Romans 12:1-2 All To Jesus I Surrender In \\#1\\, Paul challenges the Romans to become living sacrifices. Although the word "sacrifice" might sound ancient to us, it was not to these people. To us, the word only registers in a symbolic way; but to them, the word conjured up very literal images. Many religions, including Judaism, offered animal sacrifices and some even offered human sacrifices. So these people could likely see themselves getting onto an altar and being a willing sacrifice. Of course, Paul is not asking the people to become a human sacrifice. He is speaking about living the surrendered life, living a life that is dead to self. To give up oneís desires is basically the same as the term we sometimes use "to die to oneself." 1. It doesnít take much imagination to see a comparison to being a living sacrifice and dying to self. a. Both involve death. b. Both involve volunteering for death. 2. Might I say, nobody volunteers for death. a. The only people who will volunteer for death are the hopeless and the deranged. b. But Paul tells us we need to do as well! (What a group to keep company with!) c. The only way you and I are going to volunteer for our own death is for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, we do not have to "figure out" the surrendered life. We can study the lives of those who have lived it and listen to how they describe it. Who better to follow than Paul? Characteristics of the Surrendered Life: I. To live the surrendered life, we must turn from fleshly desires. A. Paul gives us many passages on this topic. Gal 5:24 And they that are Christís have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 1. \\#24\\ Notice the term "crucified the flesh." a. It means to kill the flesh. b. When we crucify our own flesh, we are "dead to self." 2. \\#26\\ He also says that we should not desire "vain glory," any kind of self glory. Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 1. To be "risen with Christ" is to be saved. 2. If you are saved, you are to seek things which are above, that would be heavenly things. 3. That is opposed to seeking things on earth. B. These two passages together give us a more complete picture of the kind of desires or drives we will have if we have the surrendered life. 1. We will not be filled with the normal, carnal, earthly desires. a. That covers a lot of ground. b. There are desires for money, fame, power, luxury, notoriety, and pleasureójust to name a few. 2. But instead, we will be filled with heavenly desires. a. It is not enough to just empty ourselves of our desires. b. That would only leave us empty with no will or drive. c. At the same time, the surrendered Christian picks up heavenly or Godís desires. (1) The surrendered Christian should want to go to church, want to read the Bible, want to pray, want to tell others about Jesus. (2) The correlation between being surrendered and having heavenly desires is so great that they tell on each other. (a) If you are surrendered, you will have heavenly wants. (b) If you have no heavenly wants, you are not surrendered. C. Not only is this process of emptying ourselves of our desires and filling ourselves with heavenly desires a part of being surrendered, it is the key ingredient to being surrendered. 1. Sometimes we have a desire to do something for Jesus but we donít know how. a. Somebody might be asking, "How do I become a surrendered Christian?" b. Here is the best answer I know. 2. Empty yourself of your desires and fill yourself with Godís. a. In each and ever situation, look at what you are about to do and ask yourself if this is what God wants you to do or not. b. Then, regardless of what you would like to do, do what Christ wants. D. Paul gives us a good example of having his "wanter" changed. Philippians 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 1. \\#5-6\\ You can tell by his old list that at one time, he had a very carnal wanter. a. He calls it his "flesh" list. b. It is obvious that he (and his family) wanted to be at the very top of the Hebrew pedigree list. c. He excelled in his Hebrew birth, his Hebrew religion, his Hebrew zeal, and his Hebrew lifestyle. 2. \\#7-8\\ But when he came to Christ, he discarded it all. a. He just counted it all as lost. b. That is, all those years invested and achievements won were counted as wasted time and energy. 3. You and I need to understand that those things meant just as much to Paul as any love, desire, or drive you and I have means to us. a. Those were the things that drove him just as much as socialization, pride, pleasure, selfishness, laziness, or whatever drives you and me. b. Yet, you can read about the remainder of Paulís life and see that he never went back to those things. c. Why? He surrendered to Christ and got a new list of wants. E. Notice that Paul did not spend the remainder of his life lamented what he had given up for Jesus. 1. He records them here for our edification but there is no indication of remorse or sorrow as he thinks on them. 2. If our "wanter" is truly changed, not only will we do the right things but we will be satisfied doing them because we are still doing what we want. F. Before we leave this topic, letís ask ourselves what happens if we do not get our "wanter" changed. 1. Suppose we want only carnal things. 2. Then you are going to have the most meaningless, unfulfilling, unsatisfying life possible. 