Romans 12:1-2† -† A Living Sacrifice
12:1† I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2† And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Intro: Paul is describing something here that we living in this 20th century are at a bit of a disadvantage in grasping the full mental picture presented
A) But the Jewish Christian living in the first century was well acquainted w/ the sacrificial system -it† was a huge part of their history
B) They could picture well† the vivid details of placing the sacrificial lamb upon the altar as an act of worship to Jehovah.
1) †It was a vital part of their heritage & former religion - that had found incredible new meaning in Christ
C) As they came to understand that the sacrificial lamb was actually a picture of what Jesus would do for them as the Lamb of God Ö sins of the world
D) With each sacrifice they would place their hand upon the head of the slain
animal - a mark† of identification. This animal is me.
1) †All my sins & all my short comings have been transferred to this animal .
E) So the whole picture of the sacrifice - was an important one to them ! So when Paul wrote to them to present themselves to God as a living sacrifice
1) †They knew He was referring to absolute surrender - radical commitment
F) Focus on this morning as we look at this passage
We shall see that at the very core of what Paul is talking about here is worship.†† Service = worship -
A) Present your bodies to the Lord as a living sacrifice is reasonable worship
B) Now here is the thing that we need to realize - Worship is not just an activity that we do here at Church / home groups / prayer closet
C) Worship is a mindset - and that is precisely what Paul is referring to here in Romans 12 when He says present bodies .. living .. Reasonable worship
B) You see When Paul says to present your bodies he uses a tense that means this is something we do once for all - rather than over & over again.
1) †Do it once & then live the rest of your life on that basis
C) Purpose in your mind and heart that God is going to have all of you - that you are going to give Him the very best .
1) †Sometimes we sing that song about offering up a sacrifice of praise - many have wrong idea.
D) Iíll sing if I have to - I donít want to but Iíll† sacrifice -† WRONG !!!!
1) †When the Israelites brought a sacrifice to the altar it was the very best of their first fruits - It wasnít the leftovers
E) too often Iím afraid God gets our leftovers but I donít think that would be the case if we purposed in our hearts & minds - give Him the best
1) †All of me the best of my day - the best of my time - in everything - the best - that is the mindset we are to have.
F) That translates into a lifestyle of worship - into Living worship
Lets consider the Basis of the commitment - Paul declares I beseech you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God,
A) The basis of this radical commitment is the mercy of God. By the mercies of God †is Lit. in view of the mercy of God -
AA) Grace is getting what you donít deserve &† Mercy is not getting what
†††††† you do deserve !
B)† And Paul is specifically talking about the mercy of God which he has described in the previous 11 chapters -
1) †The word therefore - takes us back to the previous 11 chapters
C) Where Paul described how Godís mercy was revealed in Christ to a terribly fallen people / who were radically sinful & radically lost.
1) †But God made provided a radical righteousness & a radical new life through simply having faith in the finished work of Jesus on Calvary.
D) That when we deserved Hell - & Judgment because of our sin - we were given what we didnít deserve - Justification & life through Jesus.
So Paul says in light of the previous 11 chapters / in light of† the previous 315 verses / in light of who you are in Christ
A) I beseech you - I beg of you / I strongly urge you to present yourselves to
†††† God as a living sacrifice.
Next lets look at the Character of Commitment.†† The Character of the commitment is given in the last half of verse 1 where Paul says that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
A) The commitment has 2 prominent Characteristics it is total commitment† & it is a reasonable commitment /†† 1st total commitment
B) The term bodies refers to more than just skin & bones it refers to everything that we are in totality.
1) †Eyes / ears / heart & our hands / lips & our love / every single aspect of our lives is referred to here in the term bodies .
BB) It is total & living meaning we give God our very best that we have to
C) General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, Which at one time was a vibrant ministry was once asked the secret of his success.†
D) General Booth hesitated a moment, then with tears streaming down his cheeks he replied, "I'll tell you the secret; God had all of me there was to have.† From the day I got the poor on my heart & a vision of what Christ could do, I made up my mind that God would have all there was of William Booth Ė
††† †God had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will and all††
††††† the influence of my life."
E) The birth of the Salvation Army came about through a man who offered his body in totality as a Living† sacrifice to God.
1) †It is that type of commitment that translates into a life of living worship to the Lord .
The 2nd Characteristic of this commitment is that it is reasonable or logical - Other words it makes all the sense in the world.
A) When a person truly grasps the gift that God has given in His Son & all that God has done for them in His mercy - the natural response is Worship.
B) The word - service can also be translated worship - so presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice to God is a logical act of worship
1) †In light of the mercy He has shown to us !
Jesus expressed the very same idea† in John Ch. 4 that God is spirit & those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit & in truth.
With these words, Jesus indicated the fundamental elements of true worship.
A) God is a Spirit and so are we! We are spirits dwelling in bodies,
B) We are spirit beings† dwelling in bodies &† Our human spirit is designed to communicate and interrelate with the Spirit of God
C) This is what Jesus means when he says we must worship God in spirit.
