Summary: A teaching message on Romans 12:1-2.

Romans Series # 47 July 17, 2002

Title: How Should A Christian Live?



Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. We are currently in Chapter 12 of Romans as we continue with message #47 of our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Romans.

Read Romans 12:1-2

Opening Prayer

Tonight we’re beginning a new section of the Book of Romans. The first 11 chapters of Romans are primarily theological and focused on the subject: How to have a healthy relationship with God. In chapters 12-16 the primary focus is on the subject: How Christians should live. These concluding chapters contains both very brief and extensive sections on topics such as: commitment to God, humility, serving others, responding to enemies, judging others, attitudes toward civil government, and handling divisive people in the church. Because some of the instructions given are very brief, I will often cover more than one subject per message. The one thing that unites all of these passages is that each one is telling the Christians how they should live.

How should a Christian Live?

1. First, Christians should commit their entire lives to God.

This is the basic message of verses 1 and 2.

There is a story told about a pig and a chicken walking down the road together. As they walked along they read a sign advertising a breakfast to benefit the poor. The chicken said to the pig, "You and I should donate a ham and egg breakfast." The pig replied, "Not so fast, for you it would just be a contribution but for me it would be a total commitment."

Many Christians are like the chicken in the story. They are willing to contribute a small part of their lives to God but not commit their whole lives to God. They’re like a person going to an auction to buy a famous painting. That person has set a limit in his or her own mind as to how much they’re willing to spend on that painting; they do not go in ready to give all! Many Christians also try and set limits on their commitment to the Lord. They’re willing to sacrifice some of their money, some of their talents, some of their time, and some of their lives but not the whole thing.

In this passage the Apostle Paul exhorts Christians to "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices." This means to give your entire life to God, where everything you have and everything you are is first and foremost committed to him. The Apostle Paul is using Old Testament expressions familiar to the people. He is referring to the animal sacrifices that would be placed on altar. That sacrifice was totally devoted to the Lord and that is what Paul is calling the Christian to. How should a Christian live?

1. First, Christians should commit their entire lives to God.

Why should a Christian be willing to do this? What is supposed to be our motivation for giving or committing our whole lives to God? In verse 1 Paul says that we’re to do this "in view of God’s mercy." In other words, the motivating factor for total commitment to God is God’s undeserved goodness towards us. The motivation for Christians to be 100% committed to God is not threats of punishment or promises of blessing. God does the use of a whip to drive us or the carrot on a stick to compel us; he just shows us how kind he has been to us so that we will respond reasonably. A country song I heard as a kid illustrates how God works in our lives. The song’s lyrics are as follows:

Illustration: A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and he handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:

For cutting the grass, $5.00

For cleaning my room this week, $1.00

For going to the store for you, .50

Baby-sitting my kid brother for you while you went shopping, .25

Taking out the garbage, $1.00

For getting a good report card, $5.00

For cleaning up and raking the yard, $2.00

Total Owed: $14.75

Well, I’ll tell you, his mother looked at him standing there expectantly, and the memories flashed through her mind. So she picked up the pen, turned over the paper he’d written on, and this is what she wrote:

For the nine months I carried you while you grew inside me, No Charge.

For all the nights I’ve sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you, No Charge.

For all the trying times, and all the tears you’ve caused through the years, No Charge.

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