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Character development is said to be the most important work ever entrusted to human beings. During the next hour, we will explore both our privilege and our responsibility to become Christ-like in character. Join us now for this powerful time of personal renewal as Pastor Stephen Wallace takes us “From Glory to Glory.”

Character building. {Ed 225.3} And we are in the midst of a very closely related series of studies having to do with our cooperative role, and leading to the absolute necessity of getting a new heart in order to be able to fulfill that role. But my friends I’m trying, by God’s grace, to lead us very carefully to a recognition of our desperate need for a new heart, because you see, if we don’t recognize our need, we won’t ask for one. {Amen} And if we won’t ask for one, we won’t get one. And I know this is not very comfortable, what we’re doing, exposing ourselves to the laser light of God’s Word and His law and discovering maybe some ugly things that have been hidden behind whitewash for a long time. That’s no fun, is it? But bless your hearts, it’s necessary, it’s necessary. And I say, “God, do whatever it takes.” Are you with me? Do whatever it takes to help me come to realize how it really is with my soul.

That’s what we ought to be doing in this anti-typical Day of Atonement. Amen? We ought to be searching our hearts to see whether it is well with our souls. God help us out of any self-righteous self-deception that we might be in, dear fellow Laodiceans, while there’s still time to get real… Still time to get real.

And so what I’d like to do is, in this last study today, take a look at the life and experience of the classic Laodicean, the classic hypocrite, the classic Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus. And I’d like to consider what it took to help him out of his self-righteous self-deception. And I would like you to recognize that it’s going to take the same thing to help us out of ours. Do you see where we’re going?

But again, spiritual things are only, what? …spiritually discerned. {1 Cor 2:14} So before we proceed, what must we pause to do? Pray. As you pray for yourself, please remember me.

This soul searching that is so appropriate, so absolutely necessary for us to become involved in personally in this anti-typical Day of Atonement, it requires that our conscience be energized and directed by the Spirit and Word of God. And it requires that we, with spiritual discernment, examine ourselves and test ourselves by not our own standard, but by the standard of God’s Word. We are oh, so prone, my dear friends, when it comes to self-examination, to compare ourselves with ourselves {2 Cor 10:12}, aren’t we? And therein is our trouble. Whenever we get a little shaky regarding the genuineness of our experience, what do we do? We ask ourselves, “Well, how am I doing? Compared to him, I’m doing pretty well. And her, oh, I’m way ahead of her.” You see it’s quite easy, to find someone who isn’t performing as well as you are, isn’t it?

And we tend to bolster our self-deception by comparing ourselves with ourselves. And by the way, this is precisely why legalists are so critical and prone to find fault. Did you hear what I just told you? Why? Because they must tear others down in order to build themselves up. And a legalistic, self-righteous spirit is responsible for oh, so much division and controversy in our home families and in our church families. Whereas if we’d all fled to the cross, and recognized that we are all equally debtors to grace, the ground there is perfectly level. {Amen} And there’s no false superiority or inferiority complexes at the foot of the cross. We are all desperately dependant upon grace. {Amen} And just as we have received it from Christ, we will extend it to each other. And we will be patient and merciful. God help us be that kind of people. But my dear friends, please recognize that Scripture condemns this practice of comparing ourselves with ourselves as, what? Foolishness. What is the only true standard? It is not only the Word of God, but it’s especially the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Amen? {Amen}

And by the way, please hear me: We closed with the insistence that if the Word is going to help us in this self-examination, it must be spiritually discerned. That’s the only way it’s a razor-sharp sword that can do open-heart surgery, and get down to the motives, and the desires, and the thoughts and the feelings in the privacy of the mind. But I want you to understand that the best way to spiritually discern the Word of God is to see it as lived out in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. And here’s where Paul comes into play.

