Summary: This lesson looks at Paul’s Quick Start Guide to Christian Living – it’s found in Romans 12. Here we find the basic elements to help us live the Christian life.
Quick Start Guide To Christian Living
Reading: Romans 12:1-21
Ill: Using the Quick Start Guide from newly purchased software package.
When it comes to life, we often react the same way – we don’t want anyone telling us how to live, we just go out there and start living – making it up as we go. We have a manual, a book of directions – it’s the Bible. We should read it; understand it, live by it.
But it’s a pretty big manual – and many of us don’t take the time to read the whole thing. When I buy a program I don’t look for the manual, I reach for the little card labeled: “Quick Start.” It gives me just what I need to get by until I’m ready to delve in deeper.
I’m not suggesting that we not read the Bible – but today we’re going to look at Paul’s Quick Start Guide to Christian Living – it’s found in Romans, Chapter 12. Here we find the basic elements to help us live the Christian life – to see what’s expected of us.
This little quick start guide covers three areas of life: our relationship with the Father, our relationship with ourselves, and our relationships with others – both in the community of believers and in the world.
I. Our Relationship with the Father
A. Live a Worshipful Life dedicated to the Father
Romans 12:1 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
1. A sacrifice is an offering made to God as atonement for sin; or any offering made to him and his service as an expression of thanksgiving or homage.
a. It implies that he who offers it presents it entirely, releases all claim or right to it, and leaves it to be disposed of for the honor of God. In the case of an animal, it was slain, and the blood offered; in the case of any other offering, as the first-fruits, etc., it was set apart to the service of God; and he who offered it released all claim on it, and submitted it to God, to be disposed of at his will.
b. This is the offering which the apostle entreats the Romans to make: to devote themselves to God, as if they had no longer any claim on themselves; to be disposed of by him; to suffer and bear all that he might appoint; and to promote his honor in any way which he might command.
c. Holy: This means properly without blemish or defect. No other sacrifice could be made to God. The Jews were expressly forbid to offer what was lame, or blind, or in anyway deformed. If offered without any of these defects, it was regarded as holy, that is, appropriately set apart, or consecrated to God. In like manner we are to consecrate to God our best faculties; the vigor of our minds, and talents, and time.
d. Acceptable: They are exhorted to offer such a sacrifice as will be acceptable to God; that is, such a one as he had just specified, one that was living and holy. Offerings uncommanded by God, cannot be acceptable to him. Those services will be acceptable to God, and those only, which he appoints; People are not to invent services; they are to do just what God requires of them, and that will be acceptable to God.
2. “Spiritual” here is the Greek word: logiken which denotes what pertains to the mind; what is mental, or pertaining to reason. It stands opposed, not to what is foolish or unreasonable, but to the external service of the Jews, and such as they relied on for salvation. The worship of the Christian is what pertains to the mind, or is spiritual; that of the Jew was external. From this verse we may learn:
a. That the proper worship of God is the free homage of the mind. It is not forced or constrained. The offering of ourselves is to be voluntary. No other can be a true offering, and none other can be acceptable.
b. We are to offer our entire selves, all that we have and are, to God. No other offering can be such as he will approve.
c. The character of God is a character of mercy; of long-continued and patient forbearance, and it should influence us to devote ourselves to him.
Now Paul doesn’t just leave it there – a picture of sacrifice of self – he goes on to get very specific. First he talks about our relationship with the Father – one of offering up, of laying down – then he talks about our relationship with ourselves.