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Redemption and The Work of our Hands (Vol 25) - A New Kind of Passion

Sunday English Service - 06 MAY 18

Transcript

All right, let me ask you to turn to Colossians chapter 3 verse 23. Just in case you're having a Tamil Bible and reading from a Tamil Bible it happens to be, the same verse happens to be in verse, 24, but in English it's 23 and I'm going to be reading from New International Version. I'm going to read abbreviated version of that verse. I'm not going to read the whole verse but I'm just going to read that line that really matters for us today and it comes out very powerfully this way. Colossians chapter 3 verse 23, Whatever you do work at it with all your heart. Whatever you do work at it with all your heart.

We've been talking about work, teaching on the subject of work and particularly right now we're talking about how redemption impacts work. We talked about how God designed work for men from the beginning. Man is created for work and we showed you God's design for work. Why we work, it's for God's glory, to fulfill God's purposes and so on because God has put talents and abilities in us. All these things we looked at in the first portion. The second part of it we looked at why work has become difficult. The reason work which was a blessing for men that God intended they became difficult and actually became a curse is because of sin. Sin brought the fall and the curse and work became difficult, but now we're looking at the third part of this teaching that has to do with the redemption and the work of our hands. Now we're dealing with how the redemption impacts the work of our hands.

Since redemption happened the curse has been removed. The Bible says that Christ died on the cross so that the blessing of Abraham may come upon the Gentiles. So we have received the blessing, the curse is removed. This is what the cross has done. How does it impact work today? What difference does it make? How does a Christian see work today? That's what we're interested in.

Last week I shared with you about how God gives us a new kind of love. A love that we never had before. The love that we never had before as coming to us because the Holy Spirit has shed abroad in our hearts, the divine love, the love of God. That makes a difference in every aspect of our life and particularly in the matter of work also. We talked also about the image of God, man is the image bearer of God. This is a revelation of the New Testament that is from the Old Testament, actually, but it came alive through the Protestant Reformation, that man is an image bearer of God that has made a world of difference in the matter of work. Therefore, man must be treated with dignity, with honor, respected because He is the image bearer that bears the image of God and so on.

But today I want to talk about how God has given us a new passion for work. The New Covenant, our salvation brings a new passion for work. I want to talk about the new passion. Now passion is a word that’s very widely used today. We talk about how we need to be passionate in what we do and this verse that I just read to you really speaks about that passion. Passion is literally about the kind of heart with which we do our work and the kind of motivation we have, the, what is going on in our heart as we do our work?

When you look at people that work, you will see all kinds of motivations. Let's begin here. You see all kinds of motivations. First, let me just point out a couple of wrong motivations that is there in people regarding work. One of the wrong motivations regarding workers that people look at work as a kind of redemption for themselves. Through their work they try to build worth. They feel like they don't have any worth so they try very hard through their work to build worth and they try to build the security for themselves. They have a sense of a lack of security. So they try to build security for themselves and they find that life is often meaningless so they try to find meaning through work. So they're trying to build worth, they are trying to build security, a sense of security and they’re trying to bring meaning into life. Now, this sounds like it's all right but it's not all right, because that is where you see how wrong the motivation is. That motivation is not right. Why? Because Christians do not work like that.

We have a sense of worth through Jesus Christ. God has redeemed us with His precious blood by dying on the cross. He has shed His blood and redeemed us. He has paid the price with His life. That gives us worth. Our sense of worth is already there. We are not working trying to battle through this issue, trying to build a sense of worth. We already have worth, then why do we work? We work because we love this Lord and God who has done so much, who has loved us so much. We work because He has made us to work. We work because He has given us the gifts and talents to work. We work because He's called us to a certain work. We work because we need to glorify God on this earth and fulfill God's vision for humanity and for this earth. We work for these reasons. We are not trying to build some worth. We're not lost with reference to our work. We're not trying to seek and find worth through work. We already have found worth when we found Christ. See, that's the message of God's grace. We have understood something about ourselves that we are precious in God's sight. That God is willing to go to the extreme of giving His own life and offering His Son on the altar for us, because He considers us as worthy. He values us so we have no problem believing in our worth and value, we already have it. We work as a result of it. We work in appreciation of it. We work because we love this God who has values us so much and done so much for us.

So when your motivation is wrong then work becomes a very terrible thing. When you're trying to build worth by work, your sense of worth. Then I'll tell you, there'll be a burnout. Burnout is something very terrible. When the bulb is about to go off, see bulb has got a life. So many hours they tell you when you buy it. It can only burn so many hours. So when it reaches the end of its life term it burns brighter than ever. Have you ever seen that? All of a sudden your light is brighter than ever. Now, don't think the bulb has gotten saved in behaving well now, that is burning brighter than ever and everything is well. No, next thing is it's going to go out. That's why it's burning so bright. Just before it goes out, it burns so bright. Now a lot of people they seem to work so hard. They seem to be very motivated. They seem to be all wired up for work, going around working so briskly and you think, “Wow. Wonderful. See how motivated he is.” No, it's a wrong kind of motivation. It's a wrong kind of passion and their busyness at work is going to result in a burnout. In a burnout.

