Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Fully Surrendered

Leslie Basham: Imagine how surprised the ushers at your church would be if, during the offering, you truly gave God everything.

Church member, Husband: Here’s all my spare change.

Usher (passing offering plate): Thank you.

Church member, wife: And here’s our tithe envelope.

Husband: And my credit card, here, just take the whole wallet. Wait! Let me give you the keys to my car.

Usher: What?

Husband: I want to give God my car.

Usher: Uhh, alright.

Wife: And here’s the title deed to our house.

Husband: (whispers) It needs a new roof, but it’s cozy.

Wife: And here’s the certificate I won at my sixth-grade spelling bee.

Husband: And this is the trophy I won in Little League.

Usher: So . . . what am I to do with all these items?

Wife: We just want to give everything to God.

Husband: And this is Johnny. (Baby coos.)

Usher: But . . . but . . . the nursery is down the hall!

Wife: Oh, we’ll take care of him, but we want to give him to God.

Usher: Is that all?

Husband: Yes, well, no. We’re coming with you.

Usher: With me?

Wife: Well, we want to give God our whole selves.

Husband: Yeah, He owns everything.

Usher: Very well, then, we’ll let the treasurer sort it all out.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, July 15.

This week we’re in a series called "Surrender: The Heart God Controls." Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing. For the first forty years of her life she had many significant accomplishments, but for the last fifty years of her life, she was homebound. For many of those years she was bedridden in a weakened physical condition. In fact, the last fifteen years of her life she was totally blind.

At the end of her life, she was asked for her life’s secret, this woman who’d had so many extraordinary accomplishments. She said, “I can only give one explanation. That is, I have kept nothing back from God.”

Can I tell you, that is the secret of any truly successful life. “I’ve kept nothing back from God.” What does it mean to live a life of sacrifice, a life of surrender, full surrender to God . . . something the Bible calls “consecration,” to be fully set apart for God’s use?

The Scriptures give us a number of word pictures that help us understand this kind of lifestyle. I think one of the most profound images in the Old Testament is that of a burnt offering. This was the most frequent form of sacrifice offered by the Old Testament Jews, often preceded by a sin offering.

Then they would offer what was known as a burnt offering. Let me ask you to turn in your Bible to Leviticus chapter 1. This is one of those books that the pages probably stick together in a lot of people’s Bibles. It’s a book that a lot of people are scared to dive into, but it’s so rich in helping us understand the foundations of our faith.

It’s a book about holiness, consecration, and a sacrificial lifestyle. The book gives many, many details about how sacrifices were to be offered from Jewish believers to the Lord. We’re looking in chapter 1 at the first description of a burnt offering, one of seven different kinds of offerings that Jews were to offer.

Look at verse 3 of Leviticus chapter 1. “[If a believer’s] offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish." Now this is a male animal—the Scripture’s going to talk about goats or bullocks or different kinds of animals that they could offer.

“He shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord.” Unlike the sin offerings, the burnt offering was a voluntary act of worship. It was a free will offering, given out of a heart that loved the Lord and was thankful for His redemption.

Verse 4, “Then he,” that is, the worshiper or the believer, “shall put his hand,” that word is “lay” his hand. It has to do with resting, or supporting yourself. The believer shall “lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering,” on the head of that animal, resting and supporting himself on that animal. “And it will be,” that is, the animal, the sacrificial animal, “accepted on his behalf, to make atonement for him” (NKJV).

When a believer brought his offering, whatever kind of animal it was, to the altar of sacrifice, to be offered up, to be consumed, he was identifying himself with that animal that was being offered up, the animal that was being sacrificed in his place.

As he laid his hand on that animal, the believer’s sins were symbolically transferred to that innocent animal. That’s why it had to be an animal without blemish, without spot. The believer’s sins were symbolically, in this picture, being transferred to that animal who was bearing the believer’s sins . . . a sacrifice, a substitute for the believer.

