Date: January 28, 2020 (College Chapel)
Bible Text: | Paul Schwanke
Series: Transcribed Sermons
Thank you for that great singing this morning. Let me invite you to take your Bible and turn to the book of Romans chapter 12, Romans chapter 12 this morning, verses you know, I am sure have memorized. Romans chapter 12 and verse number one. Thank you, just for a wonderful, wonderful privilege for me to be in this place. I am thankful for it. I so much enjoy hearing the singing again this morning and the special music and of the high school, the choir last night. It was just tremendous. Thank you, I appreciate your hard work it was just excellent, so well sung. And yet, more than that it just honored the Lord, a tremendous job last night about revival. And I appreciate your heart for Christ and there is nothing greater than a child of God saying my life for the will of God. And of course, nowhere in the Bible perhaps is that dealt with more directly and powerfully than Romans chapter 12.
So if you are able this morning, could I invite you to stand together with me and say Romans Chapter 12. Well, you know, verses one and two, let's quote them together. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." Do you know what we just did here this morning? You cannot do that in most houses of religion on a Sunday morning. Do you know they can not even stand up and read the Bible together? You know why? Because everybody's Bible is different. It would just sound like absolute chaos. You can not even go to church and have everybody stand up and read the Bible. I appreciate so much we still can.
Father in heaven, I pray you would help us now as we open the words of our God that you would find tender hearts and Lord over the course of a semester and over the course of the days, in the weeks in the winter time, it is easy to get cold on the inside. It is easy to just get used to things and yet I pray one more time that the word of God would do what is so powerfully able to do. And that is to stir our minds and our hearts for Christ. Lord I ask you to do a great work in this place in the strong mighty name of Jesus, I pray. Amen. Thank you so much. Please be seated.
A few weeks ago, just before Christmas, I had the opportunity to spend seven days in the country of Jordan. And just day after day, I went to different Bible sites. It was fascinating to me. Save for Israel, there are more Bible events in the country of Jordan than any other country in the world. It was astounding, I mean it is just one of the greatest things I have ever been able to do. And I took that rental car one day up a very, very steep mountain switchbacks back and forth. I mean, you are looking straight down. And yet when I got to the top of that mountain it was just a magnificent thing. You could view the country of Israel. Literally it seemed like you can almost reach out and touch it. Between Jordan and Israel in that place is the mighty Dead Sea, and it was a spectacular view. But more than that, I visited a place, a Hilltop called Fort Machaerus.
Fort Machaerus in Bible times is where it is quite certain that John the Baptist ultimately lost his life for his Savior. I never quite had an experience like going up that steep road and, after I finally got to Fort Machaerus, you have to walk up a little path. And actually the palace of Herod is just magnificent. Literally, I was walking on the tiles where the young lady danced, literally walking in the very place where she went to her mother and her mother said, the head of John the Baptist on a charger. It is just a stunning thing. But even more so was to go to a rocky little cliff. And inside that rocky little cliff, there is a cave, a very tiny little cave that you could easily put on about a half of this platform. And that is where John the Baptist was in prison.
You know, in that cold, dark place. And I mean cold, frigid cold at night, searing hot in the Mediterranean desert daytime. There is John the Baptist shivering, no doubt sick and ill. And John the Baptist who as a young man, said, I am going to live my life for the will of God. God wants me to prepare the way for the Messiah. He wants me to go and preach the kingdom of God is at hand. John the Baptist from the time he was a baby before he was even born had the hand of God upon him to do a mighty work for God. And yet as I looked in and actually walked into that cold little place where John the Baptist spent those last days of his life thinking I can not even imagine the poverty, can not even imagine a hungry, starving, freezing man in that place. And his disciples standing outside that cave, look in and John the Baptist is so discouraged. He said, go find Him and ask Jesus, is He really the Messiah? Do we look for another? And the discouragement had set in and yet the day would soon come where John the Baptist would die for the Savior that he loves.
As I sat there, it happened to be a Sunday morning. They have church there on a Sunday night. It is a work day in a Muslim country and as I sat there that Sunday morning for the longest time, just reading the Bible and meditating on what was taking place in this place 2000 years ago. And I imagine somebody like John the Baptist give his life for his Savior. What do you call that? I mean to be freezing in that little cell, which was really a cave under a rock someplace shivering all night, burning up in the heat. And finally, because of some lustful, wicked dirty King with this evil, godless, murderous wife and a wicked young teenager, you are going to lose your head for the Savior you love. Would you call that a great sacrifice? I mean, when somebody like John the Baptist dies for Christ, could we call it the Supreme sacrifice? What do you call that?
