Message
Aired week of May 1 - 7, 2011
“A  LIVING SACRIFICE”

       Greetings my Friends. I'm Pastor Don Guthrie and I would like to thank you for joining me today as we look into
God’s Holy Word to learn how we can become more faithful followers of Christ, and a better witnesses to the world.
       
       Heavenly Father, I come before you, in the name of Jesus. Speak though me, and open our heart and our ears to
receive your word. AMEN

       in the book of Romans, chapter twelve, and verses one and two we find these words.

Romans 12:1-2
1.   I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a  living sacrifice, holy,
     
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2.   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your  mind, that ye may prove what is

     
that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

       These words were written by the Apostle Paul. In this passage that he is telling us to present our bodies to God
as a living sacrifice. Well, this all sounds  really good, but what in the world is a living sacrifice? And how can a
sacrifice be a living one? When I think of a sacrifice, especially a biblical sacrifice, I think of the blood sacrifices we
read about in the Old Testament. With those sacrifices, an animal was brought to the temple, killed by a priest, and
offered as a sacrifice on the altar of God. So Paul's speaking of living sacrifice has to be something different than an
Old Testament Sacrifice, for He wrote that we are to be a living sacrifice, not a dead one.

       In the Old testament we find a number of animal sacrifices which were offered as burnt-offerings, peace-offerings;
or trespass offerings. With all these offering the animal was killed, and the blood was caught in a special pan designed
specifically for that purpose. Than as part of the ceremony, some of the blood was sprinkled on the altar and the rest
was poured on the ground beside it. The ritual for animal sacrifices was spelled out in the law of God. What we must
understand, is there could be no forgiveness for sin, without the shedding of blood. As a result, thousands and
thousands of animals were sacrificed every year to assure that people were forgiven for their sins, and sanctified unto
God.

       When Jesus came, he offered himself as sacrifice for us. He was crucified on the cross and his blood shed as a
one time offering for the sins of man. Because he offered himself, we are no longer required to make blood sacrifices
to God for our forgiveness, nor do we need a Priest to stand between ourself and God. Through the blood Christ shed
for us, we are offered forgiveness for our sins, and acceptance into the Family of God. So, since Jesus did away with a
need for us to offer animal sacrifice this living sacrifice Paul spoke of has to be something different than this.

       In Romans 12:1 Paul wrote that we were to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, not a dead one, but a living
sacrifice, one capable of doing the work of God, and helping to spread the kingdom of God to men and women around
the world.

       When Paul wrote these words, people were being killed almost daily as a witness for Christ. In the early Church.
there were a large number of the folks who considered it a great honor to be put to death so that they could prove their
love and devotion to Jesus. I'm not here to belittle them, they were indeed steadfast in their love and devotion, and
were much stronger in their faith than many of us who are Christians today. They were indeed great witnesses for for
their faith, and showed the world that it's better to die as a Christian than to reject Jesus, but, a dead witness does
very little to spread the word of Christ into the hearts of others.

       Sure, there were converts because of these early Christians heroic stand, but a live witness can travel and
preach the Gospel to others just like Paul did. Whereas a dead one, is only a witness to those who put him to death.
Therefore, it is my belief, that Paul was saying “it is better to be alive and tell people about Jesus, than it is to be killed
with the name of Jesus on your lips.”

       Than he goes on to say what kind of living sacrifice we should be. He said we should be holy and acceptable
unto God, which is our reasonable service. That my friends is a mouthful. For to live a Holy life a life acceptable unto
God will require you to sacrifice a lot. The world in which we live is not God friendly, nor can we sat the world is
acceptable unto God. The truth is, this world in which we live, is under the control of Satan. He is the Prince of this
world, and the things of the world are under his power and domain.

       For a man or woman to live a Holy and acceptable life unto God, they must turn from the things of the world and
cling to the things of God. To do so requires a great deal of discipline and a great sacrifice. One must live their life
different than their many of their neighbors are living, and they must live even different than some who are claiming to
be a Christian. Not only are we to live differently, and act differently, We are to be Holy and acceptable to God which
Paul wrote is our reasonable service.

       Now wait a minute, you mean to tell me that I have to act different, live different, and be separated from the world,
and now you tell me that this lifestyle is my reasonable service, something I am supposed to do, because God
deserves it from me? Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. God gave up too much so that we could have eternal life. He
gave too much to allow you to live for Satan in this world, and gain heaven in the next. What this tells me is, if you want
to go to heaven, you need to start acting and living like like a man or woman of God ought to be living.

       Do you remember the story from the bible about Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. If you remember the
Jewish leaders brought her to Jesus and told him she had been caught in adultery. Than they asked  him what they
should do with her. According to their law, she was to be stoned to death, so they asked Jesus tempting him, what he
thought they should do.

       Jesus, being Jesus, took some time to answer them, and while he made them wait, he bent down and began
writing in the dirt. After a while he looked up at the men, and said, “Ye who are without sin, cast the first stone.” Then
Jesus started writing in the dirt again. One by one the men left, beginning with the oldest first, and then one by one
down to the youngest until all were gone leaving only Jesus and the woman on the street. After they were all gone,
Jesus looked up at the woman, and asked, where are thine accusers. She answered, "they have all left." What Jesus
than told her is something we need to practice once we have received forgiveness. He said, "neither do I accuse you,
go and sin no more.”

