Summary: Through worship we are transformed. This sermon looks at the why, how and what of offering ourselves to God.
Two older women were walking along the shoreline of a lake when a frog came hopping up to them. Creaking with age, one of them slowly bent down and scooped up the frog in her hands. As she stood there gazing at the frog, fascinated by its ugliness, the frog croaked, “Hey, I’m not really a frog. If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful prince who will do anything your heart desires.” Startled, the old woman slipped the frog into her pocket and headed on down the shoreline. For a while the two continued on in silence. “Well?” her friend finally blurted out. “Are you going to kiss it or not?” “No, I guess not,” the first woman replied. “At my age, I think I’ll have more fun with a talking frog.”
Sometimes in life it is easy to settle for second best. Often the older we get the more we get stuck in our ways and become tired of change. God’s will for us is that we would be transformed. As we come and worship Him today that is my prayer, that we leave this place a little different than when we entered. My prayer is that would be transformed this morning.
Today we are concluding our series on Romans - Unashamed, Undeserved and Unstoppable.
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. 2 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.
If you like to underline things in your bible then underline that one word OFFER. The Christian life is all about offering ourselves to God. That is at the heart of what worship is all about. It is offering ourselves to God.
Jesus said that the heart of all scripture is the command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” In other words Jesus says if you get nothing else right, make sure you get this! Offering ourselves to God is the reason for our existence. It is our purpose. It is what we were born to do.
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever -- Westminster Confession of Faith
Paul tells us here WHY we should offer ourselves to God, HOW we should offer ourselves and WHAT happens when we offer ourselves to God.
1. Prompted by Love – in view of God’s mercy
It says here that we are to offer to God “in view of God’s mercies”. Worship is our response to God’s love. This word for "urge" is the Greek word PARAKALEO which means to encourage or call to your side. It can be translated as beg or plead. Paul says, "I beg you, please..." This is the heart of a pastor wanting see God’s children loving Him and giving their lives to Him.
A few weeks ago we talked about the fact that we have Reasons to Rejoice – that we have a great salvation. It says here that we should offer ourselves to God because that is “your spiritual act of worship.” The word in the NIV for "spiritual" is actually LOGIKOS which means reasonable and is where the word logical comes from. Worship makes sense – it is the logical response to God's love.
Why do you come to church? I come to worship. My focus is offering God thanks for everything He has done in my life. That is the focus.
Henry Ward Beecher was one of the great preachers of the 19th Century. He was ill one Sunday, so a substitute pastor walked up to the pulpit as the worship service began. Seeing that Dr. Beecher would not be speaking that day, a number of people got up and headed for the door. The substitute preacher said, "All those who came to worship Dr. Beecher this morning may leave. All those who came to worship the Lord, may stay in their seats." Everyone sat down.
In the years after the Second World War an SIM missionary named Raymond Davis went to Ethiopia to work in the interior with the Wallamo tribe. One of the early converts was a slave by the name of Tigyne. His decision to follow Jesus displeased his master, who refused to allow Tigyne to attend church or study the Bible. He frequently beat and humiliated Tigyne for his faith but it was a price this young Christian was willing to pay. For only twelve dollars he could have bought his freedom, but Tigyne was a slave with no salary so it might as well as have been a million. When Raymond Davis learned that his freedom could be purchased he bought his freedom. Tigyne was now free -- both spiritually and physically.