Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: When was the last time you really thought about the amazing incarnation of Christ? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I want us to consider Jesus as the surrendered Servant and Savior . . . Jesus the Son of God, God Himself, as a surrendered Servant and Savior.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, for Tuesday, September 4. Today and tomorrow Nancy will focus on Christ in the series, Consider Jesus.

Nancy: It's so easy for us, particularly those of us who have been in the church for a long time . . . We've heard the things of God for a long time. We know a lot about the Christian faith. It's easy to get these glazed over eyes and to become so accustomed to the things of God that we lose a sense of the wonder.

We lose a sense of the freshness that sometimes you'll find a new believer has when they've not heard these things before, and it's so fresh and wonderful and tender to them.

I'm reminded that Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship that focuses and centers in a person. Christianity is not something I do for God. It's not things I know about God. It's not just a faith. It is Christ in me. That is Christianity.

He is the center, the heart, the core, the essence of our faith and of the Scripture. There's such a danger of the supernatural becoming commonplace in our lives and of getting so distracted that we lose sight and focus of who He is.

Someone was just telling me this morning that they often play tapes of Christian music in their home. She said, "But so often I don't listen to the words. It's just background. I'm not thinking about what is being said and about the incredible truths that are being presented through these words."

So I think it's really important that we take time to stop and think about who Christ is, what He has done, what He means to us, and to ask God to give us fresh eyes to see the Lord Jesus in ways we haven't seen Him before.

In fact, the Scripture tells us twice in the book of Hebrews that we are to "consider Him." Consider Him. Pause, stop, think, meditate, focus on Him.

The first verse is found in Hebrews 3:1 where the writer says, "Holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession."

The New International translates that "fix your thoughts on Jesus." Contemplate Him, dwell on Him, mind Him, concentrate on Him. And the context there is (just in the preceding chapter) it's been talking about how, because He suffered being tempted, He's able to help us when we're tempted. So stop and think about Him so that when you're tempted, you can deal with the temptation.

And then we have in Hebrews 12 that phrase again, verse 3, "Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted."

The word here translated "consider" is different than the one we read in the earlier chapter. It's actually a compound of two words. The first word means "repetition" and the second word means "to think," to think about over and over and over again, to consider accurately, distinctively, repetitively. Consider Him. Keep thinking about Him.

In what context are we to be thinking about Jesus? Considering Him? Well, it's talking about a race that we have to run. And the writer to the Hebrews says that you're running a race that takes endurance. "Let us run with the endurance the race that is set before us." (Heb. 12:1)

And how do you do that when the going gets tough? You consider Him. You think about Jesus. You dwell on Him. You contemplate Him. You think repetitively about Him and keep thinking about Him.

And of course, you have experienced as I have how God can use thoughts of what Christ has done for us to encourage us when we grow weary or fainthearted in our suffering or in the race that He has called us to run.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Consider Him. Mind Him. Contemplate Him. Think about Him and keep thinking about Him. We get so distracted by the things of the world, don't we? By what's going around us, by the busyness of our day.

But this songwriter said,

If you'll turn your eyes upon Jesus,
and look full in His wonderful face,
That the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His glory and His grace.

(Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Helen Lemmel) 

So this week, I want us in a fresh way to consider Him, to think about Jesus. Now there are a lot of wonderful things about Jesus we could consider. We could talk about His miracles, about His teachings, about His power.

But I want to look at what I think is the one of most extraordinary, remarkable things about Jesus, and one of things that I have come to love about Him the most. I want us to consider Jesus as the surrendered Servant and Savior—Jesus, the Son of God, God Himself, as a surrendered Servant and a Savior.

As you study the whole of Scripture, you discover that from eternity past, before there was time, through all the span of time and then through all of eternity future, after time ceases to be, that Jesus' life always was, is, and always will be one of absolute surrender to the will of His Heavenly Father.

He always has been, He is, and He always will be a surrendered Servant. So I want us to look at eternity past and time and eternity future, the history of Jesus if you will, the story of Jesus, and look at the segments of His life and see how in each He is a surrendered Servant.

