The Highest Act of Worship (Romans Sermon 91 of 120)
February 05, 2006 | Andrew Davis
Christian Living, Animal Sacrificial System, Worship
Introduction: The world is full of all kinds of worship
We are looking now at Romans 12:1-2. We’re going to spend two weeks on it, this time and the next time that I preach on Romans. The outline is balanced. You see, presenting your soul, presenting your body, presenting your mind, presenting your will. That's what we're looking at, but I'm not really going to be talking much about presenting your mind or your will this time, that'll be next time. We're going to focus on the first, namely presenting our bodies. And as we do, we come again to the question of worship. We did it last week when we looked at the doxology, which is the greatest doxology in the Bible, what an incredible section of Scripture. And how it began with that little word, "Oh" which shows the depth of Paul's emotions. His feeling inside his heart about all the doctrine that God had taught him and through him had given to us. And that's the first part of worship. It's an internal moving within our hearts, a moving of delight, and of passion, and of love, and of faith. We believe what we've heard is true, but that's not all, it moves us, doesn't it? It makes us joyful, it moves us emotionally. That's the inside.
But now as we get to Romans 12:1-2, and really Romans 12-16, now we're asking the question, What should we do with our bodies? How can we live? And worship is both of those, isn't it? God has revealed himself to us in the Word, and then there's an internal transformation of joy and faith, and then there's an external pattern of life, and all of that is worship.
Now, we live in a world full of worship, don't we? People are naturally going to worship something. We're religious, by nature. I know that there are some that have been trained in the halls of academia and higher education that claim to be atheists, and I think they are just aggressively suppressing the truth and unrighteousness within themselves that there is a great and a powerful spiritual being, God the creator. For the most part, human beings are religious, and around the world, they're going to find some way to express worship. Now these are, for the most part, man-made expressions of worship, aren't they? You look for example at the Hindus that travel as pilgrims to the River Ganges, which is a really foul place, it's been polluted, and yet that has specific religious significance and they're willing to go in and wash in the River Ganges because it's an act of their Hindu faith. Along the way, they're going to be doing little acts of worship and sacrifice called pooja to some of the millions of Hindu deities. They are religious people. The Muslims, for example will, five times a day, pray toward Mecca in a certain pattern, whether standing, kneeling, lying prostrate back up, and patterns of prayer that they learn from an early age. Once in their lifetime, they hope to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. And there, sometimes you've seen pictures of Muslims bowing down in concentric circles around the Kaaba stone, which is a stone that Muslim faith says came down from heaven pure white, but then was turned black through human sin.
In the remote jungles of Irian Jaya, there are stone age tribes that worship their multiple deities, along the patterns that they learned from their ancestors, handed down from generation to generation. So, we human beings, we are religious. Even when in Christian circles, there are all different kinds of worship. Orthodox churches are filled with ornate and beautiful paintings, there are icons covered in gold which they say help them to worship. Roman Catholic worship focuses on the mass, the sacrifice of the mass, and the focal point is the taking of the Lord's supper. Lutheran services look somewhat similar to Roman Catholic services but they focus on the preaching of the Word. The Anglican services follow a pattern laid down by the Book of Common Prayer. Pentecostal services, if you've ever been to one, are exciting, stimulating times in which the gifts of the Spirit are being used. So they teach in open ways the speaking of tongues, dancing in the aisles. If you like to do that while I'm preaching, feel free. I don't think... You'd be the first in years here, but that's the kind of worship they do there.There's all different kinds of Christian worship. I'm not going to join you if you do that, but I will watch. Is that alright?
But all different kinds of worship and there are different patterns of worship, even within the evangelical movement, there are seeker sensitive churches that use contemporary music and other types of patterns to make the service attractive to unbelievers, all the way to perhaps another extreme of folks that would only sing psalms without musical instruments. All of these within the array of evangelical faith. There are all different kinds of worship, but I say to you that as we look at the doxology last week with the "Oh," that Paul says, the deep passion for God and for doctrine, and the God of the Bible, combined with what we have in Romans 12:1-2, we have here, I believe, the highest expression of Christian worship you will ever find, and everything else pales in comparison with what Paul tells us to do here in Romans 12:1-2, this is worship.