Saul of Tarsus, was he a student of the Word? Yes he was; that was his profession. He knew it backwards and forwards. But did he study it with spiritual discernment? Quite obviously not, because he thought that he was, what? “By the deeds of the law, blameless.” {Phil 3:6} In other words, “rich and increased in goods and had need of nothing.” {Rev 3:17} So what was it that helped Saul come to recognize the spiritual nature of the Word? It was a personal encounter with the Word made flesh on the way to Damascus. Amen? {Amen} Now when Saul got up that morning in Jerusalem, and put on those very impressive Pharisaical robes, being fully authorized by his cronies in the Sanhedrin, and with his guard set out with great ostentation on his way to Damascus to deal with Christians, these heretics. He was the ultimate Laodicean: rich and increased in goods and had need of nothing. But then what happened? He met Jesus. And my dear friends, that was such a dramatic encounter that it absolutely, radically changed his life. He got a glimpse, you see, of the brightness of God’s glory. The what? The brightness of God’s glory {Heb 1:3}, the full revelation of the character of God, the personification of the law of God, the Word made flesh. {Jn 1:14} And the revelation was so bright that it blinded his physical eyes, but for the first time it opened his spiritual eyes. And all of the sudden, in that light, he could see how it really was in his soul. And the man who started out rich and increased in goods and had need of nothing, from Jerusalem, the man who by the deeds of the law was blameless, when he left Jerusalem, stumbled back chief of sinners. {1 Tim 1:15}

Review and Herald, March 23, 1911 first. Towards the bottom of page 41. “The conversion of Saul was marked with heartfelt repentance, thorough confession, and an earnest longing for pardon of sin. Prior to his conversion, Saul had been proud and self-confident; now he was bowed down with sorrow and shame; he abhorred himself… In the light of the revelation that had come to him, he began to see himself as the chief of sinners.”

Review and Herald, October 16, 1888: “Thus when the servant of God is permitted to behold the glory of the God of heaven, as He is unveiled to humanity, and realizes to a slight degree the purity of the Holy One of Israel, he will make startling confessions of the pollution of his soul, rather than proud boasts of his holiness.” I repeat: Laodiceans need desperately to run into Jesus.

Please notice another dimension in Saul’s experience, and let’s learn from it. What else was it that God used to help him come out of his self-righteous self-deception? It was the law, spiritually discerned. Now, please understand that just as the Word is best spiritually discerned in the Word made flesh, so the law is best spiritually discerned in the personification of the law, Jesus Christ. And when Saul got a glimpse of Jesus, the personification of the law, that which he had studied for years and years and years, all of the sudden became spiritual, and it was able for the first time to expose to him the root of the sin problem. The what? The root of the sin problem. You see, Paul… Saul was very much aware of the fruit of the sin problem. What am I talking about? I’m talking about sinful behavior. But though Saul was aware of the fruit of the sin problem, he was blissfully ignorant regarding the, what? The root of the sin problem. What is that? That is the selfish heart behind the behavior.

Now, what was it? Work with me on this: What was it that helped Saul come to recognize the root of the problem? What was it? It was the law, Romans 7:7, listen to his own testimony: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’” What dimension of the sin problem is it, though, that Saul discovers by means of this tenth commandment? Is it fruit? Is it sin of deed? Oh, no. He knew what constituted sin of deed; that was his profession. He could detail for you any sinful behavior, especially when it came to Sabbath-keeping. He was good at identifying sin of deed. So I ask again, what dimension of the sin problem is it, then, that he discovers by means of the law? It is sin of nature, it’s the root, it’s the selfish heart. And please notice, which law is it that helps him discover this? Which one? Number, what? Number ten, “Thou shalt not covet.” {Ex 20:17}

Why is it number ten that helped him discover this? Is there something unique about number ten? Have you ever thought of this? Please, dear friends, don’t let yourself just kind of skim over Scripture. Stop and ask yourself pertinent questions. Why, why, Paul, did the tenth commandment help you discover this dimension of the sin problem? Is there something unique about number ten? Oh, there certainly is. What is it? It’s the only one of all ten that deals exclusively with what goes on in the mind. Every other of the Ten Commandments, there is something that you can do at the level of behavior to convince yourself you’re complying with its requirements, because it has a behavioral application, right? “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” {Ex 20:3} Okay, throw them all out of here; I won’t do that. “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them.” “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” Won’t do that! “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord…” {Ex 20:7} Bite my tongue; won’t do that. “Remember the Sabbath day.” {Ex 20:8-11} Oh, yes, count on me; I’m here… Sabbath school even, that’s worth extra points. Same pew, shirt and tie, I do keep the Sabbath. “Honor thy father and thy mother.” {Ex 20:12} Oh, yes, best nursing home in town. “Thou shalt not kill.” {Ex 20:13} I don’t take anybody’s life. “Thou shalt not steal.” {Ex 20:15} No, I don’t take things that aren’t mine. “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” {Ex 20:16} I don’t tell lies, no, not me. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” {Ex 20:14} I wouldn’t think of it; I’m faithful to my wife. I don’t do any of those things; I’m righteous.

