Romans 12:1-2 (Message)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
What is the point of freedom in Jesus Christ if all we are supposed to do is give our life back to Him? I mean what is the choice in this. No longer free to live my life the way that I choose but rather everyday turning my heart and head back to God. Is this really freedom? Who is willing to admit honestly that when they asked Jesus to come into their heart as Savior and Lord that they expected an immediate change in their circumstances? You are not alone. People expect God to supernaturally intervene without any investment on their part rather than seeing the measure of faith as tangible property that should be seed to the sower. Without investing our faith in the Kingdom of God, there is no return. Without a return, there is no change. What is the return we are after? Confident hope. Words, why just words? These are not just words but the title deed to that which faith allows in our life to actually happen but without a strong, connection to the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ it will never come to pass. Your life will not be changed. The outcomes ordinary. Those who give it all back have the connection that Jesus promised Peter the day that he confessed from his heart and head that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the Precious Son of God. I think in the days of Jesus Christ the miraculous had more of an impact due to the lack of technology, science and media. There was no way to recreate such events making them seem real, no scientist to tell us how it happened or why it is just not possible limited by human understanding, nor the media to sensationalize and twist the truth. Modern day miracles are unimpressive in a world that has been jaded by the technology of today. However, to those who are willing to turn their entire life back over to God – they will receive His Promise. It will become the primary focus of life as we become more like Christ. How do we get there from here?
Luke 17:11-19 (NLT)
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
Ten lepers healed but only one returns to give God glory and praise. One-tenth could this represent the one who Jesus is after. (Matthew 18:12-13) Jesus released the Lepers to go practice their religion again. (Go see the priests.) But one man did not want religion anymore, but rather a relationship with Jesus Christ the Son of God. This man desired righteousness above reclaiming his old lifestyle. He wants more. He wanted the Promise of God available only by faith in Jesus Christ. I don’t even think this man knew what he was after or what he was signing up for but what he did know is that what happened on the outside he desired on the inside, too. The man was a Samaritan just like the woman caught between cultures who soon would understand where the promise could be found. Religion would not accept him but he knew that Jesus would. So he gave his life back to Jesus Christ to become a resident of God’s Kingdom yet remained a foreigner in this land. Now we know that earlier in the chapter, Jesus had healed the man’s body so when He said, “Your faith has healed you” I believe that the Lord was referring to his soul. There are many people who will come to Jesus Christ as Savior today wanting the good life that He has planned but few will be willing to kneel before Him as Lord and will not receive the Promise that is given to those who do. To call Him Lord requires a sacrifice. It means to give back all that the Savior has given you. Jesus told the Samaritan woman that the day was coming when we must worship in Spirit and in Truth. (John 4:22-24) The Law of God is the Truth. The Spirit comes to us when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Savior releases His Spirit to allow us to follow the Truth that makes Him our Lord.
Matthew 16:15-19 (NLT)
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
The difference between the one leper and the other nine is that this man had a personal revelation of the Person and Power of Jesus Christ that established the belief that He indeed was and is the Son of God. Rather than trying to get Jesus Christ to make our life better here on the earth, we become persistent in pursing the place where He is. The leper now healed had the freedom to return to his family and friends as an active member of the community from which he once was shunned. He could return to his old life, yet chose to return to Jesus Christ. This is the difference between Peter and the other eleven disciples. It didn’t matter who everyone else believed Jesus Christ to be, he knew that He was the Messiah, Son of the Living God. Jesus called Peter blessed in that moment. Now Peter would become the faith full man that would pioneer the early church but this would come at a great price as this man would one day die a brutal death for his proclamation of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He would do so willingly giving it all back for the One who gave Him Eternal Life.
