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Romans 12 (2)

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Leading Bible Study Notes on (September 26, 2018)
Today we are only covering verses 1-8. Read vv 1-8 first.
NKJV
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.
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.
NIV
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
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.
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.

Quick recap

Paul exhaustively explained that we have all sinned, Jews and Gentiles alike in their different ways, with the law or without the law respectively. We all require salvation. Salvation comes from justification by faith (grace of God) and the gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God to salvation.
Now Paul followed-up by explaining to those Christians in the church of Rome from chapters 12-15 how to live this new life after receiving salvation by faith. That is to teach us how to live as a Christian, appropriate not only during his days of severe persecution but relevant to us as well, probably even more so in a politically correct society.
In it, he was also addressing to the need of unity amongst them similar to the letter he wrote to the 1 Corinthians. Do we have this problem in churches today?

Chapter 12-15 Outline

Chapter 12 - Christian Servant
Chapter 13 - Christian Citizenship
Chapter 14 - Christian Brothers dealing with various practices
Principle of Liberty (tolerance)
Principle of Love (care)
Examples of Christ (obedience)
Chapter 15 - Conclusion

Chapter 12 Outline

Believers are to dedicate themselves to God. (1, 2)To be humble, and faithfully to use their spiritual gifts, in their respective duties. (3-8)Exhortations to various duties. (9-16)And to peaceable conduct towards all men, with forbearance and benevolence. (17-21)
Re-read verses 1
NKJV
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.
NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Key words

Paul began with sacrifice - a living sacrifice.

bodies

The Greek word used here, sōma, refers to the entire person.

living sacrifice

This expression might indicate that believers are to continually offer themselves in service to God. It also could describe believers as dead to sin yet alive to God ().

holy

Indicates that the sacrifice is set apart for God. In the ot, such terminology is associated with worship in the tabernacle and temple (; ; ).

acceptable

reasonable

The Greek word used here, logikos, can mean “spiritual,” suggesting worship that involves the heart and mind in contrast to physical offerings and sacrifices. Alternatively, logikos could be translated as “reasonable” or “proper,” indicating worship that reflects a correct understanding of the gospel message and a rational response to it. It also might mean “true,” implying that worship is appropriate for those with a renewed mind ().

service

The Greek word used here, latreia, commonly refers to priestly duties in the temple (, ). Believers do not operate in a physical temple but are themselves God’s temple (). They offer themselves because God has made them a holy priesthood (, ).

