Summary: The call to Commitment
Committed to Commitment - Romans 12- 3/15/09
Turn with me this morning to the book of Romans, chapter 12. We want to go on in this book written by the Apostle Paul to Christians living in Rome in the first century. Paul writes to them and tells them that we have “good news” to share with the world. Sometimes as Christians we forget that: we get so consumed by all the economic problems of the nation that we forget we have a HOPE that is not affected by all that happens on Wall Street. Paul says it is a bad news/good news scenario: We are all sinners and all under the condemnation and penalty of our sin. But God chooses, not because of anything we might do of ourselves, but purely because of His mercy and grace, to offer us forgiveness and salvation. God takes the righteousness of Christ and applies it to our empty, bankrupt spiritual accounts. And therefore we have hope no matter what problems we may face in this life. Because we know that this life is not all there is. Right now there is an inheritance waiting for us that is 10 billion times larger than what Bill Gates is going to leave behind. And God is holding it in store for us who are heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ.
We saw last week that we can rely on God to keep His promises to us. We saw in chapters 9-11 that God has been faithful to the nation of Israel in keeping every promise He made to them. And in the same way we can count on God to keep all His promises to us as well.
Today, we move on to Romans chapter 12. In almost all of Paul’s writings, he takes two parts. He spends the first part of each book teaching doctrine, and the second half teaching duty. The first part normally explains what the truth is, and the second half deals with how the truth affects us. First, who we are, second, how we live. So, let’s look at how Paul makes that transition here in Romans 12. Will you please stand with me as we read these verses. I’ll be reading this morning out of the New International version.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Let’s pray. Prayer for God to change us by His word.
This morning as we look at these two verses, we will see this theme: In light of all God has done for us, we need to commit our lives to serving Him. Paul is going to give us a reminder today that we need to make a commitment to honoring God, obeying God, serving God, doing the right thing in the right way at the right time all the time. And notice how Paul starts out. He gives us the
• Reason of Commitment - He says, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy - Our decision of whether we owe a debt, an obligation, a commitment is based upon this truth: God has given us mercy. He has brought us a salvation which we do NOT deserve, which we cannot obtain on our own. God has been merciful in sparing us the punishment that we truly deserve. And because of His mercy, we should be changed.
In Matthew 18, Jesus told a parable about a man who was forgiven a very great debt. But he was not changed by that mercy. Instead he refused mercy for others who owed him money. The master therefore took vengeance upon that man, and sent him off to be tortured. And Jesus said, This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. When we receive mercy, it should cause us to be merciful, to be forgiving of others. When we think of the mercy God has shown to us, it should make us eternally grateful to God for all He has done for us. That is the reason we are called to commit our lives to following God. But the sad fact is that often we have a
• Refusal of Commitment - Paul says, I urge you, brothers - he reminds them that we are those who have received mercy, received salvation, and who are to be changed. 2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! Ephesians 4:22 - You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.