13th Oct 2013

Consecration - Humble Yourself

By Stephen Bones

SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER 2013

CONSECRATION – HUMBLE YOURSELF

ORDER OF SERVICE

  1. Welcome & notices                                                                         (Julie)
  2. Story for the children - Naaman                                                                (Julie)
  3. Songs:  Day after day

Worthy is the lamb (memory stick)

  1. Communion                                                                                       (Julie)

Song: At the foot of the cross

  1. Song:    Here I am, Majesty
  2. Preaching                                                                                            (Steve)
  3. Waiting quietly on the Lord                                                         (All)
  4. Time of sharing/praying for each other                                  (Steve & Julie)
  5. Song:    Come set your rule and reign

 

SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER 2013

CONSECRATION – HUMBLE YOURSELF

What does the title mean?  What is consecration?  How can I humble myself?  Do I need to humble myself as I am not a proud person?

Earlier this week when Julie and I were praying, I had a picture of a car park full of clean cars, next to a railway station.  What the Lord said to me was we have a choice – do we travel in the car, under our control, where we decide where we are going, the speed, how many stops we make along the way, the route, etc. and come together sometimes in a car park to have fellowship but travel on our own, or do we get out our car and catch the train where we can travel with others but lose out on control?

Importantly, God’s destination is the same for all of us, so why drive alone?  Let the train (God) take the strain!

Are you sitting in church building today (the car park?) in your clean car, windows down so you can hear others, or are you prepared to surrender to God (Romans 12:1) and get on the train?   

God has been challenging me on various issues which I would like to share with you, my brothers and sisters, as we hopefully travel on the train together. 

2 Kings 5: 1-19a The story of Naaman

Can we be like Naaman? I think we all can!

  • A great man, highly regarded
  • Had a serious flaw – leprosy!
  • Willing to travel miles to seek help from Elisha
  • Willing to pay a lot of money to be cured
  • Did not like the way Elisha delivered the Word of God to him, via his servant
  • Did not like what he had to do
  • Despite all his efforts, would have missed out on his healing because of his pride
  • Instead listened to his servants, humbled himself and obeyed, and was healed.

 

Who here wants revival?  Wants God to move amongst us in his power?

For a couple of years now we have been hearing words of what God wants from us:

2 Chron 7:13-14 "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (NIV)

Hos 10:12 Break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. (NIV)

Hos 10:12 Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. KJV

Joshua 3:5 Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." (NIV)

Joshua 3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you. KJV

The million dollar question – have we done this?  Have you done this?  The fact that we have got three words with the same underlying message over a period of a year or two would suggest to me we haven’t.  God will not give up speaking to us, as he didn’t with the people of Israel, until we either obey or He brings judgement.

Perhaps part of the problem is we don’t know what these passages really mean in the context of our lives today:

  • How can we humble ourselves?
  • How can I find out the wicked ways in my life (assuming I have some)?
  • How can we break up our unploughed ground (assuming we have some in our lives)
  • What does ‘consecration’ or ‘sanctification’ mean in practical terms?

Let’s try and unpack each of these areas.  However, let me point out one common theme in all three passages – it is we who must do it, not God!  We cannot pray for God to humble us, or break up the fallow ground or consecrate us, for the Bible says in all three cases it is we who must do it – ‘yourselves’, ‘themselves’. 

 

1.     Humble ourselves

But am I proud?  The verse that came to my mind was of Jesus:

Philipians 2:7-8 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, KJV

Have I been obedient to God, which is the outworking of humbling myself?

How does pride, the opposite of humble, show itself in my life:

  • Self-will – I want...
  • Rebellion to authority – work, Government, school
  • Justifying self before God and man; especially unforgiveness
  • Envy and bitterness
  • Disobedience to God
  • Slander and speaking evil of others
  • Lifting up of self
  • Hypocrisy and deceit
  • Disorder and division amongst God’s people
  • Concern about my reputation ‘what would people think....’ (Consider King David when he danced before the Lord – would I be like his wife?)  Cwmbran man dancing.

Humbling ourselves before God, often in the OT done by praying to God on our knees or fasting (Isaiah 58:5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?  (NIV)).

