What is worship? Is worship, is it music? Well, it can be. Is it that thing that we do before we start reading the Bible?
Well, kind of, but it's much more than that. Worship shouldn't be like a warm-up for the teaching. Worship should be a way of life, worshiping the Lord every day. Is worshiping our hands praising the Lord? Or is worship more than that? Find out today that worship is more than just music, but it can be a way of life, as David continues in Romans 12 with Living Sacrifice.
Here's David. So with that, let's look at Romans chapter 12 verse 1. It says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Now, obviously, Paul, in writing the book of Romans, has taken a different turn here. Romans 9, 10, 11 was talking about Israel. And Romans 12, these chapters, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, are going to deal a lot with practical Christian living, on how to live like a Christian.
What does that look like? And it's important that, you know, as we study the Bible, and obviously it's very important to us, that it's not just an academic study. That, you know, that as we look into it, as we read it, as we learn it, that we're also applying it. Because to know and not to do is not really knowing, is it?
To learn and not to do it is not really learning. So what we want to do here as we study the Bible is go from learning to living. Because, see, the Bible has a lot to say about things that we can learn from it, but a lot of the content is trying to lead us into living out what we learn. So you read the Bible and then you learn how you are to live. That's why some people don't like the Bible, because it challenges us. They were asking Mark Twain, they said, does it disturb you when you read a book like the Bible and don't understand it all?
And Mark Twain very wisely said, it's not the parts I don't understand that bother me, meaning it was the parts that he did understand. In the New Living Translation, some of you may be reading it in that translation that says, And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Now, I love the way, and let's remind ourselves as we launch into this teaching that Paul is a beseech you in the New King James. In that New Living Translation, it says, I plead with you. In another translation, he says, I beg you.
So he's not laying down some kind of legalistic law, but pleading with you. And notice that word, therefore. Now, whenever you see a therefore in the Bible, if you're a student of the Bible, you need to ask what it's there for. In other words, it says therefore, so everything is built upon what's already been said. So chapter 12 opens up with, OK, because of all this that's been said before, well, what's been said before?
Well, you go from how messed up we are in Romans chapter 1 to the fact that none of us can be justified in our own selves, we're dependent upon the grace of God, and in the Romans 10 saying whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, and he builds upon this and says, OK, because of all that, this is how you should live. Because of what God has already done for you, already. He's blessed you. He's given you life itself.
Think about it, friend. Last night, probably most of us, if not all of us, slept. And in that moment when you were sleeping, who kept you breathing? Hopefully your spouse didn't have to wake you up and remind you to breathe.
Maybe if you were struggling and snoring, maybe your spouse woke you up and say, hey, honey, you seem to be having some problems over there. But God did. He filled your lungs with air.
How did you keep your heart beating? You didn't. God did. And not only that, but when you think of the cross, we think about Jesus dying for our sins. He didn't hold anything back. He gave us everything he had.
Now, the irony is, you know what? The only thing that we can give to God is what he's already given to us. He's given us life itself. So, friend, if we give our lives back to him, as this verse is pointing out, that's just reasonable, a reasonable service. So this is saying, well, how should you then live?
Because of all this, what should you do? Present your bodies a living sacrifice. Well, there's a lot of pictures that come up with that. You know, living sacrifice. Well, I guess we can be grateful. It doesn't say present your bodies as a dead sacrifice and, you know, that we would literally physically be required to die for the Lord this morning. But he says a living sacrifice. You see, we need to look at life differently. And some of you probably remember when that moment in time when you recognized that you had messed up and you were carrying shame and guilt and you yourself couldn't do anything about that. But there came that moment in time when everything changed, when you realized that Jesus Christ had died for your sins and that you could be forgiven in an instant. If you haven't come to that place, friend, I hope you come to it today. But if you've already come to that place, you recognize how quickly things can change in a moment. Did everything change?
Your friend, let me ask you this. Or did the way you perceive things change? In other words, did Jesus die right at that moment that you decided to get saved? No. Had you already sinned? Oh, yeah. Had you probably already felt guilt and shame about your sins?
Probably. But in that moment, your perspective changed. And with that, your life changed. In the English version, Romans 12, one says this. So then, my brothers, because of God's great mercy to us, I appeal to you. Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.
