In this message, we turn the corner in Romans to the application section of the book. In light of all that that has been explained and revealed, Paul urges us to put these truths into action. We start with the focus of giving our lives as a “living sacrifice” because it is the logical application to the mercy of God. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and through testing and discernment, we will know the will of God for our lives.
Romans:The Glory of the Gospel Part 29
A Living Sacrifice – Romans 12:1-2
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – April 29th, 2018
- As I mentioned last week, Paul turns a corner in chapter 12 to focus on the practical application that is built upon the theological foundation he has laid out in the previous 11 chapters. Therefore, this is how we are to live out these truths . . . this now is the house we are to build and these are lives we are to lead, now having this foundation and understanding for our lives.
- In these next chapters, Paul instructs us to give our lives fully for the gospel, transform our minds, use our gifts, love genuinely, bless those who persecute us, submit to the authorities, live according to the law of love, don’t pass judgment on each other, don’t cause each other to stumble and follow the example of Christ among other things. Paul concludes this book by restating his personal calling asking for prayer and support, giving personal greetings and instructions, then finishing the letter with the final doxology and prayer.
- Paul wraps up the first section of Romans with concluding thoughts that were the last point in last weeks’ message.
Rom 11:33-36 ESV
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
- We start this next chapter and this next section in light of all these things, because of all these things . . .
Rom 12:1-2 ESV
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 reasonable service. 2 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.
- Paul calls to us and appeals to the believers (those who are in the family of faith, those who belong to the clan of Christ) that through the mercies of God (because He has given us mercy and He is the God of mercy) present your bodies as a living sacrifice – give your life to Him and for Him.
Give your life
Rom 12:1 ESV
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 reasonable service.
- We are to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice.” We are to offer and give ourselves over to the God of mercy. In the Old Testament the people of the covenant promise were instructed to present sacrifices, ones that were holy and acceptable to God as an act of worship. There was a cost and a gift given in recognition of who God was and to bring honor to Him. There is always a cost in worship – giving what has been entrusted to us in obedience and love to what we have given ourselves over to follow as King, Lord, and Sovereign.
- God gave the final and full sacrifice (all the sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed to this) in Jesus as He gave His life on behalf of His friends. Because of this, the Old Testament sacrificial system has been completed. The question is, “How are we now to worship God?” It is giving our whole self to Him, by becoming a “living sacrifice.” When a sacrifice was given in the OT, it died as it was consumed by the flames. Now the sacrifice we give is our lives– our new lives which are “holy and acceptable to God” in worship of Him.
- In most translations the phrase “which is your reasonable service” is translated “which is your spiritual worship” points to the sacrifice being “holy and acceptable.” I think the better translation is what we have here: “your reasonable service” (the other translation). This is the literal translation of the Greek. Giving your bodies as a living sacrifice is the logical, reasonable, rational response in knowing God and His working in the world. It is our logical service. I don’t passionately follow and sacrificially serve Christ because I am emotional, I do so because I’m logical. It makes the most sense in understanding the nature of things, who God is, what He is doing and what really matters.
- Give yourself fully and present your bodies as a logical reasonable response to the things of God. Why would we ever hold back, draw back or fall back? We are to be people who are fully engaged with God and His mission. This is the only logical thing to do. It makes sense. It is the best and right way to live. It is our reasonable service, our acceptable worship. Give yourself fully to Him. Die daily so you can live abundantly. Our lives are given over as a living sacrifice as holy and acceptable worship.
Rom 12:2a ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
- We are to be transformed not conformed. There is pressure all around us to be conformed to the pattern of this world: to be what the world tells us to be, to value what the world tells us to value, to live as the world tells us to be. There is a pattern the world gives to us and we see it all around us. We are to fight this and resist it. We are to be “in the world but not of the world.”
- Instead, we are to be “transformed.” Not to force ourselves, or to conform ourselves into the pattern of the world, but to be transformed into the image of Christ. How does this happen? By the renewal of our minds. How does that happen? By getting into the word and getting the word in us. Be learning, listening and observing. Our minds need to be renewed from their natural state into a supernatural state – a state in which we think along the line that God thinks, and His word directs us. I want your mind to be renewed, made new again – Our spirits have been made new in an event, our minds are renewed in a process, and our bodies will be renewed in an instant, in a blink of an eye. We must give ourselves over to renewing our minds, making them new to think like God. In doing so, we will know God’s will.
Know God’s will
Rom 12:2b ESV
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- How do we know God’s will? By renewing our mind, by testing and by discerning. We are looking for His good, acceptable and perfect will. (there is a permissive will and a perfect will)
- In knowing the will of God, we must first test it (the choice, the action, the activity) against the written word of God to see if it lines up with what is written. If it does not, then it is not the will of God.
- There also is a “testing” – that we put the action or activity to the test. We must ask some questions to see if it will make the grade. Is it loving? Is it honoring? Is it wise? Is it logical? Is it the right season? Is it the right fit? Is it beneficial? Is it the best way to extend and expend by time, treasure and talent? Will it bring the most glory to God? The choice must be in line with the word and be tested to discern if it is God’s will.
- Give yourself fully in service to God. This is the logical and best way for you to live in response to the mercy and life of God.
- Fight the pressure to be conformed into the pattern of this world, think differently, act differently, live differently – be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
- Know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God by renewal of your mind and by testing to discern what to do. Once you know what to do, do it (or don’t do it) with power, love and self-discipline.
Questions for the week ahead
- How were you challenged, encouraged or convicted from today’s passage?
- What are you going to do with what you heard today?