Paul says, "I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercies, to present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you'll be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will."
I. The Application of Christian Doctrine
Now we have had 11 chapters of some of the deepest doctrine you will ever hear. Now, Martyn Lloyd-Jones is one of my heroes, he preached 297 sermons in those 11 chapters. I'm less than that. I know some of you don't believe that, but it's true, fewer than that, but still a lot of foundation has been laid. Along the way, as you'll read in Romans 1-11, you will not see a lot of commands. From time to time, there are some commands right in the middle of chapter 6 or some other places, there'll be some commands. But for the most part, Paul has just been laying out what is, what is the truth, what has Christ done, what is the significance of it, who are we in Christ, how are we saved. These are just truths, it's doctrine, it's a foundation. But now we come to that great question that Francis Schaeffer asked so many years ago, How then shall we live?
Now as a preacher who has been preaching in Romans, I couldn't wait till chapter 12 to answer that question. So every sermon, I tried to stop and say, "Okay, based on what we've learned, how then shall we live?" Some sections of Romans, it's harder to do than others. Some are just very theological and theoretical and it's hard to know exactly how we're to live. But Romans 12-16 is Paul's application to the Christian message. This is his answer to the question of, "How shall we live?"
Now, the beautiful thing here as we look at it, Christianity is not merely a way of thinking, neither is it merely a way of living. It is both, friends. It is both. And the pattern that Paul sets for us is, first, we must understand then we can live. It's not a kind of a cut flower morality or ethical system, which isn't connected or rooted to anything. Like for example, Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack. I love Benjamin Franklin, what an interesting man living in the 18th century. He was a printer by trade and he printed something called Poor Richard's Almanack and in it were little proverbs of practical wisdom. You know probably many of them by heart. "A stitch in time saves nine." In other words, try to address a situation before it gets worse. "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." These are just basic everyday life ethics, but it's not connected to the system of doctrine that Christianity is. He was not a believer in Christ and was not trying to connect his ethical approach to the Christian message.
Well, Paul doesn't do that. There's a lot of moralistic systems. Even now, you can listen to business speakers or head coaches that win championships, giving you the top 10 tips on practical daily living, that kind of thing, and people will flock to listen to these folks, and they can command $10,000 or more to tell you how to live your lives. I think we've got it for free here in the Bible, let's just read it. Read 11 chapters of Godly doctrine and then he'll tell you what to do. It's going to get very practical. Romans 12, Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer, treat your enemies in this way, do this with government. He's just going to be going through all of these topics. Romans 12-16, He's going to be telling us how we should live, and so therefore, I'm advocating today a balanced Christian life. And by that, what I mean is, we should not be concerned with doctrine apart from application and nor should we be concerned with application apart from the doctrinal base. Let's follow what Paul has done, 11 chapters of basis now gives way to some of the most practical insights you'll ever have on how to live your life everyday.
So, here we get where the rubber meets the road. Romans 12:1-2, He's going to be starting the whole thing off with this issue of presentation, presenting yourself, and that's what we're looking at this week and the next time as well. Presenting yourself body, soul, mind, will, everything; presented to Christ, presented to God. In Romans 12:3-8, He's going to be teaching us about spiritual gifts. That's going to be an incredible study. I believe everybody is given a spiritual gift and you've got a role to play in the body of Christ. We'll be talking about that. Romans 12:9-21 is just, as I said, very practical applications on how to live your life, a life of love with others, even with your enemies, how to live with others. Romans 13:1-7, that's going to be the Christian and government. Payment of taxes. What is government ? How do we submit to government? He'll be talking about that. The rest of that chapter is again this issue of love for others, with a special application on personal holiness. Personal holiness.
