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Absolute Surrender - Life of Paul Part 71

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
February 26, 2021 7:00 am

Absolute Surrender - Life of Paul Part 71

So What? / Lon Solomon

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February 26, 2021 7:00 am

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Good morning everybody got your soldier why is desertion a problem. Well, the answer is that to be effective in Army has to have a certain attitude. Certain commitment from everyone of the soldiers that is totally inconsistent with desertion Stonewall Jackson summed up this attitude very well when he said duty is hours, the consequences are God's. Another way of referring to this commitment is to simply call it absolute surrender. You see good soldiers don't reserve the right to debate their orders.

They don't reserve the right to decide which consequences of doing their duty there willing to accept in which consequences they're not willing to accept good soldiers have surrendered that right now, folks. In order for God to accomplish his purposes in this world.

He needs good spiritual soldiers.

He needs all followers of Jesus Christ to have that very same attitude followers of Christ were willing to say duty is hours, the consequences are God, our God followers of Christ who are willing not to debate their orders. Followers of Christ who don't decide ahead of time what consequences of doing their duty there willing to accept and which ones they're not willing to accept, but followers of Christ or determined. Instead, to simply surrender to the heavenly general and do our duty, that I forgot to talk about this morning were to talk about absolute surrender because this is the next principle that the apostle Paul shares with the leaders of the church at Ephesus in his speech here in acts chapter 20 and so I want to ask you if you brought a Bible to open to acts chapter 20 and Morgan a look at this speech together and while you're doing that.

Let me give you little bit of background. Remember, the apostle Paul is completing his third missionary journey is on his way back to Jerusalem with an offering that the churches of Greece have contributed to the poor believers in Jerusalem that show you where he is. He's moved down beginning at trial as going down the western coast of modern-day Turkey and is going to ask so submissively need to kiosk the sandbox and now he's here at Miletus and as you can see Miletus is just a short distance from the city of Ephesus, and so the apostle Paul sends to Ephesus and he invites the elders of that church. The leaders of that church to come and meet with him. These are men that he is mentored that he is invested in that he is trained to lead that church and he knows this is going to be the last time he's ever going to see them here on the face of this earth. And when they called to give them a little speech and in this speech here in acts chapter 20 the apostle Paul sums up for them the values that drove his life. The values that shaped his ministry. If you're here and you're a follower of Christ who wants to be everything you can possibly be for Jesus Christ than this speech that Paul gives in acts 20 is the most life defining speech for you and me anywhere in the New Testament. We've already covered the first of five principles included here.

Number one is the principle of obedience were going to cover principle number two today. The Paul talks about and that's the principle of absolute surrender. So let's look at verse 22 Paul giving a speech says, and now compelled by the Holy Spirit. I am going to Jerusalem. Paul was utterly convinced that it was God's will for him to carry this offering to Jerusalem and nobody nobody was going to convince them differently. Acts chapter 21. The Bible says while we were at Caesarea little closer to Jerusalem, a prophet named Agnes came from Jerusalem, he took Paul's belt tied his own hands and feet with it and said in this way the Jewish people of Jerusalem will tie up the man who owns this belt and had deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard this, Luke writes, we began begging Paul not to go to Jerusalem, then Paul answered. Why are you weeping and breaking my heart.

I am ready not only to be tied up but I am ready to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus and since Paul would not be dissuaded. We gave up and we simply said well the Lord's will be done point the point I want you to see your friends is that for the apostle Paul in his mind going to Jerusalem was not a matter of choice. It was a matter of duty for the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 22 continues and now compelled by the Holy Spirit. I'm going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there except that the Holy Spirit warns me in every city along the way that prison and hardships await me now. This is very intriguing to me that that hear the Holy Spirit not only made Paul's duty clear I want to go to Jerusalem, but the Holy Spirit also made the consequences of doing that duty clear prison hardship, he told Paul ahead of time what it was going to cost and I believe the spirit of God did that so that he could put on display for all of us to see this attitude of absolute surrender that was so central in Paul's life. Look what Paul goes on to say now, in light of knowing the prison and hardship is awaiting the verse 24. I want you to know that I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself. My only concern is that I finished the race, and complete the task that the Lord Jesus has given me the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace know what exactly is the apostle Paul saying here frenzy saying I have made an absolute surrender commitment of my life to Jesus Christ and to the will of God. My number one concern in life is not self-preservation. My number one concern in life is not what happens to me.

