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Absolute Surrender - Genesis Part 52

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
July 1, 2022 7:00 am

Absolute Surrender - Genesis Part 52

So What? / Lon Solomon

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We're going to pick back up in our study of the book of Genesis tonight, and we're going to start in Genesis chapter 22. But before we get there, here's what Acts chapter 6 verse 7 says. It says, And the word of God kept spreading, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem continued to increase, say the next word, greatly. And even a great number of the Jewish priests, these are the people that killed Jesus, were becoming obedient to the faith.

Twenty-five years later, in 58 AD, when the Apostle Paul showed back up in Jerusalem after his third missionary journey, here's what James the Apostle said to him, to Acts 21 verse 20. He said, You see, brother, how many tens of thousands, the Greek word there is myriados, from which we get our word myriad, how many tens of thousands of Jews in Jerusalem have believed. Now we estimate the population of Jerusalem at the time of 58 AD was around 100,000 people. So if tens of thousands of Jews have believed, then even if it's just 10,000, that's 10% of the city. If it's 20,000, that's 20% of the city. Folks, if 20% of the metro Washington area believed in Jesus, that would be 1.2 million people. Now, the question is, why did the early believers in Jerusalem have this kind of impact on their city?

Well, let me just say, it was not because they had massive programs, that doesn't explain the massive impact they had, and it's not because they had massive buildings, and it's not because they had massive technology, it's because they had massive spiritual lives. And here at McLean Bible Church, that's our goal, is to help every one of you who knows Christ to have a massive spiritual life. And there are three key components to having a massive spiritual life, and we're going to see them, because I'm beginning a three-part series this week called, How to Have a Massive Spiritual Life.

Hello! And the reason is because we see all three of these principles displayed for us in Genesis 22 in the life of Abraham. He lives out all three of them, and we're going to see them. So, are you ready? Alright, principle number one that we'll look at today is absolute surrender.

Here we go. A little bit of background before we dig in, remember that Abraham and Sarah had waited 25 years for Isaac, the son that God had promised them in Genesis 15, but as always, God kept his promise, he always does. Genesis 21 verse 1, now the Lord did for Sarah what he had, what's the next word?

Promised, right? And, Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the very time God had promised, that's right. Now, we're going to pick up in the next chapter, chapter 22, when Isaac has grown to a young man of about 18 years old. So here we go, verse 1, now it came about after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, Abraham. And Abraham said, here I am, and God said, take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah, sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about. Now we should stop and note that we know from archaeology that child sacrifice was a common practice in the ancient Near East in the days of Abraham.

The Canaanites practiced it, the Phoenicians practiced it, the Ammonites practiced it, and the Canaanites living in the land where Abraham lived, Beersheba. All these peoples practiced sacrificing to a God called Molech who was a God that required child sacrifice. And so, the point is that even though Abraham, this was the holy God of the universe asking him to do it, it was not unheard of in Abraham's day. Now 600 years later, as part of the Mosaic law, God said, Leviticus 18 21, do not give any of your children to be passed through the fire to Molech, I am the Lord. But 600 years before, God hadn't given that law, and so I'm sure it crossed Abraham's mind, why is the true and holy God of the universe asking me to do this?

I don't understand why these idolaters do it, why in the world would God ask me to do that? And I'm sure that that puzzled Abraham all night that night, I don't think he got much sleep. And the Bible doesn't tell us, I'd love to know what was going through Abraham's mind that night, the Bible doesn't tell us, all it tells us is what he did the next morning. Verse 3, early the next morning, Abraham got up and saddled his donkey and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac, and when he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place that the Lord had told him about. And on the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance, and then he said to his servants, stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there, we will worship, and then what's the next word?

We, hold on to that, we're coming back to that word in a couple of weeks, we will come back to you. So Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, and he placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. And as the two men, two of them went up the mountain, Isaac spoke up and said to Abraham, father, yes my son Abraham replied, the fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? And Abraham answered, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering my son, and the two of them went on together.

Verse 9, and when they had reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it, and he bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. You say, wait a minute Lon, do you really believe he was going to kill that boy?

Absolutely! There is not one shred of doubt in my mind, he was going to plunge that knife into the chest of his boy in a matter of seconds, in obedience to Almighty God. And right at that moment, the angel of the Lord cried out to him from heaven saying, Abraham, Abraham, here I am Abraham replied, do not lay a hand on the boy, the angel said, do not do anything to him.

Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. And Abraham looked, and there in the thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns, and he went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham named that place, the Lord will provide, or in Hebrew, Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will provide, because of course the Lord did provide the lamb for the burnt offering, it just wasn't Isaac. Now we're not done yet, look what happens next, verse 15, then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time and said, I swear by myself declares the Lord, that because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son from me, I will surely bless you. And make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand of the seashore, and through your offspring, and we know from the book of Galatians that God was talking here about the Lord Jesus Christ, and through your offspring, the Lord Jesus, all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me.

Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba to the south of Mount Moriah, which is where present day Jerusalem is today. All right, now, that's as far as we want to go in our passage, but now we want to ask our most important question, so all of us here at Tysons, all you guys at Loudon, we're ready? Ready. All right, here we go now, come on, one, two, three. That was so weak. One, two, three.

Better, better. You say, Lon, so what? Say, wow, it's a great chapter, but I don't see what it has to do with me. Well, friends, what it has to do with you and me is that we see some things, some principles, some components of a massive spiritual life operating in this chapter, being displayed for us in this chapter in the life of the great man of God, Abraham. And the first one that we want to talk about this week is absolute surrender to God. Andrew Murray, in his book entitled, Absolute Surrender, said this. 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. And there was, in our company, an older godly gentleman, 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. Murray goes on to say, God is looking for those who will say, oh God, I accept your terms. Lord, anything for thee. Murray concludes, if our hearts are willing to do this, there is no end to what God will do for us and the blessing he will bestow on us.

Now, folks, we see absolute surrender on display in the life of Abraham. And this takes us right back to our memory verse. Let's review our memory verse.

Because our memory verse says, say it with me, for the eyes of the Lord, come on, run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him. What's the verse saying? The verse saying is when we are giving God absolute surrender of our heart, God is looking for opportunities to show himself strong on our behalf.

And let's make sure we define what absolute surrender is, okay? The best definition, I believe, is found in Romans 12, verse 1. The Bible says, therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Now, the imagery here comes out of the Old Testament sacrificial system where a person would bring an animal, a lamb, a goat, whatever, to the temple in Jerusalem.

And the priest would kill that animal and then would burn that animal, utterly burn it, as a sacrifice unto the Lord. So question, how much of that sacrificial animal did God ask for? Well, the answer is all of it. And so in Paul calling us to be living sacrifices, the question is, as followers of Christ, how much of us is he asking for? What's the answer, folks?

All of it. That's right. 1 Kings, chapter 20, verse 1. Now Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria, gathered his army and attacked Ahab, the king of Israel. And Ben-Hadad sent messengers to Ahab and said, Your silver and your gold are mine, and the best of your wives and your children also are mine. Then Ahab answered, It is as you say, my lord, I am yours and all that I have is yours. Folks, this is absolute surrender in that one sentence. Lord, I am yours and everything I have is yours. Absolute surrender means that just like Abraham, we agree to go where God tells us to go, to do what God tells us to do, to say what God tells us to say, to live like God tells us to live, to behave like God tells us to behave, to forgive like God tells us to forgive, and to accept God's choices for our lives. It's all of this. I love what Jimmy Draper, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, how he defined absolute surrender.

I love this. He said, Lord, the answer is yes. Now what was the question? Will you go here? Yes.

Will you do this? Yes. Will you act like I tell you to? Yes. Will you say what I want you to?

Yes, yes, yes. Lord, the answer is yes. Now, you just fill in the question, Lord, because whatever you ask, the answer is yes. And friends, this surrender, absolute surrender, this is component number one of having a massive spiritual life. Now I do feel constrained to tell you that, friends, God never promises us that when we give him absolute surrender that everything is going to be peaches and cream. And that's why believers who do this, we must understand, listen to me carefully, that our reason for absolute surrender cannot be to get material blessings from God or to get creature comforts from God. No, no. Our reason for doing this must be that we want God to wring out of us the greatest amount of honor and glory for Christ that is possible even if it means that God has to take us through some deep waters in order to get there. That's why we make an absolute surrender to God because we understand he can't wring that kind of glory out of us for himself unless all I have and all that I am is yours, God.

Just tell me where to go and what to do. The answer is yes. Now what was the question? You with me so far? You with me?

Okay. You know, over 40 years ago I read Andrew Murray's book entitled Absolute Surrender. I still have this antiquated little book that I read over 40 years ago. And at the time I was in seminary and I remember saying to the Lord, Lord, that is what I want to be for you. Lord, absolute surrender.

You got it. And then I looked for a wife who had that same kind of spiritual commitment and found Brenda. What a blessing that was. And then 22 years ago, Brenda and I stood on the stage at Langley High School where we were meeting at the time as a church with our little girl Jill who was three months old. And we reaffirmed that commitment because as part of our child dedication, one of the vows that we make as parents is that we will release our child to the will of God, whatever that might be, without bitterness or resistance.

