By Larry White

    When we become Christians, there are several attitudes we need to begin developing if we want to be pleasing to God. I would like to address one of those attitudes today, the attitude of consecration to God, of being totally committed to Jesus Christ and the things of God. That is the state of heart of giving fully of ourselves to God and being one hundred percent loyal to him and serving him with a perfect heart.

I.) First of all, what does God require of us?

    God requires it all.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
    For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it –  lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
    Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
    So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.

    To hate your father and mother, or wife and children, is the idea that you will not allow them to ever come in the way between you and your loyalty to Christ. If our loyalty is divided we will not be able to be a disciple of Christ. To renounce everything we own, is to never let anything we own conflict with our commitment to our God. Everything we own is expendable. We do not abandon our family - that would be sinful itself - but God wants first place in our hearts. When we give him everything we own and our own lives also, then the building can be built, the battle can be won.
    The principle here is, that "we cannot serve two masters, (as Jesus says in Mt.6:24) for we will either hate one and love the other, or we will hold to one and despise the other, we cannot serve God and riches." We cannot love God and the world.
    What would serve us here in understanding is developing and having an eternal or universal perspective, like Jesus has. The reason why we cannot serve two masters is that a servant was a person that gave his entire will to his master. Your will is not something that can be divided. As soon as we yield to someone or something other than God, then we are not serving God. There is no middle ground. In (Mt.12:30) Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad."
    God only recognizes two camps - if we have not given our will completely to Christ then we are serving Satan's wishes and the camp of the world.

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

    Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But he gives more grace. Therefore he says:

        “God resists the proud,
        But gives grace to the humble.”

    Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

    In John chapter 8 Jesus was speaking to a group of Pharisees who said they were God's children and serving him. It is an interesting situation because there are only two camps and Jesus is the chief and captain of God's army. He knew for a fact that they did not serve God - even though that is what they claimed, so the only other person they could be serving was the Devil, and Jesus tells them so.

Jesus said to them, “If God were your father, you would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of myself, but he sent me. Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to listen to my word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do."

    God wants our total commitment. In the Old Covenant he commanded Israel, "You shall love Jehovah your God with all you heart, and all your soul, and all your mind." There is not to be any part left out - our whole heart (the seat of our personality), our whole soul, (our living self - our life) and our whole mind, (our entire intellect and activity) is to be given to the love of God.

II.) What motivation do we have to give our all to the Lord? (a fair question - we need motivation)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your rational service.

    According to the mercies of God - our motivation - the reason that causes us to give our selves to God, is the mercy he has shown us. When our hearts finally perceive how very much God has had tender compassion on us and how very much he has provided for us in Jesus Christ, the only response that can come from us is an overwhelming gratitude. With that motive Paul begs us to devote our bodies to the accomplishing of his will; totally commit our lives to serving him.
    We were bought with a price.

    Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

    When we obey the gospel, the Holy Spirit takes up his residence in our hearts, and our bodies become his temple or sanctuary, because he is within us, and be become God's own possession. Being bought with a price carries the idea of ransoming or redeeming us.
    We were slaves of sin and death and Jesus paid our price and we became his. We were dead men walking - sinners - our lives were useless and vain - we were doomed to destruction. Even if we lived a full, rich life with many comforts and joys, without God we were dead and ruined - destined to "an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power".  Then, what use, what good is all my life, if I go to everlasting darkness?
    In his mercy God saved us - all is not lost. God has provided a new dawn of hope in Christ; and everlasting joy and comfort. We have new meaning now in our lives - new meaning that is only in accord with the true nature of ourselves and the true nature of God.
    My life is nothing with him, therefore I will give my life to him for whatever use he can make of it. It is useless to me without him. But when I give him my life, he can fulfill it now, and in everlasting glory, provide me with ever new meaning and loving purpose. He did this for me, because he loves me and pities me in my condition. In his mercy, he gives me life.
    The price Jesus had to pay for me was his own blood.

Acts 20:28
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of God which he purchased with his own blood.

    Jesus said in (Jno.15:13-14) "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you." Jesus was totally committed to us. He came to give his life for us. (Mk.10:45) "For even the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
    When confronted with the time of his death, Jesus said this:

But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the son of Man should be glorified.
    Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, let him follow me; and where I am, there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, him my father will honor.
    “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
    Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

    Jesus was totally committed to saving us - nothing was going to stop him from accomplishing his purpose for us. His will was completely given to God the Father on the behalf of our lives. (Isa. 53) "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows"
This may be what Jesus meant in

    Sanctify them in the truth.
    Your word is truth.
    As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

    Making holy or sanctifying himself, not as purifying from defilement - but in consecration from the earthly and the common. Jesus devoted every earthly function of his human life to the accomplishing of God's task for him - even to death. He consecrated himself to accomplishing this death on the cross so that we might be sanctified in truth. After his death he would lift his efforts to the level of eternity and carry on the work he started here below, and imbue his disciples with his life through the giving of the Holy Spirit, who communicates the life of Jesus in sanctification on the level of reality, in the spirit.

