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What Makes You Tick

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
February 3, 2023 12:00 am

What Makes You Tick

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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February 3, 2023 12:00 am

One of the most powerful illustrations of Christian living is found in Isaac’s willingness to let his father, Abraham, sacrifice him in obedience to God. From his example we learn the difficult truth that Christianity is all about stepping up to the altar.

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In other words, real worship is the offering of everyday life to God. We have the misconception that we're going to go to church to worship God.

That's true. But you can as easily and biblically say, I'm going to go to the office tomorrow to worship God. Because what I do with my hands is an offering to God. He gives me the strength and the energy and I want him to be pleased and I'll show that in the way that I work with the level of ethics and integrity as I serve him.

I'm going to that address. I'm going to go to that classroom and I'm going to worship God. Do you ever find yourself compartmentalizing your life?

Here's what I mean by that. Do you sometimes act as if part of your day belongs to God, part belongs to your work, part belongs to your family, and part belongs to you? Well, the truth of Scripture is that however you spend your time, all of it belongs to God. All of your life should be an act of worship toward God.

Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen's going to take us back to Romans 12 and unpack the implications of that text. This lesson is called, What Makes You Tick? I wonder what motivates you to do what you do.

What makes you tick? You know, we learn early on that we're motivatable if we can create a word. Our mothers taught us early perhaps at the dinner table when she said, Eat that because it's good for you. She should have said, Eat that. I know it tastes horrible, but it'll develop character in you. That would have been true. But no, eat that.

It's good for you. My mother was here last year and shared with some of the women how her four sons, I was one of them, would put our peas underneath our plate. We knew she knew, but maybe she wouldn't spot it.

And then when she said we could be excused, well, we're outside, you know, we're gone and safe. And then she came home one day and she set the table and there were clear glass plates, which ruined the whole thing. It's a horrible thing to do.

You ever been motivated by revenge? We learned that early, too. I thought it was funny. I read this this week, Jeremy, who was six years old, was crying out in pain and just sort of shrieking. And his mother ran into the room and his two year old sister had him by the hair and was just latched on tightly.

If you have more than one child, you've seen that probably happen. And so she's telling Jeremy, honey, you know, she gently pried each finger loose from his hair. She doesn't understand, you know, she doesn't know how much it hurts. And that's why she did that. Don't be upset with her. She doesn't know how much it hurts. And she was barely out of the room and down the hallway when she heard her two year old daughter shriek in pain and she rushed back in and said, what happened?

And he looked at her and said, well, now she knows. You ever been motivated by fear? I remember as a nine year old, nine or ten year old getting into an argument with an older boy in the neighborhood. He was bigger than I was. He was older than I was. I don't know what possessed me, but I bawled at my little fist and I punched him.

And his black eye would last about two weeks. And the only problem was after I punched him, he was still alive. And I knew if he caught me, I wouldn't be. I remember clearing the fence without ever touching it. And he kind of ran into it, had to stop and climb over it. And I lived to tell the story and become your pastor. I read this.

I thought it was interesting. For those of you that like football, I know there are a few in here that do. This magazine carried this true story of something that happened between the great rivals of Alabama and Auburn. And they were playing at a game.

And this was when Bear Bryant was still coaching, this legendary coach leading his team to legendary accomplishments. And Alabama in this particular game was ahead by five points. They were leading Auburn with only two minutes to go. And the first strength quarterback was injured on a play. And the pressure, of course, on that second strength quarterback that was being sent in was unbelievable.

You can only imagine the crowd going wild. They were on Auburn's 20-yard line. And it was first down. They had possession of the ball, just two minutes to go. And Bear Bryant yelled into the ear hole of the helmet of that second strength quarterback. The article said, he yelled at him and said, whatever you do, do not pass the ball. Run the ball all four plays. And then if we have to hold them, our defense will get us through.

Listen to me, boy. Whatever you do, do not throw the ball. The quarterback ran in full of zeal and determination, you know. First down, they were stopped at the line. Second down, the same. Third down, they made one yard. Fourth down came.

Crowd on its feet, hysterical. The handoff to the running back was somehow muffled. The article said the quarterback wound up with the ball, running around wildly in the backfield. He looked in the end zone and spotted his receiver wide open. And he passed the ball. What he failed to see was the fastest man on the field, the safety for Auburn, read his eyes, saw the pass coming, ran in front of the receiver, intercepted the ball, and started racing down the field with time expiring.

The last play of the game. The quarterback was the only one with a field advantage to catch him. He wasn't that fast. But he raced down the field. He caught up to the player, tackled him, and Alabama won the game.

A few days later, the opposing coach recorded in this article, Coach Dye said to Bear Bryant, I read the scouting reports. That second string quarterback was slow. How in the world did he ever catch the fastest man on the field?

