Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

Understanding Repentance

Posted by Chardon in Romans 12

Understanding Repentance

Romans 12:1-2, Acts 2:38

INTRO:

Good morning.   We have had a few lessons on worship to God and how it is the manifestation of our personal relationship with God that comes from our heart.   Today I would like to look at something related yet not discussed much except in broad terms.   It is a very important subject that I fear some members of the body of Christ and people out in the world may not understand very well; what is repentance.

 

I want to encourage you to take out your Bibles and look at the scriptures I mention.  If you have any questions about anything I say, I’ll be glad to talk to you about it.  If I’m wrong, I will stand corrected.

 

The very first scripture we're going to look at is one you're all familiar with Acts 2:38 – “Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”.

I imagine most of you could probably quote this verse very easily but notice the first word is that Peter uses.   He says; “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”.  

 

Repentance is an integral part of the Christian life.  You cannot be saved without it.  You cannot be a child of God without it.  Yet, I fear sometimes people view Christianity as baptism alone.  I've been baptized therefore I'm saved.  Repentance is a key part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Over in Acts 3:19 he says; “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,”   We need to realize that repentance is a conversion.   I feel sometimes that people are convinced about who Jesus is, are convinced of baptism for remission of sins, and yet they're not converted.   Repentance involves a conversion of your life.

 

Continuing over in Luke 13:5 it says; “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”   Without repentance we're going to be lost.

 

Finally, let’s look at Romans 12:1-2 because I think this is the best text, in the entire Bible that defines what repentance actually is.  “1.  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  2.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

 

If you ask people generally what repentance is, this is what you may hear.  “Repentance is when you stop doing something that's wrong”.    If you're sinning, you stop doing that, you repent.   Indeed, that's part of it, but the mistake people make when it comes to what repentance is, they think that's all of it.   They think repentance is to stop doing something that is wrong and that’s it.  

 

What we're going to do today is to look at the full magnitude of repentance and come to understand what God expects all of us, as Christians, to do.   This concept of repentance as “to stop doing what is wrong”, leads us to viewing repentance as a point action.   The idea that if I do something wrong, there is a point in time I repent, and I stop doing it.   We think of repentance as points in time.   If we think of it that way, we've have incomplete comprehension of what God expects of us as His children.

 

Our first steps in the start of our Christian life are fairly easy.  It is easy to come to the realization that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.   That is easy to confess when we understand it.  Being baptized is pretty easy.  It's quite easy to be immersed in water.

All of that is relatively easy to do.   The real struggle, the real battle in our lives is repentance.    We need to understand what it is and what it involves.

 

We are again going to look at Romans 12:1-2.   This is the text around which we will build the sermon this morning, taking it literally a phrase at a time and breaking it down, studying it and digesting it so we can come to understand exactly what it is that God has commanded us when He tells us to repent.

 

  1. Keep your Bibles open to as we continue here. Romans 12:1-2 – “1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.    And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

    1. The first thing we see here in verse 1 is that we are expected to present our bodies as “a living sacrifice” which Paul then tells us “is your reasonable service”.  

