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7. How to Die and Do It Right

Michael Dant
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We cannot surrender ourselves by ourselves. Only God can work in us both to will it and to do it. But we can--and must--collaborate with God in the surrender process. We look at 7 practical ways to do that.

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Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 

Recorded

  • April 30, 2016
    2:30 PM
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On Monday August sixth one thousand nine hundred five. Captain William Parsons dropped a bomb on Hiroshima Japan. Seventy percent of the buildings of that vast city were destroyed. Instantaneously. Eighty thousand people were killed. Instantaneously. By that bomb. Now whether or not we agree with the United States does decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima. We have to recognize the power of that bomb incredible amount of power. The question I want to ask you is where did that power come from. Was Captain Parsons that powerful. Know that power to come from him. What did he do. He flipped a switch. Right. He flipped a switch. He didn't make the bomb. He didn't split the atom. He didn't even build the airplane he flew on he did very little in that process but he did flip the switch kept in person. It was a weak human being but he could flip a switch and what would have happened do you think if he had not flipped that switch. What would have happened. Nothing would have happened exactly. And so that leads us to an interesting conclusion. Maybe even without the bomb is helpless man can't do that men just not powerful enough. But the bomb without them in is hopeless can't do anything either. A bomb can explode itself over not talking about bombs so they are way. Were were applying this to the Christian life. Under center thirty two thousand and fourteen. Veronica Rutledge was killed by her two year old son. He grabbed a gun that was in her purse was they were shopping and he just pulled the trigger and she died. Where did the power to kill her come from. Was it from that two year old little boy. No Veronica was a research scientist. Her son could barely walk. There's no way that he had the power or the ability to kill her but guns have been called the great equalizer. Because the power of the weapon is far greater than the power of the one who wields it right the power of the weapon is far greater than the power of the one who wields it. But although he could not do anything was not powerful enough he could pull the trigger even a little baby can pull the trigger. In the temporal room. The destruction in violence caused by weapons are deplorable and tragic. I don't own a weapon. I never want to own a weapon. And that's not my point to this afternoon. But in the spiritual realm. I want the most powerful weapons of Ailill. In the battle against self. I want top of the line weapons. I know that I'm not strong enough to fight myself. I know that I'm not even strong enough to create the ammunition that fight self. I can't create the weapon but I can pull the trigger. God it is the atomic bomb waiting to go off in our life to conquer self. We cannot conquer self God can. So we have to pull the trigger. A less we pull the trigger. God will not make that powerful transformation in the life. I can let God fight self and mean. By the power of choice and he's given me through His grace and power. I can let him fight self in me I can pull the trigger. I can surrender. But I can't surrender without his help. He must work in me both to will and to do it. Right. God has to do it. Only God can do it. The good news is that as the will of man cooperates with the will of God It becomes what. Department and we can say like Paul to this end I labor struggling with all whose energy. His energy which so powerfully works in me is the Christian life a struggle. Yes it is but it's not a struggle that we do in our own strength. It's a struggle that we do in God's power. And I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Surrender is drowning in the will of God But how do we do it. How do we surrender because want to know how to surrender. Do you want to know what you tell people ask that question. So we come up to you. So how do I surrender. What do you tell them. Here's what you tell them surrender is easy. Conceptually you just ask for it right. All you can do only God can do it. You have to ask for it. So it's easy. Why don't we all surrender them. Well the problem is is that when you ask for it. You have to really want it. You have to want to so bad that you're willing to let God do whatever it takes in your life to come push it and it might be easy to say that but a lot easier saying it than doing it right. We have to actually be willing to let God conquer self before he will be able to do it and that willingness. That's the hard part. But where does I will miss come from does come from us. It's God who works in us both to will and to do HIS good pleasure. That's right. We have to flip the switch. With the wanted from the core of our being surrender is an excruciating least difficult decision at least for most of us self is intertwined among every fiber of our being we enjoy selfish choices we are attracted to selfish ways we are dictate to self. We