What Does God Expect from You 2

24 July 2022 AM – Romans 12:2 – Rom2022 – Scott Childs
Introduction: In Romans 12:1, we learned that after all Christ has done for us, we ought to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God. That sacrifice is costly and permanent, but it is not an end in itself. Because it is a living sacrifice, it impacts all that we do and say.
Transition: How are we to flesh out the “living sacrifice life” that is holy and acceptable unto God? To answer this question, the Apostle Paul gives us two commands and a reason.
1.        Do not allow yourself to be conformed to this world
a.          This is a personal command.
1)        The grammar reveals that this is a negative passive command. The action is done to us, but we are commanded not to let it be done.
2)        That requires an act of your will. You must choose not to allow it to happen to you.
  • For example, when you were a child, if your Mum sent you to the shops to buy milk, and she said, “Do not allow yourself to be distracted, get the milk and come right home.” You must not allow yourself to stop and talk with friends. In our verse, you must not allow yourself to be conformed to this world.
b.         This is a particular command.
1)        Because we have presented our bodies a living sacrifice unto God, we must not allow ourselves to be conformed to this world.
2)        This world is the age in which we live. William MacDonald defines the word as “the society or system that man has built in order to make himself happy without God. It is a kingdom that is antagonistic to God.” Preceptaustin.org The world includes society’s music, dress styles, jewellery, pleasures, parties, language, media, entertainment, attitudes and lusts. Paul describes the world in Ephesians 2:2-3. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Peter describes it in 1 Peter 4:3. “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:”. Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Christ died to deliver us from this world. (Galatians 1:4).
3)        God commands us not to allow ourselves to be conformed, moulded or fashioned after the pattern of this world. The media, advertisements and peer pressure are constantly trying to get you to conform to their ways. Our flesh does not like being different.
4)        To obey this command, you must apply (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” The BIBLE, not media, fashions and trends, must be your standard. Look in your closet. Do any of your clothes reflect the sinful world rather than our holy God? Does all of your music reflect our holy God? Does your TV, video and Internet viewing always reflect our holy God and not the sinful world?
5)        One commentator ask this probing question. Are you a thermometer—[always allowing yourself to adjust] to the temperature of the culture, or are you a thermostat—changing the climate of the culture? (Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, edited, www.preceptaustin.org/romans_122)
  • Do not allow yourself to be conformed to this world!
2.        BUT allow yourself to be transformed
a.          This too is a personal command
1)        Note the word “but”. It is the strong contrasting word alla. Transform is opposite to conform.
2)        This too is a passive command. The action is done to us, but we must allow it to be done.
3)        God is not going to force you to transform. You must choose to allow it to happen to you.
b.         It is also a particular command
1)        To transform is to change into another form. It is the word metamorphoo, from which we get our word metamorphosis (e.g., the change of a caterpillar into a butterfly).
  • We are presently harvesting the cabbages that God has blessed our garden with this winter. Some of those cabbages are over 3 kg, yet the cabbage seed I planted in March was hard and smaller around than a pencil lead. What happened? God designed that tiny seed to sprout when planted, and to transform into a large cabbage. Amazing! The transformation that God wants to do in your life is no less amazing.
2)        God commands every believer who presents his body a living sacrifice to God not to allow himself to be conformed to the ungodly styles, attitudes and actions of the world, BUT to allow himself to be transformed or changed into something far better.
3)        How does God transform a willing, submissive believer? It is “by the renewing of his mind.” The word “renewing” is only used in the Bible here and in Titus 3:5. It describes a renovation, a complete change for the better. This change takes place in the mind. The mind is that part of us capable of perceiving, feeling, thinking, understanding, judging and determining.
4)        Someone wisely said, “You are not what you think you are, but what you THINK, you ARE!” Instead of allowing our lives to be conformed or moulded into the godless styles of the world, we must allow God to transform us by renovating our minds.
5)        Why are we tempted to conform to the world? Is it not because we think it is cool or fun. We think the praise of peers is valuable. In our minds, we do not want to be unusual. We think it feels good and won’t hurt us. We think God will understand. We do wrong because we think wrong. God wants to renovate our minds. He does this through the Bible. (John 17:17) “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” You need a flourishing relationship with God. Bulletin QR The Word will enable us to think more like God. It will give us wisdom to make right choices. God will use His Word to change the way we think, the way we live, the things we love, the words we say, the things we wear, the things we look at and even the friends we desire. A renewed mind will give us a longing to do God’s will.
3.        In order for you to prove what is God’s … will
God has a will or heart’s desire for your life. The only ones who can live in God’s will are those who present their bodies a living sacrifice, stop allowing themselves to be conformed to the world, and start allowing themselves to be transformed by renewing their minds. They then can prove that will.
a.          This word “prove” has a dual meaning.
1)        It means to test, examine, prove or scrutinise. This is getting firsthand information.
2)        It also means to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve or to deem worthy. You will be able to say, “I know it is true because I proved it in my own life.” God’s will IS the best.
b.         God says you will prove three things about His will.
1)        You will prove that it is good (excellent, pleasant), it is acceptable (well-pleasing, satisfying), and it is perfect (lacking nothing).
2)        No Christian who obeys these verses will regret that choice. Rather, he will say, “It was worth any sacrifice that I made.”
Conclusion: After presenting your body as a living sacrifice to God, you must flesh it out by not allowing the world to mould you, by allowing God to transform you by renovating your mind, and by proving its worth in your own life. Do these actions describe your life? If not, are you willing to begin them today?
Song: Nothing Between – 321