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The Challenge of a Lifetime

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
January 7, 2019 10:00 am

The Challenge of a Lifetime

The Verdict / John Munro

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January 7, 2019 10:00 am

Dr. John H. Munro January 6, 2019 Romans 12:1

Grace To You
John MacArthur
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
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J.D. Greear
If Not For God
Mike Zwick
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

Today we resume our study in the book of Romans would be done that in living.

September 2017 a long time ago and worked her way through 11 chapters and that we come to Romans chapter 12 this morning. Romans is placed first among the 21 epistles in the New Testament, not because it was the first epistle written and that wasn't, but because I think those who compiled the canon of Scripture realize that Romans gives the doctrinal foundation of the gospel. It is as Martin Luther said it presents the purest gospel and in our study of Romans, we looked at the first four chapters where Paul deals with the heart of the gospel. The heart of the gospel being justification by faith that were not saved by works, but that were justified by faith alone in Christ alone and that all through grace alone, and then we thought of Romans 5678 and dealt with the great hope of the gospel because after understanding the gospel and understanding the meaning of being justified by faith. Paul challenges us regarding the results of that justification and then as we recently saw in chapters 9, 10 and 11.

He deals with the defense of the gospel as he deals primarily with Israel and that was we come to Romans chapter 9 Paul is going to deal with the transformation of the gospel in chapters 12 through 16 so we are on the home run biblically asking when are we going to finish.

Romans when we done chapter 16 we will come, have completed the book was a transformation of the gospel. It is this that those who have been truly justified by faith that they cannot live as they once lived that things are different now. Reminds me of the little car as I learned that the CAM when I was saved as a boy of 12 things are different now. Something happened to me when I gave my heart to Jesus things I love before I passed away things I love far more have come to say things are different now. Something happened to me when I get my heart to Jesus, and if things are not different in your life if you claim to be a follower of Christ. I have to ask you have you truly been saved by the grace of God because Paul is not going to wonderfully in these chapters, as we will see over the weeks dealing with the transformation of the gospel in our lives and our families in the church and indeed the impact in society. Incidentally, make sure you pick up a copy of the study guide in the chapter for our pastors. We prepared these devotionals of written a couple of articles at the beginning of the end and it's free. The chapter part four of our study guide are some of your as were coming to Romans 12 are saying. Well I'm glad that we finally come to the practical stuff you're very practical people. You want a Christianity which deals with practical living, but I'm glad you want to live out your faith but Paul's method is a very, very wise one and this one. I suggest that we often ignore it in our church life.

What does Paul do in writing Romans first, very importantly, he lays a doctrinal foundation delays is aware, the theological basis of the gospel and only then only now does he deal with the practical implications of living out the gospel, but you must understand the gospel as Paul's point is very interesting to sit down this afternoon and read the first 11 chapters of Romans and ask yourself what how often does Paul ask us to do something yes is very, very rarely that are very very few commands in the first 11 chapters of Romans. He is giving us very wisely. The basis of our salvation. We could in this way can you imagine a young man dating a young woman and on the second day to as the young woman is beginning to explain something of her life story. If he says well not really, this is our second date and I'm tired of landing about you is a sure way not to have 1/3 dates and young ladies if you're dating someone like that. I would suggest this is not the man you want to marry know the reality is, the more we love someone, the more we want to learn about them and the more you learn about the unsearchable riches of Christ, the more you will love him and the greater your desire will be to serve this Christ and this is why it's so important that we understand the foundation of our faith.

Otherwise, if you don't understand the gospel. You will be easily swayed by some emotional preaching some inspirational story some preacher that comes in sharp sago and tells you as some wonderful new secret and you will be easily swayed and very easily deceived. Unless your belief is rooted in Christ and the reality of the gospel that if Jesus Christ is number one in your life. Everything else will fall into place. That is, if we understand who Christ is. We understand the gospel.

Everything else is going to fall into place because there is nothing more practical. There is nothing I would argue more relevant nothing more exciting than learning about the gospel than learning about our Lord Jesus Christ than learning about God the father than learning about life in the spirit and Paul writing on their the inspiration of the Holy Spirit does a remarkable thing and giving us these wonderfully 11 chapters of Romans and now after that brilliant exposition of the gospel. Paul Doug calls us for the response ever going to be thinking about that response.

For the next several weeks, and in particular this Sunday and next Sunday.

