Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, June first.
Do you feel as if you're just drifting through life? Today's podcast reminds us that God intends for every follower of Christ to find fulfillment in His plan. It's becoming more and more unpopular to be a follower of Jesus Christ in our country. For example, it's unpopular for you to say that your beliefs are according to the Word of God, and that you stand by those beliefs. It's unpopular to say that this is God's Word and it's our final authority for the way we ought to live and what we believe.
It's very unpopular to name the name of Jesus Christ in a public prayer, in a classroom, oftentimes in an office, or wherever it might be. So, what that says is this, we're living in a society that desires and is working diligently to get all of us to agree, but to agree with the wrong thing on the wrong side. So, what we have to ask is this. Do we have the courage to stand for what we believe? If we say we believe this Bible is the Word of God, will you stand for that? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and the only Savior of the world?
Do you believe that? What do you do when you're confronted with these things? Do you stand firm and strong and immovable, or do you say well and begin to excuse and maybe to rationalize your own belief system? And remember this, that you and I trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. And what we did when we did that, we trusted our whole eternal future on the fact that what He said is true on the basis of the cross and His resurrection, the fact that He sits at the Father's right hand to make intercession for us. We based our whole eternity on that. How in the world could you in any way justify compromising your convictions?
So, what I want to talk about in this message is simply this. It is a call to godly living. And I want you to turn, if you will, to the twelfth chapter of Romans and these first two verses here that are so very important. So, somebody says, well, what's godly living? What is a godly life? A godly life is one that obeys God, that loves God, and that serves God. Obeys God when?
All the time. Does that mean that they're sinless? No, but that's where our heart is bent.
A person who's living a godly life, their heart, their mind, their soul, their spirit, their total being is bent toward the things of God. That's the focus of their life. That's what they're most interested in. That's what guides their life. And so, they're not out here just floating around trying to find out what to believe and how to believe it and so forth.
So, what you have to ask is this. In your life are these three characteristics evident? Do people see you as one whose obedience is very definite and crystal clear? You're committed to being obedient to God. Do they see you as one who loves God, loves God enough to suffer from if necessary, and also loves other people as a result of loving Him? Do they see you as a person who really and truly desires to serve God? And maybe someone who is serving God. And I don't mean just someone who stands on the platform. There are many ways to serve God besides that.
Do they see you that way? And so, what you have to ask is this. If a godly life is the best life, and it is, it's the only real, true, genuine, fulfilling, contenting life.
Then is that the kind of life that you're living? Well, the apostle Paul lived in a day when sensuality and sin and rebellion and ignorance and blindness and darkness were so prevalent. And so, writing to the Romans, he wrote to them what he would write to our city today or all across America. And I want you to look, if you will, in the twelfth chapter and beginning with this first verse. He says, Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present to your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
It's the right thing to do. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Now, those two verses are loaded with truth and are an awesome challenge. Because what he is saying here is it's a call to God's people to live a godly life. And if you'll notice what he says, he says, I urge you, brethren. He's talking about fellow Christians, urging them.
And when he says, Therefore, what he's saying is this. Based on everything that he'd written before in this book. The first five chapters that deal with man's sinful lost condition and that we're justified by faith and faith alone. And the sixth and seventh and eighth chapters about how to live the Christian life and the struggle in doing so. And the victory in chapter eight.
And then chapters nine, ten and eleven about Israel primarily. And then here comes chapter twelve and says, Now listen, on the basis of all that I've taught you, here's what I'm saying. I urge you.
And he uses that word that was used in classical Greek that they would use that word before the army went to battle. That is, it is a strong admonition. A strong admonition. I urge you. I plead with you. I implore you, he says. And then notice how he says it. He says, To present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.
What is he saying? This is a very, very apropos passage of Scripture for the days in which you and I live because of what we face. And because of where we're headed. And because of the evil, listen, darkness around us.
And the influence that's going on in our society. He says, I urge you, plead with you, implore you to present your body, he says, as a living sacrifice. Now, when he says a living sacrifice here, what does that involve? Well, he says to present your body. What does he mean by your body? Is he just talking about your physical body?
No. He's talking about your total being. Your mind. Your will. Your emotion. Your personality.
Your total being. He says, give it to God. Present it to Him. Because He certainly deserves it.
He owns it. He created us. Every single one of us is a creation of God. No matter what you may think, well, I was an accident or I was this, that, or the other.
You were no accident. And no matter who you are, God has a purpose for your life. And one of those purposes for your life is to bring Him glory and honor. To live in such a fashion that, listen, our very life points other people to Himself. Now, when he says this body of ours, this total being of ours, how we think, how we reason, how we spend our time, that is how we live out our life, he says, present your body a living sacrifice.