This is the true worship that you should offer. The Greek word when it says living sacrifice, it literally is talking about there was a part up on the Temple Mount where they would take the bulls and the sheep and the different things that were to be sacrificed and tie them to a post. And there was a Greek word for that moment and that place. And that's the Greek word used here. A living sacrifice, willing to give everything, willing to give all. And so it uses this word service in other versions. It uses worship, another version sacrifice.
These are things that we should do, reasonable service. Now, we use worship. What is worship? Is worship, is it music? Well, it can be. Is it that thing that we do before we start reading the Bible?
Well, kind of, but it's much more than that. Worship shouldn't be like a warm up for the teaching. Worship should be a way of life, worshiping the Lord every day. Yeah, worship is music, but it's also, according to this verse, it's serving. You understand that serving the Lord is an act of worship. You know, I talked about the guys and gals in the parking lot ministry and that's an act of service and that's an act of worshiping. Those folks are out there worshiping. You can see on their faces most days that they're out there just worshiping. They're enjoying what they're doing. They're enjoying the presence of God. You know, we don't pass a plate, but giving is another form of worship.
Giving is an act of worship. I remember years ago here, and it was such an awesome story. In a church, they were, you know, passing the plate around and the plate came around to this one guy in the back. A large guy, hadn't been to church very often, but he was there that day and you could tell God was doing something in his heart. The guy came by with the plate, you know, and the guy said, put it lower, and he lowered it and he said, put it lower. And he lowered it more and he said, put it lower.
So the guy then sat the plate on the floor and the man stepped into the plate and he said, it's all I got, but he has all of me. We'll return to David's teaching in just a moment. First, I want to tell you about a special booklet that would be the perfect gift for any man on your Christmas list this year. The booklet is entitled A Father's Blessing and within its pages, David McGee discusses the power and responsibility a father has in caring for his family. This booklet can help men who have had poor relationships with their own fathers as well as bless those who are just beginning their adventure into fatherhood. When you call today with a gift of any amount to cross the bridge, we'll send you a Father's Blessing as a thank you for your support of the ministry. Call today at 877-458-5508, that's 877-458-5508 or go online to crossthebridge.com. Experience the joy of biblical fatherhood with David McGee's A Father's Blessing.
Contact us today for your copy. Now let's return to David McGee's verse by verse teaching in the book of Romans. When you think about what Jesus has done, when you ask him to forgive you of your sins, you're entering into what I often refer to as the divine transaction. In other words, you're saying, Jesus forgive me of my sins. Let's understand that act of redemption in the Hebrew goel means that someone paid a price for you to be redeemed.
The picture is somebody that's enslaved and bondage and chained and somebody purchased them to set them free. 1 Corinthians 6.20 says this, for God bought you with a high price, so you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 7.23 says, you were bought at a price, do not become slaves of men.
2 Peter, part of that verse says, even denying the Lord who bought them. So what is this, present our bodies, a living sacrifice? Well, there's a lot of things that come under that and it's probably safe to say that there's something in this verse that will convict every one of us if we're listening because there's things that we do that, well, the Bible says we can do things but not everything is good for us, beneficial. Obviously, one of the first things that probably come to mind is of course being sexually pure and understand that our bodies want to lead us in a bad direction concerning that and we can't just follow our bodies because if we followed our bodies, we'd get in a world of trouble, wouldn't we? I mean, we're being honest.
But what else comes under that? Well, this is called the temple, the temple of God. So the way that we treat our temple, offering our bodies to God, we're all going to be convicted. If you're listening, you're going to be convicted.
I don't mean it in a harsh legalistic way but in love, here's the reality. If you don't take care of yourself, if you don't rest as you should, if you don't eat right, if you don't occasionally do something in the form of exercise other than click the remote, what's going to happen is your body is going to begin to perform less and less and less. Now, why should that be important? Well, let me share my personal experience. You know, and I'll be honest, I love to eat. You know what, I'm actually a sport eater.
I don't compete professionally but I probably should. And some of you that have gone out to eat with me, you know this. I enjoy it. And I often joke glutton is a good sin. But gluttony is not a good sin. That's a joke that I say sometimes. And of course, Paul said he buffets his body daily is what Paul said.
