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3. Enjoying God to the Fullest

Michael Dant
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What does surrender to God mean in practical terms? It means loving obedience. In fact, every one of God's commands is a gift--an invitation to be blessed. Obedience is not WHY God blesses me, it is how He does it.

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Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 

Recorded

  • April 23, 2016
    3:30 PM
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The enemy that destroys our joy. What have we learned so far today. We've learned that the seed of love is a surrender of self. And then we asked what does that mean in practical terms what does the surrender of self mean. And then we looked at choices. We looked at the blessings of giving god our choices. And how we get to choose how sweet jesus is to us. That's how we can enjoy him to the fullest. That's how we can love him. It's love in him saying faith in him prayer and hansing. Choices. Are how we surrender to god that all sounds good. And in an ideal world. You would go out or i would say go and. Choose bad choices no more. And you would say oh ok fine and you would do it. That's how it worked before many of fell. But that's not how it works in our day today. What is it. That gets in our way of choosing god's choices. What is the enemy. That destroys our joy. On the one side of the bull fighting ring. Is a skinny little man in a funny little costume. He weighs about one hundred twenty pounds. It's hard to see the one hundred eighty pounds and. He can run if he was an olympic sprinter he would be able to run twenty miles per hour. On the other side of the bull fighting ring. Thirteen hundred pounds. Of barely restrained fury. Is about to unleash him self. On the funny little man in the. Funny little costume. And the bull. Can run twice as fast. The ball is bigger stronger and faster. And almost always loses. What's wrong with that picture. That isn't making sense. Why does the bull you get ahead of me here. Why does the bull. Almost always lose and the answer of course is several things. But one of the things. Is the red cape that's right. The bull for some reason the focus is on the cape. And the cape is not a family. And you know. The bull can tear that came to shreds. And it's no closer to winning the battle. In fact. The more time and energy. That the bull uses. To shred that cape to shreds. Takes away from the time and energy. He's going to have to fight his true enemy. The kid. Cannot be hurt. You can tear to shreds and it's not being hurt you're not hurting anything. It's not your enemy. If you want to win the battle. You need to understand. Who your true enemy is. But just. Just hypothetically. What would you think would happen if the ball decided to ignore the red cape completely. What do you think would happen. It wouldn't be a very big. Hard contest what it. The ball would almost always win. The lesson that we can learn from this illustration. Is that it pays to recognise our enemies. If you want to conquer the cape. Get the matador. And the cape will fall lifeless to the ground. Never to be a problem again. And why put it this way. It is only labor in vain to pick leaves off a living tree. The axe must be laid at the root of the tree. And then the leaves will fall off never to return. Do you find yourself. Frustratingly picking living sins off your life. And they come back. That's the way the devil wants you to do it. He want you to focus on the red cape. And what god is saying is no take. Hear of the root of the problem in the tree will die. And they can't come back. By all rights the bible tells us that we should be more than conquerors. To christ who strengthens us. That right. And if we're not. Maybe it's because we are not recognizing our true enemy. So who is my enemy. Well the devil comes to mind. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. But against the rulers against the powers against the world forces of this darkness against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. The. There's two things though that we should know about the devil. One is. He's not our enemy directly if he was much too powerful for us. If he was our and we directly. We would lose. The devil is god's problem. And that's the second thing we should do about the devil. He's a defeated foe. The bible says that jesus came in the flesh. That through death. He might render powerless. Him who had the power of death that is the devil. So god has rendered powerless. The devil. Ok. So that's one enemy down. Does god have any other enemies. Because of course god's enemies are our enemies does god have any other enemies besides the devil. Yes he does. Just about seven billion of them. Right. We know. Paul tells us that the law is spiritual. But i am of flesh. Sold into bondage to sin. Paul calls a sinful nature the flesh. And he proclaims. The mind set on the flesh is what hostile to god. For does not subject itself to the law of god. For it is not even able to do so and those who are in the flesh. Cannot please god. When adam sinned. Something happened to your nature and mine. Before adam and eve sinned. Their natural inclination was to choose god's choices. They would just do what they want to do. And that was god's way. It was great. Then adam and eve sinned and all the sudden something became bent and broken twisted in us. That caused us now to naturally want to go our own way. Instead of god's way. We have become like adam manilla wife says that as soon as adam sinned. He was in a harmony with the first great apostate. And what. Have war. With god. My friends. By nature. You and i are fighting god. We are