Summary: We need to give thanks to God based on what He did in Christ (Roma 1-11) by worshiping Him in offering our body as sacrifice and committing ourselves to the body of Christ.
“Let us give thanks to God” (Romans 12:1, 4-5)
1. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
As we gathered together to give thanks to God in this Thanksgiving service, I am sure you and I have a lot to be thankful for. But then I would like to talk about what we should be really thankful for and how to express our thanks for this that we should be really thankful for.
As I talk about what we should be really thankful for, I would like to begin by sharing a story about David Platt, a pastor and also director of the International Mission Board of our denomination SBC. Years ago he was visiting a Buddhist temple in Indonesia. Meanwhile, he was engaged in a conversation with a Buddhist leader and a Muslim leader in this particular community. They were discussing how all religions are fundamentally the same and only superficially different. "We may have different views about small issues," one of them said, "but when it comes down to essential issues, each of our religions is the same."
He listened for a while, and then they asked him what he thought. He answered, (I quote) "It sounds as though you both pictured God (or whatever you call God) at the top of a mountain. It seems as if you believe that we are all at the of the mountain, and I may take one route up the mountain, you may take another, and in the end we will all end up in the same place."
They smiled as he spoke. Happily they replied, "Exactly! You understand!"
Then David Platt leaned in and said, (I quote) "Now let me ask you a question. What would you think if I told you that the God at the top of the mountain actually came down to where we are? What would you think if I told you that God doesn't wait for people to find their way to him, but instead he comes to us" They thought for a moment and then responded, "That would be great." So he introduced Jesus to them. http://lifetoday.org/connect/words-of-life/radical-salvation/
Why did Jesus have to come down to us? Because God knows no matter how hard you try to reach God, this is what happens, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.” (Rom 3:23 NLT)
No matter how hard you try, no one can meet the righteous standard of God and no one can ever be made right with God by his own efforts, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.” But, then this is what happens as in the following verse said, “Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” (Romans 3:24-25)
Let me repeat Rom 3:25, “Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood” This is what God has done. When no one could reach God, God came to us in Christ.
We do have today baptism and the Lord’s supper. Baptism symbolizes Jesus’s death and resurrection. And We do the Lord’s supper to remember His death and His sacrifice for us. Out of so many things to be thankful for, one thing that stands out forever for Christians is what Jesus has done on the cross, His sacrifice, His death by which we were saved..
2. Given the fact that we must give thanks to God for the sacrifice our Lord Jesus made as of first importance, how would we express our thanksgiving? I would like to talk about two things.
First, I read again the verse Romans 12:1 "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. "
The apostle Paul is asking the Christians in Rome to offer their bodies as holy and living sacrifices that would please God. And the reason for such petition is because what God has done for us in Christ. Paul’s appeal begins with a conjunction word "therefore" because in previous chapters, Romans 1-11, Paul explains what God has done for us in Christ and then in chapter 12 he urges the readers a reasonable response, which is to live as true worshipper offering themselves as a living and holy sacrifice.