Paul says I urge you brethren. Here he is an apostle, one of the big twelve, it doesn’t get much bigger than this. And he says brothers, brother, listen to me, Therefore, I urge you brothers by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice. Paul is going to tell these people to give their life away. That he needs something of motivation. If I were tell someone they need to give their life away they would probably ask “why?” Paul says here by the mercies of God, because of God’s mercies demonstrated to you through Jesus Christ, give your life away. What are these mercies?
First of all it is a plural, the multi-faceted mercies of God, it doesn’t matter how you look at it you are always going to come up with a bigger and better picture. You look at mercies of God from one side and you think maybe it is one dimensional like most things in our life, but then you get behind the thing, and you realize you discover something completely new. Then you go to one side or another, you go below and look up, or you go up and look down, and you try to grasp and comprehend the beauty of this mercy that has been given to you, and you say what mercy? You go thru the first eleven chapters of this Book of Romans and you discover what mercy. The fact that we were all lost and deserve condemnation. The fact that we could not save ourselves by our own works and didn’t even want to. The fact that God sent his only begotten precious holy Son to die on a tree carrying our sin and condemned under our judgment. And when he died, he paid the price and after paying the price, he rose again from the dead, and 40 days later he was exalted in the heavens, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high and he sat there as God’s man for you. And he ever lives to intercede on your behalf.
Now do you need more motivation? Because if you do, you’re lost. If you need me to tell you that if you serve God you’ll get a Mercedes, you’re lost. If you need me to tell you that if you serve God, He’ll heal your body and fix everyone of your problems, if you need that, you’re lost. If Jesus is not enough to motivate you to godly living, you don’t know Jesus. So let us keep it simple. Christ and Christ alone. No one else. I have need of nothing else. It is well with my soul. I want my sons to put their lives at God’s disposal. Here I am Lord. Speak to your servant. What do you want from me? That’s all. That is all that really matters. As a matter of fact my dear friend, when you are on your death bed and you will be there, when you are on your death bed the only thing that will be running through your mind is did you put your life at His disposal.
I mean I want to tell you something right now, if I was to go to Ethiopia and start 500 churches in three years, but God told me to be a janitor in a small Midwestern town, I would be disobedient planting all those churches. It’s not to do great things, it is to obey God. It is to put your life at His disposal, and that is it. Isn’t it simple? I had a guy walk into my office one time and say you know the Christian life is very, very complicated. I said no it’s not. He said yes it is. I said no its not. He said yes it is. And I said no its not, and I won because I was the pastor. I could also whip him. I said no it’s not complicated. He said but there are so many decisions, and I said no there’s not. I said God has already made all the decisions son, and now you have the same problem I do, you going to obey or not. You going to put your life there or not? And I want you to understand, let’s go back to that word brethren, when I am preaching this to you as my preacher back home says, I got one finger pointing at you, and I got three pointing back at me. This is as much for you as it is for me today. All of us struggle with this. You know we say we have so many struggles in so many things, No! You only have one struggle, and it is the same one I have-Are you going to put your life at God’s disposal? That’s the only thing. There only one thing that matters. And I guarantee it, I struggle with it just as much as you do. Are you going to put your life at God’s disposal? Christ first. Lord what do you want me to do today? What do you want me to see, what do you want me to say, what do you want me to hear, how do you want me to spend what you’ve given me, how do you want me to do everything you want me to do, how do you want it Lord? Here I am Lord, just goes back again to being at His disposal.
I remember one time in seminary I decided I am going to live one day totally at the disposal of God. Well that was an ambitious thing to do. I didn’t make it, but I did notice some differences. You know when your young, and you’re in the ministry, you should be locked away for a few years, because you are just not right in the head. You know I just got outside of the door of my house, OK Lord now what do you want me to do? Well Paul you got a class in five minutes so you better get there. But I am trying to walk across campus and just be sensitive. And just being goofy is what I was being, but I was trying every step Lord where do you want…and then all of a sudden, there out of the left, there was a lady that I talked to several times, she was an older lady, a cook there at the seminary, and she came walking out and was standing there kind of sad. And I was just trying to be this spiritual giant and the first time I felt God told me anything that morning was go tell her about my Son. And guess what? Oh I was willing to walk around like a zombie looking spiritual, but when it came to just loving somebody, go tell her about me. And I remember just having to collapse like this and just walk over there. That day she received Christ. Sure it was goofy, but God will honor a heart that makes any type of an attempt to be at His disposal.