       “Go and sin no more.” That's what is meant by being Holy and Acceptable unto God. Sure you'll commit a sin now
and then, but they shouldn't be sins that you are aware of, or sins that you habitually commit, instead they should be
those tiny little things that slip out, and when they do, you should have a feeling of Guilt brought on you by the power
of the Holy Spirit. Than you simply ask God to forgive you, and He forgives you. When seek his help and he will give it.
When you knock on heavens door,he will open it onto you.

       Now back to our scripture

Romans 12:2
2.   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is
     
that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   

       Herein lies the answer to living a Holy and acceptable life unto God. First, we cannot allow ourselves to be
conformed to the world or the things of the world. If there are things in your life causing you to commit sins, for
instance, your computer, get rid of it. If you have a desire to stop by a convenience every evening for a carton of beer,
drive home a different way. If you lust after sun bathers when you go to the beach, go the the mountains.

       Do whatever is necessary so that you do not conform to the world. Get rid of anything in your life that Satan is
using to corrupt you. Jesus said if your hand offends you, cut it off. I believe this was what he was talking about.
Nothing should be as important as important as your salvation, and doing the will of God. He said you were to be Holy,
and that's what he meant, he wants you to be Holy. He said we were not to conform to the world, so, we are not to
conform to the world, and we do this by doing what Paul said, by renewing our mind.

       Our mind has been programmed by the world. We have spent our whole life listening to the lies of Satan, and
fighting against the things he places in our path. From childhood, we have seen and heard many evil things, and in
some cases we get caught up in the evil ourselves. Our mind has been corrupted by the evils we have seen. Our heart
is filled with the evil our minds has comprehended, therefore, we must have a renewing of our mind and a change in
our heart.

       Thankfully, this is why Jesus came into the world, so that we could be changed, born again, and have the
opportunity to start over. When we ask him into our heart he comes and cleanses it, removing all transgressions from
us. But the mind, often remains corrupted, and is easily swayed.

       For this reason, it's of the utmost importance that we get into the bible, that we study it with others, and that we
prayerfully seek God's meaning from it. Notice I said God's meaning. It will do us little good if we do not look for the true
meaning, and if we choose to believe only part of what the Bible teaches and not all of it.

       God is responsible for every page written in the bible, and for every word written on those pages even the ones
that make us uncomfortable. So, in the process of renewing the mind, one must accept what God says, and believe it,
disregarding what others say, or what others want it to say, and believing only what Thus saith the Lord. If God says
something is a sin, it's a sin. If God says don't  something, don't do it, and so on.

Again Romans 12:2 says

Romans 12:2
2.   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is
     
that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

       We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. But what are we to be transformed into? We are to be
transformed in a Holy and acceptable man or woman of God, knowing what is good and what is acceptable, according
to the perfect will of God. In other words, we are to have the mind and the heart of Christ, with one goal on our mind,
and that goal is to please the Father in heaven, because that is our reasonable service to him for all he has done for
us.    

Romans 12:1-2
1.   I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
    
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2.   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your  mind, that ye may prove what is

     
that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

       A living sacrifice, means giving God your all, and living your life like you really intend to go to heaven some day. A
living sacrifice, means turning away from the things of the world, and giving yourself entirely to God. A living sacrifice
means giving up on self and giving in to God, allowing him to rule your life and direct your ways. Being a living sacrifice
is giving your all to the one who gave you his all, and trying your best to be as much like his son as you can possibly
be.

       We have failed God miserably as a Church and as a people. We pick and choose what parts of the bible we will
believe, and what parts we will reject. By doing do, we are choosing to reject God in some areas and to follow him in
others. That, is not acceptable if one wants to make it to heaven.

In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said
21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;  but he that doeth the will of

     
my Father which is in heaven.

       Jesus said only those who do the will of his Father in heaven will enter the kingdom of heaven. All others will
suffer in the lake of fire and brimstone. Only those who do what is good, what is acceptable and the will of God will see
him. Many are going to be disappointed on judgment day. There will be much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth
as folks hear a sentence passed on to them of an eternity in hell instead of heaven, but it will be too late for them to
confess, or to change or to make amends with God.

       Today is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow could be too late. When one stands before
God, they will hope beyond hope, that they have lived a Holy and acceptable life unto him, lest they will be lost, and
suffer for all eternity.

       The door to heaven is open today. Jesus is waiting to lead you through. He has given us the plan of salvation,
and told us how to live. If we do not make it, it is not his fault, it is ours. Look at your life. Examine your thoughts and
actions. Determine if you are presenting yourself unto God as a living sacrifice, or of you are living your life for your
self.

       The bible teaches that it is God's desire that none should suffer, but that everyone should have eternal life.

       He made a way for us to have eternal life. He sent Jesus to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, so that we
could ask and be forgiven, and so we could invite Jesus into our heart and have eternal life. If you have neve
confessed your sins, and asked Jesus into your heart, how about doing so today.

       All you need to do is to pray a simple prayer  believing and you will be saved. If you so desire, repeat these words
after me, and mean them and you can be saved.

       Lord Jesus - I know that I am a sinner. I know I am lost and on my way to hell. Forgive me for my sins. Cleanse my
heart and soul. Come into my heart and save me. I believe you are the Son of God, and I believe that you died so that I
might have life. Thank you for forgiving me, and thank you for coming into my heart. AMEN

       If you prayed this prayer, and meant it, you are now a child of God. I urge you to tell somebody. Proclaim to them
that Jesus saved your soul, and that you are now a child of God.

       PRAYER
Don Guthrie
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