I Yield to Thee My Life

 

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.

The prayer of our heart, our soul’s yearning desire is to be able to fear no foe, for ills to have no weight and for those tears to not be bitter, for that safety of the refuge. Where is death’s sting? Where is the victory of the grave?

1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 56 The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law.

Have you sinned?

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

There is none righteous, no not one. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. You have said that you have not sinned; you are a liar.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death;

Therefore if you have sinned, you have forfeited the right to life and you must die. Simply cause to effect. But you don’t want to die, do you?

Dying to Live

1 Corinthians 15:36 [Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

If you want to live, you want life, then you must die.

Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

If you want to live you need to be free from sin. But to be free you must be dead because you’ve been stung by death and the poison is in your system and the only way is by death. Interesting contemplation? Frightening, the hard facts of life.

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

This is the experience of each one of us, we were born into sin. As a result of the disobedience of Adam, sin entered; from gene to gene, DNA strain to DNA, sin has been inherited from father to father, to father, right the way down to you and to me.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Every man must die because every man and woman has sinned. Now God is a just God. The sentence of death has been pronounced upon every man and the sentence will be executed. But when will you die? At the end of the thousand years? No thank you. Then you can choose to die now; and if you die now, then you can live. Whereas if you die at the end of the thousand years, you’ll never live again. Right now at this very moment Christ is dying on the cross. Not for His sins but for yours. He did no sin nor was there guile found in His mouth.

1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

A voice comes to you:

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Are you one of those who are laboring and heavy laden battling to get through that wild restless sea of life? Then the invitation is very appealing. After all, you’re going to die sometime anyway; so all that paddling and all that rowing won’t get you anywhere. What does it cost? To count the cost means to do something.

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

How much do you need to give up? Your life? Everything that makes you what you are: yourself.

The whole heart must be yielded to God, or the change can never be wrought in us by which we are to be restored to His likeness. By nature we are alienated from God. The Holy Spirit describes our condition in such words as these: “Dead in trespasses and sins;” “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint;” “no soundness in it.” We are held fast in the snare of Satan, “taken captive by him at his will.” Ephesians 2:1; Isaiah 1:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:26. God desires to heal us, to set us free. But since this requires an entire transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly to Him. {SC 43.2}

You cannot walk quickly let alone run when you’re all loaded up with carry bags can you? Chances are the avenger will catch you so you’ve got to drop these bags if you want to make it safe inside the city of refuge. What really do we give up, when we give all?

But what do we give up, when we give all? A sin-polluted heart for Jesus to purify to cleanse by His own blood and to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all! I am ashamed to hear it spoken of, ashamed to write it. {SC 46.1}

In fleeing to the refuge you come to Christ; for Christ to abide with you, you must deny yourself completely. Self must be sacrificed. If you don’t do this, then you will lose your life completely at the end of the thousand years. If you want to live, you want to die; your whole life, your whole self must yielded up and you must partake of the sufferings of Christ and die with Him.

Romans 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Romans 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

If you be dead with Christ, you’ll be resurrected with Christ because Paul tells us that it was not possible that death could hold Him.

Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

If you are resurrected with Christ and you live with Him, death will have no more dominion over you, because it says that Christ is immortal:

1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Why couldn’t He die? Because He did no sin neither was guile found in His mouth. If he had committed sin he would have had to pay the penalty. If you’ve been crucified with Christ and therefore resurrected with Him, what is your new life like?

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

If you are resurrected with Christ then you live, but not you, you live the life of Christ; and if you are living the life of Christ, you now live the life by the faith of the Son of God. What then is there for you to worry about?

Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

What is there for you to worry about? There’s nothing for you to worry about because you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. Will you then be concerned about what others say to you, what others say about you? Because they are not talking about you, they are talking about Christ because it’s Christ that lives. Then you definitely will not be upset or offended by what others have done to you. Of course not; many advantages to being dead to self: Immortality, with Christ, no offense, as it says about the righteous:

Psalm 119:165 … and nothing shall offend them.

