Faithlife Sermons

The Transformed Believer

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Major Fred Hargesheimer was a former pilot of the United States Air Force. During WWII, he was flying on a special recon mission over Papua New Guinea when his plane was attacked by a Japanese fighter jet. As a result of the attack, he was injured and his plane was going down. as he attempted to escape, he found that his canopy was jammed shut. Despite all of these obstacles, he was able to escape the plane and parachute down to safety.
For a full month, he fought to survive in the jungles of New Guinea knowing that if he were to be found by a Japanese soldier, he would be killed on sight! After 31 days, he was found by members of the Nakanai tribe and they sheltered him for 5 months, all the while risking their own lives to protect him from being found by the Japanese soldiers. Eventually, he met up with the Australian Coastwatchers who delivered him to safety.
But after his rescue, he could not help but constantly think about the extreme gesture of love and grace that was shown to him by the Nakanai tribe members. 16 years later, he returned to the island and found out that they were in need of a school. As soon as Fred returned home, he diligently raised $15,000 over 3 years and had a school house for the tribe built because of the extreme gratitude he had for them. And the school was named the Airmen’s Memorial School. Even then, his appreciation for what they had done did not fade. Over the next 40 years he continued to visit the tribe and continued to invest in the building up of their community.
Out of response for what was done for him by the Nakanai tribe, Fred spent the rest of his life living in gratitude for what they had done.
If he can show this kind of response for the salvation of his life, how much more should we live in gratitude to Christ in response to him saving our souls.
This is exactly what Paul addresses in our text today. So if you have your Bibles, please turn with me to Romans Chapter 12.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.


3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts

Let’s pray


As we begin to look at our Scripture this morning, we see that Paul begins his text with a very important word, “Therefore”. And I always want us to remember that whenever we are reading God’s Word, the most important thing for us to do is to read it within it’s context!
I want to teach you a little trick.

Any time you see the word therefore in scripture, ask “what is it there for?”

This will help you to read the following statement in context. And context is always the key to rightly observing and interpreting the Word of God. Those of us that are taking CLASS 201 on Monday nights are learning all about this!

Why is therefore present in ?

So why is “therefore” present in v.1? Well Romans Chapter 12 is a turning point in Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome.

Romans Chapter 12 is a turning point in Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome.

Well Romans Chapter 12 is a turning point in Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome.
So before we can truly grasp what he is saying in chapter 12, we have to consider what he has written in Chapters 1-11.
While I would truly love to stand here and read the first 11 chapters of Romans to you, I will instead give you a brief rundown.

is all about the theology of God’s mercy on us.

Paul explains that we are all sinners! It is part of our nature, and as a result of that sin nature, we all deserve to face God’s wrath. We deserve eternal separation from God and we deserve the sentence of eternal torment in hell.
Paul explains that there is no amount of good works that a person can do to ever redeem himself from this punishment. Just one sin makes us guilty before the Holy God!
Of course right now you may be thinking that this sounds pretty hopeless, but here comes the beauty of this letter!
Paul explains that Christ died for us and paid for our sins. And as a result, when we believe in Christ, that he died to pay the penalty of our sin and then rose from the dead and is alive and living today, we receive salvation! Salvation from the penalty of sin… which is an eternity in hell, but even worse than that, an eternity separated from God and all his goodness!
We are saved by that faith alone… not by our works!
And as a result of that faith we are no longer slaves to our sins, but we are dead to our sins and alive in Christ!
WOW that is good stuff! This is the kind of stuff we can and should get excited about… BUT Paul’s not finished!!
In he goes on to tell them that there is absolutely no condemnation in Christ Jesus… We are free!
And if that wasn’t good enough, he gives us his Holy Spirit to live inside us.
And the best news for us here at CBC that Paul lays out in Romans is that God’s salvation is not only for the Jews… but also for the gentiles! That’s us! And there is NOTHING that can ever separate us from his love…

neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wow! we can just close in prayer right here and go home! This is the stuff that should get you excited if you are a believer in Christ!
So this is the context of where we are heading as we approach which is the beginning of the practical section of Romans.

begins the practical section of Romans

We have the theology of God’s mercy in chapters 1-11… THEREFORE… here are the expectations that flow from that theology.

The practical things we look at in scripture MUST rest on theological foundation!

If not, all we are really getting here is advice on how to get along in a religious community when there is so much more to gather here.
12:1 starts with - Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God (which we learn all about in ), Our theological foundation. What Paul is about to lay out is how we are to live in response to God’s mercy.
In short, the only sufficient motivation for the Christian life is gratitude for grace. Especially in where Paul argues that Christians cannot lose their salvation or their place in God’s love!
If we could lose our salvation or do something that causes God to stop loving us, our motivation would not be in view of God’s mercy… His Grace…
But our motivation would be grounded in fear!

