Living Sacrifices

The Bible teaches in the following passage how we are to live as Christians.  Living sacrifices are a greater influence to mankind in this sinful world, much more than a dead sacrifice.  Martyrs cannot preach the Gospel any more.  Martyrs are not able to witness anymore.  It takes someone alive in Christ to continue the work of winning souls.

Romans 11:33-36 – Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!   “For who has known the mind of the LORD?  Or who has become His counselor?”, “Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

  • These scriptures speak to us of the greatness, the wisdom, the mercy and the love of God toward His creation.  That’s US.  You and I are the objects of God’s attention.  Did you know that?  That is something to get excited about.  God loves you.

Romans 12:1-2 – 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.  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.

  • Let us look very carefully at these first two verses of chapter 12.  Note that what is about to be said is not to the world, but to the church, to the people of God, that people who call themselves “Christian.”
  • There is not a worse advertisement for the church and the work of the church than those who call themselves “Christian” and live like the world. 
  • Someone said “If you run with the goats on Saturday night, don’t expect to smell like a sheep on Sunday morning.”
  • There is more to being a Christian than shedding a few crocodile tears at the altar.  It is walking straight after you go out the door.
  • There is more to living for Christ Jesus than the 10:30 or 11:00 worship hour on Sunday morning. 
  • There is more to being a Christian than joining a church or living a creed.  It is called dedication, consecration, sanctification and a whole lot more.  Be a good advertisement for the Lord.

Give your all for Him – He gave His all for you.

  • I beseech you – I implore you, I beg you.  Remember this verse is addressed to the people of God.  Did you know that some people in the church need to be coached, begged, counseled, and convinced of what is right and what really is the truth?  People attending church may point to a particular sin and say, “I would never do that.”  Yes, you would if sin is in control.  If you have not been truly changed by the saving grace of Jesus and the indwelling power of the Spirit, who knows but God what you are capable of doing.
  • Brethren – to the house of faith.  That is you and I.  This passage is addressed to us, the church, the believers, the body of Christ.  One passage of Scripture states that “Judgment must begin at the house of God.”  Another states, “If the righteous scarcely be saved, what of the ungodly?”  As ambassadors of Christ, we must be holy, blameless, walking worthy of the calling that Christ has called us to. 
  • Is holy living popular today?  In some churches it will get you in trouble if you preach it.  Let’s look at someone who lived in the early 1700’s who was not popular because of his stance on holiness – John Wesley.  Here is a single passage from the journal of John Wesley:

1738
Sunday a.m., May 7, preached in St. Lawrence’s, was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday p.m., May 7, preached at St. Katherine Cree’s church, deacons said, “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday a.m., May 14, preached at St. Ann’s, can’t go back there either.
Sunday afternoon, May 21, preached at St. John’s, kicked out again.
Sunday evening, May 21, preached at St. somebody else’s, Bennet’s maybe, deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.

1739
Tuesday, May 8, afternoon service, preached in a pasture in Bath, 1,000 people came to hear me.
Sunday, September 9, preached to 10,000 people three weeks in a row in Moorfields

It may not be popular, but most people really do want to hear the truth.

  •  By the mercies of God – How do you measure the mercies of God?  Were it not for the mercies of God, you and I would not be here today.  It is only His great mercy that we are able to get ourselves out of bed, dress ourselves, feed ourselves and find our way to the House of God.  We take so much for granted.
  • It is only because of His mercy that we were born in this great country.  Yes, it is a great country even with its sin. 
    • It is only because of His mercy we have a place like this beautiful sanctuary to worship in.
    • It is only because of His mercy that somebody somewhere told us about the saving grace of Jesus.
    • It is only by His mercy that we have a mind capable of coming to the conclusion that He is the one who will take us, shape us, and make us in the image of his own self.  GLORY!!!
  •  That you present your bodies – You cannot present your body to serve God and continue to allow your mind and your will to go unbridled and service the flesh.  It’s all or nothing. You cannot walk the fence and serve God.  The devil, the enemy of your soul, can duplicate everything in the Christian’s life.  Everything except one thing.  Think about it.  The devil cannot duplicate consistent holy living.  You must have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing and holy before God.  You are just not strong enough on your own.  You need help!  God’s help – daily, hourly, every moment 24/7 365.

