10th July 2016 Psalm 148 Romans 12:1-8
The church from the very beginning set a foundation of practice. The church did three vital and important activities.
While looking at worship I took you to the first few verses of Romans 12.
And I left you with the comment:- My attitude towards God and my attitude towards my fellow man are important. In fact my attitude towards God will influence my attitude towards my fellow human beings:
Pointing to the fact that true worship is God directed, ‘I look to the heavens and then man directed.’ The Vertical and the horizontal, making the shape of the cross.
Today I would like to revisit Romans 12 for I believe that the worship of God leads us into depths of relationship, not only with God but each other as the body of Christ.
• I do not believe that relationships should be forced but I do believe that they are something that we work on.
• To be honest with you when it comes to interpersonal relationships with others, there are some people who we gravitate to and others that we do not.
• There are some people who we will like and get on with and others who we will not.
• There are those who will see us and feel the same way.
• It is important to understand within ourselves that we do not need to please all the people all of the time.
What does this have to do with worship?
Again my attitude and worship of God will and should impact my attitude towards my fellow man.
Romans 12 is about the wonderful dynamic that there should be within the life of the Church- true fellowship with God produces true fellowship within the church: For the basis of the true fellowship is the worship of God and grasping the love of God that is released in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
Now there are a number of factors that impact this- Is it possible to love someone and not like them?
Fellowship is a Two Way Street. Any good relationship means that one works at getting to know that person and getting to know someone takes time and effort.
I do not believe in forcing relationships or creating guilt trips. One of the mysteries and blessings of being part of the church of the Lord Jesus is the fact that we are all different, with different likes and dislikes, different personalities and even different political views. My experience has been that the Holy Spirit will led us into relationships.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the truth of Romans 12.
Warren Wiersbe points out that this is the fourth of a series of ‘therefore’
1. Romans 3:20; “ Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” the therefore of condemnation
2. Romans 5:1; “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” the therefore of justification
3. Romans 8:1; “ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” the therefore of assurance
4. Romans 12:1; “ Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” the therefore of dedication
In other words my dedication to God impacts my relationship with others. Or as stated earlier: – My attitude towards God and my attitude towards my fellow man are important. In fact my attitude towards God will influence my attitude towards my fellow human beings:
Romans chapter 12 gives us insight into true worship and true fellowship.
This fourth therefore is important: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
This fourth therefore tells us what our true and proper worship is to be.
The Apostle points out three things for our benefit:
1. What we do with our bodies is important- What does it mean; “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice”. In the first century there were those who taught that ‘the body was only a prison house, something to be despised and even be ashamed of.’ [Barclay p156] They even went as far as to say that “it didn’t matter what you did, if your spirit was right.” This gave then license to do whatever they wanted, if it felt good they did it. Hedonism [self-indulgence, pleasure seeking, debauchery] for many was the order of the day.
Frail though we might be, and maybe riddled with disease and decay- our bodies make up part of who we are and it is with the whole of our being that we worship God. Body, Mind and Spirit. The Lord Jesus put it this way:
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
We all face the reality and restrictions of our humanity, our bodies and circumstances- even these can be subject to the Lordship of Christ. Hear the apostle Paul’s revelation; 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20,21
The whole of our being IS service and worship.
2. Moving onto verse 2 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Is it possible to give God our minds?
I believe that it is, is it easy, I believe that it is not- nor should it be! Why? Because God does not want robots mindless machines.
As I read through Romans 12 I see the heart of a loving Pastor who wants the best for those reading this letter I also see something of the nature of God. This passage speaks of the strength within the church how God wonderfully gifts and blesses each individual- it also speaks of the unity and relationship that we have with God the Father-
I have always wondered what it would be like to have the power to inject people with a dose of faith, and a dose of the gifts and fruit of the Spirit. Image walking out of church on a Sunday and being injected with a dose of these things, whether we like it or not! If I had the power to make you believe what I believe, to be the sort of person I wanted you to be and so on.
But wait! What would happen to – precious you, the person God made? You would disappear this was never God’s intent!
‘Me decrease and Him increase’
, never takes away from whom I am and who I will be and who I can be in Christ Jesus.
Thus the struggle and battle for the mind. You might think that you are in charge of what you think and believe- You may be right- Did you know that the world in which we love conditions our minds, it feeds us all sorts stuff- to the point where we lose ourselves and become pawns in a very unholy and unwholesome game. Here is just one simple example of that, the state government will ban greyhound racing in July 2017, it is truly appalling 6000 dogs that we know of killed. BUT Did you know that there are something like 80,000 abortions that we know in Australia and what is the government’s response?
We think that we think, yet we are influenced by so many things- they are not all that good for us.
I believe that there is a battle for the mind; I also believe that we should allow God to win it!
“God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded by using His Word. As you spend time meditating on God’s Word, memorizing it and making it a part of your inner man, God will gradually make your mind more spiritual.”
[Wiersbe p 554]
2 Corinthians 3:18
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.