      1. I know we studied this last fall, but it is something that we should look at from time to time as part of testing our understanding. I have a question for you.  How much of our life does God expect us to give as a sacrifice?  50 percent?  How about 60 percent and you keep 40.  Perhaps 90 percent and you keep 10 percent?   Of course not.  God expects us to give all our self as a living sacrifice.
      2. What about our life? Over how much of our life, does He expect us to give all of our self?   Some of the time?  On Sundays?  Certainly not.   God expects us to give our self as a living sacrifice all our life.
      3. All your life, every day and every moment. Right there, right at the very beginning, we can start to understand repentance is not point action. 
      4. It's not a moment here and a moment there when we stumble. It is part of our entire life, every moment of our life.   Repentance is a continual process.
    2. Over Galatians 2:20 look at how Paul puts it here; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;”
      1. What Paul is describing is an aspect of repentance to where it's no longer I who live, but who is it that’s living? He says that Christ lives in me. How much do you think Paul sacrificed of himself?   All of himself.   It is no longer Paul who lives at all.  
      2. He gave himself over totally to the will of God to where Christ was living in him, and then he says; “and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, He gave himself over totally to the will of God to where Christ was living in him, and then he says the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”   
    3. Looking again at Galatians 2:20 where it says; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live”, let’s compare that with Romans 6:6 – “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him,…”
      1. We see the same phrases. I have been crucified with Christ.  Our old man was crucified with Him.
      2. The idea is putting to death the old man, that is; putting to death the way we were. Putting to death our will—so that His will then becomes - not something in our life, but everything in our life.   Christianity is not part of our life.  Christianity is our life.
      3. It is an all-consuming relationship with our God, a total giving up of self, a total sacrifice of my self and my will, to where my old man has been crucified with Him.
    4. How about what Jesus says to His disciples in Matthew 16:24 – “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
      1. Consider; how easy is it to deny yourself? Oh, it’s not easy.   I find there are times I want to go this way, but God's word says Tom, you go that way. 
      2. How often is the battle to deny yourself present within you? It's a non-stop battle, isn’t it?   Every moment we must suppress self, the desire to go our way, and the desire to do what we want to do.
      3. Then when we deny our self, He says we are to take up our cross and follow him. We don't go the way we want to go - we go the way He wants us to go.   We follow him.
    5. Continue in Matthew 16:25 – “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” We realize what Jesus is saying is the same thing as Romans 12:1 isn’t it?
      1. Giving yourself as a living sacrifice is the denial of self. Losing your life and again how much of it?  All of it.  How often?  All the time.
      2. If our desire is to save this life, we will lose our one in Christ but if we lose this life and become one with God’s will, we will find our eternal life with Him.
    6. Before we go any further, do we understand the magnitude of what's involved in repentance?
      1. When we are thinking – It is pointed out we did something wrong, we stopped doing it, we did something wrong, we stopped doing it… we’re totally missing it.
      2. It's all of your being, all the time, serving, living by faith, walking by faith, conforming to Christ. It's a non-stop battle.   It is a nonstop process.  It doesn't end this side of eternity.
      3. Do we see it's linear? It's a continual process.
      4. When we grasp that we are continually trying to suppress self and deny self, then we will do His will. When we surrender of our life to do His will, then we're starting to understand the magnitude of what repentance really is.
    7. Let's get back now to verse 2 of Romans 12 – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed”.
      1. I remember my mother had Jell-O molds. We still have some hanging in the kitchen.  She would take Jell-O, pour it into the mold and put it in the refrigerator. When it was set she took it out of the refrigerator, removed the mold, and the Jell-O had solidified into the shape of the mold.

        1. That's what it means to conform, to become like, to become conformed to. We're not to be conformed to the world and to become like the world.
        2. But wait, doesn’t society want us to confirm? Might we become outcast if we do not conform?  From an early age we learn that by being different from others we become targets.   Those around us try by many methods to make us fit the mold.   All that is true, so we should see this is going to take some effort.
      2. Look at the next part, we are supposed to be transformed. A transformation is taking place in our lives.  
        1. I have a question for you. How often is the transformation?  You already know the answer by now.  The transformation is a continual process.
        2. Repentance is a continual process of being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
        3. By the way don’t let these two verbs throw you. The verb “conform” caries the concept of being forced into an appearance by pressure from the outside, (the inside is not changed) while “transform” has the concept of being changed from the inside.
        4. We conform to the image of Christ (that is people see Christ when they look at us) because we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
        5. Over in Romans 8:29 the writer says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,”.  In other words, expected to look like Jesus.   Now in chapter 12 we learn this is through transformation.   The transformation process then is - we're conformed to the image of Christ by a changed life.   We recall Paul said, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. 
        6. Our objective should be to be transformed, changed on the inside, so when people look at us what they see is Christ and God shining through us.
      3. Colossians 3:10 – “I’ve have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,” Who is He that created?   Colossians 1:15-16 – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.    For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”    We're being renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created us.   
        1. We're trying to be like Jesus. That's what Christianity is isn’t it.
        2. We're striving to be more and more like Jesus today than we were yesterday. Then the next day guess what?   We’re trying to be more like Jesus than we were the day before and more like Jesus the next day and so on.   We understand the transformation process is linear and continual.
  • In Colossians 3:5-10 – we read at verse 5; “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

    1. Remember we learned before about putting to death the old man. Here’s that phrase again.   You put to death your members which are on the earth.