No, he said I buffet my body daily is what he meant. But see, here's the thing. I try to take, I don't always do it. I mean, I'll confess openly. You know, I don't always get the rest that I should. I don't always eat the things that I should. But I try to.
And you know why that is? Because I need to function in the ministry to impact society. And so because of that, I try to rest.
I try to eat right and those sorts of things. And let me encourage you guys that this is, I believe, part of what Paul is saying here. Because let me ask you, who would want you dragging with no energy the enemy of your soul?
Why? Because if you have energy, you're going to affect more for the kingdom. So, you know, this given our bodies living sacrifice, that's part of it. So just like, you know, in a sexual way, you know, you want to avoid, you know, certain websites, certain situations, stuff like that. You know, from a dietary standpoint, you want to be careful of certain foods.
Because they'll weigh you down and hurt you. And I'm not militant about this, but I try to eat right. And to be honest, what's cool is because I, you know, like 90% eat right, when I occasionally go out to a restaurant, I kind of blow it out a little bit.
You know what I mean? I enjoy it. And I'm able to do that. Why? Because of the rest of the time I try to eat right.
So I encourage you in that. Because, and that might be something that, you know, that you hadn't thought of. But here's the reality is that, you know, if you do everything that your body wants to do, you're going to get in trouble.
It's just that simple. You are going to get in trouble. Now, whether, and everybody's got their different flavors of sin that can lead them down that path. Maybe, you know, I mentioned the sexual stuff. I mentioned food. Maybe it's drugs.
Maybe it's alcohol. And what you have to do is you have to say to your body, no, no, my body belongs to the Lord now. It's not for me to do as I please with.
I've been bought with a price. Somebody's going to be your God. Paul said there's a group of people that their God literally is their belly.
I don't want, as much as I enjoy food and as much as I enjoy cooking, I don't want my belly to be my God. So we need to understand these things and not be driven by our physical wants and our physical desires. Now, something begins to change in us when we come to the Lord.
The way we think, the things we want begin to change. You know, maybe you've been here three months, six months, a year, maybe on a regular basis every Friday, every Saturday night, man, you were out and you're partying and whatever that entailed to you. And now God's got a hold of your life. And somehow now on Friday and Saturday night, you don't feel like going out to those places.
God's changing you. As a matter of fact, come Sunday morning when you used to sleep in and, you know, and try to recuperate. Now you wake up and you want to go to church.
That's a supernatural thing. But as much as I'm flattered that somebody would say they want to be here, I'm more encouraged that when somebody says that, it lets me know that God is at work in their heart and in their life. Now, I'm not saying you wake up every Sunday morning like, oh, I can't wait to get there. You're going to have those moments in time when you don't feel like going to church. And then you say to your body, body, I am going to church.
You say to yourself, self, we're going to church. Psalm 37 4 says this, delight yourself also in the Lord and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Delight yourself also in the Lord and he shall give you the desires of your heart. I've heard Bible teachers use that verse and say, so see, you delight yourself in the Lord and he'll give you whatever you want. He'll give you whatever your little old evil greedy heart wants.
But that really doesn't fit, does it? What this verse is saying is when you begin that relationship with the Lord and you start to delight in God, God's going to put his desires in your heart. And so that's what happens as you get excited about going to church. That's God putting his desire in your heart to go fellowship, to go worship, to go learn about his word. And in that, that's an extremely encouraging verse that God will give us his desires. I want God's desires in my heart.
I know that God's plan is the best plan because, gang, here's the reality. I've gone through seasons in my life when I was in charge and wanted what I wanted and wanted to do what I wanted to do. Those are some of the worst times in my life. The times when I submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ said, God, I don't want what I want. I want what you want.
Lead me and I'll follow you. And those have been, yeah, there was difficult times in there. Those are the most blessed times I've ever had. Most of you are familiar with my testimony. I used to play secular music and travel around and going to town to town and doing what people that do that do. And pretty much the whole lifestyle is engaged in stuff, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Some people look at it and go, wow, that would be really cool. It's no way to live. And, friend, it certainly is no way to die. But following the Lord is incredible. And this reasonable service in the King James, this service, latria in the Greek, avoda in the Hebrew, is actually service in the house of God. And Paul is saying, you know, after what God did, look to express yourself through service to God in the place of God, which is where?
