Thus far, Paul has explained the Gospel and all that God has done for in Christ; now Paul will explain what affects the Gospel is to have on our life from here on out in his letter to the Romans.
Here, Paul presents the order of worship for us; doctrine then duty. First, we know and meditate on doctrine then we commit ourselves to our proper duty.
Now let’s consider doctrine briefly before we discuss duties.
What are the mercies of God that Paul speaks of in 12:1?
Everything that he has been talking about since chapter 3 really; God withholding all that we do deserve-chiefly Hell and wrath.
How do God’s mercies led us to worship Him?
The Christian life is founded on grace and mercy and is built up in gratitude. If God withholding you from Hellfire doesn’t care you to worship Him; then consider for a moment the reality of Hell and how hot the flames of His wrath are for unrepentant sinners and then you will have not trouble in your grateful living toward God.
In what way are we a “living sacrifice”?
Under the Old Covenant, God accepted the sacrifices of animals. But because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, the OT sacrifices are no longer of any effect. For those in Christ, the only acceptable worship is to offer themselves completely, and wholeheartedly, to the Lord. We yield ourselves, our body, to God as an instrument of righteousness.
As long as we continue living in this body we shall continue to offer, or present, our bodies to God because of His mercies in a manner that is holy and acceptable to Him; for this, Paul tells us, is our spiritual/true worship. God is mainly concerned, not with our songs, but with our lives.
Let’s break down 12:2; in what way does “the world\” live?
Perhaps the “world” could be better translated “age”. That is this age is one of Godlessness. Worldliness is anything apart from God.
How would we “conform” to this age?
By living like them; without any regard for God and His will.
What does it mean for us to “renew” our minds? And how do we do that?
This is the kind of transformation that can occur only as the Spirit changes our thinking through diligent study and meditation of Scripture. The renewed mind is one saturated, not with worldly things, but with the word of God. Through a renewed mind we learn the will of God.
Speaking of the will of God; do you struggle to know the will of God for your life?
What is God’s will for our lives?
According to verse 2, to live holy lives that God approves of.
Paul speaks out of grace to his brothers.
Do you think your words are out of grace toward your brothers?
All members of Christ have a place. Some are different than others.
What’s your place in the Church?
Do you treat your own brothers like your own body?
How are we given these gifts?
By God and His grace; the same Electing grace that saved us is the same grace that contains our gift.
What are we to do with or gift?
Use it. Our gifts are for the building up of the Church, not to keep to ourselves.
As I was writing this I thought, “ok guys so what’s your gift?” but you know what that’s a horrible question.
So here is what is going to happen:
I want everyone to consider what everyone else’s gift might be. We’ll start with ___ and based on what we know, or have seen from him what do you think ___’s gift is?
Now that we have an idea of what ___’s gift is; do we see them using it and how, perhaps, could they better use it?
“according to the grace…given”
Undeserved and merited. The gift itself, the way it is used and the results are all sovereignty chosen by the Spirt completely apart from personal merit.
The Greek word meaning “speaking forth”; doesn’t necessarily include prediction of future though it can be applied that way. More often it refers to speaking the truth of God to encourage their hearers. IE this is a reference to the skill of public proclamation of the word of God.
“in proportion to our faith” IE the full revealed message of the Christian faith. The preacher must be careful to preach the same message as the apostles. OR it could refer to the believer’s personal understanding, or insight, regarding the Gospel.
“ministry” Lit. Deacon. Refers to those who serve; usually in practical matters.
“teaching” the ability to interpret, clarify, systematize and explain God’s truth clearly. Pastors must have this gift (1 Tim. 3:2)
“exhortation” The gift which enables a believer to effectively call others to obey and follow God’s truth. It may be used negatively to admonish and correct regarding sin or positively, to encourage, comfort, strengthen struggling believers.
Let’s try something new this week:
Today I want each of you to text someone else that’s apart of our study and either positively or negatively exhort them in the faith. It can be a whole essay, or just an encouraging verse or a simple thank you. Once you have done that; just let me know who you texted and how well their exhortation was received.
“gives” Sacrificial sharing/giving that meets the needs of others.
“liberality” Simplicity, openhearted generosity. The believer is to give with a proper attitude and to honor God not to try and virtue signal.
“shows mercy” One who actively shows sympathy and sensitivity to those in suffering and sorrow and works to lessen their afflictions.
“cheerfulness” This attitude is crucial to ensure that the gift of eject becomes a genuine hope, not a discouraging commiseration with those who are suffering
Our “renewed”, or transformed, thinking is explained in a series of short exhortations.
Do y’all happen to know what the Greek word for sincere means?
It means “without wax”.
Does anyone want to guess as to why that is the meaning? Or should I just tell you?
During the NT era, scup lutes and busts were fairly common. and they were usually rather pricey as well. Well, sometimes you’d buy a bust, have it make, bring it home and all was peachy until a hot summer day; when half of the bust’s face was melting. Some sculptors would use wax and clay, rather than just clay to form their artwork. They did this to increase their profits; but when the heat came their insincerity was revealed.
Likewise, with us, loving people is easy when we’re in a good mood and life is peachy. But when that hot summer day comes, when the mind is going back to the old ways, or co-worker just ticked you off, or your bank just overcharged you or whatever; the point is even under pressure we are still to love truly, love without wax.
We are sincere in our form, our outward expression of love because we are sincere in our content, our inward/heartfelt love.
“Cling to what is good”
What are some good things we can cling to?
Can y\’all give me an example of what this verse would look like in real life?
How is one “fervent in spirit” in “serving the Lord”?
Anything worth doing for God is worth doing with enthusiasm and care. Sloth and indifference prevent good and also allow evil to prosper. The phrase “fervent in spirit” suggests having plenty of heat to produce productive energy but not so much heat that it is uncontrollable.
What hope do we have that is worth rejoicing over?
And why am I to be patient in tribulation?
Because that tribulation is caused by God and is for my good.
Do you find it difficult to be focused, or steadfast in prayer?
How can we remain focused in prayer?
We talked about hospitality last week; do I need to hit it again?
So persecution has as come, and they got me tied up and poured the gun powder into my ears, and I’ve pleaded them to repent and believe in the Lord Christ and here they come with a match in hand.
Now at this point; is it permissible for me to call down God’s justice/wrath upon my soon-to-be murders?
What’s Paul calling us to do here?
To care for our kin. Joy is best enjoyed when shared; misery made easier when shared. Love for our kin is a double-edged sword; great joys no doubt but, if we are to truly love them, we must be there when the blade cuts the other way.
Given our wide range of opinions let’s ask this question: is it really possible for us to live in harmony?
“don’t be high minded” we are to have a sincere, lowly love.
Paul here is speaking of an “optics check” if you will. IE
do you conduct yourself in a respectable manner around the heathen?
What are the 2 qualifications for us living at peace with all men?
If it is possible
as far as it depends on you.
That is if you cannot be at peace with all men then let it not be because you are the problem.
and while my enemy seems to triumph over me what am I to do?
Trust God, and continue loving/serving your enemy. God can and will exact perfect justice when the time comes.
“heap coals of fire on his head” a reference to an ancient practice in which a person who wanted to show public contrition carried a pan of burins coals on his head. The coals represented the burning pain of his shame and guilt. When believers lovingly help their enemies, they should bring shame to such people for their hate.