      1. This is what we think about sometimes when we think about repentance. Stopping doing these things.
      2. If you're involved in fornication you put it off. If you're involved in covetousness you put it off.   Whatever kind of sin it is you're involved in you put that off.
      3. Now verse 8 and 9 continues; “But now you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.   Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,”   Here again it continues with putting off.
      4. Ephesians 4:22 says; “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” You see these verses put off, put off, put off.   Certainly, one might be thinking from this, that all repentance is—is putting the things off that we're doing that are wrong.   That's not all of it.
    2. In Colossians 3:10 we see; “and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,” Wait, this is not repentance we might think.   Isn’t repentance stopping and no longer doing something is wrong?   This is putting on not putting off. 
      1. This is another part of repentance. Repentance is stopping, putting off the old man, then turning and going in a different direction.   There's a whole other lifestyle that you are to put on.
      2. The magnitude of what is involved in repentance is not just stopping what is wrong, putting off the old man, but you put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according the image of Him who created us.
      3. In Ephesians 4:24 he says; “…you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.”  In Romans 13:14 he says; “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”   You put on the new man.  You put on Christ.
      4. The putting on of Christ is a major aspect of repentance. It's not enough just to stop doing things that are sinful and wrong.   There's a whole other aspect of it and that is putting on the new man.   Putting on Christ.   Striving to be more and more like Christ every day of our life.
    3. When you obey the gospel, we read earlier in Acts 2:38, it says; repent and be baptized. OK, that's putting to death the old man and putting on the new man.   When we do that, have we attained to the fullness of Christ?      We are a babe in Christ, we are at the beginning.   Yes, we repented but we're at the beginning of the process of repentance and repentance continues for the rest of our life.
      1. It is not just the moments when we blow it and do something that is wrong. It is the process that continues for the rest of our life of trying to become more and more like Jesus every day.  Trying to put on Christ, to be stronger and more like Christ every day.   It is a linear process, a transformation, from the inside out, changing us all the time to be more like Jesus, shining more brightly, letting Christ be seen in us.
      2. What is involved, what do we do? Let’s look first in Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”   This says we’re to try to get to where we have the mercy of Christ, the kindness of Christ, the humility of Christ, the meekness of Christ, and  the long suffering of Christ.
        1. I wonder; is there anybody here this morning that has attained the fullness of the statue of Christ when it comes to humility? I mean some of us may be strong, we may have these attributes in us in abundance, but even if they're in us and abounding, don’t we still have a long way to go?
        2. It's a never-ending journey, a never-ending process, transformation, where we strive to be more like Jesus today than we were yesterday.
      3. Verse 13 of Colossians 3 says; “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” We are to forgive the way Christ forgives and then in verse 14 “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”   This is how we put on Christ, we put on His attributes.   We are putting on the example of Jesus and all the Christian attributes of Christ and striving to grow in them.  That growing process is a continual process of transformation.   It's not just we stop doing what's wrong.  We should be cool with that because it is a process of love. 
    4. Let's go back to Romans 12:2 – “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (now the next phrase)  by the renewing of your mind” .   The transformation process we've been talking about is in the mind, and it is with the renewing of the mind, the changing of the mind, the changing of the heart, that ultimately is the changing of the life.
      1. We know everything we do in life is controlled by our brain, our mind. Everything starts here in the mind.  Repentance starts in the mind.   It starts there, the transforming and the changing of your heart, the renewing of the mind that leads to the changing of the life.

