Take up your cross and follow Me?

Question:
“What did Jesus mean when He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23)?”

Answer:

 Let’s begin with what Jesus didn’t mean. Many people interpret “cross” as some burden they must carry in their lives: a strained relationship, a thankless job, a physical illness. With self-pitying pride, they say, “That’s my cross I have to carry.” Such an interpretation is not what Jesus meant when He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.”…

READ MORE

 

Saturday’s Military Devotional – Sacrifice for Others

For years I have seen the following all over social media: Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you ...As someone retired from the US Army I fully understand the meaning behind this, and while the sacrifice made by members of the Armed Forces for our Freedom can never and should never ever be minimized, that of Christ far exceeds it. 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8


CONTEXT: 
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ROMANS 5:6-8 
Porque Cristo, cuando aún éramos débiles, a su tiempo murió por los impíos. Ciertamente, apenas morirá alguno por un justo; con todo, pudiera ser que alguno osara morir por el bueno. Mas Dios muestra su amor para con nosotros, en que siendo aún pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros. (RVR 1960) 

Why do I say Christ’s sacrifice far exceeds that of any service member, let me break it down.  

v.6 Is saying that while we were totally incapable of making a right(eous) decision. An analogy would be, like being wounded on the battlefield and unable to self extract from the fields of fire, scary crap to say the least. In other words we are POWERLESS. 

v.7 – It maybe easy to understand or see yourself running to the aid of someone you know to be a “good” person in need. Yet how many of us would or know someone who would run to a person of questionable character in need? Would we hesitate to die for a person we didn’t like or thought was morally lacking or beneath us? Note as an Army Medic we didn’t have this choice. 

v.8 – 

But God,  sometimes little words in the bible have so much meaning, here is and example, it forces us to think and comprehend that God took action that was contrary to Human Nature. 

Commendeth his love toward us, what was that action, God loved us, now that on the surface is no big deal, but God did it 

while we were yet sinners, that is while we hated God, it was not that He  thought we were morally lacking, He knew it and still He loved us. We ( all mankind) deserves a wrathful judgement for our sinful and immoral nature. God chose LOVE. Would you have? Doubtful! 

Christ died for us, Christ while  we were morally corrupt and powerless died for our soul. Our eternal (forever) life. His sacrifice was sufficient for all mankind those who on the surface act in a “good” manner and those who are morally corrupt. 


I encourage you to read one of these devotionals daily for the next week. 

 

 

 

Assured by Love

God’s Display of His Love

A Condition for Forgiveness

Justified by His Blood

God’s Love for the World

Encourage One Another


Today’s Questions

Say What?

Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?

So What?

Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on Sacrifice for Others?

Now What?

Application: How does it apply to me?

Then What?

Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?

Today In Church History

Anabaptists Took a Baby Step

 

Anabaptists Took a Baby Step

Because of a baby, the church changed on this day, January 21, 1525. No one realized it at first.

The Protestant reformation in Europe had furthered the recovery of faithful Bible interpretation. When reformers gained control of governments, they replaced the Roman church with reformed churches. For the most part, all people—including newborn babies—were expected to belong to the newly reformed churches, just as they had belonged to the old. Newborn babies were baptized into the reformed church and became members simply by being born in their community, much as a person becomes a citizen of the United States by being born there.

Reformation came to Zurich, too, under Ulrich Zwingli’s Bible-centered teaching. The Zurich City Council and most Christians supported his reforms. However, when an eager group of Zwingli supporters looked into the Bible, they found a wide difference between the primitive churches of the first century and the state churches of the sixteenth.

They became convinced that the church wasn’t intended to include everyone. Rather, it should include only those people who really know and follow Christ. “How could a baby join a church,” they asked, “When it knows nothing but to cry and eat?” These Christians believed that the only true baptism comes when one is old enough to understand its meaning. Among them were Georg Blaurock, Conrad Grebel, and Felix Manz.

