Reasonable Worship

4a0ca454240982fdda482609a55bfc78Paul then calls this offering “rational” worship. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1). The ESV has “spiritual worship,” with a footnote—“Or your rational service.” The NKJV has “reasonable service.” The word “spiritual” is not in the Greek. The Greek word is logikos, which literally means, “rational.” It refers to “being true to the real and essential nature of something – ‘rational, genuine, true.’” (Louw-Nida) Thus, “reasonable” worship is worship that is true worship.

What is true and fitting for the people of God? They are to be living sacrifices. They are to be holy and acceptable sacrifices. That is true worship.

Offer Yourself As An Acceptable Sacrifice

acceptable-sacrificeMore, we are to offer ourselves as an “acceptable” sacrifice. The adjective “acceptable” (euarestos) means “pleasing” to God. It is to be a sacrifice that God accepts, that pleases God.

There are sacrifices that God does not accept. “Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them” (Amos 5:22).

What would make God accept your sacrifice of yourself? Will your tithes and offerings make you acceptable to God? Will your church worship make you acceptable to God? When I was a teenager, I committed many sins. I went to church every Saturday and Sunday. I thought going to church will make me acceptable to God.

According to the context of Romans, what is acceptable to God is God’s will. “But be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable (euarestos) and perfect(Rom. 12:2, emphasis added). To be acceptable to God then is to obey God’s will.

Also, serving Christ is acceptable to God. “Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God” (Rom. 14:18). In Rom. 14, to serve Christ is to build up others in Christ.

If we obey God’s will and serve Christ, our offering of ourselves become acceptable to God.

A Holy Sacrifice

img_6985Further, we are to offer ourselves as a “holy” sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). The Bible does not tell us to offer Christ again and again as a holy sacrifice. He has offered Himself on the cross “once for all” (Heb. 7:27; 9:28; 10:10, 12). Instead, God’s Word tells us to offer ourselves as a holy sacrifice.

The adjective “holy” (hagios) means “set apart for God.” (Gingrich) To be set apart for God is to be sanctified for God. It is to become the property of God. We are telling God, “Lord, I belong to You. You own me.”

One day, a farmer came in his house and told his wife good news. Their best cow had given birth to twin cows—one red and one white. Then he said that he will give one cow to the Lord. “Which cow?” his wife asked. “I will decide later,” the farmer said.

A few months later, the farmer came in looking sad. “What’s the problem?” his wife asked.

“Bad news. The Lord’s calf is dead,” the farmer said.

The wife said, “But you haven’t yet decided which calf belongs to the Lord.”

The farmer replied, “Oh, I was thinking it should be the white cow that belongs to the Lord. Now the white cow is dead. The Lord’s calf is dead.”[1]

The white cow always dies. When we are running out of money, we sacrifice the white cow. Why is it that we always let the white cow die? When offering time comes, we say, “Oh, I can’t give anymore. The white cow is dead.” But why is there still money left for your travels, your new cell phone, and your shopping?

Yet the Lord owns the white cow and the red cow.

I like that old hymn by Frances R. Havergal about offering our lives to God.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

To be a holy sacrifice to God is to know that God owns us. You do not own yourself. God owns you; you belong to God. Offer yourself as a holy sacrifice for God—as belonging only to God.

[1] “God’s ownership and man’s stewardship,” GenerousChurch. Cited September 11, 2016. Online: http://www.generous church.com/212.

 

Offer Yourself as a Living Sacrifice

jesus-prayerThe second way is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. The Jews offered dead sacrifices. But we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices. In the OT, God required taking the life of others. But in the NT, God urges giving your own life. (F. F. Bruce)

What does Paul mean by the phrase “living” (zao) sacrifices? For so long, I thought that we are to sacrifice ourselves while still living. I was so wrong.

Paul wrote in Rom. 6:13, “Present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life.” We are living sacrifices not because we are still alive and kicking. We are living sacrifices because we have been brought from death to life. We are now alive in Christ. The life of the Spirit is flowing in our spirits.

Offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God–as one who has transferred from death to life.

By the Mercies of God

d71034a6b8a16b2986e1d0d13cfa1686There are two ways to offer ourselves—(1) by the mercies of God and (2) as a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice. The first way is to offer ourselves out of gratitude to God’s mercies. Paul talks about the mercies of God in Rom. 11:31—“Just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience.”

What are these mercies? God was merciful to people who were at one time disobedient but now have come to Christ by faith. God extended His mercy to sinners through the death of Christ. Thus, we should offer ourselves out of gratitude to God for His mercies to us in Christ.

Are you grateful to God for His mercy to save you from your sin? The only right response is to offer yourself as a sacrifice to God.

Offer Yourself to God

5c41b97119fc8cdcad7c5727ecc1c4cePaul wrote, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1-2). The word “present” refers to the offering of a sacrifice. “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God (Rom. 6:13).” To present our bodies is to present ourselves as a sacrifice. It is to present the whole person to God (Phil. 1:20). Paul is not talking about offering only our hands or our arms to God. God does not want only a “part” of our selves. God wants our whole being, our mind, heart, and soul.

Once upon a time there was a chicken and a pig who were very good friends. They lived in a town that had a great deal of poverty. Many residents rarely ate three meals a day.

The chicken wanted to help these people, so one day she approached her good friend the pig and said, “I have an idea how you and I could help these poor people get a great breakfast.”

“What could we do?” questioned the pig.

“Well, I could give the eggs I lay and you could give your ham so that we could give the people a great ham and eggs breakfast,” the chicken explained.

“I understand your concern,” answered the wise pig, “but what is just a donation for you is a total commitment for me!” [1]

To offer yourself is to give your all to Jesus.

Paul uses the verb complement “to present” as an infinitive. An infinitive indicates purpose. Paul is urging us to be intentional about it. Make it a point to present yourself to God.

[1]  Motivational Joe, “Chicken And The Pig Story (A Tale Of Commitment). Cited September 11, 2016. Online: http://www.motivationaljoe.com/chicken-and-the-pig-story/.

“Give Pa More”: Surrender Before Service (Romans 12:1-3)

1“Connect, Grow, Serve” Sermon Series

Today, I launch a sermon series on “Connect, Grow, Serve”—our 2016 GGCF Theme. My sermon series are based on three key NT texts—Romans 12:1-8, 1 Cor. 12, and Eph. 4:1-16. Please join me as we dig deeper into God’s Word in the coming months. We will learn about God’s plan on how to function in the body of Christ.

I’ve entitled my first sermon, “‘Give Pa More’: Surrender Before Service.” By “Give Pa More,” I mean that we must give all of ourselves to God first, before we serve Him.

Paul talks about serving God in the body of Christ Romans 12:6-8. In serving God, we use our spiritual abilities. As we use our spiritual abilities, we function as a body of Christ.

But before we serve God, we are to surrender to God in vv. 1-3. Surrender is the starting point of service.

That is what we have here in Romans 12:1-3. Paul is appealing to the Roman believers. The verb “appeal” (parakaleo) means to “urge, exhort.” (Gingrich) He is not commanding, but urging us to do one thing. That one thing is to present ourselves to God. Then he gives two commands—not conform yourself to this world; and to be transformed.

Let us study three things that God’s Word is telling us.