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Thu, Jan 25, 2007

75 - Virtues and Values [b]

Hebrews 6:11-12 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:57 mins 54 secs

Hebrews Lesson 75  January 25, 2007 

 

NKJ John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

 

Hebrews 6:9-12

 

Let's get into our study of Hebrews 6. We are working through the paragraph on verses 9-12. Now last time as I went through this, we sort of built a case for where I was headed. We barely got there and then it was time to take a break. Our break has extended for three of four weeks so most of us need a little review to catch up and put our head back into this particular passage. 

 

The first thing that the writer of Hebrews is saying in verse 9 is that we can have confidence that in spite of failure and whatever failures his readers have experienced - however they have fallen away, however they have been tempted to go back into Judaism, whatever their spiritual problems are at this particular time - he is reminding them that God's grace is always sufficient for their recovery. There is nothing that they are going to do that is too great for the grace of God. So after several paragraphs where he has verbally rebuked them and challenged them with the dangers of spiritual regression, he now comes back on a very positive note to encourage them that they can indeed go forward and that God's grace is sufficient despite any failure on their part. 

 

He says in verse 9…

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.

 

Not that you are going to fall away, but we are confident that better things that accompany salvation. 

 

Again we point out that salvation here is the Greek noun soterion which has a future orientation. Remember, there are three stages to salvation. Stage one is justification. Very rarely do the Scriptures use the sozo terminology – salvation, being saved, this type of terminology as a translation for sozo to refer to what we normally refer to as salvation. It has entered into evangelical idiom to talk about entering into heaven, being born again as getting saved. So we tend to always, every time you read that word saved or salvation we tend to think of phase 1 or stage 1 salvation justification. But there are many passages where it is just not used that way. In fact I am convinced that that there is possibly only one place in the entire book of Romans where the word sozo refers to stage 1 salvation. We have many passages such as Romans 5:9.

 

NKJ Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

 

Justified is past tense.

 

We shall be saved (future tense). 

 

So you see you can be justified and you are not yet saved. Now you see everybody got confused as soon as I said that because you are typical evangelicals who think that salvation means phase one. Every time you hear that, that is what you think. But Paul doesn't use it that way most of the time.  He uses it to refer to either phase 2 or phase 3. It is working out the result. 

 

In stage one we are saved from the penalty of sin. The penalty of sin was spiritual death. In stage one we become regenerate. In stage 2 we are saved from the power of sin. That is Romans 6 through 8. We are being saved from the power of sin. We don't have to sin anymore because sin is no longer our master. It is no longer our tyrant.  That is Romans 6. We have a new master, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to obey Him in righteousness. Then stage 3 is glorification. It is when we are absent from the body and face-to-face with the Lord when we are saved from eternal condemnation and saved from the presence of sin. So that is what the writer of Hebrews is talking about. We can go back to Hebrews 1 where we find the first use of this word. In Hebrews 1:14…

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

 

Inheritances, remember, is a glorification issue at the Judgment Seat of Christ which is when we receive our inheritance. So this is all future oriented - phase 3. That is how it is used. So don't fall into this trap of just thinking of salvation terminology -saved, to be saved, salvation - as justification. That word group never refers to phase 1 in the book of Romans with one possible exception. So it is not the standard biblical way of expressing phase one. That is usually talked about in terms of reconciliation, redemption or justification rather than "are you saved". 

 

The second point that the writer of Hebrews makes in this paragraph is that God's justice doesn't forget, neglect or overlook that which we have done in the power of the Spirit. Whatever you have done in the power of the Spirit is going to be gold, silver, and precious stones at the Judgment Seat of Christ. No matter how you fail it doesn't tarnish. It doesn't turn into wood, hay and straw. You may forfeit some rewards due to regression and a lack of capacity, but you don't lose what ever divine good is produced in your life. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

 

This is the second point that Paul makes. God is going to remember your work and your labor of love. We spent a lot of time discussing how work and labor were not wrong.  As soon as we hear that word work we are like Maynard G. Krebs in the old Dobby Gillis show. 

 

"Work!  Work is wrong.  That is legalism." 

