Paul Washer Sermon: Do You Know God? (Transcript)

Full text of Paul Washer’s sermon titled ‘Do You Know God?’

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Paul Washer – Founder of HeartCry Missionary Society

Let’s open up our Bibles to Romans chapter 12. In verse 1, Paul writes:

‘Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.’

Now, I want you to look at something here. Satan is a liar, but there is one thing that he says in the book of Job that is rather true, rings true. You can take away a lot from a man. You can take away his house, you can take away his car, all his bank accounts, his goods and everything else. And it will do him damage, but not as much damage as touching his body.

When you ask a man to give up his very life, you are asking that person to give the most precious thing they possess, something that cannot be replaced once it is spent. And that’s exactly what the Apostle Paul is calling us to do here in this text. Look what he says: ‘present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.’

He’s asking us to give ourselves entirely to Christ, to God, to God’s kingdom. Now, he goes on, he says, at the very first part of this verse, he says, ‘I urge you, brethren,’ this is something very, very important, look.

When you hear a preacher, or if you are a preacher, and you see something of an extraordinary passion in them, that’s the way it ought to be. Why should it be this way? Because when we stand up before people, we are not talking about minor topics. We’re not talking about minor things or trivial things. We’re talking about the things of life and death and heaven and hell. And when we admonish you to do something, if we’re admonishing you according to the Word of God, we are admonishing you to do something that will not only impact your life, but impact all of eternity.

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When the preacher calls out for you to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, to obey that is to gain life eternal. To deny that is to go to hell and spend all of eternity under the wrath of Almighty God.

You see, so Paul, when he tells you, look, give your life to Him, he’s not making a suggestion. He’s not simply putting forth an idea. He doesn’t have the attitude of take it or leave it. He is saying this is our new reality. This is what life is all about. If you are Christian, it is nonsensical to hold back. It is irrational to keep your life for you. You are to give it to Him.

The most precious thing that you have, you give it to Him. You present it to Him.

Now, Paul has urged us to do this. Paul has admonished us to do this.


When you hear me say, and repeat what Paul is saying, that we should give our lives as a living sacrifice to God, most of you are in hearty agreement. You agree that’s the thing that ought to be done. So that’s not the problem. The problem is, but where do I find the motivation? Where do I find the impulse? Where do I find the strength? Where do I find a passion that endures, that continues, so that daily I’m laying down my life, so that daily I’m following Him, so that daily I’m pressing on to know the Lord and to be more useful in His service?

And Paul, I agree that that’s what we ought to do. But I find that I lack the strength and the motivation, the force of will to do it.

Now, let me simplify what I’m saying. You should love God more. Is that not true? You should love God more. I should love God more than I do. I should. We all recognize that.

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You know, a horrible thing a preacher can do is tell you, you need to love God more, but then not tell you how to find a greater love for God. So telling someone something they ought to do, and then not telling them how to do it, and then leaving theirs — leaving them there, stuck between two opinions, helpless.

Well, I’m going to tell you that you need to love God more. That you need to be more passionate about God. You need to be more devoted to God. You need to be more given over to God. But I’m not going to leave you there. I’m now going to tell you how that can be accomplished. And it’s not a quick fix. It’s something that requires endurance. But it is something that can transform your life over time. And it’s found in this text.

Look what he says. ‘Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.’

What are we to do? Present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice. From where does the motivation come? By the mercies of God.

Now what does he mean? The more you understand and comprehend, the more you sound the depths of the mercies of God toward you, the more you will be motivated and strengthened to present your life to Him as a living sacrifice. Or in other words, let me put it this way, the more you understand the mercies of God toward you, as they are revealed in the cross, in the Gospel work of Jesus Christ, the more empowered you will be to actually grow in devotion and grow in laying down your life for Him. That’s what he’s saying. By the mercies of God.

By your comprehension of these things. By these things becoming greater and greater realities in your life. You will begin to be like the Apostle Paul, constrained to present yourself to Christ. Constrained to follow Him.

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Now, I want you to see something that’s very important here. If you have the New American Standard or even other translations, it begins here in my English text, Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.

What must we do? Present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice. Where do we find the motivation for doing that? By sounding the depths, growing in our understanding of the mercies of God revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Now, the word, ‘therefore,’ that little preposition is absolutely essential. Because here’s what Paul is doing.

‘Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God.’ The mercies of God here have just been defined for you in the first eleven chapters of the book of Romans. And what Paul is doing is basically this: For eleven chapters, I have shared with you the mercies of God as they are revealed in the person and work of Christ. Now, based upon what God has done for you in Christ, the greatness of this work, I want you now to present your life as a living and holy sacrifice. Do you see that? This is very common for Paul.

In the book of Ephesians, we find the very same thing in chapter 4. In the first three chapters of Ephesians, we have the deepest theology in all the Bible. You want to know where the deep stuff is, go to Ephesians 1, 2, and 3. It’s absolutely astounding.

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