My number one concern in life is doing my duty being a faithful soldier for the Lord Jesus Christ and this then is the second great principal that Paul shares with these Ephesian elders. He says to them, fellas. If you want to be mighty servants of Christ like I am. If you want God to use you in awesome ways. Like he's use me the first nonnegotiable principal is obedience and the second one which is just as important is this issue of absolute surrender. Now that's as far as we want to go in our passage for right now because we have a question it's time to ask and you know our questions everybody deep breath here we go ready 123 right salon. So what say this is marginally interesting, but what difference does this make to my life at all. Well I'm going to try to tell you that you know Andrew Murray wrote a book called absolute surrender over hundred years ago, and here's part of what he said and I quote he said in Scotland once as a young man I was in the company of people where we were talking about the condition of Christ's church there was in our company and older godly gentlemen and I asked him what he would say was the greatest need of the church and God's people, he replied, very quietly and simply absolute surrender to God is the one thing Murray went on to write these words struck me as never before, that the condition for obtaining God's full blessing is absolute surrender to him.

God is looking for those who will say, oh God, I accept your terms Lord anything for the Murray concludes if our hearts are willing to do this. There is no end to what God will do for us and the blessing that he will bestow." Now, before going on why we take a moment and let's define absolute surrender. Let's make sure we all know what were talking about here. The best definition that I know of is found in the Bible Romans chapter 12 verse one Paul writes now I urge you, brothers, in light of God's mercy to you to present yourselves as living sacrifices to God which is your reasonable service. The imagery here is that of the Old Testament sacrificial system where a person would bring an animal to the pre-Sarah Jerusalem to the temple as a worship offering and the priest would take that animal and he would kill that animal sacrifice that animal and then burn that animal completely on the altar as an offering to God how much of that animal did God want will print the answer is he wanted all of that animal and in the same way we could ask the question as followers of Christ in God calling on us to be living sacrifices.

How much of us is God asking for will the answers. The very same God wants all of us.

God wants us to bring our whole self. All our heart on our mind all our soul on our strength and lay it all on the altar before him. The whole shooting match, lock, stock and barrel, the whole 9 yards. Hook line and sinker. The whole enchilada to all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles on your 73 by boom lay at all on the altar. That's what he wants. He wants it all. We see God is not interested in entering into a limited partnership with you. God is only interested in a complete takeover of your life is an interesting passage out of the Old Testament first Kings chapter 20. You don't need to turn there.

But here's what it says it says now been heyday of the king of Syria gathered his army and attacked Ahab the King of Israel and been heyday had sent messengers to Ahab and said, thus says been a dead king of Syria your silver and your gold are mine. Your most beautiful wives and your children.

Also mine. Then Ahab answered. It is as you say, my Lord, I am yours and all that I have is yours now folks, this is absolute surrender when we can approach God and say Lord I am yours and all that I have is yours that is absolute surrender, absolute surrender means that you and I will go where God tells us to go we will do what God tells us to do. We will say when God tells us to say we will live like God asked us to live, we will act like God asks us to act. We will forgive why God asks us to forgive and that we will do all of this as a matter of duty not negotiating with God ahead of time about what the possible consequences might be. This is absolute surrender. Now this is exactly what Abraham did when God asked him to leave his homeland. Abraham did debate the consequences with God. He just it, that's my duty. I'll do it. This is what Noah did when God asking to build the ark.

This is what David did when God asking to go out and face Goliath. This is what the Mary the mother of Jesus did when God asked her to become the conduit for the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus and friends. This is what every great man and woman of God.

Down through the centuries has gone as different as they may have been every great man and woman of God has had one thing in common and that is they've all made this absolute surrender commitment to Jesus Christ. They've also Lord just tell me what my duty is and I'll do it and I won't negotiate the consequences. I'll leave them to you folks. This is what God is looking for from you and me and from every other follower of Christ. If we want God to bless our lives like he did the apostle Paul.

If we want God to use our lives like he did the apostle Paul.

If we want God to reward our lives in heaven like he did the apostle Paul.

We must satisfy this condition of absolute surrender. They said Alana I think I understand what you talking about now, but I got a couple questions Delphi what are the one my first question is, is a follower of Christ, do I have to make this absolute surrender commitment in order to keep my eternal life and go to heaven will have to do this. The answer is no, absolutely not friends possessing eternal life is the result of embracing Jesus Christ and what he did for you and me on the cross, shedding his blood to pay for our wrongdoing and it has absolutely nothing to do with good works. Religious activity absolute surrender, or anything else may I say that if you're here today and you never done that. This is an important thing for you to know that that try to keep the 10 Commandments is wonderful. Going to church is wonderful, doing all the activities you do try to be a good person are wonderful, but none of those are going to get you to heaven. The only thing to get you to heaven and get you eternal life is trusting the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to pay for your wrongdoing in the side of a holy God. And if you've never done that man.

I think Christmas is a great time to do it.