Chapter 14 and on into chapter 15, very important chapter on Christians getting along with each other in the Christian body and not dividing over debatable issues, learning to accept somebody else's servant if he has a different conviction on a debatable issue. Very important in the Christian life. We'll be looking at that in chapter 14 and on into 15. Chapter 15 and the rest of that chapter, He's basically talking about the Jew-Gentile unity issue and how Jews and Gentiles together can be an offering up to God, a sacrifice of praise for him. Chapter 16, a bunch of greetings to people, you probably have never heard of, some of them you have, that is as practical and beautiful as you can imagine, and there's lots of truth there in chapter 16. Friends, this is where the rubber meets the road, and we begin with Romans 12:1-2, the most important of them all.
II. You Already Presented Your Souls... Or You Can’t Proceed
Now, I want to start from this place. The whole thing is a presentation. If you don't get anything else, get this, God is calling on you to present yourself to Him and He's calling on you to do that everyday. He's calling on you to do that in every way. He's calling on you to present yourself completely to God. That's what He's calling on you to do. Now, I say you must have already presented your soul to Christ or you can't go on. None of the rest of it will matter, you have to have presented your soul to Christ and that is, I believe, in Paul's view when he says, "Therefore brothers," speaking to brothers in Christ, "Therefore brothers, in view of God's mercies," what God has already worked in your life, the central mercy of God, the central mercy of God is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The central mercy of God is the forgiveness of sins through repentance and faith in Christ.
It says in Romans 9:15-16, he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort but on God's mercy, and it is the mercy of God in saving our souls that I have in mind. Now, Romans 12:1, it doesn't come across in all the translations but it is plural. For example, the ESV says, "I appeal to you therefore brothers by the mercies of God." It's not just one mercy, it's a whole rainbow of mercies, a whole array of mercies that God has given us and is giving us. But the central is, that the human soul corrupted by sin, enslaved to sin can actually be forgiven in the sight of Almighty God and restored into a right relationship with Him. We call that justification.
We think about what Jesus taught, concerning this matter. In Luke 18, he said the tax collector stood at a distance and he would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "Be merciful to me, a sinner." "And I tell you, [Jesus said] that this man rather than the other went home justified by God." So we were talking about justification by the mercy of God, and in that you presented your soul by faith, and you are in a right relationship with God. Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Isn't that beautiful? To just know that God is at peace with you through Jesus Christ, that there's no outstanding debt to be paid, that your sins are forgiven. That is the central mercy of the gospel.
Now at that time, you presented your soul to Christ. Jesus said, "What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" You don't want to lose your soul so you entrusted it to the Savior, and he the Savior of your soul took your soul at that moment, it is his. And at that moment, your soul became his possession and that gladly, you were glad to have it because he made it. He's the one that gave it to you. By faith, you were saying, "My soul is your possession forever." Friends, you do this once for all time, there's no need to do this in an ongoing sense you need to be saved. You need to repent and trust in Jesus. You need to present your soul to Christ. And that's once for all time.
I think, however, there is an ongoing motivation in the Christian life here as well. All it says is, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God." Here's the thing. I think we have already received mercies from God, haven't we? If we're Christians, we have already received mercies from God. But my question is, is that it? Are there any more mercies yet to come? I would say yes and yes and yes, everyday a display of the mercy of God. One of my favorite verses about this, I just love, is Lamentations 3:22-23. It says, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness." And so, I think this is the foundation. We expect to get more mercy. Sometimes we feel like, "God why would you want my body? I'm defiled, I'm sinful." And you need to have confidence that God will, in an ongoing sense, be merciful to you so you can present yourself to him, that there's more mercies yet to come.
So yes, look back at the mercies you've already received. Rejoice in them, delight in them, but there's still more mercies yet to come. And I believe God's going to be raining and showering mercy on you as a Christian from now until the day you die, and that mercy is going to get you all the way to heaven. And so in view of God's mercy, confident in God's mercy, he then gives us this command.
III. Present Your Body
Now what is the command he gives? Well, he tells us that we should present our bodies. "I appeal to you brothers, in view of God's mercies, present your bodies" he says. Now this is amazing! We believe in a spiritual God, He's not made of material stuff. Jesus told us, God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
You might think what does this body of mine have to do with worship? Some people are proud of their bodies. A vanishingly small number of people are proud of their bodies. The rest, not so much. And you may think why would God want this thing? Why would he want my body? But God does want your body.
