Living Your Sacrifice
A sacrifice is something devoted to just one purpose. A sacrifice involves giving a life, not simply an effort.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yeah, this is your friend Dr. Cook and that little greeting establishes the fact that we’re back at our standard place of broadcast, here in Tannersville, Pennsylvania, in the little one room apartment, which is on the ground floor level of the home God has provided for us. Stop and think sometimes of the importance of the Christian institutions that you and I have in this country. Christian radio, for instance, an immense influence for God. Christian education, both the lower grades and secondary and higher education, dedicated to the Word of God and the standards of Christian living and the mandate of the Great Commission. The Christian missionary societies that function with alongside of and sometimes within the great denominations. You and I have a great deal to thank God for when we think about the Christian institutions God has given us in this country. Have you ever thought about that? Think of it and thank Him for it.
Well we’re looking at the last verse of Psalm 23, and in that connection we’ve been sort of going everywhere preaching the Gospel, haven’t we? It was on this idea of goodness, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. What comes under goodness? “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance, ordered steps and stops and stumbles, part of God’s good provision. The Lord is good and ready to forgive. He’s good in relationship to the opinions and criticisms of others. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you His Kingdom”, and that involves freedom from worry and care putting God first making Him your treasure, getting busy for Him and staying ready for His coming. His good pleasure. Then there’s the good Shepherd. We talked about that I think the last time we got together. Goodness, goodness. Well, there’s one other concept in this little rundown of truth that I want to share with you, and that is found in Romans 12:1-2, Paul says, “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. Now, when you prove what is that good, in other words, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, you can turn it around and explain it to yourself this way: that you may prove that the will of God is good, and the will of God is acceptable, and the will of God is perfect. At that point it makes good deal of sense, doesn’t it? Well now let’s think about that, shall we, for a little while. The starting place of the realization that God is good, what is it? Where is the starting place of the realization that God is good? It comes with surrender, beloved.
You can talk all you wish and pray as hard as you wish, but as long as you are in rebellion against the will of God, or in conflict, (rebellion is a pretty strong word for a believer,) in conflict with the will of God, as long as you say, “Lord, can’t I please have it my way?”, you won’t know the delicious awareness of the goodness of God. Now, don’t ask me why this is so, I only tell you that it is so, because the Bible says so and experience proves it. Only when you and I have come to a point where we can honestly say, “Lord, I don’t want my will. You know what I want, but really I want what you want”. At that point, you will be tremendously aware of the goodness and love of God flooding your soul. So Paul says, “I beseech you that you present your bodies, a living sacrifice”. Now, a sacrifice was distinguished by certain things. One, it was dedicated to a definite purpose; two, it had no future plans, it was to be terminated at that point; three, it involved the giving up of a life; and four, it involves a dynamic relationship between the sacrificer and God. He said, “A living sacrifice”, where do you start? You say, “Lord, I’m yours”. To give yourself to God, “Lord I am thy servant”, said David, “and I am Thy servant in the son of thine handmaid”, he used the Hebrew expressions for slaves. He said, “I’m your slave and I was born of a slave”. We belong to you, Lord. You’re our Master. That kind of surrender, where your life is totally dedicated to God. Now that doesn’t mean you’ll be sinlessly perfect. I don’t know of anyone who is, except our Lord Jesus Christ, but it does mean that the total dedication of your life, as a believer on the Lord Jesus, the total dedication of your life, is to the will of God as you understand it, and as you go on through life. Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, totally dedicated to one purpose, a sacrificial animal and indeed in some cultures, human sacrifices, if you want to carry the illustration that far. A sacrifice has no other plan than to be dedicated to the purpose of being offered.