I'd encourage you do it. Nothing else going to work but do we have to do absolute surrender to have that happen. No, we don't.

So I got a second question, then, and that is you are. That's real bad experiences with the surrender thing in the past long. I mean II you know I had a domineering father and a dictatorial husband and I had a boss that was awful and I had a controlling mother look on sin. I had a Jewish mother and on the scale 1 to 10. Controlling mother's here in Jewish mothers up here. I understand this. Believe me I do use it will then log you understand why that in my life. I decided I am never giving up control of my life to anybody ever again.

So how is this any different.

Good question and the answer is what makes this different friends. The character of the person to whom you're surrendering. You see God that you're surrendering to is not some person it's going to use your surrender to feed their own ego into defeat his own power trip order, get his kicks from abusing you this is a holy God of the universe you're surrendering to the God who loves you so much that he was willing to give his own life for you and friends.

The only thing God wants to do with your absolute surrender is maximize your life for Jesus Christ, and make you everything he created you to be. He will not abuse your surrender.

He will use that surrender to get you to the place that your functioning as the maximum you can be for Jesus Christ. Solicit if you had some bad experiences with surrendering to people before, please. You mustn't extrapolate that and lay it on God. This is a completely different, being you're dealing with here is a lot. I got one more question by asking, well, here's my question Paul made this commitment to God right yes he did and God letting in the present right and in the hardship and all kinds of nasty, tough, stop right yes he did was they say so a lot is my question if I make this, absolute surrender commitment. Admit that it isn't possible that God made lead me in the something a lot alike in the possible God they take me somewhere.

I don't want to go friends. It's not only possible, it's likely listen to what Paul went through second Corinthians 11 I've been beaten times without number.

Paul says five times I received from the Jews 39 lashes. Let me explain that the Jewish people use the whip made out of rawhide cords with bone and steel. In the end that would rip your flesh up in the Rabbi said you couldn't beat anybody 40 times with this thing.

It would kill him. So instead they beat you 39 times with Paul's at five times that happen to be. Can you imagine what his back must look like. He goes on to say three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked and like they have spent in the deep. I've been in labor and hardship to many sleepless nights and hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Ego always doing look want your trying to talk us into making this absolute surrender commitment right yes I am and you and yet you're telling us all the bad stuff that happened up all we needed it right. I am so mom remind me never to hire you for marketing position. Okay, no, wait a minute you say why is all this stuff because I'm done telling you the truth, because you need to know the truth, friends, listen, God doesn't promise when we make this absolute surrender commitment.

This is important that he's always going to lead us where we want to go, what God promises is it is always going to lead us where we need to go in order to fulfill his plan and his purposes for our life and that's why you must understand this. That's why people who make this kind of absolute surrender commitment. Their reason for doing it is not to get an easy life. Their reason for doing it is not to get a comfortable cushy life. Their reason is that they want God to use them to the fullest.

They want God to bring out of their life.

Every bit of glory for Jesus Christ that he possibly can and if it costs them some hardship if it cost them some pain if they cost them some brokenness there willing to pay that price because they want glory for Jesus Christ wrong out of their life whatever the cost. Those of the people who make this commitment, and God takes us up on it. When we do you know of 30 years ago when I was a brand-new follower of Jesus Christ. In my early 20s I read Andrew Murray's book, absolute surrender and I'll never forget.

After reading the book I said not God. That's what I want. I want to be that kind of person I've done all the things you can do to have fun.

I want Jesus Christ to bring all the glory you can out of my life right now and I'm making this commitment to you and then you know I went out look for a woman to marry who had that same level of spiritual commitment that same attitude about life God gave me a gym and my wife Brenda will be married 30 years next year and together we set out in life and we said our commitment, our basis for life is that we are absolutely surrender to whatever God wants for us and the consequences will that's God's decision, but we're going to do our duty, you know, we stood on stage in Langley high school back in 1992. The church was meeting there. Then without little girl Jill, who was a newborn and we reaffirmed this commitment for ourselves. We reaffirmed it for her. We said as part of our child dedication that we would release this child to the will of God, whatever that might be without bitterness or resistance. Now that's a statement of absolute surrender while standing there on that stage. 11 years ago, folks. We had no idea what was coming for 5000 grand balls for a little girl, profound mental retardation, non-11 calls frequently hospital stays sleeping many many nights in hospital lounge chairs switching. Also, one person could go home and get a shower and get a little bit arrest we been through years without ever sleeping through the night because my little girl would always be up in the middle of the night having seizures.

We literally let went years and never slept through a complete night we went through depression and exhaustion and despair and feeling utterly hopeless. We we watched as Jill's medical condition completely decimated our finances.

