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August 5, 2016

Text: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers,1 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

On the 28th day of June 1914 a Yugoslav nationalist named Gavril Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Fredinand of Austria and thus began World War I, a war that Wikipedia said was one of the “deadliest conflicts in history”. Thirty-eight million people are calculated to have died in these hostilities. The conflagration ended with the signing of an Armistice on November 11, 1918 at 11:00 a.m. (That is: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.)  Now, an Armistice  is not the same as a Peace Treaty.   Armistice simply means “a stopping”, a cessation of hostilities. The war may be revived anytime. When a Peace Treaty is signed one side surrenders. The war is finished.

You might ask, “What does all this have to do with the price of tea in China?”

This: how do you feel about surrendering your life totally to God?  When one confronts the gospel of Christ he comes to a crisis: shall I continue to live a sinful life, or shall I obey Jesus and serve him only? Jesus posed this dilemma as the choice between two gates: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew  7:13-14  That gate to destruction is just as enticing once you become a Christian as it was before and it is still deadly. Weakening follows and eventually destroys your allegiance to Jesus. Peter describes what happens when a soul falls back into sin. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 

But soon it becomes apparent that complete surrender is  tremendously more difficult than you assumed. Difficulty often trumps initial intentions!  Old habits, shabby friendships and family ties, social pressures, personal entanglements, aspirations,  encumbrances , and unforeseen temptations all have intruded to spoil our  good purposes. Demas was once a companion to Paul in his evangelistic work, but Paul wrote of his friend’s desertion: For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me…” II Timothy 4:10  Don’t look back at sin’s enticements: focus forward to the glorious promises of God!

The path of surrender is the path of duty.  In choosing the path of surrender to God, one chooses the path of accepting all the responsibilities of the Master. In pledging ourselves to the way of God, we must accept every detail that God has specified. The truth is: God is sovereign of all rules of life. To surrender to God is to go where he tells you to go, to stand for whatever thing is true,  and to believe everything he says,  and to do everything he commands. To slink off and ease back into serfdom for the Devil is to take the path of least resistance and ruin your character.  I can think of no man in the Bible who lived such a surrendered life as Joshua. “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15   Surrender your obedience to God, but keep fighting the Devil. Resist him, firm in your faith…” I Peter 5:9a  

Surrendering your life to Jesus is an extended exercise in perseverance.  I confess that I began to believe a long time ago that one cannot be a Christian without determinedly  great perseverance. I have read the proof of it’s necessity in the Scripture. For instance. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:2 etc.  “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews 21 It is also grieving to see saints with whom you shared Christian work and fellowship go astray again. It is heartrending not to see them in their places because discouragement or disbelief drove them back to Satan’s kingdom. Don’t break the hearts of your Christian friends by abandoning Christ Jesus.

Here are some greatly encouraging words.

“So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it, but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.” Proverbs 2:20-22





































One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    As I get closer to the end and am able to look back, I realize more and more how important are messages like this one. Thanks.–Larry

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