CSBC Sunday School: Romans Series
Lesson #11: Romans 12:1-2; 9-18
May 10, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Braddy; MacArthur; Ray, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Central Theme: WE ARE TO BE A LIVING SACRIFICE!
Objective Statement: EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE A LIVING SACRIFICE BY FULFILLING THESE THREE PRINCIPLES!
Points: PRINCIPLE #1 – OFFER YOURSELF! PRINCIPLE #2 – LIVE AUTHENTICALLY! PRINCIPLE #3 – BE AT PEACE!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: Happy Mother’s Day! Hopefully, our unusual circumstances of living will allow you to spend some time with your Mother today. For those of you who have lost your Mothers in the past, what a great day to reflect upon the good things she contributed to your life. It certainly has been a remarkable time in our nation’s history and in all of our lives. If possible make sure you let your Mother know how important she has been and continues to be in your life. QUESTION? When has another person sacrificed something for you? Maybe it was something your Mother did! How might she have sacrificed in ways that benefitted you? Can you think of someone else who sacrificed their own comforts to give you a better life? Hopefully, all of us can think of some examples of selflessness toward us!
- CONTEXT: Paul has spent the first 11 Chapters of Romans laying out the theological truths by which all of us should live. These doctrinal principles are the foundation of the Christian ethical standards regarding what we believe. In this final section of his letter (starting here in 12), Paul addressed the practical ways Christians were to live in obedience to God’s mercy and grace in our lives. Since we know all the reasons why we should serve God, now we are to fulfill that service in a very, practical, tangible, way. The only means by which these ways of ministering can take place is by first, knowing the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior. Once we are a child of God by birth and by adoption, we have the capability of representing Him. As we shall see today, the Holy Spirit of God also plays a major role in our service because it is through Him that our minds are transformed from being like the world. People ask all the time, “How can I know the Will of God for my life?” Well, today we are going to see what God’s Word says about that, at least it’s one of the ways to know His Will.
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Romans 1:1-2; 9-18.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
PRINCIPLE #1 – OFFER YOURSELF! (Rom. 12:1-2)
- These two verses are among the best known verses in the New Testament, and rightly so. IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO, YOU SHOULD COMMIT THESE TWO VERSES TO MEMORY. IT WILL FOREVER DO YOU WELL! Let’s read these two verses distinctly! Paul begins this practical section of his letter, by using the term “beseech” which literally means, BEG or STRONGLY URGE. Paul wants every believer to take this injunction seriously. Notice that it’s directed at true believers when he uses the term for the whole believing community, “brethren” ( 1). Often, Paul will appeal to people to listen to him based upon his apostolic authority. But here, he calls upon a higher rationale, “by the mercies of God” (vs. 1). In our last study you will remember Paul had summarized God’s mercy both to Jews and to Gentiles (11:30-32). Now, he immediately transitions into that high calling, because of God’s wonderful mercies, we are to react in a special way. WHAT DOES PAUL WANT US TO DO BASED UPON GOD’S MERCIES? Well, he calls on us to “present your bodies a living sacrifice” (vs. 1b). Here Paul references the Jewish sacrificial system that was still active in Jerusalem and at the Temple, when he wrote this letter. But all Jews would have understood, a sacrifice when it’s offered, is killed. So how can this appeal be a call to be “a living sacrifice”? That was contrary to everything the Jews knew about the sacrificial system. Clearly, Paul used the sacrificial language figuratively, as he often did. But his point is profound. Paul was urging the believers to offer not some specific service to God but their whole beings! Our sacrifice was to be “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (vs. 1c). The sacrifice Paul urged was not one that died as it was given, but one that kept being offered as long as the person offering it was alive. It was to be “holy” (set apart), and that kind of offering was going to be “acceptable unto God” (vs. 1c). And you know what, it “is your reasonable service” (vs. 1d)? After all Jesus has done for us, isn’t it only reasonable that we should offer ourselves to serve Him with our whole life? Verse 2, tells us HOW we can become this living sacrifice. WHAT DOES PAUL SAY MUST HAPPEN IN OUR LIVES? We must remove ourselves from the conforming issues of our culture that constantly want to shape us in the world’s image! Rather, we must be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (vs. 2). Renewal is accomplished in the life of the believer by the power of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Eph. 4:22-24). This is a call for us to be more Christ-like, as we make choices that are pleasing to God. Choices like: Reading and studying God’s Word; Praying faithfully; Giving God Praise and Worship; Offering ourselves as living sacrifices. This kind of transformation is “good, and acceptable, and perfect” as it reflects the Will of God (vs. 2). A transformed life and mind reflects the will of God. Salvation should always change how people think and what they value!