In laying his hands on that burnt offering, the worshiper was saying to God, “Here I am. This animal is wholly given over to You. In the same way, I sacrifice myself to You. I consecrate my life to You. I’m giving up myself to You, to be totally Yours.”

Now, verse 5, we see a vivid picture of the consequences of sin as the animal, who has symbolically represented the worshiper, is now slain. Verse 5,

He shall kill the bull, [that is, the worshiper, shall kill the bull] before the Lord; and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting. And he shall skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces.

The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire. Then the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar.

But he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar, as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord (vv. 5-9 NKJV).

So, the animal having been cut up, as the pieces of this sacrifice were laid on the altar, the fire would be lit, and the entire offering, every part of that offering, would be consumed on the altar of sacrifice. Nothing was kept back, nothing was held back. Every part was sacrificed.

Did you notice that last phrase of verse 9? It was considered a “sweet” or a “pleasing aroma” to the Lord. The Lord said, “I love that scent because it’s the worshiper giving up himself or herself totally to Me.” Those burnt offerings were intended to express the worshiper’s total dedication and consecration to the Lord. They pictured complete surrender to the will of God.

When we come to the New Testament, we see the fulfillment of this Old Testament picture in two different ways. First of all, we see that Christ, the Lamb of God, the spotless Lamb of God, offered up His own body as a burnt offering, in complete consecration and surrender to the will of God.

He is our burnt offering. Hebrews 9 tells us that He offered Himself without spot or without blemish to God. We read in Hebrews chapter 10, when Christ came into the world, He said,

Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book” (vv. 5-7).

What was Jesus saying? When He came to the earth, He was saying, “God, it’s not animals being laid upon that altar of sacrifice that You’re interested in. They were just a symbol, just a picture. What you want is ourselves, our bodies, totally offered up to You.”

Our bodies, our sinful selves, would have been of no value to God. That’s why Jesus came and laid down His life as the sinless, spotless Lamb of God, offered in our place, as our substitute. Hebrews 10, verse 10 tells us, “By that will,” that is, Jesus surrendering Himself to the will of God, “we have been sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus, once for all.”

We see the fulfillment of the Old Testament burnt offering as Jesus offered up Himself, completely giving up Himself to God, saying, “Lord, You’ve given Me a body, and I give it up to You, to do Your will. I surrender everything I am, everything I have, to You and to Your will.”

It’s not just Jesus who’s supposed to be a burnt offering. Now as we have been set apart, consecrated, and sanctified by His offering of Himself, now in light of His sacrifice for us, New Testament believers are told that we’re to make an offering of our own. And what are we to offer? Ourselves, our bodies, all that we are, as a burnt offering, a sacrifice, to God.

So we come again to Romans chapter 12, verse 1, the verse we’re focusing on this week, where Paul says, “Therefore, I urge you brothers . . .” By the way, that word in the New Testament is the word that means siblings in a family, so it means, not just male brothers, but brothers and sisters, siblings in the family of God. “I urge you, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” (NIV).

Remember we read in Leviticus that the burnt offering was a pleasing aroma to God. When we offer up ourselves, our bodies, our lives, in surrender to God, He is pleased. He says, “I love that fragrance of that surrendered life.”

Paul says this is holy, this is pleasing to God, and this is your reasonable, or your spiritual, your logical act of worship, in light of all that God has done for you. So our bodies, offered up as living sacrifices, they represent the totality, the sum total of all that we are, all that we have, all that we do, every part of us.

As those Old Testament believers signified their consecration by offering up sacrifices that were to be totally consumed upon the altar, so we as New Testament believers are to offer up ourselves to be totally consumed by God.

Unlike the Old Testament sacrifices that were burned and then were no more, we’re told to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. That means we’re to go on living in these bodies, recognizing that they’re not our own, but that they belong to God. They have been consecrated, set apart for God, for His use and for His purposes.