 

No!  Work is one of those value-neutral words. It depends on the context.  In fact it has always been understood among Christians that work is a virtue.  That is where you get the old Protestant work ethic. Work is a virtue and discipline. This is something that is to be cultivated as a virtue in the Christian life. 

 

The other aspect of this verse is this word translated minister. Twice we have the use of the verb diokoneo. Diokoneo means to minister, to serve. In some senses it has the idea of financial help. But it has the idea of serving other believers, helping one another as part of the Christian life. So the emphasis here is on Christian service as very much part of the spiritual life. Now where this gets into problems is that it is not the cause of spirituality, but is a result of spirituality. 

 

One of the problems that we have today is indicated by the recent survey that George Barnas group did. Most Christians have no idea whether or not they are being spiritual. They have no idea how to get there. Most pastors don't! Fewer than 10% of the pastors had any kind of tool for measuring their own spiritual growth, not to mention the spiritual growth of their own congregation. Why is that? Because most pastors don't have a model or a blueprint for how spiritual growth happens. They don't understand the mechanics. So they have no way of measuring it. 

 

Another thing that came out in that survey was that pastors thought that 70% of their congregations put God as their highest priority. Awfully naïve! This is just standard across the board. Whereas only 15% of regular church going Christians said that God was their highest priority. Now that is a tremendous difference! The pastors are in la-la land. They think 70% of the congregation is positive. 

 

The congregation is sitting there saying, "Most of us really aren't." 

 

It says a lot about Christianity. 

 

We developed a chart where the Word is taught through the filling of the Holy Spirit. That becomes epignosis knowledge or usable spiritual knowledge or potential spiritual growth based in your thinking. We have divine viewpoint that comes in and human viewpoint goes out. That is the operation of Romans 12:2. As we walk by the Spirit, it produces spiritual production and Christ-like character on the one hand; but it also produces Christian service on the other hand. This can take a lot of different manifestations as I pointed out. This can take manifestations in terms of your spiritual gift. It can be helping at a church. It can be ushering. It can be coming down and vacuuming the church or sweeping out. It can be going out and being involved in missions or helping missionaries. There are as many different ways that Christian service can look as there are people and personalities and spiritual gifts. But it is the function of our royal priesthood and our royal ambassadorship. 

 

I am going to insert something new here that comes out of these verses. There is an emphasis on work, their labor of love and their service. What is emphasized in these verses is also Christian virtue. We have the emphasis in Hebrews 6:10 on their labor of love. Then in verse 11 there is the mention of hope. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,

 

Then in verse 12…

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

 

So you have what? Faith, hope and love. These have been referred to historically as the three Christian virtues. As I have been reflecting on this – I have been doing some reading among a number of pretty good Christian scholars who have done a lot of reflection and study on different aspects and trends in our culture today.

 

One of the things that we have lost in the last 100 years is the emphasis on virtue and it has been replaced by values. The concept of virtue comes out of the Latin, but its root is in Greek in the word arête. In the Greek thought it had to do with a habitual or cultivated excellence. Now think about that just a minute - virtue as a cultivated excellence. You can talk about the Greek virtues. You can talk about the seven virtues in the Catholic Church. That starts off with chastity. So you know where that goes. But in the Scriptures you do have an emphasis on virtue. Virtue was a cultivated excellence. It is an understanding that there is an absolute standard or an absolute criterion toward which people should be moving. It involves training. It involves self-discipline and self-mastery in order to see these virtues work out in our lives. If you go back and read typical self-improvement manuals in the late 19th century or early 20th century the emphasis is on developing these virtues. There was an understanding that there were absolute character traits that people should cultivate in their lives if they were going to be productive members of society and not end up as criminals. What has happened over the last 100years is the whole concept of virtue has disappeared from textbooks and from school education and from churches. The big catch-word that we hear today is values. There is a difference between virtues and values. I have 5 points here to summarize this. 

