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Drowning In the Will of the Almighty

Michael Dant


Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 




  • April 7, 2018
    11:30 AM
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Oh heavenly father we just so desperately need you we can't do this we can't know what to say we can't say it right we can't get to the hearts and minds father only you can do it so we desperately need your help and we plead for your help this morning we thank you for it in Jesus' name amen. Karl Grant was representing the United States at a soccer Japan for a table to table tennis tournament and the evening before the tournament began he was out there in the area where they were having the ping pong tables and things and he was he struck up a conversation with one of the the people from the Chinese delegation and as they were talking you know they were kind of bantering back and forth and you know they decided hey you know it's not a competition at the start tomorrow let's just play a game together see how things go and you know what called me and said to himself as I don't care if this is official or not I'm going to beat this guy right because this is a guy from the Chinese delegation and if you don't know about the table tennis the Chinese sometimes are the best players in all the world and so he said I'm going to do everything I can to beat this player tonight and he put all of this energy and all of his effort and all of his expertise and all of his training he put it all into that one little game and he just barely got a whim. And he was so happy he went back to his players his teammates and he said you know what I just played a game with one of the guys from the Chinese delegation and I won. And you know what they said. About it. You're just not that good he said No no I did I really did and so the next day to prove it he took his team over to where the Chinese were getting ready and he said hey guys I played one of you last night and I won and my teammates don't believe me so he just help me out here OK And so the guy he was talking to says well who was it and he said well I don't see him here yet but all of their years and at that very moment the guy was walking towards. The team and the Chinese player says oh yeah fast Mr Chen He's our cook. My friends and so laughs at us in our efforts to beat it we cannot conquer self we may die to self and my friends self does not die. When self is taken off the throne of our life it is relegated to the deepest dungeons but it still calls out cries out I want to be reinstated on the throne and even getting off the throne is impossible for us we can't do it self laughs at us. Self is intertwined around every fiber of our being we are addicted to selfishness to selfish ways. That is why everyone who enters the pearly gates of the City of God will enter there as a conqueror and his greatest conquest will have been the conquest of self in that amazing statement. So how can we fight self that's what we're here to answer this morning how can we fight self the answer is given by Jesus to make could be missed very short and clear and concise that which is born of the flesh is flesh that which is born of the Spirit is spirit in other words you cannot patch up your old self and fix it. Doesn't work that which is born of the flesh will always be flesh the key. To getting a victory over self has to be a transformation a miraculous supernatural transformation of the Holy Spirit. And that makes sense you know a lot of ways me think about it you before we give ourselves wholly to God we are walking the broad road we are the Holy Spirit is working on us but the Holy Spirit has limited access to us because of our free will but when we are converted when we give ourselves whole went to God then the Holy Spirit is no longer just working on us he is dwelling and working in us and is the devil who has limited access to us and the difference is transformational. I mean which meant in him and his. American friend were standing at Niagara Falls and the American sense of Englishman hey you know what would you like to see the greatest and use power in the world today and it was Mrs shirtless let's let's see that so they went down the stairs to the bottom of the falls and they looked up at this massive wall of water pouring over those fall in America says that my friend is the greatest unused power in the world today and you know what the Englishman said. He said No my friend the greatest unused power in the world today is the Holy Spirit Of The Living God. And the best all true is it is still true the greatest the news power in the world today is the Holy Spirit Of The Living God trying to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit is like trying to start a long war without a spark of it without death is not going to happen in fact what you going to end up doing is end up sore and frustrated. My friends if you are sore and frustrate in the Christian life this may be the problem trying to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit is like trying to fly by flapping your legs. A caterpillar can do it and you can do it if you want to fly what is a caterpillar have to do in order to fly it needs to die and be transformed into something that flies naturally. Our sinful nature is the problem. And Jesus the Holy Spirit whaling in us is the only answer OK so I told you nothing you don't already know. You already knew this this is come. I'm in knowledge so the question then becomes OK OK we need the Holy Spirit we knew that thank you but let's go on what are we going to do to get the Holy Spirit how in the world is it going to happen we're not seeing the Holy Spirit poured out with power in our lives even personally today and we can and we should why not this group is perhaps one of the most common questions that we have about the Christian life how can I be filled with the Holy Spirit. And the answer is very simple the answer is if you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit you must be emptied of self. That's it the only prerequisite for receiving the Almighty God into our life so that he