        1. Going over to Colossians 3:10 – “and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,” Here the text says we're being renewed in knowledge accord the image of Him who created us.
        2. Going back to Ephesians 4:23 it says; “and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,”.  Are we seeing the pattern?  The renewing process is in the mind.  It is by knowledge.
      2. Galatians 5:16 – “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” How do we do this?  Verse 17; “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”  This verse shows the battle that we're facing.  
        1. There are the desires of the flesh and then there's the desire to do right, the flesh and the spirit are contrary to one another. How is it I get to where I put off the desires of the flesh?   How is it that I can put off the old man?
        2. The text tells us the way it's done; it is by walking in the spirit. If we do that, we won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. 
      3. Romans 8:6 – “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” See the mind there again—spiritually minded versus carnally minded.   This is where we must change.
        1. It is where the work needs to be done-- in our mind and our heart. That's where the work's got to be done so that we will be more spiritually minded.
        2. How do we grow more spiritually minded and less carnally minded?
        3. Romans 8:13 – “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Sounds like Galatians, doesn't it? 
      4. Going back to Romans 8:13 he says, “by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” Galatians 5:16 “I say then walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  These two verses are teaching the same thing.  Walk in the Spirit.   This is how we repent.  We learn to walk in the spirit and when we walk in the spirit, live in the spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 
      5. Something else we should see is in Galatians 5:25 – “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” And in Galatians 3:11 it says; “The just shall live by faith.”  Living in the spirit and living by faith is saying the same thing.
        1. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says; “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Walk in the spirit, walk by faith is saying the same thing. 
        2. Putting it another way - if you live in the spirit you live by faith. If you walk in the spirit you walk by faith.   
        3. Faith is what drives repentance. We repent by faith.  Faith is what drives the transformation process.
        4. Faith is what you live by. Do we understand living by something is not momentary?   It is a process of life, every moment of our life. 
      6. If you take a step is it walking? It is a step.   Walking is a process.   We are talking about living.  When you live by faith you are living by the spirit.   When you walk by faith you are walking by the spirit.  This is the key to how it is that we repent, and it must be our faith that is driving it.   Faith is the fuel that drives the engine in the Christian’s life.  “…it is no longer I but Christ who lives in me.”  
      7. We read a few minutes ago from Galatians 2:20 where Paul says; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;” Now let’s look at the rest of the verse; “and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  We live, we walk by faith.  We live by faith to where all of our life, everything we say, everything we do, is totally controlled by our faith.   That is how to repent.  Without faith you can not accomplish it.
    5. The song says, “When for Stronger Faith I Seek”. We need to start at the beginning.  We need to go back to who is Jesus.   What He did for us and understand that He really is the Christ, the Son of God.   He really loves us.  He really died for us.  He really rose from the dead.   
      1. We need to do this because it is our faith that is going to be controlling our life. Faith is linear.  Walking is linear.   Repentance is linear because it is a process and the work of our faith.   It is the actions and the result of faith. 
      2. Ephesians 3:16 tells us “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,” God will strengthen us in the inner man.
      3. Ephesians 3:17 says; “that Christ may dwell in your hearts (how?) through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”
      4. Look at this. He is strengthening us with His spirit in the inner man.   Paul talks about Christ dwelling in your heart.  It's in the inner man.   It's in your heart.  It's the changing of the mind.   What changes your mind is faith.   What changes your heart is faith.  What changes your life—is faith.
        1. There may have been a time in your life where you totally gave yourself over to the desires of the flesh. If you wanted to do it, you just did it because you wanted to regardless of how God feels about it.
        2. But when you become a Christian it's not your will anymore that matters. It is the will of the one who died for you.  It's the will of the Father that gave His Son for you.   It's the denial of yourself and then by faith doing His will.
      5. Keeping these things in mind, look with me at 1st John 5:4 – “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world our faith.” In our life how do we overcome sin?  How do we win the battle?  How do we repent?   How do we put off the old man?   How do we put on the new man?   How do we transform our self? -- By Faith.   This is the victory that overcomes the world—our faith.
      6. When people think about the Spirit unfortunately, they sometimes think you have to be zapped by the Spirit taking control of you. The way the spirit works, folks, is through the word.
        1. This word produces faith and this word gives us knowledge of God. To where you understand what Jesus is like, to where you understand what God is like, and what the will of God is for you in your life.
        2. That faith, produced through the word, that knowledge, that understanding, works in us to transform us, to guide us and give us the victory.

 

CONCLUSION:

Let’s look at the last phrase from Romans 12:2 – “…that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”   We discern the will of God.   We are proving and showing what the will of God is.  We give our self as a living sacrifice, we renew our mind, we change our heart, and we are changed by faith.   We understand this is true repentance, doing the will of God, not our will, and the only way we can do the will of God is to go to His word.  We must go to His word and find out what His will is.

