New Grace Baptist Church

The Anti-Rejection Formula

Ezekiel 36:26 says, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."
Now that is quite a statement! Because we also read in 1 Corinthians 15:53, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
These two verses make me think of someone who has had a physical heart transplant. I am an organ donor. Some people disagree with that, and that's fine. I've often squirmed at the gruesome thought, what if the trumpet sounds, and Jesus calls his children home, and if I'm dead, and the dead rise first...will my eyes pop out of someone's head? "Sorry, I need those!" I would call out to the person who inherited my organs after I died. Nice thing to read this morning with a cup of coffee in hand, right? 
Well the fact is, there are people who have been given a new, physical heart. But here's the downside to that. It is a natural thing for our body to reject anything that is not a part of it from birth. A person who has a new heart must take medication on a regular basis, and throughout the day, in order for their body to accept this new foreign organ. I heard a story of one young man who lived a perfectly healthy life. A young man who was on the track team, was on the dean's list in college, but a young man who had been given a heart transplant as a baby. On a certain day, this young man decided that he was tired of taking so many anti-rejection pills. It is my understanding he took close to 100 pills a day. But on a particular day he said, "That's enough, I'm through with these pills. I've had no problems, I'll be fine without them."
What a foolish thing to say. Why didn't he stop to realize that those pills are what made him the healthy young man he was? 
It was only within a week's time, that this young man went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the hospital where the doctor's did all that they could to stabilize him. He stayed in that hospital for nearly a month. Finally, the doctors were able to regulate his heart again, and for two years, the young man was normal again. In fact, he got engaged during his senior year in college, and had his whole life ahead of him. But one afternoon, as he was heading to a class on campus, he suddenly became very tired, set his books on the sidewalk, stepped onto the grass, laid down, and went home to be with the Lord.
Friend, when you were saved, you were given a new heart; that is to say, a new spirit. But remember what 1 Corinthians 15:53 says, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption..." You still have a flesh that is daily rejecting this new heart. Peter understood this eventually. You see, Peter had been given a new heart when he trusted in Christ as his Savior. But Jesus came to Peter one day and prescribed to Peter the need to be prayerful, and to be sober of Satan's devices. But like that young man, Peter told Jesus, "I don't need medication, I can do what you do!" Listen to what he said in Luke 22:33, "Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death." But Jesus said something interesting in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:41 says, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
You see, we've been given a new heart, a new spirit; but we are still waiting for a new body. The corruptible wicked flesh that we are robed in at this moment is constantly rejecting the perfect, righteous heart that we have been given by God.
So what needs to be done? 
Just as a person with a new physical heart must take anti-rejection pills on a regular basis, so must the Christian with a new spiritual heart take the anti-rejection formula found in the Word of God. 
The Bible says in Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
So the Bible teaches us that we must present to God our bodies to him; and that present needs to be regularly, holy, and acceptable to him. In order for us to do this, we need to renew on a regular basis. And so I see a formula, and I want to share it with you. Here is the skeletal layout, and then I will describe each one with a little more detail:
  • Resolve
  • Evaluate
  • Necessitate
  • Exhort 
  • Witness


And so the first letter in the acrostic is RESOLVE. In Philippians 3:13-14 we read, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
My friend, it is necessary that we not dwell on the things of the past. Are you a person who has a new pastor in a church? Does your new pastor do everything exactly like your old pastor? Of course not! But here's the choice you should make. You should resolve to follow the man God placed in the pastorate of your church today. The pastor who did things differently is gone. Resolve today to follow the pastor that you have. 
Are you worried about what you are going to do in the future? Are you afraid that you will miss God's calling? Are you afraid because you missed out on some education that you think you should have had, but you didn't get? Don't worry about tomorrow! Resolve to serve the Lord today!  There's something that I pray every morning that I wake up. "Lord, I may not serve you tomorrow. I may not love you tomorrow. I may not witness tomorrow. But Lord, I am resolving today to serve you, to love you, to witness for you."
Now I realize that prayer may not sound extremely spiritual, but that prayer is not a proud prayer. It's a humble prayer. You see, I don't want to be like Peter. I don't want to say, "Lord, I am ready to go with thee both into prison and to death." No, I want to have the attitude that says that it's possible that I may stray...but for now, I'm resolving to do right.


