Open your Bibles to Romans 12:1 and 2.
We're called upon here to make a sacrifice. Think about what Christ did and what He sacrificed, what the Father sacrificed, and what Christ sacrificed in leaving Heaven. And, living a life on this earth with all the same trials and difficulties, and hardships that each and every one of us faces. He did it without sin, certainly. All that He gave to redeem us from sin and to reconcile us back to God. As Christians, our obligation to Him is to make ourselves, to present ourselves, our life, a living sacrifice to Him in order to glorify God, in order to really honor the sacrifice that was made by Christ.
We're going to look today how we do that. How do we present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God?
In Romans chapter 11, just go back a couple of verses here, beginning in verse 33. It kind of sets the stage for what he's talking about here.
Based upon that sacrifice, based upon what Christ has done, based upon the love that God has bestowed upon us, our response ought to be to sacrifice ourselves, to make ourselves a living sacrifice.
And so Paul here, he kind of takes on the position of an inferior to a superior when he says, "I beseech you, therefore." or, I entreat you because of God's great mercies. Because of the sum total of God's act of mercy, he beseeches us to give ourselves or make ourselves a sacrifice.
- 2 Corinthians 1:3
Think about what God has done for us while we were yet sinners, He sent His Son to die for us. He gave us His word partly as a comfort so that we may know of Him and know of what He has done. When we think about all of that, what is our reasonable service?
Present Your Bodies a Living Sacrifice
- Romans 1:12
When he talks about the bodies, he's talking about the literal body. It takes on a new meaning now that we are a Christian. It has been sanctified and set apart for God's use.
- Romans 6:6; 12-13
We should not be serving sin. We serve God. We serve Christ.
We are called upon to render ourselves, to render our bodies, to the service of God.
- 1 Corinthians 6:16-20
And so the purpose for which we have been redeemed is so that we can glorify God. in our life, the way we live in our bodies. And so our bodies, once dedicated to the service of Satan, are now become the servants of righteousness.
- Romans 6:19
We are to yield our bodies unto God. We're to yield ourselves unto Christ. And so he says that we ought to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.
The word, living, means to have vital power in itself, exerting the power of the soul. Our body is alive; we are to make ourselves a living sacrifice.
- 1 Peter 1:3,23
We are alive spiritually because of Christ and because of His crucifixion, because of His atoning sacrifice on our behalf.
- Hebrews 4:12
- John 6:51
Christ, again, because of that sacrifice, because of His atonement, we have the opportunity, and we can live spiritually.
As one who is living in Christ, we are those who must sacrifice ourselves, our will, and our wants, for Him.
- Philippians 4:18
- Hebrews 13:16
- Romans 15:26
We see that great sacrifice that was made. It was a financial contribution to the needs of the poor and needy saints in Jerusalem. Later he would talk about the churches in Macedonia that gave beyond their ability. They made a sacrifice for the good of others.
We're to sacrifice as an act of goodwill that entailed effort and self-denial.
The difficult thing about a living sacrifice is that it tends to crawl off the altar. — Marshall Keeble
Often we fail in this when we insist on our will over God's. And so, as a living sacrifice, we must continually, every time we start to crawl off that altar, just put ourselves back on there, over and over again. It is a daily sacrifice that we make.
Notice here that we're to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Notice the word — holy, here; prepared for God with a solemn rite. Pure, clean, consecrated to the service of God. Think about the offering that was made in the Old Testament. It was a holy, consecrated thing. It was the firstborn. It was the lamb that was perfect without blemish. The perfect sacrifice, something that is holy. It was something that was set apart for God.
- 1 Peter 1:15-16
Part of that sacrifice is to set aside our bodies, to set aside our lives, and set aside our will, to do the will of God. And so holy, acceptable to God, which is to mean well-pleasing.
- Ephesians 1:4
- Colossians 1:22
Acceptable unto God
Then, as such sacrifices, with God, He is well pleased with that sacrifice. And so we're to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.
- Romans 14:18
Which is your reasonable service
When we look at what God has done for us, the reasonable thing is it agrees with our rationality. You think about the mercies that God has bestowed upon us, and when we think about those things we make our lives a living sacrifice, it agrees with our reason. It is reasonable to be servants. It's the least that we can do for God.
- 1 Peter 2:5
So, we're to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.
Be Not Conformed to this World
But notice he goes on here in verse two and says, be not conformed to this world. And so again, we see this part of that living sacrifice by not being conformed according to this world. Don't conform yourself in your mind or character to the thoughts and pursuits of this present time. You think about this present world in which we dwell, this world rejects God. This world rejects all that is right and good.
Be not Conformed
We're not to be conformed to this world. And yet, that's exactly what this world is trying to do, trying to get us to conform ourselves to the image of the world rather than the image of God, the image of Christ. God has always forbidden His children to be like their heathen neighbors.
- Leviticus 18:29-30
- Deuteronomy 18:9, 14
To this World
Jesus knew the world of His day.
When we conform ourselves to the world around us we defile ourselves because this world around us is defiled. We're not to be conformed according to this world. Jesus knew the truth of the world of His day.
- John 7:7; 15:19; 17:14
Jesus, in His great prayer there at the last supper, says, "I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:14).