Lord, my child is absolutely surrendered to you. Well, I'll tell you at that moment we had no idea, Brenda and I, or Jill, what that kind of commitment was really going to mean. 6,000 grand mal seizures, profound mental retardation, 911 calls, lots of hospitalizations, trading places, Brenda and I sleeping in lounge chairs and hospital quarters, going years without ever sleeping through the night because Jill was up having seizures, dealing with depression and exhaustion and despair, and wondering if we were ever going to smile again, feeling guilty about our three boys and who needed us so badly, but we were so overwhelmed with just keeping Jill alive and keeping her going.

We didn't have enough time for them. And seeing Jill's medical condition decimate our finances and our family life, folks, is the hardest experience of my life, bar none. I only made it and Brenda only made it by the grace of God, honestly. And let me tell you, if I may, what I believe.

I believe that God wanted to take McLean Bible Church to the place where it is today and beyond, but that He couldn't do it with me the way I was 22 years ago. And I believe that God looked at me back then and said, Milan, I want to use you in a mighty way, but the problem is, son, you're still green wood. You're still green wood, my friend.

Now I can make you seasoned wood so that you burn hot and you burn right for me. And I can make you into a force for Milan, but it's only going to work if you really mean what you said to me about absolute commitment, absolute surrender, because, Milan, in order to do this, I am going to have to crush you. You know, if Brenda and I never made that commitment of absolute surrender or if we had reneged in the middle somewhere, folks, we wouldn't be where we are today.

McLean Bible Church wouldn't be where it is today. Friends, can you see what I'm saying? Does that make sense to you? Alright, now listen. Listen to me carefully. If you are a follower of Jesus, God has got great things that He wants to do in your life, that He wants to do through your life, but He can't do them and He won't do them until you give Him absolute surrender and then stick with it by His grace, no matter what He sends your way, no matter what He asks of you. You say, Lon, are you saying that I have to give God absolute surrender to keep my salvation and to go to heaven?

Absolutely not, folks. I'm not saying that at all. People go to heaven because they trust what Jesus did for them on the cross, plus nothing. No, you don't have to give God absolute surrender to go to heaven.

Uh-uh. So you say, well, then what are you saying? Folks, what I'm saying to you is that absolute surrender is not for everyone. It's not for every believer in Christ.

Listen carefully. It's for those followers of Christ who want God to use them and honor them and maximize His glory through them more than they want anything. And it's for believers who are willing to pay any price to see that happen.

That's who absolute surrender is for. I hope that that's where your heart is. I hope that's the kind of believer you want to be. When I came to Christ, as far as I was concerned, there was no other option except to let the Lord Jesus use my life to the fullest. That's all I wanted.

That's all I cared about. I told the Lord I'd pay any price for that to happen. And you know what, folks? God called my bluff and said, okay, let's see how much of a price you'll pay.

Let's just see. I can't even begin to tell you how hard it was. But I'm so glad, looking back now, 22 years later, that I've made that commitment along with my wife. And by the grace of God, we kept it.

We stuck with it. It's really hard. Life isn't easy now.

Jill still has her issues. But you know what, folks? God did in my heart what He needed to do. And so let me just say to you, it all depends what your goal is in life as a believer. If it's to make a lot of money, if it's to be a big shot, if it's to have a lot of power, if it's to have a lot of creature comforts, hey, absolute surrender is not for you.

Don't even play around with it, folks. But if what you want in life sincerely, more than anything else, is for Jesus to glorify Himself through you and use you, and you don't care what it costs, you really don't, then absolute surrender, man, that's for you. It'll be tough, perhaps. I don't know what God will do.

You're you, I'm me. But I'll tell you this, when it's all said and done, you'll be glad you made that commitment because you'll be glad to see what God does in your life. Let's pray together. Lord Jesus, absolute surrender is a scary thing. I'm sure there are people sitting out there going, oh my gosh, if I surrender my heart completely to Jesus, is He going to do to me what He did to Lon and Brenda?

Folks, I don't know the answer to that. But I will tell you this, that even in the hardest times, God is a God of mercy and tenderness and compassion. And even in our worst times, God's mercy was still there. The point is this, it doesn't matter what God does in His wisdom in our lives.

It matters if we are loyal enough to Him in our hearts that we're willing to say, Lord, I'll trust you. Do whatever you need to do. And with your help, I'll stick it out. Whatever comes. You can't build a massive spiritual life, folks, if you don't build it on this foundation.

It can't be done. So Lord Jesus, may your heart just be overflowing with joy to see us tell you that we want our lives to count for you more than we want anything. So do what you need to do. May you be honored, Lord, by these commitments. And may you use us for the glory of Christ. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. God's people said, Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-28 11:01:43 / 2023-03-28 11:10:33 / 9

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