Sermon June 27, 2004 : A simple life (Romans 12:1)

Posted in Sermons
  • Presenter: Dr. Roberto Miranda | Translator: Dr. Roberto Miranda
  • Length: 36:32
  • Date: June 27, 2004
  • Location: Congregation Lion of Judah, Boston MA

Romans 12 beginning with verse 1: " .... therefore I urge you brothers in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifice, 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 to prove what God’s will is: His good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace of God given me, I say to each one of you, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment 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 to us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use 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."

I’d like to spend the next few weeks preaching to you what I call horizontal sermons. I distinguish between horizontal sermons from what I call vertical sermons that often are more dedicated to things that are obviously belonging to the spiritual ground. We speak about for example, the gifts of the spirit, gifts of power. We speak about signs and wonders. We speak sometimes about spiritual warfare and the demonic world. Sometimes we speak about prayer and fasting and all these things we identify very readily as spiritual. I think what is lacking many times in churches that acknowledge the gift of the spirit is also that dimension of the moral life of the believer not so much in terms of sexual purity or not stealing or killing, not in that sense, but in the sense of our ethical behavior, our daily life, our relationship one with the other. You know I’m referring to those little things in life that really make a difference many times in the quality of life that we have. You know the bible speaks of those foxes that mess up the vineyard, that destroy the vineyard, those little foxes that create mischief in our life. It is those areas of the kingdom that we have not yielded to God. Those areas of our character, those areas of our behavior in life that sometimes crop up and create all kind of difficulties in our lives. These sermons may not lend themselves to great display of emotion but they are solid food for us, who’re seeking to lead lives that are peaceful and God honoring.

The things that assure success in life are not necessarily those huge displays of spirituality but really those areas of honesty, of persistence in life, of self disciplines, of consistency, soberness, being hard working, being diligent, living a life of excellence, living according to principles and not according to emotions. It is those areas that may not be too spectacular in their nature but that are so crucial to a successful life.

Let me give you an example of this idea. There’s a family here in our church, Gregory visited this morning and told me about them. You know most people in church don’t know them. They’ve been around for years and years and years in our congregation, very quiet people, very noble, humble people. They’re from Nicaragua, actually. I haven’t asked them for permission, by the way, to use their name but I’ll use it anyway here. It’s for a good cause. I think they’ll be happy with the use that I’m going to give to them, but these people are not very spectacular, not very flashy in their way of being and yet they are such wonderful examples of godly character and persistence and faithful attendance and just faithful life, in a very humble sort of way. They just obtained a wonderful house, that God has given them in a very special way. The city has also been involved in that house that they received. They bought it of course, but they were given huge consideration. What a blessing! A wonderful house, huge and comfortable and new.

Gregory told that this morning Winston with tears in his eyes was blessing the Lord for that blessing that he had received. Immediately in my mind came an image of Winston that I remember from many years ago. Mario who has been working with construction for so many years in our life, and he’s another example of those kinds of people, just steady, steady, steady. There’s an image that stands in my mind of Winston. It’s a photograph that comes to my mind of Winston Quant working here when this building was in shambles about ten years ago, helping Mario Olloa who’s the leader, the head of this whole project and this building was freezing cold. There were no windows here and the cold was penetrating everywhere and Winston stood in my mind over those years when we were building this building because he gave us his volunteer labor, persistently, in a very quiet sort of way. I blessed Winston many years ago because I was part of this whole project here of building this temple and renovating it. When many people got tired here of working and volunteering Winston used to come regularly and he came until the very end and gave of his time. This man gave to the Lord in a very persistent, disciplined, quiet sort of way and he stayed when many others left, he stayed and nobody knew about this, I knew of course and the Lord obviously knew about it. Mario also knew about it. Look at how years afterwards the blessing of God comes on to his life.

Their daughter has been chosen for the Compass program through Gordon Theological Seminar, and should be traveling, a wonderful young lady, just blessed of the Lord. You know these people do not necessarily speak in tongues or dance or jump around or do any great thing, flashy things, but they live lives of quiet, persistence and excellence and faithfulness to the Lord and you see the blessing in their lives. You see what I mean.

