How do we emulate the heart of God?
We pursued that thought from Romans 12:1-2,
“1 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. 2 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.”
We know we are emulating the heart of God, when we are….
- A living sacrifice
- Discerning the will of God
Let’s pursue our first answer
As a living sacrifice
“1 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.”
The phrase “living sacrifice” is deliberately paradoxical. In the biblical context, a sacrifice is something that was killed. Yet here Paul is connecting living with this image, with this new reality for Christians. A living sacrifice means that every day, every hour, deliberately, consciously, continually and perpetually offer yourself to him. It’s constant and intense and points to the inability of yourself to accomplish it. You also are putting to death the idea that you have the right to live as you choose. This is in direct opposition to what our culture totes. What you are putting to death is the idea that you belong to yourself, that you know best what should happen in your life and you give those places to God. It feels like a death to say “you know best” and “I trust you” to God. It feels like a death but it leads to life and that’s why it’s called a living sacrifice.
We know we are emulating the heart of God, when we are a living sacrifice. Now let’s look at the first part of vs 2 as we considered what it means to be transformed.
“2a Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”
What we need is much more than to be morally improved. We need God to daily inwardly transform us. You need God’s grace in my heart today just as much as the day you first believed. You come to the table before God with nothing, even your good works are not enough to earn favor with God. Yes, morality will come out of you but not because you want to impress others but rather out of love and adoration for God. This is the way of the kingdom of God. God’s primary desire is not to make us good it’s to make us new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that “if you are in Christ you are a New Creation.” A new creation is transformed. Doing something in us that only He can do.
Anyone can morally reform themselves. Anyone can be good, you don’t have to be spiritual to do that. If you have discipline and self-will you can be a “good person”. You can give your money to good things. You can spend your time in good ways. You can volunteer at shelters, etc. You can live your life in such a way that the world would look at you and say that a good man or that’s a good woman. You can begin to convince yourself that this is what God is wanting…is a lot of good moral living. There is more to it than being good. God wants your heart. Behavioral compliance to rules without heart change, without transformation will be superficial and fleeting.
We are transformed as our minds are renewed. As we come to the Bible to encounter God and apply His word to our life. This also happens in community with others. Our minds become renewed as we speak the truth in love to each other….pressing into the hard places….knowing that we have a deep love for each other. We get to experience forgiveness and extend grace.
Our lives are changed as our minds are made new, so that we are able to “discern” God’s will.
Discerning the will of God
“2b that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
We discern God’s will by testing….by living out the realities of everything I’ve talked about this morning being a living sacrifice and living the transformed life all while clinging to Jesus who is the author and perfecter of your faith
A question that I have found helpful is that it’s not so much, “God, what is your will for my life?” But rather, “God, what is your will, and how can I play a role?”
We ended the sermon by reading Romans 12:9-21 and praying that God would cultivate this kind of heart in us individually and as His church as we seeks to be a living sacrifice to our community.