Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Your spiritual service: the body

Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The first consideration of our spiritual service is our body. In the Septuagint, “present” was often used as a technical term for a priest’s placing an offering on the altar. It therefore carried the general idea of surrendering or yielding up. Before a priest in Israel could minister on behalf of others, he had to present himself in a consecrated state and the sacrifices he offered were to be without blemish (Exodus 29:1-46; Malachi 1:8-13).
As members of God’s present “holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5), Christians are here exhorted to perform what is essentially a priestly act of worship. Because the verb is in the imperative, the exhortation carries the weight of a command. The body is dead to sin (Romans 8:11). Our bodies, once dead in sin, are now made alive in the service to God; they are to be presented to God as living, active instruments in His service (Romans 6:11-13).
The term “holy” is first used in the Bible as a verb in Genesis 2:3 and as a noun in Exodus 3:5. Anything taken out of common use and devoted to God is holy (Psalm 24:3-4). Our bodies are therefore important; in fact, no command can be obeyed and no kind of service to God can be rendered without the body (1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Genesis 17:1). There can be no sanctification, no holy living, apart from our bodies (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Peter 1:14-16).
The living sacrifice we are to offer to the Lord who died for us is the willingness to surrender to Him all our hopes, plans and everything that is precious to us, all that is humanly important to us, all that we find fulfilling (1 Corinthians 15:31; Philippians 1:21; 2:17). This sacrifice is to be everywhere: church, home, work, school and neighborhood (Psalm 139:7-12). The main idea of “spiritual service” is that the sacrifice we render to God is intelligent and deliberate, in contrast to the sacrifices of the Jewish worship in which the animals had no part in determining what was to be done with them.
“Worship” in the newer versions is perhaps too narrow a translation, for in the strict sense worship is adoration of God, which does not fit well with the concept of “bodies.” The term “service” is better since it covers the entire range of a Christian’s life and activity (cf. Deuteronomy 10:12).
Kyle Campbell

Monday, November 28, 2011

Your spiritual service: introduction

Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Having concluded eleven chapters of profound and stirring teaching about what God has given Christians, Paul now charges those Christians with what they need to give God. A distinct break in the train of thought occurs as Paul moves from 11:36 to 12:1.
Eight chapters have been spent in establishing and developing the theme of the letter (Romans 1:16). Then, three chapters deal with how that theme applied to fleshly Israel, God’s once chosen nation. Paul’s thankfulness for God’s mercies, his awe of the depth of riches of God’s wisdom are his conclusion to his discussion of Israel.
That having been concluded, practical advice was needed and thus given to all Christians to illustrate how they were to live in various aspects of life. These two verses set forth the fundamental obligations we must meet before being prepared to face the challenge of living as Christians in this world. This blog will examine three ways in which we should give ourselves to God over the next several days.
Kyle Campbell

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are you thankful?

With Thanksgiving coming up, I would like to share some thoughts I had on the subject of being thankful. No doubt, come Thanksgiving, we will all sit around a table with family and friends with a huge meal set before us and thank God for how He has so richly blessed us. We will come to realize how truly blessed we are to have what we have. The question is, “Will this be the only day we truly realize this? Will this be the only day that we truly thank God for everything He has done for us?”

As Christians we are blessed beyond measure every day of our lives with things such as food, clothing, salvation and everything in between. What a pity that so many people only realize this come Thanksgiving. Not to run down the holiday Thanksgiving by any means, but what makes us think we are only obligated to truly be thankful on Thanksgiving? What about the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year that God has blessed us? We are to pray without ceasing giving thanks to God in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). Since giving thanks is one of the most important parts of prayer, we should give thanks without ceasing!

Instead of making Thanksgiving the only day to be thankful, take the gratitude and the thankfulness that you have on Thanksgiving and make that the model for the rest of your life! Never forget how truly blessed you are and never forget to show how truly grateful you are of those blessings in your prayers to God each and every day!

Jonathan Glaesemann

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Be like Bubba

Bubba Smith, who died back in August, was a football player in the 1960s and 1970s who had a beer commercial with an “easy-open” can. He had a lucrative contract, but he later saw inebriated people who were mocking him about the “easy-open” can and he realized that he did not want his name attached to that kind of behavior. Smith said he quit the beer campaign because he felt it sent the “wrong message to kids.”
Are we involved in something that affects our influence? John wrote, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). You need to make sure that you are righteous. Seek the rest of heaven and don’t ruin your influence. We need to be like Bubba, not in the sense that we endorse what’s evil, but in that we can see the affect of bad decisions and decide to do something better and renounce them.
Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time moves fast

It never fails. Every year I’m so surprised that the year goes by so quickly. In light of this, Paul's words in Ephesians 5:15-16 seem especially appropriate. He wrote, “Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
How can we redeem the time? We can learn more about God’s will. Time spent developing yourself spiritually is never time wasted (2 Timothy 3:15). We can worship God with His saints (Psalm 133:1). Another good use is to provide benevolent help to others (Galatians 6:10). People find our times that we live in to be difficult, so aid is very needed. We can teach people the gospel, and thereby help in converting them (Mark 16:15). The greatest gift anyone can give is the gift of learning the gospel.
What will you do with your time? Before you can turn around, it will be tomorrow. Make the best use of it by concentrating on what is spiritual.
Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Almost persuaded

“You almost persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28). These were the sad words spoken to Paul by King Agrippa after Paul had given Agrippa the account of his conversion. By giving Agrippa the account of his conversion he is able to show Agrippa how he became a Christian, thus showing Agrippa how to become one as well. Paul makes a final statement in Acts 26:27: “Do you believe the prophets, I know you do believe.” This came close to persuading Agrippa to become a Christian, but still failed. It wasn’t because Paul just didn’t do a good enough job of persuading Agrippa; it was because Agrippa refused to obey the gospel like most people in this world do. Although Agrippa came close, he was still lost!

There are so many people in today’s world just like Agrippa that are almost persuaded, but because of their love for this world and the things in it, they refuse to obey the gospel. We may believe as Agrippa did, but if we refuse to follow everything else God has commanded us to do, we will still be lost. This is why if we are convinced the gospel is true and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we must not refuse to obey the gospel as Agrippa did. We cannot wait! We must do as Paul did, when he was told by Ananias to arise and be baptized and wash away his sins. Do it immediately as Paul did (Acts 9:18). If you are not a Christian, and you believe, do not refuse as Agrippa did. Be fully persuaded and become a Christian today, or you may have to suffer the consequences. Almost … but lost!

Jonathan Glaesemann