“Thou shalt not covet.” {Ex 20:17} Let’s see, what do you do not to covet? Is there anything you can do at the level of behavior to convince yourself you’re keeping the tenth commandment? Is there? No. Why? Coveting takes place, where? In the mind. Now do you see why it’s the tenth commandment that helped him discover the root of the sin problem? It’s unique, isn’t it? Listen to this statement, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 309: “The tenth commandment strikes at the very,” what? “root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act.” There you have the difference between root and fruit. Did you catch it? What is fruit? The sinful act, sins: small s-i-n-s. What is the root? The selfish heart, the selfish desires, capital S-i-n.

Now, we’ve got to play these games in the English language to distinguish between different aspects of the sin problem. In both Greek and Hebrew, they had all sorts of different words to define the sin problem. But we’ve got to do things like “capital S-i-n” and “small s-i-n-s.” “Capital S-i-n” is the root; that’s the selfish heart. “Small s-i-n-s,” that’s the fruit. And my dear friends, please understand; please hear me now. It is absolutely imperative for us to recognize the root of the sin problem before we are even in a position to experience genuine conversion. I want to repeat that: It is absolutely imperative that we recognize the root of the sin problem before we are even in a position to experience genuine conversion. Why? Let me put it this way: It is inevitable that we will go seeking for a sin solution directly proportional to our understanding of our sin problem. Can I get some feedback? Did you understand that? Let me repeat it. It is inevitable that we will go seeking for a sin solution directly proportional to our understanding of our sin problem. If I think I have just a little sin problem, I will go looking for just a little sin solution. Are you following me? If I just think that my sin problem is my “sins,” the wrong things I say and do, I will only go asking for forgiveness for my “sins.” Do you hear what I’m telling you? But is there more to the problem than “sins”? Yes! There is “Sin, capital S-i-n,” the root, the selfish heart! And my dear friends, I will not ask for God’s solution to the root problem unless I recognize that I have it. Does that make sense to you? We will inevitably seek for a sin solution directly proportional to our understanding of our sin problem. And bless your hearts, right here, as a people we are having a tough time, because there are so many, even in this beloved church, who want to limit the definition of sin to willful transgression of God’s law, the fruit.

But I’m here to tell you that that is not the whole problem. There is the root, the selfish heart that we receive as a birthright. The servant of the Lord calls it “inbred sin.” The servant of the Lord calls it what, class? “Inbred sin.” {ST, Dec 17, 1885 par. 14} Obviously we’re talking there about something more than willful choice, aren’t we? What are we talking about there when we talk about inbred sin? We’re talking about that naturally selfish heart, the root of all the sins that we commit. Are we all together on this? This is why it is oh, so imperative to recognize the fullness of the sin problem. Because we will never be in a position to experience full conversion; because we will inevitably ask for the solution that we think we need. And if we think we only have “sins” that need to be forgiven, that’s all we will ask for. But if we recognize that we have “Sin” that needs to be overcome, as well as forgiven, we will go looking for that solution as well, amen? Does that make sense to you?

Listen to the way inspiration puts this truth. Faith and Works, page 31: “The soul must first be convicted of sin before the sinner will feel a desire to come to Christ. ‘Sin is the transgression of the law.'” {1 Jn 3:4} Classic definition, Biblical definition – good one, but be careful. “‘Sin is the transgression of the law.'” She quotes Romans 7:7, which we’ve been looking at. “‘I had not know sin, but by the law.’ When the commandment came home to Saul’s conscience, sin revived, and he,” what? “he died. He saw himself condemned by the law of God. The sinner cannot be convinced of his guilt unless he understands what constitutes sin.” Are we clear? “The sinner cannot be convinced of his guilt unless he,” what? “…understands what constitutes sin.”

