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9.The Joy of Dying

Michael Dant
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The word “surrender” is not a pleasant word for most people. But for Christians, surrender is a good thing! It is throwing ourselves with utter abandon into the arms of the Almighty God. Surrender is dying in the arms of Jesus so that He can live His life in us.

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Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 

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  • November 12, 2016
    11:30 AM
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The joy of dying. The joy of jumping off the cliff of surrender to Jesus I said let me walk in the fields he said no walk in the town I said there are no flowers there he said no flowers but a crown I said but the skies are black there is nothing but noise and didn't and he wept as he sent me back there is more he said there is sin I said but the air is thick and the fog surveilling the sun he answered yet souls are sick and souls in the dark undone. I said I shall miss the light and friends will miss me they say here answered choose to night if I am to miss you or there I pleaded for time to begin he said Is it hard to decide it will not seem hard in heaven to have followed the steps of the guide I cast one look at the field then set my face to the town he said My child do you yield when you leave the flowers for the crown then into his hand went mine and into my heart came he and I walk in the light divine the path I had feared to see. My friends the life of surrender is an ugly life to our nature by nature when we look at the life of self-denial and self-sacrifice that God is calling us to it is a life we fear to see is a life of unrelenting self-denial self-sacrifice discomfort suffering even for the glory of God and the good of others and by nature we look at their life through the sin stained portals of our life and we say that is an ugly life who wants to do it. Even the word surrender has unpleasant connotations you know surrenders what happens to the bad guys right. Surrenders what happens to the losers. The word surrender leaves a bad taste in our mouth but it doesn't have to be that way in the Christian life my friend surrender is a wonderful word in the Christian life because it means throwing ourselves with utter abandon into the arms of the Almighty God. There's no downside there surrender means dying in the arms of Jesus so that we can be resurrected to newness of life in him we can't receive resurrection power unless we're willing to die first surrender is a wonderful word the real irony of this whole thing is that the truly surrendered life is the beautiful life but it looks ugly to us and a life that looks beautiful the life that's to attracting us the worldly way. That's a truly ugly life. It's exactly opposite the way we sometimes see it the life of surrender is one of privilege peace pleasure and power and so very quickly this morning let's look at these four wonderful aspects of this thing that we call surrendering to Jesus Jesus said to his disciples at one point you need to eat my flesh drink my blood member that and remember that a lot of his followers at that time decided that was a little bit radical and they decided that it was time to stop following him Jesus turned to his disciples and he said will you leave me to remember what Peter said Peter said something uncharacteristically profound He said Lord to whom shall we go it's an interesting question Lord to whom shall we go what are other options if we're not walking the narrow way where are we going to be. Lord to who shall we go besides the narrow way what are the choices do we have if we want to peace true pleasure and true freedom we don't have any choice. God's way is awesome God's way is the only good way well this question to whom shall I go has been studied in depth. For you and for me it has been studied by one of the most qualified scientists in all of us history and the results of that study have been given to us today meaningless meaningless says the teacher utterly meaningless everything is meaningless that was our scripture reading this morning how many of you were encouraged by that wonderful scripture reading right. Meaningless meaningless everything's meaningless utterly meaningless what an encouraging Scripture to find in the Bible. It is an encouraging Scripture because this is Solomon's conclusion when he started this question to whom should we go. Everything else is meaningless and fortunately for us Solomon studied this question in depth he says I devoted myself to studying and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven what a heavy burden God has laid on men I have seen all of the things that are done under the sun all of them are meaningless a chasing after the wind to whom shall we go if we don't follow Jesus to whom shall we go Well fortunately for us when God gave Solomon this this question to study he also gave Solomon everything he would need to study it in depth and to study it well the Bible says that God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breath of mind like the sand that is on the sea shore now do you think that a lot of discernment and wisdom like the sand that is on the sea shore would you like to have that. God said to Solomon Behold I have given you a wise and discerning heart so that there has been no one like you before you nor shall one like you arise after you. So Solomon was highly qualified highly qualified to study this question Lord to whom shall we go and it wasn't just the wisdom that God gave song it was also the. Laboratory the Bible describes Solomon's laboratory he says I tried cheering myself with wine and embracing folly my mind still guiding me was wisdom I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. I undertook great projects I built houses for myself and planted vineyards I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them I made reservoir to water grew groves of flourishing trees I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves and who were born in my house I also own more herds and flocks of any