 

  1. Virtues are absolutes; values are relative. Virtues have to do with absolute character traits such as love, honor, justice, truth, perseverance, self-mastery and self-control. These are virtues whereas values tend to be relative. Every different group in society (if you are coming from a post modern framework) has different values. So values are relative.
  2. Christian virtues are righteousness driven. Because they are absolutes that come from outside the realm of creation and they are grounded in the character of God. They are driven by righteousness as the absolute standard. Values on the other hand are morality driven. What do I mean by that?  I am using the term morality as a term of relative value within different societies or different cultures. Every culture has some sort of ethical system. Some have higher ethical systems than others. Every society has some sort of moral code, some sort of ethic. But they are relative to culture and they are relative to whatever system of knowledge that they operate on. Biblically speaking we are grounding virtue in the unchangeable, immutable character of God – His righteousness. That sets the ultimate standard for human behavior. So the second observation is that virtues are righteousness driven whereas values are morality driven.
  3. Virtues are something to be achieved, to be worked toward, to be striven after and instilled by parents into children. When was the last time you heard of parents teaching virtues to their children saying, "This is what you must strive for." When I was a kid (some of you have heard this story before), I remember that in elementary school you had certain character traits that were listed on one side of the report card. One of those was self-control. My dad had his K-bar Marine Corps knife that I lusted after. He said that if I could get pluses three grading periods in a row, then he would give me that knife. That took awhile, but that was the idea. The idea was instilling this sense of virtue of training and disciplining and trying to achieve certain character qualities in the life. That has been lost. So virtues are something that are to be achieved, that are to be worked toward, striven after, and instilled in children by parents. Values on the other hand are personal preferences or culturally driven choices. "These are my values. Those are your values. That is their values." These are treated today as personal preferences not objective, eternal absolutes.
  4. Virtue is related to character development. It is a recognition that man is born evil or sinful or depraved. So there has to be an instilling of discipline into a person from them to strive to the better parts of humanity and higher values that are not normal or natural to him. Of course this means that from the very birth of a child parents need to start utilizing discipline including corporal discipline. This is why the writer of Proverbs says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child but it is the rod of correction that drives it far from him. So the parent's job is not to beat the kid, but the parent's job is to bring in immediate negative consequences to selfish, self-centered, arrogant behavior on the part of the child.  When the parent cannot administer that discipline immediately then the child begins to think that he can get away with certain things and have things his own way. This is the problem that you have got now in California with this law that they want to pass making it illegal for parents to spank their children before the age of 3. Guess what. You have lost it by then. If you haven't started disciplining your children before 3 then you will never get them back. They will raise a generation of even more foolish people than they have already got in California. Can you imagine that? They are going to get even worse. Now I can't wait for some Christian (and this ought to happen) five minutes after this law goes into effect - some Christian needs to be prepared with a whole bank of first amendment lawyers that are out there defending Christian rights and go out into the town square right there in front of city hall in Los Angeles and pick up their one year old and spank him and cause this to go through a court case. This is where you have clear mandates of Scripture that a parent's responsibility to discipline the child and that includes corporal punishment and spanking. For the state to come in and say that it is illegal is a direct violation of biblical mandate. This is a legitimate case of civil disobedience. It is the state telling the parent that they can't do something that God's Word directly mandates that they should do. This needs to be made a court test case right away because it is an absolutely foolish law. It is the result of liberal thinking that man is not inherently evil. Man is basically good. So it is going to have all kinds of negative consequences. I am hoping somebody has the intestinal fortitude and the bank roll to do that. It needs to be taken all the way to the Supreme Court. Virtue is related to character development. Character development doesn't come naturally. There has to be child training. There has to be discipline on the part of the child. Values are related to individual lifestyle choices. It tends to be subjective. 

 

  1. There are three cardinal Christian virtues. Everything in the Christian life ultimately comes back to these three Christian virtues. In fact someone has said that the entire Christian life is built on this tripod of faith, hope, and love. That's the foundation. So when it comes to application in the Christian life almost everything comes back to one of those three aspects. Faith has to do not only with the act of trust; but also that body of content of what is being trusted, what is believed. So you have faith on the one hand. We walk by faith and not by sight. We will get into what that means a little bit later one. Also hope, hope has to do with a confident expectation of where history is going. God has a definite plan and He is working everything out according to that plan. That plan is going to culminate in a series of judgments. There will be the Judgment Seat of Christ where believers will have their production evaluated. There will be a judgment of tribulation martyrs. There will be a judgment of tribulation survivors, of Jews and Gentiles, the sheep and the goat judgments and the judgments related to parable of ten virgins in Matthew 25:1f. This all takes place at the end of the tribulation period before the Millennium. Then there will be the ultimate judgment of the Great White Throne Judgment. But all of history is moving towards accountability.

