Sermon- Live the New Life (2)

As part 2 of his new series on “Live the New Life,” Pastor Choi talks about the meaning of worship and the meaning of love of Jesus.  The marks of a believer in Christ are to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth and to keep Jesus’ commandments.

Live the New Life (2)



Following is the sermon script in its entirety:

Live the New Life (2): Worship and Obedience to Jesus

Romans 12:1, John 14:21

  • Romans 12:1
  • The New Life in Christ
  • 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
  • John 14:21
  • New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
  • 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”


My story in 1980 in R.O.K. (Republic of Korea) Army:  A superior of mine hated me for no reason from the day one and persecuted me for the next year to the point where one night he humiliated me in front of everyone.  He landed his fist on my chest several times that night….  To be continued later in the sermon.


  • I spoke last Sunday about us the Christians being in Christ.  If Christ is the book, we are the bookmark.  Whatever happened to Christ, in God’s eyes, it also happened to us.
  • That’s why the Bible says that when Christ died on the cross we our old self died, too.  When Christ resurrected from the dead, we were resurrected, too: being born again as a new creation in Christ.  I said that it is the Christ who makes us a new creation, not us changing our behavior.
  • If you consider yourself a new creation in Christ, check out whom do you serve in your life: Do you serve your selfish desires, your old master?  Or, do you serve the new master Jesus Christ?
  • Remember you are in Christ.  You serve only Christ, not yourself.
  • Let’s go to our first verse Romans 12:1.
  • 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters,by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Present Your Bodies:

  • Apostle Paul makes a plea for us here in Romans 12:1.  Present your bodies as a living sacrifice to God, holy and acceptable.     He exhorts you and me to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God.  The new life in Christ means to worship God every day.
  • Present your bodies:  Do you do that?  Most of us don’t, because we didn’t hear about it before, right?  Do I do that?  Yes, I do.  Why?  First, God commands me to do so.  Next, I think it is a great way to start the day.   It works much better than a morning coffee for me. This is what I do every morning in my bed.   Every morning as soon as I wake up, I say to God, “Lord, I offer myself to you today as an instrument of righteousness, joy, and peace.  Use me for your glory.”
  • Living Sacrifice: Sacrifices had been an integral part of worship.  Where there was worship, there were sacrifices.  We can use a historical understanding of worship here.
  • In the Old Testament days, no one would ever go to God’s temple without sacrifices/offerings.  Of course, you go there to pray and worship; however, you always bring something to God, either animals or grains in the form of sin offering, or peace offering, or even thank offering.  We the people of God in the past two thousand years, inherited and we still continue the tradition; no more animal sacrifices but we bring offerings to God in worship.
  • Offerings were more than bringing animal sacrifices to God back then.  Today, offerings mean more than just dropping a couple of dollars on the plate on Sunday.   It means to give all you have—yourself.  E.g. A missionary to Korea, Horace Grant Underwood: when he was a child, he had no money to give, so he wanted to give himself on the offering plate.
  • Holy and acceptable to God: You don’t want to give God anything that isn’t the best.  You want to present yourself as holy and acceptable to God.  That means, you examine yourself before you give yourself to God.  You repent any sins you have committed and ask God to forgive your sins.

Spiritual Worship:

  • What is worship? Is it to show up, sit up, sing up, listen up, pay up, and stand up?  No, it is much more than that.  Worship is an encounter with God where you offer yourself to God.  That’s why even though you can’t sing, even though you have no money to give, and even though you don’t get a thing from the pastor’s sermon, you still join others to worship God.  The main purpose of worship is for you to come and offer yourself to God.  It seems, though, we do everything in worship but the offering ourselves part.
  • Paul talks about spiritual worship.  What is spiritual worship, then?  It means for us to offer ourselves to God in spirit and in truth.  In spirit means we are not limited to space and time.  Although it is important to worship God with other believers at church, we don’t have to limit our worship services only to Sundays.  We can worship God more than once a week.  God wants us to worship anytime and wherever we are; we can worship in nature (note: it doesn’t replace the regular corporate worship at sanctuary).  We can worship in the car.  We can worship in our private room while praying.  We worship God in spirit, because God is spirit.
  • Spiritual worship also means that we worship God in truth.  In other words, we don’t worship with our feelings alone.  We worship God with God’s Word the truth.  That’s why in the Protestant tradition, the Word of God is so important that it takes up about 1/3 of the worship time.  We Methodists take this tradition of proclaiming God’s Word very seriously.  I will speak more about how important God’s Word is in our life next week.  Let’s move on to the next verse, John 14:21.
  • 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

