Summary: Christians should offer ourselve to God as living sacrifice. This sacrifice should be hold and that's the only acceptable way to God. To be holy, we should not be conformed to this world but be transformed by renewing of our mind.
Offering Ourselves to God
This month’s sermon series is on stewardship. The topic of today’s sermon is Offering ourselves to God. The title of the sermon was determined way back in the beginning of the year. The obvious Scripture that came to mind is Romans 12:1, 2. In Romans 12 verses 1 and 2, we are told by the Apostle Paul to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. Let’s read the passage together. Paul says
A) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
B) that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
C) And do not be conformed to this world,
C) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
B) that you may prove what is that good and acceptable
A) and perfect will of God.
Note that the passage is written in a Chiastic Structure. The Chiastic Structure has three layers.
1) By the Mercies and Perfect will of God should we offer ourselves to God,
2) Present our Body to God, so that it is holy, good and acceptable to God,
3) We should not conform to this world and be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
Obviously the most important message is in the center of the Chiastic Structure, not to conform to this world, but be transformed by renewing of the mind. This is where I will spend majority part of my sermon on.
1) By the Mercies of God and His Perfect Will-
The First layer of the Chiastic Structure is that it is the perfect will of God for us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. It is also based on God’s mercy.
In verse 12:1, Paul says, by the mercies of God. The Greek word “dia” means “by” the word ‘b” “y” which gives the reason why we should present our bodies to God as living sacrifices. After spending eleven chapters in discussing the mercies of God, Paul concluded that we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God in Romans Chapter 12.
Paul had proven that all of us were by nature under sin; that we had no claim on God; and that He had shown great compassion in giving his Son to die for us in this state, and in pardoning our sins. This was a ground or reason why we should devote ourselves to God. In other words, it is the character of God which leads us to sacrifice our bodies as living sacrifice. It is the character of mercy—of long-continued and patient forbearance—and it should influence us to devote ourselves to him.
2Corinthians 1:3 says God is “the Father of mercies”. The plural form is used in the Greek text probably for two reasons, 1) because the Hebrew word for mercy has no singular form, 2) the reason for giving ourselves to God is literally because of God’s manifold mercies—that is, because he has been good to us in many ways.
2) The second layer of the Chiastic Structure is to
Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God
We can see three points here. 1) we should present our bodies as a living sacrifice, 2) it should be holy, and 3) it should be acceptable to God
The present of sacrifice usually refers to the presenting an animal before the altar. Like presenting an entire animal, Paul evidently was urging us to present our entire person to God. One may ask why should we present our entire person to God? We should do it because we were bought at a price. The first truth is that we are no longer our own, but rather, we belong to Jesus. If we are truly Christians, Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19–20). Again, just a chapter later, Paul says: “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men” (1 Cor. 7:23). We know that the price mentioned here is the blood of Christ. The second truth is that like a slave who cannot go back to his past, we died to our past if we are truly converted, by becoming new creatures in Christ. Let’s rewind to Romans 6, where Paul argued that because we have “died to sin”, we are unable to “live in it any longer (Romans 6:2). Therefore, instead of offering parts of our bodies “to sin, as instruments of wickedness,” as we used to do, we must instead offer ourselves “to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of our bodies to him as instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13).