FBC Earlville 7-17–16 10:30 AM
Rev. J.B. Stopford, Pastor

INTRODUCTION Today’s Special: “Two women’s discoveries”
Two friends were conversing on the porch swing of a large, white pillared mansion in Miami Beach.
The first woman says, “When my first child was born, my husband built me this beautiful mansion.”
The second woman says, “Fantastic.”
The first woman continues, “When my second child was born, my husband bought me a brand new Cadillac.”
Again, the second woman says, “Fantastic.”
The first woman boasts, “When my third child was born, my husband bought me this exquisite diamond bracelet.”
Yet again, the second woman comments, “Fantastic.”
The first woman then asks her companion, “What did your husband buy for you when you had your first child?”
The 2nd woman replies, “My husband sent me to charm school.”
“Charm school!” the first woman cries, “What for?”
“So instead of always responding ‘Who cares,’ I learned to say, ‘Fantastic!’”

INTRODUCTION Romans 12:1 is the turning point for the rest of this book, and from everything we’re already learned from Paul. As Paul begins the “Practical Christian Living” section of this book, let’s see what he has for us. Note the simple outline in the bulletin. PRAYER

1. THEREFORE (12:1)
We learned from our studies in 1 & 2 Peter about the little, pivotal word “therefore”. What do we ask when we see the word, “therefore”? “WHAT’S IT THERE FOR?”.
The “therefore” in v. 1 refers back to chapters 1-11 and all we’ve learned in them: God calls His children “saints” (1:7)! He reveals Himself to the world initially through His creation, and then through His word (1:20). All are sinners with different “personalities” – some have reformed (2:1,5), others are even religious and go to church (2:20-21) – but all need Jesus as Savior (3:20). God has had a plan for eternity, as evidenced through the promises to Abraham (4:7). We who love Jesus are “justified” – declared righteous before God (5:1). Yet God wants His children to be holy (6:11-13), and has provided all things for our walk with Him – especially His Holy Spirit (8:9, 28, 37). And God has an eternal plan – as evidenced through His plan for Israel (9:1-3). To Him belongs the praise (11:36)!
BUT WHAT IF chapters 1-11 were not in the book? Then all Chapters 12-16 would be is a nice list of how to live, but we would be no different than those who DON’T know Jesus!
Chapters 12-16 are for those who have applied the blood of the cross to their sin, and have trusted Jesus as their ONLY Savior!
Note the outline with the message of chapter 12: JESUS (vs. 1-8), OTHERS (vs. 9-16), YOU (17-21). The first letters spell: JOY!

* The “therefore” of v. 1 represents the “mercies” of God – God’s kindnesses throughout history – on display throughout Chapters 1-11.
* “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices” – this might be an unfamiliar phrase to us, but not to Paul’s readers. They would know the FALSE offering – where people offered their children into fires to strange false gods. They would know the sacrifices made at the altar at the temple in Jerusalem to cover their sins – only to be made again and again. They might know the words of Heb. 9:25-28 where Christ died ONCE for sins so that no further sacrifice for sins would be needed.
* But “LIVING” sacrifices? It is the dedication of ALL of me to God’s glory WHILE I LIVE! My eyes to see what He wants me to see – getting especially more of His Word; my ears hearing what He wants me to hear; my lips speaking His Word to whomever I can; my feet going where He wants me to go. WHILE I LIVE!
* Have you laid all on the altar of sacrifice as a living sacrifice?
* This is holy and pleasing – a spiritual act of worship! KJV & NKJV call it our “reasonable” service. The Expanded Bible says this sacrifice is not only reasonable, it includes the idea of being “authentic and true”. ALL ELSE IS NOT AUTHENTIC AND TRUE!
* Paul then gives us the “how” in v. 2:
(1) Don’t be a conformist “don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold” (Phillips). Our choices are 2: God’s mold or the world’s mold.
(2) Be transformed – let God change the mold through His “metamorphosis” to His character. HOW?
(3) Renew your mind! Focus on God’s values. HOW? His Word!
(4) Test! Test! Test! what is good, pleasing, and perfect!

CONCLUSION: Hymn: “Take my life and let it be” PRAYER

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