer death without the Spirit. But some people claim to have the Holy Spirit yet without any obedience, or crucifixion of the flesh. They never get the cross that deals with their flesh. They talk about the presence of the Lord, they believe in the Holy Spirit, they believe in miracles, and they talk about how God moves in certain ways. But what is missing when you look at their lives? The flesh is not being put to death, even with all this talk of the Spirit. They are lacking obedience. There’s no conformity to the Word. There’s no real death to the flesh that has cravings to be fed. There’s no difference in the man.

Matthew 16:15-17 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

Peter received a movement of the Spirit. He heard the word, it opened up to him, he understood the word, and realized not that which came by ink or some teaching, but understood it totally by the power of the Spirit. There are a lot of people who believe in the Spirit and have this kind of enlightenment, but they don’t have the second part. They do not have the cross that will deal with their flesh. They are content to have the enlightenment, the feelings, or the presence of the Lord. They are content with miracles or outward things.

Matthew 16:18-20 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Now think about it. This is a tremendous revelation. Not only did Peter receive some divine instruction from the Holy Spirit that Jesus is the Christ, but then the son of the living God told Peter what his life was about. Jesus told Peter what he would build. He let the disciples in on secret things. He said, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose with be loosed in heaven.” Then he told them he didn’t want anyone else to know that he’s the Christ. He entrusted this specifically to them. You see, this is a grand movement of the Spirit. It wasn’t just a little bit of a revelation. Jesus Christ spoke very diligently and clearly to Peter and the other disciples, so they would know exactly who he is. Being enlightened by the Spirit is not enough. Verse 21 shows us this.

Matthew 16:21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

After Peter received this grand revelation and moved by the Spirit like this, he took Jesus aside and rebuked the son of the living God.

Matthew 16:22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

This is what happens. People are moved in the Spirit, but they never put their flesh to death. They stand up to oppose Jesus Christ and there’s no obedience in their lives. There is no crucifixion of the flesh. Nothing has really changed. They begin to rebuke Jesus Christ as Peter did.

Matthew 16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

This all happened within a matter of moments. What does this tell us about our own Christian walk and life? It means God may give us enlightenment, and indeed he will. We too will be able to say, “You are the son of the living God,” not because you grew up in a Christian home or because you heard enough sermons to brainwash yourself, but because you have heard the Holy Spirit. He has enlightened you and said, “This man really is the son of the living God.” You can testify to that. You can say it with conviction in your heart by the power of the Spirit. But that isn’t enough. There has to be the cross and the Spirit for there to be life. You have to be willing for Jesus Christ to turn to you and call you Satan. To show in you everything that is a stumbling block to him. Then the cross takes on it’s meaning and begins to crucify the flesh. The cross is then able to be carried with joy and is the source of power.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

He said, “Look guys, this is the Christian life. You can’t just have enlightenment and that’s it. You have to have the cross.” Blessed are you that receive this from heaven, but somebody else is still on the throne of your heart. Something very vile, sinister, and wicked still dwells in you even though the Holy Spirit has given you this kind of enlightenment. It’s the cross that keeps us from being deceived about ourselves and think we’ve been enlightened by God, but continue to stay in our sin.

Matthew 16:25-26 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

You can’t be enlightened only. You can’t have the Spirit move and work in your life alone. You won’t have understanding about doctrine, and have it be life to you if the cross is not there crucifying your flesh at the same time. Some people have the Holy Spirit moving in their life, but they never reach a place where they say, “I no longer live.” They never really sense the nails being driven into their hands so they don’t do what they want to do. They never feel the pain of the nails going into their feet, the slow death that crucifixion brings in one’s life, and the wrestling of sin that really brings about an honest transformation and change. They cannot say with Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ.” The flesh, in all of its weakness, pain, and vileness that is in it, has not been laid on the cross.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Few are the people who claim to be Christians who can say; “I no longer live.” They are not the same person. You wouldn’t recognize them 10 years later, because it’s not them who live, it is Jesus Christ in them. The cross has done its work. They are changed and different. It’s been said a thousand times over, but it’s still true. How many of us are still the same 10 years after praying and seeking God? We are not changed at all. How is that possible? How can we cry out to God, and feel the conviction of the Spirit, but the conviction never leads to a crucifixion? These people miss all the joy. All they ever feel is the pain and conviction of the Spirit. All they do is turn to lies.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I no longer live.” In all its ramifications: thoughts, wills, desires, opinions, sins and flesh are all put to death. I no longer desire the things I did when I first came to the Lord. I no longer have the same impurity of thoughts and motives. It is not because of some diligence on my part, but because of the work of the Spirit.

