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Saturday, January 21, 2017

"living sacrifice"

Two little words that make no sense together should cause us to stop, to "selah" and consider, 'What is God up to here?'.  "living sacrifice"
Romans 12 (where this phrase appears) follows Romans 11 and the rest of this amazing book.  The mind of God is being revealed to us in this book and it is precious beyond words.  The Holy Spirit, The Ruach Hokodesh, The Eternal Spirit One with the Father and the Son from before the foundation of the world, is unveiling to Paul, the way of a Man with a woman.  (Proverbs 30:18,19 "There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Four which I do not understand: 19The way of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the middle of the sea, And the way of a man with a young woman.")
This is a truly revolutionary way of living that has been revealed to us, if it looks ordinary or blends in, in any way, rest assured it is not the true gospel!
So the picture is the Bridegroom and the bride of the Messiah the King of Israel.  ("Christ", and I mean absolutely no disrespect, may be the worst "word" of all time, because it completely robs the original word, Messiah, of all of its meaning and implication.  If you stop at "anointed" which is all that that word means, and do not go on to "anointed King of Israel", you are destroying the word, and the concept that it is bringing across, and you are ripping it out of its true context and making a new concept that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the original word and meaning.  Tragic, but I digress!) 
Back to the point, Romans 11 has just brought us to an other-worldly crescendo, a height unattainable for anything written by a man.  The entire history of the world has been systematically shown to be under the control of a very loving, merciful, patient Hand.  From this height, because of this height, "Therefore" is brought in to transition us to the next truth, but with the full understanding that, this next truth is built on the foundation of EVERYTHING that was said leading up to it.  (We sometimes look for context by going back 3 verses, no that won't do, not really, it is one whole letter, just like it is one whole book and to even begin to get the meaning, you have to put it in that context.  Cue the whining, "That's too much work."  No, not really, the true and ultimate context is His heart, get that right and everything else flows like a river.)
The point that I am making is hard to follow, and I am okay with that, stick around, do the "hard work" because you are desperate for life-changing truth.
If we are truly on this journey with the Holy Spirit and Paul we are just beginning to come back to earth, Chapter 11 revealed a sovereign heart of mercy that is determined at the cost of His own life to show mercy and save "all Israel."  Paul was groaning under the weight of Israel's temporary, God-imposed blindness in Chapter 9, and God weaved the story together in such a way, that Paul was positively blown away by the Self-sacrificing mercy of the Creator God!  The path of salvation is over the back of the laid down Lover, God!  The blindness is only temporary and only meant to bring more people into the family, to expand the reach of mercy, and once the blindness has accomplished its purpose, the Good Shepherd is going back to retrieve every one of His  lost sheep!  Mercy triumphs over judgment!  Hallelujah!  Mercy is the point, Mercy is the Message!
The ministry of reconciliation, that has been lovingly placed in to the hands of all the communities that gather in His Name, is simply to live out and point to that great, incomprehensible, MERCY!

"living sacrifice"  Step One.  An ordinary human being is arrested by the notion that they are a sinner, in desperate need of the mercy of God.  Typically we do this by preaching judgment, (Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God) but Jesus did this same thing to Peter by showing him, overwhelming kindness, remember the story.  Jesus "borrows" Peter's boat, so that He can teach the people without being crowded by the many people who press upon his physical body.  He has just used, Peter's "place of business" for His ministry and inconvenienced Peter, but now it is time for the Lord who is full of mercy to reveal Himself to Peter by "paying back" the kindness that Peter showed.  At the instructions of this Rabbi, the fishermen cast nets at a time of the day when no fish can be caught!  It is the "eye rolling" obedience of a teenager who knows way more about life than there decrepit parents and their out-dated wisdom, but it is obedience nevertheless.  The catch of fish is "stunning" it is a haul greater than the nets can handle, greater than one boat can handle, others are called in to help with the "impossible" number of fish!  Peter is too busy doing his "job" while in the act of bringing in the fish, but as soon as he has time to consider what has happened, he falls at the feet of the Master in repentant, unworthiness, and receives a commissioning into the work of the Kingdom of God!  "And they left everything and followed Him!"  The presence of His overwhelming kindness brought Peter to repentance.  (Romans 2:4)
   Step Two.  Still overwhelmed by the kindness of God, and very aware that it was only that kindness that saved me, I want to tell others and show others "overwhelming kindness and mercy".
   Step Three.  My "humanness" (what the Bible calls my flesh) raises its ugly head and is mean, or lustful, or self-centered in any number of ways, and the Adversary is right there to say, "See it is not real, there has been no real change."  Defeated and with no one to tell you or show you any different you, hide your light.  You are 'saved' and waiting for your ticket out of this mean world, that you are powerless to effect.
   Step Four.  You come across someone whose life is demonstrating that the Person of Jesus can still be evident in a human being.  Overwhelming kindness can flow from the Heart of the Father, through a human being and bring healing, mercy, grace and forgiveness.
    Step Five.  Your heart is re-ignited with hope, that this message, this gospel is true!  You observe them, hang around them, and begin to see the key.
    Step Six.  "living sacrifice" God reveals that the foundation of their life is that they are so aware of the overwhelming mercy that has been shown to them by the faithful, loving, sovereign, Creator of the Universe, that they have fully given up, and given over their life to Him.  He has the total "say so" in all of their actions, in all of their life, and so Jesus can flow through them.  Jesus can love through them, Jesus can heal through them, Jesus can show great, powerful, irresistible mercy through them, because they "no longer live".  They willingly lay down their life and allow His life to flow.  They are bound to the altar with cords of love, they are a "living sacrifice" and seeing that this is possible you can no longer go back to business as usual! You lay down, you step into the glorious position of a "living sacrifice.".... and nothing is ever the same!  Mercy has called and commissioned you to fulfill your purpose on this earth, pointing to the Merciful One whose mercy endures forever!

2 comments:

Richard F Show II said...

Awesome truth!❤🔥

Chuck said...

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself
And as He is so are we in the world.

Salvation is Nothing is lost
Nothing is missing
Nothing is wasted
Nothing is hurried


He knows you
He loves you
He completely cleared the way for you to return home