Colossians 3:10 told us “you've put on the new man who is renewed (notice the phrase) renewed in knowledge.”  Not the way we feel, what we like, how we want it to be—the renewing process is done with the knowledge of His will.

Ephesians 4:20-21 tells us “but you have not so learned Christ if indeed you have heard him and have been taught by him as the truth is in Jesus.”  “Learned Christ”, that’s an interesting phrase, isn’t it?   What you're trying to learn is what Christ is like, and then; striving to be transformed, to be converted, to be changing continually into, the image of Jesus Christ, the example of Christ.  Paul says we've been taught by Him as the truth is in Jesus.   How are we taught by Him?   We are taught by the truth, by the word of God.   This is his will.  

 

Repentance is not just stopping doing what’s wrong.  That is the first part, but repentance is a conversion.  It is stopping and putting off the old man and all the sins you're involved in, then you turn and go in another direction for the rest of your life.

As you're walking by faith if you give into temptation and you sin, do you know what you do?  You turn from it.   You stop and you ask God's forgiveness, then you turn from that path and you keep going by faith.   That's Christianity. 

 

That's then is repentance, the continual process of going forward, walking forward, running forward, and living by faith, walking by faith, doing the will of God — by faith.   As we do the will of God by faith, we are clay in the potter's hand, and we're being conformed and transformed to where we're more like Jesus every day.   It is a transformation process that is never ending; we continue to grow toward our goal of being with our Lord.  

 

Do not limit your understanding of God’s word to just the “thou shalt nots”.    If we are to look like Jesus remember that Jesus teaches more then just what not to do.  We need to be clear on how big repentance is because that is what the Lord expects of us.   Repentance is a battle to deny our self, to throw off our will and the pride of life to the point where it's the will of God we are submitting to.   Then in our life we're going to take up our cross and follow His will -- by faith.

 

There may be someone here who is not a Christian this morning but you have come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and you are willing to confess that faith, we'll be glad to baptize you for the remission of your sins.   Understand that repentance and the baptism are both driven by faith.  You confess your faith, you repent by faith, you're baptized by faith, and then you live and walk by faith.

 

If you’re a child of God and you have become entangled in sin, you’ve quit running the race.   Get up, get untangled, repent, take the sins to God, ask forgiveness of them, and get back into the living, the walking by faith and doing His will in your life, striving to be more like God and Christ each day.  We'll pray for you.   We'll pray with you.  We’ll do the very best we can as your brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage you.

 

If you are subject to the gospel call in any way let us know while we stand and sing the song selected.

 

Invitation song: ???

Reference sermon by: Wayne Fancher

Using Our Gifts - Part 3

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Romans 12

Using Our Gifts, Part 3

Romans 12:3-8

This morning I would like to continue in our study of this chapter beginning at verse three and continuing through verse 8.

Annie Johnson Flint lived between 1866 and 1932. She suffered from early onset arthritis yet she wrote many beautiful poems. With a pen pushed through bent fingers and held by swollen joints she wrote without any thought that it might be an avenue of ministry, or that it would bring her returns that might help in her support. Her verses provided a solace for her in the long hours of suffering. Then she began making hand-lettered cards and gift books, and decorated some of her own verses. Her life was beset by many problems and suffering. I would recommend you read about her sometime. In considering her life it brings again the question to mind; “Why do good people sometimes suffer?” Of the many poems she wrote I want to mention one titled; The World’s Bible, of which I will read just the first few verses.

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today;
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in His way;
He has no tongue but our tongues to tell men how He died;
He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible the careless world will read;
We are the sinner's gospel, we are the scoffer's creed;
We are the Lord's last message, given in deed and word;
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy with other work than His?
What if our feet are walking where sin's allurement is?
What if our tongues are speaking of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him and hasten His return?

I would suggest that is a basic truth of the passages that we've been studying in Romans Chapter 12 concerning offering our bodies as spiritual sacrifices to God. God has given us the responsibility to do the work. Not only has He given us responsibility but He has given us the tools and functions as well.  

This morning we're going to talk about the gifts God has given us to do His work. Christ has no hands but our hands. He has no feet but our feet. He instructs us to use what we have, to do what God has given us to do.

