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ROM 27 Highly Successful Christians

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SERMON TEXT: ROMANS 12:1-2           

Introduction

     Secrets for a successful Christian life

     A. Total Dedication

     B. Radical Separation

     C. Personal Transformation

                             

    Turn in your Bible to Romans chapter 12, verses 1 and 2.  If

you have not memorized these verses I would encourage you to do

so.  These verses will be verses that will mean a great deal to

you every day of your life.  Let me read these verses and as you

keep your place in your Bible we'll look at these verses together

this morning.

    1.  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.

    I want to talk with you a little while today on the subject,

"Secrets of Highly Successful Christians".  Success is something

that all of us are interested in and it is a subject which we read

a great deal about in secular material.  A lot of books have been

written in recent years on how a person can be successful and a

great deal of the definitions of success today have to do with

making a lot of money or have to do with being successful in the

particular business or activity of your life.  People who are

successful today are considered to be those who have achieved some

amount of financial independence.  Or they have excelled in the

leading of a great company.  Or they are outstanding in some field

of sports or athletics.  Much of what we read today about the

subject of success has to do with these particular areas of

endeavor.  And of course there are many Christians, outstanding

Christians, who have been successful by these definitions of

success.

    I'm thinking about a man who lives up in Jonesboro, Georgia,

he's a member of the First Baptist Church there, who started a

chain of fast-food restaurants.  He's a man of strong convictions.

He's a man who believes that the Lord's day is a holy day so he

does not open his business on Sunday.  Because of his faithfulness

to the Lord and because of the skill which God has given to him in

business Mr. Truitt Cathey has made very famous and very

prosperous the Chick-Fil-A enterprise.  He is a Christian and he

is a highly successful Christian in the realm of business.  In the

realm of athletics there are Christians who have been very

successful.  Mark Price, the fine young Christian ballplayer for

the Cleveland Cavaliers, is a Christian who is strong in the Lord

and he's been successful in his athletic endeavor.

    But I want to talk to you today in a little bit different

realm.  I want to talk to you not about success as the world looks

at success but I want to talk about success as it really is.  You

see, there are many people who have become very, very successful

in secular ways and by definitions which I have already given and

they've come to understand that this kind of success does not

really make you a happy individual.  Do you know Lamont who was on

"Sanford and Son"?  Do you know him?  Lamont.  His real name is

Demond Wilson.  Well, Demond Wilson said this, "Like many people I

have been deceived.  I believed that the great American dream said

that once you've obtained success and a certain amount of

notoriety and money happiness would come."  And so he walked away

from success in the show-business realm, he walked away from self-

desire, and has embarked in an evangelistic ministry.  He's come

to understand that there is more to success than making a lot of

money and becoming famous in your particular field of endeavor.

    I'm talking today about highly successful Christians.  I'm

talking about that truck driver who's a member of our church who

has learned how to be what God wants him to be in his daily life.

I'm talking about that medical doctor I hear about just about

everywhere I turn who has learned to use her medical profession to

serve the Lord Jesus Christ in being a blessing to others.  I'm

talking about that department store clerk who quietly goes about

his business and yet he is a highly successful Christian because

he has found out what success is by God's standard of measure.  I

had never noticed until I was reading and studying these

particular verses that these verses we're going to look at today

have to do with the subject of success.  Because, you see, when

you come to the concluding statement in verse 2 it says, "that you

may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of

God."  And there you have the key.

    You see, success is finding and following the will of God for

your life.  Someone said inside the will of God there is no

failure, outside the will of God there is no success.  If you find

God's will for your life and if you follow that will for your life

then you are a very successful Christian.  You see, there are many

people today who have not come to understand that God's plan is

the thing that is the very best for their life.  An architect has

a conception for a magnificent mansion.  An artist has a design in

mind for a gorgeous painting.  And the God of this universe, who

loves us far more than we could ever imagine, has a purpose and

has a plan for our life, and when we find and follow the will of

God for our life we are very successful Christians.

    Now these verses have given to us some clues that tell us,

some secrets, how to become a successful Christian.  These verses,

as you understand, are beginning a brand new part of our study of

the book of Romans.  We've looked at the first eleven chapters.

