Radio Broadcast Monday 03/02/2020

Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P49 (03-02-20)

Synopsis

As a born again believer, do you know who you are? Do you call yourself by what church you attend, whether Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, or something else. That is where you park your body on Sunday morning, or Saturday morning, but that is not who you are. When you are born again, having the Holy Spirit taking permanent residence in you, you are placed into the body of Christ, with Christ as your head. All those who are truly born again are connected to the same head, and that is Christ Jesus, so you belong to one another. You are brothers and sisters in Christ.

So what is your identity? Is it based on what you do? Are you a pastor because you do pastoring? Are you a teacher because you teach? No, those may be gifts you use as given to you by God for serving one another in love, and building one another up in the faith. But what do people often do? They often boast about what the body is doing or they exalt one person as more spiritual than another because of the position of teaching they do. Paul had to address that error among the church. There was a division occurring over who followed Paul or who followed Apollos that Paul addressed in the church at Corinth.

When people think of identity, what is the thinking of the natural man? Is it not about having a good self image. A young girl says she is ugly and says she hates herself because she is ugly. Is that true, that she hates herself? Would it not be more honest to say she loves herself too much? Why? If she really hated herself, would she not be glad that she is ugly? Would she be glad if someone else is uglier than her? Could it be her real issue is that she loves herself too much?

Paul is exhorting the believer to think of oneself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought. Paul is exhorting the believer to not have attitudes of criticizing one another or thinking of yourself as better than someone else.

1 Corinthians 1:10-17
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[or Peter]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

In Romans we read about how, as members of the body, we are to use the gifts God has given us. No one should complain that he is the toe, and think he is not needed or somehow inferior to the eye or the ear. Each member of the physical body is vitally important to the proper function of the body. So too is it with the body of Christ, the born again believers. So exercise the gift, that is uniquely given to you, whether prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, or showing mercy, to edify and build up the body.

So in Romans we read about Paul describing the attitudes of the heart believers should have as members of the body of Christ. These attitudes of the heart result in love in action; love that is sincere, clinging to the good, hating what is evil, being devoted to one another, honoring one another above yourself, being joyful always, praying continuously, being thankful in all circumstances, sharing with those in need, blessing those who are persecuting you, rejoicing with those who rejoice, mourning with those who mourn, practicing hospitality, associating with people of low position, and all those things that result from abiding in Christ, who is your life. Consider what Jesus told us in John 15 in the parable of the vine and the branches. So Paul is describing what the fruit of the Spirit, as listed in Galatians 5:22-23, looks like in action. These are all attitudes God has given to us as a result of our marvelous relationship with Christ. Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 40:1-31. As you think about who God is, who are we to boast in anything except who God is, and what He has done for us in Christ Jesus, whom we have come to believe and have been given everything we need for life and godliness.

Transcript

I remember back when I was only a believer for a year, studying the bible like crazy. I thought there was nothing in the bible I did not know. I was thinking, “I do not understand why these people think the bible is hard to understand. I understand all of it.” I have been in the Lord now a lot of years, and I wonder if I know anything. It seems like the more you know the more you realize the more you do not know. So there is no reason to be thinking more highly of yourself than we you ought to.

There are people who say you have a poor self image. A person comes up and says, “I hate myself.” Why? “I am ugly.” No, for if you hated yourself, you would be glad you are ugly. If you had a neighbor across the street you thought was ugly, you would be glad. The issue is we love ourselves. The bible does not say we hate ourselves. It says we love ourselves too much. Any of you get the little deal we put out with all the pictures in it. What was the first picture you looked for? So you see guys, do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We are just people who have been saved by the grace of God. We are people, if not for Jesus, we would be goners. If not for His mercy, kindness, forgiveness, we would be goners. Is that right or wrong? What do we have to be criticizing each other all the time for, and nit-picking each other for? The reason is we think we are better than other people.

We think we know more that anyone else. There are people who live thinking, “I am a somebody, somebody.” I do not know where they got that. Yet they say, “I am smarter than anybody.” I remember in grade school one time. I asked a question of the teacher. Everyone in the class thought they knew the answer except me. So they were all snickering and laughing. Then the teacher told me my answer. Then I looked at the rest of the class, that in just a split second, with just one answer, I am just as smart as everybody. But everybody thought how dumb I was because a question was asked that I did not know but they did. Do not think more highly of yourself than you should.

Romans 12:4-5
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.

Folks, do you know that we belong to each other? From God’s vantage point, He is the head and we are the body.

1 Corinthians 12:12
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

Those of us in here, who are born again, we belong to Christ, and we belong to one another. We are a part of the same body. If I get a tiny splinter in this big body of mine, where is your preoccupation? Where do you think? Where does your thinking process go? To the splinter. Just a tiny thing in here. If a part of the body is hurting, hurt with them. If they are rejoicing, rejoice with them. Be sensitive to the needs of others. It is not just me. I am not the most important thing in this room. We belong to each other. That is the attitude He wants us to have.

Romans 12:6-7
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;

There are many people with a marvelous gift of serving. It is a phenomenal gift. It does not get a lot of attention sometimes, but it is a phenomenal gift. They like to do things for you.

Romans 12:7
if it is teaching, then teach;

We have developed a leadership potential in this body that can reach thousands of people in this city.