What's his response he's calling for a response from us response of worship response of love I response of obedience, a response of total commitment to following Jesus Christ and understanding the gospel calls for no trivial response. This is the challenge of a lifetime. Are you ready for the challenge. Are you ready to accept the challenge as a young man, the great evangelist DL Moody had an evangelist say the world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him with his imagination misfired the rights and this gave him a vision for living our lives for the glory of God by God's help is ideal. Moody I am to be that man. It would come to that place, you who profess to follow Jesus that you will be that man that woman.

That boy that girl that lives 100% with God's help for Jesus Christ never really got to the place where you are Doug Hernandez and said, Lord, I'll go whatever you want me to go. I'll do whatever you want me to do. I am your service.

I'm totally committed to. You got to that place. I have a pastor friend of mine who's married, I'm glad my wife is not like his because he tells me that he can move more than 50 miles from where his in-laws live. Some of you deliberately live thousands of miles away from it and lots, but can you imagine restricting God's call in your life by saying I'm willing to serve the Lord.

Provided it's not too far away from mom or dad or my friends or my ideas or my culture total commitment for Jesus Christ knowledge standard rate. Romans 12 when into only going to really look at verse one today, but let's understand the first two verses that with me. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship.

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Thank you. Please be seated. The challenge of a lifetime. This is an incredible challenge that Paul is giving us is the challenge of total commitment on the salon for things about this challenge. First of all, the challenge for total commitment is an urgent one is what Paul says I appeal to you therefore, brothers Paul is arguing every authentic follower of Christ not just talking to the Jews, not just talking to the Gentiles.

He's talking to every follower of Jesus.

He calls them brothers. I have appeal to you therefore, brothers, this is an urgent responses word appeal is sometimes translated Ernst in the old King James, I think, beseech, and issues in classical Greek of the general exhorting his troops about to go to battle the thought is of the coach getting his team ready for the game. Paul is making a strong a very urgent appeal here at the appeal comes to you and to me the pill today comes to a pastor's it comes to me it comes to our elders it comes to our deacons that comes our life group leaders it comes to acquire. It comes every single follower of Jesus Christ.

None of us can say this is not for me. I progressed beyond this, this is just for a missionary. This is just for a pastor. This is not for me know. Paul is not calling people from hourly to missionary service, asking everyone to go into full-time vocational service. No, but he is calling every believer in Jesus Christ's the time. Some of us really examine ourselves as to where we stand before God as to the implications of the gospel in the time to strip away some of our pseudo-spirituality are pious platitudes or Christian clichés. The mediocre cultural Christianity. The very comfortable Christianity that so many of us have adopted no recall that Paul is making directly Christ followers is for total couldn't amendment now the Christianity of convenience because this call is an urgent one. This is the challenge of a lifetime. Your personal response. Yes, your personal response on the universe next to you, whoever you are today.

Your response is a crucial one is not easy to get into a comfortable Christianity is not easy to it's easy as a pastor just to get into a comfortable way of living as a pastor and unwittingly is not the case that we may be adopting a very stale a very predictable Christianity.

One of convenience, one of routine rather than the radical lifestyle that Paul is calling for here today I'm calling you to end any compromise in your life. I don't know what that compromise is, but it may be that compromise has come into your life. Paul is going to tell is very clearly in these first two verses, as will see next week. Stop living partly for the world and partly for Christ. You can't do that.

Jesus says no one can serve two masters. Make up your mind as her spiritual compromise in your life is Jesus first priority of your life. Let's face it, some people don't even come at the Sunday morning worship.

It was going to interfere with the ball game or a family get-together or some other excuse. One young lady sad if she's too tired she doesn't come as you might make it to the light group.

I'm sure God is so pleased with her she was doing other favors and straightening up-sleep 1115 to go life group but can get that I developed bad on the Sunday morning okay departing the club on Saturday night but Sunday morning I'm too tired and too lazy to I'm just disciplined to come and say what is important in my life is to worship God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and these attitudes are so common that they will largely accept them with. We smile at them to think I'm I'm I'm saved by the grace of God. Today the spirit of God is urging you is urging me to be totally committed to Jesus Christ.

I'm asking you, will you meet that challenge. First of all, the challenge is urgent. Secondly, this challenge for total commitment is motivated by the mercies of God, we get the verse Romans 12 verse one I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, not notice. Paul says therefore in chapter 12 Paul is a very logical writer we seen this.

Therefore, before look back.

For example, to chapter 2 verse one chapter 1 he's told us of the society that gives themselves over to their pleasure, and then he says chapter 2, verse one.

