Giving Christ Complete Control
Peter calls himself a servant, a slave of Jesus Christ, being owned by Christ. When Christ controls us, we are giving over every area of our life to him.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You’re doing all right? Oh, I’m fine. Thank you. I’m happy in the Lord. Just been talking to my Heavenly Father, and I told Him that I wanted somehow that His love and compassion and truth and inspiration and power might be built into the words that I speak now and even the tone of my voice. I trust that may be so.
You know it’s a wonderful thing that you and I can exchange our needs for what Christ has. Christ has made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Wisdom is knowing what to do with what you know. Righteousness is being spontaneously good. Sanctification is being set aside for God’s use without being sanctimonious. And redemption is revving up the whole package of life and making it an adventure with deity. Christ becomes all of that to you by faith. You can take by faith. It’s what Wendell Loveless used to call the “exchanged life.” You exchange all of your needs and weaknesses for his strength and power. Hallelujah! Well, I trust God may bless somebody especially today through these few moments that we invest together around the Word of God.
If it’s all right with you I’m going to go right on into II Peter. We just finished I Peter, and if you don’t mind we’ll just keep on. I love the Word of God, don’t you? I like to walk around in it and see what it says. Well, Peter, signs his name, first of all, and identifies himself as a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ. Word “servant” is our word “slave.” Greek word, “doulos,” slave. Now, that has an unpleasant connotation to us in this culture and it should obviously. We were officially done with slavery more than a century ago in this country. There still are some countries where people are bought and sold but not all that many anymore.
When the New Testament was written and Holy Men of Old spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, they lived in a culture where buying and selling people was a common practice. And so when Peter used this word “slave,” everybody understood what he meant. He meant “I belong to somebody else” and that somebody is Jesus. And because I belong to the Lord Jesus, I don’t have any will of my own, any opinions of my own, any plans of my own, any future of my own, any possessions of my own nor do I have any rights of my own. It all belongs to Him. All of this is not to say that you become an automaton or a robot, that you are not responsible for your thoughts or actions. Indeed we are. But it is to say that the Lord Jesus Christ owns and controls it all and the more He controls you, the better is your life and the more effective is your service. Simon Peter, a slave of Jesus.
Now, how do I apply that in today’s life? It certainly is obvious that one cannot go around singing hymns all the time and being officially religious. I often joke with people and say, “If you try to be officially religious all the time and go to work singing holy, holy, holy at the top of your voice, you’ll be in the personnel office by 10:00 and the men in white coats will have you before noon and you’ll be in a place where they think you won’t do any harm.” You can’t be officially religious all the time. Then what do I do to manifest that I am indeed a bond slave of the Lord Jesus Christ? Well, it comes down to who’s controlling, who is pressing the buzzer, who is giving the commands, who is really running my life. That’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? And so while you’re not officially religious about everything you can be under Christ’s control in everything.
And this, of course, brings me back to the thing that I have told my students at the college throughout nearly a quarter of a century. Pray your way through the day. You heard me say that on the radio often, haven’t you? Now, what a blessed procedure that is, friends? Pray when you wake up. “Good morning, Lord.” A lot of people say, “Good Lord, morning.” That’s different. Pray when you wake up. Greet your Lord the minute you wake up. Commit yourself to him in prayer. Bishop Taylor Smith used to say — the Moody Bible Institute brought the bishop over in connection with the anniversary celebration, oh, maybe 40 or 50 years ago now I guess. But he used to say, “The minute I wake up I look up and say, ‘Dear Lord, this bed is an altar and my body is a sacrifice and I give it to you.'” He gave himself to his living Lord the minute he woke up, a very good idea.
Pray before you greet the rest of the family or if you’re in school, your roommates and friends. Pray before you go into class, something other than “Lord, don’t let her call on me today.” Pray before you enter a conversation. Pray before you go on a date. Pray before you make a decision. Pray before you go on a trip. Pray before you decide about taking a job or quitting one or signing a contract or refusing to sign it. God has already read the fine print.