 

Everyone is going to have to stand before God at one point or another and give an account of what he has done in life. For the believer that judgment is not related to where we will spend eternity; but it is related to rewards and inheritance and it is related to position and privilege in the Millennial Kingdom and on into eternity. For the unbeliever it is going to have to do with judgment and eternal condemnation. So we have hope - that is our confident expectation of the future. Then love which is the highest virtue. Love is that which will abide and continue into eternity whereas faith and hope are temporal virtues. Love is an eternal virtue. Love orients righteousness which is God's highest virtue. It orients righteousness to relationships. Think about that for awhile. What love does is it orients righteousness to relationships. It is not just righteousness operating in a vacuum. It is operating with inner relationships. So you have passages like John 3:16.

 

NKJ John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

He did something in terms of that relationship. He gave His Son. 

 

NKJ Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

You have all the various parables in the gospels that deal with how forgiveness is to operate to those who treat you poorly. You have the parable of the Good Samaritan. You have various other parables related to forgiveness.

 

Peter says, "How many times should I forgive someone who offends us?"

 

And the Lord says, "Seventy times seven." 

 

In other words, it doesn't matter how many times (and we will get into this next week in our study on confession and repentance and forgiveness) somebody offends you or attacks you or assaults you. If they come back and say, "I repent" - which as we will see in the passage is a change of mind- if they do it 7 times during the day, how many times do you forgive them? Jesus says every time. It does not matter if their attitude is flippant. It doesn't matter if you don't trust them anymore. Every time they come, he says, you forgive them. That isn't easy. That is the virtue of love. That is one of the hardest things for us to understand. We have different dimensions that we talk about for that love. We talked about it being unconditional. We talked about it being impersonal. We don't have to know the person at all. We talk about personal love. But fundamentally I think the whole concept of love is seeking and doing the best for the object of love. See, there is a tough thing in the definition I just gave you. 

 

If you are some sort of arrogant self-absorbed, spoiled rotten individual and you think that definition of doing what is best for the other person, how are you going to define best? That word best immediately brings a whole boatload of value judgments. It is only when you have the divine viewpoint of divine righteousness that you can truly understand what is best for someone else. That is why love has to be virtue driven. When it is not, it becomes self-serving and is no longer love. It is a perversion of love. I have thought about this down through the years trying to define what love is and looking at the cross, which is the example. If anyone is going to define love, you have to start with the cross. You don't start with your experience. You don't start with your marriage. You don't start with your dating experience. You don't start with how you feel about certain things.  You start with what happened on the cross. What happens on the cross is that God is going to do what it takes to do the best thing possible for the object of His love no matter what it costs Him personally. As soon as you use these words like better or the superlative best, you immediately bring into the discussion some sort of value judgment. Where do you get these values? Where do you get these norms and standards? Where are you going to make a choice that this is best versus that is best? It can only come when you have the objective standard of righteousness coming from the character of God. 

 

Under girding these last three verses here in this paragraph, we have the three virtues of faith, hope and love. In this first section I said that the believer is to persevere in the light of our future expectation. That is our hope. The believer is to persevere now in light of our future expectation and to continue in faith and patience to realize a full inheritance. 

 

Don't give up. Don't become weary. Again we are going to see this note in Hebrews. Don't tire. Keep with it. Run the race. Finish well. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

 

Then I started talking about what it means to imitate those who "through faith and patience inherit the promises." 

 

I am going to skip over a couple of verses in the interest of time to bring us to our point. In the doctrine of imitation Paul says that we are to be imitators of him. 

 

NKJ 1 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.

 

NKJ 1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

 

You have to understand what he is saying when he talks about being an imitator of himself. He is not being self-centered. 

 

He is saying, "Imitate me in the ways I imitate Christ."

 

Christ is the standard. He is the template. 

 

Paul is saying. "I give you an example in my life of what Christ is like. Imitate me in those areas."

 

So "imitate me."

