Summary: A sermon on a Christian's call to live a sacrificial life.
Sermon Date 04-28-2013 A New Way of Thinking (Chuck Gohn)
If you have your Bibles with you and would like to open up to Romans 12:1. As you know, we have been going through the four core values of worship, discipleship, outreach, and community. As I mentioned last week, we are going to be winding down on the focus on these values. For the summer, I want to kick off some sort of a new series yet to be named because I haven’t really thought it completely through yet. But anyway, we are going in a new direction in the summer. Today, what I would like to do is just give one more look at this value of worship. We spent a lot of time on the value of worship, actually eight months. Hopefully, you are beginning to learn and beginning to see that worship is something that is not confined to these four walls or any of the four walls of any church. Rather, worship is something that needs to be carried out into your life. As we see today as we look at the book of Romans, we should have a lifestyle of worship. As Paul describes a living sacrifice. Before reading through the passage I am going to give you a little bit of background.
The book of Romans is a pretty heavy book. It is a really good book. It is actually a letter, but it is a letter that contains a nice summary of all the major core beliefs, the core doctrines of the Christian faith. The apostle Paul does a great job of laying out those beliefs in a very logical and systematic way, covering some of the key areas of what believe today including the sovereignty of God, the righteousness of God, the sinfulness of man, and reality the redemption that comes through Jesus Christ. I would love to be able to spend many weeks on going through the book of Romans. Unfortunately, I can’t spend much time on it today, but it is a good book and worth reading. Today, I want to focus just on the first two verses of Romans 12 because, to me, what those two verses do is they take these deep theological ideas and they put them in some very practical application. What I am going to do is quickly read through those two verses and then we will go back and look at them in detail. Once again, reading from Romans 12:1-2. (Scripture read here.)
The first word I want to consider is the first word there. It is called ‘therefore’. There is a saying around churches that has been around for years that if you come across a passage in the scripture that starts with the word therefore, you need to ask what is it there for. In this case what it is there for is basically to mark a key transition in basically Paul’s letter. A transition from these high doctrinal beliefs to how those beliefs should impact behavior. As I have said before, what we believe should act out somehow in our behavior. Belief should affect behavior. So he is making that connection. This therefore is a transition.
Then he goes on to say “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy”. First I want to focus on these words “I urge you”. What Paul is saying here is I am not commanding you. He is saying kind of like “I strongly encourage you”. Some translations like the KJV actually say beseech. The underlying word there basically has the idea of coming alongside of somebody, in this case coming alongside Paul’s way of thinking. That is what Paul is saying here. I am not commanding you but I strongly encourage you to come along my way of thinking. He says “brothers” which basically gives us an indication of who the letter is directed to. It is directed to the Christian brothers and sisters in Rome.
Then he goes on to say “in view of God’s mercy”. We can’t spend any time going through the first 11 chapters of Romans, but really what Paul is doing here, he is summing up those chapters really by two words: God’s mercy. If there are any two words that seem to summarize those first 11 chapters, it is God’s mercy. If we had the time to look through those 11 chapters, we would see God’s mercy kind of weave its way through all of those chapters. But really, they could be summarized in four key passages in Romans. I am going to put those up here right now. The first passage is Romans 3:23, which is “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If you have been a Christian for a while you know that this sums up that nobody has it together. We all have some taint of sin within us. Then it goes on to say that “The wages of sin is death.” That is Romans 6:23. Because our sin is an affront to a holy God, it deserves death. Not simply physical death but spiritual death. Then he goes on to say “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That is the part that is the good news. God demonstrates his love for us. While we were still fallen from him, he saw our plight, and he sent Christ who was to die for us. Finally in Romans 10:9 it says “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Those four passages in seminary they used to call them the Romans Road. So if you want to take somebody through the core gospel. If you want to take somebody who has questions about how to become saved, you take them down the Romans Road. Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, and Romans 10:9.