Faithlife Sermons

05/15/2022 - Part 1 - Our Reasonable Service – My Reasonable Response

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Our Reasonable Service –and Pastor's Reasonable Response

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Grace Place Atlanta COGBF 4700 Mitchell Street Forest Park, GA 30297 Website: atlantacogbf.org Email: info@atlantacogbf.org Phone: (404) 241-6781 Wayne D. Mack, Pastor Pastor Wayne D. Mack Sermon Notes May 15, 2022 Our Reasonable Service – My Reasonable Response Part 1 - Romans 12:1, 2 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Serve God with Spiritual Gifts 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Behave Like a Christian 1 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient[c] in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given[d] to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have[e] regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Start Here: This morning, I want to teach from the Book of Romans, Chapter 12 – a very familiar passage. My motive for turning here is twofold: First, because I believe Romans Chapter 12 provides the most practical and loving example a church and its members can follow in its representation of God in a dying dark world. Secondly, to say to Grace Place [in an alerting-reminding kind of way] that Romans 12 expresses the kind of spiritual characteristics we want to model [even must model] as a church and a people as we return to the community after a twoyear absence. In a three-part series entitled: 2 Our Reasonable Service – My Reasonable Response, I want to better position GP as a motivated, model church of God’s righteousness and love. What that means is that I want the members of GP to walk in the spirit of Romans 12 – exhibiting spiritual maturity and how to behave and get along with one another – both believers and non-believers. Let’s go to the Scriptures for our first installment: Romans, Chapter 12:1, 2. 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. These first two verses are the most important because they answer the question of “why” every born-again believer should be completely “all in” when it comes to giving ourselves sacrificially over to doing God’s will [and seeing it as the most reasonable thing we could ever do]. Often, we quote these two verses with good intent, but without understanding what they mean or what they are related to. The Apostle Paul is the author of the Book of Romans. The entire Book is 16 chapters long. What is important to know is that Paul spends the first 11 chapters telling Believers about all the good things that God has graciously given to them through a “blood” purchased righteousness; things such as: • Salvation through Jesus Christ by the power of God and the Gospel for both Jews and Gentiles ~ Romans 1:16 • Deliverance from the wrath of God to come upon those unrepentant toward God ~ Romans 2 • Peace with God through Jesus Christ who justified us by faith ~ Romans 5 • Deliverance from death, sin, and the law – and made alive to God ~ Romans Chaps 6 & 7 3 • No more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who not after the flesh, but after the Spirit ~ Romans 8. [For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me and you free from the law of sin and death. These and all that read is about in Chapters 1-11 are the “mercies of God”; they present the theological or spiritual truths about what God did to save us and bring us back to Him and make us right again in His sight. Taking into serious consideration all that God did on our behalf, the most reasonable response to Him for all His mercies is to present our bodies a living sacrifice – holy, acceptable to God. Psalm 116:12 asks: What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? The answer is Chapter 12 and continues through to Romans Chapter 16. Paul is saying to believers – Seeing what God has done for you any who would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, then the most reasonable response to God’s mercies is to present yourself a living sacrifice. If the Grace Place Family is ever to be a model church and people after returning from the pandemic pause, then the best place to start is by being a Romans 12 church and people. What better timing for introducing this kind of teaching than following a worldwide crisis. I’m confident that in the past two-plus years [with more to come], the church has made a lot of discoveries about how to be the biblical church – more than just the church house. Being the church is about learning how to live out our faith every day. That’s what Romans 12 is all about. [Let me reiterate: Beginning with this chapter and the remaining four, Paul explains in great detail how believers are to practically live out the rich truths of Chapters 1-11. God has graciously given us oh so much, that Paul urges us to respond in grateful obedience]. If God had not done what He did for us, there would be no compelling reason why we should now do what he says. 4 Now, as we move from hearing and reading about what God has done to get us to a place of “no condemnation” and “justification by faith” and “salvation by grace” – it’s time for action. It’s time to renew our commitment to living as redeemed soldiers in a fallen world. The world needs the church and the true saints of God. We are one of their best hopes in finding Christ. So, we have got to be all that God has called us to be in living lives that represent who He is. We can’t do this in our own power or by applying our own tools and techniques. It can only be done when we present our bodies a living sacrifice ready to follow God’s plan. We are to give ourselves to Christ as living sacrifices, obey government, love our neighbors, and take special care of those who are weak in the faith. Now, let me take a few minutes to breakdown verses 1 and 2 for a fuller understanding of what God is calling for us to do and be. From the top, Apostle Paul says: 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. By using the word “beseech”, Paul was speaking encouragingly as a counselor to the Rome Church believers. His use of the word “therefore” refers back to Romans 11:36 where he closes with a doxology that says” 5 36 For of Him [God] and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. But the main point that ties everything together is when he mentions “by the mercies of God” – this refers to all the graces God has extended to believers in the first 11 Chapters of Romans. So, now he is saying based on everything God has done for us, to get us back to Him, is to respond by presenting our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” “Our Bodies” means our entire self, every body part, heart, soul, and mind – including our entire life span. Now, the clincher is that though presenting our total selves sacrificially to God seems a great demand, in comparison to what God did for us – it is the most reasonable and natural response we can give to God. It’s like having someone prepare a great meal for you – the most natural and reasonable gesture you or I could offer is not to clear the table or wash the dishes but to say a “heartfelt thank you”. Likewise, if the Son of God has died for me, then the least I can do is live for Him. So it is in response to what God has done for me and you – the most reasonable, and frankly only response we can give is to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” [When sacrificing an animal according to God’s law, a priest would kill the animal, cut it in pieces, and place it on the altar. Sacrifice was important, but even in the OT God made it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important (1 Sam. 15:22; Psalm 40:6; Amos 5:21-24). God wants us to offer ourselves, not 6 animals, as living sacrifices – daily laying aside our own desires to follow him, putting all our energy and resources at his disposal and trusting him to guide us. We do this out of gratitude that our sins have been forgiven]. In verse 2, Paul urges us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” One Bible version says: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold”. When we come to the kingdom of God, we should abandon the thought-patterns and lifestyles of the world. To be conformed means to assume an outward expression that doesn’t reflect what is really inside. We are not to conform to this Satan dominated world – meaning its systems of beliefs, values, secular mindsets, or the spirit of the age. But rather, we are called to everyday transformation by the renewing of our mind through the Word with and by the help of the Holy Spirit. Renewing is an everyday thing in order to experience transformed thinking, being, and living for God. God is the approver of what is Good, Acceptable, and Perfect in accordance to His will. Sandwiched between a transformed mind and what is God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will should be that we think the way God thinks and talk the way God talks. 7 So, GP Family -- Our Reasonable Service – and Me and Your Reasonable Response in pursuit of being an authentic and loving representation of God in this community follows three keys: a yielded body, a separated life, and a transformed mind. Our Reasonable Service – My Reasonable Response 8
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