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Encountering God's Process

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2020 7:00 am

Encountering God's Process

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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November 11, 2020 7:00 am

Ultimately, we all surrender to God. The question is whether or not we do it willingly. Join Dr. Tony Evans as he talks about what happens when our only path toward obedience is brokenness and how we can learn to let go of the illusion of self-sufficiency.

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The reason a lot of us are still waiting on our breakthrough is because we've not yet been broken. Dr. Tony Evans says we'd often rather cling to our illusion of self-sufficiency than learn the hard lesson of how much we need the Lord. Because brokenness is the only way you get to experience God. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. Ultimately, we all surrender to God. The question is whether or not we do it willingly. Today, Dr. Evans will talk about what happens when our only path toward obedience is brokenness.

Let's join him. A seed has to be broken before a plant comes from it. Water must break before a baby emerges.

A stallion must be broken before the rider can control it. The seal of cologne or perfume must be cracked before the smell and the aroma emerges. The shell of a peanut must be opened before the enjoyment of the nut can be experienced. In other words, to get to the core of a thing, to get to the benefit of a thing, a breaking must occur.

As long as it stays unbroken, what it is designed to produce does not emerge. In order for you to have a divine encounter, you must be broken. Without brokenness, the experience of God, where you see Him with your own eyes, where His reality becomes alive for you, will escape you. The reason a lot of us are still waiting on our breakthrough is because we've not yet been broken.

We have not yet been to the place where God has been free to express Himself to us, for us, and through us because we remain unbroken. Psalm 138 verse 6 says that God keeps His distance from people who are not broken. So the reason why many Christians have a long-distance relationship with God rather than an up-close experience of God is they insist on not being broken. Brokenness is a criteria of experience.

Other than that, God remains a theology, an idea, a concept, without being a dynamic reality. What do I mean by being broken? To be broken spiritually means to be stripped of your self-sufficiency. It means God has ripped you of your independence.

It means you and I and we have come to the place where we have discovered Jesus' statement, without me, you can do nothing. As long as you are independent and self-sufficient, you remain unbroken. And as long as you remain unbroken, you remain unchanged. And as long as you remain unbroken, thus remaining unchanged, your experience with God escapes you. And so I want to talk to you today about the process of brokenness.

To encounter God's process of him stripping you of self-sufficiency so that you can experience a new level of his reality in your life and mine. Now let me correct a misunderstanding. Probably every Christian has quoted it or has had it quoted to them and unfortunately it is an incorrect quote. So let me give you the quote. God will not put more on you than you can bear.

Now if that sounds good, it makes you feel good, it's just not true. There is an occasion in which God will put more on you than you can bear and the occasion in which God puts more on you than you can bear is when he wants to break you. Paul says in 2 Corinthians chapter 1, we were undergoing a great deal of affliction and it was so overwhelming we gave up on life.

He says we wanted to throw in the towel, we wanted to quit because stuff was so overwhelming, we couldn't take it anymore. But then he describes why God did it and he says God allowed us to go through this affliction so that we might experience him who raises the dead. So sometimes God will put you in a death grip where you are so overwhelmed with the pain, with the problem, with the trial, with the trouble, with the temptation and you are so overwhelmed that you don't feel like you can make it another day. When God puts you in that situation, he's trying to break you because he plans on remaking you. Brokenness is when God intervenes in your life through a negative set of circumstances to attack a flaw in your personality. There is a flaw in your humanity that desperately needs to be addressed and he recognizes that at the core of it is independence and self-sufficiency and to strip you and me of it. He begins a process of breaking us.

You ever been broke down by a situation or by a circumstance? Let me go a little deeper as to how this works and then we'll see it work in the life of a man in Scripture. You have three parts to you, a body, a soul, and a spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5 23, you are made up of spirit, soul, and body.

Your body allows you to function in the physical world through your five senses, through the five senses you are able to relate to the world around you. Your soul enables you to relate to yourself. Your soul is your personhood. The reason why you know you're you and that you're here is because you possess a soul which is the life principle that allows the body to operate. So your body allows you to function in the world. Your soul allows you to function with you. Your spirit allows you to function with God.

So your spirit is God, your soul is you, and your body is the world around you. Everyone who is born into the world is born into the world with a scarred soul. Sin has scarred our soul. We're born in sin, shaped in iniquity.

