Part 4 – Consecration and Sacrifice!
COMMITMENT AND CONSECRATION
· We ended last week with this quote, DL Moody, famous evangelist, was inspired by this quote.
· “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man that is fully committed to Him.”
· We seem to know very little about these terms today.
· You punch the word ‘consecration’ into a Google search and all you get is Catholic images.
o What happened to the Protestants?
· Let us start out with another quote:
o You know it is amazing, how much the world generally or the church specifically is looking for better methods.
§ Looking for a better way to do something.
o God does not look for better methods – he looks for better men!
· I am not talking about righteousness here. I am not talking about your positional stand before God.
· I am talking about availability – being available for God to use you. Living a yielding life to the Spirit of God so that God can do something with your righteous position in Him.
o Better men are available men.
o There are many Christians that are righteous and on their way to heaven but God cannot do much with their life because they are not giving God much to work with.
· When was the last time you told God that you would do anything that He asked you to do?
· If it has been a while, you should tell Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV 1900)
9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
· If God is looking, that means ‘a perfect heart is hard to find’. If it was easy to find, He would not be looking!
· Did you hear what is going on in Florida? The newest demon inspired craze? People with HIV are taking their needles and taping them to the underside of the gas pump handle – so that people when they go to fill up their cars and grab the handle are being pricked and contracting HIV. Out of the 18 reported cases, ten of them have contracted HIV – that is the enemy that you are up against.
o So while we are getting annoyed because someone took our favorite seat in church, replaced our favorite worship leader, stepped all over our favorite doctrine while all of that is going on, demons are running crazy in the world outside the church door.
o How different is all of that minutiae than this statement of Jesus.
John 15:13 (ESV)
13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
o If you get offended about every little thing in church – ‘greater love is not operating in you!’
· Now, we have talked, in the past weeks, about holy habits of highly effective believers.
· We have talked about
o Reading spirit inspired literature.
o Associating with anointed people so that that anointing can become a part of the fabric of your life.
o Prayer – people praying a lot.
· But none of this are any good unless we are willing to commit to it.
· None of it is worth spit in the wind if you do get out of our comfort zones and sacrifice.
· I mentioned to about John G. Lake and how he walked away from a 1.25 million dollar a year job.
· Here is an excerpt from one his sermons entitled ‘The Trumpet Call’ [you should read this sermon].
John G. Lake and Consecration
· Satan attacks the work in Africa
Lake and his churches had one hundred and twenty-five men out of on the field at one time. They were a very young institution, not well known in the world. One day, certain men in England and America began rumors about Lake.
Finances got so low under the awful attack, as people withdrew their support, that they soon could not even mail $10 a month to the workers. Then it got so bad he could not even send them $2. Lake did not want to take the responsibility of having men and their families on the frontier under such conditions.
Staff at headquarters sold their clothes, jewelry, pieces of furniture, and in one case their house to bring those one hundred and twenty-five workers off the field for a conference. One night in the progress of the conference, Lake was invited by a committee to leave the room for a minute or two. The conference wanted to have a word by themselves. He stepped out to a restaurant for a cup of coffee and returned soon after.
When John came back in, he found the chairs arranged in an oval, with a little table at the end, and on the table was the bread and wine. Old Father Van der
Wall, speaking for the company, said, “Brother Lake, during your absence, we have come to a conclusion; we have made our decision. We want you to serve the Lord’s Supper. We are going back to our fields. We are going back if we have to walk back. We are going back if we have to starve. We are going back if our wives die. We are going back if our children die. We are going back if we die
ourselves. We have but one request. If we die, we want you to come and bury us.”
The next year he buried twelve men, sixteen wives and children. Lake sadly recounted, “There was not one of them, if they had had a few of the things a white man needs to eat, but what they might have lived …. That is the kind of consecration that established Pentecost in South Africa. …”
· This is the power of sacrifice…
o What was the result of this sacrifice?
o Was it in vain?
§ In five years’ time (1912) in South Africa, they went from no one to 1250 preachers, 625 churches, 100,000 converts.
· Lake further writes…
Friends, the group of missionaries that followed me went without food and went without clothes, and once when one of my preachers was sun struck and had wandered away, I tracked him by the blood marks of his feet. Another time I was hunting for one of my missionaries, a young Englishman, twenty-two years of age. He had come from a line of Church of England preachers for five hundred years. When I arrived at the native village, the old native Chief said, “He is not here. He went over the mountains and you know mister, he is a white man and he has not learned to walk barefooted.”
o These men believed in the gospel to such an extent that they walked barefooted to go preach it!
o You can argue with this and say it does not take all of this but how many converts has your ministry unto God produced?
· I am not saying that you have to go to Africa and walk barefooted to prove your consecration to God – but what about walking barefooted to your living room and praying?
· Consecration does mean I am willing to go if He asks me to go.
Consecration to God Is a Whole Man Project
· Man is a three part being
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (ESV)
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
· If man is a three part being, then your consecration to Him must be in three parts.
