Turn aside and see how the priests used to act. But if thou wilt give me thy strength thou shalt be lifted up and be turned into worth and beauty." Angels refused to serve Him in heaven and were cast down to hell. Poetical Books THE RESULT OF THIS IS THAT YOU MAY KNOW BY A POSITIVE, SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE THE WILL OF GOD, how beautiful, how perfect, how good it is; how it is just the thing for which man was evidently made.1. They come! "Here am I," it mutters, "so far away from Him who made me, without any beauty of form, or richness of colour, or sweetness of smell! As hope is thus essentially necessary to human happiness, how excellently adapted to our nature is the religion of Jesus, which tends to improve, exalt, and direct this turn of the affections to objects more durable, sublime, and satisfactory, than any this world can afford. Read over Psalm 15; Psalm 51, or 101; or even a single verse from 1 Corinthians 13, or the Sermon on the Mount; act upon it throughout a single week, make it the rule of a single family; what a holy sacrifice, salted with the salt of God's special grace, would then be offered up!2. It is in this obedience we are preserved; and obedience is salvation on this side eternity.2. Now there are three things necessary to this —(1) Knowledge of God. This consists of —. "Now, to-day," I said, "I pass it on to you; and remember, if you meet with any one that needs a kindly hand, you must pass it on to them." That religion is a reasonable service which man was intended to present will further appear if we consider that the hopes which it inspires are consonant to his nature, and necessary to his happiness. C. How easy to feel its meaning! We give to those who deserve well of us — especially if they have done or suffered much on our behalf. "To work is to pray," if done from a right motive. For is not such love the richest outcome of the nature of man? Living. Likewise, if allowed to grow up round the spirit of man, the selfish nature will increase in power until his life is as a stunted tree without any branches on which the fruit of love can grow. No such sacrifice as that described in my text was ever offered to an unknown God. Not in particular acts of self-denial, or in undertaking certain painful duties.2. Christianity itself cannot escape this test. There is something in the word to which all but hearts of earth and stone are responsive. We are neither to devote ourselves to destruction, as many of the heathen do, to satisfy the claims of their idols, nor to embitter and waste our lives by austerities, as many of the papists do. To enjoy the consolations it affords, to be inspired with the amiable dispositions it promotes, to be animated with the encouraging hopes it suggests, we must not be satisfied with the mere profession, but must diligently cultivate its duties, and endeavour to imbibe its principles.(B. The ear is deaf to the voice of God, calling us to Paradise again. Is not of this world, but the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.III. Now what must He do in order that His love may take the form of self-sacrifice? The sacrifice of truth. We are not called upon to crush our desires, tastes, appetites, or to refrain from actions; only they are to be controlled and done in obedience to God. Which of these shall we take? Why should we give presents to every one but Him? And that you may understand how acceptable it is, remember that it is "bought with a price" — a "member of Christ" — and a "temple of the Holy Ghost."(H. Do not wait to be obliged, but come of your own accord. THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH AS A PRIVILEGE. But there is another thing to be considered. A life, a worship, consecrated from the low, narrow, impure influences which dry up our better thoughts; a life set on higher aims, a life which has within it something at least which recalls the world to the sense of the saintly, the heroic, the heavenly, the Divine! Other religions motive their devotees by the judgments and terror of their gods. We are not called upon to crush our desires, tastes, appetites, or to refrain from actions; only they are to be controlled and done in obedience to God. "The mercies of God," in which there is at once a backward reference to the foregoing arguments and illustrations, an onward reference to the duties about to be inculcated, and a central reference to the consequential link which binds on the one to the other.3. Contrasting what I am now telling you with what we see in Scripture, we shall find a strong reason for calling sin folly. Now he has passed it on to you. "Present your bodies," and they are as capable of true spiritual service within their sphere as are your spirits. Well, then, if you are really wishing to be a Christian; and if you find something which is injurious to you — you are not to enter into the question whether it is injurious to your neighbour; if you find it injurious to you do not be conformed to it. )A living sacrificeS. It is a religion founded on the greatest of all sacrifices, and one whose whole continuance in the world depends on continual sacrifice — the sacrifice of the heart and mind in thanksgiving (Romans 