Absolute Surrender, by Andrew Murray
My Utmost For His Highest, a devotional by Oswald Chambers
So, let’s start from the beginning. In the Garden of Eden, we read in Genesis 2 that God had finished creating the heavens and the earth. He then decided to create man to “till the ground,” “to dress it and keep it.” The bible says God planted a garden in Eden and placed the man there. It was in this garden that God made various trees to grow, one of which was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Verses 16 and 17 says, “16 And the Lord God commanded the man (Adam), saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” It was after this that God decided to make Adam a help meet from one of his own ribs, called Woman (Eve). They were naked, and they were not ashamed. (NAKED – Hold on to that word, the concept of being naked before God.)
The serpent entered in chapter 3, and he approached Eve with the intent to twist the Word of God because that’s what he does after all. He says in so many words “didn’t God say you could eat from every tree in the garden?” In verses 2 and 3, it’s obvious Adam must have told her of God’s instruction concerning the wonderful trees in the garden because she reiterated just that to the serpent. The serpent contradicted and twisted God’s instruction, and convinced her the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was good to eat from and rather than kill them, it would make them as gods. At that moment, she and Adam had a wonderful and world-changing opportunity; an opportunity that would impact the very existence of mankind! Would they surrender to God’s word or would they surrender to the temptation of the serpent? They had a choice. God said they “shall not” eat of that tree. He didn’t say they “could not” eat of that tree. Which way will we go? To whom or what will we submit ourselves? To what standard or truth will we succumb?
God didn’t have to even place the tree in the garden, but there was a purpose for that tree. To not eat of that tree as instructed meant they were surrendering to not only God’s word or instruction; they were also surrendering to His purpose and His plan, even though they didn’t know what that was! They didn’t need to know or understand like God knows and understands. All they needed to know was God! In their nakedness, there was no shame, no personal inhibitions about their bodies, nothing to try and hide from God (as if you could), no insecurities, jealousies, nothing that placed self over God. This was the kind of relationship we could’ve had, free to roam in the wonderful garden God prepared for us where we would want for nothing, we would’ve had God’s best and all we knew was God!! BUT, Adam and Eve chose to surrender to the serpent and the tree. They wanted to be gods themselves with knowledge and understanding of their own. Eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represented their desire to surrender to themselves or to something or someone other than God. God wasn’t enough. So listen, we ought to be at a place of surrendering to God such that no matter what craziness is going on in the White House and our government, during those times when we see and hear society telling us what we know as right is wrong and what’s wrong is right, when we are tempted by Satan and his cohorts (might be on the job, in our homes, at our church, in traffic, in our schools, attacks in our health, struggles with our finances, folks trying to make up a different truth other than what we read and know in God’s inspired Word – the Bible, etc), we should resort to responding “I don’t know about all that; all I know is GOD, His Holy Spirit who teaches me the truth, and His Son, Jesus Christ, who was crucified on the cross.” AMEN?!! If we were in church, I’d tell you to tell your neighbor, “all I know is God.” I’ll settle for a wave and an AMEN!
Miriam Webster Dictionary definition:
1a : to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand
b : to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another
2a : to give (oneself) up into the power of another
b : to give (oneself) over to something (such as an influence)
The opposite meaning of surrender: to resist!
: to fight against (something) : to try to stop or prevent (something) : to remain strong against the force or effect of (something)
TERMS that come into play as it pertains to surrendering:
: To obey – to comply with the command, direction, or request of (a person or a law); submit (to surrender) to the authority of.
We have to make a conscious choice to be obedient to God, or there will be consequences. We have to choose to surrender ourselves to the will of God, over and beyond our own desires and temptations. Forgiveness, peace, and joy come with our obedience to God’s requirement of total surrender to Him! Mind, body, and will.
Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
the word – obey – appears 69 times
the word – obedience – appears 12 times
the word – obedient – appears 16 times
the word – obeyed – appears 41 times
: to yield
Surrender means to yield ownership, to relinquish control over what we consider ours: our property, our time, our “rights.”