When Grebel’s wife had a baby, the couple decided not to baptize their child although Zurich authorities said they must. Other families imitated the Grebels. The Zurich City Council handled this civil disobedience the same way they would have handled an appeal for trash pick up or a new bridge: on January 17, 1525 they held a public debate on the issue. The people’s representatives listened to both sides and voted for baby baptism. The Council ordered that the “radicals” must no longer meet together, or teach their opinions to others and that all families must baptize their children within eight days or leave Zurich.

With the deadline running out, the Anabaptists must do something. Trudging through the wind and snow on that chilly night, January 21, 1525, they gathered at Felix Manz’ house to decide their course of action. Their meeting was “illegal,” of course, but one thing the little group was sure of–governments have no right to dictate religious beliefs. It was a radical idea then. But once they saw it and grasped it, there was no turning back.

They talked and worried and prayed. When they rose from their knees, Georg Blaurock had made up his mind. He asked Conrad Grebel to baptize him in the apostolic manner–upon confession of faith. Grebel did, and then Blaurock baptized all of the others who were willing. By that action, the Anabaptist movement was born. “Anabaptist” means “rebaptizer.” It was a name given to them in mockery by their enemies.

The Anabaptists obeyed the Zurich council and moved out of town. They started their own church, completely free of state ties, and preached to others. To Zurich this seemed like rebellion and they jailed the offenders. When released, the men preached again.

In the course of time, Manz, Blaurock and many other Anabaptist leaders were executed. The bold stand of those men changed the entire church, but only after oceans of blood had been poured out, trying to control other people’s faith.

Mennonites, Hutterites, and Amish are the direct offspring of the Anabaptist movement. Baptists and many other groups baptize a person only if he or she is old enough to understand the meaning of the act and make a confession of Christ. But all of us have benefited by the Grebels’ decision not to baptize their baby. Thanks to their stand, most Protestant churches now act on the principle of separation of church and state, although around the world governments still try to impose their stamp on the church.

Today in Church History

They Were No Fools: The Martyrdom of Jim Elliot and Four Other Missionaries (TGC, Double Click for Article)

Missionaries Died in Ecuador Jungle 

Missionaries Died in Ecuador Jungle

The five men on “Palm Beach,” a strip of sand on the Curaray River, Ecuador, knew that there was danger. But they took the risk for a chance to make friendly contact with the Huaorani (Auca) Indians. Missionaries Ed McCulley, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian, had landed on the makeshift airstrip in their “modern missionary mule” (a Piper Cruiser).

Back at Shell Mera,on this day January 8, 1956, Marj Saint waited for word. The short wave radio crackled. Marj listened as her husband, Nate, told her that “a commission of ten” was on its way from Terminal City. “Looks like they’ll be here for the early afternoon service. Pray for us. This is the day! We’ll contact you next at four-thirty.”

Excitement was intense. Months of efforts were about to bear fruit! The “commission” was a group of Huaorani men. Terminal City was the code name the missionaries had given to a Huaorani village they had spotted from the air. If Nate spoke in code words, it was because he did not want Ecuadorians with guns pre-empting the mission’s friendly overtures to the natives. The Huaorani were sturdy forest dwellers who had fiercely resisted all efforts to subdue them, killing many people who ventured into their territory.

Nate had first spotted one of their villages from the air on September 19, 1955. On October 1st, missionaries developed a plan for making contact, when bad weather kept Johnny Keenan from flying Ed back to his home station at Arunjo. Ed, Nate and others gathered at Shell Mera and talked into the wee hours of the morning, huddled over maps. How could they demonstrate that they came in peace and not in hostility?

What they decided to do was fly over the villages and lower gifts to the people. Using a public address system, they repeated friendly phrases that Jim had collected from an Huaorani woman on a nearby hacienda. “Biti miti punimupa: I like you; I want to be your friend.” Soon large numbers of Aucas were converging for the gift drops. Finally the day came when the villagers tied a gift to the line in return–a feathered headdress.

