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Giving It All You've Got

Romans - I Am Not Ashamed  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In the famous Star Trek series, one of my favorite characters is Montgomery Scott, aka, Scottie. There often comes a time in the movie series where Scottie is asked to provide more power, or to make a hasty repair to the Enterprise as the crew is in grave danger. He usually says something like, “I’ve given her all she’s got captain, an I canna give’er no more.”
Yet, in our text this morning that is exactly what Paul is calling all men and women who’ve been saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, those who stand justified by His grace to do…Give Him All You’ve Got!
Let’s look at our text this morning, just one verse…
Romans 12:1 ESV
1 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.
I want us to look at four things this morning here in this verse that are vitally important to set the stage for the rest of the letter of Romans. Paul is turning a corner here in this new chapter. He is presenting for you an outline of Christian living that should issue from a knowledge of and trust in the Gospel which he spent 11 chapters explaining. These first two verses are a summary of the entire Christian life! If one thing holds true, once you’ve encountered Christ and the Gospel, you’ve got to give it all you’ve got!

Why Obey?

Paul has a pattern in his letter writing...
Theology (), Doxology (11:33-36), Practicality ()
Same thing in Ephesians
We understand as Christians there is unity in these three. Doctrine, doxology, duty.
The greater our comprehension of what God has done for us, the greater our commitment should be. A big vision of God’s plan brings a big commitment.
Isaac Watts captured it - “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
What is that motivation for Christian living? What is that reason for obedience?
Verse 1 gives our primary motive summed up in three words:
“Therefore” - Points to the truth that we give ourselves to God because of all Paul explained in Ch. 1- 11. The Doctrine, the Theology…The Main Idea which is —>
“We are justified by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.”
2. “I appeal” - “I urge”, “I beseech you” - It is not a wish, it is not a passing thought, but rather Paul is coming at you this morning with an appeal from God… a command but one without sanctions which is a “do this or else.”
This urging by Paul is the verb form of the same root which is used by Jesus to refer to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a “Helper” “Comforter” or “Counselor”.
He comes alongside to do that which the verb suggests…exhort, urge, comfort, counsel.
3. More of a phrase - “by the mercies of God” or “in view of the mercies of God” - The only sufficient motivation for the Christian life is gratitude for grace.
Paul is appealing to their “reason”…In view of God’s mercy…it is only reasonable that you do this...
Please hear me - Paul is not using “fear” as the motivation.
Fear loses its power over time. There is no repentance in fear, fear makes it difficult to endure suffering and trouble.
Paul is appealing to the mercies of God!
His mercy is the handing over of Jesus, His one and only Son, to be a sacrificial substitute to pay for your sin, and then God’s freely pouring out His undeserved mercy and grace in Jesus, by justification, sanctification, and eventually glorification.
The appeal is issued to do two things - We will cover the first this morning -

Living Sacrifices

Paul’s first appeal is that we “offer” or “present” our bodies as living sacrifices.
Paul uses the word “offer” or “present” five times already in this letter.
Romans 6:13 ESV
13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
Romans 6:19 ESV
19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
The point of Ch 6 is that because of the union with Christ, we have died to the power of sin and are no longer slaves to sin, and we are now free to offer ourselves to God “as those who have been brought from death to life.”
So Paul is not making an emotional appeal. This is an appeal to you who are set free by grace to live under grace by presenting all that you are to God.
Present what?
Your bodies…We are embodied people.
Take away the body and you cannot hear, see, speak, walk, touch or act.
To offer our body is to offer everything we are, all we think, feel, influence, difference we can make in the world.
Our bodies are important. The physical body is wearing down, but one day will be made new.
Our bodies may be “implements of righteousness”
Members of Christ
Temple of the Holy Spirit
Paul speaks of being “holy both in body and spirit” in
Grace affects the whole of life.
This thought to the Greek/Roman mind would be strange. They were brought up to believe the body was negative and bad, and that spirituality involved only cultivating the mind and soul.
Paul is saying that God does not want a purely inward and abstract worship, but a practical and total one. He wants us to give Him everything we do. God doesn’t like leftovers, and deserves the all-overs.
Sacrifices? - This is the imagery of a worshiper coming into the Temple with an offering.
Two types of offerings - Sin offering and and consecration offerings.
Sin Offerings were where the worshiper was shedding the blood of the animal and asking forgiveness. Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus is our once and for sin offering. So Paul is not referencing the sin offering.
Hebrews 9:12 ESV
12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
He is referencing the other offering, the offering of consecration and devotion to God. Again, they didn’t bring God the leftovers, they brought the best.
There was a time in Israel’s history when they did not offer the best. presents a time when Israel was not faithful in offering sacrifices.
Friend, don’t be like that! You offer your life, all that you are to God as a living sacrifice…Give Him your best, Give Him your all.
In all of this, we are living! We have to continually renew our position as obedient and at God’s disposal.
It’s what Jesus meant when He said, that any follower of His “must deny himself and take up his cross daily…and lose his life.”
We must daily give over our lives and our bodies in obedience to God, motivated by the view of God’s mercy that we have as we stand at the foot of cross and see His Son dying there for us.
The sacrifice does not belong to us, and it is not things we possess like money, or part of our time or energy, but of ourselves to God.