Luke 9:35 Then there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, My Chosen One or My Beloved; listen to and yield to and obey Him!
Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
When we surrender to God, we are simply acknowledging that what we “own” actually belongs to Him. He is the giver of all good things. We are responsible to care for what God has given us, as stewards of His property, but by surrendering to God, we admit that He is ultimately in control of everything, including our present circumstances.
Surrendering to God helps us to let go of whatever has been holding us back from God’s best for our lives. By surrendering to God, we let go of whatever has kept us from wanting God’s ways first.
: to submit – the act or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.
As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, one completely gives up his own will and subjects his thoughts, ideas, and deeds to the will and teaching of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Emptying of one’s self so that God may live through the believer
55 bible verses about submission; being subject to, or being obedient.
James 4:7 Submit therefore to God Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Dying to self
Jesus surrendered to the will of His Father:
— Phl 2:7-8 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
— Luk 22:42 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
__ Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
The assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; to rely on (something one has no control over; firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
TRUST appears somewhere between 134 and 147 times in the bible depending on the version.
Ps 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
ABSOLUTE SURRENDER – PART 2
1. In the Old Testament. (ABRAHAM)
The faithful ones, throughout the Bible narratives, were characterized by self-surrender. Abraham abandons friends and his native country to go to a land unknown to him, because God called him to do so (Genesis 12:1 – Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:).
He would give up all his cherished hopes in his only son Isaac, at the voice of God (Genesis 22:1-18 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. [how do we interpret Abraham’s response to Isaac? Was he hoping acting out of faith, expecting God to step in and provide a lamb? Did he assume, not really knowing what God was really going to do, thinking surely God won’t force me to sacrifice my only son? Of could it be a prophetic statement looking forward to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son? Was Isaac potentially a typology of Christ in that moment?]
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” (Fear of God refers to fear or a specific sense of respect, awe, and submission to a deity.) God needed to know just how much Abraham was willing to surrender!! This may seem extreme and it is, but sometimes God may decide to take us right to the very edge of ourselves to see just how much we’re willing to surrender to Him. To see how much we really trust Him. To see how far we are willing to go with Him!!
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide (Jehovah-Jireh); as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
Even with our sin-nature and our desires to always first look out for self, God yet desires to that we partake of the absolute best He has for us. But He requires that we be willing to self-surrender to Him!!
ABSOLUTE SURRENDER – PART 3
- In the New Testament.
- There is much in Christ’s Teachings and Examples:
In the New Testament self-surrender is clear.
It is a prime requirement for becoming His disciple.
In the synoptic Gospels:
- Matthew 10:37-38 (37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.);
- Matthew 16:24 (24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].
- When certain of the disciples were called they left all and followed (Matthew 4:18-22 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
- It is shown in His own life of physical deprivation (Matthew 8:20). 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath no where to lay his head.
- He had come not to do His own will, but the Fathers will (John 4:34 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
- He refuses to use force for His own deliverance (Matthew 26:53; 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him (Peter), “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
- To the Father He at last surrendered His spirit (Luke 23:46). 44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e]When he had said this, he breathed his last.
- Epistles of Paul:
The concept of self-surrender. The Christian life is conceived of as a dying to self and to the world–a dying with Christ, a crucifixion of the old man, that a new man may live.
He is to be a living sacrifice:
(Romans 12:1) 12 I beseech[a] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your [b]reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.;
(1 Corinthians 15:31). I die daily
Dynamic #1: God Expects Surrender
(example, the use of a pen; this pen is absolutely surrendered to the work of writing. This pen must be absolutely surrendered to my hand if I am to write properly with it. If another holds it partly, I cannot write properly.)
TRUST Him with all or only a portion??
Do we think that God can or would do His complete work in us with only part or half of us??
