Summary: Teaching about how God is worshipped through laying down our lives for him- everything is about God!
CCCAG September 20th, 2020
Scripture- Romans 12
This week we have some awesome news come out of Washington about another Middle East peace agreement. The current administration was able to broker a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Israel. That's a pretty big deal as virtually every presidential administration has tried and failed to reach any type of peace agreement between an Arab nation and Israel.
I was driving over to Marshfield this last week listening to the speeches as they signed this historic document. To put it into perspective- only two other times has anyone managed to bring an Arab nation and Israel together- Egypt and Jordan after the 6-day war in 1967, and the treaties involving those two nations were years apart.
This week, we had two countries in one day, with the promise of several more coming soon.
In one of the speeches, the speaker mentioned that as part of the deal, the temple mount, containing the Al Aqsa (ask-ka) mosque. That’s the golden dome building on the temple mount in Jerusalem if you ever see it on the news. It’s considered the 3rd most holy site in Islam, and marks where they believe their prophet Mohammad ascended into heaven. It’s expected that every Muslim should make a pilgrimage there once in their lifetime, but they have been prevented from doing so because of the continued conflicts between Israel and her Arab neighbors.
It got me thinking about how different people worship God.
For example- Muslims have their duties and obligations they must fulfill to do to make them pleasing to their God.
Buddhism believes in doing whatever you have to do so that you can achieve Nirvana- the complete emptying of yourself and your wants and desires so that you can join the universal essence.
Hindu’s follow the principles of whichever of the 100,000,000 deities in their pantheon of gods they worship. Essentially, it boils down to being a good person through your own effort so that you can be reincarnated into the next life as a better creature.
Even within Christianity, we have different ways of worshipping. Most of us have come from other faith traditions into this church and still cling on to some of them.
God has a very simple plan for how we are to worship.
We are to worship according to how He made us in the first place- as a spiritual being.
Because we exist inside these bodies we focus on them too much
Showers, feeding, exercising, looking in the mirror to make sure we look ok (expand),
We often forget that we are actually a spiritual creature existing in a physical body.
Our true nature is spiritual, and if you don’t get anything out of this mornings message remember that because this conflict between the spiritual side and the physical side is the source of most of our problems.
We will look at that in a moment, but I just want to point out- We are now in chapter 12.
One of the big ideas here and for the rest of our series on Romans is that there is a transition of thought between Romans chapters 11-12.
In chapters 1-11, Paul is strictly teaching Gospel truth and how the cross of Christ affects every part of our existence.
Now starting in Chapter 12, Paul switches gears and starts giving practical application of how this affects us in our day to day lives, and he starts with addressing this thought about who we really are- a spiritual being.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
It’s notable that Paul doesn’t give us a list of things we need to do that makes us pleasing to God, but instead points us back to our very created nature and tell us that this is our start point.
So we begin with our Spirit connecting with God’s Spirit.
That leads to Spirit and truth. Jesus said broke that down for the woman at the well when she asked Him which place she had to go to or how was she to worship God-
Jesus answers simply- In Spirit and In Truth
To paraphrase what Paul is saying- “Tend first to your primary nature- your spirit. Exercise your spirit. Allow your spirit to grow and then you will be able to control your body’s desires”
Is it any wonder why the world tells you the exact opposite?