Illustration results for submission
The Rev. Frank Bartleman was a leader in the 1907 visitation of the Holy Spirit on Azusa Street in L.A. He said, "Men love the spectacular. What we do not understand is ’wonderful.’ God’s fire falls on sacrifice, as in Elijah’s case.
The greater the sacrifice, consecration, the more fire. God’s fire falls only on sacrifice. An empty altar receives no fire."
"It is not the man who can build the biggest brush heap, but the one who can set his heap on fire that will light up the country.
"The devil has no conscience, and the flesh has no sense. Many have never learned submission, courtesy, nor anything else, even in the way of common manners. A spirit of self-importance is one of the most disgusting things in the world.
"The oil (the Holy Ghost) ceases to flow, as in Elijah’s time, when there are no more empty vessels to be filled. People do not sense their need of God. But wherever there is a hungry heart, God will fill it. ’The rich (full) He has sent empty away.’"
The movie industry has made some pretty creative attempts at explaining conflict with god. For those of you that remember the movie “Caddyshack,” there is a scene toward the end of the movie in which a golfing enthusiast priest is playing the round of his life. As he makes his way around the links, the weather turns.
The movie depicts the scene as a battle between this priest in search of nirvana through a golf game and a insensitive and spiteful god that would thwart the priest’s quest for that perfect game. The scene ends with the priest defiantly raising his putter to the violent heavens and being struck down by a well-placed bolt of lighting.
I’m sure many of you have seen the movie “Forrest Gump.” Well, there is a scene in this movie about man’s conflict with god as well. In this movie, the character “Lt. Dan,” who lost both of his legs in a battle in a Vietnamese jungle, and was saved by none other than Forrest Gump, decides its time to have it out with god.
Forrest, by this time, is trying to make it on his own as a shrimp boat captain. Lt. Dan joins Forrest as his first mate. The two men manage only to salvage tires, license plates, and toilet seats from the ocean’s bottom. After several failed attempts, Lt. Dan asks Forrest, “Where’s this god of yours?”
As soon as Lt. Dan asked the question, god arrived in the form of a destructive hurricane. As the storm rages, we find Lt. Dan strapped to the top of the mast, next to an American flag, shaking his fist at god, daring god to try to destroy the boat, and cursing like a sailor. When the storm subsides, Lt. Dan and Forrest’s boat was the only one still afloat. Since no one else could harvest the shrimp, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company became a multi-million dollar industry. A few minutes later in the movie we find Lt. Dan at peace with the world. He had met god face to face, so the filmmaker would have us believe, and won.
Let me share with you one last example, one that I saw recently. The scene is found in the season finale of the popular television show “The West Wing.” President Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen, faces his major conflict with god.
The scene finds President Bartlett alone in the National Cathedral following the funeral of his secretary and long-time friend. The President orders his chief of staff to tell the Secret Service agents outside to secure the perimeter so he won’t be disturbed. After a moment or two of silence, Bartlett does battle with god.
Bartlett begins to curse god for, as he saw it, causing his friend to die in a car accident. He curses god and blames him for the other tragedies that have occurred up to this point, during his presidency. He defiantly lights a cigarette, takes a few puffs, and then tosses the cigarette to the floor, crushing it under his shoe as he gives god a dirty look.
The producers of the show set the scene the way they did in order to try to get the audience to feel sorry for Sheen’s character and respect his independence and defiance of god. It certainly didn’t work for me. In fact, I was so offended by the scene; I doubt I’ll watch the show again.
In all likelihood, and I think I’m on safe ground with this assumption, the producers of the shows I just described have spent little time studying James’ letter. From what we see often times in the media, conflict with god is portrayed as something god desires and causes.
More often than not, we find man as the hero in the conflict and god being the weak, unknowable force. In the media, when man comes to terms with god, it is more often than not due to man’s strength and god’s capitulation, not as a result of man’s submission to God’s will. Hollywood does not see conflict with God the same way James does, or the way we should.
If you go on-line and read the transcript of this portion of this morning’s message, you will see that when I describe these various scenes, I use a little “g” when I make mention of God. The reason is simple. In depicting man’s conflict with God, Hollywood shows quite brazenly that they have no idea who the God of the Bible is.
This morning, as we study God’s Word, we’re going to see what conflict with God looks like from God’s perspective, not man’s.
In the spring of 1940, war between England and Germany was beginning to wage in the Atlantic. The allied fleets of America and England were still abiding by a disarmament treaty that limited the size of warships. But the Germans were building ships of gigantic proportions. One such ship, the largest ever built up to that time, was the German battleship Bismarck.
The Bismarck displaced 42,800 tons making it 22% larger than the most powerful ships of the allied fleets. It had eight 15” guns and some 80 smaller guns, most of which were antiaircraft. It could reach speeds of 31 knots. Its armor was so thick that no existing British torpedo could penetrate its hull. If the British did not hunt down the great battleship, she had the potential to single-handedly destroy the British fleet at the loss of countless lives.
On May 21st, of 1940, two Spitfire reconnaissance planes stumbled upon the great warship as they searched a Norwegian fiord. Because of poor weather and other problems, it was several days before the British would have a crack at sinking the Bismarck.
With some of the oldest biplanes still in service, and torpedoes that were, for all intents and purposes, obsolete, the British Navy attacked the Bismarck. One of the planes, with both men wounded and 175 holes in the plane from the Bismarck antiaircraft guns, made it back to the British aircraft carrier. Several of the other planes in the squadron were badly damaged.