The following scripture is the epitaph of most Christians.

Judges 17:6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.

Don’t we live like that now? Scores of people talk about the Holy Spirit, but there’s no cross. Everyone does as they see fit, because everyone has the Holy Spirit who seems to move them in ways that agree with their flesh. They have no king or God who writes the living word of God on their hearts and minds. They have the programs, study guides, tapes, and seminars. But they don’t have the one thing that is so crucial the God who writes the living word on their hearts and minds. They have no cross that will honestly deal with the secret parts of a man’s heart. Let’s put this all together.

Matthew 7:15 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

How am I supposed to watch out for them if they come in sheep’s clothing? It must not be something that I measure outwardly. He said that inwardly they are ferocious wolves. I have to look at the heart. When I test to see if someone is a true or false Christian, I examine what is in the heart. Are the cross and the Holy Spirit there? Understand this clearly. Most people judge false prophets by the words they say, the logic of their doctrine, or whether or not it agrees with their religious ideas.

Matthew 7:16-20 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

What fruit? Which particular fruit? What demonstrates whether somebody is a true Christian or a false Christian?

Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

What does it mean to do the will of the Father? Most people open up the Bible and examine what they think the Father wants them to do. Or they have a study guide, seminar, or list of doctrines, and if you agree with those that’s doing the will of the Father.

They mean you take a scripture out of the Bible, begin to apply it, and figure out how that scripture is to be worked out in your life. That’s what they think is doing the will of the Father. This is the most logical, common definition of that scripture. But that’s not what it means. It means, “Only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” That is, he who receives the Father’s will, and is in a living, communicating relationship with the Father, does the Father’s will.

Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”


Jesus said “I never had a relationship with you. You did all of these outward things and had the faith to move mountains, but I never had a relationship with you. You never heard my Spirit. Doing the will of the Father to you was casting out demons and applying the word of the Lord as you saw fit, but I was never king in your heart.” We must crucify the thought that thinks even for a moment, that doing the will of the Father is outlining the Bible and living it. That is not doing the will of the Father. That is doing something as I see fit, or what is comfortable for me. Instead, I do the will of him who is in heaven. I know him who lives in me. I listen to his Spirit that guides and shows me, who writes the word in my heart and mind. He says, “This is how it applies and works in your life. This is the cross you are to carry.” We don’t have time to go into all the different ways the cross will come out.

Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

The Bible is not the Spirit. I am not the Spirit. A church is not the Spirit. The Spirit is what lives within us. We have to say; “OK, Holy Spirit, what is it you want done this very hour? What is it I am to say this very moment? What do you want me to surrender?” That is, keep your mind set on what the Spirit desires. Woe unto those who call their voice and their flesh the Holy Spirit. They are the ones without the cross. Blessed are those who are asking every moment and have a thirst in their heart and a hunger deep in their soul that say, “What does the Holy Spirit want? What does God want to work through me?” This is the difference between a true and a false Christian. Woe unto the Christian who lives every day of his life and never hears the voice of the Spirit. How can that be so? It cannot be so! The call of the Christian life is a relationship with Jesus Christ. What man marries a woman and never sees her but says he has a marriage? That makes no sense! Yet how many people go on like that for years, never alarmed or indignant at what holds them back from hearing the voice of God? No wonder we turn to false churches.

Romans 8:12-13 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,

You cannot commit suicide by crucifixion. You cannot deal with sins in your own timing, your own place, or your own way. “If by the Holy Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body you will live.” Anything without the Spirit, even if you have the cross, is ink that kills.

Romans 8:14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

I have to be led by the Holy Spirit to deal with sins in my life. Jesus was baptized and received the Holy Spirit. Where did the Spirit lead him? Into the desert to confront sin. He didn’t choose it of his own accord. It wasn’t his timing and plan. If you had asked Jesus if this was really where he wanted to be he would have said, “No.” We are talking about following a God that lays hold of us and moves us. We follow the Holy Spirit where we do not want to go yet we want to be there because we want our flesh dealt with.

