If there is one thing we all share in common, it is that we all make New Year’s resolutions. We make these resolutions as a way to motivate ourselves to start working out, eating better, spending more time with family, take a vacation, read a book or whatever else you may come up with.
Many of us make resolutions every year. If we are honest, almost every year we fail to keep them. Of course, we have good intentions, but by about March our intentions are thrown out the window and we settle back into life as usual. This year, however, I want you to try and do something different. Instead of settling back into life, as usual, I want you to try to keep one New Year’s Resolution. The resolution I want you to try to keep is to worship the Lord daily in 2016.
Hearing me ask you to do that, probably leads some of you to think, “Does this mean that I have to go to church every day now?” No, you don’t have to attend church every day. In fact, you don’t need to come to church at all in order to worship God daily. Now, that doesn’t mean you can stop showing up to your church on Sundays. While we don’t need a daily church service to worship God, it is still a necessary and commanded part of our life together.
However, for those who do attend church weekly, we must recognize there is still 6 days and 23 hours left in which we are to worship God. How are we going to worship God during that time? In order to worship God the rest of the week, we have to change our idea of what worship is. It has to change from what takes place inside the four walls of a church building once or twice week, to what we do all day every day. But how do we do that?
How do we get to a place where we are worshipping God every day?
I believe the answer is found in Romans 12:1
There Paul says,
“I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1b-c)
It’s here that Paul tells us that we must die to self in order to worship God daily. We are to die to self, giving our lives to God because He has given His life for us. Notice in what Paul grounds his appeal. He says, “I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God,” (Rom. 12:1a)
As many of you know, when you see a “therefore” you are supposed to ask what is it there for? In this case, it is there to point us back to all that Paul has written so far. We don’t have time to explore all of Romans but suffice me to say that prior to chapter 12, Paul expounds for us the gospel in detail.
The gospel, or good news, as presented to us in Romans tells us that we all are sinners who have rebelled against God. Because of our rebellion God has given us over to our sin, as well as He is planning to visit His wrath on us one day. There is nothing we can do on our own to escape that day. Because we are incapable, God does the unimaginable, He sends His Son to be our substitute, to take our punishment for us. Then, because we won’t turn to Him on our own, God gives us the faith we need to believe in Jesus. Those who believe experience salvation —Freedom from sin, satan, death, and God’s wrath. As well as they have the promise of eternal life. That’s the gospel — the mercies of God — as it is presented to us in Romans.
In light of the gospel, we must offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. That is what Paul tells us next. Right there in the middle of verse 1, Paul tells us “to present [ourself] as a living sacrifice,” (Rom. 12:1b). His word choice — “sacrifice” — is significant. It not only tells us what we are to do, but it paints a picture of what is expected of us. What God expects is for us to be wholeheartedly devoted to Him. Think about a sacrifice, say a lamb. Half the lamb isn’t brought, chopped in half, and burnt on the altar. Instead, the entire lamb is brought, killed, and offered to God as a sacrifice. Once it is given to the priest to be sacrificed it can’t be taken back. That is what must happen with us. We must purpose to give our ourselves over to God in wholehearted devotion. We can’t just give ourselves one day and take it back the next so that we are living for God on, say Sunday, and for self the rest of the week. We must give ourselves completely and fully to God each and every day.
Giving ourselves fully to God means that we turn our actions, thoughts, and plans over to Him. Literally everything about us must be given over to God so that we are allowing Him to guide and lead us in every aspect of our lives. Commenting on the idea of giving ourselves fully to God, R. C. Sproul says,
“God does not ask us to bring in our livestock and burn it on the altar; he asks us to give ourselves, to put ourselves alive on the altar. To be a Christian means to live a life of sacrifice, a life of presentation, making a gift of ourselves to God. Some people think that all it takes to be a Christian is to scribble a cheque or to give a few hours of service here and there on special projects for the church. But that’s not what believers are called to. My life is to be set apart and consecrated to God. That is what is acceptable to him; that is what delights him; that is what pleases him; that is the appropriate response to him and for him.” – R. C. Sproul, The Gospel of God: An Exposition of Romans (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1994), 195.
When we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, we are worshipping God. Look at what Paul says in the last part of the verse, “Which is your spiritual worship” (Rom 12:1d). Paul’s last phrase tells us that by allowing God to direct our entire lives, we are worshipping Him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Question for Reflection
- Have you given your entire life over to God or are you still holding part of it from Him?
Post developed from the sermon How Can You Worship God Daily In 2016?