We are born flawed. Now that shows itself at different levels, for different strokes, for different folks, but there is a scarring of the soul. Some of that was transferred from your mother and your father, and that's why we find ourselves doing a lot of things our parents did because we picked up some of the scarring from them.

You didn't just pick up their looks, you picked up their scars. And then the scarring is increased by things that happen to us, by circumstances that overwhelm us, by wrong done to us, by wrong done by us. All of this adds to the scarring of the soul. This scarring of the soul breeds independence from God.

When a person accepts Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit invades their human spirit, giving them the ability to now receive spiritual data. When the Holy Spirit enters the human spirit, the human spirit, which is now infused by the Holy Spirit, invades the soul to transform it and get rid of the scars. He wants to strip away the scars of the soul, which causes us to do all the wrong things we do with our bodies. So we do wrong with our bodies because we've got scars on our soul that the spirit wants to heal so that we function in a way that brings God glory and brings us good.

This transformation is from the inside out, and it is designed to bring a change in the life and in the character. But to heal the soul, God must break through it. He must penetrate it. He must invade it.

He must enter it in order to dominate it. Our souls naturally resist that invasion. Our souls do not want to be invaded by this divine interruption, and so the invasion is resisted. In order to not resist the invasion, God must deepen the breaking. So the longer it takes you to break, the more resistant you are to breaking only means that God will up the ante of what is needed to strip you down because God can't give you God as long as you are self-sufficient. And so He must break us, but He's breaking us to remake us.

Dr. Evans will illustrate how that process works when he returns in just a moment. First though, I want to let you know about a brand new book he's written called Kingdom Encounters. It's a collection of stories about biblical characters who found God at the times they least expected, usually in the middle of conflict and trials.

You'll discover why sometimes when God feels farthest away, you're right where you need to be to have your life changed. We want you to experience Kingdom Encounters of your own. That's why we're offering a copy of this brand new book as our thank-you gift when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station. We're a 100% listener-supported ministry, so there's no way we can do that without your help. Along with the book, we'll also include CDs and instant digital downloads of all eight full-length messages in Tony's current series, Divine Encounters. This special offer will only be available for a few more days, so make it a point to visit tonyevans.org right away to get the details and make the arrangements. Or reach out to our resource center at 1-800-800-3222, where friendly team members are ready to assist you with your resource request 24-7.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Dr. Evans will come back with more of today's lesson right after this. If you're like most Christians, there are people in your life who know you but may not know Jesus. You really want to do something about that, but don't feel equipped to share your faith effectively.

In other words, maybe if you knew more, you could do more. Well, that's where the Tony Evans Training Center comes in. It's an online Bible school with classes that will take you deep into the most important core concepts of the faith. You can start with our free introductory course on evangelism, then move on to subjects like spiritual warfare, marriage building, maturing in the faith, and many more. The content is challenging, but you can move through it at your own pace any time you're online. There's also lots of custom content from Tony and an online forum where you can get your specific questions answered.

Go to tonyevans.org and follow the link to the Tony Evans Training Center. It's like having a seminary on your smartphone. In Genesis chapter 32, we have a breaking occurring in the life of the patriarch Jacob. Jacob has a name, and his name means trickster. His name means heel grabber.

His name means supplanter. His name means deceiver. Jacob's name fits his character. In the Bible, names matter.

We name people because we like the name. In the Bible, names were given to explain the character. Jacob was a born deceiver. From the time he left his mother's womb, he grabbed his brother, his twin brother, Esau's heel, heel grabber. He tricked his brother out of his birthright.

He joined forces with his mother to deceive his brother and to steal his birthright for a bowl of porridge. And he began a lifestyle of deception. You've seen a born liar. That means as far back as you've been looking, they've been lying. They just can't help it.

It's just lying just feels like the truth. So Jacob's name is trickster, deceiver, supplanter, heel grabber. He will do whatever it takes to get over on you. And that was his lifestyle. That was his habit. That wasn't a one-time thing.

That's how this man rolled. That was his name. He comes to a crisis in chapter 32. The crisis is that it looks like his brother has gotten tired of him and he's going to kill him. In chapter 32, verse 6, it says, The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came from your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed, and he divided the people, it says, into two camps to try to make sure they didn't kill everybody. But he's scared.