We began to wonder if we would ever laugh again began to wonder if we'd ever be happy again when we we tried so hard for this not to affect our three boys and negatively because we were getting so much attention to Jill and yet there was just never enough of us.

It seemed like to to meet everybody's needs and you know during that time we would pray and say Lord if this is where you feel you need to take us us. Jill, if this is what you feel you need to do in our lives we made a commitment of absolute surrender were going to trust you were going to go there but God.

This is also painful that at least assure us you going to use this somehow for your glory.

It's too painful to be wasted. Well were still on that journey today. Friends I mean every day I wake up and wish things were different.

Every day I have to wake up and reaffirm that commitment of absolute surrender, but let me tell you. 11 years with the Lord's done in 11 years. I believe the Lord is made my marriage better than it ever would've been if we hadn't been through this together. I believe he's drawing our family closer and made us stronger than we ever could have been if we had gone through this McLean Bible churches where it is today. I believe because God used all of this to make me a better pastor and a better leader and a better follower of Christ, just a better man.

Now we have access ministry today ministering to over 700 families who have children with disabilities. This wouldn't exist if the one through because what God put me through. I never would've understood or been wanted to be a part of it.

We have this new respite center that were planning the bill and we hope you will be used as a challenge of a model to churches all around the country to reach out to these special children that are so near and dear to the heart of God and care for them. In fact Brendan are flying out to Colorado Springs next week to go take a couple shows on Jim Dobson on Focus on the Family were going to talk about what God is done in our life and what is done in our church and and and try to challenge people around America. Copy some of the things that were doing and let me take what I believe. I believe that God wanted to take McLean Bible Church to the place we are today and beyond.

But I believe that he knew he could never do it with me the way I was 12 years ago. I believe God knew that there were some tough things he had to do in my life. I believe God knew that there were some tough places that he needed to take me in order to get McLean Bible church where we are today and you know what folks point of all this is that a friend and I had never made this absolute surrender commitment or if we had if we have reneged on it. If we had it it it if we had deserted part way through when the consequences started to get talk, we wouldn't be seeing the blessings in our life that were seen today and McLean Bible church would not be where it is today. Blessing your life the way it is today and what I want to tell you is, God has great things he wants to do in your life. God has some incredible ways in which he wants to use you but he can't do it unless you're willing to make an absolute surrender commitment to him because friends he needs to take you places that you won't be willing to go and he needs to do things in your life that you're not going to let them do you going to desert unless you've made one of these commitments that says Lord duty is ours consequences. They belong to you, whatever you whatever you want to do God you doing in my life and it's okay friends, I'm not. I'm not na´ve enough to think that every follower of Jesus Christ is go to make one of these commitment. I wish you would, but I'm not that na´ve. Let me tell you who's who makes these commitments, the people who make these commitments are followers of Christ to desire the blessing of God more than they desire human ease and comfort the people make this commitment are followers of Christ, who value God using them more than he valve more than they value human convenience and human safety.

The people who make this commitment are followers of Christ who want God's rewards in heaven more than they want the applause of men down here owner without those of the folks who get serious with God and say Lord duty is ours. The consequences are yours do whatever you need to do to ring out of me all the glory for Christ that's in there and my prayer is that you will be one of those people will cost you something. Yes, it will knock a lie to you may cost a lot, but you know friends if the result is that you end up bringing honor and glory to Jesus Christ with your life and it's worth it to me. What else are you living for. If you not live in for that spring when our heads bowed and her eyes closed. If you need to talk to the Lord a little bit about this may be right in the middle of some circumstance that you you think about deserting don't do that folks don't do it. Let God do what he needs to do. You'll be glad he did. So if you need to talk to God right now wanted to take a moment or Jesus, I thank you in the Bible that you don't play the shell game with us as followers of Christ. I thank you that you tell us straight up what you're looking for from us, you tell us straight up what it's gonna cost you tell us straight up, but the benefits are to be and then you leave the choice to us and certainly that's true on this issue of absolute surrender. We have to make that choice and father.

My prayer is that you would motivate many many people here who are followers of yours to make the decision that they want you to ring all the glory out of their life for Jesus that's possible, and if that means absolute surrender. Whatever the consequences. They're willing to pay that price. For many people of told you that in these quiet moments. I pray that you would assure them in their hearts that you're pleased with that commitment, and I pray by the power of your Holy Spirit that you would give us the courage and the resources we need to back up those commitments because were going to have to board absolute surrender is not for the faint of heart for the courageous men and women who want to be true followers of Jesus to their deepest being, may we be such people, and as such people may you use us to make an impact on this city that will cause gears to tingle and we pray these things in Jesus name, amen


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