Oliver Cromwell who was the Lord Protector of England in the 17th century was sitting for a portrait, and apparently he was not a handsome man. He had pronounced warts, for example, and the painter said, "We can do amazing things with paint, like just not paint certain things." He said, "No, paint it all, warts and all." It's a very famous saying, "Warts and all." So you may say, "Does God really want my body, warts and all?" I say to you, he does. He wants you to present your body to Him, warts and all, everything.
Now, Scripture has a remarkable ambivalence about our bodies. By that I mean there are some things very negatively said about the body and some things more positively said. Our bodies were originally created in the image of God, holy and blameless before the fall, but they were corrupted by the fall badly. They are headed for the grave where they will meet corruption head-on. And we know that. Our bodies are programmed by habits of sin, and so we can talk about this body of sin or the body of death, and that's a big problem. Paul says he beats his body and makes it a slave so He's almost suspicious of his body, it's a problem for him to some degree and yet he says in another place, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.
And they are the only vehicle we have to serve Christ in this physical world. And so there's an ambivalence about our bodies. There are problems, but then there are these blessings. God wants us to present our bodies to him.
Present: To Put at One’s Disposal
Now, what does that mean, present? What does it mean to present your body? Romans 6:13-14 already covered this, and just listen to the verses, you can study it another time, but Romans 6:13-14 says, "Do not offer," or "do not present," "the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life, and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness, for sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." That's the same teaching, we have here. There's a direct connection between what's taught in Romans 6 and what's being taught here in Romans 12. It's the idea of presenting your body, specifically presenting the members of your body, the parts of your body to God.
Now, I think the best picture I've ever found of this, and it's stuck with me ever since the day I learned it, and I hope it'll help you, is the picture we get the night that Jesus was arrested. In Matthew 26, the account is told of Jesus being arrested and they send a detachment of soldiers, that may have been as many as 600 soldiers, to go arrest Jesus with torches, lanterns and weapons. You know that just at the moment that he was about to be arrested, Peter tried to save Jesus's life. What an interesting moment. When I get to Heaven, I'll say, "Peter, what were you thinking?" Of course He's going to say to me that about a thousand times more than I'm going to say it to him, so fair's fair, but I think I'm willing to pay the price to ask him. What were you thinking?
And Jesus deals with Peter and you remember he says an array of things, but it culminates in this, he says this. "Do you think I cannot call on my Father," listen, "And he would at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels." That's the exact same Greek word we've got here, 12:1. "Put at my disposal," Jesus said. Now, let me ask a question. With what attitude would the angels come down from heaven, if Jesus had asked for them? Would they not come and say, "Reporting for duty, sir, what do you want?"
"See those 600 men over there? They're a problem to me." "No problem to us, Lord, we'll take care of them." Would they question the Lord in any way? They would be ready to do gladly anything Jesus commanded them to do. They are servants, they are ready to serve. And the angels are always like that. It wouldn't have been unusual in the garden in Gethsemane. They are always ready to serve even in the Book of Revelation, when it involves pouring out bowls of wrath and a third of mankind dies. They will do anything God tells them to do because they totally trust Almighty God, and well they should. He is a perfect being, righteous in all he does. And so the angels are ready to obey all the way, right away, with a happy spirit. That's what they do.
And they would have come, and been put at Jesus's disposal. In other words, the Father would have said, "Jesus, they are yours to command, whatever you say they will do." That is what Paul is urging us to do with our bodies, present them to Jesus for his command, offer them to him as your personal commanding officer.