Hebrews 11:17-19 (NLT)
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
Abraham believed in the Power of God more than the power of man. He was able to offer his son, Isaac as a sacrifice because Abraham’s faith in God was greater than death and the grave. His life would not end at that point for he would be the father of many nations just as God had promised. Years of remaining faithful to God before His Promise developed confident hope that was immovable even in the face of certain death. Abraham now believed with all confidence that God would deliver his son even if it meant bringing him back from the dead. Some may have considered Abraham a madman when hearing of his trip to the mountain. Others would have not thought twice about it since in that day pagans sacrificed their children to their gods. But to God, it was significant because it was proof that Abraham loved God more than his promises and would do whatever was required to remain in right-standing with His God! You will never be willing to sacrifice your life like Abraham did unless you have a personal revelation of the person of Jesus Christ. There is too much at stake because without such a revelation that leads to repentance this world is all that you have. Righteousness only available through Jesus Christ secures our future the moment after death forevermore and allows us to access our inheritance now on this earth before we step into Eternity. It is a win-win situation for those who call on the Name of Jesus Christ as Savior and choose to make Him Lord. Abraham put all of his faith in God. He held nothing back. He gave his life physically, emotionally and spiritually to the Lord in exchange for all that He was. (Hebrews 7:5-7) The problem with most Christians today is that they want the benefits of Savior without the commitment to Christ as Lord. It is two-fold. We must worship God in Spirit and Truth. Basic obedience allows us to experience the benefits of Jesus Christ and our faith to grow. But confident hope allows us to extend our the boundaries of our life to the parameters of God’s Love and experience our inheritance as Children of God but there is a commitment requirement that many refuse to give feeling that there is nothing more to life than this despite claiming to know Christ. The Promise of Abraham is available to you today. (Galatians 3:26-29) But it will require the faith of Abraham to have it, are you will to give it all back just to have Him more?
Romans 4:16-21 (NLT)
So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the Law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
The promise is received by faith. Not what you do, but by faith alone which means all that you “can do” to get it is trust the Lord. Trust is an issue for humanity in constant fear of dissatisfaction that is naturally applied to the Lord and can only be overcome supernaturally by His Spirit. The Truth condemns us until, of course, the Spirit makes us Sons and Daughters of God. Now everything in His Word becomes a promise and blessing for our life by what? Faith. Abraham is the father of all who believe. Not just believe for a little but believe for life. Abraham NEVER wandered from believing God’s Promise. This does not mean that the years of waiting did not seem like forever. This does not mean that there were times that he doubted just a little or maybe even a lot. This does not mean that he was not considered a madman for some of the decisions he made when God directed him subjecting him to ridicule and social isolation after all he did send the mother of his child and his own illegitimate child into the desert alone. See faith is not about a perfect life but a Perfect Savior. It is not about doing all the right things but hanging on to confident hope that Jesus is perfecting that which concerns you. There is more to life than this – it is the Kingdom of God. Believing in God, His Son, His Spirit and His Kingdom does not exempt us from trial, temptation and hardship but uses everyone to cultivate our faith into confident hope so we will have all that God has promised us in this life and forevermore. When the Lord told Abraham to sacrifice his promise, the fact that he headed to the mountain with his son, the wood and knife was enough to prove that Abraham wanted God more than anything else. Not only that, Abraham believed that God was the creator of life and life more abundantly so if another sacrifice was not given that God would raise the boy back from the dead. Do you believe in the Love and Power of God enough to allow your dream to die to fulfill His Purpose? Those who do will receive the Blessing of Abraham that is given by faith and trust in the Lord. We have been given the perfect sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:10) To know and accept that Jesus paid it all and His Life was more than enough allows us the freedom to pursue the Will of God recklessly knowing that He will always turn every detail of our life for good because He loves us. Even when faced with death or significant loss, we know that His Love, Mercy and Grace are more than enough! Those who believe will make Jesus not only their Savior but declare Him as Lord. Suddenly, obedience is no longer an oppressive obligation but it will become a profound privilege as we live in His Promises.
Luke 6:38 (NLT)
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
There is nothing that you can haul to the mountain of sacrifice that God desires but what He asks is that you become a living sacrifice. This is a heart condition. It is the moment that you stopping tearing apart your life looking for something else to give Him and give Him your entire life. (Joel 2:12-14) He wants us to tear open our heart and let that measure of faith break forth to grow and develop into confident hope that sees the vast potential of God’s Promises and settles for nothing less. It is inside you and His Spirit is working and massaging it to have it spill over in your life. It will require you giving up your life to have it. You must love your enemies, bless those who curse you, give to others what they ask not what you are willing to give, stop looking for revenge, treat others with the fairness and kindness you desire despite how they insist on treating you, remove the conditions from your love, be compassionate and stop judging others hoping to the Light from your shortcomings and failures. God loves you. He has given you everything you need so stop expecting things from this world and put all your hope in Him. Simple obedience in giving, tithing and religious works is not what God is after. He wants your heart and head to agree that Jesus is the Messiah, Son of the Living God. He wants you to believe that He is more than enough. He wants you to call Him Savior AND Lord living what you believe. God wants to pour every single promise into your life with overflowing abundance. The Lord wants you to be the One who gives it all back to Him!
Galatians 3:26-29 (NLT)
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.