Summary: An appeal to Christians to offer their lives as a living sacrifice.
There is a story about two New York men who had never been out of the city. They decided that they had enough of city living, so they bought a ranch down in Texas in order to live off the land like their ancestors.
The first thing they decided they needed was a mule. So they went to a neighboring rancher and asked him if he had a mule to sell. The rancher answered, “No, I’m afraid not.”
They were disappointed, but as they visited with the rancher for a few moments one of them saw some honeydew melons stacked against the barn and asked, “What are those?” The rancher, seeing that they were hopeless city slickers, decided to have some fun. “Oh,” he answered, “those are mule eggs. You take one of those eggs home and wait for it to hatch, and you’ll have a mule.” The city slickers were overjoyed at this, so they bought one of the melons and headed down the bumpy country road toward their own ranch. Suddenly they hit an especially treacherous bump, and the honeydew melon bounced out of the back of the pickup truck, hit the road, and burst open. Now, seeing in his rearview mirror what had happened, the driver turned his truck around and drove back to see if he could retrieve his mule egg.
Meanwhile a big old Texas jackrabbit came hopping by and saw this honeydew melon burst in the road. He hopped over to it and, standing in the middle of that mess, he began to eat. Now here came the two city slickers. The spied their mule egg burst open and this long-eared creature in the middle of it. One of the men shouted, “Our mule egg has hatched! Let’s get our mule.”
But seeing those two men coming toward it, the jackrabbit took off hopping in every direction with the two city fellows in hot pursuit. The two men from New York gave everything they had to catch him, but finally they could go no farther. Both men fell wearily onto the ground gasping for air while the jackrabbit hopped off into the distance. One of the men said to the other, “Well, I guess we lost our mule.” The other man nodded grimly. “Yes, but you know,” he said, “I’m not sure I wanted to plow that fast anyway.”
We could say that those two city slickers were committed to getting a mule.
Please turn to Romans 12.
1. There is an APPEAL we must APPRECIATE.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God . . ."
The word “beseech” means “to plead, to appeal, or to beg.”
The word “brethren” identifies the group to whom Paul is appealing.
It is a key principle of Bible study that when we come across the word “therefore” we should pause and see what it’s there for. In this case the “therefore” takes us back to the “mercies of God” described by Paul in the previous part of this book.
So Paul is pleading to Christians because of the mercies of God. Why? Let’s read on.
2. There is an ACT we must PRACTICE.
". . . that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God . . ."
This is the act of consecration.
The New Living Translation states, “When you think of what he [God] has done for you, is this too much to ask?”
(1) This act is voluntary—present.
This is what we do when we give a present to someone. We don’t give someone a present because we are forced to give it, but because we want to give it.
(2) This act is personal—your bodies.
(3) This act is sacrificial—a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.
In the Old Testament, Jewish believers presented animal sacrifices to the Lord. But Christian believers, instead of giving something outside of themselves, are to offer their own bodies to God as living, holy, and acceptable sacrifices.
So what should prompt our consecration? It is mercy. Mercy received in salvation is the source of our response in consecration.
3. There is an ARGUMENT we must PONDER.
". . . which is your reasonable service."
The argument for consecration is that it is the reasonable thing to do.
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
What should I present to God because of His love for me? I should give Him my soul, my life, my all. It is my reasonable service.
Queen Mary made it her practice to visit Scotland every year. She was so loved by the people there that she often mingled with them freely without a protective escort. While walking with some children one afternoon, she went our farther than she had planned. Dark clouds came up unexpectedly, so she stopped at a nearby house to borrow an umbrella. “If you will lend me one,” she said to the lady who answered the door, “I will send it back to you tomorrow.” The woman didn’t recognize the Queen and was reluctant to give this stranger her best umbrella. So she handed her one that she intended to throw away. The fabric was torn in several places and one of the ribs was broken. The next day another knock was heard at the door. When the woman opened it, she was greeted by a royal guard, who was holding her old, tattered umbrella. “The Queen sent me,” he said. “She asked me to thank you for loaning her this.” For a moment the woman was stunned, then she burst into tears. “Oh, what an opportunity I missed,” she cried. “I didn’t give the Queen my very best!”