Living Sacrifice

Question: What is a sacrifice in OT time?
Answer: Under the Old Covenant, God accepted the sacrifices of animals in the temple----- it’s a life paid for human sin. This is done once a year at the Passover.
Such a sacrifice is costly—but second-hand and dead.
But these were just a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
Question: When was the first sacrifice in the OT?
Answer: After man sinned, God made clothing to cover man’s sin. ()
Question: What are the purposes of OT sacrifice?
Answer: To pay for our sins; to remind us of our sinful nature; the need for our repentance and forgiveness from God; keeps us humble; to sanctify ourselves and be holy.
Question: What are the essentials of the sacrifice?
Answer: The best living 'clean' or 'acceptable' and perfect animal, with humility and a cheerful heart.
(NKJV)
[So let] each one [give] as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver..
Question: Is there a need for the sacrifice now?
Answer: Because of His ultimate, once-for-all-time sacrifice on the cross, the Old Testament sacrifices became obsolete and are no longer of any effect ().
,
NKJV
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Question: If Jesus already died for our sins, why then did Paul asked us to offer sacrifice again?
Answer: It is no longer a dead sacrifice but a live one. We are living under grace - hence by the mercies of God. Note also that this is not a once a year offering! Not once a week to the church! A real tall order!
Question: ‘Offering your bodies’ - Does it mean you have to kill yourself?
Answer: Some may consider that that being a Catholic priest or nun would be the bodily sacrifice required. Do you think that is Paul’s meaning of living sacrifice.
Question: "What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?"
Answer: Paulʼs admonition to the believers in Rome was to sacrifice themselves to God, not as a sacrifice on the altar, as the Mosaic Law required the sacrifice of animals, but as a living sacrifice. The dictionary defines sacrifice as “anything consecrated and offered to God.” As believers, how do we consecrate and offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice?
Paul explained this in
NKJV
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
Jesus required us:
'Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.'
How can be fulfil this commandment without offering ourselves fully to Christ!
Reasonable Service
For those who are in Christ by virtue of saving faith, the only acceptable worship is to offer ourselves completely to the Lord. Under Godʼs control, the believerʼs yet-unredeemed body can and must be yielded to Him as an instrument of righteousness (; ). In view of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus for us, this is only “reasonable.”
Radical - radical living wholly devoted to Jesus:
NKJV
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” ().
'And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.'
I was pondering for a illustration of offering your bodies as a living sacrifice when David came for fellowship last week (19 September 2018) half his normal size. David is truly taking into his heart the temple of God.
What does a living sacrifice look like in the practical sense? Paul gave us some tips on how. The following verse () helps us to understand.
Read
NKJV
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.
Do not be conformed to this world
Conformed, suschematizo (ssos-khay-mat-id-zoe) Strong’s #4964. Compare “scheme” and “schematic” Refers to confirming oneself to the outer fashion or outward appearance, accommodating oneself to a model or pattern. suschematizo occurs elsewhere in the NT only in , where it describes those conforming themselves to worldly lusts. Even apparent or superficial conformity to the present world system or any accommodation to tits ways would be fatal to the Christian life.
We are a living sacrifice for God by not being conformed to this world. The world is defined for us in as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. All that the world has to offer can be reduced to these three things. The lust of the flesh includes everything that appeals to our appetites and involves excessive desires for food, drink, sex, and anything else that satisfies physical needs. Lust of the eyes mostly involves materialism, coveting whatever we see that we donʼt have and envying those who have what we want. The pride of life is defined by any ambition for that which puffs us up and puts us on the throne of our own lives.
Transformation by the Renewal of your mind
Renewal of your mind “renew” is to “renovate” implying a resotratio nto freshness or to an original state. It intimatea teh potential of redemption’s power to reinstate features of GOd’s origina intention for humanity and a recovery of many potentialites of the human mind and soul as desined before the Fall. The ‘mind’ constitues the intellect or undertanding, but also includes all taht is described in teh word “mind-set”. that is the feelings and the will. Being “taransformed” by the renewal of the mind indicated a literal ‘change in the form or forumulas of thoughts or being.” Thsi describes dedemption’s provion of power to install godliness in us --- a power that transforms 1)our thoughts, whihc lead to formulating 2) our purposes,, which proceed to disctate our actions; and thus 3) our actions become character-determining habits, shaping the life and setting the course or the future. The path to godly living is not complicated, nor is ti energised by the flessh, but it does call teh believer to willing submission to the Father’s provision and ways.
12:2 Paul warned Christians: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world” that are usually selfish and often corrupting. Wise Christians decide that much worldly behavior is off-limits for them. Our refusal to conform to this world’s values, however, must go even deeper than just behavior and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” It is possible to avoid most worldly customs and still be proud, covetous, selfish, stubborn, and arrogant. Only when the Holy Spirit renews, reeducates, and redirects our mind are we truly transformed (see 8:5).
'and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, '
Pursuing holiness
How can believers NOT be conformed to the world? By being “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” We do this primarily through the power of Godʼs Word to transform us. We need to hear (), read (), study (), memorize (), and meditate on () Scripture. The Word of God, ministered in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, is the only power on earth that can transform us from worldliness to true spirituality. In fact, it is all we need to be made “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (, NKJV). The result is that we will be “able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (). It is the will of God for every believer to be a living sacrifice for Jesus Christ.
