I don’t believe that [Jesus] came to give us cars and Cadillacs and big houses and rings and diamonds and gold and silver. The world can get all of that stuff. You know I’m not against success, I’m not against progress, but surely Jesus didn’t have to die on the cross to make me rich. Solomon was rich before Jesus went to the cross. Abraham was rich before Jesus went to the cross. Jesus came to deliver us from sin and from death. Look at somebody and say, “Don’t fight it.”
God Wants You to Die to Your Will
Death to my will. It’s not happening anymore, where you die to your will. We’re so busy trying to know [Jesus] and the power of his resurrection that we don’t know him in the fellowship of his suffering. We want to get to the resurrection without going through the garden of Gethsemane. The garden of Gethsemane is the place where your will is confronted, where your flesh is crushed, where you begin to give up on your plans and your ideas and your goals and your agenda, and you start saying, “Not my will but thine be done.”
The reason we have so much attitude in the church today, the reason you can get cursed out in the church parking lot, the reason you can have people flip out and curse you out in the back of the church is that our will has not died. When your will dies, things will come to your mind, but you’ll swallow them down because your spirit is yielded to God.
We have no repentance.
We have no remorse.
I know people have weaknesses, I know people commit sin, but I’m talking [about how] now people sin with no remorse, no repentance — they do whatever they want to do. They shack up. They play around. Commit adultery. Divorce this one, marry that one, snatch that one over there. Anything goes, everything’s all right. Having abortion after abortion after abortion — no, “I’m sorry,” no repentance, no “This is wrong.” You just drop it like it’s hot.
I know it’s old-fashioned, I know it’s out of style. We used to have a real altar in the church, and we weren’t just throwing money on it. We were throwing our sins on it. We were throwing our will on it. We were throwing our attitude on it. We were laying it before God and saying, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. I’m sick of myself, I’m sick of my flesh, I’m sick of my temper, I’m sick of my tone, I’m sick of my attitude, I’m sick of my disposition. Fix me, lord. Clean me, lord. Sanctify me, lord. Wash me, lord, deliver me, lord.”
God Wants You to Die to Your Selfishness
Death to my selfishness. Death to, “I’ve got to have everything my way.” Death to, “All roads lead to me.” Death to, “If it feels good to me, I don’t care what I do to you.” Death to my self. I can never experience the next level of glory until I crucify myself. Until I nail myself down. Until I learn how to take some stuff. Till I learn how to endure some things. Till I learn how to hold my peace. Till I learn how to pray through. Some fires you can’t get out of. You’ve gotta go through the fire. You’ve gotta go through the flood. You’ve gotta go through the test. You’ve gotta go through the struggle (so that) you might decrease and he might increase. Touch three people and say, “Don’t fight it.”
There’s some stuff God wants to kill in you. Don’t fight it.
There’s some stuff God wants to change in you. Don’t fight it.
You can’t go to the next level with the old baggage you’ve got. Get rid of that baggage. God is getting ready to take you somewhere that you’ve never been before, but you can’t go with the stuff you’ve got.
God Wants You to Die to Your Success
Lord, don’t let me become so successful at doing anything that you can’t move me to the next dimension. Don’t let me get stuck in one stage and circumstance and make heaven on Earth out of something that is just a temporal situation. Let me be available to you so that if you say, “Go here,” or, “Go there,” [I’ll pick up and go]. Don’t let me have any thing that I’m so attached to that I can’t separate myself to do what God has called me to do.
If I can’t handle the car, don’t let me have it. If I’m gonna worship the car, don’t give it to me. If I’ve got to stay home on Sundays and wax it, I don’t need it. If I’ve got to go golfing during Bible class, I don’t need it.
I know it’s not what you expected [when you became a Christian], but don’t fight it.