know we need to fight self we know that God we need to let God conquer self but really you know kind of back there in the in the back of our minds we kind of like it. We kind of like self-indulgence. And so we need God to change our will surrender is drowning in the will of God and like anyone who's drowning we fight it naturally. We could gasp gurgle in sputter and we might call our Lord stop and he will but if we want God to be victorious we have to let him drown us. Sorry guys. That's the bad news going to have to drown in the will of God dying in the arms of Christ. There is no better place to die. But we have to die. We have to die to self in order for God to be Almighty God in us. The warfare against self which aired as I read listen to it one more time to of warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self surrender it all to the will of God is not an easy attainment. And yet it is our privilege and what else is it. Our duty to be perfect overcomers here this victory over self. We are to be overcomers we can pull the trigger by God's grace. But we can surrender ourselves by ourselves we can cooperate with him. How do we cooperate with God in this process. Right. When the will of man cooperate with the will of God It becomes what. A militant So our job is to use our power of choice to cooperate with God in the process of surrender. We can work with him as he works. In us to surrender and there are some things that we can do. No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire non-SI ation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be Lord take my heart I cannot give it. It is the property keep it pure for I cannot keep it for the saved me in spite of myself my weak and Christ life self. So one of the things that we can do practical thing this is very practical today. What are the practical things that we can do to collaborate with God in the surrender process now this is not a comprehensive list but here are some things that I would like to share with you and from my own experience have proved very valuable in letting God Surrender us. It's a surrender tool box. The first tool is to repent we talked about this a little bit already put repentance is recognizing our sinful condition. Do you know what Jesus says is the cure for Laodicea lukewarmness. Look at it. We've got the robe righteousness right at the south and the gold. We found by fire. But what does he say is Well he says repent. Did you ever know that repent is one of the things that God Christ tells us we need to do. For the latest see in church in Revelation three we've got again sometimes very interesting repentance is recognizing how sinful we are it's turning away from that sin and it's hard for us to do. It's a revulsion for sin. John the Baptist's main message was repentance in those days. John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of G.-D. you're saying Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at him and then John the battle to put in prison and Jesus came along and he took up the message after John had been taken into custody. Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God and saying The time is fulfilled in the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel. All we pendants is so important. Even for us. It's not as easy as it sounds we have to work with God to help us to repent. Remember Jesus told that parable the fair parable the Fair see he stood it was praying just himself God I thank you that I am not like other people swindlers unjust adultery even like this tax collector I fast twice a week I pay tithes of all that I get. We read a story miss a man what a what a hardy proud individual but my friends it's easy to have the same attitude almost subconsciously sometimes. Saying you know I'm pretty good off. I'm not like back I right. But we don't compare ourselves with others when repent doing. We can purchase of the Christ and that's when we we really recognize our need for him. The tax collector standing some distance away was even willing to lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breast saying God be merciful to me the sinner. A mother was putting her little girl to bed one night and her daughter said Mom do we have to pray. Tonight. And mom says yeah we should. And the daughter says OK but. I don't want to ask forgiveness for my sins. And mom says why not. And she said I kind of like them are the rather nice Do we say the same thing. Do we say Lord forgive me for my sins but I really like it. It's true by nature we do we are tracked into self-discipline. But God has to get us to the place where we. Are willing to let him have it all to loathe ourselves thirty six thirty one. Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were. Good and you will loathe yourselves in your own fight for your iniquities and your abominations this is a healthy self-loading this is that the self loathing that leads to true self worth. And Joy. This is not the self loathing that causes discouragement and depression. That's the devil's counterfeit. This is the loathing of all the evil in us that God produces. L Y says that repentance includes sorrow for sin and turning away from it. We shall not renounce sin. Unless we see it. Sinfulness until we turn away from it in heart. There will be no what. Real change in the life until we turn away from that repentance is turning away from sin thing I want God to get rid of it no matter what it takes the second thing that we can do to collaborate with God in the surrender process the second thing in our friend or tool box is to learn about surrender that's what we're doing these last two weekends and what I continued you could to keep doing. Read the New Testament and ask yourself for every paragraph what does this passage say to me about surrender. You can learn about surrender and the more you learn about it more God is able to strengthen you and to teach you. His will in terms of surrender. And this is where of course we saw that self surrender is the substance of the teachings of Christ. Now I know that. The Christian life is a relationship. I know it's about the heart not the head as much. But. Don't discount the importance of understanding the Christian life a little bit. Right. Jesus says you will know the truth and the truth will what set you free. John Bradshaw tells the story of the time when he was in fourth grade. He had just skipped third grade because the teacher says John you're doing so well just need to skip third grade the right before so John did Harry was the. Beginning of fourth grade year he was doing his math. He looked down his math assignment and looked like hieroglyphics to him he had no idea what to do now that might sound like a regular day in math class for you and I but not for Jon he enjoyed math. He did well in math. And he was so frustrated because the rest of the class knew exactly what to do and they were going full steam working on this. He got so frustrated he burst out into tears. His teacher came over to him and said Oh I'm sorry John this is how you do this. This is that this is that and all of a sudden John says oh well that's great that's easy. And he went blasting on and he got it all done in record time. Do you ever feel like in the Christian life. I would like to do it but I just don't know how. John wanted to do that assignment so bad I mean he just could feel it. And his inability to do the assignment was not because he didn't want to it's because he didn't know how to. And sometimes it's the same way with us in the Christian life we want to be on fire for God We just don't know how necessarily God may be saying to us as he said to of old my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Jesus says you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. So yes learn about surrender the third tool or tool box is to ask relentlessly. Now this is not one of those kind of asking where we say Lord I'd like to be surrendered thanks and by. This is one of those things where it's an ongoing pleading with God an angel wrestling prayer saying Lord I must be surrendered you have to do it. I need you like Jacob on the river bank on that lonely night we plead with God and we cling to him and we don't let him go until he blesses us prayer we are told is Heaven's ordained means of success in the conflict with sin and in development of Christian character the divine influences that come in answer to the prayer of faith will accomplish in the soul of the supplement all for which he pleads Now let me ask you a question why. Do we plead to God for something that he longs to give us. Doesn't God want to be filled with the Holy Spirit doesn't God want to surrender holy to him doesn't God just long for this. Why are we. Pleading with him for something that only he can give us and he longs to give us more than the most loving father wants to feed their children. Why do we need to plead for it. Well tell you. We don't do in order to convince God to do this wonderful thing for us we plead with God because the more we plead with him the more we want it. It's a fact of human nature of the psychology of the mind the more you desire something more you ask for it the more you want it and we keep on pleading with it until God gets us to the point where we want to damn nuff that we let him do whatever it takes to give it to us. That's why we need to continue with God in prayer a pastor was watching the marble cutter do his work and the pastor said I wish I could deal such claim blows on Stony hearts and the marble cutter looked up at him and said. Maybe you could if you work like me on your knees. Is true you know all the Christian life is knee work. Spending time clinging to God don't let him go like Jacob wrestle with God until he answers your prayer and he will he will get you to the point where you want it bad enough that you will let him do whatever it takes to give it to you at that point is when the power comes so repent hate the sin recognize it and turn away from it and plead with God to to make you hate it more. Learn about surrender from Scripture and all white you can learn a lot about the Christian life and how surrender works and then plead with God relentlessly number four count the cost. So I mention this a little bit when I talk about my testimony counting the costs is about. Looking at the Christian life looking at the surrendered life and asking ourselves if we're willing to live that kind of a life. At the edge of surrender Jesus comes to us and proposes marriage. And we joyfully say yes but we're not immediately able to go to the altar. We need some time to think about what we're doing here. Are we really willing to commit until eternity do we parked. Are we willing really