Bear Bryant replied, it's simple. Your man was running for a touchdown. My man was running for his life. Pretty strong motivation, wouldn't you think?

That boy was running for his life. Well, you grow older and incentives can change. But we're all motivated by something. Napoleon once quipped that his soldiers were motivated to risk their lives for trinkets, referring to the cheap metals he gave them by which they gained status and recognition. The world system is moved by any number of motivations.

It could be a motivation for power or pleasure, for money, for popularity, for security or status or comfort. That's the kind of stuff that makes the world tick. No matter where you go, it moves the world. And the tragedy facing the world today, ladies and gentlemen, is not that they're going to fail, but that they're going to succeed at getting stuff that really doesn't matter. Jesus Christ said, what is it, prophet? A man who gains the whole world and loses what? His own soul. What separates the Christian from the world isn't the fact that Christians never achieve fame or fortune or power or comfort.

There's something different that separates us from the world. I'm reading, somebody in the church gave me the biography and I'm reading it now, the biography of S. Truitt Cathy. He's the founder of Chick-fil-A Corporation who by all accounts of his story thus far is a committed believer. And he also happens to be incredibly wealthy.

I'm helping make him that way. Every week, the apostle Paul said he knew how to experience abundance. He knew how to experience poverty, Philippians 4.12. The difference between the believer and the rest of the world is not external possessions. It is internal motivation. What makes us tick?

What moves us? In rediscovering holiness, J. I. Packer wrote these provocative words, the secular world never understands Christian motivation. They believe that Christians practice what they do out of a self-serving purpose or the need for a crutch or a support or for social identity. Now, no doubt, all these motivations can be found among the membership of the average church. But the driving force in authentic Christian living is and ever will be not the hope of gain, but the heart of gratitude.

That's it. And that's exactly the point of the apostle Paul as he begins this great chapter on Christian behavior. The first 11 chapters, he defined Christianity in this chapter. He will describe Christianity and immediately you notice he reveals the motivation of Christian conduct. And I want to spend one more Sunday morning on this text.

It's just too good and too rich. And we just skimmed it last Lord's Day. Look back at verse one. I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your body as a living sacrifice. If I could amplify it for you and paraphrase it in order to emphasize the nuances of his vocabulary, Paul is writing something like this. I beg you, I plead with you, brethren, in view of that is on account of because you have been the recipients of the great mercies of God, make a bold, ongoing, daily and decisive gift of yourselves to God. Now, would you notice before God asks us to do anything in the chapter will be filled with that. He asks us to give ourselves to God. And remember, by the way, as well, that Paul is writing the brethren to circle that he isn't writing unbelievers. He's writing the church.

He's writing the body. He's challenging the believer to a life of surrender daily. Decide to behave what you believe.

Don't just declare your Christianity, demonstrate your Christianity. Now, as I've gone back over this verse and to have let this sort of go through my mind and my heart, I have got four words that I think categorically describe his request. One is availability. The second is expendability. The third is acceptability. And the fourth is advisability.

Availability. That's found in the verb present, offer, give up, expendability. Paul isn't just talking about making a verbal offering, a verbal presentation. He writes further, present your what? Your bodies to God. Why be so specific?

It's interesting. He could have said a lot of things that were to put on the altar, but he said your bodies. Why? I think it's because the Holy Spirit knows that every one of us have the same problem. We struggle with giving our bodies to God. And it's easier to say our hearts. Why didn't he say present your heart? Because we could all say we've given our hearts to God. That's easy to say. But let me see. That's a different subject altogether. I can say I've even I've given my life to God.

Oh, who cares? Let me see what you're doing with your body. This is the categorical phrase that speaks of all that we are. It encompasses everything about us. It does speak of our body parts, hands, eyes, feet, every part.

Our emotions are also in our body. We struggle to give them to God. Our plans are inside our minds. We struggle with yielding our plans to God. Our wills are inside our our bodies, our spirits. We struggle to surrender our will to God. God in effect is saying, give me everything about you. And then we understand that and we'll back up and say, well, I'll tell you what, I'll give you some things from me. I'll give you something of me. But even that's easier.

And that begs the issue. I'll give you a few hours on Sunday morning, but I won't give you my calendar. I'll volunteer a few hours for charitable work.

But give me the rest of my life and time a little earlier. Here comes the offering. But OK, I'll give I'll give some money to God. That's easy. The average Christian has somehow bought into the misconception that they can buy their way out of the Great Commission. And maybe it just happened again a few minutes ago. This 20 will get God off my case.

