The Big Lie.
Intro – “my life” Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life – we come hear to church to hear the truth! Well, I want to talk today about lies! In fact, really only one lie. But it is a biggy! I want to talk about “the big lie” [P]. [John 8:44] tells us that satan is the father of lies, and when you speak (or for that matter believe) a lie, then satan is your father. Jesus upset some fine religious people of His day by calling them: “sons of the devil” [John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.]. So, if I said that I am going to speak about “the big lie” – what do you think that I have in mind? You might like to consider that – but don’t worry, I am not going to keep you in suspense. Do you know what I think the big lie we have been sold is? And we almost universally have “bought it” – it is: [P] “MY LIFE!” We say: “It is my life and I can do with it as I choose.” “I have my rights.” “I have this plan for my life” “my goal is” …. I have trouble when I talk to the banker or when I have an annual review at work – they ask: what are my goals? It is assumed that our life is our own and our destiny our own to plan and determine and work out. It starts young – I remember adults asking me (I always found it awkward talking to adults, I haven’t got much better at it) – they would ask: “What are you going to do with your life?” It is assumed that our life is our own! And it is a lie! I don’t really want to focus on the lie; the way you deal with a lie is to focus on the truth! [P]
I AM NOT MY OWN! And the truth is: [P] I AM NOT MY OWN! [1 Corinthians 6:19 says: you are not your own!] That is what the Bible says, that is the truth and I am going to show you some reasons from the Bible that show why this is the case. Reasons that expose the lie and demonstrate why your life is not actually yours: I am not my own [P] . You belong to God – your life is His!
- His by creation [P] – a while back I spoke out at the prison on Psalm 24, we know it well from Robin’s song: [Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is יהוה’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.] And I used an illustration with the prisoners: at that time there were several inmates who were quite taken with the guitar that Robin had made. In fact one guy, who made ukuleles, came along just because he’d heard that Robin made guitars. They liked to play his guitar after the meeting, in fact a few probably would have quite liked to take it back to their cells. But they didn’t because it was Robin’s guitar. Nobody disputed that. I said to them, “Why is it Robin’s guitar? He didn’t buy it, it wasn’t given to him.” – but no one disputed that it was Robin’s – why? Because he made it! If you make something, then it belongs to you – creation confers ownership. What does Psalm 24 say – that the earth is יהוה’s and all those who dwell in it (that includes you and me), why? Because He created it! We are not our own. We belong to יהוה because He made us. Job said: [Job 33:6 Behold, I belong to God like you; I too have been formed out of the clay.] – He belonged to God because He formed him out of the earth. [Isaiah 43:7 Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”] – says יהוה created us, not for ourselves, for us to have a life of our own; but for His glory! [Revelation 4:11 Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.] God created us, we are His, it was by His will that He created us (the old KJV says “for His pleasure”) – we were created for Him. My life is not my own because God created me. “By His will” suggests another reason why we are His ……
- His by sovereignty [P] – יהוה has a will – He does as He chooses. He is sovereign. He made us; He can do as He chooses with what He made. [Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.] Now this is something that I have found that people resist, they don’t like it. People like to think that their life is their own, that they are in control, that they make decisions about what happens. But the Bible tells us that God is sovereign, that He is in control and that He does as He likes with what He has made. He determines what happens. It is like some great heavenly drama – He is the Playwright – He creates characters and has them carry out the plot he has determined [Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of יהוה; He turns it wherever He wishes.]. We may chafe at this idea but it doesn’t alter the fact that God is sovereign. [Romans 9:17-18 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honourable use and another for common use?] You see? God made Pharaoh to play a part (moulded him out of clay), for His purposes, to demonstrate His power. We are pawns that God directs on His chessboard – we are not in control of our lives [Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O יהוה, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Proverbs 20:24 Man’s steps are ordained by יהוה, how then can man understand his way?]. Our lives belong to God and He does with them as He chooses. Men do not like this, and there was a king, long ago who also resisted this. He thought that he had become great by his own doing. God had to take severe measures with Nebuchadnezzar – he was humbled and lived like a beast in the fields, until: [Daniel 4:34-35 I raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honoured Him who lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’] My life is not my own because God is sovereign, in control of me; my life is His to do with as He chooses.
