Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
We move on to Romans Chapter 12 - we come to a section of Paul’s letter to disciples of Jesus Christ, where there is no problem in understanding what he is saying. There might be difficulty in obeying and applying his teaching - but that is a different matter. You know what he is getting at - as he gives us very practical advice - the difficulty is applying it to our own lives and to our own situation.
He moves from Doctrine to Duty - from Principles to Practice - from Conversion to Consecration - from Belief to Behaviour - from being Saved First to Serving. Service must always follow ‘being saved’ - just as being saved must come before service.
These pairs of words may appear to be two different concepts but in the Christian faith and in our Christian lives they must be or become one.
Creed + Conduct = a Complete Christian. Creed + Conduct = Total Christianity.
I beg - I plead with - I beseech - I appeal to you - by the mercies of God - by the things God gave you which you did not deserve - by the things God has done for you in Christ Jesus - His appeal is to disciples - to men and women who believed - to ‘brethren’ – offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship.
What an opening as Paul writes this new section.
In fact, this Chapter appeals only to Christians - to those who know Christ - to those who have experienced and tasted something of the mercy and love of God.
If you have known God’s mercy - if you have experienced the love of God - you will be saying - “I want to put this into practice.”
Paul is appealing in this section to us – 1. to have the right attitude to God - 2. to have the right attitude to yourself - and 3. to have the right attitude to others.
We see here how physical Christianity is - Paul speaks to spirit and soul and mind and body.
God wants every part of you - and He does not always take your body automatically once you come to believe in Jesus - we have to present our bodies to Him.
Present your bodies - NOW. Old Testament sacrifices involved a dead body. New Testament sacrifice involves presenting a living body. GOD wants our living bodies.
I plead with you - present your bodies. God came to us in a body - through JESUS.
When we come to believe in Jesus this body is the Temple of The Holy Spirit. We believe in the resurrection of the body. The Church is the Body of Christ. Our faith is very physical. This is not complicated.
I used to tell people - if you really want to upset me - just don’t turn up - and don’t let me know beforehand. Over these past years I have been surrounded by those who were most supportive and faithful in worship and service.
The eyes - ears - mouth - feet - hands - present them all to Jesus Christ. This is your spiritual worship. That is why we can be at worship during the week - in a factory - office - kitchen - shop - in the garden - no matter where we are – and this makes all the difference to ‘work’.
When you placed an animal on the altar that animal belonged to God - it was no longer yours. Paul is teaching - your body belongs to GOD.
This would deal with countless counselling problems. Some like to have endless counselling sessions where they are the centre of attention - and now even the world is discovering that counselling is perhaps not all that helpful. Many problems would disappear if people repented.
Do it once and for all time. And never ask for your body back - and never take your body.
Completely - finally - utterly - give yourself to God – and when God gets your body, He gets everything else too - wallet - purse - brain - time - the lot.
Many years ago in Perth, I knelt before God and gave Him my all – then I lay prostrate on the floor and gave Him my all. It may not have been very much. He may not have received very much – but oh what I have received in return over these many years. I repeated this on many occasions – at University – in Cowdenbeath and up in Auldearn. On many Sundays I would kneel at the chair before going out and offer up whatever I had to give – whatever I had to say and preach and teach – and at other times too.
If you have never done this, do it – do it today – make time and do it before the day is over – and hold nothing back – hold nothing back – I assure you He will withhold nothing from you.
“Lord my God, I worship You – I bow before You – I give You my all – everything I have. In Jesus Christ, You gave everything for me – I lie prostrate before You and surrender all I have and all I am. I thank You for those who have gone before me, giving everything and surrendering every part of their being. Take this life of mine and use me in Your Kingdom – to glorify your Holy Name. Amen”
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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