All of You

This is a sermon I preached a couple of Sundays ago.  When I preach I do not preach word for word what I wrote.  I let a natural flow from these notes.  They are much more extensive then what I actually said.

ALL OF YOU. 

Joshua 24:15  If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve

That is all Christ asks of us.  All of you.  All of me.  All.  You.

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Christ has asked us to give it all up.  He says we can not keep any of it.  What do you say?  Are you willing?

Romans 14:7,8 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s

Is this TRUE?  Have you drawn a line and told God you can have everything on this side of the line but I am keeping my side of the line just for me?  Did you give God the larger piece? (not good enough)  Did you only keep a small part?  One little secret? A little closet in the corner?  Is it TRUE?   Do you wish to honor the Scripture thoroughly or only the part that works for you at that moment?

I Cor. 9:22  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

Are you willing to be weak?  What happens if God ask you to be weak?  Are you your own?  Do you want to be a slave of Christ?  OUCH that leaves no room for wiggle. You can not get away from it.  You must look square in Jesus’s face and deny His request or humble yourself and realize your are  not your own.

Are you willing to be weak?  How about humiliated?  Are you willing to be humiliated?  Are you willing to be looked down on? Made fun of?  Harassed? Beat? Jailed, Killed?  How about something so simple as having your family reject you? Or your neighbor be angry with you?  All for Christ?  Are you willing to be weak for those who are weak?

Again Do you wish to honor the Scripture thoroughly or only the part that works for you at that moment?

John 15:16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

How will you bear His fruit if you are not willing to be weak for those who are weak?  Remember you were chosen.  God looked straight at you and chose you.  He said He wanted YOU.  Think with me for a minute.  WHY?  Why did God want you?  Were you extremely smart?  or Did you have the best talent in singing? or Writing? or are you the best at what you do?  Do you have your act all put together?  Does everyone love you?  Are you perfection personified?

I think when we wonder why God chose us we have to really question why.  We do not have to question that He chose us we just have to question why?  We may not actually like the answer at first but when we really think of it I think we will with all humility not only like the answer but see that there could be no other way.  Remember He did chose you.

That is important  You were chosen.  You did not have any real reason to be chosen He just did.  He did not chose you because of anything you are.  He did not chose you because of anything you are not.  He chose you because He loves you.

Colossians 1:10 ….. bearing fruit in every good work….

He then appointed you to a task.  He wants you to bear fruit.  How? Remember there is nothing really good in you.  I came to the place where I could accept this long ago that in me there is nothing good.  Now I know some of you out there came to that place too.  The problem is some of you have not.  You still think your skills, your abilities, your thoughts somehow are going to help Jesus.  Remember our ways are not His ways.  

Isaiah 55:8  For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

We literally have nothing to offer Christ.  Yet some how He wants us to bear fruit.  

Please I am not disparaging you.  I am painting a bit of a bleak picture but only because without Christ the picture is bleak.  We often forget how it really was when He chose us.  Not only does He want us to bear fruit He wants our fruit to remain.

What really remains?  Do our dreams remain?  How about our money? our homes? our children? our friends? our family?  our jobs?  Does any of it really remain? Then what could He really want?  What actually remains?

The only thing that remains is what God does through us. in us and with us.   When we seek Him and only His will then He gives us dreams they are not ours they are His.  He gives them to us.  The more we follow Him the more those very dreams become our own because we become His.  We die to ourselves.  We push the envelope of humanity within us.  We die to all humanity and live only in Christ.   Where we once wanted our way we now want His way.  Where we once thought of ourselves we now think of Him.  Where we once fought for our rights we realize in Christ we actually have no rights.  We are slaves and slaves only live for their master.  Who is your master?

I Cor. 7:22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.

Again Who is your master?  Whom do you serve?  Are you your own master?  Whom do you serve? money? education? family? country? friends? whom do you serve? Who is your master?

Most of you were born free.  As Christians we give up that freedom to serve Christ and fulfill His purpose.  Have you?  Are you willing?  Does slavery repulse you?

It should that means that the old you is fighting God.  This is actually a good thing because that means the old you is dying and the new you is winning.   If you have not struggled with the fight to become a slave of Christ then you have not killed off your old self but have tried to live in two worlds.  Which world are you living in?  Remember You cannot serve two masters.

Matthew 6:24 a “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.