Therefore you have no excuse or man. We have the same in chapter 5, verse one after giving us the very heart of the gospel. He saying that for since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God. Chapter 8 verse one after telling us that we have died to the law and have died to sin. Paul says therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and that we come to chapter 12 verse one. Therefore, I appeal to you, brothers, by the mercies of God, what does he mean very easily understood. The first 11 chapters of Romans. Paul has been expanding perhaps in the painstaking way over and over again. What's he doing is expiring during the magnificent, the unbinding grace of God and the true understanding of the grace of God leaves us overwhelmed by the goodness of God by the faithfulness of God and motivates us to love and concern for so in chapter 12 Paul is not moving from doctrine to Judy is moving from his exposition to an exhortation to remember your English grammar. He's moving from the indicative to the imperative now, and the commands always govern as I said that if you commands up till now he wanted to understand the depth of the amazing grace of God that comes to you and me, even although we send which strayed with totally messed up our life in God and his grace. Showers are so over and over and over again with his grace and his mercy yes this is a challenge for those who have been saved, not based on what they've done by the entirely of the magnificent mercy of God would back. For example, to Chapter 11 a few verses back that we thought of last week.

Romans 11 verse 3240 God has consigned all to disobedience. Why has God consigned all to disobedience because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Paul has argued that Jew, Gentile Morrow pagan whoever you are, all of send all consigned to disobedience all deserving the very wrath of God. But notice what Paul says in this wonderful verse, God has consigned all to disobedience that he may have walked mercy on all that this salvation is entirely based on God's mercy that is not one person here in the sanctuary today that deserves to go to heaven. We have all been consigned to disobedience with God in this magnificent is recited to us. This is all of the mercies of God, and Paul is saying that if you understand that that is going to motivate you to accept this challenge of total commitment. This is the God. Paul has told us who justifies the ungodly.

This is the God who sends his son to us that in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us that we are eternally united with Jesus Christ that Paul has said so wonderfully at the end of Romans eight. There is nothing in the whole universe that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, and we say praise God I'm eternally secure in the whatever else happens in life.

I am eternally united with my Lord Jesus Christ, and there is nothing that can separate me from his love. Not even death itself, not a nuclear holocaust that is nothing at all. I can separate me from the love of God for all of eternity. I'm going to be with Christ you believe that I do, here's the pie is the challenge then because of that, if that is true because of that and much much more. Of course we must respond then to the sergeants call this urgent challenge of total commitment.

No is not some legalistic requirement. Paul is not trying to manipulate outside of some false guilt. This is not some kind of psychological matriculate but no it's an understanding of and the response to all that God has done for us in our Savior Jesus Christ our Lord motivated then by the mercies of God, an understanding as Paul is said that the end of a Chapter 11 with his wonderful doxology for from him. Everything you have brother sister comes from God would back over 2018. Every beat of your heart comes from God.

Every penny that you have every possession comes from God. He is your creator for from him and through him. He's our sustainer and for him are all things to him be the glory forever. This is all of the mercies of God, I live that is true. Paul is saying this is what I want you to do.

The challenge is motivated by the mercies of God, we sometimes saying in that wonderful hymn of Isaac Watts love so amazing, so divine, the van demands my soul, my life, my all you want to Christianity.

They just give a little bit you control this of your life to give a little bit of yourself, if a little bitter Christianity. When you feel like you when you feel God is doing you a favor you'll serve God a little bit on your terms.

When you feel like it and then you gone the rest of your life.

No this love of God is so rich commands. This is not a hobby is not something I pick up and put down when I feel like it. This demands my life, my all. Nothing less will integrate nothing less than total commitment is appropriate here is the motivation underwriter for another, the publication mothered of a legalistic requirement by those of the abundant grace of God I beseech you, brothers, says Paul, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, first this challenge for total commitment is urgent. Secondly, is motivated by God's mercy is third. It is very practical. You want practical Christianity is more practical. You probably want this is not something vague is not some vague, abstract physiological philosophical conundrum of the we can debate and talk about know this comes right down to the day this is going to impact you and me and not very very practical way is what Paul says I appeal to. Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship. Know this challenge is not a big one is obedience to God in every area of my life, as we will see. As Paul continues his writing in the remaining chapters but here specifically what are we to do. I am to present you are to present your body in a death that's and decisive act or think of the Christian faith like that but you present your body you say.

Well I put in quite a generous check this morning, John. That was my act of worship will praise God for that.

I hope you did wish more people did that but codes so Paul is saying presenting your body out bodies in and of themselves are not evil are given by God, but I can use my body.

I can presented to send out to God. Paul has said that in chapter 6 when these few commands. He thousand going present your members for sin and unrighteousness, but present your members to God.

Your body consecrated to God wanted practical here this first Corinthians 6 verse 13 the same writer Paul. He says the body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the large and the Lord for the body that clear is a follower of Christ. God give you your body. Paul is saying.

