Romans 12:1-2

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Text: Romans 12:1-2

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

INTRODUCTION:

When you are in the pastoral ministry, you soon learn that you take people where they are in their spiritual lives and that you work with them, seeking to get them to take the next step and eventually to make mature Christians out of them.

If they are unsaved, you seek their salvation.

If they are unsurrendered, you seek their surrender to the Lord.

If they are surrendered, you seek their spiritual growth and maturity.

Where are you in your spiritual life?

Where should you be going from here in your spiritual life?

Romans 12 provides some answers to this question of where we go from here in our spiritual lives.

In Romans 12 salvation is assumed. However, if you are not saved, you need to do something about it before it is too late.

Question #1: Are you really saved?

I. BELIEVERS ARE URGED TO DEDICATE THEIR LIVES TO THE LORD - 12:1

Romans 12:1 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.

This act of dedication is not intended to be done annually, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, or even minute by minute. It is a one-time act whereby I give myself to the Lord. Once I give my life to the Lord, I am then His; and I am to be living for Him minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year for the rest of my life. This not-to-be-repeated dedication marks the beginning of the surrendered life and of all that follows in the rest of chapter 12.

In the event that at some point in the past you have given yourself to the Lord to live for Him but have not been living for Him, you need to confess this as sin and get back to studying your Bible and practicing what it says.

I beseech is I am begging, I am appealing to, I am urging, I am exhorting, or I am encouraging; and Paul is doing this by writing this letter.

You is the Roman believers.

Therefore is inferential and suggests consequently, accordingly, so, or then.

Paul addresses his readers as brethren, i.e. brothers, by which he indicates that they are his fellow believers.

By the mercies of God is by means of the mercies of God.

Mercies is compassions or pities. It is these mercies that God demonstrated when He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die on the cross in payment for the sins of all humanity. God's mercies have been shown in Romans 1-8 .

What Paul beseeches the Roman believers is that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God.

That ye present suggests that you (plural) place beside or that you put at someone's disposal. Present is a technical term in the language of sacrifice where it means offer or bring. Its tense indicates that the action is summed up as a whole. It is something which is done once; it is not something which is repeated over and over again.

Present is the same term translated yield in Romans 6:13 and has the same meaning.

Romans 6:13 - Neither yield (i.e. be yielding or be presenting = and stop yielding or stop presenting) ye your members as instruments (i.e. as tools) of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield (i.e. present) yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members (i.e. body parts) as instruments (i.e. as tools) of righteousness unto God.

What they are to present or offer to God in Romans 12:1 is your bodies; whereas, in Romans 6:13 it is, Yield yourselves unto God . . . and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Most sacrifices are slain before they are sacrificed. In this case, however, they are to present their bodies a living sacrifice, i.e. as a living sacrifice or as a living offering.

Not only is it to be a living sacrifice, it is also to be a holy sacrifice which means one that is dedicated to God or sacred. It is set apart or reserved for God and His purpose. Thus, it is automatically set apart from anything and everything which would in any way conflict with or hinder God and/or His purpose.

Acceptable is pleasing or well pleasing, and it is specifically pleasing unto God.

This presentation of the body by the individual believer to God as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable is further described by which is your reasonable service.

Reasonable means spiritual or rational, and service means worship. It indicates how one begins to worship God. It is by making a sacrifice of himself to God, by giving himself once and for all time to God as a sacrifice. He is going to live for God, he is set apart for God, and he is going to do his best to be well pleasing to God in every aspect of his life.

Question #2: Have you given your life to the Lord to live completely for Him? If so, how are doing?

We soon realize that the dedication of our lives to live for the Lord has some ramifications -

II. THE DEDICATED LIFE DEMANDS THAT WE STOP BEING CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD - 12:2A

Romans 12:2 a - And be not conformed to this world. . . .

And introduces a continuation of the thought of verse 1.

Be not conformed to this world is a command with a negative which indicates that an action already going on needs to be stopped. It is understood in the sense of stop being conformed to this world or do not continue to be conformed to this world.

Conformed means to form or mold after something. When passive as here, it means to be formed like, be conformed to, or be guided by.

Conformed is same word translated fashioning in I Peter 1:14 .

I Peter 1:14 - As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance (emphasis added).

It is to this world, suggesting to this world system or to this age, to which believers are to stop their conformity. In other words, believers should not be all wrapped up in everything that is non-Christian, including the striving after of worldly wisdom; instead, they ought to be different because they are different.

Consequently, their styles, their attitudes, their actions, and their desires ought not to be those things which are characteristic of the ungodly crowd.

Question #3: Are you stopping your conformity to the world system?

How about your goals in life? How about your appearance? How about your music? How about what you watch on TV? How about your faithfulness in church - in all the services? Is there still too much world in your life? Ask God to help you.

Not only does the dedicated Christian life demand that we stop being conformed to this world, it demands something else as well -

III. THE DEDICATED LIFE DEMANDS THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE BELIEVER'S LIFE AS A RESULT OF THE RENEWING OF HIS MIND - 12:2B

Romans 12:2 b - . . . 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.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to be not conformed to this world.

Be ye transformed is a command, and its tense indicates that its action is to be ongoing. Believers are to be continuously being transformed.

Transformed means changed in form and is the word from which biologists have derived the term metamorphosis.

This transformation will take place by the renewing of your mind, which suggests that all believers are to have the same mind set.

Renewing or renewal of your mind is the renewal of your way of thinking. Believers need to have a different mind set than what characterizes unbelievers.

It is by the consistent study of the Word of God that a believer gets his thinking straightened around and thus gets his mind reprogrammed. The Bible teaches that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7 ). Consequently, as he yields himself to the study of the Word of God and begins to practice it in his daily life, God will change his mind set or his way of thinking.

That may express purpose, or it may express result. If showing purpose, that is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that. If showing intended result or result, that is understood in the sense of so that or with the result that.

That ye may prove is in order that you (plural) may prove, for the purpose that you may prove, so that you may prove, or with the result that you may prove. It suggests that something must be proven by testing it. Consequently, it is then accepted as proven or approved.

What believers will approve as they have been transformed by the renewing of their minds is what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. It is what the will of God is, which is described as good, acceptable, and perfect.

Good suggests that God's will has worth or merit.

Acceptable is the same word used in verse 1 meaning pleasing. Does it mean that it is pleasing to God or that it is pleasing to the surrendered person? Both are true. Certainly, it is pleasing to God because it is His will, but it will also be pleasing to the believer who desires to be found pleasing to God. One is reminded of Philippians 2:13 .

Philippians 2:13 - For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Perfect means that it has attained the end or purpose in view or that it is complete.

It is the will of God which is good, and pleasing, and perfect; and by dedicating one's life to the Lord, by discontinuing his conformity to the world, and by his daily transformation of his mind brought about by the application of the Word of God to it, he will demonstrate what the will of God is in his life. The will of God speaks of what God wishes or desires for an individual's life.

Question #4: Are you being transformed in your way of thinking by your study of the Bible?

How much time or effort did you invest in Bible reading or study this week? How about last week? and the week before? It's not too late to do something about it.