Psalms 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength.  A very present help in time of trouble.”

James 4:7 – “Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

You cannot get past the temptation if you are debating the devil or continuing to dwell on the temptation.  The scripture says to first, submit to God.  Another passage says He will give you a way of escape.  To resist the devil so that he will flee from you may take many forms.  One way would be, instead of dwelling on the temptation, go and do a good deed, start singing praises to God, or reach for your Bible.  Do anything except debate the devil unless you can quote him a scripture or two.  BUT IT STARTS WITH SUBMISSION TO GOD.

Ephesians 5:8 – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light.

  •  A living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God – A lot of things have come down the pike regarding the term “holy” or “holiness.”  What does the Word of God say about the matter?  It is not what Aunt Tillie, Uncle Joe or grandmother says.  It is not what a church organization says.  It is not what some ecclesiastical potentate of some sort says.  It is what “thus says the Lord.”  Are you pleasing to God?  That is what matters.
  •  Your reasonable service – Reasonable, rational, intelligent, logical, not in any way unreasonable.  He never demands or asks anything you cannot do. 

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

1 Corinthians 6:20 – “For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Hebrews 10:23 – “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

  •  Do not be conformed to this world – You do not belong to this world any more.  You are a child of God.  Act like it; speak like it; live like it.  You are fashioned after, shaped as, conformed like Him if you indeed have received Him.  You are not your own.  You belong to Him and you belong to each other.  When you live in a manner less than your Heavenly Father intends for you to live, you bring reproach on Him, on the church and on each other.  We are all part of the same body, so we need to have respect for Him, for the church, for each other.

1 John 2:15-16 – “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Romans 6:6-7 – Know this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  For he who has died has been freed from sin.”

  •  Be transformed by the renewing of the mind – When you came to Christ, you had a heart transplant, but you also needed your thinking rewired.  That did not happen necessarily at the same time.  You were changed, but the change did not happen automatically.  The mind changed when God’s presence so overwhelmed you at your request and His delight as you became one with Him in the sanctifying grace and power of the Holy Spirit.
  •  That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God – If we are living as we should, we will show forth the Lord’s glory in our life and be in His perfect will.  Are you living in His perfect will?  Is your life bringing glory to Him?

Being holy is not a dispensational thing.  God has demanded holiness from all time.  Look at one more example of a man who tried to live holy – John Chrysostom.

John Chrysostom was one of the greatest of the Greek Church fathers.  He lived in A.D. 347-407.  Pastor of Antioch and Bishop of Constantinople, he was called “Golden Mouth.”  He preached a lengthily series of sermons on Genesis, Matthew, John and Romans, most of which are still available today.

As a very young Christian he was brought before the emperor, who said that if he would not give up Christ; he would be banished from the country.  Chrysostom said, “You cannot, for the whole world is my Father’s land.  You can’t banish me.”  The emperor said, “Then I will take away all your property.”  “You cannot.  My treasures are in heaven,” was the reply.  “Then I’ll take you to a place where there is not a friend to speak to.”  Chrysostom replied, “You cannot.  I have a friend who is closer than a brother.  I shall have Jesus Christ, forever.”  The emperor finally threatened, “Then I’ll take away your life!”  The answer was, “You cannot.  My life is hid with God in Christ.”  And the emperor said, “What do you do with a man like that?”

Names of God – His Name is Forgiveness

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

My Name is Forgiveness

Micah 7:18-19 – Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.  He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Nehemiah 9:17 – …But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.

Psalm 130:1-4 – Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!  Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.  If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.

Psalm 86:5 – For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

Quote of David Wilkerson – “Discovering the Lord as a God who forgives is the only way out of all our depths of despair, all the casting down of our souls brought on by guilt and condemnation.”

No hope – no hope – no hope – but then the shadow of a cross appeared.  The sun grew dark with misery, the moon was cold and chill.  But then the shadow of a cross arose upon a lonely hill.

  • Without Christ – hopeless eternity        
  • With Christ – eternal hope

A perverted concept of forgiveness is prevalent in the world today.

