Powerpoint for message
Reading: Romans 12:1-21
The title of my message today is “Five things to help us
be a living sacrifice”. For my devotions this past week or
so I have been working my way through Romans 12. As I did
this Romans 12:1 has really stuck in my mind.
Romans 12:1 NLT says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters,
I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all
he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy
sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly
the way to worship him”.
In this verse Paul urges us as believers to follow Jesus
example in being a sacrifice, but rather die for sin, we
die to ourselves and offer ourselves to God. Paul
encourages us to be living sacrifices. To give our lives
for God’s service. He says that this is an acceptable
sacrifice to God and the way we truly worship Him. It is a
right response to the actions of a loving God.
But how do we go about being a living sacrifice? What are
some of the things it entails? If we read through the rest
of chapter Romans 12 Paul gives us a few clues. Today I
just want to touch on some of the things that jumped out
at me as I meditated on this chapter. In future messages I
will dig a little deeper into the main points and give
them a sermon of their own.
1. Renew our mind
Verse 2 says, “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.
Renewing your mind. This is a vital first step if we are
wanting to live a life in God’s service and be a living
sacrifice. We need to line our hearts and minds up with
How do we do this? The primary way is by prayerfully
reading, reflecting and meditating on the Bible. As we do
this we allow God’s Spirit and God’s Word to enter our
minds and sink deep into our hearts. The result of this if
we do it diligently over a period of time, it changes our
hearts to our minds forever. The result of this is “Then
you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good
and pleasing and perfect.”
I find that as the years go by and my mind is renewed more
and more, the things of God become easier and more natural
to do. It is easier to love others, it is easier to serve
others and it is easier to live by Kingdom standards.
In many ways our minds are like the gearboxes of our
lives. If our minds are renewed, it is easier to put them
in D for drive and go forward in Christ and His will for
our lives. If they are not renewed we might be in Park,
Neutral or even Reverse. Those who drive an automatic will
know that if you are in drive, you only have to take your
foot off the brake and you start moving forward.
As I said I will unpack renewing our minds in a deeper
way in a future sermon. But today I just want to make the
first point that a key to being a living sacrifice is to
renew our minds.
2. Use our gifts well
Verses 6-8 – “We have different gifts, according to the
grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying,
then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is
serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if
it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is
giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it
diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
Paul tells us to use whatever gift God has given us to the
best of our abilities. If it is to prophesy, teach, serve,
give, show kindness or encourage we should do the best job
In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Paul also says, “4 There are
different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes
them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same
Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all
of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
And in 1 Peter 4:10 Peter reminds us to, “Each of you
should use whatever gift you have received to serve
others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various
Using our gifts well is a key part of being a living
sacrifice for God. This is sometimes where the sacrifice
part comes in. There is work is finding, recognising and
developing your gifts. I may be an encourager, but we have
to work at it. My loner tendencies needed to be overcome
so I could be where people were who needed encouragement.
I was told I had a gift of teaching, but I had to work to
develop my gift with diligent study. I also had to get
over my paralysing fear of public speaking. It can be hard
and a sacrifice, but there is no greater and more peaceful
place to be than being right in the middle God’s will
using God’s gifts for the good of others. I wouldn’t be
standing here today if I didn’t work hard to develop my
3. Really love each other
Verses 9-10 – “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil;
cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love.
Honour one another above yourselves. ".
Both the NIV and the NLT say this well, but I love the way
the NLT puts it “Don’t just pretend that you love others.
Really love them”. That is straight to the point!
I remember when our girls were young we put this verse on
the fridge. We then had a list of ways we could show we
really love someone. It said things like…
Kids have a way of putting things simply. I have never
forgotten these things. They showed me that we love others
in practical ways, by helping when they are in need. This
is sometimes a sacrifice. But it is well worth it. Because
it means we are living out this life that Jesus calls us
to live and being a light unto the world around us.
There are a number of other places in the New Testament
that talks about the importance of loving one another.
1 John 4:7 - Dear friends, let us love one another, for
love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of
God and knows God.
1 John 4:11 - Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also
ought to love one another.
John 13:34-35 - "A new command I give you: Love one
another. As I have loved you, so you must love one
another. By this all men will know that you are my
disciples, if you love one another."
These verses remind us that we are commanded to love one
another, that those who love are born of God, that since
God loves us we should love one another and by our love
for one another people we know we are Jesus’ disciples. My
heart is to be known as a disciple of Jesus, so I need to
4. Live in harmony with each other
Verses 14-18 – “Bless those who persecute you; bless and
do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn
with those who mourn. 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. 17 Do not repay
anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in
the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it
depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
In the next section Paul urges us to live at peace with
everyone. The NIV says to live at peace with everyone as
much as it depends on you.
I remember years ago I worked with a lady who just didn’t
like me. No matter what I did or said she just would not
warm up to me. She would even go out of her way to make
sure I did not receive favourable treatment at work. One
day I read these verses and it reminded me that no matter
how she treats me I had to live at peace with her. So I
prayed and asked God to help me work with her and to ask
if there was ways I could bless her. In time I emailed her
and apologised if I had offended her without knowing. As a
result, we were able to talk and the problem was sorted.
We had a good working relationship and were able to talk
and we did not a barrier between us.
It really brought home to me that we should try to love
and serve others even if they persecute us as Christians.
God makes it very clear it is not our place to curse or
take revenge. That is a big sacrifice at times and is
contrary to a worldly way of thinking.
If you want to be a living sacrifice, you need to live at
peace with everyone as much as it depends on you.
5. Conquer evil with good
Verse 21 – “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil
by doing good”
Paul finally finishes this section with a plea to not let
evil overcome us, but we need to press on and overcome
evil with good deeds. I remember years ago I was heavily
involved in community outreach with our church in Perth.
We would go door to door giving away Jesus videos. We were
on fire and we wanted to take on the world. Then along
came September 11. It is when I let evil overcome me. I
was horrified at the evil people could do to each other.
It really knocked me and I found it hard to go out every
Saturday. I knew there was evil in the world, but somehow
it brought it home to me. It took me a few months to get
back on tract.
Verse 21 was one of the things that helped me get back on
tract. God commands us to conquer evil by doing good.
Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the
triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. I think
Princess Di used that in one of her famous speeches too.
It can be a sacrifice to have an overcoming attitude. But
if we keep moving forward and serving God by serving
others the Bible promises we will reap a harvest at the
right time. It tells us this is Galatians 6:9.
As we can see from these things being a living sacrifice
And while we do these things we are to keep our hope, be
patient when things are going wrong and keep praying
Download the booklet
COPYRIGHT PASSION AUSTRALIA 1998-2022