Next, a landing spot had to be found. They chose a playa (sand bar) on the Curaray River. Nate ran simulated landings, touching his wheels to the sand to test its firmness. It seemed okay. Finally on January 3rd, Nate and Ed landed. The sand proved softer than hoped, but by letting air out of the tires, a safe landing and takeoff was possible. Nate ferried the other men and supplies to the camp. They erected a prefab tree house and shouted friendly words into the bush. Four days later a Huaorani man and two women appeared. Now, on this day, January 8th, 1956, several Auca were headed to “Palm Beach.”

Four thirty rolled around, time for the planned radio contact. Eagerly Marj switched on her radio back at base. Nothing! Had the men been invited to the Huaorani houses? She waited. There was no sound. The minutes passed, and lengthened into hours. Silence.

Johnny Keenan flew over Palm Beach on Monday morning. He reported to Marj that he had spotted Nate’s plane, stripped of its fabric. On Wednesday he saw the first of the bodies from the air. Then another. Soon it was evident all five men were dead. A ground force moved in to bury the men. Ed’s body had washed away.

A shipwrecked sailor recalled Jim Elliot’s words: “When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.” The five men on the beach had been ready to die and their deaths were not in vain. Through the efforts of the widows, the Huaorani discovered Christian forgiveness. The day came when they explained that they had killed the five out of fear, thinking they were cannibals. The same Huaorani who killed the men became believers in Christ.

Steve Saint, center, with four Waodani tribesmen, three of whom helped to kill Mr. Saint’s father and four other missionaries. Mr. Mincaye, second from left, killed the elder Saint, but later “adopted” young Mr. Saint, whose children call Mincaye “Grandfather.” By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Image result for Revelation 1:5

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (KJV)

y de Jesucristo el testigo fiel, el primogénito de los muertos, y el soberano de los reyes de la tierra. Al que nos amó, y nos lavó de nuestros pecados con su sangre, (RVR 1960)

Yesterday we looked at Christ Jesus as the Ultimate Scapegoat today I would like to explore the need for blood specifically the blood of Christ to be apart of the Ultimate Sacrifice. 

Throughout the Bible every book points to that Ultimate Sacrifice of Christ at Calvary  We see as far back as Genesis 4:1-16 when Able’s blood sacrifice was acceptable unto the Lord and Cain’s was not. Leviticus 17:11 makes clear the Law and God’s view: For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. God says only a blood sacrifice is an acceptable offering for atonement of mans sins.

Sacrifices “An offering made to God by killing and burning some animal upon an altar, as an acknowledgment of his power and providence, or to make atonement for sin, appease his wrath or conciliate his favor, or to express thankfulness for his benefits;” are a common practice among most all nations of the world. The Apostle Paul encountered this at Mars Hill Acts 17:16–34 where the Athenians were so superstitions they even offered sacrifices to an unknown god, just in case they had upset him (or her). 

The nation of Israel had a much different, as noted by the Law of God in Leviticus, set of beliefs. Yes, we can all agree that the Jewish people of the Old Testament did not know Jesus, per se, they did know God, and did know of a planned redeemer. They knew that their was one true Triune God, one way for atonement blood sacrifice and Faith in God.  

Chapter 11 of the Book of Hebrews reminds us that the blood sacrifice of the OT was not sufficient, it was by Faith that people were counted into the family of righteousness. Eventually God in His infinite Sovereignty and Grace sent His only begotten Son, John 3:16, so that mankind could have a better way and Christ became the Ultimate Sacrifice by the shedding of His Blood, Hebrews 9:11–18: 

 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

Without Christ’s Ultimate Sacrifice we would still be offering animal sacrifices today. (Can you imagine the outcry from PETA and others) I would hope this knowledge alone is enough to cause us to offer thanks and praise daily. 


Further Reading 

Alexander MacLaren’s Expositions of Holy Scripture Revelation 1:5

Did Christ Become Sinful on Our Behalf?

