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Sunday, 3 November 2013

'LIVING SACRIFICE - A WALK THROUGH ROMANS'

Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
http://www.sunnysidechurchottawa.com/   

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PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, November 3rd, 2013:
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Living Sacrifice - A walk through Romans’


Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning. My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the morning.

This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries. If you want to look us up on the internet, or to re-listen to this program you can find us at Goodnewsinthemorning.ca

This morning I want to paint for you the big picture of God and his work in the world.

            One of the most well known verses in the Bible is found in Romans 12:1 The apostle Paul says,
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

            I have always struggled with this verse. The phrase 'living sacrifices' conjures unpleasant images for me. I have read the old testament, and about the lambs that were sacrificed, and they didn't fair to well, - and now Paul you want me to be a living sacrifice.

            Do you ever wrestle with scriptures like this? I do. I have heard some very moving sermons preached from this text. People asking to put their “All on the altar.” I have seen many people respond to preaching like that. I don’t know about you, but I have found it harder to live out.

            So what does it mean to be a living sacrifice. How do we get our heads and our hearts around this?

            Well this morning I am going to invite you to come on a journey with me. I want to tell you the grand story of God using the book of the bible called Romans.

But before we go on that Journey, let’s listen to

Music – Mat Redman – Friend of Sinners – 3:10 (Album the Friendship and the fear.

            The book of Romans is full of intricate logic. Chapter for chapter it has more theology in it than any other book in the Bible. The apostle Paul shares God's great plan. But when we to our verse in chapter 12, we come to a transition point in the book
           
It is transitioning from theology, to how do we live out this theology. That is why chapter 12 starts with the word, “Therefore”. It is a reference to all that has gone on before. The verse starts to make a whole lot more sense, when you see what has gone on before.

            Preaching through the first 12 chapters of the most theologically dense book in the Bible, could take a year. I am going to walk you through it in 15 minutes.

            So here it goes:

            Paul starts out by saying, Hi Church in Rome, we haven’t met but I have heard of your faith, and you have no doubt heard of me. It is one of my great desires to come to you so that we can mutually encourage each other.
           
            I feel like God has called me to minister to people like you, and I really do want to come to Rome to preach the good news. For the good news of Jesus is the power of God at work for saving everyone who believes. It is through faith in Jesus that we are made right in God sight.

            You see ever since the creation of the world the truth about God has been obvious. If he is big enough to create what is, and powerful enough to bring into being what is, then it is obvious that he should be worshiped.

            But people chose not to worship him. Instead they made up gods of their own choosing. They claimed that they were wise but they did things that totally degraded themselves and those around them. And then they made idols in the in the form of animals or birds and worshipped them.

            All this made God angry, and because they failed to acknowledge Him, God abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 

Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.

(Chapter 2)

            Now I know Roman Church that it is really easy to point to all the people around you and say look at how bad those people are. But the reality is that you and I are just as bad. We judge others,, but our own lives condemn us, and the reality is that God is not partial.

            Yes he will judge the evil doers but he will also judge us. There are people who never knew God’s ways but should have honoured God because of what they have seen around them. Then there are people like us who have known God’s ways but we have failed to follow them.

(Chapter 3)

            Here is the reality “No one is righteous, and when I say no one, I mean no one. All have sinned. We all have fallen short of the glory of God. That is your reality and my reality and the people who are doing horrible things – that is their reality also.

            Yet here is the thing. God is kind. And even though we have all done bad things he declares us righteous. He does this through Jesus who paid the penalty for all our sins.

            You see Jesus was the sacrifice for our sin. People are made right with God when they believe in Jesus sacrifice.

            When God didn’t punish those who sinned in passed times, he was looking forward to this time, when Jesus would pay for their sins too.

            None of us can boast that we have somehow earned our righteousness, or that we are accepted by God because of our goodness. Our forgiveness is based on faith in what Christ has done.

Chapter 4

            Now if you were to go back into the old testament and look at Abraham you would see that he believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Belief has always been God’s way to righteousness, not earning.

            God made Abraham a promise for a son, and Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise, and God counted him as righteous. Now that story wasn’t just recorded for Abrahams benefit It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Chapter 5

            Now through faith we have been made right with God, and now we are at peace with God because of what Jesus has done. And here is what I want you to know – you stand in a place of privilege.

            For even though you will run into troubles in this world, God has brought you hope, and God has given you his holy spirit. And the best thing of all, what has happened is that God has shown that he loves us.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners

            We are not condemned by God, in fact our friendship with God has been restored. We have become friends of God.

            As you know it was through Adam that sin came into the world and it infected all of us. But now Jesus has come into the world and through his death has brought life to many.

            God gave his law so that people would understand just how sinful they were, and when they saw how God forgives through Jesus they can see can see how gracious God is.

