Faithlife Sermons

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Book of Romans in Three Sections
Romans 12
Book of Romans in Three Sections
Book of Romans in Three Sections
We begin a new series today on the third section of Romans…we have said that the book of Romans can be neatly divided into three sections—
Diagnosis and Deliverance, Continuing Struggle against Sin
is the diagnosis, by Paul of the human race.
Paul shows us that none are righteous, that all fall short of the glory of God, in chapter one Paul shows that those outside the church fall short in chapter two he shows that those inside the church fall short as well.
That we are all messed up.
That we are all messed up.
In chapters 4-11 Paul reveals the deliverer…he unpacks nothing but Jesus in every way he possibly can.
That Jesus is the only answer not just for those who aren’t yet Christians but for those like Paul who continues to struggle against sin.
Even as an old man Paul said I’m the chief of sinners.
Martin Luther said if you aren’t the worst sinner that you know, than you don’t know yourself very well. is the diagnosis, 4-11 is the deliverer, and 12-16 the section we begin today is the description of what your life could be.
And that is what I have entitled this series…what your life could be.
What Your Life Could Be
Most of us, all of us to some extent, are not nearly living the lives we could be living because we aren’t serious about nothing but Jesus.
Some simply aren’t serious about it.
You scoff at it.
You think it is great for worship, but not for the practical.
Or you think nothing but Jesus works for spiritual things, for practical things perhaps, but not for the big issues of life—like the death of loved one.
Or big marriage problems.
Or a relational issue.
Or you think nothing but Jesus may work inside the church, but when it comes to outside the church, when it comes to cultural issues, politics, hot topic issues, nothing but Jesus is idealistic and not relevant.
We are all like that to some extent.
We think nothing but Jesus applies to this area of my life, the things that are either easy for me to do well, or a sin that is fairly easy to conquer, but not to this other area of my life, this secret area that no one knows about.
We say nothing but Jesus but the minute our spouse crosses us, NBJ goes out the window.
We say nothing but Jesus, but our hearts are dependent on what other people think of us, or our hearts are dependent on whether or not that person is my friend, or this person is trustworthy, or whatever, when we have everything we could possibly need in Jesus.
In other words, NBJ works when we are singing in Christ alone, your grace is enough, I surrender all, all I need is Jesus, Jesus be the center of my life, Jesus you are my all in all…on Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand….it
works then, but it doesn’t work as much during the week.
gives us a description of the NBJ life on the ground.
So over the next many weeks we will unpack and see what Nothing But Jesus means in our relationships, in our thought lives, at work, in cultural issues, what does Nothing But Jesus mean when it comes to the way we relate to others.
How we Relate to Others
Paul describes what a NBJ life will look like…and it has a lot to do with the way we relate to others.
Martin Luther said that God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does.
Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was and he said love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Cain and Abel and Strangling Each Other
I was listening to a marriage and family counselor the other day and he used this excellent illustration—he said that many times families are a lot like the highly dysfunctional families in the Old Testament.
Think of Cain and Abel.
The first two brothers.
Cain was jealous of Abel so what did he do?
He killed him.
Even a family just one generation removed from their parents walking with God in the Garden of Eden killed each other.
And we aren’t exactly like Cain and Abel instantly killing each other…but this counselor said the 21st century Cain and Abel families are families that all wrap their hands around each other’s necks, not enough to kill them, but enough to slowly kill them….over
thirty years.
So it is a thirty to forty year long slow painful death in many families.
These two verses are the thesis statement for the remainder of the book.
If you don’t get the first two verses, you won’t get the rest of the book.
Living Sacrifice
Paul says something that would have shocked the first readers…he says “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.”
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
[b]
Paul says something that would have shocked the first readers…he says “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.”
Living Sacrifice=Living Killing
The word sacrifice literally means killing.
Paul is saying offer your bodies as a living killing.
Remember the last series we did on apparent contradictions…I said they are all through the doctrine of God…well here we go again.
A living killing is a paradox.
How is it even possible?
The first readers of Romans would have immediately thought of the sacrifices they brought to the temple, for forgiveness of sins.
They would bring an animal and the animal would be killed FIRST.
And THEN sacrificed.
The animal wasn’t alive when it was being sacrificed.
The animal was killed.
Think of the picture Paul is painting.
You ARE the Sacrifice
Here it isn’t a dead animal that is the sacrifice.
We are the sacrifice.
A living killing.
It basically means, you are going to be alive…you are going to live your life…but if you are living the NBJ life, something is always being killed in you.
Something is being purposely put to death.
What is that thing being put to death?
The thing being put to death is clear—it is you.
A living killing.
You are both living and being killed.
It’s an incredible paradox.
But that is the whole ball game of what it means to live a Nothing But Jesus life.
The act of self-forgetfulness.
The act of self-sacrifice.
Paul says THAT is the essence of a nothing but Jesus person.
When Paul says in verse 2, do not be conformed to the pattern of this world he is saying that the pattern of this world is to be self centered, to be entitled.
The pattern of this world is turning inward, the NBJ life is turning outward, offering your body as a living sacrifice.
And so Paul piles it on to show us what it means to be a living sacrifice.
First,
See Yourself for What You Are: Faith as Gift
Look at verse 3:
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
First, offering yourself as a living sacrifice is to see yourself for what you are.
And we see what we are by seeing how we were saved.
Paul says here, that even the faith we have to believe in Jesus was given to us by God.
Even our faith is a gift.
The faith that God has distributed to each of you.
Not the faith you mustered up…but the faith God gave you.
The only thing we bring to our salvation is the sin that required our salvation.
That should cause us to be sober about ourselves.
To be self-forgetful.
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