PART 10 SEPT 6: Romans Chapter 12 “OUR BODIES—LIVING SACRIFICES”
Today We begin a new section… As in many of his other epistles, Paul begins Romans with teaching on doctrine and ends with teaching on how we should live because of what is true. This pattern of Doctrine, followed by Application, is a Hallmark of Paul’s writing.
Romans Chapters 1-11 focused intently on the Doctrine of Salvation by God’s Grace and through Our Faith in Jesus.
- Q: Knowing the Truth, How then should those Saved by God’s Grace Live Today?
- Q: How should We Respond to the Incredible Mercy God has Shown to Us?
- Romans 12 begins to Answer that Question.
KEY: Since We can Never Repay God for Forgiving Our Sins and including Us in His family…There is Only One Rational Response…WORSHIP.
- Worshiping God Needs to be the Central Focal Point of a Believers Existence!
VS-1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy [Previous 11 Chapters], to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.
When Paul Says Worship is the Only Rational Response to God…He does Not mean just singing songs on Sunday morning. He says Our Reasonable Worship is to Present Our Bodies, Our Entire Lives, to God as if We are Holy and Acceptable Sacrifices.
The Difference Between this and the Dead Animal Sacrifices of the Old Covenant is that We are to be Living, Breathing Sacrifices, Using Up Our Lives in Service to God.
Paul says in View of Gods Mercies…Think of all the Mercies of God Paul has Outlined:
- Justification from the Guilt and Penalty of Sin.
- Adoption in Jesus and Identification with Christ.
- Placed under Grace, Not Law. (No Condemnation)
- Giving the Holy Spirit to Live Within.
- Promise of help in All Affliction.
- Assurance of a Standing in God’s Election.
- Confidence of Coming Glory.
- Confidence of No Separation from the Love of God.
- Confidence in God’s Continued Faithfulness.
So…In light of all this Mercy – Past, Present, and Future – Paul Begs us to “Present Our Bodies As a Living Sacrifice”.
God Knew This Would Require Total Transformation So he says in VS-2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
J.B. Phillips has an outstanding and memorable translation of Romans 12:1-2:
With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give Him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the Plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.
Paul Makes it Clear…We Must Break Free From…Rather than Conforming To, the “Me-First” Attitude that the World Prefers.
- We Must Have Our Minds Renewed, to Look at the World through God’s Eyes,
And Understand more fully what He Wants Instead of Focusing on What We Want.
VS:3–8 TELL Us that the First Investment of this Sacrificed Life that God asks from Us is to “Serve Each Other” in the Church.
- He has equipped us to do this by giving each believer specific spiritual gifts through His Holy Spirit who comes to live with us.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
In other words, God has Supernaturally Enabled Us to be Able to Give to Each Other Exactly what is Needed. But Here’s the Issue…We Must Choose to Do It.
- In VS 3-8: Paul says, Humbly, as One Body in Christ, Use Your Spiritual Gifts to Serve Each Other as You Serve the Lord.
- The Church is Christ’s Body, with Each Person Serving a Specific Function that Keeps the Body Going and accomplishing Gods Plan and Purpose for Us.
- Our First Job is to Find Our Function and to Do it, Through God’s Power, for the Glory of God and for the Good of Everyone Else.
In Verses 9–13 Paul Paints a Picture of a Living-Sacrifice Lifestyle. This comes with a long list of commands.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Paul begins by saying Our Love for God and Each Other Must Not be Faked. It’s Not a Performance. He writes that Everything We Do Must Be Motivated by Genuine Love.
- Like God, We must learn to Hate what is Evil and to Hold on Tight to what is Good.
- We should love each other the Same Way Jesus Loves US! Being Patient, Seeking the others Best, Giving to whatever the Need is they have…Etc.
VS 9-13 is Speaking about Agape Love—Sacrificial Love…Putting others above Yourselves…Loving, Giving and Serving the Lord with Great Enthusiasm through the “Enabling Power” of God the Holy Spirit.
This life of Sacrifice will Involve Our Mind, Will, and Emotions. We must Continually Acknowledge that Our Hope, Our Future in Eternity with God, is Worth Celebrating.
- Suffering in this life is Real, But We know it’s Temporary. So, We Patiently Wait. And
Pray Continually to the Father who Hears and Responds to Us through the Holy Spirit
VS 12 Gives Us a Description of the Christian Life: It says Be Joyful in Hope, Patient in Affliction, Faithful in Prayer.
In the wider context of Romans We know that this Joy is in Jesus, and this Hope is for Jesus, and this Patience is from Jesus, and this Tribulation is with Jesus, and this Constant Prayer is through Jesus to God the Father.
KEY: Our Joy Is Rooted in Our Hope!
- We see it when we distinguish Joy and Hope and see How they are Related in Romans 12:12…When it says, “Rejoice in” We Understand that Hope is the Soil or the Rock in which Joy is Rooted—the Ground Where Joy Grows.
We see a similar phrase in Romans 5:2, “Through him [Christ] we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” It is Vital for Christians to See that Our Joy is Rooted in Our Hope!