Another in the Frequently Abused Verses Series

In the lead-up to the Truth Matters conference in October, we will be focusing our attention on the sufficiency, authority, and clarity of Scripture. Of our previous blog series, none better embodies that emphasis than Frequently Abused Verses. The following entry from that series originally appeared on April 3, 2017.. -ed. (For other articles in this series just type Frequently Abused Verses into the search bar on the right). 

Did Christ Become Sinful on Our Behalf?

by Jeremiah Johnson / Friday, August 9, 2019

If you wanted to find one verse that encapsulates the glorious truth of the gospel, you couldn’t do much better than the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Describing God’s reconciling work Paul writes, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

That verse gets to the heart of the good news of the gospel—Christ’s substitutionary death on our behalf. And it gives us the confidence that Christ’s righteousness will be imputed to us. It depicts the blessed reality of both those great doctrines—that when God looked at Christ on the cross, He saw us; and when He looks at us now, He sees His Son. Can you imagine a greater promise or a richer blessing?

And yet, buried in that verse is a short phrase that often trips up Bible students. Worse, this phrase has become a playground for heretics and charlatans. By manipulating these few simple words, they pervert the character and nature of Christ, and pollute the gospel.

Here’s the phrase, in its context: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Those three little words seem innocuous. But in the hands of a man like Kenneth Copeland, they can unleash a world of blasphemous error. Copeland is effectively the leader and the face of the Word-Faith movement, which is the primary proponent of the prosperity gospel. Copeland was the chief disciple of Kenneth Hagin, and has expanded Hagin’s family tree of heresy through his mentoring relationships with Benny Hinn, Joseph Prince, and many others.

Copeland and many of his acolytes teach that the short phrase “to be sin” in 2 Corinthians 5:21 indicates that Christ actually became sinful on the cross. They say it wasn’t merely the penalty for our sins that He took on Himself, but all the sins themselves, exchanging His divine and righteous nature for the nature of Satan.

Here is Copeland in his own words:

The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit, and at the moment He did so, He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

You don’t know what happened at the cross! Why do you think Moses, upon the instruction of God, raised a serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me! I said, “Why in the world do You have to put that snake up there, the sign of Satan? Why don’t you put a lamb on the pole?”

The Lord said, “Because it was the sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross! I accepted in My own spirit spiritual death, and the light was turned off . . . made to be sin.” [1]

Benny Hinn holds to the same erroneous doctrine. Hinn has declared that Jesus “did not take my sin; He became my sin. . . . He became one with the nature of Satan.” [2] Hinn embellished the point further one night on TBN:

He [Jesus] who is righteous by choice said, “The only way I can stop sin is by me becoming it. I can’t just stop it by letting it touch me; I and it must become one.” Hear this! He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan when he became sin! [3]

Even Joel Osteen—who reigns in his Word-Faith proclivities just enough to maintain his mainstream popularity—teaches this spurious doctrine:

Not only did Jesus pay for the punishment for your sins, the Bible says He actually became sin. He took sin upon Himself and into His being so that you could take God’s righteousness upon yourself and into your being. It’s the great exchange. [4]

Over and over these charlatans corrupt the nature of Christ and poison the gospel with these repulsive lies. Make no mistake—these are not small or insignificant errors. Accusing the Son of God of becoming a sinner is a direct assault on His divinity. Moreover, it’s an attack on the very aspect of His nature that made Him a suitable sacrifice for our sins in the first place: His righteousness.

In the Old Testament, the Lord specifically demanded a spotless, unblemished lamb as the sacrifice for sin (Exodus 12:5). Those sacrifices pointed ahead to Christ, who would serve as the one, true sacrifice for our sins. But His sacrifice would be worthless if He became sinful during His crucifixion. Not only would He have ceased to be a fitting sacrifice, He would have completely ceased to be God.

In his commentary on 2 Corinthians, John MacArthur explains that all of God’s Word testifies to the crucial truth of Christ’s sinlessness.

