Ephesians · Mark · Romans

Acceptable Worship: A Selfless Service

Mark 10:45, cross, Jesus Christ, servanthood, servant attitude, service, love, service to the Body, selfless service, meaningful service, humble service, humility, mountain, Bible
Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines | May 2012

Continuation of the study on Romans 12.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

In view of everything the Lord has done for us, the only proper response is to worship and the very essence of it is to give Him glory. He has called us to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, pleasing to God — which is our reasonable act of worship. A sacrifice acceptable to Him because it is offered according to His terms; otherwise it ceases to be a form of worship.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, He has given us a new nature. He commands us not to be like the world; not to act, think, speak, behave like the world; not to value and pursue its empty ways; not let ourselves be deceived by its beliefs. Instead, we ought to submit ourselves to God and allow Him to transform us in the likeness of His character, holy and pleasing to Him, distinct from the world, set apart to be used for His purpose. We let our minds be renewed by soaking ourselves in God’s Word. Then we will learn to know His will for us — His good, pleasing and perfect will.

When we became a believer in Christ we have become part of His Body. Just as the different parts of our body has different functions, the same is true with the Church. Jesus is the Head and the Church is His Body. In his grace, He has given each of us different gifts, according to the measure of faith God has allotted us, to enable us to serve our specific and unique functions in the Body of Christ.

Just like our fingerprints, no two gifts are alike. No two people can serve exactly the same way. A hand cannot do the function of other body parts, nor can the left hand serve as a right hand. A body cannot also be all eyes, there has to be different parts. Knowing this will help us understand that we need each other. We form parts of one Body and we all belong to one another. We perform our functions thereby serving the Body to edify and strengthen one another until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)

To serve our purpose in the Body the way that is acceptable to God, we ought to have a right notion of ourselves. This brings us back to who we are in the Lord. We serve with a heart of offering ourselves to the Lord as living, holy sacrifice pleasing to Him to bring Him glory. Therefore the proper attitude of service is humility before a holy God. It should not be done with an attitude of pride, arrogance, or vain conceit. Neither should we have an attitude of self-abasement or self-deprecation and choose not to serve at all. These two examples are focused on self, on one’s own strength and capability or the lack of it. To quote what John MacArthur said in his sermon, “Humility is not obviously overestimation, nor is it underestimation, it is right estimation.”

Paul exhorts us to think of ourselves with sober mind. We ought to have an attitude of God-confidence knowing that the Lord has given each of us different gifts for the purpose of using every part to edify the Body, to meet the needs of others according to what the Lord has called us to do. A capability not our own but only by the grace of God and we are confident in the Lord that He will use us and maximize our God-given potentials for His glory. So we have nothing to boast or be afraid of because the gift is from God, the power to use it is also from Him and the fruit is His work. Unworthy as we are, He has given us the privilege and joy to be used according to how He purposed us to be and to witness His glory as we serve Him.

It is good to remember that when we serve, our heart’s desire should be to offer ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to God, to be faithful stewards of what God entrusted us and has specifically purposed us to do, and to imitate God’s character and follow Jesus’ example of service. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:45)

This study is divided into parts:
Acceptable Worship: An Offering Prescribed by God (Romans 12:1-2)
Acceptable Worship: Selfless Service (Romans 12:3-8)
Acceptable Worship: A Love That Conforms to God’s Character (Romans 12:9-10)

References:
Interlinear Bible
Parallel Bible

This is a summary not an exhaustive study. For further understanding of Romans 12 you can check these sites: GCF’s sermon series on Romans or John MacArthur’s sermon series on Romans.

John · Romans

Acceptable Worship: An Offering Prescribed by God

Romans 12:1, Bible, present your bodies, offer yourselves, offering, sacrifice, living sacrifice, holy to the Lord, acceptable to God, spiritual worship, Mt. Pulag, Sunrise, mountaineering, hiking, trekking, early morning, sun, orange sun, blue sky, clear sky, ambangeg trail
Mt. Pulag, Philippines | May 2010

I asked the Lord how to deal with a specific situation that keeps on happening for quite some time now. The verse that was brought to my mind was: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

As I read through the whole chapter, checking the verse and its context, I was amazed because I haven’t seen or understood it this way before. I usually see it as three main points connected to each other just like how it is divided into section headings but I haven’t seen it as one whole text on the basis of the first verse. And the last verse “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” is a very fitting conclusion. So I would like to share what I have learned hoping that you too may be equally blessed.

A summarized study on Romans 12.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

The Lord has shown His love, mercy and grace for us by redeeming us from our sins and reconciling us back to Him through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. Having known and experienced this truth, the proper response is to worship and give Him glory. Confessing Him as Lord and savior means we ought to surrender our lives to Him. Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, set apart for His specific purpose for us, living our lives according to the likeness of His character, distinct from the world, and pleasing to Him. This our divinely reasonable worship – a sacrifice acceptable to Him because it is offered on His terms.

