Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Romans 12 Bible Study Preview

Here is the text of Romans 12 with some thoughts to consider. The focus is application of the doctrine from Romans 1-11. Specifically here, we learn how to relate to ourselves, our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, and people of the world (not-yet-Christians). We will meet to discuss this chapter on Tuesday, August 8, at the Weilage's or Daniel's in White Blossom (Springhurst / east end).

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual [or reasonable] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer 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. 3For 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 measure of faith God has given you.

Every aspect of the Christian lifestyle is based on God’s mercy. This holy living that we strive for as a result of God’s mercy is our primary act of worshipping God. Right living is worship. Read Romans 15:8-9 for comparison.

"Do not conform" and "Be transformed" are two commands that work together for the renewing of our mind. Scroll down a couple blog entries and read my post on Romans 12:2 and TV. Consider that the word "amuse" really just means "don't think." That's the opposite of what Paul is telling us to do. Some time in the next week, when you really want to veg-out in front of the TV, read Genesis 45, or Joshua 5 and 6, or Isaiah 46, or Philippians 2, or Hebrews 10. Just pick a chapter that's not where you are currently reading. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Why? So you will be able to discern the will of God in any situation!

Now that Paul has told us to have a Biblical Worldview, he moves on in verse 3 to tell us to live out our Biblical Worldviews. From Romans 9-11, we've seen that a misunderstanding of grace and mercy leads to pride and arrogance. Be humbled according to the measure of faith that God has granted you.

4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his [or in greement with the] faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

The communion of saints is a reality. We are all parts of the same body, and everything we do should be for the beenfit of the body. Consider the 7 spiritual gifts that Paul lists here. What do they mean to you? Do you have any of them?

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position [or be willing to do meial work]. Do not be conceited.

We get 21 exhortations in this passage. Paul is describing the faithful Christian who is living Coram Deo. Spend some time thinking about each of these 21 commands. Pray that God would work them in you.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is Mine to avenge; I will repay" [Deuteronomy 32:35
], says the Lord. 20On 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" [Proverbs 25:21-22]. 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We get a few more exhortations here. The focus is on living humblyand lovingly, since we have been shown God's love and mercy out of His grace alone and not based on anything we have done. Matthew 7:12 says, "Do to others what you would have them do to you." That Proverbs 25 quote may lead you to think that you are getting revenge by loving your enemy. Try to avoid that mentality. Read Proverbs 24:17-18. Finally, how has Christ overcome your evil with good?

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