can be Almighty God in us is to let him is to get out of his way and let Almighty God be almighty God that's a prerequisite That's it of course it's a lot harder than it sounds. So I'd like to share with you three main principles of the Christian life first self is the problem we saw that last night Second the Holy Spirit is the solution we all knew that server. Surrender is the key. Self is the problem the Holy Spirit is the solution and surrender is the key but. We cannot even surrender ourself by ourselves in fact there is a principle I'd like you to learn and like you to memorize this is two sentences here it is. Only God can do it only you and I can let my friends no matter what the it is whether it be faith whether be love whether it be joy whether it be peace whether be surrendered with abuse victory over sin no matter what the it is in the Christian life only God can do it we know that. But because of our free will. Only you and I can let him. God will not force His goodness a promise we saw that last night for a little bit scary God has given us a free will and we have to let him and that's what surrender is all about only God can do it only you and I can let him. How do we receive the Holy Spirit the answer simple surrender the Father gave us not the Spirit by measure under him so with the followers of Christ we can receive of heaven flight only as we are willing to be emptied of self we cannot discern the character of God or accept Christ by faith unless we consent to the bringing into captivity of every thought to the beacons of Christ to all who do this what happens. The Holy Spirit is given to a small extent that it says no without measure without measure that my friends is the key self is the problem the Holy Spirit is the solution surrender is the key so let's look for just a second at some of the foundation principles of the Christian life that can help us to understand the Holy Spirit little bit better first of all when we start the Christian life we start out with repentance repentance is the basis of the backbone of the Christian life repentance means Lord I hate my sin I don't want to stand I want you give me victory over sin that repentance leads us to surrender surrender is saying or do whatever it takes to give me victory over simply essentially it's like a lord will do whatever it takes to be Almighty God in me when we surrender ourselves wholly to God something wonderful happens juices justifies us he covers of this rope of righteousness right we can't be resurrected to newness of life until we die first to surrender has to happen before he can cleanse us by His blood and resurrected him in the full of life and then when Jesus covers us and makes us holy and we are empty we become a temple and the Holy Spirit comes and well in. My friends here is the progression that must happen before we can be filled with the Holy Spirit and when the Holy Spirit comes in who does this wonderful supernatural work called conversion which is changing the supernatural from the inside the first fruit of the Holy Spirit living in us is what. Love love for God with all of our heart mind and soul strength and love for others which is the second great commandment Love is the great motivator for obedience and what you think of BT and says for is a BT Unst to save us no be a just a salvation have enough justification that's salvation right there so what will be is for the Christian life it is part of the sanctification process obedience is God's tool to help us to become more like Jesus. This is Christ centered obedience this is Holy Spirit inspired Holy Spirit enabled obedience is allowing God to transform our lives and what is grace and faith come in well it's all grace repentance is Grace renders greatest occasions Grace Holy Spirit's grace love is Grace obedience is Grace it's all grace and it's all true face to face is the tranche channels to all which all God bless and slow not much of it notice something interesting about this progression in the Christian life where does the power of choice start. It starts at the very bottom in this repentance surrender area and surrender is the ultimate choice to give up our free choice it is critical to this whole process and what do you think the devil will do to keep us from enjoying the Christian life what do you think Where do you think he starts where do you think he works. Wouldn't it be nice the devil says if I can be railed them in this one town Dacian element of the Christian life maybe I can get them so that they don't understand what it really is or maybe I can get them to think that they really are under but they're not whatever the devil can do he says I want to do it I want to drill them here and guess what happens when he succeeds my friends this is a snapshot of the first three decades of my sincere Christian life because I did not understand surrender I did not know what it was what it's about and I did not know how to do. I was had tragic gaps in my understanding of this most fundamental foundational aspect of the Christian life and that's why we're here this morning so here's our key phrase this morning only God can do it only I can let him self is the problem the Holy Spirit is the solution surrender is the key Let's read that out loud together only God can do it only I can let self the problem the Holy Spirit is the solution surrender is the key that's the take away that like for you to get this morning of nothing if you remember anything else remember these five short sentences only God can do it only I can let him no matter what that it is. We are told that if all were willing all would be filled with the Holy Spirit and yet we noticed last night that all are not willing in fact we are told that conversion is rare in this stage of the church the New Birth is a rare experience and why tells us in this age of the world this is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches many so many who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy they have been better ised but they were buried alive self did not die and therefore they did not rise to units of life in Christ my friend this is my story right here. I was