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10. Staying Dead

Michael Dant
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Becoming wholly surrendered to Jesus is one of the most difficult and important commitments that we will ever make. And once it happens, the hard part has just begun. Now, by God’s grace and power we must stay surrendered. Only God can do it, only we can let Him.

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Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 

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  • November 19, 2016
    11:30 AM
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Staying dead John Sung who would one day become one of China's greatest evangelists had a dream and in this dream he saw himself lying in a casket and God seemed to say to him John the song is dead dead to self but alive to Christ but the dream didn't stop there for Soon the corpse began to stir and as it moved John's sense the angels begin to weep and so he cried out he said don't we I mean jewels I will remain dead to the world and a law and live only for Christ my friends when we become surrendered to Jesus it's a hard thing but once we become surrendered to Jesus are we once surrendered always surrendered what you think doesn't really doesn't really clicked as it know in fact some in some ways maintaining our surrender is even more difficult than getting there in the first place the good news is is that while we are maintaining surrender we're not doing it on our own power we didn't come to Jesus in our own power we're not going to stay there in our own power Paul says to this and I labor struggling with all his energy but as I say his energy we are struggling yes it's a struggle but we are struggling with whose energy his energy. Which so powerfully works in me that's the promise of God that his energy will recover fully in US entering the small gate of surrender is hard and Jesus says to you there be that find it so it's important that we surrender our lives to Jesus staying on that narrow way with him is also difficult and so what we're going to talk about this afternoon are some practical things that can help us to stay on the road and I'm going to share with you my surrender meltdown. OK not a pretty picture but I'm going to share with you a little bit of my testimony it is so easy for us just to settle just for our passion for Christ to come. Just you know day by day just a little bit we lose it we lose it we lose it we become from hot to lukewarm without even knowing it and so we have to keep the surrender going. The reason that we have not more of the spirit and power of God with us is that we what we. Feel too let's reduce all together all the red part there too well satisfied with ourselves. With ourselves. She goes on to say there is a marked tendency among those who are converted to the truth to make a certain measure of advancement and then settle down. I hate those words those words should should cause terror in our hearts that we would settle down from this passion that God has given us into a state as to liberty we're no further progress is attained my friend in some ways time is on the devil side because the devil doesn't care for surrender as long as he can slowly get us out of it without us hardly even knowing it becoming surrender is difficult it can be one of the most challenging experiences of our life but staying surrendered is also challenging we must fight that settling. And the consequences of losing our surrender is pretty tragic in fact the Bible says that for if after they have a scape the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ they are again in tangled in them and are overcome right the last state has become worse for them than the first so staying surrendered is important we don't want that our last state to be worse than the first. The bad news is that when we die to self self doesn't die that's the bad news sorry to say that when we die to self self doesn't die it is relegated to the dungeons is taken off the throne of our life is relegated to the dungeons the self doesn't die it calls out to us and guess what by nature we are attracted to self we want self to be on the throne we are addicted to selfish choices. By nature and all we have to do for self to get back on the throne is to neglect to maintain that surrender that God has brought us to hell my says that there are those who for a time are successful in the struggle against their selfish desire for pleasure and ease they are sincere and earnest but grow weary of protracted effort of daily death of ceaseless turmoil indolence seems inviting death to self repulsive and they close their drowsy eyes and fall under the power of temptation instead of resisting it. It's so easy for us to get to that place where we close our drowsy eyes by God's grace we need to fight that that inclination so I'm going to share with you my personal testimony it's embarrassing and it's not pretty like I said but I think it's important for me to to share with you what happened to me so that you can either take courage for a mint or you can learn from it to avoid the same mistake that I made four years four years after my surrender to Jesus I walked out of surrender and I didn't knowingly I did it on purpose. And it was my own fault I begin to do something that the Bible explicitly warns us not to do in proverbs we read Do not let your heart envy sinners but live in the fear of the Lord always when I surrendered my life to Jesus he miraculously transformed my life and gave me victory over many of the sins that I had that would be seven sins to me that I had not been able to get victory over he gave me victory over all those and I shared with those I shared with you last time some of those victories over food for me and all movies things like that. I had many be setting sins and bad habits in my life and God gave me the victory over them but over time I began to lose the the joy of that victory I began to lose the big picture I begin to think you know my fellow Evan is here. Is a Christian he's a good person he's watching movies all he wants doesn't hurt him you know this guy over here is eating pizza and i love pizza I'd love to go back and do that again even though I know it's not healthy for me to do. So I begin to envy sinners I begin to think oh wow you know these guys around me they're all doing it why can't I do it and that is a very unhealthy place to get I remember distinctly This is a terrible story to share this I was I was in a conference in Seattle Washington and I was walking down the street on a walk between the