Christians are called to sacrifice ourselves for our faith.  (Romans 12:1)

In the OT, the Israelites made sacrifices on the altar at God’s command to atone for their sins.  This act was symbolic and pointed towards the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us by dying for our sins on the cross.  (Hebrews 9:11-15)

The animal sacrifices made in the Tabernacle pointed to something greater – a greater covenant made in Jesus Christ. In fact, God was not always happy with the animal sacrifices made by Israel because although they followed the instructions for the sacrifices, they ignored the purposes of the sacrifice. (Matt 9:11-13, Isaiah 1:11-20)

So sacrifice needs to have meaning – not ritual

  • How can we make sure our sacrifices please God? 

Romans 11:16-12:21 – the biblical exposition on sacrifice (read the passage first)

Rom. 11:16-36

  • Olive/fruit bearing trees are used as a symbol for the covenant of being “in Christ” in scripture.  We are either in Christ, meaning we have eternal life and are saved, or we are not. (John15:1-8)
  • Just as God grafted us into Christ (the Tree), He can also remove us again because of disobedience.
  • This is a warning from the Apostle Paul, the writer of Romans.

Because of the warning Paul gives believers in Ch. 11, he now tells how we how we should live as part of the new covenant we have “in Christ” (Romans 12:1-21) Read passage

  • First, living as spiritual sacrifices to God are said to be a “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1, 1st John :3)
  • We must prove what is the Will of God by renewing our minds
    • We do this through the study of scripture and putting what it says into practice (Hebrews 4:11-13)
    • Paul warns Christians about not progressing in the Word (Hebrews 5:12-14)
  • We should be humble in our walk with God (Romans 12:3) and be faithful in our contribution to he Body of Christ (Romans 12:4-8)
  • Love in a biblical sense (Romans 12:9) – this means following God’s commandments like the 1st John verse earlier
    • Hate evil; cling to good
  • Love one another giving preference to one another (Romans 12:10)
    • Christians are called to give up our rights so others may benefit
    • This is in direct conflict with our culture today which teaches people that everyone else must surrender their rights so I can be satisfied
  • Be diligent in our faith (Romans 12:11)
    • How do we spend our time? With a sense of urgency?
  • Rejoice in hope (Romans 12:12)
  • Be patient in tribulation
    • Do we believe God will deliver us?
  • Be steadfast in prayer
    • What does our prayer life consist of? Do we pray His will be done or ours?
  • Be generous (Romans 12:13)
    • Do you give to others or are you always looking for others to take care of you? (Eph. 4:28)
  • Forgiveness/Blessing
    • Are we vengeful?
    • Gossip can be the worst form of this (James 3:8-12)
  • Empathy (Romans 12:15)
    • Are you envious or spiteful? Or do you truly wish the best for others?
  • Be of the same mind toward one another (Romans 12:16-20)
    • This verse is talking about treating everyone fairly
      • Don’t think of yourself as too important and don’t think of others as being too important
      • Celebrity pastors come to mind
    • Don’t have a “do unto others before they do unto you” attitude
    • Only look to good things and to leave peaceably with everyone
    • Let God take care of troublemakers; you have enough trouble of your own
  • Don’t be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21)
    • 1st John 2:29, 3:7

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