Complete Surrender

We are doing a sermon series based on the movie "Facing the Giants" and today I preached on Complete Surrender. We ended the sermon with my first communion service that I have performed. I felt so unworthy to be serving. What an awesome privilege I have been given.

Here are some of the notes from my sermon:

What does it mean to love God more than anything else?

The first time “love” is used in the Bible is when Genesis speaks of Abraham’s love for his son Isaac. Isaac was Abraham and Sarah’s only child, born to them when they were past child-bearing age. God promised to Abraham that Isaac would continue the legacy and ancestry of Abraham for future generations.

Did Abraham love Isaac more than God? God was going to test Abraham’s commitment to Him by asking Abraham to do the unthinkable. Let’s read about it in Genesis 22......

Genesis 22:1-18
1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.
2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you."
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?"
"Yes, my son?" Abraham replied.
"The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.
12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram [a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."
15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring [b] all nations on earth will be blessed, [c] because you have obeyed me."

What is a surrendered heart and how do I do I surrender my heart?

Psalms 73:25 says “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” Can you say with the Psalmist that there is NOTHING you desire besides God? Not your family, your church, your job, your home, your “toys”….. Nothing?

When someone surrenders, many times they will wave a white flag or raise their hands up and say “I give up….I give in to whatever you want.” It means that the other party is in total control from that point on. Surrender to God means I give up and let Him have total control of my life. Whatever He wants, I will do. My answer will always be “yes”.

There are some great lessons we can learn about surrender from Genesis 22.

1. Our first response should be a conditioned “yes, Lord!”

Vs. 1 says Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.

I am sure that this was not the first time God asked something of Abraham that he had a choice to say yes or no to. I am sure that God asked little things of Abraham and he learned to say “yes” when God asked something of him. This time, it was a huge thing. It was beyond fathomable to offer his only son. God knew how much he loved Isaac. He knew that it was the one thing he really wanted in life, and now he was going to test Abraham to see if he loved that one thing more than he loved God.

What is the one thing you just love to have or do in life? What if God asked you to give up that one thing? At lent, many times people will give up something, such as coffee or chocolate, or something that they love to have. That’s just for 40 days, but what if God asked you to give up something more precious than that for the rest of your life? Would you be willing? Our response will always be “yes” if we are totally surrendered.

2. Don’t wait for the full picture.

Vs. 2 says Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you."

God knew what he was asking of Abraham and how hard it would be to do what He was asking. You notice in the verses, he said “Take your son, YOUR ONLY SON, WHOM YOU LOVE and then mentioned his name ISAAC” All three of those note that God was keenly aware of how hard this quest might be.

Yet, Abraham was asked to take his son and he didn’t get the full picture. God said to go to a mountain “I will show you.” He didn’t even fully know where he was going. His job was to pack up and go and wait for further instruction.

Wow!!

I am a person that likes to have the big picture. I don’t really care so much about what I am doing as much as knowing what it will look like. This is a hard one for me. When God asks something of me, I want to say, “OK God, I’ll do it, but give me the details first.” God wants our complete trust in Him. That means….we won’t have all the details and that proves our complete faith in His process.

God knows how hard the thing he is asking YOU to do. He’s been there. Remember….God did send His One and Only Son to this earth as a sacrifice for our sin. He watched His Son suffer agony. He knows how hard surrender is. So, since He knows, will you trust Him? Will you obey and surrender completely to His will without all the details in place?


3. Procrastinated obedience isn’t full obedience.

Vs. 3 says “Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey.”

Abraham didn’t say “Yes, Lord” and then wait a few days or weeks to spend as much time with Isaac as he could. I think that is what I would have been tempted to do. “Lord, I will obey you, but let me just have a few more days with him.” No. That’s not what God was asking. He wanted to know if Abraham would obey immediately.

When you ask your children to do something, you expect them to obey right then. You say “Son, I want you to clean your room.” He says “OK, Mom” and doesn’t clean his room for 4 days. On the fifth day, he cleans his room. Would you be ok with that? No. You wanted him to clean his room that day. Procrastinated obedience isn’t full obedience. God wants us to get up and obey immediately like Abraham did.

Has God asked you to do something and you’ve said, Yes, Lord, when…… I have the money or when I have more time, or when my kids are gone, or some other excuse? God wants your obedience TODAY!


4. Trust God for the outcome….even though it doesn’t look like what God has promised to you.

Vs. 5 says He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."

You see those words “WE WILL worship and WE WILL come back to you.” He had an expectation that God was going to work, even though he didn’t know HOW God would work.

God had promised to Abraham that his descendents would be numerous and how could that happen with Isaac being sacrificed? If you look in Hebrews 11, it is filled with “even thoughs”. It is the great faith hall of fame. Even though they didn’t know….they had faith that God would…..

Concerning Abraham….Hebrews 11:17-19
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." [a] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

Is there anything in your life that God has asked you to do and you think “That just doesn’t make sense” so you have said no to it? God sees the big picture and though it may not look like what makes sense, do it anyhow and see how God provides for you in ways you can’t even imagine. I think God longs to do miracles in our lives to prove His faithfulness to us, but we shut Him out by our lack of faith in Him.

So how surrendered are you? Is there anything in your life that takes the place of God? job, children, church, t.v., maybe good things like volunteering/serving others, shopping, housework?????

God wants first place in our hearts. Is there anything between you and God right now? Can you say that you have a fully surrendered heart, that God could ask anything of you and you would say “yes, Lord, here I am!” and then move immediately in complete faith?

Comments

Dale Argot said…
Joy,
I was reading your blog, when your comment popped up in my email. I've switched computers, so I need to add you to my favorites again. You've been busy writing I see. I feel like I've had some writers block of late. Your sermon looked good.

I wish we could do communion the way we do it at FLAME, but all in time. I'm glad it was such a meaningful experience. Serving communion should be that way. As Wayne says, Keep holding the torch high!

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