In 1526, William Tyndale published the first English Bible. For this great crime of putting the Bible in the language of the common man the King of England put a price on his head. Tyndale was ultimately betrayed by a friend. Then he would spend 18 months in a rat infested jail. And yet, like the apostle Paul in the New Testament, Tyndale, won his own jailer to Christ. Finally, they tied William Tyndale to a stake and they started a slow burn, such an agonizing, horrific way. Slowly but surely to die. The word came that at the last he would be strangled and he could die, mercifully. And the last thing William Tyndale did before he died, he prayed that one day God would open the heart of the King of England so everybody could have a Bible. You know, less than a century later, God did open the, heart of the King of England. And you and I have a King James Bible. And it goes back to a day when William Tyndale was willing to die for the Word of God. So what do you call that?
I mean, what do you say about John the Baptist who gives his head literally because he loves the Lord Jesus. What do you say about William Tyndale who is literally willing to die for the Bible? Not long after Tyndale in the land to Switzerland, there was a Baptist preacher named Felix Manz. Felix Manz began to preach that salvation is by grace through faith that baptism does not save an infant, that baptism does not save. In fact, Felix Manz went so far as to preach that baptism is not for babies it is for those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. And for the crime of preaching that message, Felix Manz, Pastor Manz was thrown in jail. He miraculously escaped and he went to different areas of Switzerland preaching the Word of God. But the government deemed him such a great risk that they finally sentenced him to die. On the 5th of January, 1527 that Baptist preacher was sentenced to be drownd. The crowd began to gather by the river and as they did, he praised the God of the Bible. And he thanked God publicly that he could die for the truth. His own mother and his own brother were part of the crowd urging him to stay faithful to his Savior. And on that day that Baptist preacher died for Christ. So what do you call that?
I mean, when somebody dies for Jesus or they die for the Bible, they die for the truth that baptism does not save it is only for the child of God. What do you call that? How about even in our own country, in 1651 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a Baptist preacher named Obadiah Holmes was arrested for preaching that baptism is for the believer, not for the baby. For that reason. They literally took him into the center of the square. They beat that preacher to a pulp. Why It was so horrific that for weeks Obadiah Holmes could not lay down. He had to prop himself up on his hands and knees from the horrific beating that came upon him. And yet through it all, we had an incredible peace. And as he was tied to the post, he said he felt the presence of God so strongly, that despite the fact that the officer turned his back into hamburger meat. He basically stood up and smiled and said, you have struck me as with roses that I can suffer for my Savior. So what do you call that?
I mean, what do we say about John the Baptist who dies in such a horrible way or in a horrible place. Or what do we say about Obadiah Holmes or a Baptist preacher like Felix Manz? What do we say about a man like William Tyndale who would die for the Word of God? Why do we say these people made a great sacrifice? Do we say they made a wonderful sacrifice? Could we say that because they died, they actually paid the supreme sacrifice . What do you call that?
What do you say about a Baptist minister? A missionary like Adoniram Judson who gave his life to go to the land of Burma and plant Baptist churches. What do you say about a man that took his wife and his little children and they were forced to live in a primitive hutless swamp just outside of Rangoon. What do you say about the horrible place filled with dirth and filth and sewage where they lived? Nobody wanted AdonIram Judson. Nobody wanted AdonIram Judson's gospel and nobody wanted his Bible. For that reason he was in prison and for two years he was locked in a foul cell. He was tormented by every cruelty that you and I could imagine. His oldest girl came down with smallpox. His youngest child was threatened with starvation. The sentence of death was passed upon this missionary and yet at the point of death, he was smuggled away and the hour of death would pass for a while. When that happened, his wife did not even know where he was. She herself was scarred and named the living skeleton, short of her hair and dressed in rags. Eventually on the mission field Adoniram Judson would bury his wife and he would bury his children. And yet he stayed in Burma long enough to see a local church established and people saved by the hundreds. He lived there long enough to put a Bible in their language. So what do you call that? I mean, what kind of terminology do we find for people that would give everything to go to a dirty place like Burma centuries ago? What do we say about even in our own country, in the state of Massachusetts where a Baptist preacher would be beaten or in Switzerland where a Baptist preacher would die for the Word of God? I mean, what do we say about that?