Chapter 6

            Now does this mean that we should go on sinning? Of course not. In fact your old self that drove you towards sin was buried with Christ. This is what your baptism symbolizes. And when Jesus rose from the dead he broke the power of sin.

            Therefore do not let sin control the way you live. Don’t use your body to serve sin. Instead give yourselves to God and use your body to bring glory to God. Sin is no longer your master.

Chapter 7
            You do understand that if two people are bound to each other by marriage and the one person dies, then the two are no longer married.

            You were married to sin, but you died with Christ, and you have no obligation to sin.

            But here is the trouble, we as people have something in us that says, when I hear that I am not supposed to do something, it kind of makes me want to do it.

            I want to do good but I don’t and I don’t want to do what is wrong but I do it anyways. So I end up doing what I don’t want to do and that makes me miserable.

            So what do I do a fact that I am miserable. Who will free me from this life.

Chapter 8

            Here is what I want you to know. There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ. I also want you to know that you have been given the Spirit of God who can free you from the power of sin. Listen, the law couldn’t do it, but the holy spirit is doing.

            Now here is what has to happen, you need to let yourself be led by the Holy Spirit. Think about what he wants you to think about, and don’t spend time thinking about sinful things.

            At the core of you is the Holy Spirit. He is the one who lives in you. And he will give you real life. He does so much more than that. He leads you. He lets you know that you are God’s children. We get to call him father. Daddy. He is what allows you to get into heaven.

            Now I know that life is rough right now. And the reality is that creation groans right now, because things are not as they were met to be. But I want you to know that the Holy Spirit was given so that you could have a foretaste of the future.

            Right now he is interceding for you. He is at work in your life.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”*) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Chapter 9

            It use to be that Israel was thought of as God’s chosen people and that they were.  God revealed himself to them. He gave them his word. And God still has a special place in his heart for the  Jewish people.

Chapter 10
           
            But what I want you to know is that Salvation is now open to everyone. 

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

            God is no respecter of persons. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Chapter 11
            Can you see the plan of God?

 36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory

            But he has called you into relationship with himself. He loves you. He sacrificed his son for you. He made a way for you.

Romans 12:1–2 (NIV)

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

          Can you see what he means by therefore. In view of that grand plan, that he invites you into present offer your bodies as living sacrifices.

            When it says this your true and proper worship, the greek word is the one where we get our word logic from. In light of everything you have heard, in light of such a great salvation, in light of all that God has forgiven you for, and continues to forgive your for, and in light of what he has given to you, in light of his great mercy it is only logical, it only  makes sense that you present your body a living sacrifice.
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Music – Third Day – Saved 3:47

Romans 12:1–2 (NIV)

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

            . The words used for offer your bodies, or present your bodies, means to come and stand before. Basically we are coming to stand before the king of kings and we say – Here I am Lord. I am putting myself at your disposal. (That is the picture – there is no altar to climb up on top of here)

            In view of all that God has done for us, it only makes sense that we dedicate our lives to him.

            Maybe you have never come to Christ and found forgiveness of your sins. This morning I would invite you simply pray, Lord I sorry for how I have broken your laws, come into my heart, forgive me of my sins, I want to follow you. I believe that you died for me, and that you will give new life to me. Thank you for coming into my life.

            I want you to know that Jesus will do this that.

            Maybe you have invited Christ into your life, but it has been when a while since you said, God I am at your disposal. In view of all you have done for me, I want to live my life completely for you. In praying a prayer like that you invite God to take you on a grand adventure in living for him and doing his will.
           

Let’s pray together:

Lord Jesus, I ask for each person who doesn’t know you, that they would hear your invitation to come and be reconciled to God. Come to God. Lord, I ask that even now, they would open up their hearts, ask for your forgiveness, and invite you into their lives.
And, Lord, for those people who don’t know you, I ask that you would just give them a sense of how much you care about them.
And for those that do know you, I pray that they would put themselves at your disposal.
I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thank you, Listeners for your words of encouragement, and for keeping us in your  prayers.  Keeping this program on the air continues to be a work of faith. As you probably know, the summer months are financial struggle. If you can help with that, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184, Rideau Ferry, On.  K0G  1W0. Or you can give online by going to goodnewsinthemorning.ca

            If you go to that website, goodnewsinthemorning.ca you can also follow us on twitter, or our blog.

Alan Churchill, the founding pastor of this ministry is writing a monthly devotional. Alan is well known for his spiritual insight and ability to communicate the truth of God. If you would like to receive this devotional, go to our website at Goodnewsinthemorning.ca and sign up to start receiving it right to you e-mail inbox. We know that God will bless you through this ministry.
           
            (It has been a pleasure to spend this morning with you. My name is Brent Russett. You can follow me on twitter. @brentrussett)

May you know   Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love.

Music-– Michael W. Smith – I give you my heart 3:26


- Rev. Brent Russett
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To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

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