It's easier to do that. He's calling the individual to a life of passionate surrender to him self. And when Paul uses that word sacrifice in his statement of what I have used the word expendability to refer to, it would have conjured up, of course, in the minds of the Jews and Gentiles, the the Old Testament system of sacrifice in the Old Covenant. And the temple system was one of blood and death. There wasn't anything romantic about it daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and on special occasions, the altars of the temple ran with the blood saturated overflowing with the blood of the animal, beasts and birds. The temple was one vast slaughterhouse when the priest went off duty. His robes would be covered with blood. It'd be on his face and in his beard and on his hands and arms and feet, his sandals would be oiled red with blood. He was about the duty of taking those sacrifices and totally expending them to God. No animal experienced a half-hearted halfway sacrifice either, did he? In the hands of the priest, he was offered. The priest would never say to that bull, look, don't worry, I'll take your ears and put them back out in the pasture. I'll take your legs.

I'll keep those, prop them up in the fence, you know, where you used to live. The expendability of the sacrifice was in its entirety. And now Paul uses that kind of language to speak of the New Testament believer. Only in this analogy, you don't bring a sacrifice to God, you become the sacrifice to God. A living sacrifice, eyes, ears, hands, will, emotions, plans, dreams, rejoicings, sufferings, plannings.

Are we available? Then are we truly expendable to the sovereignty of God? Brad Harbaugh, our singles pastor, wrote a letter to his ministry and made an interesting statement. He said, you know, most Christians only want to serve God in an advisory capacity. God has yet to form an advisory board and ask any of us to sit on it. Who knows the mind of God?

Who has been his counselor? We don't go to God and say, we will sacrifice ourselves. We will be expendable to you.

Now, let me tell you what to do with it. Availability, expendability. The next word is acceptability. What kind of sacrifice is God wanting of us? Paul describes it with the words living and holy, a living sacrifice. It has to do with the totality of life, a holy sacrifice. This has to do with the purity of life. This is the acceptable sacrifice to God.

Present yourselves to God, a living, holy sacrifice. And again, to play off the analogy I used last Lord's Day of a wedding, can you imagine a bride on her way down to the altar? Do you think she'd care about her hair? Do you think she'd care about the cleanliness of her dress? Do you think she'd ever think of walking through a mud puddle on her way to the front porch of the church?

And it doesn't really matter. In the Old Testament, they brought offerings to the Lord that were unblemished. They'd never bring rotten fruit. They'd never bring a blemished lamb.

They'd never bring a maggot-infested meal. They brought the best they had. Will we, the bride of Christ, on our way, marching, walking, living toward the marriage supper of the lamb, walk through the mud puddles of sin as if it doesn't matter. Out of gratitude to who our bridegroom is, out of love for this loving redeemer, we offer to him a holy life. We attempt it day by day and when we fail we confess it because we care so much for him. We sing it.

Look who he is. We sing of our worship, crown him with many crowns, the lamb upon his throne. Hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake my soul and sing of him who died for thee and hail him as thy matchless king through all eternity. That doesn't begin up there.

It begins down here. Crown him, the Lord of love. Behold his hands inside, rich wounds yet visible above in beauty glorified. All hail, redeemer hail, for thou hast died for me. Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

It begins here and goes on forever. Can we be anything other than grateful? And to think of it, what will we give him? The gifts of availability and expendability and acceptability. Now Paul comes to the end of this text and he sort of summarizes again in this last phrase and I'll put a categorical word upon this phrase and it is the word advisability.

Look at your text, the latter part, let's start sort of in the middle. Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God which is, the translators just sort of insert that to help us. This happens to be, by the way, Paul could mean your spiritual service of worship. The NIV translates, this is your spiritual act of worship. The King James translates it, which I prefer above the others, which is your reasonable service.

Reasonable service. Total sacrifice is the most reasonable response of the redeemed. In the original language, it's really just two words. Lagekein latrean.

The first word, lagekein, we simply transliterate to give us our word logic. The most logical thing you can do is give yourself to God, believer. The most reasonable thing you can do, the most sensible thing you can do is give yourself to God. The most intellectually superior thing you can do on planet earth is offer yourself to God. Use your logic, use your reason, use your intellectual capacity, to put it in crass terms, use your head.

You ever heard that growing up? Use your head. The most rational thing a believer can do in light of what God has done for them because of what God is doing in them, because of what God will do for them in light of his glory and splendor and grace and mercy and all of those things that Paul covered in the first 11 chapters of this book.

Use now your heads. The wisest thing I could advise you to do, Paul writes, is to become a living, holy sacrifice to God. You can do nothing smarter, nothing more intelligent, nothing wiser than to say, here am I, use me, here am I, consume me, here am I, I am offering everything to you this day. Anything other than that, if we reverse the thought, Paul would say is sheer idiocy.

Halfway commitment for the believer is totally irrational. It creates instability, James says, in everything we do. One foot in the world and one foot headed for home. We know God. We learn who he is. We sing of his greatness.

We know where our future is ultimately bound. So then in light of that, what makes you tick? What moves you and motivates you? What are you passionate about? What do you talk about whenever you have the chance to your friends sitting out on the back porch or the deck? I was in the line at Cracker Barrel some time ago.

