Awakened Unto Life: Sermon By Rev. Loice Achola
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must of necessity suffer many things and be tested and disapproved and rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be put to death, and after three days rise again [from death]. And He said this freely (frankly, plainly, and explicitly, making it unmistakable). And Peter took Him by the hand and led Him aside and then [facing Him] began to rebuke Him.
But turning around [His back to Peter] and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Get behind Me, Satan! For you do not have a mind intent on promoting what God wills, but what pleases men [you are not on God’s side, but that of men]. And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me].
For whoever wants to save his [higher, spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth] for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God] For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life [in the eternal kingdom of God]? For what can a man give as an exchange (a compensation, a ransom, in return) for his [blessed] life [[in the eternal kingdom of God]? For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words in this adulterous (unfaithful) and [preeminently] sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory (splendor and majesty) of His Father with the holy angels.Mark 8:31-38 (AMP)
A life that is awakened to Christ is a life of surrender.
Surrender: Give up to the power of another, yield, to stop resisting because you cannot succeed, to give up control.
Sacrifice: Giving up what is precious to you to get that which is more precious to another.
Surrender to God is a life long condition of the mind, heart and will that causes you to live a life of self abandon. Human beings surrender to that which has a hold on their heart. As Christians, we need to come to a place of yielding, the place of surrender.
When we don’t have a fresh pair of eyes for where we are, where God has placed us, we will carry our old perceptions to the new places we go. As Christians, we struggle to detach from that which we have believed for years. We struggle with surrendering to God.
Surrender is two-part:
- The will of man allowing God to have free reign in your life.
- Accepting your previous decision for God to reign over your life and everything that comes with that decision.
Surrender is a decision. That is why we are told in the word of God that we are to pick up our cross daily and follow Christ.
There is no such thing as a Christian that belongs to himself or herself. We first love God with our all then our love our neighbours.
The Christian life is surrounded by different situations. Some good and others bad.
Because God is constant, we can surrender to Him. We can trust God with our heart because He knows everything concerning us yet He doesn’t reject us. We also need to have a constant heart for God where He can rely on us to yield to do what He desires in our lives. It’s a relationship.
God wants a heart He can rest in. Surrender lets God know that you are ready to be led by Him and to fellowship with Him, that you are aware of your relationship with Him and that you are all in.
We are not doing God a great favour by surrendering to Him. It is not about you but about Christ. Your life is not your own.
When God calls you to sacrifice all that you are for Him, He is seeking to fashion you to be just like Jesus Christ.
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].Romans 12:1-2 (AMP)
Surrender is the path on which the word of God is fertile ground and without surrender, what God has spoken in your life will not come to pass.
We as living sacrifices offer ourselves up in the strength of Christ, not by our strength. Apart from God we can do nothing.
Why did God accept the sacrifice of Abel and reject that of Cain? It’s because it’s about the heart of the giver of the sacrifice.
God is not asking for the little aspects of your life. He wants nothing less than the whole of our lives. God wants the whole of us not part of it.
Surrender is not about giving up something as much as it is loving God. The gain is immense. It is not a loss. The view of surrender needs to change from us losing stuff to it being a show of our love for God. Surrender is love. It will cost you everything you have loved because it is truly all about God.
Why does God insist on surrender? It is because it cost Him everything – Christ.
But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:7-11 (AMP)
In the same way it cost Christ everything for the love He had for us, it will cost us everything for the sake of the love we have of Him.
When Jesus surrendered everything, He gained much more. We are not surrendering unto death but unto life.
The call to surrender from God to a Christian is a call to love God. There is nothing more precious than God Himself. God is your reward.
After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am your Shield, your abundant compensation, and your reward shall be exceedingly great.Genesis 15:1 (AMP)
When God is asking you to surrender unto Him, He is asking you to make your love complete. Love will require you to give up certain things because you love Him.
The environment that you are in will determine your surrender. In our case, the environment is relationship with God.
Surrender and desire go hand. Desire is the offspring of communion, fellowship and relationship with God.
The kingdom of heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field.Matthew 13:44 (AMP)
The desire you have for God will foster a deeper sense and surrender and love of God.
The more you let God have His way in your life, the more you become sanctified and consecrated for His use.
Surrender isn’t just about letting God into your life but also God kicking out our carnal man from within us.
Who can ask you to surrender unless they have power over you? We belong to God so essentially He is in control. The life that we live is not our own. It is the exchanged life of Christ.
I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.Galatians 2:20 (AMP)
When you surrender to God, you become fruitful.
No relationship is ever fulfilled without freedom. So God needs to come, go, say and do things freely in our lives.
For people to live harmoniously, there needs to be commitment.
You need to be passionate about the relationship you have with God.
Surrender makes our relationship with God exciting.