1) †He is referring to our human spirit which is usually referred to in Scripture as the heart.
D) We talk about doing things with our whole heart. By this we mean our spirit is fully engaged!
1) †It means that we are involved "wholeheartedly."
E) Therefore, to worship "in spirit" means that our worship must be genuine and heart-felt. We must mean it and feel it deeply.
1) †We must be fully committed to what we are doing as an expression of what we actually feel.
F) ITíS A WHOLE-HEARTED COMMITMENT !
A young man wrote his girlfriend a little note - he lived about 20 miles from her in a neighboring town . Wanting to express the deep love he felt for her and how much he missed her he wrote.
I would swim through the longest ocean just to be where you are - I would climb the Highest Mt. Just to see your smile -† I would walk across hot coals for just one little kiss from your lips - My love for you is so strong I would cross a blazing desert just to see you -† Love Billy / P.S. if it doesnít rain next Tues I will come see You.
We can also express this truth negatively, as Scripture sometimes does. A) Worship is not to be phony or a put-on. It must not be mechanical.
B) We ought not go through the motions of rising, standing, kneeling or praying without these actions reflecting what we are thinking or being.
1) †That kind of worship is unacceptable in God's eyes. It is a mockery.
C) If we recite words that do not say what we really mean we are insulting God and treating him with disrespect.
D) In Isaiah 1, God was reading the hearts of the people who were performing an outwardly beautiful service. But their hearts were wrong.
1) †So their worship was not "in spirit." Therefore it was totally unacceptable to him.
E) It is clear in the Scriptures from beginning to end that the one thing God hates above everything else is hypocrisy.
The second phrase Jesus used in talking about worship was "in truth." This refers to our view of God & How He† desires to be worshipped
A) He is the only true God & He is totally worthy of all our praise & Honor!
B) True worship is to attribute worth to a real Being, one who is truly there
††††† and who is truly worthy. Dr. Francis Schaeffer wrote
The† function of believers is to learn what God is like and to acknowledge him/ to ascribe worth to him, to reflect upon the value, beauty and character of God.†††††† This is true worship.
C) God has revealed to us who He is / His attributes & character in the pages of scripture & also in His Son.
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2† has in these last days spoken to us by His Son,
D) So true worship of God is going to be that which is done w/ the whole heart & that which is centered upon who He is
1) †And how He has prescribed in His word that He desires to be worshipped.
E) Jesus said that the Father is seeking for those who would worship Him in that way.
Since† part of what it means to worship in Truth is to know what worship is & How God has described He is to be worshipped
A) I would like† to talk for a few minutes the nature of Praise & Worship
AA) Understanding what the nature of praise & worship is will help reveal to
††††††† us what our lives are to reflect ! What Living worship looks like
B) Praise & Worship are popular topics in the Bible it is mentioned in 65 of the 66 books .
1) †In Psa 100:4 Praise is described as a vital aspect of proper approach to God.
C) Psa100:4 4† Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
D) Now there are 7 Hebrews words for Praise each one - gives us insight
1st word is Barak used in Judg. 5:12 / Psa. 72:12-15 /†† Barak speaks of silent praise from the Heart.
A) There is no statement of vocal expression in this word. / But it is active in the sense that kneeling - is associated w/ it.
B) It means to kneel to bless - to salute ! It is a word that speaks of a deep Reverence !
2nd Word is Halal - which is the most common word for praise found in the Bible - 99 times in O.T. & in 1/3 of the Psalms
A) Halal is the root of the word Hallelujah which literally means to praise the Lord.
B) Halal means to shout / to celebrate / to rave / to boast / & to sing loudly !
1) †It is a word that speaks of a radical outward expression of worship- a real letting go - and worshipping the Lord.
3rd word is Yadah means to throw out the hands - used in 2 Chron. 20:21 and in several of the Psalms .
A) The idea w/ this word is to throw out the hands to touch the throne of God!
B) it speaks of a thankful expression of worship
4th word Towdah also involves the hands - Towdah means to lift our hands - it is the most common word for thanks in Israel today.
A) It speaks of lifting the hands in thanks for what God is going to do!
B) The outward lifting of the hands speaks of the in ward lifting of the heart.
1) †Lam. 3:41 declares let us lift our heart w/ our hands
C) Yadah speaks of giving - Towdah anticipates receiving - daddy pick me up
1) †The need or attitude of the heart is displayed in the way we lift our hands
5th Word is Zamar - speaks of instrumental praise - again used in several of the Psalms - it lit. means to touch the strings to celebrate in song
A) David as a worship leader was always inventing musical instruments to be used in worship.
6th word is Shabach = to commend to triumph to glory & shout w/ a loud voice !
A) An example of Shabach is in Psa 63:3 - a song that we used to sing thy loving kindness is better than life , my lips shall praise thee
B) Lit. shout to thee - Now you get the idea here w/ most of these words aside from Barak - is that God intends worship to be a loud very expressive thing.
