Sunday, November 28, 2010
Romans Chapter 12
- A living sacrifice. The problem with a living sacrifice... is that you can crawl off the altar... ha ha.
- But because of Christ's sacrifice for us, and because we should be thankful and grateful to Him for that sacrifice, we should make ourselves a living sacrifice. This is a daily laying aside of our own desires to follow Him, putting all our energy and resources at His disposal and trusting Him to guide us. We should do this out of gratitude that our sins have been forgiven.
- True worship. To be an acceptable sacrifice to God. To offer your life up to be a willing vessel.
- In doing all of this, don't copy the world around you. Customs, behaviors... we should be a separate people. We should be transformed into a new creature through Christ. But how can you be transformed into something new? You were made this way were you not? God created you this way... well... when God changes you, he changes the way you think, the way you perceive the world.
- Through this process, we will begin to know what God's will is for our lives. When our thoughts become His thoughts, we start to desire His will for our lives.
-footnote- “God has good, pleasing, and perfect plans for His children. He wants us to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honor and obey Him. Because He wants only what's best for us, and because He gave His Son to make our new life possible, we should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices for His service.”
- Psalm 51:10-19
- Hebrews 13:8-17
- Philippians 1:20-24
- Will you submit your life totally to God as a living sacrifice for Him? Will you let Him work in your life to bring new life into your heart? To make you a new creation through Him?
-Paul gives another warning against becoming prideful in our walk. A warning to not think of yourself as better than anyone else.
- He stresses that we are not to think of ourselves as better than we are and that we need to be honest in our self-evaluations. We should measure ourselves, not by our works, but by our God-given faith.
- James 4:11-17
- Isaiah 26:4-8
- Proverbs 8:10-14
- Just as our body as many parts and special functions, so the body of Christ has many parts and special functions. We are all parts of one and we all belong together.
- God has given us different gifts for doing things well so that not any one person has the responsibility of all things. This way, not only is the work spread out, but also, we, as created social creatures, get to work together to accomplish the mission. We all work side by side with one another to achieve a goal, therefore, we should all use our gifts to the best of our ability in order to further the purpose of the Good News.
- Our gifts are our responsibility. We are responsible for not only acting on those gifts, but acting to the best of our ability and then some.
- So regardless of your gift, whether it be teaching, preaching, music, or cleaning... (yes service counts as a gift... Some of us just weren't cut out to be servants... others of us excel at it...), Do it well and do it fully for the glory of God. There is no higher place in God's kingdom than to be in His will for your life. If God has called you to be a janitor, then be the best janitor you can be for his glory. My dad used to be a janitor at our high school and his nickname was the Jesus Janitor. Whatever our role in life, we can let God shine out if we do our job as a service for God and not man. If God calls you to be a stay at home mom, know that God has a calling not only for you but for that tender mind you are molding. Life is not passing you by, but rather you are doing a great work for God. If you are called to any job, know that whatever we do, we should do that job as unto the Lord so as not to bring a reproach to Him and let His love shine through us to those around.
- Ephesians 4:1-16
- I Corinthians 12:4-31, 13:1-13
- I Peter 4:8-11
- What is/are your gift(s)?
- In what way can you use your gift(s) for the furthering of the kingdom?
- Are you working in your gift to the best of your ability and with enthusiasm?
- Paul gives a list of basic instructions:
- Love others. Genuinely. Don't pretend. Really love them. Have compassion. Love requires concentration and effort... it is not an off-hand event.
- What does it mean to REALLY love another person? How can you take steps to love your neighbor? Your friend? Your enemy? A stranger?
- Hate what is wrong. Even if it's socially acceptable. Even if your neighbor thinks it's ok. Even in your family thinks it's ok.
- Take delight in honoring one another. Be courteous. Be nice. And be happy about it. Ha ha. Don't try and be polite “just because you have to” when in your heart politeness doesn't exist. Footnote- “As Christians, we honor people because they have been created in god's image, because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and because they have a unique contribution to make to Christ's church.
- Never be lazy. There is never a dull moment with God. Work is never lacking. Serve God enthusiastically and always work for the furthering of the kingdom.
- Rejoice in our confident hope. Our hope is in Christ. We have hope like none other. Rejoice in it! Free yourself from worry and stress. Forget what's going on in THIS world. What's going on in God's world? Where does your hope lie? God never fails... are you depending on that?
