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Sacrificial Service 3/5/17

Sacrificial Service -  Romans 12:1-8

Intro:

All of us are gifted by God to serve. You can do so much more through the power of the Holy Spirit than you might think. For example…..

A wealthy man was staring out the picture window over his large lawn watching two workers clearing brush at the edge to make it even larger. His wife quietly entered the room and said to him softly, "Dear I hate to interrupt your thoughts but the clown we contracted to entertain at our daughter's birthday party has not arrived and we have no entertainment. I know you'll have the solution because you always do." With that she left the room and the man continued to look out the window.

Suddenly one of the gardeners dropped his tools and began to do cartwheels, handsprings and other gymnastics all the way across the lawn until he was out of sight. Quickly the man threw open the window and shouted at the remaining worker "For $100, would your friend do those things on the front lawn for my daughter's birthday party?" He answered, "I don't know. Do you want me to ask him?" Quickly came the reply, "Ask him!" So he called to the worker, now out of sight, "Hey. Joe! For $100, would you let me cut off another toe?"

  • What’s the point? You can do a lot more than you think you can. In our passage today in Romans 12:1-8 Paul talks about how a Disciple offers up themselves sacrificially for the Lord.
  • When we surrender to Christ, there is no limit to what He can do both within our personal lives and in our life as a church.  Let’s discover 3 truths about serving the Lord.

Read Romans 12:1-8

I.A Disciples Offers Themselves Sacrificially

  • Romans 12:1-2
  • Paul says, in view of God’s mercy we ought to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. That’s a call for total surrender. It’s interesting that he doesn’t say in view of God’s grace isn’t it?
  • God’s grace is demonstrated when we get what we don’t deserve. We deserve punishment and we get life instead. God’s mercy is what keeps us from getting what we deserve.
  • In other words, God’s mercy is the motivation for His grace!
  • ‘I heard about a guy who stormed into a photography studio, slammed his pictures down on the counter and said, these pictures do not do my looks justice. The photographer said, sir, with a face like yours you don’t want justice, you want mercy!’
  • Paul says there are 3 ways to fully express our surrender to God.
  • First, offer your body. This term used for “offer” means to “present once and for all.” When the priests would sacrifice an animal they would first lay hands on it to symbolically say, this animal takes my place.
  • All the Jews had ever known was dead sacrifices.
  •  Now, Paul is calling you and I to be a living sacrifice. God doesn’t want to be a part of your life. He wants us to be completely sacrificed to Him. Surrendered to Him.
  • Second, we offer our mind.  Paul says that we need to stop conforming to the world.
  • The word for conformed is where we get our word scheme from, sometimes it’s translated fashioned.
  • Paul says, stop being fashioned in the image of the world. Put the schemes of the world in your rear view mirror.
  • The word used here for transformed literally means to undergo a metamorphosis. You are not who you once were my friend, you are a new creation. You’ve been changed so offer your body and mind to God.
  • Finally, offer your will to God. “Then we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
  • God doesn’t force us to choose His will, He allows us to choose it. And it’s good, pleasing, and perfect. Have you surrendered your will to God?
  • We need to take a moment to examine ourselves.

               A 33 year old woman who lives in Mexico, but works in San Diego, unwittingly smuggled 30 lbs of marijuana       across the border.

               She arrived at work early and was seated inside her car when, at about 4 a.m., two unknown males approached            her parked vehicle and began removing items from the undercarriage. Investigators say the woman startled the                men, and they ran to a black sedan nearby and took off.  The woman contacted police officers who discovered              six packages had been secured to the undercarriage of the woman’s vehicle with strong magnets.

               Inside the packages officers found around 30 pounds of marijuana. …

 

  • So when you check your undercarriage, do so with a proper estimate of self.
  • Vs 3. Paul says to be humble. Don’t be an egoholic.
  • You can’t be devoted to yourself and be devoted to God at the same time. In order to offer your body, your mind, and your will to God you have to be humble.
  • Listen, we can go a long way in life if we just have a proper view of ourselves.II.A Disciples Takes their Place in the Body
  • Paul says “to everyone who is among you.”
  • God has given faith to all of His children, you and I included. We all have a part to play, our lives do have meaning and purpose.
  • Everyone here today is a minister. Indeed everyone here today is a pastor. All of us pastor somebody.  We all have a calling in our lives.

               Ravi Zacharias has said “We are all priests before God, there is no such distinction as 'secular or sacred.' In fact,            the opposite of sacred is not secular; the opposite of sacred is profane. In short, no follower of Christ does                secular work. We all have a sacred calling.”

