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The How-to's of Holiness

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lass=MsoNormal align=right style='text-align:right'>1) 2-3-08…AM…SBCThe How-to’s of Holiness – Part 2

Romans 12:1-3

Introduction:               Voice of Martyrs story:  “India- I thought I was the only one”          May 2006

            Rathnama and her 7yr old daughter climbed a set of concrete steps to a 2nd floor apartment in the Indian city of Hyderabad.  Radical Hindus murdered Rathnama’s husband Pastor David in 2004.  A year later she climbed these stairs to an apartment where she had been invited to attend a gathering of persecuted Christians.

            As she entered the room she saw a handful of women, young to middle-aged sitting down with the children close by.  She recognized none of the faces she saw there that day in this very unfamiliar place. As she sipped tea with the other women her uneasiness subsided. 

            Each woman introduced herself and then share her testimony and told how her husband had been martyred for the Gospel.  With tears running down her cheeks Satyaveni Raju told how her husband, Isaac Raju, had led many Hindus to Christ.  Late in May of 2004, Isaac disappeared after traveling to a bus stop.  She did not see him again until she was called to identify his body.  She could only identify him by his undergarment and the scars on his legs as militant Hindus had dismembered Pastor Isaac Raju and placed the parts in a burlap bag on the side of the road.

            Hepsebah’s husband, Pastor Daniel was martyred about the same time as Pastor Isaac Raju after leading many Hindus to Christ.  His wife went on to say about the hardship she and her family now faced, “God will never do injustice.  This is His will for my life.  There can be no greater happiness and blessing than to know my husband died a martyr for Christ.”

            Another widow told of how as a medical worker her husband gave medicines and the Gospel.  One night he left to help some men less than 2 miles from his home.  The men took him and mutilated him 32 times with an axe and the villagers heart the Pastor crying out, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”  When they found his body his hand clung to a tract entitled “What happens after death.”

            Rathnama was astonished to hear the testimonies of these other widows and then stood to relay her own story.  It was the night of December 10, 2004 and her husband David had just returned from a day of ministering in Hindu villages.  Pastor David became ill during the weekend to point that Rathnama could not wake him.  Pastor David had also been receiving threatening phone calls from those intent on stopping his evangelistic efforts.  After rushing him to the hospital and soon after she was told that her husband had died.  Knowing of the threats on her husband’s life and the tea and meals that he would have had that day, Rathnama is confident that her husband was poisoned.

Ø      What do all of these women and their children know about living the Christian life----- it takes sacrifice.

Ø      These women teach us:

-          persecution is still taking place all over the world

-          that they need our prayers – be praying for those around the world facing persecution

Ø      They teach us something that we here in America many times forget:

-          A commitment to live for Christ takes sacrifice


Proposition:  Paul’s intent in Romans 12 is to teach us that in our own quest for Holiness God’s standard has not changed—God still requires sacrifice.

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Read Romans 12:1-3 and Pray

Transition:       God may not have called you to sacrifice in the same way that these ladies in India did, but we must see that…

1)      God expects sacrifice  v1

 

Ø      We come now to what is usually called the “practical” section of Romans. The practical, however, must rest upon a solid theological foundation. Otherwise it is little more than advice about how to get along in a religious community.[1] The “therefore” (οὖν) of the passage unites us to all of Paul’s preceding arguments on justification

Ø      The dynamic of God’s ethical instruction arises from its logical and necessary relationship to who he is and what he has done on our behalf.[2]

A-    OT Sacrifice

1-      The concept of sacrifice in the OT is rooted in the covenant into which God has integrated the people of Israel.[3]

2-      When we see prophets fight against sacrifice, and Psalms reject it, is because in practice the original purpose of the act had been abandoned. [4]

3-      Human achievement has replaced personal, spiritual encounter with the God of salvation.[5]

4-      Humble worship and praise, the doing of God’s will, and faithfulness and love are the true sacrifices[6]

B-    Living Sacrifices[7]

                                                              i.      “the sacrifices of the new order do not consist in taking the lives of others, like the ancient animal sacrifices, but in the giving one’s own life.”7

·         when someone dies for the faith we usually say they sacrificed their life for Christ

·         Paul is saying that sacrifice doesn’t only happen in death but realistically it must happen in life as well

                                                            ii.      Bringing pleasure to God provides the powerful motivation for complete surrender of self.

                                                          iii.      “By bodies he means not only our skin and bones but the totality of which we are composed.

·         He explains the body as all that we are, for the members of the body are the instruments by which we carry out the purposes of the heart.”[8]

Application:

Ø      In view of God’s acts of mercy it is entirely fitting that we commit ourselves without reservation to him. [9]

-          It is fitting because Paul embraced the reality that everything is a mercy                  1 Timothy 1:12

-          Do you think you deserve to be treated better (at home, at work, at church, etc)

-          Your salvation is a mercy from God – the fact that you are not in hell is a mercy

-          Mercy is a gift of God’s grace and favor to the utterly undeserving

-          Paul shows us that what we have in Christ is a gift of his mercy

·         we don’t deserve the wife, husband, kids, church and homes that we have

-          God’s mercy is why the sacrifice of our entire beings to Christ is such a logical response

 

Ø      To teach that accepting the free gift of God’s grace does not necessarily involve a moral obligation on our part is a heresy of gigantic proportions. [10]

? – But, how do we know what to sacrifice?