Romans 8:14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Another way to say it, “Those who are not led of the Spirit are not sons of God.” In what ways does the Spirit lead you to deal with sin? How do you feel the communication and the cross being put on you by the Spirit? Paul said he doesn’t beat the air aimlessly. He has direction and purpose. He knows where the Spirit is leading and he follows the Spirit. Or are you leading yourself to deal with your sin as you see fit? Are you repenting in your own timetable and to your own conclusion? Do you change your opinion of things you want to change at your own pace as long as you can keep your pride and self intact? Even the harsh treatment of the body that other people live without the Spirit is nothing compared to what the Spirit can do in a man’s life.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Do you see what this says? Do you see the difference between a true and false Christian? A true Christian goes into the prayer closet and says, “Abba, Father,” which means “Da-da.” We are talking about that kind of relationship with the Spirit, with Jesus Christ. Sure, he deals with our sin. He deals violently with our sin. Yes, he gives us a cross to carry and demands change. He absolutely demands surrender. It’s a fearsome responsibility, but it allows me to say “Abba, Father” even as I allow Him to put that cross in my life. It is possible to be in that kind of relationship. Is this the kind of relationship you have with Jesus Christ? If not, you are a false, lukewarm Christian. You are not where you need to be, and you must wake up today. Something is holding you back, whether it’s a lack of faith or a hard heart. Every second that a man stays in that condition is a second too long.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Look at this again. God writes it in our hearts. Let’s go back to the marriage example. You are not married just because you have a certificate. There are many people who have a certificate but do not have a marriage. There’s no relationship. In the same way, we are talking about the Spirit living in us and shouting with a trumpet blast; “You are a child of God.” Now what makes us so fearful is that people hear voices in their hearts that tell them they are a child of God. That’s why I said only true Christians can recognize other true Christians.

Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Circle “if indeed,” underline it, and have the Holy Spirit write it in your heart. We must cry “Abba, Father.” We do that by the Spirit and pick up a cross that has the sufferings of Jesus Christ that does real work in our lives. A work that is tangible and different. It is honest power that comes from heaven.

1 John 2:3-6 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

What do verses 3, 4, & 5 typically mean? Those who love God obey God’s commands. Therefore, in order to know if someone is in Jesus Christ, I just go into the Bible, pick out the commandments, and see who’s obeying them. That’s the common interpretation of living out that passage. For them, the commandments are ink, what the church says or whatever their own ideas are of what is “Christian.” But what does it really mean?

1 John 2:5-6 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

How did Jesus walk? How did he obey God’s commands? Look at John 5:19. We will see exactly how Jesus walked, exactly how you are to walk and the difference between and true and false Christians.

John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

“Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven.” Unless we shake in our beds before we get up in the morning and say, “Lord, I don’t want to get out of this bed without an understanding of what your will is. Without a full faith of believing that you will guide and direct me. Not without knowing that I am surrendering my life before you,” we will never understand what it means to obey God’s commands. What it means to obey the commands of God is to obey him who is in heaven. To only do what the Father does.

John 5:20-21 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.

What does Jesus offer you? He said; “I only do what the Father does.” He says that this is life. These are the commandments. This is something that comes from God. It’s not like the covenant of Israel where God led them out of Egypt. They were not faithful to that covenant. Instead, God will write it in their hearts. He will dwell within them and communicate to them his will. That’s what makes a true Christian. It’s somebody who says, “OK, God, I understand what your will is because I have heard it from your Spirit. I pick up my cross to perform your will.” When Jesus said he would give life to that which is dead, he means us. He means to be able to say; “Abba, Father.”

John 6:60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

That is definitely the gospel. It is hard. That’s why people turn to law. It is why we turn to ink and doctrine that is dead and dry. It’s easier to live ink. Then self does not have to die. You don’t have to lose your life for Jesus Christ. You can find your life in the name of Jesus inside your church, in your nice little world and have the promise of heaven, too. You can have the feelings of the presence of the Spirit of God, but you don’t really have to die to anything of the flesh. But when you put the two together and have the cross with the Holy Spirit, do you know what the conclusion is? “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” It is a hard teaching. Those who can accept it are those that are finally willing to humble themselves before God and give it all up. The ones who say, “God I can’t do this except by your Spirit.” They will be given the cross and power.

John 6:61-63 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”

Jesus told them that the outward things mean nothing. He said, “What if you see me ascend to where I was before I came? It makes no difference.” You can have the grandest choir in the world to sing to God and it will not crucify the flesh. You can spend hour upon hour in your quiet time praying before God and it will not crucify the flesh.

John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

A thousand times of beating the body in the flesh equals zero. But one touch by the Spirit, one breathing in of the life that comes from heaven, one full faith and surrender that says, “Oh, God, work your life in me,” will give you the power to live the Christian life. Oh that we would surrender with rich faith before a living God. Then we would really live what we tell other people.