willing to give God Every choice. Counting the cost means looking at our life and say what would happen if I gave God that choice and that choice and that choice and that choice got every choice in our lives. It's asking hard questions about the Christian life. Jesus gave two powerful cost cutting illustrations of Scripture you probably remember the one was about building the tower he says for which one of you when he wants to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it otherwise when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish all will observe it and begin to ridicule him saying this man begin to build it was not able to finish now we all remember that that is a powerful cos counting illustration. But that wasn't the only one just to give another one. Right next to it or what King when he set out to meet another king in battle will not person down and consider whether he is drawing up with ten thousand men to counter one communion to twenty thousand or else while the other still away. He sends a delegation asked for terms of peace. So Jesus is trying to teach cost counting here. What was the context of these two illustrations you remember. These two illustrations are sandwiched between two of the most powerful surrender passages in all Scripture. Just before. Just before the tower illustration the verse before Jesus says whoever does not carry his own cross and come after. Me cannot be My disciple and then he starts talking about counting the costs. And then the very verse after the Army one he says. So then none of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions counting the cost is something that God wants us to do with him during the surrender process asking ourselves are we will it really willing to do it because remember surrender is a settled commitment. It's not something you go into and say Oh well hey I forgot about that. That's not going to work. Surrender is a settled commitment. It's a hard fought hard one commitment to give God all of our choices and so counting the cost is looking at our life and asking ourselves What would my life be like if I actually did give God that choice and that choice and that choice. Paul counted the costs. If you want to hear his report. But whatever things were game to me those things I have counted as lost for the sake of Christ more that I count all things to be lost in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but rubbish. So that I may gain Christ. Paul knew all about counting the costs and this is his report counts them all rubbish. He counted the cost and he says hey it's all rubbish compared to Christ and that's where we need to come to so repent. Learn about surrender ask relentlessly count the cost and number five be willing to meet be made willing. Did you know that you are not strong enough to surrender yourself to Christ. Do you know that. You can say Lord I surrender myself to you don't work. We're not strong enough. We don't have the power of choice that is that strong but there is one thing that we can do through our power choice. We are strong enough to say Lord. I am willing to be made willing I choose to let you make me willing we come to Christ and we say you know Lord I know. And to surrender to you. I desperately need it. I want to really but you know I really don't want to bad enough. There's some things that I really don't want to give up just be honest with God say Lord I really don't want to give these up. But you say Lord I am willing to let you make me willing and he's the one who works in us both to will and to do it and that's where being willing to be made willing. A teacher was once telling a story to a group of kids about the rich man and Lazarus remember that parable. And after she shared Christ parable. She asked the children. So which one do you want to be like you want to be like the rich man would want to be like Lazarus and one boy popped up. Hey I want to be like the rich man where I live and less risk when I die right. We want to best of the world and the best of eternity. We want to be both. But that's not what God is calling to us. That's a natural reaction but God is calling us to fully embrace the Lazarus life. Right. The life of self poverty poverty of self. We find over ourself to stop playing deed to Christ and we say Lord I want to be willing. But I'm not. But I will if you make me willing. And that's something that God can do. Because when the will of man cooperate with the will of God It becomes independent. So that's the fifth one willing to be willing and then number six. Another thing that we can do as we cooperate with God in the surrender process is to embrace change. Did you know that when you surrender yourself to Christ things are going to change in your life. Yeah it's good change is good and we have to be willing to recognize that it's going to be a lot of change. But we don't like change. Change is uncomfortable. But change is inevitable. You know as a computer programmer I can tell you from personal experience that programmers do not like change. We want to go in we want to analyze a problem. We want to fix the problem want to create a solution and we want to give the solution to the customer we want to go away but that's not how it works in real life. In real life we go in we look at the problem. We plan a solution. We're halfway through the solution in