Graduation Sunday: “No Matter What, Stay In God’s Will”


Graduation Sunday
May 25th 2008
Romans 12:1-2
“No Matter What, Stay In God’s Will”

Graduation Sunday is upon us! Sunday Night as I was getting ready to leave, my thought was, “Lord, what would you like me to say to these graduates?” Monday morning, as I was driving in downtown Chicago to get to MBI for Pastors Conference, I was lost in thought, and then the Holy Spirit came into my heart and said, “Adam, do you remember when you graduated?” “Well, of course, that was not that long ago, and it was a very important time in my life, Lord.” “I want you to think back to that day in May of 1997 until now. What is the first thing that comes to mind?” Well, Lord it is how you have brought me this far and have never left me. I enjoyed seeing and meeting people that I had went to school with that I put my arm around them and told them that I was so glad to hear that God has brought them that far as well. Also, if I wanted to know your will, I always had a measuring tool from your Word to get me there.” That was always the truth. This past week in the midst of being fed myself, I continued to ask the Lord for words to say to you, and words that would help you in your walk.

This morning, I know that this message if for the graduates, but I know that this message is for all of us. The tool for seeing how we “measure up” when it comes to finding God’s will for my life. The problem that this world has is that we are too busy asking ourselves:
-Does this feel good?
-What is in it for me?
-Can I best be suited if I do this?

So, when it comes to the passages that is before us, we have to ask ourselves,
Am I really living like this? Do I really understand that while I am at this new beginning in my life, that this is also the call of God upon it?? Friends, the OT gives us the reminder that we are called to remember what God has told us, and then follow through. Ladies, it is harder for me to live a life for and in Christ that it was for your parents, it will be harder for you to live your life for and in Christ than it will have been for me. The problem, you are only 15 years my Jr. That is something worth thinking about. I want you to know that when you look at God’s Word it never changes, and it will always stay the same. We keep on keeping on! Part of the reason that we want to give you a Bible this morning, is because we want you to devour it.

INVITE

Rom 12:1 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.
Rom 12:2 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.

Deu 4:1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
Deu 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Deu 4:3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
Deu 4:4 But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.
Deu 4:5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
Deu 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
Deu 4:7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
Deu 4:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
Deu 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;
Deu 4:10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
Deu 4:11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
Deu 4:12 And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
Deu 4:13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
Deu 4:14 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
Deu 4:15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:

Ill. How to catch a monkey! I am not talking about how to catch my children.

Native hunters in the jungles of Africa have a clever way of trapping monkeys.
They slice a coconut in two, hollow it out, and in one half of the shell cut a hole just big enough for a monkey’s hand to pass through. Then they place an orange in the other coconut half before fastening together the two halves of the coconut shell. Finally, they secure the coconut to a tree with a rope, retreat into the jungle, and wait.

Sooner or later, an unsuspecting monkey swings by, smells the delicious orange, and discovers its location inside the coconut. The monkey then slips his hand through the small hole, grasps the orange, and tries to pull it through the hole. Of course, the orange won’t come out; it’s too big for the hole. To no avail the persistent monkey continues to pull and pull, never realizing the danger he is in.

While the monkey struggles with the orange, the hunters simply stroll in and capture the monkey by throwing a net over him. As long as the monkey keeps his fist wrapped around the orange, the monkey is trapped.

It’s too bad-the poor monkey could save its own life if it would let go of the orange. It rarely occurs to a monkey, however, that it can’t have both the orange and its freedom. That delicious orange becomes a deadly trap.

Satan and the world are out setting traps for you even as we speak that are not unlike the monkey trap. You hear constantly that if you just have enough money, enough stuff, enough power, enough prestige, then you’ll be happy. Under that illusion people spend their whole lives thinking you must have it all. This society does not care about you, but cares more for its self than you! That is why our focus is key!

The call of Christianity is unlike that of the world. The world focus’ on what you and get out of life. A Christian should focus on what they can give, and not what they can get.
The call of Christianity is radical obedience before a holy God.

This morning I would like to show you three things that God calls of to give to him.

I. This is a command.
a. Beseech:
i. Strongly encourage you.
ii. Implore
iii. Deut. 4:1 This is nothing new!!! Now therefore hearken.
1. To listen attentively; give heed.
b. a proper defense
i. By the mercies of God.
1. Mercy and grace the two cousins.
2. We do this because of the mercies of God.
a. This is a powerful appeal because everyday we receive from the fruits of God’s mercy.
b. There is my foundation. Friends, this is not only for the graduate, but this is for all of us. Here is the foundation. Because of God who is rich in His mercy, I should want to do what is about to follow. God’s plan is worth knowing because it touches every area of our lives.
So he begins by telling us to give our bodies, bodies that are committed to God’s service.
This means physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. He covers it right off the bat. Because you see, every day you and I are faced with hundreds of decisions. Some of them are vital; others don’t seem to be all that important. But when it comes to the really important ones, many and I think most Christians get all tied up in knots trying to determine what is God’s will. And that’s because we want to live our lives just the way God intends. To be certain, there are occasional problems – there are no perfect Christians. And sometimes, yes we make mistakes- even mistakes in discerning what is God’s will. But it begins with obedience to our holy God.

II. You give God your body (v.1)
a. Everything from the top of your head to the little toe on your foot.
i. All of it belongs to God.
ii. 1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
iii. 1Co 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
1. Since we know that our body belongs to God, then what shall we say, we have got to give him all of our body.
b. Before we trusted Christ, we used our body for sinful pleasures and purposes, but now that we belong to Him, we want to use our body for His glory.
i. Glory: reflecting light. When we want to use our bodies for God’s glory it means that we want to reflect His light. Him!! Everything that we do.
c. Living sacrifice
i. Example is Isaac (Gen. 22); when Abraham took him on the mountain to offer him as a sacrifice. Isaac “died” just the same—he died to self and willingly yielded himself to the will of God. When he got off that altar, Isaac was a “living sacrifice” to the glory of God.