The impeccability (sinlessness) of Jesus Christ is universally affirmed in Scripture, by believers and unbelievers alike. In John 8:46 Jesus challenged His Jewish opponents, “Which one of you convicts Me of sin?” Before sentencing Him to death, Pilate repeatedly affirmed His innocence, declaring, “I find no guilt in this man” (Luke 23:4; cf. vv. 1422). The repentant thief on the cross said of Jesus, “This man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:41). Even the hardened, callous Roman centurion in charge of the execution detail admitted, “Certainly this man was innocent” (Luke 23:47).

The apostles, those who most closely observed Jesus’ life during His earthly ministry, also testified to His sinlessness. Peter publicly proclaimed Him to be the “Holy and Righteous One” (Acts 3:14). In his first epistle he declared Jesus to be “unblemished and spotless” (1 Peter 1:19); one “who committed no sin” (2:22); and “just” (3:18). John also testified to His sinlessness, writing, “in Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5). The inspired writer of Hebrews notes that “we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15), because He is “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens” (7:26). [5]

John goes on to explain that the most powerful testament to the sinless nature of Christ comes in His unbroken fellowship with the Father, summed up in the simple statement, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). John writes,

It is equally unthinkable that God, whose “eyes are too pure to approve evil” (Habakkuk 1:13; cf. James 1:13), would make anyone a sinner, let alone His own Holy Son. He was the unblemished Lamb while on the cross, personally guilty of no evil. [6]

So how should we understand the idea that God made Christ “to be sin on our behalf”? Isaiah’s prophetic words give us the answer:

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

On the cross, the Lord bore the punishment of our sins, not the sins themselves. He did not exchange His divine nature for Satan’s, or accept any blemish that would render Him as anything less than our spotless Lamb and perfect sacrifice. As John MacArthur explains,

Christ was not made a sinner, nor was He punished for any sin of His own. Instead, the Father treated him as if He were a sinner by charging to His account the sins of everyone who would ever believe. All those sins were charged against Him as if He had personally committed them, and He was punished with the penalty for them on the cross, experiencing the full fury of God’s wrath unleashed against them all. It was at that moment that “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, . . . ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46). It is crucial, therefore, to understand that the only sense in which Jesus was made sin was by imputation. He was personally pure, yet officially culpable; personally holy, yet forensically guilty. But in dying on the cross Christ did not become evil like we are, nor do redeemed sinners become inherently as holy as He is. God credits believers’ sin to Christ’s account, and His righteousness to theirs. [7]

Imputation is the key; if Christ was not fully righteous in His sacrificial death, we can’t be considered fully righteous in the eyes of God. If Christ wasn’t completely sinless, there is no hope of reconciliation for us.

For me!

Grace logo

NOVEMBER 24, 2018 BY STEVE REBUS

(Octavius Winslow)

“The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!” Galatians 2:20

Is Jesus precious to my heart?

Is He the object of my supreme admiration and delight?

Does He have my warmest affection?

Do I love Jesus above all?

I must light the torch of my affection for Christ–at the altar of Calvary. I must go there, and learn and believe what the love of Jesus is to me–the vastness of that love–the selfsacrifice of that love–how that love of Jesus . . .
labored for me,
and wept for me,
and bled for me,
and suffered for me,
and died for me!

Can I stand before this love–this love . . .
so precious,
so great,
so enduring,
so self-consuming,
so changeless–and know that . . .
His sin-atoning sacrifice was for me,
His cross was for me,
His agony was for me,
His scorn and insult was for me,
His death was for me–
and feel no sensibility, no emotion, no love to Jesus? Impossible!

Do not be cast down, then, in vain regrets that your love to Christ is so frigid, so fickle, so dubious. Go and muse upon the reality and the greatness of the Savior’s love to you–and if love can inspire love–while you muse, the fire will burn, and your soul shall be all in flame with love to Jesus!

via For me!

Reasonably Acceptable

  Over the past several weeks we have looked at God’s amazing Grace, His Good News, through John Chapter 3. In doing so we had a glimpse into the doctrines of Salvation and Justification.

