Are You A Living Sacrifice?

June 11, 2013


Rom 12:1-13:1

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

This is not an unfamiliar passage. Many of you may have expounded on this passage from your pulpit.  Yet, sometimes we miss much in the familiar.   Look at what a living sacrifice does?  We often emphasize about what a dead sacrifice does not do or care about and speak to being dead to this world, but alive unto God.  We say that God has better purposes for our lives if we will sacrifice our goals and desires for His.

However, look how that fusion of God and a living sacrifice explodes into service for the gifts are all about service.  No gift was given just to admire or even for our benefit.  They are given to a dead man walking to benefit the Body and win the unbelieving soul to Christ.  Such a fusion has to lead to fission or something is totally wrong.

Anyone that has to be constantly called to serve and exercise their gift may not have one as they may not be saved.  A newborn may have some issues because they are a newborn, but a supposedly mature Christian should really have more trouble saying no in a limiting way because he/she is already very active and wants to participate in every opportunity rather than having an excuse not serve every time the call is given or he/she is approached specifically because someone sensed they had the gift needed for some place of service.  A person who feels no inner pang to serve may not be saved.  If they think they have no gifts they may need education, but if they have no desire to find what God gifted them to do it may because He has not because they are not in the Body.

I probably irritate people because I constantly exhort them to find their gifts.  I know that every saved person has at least one gift and maybe more and they will never be happy or fulfilled until they start using it.  Often, a person may be called to serve in something they are not especially gifted in.  Paul told Timothy to the work of an evangelist though it does not appear to be his gift.  Maybe there were none available with the gift so Timothy was to serve as one until one with that gift was supplied by the Lord to that body at Ephesus.

I have had to do wood putty ministry often.  I was asked to fill in or I volunteered to fill in a ministry where there was a need.  Those times did help me figure out what my gift/gifts were and what they were not.  Sometimes, like the jail ministry, it was supposed to be for a short time and then it turned into I was the one to do it not just until someone else was found.  Sometimes, I started out only thinking I helping out or observing as part of my role as an Associate Pastor only to become the main speaker and the others became the support personnel.

As best as best I have been able to do I have served in whatever ministry presented itself.  I surrendered to preach thinking that meant the pastorate and though I have had a few titles with pastor in them I have served in far more capacities than a traditional pastoral role.  Since I seldom meet people’s requirements for a pastoral position had I not been flexible I would have not served near as much as I have been blessed to do.

God can do much with a person willing to serve regardless of title or even the approval of men.  I have often been victim of the Goldilocks Syndrome.  I have been too hot, too cold, too young, too old, etc. etc. and seldom just right for pulpit committees or other reviewing parties.  Yet, in the grace of God, I have had quite a life doing what I sometimes call guerrilla warfare because I come in and do what ministry I can and then move on to the next place or objective.  Would I have rather found a church early in my life and still be there celebrating my thirty-fifth anniversary as their pastor? Absolutely!  Would I have missed out on a lot of learning experiences and opportunities had I gotten my way?  Absolutely!!!  While I have been often disappointed and tried to quit the fire always came back to burn within me and I did whatever I could do. The key is to serve.  Allow God to create the fusion and fission within you and whatever comes of that explosion and release of energy rejoice in it and serve!

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