               Watchman Nee said “I do not consecrate myself to be a missionary or a preacher. I consecrate myself to God to        do His will where I am, be it in school, office, or kitchen, or wherever He may, in His wisdom, send me.”

 

  • Wherever you are, that is your mission field. Your life has meaning and purpose, God is not done with you.
  • And yet, even as we seek to carry out the ministry of God in our particular mission field, we are all called to be woven together as a church here at
  • Paul says, corporately, we are to be unified for His purposes. We are interconnected. There is great diversity in this body, but one Spirit. One higher purpose!
  • Think of our church as an orchestra. God has given each person here an ability to play an instrument in this symphony of ministry. Now, one mistake we could make is trying to play the wrong instrument. That would upset the symphony. God has gifted you to play your instrument, that’s His perfect purpose. But another mistake we can make is to refuse to play our instrument. Imagine if someone in the Boston Symphony just sat here on the front row, instrument in hand, but refusing to play it. The whole orchestra suffers. It may still be good, but it’s not complete, it’s not as good as it can be.
  • So what’s your instrument?

 

III.  A Disciple Uses Gifts Graciously

  • Read verses 6-8
  • There are 18 Spiritual Gifts mentioned in the Bible. Many people believe that these are the 7 foundational gifts. Everyone has at least one of these. And from these the other 11 gifts mentioned spring forth.
  • Let’s take a look at these
  • Prophecy- this is proclaiming God’s Word for a response. Basically it’s preaching. This is the marriage of the Word and Spirit. The Word is the Word, and the Spirit is energy. You need both.
  • Service- this is seeing a need and meeting it. Maybe it’s changing the oil in a widows car, or it’s bringing snacks, whatever. Notice it’s not seeing a need and complaining about it. Its meeting it.
  • Teaching- this is seeking to transform thinking and behavior. It’s not just informing people like a public service announcement, it’s seeking transformation, change.
  • Encouragement- “to impart courage.” This is being a spiritual cheerleader. Sending someone an email, note, phone call, whatever
  • Giving- this is giving in a supernatural way. People with this gift don’t blow a horn, but they give above and beyond. Not just money, but time, talent.
  • Leadership- these people can take a chaotic situation, organize it, and get people to follow them. They influence others.
  • Mercy- this is being able to look at someone and say ‘he’s lonely’, ‘they are hurting.” But they not only see it, they act on it.
  • So how do you identify your gift?
  • What do you enjoy? What are you naturally inclined to? If you can’t stand the thought of going into a nursing home, then your gift might not be mercy.
  • Do you get public affirmation? Do people look at you serve and say, ‘hey you’re a natural at that.’ Or ‘you’re really good at that.’ “I appreciate that.’
  • An important way to find it is to apply the spaghetti test. How do you know when your spaghetti is done? You take a little and throw it against a wall and see what sticks. Well, that’s what we do as believers and as a church.
  • Try new stuff, involve yourself in something different. And see if it sticks.

 

Conclusion

  • What can a unified church when everyone is playing their part? Anything!

In Bruno, Nebraska -- one farming community demonstrated what a group of people can do when working together.  In 1981, Herman Ostry and his wife, Donna, bought a farm a half mile outside of Bruno, Nebraska (a small community sixty miles west of Omaha). 

The property had a creek and came with a barn built in the 1920's. The barn floor was always wet and muddy. When the creek flooded in 1988, the barn ended up with 29 inches of water covering the floor. That was the last straw. Ostry needed to move it to higher ground. He contacted a building company and was discouraged by the bid. 

One night around the table, Ostry commented that if they had enough people they could pick the barn up and move it to higher ground.  Everyone laughed.  A few days later, Ostry's son Mike showed his father some calculations.  He had counted the individual boards and timbers in the barn and estimated that the barn weighed approximately 16640 lbs.  He also estimated that a steel grid needed to move the barn would add another 3,150 lbs. bringing the total weight to just under 10 tons. He calculated that it would take around 350 people with each person lifting 56 lbs. to move the barn. The town of Bruno, Nebraska was planning its centennial celebration in late July of 1988.  Herman and Mike presented their barn moving idea to the committee. The committee decided to make it part of their celebration. 

So, On July 30, 1988, shortly before 11 am, a quick test lift was successfully made. Then, as local television cameras and 4,000 people from eleven states watched, 350 people moved the barn 115 feet south and 6 feet higher up a gentle slope and set it on its new foundations!  

Absolutely incredible! 

Let’s do it!