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DEVOTED CHRISTIAN LIVING IN THE NEW YEAR

January 7, 2024

NEW YEAR’S SERMON

DEVOTED CHRISTIAN LIVING IN THE NEW YEAR

Romans 12:1-2


Every person is devoted to something in this life.  Some people are devoted to things that are not tangible such as fame or physical beauty; others are devoted to material possessions such as cars, houses, clothes, or wealth.


A lot of time, money, and energy are invested in acquiring all of these things.  And none of these things are bad in and of themselves when they are kept in the proper balance.  But they are not eternal, not lasting.  They fade away, even as we fade away.  Because of this, we should focus upon the eternal and lasting.  But what is eternal and lasting?  What should we focus our devotion upon?


God:  the believer is to be devoted to God.  Everything the believer is and has, is to be dedicated to the worship and service of God.  Anything less than total devotion is short of God’s glory.  It is a sin.  Therefore, when discussing the believer’s relationship to God, Scripture is strong in its exhortation.  Without uncertainty, Scripture urges total devotion.  In this passage of Scripture, Paul tells us, that total devotion revolves around our surrender to three powerful steps. 


I would invite you to turn your attention with me to Romans 12:1-2, as we consider devoted Christian living in the new year.

 

I.               PRESENTATION v. 1a

 

Paul tells us that yielding of our bodies to the Lord is our “reasonable service.”  The word “reasonable” comes from the same word from which we get our word “logic”.  So, first we see that yielding our bodies to the Lord is logical.  Then, the word “service” comes from a word which means “to perform sacred service.”  It has reference to the function the Levites performed in the Tabernacle and Temple.  It is connected to the idea of worship.  Therefore, that phrase means that

The word bodies refer to our whole selves----our minds, ears, eyes, mouths, hands, feet----our entire beings.  It is total commitment to God.

The cause –-Notice the text “therefore by the mercies of God.” Just think yielding our bodies to the Lord is our “logical service of worship before the Lord.”  In other words, when we are totally yielded to Him, it is the highest form of worship that we can render!


A.   The challenge – We are called upon to “present your bodies.” God doesn’t force his will on any of us; we must present ourselves to Him.  The word “present” means to “place at one’s disposal.” 


B.    About what God has done for us:  Why should we yield our bodies to God?  The reason is simply because He bought us at Calvary and we belong to Him.

Devoted Christian living in the new year revolves around three powerful steps:


1.    Presentation v. 1

 

II.             SEPARATION v. 1b-2a

 

The consecration – we are told that these bodies are to be presented “a living sacrifice”.    It is total commitment to God.  In the Old Testament times, people offered dead sacrifices to God; today we offer Him ourselves, all our abilities, as living sacrifices.  The word “holy” means “set apart,” or different from the world, so God can use us.  it implies availability and usability.

This means not letting the world squeeze us into its mold.

Devoted Christian living in the new year revolves around three powerful steps:


1.    Presentation v. 1a

2.    Separation v. 1b-2a

 

           TRANSFORMATION v. 2b

 

Paul moves from dealing with the body to dealing with the mind.  The mind is the root of our problems.  We have to get our minds to think as it should, then the body will follow suit.


A.   Shunning the mold – We are commanded “be not conformed to this world.”  The word “conformed” means “to fashion” or to shape.”  It literally means to fashion, or to shape.”  We are not to allow this world to squeeze us into its mold.  We are not to allow this world to make us like it is!


B.   Shaping the mind – Having cautioned us not to conform to the world, then we are commanded to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  The word “transformed” gives our English word “metamorphosis”.  It describes the transformation a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly.  Did you know the caterpillar and the butterfly are the same creature.

 

Caterpillars appear to be just fat worms.  But, when the cocoon finally breaks open, and from it emerges a beautiful butterfly with all the break-taking colors only God can create.

 

That is the change God wants to effect in each of His children!  You see, He moved into our hearts when He saved us.  He transformed our spirit and changed us into His child.  Now, he wants to transform the mind (the soul part of man) so that the flesh might be changed.


Devoted Christian living in the new year revolves around three powerful concerns:


1.    Presentation v. 1

2.    Separation v. 1b-2a

3.    Transformation v. 2b


Responsive Reading: Romans 12: 1-21

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