Now, you might say, "How do I do this?" Well, I think you ought to begin every day in your quiet time, with a simple prayer like this, "Lord Jesus, I am yours. You bought me with the price of your blood. I belong to you, I am under obligation to you. I am yours." And that's a beautiful thing, isn't it? Isn't it beautiful to say to Jesus, "I am yours, you bought me." "I am a bond-servant of Christ," as the Apostle Paul said. You present your whole self and I think you should do it every morning in your quiet time. You offer your whole self to him. But I actually think you ought to go beyond that and you ought to offer the parts of your body to him in prayer as well. I don't think you have to do this every day, but I think it's helpful to say, "Lord, my mouth is yours, I pray that I would speak words that only glorify you, and build the body of Christ up today. Lord, my hands are yours, I pray that they would only do things that I'll be glad they did on Judgement Day. I want my hands to be instruments of righteousness, not of wickedness. I want my feet to carry me in the places where you want me to serve, that's where I want to walk, nowhere else." You're just presenting the parts of your body.
And there's nothing strange about this, the Lord made it. Remember what we learned in the doxology, from him and through him and to him are all things. Those parts of your body, they belong to him anyway, you're just offering to him, what's already his. Say, "Lord, I want my ears to be yours today, I want to listen to the Word of God. I want to listen to other people talk so carefully that I can discern what their needs are, and find out how I can minister. I want my ears to be yours, Lord. I want my fingers to be used, I want my stomach only to be used for your glory, I don't want my stomach to be my god, my appetites to be my god, I want everything in my body to be yours for your glory."
I think this is exactly what Frances Ridley Havergal did in her hymn Take My Life and Let It Be. She goes through every part of her life and just offers it up to God, as a sacrifice to him. Now, notice that it says "living sacrifices." Have you wondered what that means to offer your body to him as a living sacrifice? Well, we know that sacrificial imagery is powerful throughout the Bible. I mean, right from the very, in my opinion, right from the very beginning when sin entered the world, so did sacrifice, right away. Because God clothed the naked Adam and Eve with animal skins that he got from what I believe is the first sacrifice. Then Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did, it was an animal sacrifice. Noah offered some of those seven clean animals that he took on the ark, and God smelled the fragrant aroma after the flood and swore in his heart, "Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. We know the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, they set up altars wherever they went, and they offered up sacrifices. We know that God commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice, so we understand sacrifice.
Now, I've taught before here that the sacrificial system is one of the clearest ways of understanding what Jesus did on the cross. There are lessons of the sacrificial system that lead you right to the cross of Jesus Christ, don't they? All sin deserves the death penalty. The death penalty can be paid by a substitute and the substitute cannot be an animal. We're waiting for Jesus. And then Jesus comes and John the Baptist says, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," all of that points to the cross. But I'm saying to you now that the sacrificial system teaches us also how we live after we've come to faith in Christ. We are to see our lives as a sacrifice, we are to offer a sacrifice to God.
A Living Sacrifice
Now, what is a living sacrifice? Well, the animals were put on the altar and they were killed once and that was it, you gave them once, they died once and that was it, it was finished. God is actually commanding us to something even higher here, you are to kind of go on being a sacrifice the rest of your life. It's kind of like a constant death and life issue. We're constantly giving ourselves over to death so that we may live with God every moment.
Now, what do I mean by that? Well, think about what Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24, Jesus said to them all, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." So there's an ongoing living pattern of, "Not my will but yours be done, Lord. I'm willing to die."
He tells you to go witness to somebody and you don't want to do it and He's like, "Oh, it's so tough, you die to yourself, you take up the cross, you're a living sacrifice, you go." He wants you to put a certain pattern of sin to death, it's hard to do, it hurts, it's difficult. He wants you to die to yourself and to do what God calls you to do. He calls on you to fast and pray for some issue. It's hard for you to do. All day long, you feel those hunger pains, but you're dying to yourself, you're a living sacrifice, taking up your cross and following Jesus.
Amy Carmichael, the great missionary in India, who worked with young girls that she was helping to rescue from temple prostitution, working with orphans in India did a great work. Her biography was written by Elizabeth Elliot, entitled A Chance to Die. And I think Amy Carmichael and all the missionaries that worked, and she had a rigorous application process. If you wanted go work with Amy Carmichael, you had to go through lots of process to join her in her work. She basically only wanted people there that saw the ministry as exactly that, a chance to die. A chance to die. And what I say is that every morning, God's mercies are new, but so also are the opportunities to die to yourself and live for God. And if you do that, if you will be a living sacrifice, you will find your life, but if on the other hand you refuse, you shrink back, you will lose your life.