Turn to Romans chapter 12 if you are not already there. Let’s read starting in verse three again the passage we've been studying.
Romans 12:3-8 – “3. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5. so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7. or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8. he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

We’ve looked at these passages in past weeks to try to understand what our responsibility is in terms of service. What serving God is all about. We found as we studied earlier that the attitude of service is humility. That we must not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but to be always willing to put the other person above ourselves.

 

Using Our Gifts - Part 2

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Romans 12

Using Our Gifts, Part 2

Romans 12:3-8

Good morning.   Today we are going to continue to look at Romans 12.  This morning I would like to continue in our study of this chapter beginning at verse three and continuing through verse 8.   Please turn there with me now.

Romans 12:3-8 – “3. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5. so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7. or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8. he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

In our last lesson we looked closely at the first part of these verses and talked about Paul’s admonition to humility. We cannot think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. True humility is the environment for serving one another and for serving God. That was the lesson last week, to have a proper attitude for service.

In the continuation of our study I want to look two other aspects of service that are contained in these verses.  First is the proper relationship of serving.  God has placed us in a relationship with Him and with one another. That's the perfect environment in which we can serve Him and each other.   Second we will look at the activity of serving.    Paul gives us a list here that talks about different activities which are to be involved in serving one another and serving God.   These activities flow from the attitude and the relationship that he just discussed.

Using Our Gifts - Part 1

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Romans 12

Using Our Gifts, Part 1

Romans 12:3-8

We’ve already talked about presenting ourselves as living sacrifices to God.   We talked about not being conformed to this world, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds.   We saw that there is no middle ground, if we do not become transformed by the renewing of our minds we will be conformed to the world.   This morning I would like to continue in our study of this chapter beginning at verse three and continuing through verse 8.   Please turn there with me now.

Romans 12:3-8 – “3. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5. so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7. or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8. he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”

It has been said that even the brightest people use only about 11% of their brains capacity.   When I think about that particular statistic I realize how many use much less than that!   It makes one wonder, what kind of place would this world be if we all used more of our brain?   What if we used 100%?   Certainly it would be a different world.

I wondered, if we get by as well as we do by using only this small portion, what if we could access all there is to access in the human mind and put it to use?   Then I thought about that in terms of God’s word as well.   If we do as well as we do using only small portions of the resources that God has placed before us, (what Paul describes here as gifts), what could we do if we used more of what He has given us?   What would it be like if we would use, to the full extent, the gifts that God has given us as individuals?   I strongly suspect that things would be different.

Contributing to the Needs of the Saints

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Romans 12

Contributing to the Needs of the Saints
Romans 12:9-13

The text we have been studying the past few weeks is Romans 12:9-13 and let me just read that to get us started. “9. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11. not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12. rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13. distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” [NKJV] The NAS words verse 13 as: contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

We've seen as we have read these passages that they contain several short, very concise admonitions.  These can be viewed individually and we can also consider them in the larger context of Romans Chapter 12.  They should also be considered in the even larger context of the first eleven chapters of Romans that led up to the statements.  I would recommend as we conclude our look that we should resolve, each of us, to do just that. With these admonitions in mind, take the time to study the pervious chapters of Romans.

In addition it might be of benefit to look at what Paul commands here both individually and as they are linked together.  Paul was pleading with them on the basis of the things that he said in the very beginning of the chapter. In verses 1 and 2 he beseeched them by the mercies of God that they be not conformed to the world but they be transformed by the renewing of their mind. In that call for a transformation Paul was being comprehensive.

Hope - Tribulation - Prayer

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Romans 12

Hope, Tribulation, Prayer  

Romans 12:10-13

We are continuing in our study in the book of Romans chapter 12. We looked at verse 9 and examined what love is and what hypocrisy is.   We saw that love is biblically described in terms of activities, actions, unlike the common view in the world today as a feeling.   We saw that hypocrisy was in direct opposition to love. I would like us to now read Romans 12:10-13 – “10. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11. not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12. rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13. distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” 

The apostle says; “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.”  Three phrases.  These three phrases are part of a series of admonitions.   These three phrases contain words that often occur in scripture, rejoice, hope, patience, tribulation, steadfastness, and prayer.   There is a lesson in each one of these words; of what rejoicing means, what hope is and what patience is, what tribulation means to us.