Know your body wasn't given to by God to you for sexual immorality but for the Lord and the Lord for the body are body's policy not to be used for immorality, but for the Lord sins uses our bodies that you practical business today. When you present your body to Christ in an act of total commitments in an act of total worship.

Think of your eyes bring you been watching you been looking at over the last month been presented to the God or what about your voice what's coming out of your invoice… We would you say praises to God, words of grace edifying to other people or as a negative cursing obscenities, shouting roots, vulgar, critical, nasty mean, what's coming out of your… When put your hands your hands being used, to worship God in the service of God. I could use this hand to bless you. We could use this hand to strike Moses following you to present your bodies to the Lord.

What about your feet when you present your feet to the Lord that you will go where God wants you to go.

I would try as a teenager sometimes argue with my dad and my dad didn't like to argue. I didn't mind arguing but my dad didn't like to argue.

So it's tough arguing with some new doesn't want out of your bag is and that I would say to my dad is he would say, Jon, I don't want you to go says in such I will see but dad was wrong with it. No give give me three reasons why so wrong he was reversing. You can't do this in my dad very wisely. Wouldn't argue he would just say no when my dad said no. I was pretty sure was good to change his mind in the Lord.

I had 10 arguments to show it wrong. He was in the right Isa. 15-year-old was he was say but John not so much what's wrong with it was right with it.

Is this where the Lord would have you go on the tougher questions I sent one is that was never promising my feet will only go to go in the service of the Lord, presenting myself totally to the Lord. We sometimes saying that little him by France's Ridley have a gala think it's hers. Take my life and let it be holy consecrated, Lord, to the take my moments and my days. Let them flow in ceaseless price say that sounds kind of pie as little unrealistic business.

What Paul is saying this is intensely practical listening to presenting my body in its entirety to the Lord is urgent is motivated by God's mercy is practical. Fourth this challenge.

The total commitment. What is it it's a living and holy sacrifice, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship in the Old Testament, the days of the tabernacle in the days of the temple. If we were worshiping the Lord. What did we do, we would offer an animal's worshipers came to the tabernacle or to the temple that would come to the priest and that would give a car alarm at dove to the priest as a sacrifice to the Lord. The Old Testament made a very, very clear and when that when you comment to worship God and you come with a sacrifice. It is to be your very very best, not the animal that's lame, not the animal that has a blemish on it, not one that you want to get rid of is aware, but you have to give your very very best to God. Does that surprise you into glad you God like that in June and you're glad you sent for God who wants are very very best of what was the point worship to God was constantly this was something that because this was a sacrifice in the assigned revised if you got a lamb that is diseased and you're about to kill the thing and you not sure if you can even eat it because of his disease.

I do give that to the Lord is not a sacrifice that's insulting to the Lord member David says in second Samuel 24. Perhaps this is why it's called a man after his own heart at tonight will be thinking of him and his view of the word of God is a great lesson tonight as we begin the new year focused on Scripture.

So encourage of the come, but David says that in second Samuel 24 verse 24 I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God, that cost the nothing someone else to sink them. David you can even offer this said nothing I can do that I come before the Lord.

I've got my worship is got to be a true sacrifice, attend, offer something that costs me nothing. Worship the God six from us are not animals which only on the altar for a short time. We are to present wants ourselves as not a dead sacrifice but as a living sacrifice understand yourself presented to go. One thing to bring a sacrifice is another thing to be the sacrifices in the this is not just doing something and then say that discharge my responsibilities not waking get on with the real living real life. i've i checked the boxes that were i went down in and fed the poor. i give someone a ii sang in the choir.

i taught sunday school class done my part.

now let's get on to real life, promising that that's added to all give give mr. totally out of bringing a sacrifice is a matter of being sacrifice god's altar is a living sacrifice is into the case with as we follow christ.

we sometimes stray anyone spiritually stale over the past year 2018.

i think if were honest, we did the survey anonymous. i have an idea that many of you would say you know 2018 wasn't my best year spiritually. i got off track autofocus or i was busy. i even serve the lord, but my heart for god's of the pilot wasn't on, i wasn't can say i was really on fire for the lord to become spiritually stale. sometimes, as in the case that the freshness of the wonder of the mercies of god, doesn't impact us as they should.

we get absorbed we get distracted what word which worshiping beings were not pure spirits and and the things of the world and that the things going on around us in the sufferings of life and the difficulties of life and the discouragements of life sometimes mean we get spiritually stale, perhaps even sometimes spiritually better and we lose the joy of loving god and we lose the joy of serving the lord does not happen to us. someone said the problem with living sacrifices is that they sometimes crawl a filter, you find yourself crawling filter. i think you have i know i have sincerely wanting to serve the lord.