The pilots reported with excitement that they were sure at least one of the torpedoes found its mark. The mighty Bismarck had taken a torpedo in the rudder. She was dead in the water, only able to maneuver in circles like a wounded fish. Once the British neutralized the battlewagon’s rudder, they had control of the entire ship. And on May 27th, the British navy converged on the Bismarck’s position and sunk her.
Hitler’s plan was to use the Bismarck to create a wake of destruction across the Atlantic, to bring the European fleets to their knees in submission and humiliation. Had the rudder not been damaged, it would have steered the great ship into battle after lopsided battle, destroying everything in its path.
True biblical worship so satisfies our total personality that we don’t have to shop around for man-made substitutes. William Temple made this clear in his masterful definition of worship: “For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose—and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the ...
Blessed Are The Meek
As you study the character traits described in the Beatitudes, you can't help but realize one thing; these qualities are by no means natural to the human spirit. They are very foreign. Poverty of spirit, true mourning over personal sins against God and meekness does not come to us naturally.
The greatest preacher of all time, Jesus Christ, proclaimed "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." (Matt. 5:5)
The Greek word for "meek" means to be gentle; to be strong, very strong, yet be humble and tender. It is a man with all the emotions and ability to take and conquer, but he is able control himself in all ways. It is a state of being disciplined -- a man who is disciplined because he is God-controlled.
W. E. Vine writes: "Meekness is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercise of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good and therefore without disputing and resisting."
True meekness is a submissive and trusting attitude toward God. It is an attitude which considers all things that come your way as being for God's good purpose in your life. Meekness looks beyond circumstances, no matter how upsetting and hurtful, and humbly bows the knee to the Sovereign God.
Jesus is the perfect picture of someone who was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4: 1) and lived a life of true meekness. He had all the power needed to prevent His arrest and crucifixion, yet He surrendered to God's will. (Matthew 26: 53 - 45) He fully understood the sovereignty of God and the results of the free will of man. Jesus said to Pilate, "You would have no authority over Me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." (John 19: 11) Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot would betray Him. God used it to accomplish His plan of redemption, and yet Judas was and will be fully accountable before God. (Acts 1: 15 -19)
Man has strength to ignore God's will or to take God's gifts, talents, and abilities and use them for self or he may choose to use God's good blessings to glorify the Lord. Without meekness, he will squander what is given to him by God to gain earthly wealth, self-satisfaction and fame (little or great).
The Beatitude of meekness epitomizes the results of kneeling in total submission to God's will. It comes from the indwelling Holy Spirit and from allowing Him to produce Christ-like character in us. Are you craving that submissive spirit of meekness that bows and responds to the mighty sovereignty of God with joyful obedience? Meekness says, "not my will, but Yours be done." (Mathew 26: 39)
The Bible says, "...the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace." (Proverbs 37:11) Jesus says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29) The meek will rule and reign with Christ upon this earth someday. (2 Tim. 2:12)
True meekness is not a natural character trait. It can only be obtained by knowing Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. Invite Christ into your life today a discover the joyful surrender of true meekness.
True biblical worship so satisfies our total personality that we don’t have to shop around for man-made substitutes. William Temple made this clear in his masterful definition of worship:
For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose -- and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, p. 119.
R. David Reynolds
James S. Hewett tells this story. “A tyrannical husband demanded that his wife conform to rigid standards of his choosing. She was to do certain things for him as a wife, mother, and homemaker. In time she came to hate her husband as much as she hated his list of rules and regulations. Then, one day de died—mercifully as far as she was concerned.
“Some time later, she fell in love with another man and married him. She and her new husband lived on a perpetual honeymoon. Joyfully, she devoted herself to his happiness and welfare. One day she ran across one of the sheets of dos and don’ts her first husband had written for her. To her amazement she found that she was doing for her second husband all the things her first husband had demanded of her, even though her new husband had never once suggested them. She did them as an expression of her love for him and her desire to please him.” [--James S. Hewett,
Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1988), p. 501].
This is the spirit of submission Paul envisions in the Christian home.
THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
A man was walking through an art gallery when he came upon a picture of the Lord Jesus dying upon the cross. He stopped and looked at the beautiful portrait of Calvary's love. As he stared into the face of Christ, so full of agony the gallery guard tapped him on the shoulder. "Lower," the guard said. "The artist painted this picture to be appreciated from a lower position."
So the man bent down. And from this lower position he observed new beauties in the picture not previously shown. "Lower," said the guard. "Lower still." The man knelt down on one knee and looked up into the face of Christ. The new vantage point yielded new beauties to behold and appreciate.
But motioning with his torch toward the ground, the guard said, "Lower. You've got to go lower." The man now dropped down to two knees and looked up. Only then as he looked up at the painting from such a low posture could he realize ...
"In the divine economy, each call or vocation is of equal importance with the others each is the work of the church each is done in submission and obedieto god."
Robert C. Shannon in James W. Cox, The Minister’s Manual, 1995, p. 347
Celsus was the first great skeptic. He once asked, "What has Jesus given to the world that that no one else has given?" Someone answered, "Himself!" Yes, that’s Jesus’ magnificent, stunning gift to the world. He gave himself! He gave himself not only in submission upon the cross but also in power in the resurrection.