Summary: If you really want to worship God, then present yourself to him daily--as a living sacrifice.
Note: This is the sermon manuscript that Ben carried into the pulpit. Feel free to use it in any way to advance the kingdom of God.
From Learning to Living
Englewood Baptist Church
Sunday Morning, June 29, 2008
I will never forget the first time I got behind the wheel of a car. My mother and I were going somewhere. She had run inside the house to grab her purse and I decided that I would shock her by backing the mini-van out of the garage. I was not old enough to drive, but I assumed it was simple. So I slid over to the driver’s seat, put it in gear, and pushed the gas, and the gar moved! Unfortunately, the gar moved forward instead of backward and I took out the front wall of the garage along with my Dad’s Craftsman Toolbox. It was a sad, sad day for the entire family.
A year later, I found myself in Drivers’ Education class—a course that I clearly needed—and we studied traffic laws and the function of every button and knob in a car. And when we had learned all about the anatomy of a vehicle, it was time to get behind the wheel. The rubber had to meet the road. It was application time, and I remember a little bit of fear residing in my heart when it came time to apply what I had learned. I was afraid that I was going to mess up again.
As we have studied the book of Romans now for 15 weeks, we have waded through some heavy doctrinal material and now it’s application time. We began in the early chapters with a full discussion of the downward spiral of sin and the wrath of God that burns against rebellious humanity. We were introduced the concept of justification in chapter 5, and we learned that we have been made right with God through the work of Jesus Christ. His righteousness has become our righteousness. Then in Romans 8, we studied the love of God—that there is no power under heaven that can separate us from that love. God predestined that we would become conformed into the image of His Son and we can rest in confidence that he will see us glorified. In Romans 9, we saw the sovereignty of God over salvation and in Romans 10, we learned about the necessity of evangelism—that people cannot be saved if they do not hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
Today, I want to move ahead to chapter 12 of Romans and begin to talk about what this means for our daily living. It is time to apply what we have learned. It’s time to talk about where the rubber meets the road. After all, what good is it for you to come for 15 weeks and have a head full of knowledge if you never get to the point of using it? That would be like a chef that never cooks a meal, or a graduate of law school that refuses to enter a courtroom. What’s the point of knowledge if it is never applied?
Look with me in Romans 12, Paul is about to say “Therefore.” What he means is, “In light of this heavy theological discussion, let’s talk about what it means for us today.
How To Live Out Your Faith
Read Romans 12:1-2
1. Love God by giving Him all of you.
Vv.1-2 deal with sacrifice. V.1 says, “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices. You can recall the OT practice of sacrifice. When that animal was offered to the Lord, it cost that creature everything. It was a whole sacrifice and when you offer yourself to the Lord, it is the same deal. It will cost you everything. He expects you to lay it all on the altar.
In the Old Testament, when these animals were slain and put on the altar, they were, of course, dead. But there are two examples of living sacrifices in the Bible and they help us understand what this really means. The first is Isaac (Gen. 22); the second is our Lord Jesus Christ. Isaac willingly put himself on the altar and would have died in obedience to God’s will, but the Lord sent a ram to take his place. Isaac didn’t die physically that day, but he “died” just the same—he died to self and willingly yielded himself to the will of God. When he got off that altar, Isaac was a “living sacrifice” to the glory of God.
We live in a day of prenuptial agreements. Before entering marriage, the man says to the woman, “You can have all of me, but you’re never going to get the boat or the mutual funds. You understand that, right? We are partners in every way, but I am going to hold on to a few precious possessions. That’s not a biblical concept of marriage. That is not two becoming one. That is one person refusing to die to self.