Summary: A life dedicated to God is truly beautiful.
“The Fashion that Never Goes Out of Style ”
By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
We, as Americans spend millions upon millions of dollars trying to make our bodies beautiful and, if not beautiful, at least presentable.
Diet foods, body building equipment and weight loss programs abound.
There is nothing wrong with taking care of our bodies…as a matter of fact—it is a biblical mandate…
…but God does not want us to be obsessed with body image!
We are called to “offer” our bodies as “living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God…”….
….That which makes our bodies holy and pleasing to God is not our appearance….
…If our bodies are our idols, then they are not holy and pleasing to God, no matter how lovely they are.
If our bodies are dedicated to God, they are not only holy and pleasing…they are beautiful!!!
As believers we are called to be completely devoted to God.
Everything we are and everything we have must be dedicated to the worship and service of God.
Anything less than total devotion is short of God’s glory: it is sin.
Therefore, when discussing our relationship with God, Scripture is strong in its exhortation….
….without equivocation, Scripture urges total devotion.
Notice the word “Therefore” that begins our chapter.
It connects what is about to be said with what has been said in Romans up to this point.
Up to this point in Romans, the reader has been told that the world desperately needs to get right with God…
…and the only way to get right with God has now been clearly revealed through God’s Son—the Lord Jesus Christ…
….and we as believers are called to carry this message of Good News or the Gospel to the entire world….we are to be stewards of this message!
This is the glorious message of how much God loves us and of what God has done for us….these are the great mercies of God which have been showered upon us!
“Therefore”….remember the first word in the chapter… “Therefore,” in light of the mercies of God….of all that God has done for us….
…we must devote ourselves completely to Him!…
… “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God---this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Now, the importance of offering our bodies as living sacrifices which are holy and pleasing to God cannot be overstated…because:
What is the one thing above all others that is abused more than anything else?
We abuse, neglect, and ignore our bodies by:
…by eating the wrong foods…
…by becoming inactive…
…by cursing, fighting, and killing…
…by taking harmful substances…
…by caring for the external while abusing the internal…
…by getting too much or too little sleep…and the list could go on and on….
Offering God our bodies as living sacrifices involves the heart, the mind and the will. This is offering our entire selves in obedient service.
Unlike the sacrifices of the Old Testament….the Christian’s offering to God is a living sacrifice which means a constant, continuous sacrifice—not just an occasional dedication of our bodies.
We are to live for God and keep on living for God!
We are to be good stewards of the bodies God has given us.
This means that we are not to pollute, contaminate, nor dirty our bodies with the sins and corruptions of this world.
It also means that we are use our bodies for the work of proclaiming the love of God, and ministering to a world which is in desperate straits!
Harvest 2002 was such a blessing last week….not only for those who gave their lives to Christ…
….but also for those of us who served food to the hungry, gave shoes to needy children, and prayed with people as they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!
Four thousand people were fed….five hundred people gave their lives to Christ and were given brand new Bibles!
All Christians are called to be stewards of our bodies in the home, in the church, at school, at work, at restaurants, on airplanes, in cars, in buses….in the whole universe….because our bodies are the temples of God!!!!….
….and therefore every act of our bodies should be an act of service to God!
John Wesley—the founder of Methodism---was in the habit of witnessing to people wherever he went….
….and often he would do this while riding on the train.
On one particular train trip Wesley decided not to witness for God.
Afterwards he wrote in his journal…. “Everyone on that train thought me to be the perfect gentleman. I will never do that again!!!”
1st Corinthians chapter 6 says this: “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. Therefore honor God with your body.”