Love of Jesus:

  • Does everyone love Jesus?  No, not really.  I got that.   What about you?  Do you love Jesus?  If you say, “Yes, I do,” have you thought about what you mean by that?  Is it that fuzzy and cozy feeling that you have toward Him?  Is the love of Jesus arbitrary that it changes often depending on whose definition of love we go by?  E.g.  A popular song I used to hear on radio in 1970s:  “Love is feeling, feeling is love.”
  • Let’s hear what Jesus says about the love of Him.  He says, if anyone loves Me, s/he will know My commandments and keep them.  His love language is action, not just words.  E.g. Gary Chapman’s “5 Love Languages”: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  Obviously, the love language for Jesus is action.  Love is a verb.  Jesus says, “Show your love through keeping my commands.”  We would be a hypocrite if we confess that we love Jesus and yet don’t keep His commands.  E.g. “I love Jesus to death, yet I will not forgive John Doe.”

Revelation of Jesus:

Remember when Jesus revealed Himself to you?  I do.  I am sure you too can share with everyone how Jesus appeared to you.  Of course, Jesus can use different venues to appear to us; dreams, visions, written words, prayers, and circumstances; however, there’s a common denominator:  Jesus reveals Himself to those who obey Him (differently put, to those who keep His commandments)—that coincides with the Bible:  E.g. My experience in the ROK Army (Part 2).  On the following day after this private lynching in front of everyone, he came up with a bad gum infection that made his mouth swollen twice bigger than normal.  He couldn’t eat or chew anything.  He was lying down in his bed that day.  As soon as I heard the news, I said, “Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!  The Lord finally avenges for me!”  Well, that joy didn’t last long.  A minute or two after the celebration, the Lord quietly spoke to me saying, “Go and pray for him.”  I said, “No, I don’t want to!”  Of course, you know who won.  The Lord convicted me with the verse where He says, “Love your enemy (Matthew 5:43) and “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head” (Romans 12:20).  So, that afternoon, I visited him with a loaf of soft bread and a carton of milk.  I also prayed for his healing.  After he got better, he changed 180 degrees!  My worst enemy became my best friend.  From then on, every Sunday morning, he ordered everyone under him to go to church.  I couldn’t have dreamed of any other better way!  I have experienced God’s promise fulfilled here: When a man’s ways please the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
 New King James Version (Proverbs 16:7). Jesus also revealed to me through my obedience to His commands.

  • All of us want to experience Jesus in a real way, not a superficial way, don’t we? In reality, though, many of us know Jesus only through our head knowledge: we read devotionals and commentaries or we hear someone else’s testimonies.  Jesus too wants you to know Him in person.  He wants you to experience the living God, the Almighty God, in a tangible way so you can say to everyone that you know God and Jesus.
  • So, how do we fulfill our desire to know Jesus personally?  By fulfilling the prerequisite first, that is keeping His words.  Let’s say you want to take a course “Economics 201” in college.  Now, you are told that you have to take Economics 101 first before you take this class.  Same with experiencing God.  You have to love Jesus first through keeping His commandments before you expect Him to appear to you.  When you love Him, He promises that He will love you back and reveal Himself to you.
  • Remember: To love Jesus boils down to know Jesus’ commandments and keeping them.  I will speak about this more next Sunday.

Action Points:

  • Say a daily prayer to offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice.
  • Dust out your Bible and put it in the most visible place.  Start using it.  Download the Bible on your smart phone.  In fact, next Sunday, I want everyone to bring your personal Bible to church.  Invite your friend to bring the Bible to church, too.
  • Amen.



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