I was preaching a few summers ago in Papa New Guinea. The first time I had been there, I met a preacher. He preached in a city called Lea, Papa new Guinea. His name was Jacob Kafus. Jacob Kafus had a tremendous testimony. We sat at lunch one day and he told me his story, how growing up in an incredibly poor little village. How he received a scholarship to go to the University of Port Moresby understanding an incredible opportunity. (We talk about poverty and I know in America everybody thinks they are a great victim. Believe me, we have no idea what poverty is like, I do not care where you go in Chicago.) And why in a place like this in that poverty stricken village, he got a scholarship. He did so well at the university that he graduated with honors and they gave him an incredible job working for Mobil Oil. I mean, he had his life made. You could say from the poverty of the jungles to the upper crust in society. Jacob Kafus had it going, but you know, not longer after he took that job, the Lord saved Jacob Kafus. Not long after that, God called him to preach and that man of God got a burden for his poor little village. He went back home and on a Saturday he went to the public market. He set up a little PA system. He took his microphone and he began to preach the gospel.
His village was incredibly religious, but they were incredibly lost. When the religious authorities heard him preaching the gospel, they sent their team. They came and they destroyed all of his equipment and the head honcho put his finger in the face of Jacob Kafus and said, if you come back and ever preach again, we are going to do to you what we did to the equipment. The next Saturday at market, there was Jacob Kafus preaching without a microphone. This time the authorities came and they beat him to a pulp and now the authority put their finger in his face and said, if you ever come back next time, we are not going to stop. We are going to kill you. The next Saturday there was Jacob Kafus preaching in that little village out of the corner of his eye. He saw the authorities and they were coming with their clubs. He figured his life was over. Then at the last second, people filed out of that market, piled out of that market. They made semicircles around him so that he could keep preaching and the authorities could not get to him. As you and I sit here today in that little village in Papa new Guinea, there is an Independent Baptist church. So what do you say about that? What kind of terms do we in our comfortable seats in America--what do we put upon upon people who died for the Bible or died for the Savior or they died preaching the truth? What do we say about somebody who is willing to die so his village can get the gospel? What do we say about somebody who says in the poverty of Papa new Guinea, I will turn my back on a comfortable job. I will turn my back on a comfortable life and give the rest of my life to see the gospel go forth in some poor little village. What do we say about that? Do we call that the great sacrifice? Do we call that the supreme sacrifice? Could we call it the ultimate sacrifice?
It is a little surprising what Romans chapter 12 verse number one calls it. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God... " Notice not the mercy of God, but the mercies of God. And the apostle Paul says to the people in local churches in Rome, Italy, I am pleading with you and I am begging with you, and I am asking you to do something today. But he said, the reason I am asking, the basis of this request--it is the mercies of God. Not just the fact that Jesus died on the cross and had mercy on a sinner like me. But the multiple mercies of God that are poured down on you and they are poured out on me absolutely every single day. Mercy after mercy, the greatest of which of course is Calvary, when I deserve to be in hell, when I deserve to face the wrath of God with the judgment of God poised to fall upon my neck. The Lord Jesus in His mercy, died for me, was buried, and He rose again. Then He pulled me out of that pit, He set my feet on a rock and established my going. No, it is not just mercy the day I called on the name of the Lord and was saved. It is not just mercy. The day you are born again, every single day the mighty mercies of God are multiplied on your life and on my life. And by the mercies of God do you see what it says? "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice. Holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." See, here is the problem, every day in America, we are so surrounded by a cheap, sorry, watered down version of Christian religion that we do not have any idea what reasonable Christians are supposed to do. Do you know the word reasonable it just means logical. It means just ordinary, just run of the mill average Christians. This is what they do. And yet it has gotten so watered down and we have come to the place where, why? If anybody actually shows up on a church on a Sunday morning, you know, we want to give them a standing ovation and an award.
