Bible Ballistics: Even So Lord Jesus!!! Vol. 5 #18
As we’ve been talking about forgiveness and service, I want to take a different twist on service today. Our service to God is to be a sacrifice of praise coming from grateful hearts aligned with Jesus:
Hebrews 13:12-16, “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
Communicate: “to partner with; fellowship with.” Helping one another. A thankful, praising people should be a generous, caring people.
Because Jesus suffered for us, we are called to bear “his reproach”—to be unashamed of the gospel, of the “one way” of Jesus, even when everyone else is ridiculing and degrading the worth and veracity of God and His Word.
Romans 1:16-17 Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
Are we unashamed of the ‘gospel of Christ’? Or do we often compromise what we believe and know as the truth of the Word, to avoid ridicule or slight from those around us? Paul called Timothy to beware of this very temptation:
2 Timothy 1:8-9, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
We are living in days that may produce persecution for those who hold to Jesus and the truth of His Word. In fact the persecution has already begun as people are being put out of business for not buckling to the ‘political correctness’ of immorality that is rampant around us. Pastors are facing imprisonment for standing on the ‘whole counsel’ of God’s Word. We must determine what we believe and just what we are willing to endure to follow Jesus. How can our life be a praise to Jesus if we are uninformed of His Word, and/or unwilling to stand with Him? Jesus told us that we are not above our Master:
John 15:19-21, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.”
Jesus wanted us to know that following Him would have a cost. Yes, salvation is a gift of God, but when we accept that gift, and align ourselves with the Son of God, we will be in line to suffer as He did—are we willing to submit if the cost is suffering? We often forget what Paul told Timothy many years ago:
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Are we living ‘godly’?
I’d like to close with a passage that brings a unique twist to our thoughts of unashamed service, and it comes from Mary, the mother of Jesus. Here we have a real ‘sacrifice of praise’.
Luke 1:38-39, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;” She heard, believed and acted!
Here we have a young woman, most believe a teenager, confronted with an angelic visitation, an announcement that she would become a mother without benefit of an earthly father, and yet her only question was about what would be expected of her—an amazingly overwhelming revelation and yet a profoundly simple response.
“be it unto me according to thy word”
Now on the surface that doesn’t shake us too much, but let’s consider what just happened to this young teenager.
She encountered an angel with a message from GOD!
She was praised by this angelic messenger from God!
She was chosen to bear the Messiah of God!
Those are the usual things we think about and that is awesome enough, yet she maintained her composure through this once-in-a-lifetime encounter. She didn’t flee—she stayed! She didn’t question with doubts—she only asked how it was to be accomplished with a virgin! Yet there had to be other questions racking her mind. Think about it!!! I can’t believe that she didn’t.
What would she tell her parents? God did it! Right?
What would she tell Joseph? God did it! Right?
What would she tell her friends? God did it! Right?
Let’s face it she was facing scandal. A young virgin, engaged to an upstanding, godly man—now pregnant! How? This young woman chose to yield herself to God and submit to whatever God had for her!!! How about us?
How often do we question? Doubt? Just plain balk? Complain? Make excuses? Argue? Offer alternatives to God’s plan?
My challenge to each of us today is that we will learn to be more yielded to God. That we will learn to yield our hearts and our lives to God’s service and truly offer that “sacrifice of praise to God continually”!!!
To seek His face.
To do His will.
To answer His call.
To thank HIM.
To say “even so” Lord Jesus!!!
To thank Him for His amazing love that took Jesus to Calvary for ME! Think about it. What less can I do except offer to Him the “sacrifice of praise”? How can I do it? Paul gave us some good advice:
“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. 2 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.” Romans 12:1-2
“Praise Him, Praise Him, all ye little children. God is love, God is love.”
“Thank Him, Thank Him, all ye little children. God is love, God is love.”