Sunday message 20 August 2017 – Romans series Part 4 – Living sacrifices who worship 24/7
Posted by robinpalmer
READINGS: Romans 12:1- 8
I wonder what the first word is you found in Matthew’s gospel that relates to feet? It’s probably when the wise men bow down to worship the boy Jesus. (Mat 2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.) The word ‘worship” there means to prostrate oneself and kiss the feet of another.
Last week we mentioned feet too – remember – how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news…
And then at the resurrection of Jesus in the same Matthew’s gospel – at verse 28:9 – we read: Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Matthew’s gospel is bookended by these two physical acts of worship.
Romans 12 is about worship too. In a broader sense though.
Worship is the natural consequence of everything we read in chapters 1-11 – about what God has done to save us. It follows that it begins with that wonderful link word – THEREFORE.
In the light of all these things God has done – in the light of who we are IN CHRIST
– what are we to do? Carry on with our lives – indifferent – unmoved?
And this isn’t just what one of my NT lecturers called “hints and tips for the Christian life” either. It’s stronger than that.
12:1 THEREFORE I URGE YOU – urge, beseech or beg…
In the light of God’s mercy (which we have speaking about these weeks by the way) – I strongly urge you to DO SOMETHING in response to what God has done:
offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual (or reasonable) act of worship.
- O dear.
- Your bodies.
- Our bodies.
We prefer to spiritualize it all. And not talk about our bodies. Our addictions. Our habits. Our health. Our dates with the refrigerator at night. Often a bit too late at night.
We are to offer as a living sacrifice – make available – all of who we are.
We are meant to be a sweet aroma to God. In terms of who we are and what we say – as we read in Hebrews 13: Heb 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.
- Last week we were to confess with our mouths – stomata (stoma)
- This week we are also to offer our bodies – somata (soma).
It’s the same word that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians when he says:
1Co 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1Co 6:20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.
So – it seems okay then to offer our bodies – they are already made holy by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
It’s the worship that interests me. We have so compartmentalized our worship. We talk about a “service” of worship and within that time slots of “praise and worship”.
Jesus didn’t save us to have us here for an hour or two once a week when we are not sailing or working or sleeping or whatever… As if we can pop into a spiritual bubble for that short time. And then pop out of it again.
Look at the rest of the verse: we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Our WHOLE life is our worship – this is not the “worship” word that involves bowing down and kissing the feet of another. This is another word – λατρεία -Latreia
It Is a word implicating being in service to God – every day – in addition to what we do when we gather together to honour God in worship each week (as ecclesia – those who are called out and called to assemble).
It has implications for the whole week. So – I propose –
AN NEW WAY TO START THE DAY
Here’s my practical suggestion. Start the day in a new way.
Perhaps say ‘Good morning Lord’ rather than ‘good lord it’s morning’.
Then look at what awaits you with a shout of delight (a sacrifice of praise) rather than a groan or a moan and say:
- It’s me, God. Hi Jesus. You died for me. Today I live for you!
- I have confessed you as Lord in principle. Let me live fully for you, not in a cloister, but in the world of work and life. (NB: I recognise by the way that we can make sanctuaries in that world of work and life as we step out of the rush when we need to into a safe place in God’s presence).
- ALL that I do today is for your glory. ESPECIALLY my work. ( NB: Read 1 Cor 7:17 and Colossians 3:23 here – and George Herbert’s poem below).
- I want to have a Romans 12 day – in view of your mercy and grace – I am going to live totally for you each moment. Sacrificially – dedicated – devoted – set apart for you.
And the next verse shows us how. Verse 2.
Rom 12:2 Do not conform any longer 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.
And I will say Romans 12: 2 as my mantra or motto:
- I won’t be conformed to the pattern of people’s thinking around me.
- I will be changed by the transformation of my mind (renewing of my mind – metamorphosis)
- I look forward to this day as you show me your will – each moment.
- I am going to be the butterfly – not the caterpillar! Yay God!
- And God – even when this body seems a bit of a crock – It’s yours. Take me.
There we go.
Note 1: George Herbert’s poem on work:
Teach me my God and King, In all things thee to see;
And what I do in everything, To do it as for thee.
A servant with this clause, Makes drudgery Divine;
Who sweeps a room, as for Thy laws, Makes that and the action fine.
About robinpalmerI am a Presbyterian Pastor living and working in Browns Bay on the North Shore of Auckland in New Zealand. We moved here at the end of March 2011 after spending five years in Wellington the capital city. I am passionate about what I do - about communicating and writing. I also enjoy my counselling work, especially with young people.
Posted on August 21, 2017, in Sunday Morning Sermons and tagged bodies, bow down, living sacrifices, metamorphosis, reasonable worship, service, transformed, work is spiritual. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.