God created the universe and there is nothing good but what God works.
Dynamic #2: God accomplishes your Surrender
God does not ask us to give perfect surrender by our own strength or will , but rather He is willing to work it in us.
- (Phil 2:13) continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
- We continue to seek God, believing that He will come in and deal with what is wrong. Trust God enough to say “My God, I am willing that You should make me willing.” Pg 12
- “Do not be afraid that He will command from you what He will not bestow.” Pg 12
We can look at Abraham. We can look at Moses. God chose these men and prepared them to be an instrument for His glory.
Jesus states in John 5:30 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
My Utmost For His Highest – by Oswald Chambers
: to abandon – to give up completely (a course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking). To allow oneself to indulge in. To give way to, give oneself up to, yield to, lose oneself to/in.
March 12 – Mk 10:28-29 (17-31) connect this with Murray’s lesson on God Accomplishes our Surrender! All things are possible with God.
March 13 – Jn 3:16
(see the devotional)
- A release to the one who is able to enable us to do what we couldn’t do for ourselves.
DISCUSS: So we know there was a time when we had the opportunity to surrender absolutely and be able to have and maintain a relationship with God whereby we could freely take advantage of the best He has for us without the hindrances of our own self-awareness and worldly desires that skew our perspective of God. But we read in Genesis that Adam and Eve, with their option to choose, did not choose God, they did not completely surrender to God, but rather they surrendered to the tree. With that, we all now bear the consequences of their choice, and we must battle against our own flesh, our own pride, self-indulgences, the need to control without the counsel of God. We bear a sin-nature that is intrinsic and must be dealt with.
This is where Jesus Christ comes into the picture, and His death on the cross for our sins has given us another chance to choose right. But our sin-nature makes it near impossible to surrender absolutely to God on our own. We have to be willing to allow God, through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirt who now lives in us as Christians/believers, to do the work in us and enable us to surrender absolutely. It’s the same work that has to do with our salvation and the process of sanctification (that is to be set apart for particular use in a special purpose or work and to make holy or sacred). We can’t fix ourselves and our sin-nature without Jesus Christ. And what comes with salvation and our sanctification is our ability to surrender absolutely to the provisions of God set in motion for each one of our lives! That we may obtain the best that God always had for us!
Here is where all of the terms we listed earlier can be referenced.
- Do not resist
- Be obedient
- Die to Self
Dynamic #3: When we don’t surrender, we hinder God.
How much work is being done day by day in the power of self, rather than waiting on God and the power of the Holy Spirit in us? (pg 20)
Sin hinders God’s work: Romans 6:13, 17, 18, 22, 23
Romans 12:1 : God’s work is hindered because those who are involved in it are not wholly dedicated to Him.
1 Peter 2:1-2
Dynamic #4: God Accepts Our Surrender
Of course God accepts our surrender, but there are times when we might feel we can’t do it, we can’t surrender everything!! We may have good intentions and are genuine about our desire to do so, but may still question if we have in fact surrendered completely. “Be occupied with God.” (pg 14) This means surrendering might take a little practice. Look away from ourselves and look up to God!!
We should want God to be clearer to us, and with that in mind, we must allow Him to be in that right place in our lives where He is “all in all.”
Dynamic #5: God Maintains Our Surrender
God not only claims your surrender, works it, and accepts it, He will also maintain it. Once God receives your surrender, He is bound to care for it.
Psalms 55:22 – Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
1 Peter 5:7 – Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Matthew 11:28 – Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Philippians 4:6-7 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
The life of absolute surrender is having a good conscience due to complete obedience to God day by day and having fellowship with Him every day through His Word and prayer. Once we have made our personal declaration of absolute surrender to God, and are being occupied with God, there are 2 sides to us that we must acknowledge:
- Absolute surrender to what God wants us to do (read excerpt on pg 16)
- Absolute surrender to let God work what He wants to do
Dynamic #6: God Blesses When We Surrender
1 Cor 2:9 9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
As the Holy Spirit lives in us, self-life must be cast out such that self-surrender can be maintained.
