142. Present A Living Sacrifice (2)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect
(Romans 12:1-2).

Transformation is complete, thorough, radical change. It enables us to prove (to find out and be sure of) what is the perfect will of God for us (that is, what is our destiny), and then to outwork it.

Present ourselves daily

But it involves sacrifice.

Worship is surrender. Worship is obedience. So we come to Jesus, our High Priest, and we present ourselves at the altar as a living sacrifice. This is something we are to do every day. We present ourselves to God so that He can use us, He can transform us, He can change us. It is not the sacrifice who is responsible for the changing. We do not have to transform ourselves: we merely have to present ourselves and God will do the changing.

So by faith we enter the Holy Place, in the heavenly tabernacle, in the heavenly realms. There is an altar there. Not the bronze altar where Israel used to offer sacrifices: Jesus was offered on that altar once and for all. We come instead to the altar of incense. When we give ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, the fragrance of our submitted lives goes up before Him, and He loves it.

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus… (Heb 10:19).

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice and death, we can come right into the Holy Place. We do not come on our own merit, we come by the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:17).

Jesus is our High Priest, and He prepares the sacrifice that we give Him: our life. We have to present ourselves to Him and allow Him to deal with us. So we come by faith to surrender. We have looked before at the details of how the sacrificial lamb was prepared for sacrifice. It is really helpful for us to understand how those steps apply to us. If you are not familiar with this, please do take the time to read about it before moving on.

Click this link to read our earlier post (opens in a new window or tab): Present A Living Sacrifice (1) or copy and paste this line into your browser:
https://freedomarc.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/present-a-living-sacrifice/ 

Preparing the sacrifice

It is a picture of what we need to have done to us. The priest slit its throat, drained its blood, chopped off its head, skinned it, split it open, right down to the marrow of the backbone. Everything was opened up before God. All the inner organs were washed and  the legs cut off. Then the pieces were put on the altar.

We have to surrender our lives to Him, fully, for Him to do what He needs to do. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). We surrender our life to God, and exchange His life for ours. That is the meaning of sacrifice.

Dead, but alive

Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
(Rom 6:11-13).

If the flesh has to die, how is it a living sacrifice? It is because the flesh dies, but we carry on living in the spirit. Then our flesh does not get in the way, and the members of our body can be presented as instruments of righteousness, so that God can use us for His kingdom purposes. ‘Not my will, but Yours be done’, as Jesus said.

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart (Heb 4:12 AMP).

We are allowing God to open us up and reveal the deepest parts of our nature, to cleanse us, to purify us, and restore us; to expose, sift, analyse, and judge the very thoughts and purposes of our heart. And because he loves us, He will change us from the inside out, so that we are more like Him.

‘In like manner’

In our daily walk we are surrendered and obedient to what God wants to do in us. We walk by faith and not by sight; according to His will and not ours, only doing what we see the Father doing. And the Father in us is able to do all His works through us. That is how Jesus lived every day, and He wants us to live every day that way too.

We cannot do it in our own strength. We cannot do it by the flesh. We can only do it in the spirit. We have to surrender.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). If Jesus could do nothing of Himself, how much less can we?

Faith of the Son of God

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 (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

When Jesus was on the cross, bearing our sin, we were crucified with Him. He is living in me, and that life is lived by faith of the Son of God (I have purposely quoted a translation that says ‘of’: it is not even my faith that I live by, but His). Jesus surrendered His life so that we could have full, abundant life. I want to encourage you, every day to present yourself as a living sacrifice before God. Surrender, and allow Him to prepare you, to change you, to transform you from the inside out, to deal with your soul so that your spirit can flow in the life of God.

We are going to pray, and I want to encourage you to be willing to daily deny yourself and allow the Spirit and the life of God to flow through you, out from you, and to change you.

Every day, present yourself. I do, every day; so that every day, God can use me.

Father, I thank You that You sent Jesus
to die on the cross for me
to take my sin, my sickness,
and everything about my flesh,
and to die in my place.

I choose to surrender myself as a living sacrifice to You,
and allow You to prepare my life
for the life of Jesus to flow from me.

Prepare my life as I surrender,
so that everything that has come through nature
can be transformed
everything that has come through nurture
can be transformed,
everything that has come through trauma

can be transformed,
so that I live a life flowing in the Spirit and in the power of God
bringing the kingdom of God from heaven to earth,
living as a manifestation of Your presence here on earth,
that Your light would shine through me.

I open up my life in surrender to You.
so that You can do Your work through me
and that I might bring glory to You.

Jesus, as You gave Your life for me,
I choose to give my life to You, daily,
as a living sacrifice,
in order to fulfil my destiny
and the purposes of God, here and now in this time,
so that in eternity I will be able to fulfil all You have for me to do there.

