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5 things to help us be a living sacrifice
Powerpoint for message (PDF)
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
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
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
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.
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 forms.
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 gifts.
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.
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.
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
And while we do these things we are to keep our hope, be patient when
things are going wrong and keep praying faithfully.
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