Now, think about this for a moment. When people say, well, listen, this is my body and I can do with it what I choose. You may be able to do with it what you choose up to a point. There's no such thing as total free will.
There is a limited free will, but there's no such thing as total free will. I just remind you that your body is not your own. It belongs to the living God who created you. And because we belong to Him and we are created for His purposes, He has a right to say, give it to me. Present your body a living sacrifice.
Lay it before Him. And that presentation is, listen, that presentation is a definite commitment on our part. When you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, somewhere out yonder, whether you were at church or you listened to somebody personally, and you made a decision, you confessed your sins, you asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your life, He saved you in that moment. That was a pivotal moment in your life.
You can always look back to it. A definite moment in your life. Then somewhere along the way, you began to learn what it meant to be a Christian. And the longer you lived, the more you learned, the more you realized that He wasn't just satisfied with you being saved, He wants you to be His. He wants you to be a vessel through whom He can live His life and live out His life through us. And so, I'll ask you this simple question. Is your life today an example of one who's been presented, who's given himself or herself to Jesus Christ?
And notice what He says. He says, give yourself to Him, present yourself to Him, which means it's a decision on our part. He says, as a sacrifice. Now in the Old Testament, for example, when there were sacrifices, they laid the sacrifice on the altar. And it was no longer the possession of the person who brought it. They gave it to the priest. The priest placed it on the altar. They cut the throat of the lamb or whatever it might be, laid it on the altar. And it was offered to God and burned. And so, the person who brought their sacrifice couldn't say, I think I want this part back.
No, when you give it to Him, you give it all to Him. Now, this is the way many Christians are living. They say, yes, I know I'm saved and I've surrendered my life to God, but there are some things in life that I do think that I have a right to have and I have a right to hold on to. And as long as I'm holding on to anything that is not in the will of God, I'm not living a godly life. I'm not surrendered to Him. You see, no one likes this word surrender. We don't like that word because that means I have to give up something. And what is it we don't like giving up? We don't like giving up our rights. We don't like giving up our will. We don't like surrendering ourselves. We don't like somebody telling us what to do.
We want our will. To be a follower of Jesus means, listen, I surrender myself to Him. To do what He says when He says how He says do it. You see, why did He call Himself Lord? And why do those disciples call Him Lord? Lord means that He is in control, that He's the Master.
He calls the plays. And too many of God's people want to call their own plays. He said, I urge you, I plead with you, I implore you to present your body a living sacrifice. Now, why did He say a living sacrifice when all those sacrifices, it was all dead? Because, listen, God doesn't want us a dead sacrifice. He wants us to be living.
Why? Because He has chosen to live His life on this earth through you and me. He said, I'm going to the Father. I'm going to send the Holy Spirit. He'll be in you, with you, and upon you forever. And what is the Holy Spirit doing in the life of the believer but leading us and guiding us and empowering us to live a godly life? One that reflects the Lord Jesus Christ. And so what you and I have to ask is this, that the people who know us, do they see Jesus in us?
Do they hear Him in our conversations, or do we sound like the rest of the world? A living sacrifice, listen, is one that's making a difference. It's one that's been presented to the Lord Jesus Christ for His purposes and not our own. He says, I urge you, I implore you to present your body a living sacrifice.
Now, He said, living's not enough. But He says, a living and holy sacrifice. What does that mean? Well, the word hagios in the Greek simply means that which is holy, or it's a root word of sanctify or sanctification. It means set apart. A person who is a child of God is, listen, not only has been sanctified, the moment you were saved, here's what God did. He not only dealt with your sin issue, He dealt with who we are.
He set every single one of His believers, listen, He set us apart for His purpose. That's what sanctification's all about, as an act. And in the process of our Christian life, the truth is, as we are growing in our Christian life, we are not only sanctified, set apart, but we're continually being sanctified. That's why we overcome sin in our life. We overcome temptation. Our life is becoming more godly. We want to do His will. The more we understand, the more truth that we are able to receive and to apply in our life, we're becoming more like Him. And so, He says, a living sacrifice.
Think about that for a moment. A living sacrifice. That means that there's something about us that's very special in the eyes of God. Because think about this, when He left, He says, I'm going to send the Holy Spirit. So, how does God live His life here on this earth?
Through you and me. And so, we either send the right message, a godly message, or we send one that's not right, one that's incorrect. And so, when people see us, they have a, and we claim to be Christians, watch this carefully.
They have a right to expect you and me to be different. Because we say Jesus Christ is the Lord and the Master of our life. If He's the Lord of our life, then naturally, what? We want to know what He thinks.