I consider it worth it. Behind me was a man in his 60s. We were waiting to put our names on the list and he, you know, he didn't even introduce himself. He just turned around. He said, you know, you know what frustrates me?

I wondered if I had pastor written on my shirt pocket or something. I said, well, what frustrates you? He says, you know, if I had bought stock in Cracker Barrel when they went public, I'd be a very rich man today. I said, really? Yeah. He rattled off the prices of the stock.

It's meteoric rise. He was very disturbed. He told me what it was when it began and what it was now.

And he said, man, if I just put my money in that, I'd be a rich man today. He's frustrated. I thought to myself, man, why come here? Why come? I mean, every time you walk in the doors, you think about this.

I didn't say anything like that. I'm smiling. And when I come to Cracker Barrel, I'm thinking of different things. I'm thinking of, you know, chicken tenderloin on toasted sourdough bread. Baked potato, butter and sour cream, you know, all over it. Blackberry cobbler. It's going to be really hard to say this third hour.

Let me tell you, those poor people. You're going to get up and walk out. Every time he shows up, he's thinking about lost opportunity. Paul says, let me give you some advice. You want to talk about value?

You want to talk about a meteoric rise? You want to talk about regret? We're all going to feel.

Imagine that day. So know it now. Make a decision now. Dedicate yourself now. John MacArthur Jr., he had written in his Bible a poem that had sort of passed down generations. And John had it in his Bible and I got a copy of it and challenges to a life of surrender.

It goes like this. When I stand at the judgment seat of Christ and he shows me his plan for me, plan of my life as it might have been, I see how I blocked him here and checked him there and would not yield my will. Will there be grief in my Savior's eyes, grief though he loves me still? He would have me rich, but I stand here now poor, stripped of all but his grace.

While memory runs like a hunted thing down a path I can't retrace. And my desolate heart will well nigh break with tears I cannot shed. I will cover my face with my empty hands and bow my uncrowned head.

So what do we do about it? Paul gives his advice. This is my reasonable, advisable offer to you.

Give yourself, this is logical, this is intelligent of yourself to service. Translated worship here, latrean is a difficult word to translate it. In fact, it just depends on the context. It could be worship in that sacred sense of what we're doing. This hour could be rendered work. The text that I have in front of me simply translates it both ways.

It stuffs them both in there. This is your logical service of worship. This is literally what you do with your hands.

This is what you do with your life. He wrote to the Corinthian believers, whatever your hands find to do, do all to the glory of God. They become reasonable acts of worship. Because you're doing them so God will be pleased. It doesn't matter what you do.

You offer it to him. In other words, real worship is the offering of everyday life to God. We have the misconception that we're going to go to church to worship God.

That's true. But you can as easily and biblically say I'm going to go to the office tomorrow to worship God. Because what I do with my hands is an offering to God.

He gives me the strength and the energy and I want him to be pleased and I'll show that in the way that I work with the level of ethics and integrity as I serve him. I'm going to that address to worship God. I'm going to that campus. I'm going to go to that classroom and I'm going to worship God when I go and what I do, how I study. I'm going to go to that shop.

I'm going to go into the baby's room or the kitchen. Whatever it is, I'm going there to worship God. There is no division between sacred and secular. What is offered to God to his glory is rewardable as an act of worship. I read where a pastor was listening to two church members, two men in his congregation. One asked the other who built the house that he was interested in buying and they were talking about it. And when he gave the man the name of the builder, the man said to his friend, oh, then you don't have to worry about the quality of that construction. That builder is a committed Christian and he builds his Christianity into every house he constructs.

That's great. This is an offering to the glory of God. A. W. Tozer put it this way, the work done by a worshiper of God has eternity all over it. That's the perspective Paul wants us to have before he ever gives any specifics on what to do with our bodies. No matter what it is, it can all be an act of worship born out of a heart of gratitude. Our gratitude to him is what makes us tick.

It moves us to the way we live, the way we work. It is all worship, availability, expendability, acceptability, advisability. I urge you, therefore, brethren, I plead with you. I beg because you are the recipients of the great mercies of God. Offer freely your bodies to God. Make a bold, ongoing, daily and decisive gift of yourselves to God.

It is the wisest thing you will ever do. I hope the truth of this passage has come alive for you today as you listened to Stephen teach. This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. If you'd like to listen to this lesson again, we've posted it to our website along with the manuscript. You'll find that at wisdomonline.org.

This lesson is called What Makes You Tick? You'll also find it on our smartphone app. Install the Wisdom International app to your phone. While you're at our website or our app, send us a message. We'd love to hear from you.

You can also email us at info at wisdomonline.org. Please join us next time as we bring you more wisdom for the heart. We'll see you next time. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-03 00:44:09 / 2023-02-03 00:54:35 / 10

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