the customer says oh you know what I forgot about something I really want this too and you know I don't really like that much anymore and more and you know this change process is inevitable in the computer programming life and so we have actually accepted it to the extent that we have created a new project management paradigm called agile programming and the tenant of agile programming is embracing change recognizing that change is inevitable change can be good and so we've actually designed apply a project management paradigm around this idea that change is going to happen. We need to plan for it. We need to include it into the process and we have become agile and as Christians we too need to be agile don't we. We need to recognize that change is inevitable that change is good that change is going to happen. What is scientific ation is something internal that happens without a Harley knowing it. Or is it actually a change in our behaviors right. God is going to be changing our characters and our behaviors to say to the cation side of cation doesn't come to us by osmosis. It's working with God to make changes in our life changes and in eating help more healthfully changes in spending our time more profitably changes in thinking more positively and less Judge mentally all kinds of changes in various areas of our lives working with God to do that. So we need to embrace change recognize that change is coming. You know what God continually. Because us. He never lets lets us go he just keeps pushing us. He never lets a settle. He brings us to one place and says That's great. Now let's go. Keep going keep pushing us. You know most people don't like to go to school and most of my students would rather not be in school. I just tell you that you know you know why they don't like to be in schools because the teacher keep pushing them teachers keep giving them these assignments that are hard. Teachers keep Given these exams that they have to study for teachers keep giving them the respect that they have to research. Teachers are always constantly giving these students a hard time and students are so glad when they get done with schools and done now no more that. Well I've got bad news for you guys. Jesus keeps pushing us. All our life. He's never satisfied. He's easily pleased I heard C.S. Lewis said this. He's easy to please but impossible to satisfy. He keeps on pushing us and and that's OK That's good. We want to be pushed. We want to be sanctified we want to be change but if we don't embrace it. We're going to fight it. The whole way and that's not good. So part of this collaboration and we can do with God in the surrender process is to realize the changes in of all it's going to come and we can work with him in it. Number seven. Focus on Jesus. Now I have to add this one in here. Because even though everything we've been talking about for the last two weekends is about focusing on Jesus right. Loving Jesus with all of our heart mind and soul and strength choosing choices that will make us then joy and delight in Jesus fighting self so that Jesus can be the center of our lives. Everything we've been talking about. God in us the Holy Spirit. It's all about focusing on Jesus but I want to put this one in here because I want to highlight this. Make sure nobody misses it. During the surrender process and of course even. Forever afterwards. Our lives must be lives of focusing on Jesus. What does that mean what does it mean to focus on Jesus. John is a good example John the disciple he beheld the tenderness and forbearance of Jesus and heard his lessons on humility in patients day by day his heart was drawn out to Christ until he lost sight of self in love for his master Don't you want that to happen to lose sight of self in law in love for his master. So focusing on Jesus recognizes that Christ is the answer. That only God can do it. And only we can let him. The challenge is to fight self without focusing on self. Only God can do it. Only we can let him and we do it by choosing his choices over ome as he works in us both to will and to do them. Professor Lewis Swift is a director of the Warner Observatory in Rochester New York and he has a friend named Monday who was almost blind and Professor Swift wanted to show his friend the stars. And so he took his nearly blind friend out into a darkened alley. On a cold winter night. And he pointed it. The telescope at the most brilliant star in the night sky and Monday couldn't see it. I can't see it at that point Dr Dr Swift looked around him and he said oh there's a light over there. I wonder if that's causing problems so I went over to turn the light in the alley off and as soon as he turned the light off. Let me says I see and I see it and Dr Swift learned something that we should all recognize and that is it is hard to focus on Jesus when we are distracted by anything. Jesus. So subtle that we can so easily be distracted our mind can wander or we can have other distractions in the things that we watch or the things that we do on the same day we think say we can be distracted from Jesus it's hard to see him by God's grace. We can help collaborate during this process by looking at our distraction and saying what are the things in my life that distracting me if you want to spend quality time with Jesus. How do you do it. Do you. Wait until the morning. It's seven thirty. You