If you think of eternity past, you know that before there was time, there was Jesus, there was the Word. The Lord Jesus was co-equal with the Father and yet He willingly placed Himself under the authority of the Father as the Son responding to the Father.

He existed in perfect oneness with His Father. He never willed to do or be anything that was contrary to the Father's will. He was surrendered to His Father. And then we read that in creation that He was surrendered to the will of God.

In Genesis 1, God said, (and the word God there is the plural Elohim, it's the Trinity consulting with Itself so to speak),  and God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The next verse says, "So God created man in his own image" (vv. 26-27).

What does that mean? Jesus agreed with the Father. He did what the Father said, "Let us do."

Colossians 1:16 tells us "by Him all things were created." He obeyed the Father. He followed the will of the Father. He surrendered.

And Proverbs 8 tells us in a little more graphic, picturesque sense that at creation Jesus was by His Father's side, delighting to join with His Father in His Father's work.

Proverbs 8:29-30 says, "When he assigned to the sea its limit, [that's creation], so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always."

Jesus always delighted to be with His Father, to be one with His Father, to be in obedience to His Father, to be doing the will and the work of His Father. He was always surrendered to the Father, in eternity past and then in creation.

Then we see that same thing in the incarnation. What is the incarnation? It's Christ becoming flesh, God taking on human flesh, Christ coming to earth. That's what we celebrate at Christmas. The incarnation of Christ, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” God made His tabernacle among us.

And in the incarnation, we see that Christ, the Son of God, equal with God, surrendered Himself to the will of God. He had no will of His own except to the do the will of the Father. So when Jesus left heaven to come to earth, He had one purpose in mind. Why did He come? What was that purpose?

The Scripture tells in John 6:38 that Jesus said, "I have come down from heaven, not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me."

"That's my purpose," Jesus said. "I don't have an agenda of my own. I don't have a plan of my own. I'm not leading my own life. I'm not doing my own will. I'm not coming to do my own work. I have come to do the will of the One who sent me. That's why I'm here."

Hebrews 10:7 refers to an Old Testament passage where Jesus said, "'Here I am, I have come to do your will, O God.' That's my purpose in life. That's why I live. That's what my life is for. That's why I'm here, to do the will of the Father.'"

Consider Him, subordinate, surrendered, submissive to His Heavenly Father, in eternity past, in creation, and then as He came to earth in the incarnation, coming to do the will of the Father.

Throughout His years here on earth, we see that Jesus maintained that posture of surrender to the will of God. Think about His childhood. You know virtually the only insight that the Scripture gives us into Jesus' life from the time He was twelve years old until He reached manhood, the only insight we have in the Scripture was that He was obedient to His parents.

He was a surrendered servant. He knew that by obeying His earthly parents, He was living a life of surrender to His Heavenly Father.

Luke 2:51 tells us, "And he went down with His parents [this was at the age of twelve] and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them."

Did you know that the willingness on your part to be submissive to God-ordained authority, whether as a young person under the authority of your parents, as a wife under the authority of your husband, as a church member under the authority of the church leaders, in the workplace under the authority of your boss—the willingness to come into submission to God-ordained authority is one of the greatest evidences of whether or not we're in submission to God.

Jesus demonstrated His surrender to God by being in submission during His teenage years to the will of His earthly parents. Then we see Jesus in His adult life as He gets ready to begin His earthly ministry, He is subjected to a period of intense temptation in the desert.

What was the underlying issue that Satan used to tempt Jesus? It was the issue of surrender. It was the issue of control. You see, Satan was attempting to get Jesus to surrender to Him rather than to God.

And so he started as he did thousands of years earlier in the Garden by appealing to Jesus' physical appetites, "If you're the Son of God, turn these stones into bread."

What was he saying? "You decide what You want to eat and when. Be Your own master. Have it Your way. Control Your own life; Your own eating habits."

Now Jesus, as we know, had not eaten for forty days. In spite of that fact, He refused to operate apart from the direction of His Heavenly Father, even in a seemingly insignificant matter or something that humanly would have made a lot of sense. I deserve to be able eat now. But He was not going to eat if it was not the will of His Father to eat at that moment.