"...who, in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and was heard because of his godly fear, though he was a son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And having been perfected, he became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

    Learning obedience could be in the foregoing of his human desires and consecrating his earthly life to the will of God. "That they also may be sanctified in truth." That this holiness that Jesus realized in his earthly life, can then be mirrored and realized in the lives of his followers through the Spirit, i.e. in truth.

    Sometimes in our minds we might wonder, out of all the multitude of people that have come to God, how can I say that Jesus died for me? Hypothetically, if Jesus knew that the only person in the entirety of human history that was ever going to believe and come to him was you - then he would have come and given his life for you. Remember the parable of the 99 sheep and the one that went astray. We can talk about total commitment, but there is not anything like what Jesus did for us.
    Our reaction should be, "I'm going to give my life, without reserve to Jesus Christ and do my level best to serve him all my days and remain loyal to him and his word."

III.) But there is an end in mind when God requires us to give him our all - everything works together for our good. Look again at Rom.12:1-2.

    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your rational service. And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may discern the will of God, the good and acceptable and perfect.

    The KJV has "prove" what the will of the Lord is. It means to judge, discern, appreciate what the will of the Lord is. In order to discern what the Lord's will really is, and fully appreciate and understand it - we have to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. And the first step, I would suggest, seems to be the offering of ourselves to God completely, being holy and acceptable to him so that he can open our eyes and start using us in the carrying-out of his will. There is something about a humble, contrite heart given to God that makes it fit to understand his will. It makes us receptive.
    He in exchange for our self-sacrifice, gives us life, real and abundant life. He transports or translates our life to live in the spiritual realm and opens our eyes to the eternal realities of heaven. He restores our souls. He gives us knowledge of his will and understanding discernment, to live in that realm of life and peace. (Rom.8:1-4)
    He fills our hearts with his love and we start mirroring his own likeness in wisdom, and love for others. He deals with us as with sons. He gives us the overwhelming joy of hope and the excitement of expecting all his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
    He gives us himself - in our hearts.

     - Jesus gives his life for us.
     - We give our lives to him.
     - He gives his life in us.

    If we are not totally on his side, then he cannot use us to carry out his good pleasure.

        I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
        I will guide you with my eye.
        Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
        Which have no understanding,
        Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
        Else they will not come near you.

    God does not want to fight us - he wants us to work along with him to accomplish his will.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure.

    When we give our wills to God in obedience and continue to work and give attention to our salvation, then God is also working in and through us to carry out his will. When we give ourselves to him, we can share and have fellowship in the work he is doing as his sons, working in co-operation with his will - and not like some horse that you have to bridle to get him to work. The horse wants to do what he wants to do rather than what you wish.

    Another benefit we gain when we are totally committed to God is safety from danger, spiritual danger of going away from God. When we submit ourselves to God and are undivided in our loyalty to his will - then Satan loses the opportunities he had to get us to sin.

Jam.4:4-8 (notice the outcome of single mindedness)
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
But he gives more grace. Therefore he says:

        “God resists the proud,
        But gives grace to the humble.”

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

    When we have a double mind, that tries to hold to God and the world, then we cannot resist Satan. But when we have a steadfast commitment to keep the will of God, then we can resist.

 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

    Being totally devoted to God is our strength. When we know that we are doing the will of God and have done the will of God and will always do the will of God, then we can have the confidence we need to live the life of a Christian.

    And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

    We can have confidence that God is on our side when we can honestly say deep down in our hearts, that we are on his side - that we are totally committed to God in obedience and holiness.
    The decision to consecrate your life and talents to the work of God has to be made my you. Dedicating your life to serving God and carrying on the work of Christ, whether anyone around you does or not. Without thinking about anyone else, I need to make my decision to give God my life, and commit myself to the accomplishing of His will.
    God help us all to remain totally committed, always growing, always looking for that blessed hope of our goal, always praying and never forsaking our Lord.

    If you are not a Christian yet, what are you waiting for? Someone cannot make that decision for you. There is a kind of abandonment of ourselves into his hands, that God will honor and will not let us down. What he wants in us is a willing heart of trusting in him. He knows we are not perfect - he knows about all our sins. If you believe that Jesus is God's son and will repent of your sins, confess your belief before men and be immersed into Christ - God will save you, sanctify you, and bring you to a home in heaven with him.
    If you are willing...
    Where is your will? Is it given to God?

(Originally delivered as a sermon in Eagle Point, OR August 19, 1984)


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