war with him. You know most of us know that it's cold in the winter and warm in the summer. But we may not all know. Why that's the case. Metta fact. A lot of people believe that it's cold in the winter because they think that the earth of farther away from the sun in the winter. But that's not actually true. In c. in january if the earth is actually closer to the sun than it is in july. And yet it's a lot colder in january that is in july so what's the difference. The difference is the tilt of the earth. You can see that axis really good. But in winter. The axis of the earth is tilted away from the sun. And the beams of the sun come in the the earth at a glancing blow and reflect off into space. And so we miss out on most of the phone's warmth. Because we are tilted away from the sun. In the winter but. Notice the axis here in the in the summer. We're told to towards the sun. So the dreams of the sun on his full blast. Even though. There are those farther away. It's a lot warmer. And even hot. Because of the tilt. By nature. You and i have been tilted away from the sun of righteousness. And that means that by nature. We are living in a spiritual winter. The good news is is that by god's grace. He can change our axis. So that instead of being told that away from him. We are tilted towards him. So what is this battle. That god is fighting that we're fighting him against. What is god's battle. Well we looked ahead and previous the presentation a little bit. Therefore the lord longs to be gracious to you. I think it says. And therefore he waits on high to have compassion on you. How blessed are all those who long for him. You are god's battle is. His battle is to bless us. God just wants to bless. And who is fighting him as he tries to bless us. We are. You and i are fighting god. As he tries to bless us kids as you see in this passage. There for the lord longs to be gracious to you. And therefore he way to hide to have compassion on you can't you to see you. A god who longs to bless you eagerly looking for any excuse to bless you. And yet. We hold up an umbrella. You eve sing that as we sing that song. Showers of blessings. Right. Raindrops around us are falling but for the showers we plead. My friends to the showers of god's blessings are falling right now. If we're not receiving them it's because we're holding up an umbrella. And we do that and so naturally. God wants us to close the umbrella. And to be drenched in his goodness. And that's why he can help us to do we fight god. You know. Our in our sinful natures. For moses like a paint brush. In the hand of the master painter. But we have a mind of our own like a paper to can't stay still it. Twitches and jerks and rolls and pushes and pulls and the poor master painter. Is trying to paint this beautiful portrait in our lives. But we're like a fish out of water. Moving around in his hands. That's what it's like to have a sinful nature and to fight god but do we really fight god. I mean that doesn't make any sense does it. Whoever fights god. Well you say i don't. If i got i want god's blessings don't you we all do. Every wants god bless him so what am i saying. How does this make sense. Yes we do fight god for two reasons one. Not all of god's blessings are attractive to us. Right the blessings of self-denial. Of self-sacrifice. Of sorrow of discomfort for the good of others. There's a lot of blessings that we just aren't naturally attracted to but they're good. Their blessings. And even the blessings that we do want. We're not always willing to pay the price for them. We are unwilling to be blessed. Let's look at that little bit farther. Let's say that. We go to mcdonald's and. We're doing a health survey. With our church. We're looking for somebody to take our survey. And we walk in there we see this guy sitting there by himself with a huge hamburger. Extra large supersize fries and a gallon of coke or whatever. And we go over to him. And we say. Would you be willing to take our health survey. He says. Sure why not. So we asked him the first question. Do you want to be blessed. Sputters and his fries this is of course i want to blast. Who doesn't want to be blessed kind of what kind of question is app. Ok so we asked our second question. Do you want to be healthy. He wipes the grease off the chain and says of course i want to be healthy. Who doesn't want to be healthy kind of question is that everybody wants to be healthy. So we ask him our next question. Do you want lower weight. More energy. Less cholesterol. Lower blood sugar and. Lower blood pressure. And he'll say yes yes yes yes yes and yes now give me a hard question right. Obviously they all want it. Everybody wants that. And so why ask your last question. Then why do you eat this food. Don't you know that it's unhealthy for you. Don't you know that gives you high cholesterol high blood pressure. That. Blood sugar. All these bad things. Don't you know it's unhealthy for you. Take a slurp of his soda a healthy you know what i do. I do know it's unhealthy for me. But it takes ok. It tastes so good right. Here's a man who wants to be a blast he definitely does want to be healthy. He want to live long and enjoy his family his grandkids right. We all want that. But he's not willing to pay the price. And before we give him a hard time. There's a lot of areas in our lives too that we might be doing the same thing we might want to be blessed but we're not willing to pay the price. We may want energy but be unwilling to exercise. We may want healthy friendships but be unwilling to forgo the juicy gossip. We may want to be out of debt financially but be unwilling to resist the temptation to buy. In a thousand different ways. We may want. Blessings. But be unwilling to do