STUDYGUIDE-10-131226 - length: 60:00 - taught on Dec, 26 2013
Reminder that our mind set for these informal Bible studies in EPH 4:11-16.
ROM 12:1 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.
ROM 12:2 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.
So again, the first two verses of Romans 12 tell us about what our attitude towards God is to be.
Now the second section of Romans 12, verses 3-13, tell us what our attitude is to be toward other saints, other believers.
And the third section of Romans 12 is verses 14-21, and that deals with what our attitude is to be toward our enemies.
ROM 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
ROM 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
ROM 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
ROM 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
Speaking and serving gifts are given to build up the church and to encourage the saints and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
ROM 12:7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;
ROM 12:8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
The person with the gift of exhortation has the ability to encourage the saints to take bold action in their faith.
While the teacher brings us to say “I see that”….
The exhorter brings us to say “I’ll do that!”
A believer with the gift of giving has the capacity to give of his substance to the work of the Lord, or to the people of God, consistently, liberally, sacrificially, and with such wisdom and cheerfulness that others are encouraged and blessed.
This gift of leadership is a Spirit-given capacity to organize and administer with such efficiency and spirituality that not only is the project brought to a satisfactory conclusion but it is done harmoniously and with evident blessing.
The person is able to give vision and direction.
Those who exercise this gift of leadership should do so in a way that edifies and helps others spiritually.
Acts of mercy: this is merciful actions taken on behalf of someone who is sick, or suffering, or in extreme poverty, or in deep trouble.
Mercy is undeserved aid. It is aid given to those who most people find repugnant and offensive - the sick and deformed, the unwashed and foul, those with unpleasant personalities and vile habits.
It differs from the gift of helps by being directed to those who are either undeserving or who (like a child with AIDS or a mentally disordered individual) is an innocent victim but treated as an outcast by much of our society.
Those with the gift of mercy usually manifest four major characteristics:
People who have this gift use it to work among retarded children or in the AIDS ward of the hospital, or in prison visitation ministries ..
Or service to the homeless and the immigrant poor
Or in ministries to alcoholics and drug addicts,
It is a divine ability to reach out to people in need and take action that addresses their need. And to do it with cheerfulness. Do it so your being there serves to give them hope and encouragement.
The love and patience exhibited by those with the gift of mercy is a thing of rare beauty.
And remember that you serve with the strength that God supplies.
1PE 4:10-11 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1PE 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. NASU
If you try to serve in your own strength, you will eventually get discouraged and want to quit.
Do it with God’s strength.
So tonight we will pick things up with verses 9-21.
This portion gives us one of the most comprehensive descriptions of love in the Bible.
So let’s continue along here in Romans 12, remembering as we do those 3 basic questions we have:
What would we look like coming under this command and being obedient to it now as best as we can?
What is the opposite of this?
What are some examples of this in the Bible?
Is there some area of your life in which you can put this into practice?
Paul gives several more instructions on what the attitude of believers should be toward other believers.
Starting in verse 9, Paul gives several more instructions on what the attitude of believers should be toward other believers.
These are NOT spiritual gifts.
These are characteristics that every believer should practice.
ROM 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
What is another way of saying this?
Let your love be genuine. Don’t try to fake love. Be straightforward in your love.
What are some examples of hypocritical “love”?
ROM 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
These are NOT spiritual gifts.
These are characteristics that every believer should practice.
If you want to be competitive, compete to outdo one another in giving preference to one another, in showing honor.
Do not be sluggish or slothful in the work you have been called to do.
Be fervent in spirit.
SERVE THE LORD. See also COL 3:22-24.
Love, goodness, honor, zeal, servanthood, hope, joy, patience, prayerfulness, giving, hospitality
What a wonderful list of qualities for us to strive for!
Work on these.
Don’t project them on to other people. “I wish so and so would have more of these characteristics”!.
NO! Work on your own life
Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load. NASU
By the way, there is no contradiction here between verse 2 “Bear one another’s burdens” and verse 5 “each one will bear his own load”.
- MAT 11:30, "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."
- Phil 2:12-13 12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. NASU
Lord, show me where I need to improve.
Work on these things through the power of the Holy Spirit, not your own power.
It is God the Holy Spirit who changes your heart.
Now starting in verse 14 we see the subject of our attitude toward enemies and unbelievers. Although Paul weaves together statements about our enemies with statements about how we should treat one another generally in vs 15-16.
Once again we have a list of bullet points.
ROM 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Paul starts with one of the most difficult things of all to deal with - being persecuted when we have done nothing to wrong another person.
Paul says we are to BLESS those who persecute, bless and do not curse.
The Greek word here is NT:2127
eulogeo (yoo-log-eh'-o), from which we get our English word “eulogy”. It means “to speak well of, to praise”.
We are to speak well of our enemies!
It would be strange to stand up at a funeral and say bad things about the deceased.
We are to bless our persecutors by speaking kindly to them rather than cursing them.
“But that person wants to hurt me!”
That’s why we need supernatural assistance to do this.
Thing about the story in Acts 7 when Stephen was being stoned. He was proclaiming the gospel, preaching Christ.
He blessed the people who were throwing rocks at them.
Here and also in verses 17-20, we are told to love our enemies. Jesus taught the same thing in the Gospels.
43 " You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
So we are to be kind to our enemies, speak well of them, not curse them or retaliate.
This goes against everything you will hear out there in the world.
It goes against what the movie heroes do.
It goes against the code of the school yard, the code of the street.
We know what the street teaches…
What does God teach.
This is a flesh and blood situation. This is hard. This is real.
Cursing and fighting back. You will be admired and feared by the guys in the locker room if you do that.
Ladies, you will be cheered on by the “wild women don’t get the blues” crowd if you fight back and talk trash to those who tried to hurt you.
If you want to know how spiritual you are, here you go.
What you do when somebody persecutes you?
Do you curse and fight back…
Or do you speak well of them and forgive them?
ROM 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
ROM 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
ROM 12:17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
ROM 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
ROM 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.
ROM 12:20 "BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD."
27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 " Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 " Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 " If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 "If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. Luke 6:34 " If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 " Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Notice that both here and earlier in Matthew our Lord ties loving our enemies back to the heavenly Father.
We are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.
We are to be merciful just as our Father is merciful.
Isn’t this what Paul means above in verse 2 when he says we are to prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable - and perfect!
ROM 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
What are some examples of overcoming evil with good?
Try to see how this gives each believer a part to play in the great drama of the unfolding plan of God.
How God did this when He gave us His Son to redeem us from the curse of sin.
He overcame evil with good.
How His grace overcame sin and death.
How the righteousness of God being credited to us because of the blood of Christ was a great act of bringing in good to overcome evil.
How the resurrection of Christ overcame evil with good.
How the Lord worked in the life of Joseph to overcome evil with good. “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”.
And in each one of our lives, we are now given the opportunities and the ability to do the same thing: overcome evil with good.
Consistently go back to ROM 12:1-2.
The first two verses of Romans 12 describe what our attitude towards God is supposed to be in light of the mercies of God described in the first 11 chapters of Romans.
We are to be living and holy sacrifices. This involves presenting our bodies to God.
We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we learn to discern what God’s will is.
Offer your bodies to God in all that you do.
Work each day at cooperating with the Holy Spirit in having your mind transformed.
God the Holy Spirit will direct you in obeying the rest of the chapter.
Verses 1-2 give you the help you need to obey the rest of the chapter.