wondrous will be for me I am asked Silver and gold for myself and the treasure of kings and provinces I acquired men and women singers and a harem as well the delights of the heart of man I became greater by far than any one interested in before me in all this what happened. My wisdom stayed with me God was equipping Solomon to study this very question. If we don't follow Jesus too now shall we go. So only goes on I deny myself nothing but I desired I refused my heart no pleasure yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve. A lot of it was meaningless so to say this. Everything was meaningless a chasing after the wind nothing was gained under the sun Solomon's conclusion where else shall we go my friends we can know one thing for a fact and that is you and I will never have as much wisdom as Solomon had you and I will never have as much fame in popularity as Solomon had you and I will never have as much wealth or power as Solomon had you will not you and I will not have as much pleasure as Solomon had in everything God gave Solomon all these things in abundance so that Solomon could prove one. Once and for all that even Everything is not enough. Even everything is not enough without God it's all meaningless a chasing after the wind well not being content to take Solomon at his word I did my own research in my own humble way I decided to. Look at the subject and the more that I indulged self the more I became sick and physically mentally emotionally and spiritually weak the more that I indulged self the more I become unmotivated and unfulfilled and unsatisfied. And I came to the same conclusion as Solomon did. So let's look at that conclusion together give you Bibles this morning let's look at ecclesiastics twelve thirteen together clues he asked Is Chapter twelve verse thirteen this is the conclusion of the last chapter in the book of Ecclesiastes days the conclusion of the matter we asked is twelve verse thirteen song and says the conclusion when all has been heard is fear God and keep His commandments because this applies to every person this is this is Solomon's summary statement of all of his research this is what he found through all of this research all of his many many years of research in this important topic this is where Solomon came here God and keep His commandments because this applies to every person it turns out that Peter was right when Jesus asked them when you guys go to Peter said Lord to whom shall we go Peter was right there really was no other option if you want true peace true pleasure true freedom Jesus is the only way there was once an Indian chief. Who a missionary has visited in the try and. To show the the Indian chiefs this way to Jesus and the Indians said I have followed the Indian road all my life I will follow it to the end the chief was not willing to follow Jesus but you know what a short time later the chief was on his deathbed. And he called the missionary to him and he said this can I turn to Jesus road now my road stops here it has no path through the valley. Jesus way is the only way that goes through the valley of death. To Mal Shall we go. To whom else shall we go the chief learns something that each one of us needs to learn. God's way is awesome. God's way is the way to true pleasure true freedom true meaning in life Lord to whom else should we go it is a privilege to jump off this cliff of surrender. And to give ourselves fully to the Almighty God and to enjoy from him the true freedom and satisfaction and meaning and pleasure that comes from God It is one of the greatest privileges that God has ever given us. Watchman he once said this the day that you heard you did not need to die you felt this was a great gospel now in another day you are here and you do not need to love this also is a great gospel is now so true when we found out that we could live for eternity was not a great gospel God saves us he forgives us he Laus us to go to heaven with him and now we're learning after we learn that we might have learned that well yeah but we also need to die to die in Christ in the arms of Jesus that we can be resurrected newness of life this also is agree. The Gospel the privilege the peace the pleasure and the power of surrender and when I put it this way true happiness will be the result of every self-denial every crucifixion of self where else should we go to whom else can we go throwing ourselves with utter abandon into the arms of Jesus is the greatest privilege that God has given mankind but it's not just a privilege it's also the source of the greatest peace peace that passes understanding you can see this picture very well I apologize for that but that's a submarine underwater kids you guys see the submarine and that a cool looking submarine there was this once this submarine captain who went out to do some sea trials on the brand new submarine and he spent I don't remember how many days underwater but when he came back the people at the base were very anxious and they said how in the world did you survive that terrible storm out there on the on the ocean you know what he said. So what storm. What storm one of these so wonderful to be so thoroughly drowned in the will of God that the storms of life passes by and we say what storm. What storm. To be so fully drowned in Jesus. That. We have nothing to fear nothing to be anxious about nothing to worry this is the peace that passes understanding that the Bible talks about this incredible piece of being giving ourselves to Jesus Holy I had. By the way have you ever noticed how when you don't own something that you don't worry about it as much you ever notice that I had some friends who had a house that was sinking literally their foundation was sinking and it was causing cracks in her walls and causing all kinds of problems and they had it investigated they realized it was going to cost thousands of thousands of dollars to fix the foundation and then they. To go and redo a lot of the house and it was just a real mess and you know I felt really bad for them and I empathize with them but I remember thinking and said out loud but I remember thinking Boy I'm glad that's not my house. But I'm glad that's not my house you know there's