These last several weeks we have been discussing lessons learned from the Israelites. They were saved out of bondage and slavery in Egypt, and God led them to the Jordan River to cross over and take their Promised Land. (= Our "Abundant Life”)
It’s easy to discuss their journey and say….”Why didn’t they just trust God and go?” But what about us?
1) Does God have a plan for ME?
God has a great and beautiful plan for my entire life. Am I willing to yield my personal rights to Him and give Him permission to orchestrate my life to His perfect ends?
Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.
Proverbs 20:24 A man’s steps are determined by the LORD, so how can anyone understand his own way?
2) Who owns me?
God says that as a Christian I have been bought (redeemed) from slavery to sin by the blood of His Son. That purchase has given Him legal ownership of my entire life.
His ownership of me is an absolute fact that does not depend on my acknowledgment or acceptance of it
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.
2 Corinthians 5:15 And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.
I Peter 1:18-19 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
3) Does the same human nature I had before salvation, still reside in me?
Salvation: Before I became a Christian, I was enslaved by my human nature (inherited from Adam). I always resisted God and was not able to please Him.
That same human nature still resides in me as a Christian. God did not repair my rebellious human nature, but rather He gave me a new divine nature in the Person of the Holy Spirit. As I walk in the spirit, I will not carry out the desires of the flesh, as Paul said in Galatians 5:16.
Matthew 7:17-18 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.
Galatians 3:1-3 You foolish Galatians! Who has hypnotized you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified? I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?
Galatians 5:16-17 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.
4) Salvation also speaks of a foundation, Jesus Christ, upon which the construction of my life will take place.
I Corinthians 3:10-15 According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it.
For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ.
If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.
If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward.
If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.
The quality and duration of that construction depends on whom I choose as the architect and contractor.
When I give the Lord permission, allowing Him to manage my life, He will build a beautiful eternal house of gold, silver and precious stones on that foundation. That house will survive The Tribunal of Christ.
However, if I am unwilling to let Him manage the construction, I will be building a temporary house of wood, hay and straw which will only last for the duration of my life here on earth, and will become ashes at The Tribunal of Christ.
Choosing Jesus to manage my life is known as surrender or lordship
5) What is my role in this process?
I should accept a role as a “disciple” or apprentice / learner, allowing the Holy Spirit “access” to every area of my being.
A disciple of Jesus is more than just a student, they are an apprentice.
Unfortunately, many in the Western Hemisphere have adopted the secular teacher-student method for growing believers. There are significant factors that would seem to favor this approach, such as busyness and perceived efficiency. However, what appears to be most efficient is not necessarily what is most effective.
The teacher-disciple model demands a greater commitment and much more personal attention, but we believe it is the Biblical method modeled by Jesus Himself, and the model that will result in the greatest individual spiritual growth and impact on the world.
A Student – Typically the goal of a student is to learn knowledge (information), that is, to learn what the teacher knows. The student may not even respect or like his teacher.
A Disciple – A disciple on the other hand is a student who has the goal of becoming like his teacher. This model requires personal interaction, and a personal commitment by the teacher (mentor, spiritual parent) on behalf of the apprentice learner.
A Student Wants To Know What the Teacher Knows;
A Disciple Wants To Become Like the Teacher.
From infancy I began to accumulate ideas and concepts about life, my worldview. When I became a Christian that worldview did not disappear, but rather has remained in my mind much like written material on a whiteboard. Some of those ideas and concepts are in harmony with God, others are not.
WHO KNOWS WHAT IS TO BE CHANGED?
Only the Holy Spirit knows what needs to be changed in my thinking.
That is why I need to give the Holy Spirit “access” to my “mental whiteboard”, my mind and be open to whatever changes He determines best.
Yielding up that authority to Him speaks of “Lordship,” after which the process of the renewing of my mind will allow me to increasingly view life from His perspective.
John 16:13-15 When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.…,
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
What if I want this but????
Caution: If I intentionally (or through ignorance) am unwilling to acknowledge His authority over my mind (understanding) I will very likely adopt a perceived list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts”. That list would typically include what seems to be acceptable Christian behavior, based on the average spiritual expectations as modeled by older Christians I interact with.
The danger is that fellowship with the Holy Spirit will be severely threatened when He speaks to me about areas of my thinking or behavior that are outside these arbitrary parameters. The result is often a recurring cycle of disobedience, frustration, repentance and brokenness. This will continue until my will is surrendered.
When I became a Christian the Holy Spirit came into my life and He wants me to follow the Truth, not be conformed to what the world says. He wants to modify my worldview to conform to the Truth.
CONSIDER THIS ANALOGY:
A wild mustang could be used to depict Lordship - The goal is to end up with an animal that is available, trained and useful to its owner (Master).
But first the mustang’s will (his resistance to another’s authority) must be broken.
Upon acceptance of another’s authority over it, the mustang is not yet considered to be the least bit trained, or useful.
However, it now has a mindset (disposition, attitude) that will allow it to begin the process of being trained (transformed), which will over time produce an animal that is useful to its owner.
Until the will (mindset, disposition) is changed the animal can never be trained.
Psalm 32:9 Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding, that must be controlled with bit and bridle or else it will not come near you.
TWO TYPES OF SURRENDER
Surrender Type 1: Normal / Progressive DEVELOPMENT of a Christian
Surrender Type 2: Common Abnormal Misconception of Progressive SURRENDER
Problems Associated with Abnormal “Progressive” Surrender :
Problems associated with #2 view on surrender: I tend to think: “Will God take advantage of me?” for example:
“What will He ask me to do that I can’t do, or don’t want to do?”
“What will He keep me from doing that I want to do?”
“What will He take away that I hold dear?”
“If I entrust “this’ to Him, will God fail me?”
If God loves me, can only do what is in my best interest, and never makes mistakes, what would be a logical reason for not embracing Him as Master?
When it’s clearly explained, I will view Lordship as “good news,” as evidence of God’s love for me.
Unfortunately, many older believers who have never had Lordship clearly explained to them, upon hearing it, tend to perceive it as “bad news,” equating it to “bondage.”
8) Homework / Meditation
Read the Analogy: The Rooms of Your “House” (in handout); Watch video (below)
Pray, contemplate and complete “What Rooms are in MY House?”
If appropriate, also complete “What Rooms are in OUR House?” with others in your family.