You know it’s not a dichotomy between spirituality and gifts of the spirit and all these things or the other of faithfulness and persistence in life and honesty and excellence, and soberness. It’s not one or the other, it’s one and the other. We need to unite these two qualities of fervor and passion and spirits’ fullness and gifting of the Lord and prayer and fasting, but also that quality of character, persistence, discipline, honesty, soberness in life, dependability, character. These two things need to be united because this will allow us to live a life that will be a blessing on to us and on to others. I see so many young couples here.

Young people who are beginning in life absorb those principles, those values of Godly living because this is what’s going to ensure a life that is successful a life that will be blessed over the long run. It is not the greatest place of emotion, it is really that persistence in life, taking one step at a time and staying on to the vision and pursuing it with Godly persistence until you achieve it. That’s what enables us to live successful lives. As you dedicate your life to being punctual in your job to giving 8 hours of work for 8 hours pay, living a life of excellence, dedicating yourself to sober values.

Young people, dedicate yourselves to Godly values. It’s more important to have the feet that preach de Gospel than to have the feet that have Michael Jordan’s sneakers on. It is more important to be clothed with the values of the spirit of God, other than be clothed with the latest t-shirt or the latest sweat pants, the came out of the designers’ minds. Where are your values? Where are your priorities? Are you so concerned about having the latest CD or knowing the latest tune, or having the latest shoes, or are you more giving attention to increasing in your Godly character, learning, equipping yourself for life, developing the Godly character of a man, a woman of God, and acquiring the skills that assure success in life. That’s what’s important.

What does this have to do with this passage here. I see now that all I’ll be able to do is give an introduction today. This text is made of very simple counsel, very simple advise about life and about the Christian behavior. Chapters 12 and 13 of the Book of Romans are outstanding in the sense that all the other Chapters from 1 to 11 are highly theological and academic in their context, but then the Apostle Paul in Chapters 12 and 13 turns to very practical advise. Romans’ is the book that founded the Christian theology and many theologians think that some of the greatest truths of Christian theology were expounded in the first eleven chapters of the Romans, but beginning with chapter 12 the Apostle Paul turns to very practical considerations of life, very simple advice for Christian living.

Let’s go to a passage we didn’t read, verse 9. It says “… may love be without hypocrisy, hate that which is evil and cling on to that which is good” In verse 10 “love each other with fraternal affection, fraternal love” with regard to honor putting one before the other, preferring one to another, esteeming the other person is more important than yourself. Look at verse 15 “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”

There’s nothing exotic or exalted or cult in the sense of very, very deep or profound about these things, they’re very simple counsels about how we should lead our lives. Weep with those weep, to rejoice with those who rejoice, to love ourselves with fraternal love. I want to call as people of God, all of us here, to direct our attention to those simple aspects of the Christian life, to cultivate those qualities than ensure success and peace and a life that it’s Godly, God honored. If we give ourselves to those values then God will honor us and He will bless our lives and in the long run, like with Winston Quant’s life, his wife and daughter, we will see the blessing of God.

I see young couples and I think God has something with them. As you grow, young people in the Lord, young couples in the Lord, if you establish high goals for yourselves in these areas of life and you just do it one day at a time, in a little bit of that time, don’t worry about the long term building, just put one brick on top of the other and one next to the other and just do it patiently, in disciplined way and you will how you will build a wonderful, marvelous building for the glory of God in your life.

The Bible says that “… the journey of the just is like light of the sun that goes in ascendancy until the day is full and illuminated by light all over”, and this is the journey of man and the woman of God. Sometimes we don’t see the blessing of God daily, because we’re living it, but when you step back and you see the curve of your life as you live in Godly values and in faithfulness to God’s word, you will see that yes, indeed, there has been an ascent, there has been a rising of the quality of your life and the quality of your character but it has to be done day by day. We must take God’s word seriously.