That's what the Apostle Paul said, that's what Jesus said, that's what we're learning here. A living sacrifice is much more costly than a dead one, isn't it? Well, that's once and you never see that animal again. It might have hurt a little bit, said, it's a sacrifice, like David said, "I will not offer to God a sacrifice that costs me nothing," but even a bull, you just pay it once and it's done. He's asking for an ongoing gift of yourself to him every moment.
And he says it must be holy and pleasing to God, without blemish, pure and holy. We have to free our bodies from everything that defiles and contaminates them. It's got to be holy and pleasing to God or we cannot offer them, I think about 2 Corinthians 7:1, it says, "Therefore since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." You got to detoxify yourself. We are surrounded by spiritual and physical toxins, and we are to be living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.
I think it's not long before any of us thinking about this topic knows that we're at least talking in part about sexual purity. We live in a sex-crazed culture. There's internet pornography, there are movies and there are just images around all the time, that pull us toward immorality. We are called on to be holy, holy in our bodies, holy in our minds and that's what he wants, living sacrifice, and he calls it our spiritual act of worship, this act of worship is the basic act of worship that God is calling on you to give. Now, believe me, I am not minimizing what we come to do here on a Sunday morning. Not at all. It is so important what we do, the singing we do, the listening to the Scripture, the prayers, everything, even now, the hearing of the Word, all these things are important. But if you want to ask, "How can I worship God," Romans 12:1-2 is telling you how to do it. Present your body to him, that is worship.
Spiritual Act of Worship
Now, it says your spiritual act of worship, the Greek word is interesting, it's related to the English word "logic," and sometimes it says "reasonable act of worship" or a "logical act," other times, "spiritual act." Basically, I think the idea is that this is what makes sense in the spiritual realm, this is the sacrifice that makes sense for you as a Christian. That is your spiritual act of worship.
Now, behind all of this is a phenomenal concept that has not been well understood for most of the history of the Christian church, but I think the Reformation made a major shift and helped us to understand, and that is this basic idea, this is huge. All of life is sacred. There's not a difference between things that God cares about and things he doesn't. Things that are more holy to God than other things. All of it is sacred. No, don't misunderstand, I'm not saying there's no sin in the world, I'm just saying that there's no forum or no place where you can't be sacred in that forum. All of it is a possibility.
Now, in ancient Israel, you know that the 12 tribes entered the Promised Land and each one of those tribes got a physical inheritance, a chunk of land that would be their inheritance, except one. Do you know what tribe did not get a physical inheritance? It was the tribe of Levi, the Levites. What did they get? They got the sacrificial system, that was their inheritance. They got to offer the sacrifices, they got to eat the meat that came with that, they got small parts of land that they could live on, but they didn't get a chunk of inheritance the way everybody else did. And that was considered an honor, that the Levites got the sacrificial system and within them, the line of Aaron, they were the high priests and they got to offer up the sacrifices, but the Levites as a whole, their inheritance was this act of worship, this sacrificial system.
But from that, came a bifurcation in Israel between the sacred and the common. And therefore those that were involved in holy pursuits, reading the scriptures, praying, offering sacrifices, they were at a higher plane spiritually than the common folks. You see this attitude in John's Gospel when the Jewish leaders are saying something like this, "This mass of people that knows nothing about the law, there's a curse on them." They looked on themselves as higher and better. In Roman Catholicism, medieval Catholicism, that got embraced. There was the priestly class, you had priests, nuns, monks, and all that. They would separate themselves out from everyday life, and they would live in monasteries or they'd live in cloisters and they would live out their holy lives in that way.