PRINCIPLE #2 – LIVE AUTHENTICALLY! (Rom. 12:9-13)
- After dealing with the use of spiritual gifts within the local Church (12:3-8), Paul turned his attention to the topic of LOVE. WHAT DID JESUS SAY WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT? We are to love God, and love our neighbor (Mark 12:30-31). Jesus also said that the world had a right to judge believers, because it was by our love they would know we are Jesus’ true disciples (John 13:34-34). But how was our love supposed to be manifested according to 9? Well, it was to be without “dissimulation” (vs. 9a). What does that mean? It is defined as being without ‘pretense’ or just as an ‘external, showy thing’. In other words, our love was to be ‘authentic.’ Paul followed up that commandment with two more exhortations: “Abhor that which is evil” and “cleave to that which is good” (vs. 9b). This goes back to vs. 1-2, doesn’t it? We are not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by renewing our minds to “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (vs. 2). So we are to strongly reject evil (“Abhor”), and tightly hold onto those things that are “good.” Starting in verse 10, Paul explains in brief, terse, phrases what genuine love looks like. These qualities in many ways parallel the list Paul provides in Gal. 5:22-23. WHAT DO THOSE GALATIANS VERSES TEACH? Well, that’s where we find the “Fruit of the Spirit!” Let’s point out in vs. 10-13 all of these various qualities, phrase by phrase. 1. The first example relates specifically to “love” when it directs all believers to be “kindly affectioned . . . with brotherly love;” (vs. 10a). There is to be a warm and special relationship of affection with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 2. Out of that love grows a respect and desire that results “in honour preferring one another” (vs. 10b). The two commands in vs. 11 are tied together. 3. The Greek word translated “business” described someone’s eagerness in discharging a duty or responsibility. The word translated “not slothful” was used by Jesus in one of His parables to describe an evil, lazy servant (Mt. 25:26). In other words, a true believer is to zealously discharge their duties and not be lazy! 4. The next command continues the idea of zeal: “fervent in spirit” (vs. 11b). This has the notion of ‘being set on fire by the Holy Spirit as we serve the Lord.’ So we are only to be zealous in serving the Lord, not for any personal recognition. Verse 12 has three more exhortations for us to consider. 5. As believers, we are called on to rejoice “in hope.” Hope is a constant theme with Paul. 6. We must have hope if we are to be “patient in tribulation.” 7. To maintain “hope” and endure “tribulation,” we must be “continuing instant in prayer.” In the vortex of our suffering, turning to God in prayer should be “instant.” 8. The Greek word translated “distributing to” was sometimes translated “fellowship” (1 John 1:3, 6-7). It deals with meeting the needs of others. 9. Meeting the needs of others is followed immediately with the phrase, “given to hospitality.” In ancient times hospitality was the process by which a stranger became a guest and treated with genuine care and tender attention. So these principles are born out in the believers in a unique way. Our new life in Christ changes the way we look at the world, including how we allocate the resources that God has placed in our care. But we must be AUTHENTIC!
PRINCIPLE #3 – BE AT PEACE! (Rom. 12:14-18)
- Paul turned his attention from a proper perspective on life within the body to the proper way to relate to outsiders. In rapid order then, Paul gives important instructions for us to be at PEACE with all people. CAN YOU HIGHLIGHT THESE INSTRUCTIONS? MENTION ONE. (Allow for a summary of these points. – “Bless them that persecute you” and don’t curse them. – “Rejoice with those that rejoice;” be happy for those who have success. – “Weep with them that weep;” be sympathetic to others. – In 16-18 Paul calls on believers to have a common mindset. – Have “the same mind;” be united. – “Mind not high things” is a call to eliminate Pride; ‘don’t be a social climber’. – “Condescend to men of low estate” means be Humble; help others less fortunate than you. – “Be not wise in your own conceits”, again speaks to humility. – Don’t return evil if someone does you wrong. – Be honest in your dealings with everyone. – As much as you possibly can, live “peaceably with all men” (vs. 18).) The question immediately arises after considering these verses, “How do YOU measure up to Paul’s commands about how to treat others?”
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
- Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD BE A LIVING SACRIFICE BY FULFILLING THE THREE PRINCIPLES WE EXAMINED TODAY!
- Well, a tough question: HAVE YOU EVER GIVEN YOUR LIFE AS A LIVING OFFERING TO GOD? Is your sacrifice an ACCEPTABLE gift to God? This really is the most important step in discipleship. If you start by giving yourself to Him, then your desire to serve Him and honor Him with your life will naturally follow. Maybe it’s time to take that important step and give Jesus your very life in service.
- So many unbelievers accuse Christians of being Hypocrites. And certainly there are some of those in the Churches. But every one of us should strive to be AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS! That means we are genuine, caring, empathetic, humble, sincere, and, well, authentic! If we truly live like Jesus, people will notice and want what we have: PEACE! It all starts by becoming a living sacrifice!
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: This week, if you haven’t already, try to commit to memory Romans 12:1-2. We have suggested numerous verses from Romans that you should memorize (Rom. 3:23; 5:8; 6:23; 10:9-10, 13; and now, 12:1-2). Keep rehearsing and practicing those verses, so that you can possess them for the rest of your life. They will become essential verses in your heart and mind. Romans 12:1-2 will become one of your most important! Once again, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
In preparation for our next Bible Study please read Romans 13:1-14!