The first eight chapters had to do with the great theme of

salvation, what God has done to make it possible for us to be

saved, how God has made it possible for us to get out of the mess

we're in, sin, and to be saved by the grace of Jesus Christ

because of His death on Calvary's cross.  In chapters 9 through 11

he's dealt with the great theme of the sovereignty of God and he

shows us the sovereignty of God in particular as it relates to his

own people, the Jewish people.  But now, in chapter 12, verse 1,

he begins by saying, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the

mercies of God..."  Now he is taking us through the gateway of

surrender to move us onto the pathway of service.  When you find

God's will for your life you will discover that it is God's will

that you live for Him on a daily basis in a life of self-sacrifice

and surrender and service.  And so I want to just lay before you

secrets of highly successful Christians.

    Secret number one is found in verse 1: Total Dedication.  If

you want to be a success in your life you've got to understand

this secret: total dedication.  God requires of every believer to

be successful in his life that there be total dedication.  I'm not

talking about 50 percent dedication, I'm not talking about 90

percent dedication, I'm not talking even about 99 percent

dedication, I'm talking about being totally, 100 percent,

committed to Jesus Christ.  I beseech you therefore, brethren.

The word "beseech" there is a loving word, it is a word of appeal.

It's as if Paul put his arms around us and lovingly makes this

appeal.  And he says, "I appeal to you, I beseech you, therefore,

brethren."  Now when you see the word "therefore" in the Bible you

always ask yourself the question, What is the therefore there

for?  And in this particular instance the therefore points to what

has previously been said.  And he says, I beseech you therefore,

brethren, by the mercies of God, the abundant mercies of God.  You

see, in these opening chapters of the book of Romans Paul has just

been laying before us everything that God has done for us in His

love and in His mercy.

    For instance in Romans chapter 3, verse 24, it says we are

justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in

Jesus Christ.  And in Romans 5:8 the Bible says that God commends

His love toward us.  And in Romans chapter 8, verse 1, it says

there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.  And

in Romans 8:39 the Bible says there is no separation between us

and the love of God.  It's as if God has bombarded us with His

mercy, with His love, and with His grace.  And so Paul says on the

basis of these mercies of God, on the basis of everything God has

done for us in giving us His Son the Lord Jesus, I appeal for

total dedication.

    I'll tell you what it would be like; it would be like some

cold winter night up in the mountains of North Carolina, snow

covering the ground, a very cold, a freezing, frigid night.  And

there in the middle of the night you hear a faint knock on your

door and you go to the door and you open the door and there

standing shivering in the cold is your dear mother.  And you look

at her and you say, "Mother, what are you doing out there in the

cold?" And she hovers what little garments she has around her and

she says, "Son, it's so cold out here.  I'd like to come in and

get warm."  It's as if she would say to you, "Son, I want you to

remember that I took the red out of my cheeks and I put it into

you that you might have life, and by these, let me come in."  And

it's as if she should say, "Son, do you see these gray hairs on my

head?  These hairs are gray because of the sacrifices I have made

for you, and by these I appeal, let me come in."  By the mercies

of your mother she appeals for the right to come in.  Well, you

see, that's what God is saying in this opening statement in Romans

12.  God is saying, "On the basis of all I have done for you, on

the basis of the gift of my Son the Lord Jesus Christ, I make this

appeal for total dedication."  I beseech you therefore, brethren,

by the mercies of God.

    Now what is total dedication?  Well he says in this verse that

you present your bodies a living sacrifice.  Now the word

"present" there really means to offer as a sacrifice.  The

background of the word there is not as familiar with us as it

would have been to his original readers.  You see, it's an Old

Testament picture, it's a picture taken out of the Old Testament

sacrifices.  It was something that all of them would be familiar

with because they saw it take place every week.  In those days a

priest would take a sacrificial animal and he would go to the

altar where there was a fire burning on top of the altar and he

would take that sacrificial animal and he would lay it on top of

that altar and it would remain there until it was totally

consumed.  That's the background, that's the picture that Paul is

painting for us here.  He is saying, I beseech you therefore,

brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a

living sacrifice.

    Now, you know, this verse, if you'll examine it very

carefully, is really a rather startling verse.  Because what he's

saying here is, he's saying, "I want you to take your body and I

want you to present it as a sacrifice totally dedicated to God."