I mean there is a song, I have not heard this for a long time and I could not be happier. I used to hear this a lot at missions conferences and I don't know, this could be your favorite song. Okay. If it is, get a new favorite song, what can I tell you? I hate this song. I really do and it is so emotional high. Almost everybody is always crying as they sing and it is just so emotional. Hey, you hear this sometimes at a missions conference, thankfully not many anymore. It goes like this. Thank you for giving to the Lord. Really, like one day when I get to heaven, Hey, they are going to be coming up to me and singing to me. Thank you for giving to the Lord and there I was in church and the offering plate was coming by and I reached in my pocket and I put my spare change into the offering and now all these little boys and girls in Africa, they are going to come running up to me, thanking me for giving to the Lord. Is that what you think? I am just guessing now that when we start singing in heaven, we are probably not going to be singing.Thank me for giving to the Lord. But you know, we might start out with a verse or two up To God Be the Glory, great things he hath done. That may be where we start. And I gotta tell you something else. When we get to heaven, and John the Baptist stands there saying, I gave my head for Jesus. And then Obadiah Holmes says, I gave my back for Jesus. And Felix Manz says, I died for Jesus. And Jacob Kafus said, I gave up a lucrative career for Jesus. Somehow I do not think our spare change for missionaries is going to go very far.
We have been so bombarded with a watered down cheapened version of Christianity that if we were actually confronted with what the Bible calls reasonable service, average, ordinary run of the mill Christianity, we would think that we were in the presence of the greatest Christians that have ever walked upon this earth. So this morning, I do not want you to see from your Bible what great Christians do. I do not want you to see from the Bible what the one in a million Christians do. I do not want you to see what the martyrs do. I just want you to see right out of your Bible. Maybe you never quite looked at it like this before especially right from your Bible what ordinary, average or run of the mill Christians do. In the Bible they are called reasonable. Okay, so this is not, you know that one missionary dying out in the middle of the Amazon and this is not that great, great, great person, that great, great preacher. No, no, no this is just you and me here average, run of the mill, ordinary Christians.
Yes, this is what normal Christians do, the ones who are reasonable, three things. Number one, reasonable Christians present their bodies to the Lord. I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, the present. Not that the Lord comes and snatches. No that ye present your body. All right, so what do reasonable Christians do? They present their bodies as a living sacrifice. Well, 2000 years ago, that painted even a better picture than it does for us. Because they were all used to, as little children anyhow, going to the temple and they would bring an animal and they would watch that bull die. They would watch that goat die. They would watch that lamb die. They would watch as an animal would be sacrificed, and they certainly understood what sacrifice meant. But no, no. The Lord does not say go die for me. He does not say go to some distant place, but he said, what I want you to do is take your body and present your body as a living sacrifice to me. So what does that mean?
All right it means we come to the Lord and say, Lord, I present my hands to you as part of my body. Here's my hands. My hands are going to do what you want them to do. Lord here's my feet. I am going to go where you want me to go. You get my feet, I am presenting my feet to you. Lord I am presenting my big mouth to you. And if you can do something with this thing, it belongs to you. Lord, hear are my ears. It is no longer what do I want to hear? I am giving you my ears. I am presenting them to you. Okay Lord here's my eyes. I do not want to see what I choose to see. I want to see what you want me to see. I am giving you my mind. I am giving you my eyes. I am giving you my ears. I am giving you my tongue. I am giving you my hands. I am giving you my feet. I am choosing not because I have to, not because I am forced to. I am choosing because I want to present my body as a living sacrifice to God. But there is something else about this, isn't there? Look at the sacrifice that God wants. Present your bodies a living sacrifice,Holy, acceptable unto God.
There is another song, I hate this one too. I know for somebody here, this is going to be your number one all time, top of the list, favorite song and that is okay. I love you, you know it is all good. Just get a new favorite song it is emotional and the tears will come rolling and it goes like this. People need the Lord at the end of their broken dreams, He is the open door. That is Christianity in America. You go mess your life up. You go throw your life away. You just do what you want and after you have ruined your mind, and ruin your eyes, and ruin your flesh ,and ruin your body, and ruin your future, after you made a disaster of your life. When Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall, and after all the king's horses and all the king's men and all the kings, witch doctors, I mean psychiatrists can't put you back together again. After you have made a mess out of your life--that is what Jesus is for. He is there to fix your broken dreams? He is there to fix your broken life? He is there to put it all together and he better do it by lunchtime tomorrow because I have an appointment. And that is religions attitude. Jesus is there to fix you.
