New Hope Notes

Things Not For Sale
Mind Your Own Business

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
October 21, 2007 - W0742

As Christians, we struggle everyday over things that are not for sale where our faith is concerned.  It isn’t necessarily about money but it has everything to do with money.  It may not have much to do with business but it really has everything to do with business.  It has little to do with success but it actually has everything to do with success.  It is really all about our insides.


Our insides get caught between knowing what God wants us to do but wanting to do something else – like Jonah who knew that God wanted him to go to Nineveh yet he went the opposite way to Tarshish.  He was in a predicament because he knew what God wanted him to do yet he did something else.  We have tendencies to hold onto things even when we know we shouldn’t because it will destroy us.  We are like the ringtail monkeys that the Zulu’s catch for food.  The Zulu catch monkeys by cutting a hole in coconuts, filling it with rice and then attaching the coconut to a tree with a rope.  At night, the monkeys come down from the trees and stick their hands in the coconut to grab onto the rice when they try to escape with the rice, they can’t because their fist no longer fits through the hole in the coconut and they are caught be the Zulu because the monkey is unwilling to let go of the rice.  Like those monkeys, sometimes we don’t let go of things even if it will hurt us.  We hold onto arguments and don’t let go because of our pride.  We hold onto emotional relationships that we know we shouldn’t.  We hold onto these things in spite of knowing that they’re bad for us and can render us powerless when we want to love God.  Paul understood this dilemma that we can all relate to in Romans 7:14-23.


“I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master. I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. But I can’t help myself…It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave…” (Romans 7:14-23 selected).


When we become Christians, we know that some things in our lives should never ever be for sale yet we struggle with them and many times we sell out.  When asked. “What is the one thing people hate most about Christians?” non-believers answer, “inconsistency.”  Christians, they say, live in a way that is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus and that confuses non-believers.  It’s not that Christians deliberately mess up because they are malicious and evil.  It’s simply that we are weak and frail.  So, God gives us His Holy Spirit because we need a power beyond our own in order to walk and live with the power of Christ.


“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).


The word ‘power,’ comes from the Greek word ‘dynamis.’  It’s the origin of the word ‘dynamite,’ which depicts the explosive power of the Holy Spirit.  When we apply this scripture to our lives today, we become witnesses of God’s strength.  We inherit His DNA to become witnesses, no matter where we are on earth.  But God also gave everyone a free will.  It can become your greatest gift or your greatest curse.  Steward it well to better your life, or steward it poorly and you will destroy your life.  Your free will can even reject your maker, God.  God gives us this power of the Holy Spirit to become a witness.  Witness comes from the Greek word, ‘marturias,’ that means martyr.  Before becoming a Christian, I did whatever I wanted to do.  My will reigned supreme – after all, it was my right to live my life my way.  But in coming to Christ, we all receive Him into our hearts.  As soon as that happens, the battle ensues.  It is the battle of what we want versus what God wants.  It is our free will that determines who wins.


Now, without a supernatural power present in that battle, our free will can dethrone God.  It can veto Him.  We can agree with God’s commandments yet disobey Him anyway.  Why would we do that?  Because our free will is still in control and despite the fact that we truly love God, we can’t find the strength to obey Him.  That is why we can’t do it alone.  God knows this and that is why He sent His Holy Spirit to empower us to obedience to be a martyr: a witness for Him.  Here is the reason for the Holy Spirit:  it is the power to lay down your right to override God’s commands; to die to self and willingly lay down your free will to override God. 


It is only through the Holy Spirit that we are able to lay down our free will to never override God’s commands.  It gives us immense power and strength to give up our will and our right to ever override God.  God is our Captain and we are His Executive Officers (XO’s.)  God, the Captain, makes the decisions and we, the XO’s, carry them out without question and without debate.  The XO is our free will that should never be compromised.  Our free will is to carry out the commands of God.  Keep this in mind and remember:




Before coming to Christ, whoever or whatever tempted us the most received our will.  We sold our free will to that temptation that would give us the most benefit or the most satisfaction.  We would sell anything if the price was right.  When I was selling my canoe for $2,500, I sold it to the first person that gave me $2,000 cash.  It was a tempting offer I could not refuse.  Then, another guy came by and offered $2,500.  I wanted to sell him the canoe, but I couldn’t because it was already sold.  In the same way, Jesus already bought our free will when he sacrificed his life upon the Cross and that is why our free will is no longer for sale.  Your will no longer belongs to you.  It belongs to God so you can’t put it up for sale anymore.  Your will becomes God’s will.  When you understand this, temptation won’t have a pull on you because you’ll know that it’s a violation of God’s will.  There is no more grappling with decisions or choices.  That is who you are.  It is your DNA.  And, like your racial background, some may not like the fact that you are German, Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, or Portuguese.  Yet, you can’t change that.  That is what and who you are.  Similarly, if someone doesn’t like your choices as a Christian, you can’t change that either.  That’s who you are because your will exists only to do the will of God.  Be assured, it is not a loss of freedom because God is a God of Peace and a God of Freedom.  Jesus wisely illustrates this for us in the book of John.


“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”  (John 6:38).


“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:30).