That’s the secret of the successful, spiritual life. As Florence Nightingale said, “I have kept nothing back from God.” No part held back. It’s all given up to Him, my time, my reputation, my money, my free time, my desires, my relationships, my family, my work, my priorities, everything given up to God.

Many of you are familiar with the name D. L. Moody who during the 1800s was greatly used of God as an evangelist, preaching the gospel on two continents. Twenty-four years after Moody’s death, in 1899, his longtime friend and colleague, R. A. Torrey, was asked to speak at a memorial service on why God used D. L. Moody.

Here’s what Torrey had to say:

The first thing that accounts for God’s using D. L. Moody so mightily was that he was a fully surrendered man. Everything he was, and everything he had, belonged wholly to God. If he thought God wanted him to do anything, he would do it. He belonged wholly, unreservedly, unqualifiedly, entirely to God.

D. L. Moody lived that kind of life, and it’s a life that’s described in Romans chapter 12, verse 1, where the apostle Paul says, “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy," in view of all the compassion that God has had upon you, what are you to do? Offer up the sacrifice . . . yourselves . . . your own bodies. Offer your bodies, present your bodies, yield your bodies. It’s a picture of surrender, of giving up everything; open palms, open hands, just saying, “Lord, here’s my life.”

"Offer up your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God," a sweet aroma to God, as those Old Testament sacrifices were. And Paul says, “This is your reasonable act of worship.” This is a matter of worship.

When you think about worship, what do you think? How do you worship God? Maybe you think of singing to the Lord, maybe you think of praying, maybe you think of going to church. Can I remind us that worship is not a routine that we go through on Sunday mornings?

We may worship on Sunday mornings, but you know millions of people go to church on Sunday morning and come away never having worshiped God. Notice that Paul doesn’t say in Romans 12, "Give a few hours of your time every week. Give some of your money, sign up for a ten-day missions trip." What does he say? "Offer your bodies," yourselves, the totality of all that you are; not just a few bucks, not just a few hours, not just a part of your life. Offer yourselves up to God as living sacrifices.

That’s what worship is, the offering of ourselves in totality to God. I know that many churches pass an offering plate to collect the offering. Can I tell you that there isn’t a plate large enough to collect the offering God really wants? What’s that offering? He wants you!

I think of that passage in 2 Corinthians chapter 8 where Paul was talking about the churches of Macedonia and how they had given out of their poverty to meet the needs of other believers. He says in 2 Corinthians chapter 8, verse 5, “They gave themselves first to God and then to you.”

They gave the offering God really wanted; they gave their bodies as a living sacrifice. It’s a whole lot easier to give God our “stuff,” to give God remnants, the leftovers, the parts of our lives. Can I tell you that when God gets you, He gets everything else?

For example, the whole area of giving . . . Listen, if in our churches we would consecrate ourselves to God, giving would not be an issue. All the needs would be met in the body of Christ. The poor would be cared for, the church’s needs would be met, the work of the ministry and the kingdom of God would be met.

Romans 12, verse 1, the verse we’ve been looking at, suggests that there is both an initial consecration and surrender to God, as well as an ongoing aspect of consecration and surrender. We’re going to look at both of those over the next several sessions. I want us to see that this is a surrender that’s made once and for all, and then there’s also a daily, recurring sacrifice of our lives to God.

When the apostle Paul talks about offering up, or presenting, our bodies, he’s speaking of a complete, total sacrifice, offering of ourselves up to God. But when he talks about being a “living sacrifice,” he’s picturing living out that devotion, that consecration, one day at a time.

That two-fold aspect of surrender, both the initial point, giving everything up to God, followed by an on-going lifetime process, can be seen, I think, in marriage. When you and your mate stood before a minister to join your lives together, you affirmed some vows by saying, “I do.”

At that moment what you were doing was presenting your lives to each other. You were giving up your bodies to each other. You were making a full surrender of yourselves to each other. The exchange of vows at the altar was just a starting place. Until you said, “I do,” you had no legal or spiritual basis for developing an ongoing, intimate, fruitful relationship.