3. I say that is not only true of a saved person but it is true of a lost person as well. 4. Often those who have achieved the greatest height of carnal accomplishments are the most miserable. a. Not everybody who gets to the top of their ladder ends up in a rehab center or in jail, but most of those whose only goal was to get to the top of their ladder do. b. Even those who donít find out that those things just do not satisfy. 5. Then consider the millions of people who never even get to the top. a. Those are the people who spend their life complaining about the "rat" race. b. They feel like they have worked hard but the ladder keeps moving! 6. What about those who live the surrendered life. a. I am not going to say that everyday the surrendered life is cake and cookies. b. There are challenges and disappointments. c. But everyday you know you are working for things which are eternal and that is satisfying. II. Those who are living the surrendered life want to render distinctive service. A. Most would consider the Apostle Paul as one who gave "distinctive" Christian service, but even Paul was always looking for a way to serve Jesus in a greater, more distinct way. Acts 14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. 24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: 26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 1. We are not given any length of time in the passage. 2. However, Paul and his party ministered in 9 different cities and regions in this short section. That had to be stretch in service even for the Apostle Paul. B. I know of no one who would claim to have a surrendered life who does not render service to Jesus. 1. To my knowledge, Jesus has never called on anyone to do nothing. 2. To do nothing does not require a surrendered spirit, the Holy Spirit, or even salvation. 3. If God has called anyone to anything, He expects you to serve. C. However, I also place the emphasis is on the word "DISTINCTIVE." 1. There is more to serving Jesus than just going to church or dropping a tithe into the offering plate. 2. Those who walk the surrendered life are burdened with a desire to do something more for Jesus. 3. I am not necessarily speaking of a full-time calling or even a "call to the ministry," although that is sometimes the case. a. Those who enter the "ministry" are typically those who are called to positions of leadership. b. To be surrendered does not necessarily mean that you are a leader or that your service may provide you with a means of financial support. c. However, there is no reason why more can not be called to full-time ministry or to a ministry that is your primary source of income. (1) God has blessed us with a good variety of ages (children, teenagers, young adults, and older adults). (2) God can and does God people to serve. (3) Perhaps God is calling you! 4. However, every surrendered Christian wants to do "something" for Jesus. a. They want to be a part of something and to make some kind of a difference. b. These are those who will pray the more earnestly, participate in the more activities, initiate new ministries, and assume critical roles in the older ministries. c. I canít tell you what your something might be; however, I can tell you one thing that is very important. D. There is a secret to serving Jesus that some do not know. 1. The secret is, "Service comes by purpose." 2. If you do not purpose to do things for Jesus, you will not. 3. It is time to pray now for Godís leadership in what you will do for Jesus in 2011. III. Those who are living the surrendered life want to in persevere in trials. A. Satan is always trying to stop those who are serving Jesus. 1. Surrendering self to Christ will not stop Satan but challenge him. 2. The Bible challenges us all to stay faithful. James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. B. Paul had trials. Acts 16:19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. C. At this point, Paul could have done many things. 1. He could have quit. 2. He could have sulked. 3. He could have just shut up. 4. But Paul chose to continue his ministry. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every oneís bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 5. As a result, Paul saw souls saved and another church established. D. An important lesson - God often uses the problems of life to advance His kingdom. 1. There are a lot of definitions of life, but there is one that I have used several times. 2. Life is moving from one calamity to the next. 3. If the only time we are going to serve Jesus is when things are going as we wish, we will never serve Him very much. Every Christian must ask himself what are doing for Jesus? When we look hard at that question, we sometimes find that the answer is, "As little as possible." That is not the surrendered life. What would Christ have you do for Him? All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all. All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow, Worldly pleasures all forsaken; Take me, Jesus, take me now. All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Savior, wholly Thine; Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine. All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Thy love and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me. All to Jesus I surrender, Now I feel the sacred flame. Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory to His name!
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