- His by His choice and calling [P] – These first two reasons are true of all that God has made – but there is even more reason why we are not our own. He has called us to Himself. We are not our own, we are His people; we belong to Him because He has chosen us for Himself and called us to be His people. God is sovereign, and He made a sovereign choice of a people to be His own [Deuteronomy 7:6 For you are a holy people to יהוה your God; יהוה your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.] This was true of Israel but it is also true of us – He chose us [Ephesians 1:4-6 He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (God is sovereign, He has a will and a purpose, and in that purpose He chose us to be His own – His possession) [Ephesians 1:14 the Holy Spirit is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.] The chosen belong to God – they are His possession, not their own [1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light;] Those whom God chose He called to Himself [Romans 8:28-30 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined (that is the choosing process), He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.] Jesus has called us to follow Him – those who respond to that call, those that follow; no longer live for themselves – if we go after Him we lay down our life – say “No!” to what we want and walk the road of death to self [Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.] – we don’t live for ourselves, we deny our own will, voluntarily lay our life down. Those whom God has called are not their own – they are His! [Isaiah 43:1 But now, thus says יהוה, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!] Whose?! We are His! [2 Timothy 1:9 He saved us and called us to be His own people, not because of what we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace.] Not your own! My life is not my own because God has chosen me for Himself and called me to Himself. How wonderful to be chosen by God! For Him to call you to belong especially to Him! What an honour and a privilege!
- His by redemption [P] – Everything belongs to God by right of creation and His sovereignty. But the trouble is that we resist this – we have rebelled. We have claimed that our lives are not God’s, but our own. We have rejected our rightful Master, and instead become enslaved to a tyrant. We have bought his lie. That is what happened in the Garden of Eden – instead of being dependent upon God; satan deceived man into becoming independent of Him. Man who was made for God, now no longer existed for Him. So God had a great plan to buy back that which was originally His. They used to tell us a story in Good News Club years ago of a boy who made a toy yacht. It was his – why? Because he made it! Now this lad was very excited about his newly made boat and very eager to try it out. But tragedy struck on its maiden voyage – the boat sailed a little too well, a gust of wind caught it and the boat was whipped out of reach and sailed down the river out of sight. Well, of course the boy was bitterly disappointed. Life went on until one day passing a shop he saw his boat in the shop window. He went into the shop and told the owner that it was his boat, that he had made it, he would recognize it anywhere. But the shop-keeper told him that he had bought it off of someone. It may have been his in the past, but it wasn’t anymore – if he wanted the yacht, he would have to pay the price to buy it. And that is what the boy did, it was expensive and he didn’t have the money but he worked and saved up and in the end he bought his beloved boat back. It was twice his – his because he made it, but his because he bought it back. That is redemption – God created us, we are his, but we sold ourselves to satan. Jesus bought us back. Though rightfully His, He had to pay a high cost to buy back that which was His originally [1 Peter 1:18-19 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. ] That is what it took to buy us back. Our lives never were our own – they were God’s. But now we are doubly His, not only by creation, but by redemption. He paid the price for us – we are not our own [1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.] Because He redeemed us we are not our own [Isaiah 43:1 But now, thus says יהוה, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!] That is a wonderful verse – it has three of these reasons: creation, call and redemption. Because we are redeemed we are not our own, יהוה says: “You are Mine!” We read the same thing in [Titus 2:14 Christ Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.] My life is not my own, I am His possession because He bought me; redeemed me with His most precious blood. How wonderful to be redeemed, to be bought back; to be where we belong. Not possessing our own life, but belonging to the One who bought us.