  So what is next? Well in theological terms the Doctrine of Sanctification follows. This is a big word to mean the process of growing holy, mature in our faith.

  There are many ways in which one grow in their faith, through prayer, attending a good bible preaching church, fellowship with like believers, and studying God’s word to name a few.

  A second question comes to mind, how to set about these things. Here I believe the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, set forth the steps in Romans Chapter 12 verses 1 and 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.

  Let’s breakdown God’s word and see what he has for us today.

1) Beseech you therefore brethren:

Beseech a word we do not use much anymore means to Ask, Plead, or Beg Paul is begging for the reader to do something but what? Before the what can be answered we need to know the why and here the answer is pointed out by the word

Therefore here an Adverb

  1. (conjunctive) For that or this purpose, referring to something previously stated. 
  1. (conjunctive) Consequently, by or in consequence of that or this cause; referring to something previously stated. 

Synonyms

So let’s look again at the beginning of this verse it could be worded: I beg you brethren or brothers, based upon all you have just learned in the previous Chapter(s). Let us pause here and look at just chapter 11 and see if we can glimpse at what Paul was writing about.

· Verse 1 asks the question, has God forsaken His people (Israel)?

· Verse 2 Answers not all for some He foreknew and will never forsake

· Verse 3 tells us that although Israel stumbles God is able to use that for good.

· Verse 11 we see the purpose is all this, Salvation (through Christ) comes to the gentiles or non-Jews.

· Verse 25 gives the promise of hope, that many of Israel will be saved

· Verses 34-36 God is in control of all and deserves all the Glory.

  Again Paul is begging the reader (brethren or believers) to pay attention, remembering God’s righteousness, man’s unrighteousness and punishment therein that the end is not final or complete; there is hope for those who are justified and live a sanctified life.

2) Mercies of God: with all the compassion, the depths in which compassion resides, emotions, longings,

  Look Paul could have easily left this out and we still would pay attention to it. I mean he is Paul writer of 2/3 of the New Testament. Yet we dare not ignore his phrase, for it makes a statement. Paul is saying not of my own power do I ask (beg) this of you but by all the power the compassion of God Himself.

Gill: “I beseech you”; as an ambassador of Christ, and as though in his stead: nor are they enforced by terrors, threats, and menaces, but “by the mercies of God”; that is, the abundant mercy of God, displayed in their election, regeneration, and calling; than which, nothing can have a greater influence on a believer, to engage him to holiness of life and conversation;

3) Present Your bodies: yield your body, your speech, your actions, your very life

  This is the complete deal you cannot get away with acting all pious on Sunday and being a worldly foul mouth jerk the remainder of the week. Who are you trying to fool? God?

Ray Stedman: What you do with your body matters to God. He wants you to use your body for his glory in every situation and to seek to know him intimately and serve him joyfully in every circumstance, not just in church but every moment of every day:

Poole: that you give, dedicate, and offer up, as spiritual priests yourselves, or, your whole man; a part is put for the whole; the body is named, because it is the soul’s instrument in the service of God.

4) Living sacrifice, holy: unblemished as a firstling lamb, but Alive not Dead;

Alive in Christ and not dead in sin

  Unblemished, there are a number of reason for this the best I can think of is God’s sacrifice for us was Holy and Unblemished (sinless Christ). Does He deserve anything less from us?

5) Acceptable unto God: well pleasing, brings glory to; unashamed

Poole Acceptable unto God; or, well pleasing unto God. So were the appointed sacrifices under the law, Leviticus 1:9; so was the sacrifice of Christ the Lamb of God, Ephesians 5:2; and so are all spiritual sacrifices under the gospel, Philippians 4:18 Hebrews 13:16.

6) Reasonable: is what you’re doing rational?

