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Romans 12:1-2

Living the Transformed Life

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • March 03, 2024

In Romans chapter 12, Paul is saying that we need to be living as unto the Lord as those branches which have been grafted in. Live as those who are receiving their life, their sap, from God. These verses are very practical, they tell us how to live in Christ as those who have surpassing victory.

God’s heart for us is not to only receive Him as Savior, and then sit in a corner and wait for His return. He wants us in this life to have surpassing victory.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Living the Transformed Life
Romans 12:1-2
March 3, 2024

As we pick up where we left off, we find in Romans 11 that Paul tells us that we who are Gentiles were the branches that were grafted into Christ, into God’s promise of salvation through faith. The promise was made to Israel, but they rejected it, resulting in them being pruned off for the time being, until they receive Jesus and restoration.

Now in Romans chapter 12, Paul is saying that we need to be living as unto the Lord as those branches which have been grafted in. Live as those who are receiving their life, their sap, from God. These verses are very practical, they tell us how to live in Christ as those who have surpassing victory.

God’s heart for us is not to only receive Him as Savior, and then sit in a corner and wait for His return. He wants us to in this life have surpassing victory.

It is all about being a living sacrifice to God. But this is a different type of sacrifice. It brings forth life. It is part of the process of God transforming our lives, so we do not conform to this world but are changed by the renewing of our minds.

I. Be a Living and Holy Sacrifice

  • There’s an old saying that when it comes to studying the Bible and you see the word “therefore,” you should know what it’s there for. It refers to the section before the “therefore”.
  • It connects everything that Paul has been saying in the previous chapters to what the result of it should now be.
  • “You have surpassing victory in Christ, you’re no longer a wild olive branch, you’ve been grafted into Christ… therefore…it should radically change you.”

 Illus – Wild branches grow wild; in any direction they choose. But a tree that is tended is beautiful and effective. Now I am not a gardener, but I have seen people prune rose bushes before. When they are looked after correctly, they produce many more flowers. We are now under the care and hand of the ‘gardener’ of our souls.

  • He also says “I beseech you, by the mercies of God.” These are strong words. Paul is imploring us, by the mercies of God to be transformed…
  • We still have a choice. Will we submit and offer ourselves to be transformed into something beautiful?

A. Offering your body as a living sacrifice

  • In the Old Testament a sacrifice was something that was offered to God which was to represent your heart, “Here, God, my heart is yours.”
  • Now we no longer bring animal sacrifices. Our bodies become that which we sacrifice to the Lord.
  • God is saying here that we need to use our bodies for His glory. The drives of our bodies are very strong and if they are allowed to be in control, we will be in trouble. And the flesh is like a spoiled brat; 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…

  • The flesh does not want to die. So people still struggle with the flesh wanting to get off the altar. The flesh is selfish and demanding.

Illus – The man who said, Pastor, I am so sinful, just keep me under when you baptize me.

  • ‘Why don’t we just die and go to heaven when we are saved?’, someone might ask. Why do I have to keep fighting with this flesh? Some people have hearts that want to honor God and they are so scared of failing Him.

Romans 6:11, Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

  • Remember that He did not only come so that we might die with Him in His death but to also now live in Him and for Him!
  • We are not only sitting in a corner, scared that we will sin or be infiltrated by sin. Some people are so scared that they will sin again, that it is all they are focused on. Now we should be vigilant, but it should not be our only focus.
  • This is a clever ploy of the enemy. What you behold, you become. If you keep on seeing yourself as a sinner who is going to sin, all the time worried about tripping and falling, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • We are set free from sin so that it no longer has a hold on us. It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. No longer to be subject to the yoke of slavery.
  • We are now called to live in that victory, proactively, energized, and effectively. We are living contra to the culture of our day.

Romans 6:13-14, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you.

  • We need a change of perspective. Instead of running fearfully from sin, we should be running excitedly in and towards our new future and nature.

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. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.

  • Present your body as a living sacrifice, as an offering to God. A living sacrifice must be offered freely, by choice.
  • Jesus is our example of this. He was not forced to give His life. He laid it down freely, because of the hope set before Him.
  • He knew what the result of His sacrifice would be. It was glorious. After His resurrection, He was exalted above all rule and authority, but not only that, He saw the multitudes of souls that would be restored in relationship to God.
  • When we grasp the effect presenting our bodies has, we will also see that it is glorious and brings forth that which is beautiful.

Illus – I sometimes shudder when I think of what my life would be if not for the grace of God, and if I would have surrendered my body to that which is not from God. Where would my marriage have been? Where would my children have been?

  • Now our bodies become living, surrendered instruments to be used by God for His glory.

B. This is your service of worship

  •    Paul says that when we offer our bodies to God it’s an act of worship unto the Lord.
  • 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.

Matthew 25:34-40 – What you’ve done to the least…

  • When we act out the will and heart of Jesus, the heart of love towards others, it becomes our act of worship. When we experience a stirring of God’s Spirit to do something, it becomes an act of worship. Not driven by guilt, but by love.
  • If we surrender it to God, He can work His will and purpose in our hearts.

Philippians 2:13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Amp)

  • It brings God no joy and honor when you do something grumbling and with the wrong heart attitude.

Illus – Let’s use finances as an example. You will not hear us say we ‘take up’ an offering, we receive an offering because it must be given freely out of love for God.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

  • God doesn’t need you to do anything. We have the joy and privilege to be co-workers with Christ. It brings God joy when He sees His children operating in His nature.
  • The beautiful promise is that God gives you the choice. If you bless, you will be blessed. If you give, He will restock and increase.

Illus – I remember a time when my mom was given some pumpkins…

IIllus – It is like a welfare organization supplying multiple distribution organizations. They come around each month to restock…

Matthew 25:14-30, Parable of the Talents.

  • This principle is not only a principle of sowing materially or financially. It is just one example. Money is only one facet and representation of who you are.
  • This principle extends to every area of your life, the sowing of the self. Surrendering of the self. Becoming available for God to use.
  • It is all about joyfully being part of what God wants to do and His heart, and then through that, extending outward.

Illus – When a parent wants to teach their kids responsibility and see them take hold of it in maturity, accountability, trustworthiness, etc. it brings great joy. For example, packing the dishwasher.

  • God wants to work His nature in our hearts so that it will flow through us. We were not made to dam up the working of God in our lives. We were made to be conduits God flows through.

C. This is very pleasing to God

  • Paul says this is acceptable to God, but God is not 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.
  • 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.

  • It is about a heart that now ‘sees’ differently. A heart that lives in gratitude, understanding that ALL comes from God. A heart wanting to live as a conduit for God, while being connected and in fellowship with Him.

II. God’s Will is to Transform You

  • Be transformed, Paul is saying, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
  •  Many people want to know what the will of God is for their lives. By that, they mean they want to know what direction their lives will take or what decisions they should make.
  •  But the greatest part of God’s will for our lives is that we are transformed and live by faith. Life is a journey and must be lived day by day, simply trusting God with each step by faith; rather than by feelings.

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 squeeze you into its mold; and there’s a part of us that wants to fit into that mold, to be cool, to be accepted.

Illus – The word for world is not the common “cosmos.” Instead, it is the word “eon” which means, ‘the age in which we live,’ or the culture around us.

  • But the world’s view of things is distinctly different than God’s view.
  • For example, 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.”

  • Is there any question but that the world’s view of sex is distinctly different than God’s view? God made it beautiful and pure and honorable…, not ugly, degrading, and disgraceful, bringing shame.
  • Being conformed comes from outside pressure. It is like a submarine being pressured until it collapses.

I Corinthians 15:33, Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’

  • In our day and age, ‘company’ isn’t necessarily just people you interact with in person. ‘Company’ is in everyone’s hands now 24hrs/day. It is in every movie, every blog, every YouTube short, every game.
  • Conforming to the world might look cool in the moment, but it always ends in tears and troubles.

B. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind

  • The word for transformed in 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 minds made new. In other words, our thinking is off; the old thoughts must go. We need the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16, A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things… For ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him?’ But we have 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. What we put into our minds has great impact.
  • Lenin said, “Give me just one generation of youth, and I will transform the world.”
  • How do you renew the mind? By abiding in God’s Word and letting it abide in you.
  • Your mind is changed by its new values and attitudes.

John  8:32, 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.

  • The truth changes the mind with new ideals, values, and new attitudes.

Illus – There is a traffic law which was not a law where I came for, namely Right on Red…

  • When you ‘see’ the new better way, the old has to go as it becomes a hindrance.

C. Prove what the will of God is

  • The word “prove” in Greek means to test, examine, discern.
  • We will find 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;

Illus – I have heard people in the past say that God is telling them this or that, but then it is not in agreement with God’s word. The will of God has been given to us in His word so that we would not be led by emotion, but by truth.

  • The will of God is good, is well pleasing to God, and is complete in every way.

Illus – Most parents will agree that your definition of good differs from your kids’. They might just want to stay out till 9 pm playing with the ball outside. They might want just to play games or watch movies all through the night. Maybe not even shower. A parent’s definition of good is different because you can see with wisdom gained what is excellent and a good future, and what principles, habits, and values lead to that. They need to go to school!

 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.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.

Micah 6:8, He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Illus – Like a lifeguard at the ocean… 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 God’s will for us is good, well-pleasing and complete.

Romans 12:1-2    NASB 1995

1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


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