- Be patient in trouble. Oops. That's a hard one. When the world is crumbling to be able to let God handle it and not worry about it? Yeah ok... ha ha. Do you think God's big enough to handle your life? Do you think He can handle all the things that seemingly go wrong on a daily basis? Will you be patient and let Him reveal His plan for you in all the struggles?
- Keep praying. Pray unceasingly. Pray when things are bad, good, rough, tough... pray when you're happy, or when you're sad... That is our communication with God. Consider Him a spouse... if you stopped talking to your spouse... they wouldn't be so happy with you... and the relationship would suffer... share your life with God. Prayer doesn't always have to be a request...
- Be ready to help God's people. When someone's in need, reach out.
- Practice hospitality. Reach out in everyday life. Footnote- “hospitality focuses on guests' needs, such as a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or just acceptance.”
- Bless those who persecute you. Ouch. Don't curse them. Pray that God will bless them. Wait... this is worse than praying for them... we have to pray that they'll be BLESSED???? I sometimes wonder if this is for their benefit at all... When you have to let go of bitterness and anger enough to pray for someone... let alone pray that they'll be blessed in all their endeavors etc... YOUR heart has to change. You can't pray blessings on someone you're holding bitterness against... and I think sometimes... when we're bitter or angry and we pray for those who have been the cause of those feelings... God uses that somehow as part of the healing process.
- When those around you are happy, be happy with them! Share with them! When they're sad, cry with them. Sharing in each other's joy and sorrow is a way to not only grow closer to one another, but also a way to support and grow with each other. Live in harmony with each other. Learn to get along with each other. Take the goods and the bads with a grain of salt... Learn to accept the oddities of personalities and accept them as they are.
- Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. : ) This was important in the time period written because of the caste systems and so on... but I think even today there is a point... don't hold yourself so high that you can't go work wherever God wants you to. You never know where God may call you to work for His kingdom... never think you can't go because of who you're going to be witnessing to. Regardless of whether or not you think you're higher or lower than they.
- And NEVER think you know all there is to know. Don't ever think that you have learned all you can or will... there is always more to learn... and there is always someone who knows more than you do. Ha ha. Always be willing to learn something new and always take what you learn into account. Don't reject good criticism... especially when you ask for it... ha ha
- Never return evil with evil. Turn the other cheek. If someone hits you... don't hit back. Take it and don't retaliate... if you retaliate in the same manner and in the same anger in which they have acted... then you are no better than they.
- Do things in such a way that you always show that you are honorable. Be a man or woman of your word. Don't take advantage of someone else.
- Do all these things so that you can live in peace with everyone. Don't add to the drama. Don't try and pick a fight. Don't agitate things. Walk in Christ. Be calm. Show love.
- Never take revenge. That is God's department. We are not to be vengeful people. It speaks of a righteous anger... I don't think any of us have that... our anger is usually out of frustration... I doubt we are righteous at those moments...
- Instead of revenge... if your enemies are hungry, feed them. Thirsty, give them a drink. In doing so, you will be heart-healed as we talked about earlier... and they will just be shamed. If you turn to an enemy and show kindness... even a small kind of kindness... it effects their hearts, your heart, as well as the perception others have of you... and the more you can show Christ to the world, the better...
- footnote- “forgiveness involves both attitudes and actions. If you find it difficult to FEEL forgiving toward someone who has hurt you, try responding with kind actions. If appropriate, tell this person that you would like to heal your relationship. Lend a helping hand. Send him or her a gift. Smile at him or her. Many times you will discover that right actions lead to right feelings.” (Sometimes the person who is changed is you!)
- Do you know someone you need to forgive? Something that's happened that you need to forgive them for? Recent or long ago? Will you ask God to help you release those feelings?
- Don't let evil conquer you. Don't even let it have a foothold... instead, conquer evil by doing good.
-footnote for 17-21- “These verses summarize the core of Christian living. If we love someone the way Christ loves us, we will be willing to forgive. If we have experienced God's grace, we will want to pass it on to others. And remember, grace is UNDESERVED favor. By giving an enemy a drink, we're not excusing his misdeeds. We're recognizing him, forgiving him, and loving him in spite of his sins—just as Christ did for us.”
- Hebrews 12:14-17, 13:1-9
- Colossians 2:6-15, 3:1-17
- Philippians 1:9-11, 2:1-18, 4:4-9
- Ephesians 4:17-32, 5:1-33, 6:1-9
- Galatians 5:13-26, 6:1-10
- I Corinthians 5:6-13, 6:1-20
- I Thessalonians 4:1-12
- II Peter 1:5-11
- I John 3:11-24, 4:7-21