|Drawing by The ORDER of The GOOD SHEPHERD+|
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Byron's Final Message ---- The Sign of the CROSS --- Being Crucified with CHRIST
Are we truly and daily.... CRUCIFIED with CHRIST ?
I am crucified with CHRIST: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the SON+ of GOD, Who+ loved me, and gave HIMSELF+ for me.
CHRIST through us...
not "I" showing how to live...
but Christ showing through me,
with CHRIST being the see-able aspect of my life.
+ + +
Final Part of Byron Miller's Message to Wellspring Mennonite Church, Athens, TN.
Thinking back to Colossians 3... seeking, setting, mortifying... these things are not automatic.
They require deliberate, willful choices, choosing GOD'S perspective on priorities and mind-set, carried out in action. It is a choice. The rest of the chapter goes on then to express that in daily action.
Therefore, how do we reckon ourselves dead, inactive, alive through Christ, rather than alive "in ourselves ?"
Look at Philippians 2, where CHRIST intentionally put Himself+ into humble subjection, choosing to put Himself+ into the plan of GOD, knowing what it was asking of HIM+. It was going against what the humanness in HIM+ desired.
We all have that human nature within us, that Self.
HE+ went against that,
and HE+ was the perfect example.
+ + +
Old Testament animals were sacrificed. They were put on the altar. They did not go willingly. They struggled, even though they did not know to the full extent what was being asked of them. Simply being restrained, they struggled. It is natural to struggle against outside control.
But after they died, after they were killed, the struggle stopped. When life stopped, the struggle stopped. There was no more resisting, no will, no fighting control. There was no choice of struggle or surrender; the choice was taken away.
Now, let’s look at our own sacrifice in Romans 12: 1 and 2....
12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
What is the difference between a sacrifice
and a LIVING sacrifice ?
He specifically says, "a LIVING sacrifice."
GOD wants us to put OUR WILL on the altar
... by OUR choice.
No binding, no forcing, no coercion.
+ + +
HE+ wants us to simply put our desire and our will into His+ hands to be placed upon the altar.
But then, unlike the sacrificial animals, we also continue living and surrendering.
Not only are we to continue living and surrendering, but we are to do it with joy ... because of Who+ we are surrendering unto .
+ + +
This is only possible with a changed mind-set, a deliberate choice to surrender.
The choice to surrender will need to be re-enacted many times, though, in our lives.
It is not a one-time surrender that takes care of it all for life.
It is a daily surrender which brings honor and glory to GOD.
It is our daily choice of giving , of surrendering.
HE+ does not take away our power of choice... for even one minute.
And when we CHOOSE to daily surrender, that honors HIM+.
We are an on-going, willing, living sacrifice, consciously and intentionally choosing His+ LORDSHIP instead of being our own master.
+ + +
That is the transformation HE+ is talking about. That is what HE+ wants us to experience, according to verse 2.
Will we ever come or grow to the point of doing that automatically ? That is, will we ever have an automatic impulse to give up our will ? Is our first thought in any situation, "What would Christ want?"
Satan will often cease tempting our Self in an area where we are learning to depend upon Christ. Satan may leave us; he may stop. After all, he hates loosing. He does not like seeing a person intentionally turning in the direction of GOD.
Satan will go to other areas, however. He will find other ways for Self to assert its "Self." He will cleverly bring something different or maybe often a different thought process or a different way of looking at that same situation ... a new logical thought process.
We are trained to be logical, aren't we? Does Self ever stop trying to assert itself ?
No, it does not.
As long as there is life, Self will still want to assert its "Self," will want to retain that Throne in our life, will want to be in control.
An older Indian believer once said, "It is like having two dogs inside of you. The one you feed the most grows the biggest and strongest."
How is that feeding done?
It is by our daily choices, by our moment by moment choices.
Which spirit do we feed?
Which one do we allow to be in control?
That is how we feed the two "dogs" in us.
Our own natural man is never permanently dead, unable to assert itself.
We --- by intentionally seeking what GOD wants and choosing that instead of our own way --- can strengthen the inclination, the desire, the knowledge of what is GOD'S will, in our heart.
In the same way that habits are built,
good or bad,
that daily choosing
--- or weaken ---
GOD'S claim in our heart.
We have all seen the trick birthday cake candles that you try blowing out, but they keep coming back; they simply will not go out. You either have to determinedly pluck them from the cake to snuff them out or else you must put them into water. Dealing with our human Self that wants to be on the Throne is like that. It takes intentional, decisive action on our part to deal with Self ruling in our hearts.
Satan will not give up. He always tries with new ideas, new desires. He will try something that Self did not seem to value when we were young. We reach another stage in life, and he will find something else to entice us, and the battle with Self will start again .
Self just does not want to die.
Impulsiveness and quick wit in response to situations are dangerous if we are wanting GOD on the Throne and in control of our lives. The quick answer SELDOM is the right answer. James 3 says no man can control the tongue. NO MAN! That tongue is in a pretty slippery place, after all.
Now, how did JESUS tell us to handle Self ?
Looking at His+ Words in Matthew 16: 24-26:
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
CHRIST'S call is
to say NO to our own Will ,
to follow His+ Example
as HE+ followed His+ FATHER'S Will.
+ + +
The world with all its glitter has a lot to offer: wealth, power, prestige, excitement. But, if any one of us could attain ALL the world, it would be an extremely poor trade for our soul.
Easy-believism theology does not require our physical death ... and rightly so. JESUS died for us, in our place, and we thank HIM+ for that. You and I are not required to die a physical death.
But erroneously, neither does Easy-Believism require the living sacrifice of our will. We naturally want to experience the power, the change of life, the strength, that comes from the resurrection. There has to be a death, the death of our Will.
+ + +
our focus on this world
and how to live most comfortably
is not a GOD-given focus.
+ + +
It is so easy for our Self within to think only of the here and now.
We need to focus rather on GOD'S ETERNAL kingdom, on what brings HIM honor and glory, on what His+ desire is for GOD'S eternal Kingdom here and now... and through eternity.
Now The GOD of Peace
that brought again
from the dead
our LORD JESUS
That GREAT SHEPHERD+ of the sheep,
through the BLOOD
of the Everlasting Covenant
make you perfect in every good work
to do HIS Will,
working in you that which
is well-pleasing in HIS sight,
through JESUS CHRIST;
to WHOM+ be glory
forever and ever.