Your Spiritual Act of Worship

A Living Sacrifice

 

(Rom 12 NIV)  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.

*   A sacrifice is an offering to God, usually of the best we have.

*   Spiritual here has the meaning of, “Reasonable.” See KJV and RSV for example.

*   Worship is an act of love and devotion towards God.

{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.

*   Transformation and change is an essential part of becoming a Christian.

*   To the extent that we are transformed to that extent we can determine what God wants from us.

{3} For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

*   Faith is tied here to how we se ourselves.

*   By faith we can see ourselves more as God sees us.

{4} Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,

{5} so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

*   Christ is one with the Father and we are one with Christ.

*   A body where the members do not work together is a dysfunctional body.

*   (John 17:22-23 NIV)  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: {23} I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

{6} We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.

{7} If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;

{8} if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

*   A hand makes a poor foot and a foot makes a poor hand.

*   A body that is missing a member is at a disadvantage.

{9} Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

*   Love that is not sincere isn’t actually love.

*   Hate can be a family value.

{10} Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

*   To honor others above ourselves is to imitate Christ.

{11} Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

*   It is easy to become complacent.


{12} Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

*   Slow to anger and slow to speak.

*    (Prov 15:1 NIV)  A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

{13} Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

*   Hospitality: Being cordial and generous with people.

{14} Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

{15} Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

*   Share and empathize.

{16} Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

*   Proud in this sense has the meaning of, arrogant, haughty, disdainful.

{17} Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

*   The key here is to do right regardless of whose presence you are in.

{18} If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

*   (Gal 6:8-10 NIV)  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. {9} Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. {10} Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

*   This might be considered a summation of all we have read to this point.

{19} Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

*   An atheist that I had a great deal of admiration for, Ayn Rand, once put it like this: “No ego satisfactions.”

{20} On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

*   (Prov 25:21-22 NIV)  If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. {22} In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

*   (Exo 23:4 NIV)  "If you come across your enemy's ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to take it back to him.

*   The meaning seems to be that a person that receives good, when he doesn’t deserve it, may be turned around by his own conscience. There was an Egyptian ritual that involved the carrying of a basin filled with hot coals on ones head as a sign of repentance. That may be the reference intended here.

{21} Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Let’s end by reiterating the opening verse and contrasting it with verse eighteen..

*   (Rom 12 NIV)  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.

*   {18} If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

 

Can we learn, apply, and do these things in our lives? Let’s try!