convention and there was this homeless guy sitting there on the side of the street and I begin to say wow what a life and then you a pop to my mind you will not believe a popped into my mind well at least you can watch movies if he wants to. Where in the world that are come from you know God to give me the victory or movies I was happy with that movies movies were like stealing pleasure for me where did that come from I began to envy centers and my friends that is not a good idea it is a bad place to go so over time I had forgotten the miracle of transformation I had lost my joy in what Jesus had done for me little by little a little it took four years for this to happen. I was actually living in a first class Christian relationship with Jesus and I began to look back in coach class and wonder what I was missing back there. Yeah I know that's the nature of sinful nature I hope I'm not the only person the world has that problem but anyway so this is how it happened this is how my downfall happened didn't happen all at once there was video games I really like to play and it was one of those things that I had given God when I gave them all my choices I said this video game is not really that harmful is not really that evil or anything it just took a lot of time and I begin to realize that this time was better spent on other things and I also realized that playing the video game made it harder for me to enjoy the Bible because the video games exciting but the but the Bible is more deeply satisfying but not as exciting. So when you have these stimulating things it makes it harder to enjoy scripture so I gave God that choice and I began to not play that game or any video game and that was great God was good well there came a time when some relatives came to visit me and they had children and we had children and we were wondering what we could do on Saturday night together you know so going to be fun for the whole family get together kind of camaraderie team building experience you know and this game actually works perfect for that this game is a multiplayer game you can do over the Internet together you can all work together it's really a cool game except that I had given God this game for good reasons he had taken it from me and I was glad to give it to him but now I said to myself oh well you know it's just a little thing it won't be that big of a problem we'll just play it while they're here you know all these rationalizations well when they left I didn't stop playing. I kept on playing the game and my conscience really got me and the more I played it the more my conscience got me in the more I thought that conscience I began a very quick slide down you know if I'm if I'm already disobeying God in this in this video game in mind to eat the food that I'm I want to enjoy you know and that just lead to something else that will lead to something else you open one little gate to the devil he's going to come in and do all they could put to God Is want to do in your life if you leave a crack open for the devil he will slither through and he will get in he will try to destroy you and guess what member that wonderful verse I share with you last time submit therefore to God resist the devil he will see from you James four seven guess what didn't work any more I tried to resist the devil didn't work why. Was the first part levers submit therefore to God that was gone I had stopped submitting I had actually known chosen bad choices in my life and all of a sudden I was powerless that's how it works you must submit before you can resist the devil and have the devil flee from you well God. Do not give up on me and you know I didn't even give up on God I knew that I was outside of surrender but I wanted back in I knew that I didn't really want that bad enough yet I was still enjoying my my game and my own healthy food. But you know what. God kept working on me God kept working on me. He made me unhappy and unsatisfied with my life he he helped me to begin to miss his goodness and his blessings. And there came a time when my craving for God. Became again greater than my craving for the world and I resubmitted my life to Christ and he got hold of me and he took good care of me that's not the only surrender meltdown ever had but they're but they have happened a couple times are very rare but we have to watch out for those we have to watch out for those very carefully surrender requires constant upkeep we cannot even step to the littlest bit on Satan's ground there was once this group of students who wanted to visit a coal mine and they had this grisly old miner who was going to give them this tour of this coal mine and one of the girls wore this white dress beautiful white dress and she said to the guide to the coal miner is it OK for me to wear this white dress down there and he said this he said there's nothing to keep you from going down there with a white dress but there's considerable to keep you from coming back with a white dress. You know it's that way when we step on the Devil's ground we may be pure but there's nothing there's no way we're going to come back to your. There's no way we're going to come back white We're going to be tarnished by the Devils ground is the way it happens we let down our guard the devil we go in his ground at all we're not going to come back pure I had a friend once who quit smoking he was converted he quit smoking it was. Easy for him great after a couple years or so I remember how long it was he was a man this is so great I don't really want to smoke anymore in fact it's kind of sickening to even think about he said himself I wonder what it would be like if I tried to smoke again. Thirty eight years later he was still trying to quit again. We cannot we cannot give the devil even an inch my friends I've talked about several temptations in my life in my friend's life what are you each one of you has this area in your life that the devil would love to get you to step over onto his ground consider what that is think about it what is it that the devil's going to try to trip me up on because he will try he's going to set up the perfect scenario to get you and if you're not maintaining your surrender by the some of the things we'll be talking about if you're not staying close to the Savior you're going to give in time can be your enemy do you remember disguised name King David. Wasn't he a wonderful guy there is something that the Bible says about him if you have your Bibles with me it was your turn to X. thirteen oh man this is incredible X. thirteen. I would love to if God can say something like this about me X. thirteen vs twenty