CHANGING THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF

CHANGING THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

CHANGING THE WAY YOU SEE YOUR SELFMany people have a false understanding of how God sees us. They see God as looking down with anger or disapproval. They also see God as demanding obedience. They see God as only interested in saving our souls and not interested in our physical bodies. Sadly, all these have a direct impact on how we see ourselves. Rom. 12:1 is a corrective to many wrong beliefs we have about ourselves.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Overall Background:  Some people see the Book of Romans as a deep theological book with spiritual principles. Nothing could be further from the truth. From Romans 1-11 Paul has focused on theology and doctrine. Now, starting in Romans 12, Paul is focusing on application.

There are 4 things packed in this passage that will change the way we see our self.

I. GOD CALLS US FRIENDS NOT SLAVES.

Listen to how verse 1 begins “I beseech you therefore, brethren”

Background: That word “beseech” implies tenderness. Paul did not say “I command you” or “I order you” or “You better.” Paul could have done that –

  • As an apostle, he had the authority to command them.
  • There are commands in the Bible for Christians. Look in John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Why did Paul not command us? Because the Christian life is not motivated by a set of rules, checklist, duty, fear, or punishment. It is motivated by love.

For e.g. My wife loves me. She does things for me daily that I don’t even realize. I’m glad she does them for me because if not we’d be in trouble. But what if I made up a list of all the things that she has to do and put it on the refrigerator and titled them “Commandments to be obeyed by wife.” I would be in the doghouse. She does it out of love and not duty or fear.

Listen to what Jesus said in John 15:14-15  14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

This is the difference between Christianity and all the other religions. Obedience is part of all religions. Christianity is unique in that the relationship is one of friend not slave.

Application: How do you view yourself? As a wretched sinner at the feet of a Holy Savior, as a worthless slave at the doorstep of the Master of the Universe.

How do you obey God? Grudgingly? Fearfully? Or Friendly? Psalm 119:143 “Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delights.” Are you doing it because you have to or because you love Him so much that you cant help but do so?

II. GOD REMINDS US OF HIS MERCIES NOT JUDGMENTS.

I beseech you therefore, (“therefore” points back to all that has gone before Romans 12:1 – everything between Romans 1-11.) brethren, by the mercies of God,

Background: What are these mercies? All these mercies of God have been laid out between Romans 1-11. Let me summarize them:

  • “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” (Rom. 1:18)
  • Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this world, as promised by the Scriptures and gave His life on the cross for our sins.
  • He died for the sins of every human being. All we have to do is receive Him as our Savior and all our sins are forgiven.
  • But that’s not enough. We still have a problem – we belong to the family of Adam/the family of Sin. We still carry the germ of sin that was in Adam and was passed down to us. What we need is to get out of the family. The Blood can forgive us of our sins but only death can get us out of the family of sin.
  • Jesus not only died as our Substitute but He also died as our Representative. Meaning: He died our death from the family of Adam. All we have to do is keep our eyes on the cross and there we will see that “We have been baptized into His death and we were buried with Him.” That’s what baptism symbolizes.
  • But, there’s more mercy – Jesus rose from the grave on the third day and when He arose, we arose with Him to “walk in newness of life.” His resurrection represented our new birth in the family of God. We died in Him as the last Adam and we live in Him as the second man.
  • There’s more mercy – Now we are no longer under law but under grace. We have a new law. It is the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
  • So how do we live? So how do we deal with Sin? Not by keeping the Law but by walking according to the Spirit. You are no longer alone. You have the Holy Spirit living in you and guiding you and empowering you and making Christ real in you and “working all things together for good to those who love God.”

That in a nutshell is “the mercies of God.”

Application: What is your motivation of the Christian life? Is it judgment or punishment or disfavor or is it the mercies of God. Have you received the mercies of God? Are you saved? Is Jesus your Savior? Have you by faith received Him as your Representative? Are you living under grace? Is the Holy Spirit leading you?

III. GOD LOVES THE WHOLE OF US – SOUL AND BODY.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,”

Background: What is very interesting to me is that Paul does not say – present your soul, spirit, or heart. Instead, he tells us to present our physical bodies.

Throughout history people have looked down upon the body. For example, the Greeks stressed the importance of the soul but did not care about the body. Even in Christian history people have looked down upon the physical side of us as being sinful, carnal, fleshly, dirty, worthless, and temporary. You hear that even at funerals – “This body is just the shell/husk. The real person is no longer here.”

Some have purposely punished their bodies as the source of their sins and problems. They have subjected themselves to long fasts, and scourging and wearing cilice – a hair shirt or a barbed chain. They believe that they have to mortify their bodies in order to please God and be acceptable to Him. Some of the ancient paintings and stained-glass windows show Christians and martyrs as being pale and sickly and withered.

But listen again to how God sees our physical bodies – present (not hand it over or relinquish or surrender or bind) your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,” (God calls our bodies as holy and acceptable to Him.)