a certain freedom to not owning anything. Because then we don't have to worry about it there is a certain freedom in giving all of ourselves all of our possessions all of our lives every cent of our money every cent apps of our brain every cell of our body ever see every cent of our money and every second of our time there's something very freeing about that to give it all completely to God There was once a missionary named James Calvert and he and a group of missionaries were going to Fiji to live among the treacherous cannibals there and on the way as they were going up this river the captain of the boat that was taking them said You guys are fools to go you're going to die out they're going to kill you you know what James Calvin said. He said we died before we came here. We die before we came here is not a wonderful thing they can't take my life I've already died. It's a wonderful thing to surrender to Jesus do you have fear in your life about anything. Do you have fear about your health about your finances you know fear about anything maybe it's because you haven't let go of it maybe because you haven't dropped it off the cliff of surrender and then went joyfully leaping after it into the arms of Jesus that is why Andrew Murray says that God is ready to receive assume full responsibility. For the life wholly yielded to him another wonderful thought God is ready to assume full responsibility. To the life every part of the life that is holy yielded to him. So that means if the floods come and you see your house floating down the street. You can say Oh Lord look your house is floating down the street. There when the fires come. And your house is burning down. You can say wow Lord that's interesting your house is on fire. If we get into a car wreck and we lose our only means of transportation we say Lord this is going to be interesting because I don't know how you're going to solve this problem but your car is gone now. We're diagnosed with stage four terminal inoperable cancer. We can say while I'm sure glad this body is yours because it was mine I'd be panicking right about now isn't it wonderful to give God everything all of ourselves it is a great privilege and it is a source of incredible peace sometimes we think of the yoke of Christ as a burden but it is not it is not a burden it is a privilege to be held close to the Almighty God Where else do you want to be. Think of it if you had your choice to be anywhere at all would you rather be anywhere than held close to the God of eternity the God who is in charge of the whole universe where else would you want to be it's a great privilege to be yoked to him so surrendering ourselves to God. Is one of the greatest privileges of the Christian life and it gives us peace peace that passes understanding peace that is in comprehensible is the peace that God wants to give us remember that all things work together for what good what peace what Joy what pleasure it is to know that all things work together for for good for those who love God are called according to his privilege so his pleasure the privilege of surrender we looked at we look at the peace that comes from surrender now let's look at the pleasure of surrender a. Man who had newly converted was talking to his friend he says Well Jack old fellow I hear that you've given up all. All your pleasures No no said the friend the fact lies all the other way I have just found all my pleasures and have given up only all my follies. That's what it is that's what's render is we often think of surrendered to God to give up all my. What you name it fill in the blank. And yet it's actually finding. It's actually finding true freedom and satisfaction and meaning and motivation and pleasure it's actually finding all these things when we give them all to Jesus sometimes it's hard to remember that God is the one who invented pleasure right God So one vent to the whole concept of pleasure the Psalmist didn't forget he says you will make known to me the path of life in your presence with fullness of joy in your hand there are pleasures for ever before I gave God my diet I used to enjoy spring foods that were quite spicy not hot spicy but just you know the spices and things and after I gave God my diet he began to convict me that I needed to to get back to a more wholesome simple diet and I noticed something interesting when I did that did you know that there are actually subtle but really good flavors of food underneath the spices. That you know that I didn't know that was new to me well this today actually has flavor Who knew right it's the same way with a Christian life. The devil's trying to overstimulate our lives so that we do not recognize and enjoy the subtle flavors of life and the subtle flavors of God and His Word. God's way is to truly satisfying pleasurable way subtle God's pleasures are usually more subtle but they're much more meaningful and much more satisfying you know God the one who invented our tastebuds he's the one that gave us the ability to have pleasure in what we eat didn't know and. He is the one that gave us all these wonderful foods that we can get that pleasure from he is the one who gave us all of our senses use the one that makes it possible for us to feel the caress of the wind on our skin and to feel the sun warming up our bodies. God is the one who invented sexual pleasure that is physical and emotional bonding that God knew would be so important for in the marriage relationship God is the one who invented our brains and gave us the ability to have pleasure in joy a good story all these things God is the one who invented it. The problem is is that for every good thing that God has invented the devil has a counterfeit and the devil's counterfeit are unhealthy and unsatisfying usually the devil's counterfeits are more stimulating at least at first but they're always unhealthy and unsatisfying. God is a God of balance. You see this in his balance of justice with mercy you see this in how he created the earth and how close it is to the sun close enough to get the heat but far enough away citizen fry you see the balance of God in the night and day that he created you see the balance of God in body chemistry and in