  1. pertaining to speech or speaking
  2. pertaining to the reason or logic
    1. spiritual, pertaining to the soul
    2. agreeable to reason, following reason, reasonable, logical

Webster 1828 1. Having the faculty of reason; endued with reason; as a reasonable being. [In this sense, rational is now generally used.]
2. Governed by reason; being under the influence of reason; thinking, speaking or acting rationally or according to the dictates of reason; as, the measure must satisfy all reasonable men.
3. Conformable or agreeable to reason; just; rational.
** By indubitable certainty, I mean that which
does not admit of any reasonable cause of doubting.

  Reasonable to believers should mean that there is no doubt in your mind, your heart that these actions will Glorify God and that it is biblically logical for you to undertake them.

  As an example how many have heard someone say, ‘I plan on starting a church I am sure that is what God wants me to do’. On the surface, being a pastor (note they did not say that) and starting a bible believing and preaching church is a good thing. But how many of us who have heard that immediately think wait a minute; this person is not biblically qualified (the only acceptable standard) to start or pastor a church. What might seem acceptable is not reasonable for them to do this.

7) Service:

  1. service rendered for hire
    1. any service or ministration: the service of God
  2. the service and worship of God according to the requirements of the Levitical law
  3. to perform sacred services

  Everyone has a calling from God a service they can provide that Glorifies God and edifies the body of believers. This can take many forms it is our responsibility to seek God’s guidance on what it is He would have us do.

  Note Acceptable comes before Reasonable. We are not to determine on our own what is “reasonably acceptable” to God and then do that. No we are to determine what God finds acceptable and do that which is reasonable for us to do.

  Let us look at some scripture that will help determine what God finds acceptable:

Leviticus 22:20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you

God deserves nothing but the best; one should not attempt to offer Him anything less.

Ps 19:14 14Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

If our words match our heart, this is acceptable to the Lord

Proverbs 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

The righteous do not have to ask if something they are doing or saying is acceptable they know in their hearts the answer

Is 56:7 7Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Joining ourselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, keep the Sabbath

Jeremiah 6:20 (15-25) 20To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.

Offering or doing something to cover up sin is NOT acceptable

Romans 14:17-19 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men

Note that serving Christ in peace and righteousness is acceptable.

Ephesians 5:10 (7-16) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Walking as children of light is acceptable

Phil 4:18 (14-18) 18But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.

Supporting those who share the Gospel is acceptable

1 Tim 2:3 (1-3) 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

Prayer is acceptable, as long as we do not ask amiss.

1 Timothy 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

Helping widows and orphans is acceptable

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Offering up spiritual sacrifices is acceptable

1 Peter 2:20 (19-21) For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

Enduring difficulties by relying upon God is acceptable

  One last point on the word reasonable that we find in Rom 12:1, it is used only one other time in scripture in 1st Peter:

1 Peter 2:2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby

The translated word “word” here is the same Greek word, Logikos. One can only deduce, especially considering Peter’s writing style, that he was inferring that the Word was reasonable for all, infants (milk) to mature (meat).

Romans 12:1 MHCC

The apostle having closed the part of his epistle wherein he argues and proves various doctrines which are practically applied, here urges important duties from gospel principles. He entreated the Romans, as his brethren in Christ, by the mercies of God, to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to Him. This is a powerful appeal. We receive from the Lord every day the fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we are, all we have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it for such very rich receivings? It is acceptable to God: a reasonable service, which we are able and ready to give a reason for, and which we understand. (And is understood by those around us)

Wiersbe comments that…

The Christian life is not based on ignorance but knowledge, and the better we understand Bible doctrine (Romans 1-11), the easier it is to obey Bible duties (Romans 12-16). When people say, “Don’t talk to me about doctrine—just let me live my Christian life!” they are revealing their ignorance of the way the Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer. “It makes no difference what you believe, just as long as you live right” is a similar confession of ignorance. It does make a difference what you believe, because what you believe determines how you behave!” (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos)

One of my favorite Hymns tells me what reasonable service is to God:

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Isaac Watts

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were an offering far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Next time we will look at verse 2.