Absolute Surrender – Part 4
Andrew Murray: The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is Love (Pg 22)
As we surrender to God, His Son Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit who is our Advocate and Comforter….
The Work of the Holy Spirit: Pneumatology (Doctrine of the Holy Spirit)
O.T. – to do a work of God; did not indwell them
N.T. – indwelling to take hold of and renew the entire self
“When God gives the Holy Spirit, His great object is the formation of a holy character. It is a gift of a holy mind and spiritual disposition.”
The disciples received the Holy Spirit and not only were they enabled or empowered to do the work of God, they were made and fitted as holy men in that their entire being was regenerated thereby.
- The Spirit teaches us. (Jn 14:26, 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.)
- The Spirit guides us. (Jn 16:13, 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.)
- The Spirit convicts us. (Jn 16:8, 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.)
- The Spirit regenerates us. (Titus 3:3-6, 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior) SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION!
- The Spirit intercedes or prays for us. (Romans 8:26-27, 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of)
- Do not grieve Him. (Eph 4:30, 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. )
- Do not resist Him. (Acts 7:51, 51 “Youstiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do)…speaking of Israel..
WE MUST SURRENDER TO THE Holy Spirit!!
When we do, we produce fruit!!
Galatians 5:16-26 Walking in the Spirit; works of the flesh, fruit of the Spirit – The fruit of the Spirit is love!
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [d]adultery, [e]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [f]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [g]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Do we exhibit or allow this Spirit of love daily??
Have we absolutely surrendered to the Holy Spirit who indwells us??
Love brings unity and unity brings strength. The church, families, etc.
God is love! (1 Jn 4:8 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.)
How much does God love us? John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
So what do we know?
We know God is love. We know the fruit of the Holy Spirit is that same love. We know if we are believers, Christians, those who indwell the Holy Spirit, we possess and have the ability to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. Andrew Murray contends, “when the Holy Spirit comes to us, will He be less a Spirit of love than He is in God? It cannot be; He cannot change His nature. The Spirit of God is love, and the fruit of the Spirit is love.” (pg 25) We as spirit-filled believers possess the same magnitude of love that God is and God exhibits towards us and that we are expected to show toward others!! Unconditional!! Love Everybody!!!
Why are we discussing this? Because in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, sin entered and selfishness won. They sought after self instead of God. And then Adam made another exhibition of selfishness when he made a point to accuse Eve. Then another after that when their son Cain murdered his brother Abel…jealousy, envy! “Love to God had gone, love to man was lost! (pg 26) And here we are today!!
We needed God to send Jesus as a sacrifice to satisfy our sin debt and redeem mankind. He restored love to this world when He ascended to Heaven and sent us His Holy Spirit of love to deal with selfishness, envy and pride.
Romans 13:8-10 Love is the fulfilling of the law.
A NEW COMMANDMENT!!
John 13: 33 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you. 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Selfishness as the great curse!!
Dying to self involves having been delivered from self-life and becoming a vessel overflowing with love to everybody all the time!! This means at some point we must take time to pray for self-deliverance.
When Romans 5:5 says “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us,” it doesn’t only mean the love of God to us (to you, to me), it reflects the entirety of His love that is extended to us, to God, and to others!
HOW CAN WE LEARN TO LOVE? (Absolute Surrender; Read excerpt from pg 30)
LOVE IS GOD’s GIFT! (Pg 30)
It is not intrinsic in us, so we must give attention to that that we have been given.
Murray speaks of the concept of tempering. TEMPER!
He uses the example of a clock. We know we use a clock to tell the time, but when the hands are off or stop moving, we know something is not working properly.
Temper means as a noun “a person’s state of mind seen in terms of their being angry or calm.” As a verb “serve as a neutralizing or counterbalancing force to (something).”
