The DNA of What is a Christian – part 7
21st November 2012
God’s goal for our lives is maturity, and mature believers as His children must submit to Him.
David said, Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with His mother -Psalm 131:2
When we are submitted to God our lives take on the mature characteristic of calm.
So how are we the church to live, mature, in the world we have today which is totally hostile to the things of God?
Peter gives us the answer in one succinct and powerful word – submit!
Peter counsels the children of God to submit to govt. authorities and to do good works – 1 Peter 2:11-17..11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
(cf. Rom. 13:1–5 )
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Peter tells the servants of God to submit to their masters – 2:18-25…18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. and
Christian wives to submit to their husbands 1 Peter 3:1-7…3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
Lastly Peter admonishes all the believers in the local churches to submit to one another and minister to one another. In other words, if God’s people are good citizens, good employees, good spouses, and good church members, zealous to do good works, then God will bless them and use them, no matter where they live or the trials they face.
In a rebellious world God’s children should model maturity by submission.
Peter uses the word we translate as submit which is a military term that means “rank under”.
So it has nothing to do with the character or worth of the person involved; it simply describes order and organization.
It’s the acceptance of God’s order in the home, the church, and human society.
Jesus is first, others second, self last!
Sadly, many people are not in the family of God because they won’t submit to the righteousness of God -Romans 10:1-3…1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
The cause of many church splits is the absence of submission to spiritual leaders and to one another – James 4:1-7……1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet [fn1] you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and [fn2] adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Family problems arise when parents won’t submit to God and to one another – Ephesians 5:18-21. And when children refuse to submit to their parents.
Remember Jesus submitted to Mary and Joseph during His formative years – Luke 2:51….51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.
Psalm 131 The image of submission given in is that of the child submitting to the mother.
- Don’t let God take anything good from you – willingly give it to Him! This is exactly what Abraham did on Mount Moriah with Isaac Gen 22…and God blessed Abraham for it. If we presented to God as a loving sacrifice everything good God weaned from us, what a difference it would make in the way we feel and the rate of our spiritual maturity.
- Remind yourself that weaning isn’t the end; it’s the beginning at every turn of maturity growth we lose something in order to gain something. We need to have the same attitude of Job – The Lord gave, and The Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of The Lord – Job 1:21.
- Remind yourself that the submission required in weaning is a mark of strength and not weakness – Submission is NOT subjugation or domination. Every good thing that God takes from us makes our hands free to receive something better; and as the Christian life progresses, God continues to take the better to gives us the best!
- Remember that the goal is maturity not security- you are in fact never more secure that when you are in the will of God, submitted to His love,purpose and plans. So that as you mature, His love depend in our hearts, and perfect/complete/mature love casts out fear – 1john 4:18
Garden of Gethsemane …turn to Luke 22:47-51. John 18:11
We have three people – Judas, Peter, and Jesus. We seen three different approaches to the will of God.
Judas- an apostle, pretended to do God’s will; and his action was a hypocritical kiss.
Peter – opposed God’s will, and in his hand was a sword.
Jesus submitted to God’s will and in His hand was a cup.
A kiss, a sword and a cup: three different approaches to God’s will.
You can be like Judas and fake God’s will.
You can be like Peter and you can fight God ‘s will.
Or you can be like our Lord and fulfill God’s will.
Judas had been organizing a mob.
Peter had been sleeping.
Jesus had been praying. Luke 22:42.
The picture of willingly taking a cup and drinking it is a picture of obedience and submission.
This cup was not treat of refreshment; no it was the cup of the wrath of God against the sins of the world and was made sin for us.
According to John 8:44 Satan is a liar (the kiss), and a murderer (sword).
Listen, Peter in his fleshly zeal was just as much a servant of the evil one as was Judas in his treachery and hypocrisy.
If Peter had been holding a cup in his hand, he would not have nearly killed a man.
Matthew 26:52 All who take the sword shall perish by the sword.
No mature child of God should be afraid or fearful to take the cup because what’s in it has been prepared by our Heavenly Father.
There are times when it is difficult to pray, Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will – Mark 14:36
But the alternative to this is much more difficult…God can plan our lives better than we can!
Listen carefully, the greatest judgment can give to you and I is to let us have our own way in our lives!
So, we cannot take the cup until we put down the sword.
We cannot drink the cup until we stop our hypocritical kissing….faking our relationship with God.
We cannot overcome until we submit.
Paul said our daily lives, our daily living, is to be like a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:1…1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
This offering is a picture of a burnt offering in the OT, which was to be a sweet smelling sacrifice, a perfume well pleasing to God. (Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17)
Here Paul’s words of our Savior’s life as our example…Eph 5: 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
The animals not knowing what was about to happen to them, submitted when sacrificed.
But ours is to be an act of intelligent worship (Rom 12:1 Phillips translation) – that is the more we think about the mercies of God, the more we should want to give our all to Him and live for Him.
The submission of a mature believer is intelligent and voluntary.
But remember God is NOT seeking dead sacrifices but LIVING sacrifices!
Key verse for mature Christian living – Matthew 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
The classical illustration in God’s word of submitting to God is found in the Book of Jeremiah 18:1-6 ….turn there and read it.
The context concerns the people of Judah and a reminder to them that God was in control over all nations. It was a wonderful portrayal of God’s blessed grace , for although Judah was a disobedient nation, God offered to make them a people again if only they would submit to Him.
Clay cannot resist a potter’s hands, but as human beings, we are capable of resisting God in many ways.
But when God is not allowed to rule, that is in our lives, He will never violate our freedom and force Himself upon us.
God controls the wheel of life and throughout our lives uses the pressures of many hands to mold us……(fill in the blanks)..what are the pressures now in your life?
We will only reach our potential when we yield to the Master Potter!