February 10, 2008
For the last three Sundays, we have taken a jet tour through Romans. We have tried to examine some of the major life lessons of Romans. We have learned that Romans is known for a rather distinct break in its content between theology and practice. That break is found at the text that we read today. The first eleven chapters have been theological in nature. This theological treaty has underscored the basic message of Christianity being that (1) all are sinners and (2) Christ showed us mercy in our sin by dying on the cross for our sins. The final five chapters beginning in chapter 12 deal with the practical aspects of our life once we have made that decision to be Christ followers. Paul begins this practical section with a succinct statement of what our life as Christ followers should be.
Text: 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.
Introduction: I don’t particularly care for overused clichés. I can’t explain why. Sometimes they just drive me crazy. I know—I am probably the crazy one. But I use an overused cliché today, because I think we understand it. The phrase is “24/7.” It’s that phrase used to describe what we always do—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s what Romans 12:1-2 says. We should live our lives in worship to God 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a Christian, as someone who follows Christ, there should be nothing outside the realm of His control. There can be no habit, no activity, no attitude, no “anything” that is outside our relationship with Him.
We hear that lesson in Eugene Petersen’s The Message paraphrase of Romans 12:1-2. “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
It’s Worship 24/7! It’s what God deserves! It’s why Christ died! But, as you and I know, worship 24/7 is not always the direction of our lives. So, let’s consider that again today.
The Basis of Worship 24/7
We begin with noting the basis or the reason for Worship 24/7. We see the basis for this worship by both looking back and looking forward from this text.
Believe it or not, the reason for worship 24/7 can be summed up by one word in this text. The word is therefore. This one word, “therefore” though takes us back to many other words that appear in the first eleven chapters of Romans. Words like these….
- Romans 5:6-11--6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
- Romans 6:20-23--20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 8:1--1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
As we look beyond the word “therefore,” we see some additional reasons or the basis for worship 24/7. Notice that Paul urges (beseech) them on the basis of the mercies of God. The basis of the appeal is the mercies of God, obviously pointing to the cross—the sacrifice of Christ.
So, looking back and looking forward, the cross is the reason for our continued worship. This leads Paul to say that presenting his body to the LORD is his reasonable service.
The Basics of Worship 24/7
What does this worship look like? Let me describe this kind of worship with four words.
Permanent—The word translated “present” or “offer” is in what is called the aorist tense in the original language. The aorist tense refers to something that is done once.
Personal—The offering is personal. Worship is not about giving your money, your time, your talent, your song. Worship is really about giving yourself.
Process—The word “transform” has the connotation of change. There is a metamorphosis taking place in our lives. That speaks to the idea of process. We are constantly being changed into the likeness of Christ. We do this by renewing our minds. We renew our minds with spiritual habits like personal devotion and corporate worship.
Passive—Remember this from earlier lessons. “Be transformed.” God is doing the transforming. But, remember, He does not transform us unless we have presented ourselves to him.
John Ortberg in his book The Life You’ve Always Wanted says that there are two things that generally happen instead of transformation:
(1) People give up on transformation—A person might try for a while, but then conclude that he/she will have to live with some imperfection in life.
(2) People settle for Pseudo-transformation. A person changes a little bit, then accepts that as he/she compares himself/herself to other Christians. Over time, we lower the bar of what is meant by authentic Christianity.
In worship that is pleasing to God, we always are moving to what is pleasing to Him.
The Benefits of Worship 24/7
Here is the result of worhip 24/7. We prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
The Barometer of Worship 24/7
How do I know if I am being transformed? It is not really that hard. Am I proving what the will of God is?