“Watch your temper!”
Temper is a proof whether the love of Christ is filling the heart or not!
How are we at church versus our home and family life?
How are we with co-workers at the job?
How are we with strangers?
He goes on to reference our tongue! Be mindful of the right we give ourselves to say what we want to say because we think we are right. “God keep me from saying anything that would be unloving. God shut my mouth if I am not to speak in tender love. But what I am saying is a fact. How often sharp criticism, sharp judgment, hasty opinion, unloving words, secret contempt of each other, secret condemnation of each other are found among Christians who are banded together in work!” (pg 31)
Why is it important that we as Christians display the love of God, the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Because of 1 John 4:12. It says, “12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” People can see the God in us!! I cannot see God, but as a compensation I can see my brother or sister, and if I love him, God dwells in me.
1 John 4:20 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
SO, that man, woman, boy or girl who works your last nerve, who is just the opposite of you, who is maybe even offensive, untidy, unprofessional, rude, who we might say is “unlovable,” we must let them be what they will and love them anyway. If we don’t love the “unlovable” who we see, how can we say we love God who we have not seen?! YOU PROVE YOUR LOVE TO GOD BY YOUR LOVE TO YOUR BROTHER OR SISTER!
ABSOLUTE SURRENDER – PART 5, CHAPTER 3
Acts 13:1-4 Separated unto the Holy Spirit
(Doing the work as led by the Holy Spirit).
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul (Paul). 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. Preaching in Cyprus. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
If we are to work for God, and if God is to bless our work, it is that we should be in a right relationship with the Holy Spirit who leads us in that work. He should have first place in our lives!!
6 points of reference:
#1) God has His own plans with regard to His Kingdom. We don’t always know those plans. We may know bits and pieces as God through His Holy Spirit reveals them to us. “God has wishes and a will, in regard to any work that ought to be done, and to the way in which it has to be done. Blessed is the man/woman who receives God’s secrets and works under Him.” (Pg 43)
- The problem: We have our own plans. We think we know what ought to be done, how and when it ought to be done. We ask God to bless our efforts instead of absolutely refusing to go unless God goes before us.
- The realization: God has His workers and His plans clearly mapped out. Our position is to wait so that God may communicate to us as much of His will as is needed. We simply should be ready and willing to carry out His orders.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
#2) God is willing and able to reveal to us what His will is. WE must learn to wait for it!!
- The problem: we want to work in our own will, and we pray and expect God to give us the power and grace. Then we wonder why we have little grace and success in that effort.
- The revelation: The strength of God is not withheld from what is done in the will of God. Let us pray that the will of God be revealed to us that we are able to receive the mighty blessing of God in our efforts.
How do we know the will of God? God reveals His will to those whose hearts are humble, open to receive, obedient and honors God loyally in even the little things in our daily lives.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
#3) Note the disposition to which the Spirit reveals God’s will.
What was their disposition?
- They were serving God.
- They prayed and they fasted before God, seeking a close fellowship and union with God that was undisturbed or distracted by the things of this world.
- Not knowing what God would require of them, not knowing what was ahead for them, but they were ok with waiting for God. “It is in hearts entirely surrendered to the Lord Jesus, separating themselves from the world and giving themselves up in intense prayer to look to their Lord, that the heavenly will of God will be made manifest.” (Pg 47)
#4) What is now the will of God as the Holy Spirit reveals it? Separation unto the Holy Spirit!
When we separate ourselves unto the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into the will of God, we can know:
- The Holy Spirit trusts us to do whatever it is God has planned and purposed for us.
- We are operating and are in fellowship with God and His Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit has prepared us for the work or the task.
Psalm 143:10 ESV Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
#5) What does this imply about us?
The bible speaks of 2 spirits on earth: The spirit of the world and the Holy Spirit that is of God!
John 14:17 Jesus spoke of those who are of the world and cannot receive the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Truth) because they do not see Him or know Him. Those who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them and who surrender or submit to Him know Him.