The medieval Roman Catholic historian Eusebius said it this way. "Two ways of life were given by law of Christ to his church. The one is above nature and beyond common human living. Wholly and permanently separate from the common customary life of mankind, it devotes itself to the service of God alone. Such then is the perfect form of the Christian life and the other more humble, more human permits men to have minds for farming, for trade and for other more secular interests as well as for religion, and a kind of secondary grade of piety is given to them." Do you see the difference? You got your really holy people, the priests, the nuns, the monks, all the way up to archbishops and the popes and all that, and then you got everybody else, and they're at a lower level in terms of spirituality. That is not in the Bible. If God wants you to present your physical body as a living sacrifice, that means that everything your body is involved in can be worship. All of it.
I would argue it must be worship. In those cloisters, the monasteries and all that, they divided up the tasks between the sacred and the profane. There were the sacred tasks, reading the scripture, chanting, prayer, the Lord's supper. The profane tasks, common tasks, were farming, washing the dishes, preparing meals, eating, all of those things were lower. Even worse were those people that spent their whole lives doing those things, they were profane people, common people. The Reformation came along and said, "Enough of that. It's not biblical." Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Tyndale, they recovered this vision. Look at this, William Tyndale said this, "If we look externally, there is a difference betwixt washing of dishes and preaching of the Word of God, but as touching to please God none at all." That is powerful, that's powerful.
Williams Perkins put it this way, "The action of a shepherd in keeping sheep is as good a work before God as is the action of a judge in giving sentence or of a magistrate in ruling or a minister in preaching." That means everything in life can be sacred, everything you do can and should be an act of worship to God. The key verse for this, in my opinion, is 1 Corinthians 10:31. It says there, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God."
Now, my friends, I'm going to get as practical as I possibly can get. Can you eat a ham sandwich to the glory of God? Can you do it? Go on, nod or shake, what do you think, yes, or no? Is it possible to eat a ham sandwich to the glory of God? I say it is. As a matter of fact, if you're going to eat a ham sandwich, go ahead and do it to the glory of God, or don't do it at all. Can you wash the dishes to the glory of God? Yes. Does everyone who wash his dishes do so to the glory of God? I myself have washed dishes, not to the glory of God. It can be done, but I have done it the other way, occasionally. Ask my wife, or don't. I mean, she'll tell the truth, sometimes I wash dishes to the glory of God, and sometimes I don't, but I can do it always to the glory of God. I can cut my finger nails to the glory of God. Not right now, but I can do it at other times. I can dust a book shelf to the glory of God, I can make a phone call, I can pay a bill, I can put a vacuum cleaner away to the glory of God, I can get my tires rotated to the glory of God, I can exercise to the glory of God, I can go on a diet to the glory of God, I can eat a Thanksgiving feast to the glory of God. I can do all of these things to the glory of God, because there's not a separation between the sacred and the profane. It doesn't exist. There's just a difference between whether you're doing something to the glory of God or not. You are to be constantly a living sacrifice. Now, what's the key?
IV. Present Your Mind
The key has to do with the mind and we don't have time today. I decided a while ago we had to do it in two messages. You have to do it by presenting your mind. It's the way you think, it has to do with the way you think, and we're going to talk about that next time. You've got to present your mind to God, and it has to do with what's affecting you. You can either present your mind to the surrounding culture and be polluted by it, or you can present your mind to God through his Word and be transformed by it. But it's the presentation of the mind, and from that comes a presentation of the will. I will choose to do what God wills for me to do.
V. Application: Are You Presenting Yourself?
Okay, so we come to the application of the sermon, that means we're done. Because I've done nothing but application this whole time. Well, let me ask a basic question, "Are you doing this? Are you presenting your bodies as living sacrifices? Are you presenting every moment of your life, are you presenting your hands, your mouth, your eyes, everything to God as a living sacrifice, are you living this kind of a life? Are you spending your money to the glory of God or not spending it? Are you praying to the glory of God or not? Are you interacting with other people to the glory of God or not?" Everything can be his. There's no such thing as sacred or profane. Offer yourselves to him, as those who have been brought from death to life and offer every part of your body to him as instruments of righteousness, for sin shall not be your master, because you're not under law, but under grace. Close with me in prayer.