Many years ago when I was getting ready to enter into ministry, as I was getting out of college, I remember a study came out that showed that preachers are the ones that are experiencing the greatest number of burnouts in America. Burnout is a terrible thing. Burnout is where you get tired physically and emotionally. You just had enough. You don't want any more of it and you ask those people why they don't want any more of it, because they've done it night and day. They have gone here and there, done as much as they can, but they have found very little result, very little satisfaction. They’re trying to build worth, but they did not end up building worth. They tried to build security but that has not happened. They tried to get meaning that did not happen. So whatever they try to achieve with these wrong motivations never really came through. So they burn out. They get sick and tired of it and they want to quit and go do something else and lots-- I've known many, many, many preachers that did it in America and in other professions also. Burnout is very common and burnout happens when there is a wrong motivation, everything fails.

Now even things like marriage, when you enter into the wrong motivation with a wrong kind of passion, not with the right one, the wrong kind of motivation, then everything goes wrong, you see. Everything goes haywire. It looks like you're going to get something but it's not going to happen because the wrong motivation is there. I remember a long time ago somebody was telling me this, they were telling me about a family said, “This family was doing so well now really gone down the tube, they lost everything, and so on. So we need to find this guy a girl who will pick up this family and lift his entire family and bring them back to that level.” Just one girl will do it, it seems. “Just find the right girl, she'll be able to do it.”

Now, I had enough sense to stay out of this whole deal because you'll get into trouble with this, because it’s a wrong motivation. You don't get married for this kind of motivation because then you go into the wrong kind of expectation and when that kind of expectation does not happen then what happens? Do they pick you up and take you high and drop you from there? And great is the fall. Because of wrong motivation, it leads you with the wrong expectation and ends up with the wrong result. Why do you get married, you get married because of just one thing, because God said it's not good for a man to be alone. You need a helpmate and God provides a helpmate for you. Why do you need to helpmate? Because God has got a vision for your life. God has got something for you to do, to accomplish that you need a life partner. A man needs a woman. A woman needs a man. Why? To accomplish God's will and purpose in their life. So you need someone who can understand your calling, understands your gifting, appreciates who you are and appreciates what you're trying to do and is with you on it. That's the kind of person you need not someone to lift you.

The only person that can lift you from where you are, higher than where you are, is God, not man. When you trust in man you always get disappointed but when you trust in God you can come from the bottom to the very top because God says, “You shall not be beneath you shall be above only.” That's God's will and God is able to help you if you have faith in Him and if you follow His principles, you will certainly over the course of time find yourself increasing and coming up. But the thing is, marriage is not for that. Marriage is done only because God said, that's the good thing. That's the thing that God has intended for you. You need a helpmate to be with you as you accomplish God's purposes and plan for your life and as 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 7 says, both of you together become inheritors of the grace of God and all that grace provides. What a wonderful passage that.  I’ve often preached in wedding services. Husband and wife together are joint heirs. Together they inherit the grace and all that grace has provided for them in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Together they’re joint heirs in possessing and inheriting what grace has provided. That means it's like a joint account. Both of you have to sign. That's why 1 Peter chapter 3 talks about how to stay in unity and together and live with a successful married life because anything that you want to inherit from God, God's blessings, you need to sign together, joint signature.

So you cannot be fighting. You cannot be hating one another. You cannot be working and be at odds with one another. You've got to reconcile, you’ve got to come together and work together so that you may achieve and inherit all that God has for you and possess all that God has planned and purposed for you. So motive is very important, do you understand? If you’re on anything you need to understand motive, whether it's marriage, where it's work, whatever it is you need to understand motive. Under the wrong motive that people have when it comes to work is that some of them put it like this, they say, “Well, I work. This pain of work I gotta undergo because after the pain of work is over, then I can enjoy real life.” So their own life, their own look at work as something that is enjoyable, their work and toil. They would look at it as toil and they look at what comes after work or what this makes possible later on. I mean, they earn and they put away money for a vacation is when they think the enjoyment comes in vacation or enjoyment comes as a result of how much you've earned. The work itself is not a matter of enjoyment for them. That's very sad.

But the way the Bible puts it is that work itself must be a matter of enjoyment. If you don't get up on Monday morning and enjoy what you do and enjoy going to work and enjoy your work as you work at it all day, then it's very sad that you are spending so much time and you're looking at it only a sweat and toil. You have this negative attitude that you labor and work in order to earn something so that you can enjoy later. That is a very terrible thing, that's a wrong kind of motivation when you look at it as means of a paycheck to bring home so that you can enjoy real life. That is very sad. These are wrong motivations and again that will cause physical and emotional exhaustion, literally burnout in the end, because the motivation is wrong.

When you come into Christ, when you come into the knowledge of Christ, when you become a follower of Christ, when you are born again something tremendous happens. Last week we talked about how divine love is poured into your heart. Something that was not there, something that is not available in the natural makeup of men. Something that is heavenly has come into you now. God from heaven pours out love, divine love and pure heart that makes a difference in our lives. We talked about that last week, but today I want to show you how a new kind of passion comes in to our lives as a result of being born again and how and when that passion comes to.