1 Corinthians 2 (Spiritual Wisdom)
6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God [c]ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the [d]Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural (carnal) man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
#6) This holy partnership with the Holy Spirit in this work becomes a matter of consciousness and of action!
When the Holy Spirit speaks, we must move and do the work, entering into partnership with Him, which means along the way, there continues more prayer – seeking guidance that we may be obedient to whatever God commands. That our strength will come through our ongoing prayers as God reveals and graces us to adhere to His plan and do His will, being blessed thereby.
ABSOLUTE SURRENDER – PART 6, CHAPTER 4
As we continue to study this concept of absolute surrender, this lesson is meant to deal with the possibility that while we are yet believers and followers of Christ, there is yet within us a flesh nature, a will that is motivated by self, that leads us to a place of denying God rather than denying self. This lesson deals with the possibility that we don’t really know ourselves like we think we do. This lesson deals with the possibility that we may fail God miserably even when we have good intentions.
Peter was the very first disciple called on by Jesus.
But he was impetuous and a bit reckless. He was that disciple who cut off the soldier’s ear when they came to take Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he denied Jesus three times during Jesus’ trial when he distinctly contended that he would not.
Yet, he became a recognized leader among the disciples.
He was the first great voice of the Gospel during and after the Pentecost.
The writer of 1 and 2 Peter.
At the beginning of the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. Peter initially refused to let Jesus wash his feet, but when Jesus responded: “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me”, Peter replied: “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head”.
(Pg 55) Peter’s Repentance
(Luke 22) 31 [d]And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
(John 13) 36 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.” 37 Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.” 38 Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.
(Luke 22:61,62) And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, ‘Before the cock crew, thou shalt deny me thrice.’ And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
Peter was a follower of Jesus Christ. When Jesus called him, Peter put down his nets and followed Jesus. But Peter still wasn’t ready to do or go where Jesus really wanted them to go and do. Peter didn’t know this. He didn’t know he had not yet come to the end of himself. He did not truly know himself. But Jesus knew after all of Peter’s talk about never leaving Jesus and willing to die for Him, that Peter would in fact deny Him 3 times at the most critical of times. Peter needed to be humbled. He’d yet to really die to self. At this particular time in Peter’s life, I would say he didn’t really know what that meant or would require.
Let’s look at 4 points as it relates to Peter and his journey to true denial of self:
#1) Peter was a devoted disciple of Christ.
We know this because he did choose to follow Jesus when He called him. Peter was a fisherman; that was his job, his profession, his livelihood. And he gave it all up for Jesus.
Peter was obedient. We see him in Luke 5:4,5 adhering to the request of Jesus to let down his nets into the deep when he knew by his own attempts that there were no fish to catch. He said “At thy word I will let down the net.” He submitted to the word of Jesus!
Peter was a man of faith. We see this in Matthew 14:28 when he stepped out of the boat to walk on water to get to Jesus. “Lord, if it be you, bid me to come unto you.” Jesus said come and he did.
Peter had spiritual insight. We can see this in Matthew 16:15-17, 13’ When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
#2) Peter was living a life of self.
This is said because Peter was yet operating in his own mindset and self-will, particularly concerning Jesus Christ and the sacrifice Jesus had to make on the cross.
Matthew 16:22-23, we see where Jesus shared with the disciples His suffering that was to come and had to be, but Peter’s response was one of his own will that this suffering would not happen, as if he were forbidding Christ to go and die. He was still trusting in his own wisdom and limited understanding of spiritual things. What was Jesus’ response? “Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Jesus goes on to reiterate once more the importance of denying self and taking up one’s cross to follow Jesus. We mentioned in a previous lesson the concept of “taking up one’s cross” to mean willing to give up all for Jesus and follow Him no matter what happens on the journey, no matter the consequences.
