Date: July 10, 2011
Bible Text: Romans 6:13 | Roger Voegtlin
Series: Transcribed Sermons
Power belongs to God. I don’t believe anyone in this auditorium would disagree with that, but power belongs to God alone. There’s one condition, though, upon which that power is bestowed upon us, and that is, absolute surrender to Him. If you could get a hold of what I am going to say today, it could change your life for the good. It could give you that exciting life you perhaps see in other people. The power of a surrendered life. Romans chapter 6 verse 13 reads, “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.”
Now, if you would, really look at this verse in its simplicity. Don’t yield yourself as an instrument to sin. You say, “I’m a Christian. I’m a member of Fairhaven Baptist Church.” The Bible says, “Don’t yield yourself as an instrument to sin.” If you do, you are going to be fogged up about everything. You are not going to know God’s will, and God is not going to be able to bless you. Then, again, it says that we are to be as those that are alive from the dead. Elsewhere in the Bible, it talks about putting ourselves on an altar just as the Jews did in the Old Testament. They put a sheep or a bullock on the altar. That’s the way we are supposed to be—alive only to God.
It is the same as one of these band members here. We could set up Rusty’s horn there and say, “Play.” It wouldn’t play, would it? It’s an instrument in Rusty’s hand. If we have the attitude of being God’s instrument, we stop listening to the devil. The devil tells us, “It’s just one little sin—that’s not bad. It’s just the sin that besets you.” And you get on that computer and look at pornography. “It’s okay.” No, no, He won’t bless you.
The great secret of blessing and power is found in this verse. “Yield yourselves unto God.” The word “yield” here literally means “present” or “put yourself at God’s disposal.” In other words, we are to surrender ourselves completely to God to be His property, for Him to do with us what He wants. We have nothing to say about it. That’s the wisest thing anybody can do—to give his life completely over to an all-knowing and all-wise God. By that act, we will secure all the blessings that are possible for a person. And day by day, week by week, year by year, you will see the results ever increasing.
Someone would ask, “What is the one thing for me to do if I want to know God’s will in my life?” The answer is very simple: Surrender absolutely to God. Say, “Heavenly Father, from now on I have no will of my own at all. I put myself unreservedly into Your hands.” And when you do that, God, Who is infinite in His love, infinite in His wisdom and His power, does the very best thing that could ever be done for our lives. We may not see it as the very best thing immediately, but that’s where faith comes in. If we trust Him, sooner or later it will be seen. Sooner or later God will flood your heart with light and joy and power. Absolute surrender is the secret to the blessedness and power.
This morning I want you to see some of the results of surrender. If you will, please turn in your Bibles to John chapter 7, verse 17, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” The point I would make here is that true knowledge comes from the surrender of our will to God. God wants us to know His will. I think some say, “Well, yes He guides the pastor” or “Yes, He guides the head of the home,” but God wants each and every one of us to know His will. Teenagers, God wants you to know His will. Do you want knowledge? Do His will. Nothing will clear your vision like doing what He would have you to do.
Again, I John 1:5, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” There’s no darkness in God, but there is nothing that will blind our spiritual vision and make a fool out of us like the sin of self will. We know what WE want. We’re convinced that that is the only thing that will make US happy, and so we grab a hold of that sin or those sins. I’ve seen Christians stumble through life as though they were blind, making the wrong decisions every time. But let me say something, I’ve seen some who will finally give up to God, as it were, and put up the white flag and say, “I surrender, I surrender all.” And it’s like the window is opened. You say, “Why didn’t I see that before?” At last they give themselves to Christ, and they gain peace. What was dark as night becomes light as day.
Again, unsurrendered will is in the back of all skepticism. Do you have questions and doubts? Do you really believe in prayer, or is it just kind of a formal thing to you, something you know you ought to do? What about the Bible? I know some don’t believe it because they don’t practice it. Do you have skepticism? Do you read it and say, “This is hard to believe.” Or, do you hear a sermon and say, “Well, that makes sense. It is out of God’s Word, but I can’t comprehend that.”
In so many areas, in our family, etc., many don’t believe the Bible when it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Why don’t Christians believe it? Because of practice. Many times when I discuss this with pastors, they will say, “What about Dr. ‘So and So’? He’s a godly man, and he lost his children.” Forget ‘Dr. So and So.’ What about God? What about the Bible? What about His promises? Do you have skepticism about the Bible? Skepticism about marriage? Oh, today we say the man ought to be the head of the home, and the average new Christian will rebel against that. It is clear that the woman is supposed to be in subjection to her husband even as the church is to Christ.
