Summary: Living according to God’s will is living according to what He wants
There was a man walking along the railroad. His right foot accidentally got stuck in one of the tracks. While struggling to free his foot, suddenly he heard the train coming. He panicked. He tried and tried but he could not break free. He could see the train fast approaching. He prayed to God, “Lord, if you help me, I will attend the worship service at church every Sunday. I will join the prayer meeting every Tuesday. And I will give 30 percent of my income.” Still, he is stuck. So he cried out to God, “Lord, if you help me, I will teach in the Sunday school. I will serve as an usher. And I will give 50 percent of my income to the church.” Still, nothing happened. He could now feel the vibration of the train. So, out of desperation, he shouted, “Lord, if you help me, I will resign from my job. I will serve you as a pastor. I will give you everything I possess. And… and…” Before he could finish his prayer, his foot got unstuck. He fell to the ground just moments before the train could run over him. He stood up, looked up, smiled and said, “Joke… joke… joke…”
Sadly, we tend to be like that man. We are more concerned with what we can get from God rather than what we can give Him. We tell God what we want from Him. But we are afraid to ask God what he wants from us. Tonight we will look into giving God what He wants.
Let us read Romans 12:1-2… “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.” Here we find four things that God wants from us.
Circle the word “Therefore”. When we see a “therefore,” we have to ask “Why is that ‘therefore’ there for?” It is the result of what Paul talked about from chapter 1 to 11 of the book of Romans. From chapter 1 to 3 he talked about sin. From chapter 4 to 6 he talked about salvation. From chapter 7 to 8 he talked about the Spirit. Then from chapter 9-11 he talked about the sovereignty of God. In short, the first 11 chapters of Romans talked about “God’s mercy”. Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. We deserve to die. But Christ died so that we could live.
Thus, “in view of God’s mercy”, Paul encourages us to sacrifice ourselves to God. Then from chapter 12 to 16, he discussed what a life that is committed to God looked like. So from chapter 1 to 11 of Romans, he talked about the reasons for offering ourselves to God. Then from chapter 12 to 16, he talked about the results of offering ourselves to God. Thus, Romans 12:1-2 serves as the crucial point or key verse of the entire book.
But note the word “brothers”. Paul would not call a person a “brother” or a “sister” if he or she is not a believer. So first, God wants us to RECEIVE Christ as Savior. You cannot offer your life to Him if you do not belong to Him.