Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)
Which of the following is true based upon your experience? A or B?
A) Pastors, priests, and other church leaders are consistently calling Christians to offer themselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God as they live for Him 24/7.
B) Pastors, priests, and other church leaders do not consistently call Christians to lay down their lives as a living sacrifice but instead invite them to attend a service, join a group, or follow a program.
How about this one? Which of the following is true based upon your experience? A or B?
A) Most Christians have been transformed by the renewing of their minds. Their thinking and behavior patterns are different from the people in the world around them. They have not conformed to the values of the world but have been transformed into the image of Christ.
B) Only a fewChristians have been transformed by the renewing of their minds and therefore think and behave differently than the people in the world around them.
So, what do you think? What has your experience been the last few years as you have attended church services or watched the Christian media? Do we follow the Biblical model of pointing to the mercies of God, the great salvation that is offered in Christ Jesus, and urge people to give their whole lives to God as living sacrifices? Do we call them to leave their lives of sin and be saints who live for Jesus 24 hours a day seven days a week? Do we ask them to love the Lord their God with all their heart, all their mind, with everything that they have and with all that is within them?
Some churches do, and for that we can rejoice. But many of us have lost our way. We no longer point to the mercies of God because it is uncomfortable and politically incorrect to tell people that they are sinners or even that they might have a sin issue. We don’t call people to repentance nor do we ask them to offer their lives as living sacrifices for the same reasons. It’s a lot more comfortable to invite people to come to whatever meeting or ministry will meet their needs and make them feel better.
It’s no surprise, then, that statisticians tell us that there is not much difference in the thinking, values, and behavior of those who attend church and those who do not. We won’t go into the details here – anyone can go online and check out the stats on divorce, abortion, sex outside of marriage, willingness to lie or steal, etc. – but instead we will contemplate the difficult question of, “Why? Why are many Christians conforming to the culture around them instead of offering themselves as living sacrifices and being transformed into the image of Christ?”
"We no longer point to the mercies of God because it is uncomfortable and politically incorrect to tell people that they are sinners or even that they might have a sin issue."
There are no doubt many reasons for the weakening of the church and her increasing inability to change the culture around her. We deal with some of those reasons in other articles in this book and on the discoveringbiblicalchurch.com website.
However, one reason does stand out: We don’t see a changed culture because we don’t ask for changed lives. We preach grace and mercy – which is great – but we don’t exhort people to give their lives to God, living for Him 24/7 and offering Him all that they have. Jesus gave His life for ours so we ought to gladly give ours back to Him.
So let’s set our minds upon Jesus and the great price He paid for us. Let’s be renewed in our thinking and transformed in how we live so that we can become more like Jesus and less like the world around us. Let’s be transformed – literally leaving the form of those in the world around us and taking on the form of Jesus Christ – and let’s call our fellow Christians to do the same.
It might be a little bit uncomfortable and quite a bit politically incorrect, but we do people a disservice and possibly even cheat them out of everything God has for them if we fail to teach them that they are to be living sacrifices who are to be like Jesus and not like the people in the world around them.
Let’s Pray Together: Lord, forgive me for those times when I have not offered myself as a living sacrifice but have instead only given You certain areas of my life or certain days or times. I want to live for You 24/7 and give You every part of me and my life. Help me to do that. And Lord, forgive us – forgive all of us – who have shrunk back from declaring the whole counsel of God and have instead only talked about what is comfortable and convenient. Help us to challenge people to not only receive the grace and mercy of God but also to give their lives back to You. You gave Your life for us; help us to give our lives back to You by being renewed in our thinking and transformed in our living. I bring these areas of my life to You now that need your grace and your help...(continue praying as you feel led…)