Now, what constitutes sin? That’s easy, “Sin is transgression of the law,” next question. Be careful. Yes, “Sin is transgression of the law,” 1 John 3:4. But my dear friends, that begs the next question. What is the law? Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Sure, I agree with you, “Sin is transgression of the law.” But then I’ve got to ask you, what is the law? If the law, follow this: If the law if just a moral code that applies to our behavior, then what’s the only thing sin is? Transgression at the level of behavior, right? And the only thing I need to ask for forgiveness for is for my sins, for those willful choices that I make to rebel against the law of God, and do bad things. But is that all the law is? Is it just a moral code that applies to my behavior? Is it? No, what else is it?

It’s the transcript of God’s character. Christ’s Object Lessons, page 305: “God’s law is the transcript of His,” what? “…His character.” And what is God’s character? What is any character? “The thoughts and feelings combined.” {5T 310.1} As such, the law has jurisdiction over our, what? Our thoughts and feelings. Amen? We’ve already established that. Therefore, we can transgress the law at the level of our, what? Our thoughts and feelings. Not just our words and actions, but what else? Our thoughts and feelings. Yes, sin is transgression of the law. But the law, being a transcript of God’s character means that you can transgress it in the privacy of your mind. But that isn’t even the end of what the law is. What else is the law, bless your hearts? Please notice this deeper, deepest dimension of what the law is. Steps to Christ, page 60: “The law of God is an expression of His very nature…” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} What is the law? It’s “an expression of God’s very nature.”

What is God’s very nature in one word? Love.

What is our very nature in one word? Selfish.

This is why we are sinful by nature. Are you with me? This is the root of the sin problem: it’s our naturally selfish heart. And because we have selfish hearts, we have sinful thoughts and feelings. And because we have sinful thoughts and feelings, we have sinful words and actions. Did you see that? But the sinful words and actions are simply the fruit of the sin problem. The root lies beneath the surface. That’s the selfish heart, the selfish motives, the selfish spirit, the selfish desires that are beneath the surface. And my dear friends, the law has to be allowed to do its heart work before we are going to be ready to experience full, complete conversion. The law has to be allowed, in other words, to be a thorough schoolmaster, before we are ready to flee to Christ and be justified by, what? Faith. {Gal 3:24}

You see, if the law isn’t able to expose to us the root of the sin problem, we may well think that our compliance with the letter of the law at the level of behavior makes us, what? Righteous. Are you following this? But when the law shines its beam into the core of our being, and lets us know that it’s not only concerned with what we do and what we don’t do but especially with why we do it, and why we don’t do it, the motive behind it, then all of the sudden, we are helped to recognize the root of the problem. And that’s what the law finally helped Saul do. And my dear friends, that’s what the law needs to help us do as well, today. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} And you know why? Do you know why there are so many half- converted and unconverted people in this beloved church and in Christendom at large? Because there is a dearth of preaching, as the Master Preacher did, the law of God from our pulpits. The law has not been allowed to be a thorough schoolmaster, to expose to us the depths of our sin problem. And for whoever has not been taught the depths of their sin problem, they will not, indeed they cannot, go to the Savior and receive the fullness of the sin solution because they don’t know the fullness of the sin problem, and they, of course, will not ask for the fullness of the sin solution. Is that clear to you?

Listen to this remarkable statement. Mind, Character and Personality, page 32: “The law of Jehovah is exceedingly broad. Jesus… plainly declared to His disciples that this holy law of God may be violated in even the,” what? “…thoughts and feelings and desires, as well as in the word and deed. …when the law is seen in its spiritual power, then will the commandments come home to the soul in their real force. Sin will appear exceedingly sinful… There is no longer self-righteousness, self-esteem, self-honor. Self-security is gone. Deep conviction of sin and self-loathing is the result, and the soul in its desperate sense of peril lays hold on the blood of the Lamb of God as his only remedy.” You see that’s what the law has been given for, to be a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by, what? Faith… Faith… By faith.