I just want to do something right now. Just stand right where you’re sitting, just there, yes all of you. Yes, you too, everyone, that’s it. Any young person or couples that are here, even if you’re married or not, it doesn’t matter to me. Just stand right now. People 15 and onward and all the others I see. Stand there. I just want to commit your life and your journey to the Lord right now. Just commit your life to the Lord right now. Commit yourself in renouncing the values of the world and embracing the values of the Kingdom of God. You’re going to dedicate your life to seeking God’s word, you’re going to dedicate your life to sober values, they may not be too attractive, they may not be too spectacular, but believe me, if you change your mind and change your priorities and start putting the emphasis on becoming a man or woman of God, of great power, great ….. If you commit yourselves, you’re going to be blessed, I’m telling you right now, but you have to change your mind.

“… do not conform to this world, but rather transform yourselves through the renewal of your understanding”. Many young people are conforming to this age, that means that they have adopted the values of this culture and they are running crazy after the values of this culture and they are in love with every little new fashion that comes up and their whole mind and their whole emphasis is on keeping up with the world, but God is saying “Hey, through that into the garbage, that’s not a good attitude and instead of that seek to transform yourselves in Christ, in the spirit and give attention to the things of the spirit. Transform yourselves. So that you might truly confirm the good will of God in your life there has to be a change before you can really experience God’s goodness in your life. God wants to bless us but there has to be an inner change of saying “God, I’m going to give my love to you. I’m going to give my love to the values of your Kingdom”. You’re going to see the blessing of God come down upon your life as you dedicate with passion your life on to the things of the Kingdom of God.

When you prefer God above all things, then God begins to show His power in your life. Young person God is speaking to you today. God is saying “Hey, come on board. I want to do great things for you. I want to show you my power. I want to transform your life. I want to make something mighty and powerful and beautiful for my glory of you and of your home but, it’s got to be done my way. You have to change your mind. You have to transform your attitude. You have to change your values. You have to love me with passion and prefer me above every other thing because I do not allow anything to compete with the love for me. I am too important to allow anything else to compete with me. And if you do that, if you allow your mind, if you allow yourself to be transformed structurally, inside, in the inner self, you’re going to see the power of God manifest on your life, but there has to be a conversion.

There’s a lot of young people who are in church but the church is not in them, because they have not had their mind transformed. I tell you, change your mind, change your attitude, change your values, change your emphasis and you’re going to see God coming overtime and working your life and do mighty, powerful things, transforming things. God wants to show himself powerful and mighty for those who have a perfect heart for him, the Bible says.

As we assume the values of the Kingdom of God then we begin to put them into practice day by day, in the small things with persistence, letting that value of the Kingdom of God permeate, penetrate every ….. of our lives, determine every thought, every action every decision, every relationship, then God’s power begins to manifest itself in the long term in our lives. We’ll begin to see the curve of our life, it suddenly starts going up because you have made the Lord a partner in your life. Try it. Try the Lord. Test the Lord. Yes, we bless you, Lord. We praise you. We thank you, Lord.

Just raise your right hand. Just raise your right hand in a sign of a covenant with the Lord. “Lord I embrace the values of your Kingdom, the ethics of your Kingdom. I embrace excellence. I embrace persistence. I embrace discipline. I embrace self control. Lord transform me”. Just ask the Lord, “Transform me, change my life, change my mind, change my outlook, change my emphasis. Change me inside, Lord.”

Praise the Lord, thank the Lord, aleluya. We thank you Lord. We thank you Father. Thank you for your word. Your word is good, Father. Your word is practical. We worship you, Father. We embrace your word. Lord I give you my life. This is my desire, to worship you, to live for you, Lord. If you take God seriously, He’s going to take you seriously. He’s going to show himself mighty, powerful and faithful on to you. Test the Lord. Try the Lord out for a while. Give them the real life, not just the test life. The real one, not the one that we sometimes pretend to be giving him. Test Him. Treat him seriously and you’re going to see mighty changes in your life. Test the Lord like Daniel did. Test Him for a while. Say, “Lord, I’m going to live for you during a year”, and you’re going to see mighty changes in your life. I put that challenge before you. Embrace God seriously for a while and live for him and you’re going to see what God is going to do in your life.

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