C) This is something I find rather interesting is how some believers can be so reserved when it comes to worship
1) †Yet they can be so vocal & out going at sporting invents
D) I have watched some ballgames w/ some people & who I had to wonder who they were - although I had known them for yrs
1) †But I had never seen them so excited - shouting at the T.V. jumping up & down. Who is this
E) I suggest to you that when we consider who our Lord is / When we consider the great mercy & grace He has shown us / continues to show us
1) †When we consider that His mercies that His mercies are new every morning .
F) When we consider all that He has done for us & what He promises to do in us !†
1)When we consider the glory of heaven & the reality that He is coming
††††† again ! It should move us to shout - to sing - to lift voices / lift hands
G) Talking about radically expressing ourselves to the Lord
Someone once said that Loud praise is not because God is deaf or hard of hearing - or far away , but it is because He deserves great commendation, His glory & majesty are worthy of praise
7th & final word is Tehilah - which means to sing /
A) It is derived from the word Halal - but it is a word which speaks of God make Himself known in the congregation & responding to that
B) It is the word used in Psalm 22:3 Where we are told that God inhabits the praises of His people .
1) †Literally He is enthroned in the praises of His people.
C) In other words - God comes to Calvary Vista seeking worshippers & we begin to worship Him in spirit & in truth - He makes those praises His throne
D) He makes His presence known in our midst !† We respond in worship
E) And David declared that as we worship Him in that way - we are changed into His likeness
1) †Psa.17:15 15† As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
F) Psa 33:1† Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.
1) †In other words - Praise looks good on you to the father!
So Praise sometimes† involves a silent Reverence - but more often it is loud & celebrative ! Thanking God for what He has done
A) Praising Him in faith for what He will do !
B) There should always be a healthy balance between praise & worship - Praise will lead to worship !
Now the Heb. Word for Worship is Shachah - which means to bow down to prostrate, to fall on your knees w/ your fore head touching the ground
A) To fall flat in total rev.
B) And the most common grk word used for worship is proskunieo - To prostrate to Reverence - but also to turn & to Kiss !
C) Praise & thanks giving mean to dwell on the things that God has done , is doing & is going to do !
D) Worship is to dwell on who He is / Nothing else !
So present your bodies to Him as a living sacrifice which is your reasonable worship ! This is a once for all mindset - established
A) In V.2 Paul tells us how to maintain that mindset
† And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
B) Paul says donít be conformed to this world - Lit. donít let the world squeeze you into its mold
1) †The world has its own system & mold - which has selfishness at the core .
C) The focus is not give yourself to God - but live to please yourself - do what is best for you - get all can / can all get
1) †And it doesnít matter who you have to walk on to do it !
D) The system & mold of the world is to live like God doesnít exist - to live like man is God - You control your destiny .
1) †Try hard enough - you can be & do whatever - you want to !
E) And since there is no God then there are no absolutes - no one to answer to
But Paul says donít let the world squeeze you into itís mold - but be transformed by the renewing of your mind .
A) Now it is interesting that the word transformed is the† word for metamorphosis and this word is only used 3 other times in the N.T.
B) It is used in Matt. 17 & in Mark 9 in speaking of what happened to Jesus at the transfiguration
1) †When the Lordís glorious inner essence was allowed to show through His body so that His face radiated like the Sun & clothing† white light
C) And then it also used in 2 Cor. 3:18 - turn 18† But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
D) Now in Rom. Paul told us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds - here Paul tells us how that metamorphosis takes place.
††††††††† 1) And who is doing it - By the Holy Spirit
A) Paul says our minds are renewed & our lives are transformed when we† keep our minds & eyes on Jesus . When we behold Him
B) And we keep our minds on Him by staying in the word - Jesus declared in the volume of the book it is written of me !
1) †I believe this verse sheds some great insight into what is to be at the heart of all our Bible study - See Jesus / touch Jesus / Draw near to
C) If I am studying the scriptures just to get insights on theology or to discover some principles for parenting
1) †Or points for ď Successful ď Christian living - I might not experience that Transformation taking place !
D) If you approach the word strictly from an intellectual, academic or theological perspective you might gain a point or two but not changed
But that work of transformation takes place when we seek to see Jesus in the volume of the Book -
A) When we seek to hear the words written on the pages as the very words of Christ to our hearts
B) When we approach the word in that way - it is then that the H.S. does that work of Transforming our lives
††††††††† 1) Transforming us into the image of the very Son of God!
C) That is how the presentation of who we are to the Lord is maintained - it is as we approach Him - w/ all our hearts
1) †Desiring to hear from Him - expecting to hear from Him ! Showing by desiring to draw near to Him - that we are completely dependent
Close w/ this quote from William Temple
True† worship means :†
††††† To quicken the conscience by the holiness of God.
†††††††† To feed the mind with the truth of God.
†††††††††††† To purge the imagination with the beauty of God.
††††††††††††††††† To open the heart to the love of God.
††††††††††††††††††††††† To devote the will to the Purpose of God.