Another one, I’ve got to share it: Manuscript Release, Volume 10, page 287: “The law of God is presented in the Scriptures as broad in its requirements. Every principle is holy, just and good. They lay men under obligation to God; they reach to the thoughts and feelings of the soul; and they will produce conviction of sin in everyone who is sensible of having transgressed them. If the law extended only to the external conduct, men would not feel guilty over their wrong thoughts, desires and designs. But the law requires that the soul itself, the spiritual agent, be pure, the mind holy, that all thoughts and feelings shall be in accordance with the law of love and righteousness. By its light, men see themselves guilty before God.” And my dear friends, that’s exactly what all of us need to come to recognize, if we’re going to be ready for full, genuine conversion. We need to see ourselves, what? Guilty before God. And right here is the primary problem, in my estimation, in modern, popular Christianity.

There is a terrible aversion, it seems, amongst preachers of the gospel to say anything that might make anyone feel guilty. “We don’t want people to feel guilty; we want everyone to feel like they’re accepted.” Deadly counterfeit, brother, sister. We are accepted, yes, but only, where? In the Beloved. And you and I have no right to claim acceptance in the Beloved unless we have come in full deep repentance to the foot of the cross, and receive forgiveness for our sins and power to overcome them. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Another statement, Desire of Ages, page 308: When the law was proclaimed from Sinai, God made known to men the holiness of His character, that by contrast they might see the sinfulness of their own. The law was given to convict them of sin, and reveal their need of a Savior. It would do this as its principles were applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit. This work it is still to do.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} “This work it is,” what? “…still to do.” Even today? Yes, especially today. “In the life of Christ the principles of the law are made plain;” Where are they made plain? In the life of Christ. You see the best way, again, to discern the spiritual nature of the law, is to see it as lived out in Jesus. That’s where you really see the self-sacrificing, self-denying love of God. It’s in the life of Christ. Amen? And that’s what the law is all about: self-sacrificing, self-denying love. “In the life of Christ the principles of the law are made plain; and as the Holy Spirit of God touches the heart, as the light of Christ reveals to men their need of His cleansing blood and His justifying righteousness, the law is still an agent in bringing us to Christ, that we may be justified by,” what? “…by faith.” My brother, my sister, I plead with you to allow the law to be a thorough schoolmaster in your life, please. Allow it to be a thorough schoolmaster. {Gal 3:24}

Now, there’s something else that God uses to bring us to the cross. The law drives us by bringing us to an awareness of our guilt and our desperate need for forgiveness. The law drives us. But while the law drives us, the Lamb draws us. Amen? {Amen} “I, if I be lifted up will,” what? “…will draw all unto Me.” {Jn 12:32} And these two supernatural powers working together will bring us, unless we actively resist, they will bring us to the foot of the cross. {Amen} The law will drive us and the Lamb will draw us. And notice how this is beautifully intertwined in this statement, the driving of the law and the drawing of the Lamb. Review and Herald, September 2, 1890, on the top of page 43: “When we look to the cross, and there behold the suffering Son of the infinite God, our hearts are moved to repentance. Jesus volunteered to meet the highest claims of the law, that He might be the justifier of all who believe on Him. We look to the cross, and see in Jesus a fully satisfied and reconciled God. Jesus is righteousness. What fullness is expressed in these words! And when we can say individually, ’The Lord is my righteousness,’ then we may indeed rejoice; for the atoning sacrifice seen through faith brings peace and comfort and hope to the trembling soul weighed down beneath the sense of guilt. The law of God…” Where did this sense of guilt come from? “The law of God is the detector of sin, and as the sinner is drawn to the dying Christ, he sees the grievous character of sin, and repents and lays hold on the remedy, the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” My friends, that is a genuine conversion.

