Summary: Your Responsibility as a Christian
Can you say that?
Introduction: We learn here that this Matthew writing to the Jews for the purpose to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal King.
His body is buried at Westminster Abbey but his heart (Literally) remains in Africa. When Robert Livingston, the missionary doctor, died, the Africans removed his heart and buried it in the land he loved. When he died, they found him in prayer with his Bible opened to Matthew 28. Beside verse 28 he’d made this notation: “the words of a Gentleman.” Livingston could easily have lived comfortably in his native Scotland. What kept him in Africa? His arm was paralyzed from a lion attack; he’d suffered 27 cases of jungle fever, and was exhausted from battling Slave traders.
Addressing the University of Glasgow, Livingston said, “What sustained me amidst the trials, hardships and loneliness of my exiled life, was the promises of a gentleman of the most sacred honor: it was this promise, “lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” People talk about the sacrifice, I’ve made. But can it be called a sacrifice when it’s simply paying back a small part of a great debt I owe to God? A payment, that brings peace of mind and the hope of a glorious destiny? It is emphatically no sacrifice, it is a privilege!”
· How is Jesus present with us? Jesus was with the disciples physically until he ascended into heaven and then spiritually through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4). The Holy Spirit would be Jesus’ presence that would never leave them (John 14:26). Jesus continues to be with us today through his Spirit.
1. God’s Sovereignty does not absolve man of his personal responsibility
A. One truth clearly taught in scripture is that God is sovereign in his thoughts, plans, and executions. Paul in Romans 9-11 elaborated this, especially as he deals with God’s relationship with Israel and the Gentiles. In His sovereignty it is impossible for God to be unjust towards anyone.
B. A second related and parallel truth is that man is responsible for all that God had given him, as shown in the Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:11-27) and the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). It is true that God by His grace affects a work of regeneration is us (1 Peter 1:3; Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18). But as a new creature in Christ, a believer becomes personally responsible for his actions and the impression that he makes on the world around him. In other words, the believer must make his own decisions and be held accountable for them. In Romans 12, Paul stresses that the believer’s main responsibility is to live a holy life.
2. We must consecrate our bodies to Christ
A. When we become Christians, we must recognize that we do not automatically get rid of our corruptible, mortal bodies; this transformation will not occur until the final resurrection (Rom. 8:23).
B. It is the dwelling Spirit of the crucified and resurrected Christ (Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20) who gives us the power to voluntarily refrains from sin (Rom. 6:14). And, thus, only as a Christian am I in a position to present my body unto the Lord instead of unto sin.
i. This act of consecration discussed in Romans 12:1 takes two forms. The verb here is in the infinitive aorist which indicates one act of surrender of the body. A daily, moment by moment denial of our body to be used for unrighteousness can only be achieved by this once-and-for-all presentation of ourselves unto God as being alive from the dead. In the phrase “now yield your members servants to righteousness…” (Rom. 6:19), the verb is the aorist imperative “to present,” indicating a once-and-for-all presentation or voluntary crucifixion with Christ (Gal. 2:20).
ii. The second from this consecration of our bodies takes after our initial dedication to Christ is called “a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). The participle adjective “living” means something that is the result of our present will and which is done constantly without ever becoming dead or losing its vibrancy. A “sacrifice” is something that we give up in order to please God. Such a sacrifice does not mean the privation of legitimate needs of our body within the realm of prescribed Christians conduct. This unselfish yielding must only be living, conscious and constant, but also holy, separated from sin and attached to God. It must also be well pleasing or acceptable unto God and it must have a calculated or reasoned-out purpose or public usefulness. This is what “service,” is. Our sacrifice must also be “reasonable, logical, well-planned and calculated.” God will not accept as service that which has selfish motives and neglect our duty toward out family and society.