Let me look at it first like this before we look at the new kind of passion we need to understand that oftentimes passion is misunderstood as something very positive. Not all the time it is positive. When this positive it is something wonderful. For example, we have one wonderful example in the Bible of the disciples following Jesus. Remember, Peter and others were fishing. They tried to catch something all night. Nothing worked out. They were washing their nets to go home. It was a total day of failure. They did not catch anything and Jesus comes and says, “Let me borrow your boat. I want to preach from it,” and they put the boat in the water and Jesus gets into the boat and preaches as the people gather around in the shore. After everything is over, Jesus wants to return the boat to them, but now He wants to return it with some kind of a payment for the use of the boat. So He says, “Peter, come here. Throw in your net in the deep.” Peter said, “No, I tried all night and with them, we never caught anything.” He said, “Nevertheless, at your word I'll throw,” and he threw the net and there, lo and behold, they caught fish on per one Bible scholar says they caught what was worth two, what was like two weeks’ catch in one day. The boat was sinking, the net was tearing, they called another boat and some more men to help. The thing became a problem. It was too much. They caught a lot of fish and they come to the shore and they are all stunned and amazed at how Jesus has done this and they're gathering their catch and Jesus looked at them and said, “Follow me, for I will make you fishers of men.”

The Bible says they just simply left everything, all the big catch and everything. That would have been very difficult normally, to leave all that, especially when you're reminded of how much fish is in the sea, and how much success you can have. You would have thought, “Well, there’s Jesus, He must teach us how to fish rather than call us to preach, because this can fetch more money.” But they left everything and went and followed Him just like that. Why? Because Jesus gave them a greater motivation beyond that day's wages, that day's earnings, the earning that they make for themselves, for their needs, for that days’ worth, that day's work. Jesus gave them something much higher than they have ever imagined.

Jesus was basically telling them, “Look, I'm the Messiah. I've come to save humanity. I'm in a big project for God, I've come down from heaven. I'm going to do this. This is what I'm going to do. I want you to be a part of this big project. I have a role for you to play in this. How about coming and following me. I'll make you fishers of men.” These men left everything and follow Him. Why? Not because they're such sacrificial fellows, but they got their mind oriented differently towards work. Now they saw a reason and purpose for living. Peter began to say, “Well, I am born for this. Fishing is something that I've been doing. Yeah, that's good work. But obviously, God has sent His Son and He has come. He has come and sought me and found me. He wants me to come. He’s the Savior of the world and I got to follow Him. I gotta be with Him and do what I can do, the role that I am given to fulfill I must do it because God has a purpose for me.” So God's purpose then leaving the job was not a problem.

He began to think about job in a totally different way. That's what happened. Whenever a person comes in context with Christ, they begin to think about their job in a totally different perspective. And it's not going to always result in leaving the job. Paul, for example, he was a tent maker by profession and then he went to seminary and studied to become a minister. He became a pharisee, became a very educated theologian and so on, came into ministry and then found Christ and became a preacher of Christ. But then while he's preaching Christ everywhere, at one point he had to do some work. Tent making to support himself because there are certain places in which he could not have any financial support. So he found tent making was always there. He can pick it up and do it. He didn't feel like, “Well, I left it. Why should I put my hand again into it? Why should I get back?” No, working was not a problem for him because it is all part of a larger purpose. God has called him. God has a purpose for him. He himself says that God called me from my mother's womb. He separated me unto the gospel. He has understood the big picture of where he is and what he’s called for. He understood that he is called by God to be an Apostle to the Gentiles. He has understood God's big plan for his life. Therefore, he's able to leave his job and he's able to pick up his job when and where needed and do it because he's got a total reorientation about job.

A lot of Christian people don't think like that, you know. Sometimes they completely divide the two things that they think you just leave the job and you just come and that's it. Once you leave it you should never pick it up and so on. No, that's not like that. It's a reorientation. Totally different way of thinking and seeing yourself in the big picture and therefore leaving or taking it up is no problem. What if you had to work and support yourself and do ministry. There are certain countries in which you cannot even enter and do ministry there unless you are in some kind of profession, in business or some kind of work that you're doing there, valid work that you're doing there only with that you can do ministry there and there is nothing wrong with that.

It's not always about leaving. It is about thinking about our work in a totally different way. One best example there about how in the world we can belong to God and follow Christ and still work in a very secular world even in a very ungodly situation, you can work and still follow God and still live for God. To follow God does not mean that you leave your work always. Some people are all about leaving their job. They say, “You got saved. Then why are you working there.” As if, as soon as you get saved and get baptized, you must cut off yourself from the world. That is totally wrong. That is not biblical. I'll show you one best example that is found in 2 Kings chapter 5. I don't want you to turn there. I'm sure you know the story. For those of you who don't know the story I'll say it in five minutes. The story is about this man named Naaman. A very high level official with the Syrian government. There is the king and next to the king this man is the most important guy there. He has won many battles for Syria. He’s achieved much, much loved by the king but he's got one problem. He’s got leprosy.