whatever it takes to get them right. And that is doubly true. In the christian life. You know we are. Church in desperate need of revival reformation we all know that right. And we all know that the holy spirit. Is the only way that's going to happen. The holy spirit is the agent of change. He is the one that's going to revive and reform as we cannot do by ourselves. So why don't we have the holy spirit we pray for the always bear lot. Right. We talk about the holy spirit a lot. We preach about the holy spirit love a why don't we have more of the outpouring of the holy spirit and the wife says if all were willing. All would be filled with the holy spirit. Why do we not have the latter rain right now because we're not willing or not willing to some of us are obviously. There are many good people good christians in this world who are dedicated to christ and who have surrendered themselves to him and are filled with the holy spirit. But many of us. Many of us don't receive the outpouring of the holy spirit of the lord would love to. Give us. Because we're not willing to do whatever it takes to receive the holy spirit. The ritual ruler was unwilling to be blessed. He wanted to turn to life. Desperately he wanted it. But he wasn't willing to pay the price. And it may be the same way with us. We may want to close a relationship with jesus. But be unwilling to make the radical commitment that such a relationship entails. We may want to. For example spend more time with him each day. But be unwilling to go to bed earlier so that we can get up earlier. We may learn to enjoy scripture. But be unwilling to deny ourselves to stimulating worldly entertainment. That makes the bible so bland by comparison. We may long to soar with god on the heights. But be unwilling to let cold every earthly wait to hold this down in a thousand different ways. We may want to be blessed. But be unwilling. Our nature is broken. We crave the things that are unhealthy. And shun the blessings that god longs to lavish upon all. Who are willing. And you know this fight. This unwillingness to be blessed. This isn't a modern day thing. God has been fighting this since time immemorial. I say god has for thus says the lord god the holy one a visual has said in repentance and rest. You will be saved in quietness and trust. Is your strength. But what you were not willing. And jesus says to us as he said to israel of old. Drew slim drew sloan how often i wanted to gather your children together. The way ahead and gather chicks under her wings. And what you were willing. We my friends are war with ourselves. We truly are. Our own worst enemy. By nature. We fight god. And that is why oh why tell the earth that self is the enemy we both need to fear. No other victory we. Again. Will be so precious as the victory. Gained over self. I just got to read that again can i read that again. But be ok. Self. Is the enemy. We most need to fear. No other victory we can gain. Will be so precious. As the victory. Gained over self and she goes on another place she says we have no enemy without the means outside of our self. That we need to fear. Our great conflict. Is with on consecrated self. When we conquer self. We are more than conquerors to him who has loved us. And then credible. Self is the enemy. Don't let anybody deceive you. Self. Is the enemy. Don't be distracted by the red cape self. Is the enemy. We most need to fear. The question is how can we fight self without focusing on self. We'll talk more about that. This circuit phrase. Let's say it together shall be my natural self. Fights. God. Self is the enemy. I most need to fear. So self is the root of the root cause of every evil. You know. Paul in romans. Gives us a list of some of the problems of self. It's really quite an impressive list. The deeds of the flesh he says are evident. Which are. Immorality impurity sensuality idolatry sorcery mts strife. Jealousy outbursts of anger disputes dissensions factions in being drunkenness carousing. And things like these of which i forewarn you. Just as i have forewarned you that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of god. That's a very impressive list of some of the problems that come from self but you know what. It's not a comprehensive list. There are some many problems that are not listed in that list. And it's very interesting. And on my one television. And in this vision she says another book was opened. Where in were recorded the sins of those who profess the truth. And who sins are we looking at here. Are we looking at the agnostic. The atheist. The pagan. The unguardedly. Know we're looking at the sins of those who profess. The truth. Under the general heading of selfishness he says. Came every other sin. So for you and i as those who profess to sin. To profess to truth. Every sin comes under the general heading of selfishness. No wonder that is the enemy we most need to fear that no other victory we can gain will be so precious as the victory gained over self. So here's why our feathers get ruffled. When the car behind us honks at us. Even when we know it's our fall. So is why we eat unhealthy food. Even though we know it's not healthy. So is why we spend money and time wastefully. Self is why we say hurtful things to people we love. So it is why we criticize others. Self is why we are jealous of others self is why we are tracking the comfort at the expense of exercise. Self is why we do not love god as we might. Self that is why. Fill in the blank. By nature we are at war with god and that's the bad news. Now if you want to good news or the really bad news. You want to really bad news ok good give you good news later. The bad news it is that when we fight god. Of the bad news is that we are at war with god on