Which is this place. You know, a lot of churches that I've attended over the years, you know, it's like stepping up to volunteer. You're like, well, I don't know if you want me to do anything, and I don't know. I mean, here we encourage everybody to get involved. Anybody and everybody can get involved. We will help you to find a place to get you involved. If you, pretty much if you're living and breathing, you're in, okay?
So, I mean, if you want to work in children's ministry, there's background checks and stuff like that. But we want to find a place, so you can express this first, so you can worship the Lord in that way. Reasonable, legikos in the Greek are logic.
It's a logical thing. After Jesus died for you, you should live for Him. When we talk about living sacrifice, there's two living sacrifices in the Bible, if you think about it, from a human standpoint. Isaac and Jesus. Isaac, and I know, you know, if you grew up in church or went to Sunday school or whatever, you know, we had these little coloring books and stuff. And, you know, they pictured Isaac as like a little, he looked usually like about eight years old, you know. He wasn't eight years old. As a matter of fact, that is a really weird story if Isaac was eight years old. Because Abraham took his little eight-year-old son and tied him up and was going to throw him on the fire.
That's weird. And actually, the story, that story of Isaac going up on the hill to be sacrificed is in Genesis 22. Genesis 23 verse 1 tells us that Sarah lived 127 years, and these were the years of the life of Sarah.
That verse comes right after that chapter. I think it's reasonable to say that that was in that same timeframe. That would have made Isaac 37 years old. Sarah had him when she was 90. I believe it may have been seven years before that, or maybe four years before. But he certainly was an eight-year-old.
Why is that important? Isaac was a willing participant. And think about this, why would an eight-year-old carry up all the wood up on the hill?
That doesn't make sense either. He had to have been an adult. He had to be a willing participant in what was going on to really give the picture that God was giving to us.
What's that picture? The father was offering his son, and the son was a willing participant in the sacrifice. It speaks of the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus went willingly to the cross. He said over and over, no man takes my life from me.
I lay it down. Greater love has no man than this, that a man give his life for his friends. A willing sacrifice. Let's look at verse 2. It says, and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. These are such great verses with so much stuff to apply to our lives. Schenosis is the word here, do not be conformed, but be transformed as a metamorphose. This verse is pregnant with stuff, if you will.
In the Greek, it means a renovation, a completely remodeled inside. Inside, changing our mind. You know what's interesting what some people do with this verse? They completely miss the point.
Let me help you. If you've ever looked at this verse and said, well, don't be conformed to this world, and people say, well, that means we're not supposed to dress like the world. That means our music isn't supposed to sound like the music of the world.
How's that possible? I mean, seriously, usually people that are saying that say, well, you know, and I have suits and ties, I've got nothing against suits and ties. You wear a suit and a tie to church, that's awesome, I'm glad you're here. But people think, well, you know, I'm not going to be conformed to this world, so I'm going to get dressed up to go to church. How is that not being conformed to this world?
I mean, every five days a week, bankers and lawyers and managers and CEOs and executives wear suits. So how do we get that if you're wearing a suit, you're not being conformed to this world? We need to focus on God. And see, this is the really weird thing is people take this verse and then what they do is they say, well, so let's focus on the outside. When the verse is saying exactly the opposite, no, let's be changed from the inside out. Because what you wear, the music you listen to, isn't what's corrupting you. Yeah, I think music you need to be careful with and dress. Actually, you can go way overboard and become quite a distraction and you don't want to do that. But again, we're looking for the change from the inside out. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Now, God wants you to pray this prayer so much that He died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask Him to forgive you.
Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned.
And I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. So congratulations, friend.
You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If this was your first time praying that prayer with Pastor David, we would love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Jesus. Also, if you have been blessed by the ministry of Cross the Bridge and David McGee, would you consider supporting us with a financial gift? This month, when you give to Cross the Bridge, we will send David's powerful booklet on Biblical fatherhood, entitled A Father's Blessing. The number to call is 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508. Or go online to crossthebridge.com. While you're there, make sure to sign up for David's email devotional and begin receiving daily inspiration in your inbox. That website again is crossthebridge.com. Thanks for listening today. We pray you will join us next time as we Cross the Bridge.
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