Summary: Romans 12:1-2
OPEN: Today, we get to talk about human sacrifices! This should be fun! Any volunteers?
TEXT: Romans 12:1 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.
I suppose that little word "living" is kind of important
To begin, notice the word, "Urge". Paul writes, "I urge you" He does not demand. He does not order. He pleads. He beseeches us to decide for ourselves... to choose.
What is he urging us to do? He is urging us to choose.
What are we to choose? He writes, "I urge you to choose... to offer your bodies as living sacrifices..."
A. Offer our Bodies (He doesn't ask us to offer our spirits or our souls)
Why are we to offer our bodies? (our wrinkled, diseased, overweight bodies with our near-sighted eyes and deaf ears?) An Old Testament sacrifice was to be flawless and without blemish. I fear that I don't measure up! But, we must remember, Paul is not asking for us to offer our bodies as a sacrifice for sin to appease God's wrath (Jesus Christ already took care of that). The sacrifice that Paul is asking us to make is not a "Sin Offering", but a "Thank Offering" (An offering of praise for what Jesus has already done!).
It is not about how our body looks - but how the body behaves.
It is not about the beauty of our bodies - but making Christ beautiful.
We, collectively and individually, are the body of Christ
B. Offer our Bodies as Living Sacrifices
A sacrifice is a commitment. A living sacrifice is a lifestyle devoted (committed) to God.
Eugene Peterson's, The Message, says it like this: "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life— your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." (Romans 12:1)
God is not asking you to crawl up on the altar and die. He is asking you to jump off the altar and live! For Him!
Let every act of your living body demonstrate that God is your greatest treasure!
Why should we CHOOSE to devote our lives as "living sacrifices" to God? Paul says, "Therefore...”. "Therefore" points back to all that we have studied in the Book of Romans (ch 1-11) leading up to this point!
The Wrath of God
The Penalty of death
No One is Righteous
The Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ
The Peace that we can have through faith in Jesus Christ
1. In View of God’s Mercies! (The mercies Paul writes about in Romans 1-11)
SO... In View of God’s Mercies (all that God has done for us through Christ - Our Righteousness), we offer our bodies (our flawed bodies with all its blemishes) - NOT as models for Victoria Secrets - but as models of God’s Mercy (Living Sacrifices).
2. This is pleasing to God.
3. This is how we worship! The New Living Translation says, "This is truly how we worship Him." (Worship is more than singing three songs on Sunday morning) To be a living sacrifice is an act of worship! This is the rational, reasonable response of a grateful soul - a soul that recognizes and responds to God’s love. God loves us, not because we do everything right, but in spite of our failures.
(TS) Paul encourages to CHOOSE... to CHANGE
ROMANS 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
A. Do Not Conform
John Piper writes “We are perfectly useless as Christ-exalting Christians if all we do is conform to the world around us.”
If we hate, lie, kill, steal, lust, blaspheme, divorce, etc...
NOTE: Not Conforming is not the same as Avoiding bad behavior. (You can avoid all kinds of worldly behaviors and still not be Transformed)
(TS) THE GOAL:
B. Be Transformed (Greek: Metamorphosis. Same word used of Jesus at the transfiguration in Matthew 17:2 "There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.")
We are to be transfigured... transformed... (Matthew 13:43 says, "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father." Matthew 5:16 says, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."