Models of True Life

Another advantage: if you are already dead and your life is hid with Christ in God, you wouldn’t be afraid of even death would you? The very words of the Bohemian reformer John Huss present these very sentiments:

And if I live and will live devoutly in Christ, then in the name of Christ must I suffer persecutions; for if it became Christ to suffer and so enter into His glory, it surely becomes us, poor creatures, to take up the cross and so follow Him in His sufferings. And I assure you that persecution would never trouble me, if my sins and the corruption of Christian people did not trouble me. For what harm could it do me to lose the riches of this world, which are but dross? What harm, to lose the favor of the world, which might lead me astray from the way of Christ? What harm to suffer reproach, which, if borne with patience, purifies and transfigures the children of God, so that they shine like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father? And finally, what harm, to have my poor life taken from me, which is death; if he who loses this, lays death aside, and finds the true life? {1901 ATJ, ECE 684.1}

Shortly after making this statement, he was called of God to give up his life at the stake; needless to say he went singing. That’s a simple, yet a powerful contemplation. Now that is the peace of an abiding Christ, isn’t it? Where then is death’s sting, the victory of the grave? You triumph because you are already dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. How often do we cry of a little heartache, or some little tiny bit of a problem? How often do we cry over our lives? And, oh that cross that we have to bear. Tell me, I ask myself the same question, can I go to the stake singing? In the year 1208, the crusade was proclaimed by Pope Innocent III against the Waldenses and the Albigenses, in which a million men perished.

From the beginning of the order of Jesuits in the year 1540 to 1580, nine hundred thousand were destroyed. One hundred and fifty thousand perished by the Inquisition in thirty years. In the Low Countries fifty thousand persons were hanged, beheaded, burned, or buried alive, for the crime of heresy, within the space of thirty-eight years from the edict of Charles V against the Protestants to the peace of Chateau Cambresis in 1559. Eighteen thousand suffered by the hand of the executioner in the space of five years and a half, during the administration of the Duke of Alva. DANIEL AND THE REVELATION, PAGE 155

Do you think that they cried over their lives? Or the rest of the sixty million martyrs that were hung, crucified or burnt during 1260 years of papal persecution? Speaking of the reformers in England, we read the following:

The doctrines which had been taught by Wycliffe continued for a time to spread; his followers, known as Wycliffites and Lollards, not only traversed England, but scattered to other lands, carrying the knowledge of the gospel. Now that their leader was removed, {GC 94.3}

Wycliffe perished, not at the stake, the Lord put him to peace without that…

… the preachers labored with even greater zeal than before, and multitudes flocked to listen to their teachings. Some of the nobility, and even the wife of the king, were among the converts. In many places there was a marked reform in the manners of the people, and the idolatrous symbols of Romanism were removed from the churches. But soon the pitiless storm of persecution burst upon those who had dared to accept the Bible as their guide. The English monarchs, eager to strengthen their power by securing the support of Rome, did not hesitate to sacrifice the Reformers. For the first time in the history of England the stake was decreed against the disciples of the gospel. Martyrdom succeeded martyrdom. The advocates of truth, proscribed and tortured, could only pour their cries into the ear of the Lord of Sabaoth. Hunted as foes of the church and traitors to the realm, they continued to preach in secret places, finding shelter as best they could in the humble homes of the poor, and often hiding away even in dens and caves. {GC 94.3}

Notwithstanding the rage of persecution, a calm, devout, earnest, patient protest against the prevailing corruption of religious faith continued for centuries to be uttered. The Christians of that early time had only a partial knowledge of the truth, but they had learned to love and obey God’s word, and they patiently suffered for its sake. Like the disciples in apostolic days, many sacrificed their worldly possessions for the cause of Christ. Those who were permitted to dwell in their homes gladly sheltered their banished brethren, and when they too were driven forth they cheerfully accepted the lot of the outcast. Thousands, it is true, terrified by the fury of their persecutors, purchased their freedom at the sacrifice of their faith, and went out of their prisons, clothed in penitents’ robes, to publish their recantation. But the number was not small–and among them were men of noble birth as well as the humble and lowly–who bore fearless testimony to the truth in dungeon cells, in “Lollard towers,” and in the midst of torture and flame, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to know “the fellowship of His sufferings.” {GC 95.1}

John Huss’s good friend and fellow reformer was labeled as a heretic. In response to it he exclaimed, “What! Do you suppose that I fear to die?”

