Living God’s Way as a Living Sacrifice

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This was my Aunt…she had kidney failure for many years, and there were many people (besides myself) who took great care of her without any payment and even at cost to themselves.  In this picture she had just had a hair cut while she was in the hospital.  One of my friends went with me to give her one.  She loved having her hair really short.  Her neighbors mowed her grass for her, and checked on her regularly, and called for help if needed, and her friends drove her around on errands.  I lived quite far away so day to day things like that were hard for me to do.  I am so grateful for all of those people who stepped up in love and helped her.  It is not only the person who is being helped directly, but many times others who are also helping them are being helped inadvertently also. Even in the story of the Samaritan the man whom the Samaritan helped probably had a  family who may have been put into a state of poverty by his death, but the Samaritan who helped him prevented this from happening…it is hard to say how many people you will actually be helping when you are helping one person!

Romans 12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer 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.  For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.  Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage, if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.  Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:”It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:  If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NIV)

**In Chapter 12 of Romans, Paul lays it all out, exactly how you are to live in faith.  I believe this is quite clear and not in need of interpretation.

Read Luke 10:25-37 (The Good Samaritan Story),  The  Samaritan’s were a group of people who were looked down upon and hated by the general non-Samaritan jewish population.  They were considered beyond redemption and  it was not even considered possible that they could go to heaven.  Although it appears that they were of Jewish origins also, they came from mixed marriages, and were less orthodox, with some apparent paganism in the eyes of the other Jews.  They were also a violent culture.  The prevailing attitude of the non-Samaritan was that there could be no good Samaritans and outsiders avoided Samaria even though it was a long trip around the country to avoid it.  This makes the story of the Good Samaritan given by Jesus to be all the more interesting, and must have been shocking to the Jews, with whom Jesus was talking,  when he gave this parable.  Jesus makes clear that everyone is everyone else’s neighbor and that we are all God’s children, and are all to care for each other, that God doesn’t care about Nationality, or wealth, or any other earthly concerns.  God only cares about how you act towards Him and towards others.   If you are taking care of your fellow man, you are taking care of God’s interests, and so in a manner of speaking you are taking care of God himself. (Not that God actually needs you to take care of him, but he loves it when we love and care for our fellow humans as he does.) (Matthew 25:40).

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