How to discern what to sacrifice? 

#1 – Is this activity helpful to me – physically, spiritually, mentally?

1 Corinthians 6:12a  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. [11]

#2 – Does it or could it bring me under its power?

                        1 Corinthians 6:12b. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. [12]

#3 – Does it or could it hurt others?

1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.[13]

#4 – Does it glorify God?

            1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or uwhatever you do, do all to the glory of God. [14]

Illustration

Television programs that we watch

1-      Are they helpful physically, spiritually and mentally?

-          for some programs the answer maybe yes but for those that we honestly answer no to we need to consider not viewing them

2-      Does it bring me under its power?

-          you may be thinking of things such as smoking and drinking and drug – which is true

-          but again what about the television

-          have certain programs grabbed you so that you just can’t miss a single episode

-          if they have then they have you under their power

-          football and fantasy football

3-      Does it or could it hurt others?

-          What if it is something that doesn’t violate your conscience but you know it violate someone else’s

-          Will you still participate in their presence?

-          cf: Romans 14 – food sacrificed to idols (Christian Liberty)

4-      Does this activity glorify God?

Summary Question:  Are we willing to develop deep convictions from the Scriptures, and then live by these convictions?

Transition: Paul now instructs us on what the motivation to sacrifice should be while on our quest for holiness

            C- Logical and Spiritual Act of Worship        v1b

 

1-      To live separate from sin, and to sacrifice those things that weigh us down in our quest for holiness is the only rational response resulting in spiritual worship

2-      it is right and proper—hence logical, reasonable—that those who have been highly favored should offer themselves to God wholeheartedly, as sacrifices, living, holy, and well-pleasing to him.[15]

3-      When we chose to sacrifice our lives and our actions to Christ, Paul is saying that the sacrifice we render is intelligent and deliberate

·         Worship – Tozer

1-      Remember that Worship is an active effort to close the gap between our heart and God

2-      Even the announcement of the word worship here this morning must start the wings of the Seraphim to start waving because heaven exists to worship God

3-      Worship is not just what takes place on Sundays when we pray or give to an offering or sing

-          worship must be factored into to every aspect of life

-          if worship only happens for us on Sunday then we are in grave danger

-          there is no such thing in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday worship

4-      Too many of us fulfill our obligation to God in one day, usually by a trip to church or maybe if we are really spiritual two trips to church in one day.

-          You can worship God at your desk, driving in traffic, washing dishes, doing homework and ironing

Ø      True worship does not consist of elaborate and impressive prayers, intricate liturgy, stained-glass windows, lighted candles, flowing robes, incense, and classical sacred music. It does not require great talent, skill, or leadership ability. Many of those things can be a part of the outward forms of genuine worship, but they are acceptable to God only if the heart and mind of the worshiper is focused on Him.[16]

Conclusion:

1- Are we willing to develop deep convictions from the Scriptures, and then live by these convictions?

            - if we are then we will be confronted with sacrifice

2- Because Jesus Christ has already made the only dead sacrifice the New Covenant requires—all that remains for worshipers today is the presentation of themselves as living sacrifices.[17]

-          Holy:  set apart for a special purpose

3- David Livingstone, the renowned and noble missionary to Africa, wrote in his journal,[18]

            People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward of healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter?

… Away with such a word, such a view, and such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering or danger now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us. [19]

Ø      Like Livingstone, Christians who offer a living sacrifice of themselves usually do not consider it to be a sacrifice. [20]

Ø      But when we offer God the living sacrifice of ourselves, He does not destroy what we give Him but refines it and purifies it, not only for His glory but for our present and eternal good.[21]

Ø      Might there be something that God is calling you to sacrifice and give up for His glory?


----

[1]Robert H. Mounce, vol. 27, Romans, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1995), 230.

[2]Robert H. Mounce, vol. 27, Romans, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1995), 230.

OT Old Testament.

[3]Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vols. 5-9 Edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 Compiled by Ronald Pitkin., ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), 3:183.

[4]Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vols. 5-9 Edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 Compiled by Ronald Pitkin., ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), 3:183.

[5]Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vols. 5-9 Edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 Compiled by Ronald Pitkin., ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), 3:183.

[6]Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vols. 5-9 Edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 Compiled by Ronald Pitkin., ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976), 3:183.

[7]Robert H. Mounce, vol. 27, Romans, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1995), 231.

7 F. F. Bruce, The Letter of Paul to the Romans, 2d ed., TNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), 213.

[8]William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 12-13, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 399.

[9]Robert H. Mounce, vol. 27, Romans, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1995), 232.

[10]Robert H. Mounce, vol. 27, Romans, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1995), 232.

[11]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Co 6:12.

[12]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Co 6:12.

[13]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Co 8:13.

u Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 4:11

[14]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Co 10:31.

[15]William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 12-13, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 402.

[16]John MacArthur, Romans (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1991, c1994), 146.

[17]John MacArthur, Romans (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1991, c1994), 146.

[18]John MacArthur, Romans (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1991, c1994), 146.

[19]John MacArthur, Romans (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1991, c1994), 146.

[20]John MacArthur, Romans (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1991, c1994), 146.

[21]John MacArthur, Romans (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1991, c1994), 146.

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