Summary: A sermon on Romans 12:1 that I preached on the evening of January 1. (Outline taken from Kurt Lindgren at http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/a-gift-for-jesus-kurt-lindgren-sermon-on-christmas-86677.asp)
Matthew 2:11: On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
Wise men still give Jesus gifts today.
Thesis: Romans 12:1 shows us the kind of gifts Jesus wants.
Gifts that are surrendered
Given by choice. “offer”- NIV; “present”- KJV; “Give”- New Living Translation. Voluntarily/ not by force.
Given with cheer. 2 Corinthians 9:7: Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things that I did wrong so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.
But later on when I met Christ it seemed as though life was like a bike ride. But it was a tandem bike, and I noticed Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t know just when it was that He suggested that we change places, but life has never been the same since. When I had control I knew the way. It was rather boring, but it was predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains and through rocky places at break neck speeds. It was all that I could do to hang on. And even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal."
I worried and was anxious, and I asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn’t answer. That’s when I learned that I was going to have to trust Him. I forgot my boring life in every adventure. And when I said, "I’m scared," He leaned back and just touched my hand.
He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. He gave me gifts to take on my journey, and off we were again. He would say, "Give the gifts away. They are extra baggage, too much weight." So I did to people we met and I found that in giving I received and the journey continued and our burden was light.
I did not trust Him at first, to take control of my life. I thought He would wreck it. But He knows bike secrets. He knows how to make those sharp corners, and how to jump to clear high rocks, and do things I could have never done if I were in control. And I am learning to be quiet and pedal in the strangest places. I am beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful companion, Jesus Christ. And when I am not sure I can do it any more He smiles and says, "Just Pedal!"
Gifts that are sacrificial
Costly- our lives. “Living sacrifice”
Jews killed an animal, Lord wants a living sacrifice.
Sometimes people offer dead sacrifices. Only do things out of a sense of duty, no passion in their offering, “let’s just get this done so we can move onto something else.” We should be excited about our service to the Lord. John 10:10: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
A clean gift, “holy”
Holy- without spot or blemish
Not a 2nd rate offering. the Levites when they gave offerings to the Lord in Number 18:29: You must present as the LORD’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.’
3. We have communion and then offering. Why? We are then aware that when God gives, God gives everything...broken body, shed blood. God is a generous, abundant giver, and it is that giving that we are called to emulate as we try to become more like Jesus. We remember how God gave, and then we give. This pleases God and it also pleases us. God loves a cheerful giver.
Gifts that are satisfying “pleasing to God”- NIV “well pleasing to God”- Amplified
To please him is our highest responsibility.
2 Timothy 2:4: No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.
John Kenneth Gailbraith, in his autobiography, A Life In Our Times, illustrates the devotion of Emily Gloria Wilson, his family’s housekeeper. It had been a wearying day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House. "Get me Ken Gailbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson." She replied, "He’s sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb him." "Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him." "No, Mr. President, I can’t do that. I work for him, not you." When Galbraith called the President later, he could scarcely believe what the President said: "Tell that woman I want her here in the White House!"