Anything we do in our Christian life will more than likely be based off of 1 of these 2 motivations:

Motivated by God’s grace or motivated by our fear.

And there is not much that is more dangerous than living the Christian life with fear as our motivation.
Here are

3 Dangers for fear based motivation for obedience:

1. Our motivation will lose it’s power over time.

The emotion of fear is one of the most draining emotions there is! Now, fear will HIGHLY motivate you at first, but eventually it is just exhausting!
People who live in great fear eventually experience a numbing effect.
Slowly you become just too tired to care, indifferent to what happens.
Fear-based religion often tends to be a short lived religion.
The second danger of fear based motivation is

2. It has a great deal of trouble with repentance.

When we are motivated by fear, we believe that there is some sort of line.
If we sin too much, we cross that line and God condemns us.
But we don’t really know where that line is. And as a result, bringing our sins to God is not a sweet thing to us but very bitter.
We don’t have the security to admit our sins to God for fear of punishment from God.
So we do a lot of rationalizing and blaming
The third danger is:

3. Fear-based obedience will always make it difficult to endure suffering or troubles.

Don’t be fooled! When you become a believer, your life does not all of a sudden become a perfect life with no hardships or troubles. Those times WILL come!
But when it comes to the fear based person, he will either think:
God is paying me back! God has abandoned me! Maybe I crossed the line this time!
OR he will think...
This isn’t fair! I obey so that God will bless me, so that these bad things won’t happen!
In other words, despair or bitterness will be the result of suffering if our motivation is fear based.

But right and effective motivation comes from our faith in the beautiful grace that we have in Christ.

When it is grace that compels us to become obedient, we will do so with joy, and our obedience will be long lasting!
Back to our text. Paul then urges us to do 2 things here… These are

The central features of a life following Jesus:

1. Present your bodies as a living sacrifice. (v. 1)

To understand this a little better, we need some more context!
Paul is using Old Testament temple terminology here.
Paul is using a metaphor of a worshiper at the temple who comes with an offering.
Some of those offerings were sin offerings. Sin offerings would be brought so God would forgive them of their sins, BUT we must remember that now Jesus is our sin offering! So this is NOT the kind of offering Paul was referring to in this text.
But a second kind of offering was a whole burnt offering.
This was a valuable animal that was brought from your flock. It had to be absolutely perfect. No defect at all… the scriptures said it was to be holy and without blemish.
But Why?
Such an animal was VERY expensive!
This was to show that all you had was at God’s disposal… even your very best! You DID NOT bring God your leftovers! It was the best you had! And in the process of the offering, This burnt offering was ALWAYS completely burned up, nothing was saved. It represented complete devotion to God.
So when Paul says we are to be a living sacrifice, we are to view this in the context of the burnt offering.
In the Old Testament, the person presenting the offering to God would step forward and place the offering on the altar.
This was a willful act. They had to willingly choose to obey God in giving this offering and willfully choose to do so in the right way.
We must do the same today as we approach God as a living sacrifice.
The holiness in our lives rarely progresses apart from a deliberate act of the will. We must make a willful choice to follow God and to obey him. As a believer, we go through a process called sanctification. This is the process by which God conforms us to be more and more like Christ as we grow and mature in Him. But the speed at which this process occurs depends on the decisions of the will. We must choose to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. And as we sacrifice ourselves, we begin to look more like Christ each and every day.
So in the Old Testament burnt offering, they would take the life of another life form, but in the New Testament it’s all about laying down our own life. This is the act of taking up our cross and following Jesus that Jesus talks about in . It is dying to our fleshly/worldly desires to live in a way which honors God.
When we do this, it is considered “Holy and pleasing to God.”
This reminds me of an old saying I heard in church growing up… “He is either the Lord of all or He’s not your Lord at all.”
Just as the entire body of the burnt offering was given to God in the temple worship, we must give our entire body to God, meaning every single thing we do, we do it for Him. We DO NOT give a Holy, righteous God our leftovers!
If you are giving yourself partially or half heartedly to God, you are simply not looking at what Jesus has done for you!
And if what He has done does not move you, you must ask yourself if you have ever understood the gospel.
Now I want to take a moment to make it very clear that we DO NOT do this to earn our salvation or to earn favor with God. It is our belief in the gospel of Christ that saves us and makes us righteous before God. And it is that same gospel that MOTIVATES us to offer our lives as a sacrifice to God.
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.