The marriage had to start at a point where you said, “I do.” So in our relationship with Christ, there’s a starting point, a point at which, drawn by His Spirit, we say to Him in response, “I do. I give myself up to you. I am yours.”

At that point we enter into an eternal, covenantal relationship with God. From that moment on we’re a new person. We’re under new ownership. We’re bound to Christ, eternally. The fact is, if you are a child of God, your life is no longer your own. You belong to the One who created you and redeemed you by the blood of His Son.

You may or may not have recognized, at the point of conversion, at the point at which you were born again, all that was involved in that surrender. The fact is, if you’re a child of God, you have made that surrender to Jesus as Lord.

I think of my own life . . . I was saved at the age of four. That’s my first conscious memory, and I didn’t know any great theological terms. I didn’t pray any flowery prayer. I didn’t have a lot of great biblical insight or understanding. I just knew that I was a sinner who needed a Savior, and that He had drawn my heart to Himself. In my own four-year-old way, I said, “I do.”

Over the next few years, by the time I was probably seven or eight, there had been a growing realization in my little child’s mind and heart of what that meant. By the time I was in early elementary school, I knew that my life belonged to God. The consecration that had been made at the point of conversion flowered; it became more real, more understandable to me.

I’ve continued to grow in my understanding of that, but there was that early childhood, lifetime, unconditional surrender to Jesus as Lord. That has been a huge foundation for my whole life because the issue’s been settled. Jesus is Lord.

It’s not that I’ve never gone back on that, it’s not that I’ve never tried to take it back, but God keeps me on a “short tether.” He knows that my heart is to live a consecrated, surrendered life, and that’s as it should be with every one of us.

R. A. Torrey said the first thing that accounts for God using D. L. Moody so mightily was that he was a fully surrendered man. Can that be said of you? That’s not just supposed to describe great evangelists, that’s supposed to describe every single child of God. If you and I are going to be used of God in our sphere of influence, we’ve got to put all that we are and all that we have in the hands of a holy God and say, “Lord, have it all.”

I wonder if you’ve ever come to that point of consciously offering up yourself to God? If you’re a child of God, that’s really the case anyway. You are God’s; you don’t belong to yourself. But have you ever acknowledged that consciously?

If you haven’t, or if afresh this day you want to make that acknowledgement, would you just say, “Lord, here I am. I do. I offer up myself, my body, all that I have, all that I am, to You. Fulfill your purposes in and through my life, whatever that means. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.”

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been helping you think biblically on the topic of surrender. It’s a concept that affects everybody. No matter what season or stage of life you’re in, you’re called to say, “Yes, Lord,” and embrace His plan. At Revive Our Hearts we want to show women how to surrender their plans and hopes to the Lord.

Nancy was encouraged to receive an email from a listener named Mindy who’s learning to surrender to God’s will and embrace singleness for His glory.

Nancy: She wrote and said,

I receive such a blessing and so much encouragement listening to Revive Our Hearts. As a never married, thirty-six-year-old woman, I found strength and direction for my life. I had previously wondered what the purpose of my singleness was. God is using you to show women from all walks of life their true purpose, how to fulfill it, and to give them encouragement to carry on.

I’m so thankful for the way that God is using Revive Our Hearts to encourage women like Mindy each weekday. He makes it all possible through listeners like you. Revive Our Hearts is a listener supported ministry. That means that your prayers and your financial support are what allow us to continue on the air.

Let me ask if you would consider sending a special gift today? Your support at this time will help us lead women into the joy of surrendering fully to Christ as Lord.

Leslie: When you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll show our appreciation by sending you Nancy’s book, Surrender: The Heart God Controls. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make your donation. Or ask for the book, Surrender, when you call 1–800–569–5959. We’ll send one book per household with your donation this week.

One of the challenges of surrendering to the Lord is that he asks you for “twenty-five cents” at a time. Nancy will explain what she means by that phrase tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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