Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
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.
Regardless of whether or not we choose to accept it, God has called us to a wild adventure—a mission! These past three weeks, we’ve studied Romans 12:1-2 as we’ve looked to uncover our mission, ready ourselves for it, and truly understand what it means to join God as he sets the world right. Though not impossible, God may not call your name in the night—in true Samuel style—to tell you what your mission is. However, in seeking him with your head, heart, and hands you open yourself up to hearing what he has in store for you.
This week, Teaching Minister Jim Keller discusses the volitional aspect of our missions as believers—what we do to put this mission God has called us to into action.
In the first sermon of this series, we discussed the role of logic, in the second we discussed matters of the heart, and in this sermon we discuss taking action. In the Greek translation of Romans 12:1-2, Paul uses the word sṓma, which literally means the physical body. He is talking about a whole-body surrender. The picture Paul paints in this Scripture has both literal and figurative implications for believers. What literal and figurative implications can you garner from his reference to the body as a living sacrifice?
In the first sermon in this series, Jim Keller said uniqueness is God’s gift to you and individuation is your gift back to God. All of us on mission have one thing in common: we are called to sacrifice. That sacrifice looks different for each of us. How do your spiritual gifts affect what and how you sacrifice? Which sacrifices are more difficult for you as a result? What are the implications this has on our life as a believer on mission?
Alexander McClaren wrote, “And so the sum of the whole is that the master-word for the outward life of a Christian is sacrifice.” That, again, includes two things—self-surrender and surrender to God. Why are these two types of surrender necessary for believers on mission? How do they interplay with each other?
Consistently throughout Scripture we are called to give (specifically monetarily) out of love and out of obedience to God. Yet, finances are often one of the hardest areas of our lives to surrender. What does this call on our lives and our struggle with it reveal to you about God?
Read Romans 12: 1-2. After having heard from Jim Keller on how we ought to focus on the head, heart, and hands to uncover and fulfill what God has called us to, how does this passage read differently for you? How do you see the body of believers you’re a part of focus on the head, heart, and hands as a means to fulfill its mission? What challenges do you see in applying this corporately as opposed to individually?
Read Malachi 3:8-10. The idea that we are robbing God implies that everything we have is not ours to begin with. As believers, we logically know this is true. As humans it can feel almost impossible to let go of feelings of entitlement or fear that we will go without provision. How do you reconcile head and heart when it comes to giving from an empty well? How would you talk to a new believer struggling with this concept? Where else can we look in Scripture for wisdom on giving (both time & money)?
Read Luke 6:38. Luke writes, “for with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Our sinful nature and our skewed society makes it almost impossible to avoid the trap of the measuring stick. Discuss the impact that it would have on your life if you gave without consideration for the metaphorical measuring stick.
Jim spoke this week about the struggle to sacrifice time and money. Consider the areas in your life where it’s hardest to sacrifice. Take some time this week to revisit the head and heart sermons (or notes) and choose one thing to actively sacrifice out of love for who God is, what he has done for us, and out of obedience to him. It doesn’t have to be anything big or dramatic, but as Jim said, “small sacrifices lead to great victory.”
These last three weeks we have been learning that we need to know enough to care, and care enough to do.. As we continue this season of being on mission together, during our next sermon series we will be specifically talking about justice. Our In Justice Speaker Series is a tangible way for you to learn more about specific justice issues, allow your heart to be affected by them, and take the opportunity for your hands to go do something. We hope you’ll join us starting in March!