I Cor. 2:2  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

Where is your determination?  Are you determined to die to yourself?  Live for Christ?  Do you know more than Paul?  Here he says he is determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  Are you there.  The struggle and suffering it takes to get there is fundamentally tough.  There is no other way.  There is not another path.  I do hope we can agree on this.  The God I serve never claimed an easy life for you.  The God I serve never said life is fair or that He is giving us a rose garden.  He did say follow His Son Jesus.  Follow His example.  Remember Jesus was crucified.  Jesus was bruised, cut, beat, nailed stripped naked and hung up high.  That is the example we have.  Are you willing to go there?

Christ calls us each to go there.  Are you willing?  Will you give it up?  You know that piece or pieces of you that you have kept for yourself.  That little lie you tell everyone where by now if you admitted it you would be so very embarrassed that you are not sure you can.  Do it anyways.  Remember know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Nothing leaves nothing out.  That means all those deep secrets and dark spots have to be brought to the light.  Are you willing?  Who will do this with me?  Absolute slavery to Christ.  Regardless of what others say.  Regardless of what others do?  Regardless just Regardless.

Romans 12:9 … Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

Here is where it gets real.  Here is where you have to make a choice.  Remember God chose you are you willing to chose Him?  We must abhor evil and cling to what is good.

to abhor something is  much more than saying you do not like it.  It demands absolute hatred for it.  

Webster says Abhor means:

verb (used with object), abhorred, abhorring.

1.

to regard with extreme repugnance or aversion; detest utterly;loathe; abominate.

Do we do this? Do we have extreme repugnance for evil?  Do we utterly detest evil?  What kind of evil do we entertain in our minds?  What do we allow to enter into our minds?  

Guys do we allow ourselves the secret pleasure of looking at a women in a way we should not?  Do you know why this is evil?  Do you understand that even if they are single they are someone else’s spouse?  Someday they will marry someone else and who are you to lust after someone else’s wife?  Someone else’s sister someone else’s daughter.  

Women who are you to compare yourself to someone else?  God made you you.  Do you detest that?  Then you are detesting what is good.  You are detesting the wrong thing. You are detesting what God said is good.  You are detesting what God wants.

These are only two examples  I can go on all day.  You understand.  

Abhor what is evil and cling to what is good.

Clinging is not just holding hands as you walk down the street.  You cling to the side of a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean when the main ship is sinking and there is no room left.  You cling for your very life.  You cling to the side of a cliff as you hang there waiting for help.

Clinging is not an easy thing it is hard and requires everything in you.  Cling to what is good.  Was not meant to be easy it was meant to be hard very hard.  It was meant to make you squirm and sweat and maybe even cuss or act like a child now and then but in the end you keep clinging to what you know is true.   You keep clinging to what is good.

Remember all good comes from God.  So anything that is truly good has life and has value nothing else does.  

Romans 12:1,2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Because of all this Paul urges us to present our bodies as living sacrifices.  WOW.  SERIOUSLY.   THIS IS TOUGH!!!!!

To be holy, and acceptable to God.  How is this even possible?  This is spiritual worship.  We must be transformed through the renewing of our mind.  This is tough because without the renewing of our mind we can not be a proper slave.  We are not able to properly serve God. We are not able to do anything we spoke about so far today.

It all comes to this right?  How do we renew our mind?  Great questions glad you asked.  There is only one way to renew your mind.  That is by spending time with Jesus.  You do this four basic ways.  First through the study of Scripture.  Second Prayer and third Fasting.  Fourth is fellowship.  Remember where two or more of you are gathered together in my name there I am in your midst.  

If you focus on these four things your mind in time will be renewed and the more you do this the more you are renewed.  Remember Paul also says we can not be conformed to this world we can not look like the world.  We are not able to act and look like the world and also be a living sacrifice to God.  Whom shall we serve?  To whom are we a slave?

Are you ready? One last scripture

Romans 1:1  Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus…..

This piece is short but strong.  Paul identifies as a slave of Christ.  A willing slavery to Christ.  Can you say the same thing?  He paid the cost with his life.

What cost are you willing to pay?  See Paul understood something that it really was not his to pay.  His life was not his own.  This is why he gave no real heed to paying with his life.  In the end it really cost him nothing.  The problem is when he decided to do this I am not so sure he understood that and that is where many here are at today.

Do you understand that in the end your life is not your own.  So choosing slavery for Christ is easy.  If you still fight like your life is your own then you are not actually able to choose slavery to Christ.  

Okay one more Scripture:

Joshua 24:15  If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve……

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