Father, I praise You,
Father, I bless You,
In Jesus’ Name

.Amen.

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18. Experiencing Intimate Knowledge of God

Mike Parsons 

Unbelieving believers EngKnowing our identity as sons of God begins with really knowing God and not just knowing about Him. Who are we? As sons of God, we are royalty. We have a royal identity. We are priests – those who have free and full access to the holy things of God. We are a habitation of God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have made their home in us and want to be expressed through us. Bill Johnson says that ‘God is locked up in unbelieving believers’. He doesn’t want to stay locked up any more – He wants us to let Him out.

And we don’t want to be unbelieving believers either. We want to be believing believers, those who know what God says about us and act on it without question, without hesitation. And there is a call for real intimacy, to know God’s love intimately on earth and in heaven. If we are a habitation of God, then we have God on the inside: more and more, He desires to open up His heart to us and for us to open up our heart to Him. This is increasing in intensity: we have seen that the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit is as nothing compared to the latter rain that is coming.

Call to intimacy

We can struggle with the very concept of intimacy with God. The men in particular, even as we are singing ‘Romance me’ in our Sunday meeting, some are squirming because they don’t know how to take it, because they can’t get their head around being romanced by a man. But God is not a man, He is a spirit. Yes, He makes Himself known to us as Father, but God is a Spirit. ‘Hold me close, let Your love surround me’ – He wants to hug us, draw near to us, so that we can truly know Him, know what He is feeling, know what He is thinking, to feel His heartbeat. The Apostle John laid his head upon Jesus’ breast. Jesus is looking for a close, intimate relationship with us so that we can get revelation of His heart. He is drawing us into that intimacy. Sometimes we struggle, but our praise has the power to open up the heavenly portals so that we can have intimacy with Him, in the throne room, in the bridal chamber; so that we can find intimacy with the heart of God.

These and other chambers in the heavenly realms are places He wants to take us into, but we cannot enter into them unless we allow Him to open up that place of intimacy with us. We need to be willing, so that he can release truth to us, so that he can release our identity to us. The door is open in heaven, and God is calling us to love and identity. He is calling us to know by experience. We can read a book about God, we can even read the Bible, and know facts, but He wants more than that: He wants us to know Him by experience, to know what love really is, to know what acceptance really is, to know what forgiveness really is. He has made us a ‘kingdom and priests to our God’ (Revelation 1:2). And He says, ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone opens to me I will come in and dine with him…’ As the Jesus Culture song ‘Come Away‘ says, we need to open up our hearts, and let Him in.

Open the door

Just as Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden, so also we have a garden inside of us now, a place where God’s Spirit joins our spirit. He is wanting to open up a door for us so that we can have experience of heaven, but we have to open it up by opening up our heart to Him. And not just ajar, so that we get a brief glimpse; but to swing it wide and ‘let the King of Glory come in’. Jesus promises that if we will open up to His knock, He will come in and dine with us. Remember, dining is a very intimate thing in New Testament times; they would have reclined on the floor very close to one another; it was a place of sharing life. Jesus wants to do that with us so that we are able to hear His heart, to feel His heart, experience His love. And ‘Look, behold, a door open in heaven’ – as we open the door in our spirit, a  door in heaven opens and we hear a voice inviting us to ‘Come up here, experience my garden, experience the things of heaven with me’. We need to open the door in our spirits, daily, and when we open the door, a door opens for us to receive intimacy of relationship with Him.

I used to think I knew what His Presence was: now I know I didn’t have a clue. I don’t know all that much now, but I know more than I did, because I have experienced it for myself; because I have experienced going to heaven; because I have experienced what it is to look into His eyes, to look at Him on the cross, to see His eyes of love. There is so much for us to experience: let’s be hungry and thirsty, let’s not get stuck, let’s be eager for more. Because there is more to come. He is wanting to equip us to come into our destiny as sons of God. He wants to parade His sons before people and say, just like He did of Jesus, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, listen to Him’.

It is time for us to open up our hearts. It is time for us to become superheroes of faith. I am telling you, Marvel Comics characters will have nothing on the church when we come into our inheritance as sons.

Father, release a hunger and a thirst in Your people.
Release in them a passion for intimacy, for love,
So that each of them will open up their heart
And let the King of Glory come in.

Let the Holy Spirit come in and stir us to receive You.
Touch us afresh,
Help us to know who we are, and who You are.
Teach us to flow together with You,
To open up those heavenly gates and welcome You in.

Let Your people see that door standing open in heaven,
And hear Your voice inviting them to ‘come up here’.
Let Your Spirit brood over us.
Empower us as sons of the Living God
To be those superheroes of faith
Who know their God, and do exploits.

Amen.

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Soundtrack: Jesus Culture – Come Away