Isaiah is the eagle-eyed prophet. He is the sage of the age, he is the seer of his generation. He sees thousands of years beyond his life span. He is the mentor of Hezekiah. Hezekiah is his mentee. Hezekiah looks to him for strength in the fight he has as king of Judah. Fighting and dealing with the Asyrians, he looks to Isaiah as his compass. Hezekiah is king of Judah. His reign brings about righteousness … in a way that is unprecedented. In 14 years, he tore down the groves and the idolators’ places that were built up all around Judah and restored righteousness and holiness and pure worship such as the people had not seen for a long time. Hezekiah stood for something. He brought order and structure and righteousness back for his people in an unprecedented way. … He was effective, he was excellent, he was doing a tremendous job. He was at the height of what God had called him to do.
And then all of a sudden … here comes his mentor, Isaiah, to see him, and Isaiah comes to see Hezekiah and tells Hezekiah, “Listen. Thus, saith the lord, set thy house in order. You are going to die.”
And Hezekiah said, “Die now? Die now? Things are going too good. Not now. Look at my record. Look at my background. Look at my holiness. Look at my righteousness. Look at my purity. Die now? They need me now, I don’t want to separate now.”
All of this is indicative of the fact that Hezekiah does not believe that there’s something on the other side that’s better than where he is right now, and when you don’t believe that God has something better for you, you fight change. I don’t know who I’m preaching to, but somebody in this room, every time God gets ready to do something new and fresh in your life, you keep holding on to where you’ve been rather than releasing yourself to go where you’re going, and you’re about to miss the greatest move of God that would ever happen in your life because you refuse to say yes to God.
Let me tell you something just so you can understand this: Hezekiah’s time had come to die. There was no question about it. Isaiah was a true prophet. There was no question about it. Isaiah pronounced a death sentence on Hezekiah. It was over. It was done with. He turns around and walks out the door, and he goes down through the court, and as he’s walking out of the court, Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and he began to pray, and he began to bring up his record, and Isaiah kept on walking. He began to bring up his leadership, and Isaiah kept on walking. He began to bring up his holiness, and Isaiah kept on walking. But then he said, “Lord, the grave cannot praise you.” And when he said, “The grave cannot praise you,” God spoke to Isaiah and said, “Stop. Go back and tell Hezekiah that if he’s gonna praise me, I’ll add 15 years to his life.” …
Praise is powerful to God. Praise will get God’s attention. Anytime you want to get God’s attention, I dare you to stop and praise him. … The Bible said in Psalms 22 and 3 that God inhabits the praises of his children. That means that whenever God’s people praise him, he will come in and dwell in the midst of their praise. Praise is so powerful that praise will make God go to jail. The Bible said, “At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God, and all of a sudden, God said if you’re gonna praise me, I’m goin’ in the jail with you.” Praise will make him get in the fiery furnace and walk around in the flames with you. Praise is a powerful thing.
The only problem is Hezekiah praised his way into 15 years of grace that extended his reign (to) 29 years, but in the 15 years of grace, he destroyed everything he had done in the first 14. And sometimes it’s not good to stay someplace when it’s time to go. Sometimes, it’s not good to allow yourself to get stuck in a rut when it’s time to go to the next level. Sometimes, it’s not good to hold on to where God was when it’s time to go where God is. …
Touch your neighbor and say, “Something’s about to happen in your life,” you’ve been stuck in a rut too long. Things are about to shift in your life. But the problem with this text, when you start preaching this kind of stuff, we start thinking about moving geographically. We’ll move geographically. We’ll move from one part of the country to the next part of the country. We’ll move from one job to the next job. We’ll move from one church to the next church. We’ll move everywhere except where God wants us to move the most: He wants us to move our spirit, our heart, and our attitude, and our disposition. And we keep moving our house and our luggage and our membership, but it don’t matter whose church you join. If you don’t get right with God, you just take the mess you had at this church and now you bring it over into this church, and then when they find out how you really are, you fall out with them and go to the next church. But sooner or later, you’ve gotta stop jumping and slow yourself down and say, “Lord, you’re not trying to move my outside, you’re trying to move my inside. My heart needs to make a move.”
