• Pastor Jill

Worship-August 23, 2020 Presenting Ourselves as Living Sacrifices

We have been learning from Romans about God’s mercy—how precious this is in our lives. Now may we respond by learning how to live this new life God has provided us! We read in Romans 12:1-2:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Let us unpack six truths that are vital for living the Christian life.

First, the foundation & starting point of the Christian’s life is God’s mercynot getting something that we deserve. Paul is calling us to live for God, to love God, obey God, delight in His word & will.

Christian living is grounded on our receiving mercy & understanding of God’s mercy in our lives. All because of what God has done for us. He says, in light of My mercy, do this: be a living sacrifice by giving yourself as a sacrifice for God in view of the mercy of God.

God’s mercy not only has the goal of seeing us justified (just as if I’d never sinned) before him & accounted as righteous, it has the goal of making us to be righteous—being in right standing with God.

Yet Paul is not saying, “Just obey well enough and God will show you his mercy.” He is saying, “God has already shown you his mercy in Jesus Christ. In light of that, give yourself as a living sacrifice. Love God & live the Christian life because of his mercy to you.”

Second, God calls us to whole-life sacrifice which in other words, means dying for Christ. Dying to the old man or woman & coming into our new life in Christ!

So, Paul’s theme is die for Jesus! To put ourselves on the altar and to give up everything for him. We often speak about giving our hearts to Jesus--& that is well & good, however, may I say: “Don’t just give Jesus your heart. He wants more than that. He wants all of you.”

So often people want to give Jesus their hearts but they don’t give Jesus anything else. They want to live their own way, they want to act their own way, they want to have their own priorities, they want to give Jesus their hearts an hour or two, at most, a week. The rest of themselves and the rest of their lives they want to keep under somebody else’s rule—their own.

But Paul is saying, “Don’t just give Jesus your heart, He wants more than that. He wants all of you. Give Jesus all of you. Present your bodies—your mind, eyes, ears, hands, feet, every part of you--- as a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to God.”

Third, God calls Christians to whole-life worship--not a one- or a two-hour-a-week activity. It’s a whole-life activity.

We are to worship God in every activity--when we eat, when we work, when we study, when we play, when we sleep—all done for the smile and blessing to God. “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me—bless His holy name!”

Fourth, “Do not be conformed to this world.”

Paul is talking about your life being based on divine norms not ruled by the culture & SOCIETY around you. You, in your living, have God’s will uppermost in your heart, mind and behavior.

Paul is looking for Christians whose mind is not double. It’s not dominated by the prevailing thoughts about what’s acceptable around them. It’s dominated by what God says in his word.

Fifth, God calls Christians to inside-out transformation. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

The Christian life flows from a renewed inner man. It’s brought about by a recreated mind and heart under the influence of the word of God. Be transformed-totally -- in the inner life, the outer life—all of you.

To clarify, the inner man is the mind or the heart. True faith flows from a renewed inner life. That includes our believing, our thinking, our willing, and our desiring faculty. Feelings are probably thrown in there somewhere, but they are not as important as what we believe and think and will and desire.

He says that we need to be transformed in order to live the Christian life. Well how is it transformed? Through its renewal.

And how is it renewed? Through being brought captive to the word of God.

We live in a world where it is increasingly common for folks to think that their opinions or in today’s world—the media----about a particular matter are just as valid as God’s. Not so. And we will be held accountable for this one day.

Our own worldly based opinions will not renew a mind. It will not produce the transformation that grounds the Christians life. The Bible must be the force that works in the transforming and the renewal of our deepest inner self.

Now the 6th truth: God calls Christians to do the will of God. “That by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Paul knows that minds which have been transformed by the renewing work of God’s Holy Spirit will be able to discern—sense & know what they ought to do. Yet you can’t do the will of God if you don’t know the will of God. And you can’t make a discerning choice if you don’t know the truth of God.

Why is this? We live in a fallen world. That means to live as Christians in a fallen world can be a complicated thing and you need discernment, and Paul says that a transformed mind that is captive to the word of God becomes a discerning mind.

Well, there you go—the 6 truths & actions suggested to live a Godly life:

1. Living in God’s Mercy

2. Making a whole-life sacrifice—dying to self & living alive in Christ!

3. Giving to God whole life worship—in everything we do-body, mind, soul, & spirit.

4. Don’t be conformed to this world

5. Live in the transformation of having a renewed mind

6. God calls us to know & do the will of God. It is achievable!

Let us pray: So we come to you today, Father, & ask for your mercy & grace—that we may present ourselves every day to you—not just our hearts, minds, but our whole body, our whole being—what we do, what we say, what we think. Renew us, restore us, help us--- we pray, in the precious Name of Jesus. Amen

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