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. Romans 12:1
Sacrifice always involves loss of some kind, like when we sacrifice our time or money. But such a sacrifice is not a total loss—we don’t give up all our time or money; there is always more available to replace what was lost. But the notion of sacrifice in Scripture had a more ominous meaning.
In the Old Testament when an animal was sacrificed on the altar, it was a total loss. The life of the animal was extinguished. Yes, there were more animals in one’s flock, but for the animal that died, everything was taken. It was this kind of sacrifice that Paul had in mind when he implored Christians to willingly present themselves as sacrifices to God. Not sacrifices that would die physically, but living sacrifices that would live—alive to God but dead to self. This is the kind of sacrificial life Paul described for himself in Philippians 3:7-14. He considered his life before Christ as nothing going forward. He lived only for Christ.
Living sacrifices can be tempted to crawl off the altar. Consider yourself today to be dead to self and alive for the glory of Christ.
Sacrifice without obedience is sacrilege.William Gurnall
Paul Washer “A Living and Holy Sacrifice” Romans 12:1-2
On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.Matthew 16:18
In 1889, the most ambitious private home construction project in the United States began. On-site manufacturing produced some 32,000 bricks a day. The work continued until the completion of George Vanderbilt II’s “summer house”—six years later. The result was the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. To this day, it remains the largest private residence in America, with 250 rooms (including 35 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms) consuming a staggering 178,926 square feet (16,226 square meters) of floor space.
This project, ambitious as it was, was nothing compared to the “building” intentions Jesus proclaimed to His disciples in Matthew 16. After Peter had confirmed that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (v. 16), Jesus declared, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (v. 18). While theologians debate the identity of the “rock,” there’s no debate about Jesus’ intentions. He would build His church to stretch to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19–20), including people from every nation and ethnic group from around the globe (Revelation 5:9).
The cost of this building project? The sacrifice of Jesus’ own blood on the cross (Acts 20:28). As members of His “building” (Ephesians 2:21), purchased at so great a price, may we celebrate His loving sacrifice and join Him in this great mission.
The Bible warns about the peril of an unbelieving heart. Israel plunged into unbelief with frightful regularity. It’s amazing how quickly they forgot the miraculous marvels by which God delivered them from slavery. An evil heart of unbelief will readily overlook the promises of milk and honey in favor of the leeks and onions of Egypt (Numbers 11:5).
We need to realize that unbelief is a poisonous root of all kinds of evil. It’s a blasphemy that strikes at the very character of God, accusing Him of being untrue, unfaithful, and unreliable. This hideous cancer gnaws at the spiritual health of churches, and God warns us that those with unbelieving hearts are in danger of falling away.
That’s why we’re told to encourage one another day by day. We need each other to come alongside in times of doubt to persuade us to stay in the Word, keep our focus on Christ, and hold fast to our faith throughout life. A growing, intimate relationship with the Lord will keep our hearts tender and receptive to Him. Then we’ll have assurance that our salvation is genuine so we can enter the rest He’s prepared for His followers.
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)
The wonderful promise of this text actually refers to the third appearing of Christ. The New Testament speaks of His past appearing, His present appearing, and His future appearing. These three appearings are all set forth in one fascinating passage of Scripture, Hebrews 9:24-28, where three different Greek words are used in reference to the three appearings.
1. His past appearing. “Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Here the Greek word is phaneroo, meaning “become apparent after being hidden.” His appearing had been prophesied since the beginning of the world (Luke 1:67-70), and finally He had come.
2. His present appearing. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24). The Greek word here is emphanizo, which means “manifest or declare openly.” He is now our “advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), where He “also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
3. His future appearing. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). The Greek in this case is optomai, meaning “gaze at face to face.”
Our text (Colossians 3:4) speaks of His future appearing at the Second Coming. However, here the Greek for “appear” is again phaneroo, the same word used for His past appearing in Hebrews 9:26, as discussed above. This usage assures us that His future appearing will be just as real to us as His past appearing was to His first disciples. And when He shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory! HMM
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. —Colossians 3:17
The Bible is among other things a book of revealed truth. That is, certain facts are revealed that could not be discovered by the most brilliant mind. These facts are of such a nature as to be past finding out. They were hidden behind a veil, and until certain men who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit took away that veil no mortal man could know them.
This lifting of the veil of unknowing from undiscoverable things we call divine revelation.
The Bible, however, is more than a volume of hitherto unknown facts about God, man and the universe. It is a book of exhortation based upon those facts. By far the greater portion of the book is devoted to an urgent effort to persuade people to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the will of God as set forth in its pages. OGM025-026
Out of His goodness, God made us. Out of His goodness, He keeps us. When the man had sinned, He redeemed us again out of His goodness. JIV045
When I was a child … I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.—1 Corinthains 13:11
Today we ask ourselves: how do we deal with those pushes from our past which tend to influence and control our present attitudes and reactions?
We must find how and where they began. They come especially from the early formative years of childhood. There we were subjected to influences, ideas, and experiences that helped to shape our expectations and attitudes to life. Many of these influences, ideas, and experiences were good—and this point must not be overlooked—but by the same token, many were bad. These negative things sometimes stay inside us and can become dictating forces in our lives. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to track down some of these hidden agendas, and we then need to deal with them in a mature and adult manner.
How do we do this? Look once again at the verse before us today: “When I became a man, I put aside childish things.” The Greek word for “put away” is katargeo. It is an extremely strong word, meaning “to put away, to break a hold, finish it off, have done with, render inoperative.”
Childhood agendas don’t just fall away like the leaves fall off the trees in the autumn; we have to “put them away”—we have to katargeo them—and be finished with childish things. If the Holy Spirit has identified any hidden agendas in your life, then bring them to Him now and lay them at His feet. Decide to have done with them. Get out of the passenger seat and into the driving seat. Remember—with God, all things are possible.
O Father, give me the victory over all the enemies that may be within me. Katargeo them—render them inoperative—once and for all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, because today I must stay at your house.”—Luke 19:5
In our large world it’s easy to feel that we are nothing more than an insignificant speck in the midst of a multitude. Our world tends to depersonalize us, seeking to make us like everyone else, but God loves us in specific ways that are particular to us.
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to fulfill His assignment on the cross. The multitudes thronged around Him in such numbers that the diminutive Zacchaeus could not see Jesus unless he climbed a tree. Zacchaeus would have been satisfied simply to catch a glimpse of the great Teacher. But Jesus stopped, turned, and looked directly at him! In that moment, Zacchaeus was oblivious to the crowd around him. Thus began a special time with Jesus that radically changed his life.
Jesus will relate to you in ways that are unique to you. He knows your past; He knows what you will face in the future. Because He knows everything about you, His word to you will perfectly fit the circumstances of your life. You may be in a group of Christians who are listening to God’s Word, and you may hear things from Him that no one else hears. Don’t become frustrated with others if they are not as excited about a truth from God as you are. Don’t be impatient with them if they are not implementing God’s word in their lives exactly as you are. God will personalize His word to you. He will relate to each of your friends in a way that specifically meets their needs as well.