But did you see the two factors that where working together? The law was driving and the Lamb was drawing. The law condemns and the love draws… draws us to receive pardon and forgiveness, as well as a new heart. Follow closely: When we come to the cross, we will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be enabled to have a genuine sorrow for our sin, which leads to a genuine repentance of sin. Please note I use the qualifying term, “genuine.” There is a counterfeit sorrow for sin and a counterfeit repentance. Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces,” what? “…death.” Was Judas sorry for his sin? Did he repent? Yes, but was it a genuine sorrow? Was it a genuine repentance? No. When he threw those thirty pieces of silver at the high priest’s feet and said, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood,” {Mat 27:4} he was terribly sorry for the consequence of sin. And that sorrow led to, what? What does it say? “But the sorrow of the world produces,” what? “…death.” {2 Cor 7:10} What did he proceed to do? He went out and hung himself. He went out and hung himself. {Mat 27:5}

My dear friends, genuine sorrow drives us to the cross, and we receive there, what? The gift of repentance. Acts 5:31, “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Now we all recognize that forgiveness of sin is a gift of grace. Amen? But please recognize that so is repentance, so is repentance. Just as much as forgiveness, repentance is a gift. You can’t generate genuine sorrow for sin. You can’t generate a genuine repentance for sin. But you can come to the cross and by the power of the Holy Spirit you can receive both as a gift. The love of Christ will inspire in you a sorrow for sin. Why? Because you, at the foot of the cross, will see what your sins did to Jesus. Amen? {Amen} And suddenly you recognize what a terrible thing sin is, because it’s caused the infinite suffering of the Son of God, who cries out with a broken heart, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” {Mt 27:46} And why had God forsaken His Son? Because, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin” in our behalf. {2 Cor 5:21} And treated Him as a sinner, that the terrible consequence of sin might not have to fall on us. You’ve got to love a Lord like that. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen}

My brother, my sister, when we go to the cross and hear Jesus say, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” …we also need to say, “My God, my God, why hast Thou accepted me?” And it’s on the same basis. God rejected Him because of the imputation of my sin to Him. And He accepts me because of the imputation of His righteousness to me. We are treated, both of us – Christ and the sinner – not as we deserve, but as the other deserves. Christ was treated as we deserve so that we could be treated as He deserves. And when you recognize the sorrow and the suffering that your sin is causing the heart of God, that will bring you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a genuine sorrow for sin! And that will lead you to genuine repentance. And that’s a gift. And in that spirit of genuine repentance and sorrow for sin, what will you cry out? You will cry out for the fullness of the sin solution. You will cry out for the, what, my friends? The fullness of the sin solution.

You will ask, in other words, not only for forgiveness for your sins, but you will ask for God’s solution to Sin, as well. And do you hear that in David’s prayer? Do you hear it? The model prayer for genuine repentance and conversion, Psalm 51:9-10; listen closely. Driven by the law and drawn by the Lamb… He only had the Lamb in type; we have it in antitype. But driven by the law and drawn by the Lamb, what does David cry out from the depths of his soul? “Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.” What dimension of the sin problem is that? That’s the fruit. Is it important to receive forgiveness for the wrong things we’ve done? Yes, but is that all we must ask for? No, why? Because there’s still the, what? The root. That’s why David immediately catches his breath and adds these words: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Now, what is he dealing with? What is he acknowledging? The root of the problem, his naturally selfish heart. And by the way, what has he just acknowledged up there in verse 5? “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me.” He is fully aware of inbred sin, isn’t he? That selfish heart that he received as an inheritance, and now being aware of it, being aware of the fullness of the sin problem, he is in a position to ask for and receive the fullness of the sin solution. And my dear friends, we must pray the same prayer. And some of you might be saying at this point, “Oh well, you don’t have to exhort me to do that. I did that many, many years ago. In fact, I’ve done that several times, ‘Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me.’ I’ve asked Him to do that.” Me dear friends, please know that God listens to your heart more than He listens to your mouth. Is it possible to have mouthed the words, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me,” and not really mean it? Is it possible? And can you fool God as to whether you really mean it or not? Can you? No.

So please, you know I’m not trying to get you to doubt the genuineness of your conversion. And by the way, if you’re genuinely converted, what we’ve been sharing here has only confirmed and assured you of your genuine experience. But my dear friends, please know that I am trying to help you, if you need to, come to recognize maybe that you don’t have a genuine experience. That maybe you haven’t really been converted. That maybe for oh, so many years now, you’ve only been faking it. Is that a possibility? Would you be willing to consider that as a possibility? If the Holy Spirit has brought you under conviction that you may need, you may need to humble yourself, I know this is tough, particularly if you’ve been a Nicodemus. Okay? A Nicodemus. High and exalted and esteemed and admired and entrusted with leadership position. And yet Christ told him, what? You’ve got to be born again, Nicodemus. You aren’t even converted. {Jn 3:3} And bless your hearts, there may be some Nicodemuses here. Is that possible? But I plead with you, don’t be too proud! Please don’t be too proud. Be willing to come to the cross, and cry out with David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.” And I promise you, my dear friends, if you really mean it, if you really mean it, Jesus will fulfill to you His new covenant promise.

