Summary: Mercy, God's will, gifts
A DAY TO SACRIFICE
Romans 12: 1-8 (p789) March 17, 2013
I have a great fear for Christians who live their lives without much difficulty….And I’m not talking about the difficulties that come as a result of living in a fallen world in a temporary body…(you remember…the one Paul said is subject to death?)
I’m talking about living as a born-again, spirit-filled, and spirit-led follower of Christ…and having difficulty because that life is so opposite to the world it’s lived in.
Here is what I mean…In America…we have young people who accept Christ…sometimes at the age of 10, 11, or 12…..some of them will go to public schools…some not…but they grow up with Christian friends, a quality youth group….even a ministry for them as young adults…living in the world, working in the world is something that is necessary, but most of their friendships and relationships are “In the Church” that’s good and safe for them…but not so good for a world that needs salt and light…
Or, Christians, at least by their acknowledgments who have been in church for a long time…they have created relationships and friendships that are intimate and deep….Maybe they even serve in ministry areas on the weekend….But connecting with the outside world is only done on a short-term mission trip, or in a situation where no one really knows you or will know you afterwards….you witness…but stay at a safe distance, away from difficulty…at least in your “normal” routine day to day…life….
Or how about us minister’s …we’re paid to do ministry…organize church stuff….teach and preach…Monday through Saturday becomes so filled with meetings, preparations, counseling, weddings, funerals…when Sunday rolls around we do what we’ve prepared…but connecting with the lost, outside world…doesn’t happen very much…and the difficulty comes from “church” politics…not outside persecution…living a life inside Christianity…but disconnected with the world…
Here’s what I’ve discovered…unless you are intentional about living as a born again, spirit filled, and led follower of Christ in this world…you won’t have opportunities to fulfill your purpose in life….SATAN will keep you stuck in a “safe” “Comfortable” place…that revolves around you….
I believe this is a great description of the dying church in American (or anywhere)
I GOD DOESN’T CALL THE ARROGANT AND HARDENED BUT A REMANANT CHOSEN BY GRACE
Romans chapters 9, 19 and 11 take the leader through a Jewish History lesson…Moses and Pharaoh, Isaac and Rebecca, Moses and the law, Abraham, Isaiah, Elijah, David and the Patriarchs…
The apostle Paul’s lesson is this in a nutshell…God called the people of Israel…god never rejected His people and He never will…Even when Elijah cried out after His battle on Mt. Carnal with the idol worshipping prophets of Baal…”Lord, Israel….”Lord, Israel has killed your prophets, torn down your altars, I’m the only one left and they’re trying to kill me” (Rom 11:3)
The introduction to our text is simply….God calls….God chooses…Israel is the root…but by His grace now gentiles have been “grafted” in, “Like a wild Olive branch” ….Gentiles…do not become arrogant…but tremble.” (v20)…don’t be ignorant of the history…of this precedent…or you’ll forget God’s kindness and become conceited…and Paul then quotes from Isaiah and from Job
Romans 11: 33-36 (p789)
It’s a warning and a praise…whether Jew or whether Gentile, God has mercy on us all…don’t try to figure Him out…Don’t become arrogant thinking that you have anything to give to God….or that you’ve repaid Him with your service…BECAUSE EVERYTHING WE HAVE, EVERTHING WE ARE OR EVER CAN BE…EVERYTHING GOOD AND EVERYTHING OF REAL VALUE HE CREATED…INCLUDING YOU!!!!
THEREFORE… (Not because you are the promised descendants of Abraham and not because you are gentiles grafted in like a “Wild Olive Branch” but because at one time you were disobedient and now you have received mercy…
Why do we forget that?....Were we too young to really understand “mercy”? Have we been nice and good and comfortable so long now that we don’t think we need it? Do we work so hard, sacrifice so much that we think we’ve evened out the playing field with God?...and we become arrogant, hardened, and we deny the grace that is so amazing and essential to such a degree we dry up, stop producing fruit and are only good for firewood?
Listen….”Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship.”
There are 2 kinds of service…service that is done for personal glory and recognition or service that is “Holy and pleasing to God.”
One of these is done “in view of God’s mercy” the other is done “in view of men’s applause.”
Don’t get me wrong…encouragement is important…it’s absolutely something that revives and refreshes our soul…it’s like water when you’re dying of thirst.
In fact it’s listed with the different gift the Holy spirit infused gifts within the body of the church…”If your gift is to encourage, then give encouragement.”