In the larger context of Romans chapter 12 these three commands are vital ingredients to a spiritual life.   To develop spirituality, we need to know how we obey these commandments and what they mean to us in our spiritual growth.

Bless and Curse Not

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Romans 12

Bless and Curse Not
Romans 12:14

In our study of Romans 12 so far we have given a lot of attention the various commands and admonitions that are given with a very real sense of imperativeness for the Christian.   These are things that make up spirituality and none of them are optional, there are none of these commands that Paul presents in this chapter that we can simply ignore.

Paul is talking about being transformed, about a renewal, not only outwardly in the use of our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, but also as a renewing of our minds.  A revision in the way we use our mind both in the way we view the world and our understanding of the Creator.   These verses that follow this admonition are not simply disconnected commands.  They provide an overall character description of what the transformed person looks like, what the renewed person looks like, the Christian.

Look with me at Romans 12:14 – “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”    What Paul says here may very well be far more transforming for some of us then anything previous.   By that I mean, it is one of those attitudes and actions that is intensely difficult for us in the world in which we live. 

Practicing Hospitality

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Romans 12

Practicing Hospitality
Romans 12:9-13

There is a lot in Romans Chapter 12 to help us in our daily pursuit of being more spiritual.  We are to give ourselves as living sacrifices to God; we are to renew our minds that we might prove what is the perfect and acceptable will of God. 

Romans 12:9-13 – “9. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11. not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12. rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13. distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”

Paul concludes verse 13 by saying “be given to hospitality”.   He says practice hospitality.  What is hospitality?  How do I practice hospitality and how much of an impact does it make in the life of the Christian by doing what Paul commands here?  How can we know whether or not we are hospitable people?

Love Without Hypocrisy - Part 3

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Romans 12

Love Without Hypocrisy – Part 3
Romans 12:9-10

In our study of verse 9, where Paul says “Let love be without hypocrisy”, we looked at love and saw the biblical definition of love in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 and some other places.   We recognize that love is a vital part and maybe the most vital part of our relationship with God.    Not only that we love Him, but first and foremost that He loves us.   

We learned that it is love that makes everything meaningful and that the original language describes the facets of love with verbs, action words.   Love is not a feeling in biblical terms but activity.  

Let's turn our attention to the qualifying phrase of that first part of verse 9.   Paul says “Let love be without hypocrisy”.   The hypocrite is a common topic in the Bible. There are a lot of passages about hypocrisy and the place of the hypocrite.    Jesus spends a lot of time rebuking the religious leaders of his own day because of hypocrisy.

Let’s look at hypocrisy and define it from the standpoint of what the Bible says, then consider some applications of our own.    I will let you know right off that I am apprehensive when talking about hypocrisy because there's a tendency to deal with this subject from the standpoint of; that hypocrite out there somewhere.   That other person, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Scribes, the people that Jesus talked to in His own day, those are people that are beyond me.   I think there's a real tendency and perhaps temptation to talk about hypocrisy as something that doesn't apply personally.   I want to be very careful about that because that would be the most hypocritical thing that we could ever do, to talk about hypocrisy as though it could not possibly apply to us.

Love Without Hypocrisy - Part 2

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Romans 12

Love without Hypocrisy – Part 2 
Romans 12:9-10

Paul says “Let love be without hypocrisy”.   In part 1we looked at love in general and what the Bible teaches us about the nature of and the definition of love.  

The Bible has a very concrete use for the term love particularly in the examples of love. Contrast that with society today and even our language where we use love in a very general or abstract way.    We talk about a lot of different things that don't all have the same meaning.  We talk about loving a certain kind of food or loving our new house.  We love our puppy or our spouse, or our mother,… and we love God.  We use the same English word to describe all those things, all those connections yet those connections are not all the same.  

Those connections certainly don't carry all the same intensity nor do they describe in anyway the same activity.   In the practical language of the Bible though, when God calls us to love one another, it is based upon the love He has already expressed to us. Because of that there is a practical foundation for God's demand that we love one another and that we love Him in the same way that has already been clearly defined for us.

 

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