The verb “present” in this verse means “present once and for all.”
Just as a bride and groom in their wedding service commit themselves to each other.

ii. Paul gives us two reasons for this commitment:
(1) it is the right response to all that God has done for us—”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God”
(2) this commitment is “our reasonable service” or “our spiritual worship.” This means that every day is a worship experience when your body is yielded to the Lord. This is the way it should be. Not something special.

Ill. A manager interviewing employee’s who where up for raises at Wal-mart. He would ask them what made them eligible for a raise. They would answer that they did their job and was always on time. He would answer that is what they where being paid for in the first place. The same goes with us, if God were to ask you, “You want to know what my will is, then have you first of all given everything to me for my glory!! Have you started with your body, and keeping pure before me! Have you done everything possible to be holy and to stay holy with every member of your body?”

III. You give Him your mind (v. 2a)
a. The world wants to control your mind, but God wants to transform your mind.
i. The Greek word for transform is:
metamorphooô (met-am-or-fo’-o)
Where we get our English word “metamorphosis.”It describes a change from within. We are transformed by: meditating on God’s Word memorizing it . Notice that he says, do not conform, or go along with what the world does, but be transformed! Be different!
ii. CONTEXT OF TRANSFORMATION… Just as the world’s attempt to press us into their mold starts on the outside and ends up destroying the inside, our transformation begins on the inside and eventually affect the outside.
B. How then are we supposed to think?
a. The problem we have is people have a predisposition to want to keep you thinking and operating at the same altitude as they are. You have heard the saying “Misery loves company”. Friends, non-Christians will feel very uneasy around you when you start living like Jesus.
b. Therefore they will do things that will experiment with your faith. It may even cause you to back slide. Realize that no matter how big or small your problem or life may seem, God still wants to be involved. God wants you to think and use your mind for what he has given it to you for. Too many times we think that our lives are trivial in comparison to the world’s problems. Honestly, they are. However, God loves us so much that He wants to be involved with our trivial lives! That is why he says, you’re your thoughts! Renew your mind to be different from the world! Never buy into the lie that you cannot approach the Throne of Grace over your situation. Never buy into the lie that you are to do exactly what all of your friends are doing! Your situation is exactly why Jesus lived on earth, died on a cross, and rose again defeating death and the grave. He did this so that you could approach the Throne of Grace to receive mercy and grace in your time of need! Folks, it is this simple, when you choose to believe no matter the cost, Jesus always wants us to think of the things that will always bring
c. Answer: “Let the mind of the Master be the master of your mind. Source Unknown.”
i. Phil. 4: 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
d. 2Ti 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

IV. You give Him your will (v. 2b).
a. We get this idea that we are going to do what we want to do!
b. Your mind controls your body, and your will controls your mind.
The will, not to be conceived as demand, but as an expression or inclination of pleasure toward that which is liked, that which pleases and creates joy.
c. How do you surrender you will?
i. We surrender our wills to God through disciplined prayer.
To have a right relationship with God, we must start the day by yielding to Him our bodies, minds, and wills.
ii. Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
d. We think that once we are outside the home, our life begins. Just as soon as we are out of the reach of our parents, then, we wish our young lives away. Desperately yearning for the time when we can make decisions for our self. On our own, Ms. Independent. You want to make your own money to buy your own things, and do what YOU want to do. That is not true freedom. True freedom is the chance to do what is correct. True freedom doesn’t make selfish decisions, but decisions based on what God’s will is! God’s will isn’t always easy. It isn’t always fun. But it is always Right.
i. The world wants to sell you their version of life. The world wants us to believe that life is about owning material objects. The one with all of the gold rules, or the one who has the most or best toys at the end wins. The only problem with this lifestyle is when does it end? We live in a day and time when owning the best can and will only last until tomorrow.
ii. Look at how the computers function. What is cutting edge today is a dinosaur tomorrow. That is America! We cannot allow our secular view points influence our spiritual decisions! All the components of “the good life” begin and end with God.
V. This is what God wants from us and is pretty reasonable because of all that God has done for us!! So, why Deuteronomy???
4:1

1. Learn from the wilderness.
a. Idolatry
b. Egypt
c. Toss Moses
d. Water, Manna, Me
e. God will provide.
2. Submit to the Word. Vs. 2
3. Remember you are a unique people. Vs. 5
4. Let this be a legacy
a. We teach them this now, and then let them teach it to their children.
5. Watch yourself. Keep your eyes in watch. Watch out for parasites. They will eat at you and spit you back out.

Finally, I want to let you know that I love you, and as I speak the same everyone here at Sugar Grove loves you more than you could imagine. I pray that we here have helped you start your lives not only in your worldly life, but your Godly life as well. We hope and pray that you will have a passion for God that supersedes anything in your life, and that you will be on a moment by moment relationship with your creator. May it always burn a flame within you?

Ladies, if you ever need anything, there are about 70 people me included that would lay down their lives for you figuratively, and literally. You know that you are only a phone call away from anyone here. If you need encouragement, just to talk, a boost in your morale, whatever you may need, I know that if you were to call anyone here that they would listen. We are here for you and your cheerleading section.

Secondly, take this Bible that we are about to give you, and devour it. Don’t just let it sit on the shelf and collect dust, but devour it, and keep your eyes on the Lord.
Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.