Summary: If you expect to receive God’s promises in your life you need to consecrate yourself to Him and His purpose for you.
June 14, 2009
Text: Romans 8:1-17
Subject: Seven Steps to Receiving God’s Promises
Title: Step #1 - Consecrate Yourself
Last week I began the first message in the series Seven Steps to Receiving God’s Promises. All the steps come from the book of Joshua when Israel was preparing to cross the Jordan River and occupy the Promised Land. I want to share with you today the first step in more detail. The very first step in receiving God’s promise is that you must “Consecrate Yourself.” When a person or thing was consecrated in the OT it was set apart for God’s purpose. Priests were consecrated for work in the temple. Vessels were consecrated for use in temple worship.
As they prepared to go into the Promised Land Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” We understand this consecration to be an act that the people would willingly perform in order to be in right standing with God before they crossed the river. Consecration, however, is more than mere adherence to the Law of God. Consecration takes place in the heart and it makes one ready for whatever God wants to do in your life. The Hebrew word means “to make holy” or “to prepare oneself”. The implication is that you make yourself available to what God wants for your life and not what you want. Can you think of any other explanation of why we ended up in Palmyra, MO? It also means a willingness to do what God specifically has for you and you alone.
I heard earlier in the week about a baseball game that went 18 innings I think. The winning team won on a home run off a relief pitcher. Not unusual right? Except in this case the losing manager had used all his pitchers and had to resort to using his shortstop as a relief pitcher. Shortstops are not set apart on a baseball team for pitching. They are for fielding and hitting. Pitchers are for pitching. In the same way God has set each of you apart for a specific purpose.
Now, in the church God has ordained His people to be the recipients of miracles, signs, and wonders – God’s promises. But in order for us to receive the promises we must first begin by consecrating ourselves and according to Romans 8:1-17 that takes place four ways.
1. Consecrated thorough your relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. Consecrated by living in the Spirit.
3. Consecrated by crucifying the flesh.
4. Consecrated by knowing who you are in Christ.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
I. Consecrated thorough your relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul begins this section of his letter to the church in Rome by saying, 1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… I will be using the words “consecrated” and “sanctified” interchangeably as I speak today so keep that in mind. I believe that there are millions of well - intentioned church people who think they are sanctified because of the things they do. They go to church, they teach Sunday School. They put money in the offering. They sing in the choir. They have made a conscious choice to do all these things. But Paul tells us something quite different. Our sanctification does not come by our works. Sanctification comes from being in Christ. 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. In other words, what has been done in the spirit man, by the Spirit of Christ, has now taken precedence over what you have been trying to do by being good enough to please a holy God. When you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior you are now set apart or consecrated to God by the Holy Spirit and not some false sense of security you get by being satisfied with yourself because of your good deeds. That is why Paul makes a distinction between the law of the Spirit of life, which is grace and takes place in the spirit man, and the law of sin and death, which is good works that originate in the soul of a man. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. In Leviticus 20:7-8 the Lord told Moses to tell the Israelites, 7“‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. 8Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy. This is a key point in sanctification. Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9not by works, so that no one can boast. It is the Lord who makes you holy. It is the Lord who sets you apart. It is the Lord who sanctifies you. Sanctification through salvation, then, is an eternal work. It is for eternity, but it is reflected in the present. Ephesians 2:10, For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. What part do we play in our sanctification? We are willing participants who desire to please God and carry out the work of the church that He has set before us. Back to Romans 8:4, And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.