the bilateral symmetry of the arms and legs you see God's balance through out nature God is a God of balance which means if God is the God of balance and guess what the devil going to try to unbalance us right the devil is the M balancing factor in our life and you know the devil has become so successful at unbalancing us that when somebody comes back to the Lord and surrenders their life to Him and God balances him he looks unbalanced to the rest of the world even those around him in the church sometimes. Abnormal has become the new normal to the point when we actually become aligned with God We look unbalanced. Take for example of this unbalanced sugar how we live every sugar cane chairs and sugar cane. It's good stuff isn't it this is a little bit sweet it's not really overly sweet it's got a lot of fiber in it it's very difficult if not impossible to over do sugar came. You try to eat too much of it you can get a job that's going to take before you overdo the sugar probably but take the sugar cane and condense it refine it and process it to the point where becomes table sugar and when you have something that is now intrinsically unbalanced and now in just one or two bites of a candy bar you can flood your system with sugar. That's what the devil does he takes the good thing of God and he condenses it refines it artificial eyes it and processes that to make it more stimulating but unsatisfying and unhealthy. They for example choose. God gave us milk to drink at least for babies right it's a good thing but take that milk and condense it refine it artificial eyes and process it to the point where it becomes almost pure fat and it's really good ol admit but it's intrinsically imbalanced. That is where the last things that we need in our diet did you know that food manufacturers actually study how to make food addicting and unsatisfying at the same time that's a perfect profit margin for them right that's that that's the perfect scenario addicting but unsatisfying how many of you find it easy to eat just one potato chip that's not a coincidence folks that's science their science behind that and it's not just food that the devil tries on balance take movies for example there is enough drama action and romance in one two hour movie to last a lifetime but it's condensed it's refined it's artificial eyes this process is put into a movie. And it actually over stimulates us. And makes it hard for us to enjoy the subtle pleasures of the real life scenario right not the Indiana Jones life the real life the devil is trying to make it hard for us to enjoy the real life we are told that there is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination and to destroy religious impressions and to blunt the relish for the title pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. That's what the devil want to do look at this he wants to poison our imagination he wants to destroy our religious impression and most of all he want to blunt our relish for the tranquil pleasures the Devils try to do. It's not a. Bad Thing to give up worldly pleasure there's no downside to going God's way his way is awesome all the time. She goes on to say the love for these scenes increases with every indulgence as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use so God is a God of balance and the devil is trying to unbalance us in any way he possibly can the world is unbalanced it tries to condense refine artificial eyes and process the good things of God to the point where they become unsatisfying and unhealthy and difficult to enjoy the good things that God has given us Providence has been leading the people of God out from the extravagant habits of the world away from the adulterants of appetite and passion to take their stand upon the platform of what. Self-denial. And temperance and all things the people whom God is leading will be peculiar they will not be like the world with a lavish hand God has provided us with rich and varied bounties for our sustenance and what and. Joy meant God wants us to enjoy the food we eat but in order for us to enjoy the natural appetite which will preserve health and prolong life he restricts the appetite he says beware restrain deny a natural appetite my friend self-denial is not a bad thing self-denial is simply going God's way over our own natural way. By nature I want to eat these things that I know are not healthy God says No eating healthy things so when I'm saying OK Lord I'll go your way that's denying self there's no downside to that self-denying is a privilege it's a blessing to give ourselves wholly to God Just like when you eat a donut before drinking orange juice what happens to the orange juice that makes it sour that's what the devil is trying to do to us in our spiritual life he's trying to overstimulate us so that we cannot enjoy and relish the spiritual things that God has given us the subtle meaningful pleasures of life. But those who in everything make God first and last and best are the happiest people in the world. Those who in everything make God first and last and best are the happiest people in the world that's a key phrase it's more let's all read that together out loud showing those who in everything make God first and last and best are the happiest people in the world my friends God is the God of pleasure he's the one who invented it he knows how to give it to you. But his pleasure alone is healthy and satisfying. The devil's way is not. The bad news is that by nature we are attracted to the delves way. And that's why it's so wonderful to surrender our selves to God Surrender doesn't have to be a bad word surrender is a life of privilege of peace and of pleasure but it's also a life of power Let's look now very quickly at the power of surrender. By nature we don't we're not attracted to surrender we're not attracted to self. Niall's self-sacrifice and discomfort in affliction we're not attracted that at all but the power of surrender is that God can get us to that place where we truly relish the life of self-denial think about that for a minute. That's a supernatural power something we can't do for ourselves God's power truly transforms us to neighbors to relish God's way rather than our