 

NKJ Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

 

In I Thessalonians, twice he talks about being an imitator of himself. 

 

NKJ 1 Thessalonians 1:6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,

 

NKJ 1 Thessalonians 2:14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,

 

Imitation there is related to imitating in the way that he handled adversity.

 

In verse 12 he says,

 

NKJ Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

 

The word patience there is the Greek word makrothumia meaning long suffering, forbearance, self-restraint, and waiting. It is related to waiting on the Lord.  It is different from endurance. Endurance has to do with hanging in there for a long period of time in difficult situations. Patience emphasizes just waiting.  Remember, they are waiting for those promises to come. They are waiting for God to fulfill His plan for Israel. 

 

So I went from there over to James 5 because James 5 gives us the same kind of exhortation. 

 

What happens is that as soon as we start hearing people say, "Imitate Paul", they say, "Imitate Paul? Who am I? He was super, who am I?" 

 

But Paul says that the everyday believer should imitate him in that he is imitating Christ. We have a tendency to put Paul and Moses and David and Isaiah and Daniel up on these pedestals that they were just super spiritual. But, we can't come up to their standard; we can do the kinds of things that they did.  That is a lack of faith in God. That is where I was headed last time. I was trying to get there sooner but we got sidetracked on a couple of things.  James 5 says this. 

 

Once again the focus is on the Lord's coming and ultimate accountability. He uses an illustration of how the farmer waits for his produce to come in. 

 

Then he says in verse 8…

 

NKJ James 5:8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

 

NKJ James 5:9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!

 

Again, emphasis on eventual accountability. Then in verse 10…

 

NKJ James 5:10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.

 

That is the same idea that we have in Hebrews 6. Go back to those Old Testament prophets. They had an example of suffering and patience. You follow their example.

 

So he said, "Wait a minute, I can't do that. Those guys were super spiritual." 

 

Look at what James says in 5:17.

 

NKJ James 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.

 

Look at what Elijah did – his confrontation on Mt. Carmel with the prophets of Baal and Ashera. Earlier he had walked in and confronted Ahab with his sin. 

 

He said, "It isn't going to rain until I say so." 

 

Then he went off and the Lord hid him and protected him and provided for him for quite a period of time. How can we be like that? This guy walked on water almost. He raised the widow of Zarephath's son from the dead. How can we be like that? The Scripture says that we may not do exactly those same works, but you can be just as mature a believer as Elijah, Moses, David or Paul. You may not be used in the same way. You aren't going to be an apostle.  You aren't going to be the king of Israel. You aren't going to be a writer of Scripture. But, they didn't have anything going for them that you don't have going for you. In fact, when we are compared to Old Testament prophets and Old Testament leaders, we have much more going to us. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit. We have the completed canon of Scripture. We have all of this that they did not have. So we can go far beyond them in terms of our own spiritual life and our own spiritual growth. So what is it that made these men - Paul and the others - such spiritual giants? Last time I looked at the first principle. That is that they trusted God. They were willing to completely sell out to God. 

 

What made them different?

 

  1. Faith. They had the will, the gumption, the guts or whatever it is to walk by faith and not by sight. Now I thought a lot about this verse. What does it mean to walk by faith and not by sight?  When you are walking by sight, it is not the act of seeing that you are walking by. It is what you are seeing. Right? So when it says you walk by sight, sight is the means; but the object of the sight is really what is being talked about. This is a metaphor of the means for the effect or the economy of the means for the effect. So when we look at the comparison, we walk by faith. It is not the act of faith that we are walking by; it is the object of the faith that we are walking by. It is the object of sight that you are walking by or the object of faith that you are walking by. The object of faith is the content of Scripture. This is why it is so important for us to go through all of the Scriptures, the entire council of God from Genesis to Revelation as it addresses every dimension and every aspect of life as it focuses on all of the various areas of human experience. The Bible addresses everything because the Bible is the Word of the Creator to the creature on how he is to understand and interpret and interact with every dimension of creation from the social dimension to the biological dimension to the historical dimension to the geographical dimension. Everything is related to or has to be related to the will and plan of God.