baptized around the age of eleven or twelve I didn't really understand surrender at that point I did not give myself wholly to God I was buried alive in baptism. So it did not die and therefore I did not rise to newness of life and tries it took me three decades to find that out to figure out what the problem was it was the foundation element of surrender that nobody had taught me what it was and how it worked and my desire especially for the use is to give you a twenty year head start on me when it comes to learning that most important aspect of Christian life conversion is often misunderstood many who speak to others of the need to of a new heart to not understand themselves and know what is meant by these words they used especially stumble over this phrase a new heart they do not know what it means they look for a special change take place in their feelings. This is they turn conversion over this error thousands have stumbled to ruin not understanding the expression You must be born again and she goes on Satan leave people to think that because they have felt a rapture a feeling there's that word feeling again have you noticed that feeling is not a good indicator of anything in a Christian life that's not what it's there for they think because they have the Rapture feeling they are converted but their experience is not change their actions are the same as before their lives show no good fruit they pray often long in art. Constantly referring to the feelings they have of such time but they do not live the new life they are to see their experience goes no deeper than feeling my friend's conversion is rare in the play to see an age of the church all around us our peers our parents and even our pastor sometimes aren't converted because we don't understand it we don't know what it is we don't know how it works and we haven't let God have it all all at once. Self is the problem the Holy Spirit is the solution surrendered is the key so I'd like to do right now is I like to talk about surrender how many of you ever heard that word surrender before anybody. I mean you've ever heard that word a thousand times before everybody. We talk a lot about surrender you can hardly go to a certain or read an article on the Adams review the doesn't talk about surrender and yet although we talk a lot about surrender we don't often say a lot about it what really isn't how does it work in practical terms what is the look like in my life how can I become surrendered How can I know if I am stranded How can I stay Shriner once I get there all of these foundation questions I did not understand until three decades after my baptism Hopefully you understand it better than I do but if you don't let's look at these a little bit more I like to start by asking the question what is surrender. Sometimes surrender is a little bit difficult to. Define if somebody came up to you is it OK in one sentence at a practical level what is surrender Well one of my favorite definitions come from the story of Charleston e he was in one thousand century evangelist and a revivalist and after one of his revival meetings a guy came up to him and he handed him an official looking document and later on when he looked at that document he realized that it was a legal stop claim deed that the guy had filled out in favor of God In other words he had legally officially stopped claim to. Himself in favor of God He had given got everything. He had given God all these choices all his property all of his time all this money all this energy he had given it to God another one of my favorite definitions of surrender is drowning in the will of the Almighty. You know I like this definition so much because drowning is so easy and natural and comfortable. Right. No no we fight drowning we gasp when we gurgle and we struggle we call out Lord save me and. Unfortunately part of saving process is drowning. And he will save us from drowning but that's not good for us because then we will not be stronger. Another one of my favorite definitions of surrender is getting out of the way of the Almighty God so that he can be Almighty God You mean because of our free choice God doesn't get to be Almighty God in us unless we let him and that's what surrender is all about but here's a more formal definition a more full definition surrender is a Spirit inspired spirit enabled settled commitment to give Got all my choices in every area of my life all the time for you English majors you know there's a lot of supporters in that sentence that's surrender is the very supportive type of topic but what I like about this particular definition is that it shows that it is the Holy Spirit who originates inspires and enables this whole process and the reason I like about this definition is that it is a settled commitment surrender is not something you do during this emotional high or spiritual high of Sabbath morning and then give up the next day that's not surrender surrender in fact is best achieved when you are stone cold sober emotionally you have counted the costs you know what you're getting into and you're saying Lord I commit I want you to be lord and master of all my choices from this day forward and forever. That is a commitment that is a settled commitment doesn't go away easy doesn't come easy and it doesn't go easy and it's all about choices of course renders all about choices because choice is the only power we have it's about giving those choices back to God. Branch one reason why surrender is sometimes hard to understand is that it's both an event and it's a process it's an event in that there there has to be some time in our life when we actually make that commitment when we say OK Lord right now starting now my life is yours that is the event of surrender but it's also a process surrender also has some process aspect to it in fact Jesus said If anyone wishes to come after me he must deny himself and take of his cross every week or month or so right now it's a daily process and follow me Jesus. One of. The best illustration I think of surrenders marriage marriage also is an event and a process it also has to do with the commitment right before those of you who know