It's been a disease that's been taunting him for his life. So now there is a girl that is working in his house that happened to come there as a slave. They brought some slaves from Israel. They often invaded Israel. They were enemies of Israel, they would go in there, bring some slaves during the war, and one of the slaves was this girl that was helping his wife at home. She told people at home, “If this man would go to Israel, there is a prophet in Israel who would heal this man and in no time this man will be well.” When they heard it, it sounded like a good idea. The man went to the king and told him that this girl says there in Israel there is a prophet and that man could heal this disease, it’s no problem. So, the king gives him a very big recommendation letter. In the letter he mentioned, “I'm sending you some gifts, some gold and silver and all of that. Please receive these gifts and it is your job to make sure that my man, this man is healed and sent back.” Now when the king got the letter he tore his clothes it seems because he thought he's picking a fight with him. He said, “Am I God to heal a leper? Why is this man sending me letter to heal his minister? How can I heal any man? He's trying to pick a fight with me so he can invade with his army and do damages here,” and he was lamenting over it and the Prophet heard about it and sent word to the king and said, “Send the man over here. Let him know that there is a prophet in Israel. Send the man over here and I will do what is necessary.”

So Naaman goes to the prophet Elisha and prophets are somewhat eccentric. The man did not even come out and receive him. He went with his big entourage, very respectable guy, a high level official of another country comes to your house, the man did not even come outside the house to receive the guy. He sits inside and sends word saying, “Tell the man to go and dip in river Jordan seven times and he will be healed. That's all I got to say to him.” Then they came and told him that man said, “I thought he is going to come out and lift his hand and pray to the Lord and worship Him and offer a great prayer for me and then put his hand on me where my leprosy is and rub it here and there and bring healing for me. This is a great disappointment. Why should I go dip in your River? We've got many wonderful rivers much cleaner than this Jordan.”

So he got very mad and just started walking away and his servants, his sidekicks-- It's very important the people that are with these big people. They are the reason for the downfall or for the success of some of these guys. Some of these people that were with him seemed to be nice people, they went and told him, “Listen, if the king told you to do so. I mean, if the Prophet told you to do something very extraordinary you would have done it because you would have thought that just by all those things that you do there is something that is going to happen. The man told you something very simple. He did not deny healing for you. He did not say he won't heal you. He said, “Just go dip in river Jordan seven times and you will be healed.” Why can't you do it? It's a very simple thing. He’s telling you that he will be healed if your dip seven times in the river. Why don’t you do it?” So he decided, “All right, let's try it,” and they go and dip in the river and came out and the skin was like a baby skin it seems. Completely well and healed.

So he comes back to the Prophet offers him gold and silver and all kinds of things. The Prophet decided not to take any money from him. But some people, you should not take any money. This guy doesn't know God and these guys sometimes they think with money they can buy everything and so on. So he decides not to take any money from him and sends him away. But before the man goes away, Naaman the Syrian guy who's been worshiping another god in his country, each country had their own god and so on. In Syria they had a god called Rimmon. They had big worship places and temples for Rimmon and he's been worshiping that God. That man said, “How can I go back and worship those gods. None of the gods of Syria have healed me. Only the God of Israel has healed me. So hereafter I’ll worship only this God because He is the living God.” Nobody told him to say that.

Elisha didn't say, “If I heal you would you take baptism?” No, no, no. Our people sometimes say that, not Elisha. Elisha didn't say, “If you get healed will join my church?” No, none of that business. Healing is free for everybody. God loves everybody. It doesn't matter what religion you belong to. It doesn't matter whether you're a sinner or saint or who you are, it doesn't-- God is merciful. God is so kind, even on the good and the evil God pours out His rain and lets His sun shine, the Bible says. So God does not discriminate when it comes to certain things. God wants wellbeing for everybody. So God healed that man and the Prophet was an instrument and he realized that he didn't demand anything from the fellow. But that fellow is saying that the Syrian guy who's been worshiping another god all his life, he says, “Your God, the God of Israel is the living God because none of these other gods healed me.” Now that that fellow’s talking.

Now if you're healed of leprosy, you'll be very thankful, won’t you? That guy is very thankful. He is just saying, “I am not going to worship any other god, just this God.” So he's asking the Prophet for two donkey loads of dirt from Israel to carry back. Why? He wants to take the dirt from Israel and build an altar there so that he can offer sacrifices burnt offerings to God. So he says, “Let me take two loads of dirt, so I can make an altar and worship this God.” He wants to make an outpost for Yahweh in Syria. He want no church in Syria, he wants to start a new one. He says, “I want in Syria, a worship place for this living God. He’s the true God. So I'm going to start it, let me take some dirt and begin a [business 00:31:19].” And the Prophet says, “All right.” And then he says, “One more request. See, I'm working for the king. I’m the main man. I got to go with him when he goes into the temple of Rimmon, the Syrian god, and I have to go into the temple and when I go into the temple the King leans on me as the bows before Rimmon, the Syrian god.”