Why were they not of the world? Because they had received Christ's word. The word had transformed their lives to the extent that the world did not recognize them, that the world hated them. And so it is with us.
- 1 Peter 1:14
And so the same with us, we're not to fashion ourselves according to this world, according to the things that maybe we did in the past. We're not to be conformed to our society. You think about this world and it has its own wisdom and its own philosophy. It is not to be the philosophy that we follow.
This worldly wisdom is vain, really. The worldly wisdom only sees what can be seen with the physical senses. It only recognizes what it can see. It does not recognize the unseen. It does not recognize the spiritual. In fact, it rejects the concept of the spiritual.
- 1 Corinthians 3:19-20
- 2 Corinthians 4:4
Because this present world has its god, and that god is not the God of Heaven, but that god is the devil. He's not a god, certainly, but like a god, the world follows his teaching.
Again, this worldly has its wisdom, it is blinded by the god of materialism, and by the god of the physical realm. And so, as such, we are at war with that realm. God has forbidden our allegiance and alliance with the world.
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
- 1 John 5:19
We see the wicked world in which we live and why we must not be conformed to it. Because the Christian has been delivered from this present world.
- Galatians 1:4
Christ, go back to His sacrifice, was made to deliver us from this present evil world, the world to which we must not conform ourselves.
- 1 Peter 1:18
We see the value of the sacrifice that Jesus made.
Something more precious than all the gold and all the silver and every precious thing upon this earth is the blood of Jesus Christ.
- 2 Peter 2:20-22
We've been delivered from this world. We must not conform ourselves to it.
The world is passing way
Because this world is doomed to destruction.
- 1 Corinthians 7:31
- 1 John 2:15-17
If we love the world, we're gonna last as long as the world lives. But if we love God, we're gonna live forever.
And so, he says, to be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed. How are we to be transformed?
Be Ye Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind
We think about [the word], transformed, it's the change of the moral character for the better. The Greek word here is the same word from which we get metamorphosis. And so, it is that change, it's that, a caterpillar goes into the cocoon and comes out a butterfly [effect]. It comes out, transformed, changed, really, this is the whole point of the gospel to be changed, to have, the mind renewed, to be transformed from the image of the world into the image of Christ. Without such a transformation, there can be no reconciliation with God.
This is like the sacrifice is daily. The transforming of our mind, the transformation is continuous.
- Luke 9:23
- Acts 17:11
- 1 Corinthians 15:31
Daily renewal, constant renewal. The idea of renewing your mind, the constant renewal of the inward man, the body dies, the body's wearing out, but the spirit, the soul, can be rejuvenated every day.
Renewing of Your Mind
The renewing of our minds and the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to the mind of God. So, we transform from this world into those that have the mindset of Christ, the mind of God; which is designed to have a transforming effect upon our life as a Christian.
- 2 Corinthians 4:16
- Colossians 3:10
- Ephesians 4:23
- Titus 3:5
You know, the washing of regeneration, is baptism; and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. We see the spiritual side, the spiritual importance of baptism for the remission of our sins, for the renewing of our soul.
Accomplished Through the Word of God
This is accomplished as the Holy Spirit directs us through His Word.
- Ephesians 6:18
- 2 Corinthians 5:7
That Ye May Prove What Is...
We are constantly renewed and transformed into God's image. "So that ye may prove", he says, "what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." And so to prove, to prove all things, to discern, to try, to test, to examine, to see if it is worthy to be received.
Good and Acceptable
- 1 Thessalonians 5:21
And so that we may prove, that we may show approved what is good, what is upright, what is honorable. Not only good, but one who keeps it, keeps doing good. And acceptable the moral end of a man who is complete in Christ. To be acceptable; to be accepted by Him.
- Psalm 19:7
- Matthew 5:48
- Philippians 3:13-15
When we follow God, when we follow His word, we are proving that which is good and that which is acceptable. That which is the perfect will of God.
Perfect Will of God
You know, what is it that God wants for us to do as Christians?
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3
- 1 Peter 2:15; 4:2
It is God's will that we live in such a way that it makes an impact even on those who are in the world; they have no reason to call us down for bad behavior.
Christ's will, He died for us so that we can live for God rather than for the world. You know, our change and renewal are for the purpose of being able to establish the excellency of the will of God in order that we may obey it when we recognize the wisdom. When we recognize the need to follow God, to be obedient to it.
Because of God's matchless grace, which is something we don't deserve. And because of His unbounded goodness, which is beyond what we can possibly comprehend, and because of the glory of Heaven which awaits the faithful child of God, we must...
"...present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." — Romans 1:1-2
In order to honor the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross, made because of the goodness of God, our response to that unspeakable gift ought to be a daily sacrifice of our living bodies upon the altar of God's great love and will.
Our living sacrifice begins when we are born again. When we are renewed and walk in the newness of life.
"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:" — Romans 6:3-5
We must walk in the newness of life, sacrificing our will; sacrificing, presenting our bodies a living sacrifice unto God. That begins when we obey Jesus Christ, when we repent of our sins when we confess our belief when we are baptized to have our sins washed away. And it continues as we live a life faithfully dedicated to Him.
If you are a Christian but are not faithful, we urge you to repent. If you're not a Christian, we urge you to put on Christ in baptism today.
If we can help you at all to respond to the invitation please contact us so we can assist you.