§ What is spirit consecration
· Determine to be led by/walk by the Spirit in your spirit – determine to obey the promptings and the urgings of the Spirit of God within
Romans 8:14 (KJV 1900)
· 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
§ What is soul consecration?
· Commit to do something about controlling your mind
· Set your mind on things above
Colossians 3:1–3 (ESV)
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
§ What is body consecration?
Romans 12:1–2 (ESV)
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
· So can you see these principles evident in the lives of these missionaries that John G. Lake spoke about?
o You definitely can see them giving their bodies.
· And what about the 12 apostles?
o Nine of the 12 Apostles were martyred that we know of.
§ Bartholomew was beaten with rods and beheaded
§ James, son of Alphaeus was beaten, stoned, and clubbed to death
§ Thomas was killed with a spear
§ James the son of Zebedee was executed by sword
§ Phillip was scourged and crucified
§ Simon was crucified
§ Matthew was killed with a spear
§ Peter was crucified upside down under Nero’s persecution
§ Jude (brother of James) was crucified
· Especially these last three you should take note of because Matthew, Peter and Jude were all New Testament contributors
· So, when you are reading the Gospel of Matthew understand what you are reading. You are reading the words of a man that laid his life down for what he wrote.
· With Peter and Jude, it is the same; you are reading the writings of someone who put it all on the line.
WALKING AS A DEAD MAN
· Understand that you do not have to be physically martyred to prove to God that you are totally committed.
o The people that gave their lives for Jesus made up their minds long before they were executed.
o They made their consecration to God long before they were imprisoned beaten or crucified not when they were caught.
o We all have to arrive at this particular point – every person in this room…
§ “Am I willing to die for what I believe?” –
§ That is the essence of consecration.
o Jesus displayed this principle in the Garden
Luke 22:41–45 (ESV)
41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,
42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow,
· Jesus made this consecration before He was ever captured by the Romans
· How different this consecration of Jesus was than the disciple’s consecration.
· Let us listen to theirs.
Matthew 26:35–41 (ESV)
35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”
37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
· Do you see the difference between Jesus commitment and the disciples?
o It was time to pray.
o These disciples who were ready to die for Jesus were not ready to live and pray for one hour
o These ‘consecrated sacrifice making disciples’, who said they were willing to die for Him, receive one directive from Jesus – one mind you! – remain here and watch with me!
o Now, Jesus instruction had no time attached to it because that is the first thing that we think of
§ “How long is that going to be?”
§ “How long are we going to have to watch?”
§ There is only one answer – however long it takes!
§ In this case Jesus needed one hour of their time.
§ This is a perfect picture of human nature – understand and know it – because overcoming this takes tenacity and severe determination.
§ You do not come to end of your life facing martyrdom and then have a spirit of sacrifice come on you.
· No, you live a sacrificed life every day, you deny yourself every day, you make choices between praying and not praying every day, between yielding to the Spirit and not yielding every day. So, if we ever happen to face this situation, it will big deal to sacrifice a little more – we have been doing it all along.
§ What do you think the percentage would be of Christians would be if we split them into two camps – those that would pray and those that would sleep?
· We can learn something else about Jesus consecration in vs. 39
o Jesus was at the end of His ministry when He prayed this prayer
§ Lazarus had already been raised from the dead at this point – what a grand time that was!
§ Blind Bartimeaus had already gotten a job because he had a new pair of eyes – how glorious that was!
§ The woman with the issue of blood no longer had an issue – marvelous!
§ The Transfiguration had already taken place – awesome!!!!
· Jesus was at the end of His life consecrating Himself to the will of God.
o What does that say to you?
o It means…
§ You have to be consecrated to God and tell Him so the whole way through.
§ It takes the same consecration at the end of your life, in old age that it does when you were young in life.
§ It takes the same commitment at 70 as it did when you were 20.
o Why is it that way?
o Why do you have to constantly pray this prayer your whole life through?
§ There will always be something in the various stages of your life that will try to carve out a space and try to take God’s place.
§ And you constantly have to tell God and show God that He is first by putting these things in their place.
§ And sometimes it’s family that is in the wrong place.
§ We see the example of Abraham and Isaac.
§ We hear Jesus own words on this.
Matthew 10:37 (AMP)
37 He who loves [and takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me;
· This consecration prayer is a prayer you pray your whole life long.
o When was the last time you prayed it?
o When was the last time you told God you would do anything for Him even if it meant leaving family behind?
o That means a sense of consecration – a sense of sacrifice ought to be uppermost in your thinking all the time!!!!
· So, you can literally have a martyrs ‘crown of life’ mentality while you yet live.
· Death is a part of true life
John 12:23–26 (ESV)
23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Luke 9:23 (ESV)
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
· A cross-less religion is a careless one
· It is the ultimate paradox – you will never truly enjoy life until you are truly dead to life
· On this issue hear Jesus own words as we close
Matthew 10:39 (AMP)
39 Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].