This is a cooperative effort. Because 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Now, in order for you to understand exactly what this means, it is necessary that we look back at the two previous verses. "But if we walk in the light, as He [JESUS] is in the light, we [ME AND JESUS] have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
Now I want you to notice that verse nine does not say sin, like verse eight, but sins. In verse eight it is a general summary of the problem we struggle with in this corrupt flesh on a daily basis. But when it comes to verse nine, there's a call to be specific. Can you define evaluation? The dictionary, which is not a reference for spirituality by the way, defines evaluation as "a diagnosis or diagnostic study of a physical or mental condition." I'd like to help the dictionary out by defining it like this, "a diagnosis or diagnostic study of a physical, mental or spiritual condition."
I want you to think of a time when you had a serious physical problem and you weren't sure what was wrong, but it was bad enough to get you into the doctor's office for an evaluation. Now, how would you feel if the doctor said, "Yep, there's something wrong, but I wouldn't worry about it."
I want you to think about what was just said. "There's something wrong...but I wouldn't worry???" I'd suggest finding another doctor if that's what was said to you. Because the doctor should have said, "Okay, tell me what hurts," which normal follows with rubber gloves and contact with that area, and then a check of the heart, of the throat, of the ears, etc. An EVALUATION.
Now lets look at that in light of the passages of scripture we just read. Are you struggling with your Christian walk? Do you realize that all revival means is bringing something or someone back to health? Evangelist Rick Flanders compared revival to a person who is choking, and someone coming over and performing CPR and bringing that person back to health.
This makes me think of a situation with a lady at a restaurant my wife and I went to one afternoon. I remember passing by a table and a woman was coughing and struggling with something she ate. My normalcy bias wanted to believe everything was fine, and so I walked off to the bathroom to wash up before eating. When I returned, the woman was blue in the face, and the lady across from her began to call out, "Help! Somebody help! O please help!" 
In a crisis situation, I have a habit of acting without thinking many times. Sometimes it gets me into trouble; but not this time. I immediately walked up behind the lady, and placed two fingers on both hands under both of the elbows of the choking woman from behind and gently pushed upward, to which the woman responded by standing. She knew that she was getting help. I then positioned myself for the Heimlich maneuver, and prayed, "O Lord, I've had training, but this is the real thing...please help," and I then pushed up under her rib cage, and out popped a big olive that landed right into one of the glasses on the table! Man o man, it worked!
So what happened? She was brought back to health! Now I want to compare that to the need of the church. We need revival, and it needs to be regularly. Unfortunately, churches ignore their need for it many times. Did you notice what got my attention and put me into action at the restaurant? It was when the lady across the table began to cry out, "Help! O help! Somebody help!" Now, I obviously saw what needed to be done, but suppose the lady that I was trying to restore back to health resisted me?! That would be odd, wouldn't it? She then turns to me and tries to shape the words with her mouth (because she cannot talk due to a lack of oxygen) I'm fine. That's what the church is doing! You see, confession is not promising to be better. It's a response to what God already knows about us. When Jesus was talking to the seven churches of Asia Minor in the book of Revelation, he said seven times, "I know thy works." So many times the church goes about it's business as hypocrites. Acting as if God doesn't know. We are choking! We are dying! And yet we continue to act like everything is fine. Did you know that hypocrisy means pretending? I run into a lot of people who say, "I don't like church! To many hypocrites!" I'm not sure if they know what they are talking about. Because if they don't like going to church because of hypocrites, why don't they go and show those hypocrites the real thing? If you don't go to church because of hypocrites, and you know what that word means; you're simply saying that you don't go to church because you're not good at pretending, and so you might as well not go at all. But the truth is, the church is full of hypocrites. Churches are filled with people who are empty inside, but put on a facade of being full. And for God, it's like going up to a person to help restore them back to health, and they look back pretending and saying, "I'm perfectly fine! I'm perfectly normal!" 
Do you know what's really sad about everything I've just been saying? Because there are so many hypocrites, many of the people who come to Christ think that emptiness IS the norm! I write this moment to tell you, it's not! A normal church is a church that is overflowing with life, abundant in joy, and restful in peace! And how does this happen? It happens when we evaluate what we truly are, go to God, and say, "Father, I'm empty, I'm barren. I have no joy, I don't love my brothers like I should. I have no peace." To which God responds, "I know it, but I can change all of that!"
Confession is simply agreeing. Just look at the first part of that word, con. "Con" comes from the Latin word meaning "with." It's simply telling God what he already knows. So many times, Christians act as if God comes to them and says, "Hey! What's the matter with you! Do better or I'm going to come down there and give you a whipping you'll never forget!" It would be like me going to that lady at the restaurant and saying, "Hey! Get it together lady! Breathe!" You'd think I was crazy! But we treat God like that all the time! Instead, it should be like the woman on the other side of the table, "Help, Lord! O Help, Lord! Lord, I need you! Help!" And I promise you...HE WILL.