John 6:64-65 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

John 6:66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

They began to realize what Jesus was saying. He said, “You have to eat my flesh and drink my blood. You have to live and walk as I walk. You have to be in communion with the Father as I am in communion with the Father. You have to surrender your flesh unto God as a living sacrifice to let God work whatever he wills in your life. You have to become soft hearted enough that when he says, “You are in sin” he can work that in your life. They said, “That’s too hard. Who can accept it?” They would rather have religion and law anything but this. This life you will walk and live only by the power of God. Anything else, and you will turn to leave and go find something easier.

John 6:56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.

This is not the Catholic interpretation of literally drinking his blood. He doesn’t want us to become cannibals. Jesus said these words are Spirit. What does it mean to drink the blood of Jesus Christ and eat his flesh? It means to walk as he walked. How did he walk? In communion with the Father. That’s where he received an understanding about the word. People said of Jesus Christ, “Where did he get all this wisdom without ever having studied?” It came from the Father. How little our study is touched by the Holy Spirit, and there’s no power in the words we say. There’s no real conviction and life because it’s not the living word of Jesus. We are just vomiting words we have eaten. Isaiah said there’s not a spot without vomit on the table. We need to depend on the Spirit and pick up our cross or just to forget the whole thing and become pagans.

John 6:57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.

The true Christian walk is full of life, but only as we feed upon a living God. Jesus is saying He exists because God lives. That is, if God were to remove his presence from him, he would be dead. Jesus is so dependent upon his father in heaven, he would die if that happened. We would not be. We depend upon ourselves and our own self-righteousness. We depend on the strength of man. We depend on our own arms, hands, and minds to manipulate. If God were to hide his face from us we wouldn’t know the difference. How dependent are we upon the living God? Look at what he said in verse 57.

John 6:57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.

These are not just words written on a page, or an adjective that tells us what kind of God He is. We know He’s alive. Jesus is trying to tell us something by the Spirit. He is a living God, this is “Abba Father.”

If you feed on Jesus, if you desire what the Spirit desires and hunger to know God’s will, you will be in communication with Him. If you eat, hunger and thirst for him, and cry out for him, then you too will live, because God lives. People who live their own Christian lives, don’t feed on Jesus. They feed on the false prophet, teachers, and elders. They feed on the moving music. They feed on all the things they can feed on, but they don’t feed on Jesus, do they?

John 12:23-25 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Look at verse 26. This is what it means to lose, to fall to the ground and die. This does not mean is you have some misery in your life and you call that the cross. This does not mean you arbitrarily pick what scriptures you will live and find a church that you feel comfortable in, so you can say to yourself, “Now, I am a Christian.”

John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Jesus said you must follow him, not a man. “Where my spirit is, that’s where my servants will be.” How much are you in communication with the living God? I don’t care how religious you are, or how much scripture you can quote. You might have on sheep’s clothing. What’s in the heart? How much are the cross and the Spirit in you? How much do you hear the voice of God in your life and how much do you obey that voice? How dependent are you on the Father for everything?

John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

This is not for one who just picks good deeds and says, “OK God, I did all of these things for you.” Jesus Christ will respond, “But I wasn’t there! You didn’t follow me. You did what you wanted to do.” And the response back is, “But Lord, we cast out demons, we healed the sick, and raised the dead. I helped in the church library and did all of these things.” Jesus will say, “I wasn’t there. I never knew you.” You have to follow Jesus.

John 21:15-17 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Jesus told Peter; “Don’t do what you want to do, Peter. Follow me, this is where I am.”

John 21:18-21 “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

I would love to be blessed like Peter by Jesus telling me how my life will end (I think I would, anyway.) The point is, this is another grand revelation by the Holy Spirit, so what was Peter’s concern? He was not concerned about following Jesus Christ, or learning a lesson. His concern was about John.

You have a cross that you are to pick up. You have the Holy Spirit that you are to follow. I don’t know exactly how the cross will be made real in your life. I just know that if you give yourself to Him, it will be worked out. The last thing I want to do is conform you to what I think your cross should be.

