1Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing …
1I 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. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove …
What is “reasonable” service? How are service and worship connected in the Scriptures? What might it practically look like for Christians to present their bodies as living sacrifices? In this sermon on Romans 12:1–2 titled “Spiritual Worship,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones tackles these questions and others. In this practical sermon, he teaches on things like sex, sleep, exercise, the tongue, and eyes. He relates these physical activities to Paul’s teaching on Christians offering their physical bodies to the glory of God. Moreover, he capitalizes on the apostle’s teaching that worship should be “reasonable”; that is, thoughtful and internal. Many groups such as Roman Catholics elevate the importance of external rituals, but Dr. Lloyd-Jones says this is a mistake. The Christian must be careful not to externalize worship.. This is not reasonable worship and not New Testament teaching. Presenting your body should be done in a thoughtful manner and always with the ability to justify it according to the Scriptures. What matters most, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, is regarding the physical body as a gift for God, not using it for oneself, but offering it to Him to use for His glory and His praise. Listen as he provides guidance for Christian discipleship and maturity.
- The apostle Paul is exhorting believers to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to God. This is a crucial teaching that has been misunderstood, leading to tragedy.
- Paul is connecting doctrine to living a Christian life. Junctions between doctrine and practice are important and dangerous.
- Paul gives the motives (mercies of God), manner (present bodies), and qualifications (living, holy, acceptable) of this sacrifice.
- "Reasonable service" means mental, spiritual worship, not outward ceremony. It contrasts with legalism, asceticism, and pagan ritual.
- The Christian life is inward and spiritual, not outward. The church has often compromised by adding spectacle to appeal to pagans.
- Paul argues against legalism, mysticism, and asceticism that neglect the body. The body is not evil but meant for God's use.
- We should not sin with or selfishly pamper our bodies. But we should keep them fit to serve God. We can use all our members to glorify God.
- Chrysostom: We can sacrifice our eyes by not looking at evil, our tongues by not speaking evil, our hands by not doing evil. We can also actively do good.
- We should listen to God, not the world. We should bless those who curse us. This is spiritual, rational worship.
- We must avoid extremes and see our bodies as gifts to offer to God, not destroy. God's word guides us into balanced truth.
- We pray to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God. We acknowledge our weakness and need for God's word and Spirit.
The Book of Romans
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.