own sinful nature way did you know that salt is poisonous to ninety eight percent of the plants on this earth ninety eight percent of the plants on this earth will die if you put salt in their soil. That's a lot of plants. It penetrates their cells and upsets the delicate ion balance in them they shrivel up and die but there is a very small number of plants on this earth that not only tolerate salty soil but thrive in it in fact if you look at a graph of how much salt was in their soil at the point where they are thriving The most other plants are dead they truly thrive on Salty conditions their peak fitness is that sodium levels to kill other plants these flowers are called Hello fights which means literally in Latin salt plants hallow fights there's a third group of plants besides the the the one to die and salt and the how if I too love and thrive in salt there's a third group of plants that scientists have found there called the fault is these plants live in salty conditions but they don't thrive on salt they avoid it they're also called SALT avoiders what they do is they filter the salt out at the roots so that never gets in their their systems or if it does get in they pump it right back out again to the pores in the stems they are salt avoiders salt tolerate or. As lukewarm Christians today we can compare ourselves to those falls Halla fights we want to thrive on Gods. Will and we may even seem to thrive on God's will but a lot of times deep down we are avoiding God's will we are merely tolerating God's way. But God's plan for us is to transform us so that we are true Halla fights true salt lovers so that we thrive. In this life of self-denial self-sacrifice following Jesus wherever he goes that is the power of surrender the power of God to convert us so that we become truly salt loving Christians like the Psalms we can say Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart commit your way to the Lord that's the surrender trust also in him he will do it that's the power of God in the surrendered life when we get out of his way and let him be Almighty God in us He transforms us in ways that we cannot imagine in supernatural ways. The Psalms goes on I delight to do your will oh my god your law is written in my mind. That it says. No they know the law of God It's in their mind but where else is it it's in their hearts and the hardest This is the root of the law of the relationship right God wants His law to be not only our minds but also in our heart he wants us to desire to do it he wants us to relish his will and that's what he's promising to do for us I shall the light in your commandments which I love the Sama says and like the way I like the way Jeremiah puts it he says Your words were found and I ate them and your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart that is the miracle of transformation that God can produce in your life and mine the supernatural power to help us to actually delight in this ugly light. Yes the life that looks ugly to us as synth with our sinful nature God is able to truly transform that so that we become. So that we see we start thinking of it as a beautiful life that we realize how beautiful and how much of a privilege it is and how much power and peace and pleasures in this life that God wants for us God can transform us to that place so we've looked at the privilege of surrender the peace of surrender the pleasure of surrender and the power of surrender there is nothing more wonderful then dying in the arms of Jesus. That is the privilege of being yoke to him held close to the almighty gun there is nothing more peaceful then given gone all of us in every aspect of our life we have nothing to worry about it's all been given to God There is nothing more pleasurable more satisfying more enjoyable more meaningful than the pleasure that God gives us the true subtle meaningful pleasures and the power of God to convert us to get us to that place where we enjoy the quote unquote of life and we relish it delighting in the Almighty God in the context of surrender my friends in the context of Christianity surrender is not a dirty word surrender is a wonderful thing it is dying in the arms of Jesus it is being yoked to him held close to the Almighty God Where else would you want to be Lord to whom else shall we go it is throwing ourselves and with her abandon into the arms of God then into his hand went mine and into my heart came he and I walk in a like divine the path I had feared to see. My friends I my prayer for each one of us in this room right now is that we are all living that life the joyful life of dying holy to self. If you have not surrendered yourself to Jesus. I encourage you to think seriously about it. Where else can we go if we want true pleasure and true freedom and true meaning and satisfaction motivation all the good things of God Also way where else can we go I encourage you to think about this seriously and ask God to get you to the place where you are willing and able to make that leap of surrender Yes it's a scary leap Yes it's a leap of faith but it is a leap that God can and can work in you to. Make and to relish it if you are surrendered if you are enjoying this joyful pleasurable meaningful. Life then share it tell everybody you can about the blessings the pleasures the joys of giving yourself wholly to Christ because this is the message that we need to hear we need people to understand how wonderful Jesus is and how wonderful his power is and how much of a joy it is to die in his arms let's pray Heavenly Father God thank you so much so much for the privilege of giving ourselves holy to you what a joy what incredible peace. What pleasure you give us thank you so much for the power of transformation the supernatural power of transformation that you are ready and willing to work in each one of our hearts if we will let you. Do that for each person in this room today. And we will open ourselves up to you and let you be Almighty God in us as we have never done before. We enjoy you to the fullest. Thank you 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 leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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