- Sermon Notes
Have you ever considered that God has a purpose for your life? God loves to reconcile sinners to Himself; He sent His Son to seek and to save that which was lost. He knocks on the door of their heart, he calls out their name and invites sinners to have a relationship with the living God.
But God does not leave people the way He found them; He transforms them from what they were into what God would have them to be, with His heart and His character. Although sometimes the process is sometimes messy with a few bumps along the way…
Illus – Like when a couple, asleep in bed, heard a loud pounding on the door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, says, “Could you give me a push?” “Not a chance,” says the husband, “it’s three o’clock in the morning!” He slams the door and returns to bed…
In the chapters leading up to this, Paul brought up Israel as an example of hard hearts that refused when God sent His Son to reconcile them to Himself. They missed out on all the blessings God had for them, so God poured His grace on the Gentiles. Let us not be hard hearted, receive God’s offer of life and the blessings that come from being transformed.
By the way, God isn’t finished with Israel. At the end of the age, at the return of Christ, Jesus Himself will return to Israel. He will set foot on the Mount of Olives and enter Jerusalem through the Eastern gate. And, the prophet Zechariah said, they will look on Him whom they have pierced. And though they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, He will pour out the Spirit of grace on them and they will receive the forgiveness of their sin based on the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary. And thus all Israel will be saved.
I. Be a Living and Holy Sacrifice
- Verse 1 -- “I urge you, therefore, by the mercies of God,” Paul wrote.
- These are strong words. Paul is imploring us, by the mercies of God, to be transformed…
- It’s like parents pleading and imploring their child to take hold of their instruction because they know how their lives will turn out if they don’t.
- God wants to save us from a lot of trouble and wants us to have the blessing that comes from the transformation He brings in our lives.
A. Present your body as a living sacrifice
- In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was something that was offered to God which represented their heart, “Here, God, my heart is yours.”
- The drives of your body are very strong and if they are allowed to be control, to set the course of your life, you will be in trouble. The flesh is
like a spoiled child; it wants what it wants and it wants it now.
Illus - Someone once said, “The problem with living sacrifices is that they want to crawl off the altar… They’re much better when they’re dead…
Romans 6:13-14, “do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness… For sin shall not be master over you,”1 Corinthians 6:12-13, All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with them both. The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.
- Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, as an offering to God. It’s like saying, “Here I am, Lord, use me for your glory.” A living sacrifice must
be offered freely, by choice.
Illus - I remember Pastor Chuck Smith saying at a pastors conference, “We never ‘take up’ an offering, we receive an offering because it must be given freely out of love for God.
Illus – I was reading Farm and Ranch magazine about a farmer who had plowed almost all his life using two horses. Finally, one of them died and he decided it was time to purchase a tractor…
B. This is your spiritual service of worship
- When we offer our bodies to God it’s an act of worship; it’s spiritual service.
- We often think of worship as that which is musical or perhaps in prayer, but worship has a much broader meaning.
- Whatever you do as unto the Lord, is a spiritual act of worship. If you’ve done it unto the Lord, it is then worship.
Colossians 3:17, 23-24, Whatever you do in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to Him through God the Father… Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men… It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Matthew 25:34-40 – What you’ve done to the least…
Illus – When Sasha was telling us about his trip to
C. This is very pleasing to God
- Paul says this is acceptable to God, but it’s not like God is saying, “That’ll do.” A better translation would be that God is very pleased.
- There are many examples of sacrifices that were offered in the Old Testament and God was not pleased.
- There were times they offered sacrifices that were blind, lame or sick, but what He wanted most was a heart after Him.
Malachi 1:8, “When you present the blind for sacrifice, is this not evil? And when you present the lame and the sick, is this not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased? Would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.
Psalm 51:16-17, “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
Illus - Leonard Nimoy, the famous “Spock” from Star Trek was famous for the Vulcan greeting, “Live long and prosper.” But it was actually a Jewish blessing and comes from the understanding that spiritual prosperity comes from God.II. Prove What the Will of God is
- The word ‘prove’ is interesting. It’s sometimes use the negative when someone doesn’t believe something, “prove it to me,” they might say.
- But there is also a positive sense of the word; ‘you will see it for yourself.’
- Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, and then you will see for yourself what the will of God is, that
which is good and well pleasing and perfect.
- Let’s take a look at each part of that verse…
A. Do not be conformed to the world
- The Greek word means to be molded, to be changed by outward pressure; like a lump of clay that is shaped and molded by pressing and pulling and eventually
hardened into that shape.
- In other words, the world wants to shape you into its mold; and there’s a part of us that wants to fit in to that mold, to be cool, to be accepted.
There’s a part of us that wants the approval of the world, but that’s the flesh part of us.
Illus – The word for world here is not the usual word cosmos. Instead, it is the word “eon” which mean, ‘the age in which we live,’ or the culture around us.
- The world’s view of things is distinctly different than God’s view. Certainly the world’s view of marriage is different than God’s view.
Illus - God’s view says, “Till death do us part.” The world’s view of marriage is, “Till boredom do we part, or till conflict do we part, or until we have irreconcilable differences do we part.”
- Is there any question but that the world’s view of sex is distinctly different than God’s view of sex? God made it beautiful and pure and honorable…
- Being conformed comes from outside pressure.
1 Corinthians 15:33, Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’
Illus - One of the things I tell young people is that when it comes to peer pressure – you be the pressure.
B. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
- The word for transformed in the Greek is the English word, “metamorphosis.” It means to be changed from the inside.
- This is in direct contrast to being “conformed,” or changed by outward pressure by the spirit of the age.
- Paul says we are transformed by having our mind made new. In other words, our old way of thinking needs to be changed; the old thoughts have to go.
- We need to think differently; we need the mind of Christ.
- There is the key; be transformed by the renewing of the mind – the changing of our mind.
- If you can change the mind, you can change the world.
Illus – The Soviet Union began to lose its power over the people when knowledge of the world started coming to the people.
- How do you renew the mind? By abiding in God’s Word and letting it abide in you.
John 8:31-32, Then Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
- If you know the truth, you know which thoughts need to go.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5, The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.… We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
C. Prove what the will of God is
- The word “prove” in the Greek means to tested, examined and found worthy.
Illus – God tests as He did in the days of Belshazzar (Daniel 5:22-28)
- We will see for yourself that the will of God is good. What God wants is for us to agree with His will, which is found in His Word.
Philippians 1:9-10, And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
- To approve the things that are excellent is to be in agreement with them.
Illus – This is a critically important point when raising children. There is a vast difference between obedience and agreement.
Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”
- The will of God is good, is well pleasing to God and is complete in every way.
Illus - My definition of good was different than my kids’ definition, and now raising Aviah, it’s different than hers. Her definition of good is to not have any homework and be on her tablet… And my definition may be different than God’s.
- God’s will is worthy of our agreement and the desire to be changed by it.
Illus – Training Arabian war horses… When God directs our lives and whistles for us to stop dead in our tracks, when we strongly want something else; that is where we need to agree with God that this is good and that Gods’ will for us is good, well pleasing and complete.