The surrendered life, forget religion; let's get back to a relationship! Romans 12:1

Text: ..."I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service"...
- Romans 12:1

Romans Chapter 12 is Paul's response to the Christian convert wondering where to go and what to do from here. Its his challenge to those who have been justified by faith through grace how to respond in our everyday lives with our new found relationship. Paul takes up our duties toward self, toward others, toward our communities, our enemies, the government, and toward our weaker counterparts. Paul challenges us to a surrendered life.

Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice is a serious and devout consideration to the mercies of God. Our bodies are reflective of our members and an extension of our entire lives. This call for a total commitment is our reasonable service. In perspective, if the Son of God has died for us then the least we can do is to live for Him. If Jesus being God in the flesh died for us, then no sacrifice can be too great for us to make for Him. His love is so amazing, so divine; it demands a response from our heart, our lives, and our mind.

Our reasonable service is an act of spiritual worship. As believers and priets of the most High, we do not come to God with the bodies of slain animals but with the spiritual sacrifice of a yielded life offering Him our service. We are not conformed to this world and we refuse to be shaped or molded by it. When we come to the Kingdom of God, we abandon the thought pattern of this world. We make a conscious decision not to become a product of our society or systems that man has built for self gratification. For this world represents a kingdom antagonistic toward the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The god and prince of this world is Satan.

Any non-citizen of glory is uncovered and subject to Satan's works. Satan seeks to attract and hold non-citizens captive by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. In fact this present world has its own politics, art, music, religion, amusesments, and lifestyles. It seeks to conform everyone to its culture and customs while hating nonconformists. Yet Christ died to deliver us from this world. Thusly the world is crucified to us and we are crucified to the world. It is an absolute disloyalty to the Lord for a believer to love this world. Believers are no more a part of this world than Christ is a part of this world. We are in this world but not of this world. We have been sent into this world to testify that the works of Satan are evil and that salvation is available to any and all who would put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The surrendered life is a call to a transformed and renewed mind. We are called to think like Christ thinks. The mind of Christ helps us to embrace that His will is not distasteful and hard but rather good, acceptable, and perfect. There are three keys to the surrendered life and knowing the will of God. The first is a yielded body, the second is a separated life, and the third is a transformed mind. "Yielded, separated, and transformed. Such giving of the body to God is more than a contrast with dead animals, it is a newness to life. Spiritual transformation starts in the mind and the heart. A mind dedicated to the world produces a life tossed back and forth by the currents of culture. But the mind dedicated to God's truth will produce a life that can stand the test of time.

We can resist the temptations of our culture by meditating on God's word and by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and to shape our thoughts and behaviors. Today, if you are struggling, tossed to and fro; I challenge you to surrender your life, accept His will, His way, and His word. If God is your copilot, swap seats. Don't give Him instructions, just report for duty. The will of God will never take you where His grace will not protect you. 1 cross plus 3 nails equals 4 given. Surrender today!

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2 TIMOTHY 4:3-5
3: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4: And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5: But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

These scriptures paint for us what I believe is a very accurate picture of the times that we live in. It gives us an example of what we are seeing everyday around us. Even though Paul here is specifically speaking to Timothy, a preacher. I believe this passage is also a relevant word for the body of Christ as a whole. Even though Paul is trying to tell Timothy about the church of his day, I believe this scenario would fit comfortably right in the middle of some of our congregations today.

Many people in the church:

Live right here in the midst of our text

Are prime examples of what Paul was talking about.

Have the same biographical profile of these people that Paul was trying to warn us about

And as I looked at this text, the Lord began to show me a picture of the church today. As I looked at this, I began to realize that many folks don’t want to hear the Word They just want to be entertained Amused Pacified

They want to shout and cut a step, just for the sake of doing it and then say, “We had church!”

They want to shout and holler for the preacher, and they can’t tell you what he was talking about at the end, but say, “Wow, he preached!”

I’ve discovered that these people have religion, but not relationship! They have gravy, but no meat! The question that I want to ask is, “Have You Got Religion Or Relationship?” It’s an important question, because you need to know the difference between religion and relationship. You see;

Religion is what you do over and over
Religion is what you do continuously
Religion is your rituals, your customs, your habitual activities… (Let me help you) Even the devil is religious!

The Bible says, “He walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour” (1 Peter 5:8) IOW He’s constantly (religiously) going around looking for you and for me so that he can take us out! (“He’s on the prowl”)Religion is that which you do habitually but relationship is something altogether different

Relationship is a connection, an association between you and something else
Relationship is the kinship that exists between you and someone else
Relationship is the camaraderie/ companionship that exists between you and those that you are close to.

And in order to have relationship, there must first be a fellowship. What I’m trying to say is that you need more than just religion; you need more than just a habit. You need a relationship with God!

Why? Because there are some dangers in just simply having religion and no relationship.You see, when you only have religion and not a relationship, you

Can’t handle storms
Can’t deal with tough times
Won’t be able to persevere in the midst of adversity
Won’t be able to deal with the attacks of the enemy

Your faith will become faulty
Your praise will become passive
Your witness will become weak
Your testimony will become tired

And so Paul paints for us in our text, a picture of what happens to those who only have religion and no relationship He says that the problem with having only religion and no relationship is that


I. THEY REFUSE THE WORD

“The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine”

•Endure: anechomai (an-ekh’-om-ahee); to hold oneself up against, i.e. (figuratively) put up with; tolerate, accept
•Doctrine: didaskalia (did-as-kal-ee’-ah); instruction (the function or the information): learning, teaching, policy

They only want what makes them feel, look, and sound good and instead of learning the Word, they get caught up in meaningless discussions and disputes.