He will! And what is that new covenant promise? Oh, it’s so beautiful; it’s twofold. Why? Because there’s a twofold need. And His solution meets the problem. What is that solution? Hebrews 10:16, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them.” That’s the solution to the Sin problem, that selfish heart that we receive by nature. And then, please notice what He adds; “…then He adds, Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” What’s that the solution to? The fruit. The root and the fruit He has a solution for, my dear friends. He wants to give you the fullness of the sin solution, but He can’t unless you ask for it.

As a brother who loves you, I plead with you to ask Him for it. Please ask Him for it. When we receive that new heart, we become a new creature. The change is so radical that it’s called being born again. Testimonies, Volume 4, page 17: “True conversion is a radical change.” It’s a, what? It’s “a radical change. The very drift of the mind, the bent of the heart should be turned, and life becomes new again.” My dear friends, please know, please know that this experience is not common. It’s rare… It’s rare. Don’t assume that you’ve had it. Do you want that experience? Perhaps some of you have had it, but would you recognize with me that if you had it yesterday, it’s not good enough for today. You need to be converted anew every day. The servant of the Lord tells us that at every advance step in our Christian experience, our repentance will deepen. {AA 561.2}

You see, the law drives us every day and the Lamb draws us everyday. And every day we kneel and we ask for forgiveness for our sins and we say, what? “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” And my dear friends, when we pray such a prayer, when we pray such a prayer, I promise you that God will fulfill to us His new covenant promise. He will give us that heart that has the law of God written upon it, and we will have a radically different attitude towards His law.

Signs of the Times, November 24, 1887: “The carnal heart, that ‘is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,’ is made spiritual, and exclaims with Christ, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O my God; yea, Thy law is,” where? “…within my heart.’” And with a new heart, all of the sudden, the Christian experience becomes a delight and a joy. And there is peace and happiness that you’ve never known before. I promise you that! And you move out of the duty mode, into the delight mode when it comes to obedience. And there is a sweetness and a joy that is indescribable.

Do you have that experience? If you don’t please, please don’t delay to flee to the cross, driven there by the law, drawn there by the Lamb, and cry out from the depths of your soul, not only for forgiveness for your sins, but for a new heart. Is it your desire to do that? If it is, would you be willing to come forward? I want to invite you, whoever wants to do that, would you be willing to come forward? Praise God… Praise God… Praise God. Sing it with me: “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give, I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all, all to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

Father in heaven, the love of Christ has conquered our hearts. Yes, the law drove us, but it’s the love that drew us, and that’s why we’re here. And that’s why, from the depths of our souls, we cry out with David, not only for forgiveness for our sins, not only that You will blot out our iniquities, but especially we cry out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Fulfill to me Your new covenant promise. Deal with the root of the sin problem, please. Give me that new heart that’s governed by love. I’ve been trying way too long to make this selfish heart behave, and the only thing I’ve been able to do is be a whited sepulcher. But I want to be real; I want to be changed from the inside out. So please begin that process and begin it now. May I be motivated by love. May I be able to truly say with David and with Jesus, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God, yea Thy law is within my heart.” Thank You that with a heart that’s motivated by love, we can truly obey. For only love is the fulfilling of the law. Now we can keep the spirit of the law. And keeping our behavior in compliance with the letter won’t even be a problem when our hearts are in harmony with the spirit. Lord teach us, I pray, to love You more and more every day – to love You supremely and to love others unselfishly. And then use us, by revealing Your love, to draw others into a saving relationship with You as well. We commit our lives to You to this end. And we thank You that because of Jesus, You receive us. In His name. Amen. {Amen} God bless you, dear friends.

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