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Summary: A sermon on discerning God’s will

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-I’d like to know!

-I bet you would too.

-I don’t know a person alive, on this earth who would not like to know.

-You’d like to know what God’s will is, wouldn’t you?

-We’d all like to know what God’s plan for our lives is

-Why don’t we know what God’s will is?

-I think Paul gives us the answer in our text

-Look at verse 3

-What does it say?

-“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

-Did you realize that your relationships with other affects your relationship with God?

-It’s true!

-I’ll give you a few examples

-In the Lord’s Prayer what does it say about forgiveness of trespasses?

-It’s in your bulletin, read it along with me

-“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

-Did you ever think what that means?

-We are asking God to forgive us in the same way that we forgive others.

-Ah, shoot! We are in serious trouble!

-If you forgive people the way that I do, we are in some deep kimshe.

-You’ve probably heard this one before. From James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

-Have you ever read this passage of scripture from 1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers..”

-Do you see the theme here?

-Our relationships with others have an impact on our relationship with God

-I’ve heard people say that they can stay at home and worship God there. That’s true if you are incapable of gathering together for health reasons. However, we do have commands from God to assemble together. And we also miss out on the fellowship and encouragement of the other saints that join with us.

-See, Paul refers to the Christian church as a body. Together, we form one body. Does a body without hands work at its peak? How about one without feet or eyes or ears or without a mouth? Do they function properly?

-Obviously not!

-We need all the other parts of the body to function to its utmost capacity.

-We need each other.

-In a way, our relationships form a cross. We have our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationships with other members of Christ’s body. One without the other is incomplete just like if you were to take the cross away from Jesus - His mission is incomplete. {PAUSE}

-So what’s the solution to our problem? Look at verse 1.

-It says, “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. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

-First, Paul helps them to remember what God has done for them.

-He has shown them mercy by sending Jesus to be the sacrifice for all of their sins

-Jesus allowed His physical body to be beaten, spit upon, scourged, and crucified so that His spiritual body (you and me) wouldn’t have to be.

-He, even though He was God, did not think more highly of Himself than us. He did not think more highly of Himself than His oppressors. In fact, from the cross, He asked God the Father to forgive them.

-He was willing to do all that so that your difficult relationships with others wouldn’t hinder your relationship with God

-Paul urges them and us in light of that fact to offer ourselves

-He uses the verbiage and imagery of the sacrifices offered in the temple in Jerusalem that many of the Jewish Christians would have been familiar with

-What made an animal that was to be sacrificed acceptable to God?

-First, it had to be unblemished

-As Christians, we are unblemished

-Sure, we sin but God declares us to be righteous, holy and perfect, without fault

-That’s why the Psalmist can say in our responsive reading for today, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life.”

-For, in Christ, we are blameless

-Second, they are available

-We must allow ourselves to be available, able to be moved by God where He would like us, not hindered or constrained by our own agenda {PAUSE}

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