See, these are the things that bring the Lord Jesus Christ in reality into your life. And you don’t have to make a federal case of it. It doesn’t take but a split second deeply in your own spirit to pray, “Oh, Lord, help me now. Guide me now.” You can do that as you go on through the day and you should because you belong to Jesus.
Simon Peter, a servant which means a bond slave of Jesus Christ. You want to work on that in your own life? Work on the areas where you need consciously to give control to the Lord. Now, just to be brutally honest about it, there are some places where we don’t want to give control to Him, isn’t that true? You know what I had found, I found it helps me to be honest with God even about the things that I don’t want to do. That’s a kind of a reverse commitment of faith, I suppose. But I’d found myself praying, “Oh, Lord, I know that this is what I ought to do but I don’t want to. Please work in my heart and mind and turn me to your will.” Have you ever tried that? In areas where either because of your feelings or your desires or some experiences in the past or some built-in bias or prejudice, whatever it may be, in areas where you have difficulty and you don’t really want to obey God on something, tell Him the truth about it and ask him to work.
Now, the promise that makes this all available is Philippians 2:13: “It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” God worketh in you to will. That takes care of the want to. And to do, that takes care of the enablement so that you are able to obey what God tells you to do so that you’ll end up with Paul who said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Someone has paraphrased it. “I can do anything God asks me to do because Christ helps me do it.”
That’s a hang up with many of us just to be honest about it and I want with you to approach it in a real commonsense but faith-filled attitude. Jesus can do it. Jesus is greater than my desires. He’s greater than my stubborn will. He’s greater than my background and all of the built-in biases I may have. Jesus is greater and I can come to Him and tell Him the truth about me. He doesn’t scold me. He takes over control when I give it to Him. So Paul says in Romans 6, “Yield yourselves to God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Members is first your body. Turn your body and your mind over to the Lord Jesus in honesty. He’ll do something about it. That’s a great truth, isn’t it? Then you come to realize what Paul meant in II Corinthians 10:5, “Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, every thought under his control.” And that’s important because “as a man thinketh in his heart,” the Bible says, “so is he.” Your thoughts result in your actions and your actions result in your character and your character results in your destiny.
All right. Paul had it. He called himself a bond slave of Jesus. And Peter also had the same point of view. Simon Peter a slave and he said an apostle. Now, that’s a familiar word to those of you who study your Bible. It’s a compound of two Greek words, “apo” and “stello,” to send forth, a person who has been sent forth. I’m a slave and I have been sent forth by Jesus Christ. Now, there are not today apostles in the historic sense. The Lord Jesus Christ chose his apostles. All the rest of us are disciples. I think that’s probably the technical distinction there. But in another sense, every one of us has been sent forth as Peter said as he preached his famous sermon on Pentecost Day, “The promise is unto you and to all of them that are afar off even as many shall believe,” and so on.
So God’s promises and God’s commissions apply not only to those who originally were present when these things happened, but also to all the rest of us who down through the centuries have committed ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith. Do you follow that? “The promise is unto you and to your children and to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” Acts 2:39. And the Lord Jesus in His high priestly prayer said, “I pray not only for them, the disciples, but for all them also which has believed on me through their word. For all them also which shall believe on me through their word that they all may be one.” I am correct then, I believe, in saying that the commission, that we call the Great Commission, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,” is not just for the apostles but for all of us down through the centuries. We too then are sent into the world. We too are sent forth and God actually thrusts you and me into life situations for His glory and for the winning of others to Jesus Christ.
Now, take that attitude and bring it over into your daily life. What do you do in daily work? You go to the office, you go to the shop, you go to the classroom, you go to the nursing ward, you go to the operating room, you go to the court, the jury trial, whatever it may be or maybe you’re a homemaker and you do the three million things that nobody ever says “thank you” for. In any case, beloved, you have been sent into this exact situation by the will of God to glorify Him. You think about that. We’ll come back to this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, oh, make us people who belong to Jesus and to do what He says. In His name I pray. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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