Now please do not misunderstand me. On Friday nights, I believe brother Olson, there is RU (Reformers Unanimous) right here at the church, a tremendous ministry that takes people whose lives have been broken and ruined by addictions and be that booze, be that liquor, be that immorality or any addiction. People whose lives are absolutely the dregs and why the Lord has used that and used churches like Fairhaven Baptist Church has seen multitudes of people whose lives are a mess saved. And then God is able to change them and God is able to fix their life. God is more than able to take the worst drunk in this city, save them, and change their life. But you know, the worst drunks in the city are not sitting in this room today. Sitting in this room are men and ladies who have something Holy and something that is still acceptable and a body that is worthwhile. And God is not expecting you to say, when I get out of Fairhaven, I am going to go and drink like I want, live like I want, do what I want. And after I make a mess out of my life, that is when I will turn it over to Jesus. Jesus can fix it all up and put the bandaids on.
He is not interested in that from you. Now he is interested in taking the drunk and getting them to argue and getting them in a local church and, and hearing the word of God and letting God changed his life. He is an expert at that. But you know, there is a whole different clientele here this morning and he is not interested in you making a disaster of your life. He said, I don't want you when you are broken. What do I want a ruined sacrifice for? I mean, that's right in the Bible isn't it. Go ahead. Go ahead bring your dirty, broken legged lamb to the governor. Does that governor want that to pay your taxes? Go ahead. Go ahead and try to pay your bills with some broken sacrifice. Nobody wants that. So what makes you think God wants you to do what you want, live like you want, go where you want, and mess your life up. And then all of a sudden one day you are just going to turn it over to Him. That may be the lie of modern religion, but that is not what Romans 12:1 & 2 says.
Reasonable Christians who have been pulled out of the sewer of sin, who had been cleaned up and put on the rock and have been given the gift of God, which is eternal life through the blood of Jesus Christ. Reasonable Christians take a look at Calvary and say, if Jesus could die for me, then I can at the very least, I can do the reasonable thing. I can present my hands, my feet, my eyes, my ears, my mind. I can present my body to the Lord before it is ruined. I can do it while it is still holy and still acceptable. And you know that is not what the great Christians do. That is not what the super Christians do. That is what reasonable, run of the mill, ordinary Christians do. So if a reasonable Christian is someone who says, while I am still holy and acceptable and I am not broken and ruined right now at the age of 16, 18, 21 right now I am presenting my hands, my feet, my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my mind, my thinking, my body. I am presenting my body as a living sacrifice. That is what reasonable Christians do. Do you know that means that somebody in this room who says, I am going to do what I want, eat what I want, drink what I want, live like you know what? They are unreasonable. No, no, no we are not asking for superstar Christians here. We are not just looking for that one lady and that one guy. No, no, no. I am saying, can't we just be reasonable, ordinary, run of the mill Christians? What they do is present their bodies a living sacrifice.
There is something else they do. Keep going if you would in verse number two, and you will notice the Bible says, "and be not." That is what scholars like Dr. Damron call a commandment in the Bible. It is not a, it would be nice if you would not. It is not a, well, let me just give you something to think about. And you know, it does not say, let me just share something with you. No, this is God in heaven telling us what we are supposed to do. You know, God has the right to do that. And in verse number two, he says, "and be not conformed to this world." That is what reasonable Christians do. They do not let the world conform them. That word conformed is the word we use describing a Potter. And you have seen this, my boys and I, years ago were in Chile. We went high in the Andes mountains to a little village and there was this old guy who was so good at it. You know with a Potter's wheel he would throw clay down there and he had these long bony thumbs. He would stick it in that clay and the next thing you know, he was making a vase. He was making something nice. And you know, when somebody is conformed, it means they stick their thumbs into the mud and they start making what they want. You know what that means. You and I are not supposed to let the world stick its thumbs into our life and conform us to be like them. That is what it says, don't let the world stick its thumbs in your life and make you walk like them, talk like them, think like them, dress like them, sing like them, joke like them. See, that is the problem, isn't it? Because modern houses of religion, they have the attitude we have to be culturally relevant to hear this all the time now.