Now the Syrian god Rimmon represented Syria itself, so that if you didn't worship Rimmon everybody will be after you. That's the way things were. So he says, “I gotta go with the king and as He bows before the Rimmon statue, I gotta bow. The king leans on me and I got to go down with him as he bows. Will you please ask the Lord to forgive me? Will the Lord, forgive me for that because I'm not going to worship, but I will have to bow because my king will bow and I got toHe’ll be leaning on me and then I got to bow with him. Will you ask Jehovah to forgive me, Yahweh to forgive me?”

And strangely and surprisingly for many Christians today, Elisha said, “Okay that's fine.” Now some people object to it, they say, “My God, you're not telling me that it's all right to go into the temple of Rimmon and bow before that sta--,” No, he said, particularly that he's got to do it because the king is doing it. He's got to go down with him because he's leaning on him. What will he do. So he says, “I'm going to do it because the king has to do it. Will the Lord, forgive me for this? This is wrong. I don't want to worship. I will not worship, I am going to build an altar separately for Yahweh and worship Him in my country. I will worship this God who has healed me but when I go with the king I got to do this.” And surprisingly, the prophet said fine. What a wonderful picture there for us who live in various societies today where there are so many gods and so many ways of worship, and so many ways of, you know, so many religions and so on. Here is a wonderful teaching on how to use your wisdom to think about these things.

Some people believe if our Chennai preachers were there in Israel on that day when Naaman visited they would’ve told him, “You better resign today. Today you resign brother, because that job. No, no, no, you can't have that job. You better resign. You better come back here.” “Come back and do what?” “Become a preacher.” Now that's why the ministry is suffering now. Because a lot of people have become preachers like this. They've gotten saved. They got baptized. They don't want to stay in the field of work anymore because they got to work with ungodly people or something like that, the people that don't believe like them, that don't worship like them and so on. They don't want to live in that situation, they gotta resign, get out of that. Very often you'll find Christian people say, “I want to work in a nice Christian organization brother, in a very spiritual atmosphere.” Said, “Then you pray that you die soon and go. You go to heaven and you will have find a wonderful spiritual atmosphere. You can work there in a wonderful” “No, I thought, brother you will have some job for me here.” Here’s the same story. Don't be coming here and complaining about us. We're all imperfect people just like any other office you have various problems. Nobody's perfect. Everybody carries Bible here, but everybody's not perfect. Everybody's not very spiritual. 

People think that if you become spiritual, if you become a Christian, you need to get out from the world ,from the secular field and come into some kind of a spiritual field and seclude yourself into it. So we're always praying for deliverance out of that to come into something very spiritual but God is saying, God has put this Naaman right there in Syria. And doesn't God know that he's a Syrian when he healed him? Did God open His eyes and say, “This is a Syrian. He doesn't need my healing.” No, God healed him even though he's a Syrian. He's a human being. God loves him. He healed him. God loves that man, even though he was a Syrian not an Israelite and healed that man. Now he's gonna go back into that atmosphere. Who knows what has happened. I don't read the story of Naaman anymore after that, but who knows what has happened. Don't you think the king would have asked him. Said, “My God, man what happened to you? Your skin is like a baby’s skin.” He would have said, “This God of Israel did this for me. This is how I got healed.”

Hello. Don't you think he would have gone into the palace and given a wonderful testimony? You'd rather give testimony in a church or in a palace before the king? Don't you think he would have given his testimony before all the officials there in the Syrian kingdom? Don't you think that many, many people and even the whole nation would have heard about this living God? There is a purpose for God having a man there and touching a man there and giving that inclination to that man to go to the prophet in Israel, for such a big man to get up and leave and go and stand at the door of the Prophet and ask for healing and do what he says when the Prophet never even showed up at the door to say hello to him. He was humble enough to do all that. God is working in that man's heart. God saved that man. That man is truly converted now and the man is going back. A lot of people would have said, “Don't go back, brother.”

The thing is, if you read the history of the people of Israel at the time when the events in 2 Kings 5 was happening, when this event was happening, many of the Israelites were worshiping foreign gods having backslidden, and here is a Syrian worshiping the living God, coming to believe in the living God. He was far better than many Israelites. He is declaring in their country, “This God, this God of Israel is the only God that could heal me and deliver me from this horrible disease and I believe in this God.” He's providing a testimony.

God was always interested in the nations of the world, that they must know the living God. God is not just the God of Abraham. God didn't start the world with Abraham. In the beginning, the Bible doesn't say God made Abraham. God made Adam. Abraham came later. So God is interested in the entire Adamic race. The race, the human being that came as a result of Adam. So, here is a big lesson about how to live in a world that does not understand that this living God, how to get along, how to be in high places, how to serve, how to get along and how to manage yourself and be a testimony to God's grace.

I'm sure that that man shined as a testimony in that community. Every time that somebody would ask him how he got healed, I'm sure shamelessly he would have told them that this is the doing of the God of Israel, who’s the true and living God. I'm sure he made a permanent altar for God and offered burnt offerings to God, which signifies that he was offering every day himself to God that he belonged to God. That's the significance of the burnt offering and he would have done it in front of people there every day in a land where nobody worship this living God, He began to worship the living God. I'm sure that many people would have come and joined him and started trusting in this living God.