15:16; Hebrews 13:15), the sacrifice of good deeds (Hebrews 13:16; Psalm 1:23), and broken hearts and contrite spirits (Psalm 51:17), the sacrifice of the whole man in the dedication of himself to God (Psalm 1:23; 1 Peter 2:5; Romans 12:1; Philippians 2:17).2. Now the apostle intimates that faculties the widest apart are to be brought into the closest alliance in the service of God. THE GREAT MOTIVE OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE. who can tell of that wondrous transformation when it is completed? Church members. It is easier to die for Christ than it is to live for Him. Many trees when cut down grow again. This is to be the result of the test in the personal experience. Angels refused to serve Him in heaven and were cast down to hell. It is a dedication, not of mere impulse, fancy, affection, but of our intellect; a sacrifice in which our minds go along with our hearts. Therefore all the honest occupations of life may be pursued in a truly religious spirit (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).2. Be not wise in your own conceits. That ye may personally prove the will of God —(1) The thing to be proved is that which God wills, ordains, and prescribes as the rule and end of our whole activity — "even our sanctification. But things are so wonderfully intermixed now that we do not know where the Church ends and where the world begins. There is one magnet strong enough to draw reluctant hearts and reluctant limbs, and that is Jesus lifted up on the Cross. Once when I was a schoolboy going home for the holidays, I embarked at Bristol with just money enough to pay my fare, and thought in my innocence that that included meals. Present yourselves. If the surrender be really entire and mutual, then marriage is really a holy sacrament, consecrating each to each as under the eye of God. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs. "(2) The method of proving this will is the practical one of rendering to it obedience under the influence of saving grace. (3) This will of God prescribes only that which is good, acceptable, and perfect. There it is, lying above the intellect just as the stars lie above the sky; he has not within him the sense of an actual loving spirit, instinct with the spirit of truth.2. By and by came the steward with his bill. Hay Aitken, M.A. Keep back nothing. There is a something which involves in it the glory of God in a peculiar degree in the triumph of faith here below. Lukewarm and backsliding brethren, my text shows you what you ought to be, and indirectly what you are. Yet after all he is liable to innumerable evils and dangers, from which no care of his own, and no protection of his fellow-creatures can guard him. ACTIVE SERVICE. But the sacrifice spoken of here is that of a living, voluntary agent, presented, not by others, but by himself, and presented for life in all his powers.II. This act embraces three things — being, doing, and suffering. To live in that exalted atmosphere which nursed the faith of Abraham, and the unselfishness of Moses, and the courage of Joshua, and the devotion of David, and the hope of Isaiah, and the energy of Paul, and the love of John, is better than any rule or form which scholastic ingenuity or ascetic piety has ever devised. And let the Pharisees of doctrine and of ritual digest my text. Take care, then, that in these respects you "be not conformed to the world." )Acceptable to GodOn the attributes of acceptable worshipN. But, reason thus tamed, and thus taught — thus guided, and thus governed — by the principles of pure and undefiled religion is the decided enemy to all error — the sworn foe to all corruption — a powerful advocate of the honours of truth and righteousness — and a firm friend to the doctrine of the Cross, and all the social ordinances and commandments of Christ. And this is what the soul means when it gives itself unto God, that we may become one with Him, that our hearts may beat in sympathy with His, that our wills may keep time with the Divine will, that we may help in the accomplishment of His plans.II. The Bible is the fountain and bulwark of truth; it is no less the fountain and the bulwark of holiness. 8. There are gods many in England at whose altars men are sacrificing themselves. It has a kind of life, but all unconscious. So, then, we are called upon to present our bodies to God in useful service, and to take heed that it is not withheld or impaired by indolence, allowance of evil habit, or lack of self-discipline.II. That is the secret of this man's apostleship. And the three children offered this when they said, "At this time there is neither prince, nor prophet, nor leader, nor burnt-offering, nor place to sacrifice before Thee, and to find mercy. Now there can be no doubt at all about one thing. (3) This renewing of the mind is a work of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5) carried on with our own free and active Concurrence. The painful life is also a glorious life. THE SUM OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE.1. That ye may personally prove the will of God —(1) The thing to be proved is that which God wills, ordains, and prescribes as the rule and end of our whole activity — "even our sanctification. He was not pleased with it because it cost them nothing (see also 2 Corinthians 14:24). They are only so when they cease to be subordinate to God. And the three children offered this when they said, "At this time there is neither prince, nor prophet, nor leader, nor burnt-offering, nor place to sacrifice before Thee, and to find mercy. Drive your engines, make your coats and boots and chairs for Christ.III. Why?1. Here is —1. Howels.Yes; there is nothing so reasonable — nothing that gives, and will ever give, reason its full powers, but the religion of Jesus Christ. The renunciation of the world.2. To sacrifice ourselves.2. You tell me you cannot come to Him. Butts there the renewal of the mind? Sacrifice means giving up everything to God. It is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and an instrument in Divine service, and is to be transformed in the likeness of our Lord's glorious body. It is given under the form of a presentation.1. So with respect to anything that is doubtful with regard to the expenditure of time or money. The mere formal worship is abomination without this. This act embraces three things — being, doing, and suffering. There must be something more than thinking of God, than admiring the greatness of God's works, than even acknowledging that God is kind; and what that is we have in this verse.4. Others add, "I do not believe that anybody can know that his sins are forgiven till he dies." "I beseech." The soil must minister to us, or it is merely waste land. Lyth, D.D.1. but, How most please God?III. but, Does it interfere with the work of the Holy Spirit within me, and the fulfilment of the mind of God in my life?II. The eternal collision of wills. And now there comes the seed, and whispers, "Earth, wilt thou give me thy strength?" We cannot succeed in the first, the second, or the third; there is nothing therefore left but the fourth.I. M. Taylor, D.D. That is the secret of this man's apostleship. So the earth yields, and the seed takes hold of it. As it is through the body that the evil in the unrenewed heart comes forth into manifestation, so it is through the body that the gracious principles and affections of believers reveal themselves. When I first came into this part of the country I saw a gravel pit fall in and bury three human beings. First "present your bodies a living sacrifice" unto God; then the world, and all belonging to it, is put in its right place. My story is the illustration of the law of God's great kindness that runs through all things. The excess which dulls the spirit and makes it all unapt to serve Him, the absorbing care about outward things which checks all the nobility of a man's life, are the forms in which the body comes in the way of the soul, and the regulation and suppression of these are the simplest parts of the offering. Then the seed passes it on to the animal, and the animal to man, who completes the circle. The essence of worship is self-dedication; the perfection of worship is entire self-sacrifice, and we cannot sacrifice except in the body. DIVINE MERCIES PROMPT THE CHRISTIAN TO BECOME A SACRIFICE UNTO GOD.1. It recognises also our understanding as well as our affections, and says that one of the great arguments for the surrender of the life to God is that it is eminently a right and reasonable thing. They had to turn away from this, and to become members of little private societies, in which there was nothing of the kind. I never thought the chance would come for me to repay it," said he, pleasantly; "but I am glad it has." Let them be right habits even from the beginning.2. The antithesis is with the material sacrifices, and the Revised Version gives the true meaning in its marginal rendering "spiritual." Is it the better for us? Living. We cannot know God's will until we are given up to it. Custom, phrases bound up with some of our best affections, respect of persons or acquiescence in common usage, these are what truth compels us to surrender. But there is another thing to be considered. Tie up the hands and say, "You must not do that." Suppose the expression of our love to our dearest friends were a simple ceremony not representing any inward feeling, it would be worthless. What heart can possibly withstand the tender mercy of the Most High! That is the secret of this man's apostleship. But alas! The essence of worship is self-dedication; the perfection of worship is entire self-sacrifice, and we cannot sacrifice except in the body. The remission of sins. (a)He will prove it to be good, and also productive of good. C. No man ever did it, not even Socrates at his best. No one called me an enthusiast then; and when I see eternal destruction fail upon poor sinners and call aloud on them to escape, shall I be called an enthusiast now? He had seen something of God's unspeakable gift. We see, thus, how false the assertion is that the preaching of justification by faith undermines morality. Surely as the morning sunrise drew a note from the stony lips of the statue, which storm and thunder could not awaken, His pleading voice will bring an answer that could not have been won by any commandments, however rigid, or by any threatenings, however severe.