Now normally we don't think about it in terms of the giving of our

body.  Did you know the Bible has a great deal to say about the

body?  For instance in Philippians 1, verse 20, the apostle Paul

says, "that Christ may be magnified in my body".  And in First

Corinthians 6:20, again the Bible says, "glorify God in your

body".  And did you know in Second Corinthians 5:10 the Bible

says that we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and

that we will give an account of the deeds done in our body?  You

see, this matter of total dedication hits us real strong because

he is saying to us here, "What I want you to do is to take your

very body and I want you to present it as a total, dedicated

sacrifice to God."  Friends, the Lord knows that when He gets your

body He's got you.  The Lord knows if He can get your hands, what

you do with them, your eyes, what you see with them, your ears,

what you hear with them, your mouth, what you say with it, He

knows that if He gets your body He's got you.  And so the appeal

for total dedication this morning is the appeal that we present

our body a living sacrifice.

    Now the tense of the verb here indicates a once-for-all

commitment.  It means that there has to be that crisis experience

in our life.  It means that there has to be that time when we

consciously, intelligently dedicate our all to the Lord.  I want

to ask you a question this morning.  Have you made that total

dedication of your body to the Lord?  Has there been that time in

your Christian life when once and for all you came to understand

that the demands of following Jesus Christ are total and that God

wants everything you have, everything that you are, everything

that you ever will be totally dedicated to Him and you have made

that once-for-all sacrifice to the Lord?  If you haven't made that

commitment this morning I'm praying that before we leave this

place that you will have said to the Lord, "Lord, here I am; I lay

my all on the altar for you."  You see, you'll never really find

and you'll never really follow the will of God for your life until

first of all there is total dedication.

    Now there's a once-for-all aspect here but there is also a

continual aspect.  In the Old Testament days there was a tendency

sometimes for those animals to get over to the corner of the altar

and so they had some utensils and some things they used in the Old

Testament called flesh hooks, and they would take those flesh

hooks, they were kind of like giant forks, and they would put them

into the meat of that animal and they would pull that sacrifice

back to the center of the flame.  And so, you see, when the Bible

says we're to present our bodies a living sacrifice, not a dead

sacrifice but a daily, continuous giving of our life as an act of

worship to the Lord, there is the tendency sometimes for our lives

to get off the center of the flame.  And so every day of our life

there needs to be the re-affirmation of our total dedication to

the Lord.  Every morning we ought to begin our day by saying to

the Lord, "Lord, I give you these hands; do what you want with

them today.  Lord, I give you my feet; walk where you'd like to

walk today.  Lord, I give you my lips; speak as you would have me

to speak today.  Lord, I give you my eyes; let them see what you

want me to see today.  I give you my ears; let them hear what you

want them to hear today."  Total dedication is a daily lifestyle

and we find and we follow the will of God as we daily dedicate our

life to the Lord.

    Now notice what he says.  He says that kind of dedication is

holy and it means set apart.  He says that kind of dedication is

acceptable.  What he's saying is that's what pleases God.  You

see, God couldn't be satisfied with anything less than total

dedication.  I mean what could be pleasing to God that's not total

and complete.  That would be just like some man here saying to the

young lady he's engaged to and getting ready to marry and he's

saying to her, "Now, Sugar, I just want you to know that when we

get married I'm going to give myself to you.  Sugar, I want you to

know that I'm going to give myself to you 51 weeks out of the

year.  But now, Sugar, there's just one week out of the year

there's this old gal that I've been hanging around with for

several years, and I'm going to give you 51 weeks but one week out

of the year I'm going to spend with that old gal right there."

Now let me ask you, how many of you would have accepted that kind

of commitment?  But, you see, that's the way a lot of people want

to do Jesus.  A lot of people want to say to the Lord, "Lord, I

want to give myself totally to you but now really, Lord, there's

just one little area over here I'm not going to dedicate that to

you." But, you see, the Bible says that total dedication alone is

that which is acceptable unto God.

    And then he says it is your reasonable service, or your

reasonable worship.  And the word "reasonable" here really is

where we get the word "logic", or reasonable; that which conforms

to logic.  And what he's saying is there is a winsome logic about

this whole matter of being totally dedicated to the Lord.  You

see, when you really get to thinking about it the only thing that

is really logical for us to do is to totally dedicate our life to

the Lord.  You think about what Jesus did for us at Calvary, and

think about those nails in His hands and in His feet, and think

about that spear that was thrust into His side.  Think about that

crown of thorns that was pressed down upon His brow.  And when you

consider that Jesus Christ gave everything He was for you and for

me on Calvary's cross, whether we're totally dedicated or not

wouldn't you agree with me that we ought to be?

                 Love so amazing, so divine

                 Demands my soul, my life, my all

Secret number one for a highly successful Christian life is total

dedication.  And I'm going to ask you to make that kind of

commitment today: to present your body a living sacrifice, holy,

acceptable unto God.