Jesus clearly defines that he is one who lives according to God’s will.  We need to be like Jesus and live accordingly.  These verses instruct us in what needs to be done in order to ensure our will is not for sale.  The true purpose of Acts 1:8 is not to give us the gift of tongues.  It is the gift of the power of the Holy Spirit to lay down our right so we will NOT override God.  Our will is not for sale because we have already been purchased by Jesus Christ.  If you fail to understand this power, as a Christian you will continue to override God.  And people will question how a Christian can do that.  Even if you are a Pentecostal who speaks in tongues, without an understanding of this, you will continue to violate and reject God.  And that’s why we are appalled when Pentecostals are in the news because of their immoral behavior.  Don’t miss the point of Acts 1:8, which is not to speak in tongues, but to lay down your will and by the power of the Holy Spirit, never override God’s commands.  God calls us to understand the freedom that comes from accepting this power and accepting who we are.  We have already been purchased.  Amen to that!  Jesus goes on to tell us more in Matthew 12:50:


“For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50).


It is not a spineless act that tosses away your free will.  Christians aren’t weak-willed nor do you relinquish your will.  Rather, God wants you to:




You must still overcome the temptations of the flesh and God knows these temptations are difficult and overpowering at times.  How many times can you recall saying to yourself, “Why did I say that?” or “What have I done?”  There are consequences to be reckoned with when our free will overrides God instead of overriding the temptations of the flesh.  That is why God instructs us to develop our free will into a Godly one that will override the flesh.  You see, that is our role, not God’s.  When you accept Christ into your life, your soul is saved, but habits and old ways of thought are not.  It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that will correct those bad habits and crooked thoughts.  Understand this and you will understand the submission to Christ.  Gain this inner strength, not only to submit to God, but to also deal with the temptations you face.  It may be to correct your character flaws in order to better yourself.  Only then can you understand what it means to submit to God, as James 4:7 emphasizes.


“Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)


Jeremiah 18 tells us that, as a potter molds his clay, so God molds us.  When we trust Him to mold us, then God says He will make us the vessel, the family and the future that we always wanted.  But, what kind of clay are we made of?  Are we hardened in such a way that we refuse to yield to the potter’s wheel.  Are we so stubborn that we need to be placed aside as a hard piece of clay that needs to sit in water to become softened?  Or, are we so soft, without substance that we cannot hold up under pressure.  So, we must be set aside to become firm.  Or, are we the right type of clay that gives no resistance and responds to our potter’s hands.  Are we the clay that holds up to the potter’s design? 


Jeremiah is telling us that God is the potter and, therefore, always knows what is best for you.  If we try to fight sin on our own, we ultimately lose.  As Paul said in Acts 1:8, the Holy Spirit will give you power to lay down your right of free will so you will not override God’s will.  And then, the Holy Spirit will strengthen your heart to override the flesh.  God can then mold you and fulfill the design for your life.  When you finally grasp this truth and trust God, He will bring about everything you have ever hoped for in your life.


There was a story about a boy who worked meticulously in carving a boat and even set sails upon it.  It was beautifully done and he carved his initials upon his handicraft.  He was so proud that he floated it everywhere to watch it sail with such dignity down the canals.  One day, it navigated itself so perfectly in and around new waterways that the pouring rain created, and he followed it as it maneuvered around the gutters and down the streets.  It was magnificently balanced as it sailed with precision, navigating through the currents.  Finally, it sailed into a tunnel.  The boy waited on the other side of the tunnel, but it never appeared.  He searched into the tunnel, but it was nowhere to be seen.  His heart sank as he sat in the rain and cried.  Two weeks later, he passed a store window that lifted his heart.  In the store was his boat and it was being sold for $18.  He quickly ran into the store and told the owner that it was his boat because he made it and even carved his initials upon it.  The owner told him that it was finder’s keepers and it was now his and if the boy wanted it, he would have to pay $18 to get it back.  Disappointed and sad, he left the store.  But, on the way, he got an idea.  He would earn the money to get his boat back.  He went from neighbor to neighbor offering to rake their lawn, wash their car, and anything else that could earn him the $18.  Two days later, he returned to the store with a sock full of coins.  Sure enough, the storeowner counted out exactly $18 and the boy got his boat back.  He hugged that boat carefully to his heart and said, “I will love you twice as much as before.  Do you know why?  Because, I owned you twice.  Not only did I make you, but I bought you back.” 


God is like that with us.  Not only did God create us, He bought us back.  Even so, we wrestle with sin, even though we are no match for it.  God loves us so much and understands that we are no match for temptation, so He gave us His Holy Spirit to give us the power to overcome the flesh as we lay down our right so as not to override His.  As you live your life, do it God’s way because that is who you are.  When you do, your heart will want to do it God’s way.  It will delight Him to know that you are not afraid to show others who you are.  Your future will unfold into God’s design for your life.  You will be empowered by Spirit of God.  That, my friends, is called the Church. 



“An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning will not be blessed in the end.” (Proverbs 20:21).


“Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.” (Proverbs 19:20).




Q1: Share a time when God’s will contradicted your will to make a decision.  Who won?

Q2: What can you do to remember that your will is no longer for sale?

Q3: How is the baptism of the Holy Spirit different from water baptism? 

Q4: Can you share an experience of the power of the Holy Spirit that enabled you to resist a temptation you could not handle on your own?  How did it change your heart?

Q5: If you are a piece of clay waiting for God’s hands, what can you do to make yourself ready for His molding?

Q6: Name a command of God that is easy to agree with, yet difficult to obey. Why is that so and what can you do to ensure your obedience?