Worship: Living Sacrifices

Yesterday marked the last of a four part series (part 1, 2, and 3 that looked at the theology of worship and why we do what we do. I don’t know what God did with you guys in cyberspace or those at PRV, but for me, I defiantly feel like this has been a powerful series. In fact, it was a hard series as there were things that I didn’t want to hear let alone share with you all…but God’s hand guided us through it all:

  • The definition of worship – to bow down before God in total submission (part 1)
  • Trusting God, the One we worship (part 1)
  • The intimacy of being in His presence (part 2)
  • Singing to God versus simply about Him (part 2)
  • How worship differs from culture to culture (part 3, guest speaker Shelton Taguma)
  • Worshiping Jesus through our actions – living sacrifices (below)

My prayer now is that we don’t forget the lessons we have learned. I pray that we will take what we have learned and go with God, transforming our minds so that we can work out God’s will in our lives, our community…

Worship, Part 4

Good morning. God has been so good to us this week…

I was driving home Wednesday evening after work when I saw the most wonderful rainbow ever! It was a full double rainbow declaring God’s peace for He has hung His war bow on the wall. He has made a covenant with the earth, humanity and the animals never to destroy the earth with water again. What a powerful promise!  =)

As I stared in wonder at this rainbow, I couldn’t help but worship the Lord for all that He has done. He created the heaven and the earth – He has given us everything we have and are – He died for us so that we may be set free from sin and death. He gave us eyes to see and ears to hear – feet to walk and hands to work.

He is good! Amen and amen!!

Doxology

This reminds me of end of Romans 11 and the beginning of chapter 12:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
–Romans 11:33-36

What a powerful doxology or statement of the faith! How unsearchable is his judgment and His paths? That we might all follow the Wild Goose of the Holy Spirit into the unknown places of the world to share the Love of God to all!

And to Him be the gory forever! Amen.

Living Sacrifices

Let us keep reading in Romans 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. 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. –Romans 12:1-2

When you see a “therefore” always ask what is it “there for” – in this case Paul tells us what it is there for, for because of God’s mercy we are to offer your bodies to Jesus Christ as a living sacrifice. What is a “living sacrifice”?

Remember at this time people worshipped God by giving Him their very best sheep, cows, birds or goats. They would kill these animals as a testimony to their faith and desire to follow Him no matter what.

Paul is saying that we are to the same with our lives – we are, as he says in other places, dead to our past – no longer with the things of yesterday mess with our future. No longer with the pain and sorrow of the past have a hold on our today or tomorrow.

Think about that… really, really think about that…

We have been set free from the abuses of our childhood, of the fires and self-doubt, the pain of divorce or control of addiction no longer has a hold on us:

“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit…” -Romans 8:9

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” -2 Corinthians 5:16-17

We are a new creation!! Yes, we bear the scars of the past – but we are not to let those scars rule us.

Let us return to Romans 12 – only this time I want to read out of the “Kingdom New Testament” which, while close to the NIV, says things slightly different:

“So, my dear family, this is my appeal to you by the mercies of God: offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Worship like this brings your mind into line with God’s. What’s more, don’t let yourselves be squeezed into the shape dictated by the present age. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you can work out what God’s will is – what is good, acceptable, and complete.” –Romans 12:1-2, TKNT

In giving our bodies as a sacrifice to God – our heart, soul, strength, and mind as Jesus said in Luke 10 (quoting Deut 6:5) – by living as a new creation- this worship – this bowing down in submission, brings our minds into line with God’s mind.  We are “transformed”… it is like a caterpillar going into a cocoon and coming out a butterfly.

But this takes work as the present age of sin and death is squeezing us and pulling us… we have to resist the evil one by submitting ourselves to God (James 4:7). And when we do this, we are able to work out God’s will – His good, acceptable and complete will – or in different words, we can go join with God in His mission to transform the world!!!!

How awesome is that?!

Proper Worship

Let us continue to read the words of Saint Paul in Romans 12 as he tells us how our worship is to look:

Through the grace which was given to me, I have this to say to each one of you: don’t think of yourselves more highly than you ought to think. Rather, think soberly, in line with faith, the true standard which God has marked out for each of you. As in one body we have many limbs and organs, you see, and all the parts have different functions, so we, many as we are, are one body in the Messiah, and individually we belong to one another.

Well then, we have gifts that differ in accordance with the grace that has been given to us, and we must use them appropriately. If it is prophecy, we must prophesy according to the pattern of the faith. If it is serving, we must work at our serving; if teaching, at our teaching; if exhortation, at our exhortation; if giving, with generosity; if leading, with energy; if doing acts of kindness, with cheerfulness.

Love must be real. Hate what is evil; stick fast to what is good. Be truly affectionate in showing love for one another; complete with each other in giving mutual respect. Don’t get tired of working hard. Be on fire with the spirit. Work as slaves for the Lord. Celebrate your hope; be patient in suffering; give constant energy to prayer; contribute to the needs of God’s people; make sure you are hospitable to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless the, don’t curse them. Celebrate with those who are celebrating; mourn with the mourners. Come to the same mind with one another. Don’t give yourselves airs, but associate with the humble. Don’t get too clever for yourselves.

Never repay anyone evil for evil; think through what will seem good to everyone who is watching. If it’s possible, as far as you can, live at peace with all people. Don’t take revenge, my dear people, but allow God’s anger room to work. The Bible says, after all, “Vengeance if min; I will repay says the Lord.” No: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will pile up burning coals on his head.” Don’t let evil conquer you. Rather conquer evil with good. –Romans 12:3-21 [TKNT]

Takeaways:
  • As a body, we all worship God a little different depending on what God is doing in each of our lives.
    • Some worship through serving, both through the church and outside; others through giving – both in the church gather and outside…
    • Still others worship through leading, exhortation, prophesying (call folks back to God and seeing through the muck of life), kindness, etc.
  • We worship the Lord when we give out a food box, clothe the naked
  • We worship God when we smile at the cashier who had a bad day and bless them
  • We worship Jesus when we conquer anger with peace; evil with mercy; condemnation with mercy
  • We worship Jesus when we cry with those who are hurting – not trying to fix the problem, but just sitting them with them in the middle of their pain.
  • We worship the King of Kings when we rejoice when those who are rejoicing – whether it be for find a lost pen or a pair of glasses; or when their leg is healed or they find a job.
  • We are worshiping God when we do what He created us to do.
    • We become worshipers when the things of God flow out of us naturally like a spring of fresh water.
    • For we do or don’t something not because someone is watching us – whether that be God or another human. NO! What we do or don’t do is because of who we are.
    • Jesus wants to renew our minds – He wants to replace the darkness in us with His light. It is a healing from within that spreads throughout our body and life.

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