What can we draw from this passage?

#1.God wants us to take care of our physical selves just as much as try to take care of our spiritual selves. We spend so much on developing our spiritual side but completely neglect or trash our physical side. We are rough on ourselves. We have bad habits that are ruining our bodies. We would not dream of soiling and corrupting ourselves with pornography and immoral things. Yet, we do that all the time with our physical bodies.

#2.God wants us to be happy with ourselves. No one is ever truly happy with himself or herself – someone doesn’t like their eyes, nose, legs, and hair. By the way – hair doesn’t count for women. They can always change the color. The point is – we are never quite satisfied with how God made us. We talk bad about ourselves. We cut ourselves down. Researches have found that people who are extremely encouraging to others are sometimes extremely harsh on their own selves.

#3.God wants us to trust Him with our physical problems. He is willing to give us grace in the time of our need. This specially shows up when we are facing back, knee, migraines, and cancer problems.

Application: How do you see your physical body? As a curse, as a source of trouble, as not good enough, or as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God?

IV. GOD ONLY EXPECTS FROM US WHAT HE HAS ALREADY GIVEN TO US.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Background: The word for “reasonable” is a hard word. It shows up only one other time in the NT. There are many ways that different versions have translated this word. Some say “spiritual worship,” some “rational worship” or “intelligent worship” or “true worship.” Taking the context into consideration, I have a better translation – “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is a worship that makes sense. Meaning: It’s not unreasonable. It’s not unfair. It’s not over the top. It’s not expecting too much.

Why? God only wants what already belongs to Him.

I Corinthians 6:19-20  19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Application: Some people over indulge their bodies. If you are saved, you are a new creation. You belong to Him – body and soul.

When General Booth of the Salvation Army was in his deathbed, someone asked him – “What has been the secret of your amazing ministry?” The Old General, propping himself up on his elbow said, “Well, if there’s been any secret at all, it’s just been this – Jesus has had every bit of me.”

HOW TO HAVE NEWNESS OF LIFE

HOW TO HAVE NEWNESS OF LIFE by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

Newness of LifeThe Book of Romans is a corrective to a lot of wrong beliefs among Christians today. Warren Wiersbe begins his commentary on Romans in the following words: “If you are tired of all the wrong things in your life, in the lives of others, then Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is the book for you.” In the passage we are about to read Paul wants the readers to understand that salvation is not just about forgiveness for sins, it is also about deliverance from sin. It is not enough to have forgiveness for what we have done, we also need deliverance from who we are.

Romans 6:1-4  1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

In the passage we just read Paul is going to teach us 4 important steps TO HAVE NEWNESS OF LIFE.

Application: Do you find yourself living in defeat? Do you find yourself frustrated with your constant battles against old habits and hang-ups? Do you wish you had the newness of life that is promised in the Bible? If yes, then this message is for you.

1. ALLOW GOD TO TEACH YOU ABOUT GRACE.

Background: In chapter 5 of Romans, Paul explained to us that all of us come into this world under the “share everything Adams family plan.” Under this family plan, our father Adam signed us up for the physical and spiritual death; judgment and condemnation; and sinners by nature. We were locked into this plan, never to get out. That’s why lost people do the things they do. Sometimes, even saved people live under the old family plan. They try to stop doing bad things and they do them even more.6:1  1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

–                They try to be gentle and loving and they end up getting angry and bitter.

–                They try to please God the old way and they fail every time.

–                They try to live free but they are still bound by old habits and addictions.

Jesus came into this world to bring us a second share everything family plan. Under this family plan, our Savior Jesus Christ has signed us up for abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness; justification of life (when God sees me, He sees Christ); and righteous by nature.

Previously we were under the condemned plan but now we are under the grace plan.

Grace = getting what we don’t deserve. More we sin, more grace we get.

For e.g. How would you like that kind of phone plan? More you talk/text, more minutes you get!

Anytime people hear about this “It is all by grace” plan, it does not fail that someone will raise their hands and say as in verse 1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?—“People are going to misuse it/abuse it/take advantage of it. You have to have some rules to keep people in line with their Christian lives.”

Application: Fight the urge this morning to live by rules.

2. MEET THE NEW YOU.

Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

What is Paul’s answer? 2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Sorry, you are already dead to sin.

For e.g. The safest place in the world is in a cemetery. No one can hurt you. You may hurt yourself but no one else will!

Verse 3Or do you not know Paul is asking us “do you not know” the facts of your salvation? What are the facts?

3Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? What is Paul talking about? Now here is the heart of our salvation. We’re all born in the family of Adam– the family of sin. We have two problems—sins (things we have done wrong and do wrong) and sin (our sinful nature). Jesus took care of Problem #1 by becoming our Substitute – taking my sins upon Him on the cross. He gave me His righteousness. What about Problem #2—my sin nature? The Blood cleanses us from the debt of sins but we still carry the family germ of sin that was in Adam and was passed down to us. What we need is to get out of the family of sin. The Blood cannot get us out of the family. The only way to get out of the family is by death. Jesus not only died as our Substitute, but He also died as our Representative – representing our death in the family of Adam.