So what I'm trying to say is, nothing can stop a man. He's in heart is going to worship God, the living God. He is not going to worship Rimmon anymore. He's not asking permission from Elisha to worship Rimmon. He's not. He's just asking for God's pardon because he's got to do what is there in that circumstance. He's got to go and he's not worshiping, he’s just allowing the king to lean on him and stays with him as he offers his worship. When you live in a multi religious society I think this teaching is very important for us to understand.

I remember when I first came and started here and I was about 30 years old, as a young man just beginning. I had a meeting here, in a hall in Kalyana Mandapam. After the first service was over in the morning, we had a seminar, the first service was over. One man pulled me aside out on the street right outside the Kalyana Mandapam and chewed me out like anything, because the Kalyana Mandapam had all kinds of statues and pictures and so on everywhere. I had rented the place and I was having the meeting. The man just, I mean Christian preacher, much older guy I've known him from my young age. So I never said anything. I said, “Okay, uncle. I understand what you're saying,” but that man was just so hateful, so very rude and chewed me out. And after I got all chewed out and came in by that time the mandapam guy has taken a sheet.

He watched me conduct the worship service in the first meeting, he has taken a sheet and covered everything. He came to me and said, “Sir, I saw that your thing is little different so I thought you may not want this. So I've covered everything.” I didn't ask him. It didn't matter to me really. Really it didn't matter to me because who was I worshiping? It didn’t matter to me. I didn’t make an issue of it. That guy respected us and gave us the place. I was thankful for it. He could have said, “This is a Christian media, I won’t allow.” But he didn't. He was very generous. He took a rent from me and rented me that place, didn't make any objections to what I was doing there. I was singing about Jesus, preaching Jesus and talking about Jesus whole time. He didn't mind it He respected me. I should have some respect for him. Must be mutual. So he covered everything and he came to me and said, “That's all right. No problem.” And he kept it covered the whole time.

Now, I thought on that day look at the wisdom and the understanding this man who we say does not know God has and the kind of mentality that the preacher of the gospel has. Does not understand how to live in a society where there are multiple religions. Does not know how to get along and how to be a testimony among people, how to give a valid testimony to the power and the grace of God in a society that is different from ours. The worship is different. Their everything is different. How to live in that society, how to be a living witness in that society, how to present Christ in that society. It is so important. There are many stories like this. Maybe one day I'll handle these things. There are many stories of Gentiles who are worshipping so many other gods getting converted in the Old Testament times and how they come in to believe in the living God. It's amazing stories and there's a lot to learn for our society for Christians who go and live in societies, which are basically non-Christian.

We got to watch our words and watch the way we do things because we want to present Christ, we don't have to compromise in any way, that is not the point. But we can be discerning, we can be understanding. We can still follow our God, worship our God, live for our God with a heart of conviction. We can worship our God just like this man made an altar in Syria to worship God we can make an altar wherever we are and worship our God with all freedom with all our heart and nobody can stop that. We don't have to always be in a state of confrontation and fighting over things. Amen?

All right. So when you become a follower of Christ. You think, see things differently. You begin to have a new understanding and a new orientation about work. This man understood his work differently now. See, he was a worker in Syria. He was a minister in Syria. Now he's got converted, he's going to go back and work, and he's going to use his work to really show forth the glory of God in that society to do good. I don't think he lost any of his patriotism. I don't think he lost any of his love for the country of Syria. Syria was his country, he loved it. He was a patriot, he worked for the country. He battled for them. He won many victories for them. He lived for them, has accomplished many things for them. And I'm sure after he got saved he even did his work better than ever and loved his country and did everything that he could do for that place, but yet got along well with them. Amen?

All right, let's go on. In passion, you need to understand that frenetic activity, that is busy activity does not mean that there is passion. Over lunch we get fooled by busy activity. We think it's passion. Look at the passion at work. Look at how much passion he has. No, a lot of times it's just fear he has that tomorrow he’ll lose everything. He’ll come to the street and lose his job and whatever it is. Some insecurity that he has the motivation is not always positive and good. The counterfeit passion, the false passion works always like that. It breaks up all the sinful nature that is within a man and uses that sinful nature that self-centeredness in man, which is the primary characteristic of a sinful person or a sinful being of a human being, naturally, they're all selfish. It is as a result of sin of Adam that we've all gotten that selfish nature. So when a person shows passion of the wrong kind it is based on the sinful passions. It is because they have some pride. They want to show to the world that they can win because his enemy has won. So now he wants to prove that he can win. He’s envious about his neighbor therefore he wants to show that he can also come up and rise in life.

There's so many reasons like this. There is sinfulness in man. The selfishness in man that wants to prove, the pride in man, the envy in man that wants to show things, that is acting up through passion, that is what counterfeit passion is all about. Counterfeit passion is like this. Anytime you ask a person to do something he’d day, “What's in it for me? How much do I get? What will I profit from this? That's the counterfeit passion. That's the passion of the wrong kind. He is interested in doing it and if you gave it to him he’ll do it and he'll do it well to maybe. But he's always interested in just himself. It's not about anybody else, it's himself. How much will I get it? What is in it for me? That's very poor.