We want to know how He operates so we can operate in the same way. We want to be forgiving toward others. We want to be loving toward them. We want to share faith.
We want to help others. We want to act like Jesus acted. Will we have conflicts with that and problems?
Sure, we will. Because we are still sinful human beings. And the difference between us and Jesus is the fact that He was absolutely pure God. We are not. We can never be as holy as He was and is.
We are somebody different. But He said, I'm imploring you to do what? Present your body, mind, will, emotion, your personality, your total being. Somebody says, well now, you know, I want to live a Christian life, but I do have a temper. And I'm sure God understands it.
Or, you know, I'm a Christian, but I don't want to do anything to hurt anybody's feelings. What we've forgotten in this life and what we've forgotten in this age is that we are to be different. We are to be different. That's why He says light and salt. You put salt on a wound, what happens? It stings, but it changes it.
And when you have light and then you have darkness, one candle can drive the darkness out of this room. That's who we are. And so, He's saying to these folks there in Rome, as He would say to us today, I implore you, I'm pleading with you to be, listen, to be those who are living holy testimonies, witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. You're different. You're somebody different.
So, what you ask is this. People who see me, do they think? People who see you, how do they view you? Do they view you as a person who has strong convictions and have the courage to stand by them? You don't compromise the Word of God? You don't compromise Jesus when they say, well, now let me tell you something. Jesus can't be the only way. I mean, after all, God is not so narrow-minded. Well, what does the Bible say? The Bible says, Jesus said, I'm the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Fatherhood by me. Do we fully understand everything that's in all of that? Probably not. That's what He said. That's what we believe. Because, well, let me ask you this. Somebody says, well, you know, that part I don't believe.
Well, then ask them this question, and I would ask you this question. If He's not the only way, then what is? And who else deals with your sin problem?
Who else paid the penalty for your sin? Who else can make it possible for you to walk in the presence of holy God if somehow something hasn't happened in your life, transpired in your life, through the work of Jesus Christ in your life? Do you have the conviction and do you have the courage to stand for what you believe?
Or do you find it easier to say, well, you know, I don't want to be, I don't want to stand out. You live a godly life, you're going to stand out. Present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. Now, not only, listen, living and holy, but acceptable and available to Him. Somebody says, well, I live a godly life and, but I don't have time to serve God.
No, no, no, wait a minute. If you're living a godly life, you are going to obey God, you're going to love God, and you're going to serve God. Because, listen, how else does God get His work done on earth except He works through you and me? And no matter who you are, God desires to use you no matter who you are.
Education's not the issue, where you came from's not the issue, background, none of that. The issue is God is ready and willing to use anyone, every single one of His children, those who've trusted Jesus as a Savior. What does serving God require of me? We are to be different because we're the followers of Jesus Christ. Are you going to be liked by a lot of people?
Not necessarily. Because it's not a thing the Bible says you ought to be liked by folks. Listen, when you and I are loving and kind and gracious and godly, here's what happens.
Some of the world will hate us. When people get in trouble, they come in to find us. Because we do have the answers. We do have the answers. Do we have all the answers to the world's problems?
No. We have the answer that would settle every problem. And that's Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ. He's the real peacemaker. He's the real leader. He is God. Well, if you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and all this sounds like to you, well, I don't even know where to start. You know your life's a mess. And you know that it's your fault.
Let me just say this to you. Listen, God, we talk about as a God of grace and love and mercy. He's willing to forgive you of your sin if you're willing to confess it, if you're willing to acknowledge it, if you're willing to repent of it. That is, if you're willing to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, here's what that means. It means that you believe His death at Calvary paid your sin debt in full. And the moment you confess your sins to Him and ask for His forgiveness, He cleanses you, He saves you, He writes your name in the Lamb's Book of Life. You become a child of God at that moment. The Holy Spirit comes into your life to seal you at that moment as one of His children. Now, by the work of the Spirit in your life, He will enable you to live a godly life. Will you sin at times?
Yes. You confess it. You ask Him to forgive you and keep going. If there are habits in your life, will He break them if you're willing for Him to? Yes, He will. Will He help you overcome things in your life that have been there a long time?
Yes, He will. It's a matter of your choice. It's a matter of commitment. You have the promise and the power of God to enable you to live a godly life if you choose. And I trust that you'll be wise enough. You say, Well, what about, what are my friends going to think? I've got a better question. What does God think?
And when He sees you obeying Him, I'll tell you what He thinks. Well done. Well done.
Well done. So I want to encourage you to make that decision. Thank you for listening to A Call to Godly Living. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-01 03:40:23 / 2023-06-01 03:49:15 / 9