The two most important commandments Jesus summarised: to love God and every one. ()
“"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” NASB
12:2 Paul warned Christians: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world” that are usually selfish and often corrupting. Wise Christians decide that much worldly behavior is off-limits for them. Our refusal to conform to this world’s values, however, must go even deeper than just behavior and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” It is possible to avoid most worldly customs and still be proud, covetous, selfish, stubborn, and arrogant. Only when the Holy Spirit renews, reeducates, and redirects our mind are we truly transformed (see 8:5).
'that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, '
Renewing of your mind - Born again
Vs. 1, 2. The apostle having closed the part of his epistle wherein he argues and proves various doctrines which are practically applied, here urges important duties from gospel principles. He entreated the Romans, as his brethren in Christ, by the mercies of God, to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to Him. This is a powerful appeal. We receive from the Lord every day the fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we are, all we have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it for such very rich receivings? It is acceptable to God: a reasonable service, which we are able and ready to give a reason for, and which we understand. Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind; a change, not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. The progress of sanctification, dying to sin more and more, and living to righteousness more and more, is the carrying on this renewing work, till it is perfected in glory. The great enemy to this renewal is, conformity to this world. Take heed of forming plans for happiness, as though it lay in the things of this world, which soon pass away. Do not fall in with the customs of those who walk in the lusts of the flesh, and mind earthly things. The work of the Holy Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will, affections, and conversation, till there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Thus, to be godly, is to give up ourselves to God.
This following verses from Psalm summaries what we need to do:
Palms 143:8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.
Read romans 12:3-8
NKJV
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.
Observations and understanding of the key words
Pride (3)
12:3 Healthy self-esteem is important because some of us think too little of ourselves; on the other hand, some of us overestimate ourselves. The key to an honest and accurate self-evaluation is knowing the basis of our self-worth—our identity in Christ. Apart from him, we aren’t capable of very much by eternal standards; in him, we are valuable and capable of worthy service. Evaluating yourself by the worldly standards of success and achievement can cause you to think too much about your worth in the eyes of others and thus miss your true value in God’s eyes.
A measure of faith (3)
Body (4-5)
In vv12:4, 5 Paul uses the concept of the human body to teach how Christians should live and work together. Just as the parts of the body function under the direction of the brain, so Christians are to work together under the command and authority of Jesus Christ (see ; ).
Body of Seven gifts enumerated (not exhaustive)
12:6 God gives us gifts so we can build up his church. To use them effectively, we must (1) realize that all gifts and abilities come from God; (2) understand that not everyone has the same gifts; (3) know who we are and what we do best; (4) dedicate our gifts to God’s service and not to our personal success; (5) be willing to utilize our gifts wholeheartedly, not holding back anything from God’s service. God’s gifts differ in nature, power, and effectiveness according to his wisdom and graciousness, not according to our faith. Our role is to be faithful and to seek ways to serve others with what Christ has given us.
12:6-8 Look at this list of gifts and imagine the kinds of people who would have each gift. Prophets are often bold and articulate. Servers (those in ministry) are faithful and loyal. Teachers are clear thinkers. Encouragers know how to motivate others. Givers are generous and trusting. Leaders are good organizers and managers. Those who show kindness are caring people who are happy to give their time to others. It would be difficult for one person to embody all these gifts. An assertive prophet would not usually make a good counselor, and a generous giver might fail as a leader. When you identify your own gifts (and this list is far from complete), ask how you can use them to build up God’s family. At the same time, realize that your gifts can’t do the work of the church all alone. Be thankful for people whose gifts are completely different from yours. Let your strengths balance their weaknesses, and be grateful that their abilities make up for your deficiencies. Together you can build Christ’s church.
prophecy--that is, of inspired teaching (as in ). Anyone speaking with divine authority--whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future--was termed a prophet () 12:6 “Prophesying” in Scripture is not always predicting the future. Often it means preaching God’s messages ().
ministry
teaches
exhorts
gives
leads
mercy
Cheerfulness hilarotes (hil-ar-ot-ace) Stong’s #2432; Compare “hilarious” and “hilarity”. Graciousness, joyfulness, gladness, benevolence, amiability, cheerfulness, gaiety, affability. In primitive lands Bible translators define hilarotes as “The heart is laughing and the eyes are dancing”. The word was often used for the cheerful demeanour fo those visiting the sick and infirm and of those giving alms. The person who exhibits hilarotes is a sunbeam lighting up a sick room with warmth and love.
Vs. 3-8. Pride is a sin in us by nature; we need to be cautioned and armed against it. All the saints make up one body in Christ, who is the Head of the body, and the common Center of their unity. In the spiritual body, some are fitted for and called to one sort of work; others for another sort of work. We are to do all the good we can, one to another, and for the common benefit. If we duly thought about the powers we have, and how far we fail properly to improve them, it would humble us. But as we must not be proud of our talents, so we must take heed lest, under a pretense of humility and self-denial, we are slothful in laying out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing; but, I am nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost, in the strength of the grace of Christ. Whatever our gifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselves humbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seeking our own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this world and that which is to come.
Unity
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