Oh really? Yeah. I did not even know what that meant. So I went to the Bible and said, there must be a verse because all these modern, independent Baptist ministers, they are talking in their ideas conferences about being culturally relevant. There has to be a verse. But nope, nope. There is no verse that says thou shalt be or thou shalt not be culturally relevant. So the next thing to do, if it is not in the Bible, go to the dictionary, preferably the 1828 Webster's. But when you go to the dictionary, you know what it says culturally relevant means-- to be connected to the world. All of a sudden it makes sense because these modern houses of religion on Sunday morning, they gather for 40 minutes and with a Starbucks in one hand and a polo shirt on, so you can hit the golf course and you will be all ready to go. We are going to get 35-40 minutes of a Sunday morning. Let's just see if we can't connect our music to the world. Let's just see if we can't connect our ways to the world. Let's just see if we can't get as close to the world as we can. And we have an hour where the modern religious just wants to be connected to the world and it is called culturally relevant. And there are a few verses in the Bible about the Christian in the world. This is as good as any. You don't let the world stick their thumbs into your life and conform you. We are supposed to come out from among the world and be separate.
So the Bible says a reasonable, ordinary, logical, run of the mill, average Christian is somebody who says, I will present my body as a living sacrifice before it is a disaster. And then number two, they are somebody who says, I will not let the world stick their thumbs into my life and conform me to be like them. So if that is what reasonable, ordinary Christians do, when somebody says, I want to think like the world, watch the world's TV shows, read the world's material, love the world's music, act like the world, talk like the world, dress like the world, sing like the world, etc., etc. Do you know what they are? Unreasonable. No, no, no, no we are not talking about legalism. We are talking about being unreasonable. Jesus says, I died to save you. Now can't you even go into a pagan world and look like you are Christian, dress like a Christian, talk like a Christian, and behave like you are a Christian. I saved you for a reason. I mean, I gave my son, God says, to die on the cross for your sins. The least you could do is just say, you know, I don't really want to be a part of the world but had I followed their way I would be in hell forever. This is not great Christianity here. This is average, run of the mill, ordinary Christianity.
Number one we present our bodies a living sacrifice. Number two, we do not let the world stick their thumbs into us and conform us to be like them. But notice number three, it says instead of being conformed to the world, "be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." He so changes my thinking. He so changes my mind. I already talked about the body, but now he is talking about the want to. And the Bible tells us that a reasonable, ordinary, run of the mill, average Christian says, my life for the will of God. That is with my life I am going to prove the good and the acceptable and the perfect will of God. That is what I am going to do. So we got this backwards, don't we? Because what if? I mean just what if right here in this crowd there was one guy, just one guy who said, I am going to give my life to go to the mission field. And what if, you know, let's just say there was a lady here and one lady, just one, (one guy, one lady) who said you know, I am going to give my life to serve the Lord. And suppose that the Lord put them together, and that is okay to do that you know. You know guys, he that find a wife, findeth a good thing. It is called an action verb, you know. There is nothing in the Greek that says Friday night you ought to be studying Greek. Anyway, at least I got a few amens from the ladies, how can we do this? But what if there is one guy and there is one girl, just one, just one high school, college, just one. And suppose God put them together and maybe they get married and then there is a little one, maybe another little, two little ones.
And like Adoniram Judson had and suppose that they say, you know, the Lord's called us and we are going to invest our life and we are going to go to that poor little village in Papa new Guinea or someplace like that. And so the day comes and you go to O'Hare airport and families, their friends are there and everybody says goodbye and you watch a young couple, you watch them get on a plane and that plane disappears into the sky off to some distant mission field. I mean, would it be time to clap? Would it be time to say isn't that fabulous, we have had some people come out of our school and now they are serving God and now they have gone to the mission field is it time to give them a standing ovation. Well, what if it was not just two? What if it was everybody? And then I am not saying it is the will of God for you to go to Papa new Guinea. Certainly, certainly not. But, what if everybody in this place wound up going to some distant mission field to spend the rest of their life in poverty? Would we just pat ourselves on the back and the faculty would say, well, we have done a great job. And the parents, you parents would say, we have done wonderful things. Do you know as stunning as it might be, when somebody gives their life for the good and the acceptable and the perfect will of God, it is not time to give a standing ovation. It is not time to applaud. What it is time to do is say, that is the reasonable thing to do. And when somebody says, if God wants me to be a faithful man in a local church, I am going to do it. And if somebody says, God wants me to go start a church in Chicago, I am going to do it. If somebody says God wants me to give my life and go to Brazil, I am going to do it. But whatever it is, wherever it is, when somebody says, my life for the good and the acceptable and the perfect will of God, it is not time for a standing ovation. It is not time to say, isn't this fabulous? We pretty much ought to do what heaven does. And I get the sorrow of seeing family disappear off into the sky. But you know when heaven looks at that plane, do you know what heaven says that is reasonable. That is reasonable. If Jesus could die for him and he is going to live his life for Him. If Jesus could die for her and she is going to live her life for Him. That is reasonable. When somebody lives their life for the good and the acceptable and the perfect will of God, there is no ribbons and there is no applause. The Lord is just going to take care of everything later. But you know what it is, it is just the reasonable thing for a child of God to do who has been saved by the great mercies of God. So this morning, if the reasonable Christian is someone in this place who says, I live my life for the will of God. I present my body first before it is a mess ,and I am not going to let the world stick their thumbs into my life and conform me. If that is what reasonable Christians do. Then when somebody walks away from this place saying, I am going to live where I want, and do what I want, and be what I want. Do you know what they are? They are unreasonable. Unreasonable. How fair is that? What are you going do with your life?