But the Bible says (1 Pet 2:2) that we should be “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” The reason most folks can’t progress in God is because they refuse to learn and live by His Word And many of those that do are satisfied with the ‘milk’ of the Word only. They want to stay on the basics and not delve off deep into the Word.

(Ps 1:1-2) “Relationship involves getting to know the one you have the relationship with…! IOW Relationship requires intimacy (Not always sex, But a time of closeness, familiarity, confidence) And the only way to have a relationship with God, is to KNOW Him and KNOW His Word! (They Refuse The Word)


II. THEY RELISH WHAT IS WRONG

Relish: Enjoy, delight in, savor, and take pleasure in.
The pleasures of this world are like cotton candy: It looks good, tasty, and inviting; but when you bite into it, you discover it’s nothing but air! (Problem) The World Pleases Us Too Easily!

(1 Jn 2:15-17) “Love not the world, nor the things in it. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh. And the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever”

The world pleases us too easily. That’s why we spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t even like. Because THE WORLD PLEASES US TOO EASILY! (Text) “They will have itching ears and heap for themselves teachers”

•They flock to conferences, seminars, and teachings just to “get a word” (Just study your Bible)

•They buy tapes and books to get “knowledge and revelation…” (Just develop a prayer life)

•They are easily impressed by theatrics, showmanship and charisma.

•They want somebody to impress them instead of impart into them.

But God said that He would give us pastors/teachers after His own heart. You need to make sure that you’re at a place where you can receive correct instruction and sound doctrine from the man of God that is teaching sound doctrine according to the Word of God, rightly dividing the Word (The days of just cruising are long gone) There is a danger in having religion but no relationship (They Refuse The Word They Relish What Is Wrong)


III. THEY RUN FROM WISE COUNSEL

“They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to fables”

IOW they will turn to:
They to that which looks and sounds good

They cling to that which is false (fables)

Fables: muthos (moo’-thos); a tale, i.e. fiction ("myth"): it sounds good, has a happy ending and makes you smile

Truth: will hurt sometimes, crush ego, make you reevaluate

Folks who are caught up in religion (and don’t have a relationship) will:
I. Refuse The Word
II. Relish What Is Wrong
III: Run From Wise Counsel

But God is looking for a people who are willing to develop and maintain a meaningful, productive, and fruitful relationship with Him. And if it is your desire to have relationship instead of religion. Paul says that there are few things they you need to do Paul says that you need to (v5)

1. Be watchful in all things: nepho (nay’-fo); of uncertain affinity: to abstain from wine (keep sober), i.e. (figuratively) be discreet: be sober, watch (observant, attentive, on the lookout) in all things

Watch the company you keep.
Watch the things that you say.
Watch the places that you go.
Watch the example that you set.

Paul said; “Whatever things are true noble just pure lovely of good report if there is any virtue if there is anything praiseworthy meditate (think) on these things” (Phil 4:8) (If you’re going to have a relationship you need to Be Watchful)

2. Endure afflictions: kakopatheo (kak-op-ath-eh’-o); stand, to undergo hardship, be afflicted, endure afflictions (hardness), and suffer trouble.

Endure hard times
Endure heartache
Endure heartbreak
Endure persecution
Endure scandal
Endure being misunderstood
Endure being unappreciated
Endure suffering and affliction

(Why?) Because Paul tells us that; “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (1Cor 4:17)

3. Do the work of an evangelist: ergon (er’-gon); work; toil (as an effort or occupation); by an act: deed, doing, or labor. Work involves

Getting active in your local church
Getting active in witnessing to unsaved friends and relatives
Because Jesus said; “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

4. Fulfill your ministry: plerophoreo (play-rof-or-eh’-o); to carry out fully (in evidence), i.e. completely assure (or convince), entirely accomplish: most surely believe, fully know (persuade), make full proof of.
Why? Because God has called you to a new level in Him

A new level of life
A new level of service
A new level of giving
A new level of prayer
A new level of praise
A new level of worship
A new level of stewardship
A new level of commitment
A new level of holiness
A new level of relationship

(Don’t know about you…) But I want a relationship and not just religion. I want to know Him and not just know of Him. And if you’re going to have relationship instead of religion. You’ve got to do what Jesus did.

He Watched- As they turned their backs on Him
He Endured- As they falsely accused Him…
He Did The Work- Even while He hung on the Cross
He Fulfilled His Ministry- By giving His life so that we might live

Let me add in closing of this reply that you cannot have a relationship with Jesus Christ By accepting him as you Lord and savior or Repeating some kind of “sinners Prayer”(by Just Professing and or by shaking a preacher's hand )
Peter answered the question in what must we do (Acts 2:37)Acts 2:38 This is God’s plan of salvation as spoken by Jesus in John 3:3-5, SEEK HIM TODAY and don't turn to religion!

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