John 21:22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

Will we ever catch on? Will we be like Peter, all the way past the cross, and still be concerned about the other person’s cross? We are still worried about what someone else gets to keep, what they get to do, or what God works in their lives. You are accountable to him only. It is to him that you answer. I might blow it completely and wind up in hell, but that won’t justify anything you failed to do. You have to be in a relationship with the living God. You have to hear Jesus say, “Follow me.” Jesus said “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? It’s none of your business. You must follow me.” What kind of people will we be? True Christians who have the Holy Spirit in the cross, or just merely a religious group doing what we want to do? This is crucial. There is nothing else more important than this. There just isn’t.

Luke 11:24-25 When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.

Hey! He got his life cleaned up! The sins he wept and cried about at the altar disappeared. The demon left, and his life is all structured, put in order, and cleaned up. But then the demon takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, goes in and sets up house. Something is missing in the man’s life. The demons come and find the house unoccupied. Nobody’s living there but everything is nice and tidy. The final state of that man is worse than the first.

Luke 11:26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.

This happens all the time. People get convicted, broken, and cry out to God. They clean up their life. They are tired of their sin, and worn out by it all, so they straighten everything up. But they don’t fill up with the Holy Spirit and the cross in their life. There is nobody living inside. They stopped, for whatever reasons, and did not give it all to God. Are you like that? What’s dwelling within you? How much are you moved by the Spirit? How much do you desire and long for the will of the Lord? How much do you ask, “What does Jesus Christ want?” How often do we say, “Oh, that’s just my wisdom and my logic. I don’t know what Jesus Christ wants”? How much are we in fear and trembling saying; “God, what is your desire?” It doesn’t matter whether no one else will catch you or whether you can fool people. That’s not even the question. You have to answer to Jesus Christ. You have to be able to say; “This is what He wanted me to do and I did it.” Let me tell you, there is no greater joy than that. It really is rich life.

Luke 11:27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

The first “Hail Mary.”

Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Blessed are those who hear the living words of Jesus and then obey it. Both the Spirit and the cross must be present. Many people keep hearing the Spirit over and over again, but never obey him. Nothing ever dies. Some of you never hear the Spirit but you keep picking up certain crosses. Then you come back to me and whine that you never do anything right. It is never right until the Spirit is there. The cross and the Spirit both have to be in harmony.

Jeremiah 2:8 The priests did not ask, “Where is the LORD?” Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.

What is the problem here? They know the law, but whom do they not know? The living God! The priests did not ask; “Where is the Lord? Where is his Spirit?” Those who dealt with the law did not know God. The leaders rebelled against him. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. Now don’t think for even a moment that they realize they are Baal worshippers. How many of us read the word of God and we don’t ask, “Where’s the Lord in all of this? What is he saying?” 1 Corinthians says only the Spirit knows the mind of the Spirit and the only way you will understand this word or anything about God is to hear it from the Holy Spirit. The priests do not ask, “Is Jesus Christ here or not?”

Jeremiah 23:21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied.

They read the word, didn’t they? They had the scriptures down. Jeremiah said they would borrow words from each other and run with that message, but God did not speak to them. He did not declare it and His Spirit was not moving through them.

Jeremiah 23:22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.

It’s not enough just to have the ink on pages. We do not need the church committees. The only thing that matters is standing in the counsel of God. The problem is, people don’t confess that they’ve been Baal worshippers. We refuse to hear Jesus Christ turn to us and say, “Get behind me, Satan.” We won’t allow him to do it. Either we really don’t want our fleshly pride and arrogance dealt with, or we really don’t want to be Christians.

Hosea 8:1 Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the LORD because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law.

But they have no clue. Look at what they say;

Hosea 8:2 Israel cries out to me, “O our God, we acknowledge you!”

They are crying out to God with great fanfare, with singing, and with all sorts of projects. Yet, there is a trumpet over the house of God being blown to announce, “You have broken the covenant of God.” Test and examine yourselves. Are you really in Jesus Christ, that is, does Jesus Christ live in you? Are the cross and the Holy Spirit in your life? That is the difference between a true and false Christian.

Let’s pray:

Father take the blinders off of our eyes and the calluses off of our hearts. Teach us, oh Lord, what it is to cry “Abba Father” to you. Not in a deceived kind of faith or presumptuous kind of faith, Father. We are a weak people who have laid themselves before you, who have cried out and have been lifted up by the Spirit, and feed upon Jesus Christ. Father, let us have the joy that Jesus had and not be miserable Christians that consider the cross to be something to endure now so we can just go to heaven. Father, let the cross be the source of life for us as the Spirit moves breathes. Father, may we each be able to say, “I no longer live, but you live within me.” We plead this, Oh Lord, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.


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Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.