"The Loss Of Me"
This section flows through the entire chapter. A disciple is one who follows a master, but Jesus taught us to take up our cross daily. What is the practical meaning of being a living sacrifice?
The Loss of Me
A. We seek to define words with the simplest meaning possible. That makes good sense. It gives clarity to thought and meaning. So when we come to the term “disciple” we often think about one who is a “student or follower of another.” But there is more to that term than just a casual follower. Jesus called people to become his disciple. Jesus commissioned the Apostles to go make disciples.
B. In that day a disciple would actively imitate both the life and the teachings of their master. The really wanted to be the image of the master. When Jesus called people to become his disciple he did so with a warning. Listen to what Jesus said (READ Luke 14:25-27, 33).
C. Many people today call themselves Christians, but this idea of discipleship takes our name Christian to a higher level than what some want to give Jesus.
I. Living Sacrifice
A. Paul takes us back to the sacrifices of old. And, in his opening of God’s mercies, takes us to the cross of Christ. In light of God’s grace to us, the questions becomes, how will respond to him? Paul’s answer, become a living sacrifice.
B. Dead animals are not what God is looking for anymore. Why? Because the perfect Lamb of God has already been offered – Jesus. Because of the cross, the sacrifices of old are no longer what God is seeking. He now looks at the heart. The calling for holiness and obedience has not changed, but the method of atonement did.
C. Listen again to Rom. 12:1. What God is looking for from you is a living sacrifice. It is taking up your cross daily and following him. It is living in true repentance. It is living for him and not for self. It is living humbly before God and letting God lift you up. Humility is the only way I can present myself as a living sacrifice. Until I give up me, I can never fully take on the grace of Jesus.
D. Look at the last phrase, “which is your spiritual act of worship.” While the phrase is a little ambiguous, the idea is that Paul is telling us to worship God with our whole heart, to worship him in true spirit. That really is what Jesus told the woman at the well. Remember that story? Jesus touches on a very personal part of her life when she changes the subject to worship – Samaritans on their mountain, Jews in Jerusalem. Jesus tells her the “where” is not the issue, it’s the desire to worship God, God’s way. The words Jesus uses are, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (John 4:23)
F. So when Paul tells us to present ourselves as living sacrifice, he is telling us to give ourselves 100 percent over to God instead of trying to live a life pleasing to the world. Or as
G. The point is HUMILITY. A disciple gives up self to follow and become like the master. I die to self. I give up my rights, my wants and my wishes for a better cause than me. I give put me on the altar and offer myself to God to do with me as He wants. That is discipleship wrapped up in worship. Paul put it so well in Gal. 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live…”
H. Okay, that’s accurate theology, but what does it look like in real life today? How do I live sacrificially?
A. Rom. 12:3. Humility before God leads me to service like Jesus did. Jesus fed people, washed feet, touched lepers, and let people know they had value to him and before God. They were not simply a number. Jesus served others.
B. Paul appeals to us to not thing more of ourselves than we ought to. Instead, Paul wants you to know that God has gifted you to be the best servant in the best way to the most people in this church family and our community.
C. The outward sign that you have given yourself up to glory of God is what are you doing with the gifts God has given you? (READ Rom. 12:6-8) It is not a matter of have you been gifted, it is, are you using your God-giftedness?
D. I think about the kids who hand out the cards from our “Send Some Love Box.” I think about the teachers who share Jesus and love with our kids on Sunday and Wednesday. I think about those who see the kids who get the MAGI boxes, not with their real eyes, but through the eyes of Jesus as go out to buy things that some child needs. I think about those who see bulletins in the pew that have been discarded, Sunday school papers that are left, cups that someone left under a pew and they quietly pick them up and dispose of them. I think about the ones who care and help some of senior saints in their home or visit members at a nursing home, or send a card or call a person who is alone simply to share the love the Jesus with them. I think about the one who pick up those who don’t have a car and bring them to worship. I think about the person who talks to the member that stands in a corner and never talks to people. I think about those people and I see in this family people who are a living sacrifice because they use the gifts God gave them for the betterment of the family.
E. Humility and service drew many to Jesus. I believe many came to Jesus, not because of his theological teachings, but because of the outward expression of his love for the least of these. Humility and service was what took Jesus to a cross to die for me. Because of his humility and service the Father gave Jesus a name above all names, raised him up from the dead and seated him back power in the heavenly realms.
A. I appeal to you, I beg you, by the very mercy of that God has shown us through Jesus, to give yourself – your heart, soul, mind and strength – to God as a living sacrifice.
B. I call on you to see the gifts that God has given you, no matter how small you may think they are, and use them for the greatness of His glory.
C. I challenge you pray the words of the song we are about sing and let them be your heart’s expression to God. “Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee.” Let us stand and sing.