What this Means for You and Me is that even when Things Go Really Bad Those Things Will Not Rob US of OUR JOY…Because…Our JOY is Rooted in Our HOPE.
- Christians Set their Hearts on how Good it will be when our problems here will be left behind…And we will live in the Presence of Christ for Eternity.
- This is why Christians can Rejoice in Tribulation and Not just when they enjoy Health, Peace and Security. Tribulation drives US to the Roots of Joy…HOPE in Jesus!
- It is the Future Joy of Eternity that Lightens The Toughest Load of Today.
Tribulation is Unique in this list. Love, Joy, Hope, Patient Endurance are all things we experience or do. But Tribulation is something that is Done to Us or Happens to Us.
- Love, Joy, Hope, Patience are all Virtues—That Rise in the Soul by God’s Grace.
Tribulation is Not a Virtue…Tribulation is the normal experience of believers in life.
- We Share Some Tribulations with Unbelievers (like sickness, calamity and death)
- However…Some is Unique to Believers (like persecution for Christ’s sake).
But My Main Point here is that Tribulation is Normal and to Be Expected in this World.
Affliction is Where We Live. If you don’t live there now, you will. Learning that this is normal will be a great help as You go through Your Life’s Journey.
Romans 12:12 ends, “Be Constant in Prayer.” We Could Go On for the Entire Service on being Constant in Prayer…Let me to Suffice to say: By Prayer We will See and Savor the Greatness and Preciousness of Our Hope In God’s Grace!
Ephesians 1:18. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”
- We Need to Pray for Ourselves, Our Loved Ones and for the World, that God Would Reveal Himself to Each of Us!
Prayer Will Feed Your Joy…Joy will Sustain Your Endurance…Endurance will carry Your Love…And the Glory of Christ will Shine through Your Life At All Times.
VS 14-21: Is a Picture of what it Means to be Christlike Even During the Hard Times!
Rom 12:14–21 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: ‘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.’ 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
We may be Persecuted. We may have Enemies in this Life, There May Be People who Wish to Harm Us for One Reason or Another.
- However, Christ Calls Us to follow His Example and to Refuse to Curse them, to Repay their Evil, or to Take Revenge.
- We Let God Handle That…Instead, as Jesus said, We will Give Food and Water to Our Enemies in Acts of Kindness in Order to Overcome Evil with Good.
Vs 18 says, If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
- Q: How do Christians Live Together and in this evil World?
- Q: How should They Live as People Offering their Entire Lives in Sacrifice to God?
That’s the question Paul has been answering in Romans 12. Now Paul follows the command of the previous verse, which was to Always Act Honorably.
As believers, We should Live Peaceably with All People. Another way to read this command is, “Never let Yourself Be the Reason for an Un-Peaceful Relationship with Another Person.”
This is not a statement of total pacifism or complete apathy, however. Paul gives two clear conditions: “If Possible” and “So Far as it Depends on You.”
- This command recognizes that conflict is sometimes unavoidable.
- Some people are just not interested in making peace with us.
- There is always an appropriate time and place to disagree, to dispute, or even to fight.
SO…What does it Require to Live this Way? For one, of course, we must be willing to admit our wrongs, to apologize, to make things right, and to forgive.
This is where the idea of “so far as it depends on you” comes into play. Our own ego, pride, desires, and prejudices should Never Get in the Way of Living Peaceably with Others.
- First and foremost, that means We ought Not do “Wrong” things to or Towards other People.
Not All Conflict is Related to Wrongdoing, However. Sometimes, it’s Simply a Question of Two Sides who Disagree about an Issue with No Absolute Answer.
- In those cases, Maintaining the Peace may Require Us to be Willing to Yield, to be Moved, on an Issue We Care About.
The Bible is Clear, However, that on Matters of Bedrock Conviction, We Must Take Our Stand with Grace, Mercy, and Integrity
- Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
When making “Peace” is Only Possible By Compromising the Truth, or Gods Commands then Peace is Simply Not Possible, and the Choice No Longer Depends on Us. (Acts 5:28,29)
NOTE: As I see the World Changing in America…An Un-Compromising Stance might Result in Our Own Suffering or Persecution. Which Brings Me to This Weeks POINT…
POINT: Tribulation Drives US to the Roots of Joy…Because Our HOPE is in Jesus Alone!
CLOSE: VS-1 Set the Point on What God Expects of You and Me…He says, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.
- TRUTH: Only When We Become A Living Sacrifice Will We Please God! Only When We Become a Living Sacrifice Will The World See Jesus in US!
When We Choose to Crawl Up On the Alter and Become a Living, Breathing Sacrifice…then No Matter What God Allows to Come into Our Lives…We Will Choose to Worship Him!
We see Paul in chains in Prison…Beaten…Yet Praising God…This Can Only Happen as We Allow God to Transform Our Minds, Our Hearts and Our WILL.
The Word of God, Ministered in Your Heart by the Holy Spirit, is the Only Power on Earth that Can Transform You from Worldliness to True Spirituality.
- Through Gods Word we will be made “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16, ).
The result is that we will be “able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2b). It is the will of God for every believer to be a living sacrifice for Jesus Christ.