Having been accustomed to our sinful nature and the pattern of this world, prior to us knowing Christ, the Lord commands us not to be identified with the world any longer. Instead, we should be different from it as God has given us a new nature in the likeness of His character. We should not live as though we are still of the world, holding the same values and having the same mind and character with it.

The world pursues after: success, power, fame, money, etc. All these are sought for the benefit of self: self-interest, self-satisfaction, self-image, self-esteem, self-actualization, self-preservation, and the list goes on. We were deceived and once ignorant of the truth that the world does not revolve around us and the things it values are fleeting and empty.

Through God’s grace, He made us understand that He has created us for Himself to bring Him glory and not to ourselves or even other created things; that we are not at the center, God is; that He is the only one who can ever satisfy us, not anything or anyone else that we pursue in this world.

So how do we veer away from that ignorance and deception? By knowing the truth and filling our mind with the truth. Jesus said, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Accordingly, the Lord also commands us to be transformed in keeping with our inner reality or new nature and be changed in the character of Christ by the renewing of our minds through the daily reading, study and meditation of God’s Word. This is an act of surrender to the Lord — letting the Holy Spirit transform us by the renewing of our minds through His Word. It is His work and His Word, all we need to do is to submit.

Then, through testing, we will learn to know what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will. The more we know the Lord through His Word, the deeper our understanding on what is an acceptable worship for Him. When we know and continue to seek the Truth then we would not be easily deceived by the lies of the world and be dragged along with it. Instead, our minds would be renewed and we would be transformed in the likeness of the character of Christ by making His Word true in our lives through our obedience to Him.

This study is divided into parts:
Acceptable Worship: An Offering Prescribed by God (Romans 12:1-2)
Acceptable Worship: Selfless Service (Romans 12:3-8)

References:
Interlinear Bible
Parallel Bible

This is a summary not an exhaustive study. For further understanding of Romans 12 you can check these sites: GCF’s sermon series on Romans or John MacArthur’s sermon series on Romans.

Matthew · Philippians · Romans

Proper Perspective: Seeing Things as They Are

Romans 8:28, everything work together for the good, love God, His purpose, God's purpose, anawangin cove, nagsasa cove, cove, beach, sea, blue sea, sand, white sand, mountain, mountain and sea, Zambales, Philippines, more fun in the philippines
Anawangin, Zambales, Philippines | April 2010

ref, refrigerator, fridge, kelvinator, white fridge, black fridge, small fridgeTuesday was the last time I saw this fridge in our house.  It will be shipped to Marinduque, my Mom’s province, in few a days and I guess I am feeling a bit sentimental about it.

This fridge had been a reminder for me of the time I lived independently. (Well, not totally independent because I was with my sister. I think my family couldn’t just let me live completely alone so my sister had to come with me and I also preferred it that way.) It evoked a lot of memories and realizations.

It was in February 2009 when I decided to live separately from my family. The event that led to that decision was a sibling conflict. I slept at my friend’s house for a week and finally decided that I was not yet ready to go back home. Looking back, it’s funny to think that at 24 I ran away from home. Not like a typical teenage runaway, huh?

My sister and I chose a newly constructed apartment two blocks away from my family’s. I knew I would miss them soon and hoped the tension would shortly subside. I also wanted my sister to see them anytime she wanted.

When we moved to that new place, I was so excited about buying stuff and checking the items on my shopping list that I didn’t notice I filled the apartment too quickly. We had all the essentials in less than two months and this fridge was one of those. When I received my card bill on the fourth month, I was surprised!

“I thought everything was at 0% installment?!” I asked looking at the total amount due.
“They were… and they all piled up…” I answered back as I reviewed the transactions.

I miscalculated my purchases. The accumulated installment amount for the succeeding months were more than I could handle and that’s not including rent and other expenses. But the Lord saw us through. I was able to pay the statement balance month-on-month just like before. How? The Lord made it possible.

This is one of the many occasions the Lord taught me that the last thing I should worry about is provision. In fact, He commanded us not to worry or be anxious about anything but in every situation – pray (Philippians 4:6-7; Matthew 6:25-34). He made me realize that we were able to make both ends meet not because my mom is resourceful or because I have a good paying job but only because He is our provider.

It was also during this time when the Lord opened my eyes and gave me a proper perspective about my brother. He seemed tough and stubborn on the outside. I thought he never listened and would deliberately do the opposite of what I said, and this always provoked me.

One night, when they visited us in our apartment, I noticed something I never knew before: a comment that was meant to be a constructive criticism disheartened him. I further observed and realized that he is in fact vulnerable to everything we say and do. This broke my heart. I was too harsh and unloving wanting to break what I thought to be his impenetrable shell not knowing that I was already crushing him. How could I be so blind?

As much as I want to undo the negative effects of all I did, I cannot change the past. I am just grateful that the Lord revealed this truth to correct me. I can only hope and pray that the Lord would eventually heal all the pain I have caused him, and that He will also call my whole family to Himself and enjoy Him forever.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”