He's terrified because his trickery has finally caught up with him. And now his brother's coming with four hundred men. It says in verse 9, the next thing he did was say, O God, isn't that what you do when you get scared enough? O God, Lord have mercy. O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, Return to your company and to your relatives, and I will prosper you. I'm unworthy of all the stuff you've done for me, verse 10.

And then he makes his request in verse 11, Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. I am scared to death. My life is on the line now, and it's my fault.

I've been doing this stuff all these years. It's the way I've been learning to live my life, and now this stuff has finally caught off on me, and I don't think I can make it. He's in a situation he can't fix. He's in a problem he can't solve, and the reason why is God is getting ready to break him.

When God puts you in something, you can't change. When he allows you to be in a certain situation that the doctors can't fix, the contacts can't fix, the medicine can't fix, the money can't fix, the relationships can't fix, your skill set can't fix, your education can't fix. When he puts your back up against that wall, he has begun the process of breaking. His back is against the wall. He's cried out to God.

He's desperate. Esau's coming, 400 men strong, and he's scared. Verse 34, then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. Jacob is alone. He's alone because nobody he knows and nothing he knows can help him. He's by himself. You ever been in a situation where you were all alone?

Oh, you may have had folk around you, but you might as well have been by yourself because nothing around you could make a difference. He's got a problem. His brother's after him. He prays to God. After he prays to God, things get worse.

Somebody shows up at night and wrestles him. So he's already scared. Now he's scared and alone and attacked.

That's a scary situation. And he wrestled him till daybreak. You know God is trying to break you when you're going from one negative to another negative and you got to fight just to stay afloat.

It says he wrestled him. He's put in a struggle in a scary situation until daybreak. Jacob refuses to submit and cry uncle. Jacob is saying, you're not going to get me. You're not going to beat me.

I am going to fight you to the death. He refuses to submit to the stranger. So the stranger takes his finger and touches his hip socket and dislocates it. Now your hip socket is your core.

It's your core. When he saw that Jacob was not about to give up, he disconnected him at the point of his strength. He disconnected him at his point of the major thing that he's depending on in order to keep fighting. In other words, he had to be broken down more. See, when God is trying to break you, he'll make it bad. But if you're not responding, he'll make it worse.

He'll take you even lower and lower and lower until you get the message. So now he's wrestling without his strength. He's wrestling without his power.

He's wrestling without his core. Now think about it. If the stranger only needed a finger to touch his hip socket and dislocate it, it is obvious that the stranger is not trying to kill him. Because if the stranger wanted to kill him, he could have touched his heart.

And the fight would have been over. I know you feel like you're dying when God is trying to break you. Because he done stripped you down, but if he really wanted to kill you, it wouldn't take that long. He'd just have to touch you in a different spot and you wouldn't be here anymore. No, he's trying to remove your strength.

He's trying to move your core, the thing that you are counting on, to be able to deliver you. And so he breaks it down, breaks it down, because brokenness is the only way you get to experience God. If you can identify with the experience of being broken and you're ready for God to start putting you back together again, that process can start for you today. A lot of people think it's a matter of going to church every Sunday and trying to be good.

But the Bible tells a very different story that forgiveness and eternal life only come through a relationship with Jesus and complete trust in his sacrifice on the cross. Well, Tony has a short video that explains it all. Visit tonyevans.org and follow the Jesus link to see it. And I hope you'll do that today. And when you do, don't forget to take advantage of the special resource package I mentioned earlier today, all eight lessons in Tony's current series, Divine Encounters, plus his brand new book, Kingdom Encounters, which digs even deeper into how you can have a real-life experience with the Lord, even when he feels far away. This double resource bundle is our gift to you when you make a contribution to help us keep this listener-supported program here on this station and around the world. Just visit tonyevans.org today to get the details and make the arrangements. Again, that's tonyevans.org. Or call our 24-hour resource center at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are ready to assist with your resource request day or night.

That's 1-800-800-3222. When our circumstances turn sour, we can't wait for them to change. That's only natural. Tomorrow, Dr. Evans will talk about an unnatural way to think of a crisis and the benefits it brings to your relationship with the Lord. I hope you'll be with us. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-28 18:34:18 / 2024-01-28 18:42:24 / 8

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