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Summary: The greatest challenge that Paul had for the church at Rome provides us with a very appropriate imperative with which we can seek to begin a new year! The imperatives in our text require that we give careful attention to the forces at work that affect our

SERMON BRIEF

Date Written: December 28, 2000

Date Preached: December 28, 2000

Church: BBC (Wed PM)

FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS

Series: Great Imperatives for Christian Living

Title: An Imperative Regarding the Negative and the Positive

Text: Rom 12:1-2

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

INTRODUCTION:

As we approach the year 2001 we need to realize and fully understand the opportunities that we will have to share Christ with others through the ministry of this church and living our life in this community. As we look at these opportunities we need to rejoice that God has chosen us to be his vessels…messengers in this world!

So that we may do a BETTER job for God, for our church, for others and for ourselves…I want us to take a few Wednesday nights to look at some of the great imperatives found in the writings of the Apostle Paul as he wrote to the churches that were near and dear to his heart.

The greatest challenge that Paul had for the church at Rome provides us with a very appropriate imperative with which we can seek to begin a new year! The imperatives in our text require that we give careful attention to the forces at work that affect our lives negatively and positively.

The negative imperative in this passage calls our attention to a great danger that we all face, and that is the danger of being contaminated by our environment in which we live. Now I am not speaking of our physical environment, but of the spiritual environment which spills over into the physical environment.

The positive imperative in this passage calls upon the believer to experience a personal, inward spiritual transformation that will produce a radical change in that believer’s conduct in the middle of the negative environment in which we live!

If we view verse 1 of chapter 12 we can see Paul issuing…

1. The Bold Challenge to Full Commitment:

Here we find Paul issuing a challenge to all disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. The challenge is simple…present you own body as a living sacrifice in service to God and others.

In the Phillips translation of this passage it reads, “With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him!”

Now this is a very pivotal verse in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Previously in this letter to the church at Rome all of Paul’s writing had been doctrinal in nature, however in this one statement he has transitioned from theory to practice.

Paul is wanting the Christians in Rome (and all disciples of Jesus) to begin to put into practice all that Christ taught. In other words, Paul was saying if it is real to you…it will show in your lifestyle. Paul had dealt with BELIEFS in the 1st part of Romans, but here he was beginning to deal with how each believer should and must express those beliefs!

Total commitment in each believer’s life was not the only message Paul was trying to get across in this letter to the church at Rome. He also had…

2. An Imperative Regarding a Great Danger

In v. 2 Paul exposes a danger to all believers when he wrote, “…Do not be conformed to this world…” Again I would like to use the Phillips translation of this verse to illustrate just what Paul was getting at here…“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold”

As the saved and redeemed children of God, we have been made into new creatures in Christ. We have become something entirely new from what we used to be, something entirely new from what the world expects of us.

This world is under the dominion of the Evil One, Satan, the Enemy…and his intentions are NOT passive and unconcerned. He is very aggressive in his approach and attack on all of this world. His aggressiveness will require an effort on our part to prevail against it…to keep it from squeezing us into HIS mold.

God calls his children to be different! We are dead to sin and alive to God. Instead of responding to temptation, as Satan would have us respond…we should respond as a DEAD person responds. No response. Why? Because we are dead to sin and temptation!

We cannot permit either our evil nature/old nature or the evilness of the world surrounding us to dominate our lives. We are to conduct ourselves as children of a Holy God! Walking in light and not in darkness!

Paul told the Colossian church to put to death that which was earthly and evil in their nature (Col 3:5-9) and to put on the new nature and live as God’s chosen ones (v.10-17)

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