but things come into her life, not necessarily any great sin but compromises come little bit by little bits by little.

this is why i've called this the challenge of a lifetime. this is something to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to present ourselves as a holy sacrifice to present ourselves as an act of worship before god. i'm asking you a fresh to present yourself to god today in this challenge of a lifetime. this challenge of total commitment.

can you imagine all the great god would do in and through us. if we account the church accepted this challenge as we leave from tomorrow, go to the schools and the offices of the homes in the streets in the hospitals and the banks and the workplaces of this great city of charlotte and fort maryland carol and tobin arvind to all the places in matthews and ministerial in all of the difference and so that we through the weaker sprite hundreds and we are displaying christ, and we have presented ourselves to god in this holy sacrifice. can you imagine god is not asking you to bring a sacrifice today is asking you to be a sacrifice. some versions such as the one with everything from the english standard version translate a word at the end of various one as spiritual and that is one way of translating it because it's in contrast perhaps to the external ritual of the temple worship. other translations provide reasonable service or intelligent worship instead of spiritual worship. but paul is presenting the great truths of the gospel and is now calling for an intelligent yes an intelligent spiritual response of obedience in the old testament the animals had no understanding of being sacrifice they did know what was going on but we do this is an act of the will is an act in response to my savior that this response is a spiritual response. it's an intelligent response. this we could say is the logic of the gospel.

but if we understand the gospel and understand the depth of our souls something of the magnificent mercies of god than the abundant grace of god. what it means to be saved. what it means to be there. i'm adopted into the family of god and that god is my heavenly father and i will never perish, that this is a spiritual logical response must make before god we are prompted by the spirit today, having regard to all that god's grace is that some of you say well done this before. john, praise god. hope you keep doing it. those of us who've been married for some time. i think understand this form. we got married we said to her husband wife i love you. but isn't the case of marriage we can take one another for granted and sometimes the marriage relationship can become a bit stale and so what do we do we renew our values.

we say i love you when i have to confess before her husband or wife that sometimes we have taken them for granted and there's a renewal of the relationship just this commitment that paul is asking for is not just once and for all commitment. it is truly the challenge of a lifetime could be the reason without experience the positive word of god at calvary churches. we should could be the reason you not experiencing the power of god than the joy of god in your own christian life is that you have not recently made this commitment before the lord. i know you want to do god's will, but other things of commonplace your own plans your own agenda your own laziness your own on this discipline your own ambitions. when you lay them aside and say lord i consecrate everything to you. oswald chambers said shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before god for this one thing only my utmost for his highest. my utmost for his highest item determines is oswald chambers to be similarly entirely for him and for him alone. that's romans 12 one and two would you do that come and sing a song of surrender, i surrender were going to stand and sing that and if the spirit of god has touched your heart and you say john, i want a fresh to recommit my life to jesus christ. i want to know the power of god in my life. i want to be available to god that he would use as he sees fit. will you do that so that christ's is the top priority of your life not your success. know your popularity, not your family not your career that jesus christ seek first the kingdom of god and his righteousness at the end of first chronicles. i do know i'm been studying that the life of david and david doesn't have the privilege of building the temple that's given to his son solomon, but david begins to ask the people to come to give for the temple, and he says this first chronicles 29 verse five he asked this and i ask it to you. who then will offer willingly concentrating himself today for the lord, i ask you who hear will offer willingly concentrating himself, herself totally for the lord, we give yourself totally to christ.

this is the challenge of total commitment. what we stand for prayer by staff was coming, and others will lead us in this wonderful hymn of surrender and of god is moved you would you just come neil send is an act of consecration to christ our father and the god we thank you for the scripture and the sensor hits us between the eyes and so direct and yet we can't mistake the challenge that is before us as a church. i thank you for calvary church and how you use this over these years in so many ways, but we stand in the beginning of 2019 is a congregation that needs to meet this challenge. i pray particularly for leaders or pray for our pastors that they will make accept this challenge that they are elders or deacons alike group leaders most elite women's ministry. those who are involved in children and youth ministries inside each one of us that we will say i present myself to christ. this act of consecration of total commitment.

father forgive us for the compromise in their lives.

forget forgive us for the mediocrity for give us when we get into a routine in the christian life and that their church life. may your spirit, and freshness. this morning, through our hearts as we confess our sins as we repent of our mediocrity and say take my life and let it be holy consecrated to the i surrender all we ask it in christ's name he met

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