The Victorious Life!


Take a lesson from dandelions; they do what they can do;

To help them grow they spread their seed, and grow as tall as they will need,

In the grass or near the trees they grow and grow.

 --

Take a lesson from dandelions, that God has made them strong;

To weather rain and wind and snow, grow short and tall, yes they just know;

What to do to help them live and grow and grow and grow.

dandelions on the meadow © Maria Brzostowska #616050.

The First Dandelion

Simple and fresh and fair from winter's close emerging,
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter'd grass--innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,
The spring's first dandelion shows its trustful face.
"Leaves of Grass," by Walt Whitman

 

Our Culture & Our Character

A series of ten sermons that will speak to your soul by Pastor Norberto Restrepo sr. Translated from Spanish to bless English readers.

9. The Second Commandment: part 2

The work that all of us have is to live the principles. Each one of us has to discover them. The Lord has revealed them in His Word. But let me ask a question this afternoon: In what moment did Adam see his own face?

In what moment did Adam see his own face? Or did Adam die without seeing his own face. Have you ever seen your back? I don’t know if mirrors are a curse. Who invented mirrors? Did Adam have a mirror? How did he see his face?

The problems related to form that we find in the 2nd commandment, we can solve them with the 1st. "Thou shalt have no other God before Me."

What does it mean ‘before Me’?

What does it mean ‘before Me’? What is the only thing that should be before me?—only Him—as a reality—not as an idea.

And humanity—and we are included—we have lost that. And once we have lost this, we make another image, and the image that we make now, is worse than the images of the Canaanites. The Canaanites had the sun before them; they had the moon before them, and the stars.

We don’t have before us the sun—and we hate that, and we are far from idolatry. We are even farther from idolatry than the Jews, but what is in front of us is worse than what the Canaanites had, because what is in front of us is my self.

There is the mirror. What do we do with the mirror? Who is pretty? Who is grand? Who is the one who adorns himself? Who admires himself? Who exalts himself? Who is ‘I’? Who is before me? Only Him! It is the 1st commandment.

We have in front of us—our car; our house; or our girlfriend. What is it that is an obstacle so that I can experience the ‘shama’ of the Old Testament? The only thing that man should experience—and for us who have a Western mind it is difficult to understand this.

Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

Heart; soul; might; not with 50%; not with 80%; Total! Everything! Nothing for me—nothing in my heart for myself; nothing of my soul for myself; nothing of my might for me—nothing for self—everything for Him!

Have we practiced this? That was the great teaching; that was the curriculum that the Lord gave every father and mother in a family to teach to their children. What the parents had to teach to their children, was that He who made the heavens and the earth is the only thing that should be in front of us. There were no mirrors!

Is it simple? Very simple—and we don’t understand this! We can’t imagine life without mirrors. We cannot conceive life if we don’t have things in front of us. We see the latest model, and we say, "Wow"! We see the latest airplane, and we say, "Wow"! We see the building, and we say, "Wow"! We see the computer, and we say, "Wow"! We are surprised; we admire it and we are surprised—of the things—but not of Him. We have lost this.

The Lord taught His people to not loose Him as a reality. He should be in front of them—all the time—and look what the ‘Shama’ says: "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:"

Verse 7-9: "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."

That is the curriculum—there was no more, no other curriculum for Israel. We don’t understand this. And the enemy has made a tremendous development in advertisement so that we will loose the image of God. The image of God is my fellow man—my fellow man.

When the Lord created Adam & Eve, the first relationship that the male had, that Adam had, was with his Lord. When the Lord made the man, his bond was with his Creator. When the Lord created Eve, her first bond in relationship was with her Creator. Wasn’t it like that?

God made man with His hands—He made man. He gave him His Spirit–and Adam saw the Lord. The first thing that Adam beheld was the Lord. Our first relationship should be with the Lord. Father and Mother need to teach their children that their first relationship is with the Lord. If our first relationship is with the Lord, our second relationship will be with our fellow man, and in the case of the family, with the wife.

