Sermons

Summary: Everybody is somebody in the Body of Christ. While no one can do everything, everyone can do something.

In View of God’s Mercy

On June 30, 1859, one of the greatest tightrope walkers in history, Charles Blondin, became the first man in history to walk a rope over Niagara Falls. Approximately 25,000 people watched him walk a 1,000-foot line suspended above the raging falls without any safety nets. When he safely reached the Canadian side, the crowd cheered with thunderous applause. A short time later, he again was to attempt to cross The Falls. This time, he was to walk behind a wheelbarrow. The crowd gasped as he carefully loaded the front wheel of the wheelbarrow on the tightrope. He turned to a reporter and asked this question, "Do you believe I can walk this tightrope pushing a wheelbarrow over Niagara Falls?" Without blinking, the reporter yelled out, "Yes, I do! I know you can do it! I believe." Blondin then said, "If you believe, Get in the wheelbarrow."

In Romans 12:1-8, Paul asked if you believe God’s word, get in the wheelbarrow, offer yourself to God. "1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform 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. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

Last Sunday, I mentioned a survey that showed how church attendance is falling; George Gallup conducted what I believe is a more important survey. Gallup said, "We find there is very little difference in ethical behavior between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously. The levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are remarkable similar in both groups. Only about half of them [church goers] could identify the person who delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still could recall five of the Ten Commandments. Only two in ten said they would be willing to suffer for their faith.” With so little committeemen, is it any wonder that America is in a mess.

That makes me understand how Mrs. Smartt felt one Sunday: As she fumbled through her purse for her offering, a large television remote fell out and loudly clattered into the aisle. The usher bent over to retrieve the remote for her and whispered, “Do you always carry your TV remote to church?” “No,” she replied, “Just when my husband refuses to come to church with me.” Far too many Americans need a wife like that.

I. Verses 1-2 tell us that God has a great life planned for us, and that plan deservers our maximum attention. “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.”

A. Based on all that God has done, he has saved your soul, Paul says, “I urge you, brothers ….” Paul urges you, he calls on you and he invites you to let God make a difference in your life.

B. At the age of 23, John D. Rockefeller had become a millionaire, by the age of 50 a billionaire. He tailored every decision, attitude, and relationship to create his personal power and wealth. Only three years later, he became ill. Racked with pain he even lost all the hair on his head. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but he could only digest milk and crackers. An associate wrote, “He could not sleep, would not smile and nothing in life meant anything to him.” As death approached, he vaguely remembered a dream. He would not be able to take any of his successes with him into the next world. He called his attorneys, accountants, and managers and announced that he wanted to channel his assets to hospitals, research, and mission work. On that day, John D. Rockefeller established his foundation. His new life direction eventually led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for current strains of malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria. Most amazing part of Rockefeller’s story is that the moment he began to give back a portion of all that he had earned, his joy altered his body’s chemistry so significantly that he got better. Rockefeller experienced God’s mercy, got well and lived be 98.

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