need to be out of the house at eight you wake up at seven thirty and say I want to spend time with Lord. I've got a half an hour to eat and get dressed and get ready for work. Take a shower and all that kind of stuff is that one of the best time to think about spending time with Jesus in the morning. Or you you get up at seven thirty and you have until ten to get to work you've got a lot of time so you sit down in your favorite charity start having worship and then your child wakes up and what do they want when they wake up you want to be seen how old they are but they want to do want to be fair they want to come and talk to you right. There's the distractions. So if you're looking for a time a special time in a special place to spend with Jesus. You need to plan it in advance need to plan a time when you will be alone. When you will have minimal distractions and you will be able to enjoy that time to just focus on Jesus without any distractions and by the way. Another distraction that I tell my students in my students against is this one. You know this is. This is A.D.H. D.. Ever know what A.D.H. D. is. Is a did in addicted least distracting hardware device. And you. Have to. As you plan to spend time with Jesus. You have to look around and turn off all the distractions. It's not going to it's not going to work any other way. So here we have our surrender tool box this is not like I said a comprehensive list. How do we surrender. Like I said conceptually it's very simple you ask for it. The problem is that when you ask for you have to really want it. And that's why it takes the Lord some time to get us to the point of surrender surrender will often take weeks or months. Once we get to the point where we say Lord I really want to surrender. We're going to have to collaborate with God for weeks or months before he gets to a place where we're actually willing to surrender. So don't be discouraged recognize that it takes time. Recognize that you're not going to want it right away that you're not to be willing but when you plead with God to make you willing he changes you so you become willing and like like he did with me unexpectedly at the worst possible time he was able to actually do it and I don't even know I didn't expect it. It came completely out of the blue even though I had been collaborating with him. I've been counting the cost. I've been studying about when I've been doing a lot of these things when it happened. It wasn't me that did it. I woke up with this desire and with this ability with his will to do it. Why did I surrender then at that particular time I don't know it's God who worked in me both to will and to do it but I did collaborate with him and it did take many months for me. Hopefully doesn't take that long for anybody else but to take that long for me and surrender is drowning in the will of God the warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought the yielding of self surrendering all to the will of God is not an easy attainment. And yet it is our privilege and our duty to be a perfect overcomer here. Surrender something that only God can do. He is the atomic bomb that destroys self in your life and mine but we can pull the trigger. By God's grace we can pull the trigger and even if we're not willing to pull the trigger. We can collaborate with God in the process of getting us to the place where we're willing and able to pull the trigger and so what we shared today is some some of the things in that tool box. You can also learn from others and you can prayerfully consider other ways that you can collaborate. But I just want you to know that it is a process. It can be frustrating sometimes it is for some people the most excruciating Lee painful decision they will ever have to make it really is. I can tell you that from personal experience but God if he can get me to the place where I'm actually willing to give him all my choices. I believe he can do for anybody. If you knew me you agree. Let's pray. Heavenly Father thank you so much for the privilege of working with you in this process. Thank you father that you're the atomic bomb just ready and willing and waiting eagerly desiring to go off and that you will is soon as we let you. Father thank You that you can get us to the place every one of us. There is not one person in this room or in this world that you can get to the place where we are truly willing and able to surrender ourselves wholly and fully to you. We thank you for that that is a miracle. And we praise you father for the privilege of surrendering to you. Of giving ourselves wholly to you. So that you can be Almighty God in us Father I pray for these people these dear people here. Pikeville I pray that you will work wonderfully on their hearts and in their minds. I pray that you will teach them surrender and that you will use them to proclaim this. Message to the world around them. That we can. Joyfully give ourselves wholly to Christ to die tour self and be resurrected to a newness of life that is love and joy and peace and patience and goodness and kindness and all the fruits and and the gifts of the Spirit. We thank you so much for these blessings in Jesus' name this media was brought to you by audio verse 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 lead to visit W W W audio verse or.

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