Pious Vs. Holy
The minute you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and commit yourself to Him, you are accounted holy and righteous.
Alright thank you very much. This is your friend Dr. Cook and I’m glad to ask you that well-worn and happily used question, how in the world are you? Aren’t you glad you can be in the world, but not of it? You don’t have to be tarred with the world’s brush; you don’t have to get dirty in a dirty world. You can be kept, as Peter says, “By the power of God through faith unto salvation”. So, may the Lord bless you and keep you, clean and shining for Him this very day. Some of you listen late at night and so I’ll have to say, may God give you some good refreshing hours of sleep and then wake you up shining for Him. How do you wake up? Are you a grouchy person when you wake up or do you wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed as we say, and full of bounce to the ounce? Well, I suppose we are constituted differently, our body clocks operate in different ways. There is the person you know, that wakes up at the crack of dawn, and sings loudly in the shower, and gets everybody else irritated because he or she is so happy in the morning. Come eight o’clock at night they’re finished. Somebody else doesn’t really get going until about 11:30 AM and is still going strong at midnight. Well, whatever kind of a body clock you have, I am glad to tell you that God knows about it and He can make every minute mean something significant to you. Hallelujah for that! Trust Him to see you meaningfully through the day. God puts meaning into the day when you trust Him for it.
So, we are looking at the Romans 12:1-2 as an illustration of the commentary on the last verse of Psalm 23, “Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life”. And we’ve come down to this matter of proving that the will of God is good, And the last time we got together, I mentioned to you that you never really appreciate or feel the goodness of God until you’ve surrendered to Him. A living sacrifice, Romans 12:1. Giving yourself to God as a living sacrifice. Now a sacrifice is something devoted to that very purpose. That was the first thing we said. Second, a sacrifice involves a life given, not just something that’s done, not an action only, a life that’s given; and then third, a sacrifice is something that involves the relationship between the offerer and God. In this case you’re offering yourself, and it does involve then, a relationship between you. Now Christ Himself is the sacrifice, “Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God”, we read in God’s infallible Word the Bible. So, “He is the sacrifice, He was wounded for our transgressions”, says Isaiah, “He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed”. “Christ also hath once suffered for sins the just for the unjust”, Peter says, “that He might bring us to God”. Paul says, “God hath made Him, Christ to be sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”. He was wounded for us, He died for us, He was the sacrifice for God of God for us, “He was God’s Passover lamb”, John the Baptist cried as he looked upon the Lord Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which beareth away the sin of the world”. All of those concepts then focus together in the work of our Lord Jesus upon Calvary, His victory there, and then to be buried and to rise again the third day, as our living Savior. Glorious, wonderful Gospel message, so that today we can tell you and millions like you that all you need to do is commit yourself to the Lord Jesus. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Talk to Him today. If you’ve never committed yourself to Christ, invite Him into your life, “As many as received him”, John says, “to them gave ye power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name”. You invite Him in, talk out loud to Him, He’s listening. Ask Him to forgive your sins and come into your life and He will, this blessed, wonderful, living Savior, who was God’s perfect sacrifice for your sins. “The price has been paid and there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus”, Paul says in Romans 8:1. God isn’t angry with you about sin. The only thing that can ever keep you from Him is your own stupid stubbornness and refusing to come to Him. So, today, open your heart and life and let Him in. Well, that being said, we realize that the sacrifice that is talked about here, is not the atoning sacrifice, but a devotion sacrifice, a sacrifice of devotion, and a sacrifice that does something by its giving. In verse two of Romans 12, we’re going to get at that, but right now we have this third meaning of a sacrifice. A sacrifice is something that is devoted to the purpose of being given, it’s something that involves a life, not just an action, and it’s something that affects the relationship of the offerer to God. Now, how does giving yourself a living sacrifice affect your relationship? Well you can figure that out quite easily, don’t you? You know that there’s a difference between doing things your way, or asking God for His guidance.
