8/1/06 8 a.m. Romans 12:1-5
Romans :12:1: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3: For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4: For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
If you have read my article in this month's magazine you will know that I mentioned four marks of the early church mentioned in Acts 2. Worship, evangelism, learning, and love. WELL.
In view of this and today's epistle would like us to consider worship this morning.
So then, my friends, because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.
What is worship?
The Hebrew and Greek words translated worship refer to bowing down, being prostrate. The English word means "worthship" and denotes the worthiness of the individual receiving the special honour
My Bible dictionary defines worship as "the honour, reverence, and homage paid to superior beings or powers, whether men, angels, or God."
I would like to suggest that it is about putting God first.
Why should we worship?
Verse 1, "because of God's great mercy to us". We should worship God because He has been merciful to us in sending His Son to earth to die in our place on the cross so we can know forgiveness and His resurrection power in our lives.
We can also worship Him because of His gift of life, homes, families, health, wealth, running water, and so on.
We should also worship because of who God is. He is superior to us and deserves our worship because of who he is as well as what he has done for us. In today's passage Paul reminds us, verse 3, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; Worshipping God is an antidote to this type of proud thinking because it reminds us of where we stand. We are created by God and everything we have comes from Him.
How should we worship?
Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.
Worship is an offering of ourselves completely to God like a "living sacrifice".
You can say at least three things about the animals who were sacrificed. They were completely committed to this. They were dead. And they had no choice. They had no say in the decision of whether they were sacrificed in the Temple, or if they ended up on Kevin's Kosher Meat Counter !
The mention of 'sacrifice' also reminds us of Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross. This was a complete commitment that he took on voluntarily. Deliberately. Not because he felt like it, but because it was God's will. So we could be free to live for God and serve him.
Unlike animals we are called to be a living sacrifice ! The O.T. was about dead sacrifices. This resulted in dead people.
The N.T. is about living sacrifices. Jesus who was dead is now alive. We, who were dead to God, are now alive to him. Devoted to him. Living sacrifices.
When should we worship?
Because we are called to be "living sacrifices" this means that we are to worship God, put Him first, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks in the year.
However, this does not mean that this absolves people from the need to come together to publicly worship God. This Chapter is about being the body of Christ with each believer contributing to the life of the church.
Where should we worship?
We are called to worship God all of the time so we are called to worship God wherever we are!
Jesus had a theological discussion with a Samaritan woman at a well in John 4. She claimed that the right place to worship God was in Samaria and not Jerusalem. Jesus replied, "23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
My parents used to go to a church where the minister was so popular that when he took a holiday many of the congregation took a break from church! That was idolatry. They should have been coming to church to worship God, not a man. There are also dangers of worshipping a certain type of service, or prayer book, or church building.
I was saddened that there were so few of the St. Mary's congregation at the Carol Service this year. Paul warns about letting our selfish will get in the way of unity. 3: For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think;
We live in a consumerist age, but we should not let this dictate the way that we worship publicly. 2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, Our minds, our thought patterns should be transformed through the Holy Spirit in the light of God's word.
Being a sacrifice, even a living one is not easy. This is hard work. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. We are to be completely devoted to him all the time. Aware of the sacrifice that Jesus has made for us so that we can be free. Free to worship, love, obey, and serve God in whatever he calls and gifts us to do.