This was no half hearted/pretend/playact death. Listen to verse 4 4Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, In other words, God included my death in the death of Christ. In the foreknowledge of God we were crucified and buried with Christ.

Application: Most of us try to deal with sin by trying to suppress it and fight it. I am not going to get angry; I am not going to be envious; I am not going to lust. Before you know it, you are back in it. God deals with our sin nature by removing the sinner.

It’s not enough to just die from the old family. You also have to be born again into the new family. Verse 4 again: that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Meaning: Not only did we die in Christ but, on the third day, we were also raised with Him. We died in Him as the last Adam and we live in Him as the second man. Now let’s live as if you are in newness of life.

It’s not hard to take to heart that we died with Him. It is hard to understand that we are alive with Him. Listen to verse 5 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,” Your death is past tense and your resurrection is also accomplished.

What is interesting is the imagery that Paul uses to describe this death to sin and resurrection to newness. It is baptism. The baptismal pool is really a coffin. Some people look at baptism as a non-essential. They say, “You do not have to be baptized to be saved.” That’s true but Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. It symbolizes our death, burial and resurrection with Jesus Christ. It tells the world that we have been united with Him in death, burial, and resurrection. It is a sign that I am now cut off to the old world and have entered into the new.

By the way since the earliest church history, the church always baptized the way we do it – Ephesus, Emmaus, Milan, Tunisia and on and on.

3. YOU ARE NO LONGER A SLAVE TO SIN.

So where are we now with our sin nature?  6knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Someone says—why do I still sin if my Old Nature has been crucified? When a person dies, it does not mean that they are eradicated. The body is gone but the Spirit lives on—either before God in heaven or in Hell waiting for judgment. Our Old Nature is no longer alive in the flesh. It is only alive in the Spirit. We have been set free. Listen to verse 7—For he who has died has been freed from sin.

Application: Most of us try to deal with sin by trying to strengthen the Old Man—suppress it, fight it, deny it, train it. I am not going to get angry; I am not going to be envious; I am not going to lust. Before you know it, you are back in it.

God deals with our sin nature by making us weaker and weaker; by removing the sinner; by putting us to death. But He doesn’t leave us dead. He gives us new life. Listen to verse 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

So what should you do with all this knowledge – Verse 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. God is not asking you to go crucify yourself or to go do penance for your sin. He simply wants you to reckon it.

Background: The word “reckon” can be a little confusing. For e.g. “Are you coming to the birthday party?” “I reckon.” It means “I guess” or “I think” or “maybe.” That is not the meaning here. The Greek word means “count” or “calculate.” It is a mathematical term. It is an accounting term. You cannot judge if the artist or singer or writer has been perfectly accurate but you can tell if an accountant has been accurate.

For e.g.  $5 plus $5 = $10

Meaning:  God is not saying “pretend that you are dead” or “do the best you can to play dead” or “act like you are alive.” He tells us to reckon because it is a fact that we are dead to sin and alive to Christ.” It is a command. The idea behind reckoning is “believe.” By faith, accept that “You are one with Christ.”

Let me warn you – the moment you start reckoning, be ready for a fight. The Devil will fight you tooth and nail. He will lie to you. He will point out all your faults. You will have to reckon every moment who you are in Christ. As long as we keep our eyes on Christ, we are able to walk this life. Every time, like Peter, we take our eyes off Christ, we begin to sink. When we abide in Him and obey Him, that’s when we walk in victory.

4. SAY HELLO TO YOUR NEW MASTER.

12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

Background: What the Bible is saying is, “Now that you know that you have died in Christ and are alive in Him; now that you have reckoned this to be a fact; what’s next? Your mortal body belongs to God. Your eyes/ears/mouth/hands/feet/every inch of you is His.

I Corinthians 6:19-20  19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

13And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Often people say, “If you want to be saved, you have to become a slave of Jesus Christ.” It sounds good. It’s just not biblical. God does not want my old self that was a slave of sin. He wants that which has passed through death to resurrection. He wants me to present to Him that which already belongs to Him.

For e.g. When we were travelling overseas, I gave a certain amount of money to the oldest two of our children. Just in case I happen to lose my wallet, we will still have some money. When we finally arrived on the other side, I asked them to hand it back. Whose money was it? Mine or theirs? Mine.

When I hear someone who claims to be a Christian say, “My money, My time, My house, My job.” You have a problem. Either you are still lost or you don’t get it. Everything is now His. I am no longer to sin because these eyes, mouth, hands, feet, everything belongs to Him. We are His slaves.

Application: You say you are a Christian. Are you a slave of Jesus Christ to holiness?

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