 

  1. Since they had a biblical view of reality (that came out of their doctrine) and because they were completely sold out to the Word of God as that which defined reality so that what the Word of God said was more real to them than anything they experienced anything that came by empiricism or rationalism. The Word of God provided them with a biblical view of reality. It gave them norms and standards that were absolutes. It emphasized virtue. This biblical view of reality informed their plans and procedures, their goals and their methods. Everything that they had as an unsaved unbeliever, all of their values were completely turned upside down and were destroyed radically. Look at Moses for an example. When Moses starts off he is attempting to bring about the deliverance of the Jews in his own power. So he kills the abusive overseer. But God has to take him out into the wilderness for 40 years to teach him and train him and hone him in what divine viewpoint methodology is before Moses is going to be ready to be the deliverer of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. That is the process of the Christian life. Whether you are talking about the spiritual life of the Old Testament or the spiritual life of the New Testament, it is that human viewpoint reliance upon self that has to be totally eradicated and destroyed before that servant of God can truly serve God. So these men were totally submitted to the plan of God and they became servants of God and servants of Christ. That is the difference between a Paul and most believers. He was 100% sold out to serving Christ. It is not a matter that he had something that we don't have. What he chose to do was something different than what most of us choose to do. We are still trying to figure out whom we are serving. 

 

Deuteronomy 6:13 emphasizes this dimension of service. 

 

NKJ Deuteronomy 6:13 "You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.

 

Deuteronomy 6 is quoted by Jesus in Matthew 4:13. In Matthew 4:13 Jesus inserts the word only.

 

NKJ Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "

 

That is to be our focal point. Romans 12:1 talks about this in terms of service again just as Deuteronomy 6:13 does.

 

NKJ Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

 

This is the logical result. When your starting point is the Word of God this is the logical result. I was probably in college (and this sounds a little trite) but it struck me at the time as encapsulating the issue. If there is no God, nothing matters. Right? Everything is relative. We are a cosmic accident; we are just an accidental blob of protoplasm. But if there is a God, then nothing else matters. Whatever it is that is going on in our careers, in our families, in our hobbies and in our lives; the only thing that matters is who God is and what He says. That is what the Bible is all about – who God is. The way Paul says it is to present our bodies. He is talking about the entirety of who we are.  It is to serve God. This is not a one-shot decision like you will find in the old holiness days – walking the sawdust trail and making a one-shot decision for Jesus. It is an ongoing reality. The terminology that was often used by Chafer and Scofield and men of that generation was yieldedness. Someone else said it was authority orientation. That is all it is. It is recognizing that God is the boss and you are going to be completely sold out to serving Him. So you present yourself a living sacrifice wholly acceptable to God, which is the rational conclusion of what Christ did on the cross. It is your reasonable service. 

 

Latreia  is one of two different words used in Scripture for worship. This has to do with worship of our personal life as opposed to corporate worship which uses a little bit different terminology. We are to serve God.

 

This is following in the pattern of Jesus. 

 

NKJ Matthew 20:28 "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

 

Here He is as the Son of Man who is the heir of the kingdom. Whenever you read the Son of Man you always have to go back to that Old Testament image of the Son of Man coming in Daniel 7 and destroying the kingdoms of man to establish His kingdom. So the son of Man emphasizes His humanity as an eschatological title that is focusing on the coming of the Messiah as the culmination of all of God's plan in history to be the king who will rule all of the nations. So here is the Son of Man who is the one who has every right to be served, but He comes to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. So to be Christ-like means to be serving God in a capacity that serves others.

 

NKJ Matthew 23:11 "But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.

 

All of this flows out of what virtue, faith hope or love? It flows out of love. All Christian service flows out of that virtue of love for one another. 

 

NKJ Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

 

The issue for most Christians that goes through their whole life is for 50 years they are trying to figure out if they are really going to serve God and 5 minutes later they are back to serving themselves. They never finalize the decision. That is the difference between most of us and the Apostle Paul and Daniel and Moses and all the others. It is because we just can't quite get to the point that we say we are going to give 100% to serving the Lord. That is our second point and I said that there were 5 different points that I want to go through on what makes the difference between these men and why we are supposed to imitate them and what is typical of most Christian experience. We will come back and look at the other three points next time. 

 

Illustrations