Romans 12:1-2 / Reasonable Service (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on May 26, 2014


This is the forty-ninth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Romans. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of May 25, 2014. This message deals with being a living sacrifice, and the meaning of reasonable service. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

AUDIO – Listen Now:


Rom 12_1-2




Romans 12:1-2

In the twelfth chapter of Romans, Paul moves from an 11 chapter theology lesson to the practical application of that theology.

After all, a vast knowledge of God is useless unless it produces a changed life.

Any knowledge is useless, unless you actually use it.

So, lets look at those first two verses of Romans chapter 12, and see what Paul has to say about the practical use of theology through service.


The first thing to notice here, is that Paul sees Christian service as an urgent issue. he says “I beseech you. . .

In other words, he is urging or begging Christians to commit to service. Also, there is a very real purpose for that service. . .God’s mercy.

What this is saying, is that our service to God should be a result of our love and gratitude for the mercy he has shown us.

In short, we should desire to serve Him.

If your Christian service ever becomes one of duty, just a chore, then you need to re-examine your heart.

In order to effectively serve God, Paul instructs his readers to offer their bodies as a “living sacrifice,” as opposed to a dead sacrifice such as goats and bulls.

A dead sacrifice is useless, but a living sacrifice can accomplish much.

Jesus may have died as a sacrifice for your sins, but He didn’t stay dead, He is alive! As such He is able to intercede for us.

Revelation 1:18

Hebrews 7:25

Your entire body, your whole being, should be devoted to serving God.

There is nothing that should be withheld, Jesus didn’t withhold anything, and neither should you.

You should be alive and eager to serve.

You should be vibrant and enthusiastic, your service full of joy and praise.

Paul goes on to say that you are to be holy. That doesn’t mean perfect, it simply means to be set apart for God.

You belong to Him, and you should act like it.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

The only way to be holy is to accept the sacrifice of Jesus and to trust Him as your savior.

This is what makes you acceptable to God, and to be acceptable simply means pleasing.

Can a compromised lifestyle ever be truly acceptable (pleasing) to God?

Paul says all this to say that this it is your reasonable service.

The Greek word that is translated as reasonable, is logikos. This is the word from which we derive our english word logic.

It means “reasoned, intelligent, or well thought out,” which is precisely how we should serve and worship God.

As such, should desire to feed on His word, so that we can grow.

1 Peter 2:2

You should be diligent in your studies, so that you truly understand the Word of God, and can rightly divide it.

2 Timothy 2:15

As a Christian, you need to always be ready to explain your beliefs.

1 Peter 3:15

You need to know what you believe, and why you believe it!

This is all part of a reasonable approach to service/worship.

The word for service in this verse can aIso be translated as “worship,” which it is in some translations.

Imagine that, service and worship are intertwined.

You can’t have worship without service, and when you serve you are worshipping.

James reinforces this by telling us that we need to prove our faith by our works.

Our works don’t save us, by they are the outward manifestation of our salvation.

James 2:17-18

To put it all together, the way in which we serve and worship should be well reasoned and thought out.

It should be intelligent service, one with a well thought out purpose, which is deeply rooted in the Word of God, and not driven purely by emotion or self-desire.

This is totally contrary to the way many churches worship God today.

All too often, worship services are driven by emotion, it’s all about how it makes you feel.

The problem is that the Word of God is only a side note, with the emphasis being on emotion based entertainment.

People leave feeling as if they’ve been stirred, but in no time, they are right back to where they started. No change has taken place.

A true encounter with God will be a life changing experience.

It will be marked by a sense of conviction, which is inevitable when an imperfect sinner is in the presence of the Almighty God.



To sum it all up, we’ll look at Romans 12:2, which reminds us that we cannot get caught up in worldly practices, because a compromised lifestyle is never pleasing to God.

Nor can we view Christianity as just a philosophy, it must involve life-changing faith.

Verse two also reminds us that spiritual reformation starts in the mind. Remember Proverbs 23:7

If one thinks about serving God with all the fervor and zeal he can, day in and day out, he will serve God.

Your mind controls your body, and your will controls your mind.

Many people think they can control their will with willpower, but they ultimately fail.

In Romans 7:15-21, Paul talks about his own struggle with willpower.

He knows what he shouldn’t do, he doesn’t want to do it, but he does it anyway. Does this sound familiar?

It is only when we yield to the will of God, that His power can take over.

His power gives us the willpower (and the won’t power) that we need to be victorious Christians.

We need to pray “Not my will, but Your will be done,” and let God have His way.

For us to yield to God’s will, is the perfect will of God.

And such is the key to reasonable service.

Posted in: Sermons