We must make time for God. Ephesians 5:16 says, "Redeeming the time because the days are evil."
How necessary is time with God to you? Once you begin to evaluate yourself, you'll realize that it is a true necessity. So many people sing songs like, "O How I love Jesus," not realizing why they love Him. Even thought the next phrase is, "Because he first loved me," they don't stop and think that this love was commended, or proven by what he did! 
Isaiah describes it perfectly in Isaiah 53:4, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." Think of what that is saying! Are you grieving? Jesus bore that for you! Are you sorrowing? Jesus took that upon himself! And it says in verse 5, "The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed." O hallelujah! Do you not see that there is so much more than being saved from Hell? He took my grief so that I could have his joy! But in order to enjoy it, I must take it from Him moment by moment! As a branch, I must feed on the sap of the vine! I must necessitate time with Him! There's plenty of time spent in the world, and the world will bring me to the grave. 


All of the anti-rejection drugs work together. You can't have one without the other. You can't necessitate time without understanding your need for the revived Christian life, without confessing your need for Christ to help you. And you can't get to that point unless you resolve to do so. It all works together...for good. And so once you've stepped out of the state of hypocrisy, pretending to be a peaceful, spirit-filled Christian, into the genuine Christ-life, now you have the ability to exhort others to do the same. 
This is the biggest reason I simply love being a pastor. I get to exhort other Christians to live the genuine Christ-life, to live a real life of peace and joy. I used to be a pastor who would preach the word, but deep down would feel so false and so empty. I used to ask myself every time I'd finish a sermon, "What's the point of telling people to rejoice when I'm so full of sorrow inside?" But when I realized that I could not live the Christian life apart from the Life Himself, suddenly the joy of serving Jesus began to flow from me like a river, and I actually believe that what I have to preach will truly help those listening find rest! O let us exhort one another to continue walking in the light AS He is in the light. 
This wonderful experience of the overflowing life transforms us from prideful critics into compassionate people longing for others to know the joy of the abundant life of Jesus Christ! 


Now for just a moment, let's review over the last four medications that we've covered. Meditate on these, and see why witness comes last. Imagine you have found the exceeding riches of his glory, the overflowing abundant life of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, self-control...yes! We can have these! I love the song, Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. Listen to the words of the third stanza:

Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus, just from sin and self to cease, just from Jesus simply taking life and rest and joy and peace!

Did you know you could do that? Did you know that you can just simply reach out, by faith, and take love? Did you know that you can just simply reach out, by faith, and take joy? O yes! When I discovered this, and have seen the proof of it in my own life, I finally found rest! I finally found rest from having to try all the time! My friend, this is revival! And it's something I want people to know about! Not to show off my knowledge. But because the Bible says there's a world of Christians who struggle just like I do, and just as there are many who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the sinner, there are many Christians who have never heard the glorious Gospel to the Saint! 

But upon experiencing such joy, such love, in the faith and power of the Holy Spirit, partaking of the perfect, and wonderful life of Jesus Christ, suddenly, the need to share the gift of Christ becomes that much more real. You can't even begin to imagine how many people are out there ready to take their's just that some are bold enough to actually do it. You don't know how many marriages are on the rocks; how many children are hurting because of a broken home; how many drug addicts cry themselves to sleep with no hope...LOST! You CAN'T know. But can I tell you something? God does. And in order for the world to see God, they need to meet him through the yielded saint who is a partaker of the TRUE Christian life. The life that many Christians live is what Major W. Ian Thomas calls a "Christ-less Christianity."


So have you taken your meds today? I hope some of you had the light turned on when you read this. It's so simple. The reason you're so down all the time, and your saved, is because you're not taking your medicine! You've been given a new heart, a new spirit. The battle against you is impossible without God's help. Do you realize what's against you? You have a powerful foe named Satan who wrestles against you; laying traps, attacking, tempting, accusing. On top of that, the world is constantly enticing you to do wrong. And then on top of that, you are wrapped up in flesh that longs to do what is wrong! You're surrounded! Following the commandments of God are not hard...they're impossible. But "with God, all things are possible," and "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me!"

One thought on “The Anti-Rejection Formula

  1. Bro Dave Wilson says:

    Powerful! Thanks Brother!

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