You know sometimes I think we love day timers because we can somehow write God out of our day. God you know I want to make every minute productive for you, every five minutes I want to break down, but what we are doing is Lord, I want to be so active that you have no time to tell me what to do. Sometimes I think I must struggle so much, but there is one thing this hard head of mine can’t pound thru, and that is the love of Christ. I can make every excuse in the world not to be obedient, every excuse in the world not to do what I ought to do and then bam like a sledgehammer comes the love of Christ. The Love of Christ just knocks me to my knees.
But that is the thing I want you to see about the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Listen to this. Jesus was poor, and that’s all there is to it. He was regardless of what the TV preachers tell you, the guy was poor. He didn’t ride around in a King’s chariot, he was poor. He was many times tired. He many times had anguish. He many times had all the things that you and I have to deal with, but here is the thing about Jesus Christ, he was never empty. He was never empty. Why was he never empty, because he had food to eat that we know not of. He was never empty for the same reason we usually are. He was not empty because he was about doing the will of his Father. He was putting his life at the disposal of his Father. You’re empty? You ever feel empty? Guess what? Let a little red flag go up. I do. I just feel so empty, I need a vacation, I just feel so empty, I need to get away from the ministry for a while, I just feel so empty, I need to get by myself. No. I just feel so empty, I need to put myself at God’s disposal, and I won’t be empty anymore. Put myself at God’s disposal.
Now I have to step back for a second, because I have some of you in here, who are always under guilt that you are not doing enough for God. So when I say that you say, yeah I just need to get back in there and do some more. No, not get back in there and do some more for the church or for anybody else. I said put yourself at God’s disposal, and there’s a big difference. Draw near unto God, and he might want you to draw near unto him and to rest. He may want you to draw near unto Him and read through the book of John. He may want you to draw unto Him and cut half of your activities. What I am talking about is putting yourself at His disposal, not doing something extra.
Beautiful passage in Scripture in Ephesians 5:2: Walk in love just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Just give yourself to God. Well I have nothing to give. How dare you talk about God that way. Hold it Pastor I am not talking about God that way I am talking about me, I have nothing to give. If you have nothing to give, you are saying God gave you nothing. And I don’t believe that. God gives everyone of His children gifts and graces. None of this false humility stuff. It is better to say what He has given me, I shall return to Him. Never say I have nothing to give. Never. Never. False humility is a great destroyer of many things. Your problem is that you are not in me. Your problem is that your are not dwelling and putting your life at my disposal. When you do that Paul, I give you more joy than anything else.
That’s something you all need to understand, we all need to understand, it’s not where we are, its who He is and our relationship to Him. That is something very, very important. I want you to know that most of you are striving to be happy and that is not necessarily bad, you are just doing it totally the wrong way. The times that I have died to self have been very few. But the times that I have died to self and laid down my life as a sacrifice, put myself at His disposal, I have been the happiest man on the face of the earth. Even though it might have cost me greatly. There was such a peace, such an overwhelming joy. And all the times and there have been many, when I put Paul Washer before other people, which actually meant I put Paul Washer before Jesus Christ the Lord, I have been the most miserable person on the face of the earth.
Can anyone out there identify with what I am saying? Well then stop it! Sometimes theologically we want to get through all these things, you know theologically why do I do this or why do I do that? Just stop it! Its like a friend of mine down in Peru, one day he walked in and told his mom, he said mom when I do this with my arm, my arm hurts, she said stop doing that with your arm, and it won’t hurt anymore. It is the same thing. You know those of you who are truly Christian, you know the times when you have surrendered yourself to Christ, you know the times when you have put Christ before everything, when you presented your life to him as a sacrifice and you know the joy of it. And you also know the misery of doing the opposite.
The thing about it is, die. I know that is not too seeker friendly, but I am glad about that. Die to yourself. Do you want to fix your marriage, die to yourself and offer yourself to God. You want to fix everything, but what you can fix, die to yourself. One who tried to gain his life will lose it. Except a kernel falls to the ground, and dies, it bears no fruit. But if it dies, it bringeth forth much fruit. It’s all about Jesus Christ being first and second and third and fourth and fifth. What I am saying is don’t put Jesus first, Jesus is everything. He is not just first in a rank, he is everything. The whole shooting match as we might say. He’s everything. Lay down your life.