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

Because He already loves us and has already shown us His grace. So our works are not to gain the Father’s love but are for our Father because we are already loved.
And Paul goes on to say “THIS is your true worship”
So the first thing that is central to a life of following Christ is Presenting your bodies as a living sacrifice.
The second thing is to:

2. Not be conformed, but be transformed (v. 2)

Where verse 1 showed us the specific act in which we offer ourselves to God, verse 2 gives us the intentions of the living sacrifice.

A. Do not be conformed to this age.

This means do not become like the world! And in our society today we are being squeezed to accept and approve of things that go directly against God’s Word! We are being pressured to accept lifestyles that are displeasing to God. And we know that when we take a stand against those things, there will be EXTREME backlash against us! So the loud yells of the world silence us as we begin to slowly say that “we agree” with the world, just to keep the peace, even if we don’t really agree. Until slowly, the strong convictions you once had, don’t seem like such a big deal anymore… Do not be conformed to this age. Stand firm for the things of God, the things of the spirit!
This teaching is consistent throughout all of the new testament!
We see it in :

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.

Philippians 3:20 CSB
but our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly wait for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:2 CSB
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Galatians 1:3–4 CSB
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
Galatians 1:4 CSB
who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
And in :
Matthew 5:13–14 CSB
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.
We CAN NOT conform! It is our duty as believers in Christ to GO OUT and make a difference. Stand firm, but remember that we must do so in love!
The second intention of the living sacrifice is:

B. To be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

The greek word for transformed here is metamorphoo (meta morph Oh) which means
to be transformed v. — to be or become changed in outward appearance or expression as manifesting a change in nature or essence.
This is a complete change of who we are. It is a turning from our conformation to the world TO our transformation of being more like Christ.
This transformation is one that happens from within us... As the gospel of Christ motivates us to be concerned with the issues of life that are of lasting importance… The things of this earth will ALL fade away one day, but the things of God will remain! They are of lasting importance.
And when we are transformed, the end of verse 2 says we will be able to “discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
We should desire this transformation, long for it, seek it.
So what does the transformed life look like? Paul spells that out in the rest of Romans! So I encourage you to get into the Word and explore this letter from Paul, but today I want us to look at the first part of what a transformed life looks like.

Part of our transformed nature is using our gifts to serve God. (v. 3-6a)

For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts


How do we go about finding and using our gifts?

1. Have a right view of yourself. (v. 3)

Paul says do not think to highly of yourself… So don’t have a big head! But he also says think sensibly about yourself!
Acknowledge what you are good at to serve others
Think straight about yourself. Not too high but also, not too low.
The key here is to allow the gospel shape our view of who we are.
This prevents us from thinking too highly of ourself because the gospel reveals to us that we are all sinners. and that every effort we make to reconcile ourselves to God through works will only earn us judgement. And it also reveals to us that we are ONLY saved through the kindness of Christ.
When I look at myself through the eyes of the gospel, I can not look at myself with egotistical pride.
But the gospel also prevents us of thinking too lowly of ourselves as well!
Because the gospel ALSO reveals that we are SAVED sinners and we are loved and valued in the eyes of the only one who really matters… God.
Doing this gives us a right view of who we are. Once we have this settled, you then...

2. Think of yourself as having distinct gifts and abilities within the body of Christ.

We are all different, but we are all the same.
Paul uses the analogy of a body to describe this.
We are all different because God has given us each different talents and abilities to use to help build up the body of Christ and accomplish his mission of spreading the gospel.
But we are all the same because as believers, we are ALL part of the body of Christ.
We are connected to one another as parts of the same body.
And because of this, we must realize that our job in the body of Christ is crucial. If you have a country club mentality about church, you are doing a disservice to yourself, your church, and to God. A country club mentality is when you come to church because of what you get from it. You pay your dues, whether that be your tithes or just the fact that you give up your Sunday mornings to be here, and you expect to be served good music, a good message, and maybe a prayer. But you are not looking at how you can contribute to the work being done here.
If we sprain an ankle, the rest of the body works in overtime to make up for the ankle until it is recov
When a handful of people have this kind of mindset, it is like removing a few body parts from the body. Next thing you know, the body is walking or limping around with a missing foot, ear and eye.
When you do not do your part the work of God suffers.
So let the gospel compel you to act! Be transformed and let God use you. If we were to all do this, you could not even begin to imagine the impact we could make in our community!
One way that we can take a step in putting this into action is to going out as the body and invite someone to come to church with you next week for our Invite Your One Sunday! If each of us invites 1 family and only half show up, this place will be packed with people who will hear the gospel! Some maybe for the first time. Your asking someone to come to church could be the difference between heaven and hell for them… so

Go out, be the body, and invite your one!

Let’s pray
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