- The 23rd Psalm Series
- The Lord is my Shepherd – That’s Relationship!
- I shall not want – That’s Supply!
- He maketh me to lie down in green pastures – That’s Rest!
- He leadeth me beside the still waters – That’s Refreshment!
- He restoreth my soul – That’s Healing!
- He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness – That’s Guidance!
- For His Name’s Sake – That’s Purpose
- Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – That’s Testing!
- I Shall Fear No Evil – That’s Protection
- For Thou art with me — That’s Faithfulness!
- Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me – That’s Discipline
- Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies – That’s Hope!
- Thou annointest my head with oil – That’s Consecration!
- My cup runneth over – That’s Abundance!
- And I will dwell in the house of the Lord —–That’s Security!
- Forever – That’s Eternity!
Before we delve into the message, we need to fully understand the meaning of the word ‘CONSECRATION’ and what it means in our lives.
The term is used 13 times in in three books of the bible. Eleven times in Exodus and Leviticus, the word consecration is translated from the Hebrew word “mil-loo'” meaning to set something aside for God. Twice in Numbers, it’s translated from the Hebrew word “neh’-zer” and refers to something that has been set aside.
Wikipedia defines it as:
“Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word “consecration” literally means “to associate with the sacred”. Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups.”
One of my favorite passages in the bible that illustrates this is Romans 12:1-2, verses that I was required to memorize when I attended Tennessee Temple University years ago.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living, sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Unfortunately, this verse is often misread and misquoted. The “holy, acceptable” portion is often read as “wholly acceptable” meaning we present our bodies completely acceptable to God and that is not what the passage says. Paul is saying that we should resent our bodies “holy” and in that way, acceptable to God. Some might say that we cannot be holy but the bible says differently. God chose us before the foundation of the world that we should be holy. (Eph. 1:4 – see my series on Ephesians for more discussion of this)
So, Paul says we should present our bodies a living holy, sacrifice. In the oldest records that can be found of the various nations of the earth, sacrifice is always found to have formed part of their religious services. So we find an idea universally existing that something was needed to obtain pardon for guilt, and to express gratitude to the supreme being or beings whom they regarded as the givers and benefactors of their life. But it is only when we come to the religion of Israel that we find the idea of sacrifice having any influence upon the life. The other nations offered sacrifices, but there was no turning away from evil. No, in the case of many third world / heathen countries, their acts of religious worship became, and have become, associated with immoral and degrading practices. The religion of Israel, however, taught the necessity of personal holiness. True, their religion was largely composed of rites and ceremonies, but it was a religion of practical morality also. Very plainly the Jewish psalmist recognizes that it is the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart that is most acceptable to God, and that without this it is vain to offer the blood of bulls and goats. But the high precepts of their religion were sadly neglected by the Jews in later years. In the time of Jesus Christ on earth, the religion of most of them was a religion of ritual and routine. He told the Pharisees that though they outwardly appeared righteous unto men, within they were full of hypocrisy and iniquity. But Jesus came to teach men true religion. The worship that he demands is a worship in spirit and in truth. The sacrifice that he requires is a sacrifice of our life. He wants the activities and energies of body, soul, and spirit to be consecrated to his service. This is what the apostle means when he speaks of presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice.
I. IT IS TO BE A SACRIFICE OF OUR FEELINGS.
The whole heart must be given up to God, so that whatever is right may be strengthened, and that whatever is wrong may be taken away. Many Christians render to Christ an imperfect sacrifice in this respect They keep back part of their life from him. They allow themselves to be dominated by feelings which are inconsistent with his spirit and precepts. They will excuse themselves for some besetting sin by saying, “That is my nature; I can’t help it.” The evil nature is still with us, it is true; but it is our duty to strive against it, to overcome it. Moses appears to have been at first a man of hasty and violent temper. Yet the Divine discipline, and no doubt also his own obedience to the Divine will, produced such a change in his character that it is afterwards recorded of him, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth.” It is a natural thing to be angry when things are said or done to provoke us; but is it Christian? So with the other feelings of envy, of pride, of revenge, of hatred—instead of yielding to them or excusing them, the true Christian will be ashamed of them and sorry for them, and will do his best to overcome their influence in his heart.
II. IT IS TO BE A SACRIFICE OF OUR AFFECTIONS.
The love of God should ever be the chief affection of our heart. Not that we are to love our friends less, but we are to love God more. Hence, when our natural affections become hindrances in the Christian life, they must be restrained and subdued. The strongest temptations to the Christian are not always those that come from the baser part of his nature, but sometimes those that come from the purer and better emotions of the soul. The love of a friend—it might seem strange that there should be anything wrong in that. Yet even this affection, right and natural in itself, becomes wrong when it interferes with love to God. The love of home—how can there be anything wrong in that? Yet there is wrong in it when it interferes with the call of duty. “He that loveth father or mother more than me,” says Christ, “is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” We read everyday where those men and women who have volunteered for the service have not hesitated to obey the trumpet-call. I read in the Post this morning of a family who lost two of their three sons to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And should not the Christian soldier sacrifice all earthly affections rather than be unfaithful to Christ? Should he not hear the voice of Jesus above all earthly voices? Jesus Christ himself has given us the best example of complete self-denial. “He pleased not himself.” Not merely in his death, but in his life, he gave himself a living sacrifice. When we think of how much we owe to Christ, any sacrifice that we can make will seem but a poor and feeble effort to show our gratitude and our love. Yet we are encouraged to present even our poor sacrifice by the assurance that it will be “acceptable unto God.”
As you’ve read this, has the Holy Spirit shown you any areas of your life that you might work to improve?