one to twenty two. It says then they asked for a king and God gave them so all the son of Kish a man of the tribe of Benjamin for forty years after he had removed him he raised up David to be their King concerning whom he also testified to God testifying I have found David the son of Jesse a man after my own heart who will do what all my will I have found David to be a man after my own heart who will do all my will is another wonderful statement wouldn't you love it if God said that about you. And yet David became an adulterer and a murderer. God said that David became an adulterer and a murder he stole the man's wife and then he stole of life's what happened how could a man after God's own heart do such a terrible thing well it was an insidious gradual Letting Go of God we were told that when in ease and self security he let go his gold his hold upon God David yielded to Satan and brought upon his soul the stain of guilt my friends the Christian life is like an airplane by the way kids do you know did you know that airplanes are one of the few modes of transportation that can't go backwards or thought about that I mean cars go backwards trains go backwards ships go backwards airplanes don't go backwards most of them what would happen if an airplane tried to go backwards. Right what would happen if an airplane started started to stop in midair. Right it's like a brick don't work airplanes have to go forward or they crash it's the same way of the Christian life Christians have to go forward or the crash they have to keep on moving forward and upward or the crash. And that's something I wish I had understood a long time ago we must also avoid the pit that David fell into Let none feel that their way needs no changing those who decide us are not fitted to engage in the work of God for they will not feel the necessity of pressing constantly toward a higher standard. That didn't sound easy does it pressing constantly toward a higher standard making continual improvement none can walk safely unless they are distrustful of self and are constantly looking to the Word of God studying it with willing heart to see their own errors and to learn the will of God rule of Christ and praying that it may be done in and by and through them this is God's Will we're talking about they show that their confidence is not in themselves but in Christ they whole. The truth is a sacred treasure able to sanctify and be fine and they are constantly seeking to bring their words and ways into harmony with its principles they fear and tremble like the way she puts this they fear and Trimble less something savoring of self will be idolized they are always seeking to subdue self to put away everything that savors of it and to supply the place with the meekness and loneliness of Christ my friends whatever it takes we must avoid letting ourselves sink into that pit of ease and self security we must have this healthy fear and trembling lest anything savoring of self shall be idolized. No worldly desire no craving for comfort nothing must let us. Be separated from Jesus no seemingly harmless entertainment no cherished thought nothing must be allowed to lawless into complacency there needs to be a continual effort to not only maintain our surrender but to grow in it all the time so I'd like to share with you now five practical things that can help you in your life to maintain that surrender once God get you to the point. Of surrender yourself fully to him five powerful activities the first one is to plead relentlessly with God remember pleading with God was one of the ways that you got to surrender the first place do you guys believe that God wants you to be surrendered to Him You gotta know he does right there's nothing he wants more than to be Almighty in you and me why do we plead with God to give us something we already long for what he already longs for why do we have to plead with God The reason is because the more we ask for it the more we want it God isn't trying to we're not trying to convince God he's trying to convince us I mean we're asking him for what he needs to really get us to the place where we really want it so that it comes to the point where we want it worse we want more than we want. Arce selfish nature and then God will give give us victory over it so Number Two seek healthy paranoia did you know that it is OK to be paranoid if the world really is out to get you. It is my friends the devil goes around like a what roaring lion he is out to get you be paranoid it's OK to be paranoid the world and the devil really are out to get you. Hollywood they make all these great movies they make you feel good. They're out to get you there are to make money they're not out to help you. Have you ever walked into a grocery store and looked at all the colorful inviting packages and realized that probably eighty percent of the food is not fit for human consumption every thought about that you know the devil is trying to get us to buy all these unhealthy things men affected you know that our economy depends on us buying unhealthy things. That's how our economy works. We need to have this constant godly tension with the world this constant godly tension that is pulling us away from the world and pulling us towards juices Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us Paul says Let us also live side every incumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with and Durrance the race that is set before us. Every one who could beat in the games exercises self-control and all things they then do to receive it perishable relief but we and imperishable therefore this is Paul talking this is practical here you guys therefore I run such a way as not without name I box in such a way as not beating the air but I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others I myself will not be disqualified Paul here is talking about intentional growth intentional self-denial to keep. Self under control that's number two number three Avoid rationalization you guys know rationalization kids you guys know that big word means rationalization it means trying to make our will into God's will trying to convince ourselves that the way we want to do things is God's will that's what rationalization is and we are told that the reason many in this age of the world make no greater advancement in the divine life is because they interpret the will of God to be just what they want to do while following their own desires they flatter themselves that they are conforming to God's Will these have no conflicts with self my friend that's a bad place to be that's a very sad place to be to have no conflicts