Summary: This message looks at the effect upon our lives of presenting ourselves to Christ as living sacrifices.
A Living Sacrifice
Text: Romans 12:1-8
Introduction: The church is in the people-changing business. It’s what we do, really. We help people to enter into a personal relationship with God that has dramatic effect on their lives. I think of a couple that came to me recently and asked if I would do their wedding. As I met with them, I listened to their testimony as they shared that in the past few months had they begun to pursue God with zeal and purpose. As they talked about their relationship, I learned that they were living together and had been convicted by God that it was wrong and now wanted to make it right. That’s where the hard part came for me. Knowing that it would be difficult for them to hear what I had to say, I explained my position. I applauded their desire to honor God by getting married, but made it clear that in order to have a Christian marriage, they needed to begin with a Christian engagement--in other words, they needed to live apart until the wedding. I thought this would scare them away, but found that they were willing, because God was changing their lives!
How does life-change happen? The Apostle Paul gives us some insight into this issue from the passage in Romans. When we offer ourselves to God our lives are changed. In the same way that our Lord was offered to the Father (See Luke 2:22) to accomplish His will, so we are to offer ourselves (See Romans 6:13). When we do so, our lives are changed. The word means "transfigured" and is used of Christ when He was changed so that His glory was revealed to Peter, James and John (See Mark 9:2,3).
• The motive for our offering: Having been the benefactor’s of God’s mercy (See Romans 11:30,31), we offer ourselves, not in an attempt to pay God back (See Romans 4:4), but out of sincere love and gratitude.
• The nature of our offering: We are to present ourselves to God as sacrifices. Three adjectives help us to understand the nature of the sacrifice.
a. A "Living" Sacrifice - In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was put to death. The word actually meant, "Something slaughtered." But here we’re told that the sacrifice is one that doesn’t die, but goes on living, and so is an ongoing, continual sacrifice.
b. A "Holy" Sacrifice - To offer ourselves to God as a holy sacrifice means to be set apart from the world and its corruption and dedicated to the service of the Lord.
• The result of our offering: God is worshipped, as we comprehend the richness or His mercy and grace (See Ephesians 2:3-5).
And so we offer ourselves to God and when we do, everything changes.
I. When we offer ourselves to God our beliefs change (See Romans 12:2a). In order to grasp the importance of this verse, we must understand why our beliefs need to change.
A. When sin came into the world through Adam, the Scriptures inform us that it was imputed to all of his descendants (See Romans 5:12). In other words, the affect of sin was not limited to Adam, but attributed to all humankind.
1. Sin corrupted our minds. Adam and Eve experienced fear and guilt immediately after they sinned (See Genesis 3:7-13).
2. Sin corrupted our bodies. God cursed Adam and Eve, so that they would die physically (See Genesis 3:19).
3. Sin corrupted our spirits. Adam and Eve were separated from God and entered into a condition of spiritual death (See Genesis 3:23,24).
B. When Christ came, His purpose was to reverse the affects of the fall, so let’s look at it in reverse order.
1. He has brought spiritual life to those who were dead in their transgressions and sins (See Ephesians 2:1-4).
2. He has given us the promise that we will have a new incorruptible body at the resurrection of the dead (See 1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
3. He has provided us with the capacity to renew our minds (See Romans 8:5-7). This means we must change our beliefs.
C. Some of our beliefs that must change if we’re to grow. There are many untruths that people believe. I would like to mention three.
1. Lie #1 - Man is basically good and capable of working his way to heaven. There is none who is good (See Romans 3:10-18).
3. Lie #3 - We are not worthy of being loved. The fact is that God loves the world enough to send His Son to redeem it (See John 3:16-17). Nothing can separate believers from the love of God (See Romans 8:38,39).