Erelong sentence of condemnation was passed upon him. He was led out to the same spot upon which Huss had yielded up his life. He went singing on his way, his countenance lighted up with joy and peace. His gaze was fixed upon Christ, and to him death had lost its terrors. When the executioner, about to kindle the pile, stepped behind him, the martyr exclaimed: “Come forward boldly; apply the fire before my face. Had I been afraid, I should not be here.” {GC 114.8}

He did not fear death because his life was hid with Christ in God.

What about since then? Where are the martyrs since then? Yeah, where is the persecution? It has been promised that all who would live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Well, there are many stories of those of the Reform movement who lost their lives during World War I and World War II. But, I would like to share with you the story of a brother, Anton Brugger. His fiancé writes of him:

Baptized in the Woerthersee (near Klagenfurt, Austria) in 1922, Anton was ever since that time a very lively and active member of the Reformed Church. In spite of his youth, he revealed a great zeal for the truth and had at the same time a humble spirit. Whenever spoke in a derogatory way about others; an angry or critical word never fell from his lips. His speech was pure and without dialect. He was tall, always happy, companionable, and ready to help. At the outbreak of the war in 1939, he succeeded in fleeing to Italy, where I met him when he came one Sabbath to the large Adventist Church meeting at Triest. He brought me the truth of Reformation, which I was permitted to give also to others. After many trials and with God’s help, the first Reform groups were established at Triest and at the same time at Milano. After two days, Brother Brugger returned to Milano and Genoa, where he tried (Italy having not yet entered the war) to get a ship to the United States. However, this was not to be his fate. During a short stop at Milano, where Brother Mueller had also come to instruct us in the message of Reformation, he was arrested by the police and, after being held in custody for one month, was returned to Austria (then under German rule). At this occasion, he wrote to me about the journey to Brenner – escorted by police. … In Austria he was employed for some months as a baker. During this time, we were in the process of obtaining the documents with ancestry, etc., for our anticipated wedding. However, just when we had these papers ready, he was called to bear arms. After he had refused to bear them, he was called before the military court at Salzburg and was condemned to two years of prison in a concentration camp. At that time I was in Italy and proclaimed there the glorious Reformation message. One time I was permitted to visit Brother Brugger in the Dieburg Camp (Germany). This visit was a very painful and short visit for both of us. At the end of the two years, he was again drafted for the service. After giving a clear testimony for the present truth, he was taken before the war tribunal at Berlin and finally was condemned to death as a conscientious objector. {And Follow Their Faith, p40}

Here is a letter he wrote to his fiancé:

My dearest Treasure!

When you receive these lines, I most likely will no longer be among the living. How everything turned out this way, you probably will have already learned from Mother. Yes, there was no other way open to me if I wanted to remain faithful to my convictions. If, because of this, our hope of being united here on earth is not fulfilled, we still have the much more glorious certainty of meeting at the Lord’s coming, never to be separated again. Therefore, my dear, do not be sad about this hard trial, but look joyfully and with confidence into the everlasting glory. Even if all this is so bitter, yet we must accept it all patiently from the hand of the Lord, for the way He guides and leads will finally serve for our best. If we want to be with our Saviour in His glory, we must also be willing to suffer here with Him. The way to paradise goes over Calvary. But the world cannot understand that true victory consists of submission. How astonished and frightened the poor people will be when the Saviour appears in majesty in the heavens at the judgment. There a complete change of all values will take place. There they will acknowledge, but too late, what the actual meaning of this battle of life was; and they will bitterly regret having neglected to do the right thing. But even when the world is in such a terrible confusion and darkness, we should not lose the goal from sight but should follow the Lord wherever He may lead us. It is our duty to reveal the sin-forgiving Savour to the world and to invite the people to be reconciled with God. Even if the people in this world do not understand or even if they misjudge the motives for our actions and deeds, this should not discourage us from doing good. I know in whom and what I have believed, and I am certain that the Lord will not make my hope ashamed. What inexpressible joy it will be for us when we all shall see each other there by the Lord, where there will be no more separation and suffering. Through all the terrible noise of warfare and pain and misery of this world, we are to train our sights on the coming glory of, God’s kingdom, where everlasting peace will reign. This will give us strength to endure all the trials. I also want to thank the Lord from the bottom of my heart for His great goodness, grace and mercy, as He has sustained me until now in His love. I am certain that He also will give me the needed strength for the last difficult way. {And Follow Their Faith, p44}