    But now let me give you secret number two.  Look on down in

verse 2.  The second secret to a highly successful life is Radical

Separation.  "...be not conformed to this world..." Radical

separation.  Now I use the word "radical" advisedly.  I am not

saying here that separation is to be something that makes you an

oddball or a fanatic.  I am not talking about your separation

being something that you go around boasting about and bragging

about.  You know there are some Christians who become so proud of

what they do not do that they never get around to doing anything

for Jesus Christ.  If separation in your mind is just composed of

the things that you do not do, if you think that's what it means

for a Christian to be totally committed to the Lord, just that you

don't do a whole lot of things, there's an old fence post back up

on a farm in Georgia where I came from that's the best Christian I

ever met.  That fence post don't do nothing, it just sits there

all the time.

    But I'm talking about a different kind of separation.  I'm

talking about a radical separation that is pictured here in the

statement of Paul when he says, "be not conformed to this world."

And the word "world" there could be translated "age", to this

current age.  He's not talking about the beautiful world of nature

which God has given to us, nor is he talking about the world of

people which the Bible says God so loved so much He gave His Son

the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is talking about the aggregate opinion

and value systems and moral standards of this world that are

contrary and opposed to the standards of God as revealed in the

Bible.  The scriptures have a great deal to say about this world.

    For instance the Bible says this world has got its own god:

Satan is the god of this world.  And the Bible says that this

world has its own standards and its own fashions.  And the Bible

says to the believer, "Love not the world, neither the things that

are in the world."  And it talks about its lust of the flesh, and

it talks about its lust of the eyes, and it talks about its pride

of life.  And, you see, this whole world system in which you and I

live has its own standards of behavior, and it has its own ideas,

and you and I are living in that atmosphere every day of our life.

You see, when we get saved God does not take us immediately to

heaven, He keeps us in this world.  And Jesus said in John chapter

17 that we are in this world but we are not to be of this world.

And, friends, that's where the trick comes in isn't it? It's how

to be in this old world and not be of this world.  Because you

know what, friends?  This world has got a very, very seductive

advertising system and if you're not very careful you'll get

yourself conformed to this old world.

    I think the best translation of this I ever read was made by

the Phillips translation where he translates this statement this

way; he says, "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its

mold."  You see, this world has got a mold, the culture in which

we live has got its standards, its value system, and its purpose

is to seduce you and me so that we be conformed, so that we get

squeezed into the mold of this world.  You know what I'm talking

about don't you?  We're supposed to just be like everybody else is

supposed to be.  We're supposed to think like everybody else

thinks.  Let me ask you the question: where do you get the things

you believe?  I mean what forms the opinions that you have?  Are

your opinions formed by what you see on television or what you

read in magazines and books, or are your ideas formed by what God

says in His Word?  And I want to tell you what, friends, very

often they are very, very different.  Where do you get your

standards for your behavior?  Where do you decide what your

amusements will be?  On what basis do you determine what you will

and you will not do?  Do you do it on the basis of the opinion

polls? You see, friends, we are living in a moral atmosphere today

which takes the position that just whatever the majority thinks

that makes it right.  Ladies and gentlemen, what the majority

thinks does not make it right.

    Now, you know, none of us wants to be odd and none of us wants

to be some kind of screwball or nut, and so we all pretty well

generally dress the same and pretty well go by the styles and the

fashions of the day, and that's not altogether bad, unless those

styles or fashions are immodest or identified with behaviors that

would be inconsistent with the Christian life.  But when you come

to the matter of your personal behavior, and when you come to the

matter of your personal morals you are in dangerous territory when

you allow this old world to squeeze you into its opinions and to

squeeze you into its patterns.  Be not conformed to this world.

And, you see, Christians get in trouble when they allow this to

happen to them.

    The classic example in all of the Bible is the Old Testament

character of Lot.  Lot was a saved man, he was a righteous man, he

was a just man, the Bible says, and yet he got caught up in

Sodom's lifestyle, he got caught up in the current morality of his

day.  And I want to tell you what, friends, he lost his wealth, he

lost his family, he lost his personal peace, he lost his testimony

when he allowed himself to be conformed to this old world.  Be not

conformed to this world.  Don't let the world around you squeeze

you into its own mold.  And so you need to do some personal

evaluation this morning.  You need to ask yourself the question,

Why do I believe what I believe?  Did you know that the majority

of American people today don't think there's anything wrong with

pre-marital sex or even extra-marital sex?  Did you know that?