As I was working on these notes last night, I found myself just wanting to eat. I wasn't hungry. It was late at night. I didn't need to eat. And this little battle ensued, "Do I eat; do I not?"

The question is, “Who's Lord?” There's nothing wrong with eating at night if God gives you freedom to do that. In that moment, I knew, however, it was just my flesh wanting to have its own way.

And the issue was really one of surrender. Am I going to surrender to His Lordship in my life or am I going to run my own life?

Well, you know how Satan then attempted to get Jesus to bow before him. He showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. Matthew says, "If you'll just bow down before me, you can have all of this" (Matt. 4:9 paraphrased).

Well, keep in mind it wasn't Satan's to give. He didn't own any of this. It all belongs to God. But Jesus acknowledged only one King. He was fully surrendered to the will of His Heavenly Father; and therefore, He would not for a moment concede control to the Father's archenemy.

He was not going to bow before another so-called king. He had determined His course. He was going to stay surrendered to His Heavenly Father.

And then through all of His earthly ministry, we see this thread through the Gospels particularly in the Gospel of John. Let me just read to you several verses. I won't give you the references, though we'll have them on the website on the transcript. But let me just read these verses and catch the flow here.

Jesus said, in John 5, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing" (v. 19). Surrendered.

Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own. I see not my own will but the will of Him who sent me.”

In another instance, he said, "I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me" (John 6:38). These are all in the Gospel of John by the way.

He said, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me" (John 7:16).

"I do nothing on my own authority but speak just as the Father taught me. I always do the things that are pleasing to him" (John 8:28-29).

"I came not of my own accord, but he sent me" (John 8:42).

John 14, "The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works" (v. 10). "The word you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me."

"I do as the Father has commanded me." (John 14:31) Jesus said these words as He was on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane where He knew He was going to be betrayed by one of His own disciples and what did He say? "I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here." (John 14:31)

What made Him go to the Garden when He knew what was going to happen there? It was the fact that He was a surrendered servant, submissive to the will of His Father. That’s why He came to earth, to do the will of His Heavenly Father. He knew that ultimately that would require that He offer up His own body as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. But never for a single moment did ever He resist the will of God. Not for a moment.

His life just demonstrates complete, glad, wholehearted, consistent surrender.

Now, next to the cross itself, the place that Jesus went next, to Gethsemane, is the supreme illustration of Jesus' surrender while He was here on this earth.

But you know He settled the issue before He ever set foot in the Garden. In fact, before He ever set foot on the planet, He settled the issue that He was going to do the will of God.

He knew that for Him the will of God meant that He would become a sin offering for the salvation of the world; that He would have to give up His life. He knew that. But He still chose the path of surrender.

We read in Hebrews 5:7 that during the days of Jesus' life on earth, "He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death."

What is that talking about? It's a description of what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed earnestly. So earnestly that the Scripture says that His sweat was as great drops of blood dropping down to the ground (see Luke 22:44).

He wasn't arguing with God. He was demonstrating submission to the will of God. It said that "He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the [one] who could save him from death," to His Heavenly Father.

And it goes on to say that He was heard because of His reverent submission, because He was a surrendered servant.

You say, "If He was heard, why did He have to go to the cross"? Here's what was heard. He said, "God this is what I would choose, not to go to the cross, nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done." That's the surrender. That's the submission

Yes, this is hard. And why was it so hard for Him? Because, and I can just hear Him saying, "Father, I know how much You hate sin. And I don't want to take on sin that I know You hate and that will cause Me to be separated from You from whom I have never known a moment of separation. For all of eternity, I’ve been one with You, close to You, obedient to You, and now You’re wanting me to take on myself all the disobedience and sin and rebellion of the world. Oh, God, if there's any other way, could it be that way?"

And yet, He goes on to say, "If this is what pleases You, if this is what fulfills Your purposes, I accept it. Not my will, Yours be done."

What was He saying? "I delight to do Your will, My Father. That's all that matters. I surrender to Your control. I surrender."