Do you feel that it is too great a sacrifice to yield all to Christ? Ask yourself the question, “What has Christ given for me?” {SC 45.1}

Forsaking All

What has Christ given for you? We know the atonement so well. He came from heaven down to planet earth. What is the society of heaven like? Sister White writes what she saw in heaven:

I seemed to be there, where all was peace, where no stormy conflicts of earth could ever come. Heaven, a kingdom of righteousness where all the holy and pure and blessed are congregated–ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands–living and walking in happy, pure intimacy, praising God and the Lamb who sitteth on the throne! Their voices were in perfect harmony. They never do each other wrong. Princes of heaven, the potentates of this mighty realm, are rivals only in good, seeking the happiness and joy of each other. The greatest there is least in self-esteem, and the least is greatest in his gratitude and wealth of love. {9MR 104.2}

There are no dark errors to cloud the intellect. Truth and knowledge, clear, strong, and perfect, have chased every doubt away, and no gloom of doubt casts its baleful shadow upon its happy inhabitants. No voices of contention mar the sweet and perfect peace of heaven. Its inhabitants know no sorrow, no grief, no tears. All is in perfect harmony, in perfect order and perfect bliss. {9MR 104.3}

Heaven is a home where sympathy is alive in every heart, expressed in every look. Love reigns there. There are no jarring elements, no discord or contentions or war of words. {9MR 105.1}

From there he came to here. We all know only too well what “here” is. Do you feel that it is too great a sacrifice to yield all? Then you might live now, but die eternally. If you choose not to deny self, and to live now, what kind of a life will it be? What kind of a life will you live?

The Life and Fate of the Selfish

Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

What kind of a life is it? A fearful life, a life of looking forward to death, looking forward to only a fiery indignation. You’ll be but living to die; and as you’re already living, you’re only living dead. That life will be a very lonely life. When I read this quote, it sent a shiver down my spine. It lightened the intent of the heart. The Spirit of Prophecy is the word of God.

I saw that there were some like Judas among those who profess to be waiting for their Lord. {EW 268.1}

Judas found Christ to be worth only thirty pieces of silver.

Satan controls them, but they know it not. God cannot approve of the least degree of covetousness or selfishness, and He abhors the prayers and exhortations of those who indulge these evil traits. As Satan sees that his time is short, he leads men on to be more and more selfish and covetous, and then exults as he sees them wrapped up in themselves, close, penurious, and selfish. If the eyes of such could be opened, they would see Satan in hellish triumph, exulting over them and laughing at the folly of those who accept his suggestions and enter his snares. {EW 268.1}

Satan and his angels mark all the mean and covetous acts of these persons and present them to Jesus and His holy angels, saying reproachfully, “These are Christ’s followers! They are preparing to be translated!” Satan compares their course with passages of Scripture in which it is plainly rebuked and then taunts the heavenly angels, saying, “These are following Christ and His Word! These are the fruit of Christ’s sacrifice and redemption!” Angels turn in disgust from the scene. God requires a constant doing on the part of His people; and when they become weary of well-doing, He becomes weary of them. I saw that He is greatly displeased with the least manifestation of selfishness on the part of His professed people, for whom Jesus spared not His own precious life. Every selfish, covetous person will fall out by the way. Like Judas, who sold his Lord, they will sell good principles and a noble, generous disposition for a little of earth’s gain. All such will be sifted out from God’s people. {EW 268.2}

Can we not give all? Why choose to die eternally? Why not die to self and live an eternal life? Is not a life of reproach and suffering worth more than the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which passes away with the world? Why live to self and die an eternal death? Why not die to self and live an eternal life? The life of suffering and reproach in Christ’s name would be, as the apostle says, but for a moment compared to the eternal weight of glory. It would be but a grain of sand from the seashore. But he’s appealing to our intelligence. The life of Joseph: he gave up all, and look where he ended up. 60 million martyrs before us have given up all in the world, the Lord has promised where they would end up. 60 million… and we so often mourn over our own lives. The Lord speaks to us; He pleads with us:

Ezekiel 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn [yourselves], and live ye.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Might” live through him: It’s your choice. It’s my choice.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Will you choose life, by choosing to die to self? May you and may I choose eternal life, and may we, with Christ, be able to say, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit. I yield to Thee my life.” This is my prayer, in the name of our Redeemer.

Amen.

Posted on April 6, 2013, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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