Do you believe the Bible? “I don’t want to tithe. I don’t want to give to God.” The Bible is so clear about giving, that ten percent is His already. People say, “Do you believe in storehouse tithing?” I believe the Bible. They always brought it to the church, to the storehouse. To the tabernacle in the Old Testament, and to the church in the New Testament on the first day of the week. You say, “I don’t believe that.” Well, how are your finances?
What I’m trying to say is when we resist giving ourselves totally over to God, we’re blinded. We don’t have true knowledge. Sometimes you see a deep-down peace and security in other people, while you are just wading through mire. Oh, you know how to act like a Christian and talk like a Christian, but you need to yield yourself, give yourself completely to God. Are you trying to feel your way through the dark? Is the Bible not clear to you? People today say, “We need a new version, I don’t understand it.” No, you don’t need a new version. You need to yield yourself to God, and it will become clear to you.
Turn to Matthew 6. The greatest truths, those with the most significance for time and eternity, cannot be learned through investigation. They cannot be learned through study; they cannot be reasoned out. They must be seen. And the only one who can see them is the one whose eyes are clear by absolute surrender to God. Matthew 6 verse 22, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single [given over to God], thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness…” If you hang on to your own self will, you will make yourself spiritually “dumb.”
I remember reading R. A. Torrey discussing this. He talked about many, many men confiding in him about just wandering in the dark, not knowing what they believed, or if they believed anything. But each time he would point out what I’m saying here, that you must give yourself to God, totally surrendering to God, before that light comes on. I’m not talking about being sinless; but if you hold back and say, “I don’t believe in tithing,” or “I don’t believe in coming to church regularly,” or “I believe that I can have this one sin of pornography,” or whatever it might be, it will all be darkness.
You may be able to memorize the Bible. You may be able to quote thousands of verses, and yet be dumb when it comes to the Bible. It’s one thing to memorize it, but another thing to understand it. Torrey said that every time the men responded correctly, they came back and said, “Wow! I didn’t understand it before, but it’s like a light went on.” And I’ll tell you, it will be the same thing for you.
Now turn back to I John 3. The next result of a surrendered will and life is power in prayer. And, oh, is that exciting! The greatest secret to real prayer is that which John records from his own experience in I John 3:22. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” Note those words, “whatsoever we ask, we receive…” Let them sink in. I think sometimes we read the Bible and “filter” it through our own lifestyle. I’ve always said the promises of God always have strings attached. Think of it, though. Not one prayer, big or small, not one that we ask fails. But notice the reason: “because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
I don’t want to confuse you here. God doesn’t think any one of us will ever be sinless. In the same book, if you’ll read it, the Bible says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar.” If we say we have no sin, we’re liars. Do you ever ask why you don’t get what you ask for? Why you can’t say with John, “Whatsoever I ask for I get.” People say, “Well, he was an apostle.” No. It’s not because we are just everyday Christians, it is because he was completely given over to God; and if you don’t see it, you are not. It’s because he could say that he kept God’s commandments—all of them. He did only what was pleasing in His sight.
Now turn to Psalm 37. I love preaching on prayer, and I love the promises of prayer. I believe in prayer. I’ve seen that what I am preaching is true. But don’t be puzzled if your prayers are not answered. It’s the result of not meeting the one great fundamental condition of prevailing prayer. Psalm 37:4 reads, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Delight yourself in God, commit your way to the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your life. Back in the book of John, Jesus said to the Father, “Thou hearest me always.” Why? Well, you say, “Because He was the begotten Son.” I don’t believe that is the gist of it. The reason he could say that is found in John 6:38. Here Jesus said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” He said, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me…” and “Lo, I come… to do thy will, O God.”
Every man, whether it was Jesus Who was our perfect example, or the apostle John, or any man greatly used of God, including a George Müller, had as his goal in life to be given completely over to God. Now, George Müller was probably the man who would stand out in what we would call modern history in the way he saw his prayers answered. Do you want to know why he saw those prayers answered? You read the exciting stories about how he would get the orphans around the table and thank the Lord for the food when he knew there wasn’t any food. And as soon as he said, “Amen,” there was a knock on the door, and a bread truck or a milk truck had broken down, and there it was. How could he do that? If you dare to read about his life, you’ll see a man who was consumed with knowing God’s will and doing it.
You’ve heard me say, “Find God’s will and do it,” a thousand times. You might say, “Where did you get that principle? Of course, from the Bible, but also from George Müller. There is not one of us who cannot become a mighty prince of prayer. Some of you are handicapped and you say, “Boy, I’d love to do something for God.” This is needed more than anything else that could be done. Some of you are old and you say, “My time is past. What can I do for God?” Become a great prayer warrior! You can if you are surrendered to Him.
