A body to offer
In Galatians Paul records, “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” (Gal. 4:4-5 – NLT) This plan was in God the Father’s mind from the beginning. Revelation makes reference to Christ as “…the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8). God had a mission for Jesus, and Jesus obediently received it.
In Hebrews we read, “…when Christ came into the world, he said to God, ‘You have given me a body to offer… Look, I have come to do your will, O God…’” (Heb. 10:4-7). In declaring this Christ knew the full extent of what lay ahead for Him. Twice He told His disciples about it (Matt. 8:31, 10:33-34). Still He said, “You have given me a body to offer” and willfully accepted the assignment. He offered His back to those who beat Him, His cheeks to those who pulled out His beard. He received the mockery and spitting. He “set His face like a stone, determined to do God the Father’s will.” (see Isa. 50:5-7, NLT)
And the assignment was not easy. At Gethsemane He confided to Peter, James and John, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death…” Three times He prayed to the Father, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” (see Mark 14:34-39, Matt. 26:37-39, Luke 22:41-43) None of us have experienced the depth of His agony — “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” (Luke 22:44 – NASB)
Why did He endure this? Because He had a mission, an assignment from God the Father. As He told His disciples, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38 – NASB)
You too, as a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, have a mission… an assignment from God the Father. You too have been given a body… a time… a geographic location in which to obey the will of God.
To the Romans Paul writes,
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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.” (Rom. 12:1-2).
You too are a sacrifice, “a living sacrifice” as Paul states above. Not a sacrifice of redemption, but a sacrifice of praise to God. The troubles you face today are not pointless, but are opportunities for faith – courageous faith — flint-faced faith. They are opportunities for you to give God something He can receive no other way: your joyful testimony of your life willfully given.. your life lived for God!
To hear Pastor John’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Media’ for the Aug. 25 message.