Summary: A living sacrifice is different from all other sacrifice. A regular sacrifice would require something to die. Paul is appealing to us to offer this sacrifice that would continue to be very much alive, but surrendered or dedicated to the service of God.
We find the Apostle Paul appealing to all those who have experienced the mercy, love, & goodness of God.
It is kind of like the “give-back program” because of all that has been done already for us.
I want us to consider, during this holiday season of Thanksgiving, the idea Paul is presenting here. Then, how it comes together with much of what Jesus said before Paul ever knew Him.
There are 3 things I was given while in the prayer room this week. Let’s check them out together.
I. Living Sacrifice…
A living sacrifice is different from all other sacrifice. A regular sacrifice would require something to die.
Paul is appealing to us to offer this sacrifice that would continue to be very much alive, but surrendered or dedicated to the service of God.
So what exactly does that mean?
Jesus said it like this;
Luke 9:23-24 NLT Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
Our taking up our cross “Daily” means that we will die to our own self on a daily basis.
In order to be a living sacrifice that is pleasing to Him we must separate ourselves from the lifestyle that He came to save us from.
1 John 3:4-8 MSG All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.
So, my dear children don’t let anyone divert you from the truth. It’s the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil, the pioneer in the practice of sin. The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil’s ways.
John was not saying that we would all be perfect little Jesus’, but we would not be comfortable with any involvement in that which represents sin.
To be a “Living Sacrifice” requires an intentional decision that I will not entertain that which does not please God!
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 MSG Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way:
“I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people.
So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,” says God. “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself.
I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.” The Word of the Master, God.
II. Free From World System…
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.
For most, it is a difficult thing to admit that, even though you realized your need for Jesus, your mind is still really a mess trying to sort through all the world has deposited in you over the years.
If you have been a live very long, you have learned how to get by & survive in this world by your own standards.
Paul is telling us that all that MUST change! But how???
Ephesians 4:21-24 CEV But that isn’t what you were taught about Jesus Christ. He is the truth, and you heard about him and learned about him. You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy.
The one thing that is for sure; God is interested in us following His plan & way of thinking than our own natural way of thinking.
Take a quick inventory about what is different in your life since accepting Jesus? What things do you no longer feel good or comfortable with?