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Summary: An encouragement to strive for excellence in Christian living.

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THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD

Scripture: Romans 12:1-2

St. Paul knew that anything short of surrender to the will of God would be inadequate. It is interesting that Paul chose the term living sacrifice. In the Levitical system a sacrifice was usually dead. In chapter 6 verse 11 he explains what he means by the term. We must assume a dead-ness to sin. Sin must not have power over us. Our focus must be on holiness not selfishness. Paul tells us more about God’s perfect will for each of us.

I. WE SHOULD BE A LIVING SACRIFICE (v.1)

(A) Present our body. The body represents you but there is more to you than just a body. (1 Cor 13:3) The priest was “sanctified” by having blood put on his ear, thumb and toe, representing his thoughts, actions and goings.

(B) Present our idols. Things that occupy more time or energy than serving God. Those idols must be dethroned.

(C) Present our treasures. Mary gave her expensive perfume (Luke 7:38). She gave what others would have kept. Her gift is a timeless example of love.

II. WE SHOULD LIVE A TRANSFORMED LIFE (v.2)

(A) Don’t conform to the world’s value system. It will shift your thoughts away from God and leave corruption in its place. The world says financial security should be first place. Jesus disagrees. (Matt 6:30-34)

(B) Renew your mind with wholesome and scriptural thoughts. Satan wants to pollute you and uses signboards, newspapers, books, television, cinema et

(C) Illus: Very Hungry Fox

(D) Resist the devil (Rom 6:11-16) and avoid him like you would a bomb-laden terrorist.

(E) Adam Clarke said: Where the spirit, the temper and disposition of the mind are not renewed, an outward change is of little worth and short standing.

(F) Transformation comes from surrender and consecration. Illus: Poussa made pottery for the Emperor of China. The quality was inferior and as a demonstration of his disapproval he threw himself into the furnace. The result was a bone china of exquisite beauty. (Thomas Cook)

III. WE SHOULD STRIVE FOR THE GOOD (v.2)

(A) Temptation comes to us all. (1 Cor 10:13) Intruding thoughts must be rebuffed and if you sin it must be confessed so God can cleanse you. (James 4:7)

(B) Christ can possess you. Yield yourself to him so he can use you as he desires. We must live above sin. Although the ability to sin exists, it must not be your desire. We have the power to do many things but we refuse to.

(C) Prove the joy of Christianity by being joyful. In Snow White, the dwarf named Grumpy was not an example of joy. A grumpy Christian is not a good example of Christianity. Jesus can put a song in your heart.

IV. WE SHOULD LIVE A HOLY LIFE (v.1)

(A) Our life should have Christ likeness. (v.5) It will require the Holy Spirit to make that happen. When his love comes in, it will affect our actions. If you remove love from an angel you have a devil. If you remove love from God there is nothing left because God is love.

(B) Illus: Holiness is overridden by materialism.

(C) Holiness is love in action. Calvary shows the extent of God’s love. It is stronger than death. As Christians we are urged to show love to one another. (1 John 4:20)

(D) Holiness finds delight in obedience. God knows our daily cry and if we are crying after a closer relationship with God, he knows it. We are not measured by performance; we are measured by desire.

(E) Illus: We say a man who wants to rob a bank but lacks the opportunity is innocent. God says he is guilty. The same is true of spiritual ambition and desire. If a man desires to live a holy life in every circumstance and opportunity, that desire is not lost to God. Even though the man may miss the mark through confusion or bad judgement, God sees his intention. He may not be faultless but he is blameless.

(F) A child places her mother’s shoes in the oven so they will be warm when her mother goes out into the cold. The shoes will be damaged but the motive is pure. No one would say that was a BAD child.

(G) Do you desire to have a holy heart? Do you want to do the perfect will of God? Have you given yourself to God as a living sacrifice?

(H) Illus: William Booth felt God was calling him to be an evangelist. The church refused to license him as such so he withdrew from the Methodist church. He was married with 4 children. His remarkable ministry to the down trodden and lost became a source of pride to England and the world. Although he was rebuffed and ridiculed in his early ministry, his founding of the Salvation Army became a legend of Holiness in action. General Booth was a living sacrifice. At his death at age 83 the world mourned his passing

22 September 2002

Pillar of Fire Chapel

Bernard Dawson, pastor Offering last Sunday £84.31

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