But look at the passion that we see in the Bible, the right kind of passion. The Passion of Christ. Bible talks about a totally different kind of passion, that is the passion that we see in Christ. The cross of Calvary is and the suffering of Jesus and death of Jesus on Calvary is called Christ's passion. Have you ever wondered why it's called Christ's passion? What is so passionate about it? Turn with me to Romans chapter 12. Romans chapter 12 verse 1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Now Paul is writing to believers and he saying, present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Paul is a Jew in background. He understands that the Jewish way of thinking understands the temple, the tabernacle, the sacrifices offered there and so on. He uses that language here about Christian life. In Christianity we don't offer sacrifices and all that, but nevertheless he uses that language in order to convey some wonderful truth. He says, offer yourself as a living sacrifice, he says.

Now, when it says a living sacrifice immediately you remember the temple and the temple people came for sacrifice. There are many different kinds of sacrifice. A sin offering was brought by a sinner who has sinned, committed a sin. So he wants to rectify that. He wants to remedy that sin. Therefore, he brings what is called sin offering. But there is another kind of offering called burnt offering. The burnt offering has a totally different meaning. The burnt offering is a flawless animal, animal without any blemish, a very totally, completely healthy animal brought and killed and burned to ashes. The man who offered it stands there as it burns down to ashes. What does it signify? It has a rich meaning. It signifies that this man is saying to God by offering that sacrifice, “Lord just like that every ounce of this animal was burned down and became ashes, I completely and totally without any reservation of even one part of my being, whether in spirit, soul or body, I totally belong to you. I offer myself to you. I don't hold anything back. 100%, totally spirit, soul and body, I belong to you.” That is what he is saying when a man comes and offers the burnt offering and stands there as the offering burns down to ashes.

So, Paul talks about that kind of a thing here. Offer yourself as a living sacrifice he says. Now living sacrifice, see sacrifice is something that is dead. If it's not dead it's not a sacrifice. When you sacrifice something you kill it. How can you be a living sacrifice? Bible scholars say that he mentions that just to jolt the people. In other words he's saying don't die, live but then die. How to die and live, be a living sacrifice, you can be a sacrifice, but then you will be dead. How can you be a living sacrifice? He says, you live for God but die to yourself. Every day there must be a rhythm of death to self and living for God. Death through self-living for God. Death to your desires and your wishes and your will and your purposes and every day there must be a taking up of God's desires, God's wishes and God's will. That is a living sacrifice. On the one hand you are dying, dying to yourself and your selfish motivations and taking up God's will and God's plan and purpose and living for it. That is living. On the one hand, you're dying, the other hand you're living.

So living sacrifice, he says. Now when you live as a living sacrifice how does it look like? Look at verse 11 in chapter 12, it says not... Let me read to you in NIV once again. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord, never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord. Two things. One is the word zeal and zeal is a translation of a Greek word meaning a combination of urgency and diligence. Never lack that urgency, sense of urgency and diligence in living for God and doing things for God, he says. So it is possible to be busy, to be looking like urgently you're doing something, vigorously you're doing something, but without focus and discipline. And it is also possible to be working or to be diligent in what you're doing, but without a sense of urgency. On the one hand, you can have urgency, but not have discipline. On the other hand, you will have diligence, but not urgency. But God's command here is that you have to be both urgent and discipline, urgent and diligent.

Secondly, it says, keep your spiritual fervor. In the Greek it literally means it seems as to your spirit boiling. That's how it must be translated. Keep your spiritual fervor literally means as to your spirit boiling. That means, keep yourself, your emotion your discipline, your sense of urgency in a boiling state, always hot, not becoming cold, not becoming lackadaisical. Not becoming lazy so to speak. Not letting off the steam, not just going down in your vigor and enthusiasm, keep it a boiling point he says. We are asked to live with a passion for God, be a living sacrifice, but live with passion. Put down your will, take up God's will, but do it with passion. And where does the true passion come from? Look at verse one again. It says, I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God. Look at how he puts it, I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God. That means, if you want to put it very simply, it means this, if you look at the mercies of God, you will truly live as a living sacrifice. You won't have a problem living your life as a living sacrifice for God. If you’ll only look at the mercies of God, you'll be able to live as a living sacrifice.

Now, when you look at mercies of God means what? How do you look at God's mercies? This is where everybody that teaches it believes that he's talking about the cross of Calvary and what happened there. He says look at the cross of Calvary, and what Jesus did there. When you look at the suffering of Jesus and the sacrifice for you, when you understand His passion. See the cross did not happen just like that. It was the plan of God from the beginning. In fact, in Hebrews, Jesus is seen saying there that you have given me a body so that I may die. So when God sent His Son into the world He sent Him with a body with the purpose of dying and shedding blood. That's how Jesus was sent in the world. So He knows whenever He came into the world He knows that He's going to die. He always spoke about it. When He came into Jerusalem finally He was traveling everywhere preaching and when He came in to Jerusalem, finally, just before His death, He came saying, “Let's go to Jerusalem,” and all the disciples didn't know what to do because they know that something bad is going to happen if He goes in there because they hate Him there.