that the marriage ceremony which is the event of marriage is not the end of marriage right it's just the beginning there's also something to do afterwards isn't there there's just getting to know each other there's this this understanding how each other work working together as a team that comes as part of that marriage process so marriage like surrender but what has both the advent of surrender and it has the process of surrender but my friends and this is key right here. Neither marriage nor surrender is a process in the sense that we commit adultery less and less. Think about that for a second neither marriage nor surrender is a process in the sense that we commit adultery less and less. If I was standing at the altar with my bride to be. And I said to her I will commit myself eighty percent to you how well do think that will go over. Well I can tell you any woman worth Mary would be finding the nearest exit right and if I called out her OK ninety percent ninety percent would that help. Surrender like marriage is one hundred percent commitment in everything all the time but sometimes we as Christians especially in the latest in the age of the church seem to think it's OK to commit adultery in front of the Almighty God We say things like well you know I know this is not a bad choice I know it's not God's choice you know I know it's not healthy for me no it's not what he would want me to watch or or do but you know it's just a little thing and besides God isn't finished with me yet have you ever heard someone say that it's just a little thing besides God of the finish with me yet my friends that is one of the most insidious statements in all Christendom. That is giving yourself an excuse to disobey and dishonor the Almighty God. Is just a little thing and besides God isn't finished with me yet I say Oh and does this wash your selves make yourselves clean remove the evil of your deeds from my sight cease to do evil learn to do good and my friends in this passage there are two very important verbs one is a event verb and one is a process verb can you tell me what those two verbs are I'll give you a hint or highlighted them bloom. Right cease What's one is the is that an event or process. It's an event you come to the end of the cliff you say OK I'm going to stop now you don't keep going learn is an event or process it's a process so surrender has both the event and has the process and both of those pieces is critically important because render is all nothing all at once. A lot of people believe that surrender means that you say OK Lord I've got a lot of bad habits in my life a lot of better. As I know they're bad and I'm going to give you my God I'm going to give you to him OK and I want you to give me victory over those two and when we're done then we'll talk about the other bad choices in my life that's what a lot of that's what I did most of my life I thought that was how it worked and guess what three decades later I still have the first two. Not gotten victory over those because surrender doesn't work that way surrender is all or nothing all at once you give got every choice and he says OK I give you victory. Now I'm talking about the power of choice to the power choice that God has given us I'm not talking about intentional since I'm not talking about unknown sins I'm talking about chosen sin those things which we know are not God's will and we do them anyway and we try to modify our consciences by saying well just a little thing and decide God isn't the most with me yet someone once made the starting only obvious statement that large canyons are not crossed by a series of small jumps you agree with that statement. If this guy would to stand up right there where he was going across this canyon I'm going to do it with a series of small jumps so he gets on the edge there and he makes his first small jump what happens splat in the story right doesn't go any farther than that it doesn't work and surrender is the same way it is an all or nothing leap of faith where we say Lord all my choices in every aspect of my life are yours all the time I commit them to you there are some who seem to be always seeking for the heavenly Pearl but they do not make an entire surrender of the wrong habits they do not die to self that Christ may live in them therefore they do not find the precious pearl they have not overcome the holy ambition and their love for worldly traction and she goes on they do not take up the cross and follow Christ in the path of self-denial and sacrifice almost Christians yet not fully Christians they seem near the kingdom of heaven but they cannot enter there almost but not wholly saved means to be not almost but wholly lost my friends there is an important principle in the concept of surrender and that is there is no. Little bad choice. There is no little sin surrender is all nothing all at once and for everyone two thousand and three the spaceship Columbia disintegrated over large parts of Texas and Louisiana as it was coming in for a landing and it did this because there would have been a little hole created in one of the wings fifteen days earlier when it was taking off eighty two seconds after launch a piece of foam came off of the big tank and hit one of the wings and created this little hole and the little hole didn't cause any problem for a while they got to space no probably did all their work in space no problem but as they were coming down for the for a landing the compressed and heated gases became like a plasma torch and went into that little hole and melted the wing from the inside because of that one little hole and friends of the same way in Christian life there is no such thing as a little sin if we give the devil the smallest chink he will slither in and undo the power of God in our lives you know what's really tragic about this the spaceship Columbia problem and that is that seventeen years earlier the space ship Challenger had also blown up on launch and it was also for a very known reason the the the foam coming off of the space ship was a known issue for Columbia it had happened four times before but they said well you know haven't heard anything yet right until it did and then Challenger seventeen years a Earlier they had the same problem they had was over in problem they would analyze the rockets after they got back from the ocean and say hey look. The jet came through this crack and into the O.