Pleasing to God

Holy and acceptable, Holy and pleasing to God.
Holy describes the quality of life we should pursue.
Pleasing describes the results. That was the problem back in Malachi’s day. The offering was not holy and was not pleasing.
The gospel reorients our life aim in life. We no longer live for ourself and to please others, but rather to please God. Paul says “We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.”
The gospel motivates and frees us to live lives that please God. We don’t aim to please God to earn salvation because faith in Christ is salvation. But we aim to please God because He has saved, by grace through faith, those who are in Christ. We do so out of gratitude.
Romans 8–16 for You Pleasing to God

Imagine a father watching his young son play baseball for his team, having spent hours in the yard teaching him batting technique. This father already loves his son fully and completely. If his son forgets his father’s instructions and strikes out, it will in no way lessen his father’s love for him or approval of him. The son is assured of his father’s love, regardless of his performance.

But the son will still long to hit that home run. Not for himself to gain his father’s love—but for his father, because he is already loved. If he doesn’t know his father loves him, his efforts will be for himself—to win that love. But because he knows his father already loves him, his efforts are for his father—to please him.

Imagine
Having a good view of God’s mercy provides us with both a powerful assurance, and the motivation to live a sacrificial life, pleasing to God.

Rational Worship

It’s simple…this is the appropriate response to the grace of God. It can mean spiritual in the sense of total and inward, from the heart, rather than just external and superficial.
This means that in light of God’s mercy that offering our whole selves can be seen as rational or logical.
Clear thinking on the subject means the only logical response is to make such a sacrificial offering of our lives.
Once you have a good view of God’s mercy, anything less than a TOTAL, COMPLETE SACRIFICE OF YOURSELF TO GOD IS COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL.
If you give yourself half-heartedly, or partially, you are not thinking, you are not looking at what Jesus did.
If looking at what Jesus did for you does not move you, or breakthrough the darkness of your soul, then you must ask yourself if you understand the gospel at all.
Friends, its been said of Paul that he makes worship mobile. The misplaced worship of is replaced with the offering of living men and women wherever there are Christians in the world! There is no sacred time, sacred place, for wherever Christian people offer their lives as sacrifices, there is holiness, and there is worship!

Overcoming Spiritual Stagnation

Here are two truths to help overcome the stagnation that has you in a place of disobedience...
View or RE-view the mercies of God - His specific acts and works — Look at the CROSS!
There is no way to sustain a pattern of holiness and living sacrificially without stoking the fire of our hearts by deep meditation and focus on God’s mercy and grace.
Remind yourself the only rational response to Christ giving us all of Himself is to give all of ourselves to Him.
Jesus gave all He had that you can live to day for all that He is in you. Christian, we’ve got to have more! Are you givin’ Him all you’ve got? You’re not a star ship and this Jesus thing isn’t sci-fi, but I always believe there is more to give, and give to His glory you shall.
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