Quote ‘To humble ourselves is not to take a place lower than that which befits us, but simply to take our rightful place before God.’ (In the Day of thy Power, Arthur Wallace)

2.     Wicked ways in my life

Let me share some areas that God has been challenging me on to repent as they are sins:

  • Being luke-warm for God, neither hot nor cold (Revelations 3: 14-19)
  • Quenching the Holy Spirit by disobedience (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
  • Lost my first love for Jesus (Revelations 2: 1-5)

When asked to choose their top priority in life, Christian women overwhelmingly pick family (53%) over faith (16%), according to a survey from Barna Research. Five times more women chose "being a mother or parent" than chose "being a follower of Christ," as their most important role in life.   

  • Unbelief and lack of expectation of God (Hebrews 3:12) – From church today?
  • Criticism and judgemental attitude towards other people, especially Christians. APOLOGISE
  • Hardness of heart, sarcasm!
  • Selfishness, the outworking of pride.

And I thought I was a good Christian!?!  We are called to repent of these things, and turn from them and seek God.

3.     Unploughed or fallow ground

How can I identify whether I have any fallow ground in my life (i.e. land that has previously been productive but through lack of cultivation is now hard , covered in weeds and unfruitful):  NB.  NOT ALL TRUE FOR ONE PERSON, BUT IF SOME RING TRUE....!?!?!

  • Hearts that are insensitive to the sins that grieve the Holy Spirit
  • Hearts that are unresponsive to His still small voice
  • Hearts that have grown cold towards the Lord and His people
  • Hearts that are indifferent to the souls of the perishing
  • Marked by formality in their fulfilment of spiritual obligations
  • Holding fast the tradition of the elders
  • Profess much but possessing little
  • Have all the right expressions but few of the right experiences
  • Unbelief in the display of God’s power, treat prophecies with contempt (1 Thess 5:20)
  • May diligently attend the ministry of God’s word, but there is no fruit unto holiness
  • Excuse our sins by calling them ‘shortcomings’ or ‘we are human’ or attributing them to our temperament or upbringing
  • Justifying our carnal ways and materialistic outlook by pointing to others

 

4.     Consecration – what does it mean?

To be set apart for God, to repent of our sin.  In effect it is:

Rom 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)

St Paul’s Church, Salisbury – Mission statement:

Our mission is to make committed followers of Jesus who will bring transformation to their homes, communities and workplaces.

We cannot bring transformation to South Molton unless committed, holy disciples of Jesus, 24/7.
Conclusion

How can I tell if I have ploughed up my fallow ground?

Quote: When our hearts are sensitive, responsive and impressionable to the movements of God across our lives, we may be sure the fallow ground is broken’.  (In the Day of the Power)

I read an interesting quote which I am still pondering about:

Quote: God normally reveals His will when we have already committed to obey it.’ (Understanding Spiritual Gifts, Precept Ministries).

Let’s return to the story of Naaman:

  • Did he want God (healing in this case)? – Yes
  • Did he put himself out to get it? – Yes
  • Did he get it as he expected? – No.  Example of Cwmbran meeting this week.  ‘Andy must pray for me!’
  • What was hurt? - His pride
  • Did he repent? – Yes, as demonstrated by his obedience
  • Was he healed? – Yes
  • Did he then turn wholly to God? – No, see 2 Kings 5:18 (bow down in the temple of Rimmon when with the king)

 

Can we be like Naaman?  YES

Julie and I want to give some time now to responding to God.  Two verses that Julie and I both received independently when praying about this were:

Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. KJV

Ps 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; (NIV)

As not only believers of God’s word, but also doers, we believe it is right to have some time dedicated to God, to do what he says in the Psalms:

Ps 37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; (NIV)

We are going to therefore ask the Holy Spirit to come and move amongst us, after all ‘my sheep hear my voice’, and have 5 minutes of silence, when we can ask God to search our hearts or, if God has been convicting you of sin in your life to repent, or rededicate our lives to him, all of it.  Let’s expect God to speak to us!

After 5 minutes we will draw it to a close and then have a time of sharing on the train, when everyone can hear clearly as we are out of our cars! 

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