Last Sunday, I preached on Romans 12:1-2. During my preparation, I always create a personal paraphrase of the passage from which I'm teaching. Here was this week's paraphrase:
After everything I’ve said, now I must call you to action. Because of God’s mercy, give your whole self over to Him. Don’t hold anything back and don’t hold on to any old sins. This type of worship is the best way to respond to Him. You’ve been renewed, so let it change the way you think. You shouldn’t look like the world anymore, but your life should mirror God’s will. That’s the best way to live.
I never get to preach all the content I discover while preparing. Here are 10 Observations from Romans 12 I made while studying over the past few weeks.
- Paul’s appeal was based on the truths he had already shared. Primarily, Paul’s appeal is rooted in God’s mercy toward us. We must understand Romans 1-11 as an exposition of God’s mercy.
- Even Romans 1, which speaks of God’s wrath, is an explanation of God’s mercy. The better we understand our own depravity, the more clearly we see the depth of God’s mercy.
- Humility leads to gratitude, because in seeing ourselves with clear eyes we recognize the vast amount of God’s mercy toward us.
- A living sacrifice means we are giving away something that is costly. If it is not costly, it is not a sacrifice.
- A living sacrifice means we do it now. It is not okay to think, “I’ll give God my full attention in eternity, but for now I’m going to enjoy this world.” Waiting until you die means you’re offering a dead sacrifice.
- A holy sacrifice means we cannot offer God a sacrifice which we know is full of sin. As long as we are holding on to sin, we cannot offer our life to God. That is unacceptable.
- A top priority for every follower of Christ should be seeking to discover the thing for which they’ve been set aside. We’ve been set aside to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We’ve been set aside to be aliens and strangers We’ve been set aside to be ambassadors of reconciliation.
- An acceptable sacrifice is the sacrifice of Abel which means our first and best. Offering God our live’s leftovers is not acceptable.
- If we offer ourselves as a living, holy and acceptable sacrifice; we will no longer look like the world. A Christian who “conforms” to the world is a hypocrite. He is behaving in conflict with his identity.
- In testing everything against God’s will, one can discern what should and should not be done. Discernment means when I face a tough decision, my first question should be “is this good, acceptable and perfect?”
- Of what God has already done for us
- Of what God is continuing to do
- Such service is God’s will and His will is good, pleasing, and perfect
- God is worthy of our best efforts
- Only spiritual things will last
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