the really bad news is that when we fight god we win. Because of our power of choice. When god tries to bless us he will not force us to be blessed. He will not bend us to his will. When we fight god in our lives. We when we can stop the almighty god in his tracks as he tries to bless us. That is scary. That's why self is the enemy we most need to fear. Because self. Fights. God. And we win. Perhaps the saddest words in all of scripture. Are these found isaiah. What more was there to do from i've been your god says that i have not done in it. Why would i expected it to produce good. Grapes. Didn't produce worthless ones. My friends. God is doing everything he possibly can for mankind. For every man woman and child on this planet do you believe that. Do you believe there's anything that god could do more than what he's doing no. So what's the problem. The problem is the power of choice. It all comes back to our choices. What more can dark god do when he's already been doing. Done. You know. There are seven things that we should all know about god. Every christian should know these seven things one. God loves me more than i can imagine. To his patients with me is supernatural now wonderful. Three. God is actively doing everything that he possibly can for me for. He never gets tired. He never gets discouraged. And he never makes mistakes. Aren't all those wonderful things. The seventh one is god who will succeed in blessing me. If i let him. He will succeed. He has the power. He has the wisdom. He can do whatever it takes. He will succeed. But i have to let him. That's the power of choice. That's why the power of choice is so important. And wife is that the. Tempted one needs to understand the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man. The power of decision of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. Some things. Depend on right action of the will. A few things. Most things. Everything depends on the right action of the will. Desires for goodness and purity of. Right as far as they go. But if we stop here. They have ale nothing. Many will go down to ruin. While hoping and desiring to overcome their evil propensities. They do not yield the will. To god. Everything depends on the right action of the will. My friends what is the right action of the will. To give it up. To surrender it. To consecrated to god. To commit to him one hundred percent. That's the only right action of the will. That is something god is willing and ready and eager to do. In us. You've got as human as the power of choice. It's a wonderful power but it's a scary power. Because that means that god is very gentle. In us. When no a priest for one hundred twenty years before the flood. How many people were. Was he able to save during that time. On the ark. Cyril there was only eight people in the ark there was his own family. Of all those people. God was who earnestly. With all of his might in wisdom and power. He was working on all those millions of. Know hundreds of thousands of people and i mean people who were in those days but there was lots of people. He was working on every one of them. And he saved. Eight. He sides i mean zero besides this family. Saddam gomorrah that vast metropolis of cities that were destroyed by fire from gun. How many people. Was god able to save. You member. Three. And he even tried to save the fourth. He dragged her out of the city by the hand. But although god. Can take lots wife. Out of saddam. He will not force saddam. Out of lot's wife. Because of her power choice. We serve an almighty god but he's a gentle god. That is wonderful. In a lot of ways. But it's also a little scary. God is like a giant. Who lives among ants without stepping on the smallest toes. God is like a mighty bull. Running full speed through a china shop without breaking the most delicate dish. That supernatural. Only god could do that god is all powerful. And yet he's gentle with us he doesn't bend us to his will. He doesn't force us. Our will. He gives us a free will. Behold my servant whom i have chosen. God says about jesus. My beloved in whom my soul is well pleased i will put my spirit upon him. He shall proclaim justice to the gentiles. He will not quarrel. Nor cry out. Roll anyone hear his voice in the streets. A better read he will not break. And a smoldering which he will not put out until he leads justice to victory. There is very little that is more delicate than a battered reed or a smoldering wick. Have you seen a bruised and battered reed. And you walk by and you just bump with your shoulder and. Flops over. Or a smoldering wick can you look at it in just a bare this puff of breath and it's gone. Our god is so gentle. That he will not break a battered reed or snuff out. The smoldering wick. Perhaps one of the saddest word pictures in all of scripture is. Jesus in revelation three behold i stand at the door and what. I stand at the door and demand that you let me in. I stand at the door nine and i bang the door down i've got the power to do it. You think god. Can't needs a handle of a new took somebody open the door form. The little pinky. Could just look at a way in the door be gone. Right but jesus says behold i stand at the door and knock which you just feel the pathos in those words. This painting. This is actually a painting called the light of the world. A copy of it hangs you think paul's cathedral london england and. You can see it real well and i'm told that. That's a little bit light in here but. There's two important things about that painting. One it has node. Handle on the outside. Which means of course it has to be open from the inside and two. You can't see really well but there's a whole bunch of brush. We'd send things up and firm that door. Looks like