Said, “Let's go to Jerusalem.” He comes in there with a commitment and then ends up in the Garden of Gethsemane and there He goes through a mental, emotional, spiritual battle. He thinks of what is going to happen to Him. The sin of the whole world coming and resting upon Him, the burden is going to be too heavy. He sweats blood literally, the pain and agony is felt and there in that moment He cries out to God and says, “If it be possible to remove this cup from me do it.” But then quickly recovers from that. One moment He thinks it will depart, “If it's possible that God remove this cup from me the cup of suffering from me,” and then He recovers from that and says, “Nevertheless, not your will, but --. Nevertheless, not My will but Thy will be done.”

Totally recovered. He said, “No, no, no. I came to die. I shouldn't be looking for other options. I came to die so I offer myself to die.” So He gets up from there with a resolve. He goes there and He meets the soldiers coming looking for Him. Didn’t go and search behind every tree and find Him and drag Him out. He goes and asks them, “Who are you looking for?” They say, “It’s Jesus,” says, “It’s me,” and offers them and they take Him in and there they beat Him, slap Him, laugh at Him, ridicule Him, wound Him from head to toe so that His body becomes like a plowed field. Then He's taken to the cross, carries the cross to Golgotha and dies there on the cross of Calvary.

So it is His resolve to die. He has decided, committed Himself with a passion. That's why it's called Christ's passion, His suffering and death is called passion, because with a passionate desire He has given Himself to God, to do God's will, knowing that God's will must be done. That's why He's born in this world. That is why He lived in this world. He must die as a sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. He goes with that resolve committed to die and dies there. That's what Christ's passion is all about. He said, look at that. I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God. I beseech you on the... I request you on the basis of what you see on the cross, how that God's grace is manifested there, how God's mercy is manifested there, He says.

So He was in chapter 17 of John, remember He said, “I sanctify myself so that they may be sanctified.” He talked about the disciples. He is praying that, “I sanctify myself so that they may be sanctified.” You know what He is saying? The word sanctify means set apart like an Olympic runner who's aspiring to win a gold sets himself apart to compete in that race. Setting himself apart is a very extraordinary thing. You cannot eat all you want. You can't do whatever you want. You got to keep your body in a certain shape and form. You got to be very strictly disciplined with your exercise, with your food, with attending to your body. You got to be very careful, mentally you got to prepare. There's a great deal of preparation. Olympic gold medal does not come just like that. You got to give up a lot of things because you want to win the gold. You got to work very hard. Oftentimes, there is so much pain involved in order to win that gold and Jesus is saying, “I sanctify myself in that sense.” He says, “I have set myself apart so that they may be sanctified. I sanctify myself apart,” “sanctify myself,” He says. That means He has dedicated himself, His whole life and even to the point of death He has completely committed to God to do God's will, so that people may be saved. People may come before God and stand one day as righteous because of the blood that was shed. So that people may have life because of this death. That is what He means. That's Christ's passion.

So when you look at that, when that passion is burned into your imagination, when it goes into you, when you begin to think about how He was passionate about how He's doing the will of God, then you understand what it means to live for God. You live it in the same way. You become passionate just like He became passionate. You are not called to die like Him on the cross, thank God for that. Right? You're called to do His will. You are called to do His will in every area of your life. You are called for a work. You are called to do certain things and that requires a great deal of dedication, a great deal of commitment, a great deal of passion, a determination, so that at all costs you do what you are born to do. You’re born for a purpose.

God has put gifts and talents into you for a purpose. God has made you a certain way for that purpose. Just like He made Jesus with a body for a purpose to die on the cross shed His blood, gave His life. That's why He was given a body. That's why He became a human being. God has given you certain things just like that so that His purposes can be accomplished and when you understand that, when it goes into your thinking and imagination you begin to offer yourself a living sacrifice, because you consider the mercies of God. You offer yourself as a living sacrifice and that's the way you live and work every day. Your life and your work involves this kind of commitment where you live for Christ with all your heart, doing His will. Every day, putting away your will and taking up His will. And when you do that, when you do that, something amazing happens. When Jesus did that everybody laughed at Him and said, “Look at that doing the will of God He died lamenting there, “My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken me?” Look at the total up absolute failure of this man who claimed to be the Son of God. Look at how He died.”

Now three days later, God raised Him up, vindicated Him, raised Him up but not only raised Him up from the dead, but raised Him up all the way to heaven. Exalted Him, glorified Him, made Him sit at the right hand and put all principality, power, might and dominion underneath His feet and made Him the head of the Church. Not only that, the Bible says that one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God has given Him a name above every name in heaven and earth and under the earth. Why? He obeyed God's will and did God's will, even to the point of death on the cross with such a passion He did God's will. Therefore God exalts Him and honors Him and glorifies Him and makes Him a blessing to so many. I tell you that it is no different for us. When you submit yourself to will of God and do it with a passion, do it as God's work, do it as a God's calling in your life, when you do your work God will honor you, will raise you up and make you a mighty testimony and exhibit before the world, for the glory of God. Amen? Shall we all stand together.

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