But who is the mediator? Who should be between both of them? Who was first?—the relationship with her or the relationship with God? He should always be in first place—always. That’s the way He created us. And since we’ve lost it through sin, by faith—He should be the first. And if He is the first, He has to be the bridge and any relationship between human beings cannot be direct.

We destroy ourselves because our relationships are direct. The 1st commandment says that my relationship should be with Him—He should be in front of me. And if He is in front of me—what am I going to do with her? How should I treat her? How am I going to treat the others? How am I going to treat my enemy? If God is in front of me; have we lost that?

Who is before us? Who is before me? Myself? Myself? We need images, and the first image—the only image—is myself! Even in grammar that is written with an iron chisel—our first pronoun should be plural—us; we. But it is not us or we; I do; I eat; I work; I think; I am; I have; I. Grammar has placed us in front of ourselves.

How easy it is for the enemy to destroy us! Only through the mercy of the Lord can we experience His Law. The 1st commandment is the crucifixion of self—the 1st commandment. And if we break the first commandment, the rest—the rest are already broken; because whoever transgresses one—is guilty of breaking all.

In the Old Testament is a testament of blood. The New Testament is the confirmation of that blood. God’s relationship with us, after sin, was through blood and humanity doesn’t understand that. But each of our relationships with our fellow man should be a relationship in blood; because in order for the Lord to restore us—the only way He could use to restore us and reconcile us—was through the price paid in blood.

The scriptures teach us that there is a God in heaven and there is a Mediator and Intercessor between God and man. Between God and man He placed a Mediator. For us in the Western world, that’s an interesting—a very nice concept. But for the Lord, it is not a concept—for the Lord, it is a reality. He doesn’t look at me—He looks at me through the Mediator. He doesn’t treat me directly—He does it through the Mediator.

We treat each other without a mediator. Husbands and wives treat each other without a mediator. They receive each other without a mediator; and what is the result? Contradiction! And fights! And they destroy themselves—there is no mediator.

The Lord—in the context of sin—when He sees a man, before him is the Mediator. Have we lost this reality? That is why it is so difficult for us to forgive. That is why it is almost impossible for us to justify a sinner. We look for a mediator to separate things; because the only thing we take care of is our things and not people. So people look for a mediator to see who ends up being the owner of the house, and who will stays with the car, and who will stay with the money.

How different is our God! Because human beings without a Mediator—what do we have in front of us? The Lord? Jesus? Or self? Is it simple? That’s the 1st commandment. The 1st commandment is the assurance for all the rest. "Thou shalt have no other God before Me." Only Him!

The enemy has made theology a concept that we have in front of us. And we have the concept in our head but the reality is something different. The enemy, after creating concepts and making us lose reality—he then makes us actors. And today, almost every human being is an actor.

The actor says, "I love you! I love you! I can’t live without you!" and cries. He even gives gifts. Isn’t that the way it is with girlfriends and boyfriends? Many of us arrived to marriage in this way. Actors—what is an actor? A specialist in pretending. A specialist in pretending.

"I love you!" it’s a lie. What is it that he wants? He wants something—a part of that person, to use it in a selfish way. And the enemy has translated that into images. The idols of the Old Testament and the images of the Old Testament, were harmless and they degraded the man and they corrupted man—the images of the Old Testament—they didn’t have any reason to be.

Let’s read Psalm 115, beginning with verse 3; "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them."

Those idols degraded the people of the Old Testament, but those idols were harmless in relation to the ones we have today. Actors are the idols of young people, and even of older people. The television, those are our actors and our idols.

How do people sit? Have you seen how people sit watching what is in front of them? They sit on the edge of their seats, and they look, and they feel, and they see, and sometimes they even have a heart attack! They are living—what are they living? What is in front of them—idols; images. How many of these images are true? How many of them are true? How many of the images on television are true? They are false—modern idols—modern images; and there is the movie: "I love you! I live for you!" Is that true, or is it a lie? But we live it—we live it—a lie.

