Where the Difference Begins - Guest Speaking: Keith Copithke
(Example video of being a Marine.)
---*I will never forget those words
---“Passing through these silver doors symbolizes Your transformation from a civilian to a UNITED STATES MARINE, you will pass through this door one time and one time only”
As I was preparing for this sermon, for some reason I could picture Paul like a drill Instructor speaking to all his new recruits/converts and it may have sounded something like this
“The fact you are sitting here today, symbolizes your desire to be born-again, today you will be transformed from sinner to saved, and you will make this decision one time and one time only and it will change your life forever.”
You see up to this point: Paul is writing to The church in Rome, predominantly Gentile but including a minority of Jews.. These guys have been in what I like to call phase one training. Chapters 1-11 is dealing with laying out the groundwork for this transformation. Many call phase 1 the “Doctrinal” portion. But if you look at chapter 11: 36, the doxology, and the beginning of chapter 12 Paul is done with phase 1, and he is ready to move on to phase 2 the educational or practical portion. It’s time to learn the dos and don’ts and teach them what it’s like to live life as a believer.
12:1-2: After first reading Chapter 11, I love how Paul changes gears to start chapter 12, new phase new process.
--The verse starts with the word appeal, some versions use urge, or beseech he wants them to take note, and pay attention.
--This man knew what it was to offer himself as a sacrifice to God, and he lived it out in his life.
--You have got to love Paul, he knows where he came from and what God did for him, and he is all about giving the honor and respect where it belongs.
--He mentions the “Mercy" of God, that reference tells us all we need to know, this is the quality in God that moved him to deliver sinners from their state of sin and misery.
--While reading I came across this Excerpt;
The word mercy is of frequent occurrence in the Bible. "From everlasting to everlasting is God's mercy," we read. This gives us some idea of duration. "New every morning and fresh every evening are his mercies." This reveals to us the fact that they are unchanging. "He is a God of mercy." This is his character.
--So now that Paul has let them know by whose authority he is speaking, and he is ready to lay it out: “present your bodies as a living sacrifice “
--I thought I would continue with my Military theme. Every good sermon has to have a couple stories, right?
--It’s crazy how certain words can take us back to a different time in our lives, I heard the word “PRESENT” used in this verse and it reminded me of my days in the military.
--Oh how I remember “PRESENT THE COMPANY FOR INSPECTION”. Inspections were always a big ordeal, especially in bootcamp.
--I can still remember sitting on my footlocker in bootcamp learning the fine art of removing tiny strings, called “Irish pennants” off my uniform with nail clippers, shining brass buckles with brasso, and spit shining shoes.
--Because you see the last thing, I wanted to do was present myself for inspection, and not meet the standards I was expected to uphold, and in bootcamp, the last thing you wanted was a drill Instructors “smokey bear” pressed up against your face, with his finger, if he was really worked up all the fingers in your face, spit flying. yelling in your ear, telling you in a variety of ways how unsat you were for coming to his inspection with a string hanging off your button. It was all about attention to detail and having pride in your uniform and yourself enough to come squared away.
So when Paul says to his people to present yourself, I believe his view is very similar to mine; come with your best, prepare yourself inside and out, because the one you’re standing before definitely deserves that respect.
So that’s kind of the direction I’m heading, what does the term inside and out mean?
The first thing we need to understand, and address is “OUR BODIES”. In this text when Paul refers to Body, he is referring to the total package:
Body, heart, mind, and soul,
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
"Conformation is a kind of change that causes us to behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards. It comes when external pressures are applied. On the other hand, transformation is a change from the inside out."
It all boils down to compromise, are we willing to accept standards that are lower than desirable, or less than what God has intended for us.
Conforming or compromising can become a slippery slope, it starts with that one thing that everyone else is doing! You open that door, and it just becomes easier from that point on.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Let me bring this to a close before I lose anyone out the door, As I mentioned earlier, Christ knocks at the door, but the door must be opened from within. He never gave up on me, and he hasn’t given up on you. I can’t stress enough, if you truly want to know Gods will for your life or determine as the verse says what is good and acceptable and perfect. It must start with a heart-to-heart talk with him.
God has not given to Christians a set of detailed commandments to guide us. He has given us his Spirit, who is working to change our hearts and minds from within, so that our obedience to God might be natural and spontaneous
Maybe today is the day you have that heart-to-heart talk; our transformation can’t continue to be skin deep.
I want you to read this with me, and make it personal (in the blanks insert your name):
"God gave himself for us."God gave himself to us."God wants to give himself through us."But if ____ life is inconsistent and his/her heart is unclean he/she cannot do it. If _____ has not yielded himself altogether God himself is limited.