Summary: How to be a living sacrifice as Paul exhorts believers to do.
Presenting Our Lives
Scripture Text: Romans 12:1-2
Introduction: Is there any encouragement in your life today…..or even how you live your life? Do you think that your behavior has any impact on those around you? More importantly, does your life have any purpose?
Propositional Statement: I want you to do something radical today! I want you to present your Life! Presenting Your Life means that you are encouraged, that you are not conformed to this world; but that you are transformed; which means that you ultimately display God’s glory in our life. Do others see good in you; do they see life in you? You see, while the first eleven chapters of Romans primarily deal with our standing and security in Christ Jesus; Romans 12 begins with the application of that righteousness in our lives. What should be the result of God working in your life?
I.Be Encouraged! verse 1. (Paul urges us through the mercies of God to….) Mercies are the equivalent to His tender compassions. (I will mention these mercies more later.)
Present your bodies as a sacrifice. In ancient times, the idea of a sacrifice would be clear in the minds of Paul’s readers. All throughout the Scripture, beginning in Genesis, we see all kinds of ceremonial sacrifices. But, what Paul pictures here is a living sacrifice, as opposed to a dead one. For Christians, the radical thing that Paul asks you to do here is offer yourself as a living sacrifice. F. F. Bruce comments that “the sacrifices of the new order do not consist in taking the lives of others, like the ancient animal sacrifices, but in giving one’s own.”7
Being a living sacrifice means: “How do you live your life?” It is the whole of your being….everything you think, say, and do is devoted to serving God?
Why?.... because of the mercies of God! (Ephesians 5:2 tells us that we should "walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." (NASB95) )
The Greek language in these verses explains what kind of sacrifice Paul is talking about: he says it is:
1.Living-Romans 6:13 says, "and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." (NASB95)
I know you are probably thinking that being a sacrifice does not sound like a good thing.
Illustration: David Livingstone, a missionary to Africa once wrote: “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply acknowledging a great debt we owe to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny? It is emphatically no sacrifice. Rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, danger, foregoing the common conveniences of this life--these may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing compared with the glory which shall later be revealed in and through us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us.”
David Livingstone. (from http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/s/sacrifice.htm)
2.Holy-Not only should the sacrifice be living, but it should be holy. In the book of Isaiah, we see many have tried to sacrifice without obedience and right hearts. Peter says that we should abstain from worldly lusts. But, holiness is not only about being good; it is about being devoted to God. Peter calls those who are included in this devotion “a holy priesthood.” In the Old Testament, only a particular order of priests could offer a sacrifice for other people. But because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us; we are now able to offer a ‘holy service’ to God everyday with our lives. 1 Peter 2:5 says, "you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (NASB95)
3.Acceptable- simply means that it is pleasing to God. We should never bring less than what is our best! Malachi 1:2 makes this point about an offering being acceptable. This verse shows God reaffirming his love for His people and; and what is their response to His love. "“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have You loved us?”" (NASB95) Instead of bringing something acceptable to the one who loved them, they brought ignorance! What a tragic response….