"Thou shalt not make thee any graven image"; what should be in front of me—only the Lord. And in the Lord—in the Lord, I can treat my fellow man, in the Lord. In our marriage relationship—our marriage relationship should be an indirect relationship, because it should be through the Mediator, the One Who is in front of me—the One Who made heaven and earth.

We lost that—and we destroy our fellow man. Where did we learn that? Where did we learn that—with Hollywood? Hollywood is a great teacher. I don’t know what judgments God will bring upon Hollywood, because they have destroyed the Law of God in a dimension because now modern idols have mouths and they speak; they have hands and they move them; they have feet and they walk.

Fifty years ago, movies were just black and white, and now—red; white; yellow; and all the colors and all the movements and people think that that is more real than the Invisible that made the heavens and the earth. Our reality is only sensorial. It is almost impossible that our reality can be by faith.

My beloved; He who made the heaven and the earth, transcends my feelings, He goes beyond my sensorial capacity. My senses, after sin, can not perceive it, and the Lord knows that any physical figure would destroy human beings.

Jesus said: "in Spirit and in Truth it is necessary that you should worship me", in Spirit and in Truth—very interesting! He said first, "in Spirit", and then He said, "Truth". He didn’t say "Truth" first, He put Spirit first.

In John 1:14, when the scripture tells us that the Word was made flesh and abideth with us, and we saw His glory as the only begotten of God—full; full of what? Of concepts? Of philosophy? Of theology? Of ideas? Full of grace! Full of grace!

And in the original, when it says full, John in 1:14 uses the verb ‘plero’, and the verb ‘plero’ means so full—so full, that it overflows. And that is where the word ‘plentitude’ which in English is complete fullness, comes; so full that it overflows; but not only does it overflow, it floods the space—it inundates the space.

Jesus, my beloved, was a flood of grace; of love; of mercy; His image and likeness flooding this world—and then He was full of grace and truth. So that we would have Him in front of us, and that any other thing—any other thing—would cease to exist.

I don’t know who invented mirrors so I can see myself; I can behold myself—and I see a hair, and I see a blemish, and I see a wrinkle, and I want to take it off. I see I am ugly or I’m not looking very good—who is in front of me? For the Lord, nobody is ugly. Nobody is ugly for the Lord. A black man is beautiful for the Lord, with his thick lips, with his flat nose; he is beautiful for the Lord. For the Lord, nobody is ugly. A white man for the Lord is beautiful, because he is the image of God. A Chinese, African, anybody, is beautiful.

What is the only thing that is ugly to the Lord?—sin and wickedness and iniquity. But for us, people are ugly, for us and the Greeks taught us that and not God’s revelation. For God, human beings are His image. To rescue him and to restore him, and to reconcile him, and to restore His image and likeness in us, He shed blood—He shed blood; His own blood, to restore the image of God. That’s why between Him and us, between Him and your life, between Him and your enemy, is blood, and we haven’t understood this.

We like the concept. We manage it as a concept, but not as a reality. And that has been Satan’s masterpiece; his work of spiritualism—to convert this into an idea and a concept, but not the reality of His blood and His relationship with us.

What is our reaction when we see blood? What is our reaction? When we see that someone’s blood is spilling out on the road in an accident—how do we react? What was the reaction of the Heavenly Father when He saw the hands of His Son—with His hands with the nails on the cross—so He could reach a sinner and restore His image? In us—with the price of blood—for Him, my beloved, that is not an idea; that is not a theory; that is not something that is up in the air; that was real—He lives it. That is His life. That is Him—an offering, to give Himself to our selfish hearts.

Our selfish hearts have lost this vision. The enemy has placed papers and images; pictures; videos; movies, even movies of Jesus. Is that person Jesus? It’s false! Maybe he even gets drunk. He might even be an adulterer—he’s divorced—and now he says he’s Jesus? And we sit down in the chair and we believe it’s true.