I was with Charo several years ago in Peru, and she has always been a very wise person and after teaching 4 or 5 classes some Romanian girls came up to her, and they said we don’t need to hear anything else you have to say. Charo said why? She said because you say the same thing every time. Charo said yea it is really that simple. Read the Word of God. Seek to submit your life to it. Pray for power. Lay down your life. Live for others, not for yourself. Die to self that you might have life. That you might life. Die to yourself that you might have life. That’s what it comes down to.
I have never given anything away that I have felt sorry for. I have kept things that I have regretted. I have never been self-sacrificing, that I look back on it now and say I wish hadn’t done that. But I have been selfish so many times and said I wish I hadn’t done that. It is really what Jesus said-die, and give your life to him. Die. Die. Should we be theologically correct? Yes we should. Should we be other things, yes we should. Does any of it matter if do not do this first thing? No. Die to ourself, give our lives away. Not self-promotion, but self-demotion. So that Christ may be promoted. He must increase, I must decrease. And oh did he have joy that John the Baptist.
Tonight we are going to talk about offering your body. Why did he say body? For a very, very important reason. He didn’t say give your heart, he said give your body. And we’re going to talk about that tonight. Now if you are here this morning, what can I say to you? You know, I have to be honest with you. I’m not expecting you to hear this message and just be flat out transformed and everything go right the rest of your life. I’m more hoping this message will be like a cocklebur under the saddle, and it will be always this reminder to you. Are you empty? Then die. Are you miserable, then die to self, live for Christ. Are you just feeling all dirty inside?, then put yourself at his disposal. Draw near unto him. A constant reminder of these things that you and I are called to habitually, continually die to self and to give our lives to God.
Some of you young people out there, you are going to terribly mess your lives up. You are, and I will tell you why. Because you are going to take the reigns and you’re going to run with it and when you do, well, New Years you will be in my office. You’re going to take the steering wheel and say I am going to drive my own car, and you’re going to regret it all the days of your life. I implore you to throw down the reigns, let go of the steering wheel, and to submit to the sovereignty of Christ. Not to the sovereignty of this preacher. You know what preaching is like, sometimes I don’t like the way it is done, I tell you why. It looks like I have some message and I am God’s co-pilot or something and I am giving the message to you. When in fact if it is a message from God, I should speak it and run down there and sit and listen to it just like you. This is not on the authority of some preacher.
You read the Bible yourself, do you agree with what I just said about Romans 12 verse 1? It’s not about submitting to a pastor or church or anything else, it’s about submitting to Jesus Christ and putting your life at his disposal and becoming everything he desires you to be. But you have to die, you have to die. If you are not a Christian here today, you are saying what is all this lunacy? That’s exactly what it is. Come lose your life for a carpenter’s son, for a madman who died for a dream and you’ll have the faith that his first followers had and you will feel the weight of his being.
It is lunacy to someone that does not know God. To die to yourself in this world? We live in the Roman Empire where it is all about self-promotion, being strong and powerful and getting everything so people will applaud you. Not in the kingdom, it’s not about going up the ladder, but going down it. It’s not about having your feet washed, it’s about washing other people’s feet. Jesus Christ knowing where he came from, and where he was going, basically knowing that he was the Son of God in the flesh, put on a towel and wiped everybody’s feet. Now that’s strong self-esteem. That’s what this is about. And it’s just as much for me as is it is for you.
But if you don’t know the Lord, this is what the Bible wants you to know. The Bible says something that is extremely offensive. Can you handle it? The Bible says something extremely offensive. You are not a victim to society. You are not a victim to other people’s problems. You sir, you ma’am, you child, your problem just like me. The Bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we are not lost sheep looking for a shepherd, we are God hating rebels, running with all our life to get away from it, because we want to be sovereign lord over our own universe. The Bible says if you keep doing that you will be even more destroyed. The Bible calls you to repent, to recognize your sin, and to hate it. And to run back to God, a just God, who could not forgive you because you have broken every law except He sent His Son to pay for every crime you ever committed, the payment has been made, justice has been satisfied. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. That’s what it is about. Your good works are like filthy rags, they are dead before God, and are of no account. They are just like mine. The only merit, the only virtue we have is Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected from the dead. Our only hope and our only glory. Our only hope.
George Muller: There was a day that I utterly died-died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends. And since then I only have to show myself approved to God.
Charles Spurgeon: I have now concentrated all my prayers into one, and that one prayer is this, that I may die to self and live wholly to Him.
A.W. Tozer: The reason many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.
Matthew 10:39: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Philippians 1:21a: For to me to live-Christ