Summary: If our bodies are indeed temples of God’s Spirit, then it matters how we treat them.
A. It’s my body. I can do with it what I want.
B. This is a typical argument in the abortion issue. The woman-and others who are proponents, use this argument to justify their decision. They may even propose what’s inside them is just a fetus and not a living thing.
C. Those who use legal and illegal substances often use the same argument. What I’m doing is not hurting anyone but me.
D. Paul has set forth a great deal of theological truth up to this point, but he will now move to practical application.
E. Recalling how monumental the sacrifice of Christ was, and how painful it was for Jesus to endure the cross and for God to allow him to do so, it stands to reason that this places some type of responsibility on believers.
F. If our bodies are indeed temples of God’s Spirit, then it matters how we treat them.
G. If our bodies belong to God, we must place them at his disposal.
I. Believers Are Living Sacrifices (vv. 1)
A. Our sacrifice is different from Old Testament sacrifices.
1. Under the Old Testament economy, individuals would bring animal sacrifices to the priest who would offer them in their behalf.
2. The animal brought was to be without defect as far as the worshiper could determine.
3. The blood of the sacrifice provided a covering for the sins of the individual and in some cases the nation.
4. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, this blood could not actually take away the sin. (10:4) The sacrifices foreshadowed what the coming Messiah would do.
5. Even during the time when sacrifices were required, God made it evident that obedience from the heart was more important.
6. The prophet Samuel said, What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. (I Samuel 15:22)
B. The Believer’s Sacrifice
1. Now that Christ has sacrificed himself on the cross, we no longer bring the animal sacrifices. Rather we bring ourselves.
2. We are to give our bodies to God as living and holy sacrifices.
3. Old Testament sacrifices died when sacrificed. We don’t. We are living sacrifices or offerings of a gracious and saving God. We don’t offer ourselves to God one time and then take ourselves back. We continually offer our lives to him each day.
4. Remember Lazarus. The religious leaders wanted to kill him because he was a living testimony of the resurrection power of Jesus. Because of him, many were abandoning them and following Jesus.
5. Our lifestyle should have a similar affect on others.
6. For this to happen, the second word-holy, must characterize our lifestyle.
7. Our testimony for what God has done in our life will mean little if anything if our actions, words and attitudes don’t match the teachings of Christ.
8. As mentioned before, even unbelievers have an idea-and sometimes it’s pretty accurate, of how a Christian should act. When our message and manner of living doesn’t match up, it is evident to them and our testimony is marred.
9. God’s people in the Old Testament were often rebuked by prophets and accused of bringing shame on God’s name because of their disobedience and ungodly lifestyles.
10. So it does matter what we do with our bodies. We bring harm to ourselves, others and God’s cause.
11. Believers should never conclude; What I’m doing is not hurting anyone but me.
12. Our sacrifice is not done out of drudgery. It is with joy and appreciation that we put God’s desires above our own and put all our energy into following his plan for our life.
13. Had the animals been able to foresee and feel what was about to happen to them, they would not have been excited, but we should be ecstatic about our opportunities to serve God with all our abilities.
14. Paul concludes his admonition with a logical question based on what he has already taught: Is this too much to ask when you think of all God has done for you?
15. The anticipated answer is No! Knowing where we were headed and realizing how God has intervened in our behalf, giving sacrificially to him should be the natural result.
II. God Gives Believers The Method To Be Used In The Sacrifice (v. 2)
A. Avoid the behavior and customs of the world.
1. True to predominant biblical usage, world is not the created order but rather the system opposed to God’s teachings.
2. It attracts to it people who are opposed to his teachings or who simply choose not to follow them.
3. When something is proposed by individuals, communities, political figures or governments that is opposed to God’s teachings, it represents the world’s philosophy and is off limits to believers.