And did you know that today it is just common behavior for people

to have children outside of the bonds of marriage?  In fact today

they kind of brag about it.  Expecting a child?  Are you going to

get married?  "Well we haven't talked about that yet."  God have

mercy on us in America!  And then we wonder why we're in the mess

we're in in America.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I want to tell you what, friends, I want

to tell you what, you'll never go wrong when you go God's way, but

when you get out of sight of God's way you'll always go wrong.

And the reason we've got so many people today who're all messed up

in their minds and their lifestyles are all out of kilter is

because we have abandoned the standards that God has given us in

the Bible and we are conformed to this world.  This world, bless

your heart, is going down the tubes straight to hell!  What we

need is to get Jesus in our hearts and go straight to heaven.

Amen and amen.  Secret number two: be not conformed to this

world...radical separation.  What I'm talking about is is that you

just make up your mind you're going to live your life according to

the standard of God's Word, and that you are not going to allow

the world around you to determine what you believe, to determine

how you behave, and to make the decision about what kind of

lifestyle you'll follow.

    Secrets of highly successful Christians.  Secret number three:

but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.  You see,

secret number one is total dedication: you make that decision that

you'll totally dedicate your life to the Lord.  Secret number two

is radical separation: you refuse to allow the world around you to

conform you.  Secret number three is personal transformation: be

ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Now I want you to

look carefully at the word "transformed" today.  We have an

English word that comes directly from this original word in this

verse.  It's our word "metamorphosis".  Now some of our high

school students in Biology class are familiar with the word

"metamorphosis".  Metamorphosis is one of the most beautiful

processes there is in the world of nature.  You see, in

metamorphosis what happens is this: you've got an old wiggly,

fuzzy caterpillar.  You know what I'm talking about?   An old ugly

caterpillar.  And then there is a process that this caterpillar

goes through.  This caterpillar will begin to wrap a cocoon around

itself and it just wraps that cocoon around until finally that

caterpillar is just totally engulfed in this cocoon.

    And then there is a process that goes on on the inside of that

cocoon known as chrysalis, and a change is taking place on the

inside.  A process is going on.  Something is happening to that

caterpillar.  And then after a while that cocoon begins to kind of

wrinkle up and shrivel, and in a little while that cocoon begins

to open up, and all of a sudden you see something beginning to

emerge from that cocoon that has beautiful wings.  And then in a

little while that process continues and out pops from that cocoon

a beautiful butterfly, and what was once an ugly, wormy

caterpillar reaching for the dirt is now a gorgeous, beautiful

butterfly reaching for the sky.  And, you see, that's what

metamorphosis is, and that's the word that is used right here: be

ye transformed, be ye metamorphosized, if you please.

    This word was also used when Jesus was on the Mount of

Transfiguration.  You remember the Lord Jesus Christ was up there

with Peter, James, and John, and the Bible says that the Lord was

transfigured before them?  Same word.  That means everything that

Jesus was on the inside was manifested on the outside.  You see,

Jesus was God, and yet when Jesus walked on this earth He cocooned

himself in a robe of human flesh.  And yet in that moment on the

Mount of Transfiguration all of His glory that was within was

manifested on the outside.  Same word.  And when God says we're to

be transformed it means that there is a process God wants us to go

through whereby our life on the outside is changed by a

transformation that occurs on the inside.

    You see, God always works from the inside out.  Salvation is

an inside job.  That's why it won't do you any good to give up

certain habits and cut off certain things for your life.  That's

not going to do you any good; because, you see, all you do if you

just cut off this and cut off that is something else will grow in

its place.  But if you can get something to happen on the inside,

I mean if you can have a change going on in the inside, sooner or

later that change is going to work out to the outside.  And, you

see, the secret of the highly successful Christian life is

allowing God to change you from the inside out by being

transformed [look at it] by the renewing of your mind.  You see,

that's where it all goes on is right up here in your mind.  This

world tries to change your behavior by conforming you to its

thought patterns, changing your mind from the outside.  God

changes you from the inside, He renews your mind.

    I want you to look at a couple of places.  I want you to look

over at Colossians chapter 3 for a moment.  We'll be back here in

just a minute but look over at Colossians chapter 3 and I want to

show you that word "renew" in verse 10.  Look at what he says; he

says,

    10. And you have put on the new man, which is renewed in

        knowledge...

