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A young lady approached me last week when I was at a conference speaking, and she was very tearful and very distraught.
And she said to me essentially what I have heard in different words many times in my ministry.
She said, "I just can't seem to live the Christian life the way I should."
She said, "I am frustrated.
I am without victory, without a sense of accomplishment.
I struggle seemingly with the very simplest forms of obedience in my Christian walk.
I'm constantly defeated.
Can you help me?"
I said, "Well, what has been your approach to solving the problem yourself?"
She said, "I have tried everything."
She said, "I...I've been going to a church where they speak in tongues, where they have healings, where they have all kinds of spiritual experiences."
She said, "I've entered into all of them.
I've spoken in tongues.
I've had certain ecstatic experiences, gifts of prophecy, certain supposed miracles.
I've been slain in the Spirit.
And in spite of all of this, I am not pleased with my life."
And she said, in a rather telling remark, "I've tried to get all I could get out of God."
And I said, "That's your problem."
The key to spiritual victory is not getting all you can get, but giving all you have.
There's a big difference.
And there are people literally flocking into churches and spiritual experiences to get more of God when the issue is not what they need to get but what they need to give.
And that's the essence of this tremendous passage of Scripture.
Now we are then to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice.
What does that mean?
We don't want to just talk of it in rhetorical terms, just throwing it out as rhetoric, but we want to express specifically what it contains.
So let me discuss with you out of this text the four elements in a living sacrifice, the four elements.
This is very foundational to our spiritual experience.
The four elements that are included in the presentation of a believer as a living sacrifice are these four: soul, body, mind and will, soul, body, mind and will.
They are the four elements.
And they appear in this passage.
Kenneth Wuest had the idea when he wrote, "Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after the age, an expression which does not come from within nor is representative of what you are in your inner being as a regenerated child of God."  Stop the masquerade.
And you are to be transformed on the outside to match what your redeemed self is on the inside.
And it's a present passive imperative as is the word "conformed."
Stop allowing yourself to be conformed and start allowing yourself to be transformed, continually.
And that, by the way, beloved, is the work of whom?
The Spirit, it's the work of the Spirit who changes us from one level of glory to the next, conforming us to the image of Christ, .
How do you do it?
By the renewing of what?
The mind, the mind.
The word "renewing" here is “renovation.”
The renovation of the mind.
How do you renovate your mind?
David said it this way, "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not...” What's the key to a renewed mind?
It's right here, isn't it?
It's the Word, it's the Word, it's the Word, it's the Word.
That's the key to the renewed mind.
We've seen this so many times over and over and over in our studies, the renewing of the mind through the Word.
The key is if you're going to walk worthy, you've got to know the Word of God.
You've got to know the Word of God, just a simple profound truth.
And finally, we must present the will to God, the will.
And when we've presented the soul and the body and the mind, we will approve what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We will say, I approve of Your will, God.
We will give our will up and we will say Your good and Your perfect will, I approve.
That's what I want.
I don't want what I want, I want what You want.
Good, genuinely good, I mean, really good, acceptable, perfect will of God.
See, it calls for giving up our own will ultimately.
I don't want my own will, I want Your will.
Can you say that?
I don't care, I don't care where I live, I don't care what I possess, I don't care what I have and don't have, I just want whatever You want, that's all, that's all.
And finally, we must present the will to God, the will.
And when we've presented the soul and the body and the mind, we will approve what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We will say, I approve of Your will, God.
We will give our will up and we will say Your good and Your perfect will, I approve.
That's what I want.
I don't want what I want, I want what You want.
Good, genuinely good, I mean, really good, acceptable, perfect will of God.
See, it calls for giving up our own will ultimately.
I don't want my own will, I want Your will.
Can you say that?
I don't care, I don't care where I live, I don't care what I possess, I don't care what I have and don't have, I just want whatever You want, that's all, that's all.
12:1–2 EXHORTATION TO A TESTED PRESENTATION AND TRANSFORMATION
The mercies of God are those of which Paul spoke throughout Romans 1–11.
The “And so” of 12:1 is a conclusion based on the entirety of the first eleven chapters.
The word “give” (12:1) is the same as in 6:13, 16, 19.
True worship is seen as a presentation of the self to God.
The body is the vehicle of presentation.
Remember what was said about the body in Romans 6–8.
The specifics of mind renewal (12:1) involve the proving of God’s will (law) in everyday experience (12:2).
Rather than being conformed to the world’s mold, the believers are to be transformed (lit., “metamorphosis”) from the inside out.
12:1–16:27 In these final 5 chapters, Paul explains in great detail how believers are to practically live out the rich theological truths of chaps.
1–11.
God has graciously given believers so much, that Paul exhorts them to respond in grateful obedience.
12:1 Therefore.
This refers to the last refrain of his doxology of praise in 11:36.
Since all things are for His glory, we must respond by offering ourselves for that purpose.
urge.
This Gr. word comes from a root which means “to call alongside to help.”
Jesus used a related word, often translated “comforter,” in reference to the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).
This family of words later came to connote exhorting, encouraging, or counseling.
Paul was speaking as a counselor to his readers, but his counsel carried the full weight of his apostleship.
mercies of God.
The gracious, extravagant, divine graces Paul expounded in the first 11 chapters, including God’s love (1:7; cf.
5:5; 8:35, 39), grace (1:6, 7; 3:24; 5:2, 20, 21; 6:15), righteousness (1:17; 3:21, 22; 4:5, 6, 22–24; 5:17, 19), and the gift of faith (1:5, 17; 3:22, 26; 4:5, 13; 5:1; 10:17; 12:3).
present your bodies a living … sacrifice.
Under the Old Covenant, God accepted the sacrifices of dead animals.
But because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, the OT sacrifices are no longer of any effect (Heb 9:11, 12).
For those in Christ, the only acceptable worship is to offer themselves completely to the Lord.
Under God’s control, the believer’s yet-unredeemed body (see note on 6:6, 12; 7:5; cf.
8:11, 23) can and must be yielded to Him as an instrument of righteousness (6:12, 13; cf.
8:11–13).
spiritual service.
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