(A. THE ARGUMENT BY WHICH PAUL ENFORCES ALL THIS — a threefold cord which cannot be broken.1. "I beseech you." What will not a friend sacrifice for his friend? We are not called upon to crush our desires, tastes, appetites, or to refrain from actions; only they are to be controlled and done in obedience to God. Hard sayings. Well, then, if you are really wishing to be a Christian; and if you find something which is injurious to you — you are not to enter into the question whether it is injurious to your neighbour; if you find it injurious to you do not be conformed to it. The mind of the sincerely pious Christian, inspired by the promises, invigorated by the principles, and supported by the prospects of the gospel, rises superior to every affliction. There are times when God draws so near to us that it seems more like seeing than thinking, more like touching than simply contemplating.(W. Christianity itself cannot escape this test. The Jewish priests had to minister day by day. Christ made whips and drove out the buyers and sellers from the temple, but He has not made scourges to drive them in. THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH IN ITS ADAPTATION TO THE STATE OF THE CHURCH MILITANT. 3. To what a world beyond ourselves does this word carry us! While faith, by drawing from the fulness of Christ, makes a fruitful life, the exercise of all the charities mightily increases even the faith from which they sprung. Similarly each member of the body is to be held by the believer as specially consecrated to God.II. If some one were to save you from drowning or fire you would want to give something to show your gratitude. He felt convinced when he was conquering himself and his pride and the world, he was able thus to conquer through simple trust. I told my father what had happened. We shall best grasp the apostle's meaning if we consider —I. THE MERCIES OF GOD are —1. That is worship. Wardlaw, D.D.The expression may include —I. The law of the universe, the great march of all things is from God, through God, to God. There it is, lying above the intellect just as the stars lie above the sky; he has not within him the sense of an actual loving spirit, instinct with the spirit of truth.2. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice." This holiness includes —(a)Full and perpetual dedication to Divine service. "(2) A "holy" sacrifice — i.e., solemnly set apart for the Divine service. For all coming time;3. THE MOTIVE PROMPTING THE SACRIFICE. but, Does it interfere with the work of the Holy Spirit within me, and the fulfilment of the mind of God in my life?II. A missionary tells of an Indian who offered his blanket, gun, wigwam — but got no blessing till he offered himself.IV. As the dying Israelites of old who, when they looked to the serpent of brass, were saved, so we have looked to Christ on the Cross, and as we looked we believed, and we have received life.3. THE VEIL WHICH CONCEALS THE THINGS UNSEEN. The life is to be so devoted to God as to be at all times and entirely at His service, and, if need be, cheerfully surrendered for His glory. As it is through the body that the evil in the unrenewed heart comes forth into manifestation, so it is through the body that the gracious principles and affections of believers reveal themselves. "Acceptable unto God" is not only praising God in the church, but praising Him with the melody of our daily words and actions, helping the helpless, and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world. The Bible is the fountain and bulwark of truth; it is no less the fountain and the bulwark of holiness. As it is through the body that the evil in the unrenewed heart comes forth into manifestation, so it is through the body that the gracious principles and affections of believers reveal themselves. (Dean Vaughan. It shall help us nothing to know all this, to believe it all, and yet to stop short of doing it. The body does not signify here the whole man. THE GENTLE ENFORCEMENT OF THIS GREAT MOTIVE FOR CHRISTIAN SERVICE. Bring money, time, and influence as offerings, but above this, offer yourselves, your natural selves, your redeemed selves, the best in yourselves, and the whole of yourselves. It recognises also our understanding as well as our affections, and says that one of the great arguments for the surrender of the life to God is that it is eminently a right and reasonable thing. Now that you may be living sacrifices, it is necessary that you should be daily cleansed, bound, and burned.II. In order to this the sacrifice must be preceded by the pardon of sin. That is worship. Holy. We many of us feel its whole meaning, when at the Lord's table we "present to God ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice to Him." "Acceptable unto God" is not only praising God in the church, but praising Him with the melody of our daily words and actions, helping the helpless, and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world.(W. It took the names, institutions, and ideas which it found, and gave them a new and better meaning; or even if it destroyed them, it immediately planted something corresponding in their place.
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