- His by obligation [P] – This redemption, God taking on human form and laying down His life to purchase those who were His enemies; is the greatest act of unilateral love ever! Having been redeemed, there is a moral obligation upon us – we owe our lives to Jesus, there is a debt of love we owe. [1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.] There is an obligation to love – a debt that we can never repay [Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.] – because you can never repay that debt. Since we have experienced such great love, there is an obligation upon us to love – to no longer live for ourselves [Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, because of the mercies of God, present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.] We are no longer our own – we give our lives in service to the One who has redeemed us. [2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.] Because of all that He has done for us – we live for Him; we have a moral obligation to do so. We are now His servants, He is Master; we are no longer lord of our lives. [Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (there is the context, we are servants of our Master) Romans 14:7-8 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.] Not our own, but the LORD’s. We are servants, we serve a master; we have a duty, an obligation to Him – to live as His Spirit directs, not as our flesh dictates. [Romans 8:12-15 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh (doing what you want), to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”]. My life is not my own because I have an moral obligation to the One who loved me and gave Himself for me.
- His by adoption [P] – See? This obligation to Him leads to another blessing: adoption! [Romans 8:15 You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”] [Romans 8:23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.] We have been adopted into God’s family – He has adopted us as His own! We are His, His family. [1 John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are!] How wonderful to be sons of God, to be adopted into His family! [Galatians 4:3-6 We, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”] We were apart from God, before we were redeemed, lost, like that boat. But now we are found! We weren’t a people but now we are! Hallelujah! We are adopted into God’s family, we are His people! Bless His Name! [Romans 9:25-26 As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’ ” “And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”] יהוה says: “My people” – not our own but His! We are YHWH’s people: His own, those He formed for Himself, His family. [Isaiah 43:21 The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.] We are His. My life is not my own because I have been adopted into God’s family; I am one of His people.
- His by God’s final purpose [P] – You have your sermon with its nice orderly points, listed neatly on a power-point presentation … 1,2,3,4,5,6 – but they are really all the same – creation was because it was יהוה’s purpose; He is sovereign, that is why His purpose is carried out – all is because of His sovereign purpose. As Paul said: [Romans 11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.]. We are chosen and called because of that sovereign purpose; redemption was because of יהוה’s sovereign purpose; as too was our adoption due to His sovereign purpose. יהוה has a purpose and it will be carried out to completion. He has a final purpose – to bring all things together under Christ [Ephesians 1:9-10 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.] Then, at the end, Jesus hands all over to the Father – YHWH’s final purpose is accomplished! Hallelujah! [1 Corinthians 15:24-28 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.] יהוה’s final purpose will be accomplished; all will be handed over to Him; He will bring us to Himself. [John 14:3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.] You see? We are not our own, determining our own life. We are His, He going to receive us to Himself – He will bring His own to Himself. We belong to Him and He will have that which is His own. [Revelation 21:1-3 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. (we are His bride, we give ourself to our husband – our life is now in Him, joined to Him) And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,] Who’s people? His people! Not our own! This is יהוה’s sovereign purpose and His final purpose will be accomplished. He will have His own. [Malachi 3:17-18 “They will be Mine,” says יהוה of armies, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.] My life is not may own: [1 Corinthians 3:23 you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.] All that Jesus has, He hands over to God; so that we are His. Our life is not our own to live. We offer it up to God, who has called and chosen us, redeemed and adopted us and will bring us to Himself: [Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.] In His sovereign purpose He created us for Himself – we don’t exist for ourselves but for His glory. Paul said: [Philippians 1:20-21 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.] If we live; our lives are as a living sacrifice, burnt whole on the altar, consumed wholly, wholly the LORD’s. If we die; we are taken to be with Him, He possesses that which He purchased. So whether we live or die we are the LORD’s [Romans 14:7-9 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.] I am not my own, I am bought with a price [P] That is יהוה’s original and final purpose: to have a people for Himself – originally made for Him and finally redeemed to be His. We are His people made for His glory! Some people want to be in control of their lives, to be master of their own destiny – but what a relief for your life not to be your own, but to belong to the sovereign LORD, who is directing all according to His will which is good, acceptable and perfect. There is wonderful safety and security; great peace and freedom from concern when your life is not your own. We resist, we want to be in control of our own lives – and what a mess we make! But there is wonderful peace and rest to hand over the reins to Him to whom they belong. To align ourselves and submit ourselves with the eternal will and purpose of God that is perfect and will prevail. It is frustration and futility to live according to the big lie – so let us once and for all stop this nonsense of “my life”!