Series: Followers of Jesus
Message: In the Church
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 12:1-21 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Paul writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1).
Google says that sacrifice is “an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure.”
In baseball, when you hit a “sacrifice fly” you accept that you aren’t going to get a hit, but your actions will benefit the team or another player.
Outside of the cross, there’s really only one event that stands out in my experience as true sacrifice. It happened one afternoon when a young lady who happened to live in my home saw some friends in danger and, because of her core values, didn’t think twice to sacrifice her life to help them.
The local youth group was at the beach one Sabbath afternoon enjoying a sunny day next to a slow, smooth river. Some young ladies were on a floating device out in the water and didn’t notice that their air mattress had drifted near the end of the smooth part of the river and dangerously close to swifter water that led to terrifying and punishing white water.
The young lady who lived in our home ignored warnings from those on the beach and dove into the river to try to guide the air mattress holding her friends to safety. In her quest to rescue her friends, she shrugged off her own safety. And, in so doing, she sacrificed her life. She sacrificed for what she believed in.
In the Bible, a sacrifice usually involves something having to die. Paul asks us to instead be “living sacrifices.” What is he talking about here?
According to Paul, a living sacrifice doesn’t do things the way the world does them. A living sacrifice doesn’t think too highly of themselves. In fact, a living sacrifice is humble and loves others, placing their needs before his or her own.
In other words, a living sacrifice is dead to self but alive in Christ.
Recalibrate: What have you seen that epitomizes the concept of sacrifice?
Respond: In a moment of being real with God, ask Him what He would have you sacrifice and how that sacrifice will look.
Research: Do a word search in your favorite Bible app with the word “sacrifice.” Read each text thoughtfully and apply it to your own life.
Remember: “Love must be real. Hate what is evil; stick fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9, KNT).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Pacific Union College Church in Angwin, CA. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Mark has served as a youth pastor, Bible teacher, college and academy chaplain, and lead pastor in the United States and Canada for the last 33 years. He has also authored four books: Born Chosen, Live Out Loud, Portals, and Just Jesus.
Paul begs his friends in Romans to offer their lives as living sacrifices. Today I beg you to offer your child as a living sacrifice—that their lives might be dedicated to God. If you have already dedicated your child to God, reminisce on that day and renew your vow to always bring them to the feet of Jesus. If you have not yet dedicated your child, connect with your local pastor about setting up a time to do so. Dedicating your child to God is a special time for your family and community to surround your child in love and to commit to supporting them as they grow up!
The Bible tells us, in Romans Chapter 12, that we are to give our lives to God as a sacrifice. What do you think the word “sacrifice” means? It means to give something over to God. God wants to use our lives for all good things, so when you give your life over to Him, He can help direct your path. This week, when you wake up in the morning pray to God. Tell Him you are going to give your day and your life over to Him. Ask Him to help you to do good to the people around you. Say, “God, today I want to give my life to you! You want what’s best for me. I want you to make my day the best day possible by leading me!”
I remember the first time I fell in love. (At least I thought it was love!) A girl named Kassie went to my church and we were given these fruit-flavored lip balms in Sabbath School. After class, we traded and it was my first-ever interaction with her. I was enamored by her. Looking back, do you think the love I felt toward her was real? I laugh now because it was so silly. Of course the love was not real! There was nothing between us except a tube of 99-cent ChapStick. In order for love to be real, there must be something substantial between the two parties involved. As you contemplate love today, ask yourself if your love for God is real. Is there anything between the two of you that bonds you together? If you answer “no” to that question, I encourage you to look to Jesus. He is the real deal.