"that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, ¹¹ that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
Philippians 3:10-11 (ESV)
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Topic: The HOLY SPIRIT | Time: 7:00-9:00 pm (EST)
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Just 150 years ago, in the villages in Northeast, India, lived tribes of headhunters. Their custom required the males to collect as many heads as possible as a show of strength and the capability to protect his household. The more heads he collected, the more eligible he was considered for marriage.
In the midst of this aggressive tribalism, and despite severe opposition, missionaries brought the Good News of JESUS CHRIST. One particular villager, Nokseng, came to CHRIST, along with his wife and two children. As a result, more villagers gave their lives to CHRIST.
Now this angered the chief, who ordered Nokseng to publicly renounce his faith in front of the entire village…or face death. Nokseng, lead by the HOLY SPIRIT, replied, “I have decided to follow JESUS. No turning back, no turning back.”
The infuriated chief immediately ordered Nokseng’s two sons to be shot with arrows, and they fell dead.
Again, the chief ordered Nokseng to renounce his faith at the risk of losing his wife. Nokseng responded, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.”
Nokseng’s wife was immediately shot down and died.
A third time, the chief issued the same order to Nokseng, or risk his own life. Nokseng uttered these final words, “The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back, no turning back.”
Nokseng was shot immediately and joined his family in death.
But the chief, overwhelmed that this man would give his life for a MAN who lived 2,000 years ago on an entirely different continent, was touched by the HOLY SPIRIT and exclaimed, “I too belong to JESUS!” This sparked a revival and the entire village came to CHRIST, praise GOD!
Nokseng decided to follow JESUS to death. He knew what it meant to “share HIS sufferings.”
The picture above shows some of the 21 Christian men who were beheaded in Egypt. Why? They chose to die rather than deny CHRIST and convert to Islam. And this did not happen hundreds of years ago. The Islamic State issued a video of the beheadings just six short years ago in 2015.
These men decided to follow JESUS to death. They knew what it meant to “share HIS sufferings.”
Ask yourself: How much am I really willing to suffer? What will I submit? Will I submit ALL? Or will I only submit up to the point where the sacrifice is too great of a cost?
Are we truly willing to suffer and die for CHRIST? Or even on a daily basis – are we willing to put to death our pride? Our “right” to be right when it comes to holding onto some offense against an acquaintance, or even a friend or family member? Will we surrender our need for control, our money, our worries, our relationships, our future, our family? Are we willing to give up a favorite television show, or change the type of language we use, or sacrifice our time to help someone in need when we are in a rush? Are we willing to suffer and be persecuted for the sake of CHRIST, who suffered and died for us?
Are we truly willing to become like HIM in every area of our lives?
It takes complete surrender…total submission…to the Cross of CHRIST.
I have decided to follow JESUS. No turning back. No turning back!
1. Ask the LORD to shine a spotlight on every area of your life and to show you those areas that need to be surrendered to HIM.
2. Pray the words of Psalm 19:12-14 (NLT): “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
3. Request the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD to teach you how to joyfully praise GOD even in the submission.
1. Be obedient to work out the change in your life that is needed as the HOLY SPIRIT illuminates those areas in your life.
2. Find someone to be accountable to, especially in the areas of struggle. Trust them enough to be honest with them about your struggles as you endeavor to submit every area to the LORD and walk a life of surrender before HIM.
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