with self. Benjamin Franklin you guys will love the story Benjamin Franklin tells a story about one time when he rationalized and he writes it like this he said in my first voyage from Boston they were in a sailing boat what bit back then they didn't have those big ships with the engines and the steam and all that kind of stuff this is a sailing ship they were becomed Off the Block Island which means they had no women or sail so they were just certain there are people set about catching Cod and hauled up a great many headed to I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food and on this occasion I considered my I considered with my master try on the taking of every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder since none of them had or ever could do us any injury that might justify the slaughter OK So here was a guy who had this conviction that he was not going to eat fish because he didn't think that it was justifiable to slaughter them OK we may agree we may not but the idea is still the same he had this conviction so guess what happened all the same very reasonable but I had formerly been a great lover of fish OK this is herself started coming in right and when this came hot out of the frying pan is smelt admirably well that's us a nice. Nice way of saying it. I balanced some time between principle and inclination till I recollected that when the fish were opened I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs then thought I if you eat one another I don't see any reason why I might not even do. So I dined upon car Cod very heartily and continued to eat with other people returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet Benjamin Franklin this was his story of rationalization he got as he had to sympathize with the poor guy I mean you know they're hungry they're setting they're not doing anything they've got this wonderful source of food it's tempting him he wants to find a reason why he can give in and he does but that's not the best part is what he says after this he says this. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do and that true we are reasonable creatures and we can if we try hard enough find a reason to do what we want to do. I want to heard a story of probably fictitious but it was such a good story I have to share it this guy wanted to lose weight he asked the Lord if it was his will that he don't know because he loved the donuts. And so he said to the Lord if you don't want me to eat donuts then don't let there be any parking spaces at the donut shop when I drive by on my way to work. Guess what it turns out God did want him to eat donuts because every time he went by the shop there was a parking spot miraculously there is a parking spot now sometimes he had to drive around the block the block fifteen or twenty minutes but he always found a parking slot right he was able to find a way to rationalize his way to those donuts it's the same with the Christian life so please relentlessly with God. Angel wrestling prayer don't let God go until he blesses you be paranoid of the world and the devil because they are out to get you and avoid trying to make what you want to do guy. We'll rationalization The fourth thing is practice self-denial self-denial is a great privilege. And we'll be talking more about it in our next presentation but self-denial keeps us from the settling thing you know so easy for us to settle over time but self-denial gives us practice practical application in the self-denial keeping self you know under control by God's power. In our diet by the way we have built in self-denial that you know that yeah we'll talk more about that later but the best self-denial is self-denial for the good of others laying aside the heavy burdens of worldly care and perplexity and take his yoke which is self-denial and sacrifice for the good of others do you ever wonder what Christ ocus itself denial and sacrifice for the good of others. One reason for my OK So that of them or for the self that I will talk more about that like I said the next presentation but the fifth thing that we can do practical thing that we can do is to praise God One reason for my surrender meltdown was that I had begun to forgot to forget what God had done for me I had started to lose sight of the miracle of transformation that God performed in my life and that's because I was not spending enough time producing him praise God Praise Him in your prayers praise Him in your singing praise and all you can remember what he has done remember what he is doing because praise can help with keep us from settling sometimes it's easy for us as humans to say the grass is always greener where. Other side of the fence you know where the grass is green asst for the surrendered Christian right where they are for the surrender Christian right were God has put them is where the grass is greener you can depend on that I. I was neck deep in the green as grass around and I was looking for other green grass and I was made no sense so practice praise. Spend quality and quantity time praising God every day. So maintaining surrender is not easy it's our natural tendency to two to settle and like an airplane we can't we have to keep on going forward otherwise we will we will crash this is not a comprehensive list of ways to keep from selling but it's a good start plead with God relentlessly seek healthy paranoia avoid rationalization practice godly self-denial practice praise these are all ways and there are others and I hope that you are creative in finding these ways that we can practice that we can keep from settling and maintain this love relationship with Jesus each of us has our own way of struggling with this this is my personal story you may have a completely different story but the devil will get us any way we can and Jesus will keep us any way he can all we have to do is let him let's pray Heavenly Father thank you so much that we could become surrender to you in that we can let you be Almighty God in our life and thank you father that you can keep us that way that you can keep us abiding with you in the center of your will there is no better place to be thank you so much Father for that blessing we pray that you will teach us how to do that and that you will help us to become experts at maintaining surrender through your grace your power through your wisdom we thank you for these blessings in Jesus' name amen this media was brought to you by audio for years a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about the universe or if you would like to listen to more sermon. 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