The Biggest Problem in the World

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Here are some highlights I’ve excerpted from a sermon today entitled “Have You Claimed Your Full Birthright?” by Pastor Zac Poonen, given at Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View, California:

The Biggest Problem in the World
“So in order to understand this first of all we need to see that Jesus came to the world to save us from sin. That’s our biggest problem. Our biggest problem is not sickness, our biggest problem is not poverty. Jesus was poor, many of the apostles were poor, but they were overcomers. To be a light in the world you don’t have to be a millionaire. To be a light in the world you don’t even have to be physically healthy. But you have to be free from sin. The first promise in the New Testament is ‘You shall call His name Jesus because He shall save His people from their sins.’ I’m sorry to say that when I was converted, my preachers, the church I went to, they didn’t teach me about being free from sin; they only taught me about how I could be forgiven. And many Christians have only known how to be forgiven, so they go around in a circle all their lives: sinning, confessing, being forgiven, sinning again, confessing, being forgiven. And praise the Lord, the blood of Jesus Christ is forever available to cleanse us from all sin. But we can get out of this circle; we can come to freedom from this, if you want it. We don’t have to live in this circle continuously. That’s the message of the Gospel; we can be free because Jesus came to free us from it.

“Think of this: if I ask Jesus to forgive me, let’s say I lost my temper and I hurt somebody. Now I say ‘Lord forgive me,’ and He forgives me. And the next day, or a couple of days later again I lose my temper–whether it’s your wife, or your neighbor, or somebody in the office, and I feel guilty and I say ‘Lord forgive me,’ and he forgives me. What is the Lord? He’s your forgiver. Has He saved you from your anger? No. How can you call Him savior? He’s not your savior; what has He saved you from? Has he saved you from an unforgiving spirit? No. Has He saved you from being jealous of people who’ve got better things than you have? No. Has He saved you from anger? Has He saved you from dirty thoughts? Has he saved you from internet pornography? No, no, no. But He forgives you. Call Him ‘Forgiver’; you can’t call Him savior because He doesn’t seem to have saved you from anything! This is the deception of the devil. I want to say to you in Jesus name He’s a Savior, not just a forgiver! The angel told Joseph, the first promise in the New Testament in Matthew 1:21 ‘He will save His people from their sins.’

“There’s a lot of difference between being forgiven and being saved.
If my little six year old boy, I tell him ‘Don’t go near the road; the construction people are digging a big pit there. Don’t go anywhere near there.’
And he disobeys me and falls into the pit and he cries out,
‘Daddy, daddy!’
And I go near there and say ‘Son,’ and he’s there in that ten-foot pit, ‘what happened?’
‘Daddy, I’m really sorry I disobeyed you!’
‘Okay son, I forgive you. Goodbye.’
Have I forgiven him? I have. Have I saved him? No. My brothers and sisters there’s a world of difference, and see it forever today, between being forgiven and being saved. When you call Him Savior, you’re saying ‘You came to save me, not to forgive me and leave me in the pit.’

“Sin is a serious thing! It’s a very serious thing, and the place where you can see the seriousness of it the most is on Calvary’s cross. I spent years meditating on the cross; that’s how I began to see the seriousness of sin. And I saw how sin was destroying my inner life, worse than sickness. And I can honestly say before God today that I would rather have any sickness in the world than have one sin in my life. This is what repentance means. When it says in the Bible that ‘your old man was crucified with Christ’ what is that ‘old man’? That’s not the flesh; the flesh and the old man are different. The flesh is the thing that keeps on tempting us; we have that till the day we die, lusts. But the old man is, let me explain to you, the mind that wanted to sin. That’s what gets changed when we are born again. When you really experience a new birth that mind that wants to sin is dead. Now we have a mind that wants to please God. I’m not saying you’ll never sin. When people come to me for baptism, where they are testifying that their old man is buried according to Romans 6, what I ask them is not ‘will you sin again?’ Nobody can say ‘I will never sin again,’ not even the greatest saint on earth. We can slip up and fall any time. But my question is ‘Do you want to sin again?’ The answer should be ‘No’. ‘Do you want to sin even once?’ The answer should be ‘No’. …”

Here are links to audio and video of this sermon.


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