Peter also was among those disciples who debated who is greatest and should have right to first place with Jesus. He sought his own honor, he had not humbled himself.
Peter continues down the path of boasting and thinking more highly of himself than he ought to. Jesus knew Peter well, and Jesus knew Peter was not ready when He told him he would reject Him 3 times. Peter still contended that would not be the case, that instead he would be imprisoned or die for Jesus.
We must be careful not to allow our self-confidence bring us to a place where we deny our Lord. WE must either deny self or deny Christ. Which will we choose?
#3) Peter repents
We all must deal with our sin nature and the self-life that originates from that. It takes a conscious choice to deny self, and sometimes we fail. Peter failed as he did just as Jesus told him he would. He denied knowing Jesus 3 times as Jesus was beaten and on His way to being crucified. Take a minute and do some personal introspection. Be honest with yourself, and remember a time when you failed and denied Christ in some way. Imagine somehow coming face to face with Christ – remembering His blood that was shed blood for you, His scars – and He’s looking dead at you, down into your very soul, and He knows what you did or did not do. You realize you’ve disappointed Him, and by your decision to deny Him, you’ve made a statement that says the beatings, the nails in His hands and feet, and His death for our sins was a small thing and not of any real value. Conviction sets in. You thought you knew yourself well, but you ended up being a hypocrite.
Peter found himself in this place with Jesus, as Jesus on His way to be crucified, looked over at Peter with eyes of love and their eyes met. The bible says Peter wept bitterly, so ashamed!! This is where Peter’s repentance began!!
Keep in mind Peter genuinely loved Jesus, but he needed to come to terms with his own self-will. He had not fully self-surrendered!
#4) Peter transformed.
Peter was now ready to be delivered. His issue was now clear to him, and he needed deliverance from self. When was Peter transformed?
Peter was transformed after Jesus rose from the dead and returned to spend His last moments with His disciples, and He told them to wait until they were filled with the Holy Spirit. It was when he was filled with the Holy Spirit that the work Jesus had begun in Peter was perfected. The work of the Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in Peter taught Peter, trained Peter, watched over Peter, allowed Peter to be able to humble himself so that God could deliver him from self and go on to be a powerhouse for Jesus.
- Even though we may be devout believers, we may still have the challenge of overcoming our own flesh and self-life.
- Jesus will disclose the power of self in our lives. He will show us ourselves if we are willing to take a look.
- The remedy is that we must humble ourselves before Him, deny self, and allow the Holy Spirit do a new work in us that we can be transformed into that person who Christ wants to operate through to positively impact the Kingdom of God!!
ABSOLUTE SURRENDER – PART 7, “Oh Wretched Man/Woman That I Am”
Romans 7:24, 25
“Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Tonight, I’d like to talk with you about that that wars against us in our flesh and that attempts to keep us bound.
In Romans 7, Paul shares his struggle with the Law of God. Paul struggles not because the Law of God (God’s Old Testament commandments) is bad, but he struggles because the Law has made it apparent that sin exists.
There was a time when people didn’t know any better, but God made it plain for us that we should not lie, steal, commit adultery, covet, etc. Now we know better, and the reality is that in and of ourselves, of our own ability and power, we cannot be free of this bondage of sin defined by the Law.
Roman 7:7-12, Paul speaks to the advantage of the Law.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
The Law (the Word of God) was given to us to use as our plumbline, as our measuring stick, our temperature gadge, that we may be able to examine ourselves and determine whether or not we line up with God, how far have we missed the mark. We are able to see ourselves, if we are willing to take a look and devise within ourselves what must be done about the issues we may find.
Paul discovered some things about himself that were not pretty, not pleasing, and as he took the time to try and address them on his own, he realized he had a diametrical dilemma.
We read about it in Romans 7:14-23 (NASB) the conflict of the 2 natures within him:
14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Paul then goes on into chapter 8 to tell of the remedy of our sin problem, that we can be free from the bondage of sin. He speaks no longer of the law of sin and death, but rather the law of life in Jesus Christ who makes us free from the bondage of sin.
