Here is Night #4’s message. It’s in outline form…
I. Review from last few nights.
II. Asking the question: If Jesus is the Great Sacrifice for us…what is our response?
a. Romans 12:1 answers that question.
III. “I appeal to you, therefore…”
a. Or—“Therefore, I urge you…”
b. Therefore—This is a reference back to chapters 1-11 in Romans…that he had just written.
i. Crash Course:
1. All people are unrighteous.
2. We are made righteous through faith in Christ.
3. We have freedom from sin and life through the Holy Spirit.
ii. When Paul says “therefore,” he is letting us know that all of that doctrine, all of that theology…was never meant to be dead and boring. It wasn’t meant to be something we just talk about. It was meant to be something that changes us…that motivates us…
c. And therefore…Paul appeals to us. That word means he calls out to us, he urges us, he invites us…
i. The invitation is on the table.
1. Which means…we don’t have to respond. It’s kind of like when you were younger and you got an invitation to a birthday party. You didn’t have to go if you didn’t want to…Jesus won’t make you follow him. God won’t make you worship Him. The decision is not your mom’s or dad’s or pastor’s. The decision of what you are going to do with your life is up to you.
IV. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God”
a. This is the motivation. Paul makes his appeal to us…makes his invitation…and the mercy of God should be our reason to accept that invitation.
b. So great is God’s mercy for us…that we are motivated to respond.
i. Have you ever had an encounter with someone who offered their mercy or forgiveness to you and it motivated you to change?
ii. Luke 19:1-9 ESV
19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.
1. Zacchaeus was a Jew. And the Jewish people were living under the Roman government…and they hated it. And as a tax collector, Zacchaeus had sold out and decided to work for the Roman government collecting taxes. And tax collectors would collect the appropriate taxes, but the government allowed the tax collectors to collect any extra that they wanted to keep for themselves. It was very corrupt. And so tax collectors were hated not only because they sold out to work for the government…but also because they stole a lot of money for themselves from the people they collected taxes from.
2. And Zacchaeus is one of these guys. And he would have lived a life of loneliness and isolation. He would have no friends…he would be totally despised. And he would have been shunned everywhere he went.
3. But…enter Jesus. Jesus invites himself to Zacchaeus’ house. The passage says that Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully…of course he would. He didn’t have any other friends and here this man wanted to be with him. The people watching this wondered how in the world Jesus would go to the house of such a notorious sinner.
4. And what was Zacchaeus’ response? “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” Why do you think that Zacchaeus did this?
5. I think it’s because he was accepted by Christ, even though he was such a great sinner. I think he received Jesus’ mercy and acceptance, despite who he was. And you know what? That mercy and love motivated him to action. He gives away half of the money he had and repays everyone what he stole from them plus 4x more.
6. PERSONAL STORY?
c. By the mercies of God…we are motivated to action.
V. “I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice”
a. Let’s take it apart word by word.
i. “Offer” or “Present”—This is a cool word. This is to give something to someone…to offer it to them. Actually, the word means to “yield.”
1. A lot of you are driving. Can you explain to me what it means to yield? You give to others the right of way.
2. When the people came to offer their lambs as a Passover sacrifice…they were giving the rights to that lamb to someone else. Who were they giving it to? God.
3. To yield something is to give someone else the rights. The dictionary: “to give up possession or claim of a thing; to hand over possession; to surrender to another; to relinquish one’s possession.”
ii. “Your Bodies”—
1. Is your body one thing? Or a lot of things?
a. It’s both. Your body is one thing made up of lots of things.
2. Paul writes in both Romans and I Corinthians that bodies are made up of many parts.
a. So, if you are yielding your body…you are yielding all of the parts that make up your body.
3. Let’s put it all together then. So if you yield your body, what does it mean? That you give away the rights of your body to someone else. And, since your body is made up of lots of different parts, you yield all of those parts.
a. I had heard a story about a great knight who won many battles and killed many men. And, at the height of his fame, he decided to surrender his life to Christ and be baptized. He got into the water and went down and held up his right hand…which also was the hand he used to carry his sword.
b. All of the rest of the parts of his body were offered…yielded…but he couldn’t offer his entire body to God.
4. We have to offer all of us.
iii. “As a Living Sacrifice”—
1. Living Sacrifice is an oxymoron…like “jumbo shrimp” or “pretty ugly” or “male sensitivity” or—wait for it—“female logic.
2. Let’s take a look at living and dead sacrifices.
a. First of all…it’s easier to be a dead sacrifice than to be a living sacrifice.
i. Dead sacrifices only have to be a sacrifice once. Once they are sacrificed…they are dead…and it’s all over.
ii. Dead sacrifices don’t do anything. They are of absolutely no use after their sacrifice. God can no longer use a dead sacrifice.
iii. Living sacrifices have to be sacrificed over and over again. The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps wanting to crawl off the altar.
1. If you were watching Ewe-la the other night…you noticed that if Rich hadn’t been holding her down, she wouldn’t have stayed put. She didn’t enjoy being our sacrifice that night. That’s because being a sacrifice isn’t fun. It can be painful. It hurts. There is fire on the altar and we don’t like to go through fire.
2. We have to drag ourselves up onto the altar everyday and go through the process of sacrificing ourselves.
3. Our theme verse for the week:
Luke 9:23 ESV
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
a. If anyone want to come after me—follow me, be my disciple.
b. Let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me—what did Jesus’ cross lead to? His sacrifice. Jesus here tells us that we are going to have to pick up our crosses everyday…sacrifice ourselves everday.
iv. Living sacrifices, however, can be useful. A dead sacrifice is good for nothing. But God can use a living sacrifice.
b. A dead sacrifice is offered once and then is no longer useful. But a living sacrifice is offered again and again…and is very useful to God.
VI. “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.”
a. As Nate mentioned last night at campfire…worship is not just music. We have bought into this idea that worship is just music. But in this verse, Paul explicitly says that worship is offering our bodies as a living sacrifice.
i. True worship involves your whole body…as we have already talked about…not just your voices. It involves your hands, your feet, your eyes, your mind, your heart.
b. I think the rest of the book of Romans give us a glimpse into what this means…to be living sacrifices.
i. Live humbly—“I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” (12:3)
ii. Use our gifts—“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” (12:6)
iii. Genuine Love—“Let love be genuine.” (12:9)
iv. Serve Others—“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly…live peaceably with all. ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.’” (12:15-16, 18, 20)
v. Submit to Authority—“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” (13:1)
vi. Don’t Judge—“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…” (14:10)
vii. Follow Christ’s Example—“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself…” (15:2-3)
c. Those are just some of the ways we are called to be living sacrifices. How that looks day-to-day is up to you.
VII. Jesus as both Priest and Sacrifice
a. Vic mentioned this morning this interesting idea that Jesus was both the priest who offered the sacrifice…and the sacrifice. He offered himself.
i. We are called to do the same thing. We are called to make an offering…and the offering we are called to make is ourselves…our bodies…our lives.