September 24th, 2023 Living Sacrifices Romans 12 9am
Soldiers, firemen, Police Officers, Parents, and anyone who sacrifices themselves for others are highly admired. The call to Christians goes beyond offering ourselves when the need arises to become living sacrifices. The Levitical system in the Old Testament was a temporary way for the people of Israel to be made right with God. Sacrificing animals was only a shadow, a foretaste to lead to the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, where our sins are forgiven, and our hearts are changed through the work of the Holy Spirit. When the sacrifices were presented correctly, God responded by sending fire to consume them. Considering all Jesus has done for us, we present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices (12:1), and He responds by baptizing us with Fire.
As we present ourselves to God daily, we are transformed, and worldly behaviors and customs are removed and replaced with the knowledge of His good, pleasing, and perfect will (12:2). Those privileged in the world are full of pride and use their authority to take advantage of others. God’s children humbly acknowledge that their power is not of themselves or for themselves (12:3). We have gifts from the Holy Spirit as different members of the body of Christ to serve each other well (12:4-5). These motivational gifts include the ability to prophesy, serve, teach, encourage, give, lead, and be kind (12:6-8). All believers are to walk in these attributes, but some have a special grace with a particular gift that comes with their specific assignment to serve Christ’s body and witness to the world.
The gifts will move us into ministry, but they won’t be fully received if we don’t have character. People will know if we are pretending and not genuine with love in our acts of service (12:9-10). It is possible to be gifted without character, for God’s “gifts and calling are without repentance (Romans 11:29).” Yet i
t is the fruit of the Spirit that draws people to the person of God, where they can be transformed. People may get healed and delivered through our gifts, but they only change if they are drawn into a relationship with the Lord.
The character of God is seen in our lifestyle of doing good, loving and honoring others, working hard, serving enthusiastically, rejoicing with hope, being patient during trouble, helping those in need, practicing hospitality, blessing those that persecute, being happy with those that are happy, weeping with those that week, living in harmony with others, not looking down on others, never paying back evil, doing all possible to live in peace with everyone, never taking revenge, helping our enemies, and conquering evil with good (12:11-21).