Not too far from here years ago in Chicago, a gentleman named Ed Spencer was walking out of a classroom, a seminary classroom one day. He was one of our first Olympic swimmers. He was walking by the shores of Lake Michigan and suddenly people were screaming because there was a boat called the Lady Elgin going down with 322 souls on board. Ed Spencer was an Olympic swimmer, now it was September I believe, but it was still a very cold day. He dove into the waters and swam out to that boat and he threw his arms around somebody who was drowning and brought him back to the shore. Had that been the only thing that Ed Spencer had done, he would have been a real hero, but it was not the only thing he did. He made 23 trips and he rescued 23 people and after his 23rd trip, Ed Spencer collapsed on the beach.
They did not think he would live through the night. They, put him in a hospital. The fever was high, he was in fits of delirium. They said Ed Spencer would wake up and convulse and he would begin to cry out. Have I done my best? Have I done my best, they would shoot him up with painkillers and he would wake up, have I done my best? Slowly but surely, Ed Spencer began to recover. But for the time he spent in those icy waters, he was paralyzed from the waist down. For climate reasons he moved to Phoenix. And that is where a gentleman named Ensign Young, a preacher ran into Ed Spencer and he heard the story. And when he was finished with the story, the preacher looked at Ed Spencer and said, my, you literally gave your legs to save those people's lives. They must be so grateful. And that is when Ed Spencer wiped the tear away. And he said, you know, I have never heard, not one time from any one of those people. Ensign Young said, he walked away from the house and ringing in his ears were those words, have I done my best? Have I done my best? And from the story of Ed Spencer, Ensign Young wrote these words,
" I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree,
To think of His great sacrifice at Calvary?
I know my Lord expects the best from me.
The hours that I have wasted are so many,
The hours I've spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if his heart is breaking too.
I wonder, have I cared enough for others,
or have I let them die alone?
I might have helped a wander to the Savior,
The seed of precious life I might have sown.
No longer will I stay within the Valley,
I'll climb to mountain heights above;
The world is dying now for want of someone.
To tell them of the Savior's matchless love.
How many are the lost that I have lifted,
How many are the chained I've helped to free.
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
Since he has done so much for me.
And if somehow, someway, per chance you and I could invest our lives in giving our best to Jesus. At the end of it, we would have to bow our head and say, I have only done that, which is my duty to do. At the end of such a life, we could only smile and say, that is reasonable service.
Father, I ask and pray that you would do your work now as we give your invitation. And Lord, I know in America we are so confronted, and surrounded, and bombarded with a compromised religion and every day it gets softer and softer. And yet the word of God has not changed. The verses that so many people know and so many people heard all their life speak volumes. So Lord, in this building, if there would no, not be a great Christian or a super Christian, but if in this room there was someone who would give their body a living sacrifice. If there would be someone here today that would say, the world is not going to stick their thumbs into me and conform me. And if someone here today would say my life for the will of God. Lord, if only there would be some reasonable Christians. Would you stand together with me prayerfully this morning as we play that invitation song. This morning, if God is dealing in your heart, what a great day to say, I am tired, I am tired of me, and I am tired of my way. My life for the will of God, the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. It is your reasonable service.
Topics: Christian Service