Andrew Murray, in his book Absolute Surrender, has attempted to structure a path by which a man can be led out of the spirit of bondage into the spirit of liberty. He does this by taking time to describe this person, from one phase to the next.
- The Regenerate Man/Woman
Romans 7:17 “But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” This is the language of a regenerate man/woman – one who knows that his/her heart and nature have been renewed and that sin is now a power in him/her that is not himself/herself.
The regenerate man/woman is one in whom the will has been renewed, and who can say: “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.”
- The Weak Man/Woman
The mistake of many Christians is the notion that once your will is renewed, that’s enough. We see the dilemma within the regenerate man/woman who has a new will to do good, but is yet challenged without the power to perform it. (Romans 7:18) You hear people say “you can do anything once you set your mind it.” Not true all the time!!
How is it that God would make it such that a man/woman would come to the point of being regenerate enough to realize and say to themselves I have the will and the heart to do good, but cannot?
So why has God given us our will?
The will of man is nothing but an empty vessel in which the power of God is to be made manifest. Man must seek in God all that is to be. Phil 2:13 “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
How do we resolve the contradiction?
We see in this passage of Romans 7:6-25 that it speaks only of attempts to satisfy the law of God in one’s own ability (I, me, my). There is no mention of seeking to accomplish through the power of the Holy Spirit.
After we as Christians receive Christ as our Lord and Savior and are converted, we begin down this road of trying to do our best in our own strength and ability, and we fail many times.
What we must understand is that God allows failure so that we learn our own inability and sinfulness. God deals with us during those times. In this passage, Paul realized there was not satisfying the law in his own ability.
Romans 7:14 “I am carnal, sold under sin.”
Romans 7:23 “I see another law in my members bringing me into captivity.”
Romans 7:24 “Oh wretched man that I am.. Who shall deliver me.”
- The Wretched Man/Woman
Not only is the man who makes this confession a regenerate and weak man, but he is also a wretched man!
Why does Paul call himself wretched?
Because he loves God and feels he is not obeying God. The law of God did its work to make sin exceedingly sinful to Paul. The thought of grieving God became utterly unbearable!
So what are we saying? Andrew Murray is pressing this point that we should all come to this place when we realize we have sinned against God and have dishonored His humility, His obedience, and His self-sacrifice! When we come to this place of realizing our wretchedness, we are on the brink of being delivered!
- The Almost Delivered Man
In Romans 7:24, What does he mean by “the body of this death?”
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
When we read into chapter 8, Paul begins to address the resolve to our sin problem. It is accepting Jesus Christ and learning to walk according the Holy Spirit for there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. It is the law of the Holy Spirit that makes one free from the law of sin and its captivity.
Romans 8:13 “13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
What does Andrew Murray mean by “almost delivered man?”
The regenerate man is in a state of realizing he now has the renewed will to follow God, but is challenged by an opposite will in his members.
The weak man was challenged by the realization that while he had the will to do good, he failed many times via his own efforts to satisfy the law of God. He had not come to the end of himself in order to realize it is not in his own efforts that he will be able to obey the law for there is an internal battle going on. Until he comes to the end of himself, the Holy Spirit does not rule in him.
The wretched man has experienced a sense of being held captive, continuing to displease His Father.
“Almost delivered man” contends one only needs to allow the Holy Spirit to rule their life. There is a necessary decision and action that must be realized!!
Every day is a day we must remember who Jesus is in our lives and that we must decide to trust Him every day and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. (do not hinder or grieve Him). It is not ok to remain in this position thinking it’s enough just to realize there is a great dilemma going on. It’s not a good enough excuse that I desire to do good, but I can’t…..God knows my heart!!! It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power and liberty to overcome sin.
The question: vs 24 Oh wretched man/woman that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
The answer: vs 25 I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord.