iHim

ROMANS:THE ROAD TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

Don’t Let the World get the Best of you

Romans 12:1-8

Jerry A Collins

6/13/04

SCC

 

*               Why should I commit myself to follow Christ?

*               How do I change my worldly thinking?

*               What spiritual gift do I have and how should I use it?

 

This past week we celebrated the life of our former president, Ronald Reagan. During the State funeral in Washington DC, President Bush was speaking and he made a comment that stirred me. He made many comments, as others had, about Ronald Reagan, the man and the leader. Then he said, we now have something he did not have—his example. Let’s take it and follow it and live it. A great statement. So what about your example. What exemplifies your life? What characterizes your life? What would the example be from your life that someone would say we should follow? You do have one you know. What would it be? Well, God has told us what it should be. Romans 12:1-8 challenges us about the kind of life we should be living. Just what is that? In Romans 1-11 is God’s actions for mankind. He has justified us sinners—declared us righteous in Christ. He is sanctifying His people—empowering and equipping us to become like Christ here on earth before we are in heaven. He even took great pains to begin this with his chosen people, Israel and has carried on this plan now to everyone in the world. In Romans 12-16 is our actions in response to God’s. Now that we are in a right relationship with God—now that He has made provision for us to know—we have a responsibility to Him. So from now on we are being exhorted to action consistent with who we now are in Christ.

1. WE MUST BECOME DEDICATED TO GOD  1-2

When it is all said and done, this is to become the foundation of all of our conduct. What is that foundation? It is the consecration of our lives to the Lord that governs our conduct in life.

12:1 MAKING THE COMMITMENT

The word ‘therefore’ draws a conclusion from all presented thus far. The universal condemnation 1-3—the justification freely provided 4-5—the assurance of victory and acceptance by God 6-8. Because of all of this the following truth can be presented. It’s importance is made plain to us with ‘I urge you’—not a command to us but an appeal as strong as possible without commanding. The basis of this appeal is ‘by the mercies of God’. It is that mercy which delivered us from our sin and its consequences. It is that mercy which released us from the condemnation we deserved. This is to become the basis of our own dedication to God. It is His mercy to me that motivates me to consecrate my life to Him. It is not His anger—His wrath—His justice—but His mercy! I sacrifice myself to God because He has been merciful to me. The character of my dedication is “to present your bodies a holy sacrifice acceptable to God”. Here the body represents the totality of one’s life, plans, activities, decisions of which our body is vehicle of expression. This sacrifice is to be holy—separating ourselves from unholy. This is something we need to do decisively as we ‘present’ ourselves to God. It is not offering parts of our lives from time to time—but our lives completely for service to God. Everytime we decide to commit ourselves we should do it completely. There will be many times when you want to dedicate your life to the Lord. Do it wholeheartedly with all of your life. Let God know that He has all of you. That is want you want to offer to Him. This is our ‘reasonable service of worship’. Our dedication must be thoughtful and deliberate. We are priests—each one of us—offering all of ourselves to God in service for Him. This is a fundamental way of worship.

12:2 MAINTAINING COMMITMENT

The call to make this commitment is followed by the need to maintain it throughout your life. Negatively—‘do not be conformed to this world’. The world is the spirit of this age wanting to exclude God from life. Don’t be squeezed into that mold. The world’s thinking will never teach you dedication to God. The struggle will always be learning how to think on earth like they think in heaven. Positively—‘be transformed by renewing your mind’. Returning mentally to the decision to dedicate self to God—reaffirm that decision. Our responsibility is to act decisively in this matter but to do so constantly will result in our transformation. That transformation is from within—it is Christlikeness—godliness (Discipleship is…) George Slavin—a once for all act that is renewed everyday. BR Laken—I plan like I’m going to live for the next 50 yrs and then live as if each day is last I will ever have. The HS unidentified transformer set in contrast to world (8:9-11; 2 Cor 3:18; 6:17-18). You must train your mind to think differently.   The mind, our thinking, seems to be the battleground for our affections—our ambitions. The control center of attitudes, thots, feelings, actions.    By doing this we can ‘prove what the will of God is’. As transformation happens we approve and desire God’s will not the world’s or even our own. Then we discover God’s will is what is good for me—that it pleases God—and is complete in every way. It is all I need. I live for an audience of one! Sometimes God’s will becomes fuzzy and blurred especially when our commitment wavers. So we clarify what God’s will is by dedicating ourselves fully and wholeheartedly to God often. The temptation is often to believe that I have my own interests at heart and God does not. So we subvert the will of God in our lives. To circumvent this means that I must believe that God always has my greater good at heart and dedicate myself to His will revealed in His Word to me in all my life.   

2. OUR DEDICATION IMPACTS OUR MINISTRY TO EACH OTHER Every xian has same duty toward God—dedication. Yet will of God applied differently in ministry & life.

12:3 SERVE IN HUMILITY

The kind of thinking a mind has which is dedicated to God is humble thinking (3 times thinking). He even recognizes the ‘grace’ he received as an apostle and not it’s authority he wields. Each of us must serve with spirit of humility. ‘Sober judgment’ means we understand the true nature of things. Not hampered by colored glasses. Pride keeps me from seeing. The ‘measure of faith’ then is way I can view what it is God has given me. It is by grace thru faith not pride of achievement. My abilities and my gifts are from God not my own. Humility acknowledges all I have comes from God. They operate thru faith and impact thru the same. Understanding this essential for my ministry in believers lives.

12:4-5 REASON FOR HUMILITY First, we have analogy of the human body vs 4. We are part of a larger entity not just a group of individuals each doing own thing even tho we are all unique and function differently. Second, vs 5 just as many parts form one body so each person’s contribution profits every other person all thuout the city and world of believers. This is a supernatural bond we have together.

12:6-8 GIFTS BY HUMILITY  So God by His grace has given me capacities for His service vs 6. Spiritual gifts are tools to build with not power to control with Again grace and faith is posture we must have. A selective list of these follows for illustration. Prophecy is communicating God’s message like prophets did in Bible for encouragement or comfort or warning. This done ‘according to proportion of his faith’ meaning that which been given to Him to say by God agreeing with what already has been said. Service contributing to peoples needs generously. Teaching explaining God’s Word and will. Exhorts while teaching appeals to mind this appeals to will. Gives the guiding factor here is attitude—liberally with singleness of heart no mixed motives. Remove profit motive from giving. Leads must do so with diligence looking out for well-being of believers day and nite today. Mercy not grudgingly but cheerily to encourage afflicted. How are you doing?

(1) Dedication to God is once for all act of all of my life renewed everyday.

(2) My dedication to God determines effectiveness of my ministry to others.

(3) God promises to meet my needs and also determines what they are. Trust Him.

(4) Humility necessary for service.