Red Harper was converted during the Billy Graham meetings in Los Angeles in 1949, and that he had and still does, have a remarkable testimony for the Lord. I remember those early days, we had Him with us in some somewhat we called, World Vision rallies in Youth for Christ, when I was President of Youth for Christ. There was one occasion when he was giving his testimony he said, “You know, I felt pretty confident after I trusted Christ as Savior. I thought everything was fine and everything is going to go so well and then all of a sudden I realized that it wasn’t going so well and I was falling on my face in failure”. He said, “Now, I’ve learned my lesson why”, he said, “I don’t even go through a revolving door without saying, ” ‘After you Lord’ ”. Well, you need to put Christ in control of your life, otherwise you run up against a lot of difficulties that are generally caused by our own lack of knowledge as to what to do. So Alright, a sacrifice, it affects your relationship with God. You put Him first, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. We talked about that a day or so ago in that passage from Luke 12. Put Him first, make Him your treasure, ask Him for His will. How long has it been since you asked God for advice about anything nonreligious? Businessman, how long has it been since you bowed head over a contract and asked God whether you should sign it? How long has it been lady, since you bowed your head and prayed momentarily over whether or not to buy an article in a store? Now, I know that some of you Christian teenagers and college-age young people do some praying over exams, you strike a hard question and you don’t know it, and you pray, “Lord, help me”. I have to remind you that God will never in answer to prayer, help you remember something you didn’t first forget. You got to put it in there before you can bring it out. So, do your homework. But how long has it been since we prayed about anything nonreligious? Everything from praying for a parking space to praying about a partner for life? Great issues and small issues comprise an entire person’s destiny and we need to seek God about them, and that grows out of this matter of being a living sacrifice. You turn to God because you’re His, you’re His sacrifice, you’ve given yourself to Him. You are, so to speak, laid out on the altar of devotion and there isn’t any other future for you but the will of God. That being so, you turn to Him every moment and say, “Lord, what will Thou have me to do?” You try this for yourself the next time there’s a decision to be made. You don’t need to make a long prayer out of it, don’t make a federal case out of it, as Percy Crawford used to say, don’t make a project out of it, just a whispered prayer, “Lord what do you want me to do about this?” When you’re faced with some decision in the course of everyday life, ask Him for help. Oh, how wonderfully He does guide in answer to prayers like that. Sacrifice, devoted to Him, your life involved- it’s a life, not just things you do for God, and it affects your relationship with Him. The Lord Jesus established that relationship by His once for all sacrifice, but you can give yourself to Him in devotion and that changes your relationship with Him. A living sacrifice.
Now, he says, “Holy, acceptable unto God your reasonable service”. We’ll stop here just long enough to comment on these because I want to get down to the meat of the matter for our purposes which is in verse two. A living sacrifice holy, how holy are you? Well that question has two answers, as many of you who are acquainted with the Word of God know. The minute you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and commit yourself to Him, and are born from above, the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell within you and in the Presence of God, you are accounted holy and righteous. Righteous, the righteousness of God, which is perfect, the righteousness of God is reckoned to you, as though it was put, if it were an accounting process, it would be put to your account, so that you according to Paul’s writings to the Corinthians who were certainly were in a mess, and needed a lot of fixing up, he said, “Ye are justified, ye are sanctified by our Lord Jesus, that you are accounted holy the minute you’re saved”. But there is a practical growth day by day and moment by moment, in this matter of walking with the Lord and so Peter says to his friends, “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, as new born babes desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow thereby”, and there is a practical holiness that God allows you to achieve day by day as you yield to the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit’s business is to reveal Christ through you. All of His virtues and all of His beauties and all of His holiness revealed through you, and so the more you yield to the Spirit of God, the holier are you in a very practical sense. This doesn’t mean being pious. Many people mix up the idea of looking pious with being holy. I have a little Cookism, saying that I you sometimes, if you find a person who is always pious, you have to watch him because he’s apt to lie about other things too. That’ right. It doesn’t mean looking pious- some folk you know try to look holy and they end up looking a little bilious, faintly ill. Don’t try to put it on. Holiness is a result, not something that you strive for, holiness is the result of God’s control in your life and the presence of the Holy Spirit of God within you, all of His wonderful Presence and power bearing, what Paul calls, the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. So, a living sacrifice, holy. What does it mean? It means that you’ve given your life to the Lord Jesus and that the living process, the process of living every day, is controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, who dwells within the believer. You understand that? Now how to work on it. Well, we go back to my familiar admonition to keep praying all through the day, every turning of life’s corner, every decision you have to make, every new circumstance, like answering the phone or opening a letter, answering a letter, signing a contract or disciplining Junior or selling a client on something or trying a case with a jury or operating on a patient or digging a ditch or building a building or borrowing $1 million or paying $1 million- whatever it may be. Everything you do, whisper a prayer, say, “Lord, guide me now”. His wonderful, joyous privilege will be to manifest His holiness to you. The Lord is good, He would joy over thee with singing, it says. “God gets happy about you when you’re right with Him”. Well, we will go on and finish up this concept the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, may we be living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God in Jesus’ name 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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