Why do we not move? I’m glad you asked me. It is the Hezekiah dilemma. Every time God starts talking to us about going to the next dimension, we start shouting. Every time God says I’m getting ready to move you to the next level, we start dancing. Every time God says I’m getting ready to take you beyond your wildest dreams, we start rejoicing. But let me tell you something: Dancing won’t get you there. Rejoicing won’t get you there. Clapping your hands and hollering won’t get you there. But I dare you to nail your flesh up to the cross and say, “Lord, I’m ready to go to the next level. Take out of me whatever you want. Put in me whatever you want. Move who you don’t want me around. Take the friends you don’t want me to have. Leave me by myself. Yes to your will, yes to being lonely, yes to being by myself, yes to shedding tears, yes to eating by myself — whatever it takes to take me to the next level, lord, I’m ready to go.”
Touch three people and say, “I’ve been here too long. I’ve been worried too long. I’ve been depressed too long. I’ve been carnal too long. I’ve been weak too long. I’ve been flesh-ridden too long. I’ve been unforgiving too long. I’ve been jealous too long. I’ve been mad at her too long. I’ve been angry at him too long. I’ve been upset about this too long. How can I be filled with the holy ghost, able to rebuke cancer, and I can’t get over what you said about me? The devil is a liar. Lord, I’m ready to die out to who I was, I’m ready to die out to where I’ve been…”
We have given up dying for dancing. That’s why you can have people dancing all over the church and not speaking to you. That’s why some of the people who make the most noise are the hardest folk to pastor — because they keep dancing and praising and getting extensions and furloughs and extra time, but they never use the time to get better. They keep getting weaker and weaker and weaker. And the lord said to me on the first night of this revival, he said, “I don’t want you to have a revival until you have a funeral. And I want you to kill everything that’s in my way, kill everything that’s hindering me, kill everything that’s stopping my people from going, kill everything that’s got ’em in a rut, kill everything that’s stopping them from experiencing the power of God. Kill it, kill it, kill it, kill it!”
You cannot change the world until you change yourself. You cannot change your circumstance until you change yourself. You cannot change your community until you change yourself. Something has to happen in your heart where your will begins to break, where your sins begin to repent, where your flesh gets nailed to the cross, where you say, “Lord, I don’t care how many raises I get, I don’t care how many promotions I get, I don’t care how big my house is, I’ll let nothing take me from you. You can have it all, you can take it back, you can move me here, you can move me there, you can bring me down, you can bring me over. I refuse to worship the gift more than I worship the giver. I refuse to worship the healing more than I worship the healer. Whatever it takes for me to be connected with you, I’m ready to go into the next dimension.”
Touch your neighbor and say, “You’re too old to stay where you are. You’re running out of time. You’re running out of excuses. You’re running out of games. You’re too old to play games. If you’re gonna do something for God, you’ve got to do it right now. If you’re gonna move for God, you’ve gotta do it right now. If you’re gonna serve him, you’ve got to serve him now.” …
God said, “I’m tired of you being thirsty for stuff more than you’re thirsty for me. He said I want you back. I’m jealous. I’m jealous. I’m jealous. I’m jealous. I want you praising me the way you used to praise me. I want you seeking me like you used to seek me. I want you calling on me like you used to call on me. And I’m going to block up every blessing in your life until your soul says yes. Shout all you want to, dance all you please, but until I get your attention, Hezekiah, you will not prosper. I am not calling you to a crown. I am not calling you to a crown. I am calling you to a cross. I am calling you to a crucified life. I am calling you till your flesh breaks and your soul says yes to your will, yes to your word, yes to your way, yes to the power of God — yes!”
It got quiet now. If I were preaching Five Ways to Get a Cadillac, you’d be [running] down here with $20 bills. It got quiet now. …
Jesus suffered too much pain for the church to end up acting like the world. He died and went through too much agony for you to live like you lived before you got saved. He went through too much hell to pull you out to be the same person that you were in sin.