-Ring area and it didn't make it all the way through but it almost did and this happened for three or four flights until they said well you know I thought rule of a big of a deal it gets in there a little bit but that's OK it's not a problem until it was in the space ship Challenger blew up a sociologist went into NASA to try to figure out what was happening that was causing these types of of its of destruction of the space ships and she coined a new phrase it is called the normalization of deviance. In other words things that are bad and that are known to be bad become normal. Does that sound like one of the seven churches that you know of. Right don't we have the same problem haven't we said hey you know everybody's doing this my peers are doing this my parents are doing this my pastor's even doing this therefore it must be normal. We have this normalization of deviance problem when we say he's just a little thing it's expected everybody is doing it and besides God isn't finished with me yet. Someone once said God is not Lord of all he's not Lord at all and that's true in this in the Christian life we do not belong to Christ unless we are his one hundred percent. Let not deceive themselves with the belief that they can become holy while willfully violating two or three of God for requirements that what it says. One requirement the commission of a known sin silence of the witness and voice of the spirit and separates the soul from God My friends this is my testimony for all of my life I thought that it was normal to make known bad choices I thought that was still surrender I did not realize this render is all nothing all at once by God's grace and this misunderstanding of mine kept me in spiritual poverty for three decades after my baptism for three decades after my baptism I was not converted and never had that deep love for God and for being with him and for experiencing him a seven year old boy whose whose name was ironically Christian emailed Santa Claus and he said this he said How bad can I be before I lose my presence. You know we laugh at that but do we say the same thing to God or do we say yeah well you know curious do this and still be saved or is that a salvation issue. My friends everything is a salvation issue if it's separating you from Jesus anything can be a salvation issue if you know it's not God's will to do it anyway instead of asking the question How much can I get away with should we be asking the question why Lord how much more can I give you how much more can I honor you how much more come to glorify you by your power in your spirit how much more. The Holy Spirit is the power of every Christian and when we see the hopeless mire of the self problem and then recognize the good news that God can do it if we let Him we cry out like a song list who have I in heaven but you and besides you I desire nothing on earth my friends that is the good news what we're talking about is the problem of self which is a problem that cannot be overcome by ourselves we can't do it in fact any good thing in the Christian life only God can do it. But only you and I can let him that's what the power of choice is all about only God can do it only I can let him self is the problem the Holy Spirit is the solution surrender is the key now I have one minute before I close and with that one minute I would like to tell you how to surrender. This is the one minute version. I have a whole presentation called How to die and do it right on my website that I recommend that you go and you look at but if you want to know right now if you're curious how can I surrender myself to Jesus like I've never done before maybe you're looking at your life you're saying hey while maybe I never did really surrender Here's the one minute version. You go to God prayer and you say Lord I don't want to surrender. That's the first step. Lord I don't want self-denial I don't want self-sacrifice I don't want to give up my choices I don't want discomfort I want to live my way. To be very honest with God. And then you say but Lord. I also want to love you with all my heart and mind and soul and strength. I want to experience the kingdom the joy the peace that you offer me right now. I'm not willing to give up my selfish desires and tendencies and choices. But I'm willing to be made willing Lord I'm willing to be made willing. And you know what if you can't honestly say that to God and willing to be made willing that's OK step one back and say Lord I'm willing to be willing to be made willing to sort of. It's OK and if that doesn't work take another step back Lord I'm willing to be made willing to be made willing to be made with it doesn't matter how far back you go at some point it becomes a choice and you have the power of choice is the power of God has given you you can say Lord I choose for you to make me willing. And that's the first step. Keep pleading with God to make you willing. And one day you'll wake up willing and able to do the impossible thing making that settle commitment to give God all of your choices and every error of your life all the time. That's the short version this evening at seven thirty I'd like to share with you how this actually played out my personal experience like to share with you my story how God finally got me to that point that point and how he transformed my life let's pray. Heavenly Father God we are so grateful for the power of choice the choice that we have to let you be Almighty God in us. The choice that we have father to let you conquer self to empty us of self and to fill us with your spirit father these are great and precious privileges and promises and I pray that each one of us who is in this room today will grab hold of those promises take advantage of those privileges. And give ourselves one hundred percent unreservedly unresistingly really and do mean given to God in Jesus and. 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