Now, that’s pretty strong medicine isn’t it, because we have so many different ideas in our lives and so many different interests. I have all sorts of interests. Some of you who have listened to me for nearly a quarter of a century, you know the different interests that I have. I love things mechanical and I’m a gadget man, I’ve got all sorts of gadgets and I enjoy them, and cameras, and guns, and motorcycles, and airplanes, and all sorts of machinery. And I like words-words come easily to me and I love to deal with words. I hope that I use the right combinations with you dear friend. I pray every day that I may, that my words may be full of the love and power of God. And I love people. I like to interact with people. I react violently to sunsets and fragrances, and all that sort of thing. I’m quite a human being you know, but when it comes right down to it, the thing that drives me and I think for thousands of you who listen, and who love the Lord Jesus, the force that drives our life, is that we’ve given ourselves completely to Him and we can say with Paul, The love of Christ constraineth us”,(that word constrain means drives us.) What makes us run, what makes us go, what makes us act the way we do? The fact that we’ve given ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what makes life significant. And you can search for meaning anyplace else you wish. You won’t find it. Like a little child with a new toy, he’s delighted with it at first and finds out how it works and uses it. And then later on you find the toys in the corner and he’s probably playing with a carton in which it came, indulging in some childhood fantasy where he’s the giant coming out of his cave or what not. The enjoyments that are attached to our ordinary, human, worldly interests, the enjoyments of those things fade so rapidly.
John the Apostle said, “The world passeth away and the desires thereof, but he that doeth with the will of God abideth forever”. So, think about that today. There is no law against you’re enjoying life as the person you are. Some of you are artists, and some are professional people, and some are do-it-your selfers; you like to take things apart and put them back together again, your manual skills are greatly developed, and some of you are thinkers and philosophers, and some are managers and so on. All different kinds of people in our audience. What a variegated group we are. And there’s no law against being the kind of person you are and enjoying it. You have every right in the world to like yourself. You know how I know? Well, the Bible says, “You’re to love your wife as you do yourself, for no man ever yet hated his own flesh”, it says. You have every right in the world to like the kind of person you are. But what makes all of you, that is you as a person, meaningful, is that you turn yourself over as a sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you done that yet, beloved? Now, there’s a sense in which there has to be a beginning, there has to be a point at which you start this and you say, “Lord, from here on out, I’m yours”, just as if you going to get married, there is a point at which say ‘I do. ‘But also, there is the necessity of renewing that relationship every day, “Every morning will I praise Thee”, the psalmist said. “Daily in the temple and every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ”, there is a dailiness about our devotion to the Savior that is very important if we are going to stay His.
This lady said that rather carelessly to her husband, “Remember when we were young, we used to sit so close together when you drove and now look at us”, and he said rather tartly, “Well dear, I haven’t moved”. He was still behind the steering wheel but she was over on the other side of the front seat. We have a tendency to move away from God and we need to renew, every day, every morning and on through the day. I tell our students pray your way through the day, all through the day, constantly keeping up that awareness of God’s Presence and our devotion to Him. Now, if you’re going to be aware of the goodness of God, here’s where we started-the concept with which we started had to do with the goodness of God, didn’t it? And if you’re going to be aware of the goodness of God, beloved friend, it starts with surrender, a living sacrifice. A sacrifice is something devoted to just one purpose and that is to being a sacrifice. A sacrifice involved giving a life, not simply an effort, but a life. Have you thought recently about whether or not your whole life belongs to God? We often times, think in terms what we do, “I go to church, I teach a Sunday school class, I study my Bible, I say my prayers, I give out a religious leaflet tract in an attempt to witness, I do these things” Is that what your life is? No! Your life is a whole package of what you are as an existing human being. Get up, get dressed, get breakfast, get out to work or school, or work with the house chores, take care of the million and one things that a person has to face during the day, come on home, eat supper, and read the paper or watch television, whatever you do, do, take two aspirins and go to bed. Your life is a continuing process, and a sacrifice involves a given up life. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up the cross and follow me”, Jesus said. Oh, you want to know how good God is get started there with surrender of yourself and your life. Well, we’ll get at this again the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, may we be living sacrifices, totally given over to Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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