What is in front of us? "Thou shalt have no other God’s before Me." Our Lord Jesus said that we needed to manage this in Spirit and in Truth. How difficult that is for us. Do you know why? For us what is real, what is concrete, is what we see; is what we hear; is what we smell; is what we taste; and what we can touch. That is real for us.

For us, if we cannot touch it; if we cannot hear it; if we cannot see it; if we cannot taste it; if we cannot smell it; it is not real. And all of our educational system of knowledge is based on the senses. That’s our education. Our education goes to where our sensorial perception can go and from there onward, there is no more faith—we cannot believe because we cannot experience it with our feelings—with our senses.

Very soon religion became sensorial. In all of the different religions; in pagan religions, in Christian religions, in the Jewish religion and what came a reality was the space, and that’s why the Samaritan woman asked "Where Lord? Where Lord?" The space—and we are children of space. We lost the reality of being children of the Spirit.

But the Lord wants and He has purposed that we should be children of Spirit and Truth. And the scriptures teach us—let us see what the scriptures say: 2 Corinthians chapter 4—Paul is going to help us—verse 18; "While we look not at the things which are seen,"

What is it that we see? What can be seen. What we can see. That is what we see. But Paul tells us here, "Look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen:"

And he tells us why; "for the things which are seen are temporal;" Everything we see; everything that I see—even my son—is temporal. He will cease to be; and what ceases to be—is not true.

What is it that will never cease to be according to the scriptures? According to the scriptures—and we have a text for that—a Bible text. The Bible tells us; prophecies will cease; science will cease; tongues will cease; but love will never cease. Love that has an end—never was love. True love will never end. True love never ceases.

Those things that have an end pertain to my sensorial perception. The boyfriend; he tells her, "I love you!" it’s a sensorial perception and its base is a selfish one—"I want her for me!" An actor—what he is saying—is not what he is. And after he is satisfied, "Out!" And now another one. That’s the ‘love’ that we see in this world—it’s spiritualism. It’s not a reality.

Love is not temporal. It is not confined to space. It goes over my sensorial capacity. It’s His love; that’s the love that the Lord wants; that’s the love that the Lord wants to give to us. It is His love and it is a fruit of the Spirit; it’s not one of my fruits—it is His fruit.

And He says, "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen—which are not seen—are eternal." Eternal!

The question is my brethren, what is easier—to stop seeing what I have seen during the past forty years; what is easier? To stop seeing fifty, sixty, seventy years—seeing things here on earth—and the Lord tells us we have to stop looking at the things which are seen. What is easier—to stop seeing what we see—or to see what we have never seen? What we have never seen. What is easier? And that is the job we have; that’s the work we have to do and the Lord is revealed there; "Thou shalt have no other God before Me."

My beloved, do we really believe that He made the heavens and the earth? Do we really believe that? Do we believe like David?

When I see the works of Thy hands—the moon; the stars and the heavens that Thou hast made, and I ask myself, who is man? Who am I—that I should pretend to place my pride and my self sufficiency and destroy my fellow man and feel angry towards him and destroy him, because Who is God? I am God! I am God. Is that our reality? The concept is Him but in reality I am God, because I destroy my fellow men who He has bought with His nail-pierced hands.

My dear ones, who is before us? Who is before me? He who made the heavens and the earth and He tells me, "To your fellow man, I crowned him with glory and with light and I made him lord over creation."

My beloved, What a Father! What a Savior! What a Creator! There is no one more than Him. He who is more, the only one who is more—I am not less, I am not less—He is more to him by faith. To the invisible, we should see Him not with these eyes, through the eyes of faith that transcend the temporal.

When that reality is true in us, He’s going to come to get us and He will take us to live with Him forever. May the Lord keep you and permit us that only He will be in front of us. We cannot see Him but He is there and He is more real than what is in front of my eyes. It’s an experience by faith and by faith we are justified. By faith we receive Him. By faith we will be a new creation.

May the Lord bless us!

Return

Next