Now John 15:10-11. The next result will be a heart overflowing with joy. Isn’t this exciting? I love this subject. Here, in John, in the face of awful trial and agony, Jesus says to His disciples, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” He’s our perfect example. He is more than an example, please understand me. But He is saying, “Do it like I do it. I’ve given Myself to God completely, and I abide in His love. And if you do that, you will abide in His love.” “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” We live in a sad world, a dark, sin-sick world. You say, “How do you expect to be happy with all these things happening?” Through Christ! here it is, right here.
There were some people who were ready to slit their wrists if George Bush didn’t get elected. No, no, no. Like it or not, I believe Bill Clinton was a wicked man. He did everything he could to destroy this country. But if you recall, after the election I said, “It doesn’t bother me. Things are going to get rough, and God will have to show Himself more than ever.” I want God’s will. I have certain choices of what I would want in the White House, of course, but I want God’s will more than anything. And whatever happens, God can show Himself, and we can be happy.
You say, “We’re going into a recession.” Maybe. It should not have anything to do with your happiness, though. You say, “I’ll be hungry; I won’t be able to feed my kids. I might lose my job.” You are not thinking like a Christian. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Now, if you haven’t been seeking God first, maybe you have something to worry about. But understand, in the face of all these trials and agony, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do these things that your joy might be full. Yield yourselves to God.” There is no joy in being a half-hearted Christian. There is nobody sadder than a half-hearted Christian. There are so many Christians who have just enough so-called religion to make themselves miserable. They are not happy in the world, and really they have never found the joy of Jesus Christ. They are deprived of the leeks and onions and garlic of Egypt, but they don’t have the milk and honey of Canaan.
Why are we afraid? Ask yourself this, “Why am I afraid to say, ‘O God, I put myself unreservedly into Your hands. Do with me what you please.’” Why are we afraid? Are you afraid that if you say that, He might say, “I want you to be a bus worker,” and you don’t want to give up your weekends? Are you afraid that if you do that, He might say, “I want you to give more,” and you don’t believe Him enough? You see, it ought to be the other way. If God says, “I want you to give more,” or, “I want you to be a bus worker,” or, “I want you to go to the mission field,” we shouldn’t be afraid of it. There ought to be excitement! A thrill! “God wants me to do the impossible! If I stay right with God, oh, is it going to be exciting!” Are you afraid that He wants you to give up your pet sin, and you don’t have enough faith to believe? Are you afraid to put your life, your ambitions, or your money in the hand of Almighty God? That is sad. How could martyrs getting ready to be burned say, “Welcome, cross of Christ; welcome, eternal life!” How could they do that? Their lives were given to God, and they had perfect peace.
Last of all, the next result of a surrendered life is Christ manifesting Himself in us and the Holy Spirit showing His power and giving us wisdom. Turn to John 14. On the night Jesus was betrayed, Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” There is a real manifestation of Christ right now, when He comes and comforts us and guides us in a real way. Then in Acts 5:32 we read, “…the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” The surrendered life is the great secret of the power of the Holy Spirit. I feel sorry for some people. They agonize, they fast, they beg. But they forget this: they won’t give their will over. And there is something in their life they don’t want to give up. You will never see the power of God manifested in your life until your will is totally given over.
Again I say, I feel sorry for people who say, “I know better.” Well, I’ve never been one to say I know everything for another person’s life. But I don’t see God’s power in them, either. And by the way, I don’t see God’s wisdom, either. I don’t see God’s knowledge. I’ll tell you why, because there is no complete surrender. If you give yourself, all of yourself, all of your selfish tendencies, He will give you power. He wants to give you power. It might come in surging waves, or it may be in a gentle calm. But you will see His power. The great secret of gaining the power of God, the great secret of Jesus Christ manifesting Himself through your life, the knowledge, the wisdom that only comes from above, is surrendering yourself to God.
Do you want this? Do you want answered prayer? Oh, it’s wonderful. Do you want joy, knowledge, true power? Again it is found in Romans 6:13, right where we started. “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.” Do you want to grow? You cannot see God show Himself through your life, in your life, in your family, the way He wants to unless you totally surrender yourself to God. How foolish for anyone to refuse to yield. How foolish to even hesitate to yield. You are robbing yourself of all that makes life worth living. You have goals, and you want this or that. Do you think you can get them? You can’t without yielding yourself to Him.