What he's saying is our mind is renewed in knowledge.  What kind

of knowledge is he talking about?  Well he is talking about the

knowledge which we receive from the Bible, from God's Word.  You

see, that's why it is so important that every day as Christians,

if we want to find and follow God's will and be successful in the

Christian life, we give ourselves to a daily diligent discerning

study of God's Word.  As we study the Word of God our minds are

renewed.

    I read some time ago that the average American watches

television five-and-a-half hours per day and that the average

Christian reads his Bible five minutes a week.  And then we wonder

why we're conformed to this world and not transformed by the

renewing of our mind.  You see, the Bible is like a mirror, that's

what James said.  And as we look into the mirror of God's Word we

see ourselves, we see things there that ought not to be, we see

inconsistencies, we see flaws of character, we see old habit

patterns that we brought from the old life into the new life that

need to be changed.  And so we see ourselves in the mirror of the

Word but we also see the Lord Jesus Christ.  We see the purity of

His youth, and we see the power of His cross, and we see the

promise of His coming.  And, you see, as we look at the Word of

God God renews our mind and God begins to change it on the inside

as the Word of God does its work in our heart.

    Turn to Second Corinthians chapter 3 and verse 18, and it

says,

    18.  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [or in

         a mirror] the glory of the Lord [that is, here's a

         Christian, he opens up the Word, it's like a glass, like

         a mirror; he sees the glory of the Lord, he sees Jesus,

         we] are changed [same word: metamorphosis] into the same

         image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the

         Lord.

You see, the child of God looks into the Word of God, he sees the

Son of God, and he is transformed by the Spirit of God.

    Now then turn to Titus chapter 3 and let me show you what

happens.  And in Titus chapter 3 I want you to see verse 5.

     5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but

        according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of

        regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit;

You see, in the Bible, in God's Word, we see the Son of God and

the Word of God reveals Jesus to us, the Spirit of God reproduces

Jesus in us.  We are renewed by the Holy Spirit, and so when he

says be transformed by the renewing of your mind he's saying as

you study the Word of God and see Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit

of God to make you more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ, then

your life is transformed.

    And here's the result: Romans 12:2, the last statement: that

you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will

of God.  You know what he's saying?  When you have in your life

total dedication, radical separation, personal transformation,

you'll find and will be following God's will for your life.  And

you'll find three wonderful discoveries about God's will.  Number

one, you'll find it's good.  You'll find God's will is good.  Oh,

listen, what if you had a child that came to you and said, "Dad

[or Mom], I love you so much I want to do anything that would be

pleasing to you today; I'm available; here I am; I totally commit

myself to you.  I'll do anything you want me to do today."  What

would you say?  "Boy, I'm going to make this the worst day that

kid ever had in his life."?  No, no, no.  What you'd say is,

"Isn't that great?  I'm going to make this the greatest day my son

[or my daughter] ever had."  God's will for your life is good,

friend, it's good.

    But then he says it's acceptable, and it's the same word used

back in verse 1: it's well-pleasing.  You see, God's will is not

only pleasing to God for you it's pleasing to you.  There is

something about the will of God, doing God's will in your life,

that brings the greatest amount of pleasure and joy in your life.

Jesus was sitting at the well and the disciples, it was time to

eat so the disciples had gone into town to McDonald's to get

something to eat.  And Jesus was sitting there and the woman at

the well, the woman of Samaria came, you remember that?  And Jesus

started talking to her about getting some water that she'd never

get thirsty again, and that woman got her a good drink of that

water and she got saved.  And I'm telling you they were just

having a hallelujah time there, and about that time here come the

disciples, they've got mustard all over their beards, and they've

got sacks full of hamburgers and french fries, and they come to

Jesus and they say, "Jesus, it's time to eat."  And Jesus said,

"Oh, I've got something to eat you don't know about."  And they

look around and they say, "Has a vending truck been out here

somewhere?  Has somebody brought some food out here that we don't

know about?"  Jesus said, "Oh, no, no.  My food is to do the will

of Him that sent me."  You know what Jesus was saying?  God's will

brings you the greatest amount of joy than anything else can do.

    And then God's will is perfect.  That is, God's will is

complete.  You give yourself to total dedication, you give

yourself to radical separation, you give yourself to personal

transformation, and you will find that God's will will be good, it

will be pleasing, and it will be complete in your life.  Now if

you have never received Jesus as your Savior the first thing you

need to do this morning is to give your heart and your life to

Him.  I'm going to ask you today to come to Jesus Christ.  God's

will for every lost person in this building today is that you

might be saved.

_

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