Study Notes From Romans 12

The Sacrificial Life

One of the skills of a good leader is to be able to set clear expectations.  It is essential that a leader be able to explain what is expected of others and teach them how to be successful. 

If I tell my gardener to trim the hedges.  And that’s all I say.  He might go and take one leaf off of the plant and say… “I trimmed the hedges.”

If I say show him how I want them to look when finished, then he will know what to do to meet my expectations.

If he has trimmed my hedges properly in the past, then he may understand what I mean by the command because he has learned my nature in the matter.

 

When Paul says:  I beseech you (urge, exhort) bretheren, by the mercies of God

Romans 12:1 . . . to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.

 

How wonderful it is that given such a huge directive, God takes the time to tell us how to achieve it.

The whole of the New Testament is full of commands and examples of what the living sacrifice is and how to master it.

In order to be living sacrifices we must:

1: Change The Mind / Heart

(Rom 12:2)  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

Phil 2:5   Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

We can’t have the selfish, lustful mind of man anymore.

 

(Rom 12:3)  For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith.

2: Change Your Relationship To Those Around You

 Satan has convinced those around us that the world revolves around each of them.  He has developed a narcissistic attitude and teaches in schools, the media, and even in many churches that “It’s all about you”

It isn’t

It’s all about Jesus! 

Our Creator knows that we need one another.  The creator of my body uses it to illustrate the Church.  Jesus’ body. 

 We NEED each other:  Satan want us to think we can do it alone…. So we will fail in weakness.

 

In verses 4-8 Paul tells us that we are all members of one body.  Many different skills, talents, energy levels, experience, etc.  He urges us to work as a single unit.  A single body.

The head can’t be fighting with the feet or the lungs.  All have to work toward the same purpose to survive.

6) We should focus on and use our particular gift.  Not look down on or berate those with less talent.  (counter productive)

(Rom 12:10)  In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another;

(Gal 5:13)  For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another.

(Gal 5:14)  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

(Mar 12:30)  and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.

(Mar 12:31)  The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

 Phil 2:3  . . . let each one esteem each other better than yourselves.

Philostorge’ (tenderly affectioned) Is only here in the New Testament. It seems like a conjunction of two types of love.  It is the definition of extending your family by your actions.

A Little about Love:

 Agape’ is the love that can be commanded.  It is the “inspite of “sacrificial, unconditional love that Jesus tells us to love one another.

 John 13:34  “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you.

Phileo and Storge’ are types of love which would normally be naturally occurring. 

 Phileo, the brotherly love is illustrated best by David and Jonathon. It occurs among the best of friends.  Each seeking the best for the other.

1 Sam 18:3  “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. . . . And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself”
Storge’  the type of love one might have for family or a spouse.  It is also naturally occurring.  It can grow.  It is the mark of brotherhood.  It might be illustrated by the relationship of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Philostorge becomes a commanded form of naturally occurring love.  Tenderly affectionate.   Paul is saying to take fellow Christians into your family and treat them as best friends should.

It is a blessing if a marriage contains two who can experience all four types of love.  Phileo, Storge’, eros, and Agape’

 Paul urges us to develop three types between us.  Phileo, Storge’, and Agape’

Our love to each other should be multidimensional.

3: Change your actions to complete 1 & 2

We have the power to change our behavior to comply with God’s will.  It is a decision we make and put into action.

 (Rom 12:11)  in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

I can only think of Eccl. 9:10.  Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

Those who do their best often glow brilliantly at work, school, sports, etc.

If we are not slothful in Bible study, prayer, and our service to others, then that living sacrifice will shine brightly in all we do.

(Rom 12:12)  rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in prayer;

(Rom 12:13)  communicating to the necessities of the saints; given to hospitality.

(Rom 12:14)  Bless them that persecute you; bless, and curse not.

(Rom 12:15)  Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep.

(Rom 12:17)  Render to no man evil for evil. Take thought for things honorable in the sight of all men.

(Rom 12:18)  If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.

(Rom 12:19)  Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord.

(Rom 12:20)  But if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.

(Rom 12:21)  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

To live the Sacrificial Life, we must:

1: Change The Mind / Heart

2: Change Your Relationship To Those Around You

3: Change your actions to complete 1 & 2

 

 

. . . What lies behind.

 

Keep moving forward

(Philippians 3:13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I notice that when I get into high gear spiritually,  the deceiver tries to remind me of my past.  He tries to make me regret and mope over those I could have taught. He reminds me of my sinful past.  He reminds me of my failures.

I don’t think Satan would bother if this method were not effective.  The more time I spend contemplating things I can’t fix, the less time I have to focus on spiritual growth and serving others.  Thankfully, as I have matured spiritually, I can bring myself quickly to remember the blood of Jesus and the great sacrifice that was made so I can be forgiven of those “human” moments.

Paul writes to Philippi that he (who persecuted God’s people, who held the coats of those who stoned Stephen) could forget those things and could press on without the anchor chain of guilt.

(Philippians 3:14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

If we are to grow, we need to put it all behind us.   Satan will do his best to drag us down in guilt.

Trust God to forgive.    Then Press on.

dm