A Challenge to serve


Romans 12:1-2

The enthusiasm, the passion, the desire to serve our Lord Jesus is now at an all time low. Many are happy to just go to church, to sing, to worship and to attend conferences, but like to go home and come the next time for another spiritual injection. A number have become inactive and have either joined a bigger Church to hide in, or dropped out of the battle and His service because they have been hurt, misunderstood, are tired of giving, are confused or are just plain lazy and slothful.

Todays believers have a fantastic opportunity to make an impact on History because they can help change people and hence the world. Satan would seek to neutralise you, confuse you, cause you to become cynical or skeptical – he’ll do anything to get your eyes of Jesus and his cause. We need a fresh attitude, a new mind, a radical new lifestyle.

The Church in Rome had wrong attitudes, their conduct needed to be challenged, their thinking had to be deeply moved. All this called for a proper understanding of mobilization of the gifts to serve the true and living God.

An Exhortation.

Vs1 “I urge you,” I exhort you, beseech you, implore you, admonish you and draw alongside to encourage you. Paul is saying “stop messing about, being inactive, hiding your gifts and talents. It’s time to get yourself together, this is a time to make a decision, you must act now. I am drawing alongside you to help get you motivated.” He is about to give these saints instructions on serving God and understanding His clear will on certain issues.

“Therefore,” this reaches back to the previous chapters and the great doctrines that made them aware of God’s great mercies.

“Brethren,” this endearing term was to show them it did not matter what ethnic group they belonged to, now they were in the Family of God.

The Reason Why.

“In view of God’s mercy,” because God has given His great mercies, He has forgiven us, saved us, justified us, saved us from destruction, gave us a secure future and much more besides, but most of all the majestic sacrifice of His only Son for us.

Give your body in his service.

“Present your bodies,” place, offer or present your bodies for God’s disposal.

“A living sacrifice,” they had often watched animal sacrifices and were aware of the cost, that is, surrendering the whole life. Paul is figuratively telling them to bring their bodies and present them at God’s altar. What a challenge for us today! All for Jesus. That’s a mighty challenge, but remember He gave His all for you, He is not asking you to do something He was unwilling to do Himself. Paul was not asking them to be offered in a Temple, a building, or a religious ceremony, but a daily, everyday life sacrifice. Would you not surrender to this challenge?

1. Bodies are implements of righteousness. Rom. 6:13

2. Bodies are members of Christ. 1 Cor. 6:15

3. Bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit 1 Cor. 6:19

4. Bodies can be evil Rom. 6:6

5. Bodies can be subjects of sovereign power. Rom. 6:12

The believer’s body yielded to God becomes a wonderful tool for the Master to use. It is a deliberate decision and choice to place yourself upon the altar of God, it is also a choice to stay on it and not come of it for any reason. There are consequences both ways.

A threefold aspect of the living sacrifice.

1. “Living sacrifice,” a living, animated, active one. Platonic philosophy saw the body as a tomb that was evil and imprisoned the human spirit which longed for escape. The Bible sees it as a positive tool for serving God and humanity. We can express our service, our worship, our relationship to God through it. The mouth that once spread poison, gossip and curses takes on a new purpose when sacrificed to God. We can bless with it, worship with it, encourage and sing praises with it. The feet that were once quick to shed blood, run to evil, and march for other causes can now take the gospel to the whole world. The hands that once fought, the fist that once shook, the hands that grasped possessions, now are open to heal, to give and to embrace. The eyes that looked away from God now look for things to do in His service. The misdeeds of the body are now reckoned dead. [Rom.8:13] We now offer the different parts of our body not to sin as “members of wickedness” but to God as “instruments of righteousness.” [Rom.6:13,16,19] Whatever we do, say or think should be for the glory of God.

2. “Holy,” means to be set apart, consecrated and dedicated to God. It is put at His disposal for His will and His bidding.

3. “Acceptable to God,” satisfactory and approved of God. God is pleased with it.

This is Logical.

“This is your reasonable service,” this is logical, rational and follows reason. It follows reason that because God gave us so much that we intelligently and spiritually present our bodies for service.

The renewed mind.

Vs 2 Paul now goes on to emphasize the transformation of the mind. This is to do with thinking, attitudes and choices.

a. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” He starts out with negative things or what not to do. Don’t follow their practices, their philosophies or their beliefs, do not be like them, question them and avoid what is wrong in them. We are not to let the culture, the ideologies, the methods of this world squeeze you into it’s mould. It means don’t mimic the world.

“Conformed,” this means don’t have an outward expression of the world while inwardly you think and are different. Stop masquerading with the habits, mannerisms, speech and ideas of the world.

“This world,” = aion = the floating mass of opinions, thoughts, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims and philosophies that are current in the world. The Spirit of the age.

b. “But be transformed,” = metamorphoomai = to change from one thing or one way to another. We are to change our outward style of living because of the new inward life. It is a change of character and conduct. Our new mind is to control our life, actions, feelings and attitudes. The believer is transformed at a deep level of his being away from the pattern of the world.

“The renewing of your mind,” it is a renewal, a renovation, a complete change for the better. The mind is important, Paul does not envisage mindless emotionalism but a deep, intelligent approach to life. Intellectually and morally we are in constant renewal by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The Holy Spirit reshapes our thinking, so we should not think like the unbeliever.

What is the result?

As we yield to the Holy Spirit He produces in us His fruit and controls our mind. We move into a new sphere and our behaviour changes.

“Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.” You will be able to discern, appreciate, determine and obey the will of God. The world is on one course but God is on another. Paul goes on to give some clear instruction about God’s will on some issues

a. For ourselves. [VS 3-8],

b. To each other. [vs 9-16],

c. To evil doers and enemies. [vs 17-21],

d. To the State. [13:1-7],

e. To the Law. [13:8-10],

f. To the Day of Christ’s return. [13:11:14],

g. To the weaker members of the Church. [14:1-15:13].

The new mind allows you to find solutions to problems. The believer can discern what is good, pleasing and perfect and goes on by the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of God’s word to perform God’s will. The renovation of our mind is the result of dependence on the Holy Spirit.

Our Lord said, “if any man will do His will, he shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” [Jn. 7:17]