Worn-Out Knees - Living A Yielded Life

Dave Jones March 8, 2008 Romans 6:1-23

Introduction

Worn out knees, what does that image convey?

I think about people that have jobs that require them to spend a significant amount of time on their knees.  Many of them wear knee-pads.  Not just to be easy on the knees, but to protect their pants.

 Shouldn’t the same be said of us as Christians?  How much time do we spend “on our knees” praying?  I’m not just talking about the physical position we take when we pray, but about the attitude we have toward prayer.

Teachers, the following link will take you to a website with a video by David Jeremiah on this topic.  The introduction is worth watching.  It helps us identifying the “position” we should have on various issues. 

http://www.lightsource.com/Ministry/turning_point/20071021/

I think the image of someone on their knees is an image of submission, of yielding to authority.

A Yielded Life, What does it mean to yield?  Let’s look at what the dictionary says:

1yield\ˈyē(ə)ld\ verb

[Middle English, from Old English gieldan; akin to Old High German geltan to pay]

(before 12th century)

transitive verb

1archaic : recompense, reward

2: to give or render as fitting, rightfully owed, or required

3: to give up possession of on claim or demand: as

a: to give up (as one’s breath) and so die

b: to surrender or relinquish to the physical control of another : hand over possession of

c: to surrender or submit (oneself) to another

d: to give (oneself) up to an inclination, temptation, or habit

e: to relinquish one’s possession of (as a position of advantage or point of superiority) 〈yieldprecedence〉

The common theme above is the idea of surrendering, or to give up.  You could say it is what I allow to rule over me.  I submit, I surrender, and I yield to something or someone, we become slaves to that which we surrender.

Read Romans 6:1-23 

Even though today’s study is not about this passage, I believe this helps set the stage for a yielded life.

Romans 6

 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

INPUT: What does this passage say about living a yielded life?

  • Once yielded (slaves) to sin.
  • Now yielded to God
  • Sin no longer has power over us
  • Live like we are set free

It is that context we want to study today.  What can a life yielded to him do?  What can we accomplish if we live in His will?

In John 14, Jesus said we can accomplish greater works than Him.

Let’s look at John 14:12-14

12  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be  glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

What does this all mean?  Let’s look at it together.

  1. The Expectation of Greater Works

This issue of greater works has caused great confusion and controversy.  How is it possible that we could ever expect to do greater works than Jesus? 

INPUT: What are some of the great works that Jesus did while on Earth?

Is Jesus saying we will do these things greater than He did?  Or that we will do bigger things than this?

Let’s look at what Jesus did not say.  He did not say that if we had enough faith or great faith.  Really, how can we have more faith than Christ?

He is making a simple statement: Those who believe in Me will do greater works than I have done.  Let’s look at the end of verse 14 for the…

  1. The Explanation of Greater Works

John MacArthur commentary on this passage states:

Jesus did not mean greater works in power, but in extent. They would become witnesses to all the world through the power of the indwelling and infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and would bring many to salvation because of the Comforter dwelling in them. The focus is on spiritual rather than physical miracles. The book of Acts constitutes the beginning historical record of the impact that the Spirit-empowered disciples had on the world (cf. Acts 17:6). because I go to My Father. The only way Jesus’ disciples would be able to be used to do those greater works was through the power of the Holy Spirit and He could not be sent as the Comforter until Jesus returned to the Father (v. 26; 7:39).

[1]MacArthur, John Jr: The MacArthur Study Bible. electronic ed. Nashville : Word Pub., 1997, c1997, S. Jn 14:12

The thing to note is that Jesus tied the greater works to His return to heaven.  And the coming of the Spirit was dependent on His return to the Father.  When all was complete – Jesus’ returning to the Father and the Spirit coming from the Father – the followers of Jesus would be to ask of Jesus His help in carrying out His Will, continuing to do His works – even greater works than He did.