Now as we move into the next days of this series, we're going to see that surrender to the will of God is what brings us into the place of greatest blessing and reward. You get a sense of that from the end of an email from my friend who's a missionary in Asia.

I know that a life poured out in obedience and service will ultimately be a life of incredible fulfillment and a life well lived.

I asked God, as David did, to show me how brief my life is and to remind me that eternity is coming, and if I measure my life in light of the rewards and joys He will bestow on us in eternity, then there is no real sacrifice in this life. It is all joyful investment.

I delight to do Your will, O my Father.

That’s what Jesus said. That’s what He’s asking us to say as we consider Him, “Lord, no matter how hard it is, no matter how challenging this is or how much this goes against my comfort, my convenience, my will, Oh Lord, if it pleases You, it pleases me. I embrace Your will, I delight to do your will.”

Is there something that the Lord is asking of you at this season of your life that you are finding really difficult to say “yes” to? Perhaps it’s the Lord asking you to stay devoted to a husband who does not know the Lord, who does not walk with God.

Maybe it’s the Lord asking you to be willing to have children, and you’ve been wanting to have your own career, live your own life, and God’s been saying, “I want you to have a family,” and you’ve been resisting that. Maybe the Lord is speaking to you about ministry to an elderly parent who’s just real hard to live with and how you need to reach out and love that parent and show mercy and the grace of Christ, and it’s so hard for you to think about doing that.

I don’t know what it is that God brings to your mind, but would you just take that situation, that thing that you know the Lord wants from you, and would you join the Lord Jesus there in the Garden of Gethsemane? Would you surrender your will up to the will of the Father?

Would you say, “Oh Lord, this is not what I would choose, but if this pleases You, then it pleases me. If this is what you want, then Lord, I relinquish my will to You. I embrace and accept Your will. I’ll say, ‘Yes, Lord.’”

Thank you, Lord, for the great joy that comes when we consider Christ, the surrendered Servant, and then we choose to walk in His steps and to surrender our lives as servants to You, to be wholly Yours, devoted to You, with no will, no agenda, no plan of our own, but to know and do Your will.

May we choose that pathway, and in that pathway may we find the joy that the Lord Jesus did. It can be ours as we surrender to You. Thank You, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing you the way Jesus modeled surrender to His Heavenly Father and His earthly parents. To help you follow Christ’s example and become more of a servant yourself, we’d like to send you the book Nancy wrote, called Surrender: The Heart God Controls.

We’ll send it to you when you donate any amount to support the work of Revive Our Hearts. You’ll be joining with Revive Our Hearts to help women discover, embrace, and delight in Christ, women like the one who wrote Nancy not long ago.

Nancy: I love reading emails from our listeners, and I was so encouraged to get this one not long ago from a woman who is rediscovering the wonder of God’s Word. She told us that she grew up teething on the back of a church pew, but in recent years, her love for the Lord had grown cold.

Her church particularly catered to unbelievers, and she wrote, “I found myself leaving services hungry for more.” Well, God used this ministry to revive this woman’s heart, and she wrote, “Your program has not just given me spiritual meat to eat, but also the desire and motivation to study God’s Word on my own. Your messages have made me fall in love with the truth of God’s Word. Please continue to speak the truth.”

I love that when women get the motivation to get into God’s Word and learn to feed themselves spiritually. We want to continue speaking the truth and encouraging women to seek out God’s Word for themselves. We can only do that as long as listeners like you support this ministry financially.

Your gift at this time will help us encourage women to dig into God’s Word, so that they can find the answers they need to live as true women of God.

Leslie: When you donate any amount, be sure to ask for Nancy’s book Surrender. Our number is 1-800-569-5959. You can also visit ReviveOurHearts.com

Jesus chose to accept the cross. Every time our flesh runs up against God’s will, we have the same choice to make.

Nancy: In the final moment of His life on this earth, He performed one last volitional, powerful act. He bowed His head. He chose the pathway of surrender. He gave up His Spirit, He laid down His life. What a Savior! And what a challenge. As Christ’s surrender to the will of God took Him to the cross, so our surrender to the will of God will also always take us to a cross.

We’ll find out more about that tomorrow, on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture was taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.