Living Sacrifice in 2017
Topic: New Year Resolution 2017 Passage: Romans 12:1–12:3, 1 Corinthians 6:12–6:20, Matthew 4:1–4:11, Matthew 6:19–6:24, Psalm 127, 1 Timothy 4:7–4:8, Romans 12:9–12:21, Hebrews 10:19–10:39
Going Deeper -Becoming a Living Sacrifice-
As we celebrated the birth of Jesus with traditions such as advent observance, the New Year is also filled with tradition. Once such tradition is resolution or goal setting. What sort of goals are you making for yourself this year?
Goals are intentions we commit ourselves to such as dieting or exercise for healthier living, studying for better grades, commitment for better job etc. But how many of us take the time to really consider God’s purpose for our lives? What is God’s will for you life?
In Romans 12: 1-3 Paul writes that God has called our lives to be living sacrifices to Himself. As we looked at Cain and his offering last week we saw that God has standards; He does not accept just any sacrifice. Today’s message is about understanding what God desires our lives to look like.
As we make goals for ourselves, a living sacrifice is an offering that chooses wisely, guards their eyes, invests wisely, is a changing life and values Community.
Let’s pull out our outline from this past Sunday’s message and dig a little deeper!
Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20.
• Explain how something can be lawful but not helpful. How can we tell the difference? Can something be helpful for me but not another?
• With the parallel of food for the stomach, explain how our bodies are for the Lord.
• Why does Paul use the illustration of “being joined with a harlot” regarding our involvement with this world?
(Bonus: Check out Matthew 4: 1-11. How does Jesus’ temptation inspire us to live Holy lives today? Explain the Lust of the Flesh, Lust of the Eyes & the Pride of Life <1 John 2:16>)
Next, let’s turn to Matthew 6: 19-24.
• How can we have “healthy eyes”?
• How important is it to guard our eyes, ensuring our heart is learning to treasure God?
• Why is the darkness so horrific when referring to it’s presence in the Believers heart?
Next, Let’s jump backward a bit to Psalm 127.
• How do we see God’s sovereignty in this passage?
When we take our eyes off God we tend to feel the weight of our circumstances so much more. In fact, we also start to feel that we ourselves need to be the means to overcome adversity and means for success. While not necessarily selfish on the surface, especially if we clothe it with desire for our spouse, children and church family- yet if God is not central we are and that leads to underperformance, burnout and anxiety.
• How is sleep a good gage of the position of God in our lives?
• What is the difference between anxiety brought on by stress and anxiety brought on by depression? Which one do we have control over?
Jumping forward to Romans 12: 9-21, we read through a long list of what our lives should look like as a member of God’s family. We are all fostered into and adopted by God and thus have “baggage” of former lifestyle and unhealthy, sinful habits. Fruit is not born over night and there will be seasons of apparent bareness. But God is a good Father committed to transform us into His child.
• What do you struggle to live out from this list and why? And what steps are you taking to change?
And finally- Hebrews 10: 19-39.
We see how our confidence is in the purchased position we receive through Jesus Christ. God hears us because of Jesus. God calls us His own because of Jesus. We are confident in our position in God’s family because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Note: the High Priest would go into the “holy of Holies” with a bell and rope attached to him. The idea was that if the bell stopped sounding, the priest stopped serving. If he wasn’t serving that meant he was dead and they would pull him out by the rope and bury him. If our faith had a bell attached to it, would it be ringing away with our service to God or silent as if we were dead?!
- Why does the author stress the importance of Community (ie the local gathering of believers)?
- Why do we need accountability?
• As we mature in our knowledge and experience with God our confidence in Him grows. Circumstances loose their grip and Satan his influence in the light of presence and power of God in our lives. As we are to “spur one another on” how are we doing this for others? How are others doing this for us?
• If we find our eyes being distracted, our hearts falling in love with the things of this world- our lives end up being driven by goals leading us away from God. As believers this can lead to an apostate place. What does the author of Hebrews warn us about what can happen to any of us?
As we begin 2017, my prayer is that we set goals that enable us to pursue God’s calling over our lives- to become a living sacrifice. This is not a one time, Sunday morning thing (like Cain) but the overflow of a daily walk and life with God (Abel & Seth-see last week’s message entitled, “Prince of Peace”).
Is your life a living sacrifice to God?
More in 2017 Stand Alone
November 19, 2017Thankful Heart
October 15, 2017Remember Your Creator in the days of your Youth
September 10, 2017Exalting Jesus as Healer, Savior, Sanctifier, and Coming King