  • We recognize that God is good
  • We recognize that God is merciful
  • We recognize that God is longsuffering
  • We recognize that God forgives all sin

BUT

  • ·         There is no repentance
  • There is no change of heart
  • There is no attitude change

We feel sorry for the moment because we do not want God’s judgment and we do not want to go to hell, but we do not really change our way of living.

Isaiah 55:7 – Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord,
and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sin is seen throughout the Bible.

  • God killed animals to made clothes for Adam and Eve
  • Abel sacrificed
  • Abraham – the ram caught in the bushes
  • The sacrifices in the Old Testament revealed God’s nature of forgiveness
  • John 3:16 reinforced it
  • Jesus’ fulfillment of that promise completed the work

Hebrews 10:18 – And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

God’s continued call to repentance from beginning to end is proof that there is forgiveness in His name.  There is forgiveness through His blood.

Grace

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

LIFE WITHOUT CHRIST

  • A life of death

The basic meaning of death (nekros) is separation.  Physical death is when a person is separated from their body.  Spiritual death is when a person is separated from God. 

1 John 5:12 – “He who has the Son has life; and he does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 Romans 8:6 – “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

  • A life of trespasses and sin

Trespasses (paraptoma) means to fall, slip, blunder, deviate, wander away. 

Sins (hamartia) means to miss the mark. 

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

  • A life lived with the disobedient.
  • A life under God’s wrath.

John 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Romans 1:18 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

Hebrews 2:2-3 – “For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.”

LIFE WITH CHRSIT

  • Made “Alive”
  • Why?  Because of his love.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Love (agapao) means unconditional love, love by choice and by an act of the will.  It is the world for God’s unconditional love.  It does not depend on “feelings” or “chemistry.” 

  • Why?  Because of His mercy.

Mercy (eleei) means feelings of pity, compassion, kindness.  It is a desire to comfort, to care for. 

  • When?  When we were His enemies.

Romans 5:6, 8, 10 – “For when we were still without strength in due time, Christ died for the ungodly.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

  • Together with Christ
  • In His resurrection
  • In His ascension
  • In His present rule at God’s right hand

Romans 8:11 – ‘If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

Romans 8:17-18 – “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Philippians 3:21 – “who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

Colossians 3:4 – “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

GOD’S GREAT PURPOSE

  • We were created for God’s glory.

Col 1:16 – “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him.”

  • God’s grace will take all eternity to show off.

Whatever we may experience of God’s goodness here, there is much more to come – it will take all of eternity for us to comprehend and show proper appreciation for all God has done for us through Jesus Christ.   

GRACE OF GOD

            God’s

            Riches

            At

            Christ’s

            Expense

  • Grace is giving – giving to people who do not deserve it. 

Romans 5:6-10 – “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  This portion of Scripture shows that God died for us when we were:

  • without strength
  • ungodly
  • sinners
  • enemies
  • God’s saving grace is free (for us – it cost Jesus His very life).        
  • We cannot save ourselves. 

Romans 3:20, 27 – Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin; Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith”

Galatians 2:16 – “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

 Titus 3:4-5 – “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

GOD’S GRACE MEANS WE CAN WALK RIGHT

  • We are God’s “work of art.” 

Workmanship (poiema) means that which is manufactured, a design produced by an artist.  (This is where we get our words “poetry” and “poem.”)  We are God’s poem. 

  • We are designed to do good works.

Not as a duty – but as a part of our new nature.  If a man has been created in Christ, he does good works.  He is not perfect.  He fails, gets up and starts again.  But he keeps coming back to God and allows God to use him to do God’s work on earth.

Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Col. 1:10 – “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

 Titus 3:8 – “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”

James 2:17-18 – “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’  Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

 1 Peter 2:12 – “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

Inheritance in God

1 Peter 3:8-9

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

God has chosen you.

1 Peter 1:1-2a – To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.

Ephesians 1:4 – Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Ephesians 1:11 – In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

Revelation 22:17 – And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

God is sanctifying you.

1 Peter 1:2b – in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24 – that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

God has shown mercy.

1 Peter 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Psalm 103:10 – He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.

Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

God has a purpose for our trials.

1 Peter 1:6-7 – In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

James 1:2-4 – My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

God’s goodness is Jesus

1 Peter 1:8-9 – whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.