the door has not been opened for a long time. And jesus is standing at the door of this heart. And he's saying please please please let me in. That's the gentle god we serve. Our god is i'm knocking god. He doesn't force his way and. He knocks. I saw. We're told that many had so much rubbish. Piled up at the door they're hard to they could not get the door open. Some have difficulties between themselves and their brother and remove others have evil tempers selfish covetousness removed before they can open the door. Others have rolled the world before the door of their hearts which bars the door. All this rubbish must be taken away from the door. And then they can open the door. And welcome. The savior in god is more than willing to help us get rid of the rubbish. My friends. So that we can open the door wide. Not just invite him in. But given the house. That's what god would like for us. But self keeps us from opening the door. Self keeps us tilted away from the sun of righteousness so that we live in a spiritual winter. That is why. Self is the enemy we most need to fear. Know what the victory we can gain will be so precious. As the victory. Gained over self self my friends. Must go. Self. Is the enemy. Whatever the cost. Whatever it takes. Self has got to go. In april twenty sixth two thousand and three aron ralston was walking or hiking in the blue john canyon. In utah. And he was scrambling over big boulders like this in these deep. Masses. In the earth. And one time. The boulder shifted as he was. Leaning against it. And it rolled over his hand and pinned his hand to the wall. Of the ravine. So here he was at the bottom of this crack in the earth. Pinned to the wall. Nobody could see him nobody could hear him he was miles away from civilization. And he tried for three days. To get free. From that rock. And he couldn't do it. And so he does he prepared to die. His food and water running out. He recorded his last will and testament on his pocket video recorder. And he prepared to die. But then a thought came to him. He said maybe there is a way. It was really radical. But there was a way. He broke the bones in his wrist. That was attached to the boulder and with a dollar knife he cut his hand off. It took him an hour. To do it. He said the pain was so excruciating. That he would almost black out. And then he would stop. And then the pain would go away and he would say i'm that much closer to being free. And he would do it again. And he kept on doing this until he was able to separate his hand from his arm. And he lived to tell the story. My friends. You and i are pinned to the earth. By a part of our flesh. And it will kill us. Are you willing to do. The radical thing. Like aaron was going to do. How much more willing should we be. To do the radical thing. To be free of the flesh. That is pinning us to this world. When we consider what god has in store for us. Jesus says in matthew five thirty if your hand cause you to stumble. What. Cut it off. Jesus was not telling us to mutilate ourselves he was telling us to do whatever it takes to be victorious over self. Do. To be willing to do the radical thing. Whatever it takes. My natural self. Fights god. Self is the enemy. I most need to fear. Let's see that again together showing. My natural self. Heights god. Self is the enemy. I most need to fear. So the question is how can we fight self without focusing on self. We have the power of choice my friends but. The power of choice is not powerful enough to fight ourself. We are told that lived an active zealous life of self-denial. But i'm not going to tell you today. To go out there in the ny or self. Because that's not the answer you can't fight yourself. Don't even try. You want the x.. To go to the root of the problem. And god is going to wield that axe. And he's going to do it for you. He's been working you both to will and to do whatever it takes the radical thing. But you have to let him. And letting him is not as easy as it sounds. Letting god means. Dying to your choices. Dying to your life. It means giving god. Every single choice in your life all the time is a commitment to consecrate yourself. Fully to him. And if you haven't done that already. It's not an easy thing to do. Is it excuse you don't screw shooting only difficult thing to do. Excruciating the painful thing to do. At least for some of us it's worth and others. For me it was very difficult. But god can do it. Only he can do it. And next sabbath. We're going to look at. How that works. And i hope to see you here. For the sermon. And for the seminar afterwards because we're going to be talking about three more topics. That's going to culminate in the how to of surrender. Because self is the enemy we most need to fear. And surrender is the answer. Let's pray. Heavenly father we thank you so much for the privilege of being able to surrender our selves fully to you. It's not something that we can do. But you enable it. You are the power behind it. And we're so thankful for father because we can choose your choices. And your choices are always good. Oh so good. So blessed and. Father please help us all to be willing to do whatever it takes to let you do the radical thing in our life to separate us from self to conquer self. In us. So that we can choose your choices. In every aspect of our life. All the time. And delight in you. These are the things that we plead for we pray for and we thank you for in jesus' name. Amen. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading god's word through free sermon audio. And much more. If you would like to know more about audio verse. If you would like to listen to more sermons leader visit. W w w. Audio verse or.

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