  1. The Expression of Greater Works

In Acts 2, when the spirit is poured out on the disciples, Peter preached and 3000 people were converted.  As David Jeremiah says, “The greater works had begun.”

Let’s look at two ways that followers of Christ are doing greater works:

  1. The Reach of Our Ministry is Greater

Look at the geographical area of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  It was confined to a relatively small area.  Martin Luther said it this way: “For Christ took but a little corner for himself to preach and to work miracles, and but a little time; whereas the apostles and their followers have spread themselves through the whole world.”

John Marshall Lang, The Last Supper of Our Lord: And His Words of Consolation to the Disciples (New York: Macmillan, 1881), 157.

Look at how the Gospel has spread all over the world.  For example, in less than 300 years the ministry had spread throughout the Roman Empire. Today, as a result of the internet, one preacher can reach thousands or even millions.  Jesus knew that kind of multiplication would happen after He departed.  He saw how the Holy Spirit would enlarge the ministry of His followers.

  1. The Result of Our Ministry is Greater

While Jesus walked the earth, He performed many physical miracles: Giving sight to the blind, cleansing the leper, raising the dead, etc.  But today we get to participate in spiritual miracles, if you will.  Think about the person blinded to sin to see and understand the Gospel, to cleanse the heart from sin, and then proclaim the Gospel to others.  David Jeremiah’s states: “The spiritual works we do are greater than the physical works Jesus did.”

  1. The Execution of Greater Works

The way we execute greater works is through prayer. (vv13-14)

Just as Jesus had the opportunity to the Father’s work when He was on earth, so we now have the opportunity to do Jesus’ work through the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is the indwelling Spirit that makes the difference in our lives.  It is better to have Jesus within us through the Spirit than beside us.  We can do greater works by calling on Him in prayer. 

Let’s look at two images that will help us grasp the privilege we have:

  1. The Picture of Jesus on Earth
  1. The Will of the Father

Jesus never created His own ministry.  He always did what the Father wanted. (John 8:29; Hebrews 10:7)

  1. The Power of the Holy Spirit

When Jesus came to earth, He set aside the prerogatives of deity.

  • Philippians 2:5-7

As a result He depended on the Holy Spirit in His humanity.

  • Luke 4:14

He lived just as we lived – in dependence upon the Spirit for power and obedience to do the will of God.

  1. The Link of Prayer

Prayer was the link between the Father’s will and the Son’s work.   We see this most clearly in Jesus’ prayer in Luke 22:42

Jesus also admitted his dependence on the Father.  John 5:19

Prayer was the link.

  1. The Picture of Jesus Back in Heaven

How is the accomplishment oh His ministry different for those of us here on earth?

  1. Jesus Wants to Do His Work Through Us

Jesus wants to accomplish His work through us.  That was the message to the disciples, and to us, in John 14.

  1. The Father has Sent His Spirit to Empower Us

At Pentecost, the Spirit changed His mode of operation.  He now lives in believers.  It is His power that allows us to do the works of Jesus.

  1. Prayer Is the Link Between the Father’s Will and Our Work

In John 14:13 Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in My name that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” 

This doesn’t mean that every self centered prayer will be answered.  It means the things we want to know about doing His will, about doing His works as His followers on earth in His absence.  The Holy Spirit will help us as we pray to understand God’s will and then He will help empower us to accomplish God’s will.

If we want our life to count on earth, then we have to stay connected to the Father, in Jesus’ name, through the power of the Spirit.  It’s the way Jesus was able to know God’s will and it’s the way we will know it as well.  Just as the disciples had a head start on knowing the will of God by virtue of spending time with Jesus, so we can get “in the ballpark” regarding the will of God by studying His Word.  Then when we ask God for His help in accomplishing His will, the Holy Spirit is there to aid us.

All of this is possible when we yield our life to Him.

Dave Jones

Dave works for human resources at Purdue University.  Dave and his wife, Becky, joined Faith in 1986.  He co-teaches the Ambassadors ABF as well as several FCI classes.