Generally speaking, I love the Pentecostal movement. For we are a people who believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We are a people who believe in walking in the fullness of God, and all that he has for us.
Perhaps like me, you have offered prayers to God along the lines of God, I give myself to you. Or, like me, you have preached, or asked others to give their life to the Lord, after telling them the Gospel message. Giving someone an opportunity to give their lives to the Lord, sound biblical doesn’t it. “Lord, I give you more of myself to you,” sounds biblical doesn’t it?
But, I have to say, “It’s not!” Christianity is not about giving ourselves to God. There is nothing we can give to God. We can’t even give him our lives. Because, without Christ, we have no life. Christ gives himself to us. He is God, incarnate. God come in the flesh, who was born as a babe, died on the cross, and rose to life again on the 3rd day. God who ascended to the Father and who will come again.
John 1:12 says, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Note, how John says we receive him. We believe in him. We don’t give to him. In Ephesians, Paul talks about our being adopted to God. He hasn’t adopted us 10, 15, 25, 50, 80, or 95% leaving 5% or more for us to give to him. No, God, adopts us 100% percent. He forgives us 100% percent. And when we receive him, we receive him 100%.
We have nothing to give to God. Even the gifts and talents that we use for God, he gave them to us. But, Craig, you say to me, “we are called to present ourselves a living sacrifice to God”…To which I will reply, “This means, Father we come to you, with the risen Lord in us. We live our lives according to your will, not ours.”
Instead of praying for us to give more of ourselves to God, we discover that Paul prays, that God will continue to give us, to fill us, to work through, in and over us. That through his Spirit, we will grow in wisdom and knowledge of his love, his power, his purpose. And once again, we see, we have nothing to offer God. All we have is what he has given us. He gave us our personality. He gave us our gifts, talents and abilities.
This morning, as we take the bread and the juice – come to him with a prayer of thankfulness. Acknowledge to him that we are bankrupt and empty. That we have nothing to give to him. All we can do is say thank you and believe on him.
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus took the bread and broke it, saying this is my body, torn and broken for you. Can you please turn to your neighbor and tell them, Jesus was torn and broken for you.
Jesus took the wine, and said, this is my blood, poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Can you once again, turn to your neighbor and say, Jesus poured out his blood for your forgiveness.
Let us pray!