Summary: This series will focus on our decision to become living sacrifices to God and how that decision is executed in our daily lives.
A Living Sacrifice To God
This message is part one of my series “A Living Sacrifice to God.” In my last series on the Ten Commandments I ended that series with a message on holiness. I shared with you that we are holy, not because we act holy but because that is who we are through Jesus Christ. When we recognize who we are we have a better chance of living that life when forces come against us in an attempt to persuade us that we are not who God renewed us to be. Do you remember the counsel that Paul gave to Timothy when Timothy was experiencing some discouragement? He told Timothy, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:5-7) When Timothy was discouraged, Paul reminded him of who he was. He reminded Timothy of the faith of his mother and grand-mother which he believed was also in him. Then he told Timothy to kindle afresh his gift, to stir it up, to awake out of his slumber.
All of us struggle at times keeping the fire of the Holy Spirit burning within our hearts. If you have ever watched a wood fire burn in a fireplace, you have seen what happens over a period of time when the fires starts to die. It gives off less heat as the wood is consumed. It is during these times that we stir up the coals to get it burning again as we add more wood. We do this because we do not want the fire to go completely out. This is what Timothy was experiencing spiritually as he was giving out of himself and the fire within him needed stirring up. The words “stir up” comes from Greek word “anadzoopureoo.” This is a compound word that combines three different words. The first word ana carries the idea of repeating an earlier action or doing something again. The second word zoo comes from the Greek word zao which means to be enthusiastic, to be fervent, and to be passionate and vigorous. The third word is pure and it is the Greek word for fire. This word was used in matters related to the divine and supernatural. Paul was encouraging Timothy that due to what he was dealing with in his ministry the fire within him had died down and was in need of being stirred up. Paul told the younger Timothy to passionately and rigorously begin again to stroke and stir up the gift of God in his life, just as one would stroke the embers of a fire in a fireplace. Paul was not kindly asking Timothy to take action, he was commanding it! By reminding Timothy of the gift within him and commanding him to stir it up, Paul enable Timothy to change his focus. Timothy was surrounded by confusion resulting from the intense persecution that was taking place and it is possible that he was exhausted and his own fire was beginning to diminish. Paul understood this and told him to take action before his fire went out.
I share this story with you because through the series on the Ten Commandments I showed you why we cannot live in two worlds. We cannot live in sin and then claim our holiness. We all desire to walk in the gifts and power of God that has been afforded us, but we have to prepare ourselves. The series on the Ten Commandments was the first step as it demonstrated what our past relationship with sin should be. Understanding our relationship to sin is the first step we take in understanding who we are now in Jesus Christ. Having completed that series and understanding that sin has no place in our lives because we are to be holy, this series will focus on the power within us. In this series on being a living sacrifice, we will examine Romans chapter twelve and see what Paul shared with the Church in Rome. In this chapter Paul calls for each Christian to live for God as living sacrifices, following through on executing their service to Him through serving others. Does this sound familiar? It should as it speaks directly to our mission statement. Turn with me to Romans chapter twelve and this morning we will focus on verses one and two. Romans 12:1-2 says;
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)