Romans 12:8
8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement;

Have you ever met somebody that just lifts you up all the time? Is that not wonderful. It is a lot better than someone tearing you down all the time. There are some people, no matter what you do, will find something wrong with you. You could have a perfect white table cloth on with just one tiny speck. They will never see the table cloth just the speck, and it is as if it is as big as the empire state building. Do we need encouragement? How many of you like to be encouraged? How many of you like to be discouraged? We need encouragement. We have times when we are down. We need encouragement. So he says to encourage one another. If it is a spiritual gift, do it.

Romans 12:8
if it is giving, then give generously;

If there is a need, contribute. A man told me the other day, meeting a young man, when a scam was going on. They sell magazines and do not realize they have been recruited by people who bring them into a city with a one way ticket. There is no way of getting them home. They are like enslaved. They sell magazines and make no money out of it, and he is enslaved. So he asks the young man, “What do you want?” He replies, “I want to go back home to St. Louis.” So he takes him to the bus station, buys him a ticket, and sends him back to St. Louis. Another guy is homeless and needs food. He went and bought him some food. He went and paid for a shelter for him to stay. That is serving. You see a need and you meet it. You are contributing to the needs of others. We should be generous givers.

Romans 12:8
if it is to lead, do it diligently;

Why does God give the gift of leadership? Because we need leaders. Some people have the gift and some do not. But if you do not have the gift, you can learn from those who do have the gift, and be equally effective at it. That is what gifts of the Holy Spirit are, to teach everyone. I do not have the gift of giving. I really do not. But I have observed friends of ours with the gift of giving, and observed the way they function, that I became a giver. It is not my gift but it was their gift. But I learned from them.

Some people never give a dime to the work of ministry in here. That is a tragedy, folks. If you are not giving to where you are getting blessed, where are you going to give and why are you not giving? Are you afraid you will not have enough money to live on. God will provide. Believe me, God will provide. When I went into full time work, I owned my own business, and we had a branch and we made a lot of money. When I left that business, I worked for Campus Crusade making $500 per month. I had two children ultimately to put through college. I had no clue how that was going to happen, but God put both of them through college. And we were never hungry and God has blessed us.

People think if I give I will not have enough money. Nonsense. You watch God work. He is wonderful in the way He works in our lives, to provide ways we do not spend money where we would spend money otherwise. If you are not giving something is wrong. What a man does with money is in direct relationship with what he understands of the Lord. I am not talking about giving huge amounts of money. If you have $5 per month, are you afraid you will miss it? Not even a McDonald’s hamburger. We should all be joining in this gift of giving. We should all be joining this gift of encouraging one another. We should all be joining in in teaching one another. All of these things should be taking place in the body of Christ.

Romans 12:8
if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

You do not extend mercy to somebody with an attitude of I got to do it. If you do not want to, do not do it. That is nothing more than a phony mercy. If you are going to be merciful, do so joyfully. That is the attitude he is talking about.

Romans 12:9
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

We may not always be able to do good, but I do not ever want to call good bad and bad good.

Romans 12:10
10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

Do you know what brotherly love is? Your brother and sister should be the closest friends you have. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. You came out of the same family, from the same mother and father. Your mother and father came out of their mother and father. Grandparents are important. We all came out of the same people. There is nothing that causes grief any more than watching two children fighting with each other when they belong to one another. What do you do with that? Start working on it. My brother is 5 years older and my sister is 10 years older, and I was a pain in the neck to them, I know, as a little brother. But he recognized me as a little brother. He was a pain to me as a big brother. But we still loved each other. Folks, if you, as parents, are in that situation, you need to talk to them to get that stuff stopped, because you belong to each other. You are a part of the same family. You should learn to love one another as Christ Jesus loved you. Jesus does not call you a nit wit. Why are we calling each other that. Love is sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

Romans 12:10
Honor one another above yourselves.

Look out for the interests of others over and above your own. I see that in some people, where their own interests are secondary to other people. I love watching that in people.

Romans 12:11-13
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Do you see someone in need, help them. You do not need to take a collection from the church. You help them. So this attitude of letting the government do it. What about you? What gets me, those people up there are multi-billionaires, talking about government helping people. Why do you not help them? If everyone does that, we would not need all these government programs out there, if we just learn to follow what Jesus said to help one another. Sometimes there is a risk to that, but it is worth it.

Romans 12:14
14 Bless those who persecute you;

Try that one on.

Romans 12:14
bless and do not curse.

Is that not what Jesus did to those persecuting him? He said, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.”

Romans 12:15
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another.

Make an attempt to live in harmony with each other. Do not make an attempt for dissension. How can I live in harmony with people? First of all, do not curse, and then it says, do not be proud.

Romans 12:15
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

What is the problem with all of this? Pride. The pride of man that says, “I am better than someone else, I am smarter than someone else, or I can do this better than someone else.” Can you find that in ministry? Yes. I had it rampant one time. The proud heart that thought they knew how to do things better than anyone else. It almost destroyed the ministry.

Romans 12:15
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

One of the things I love about this body. It is made up of people of all colors, creed, and backgrounds, some with some and some people with no money. They are just people. I love this group of people. There is nobody in here playing big-time-itis, trying to outdo one another. They are just people who know the Lord, who are like-minded. Is it not great to be around people like that. I have been around the other. I probably participated with the other. Boy, is it shallow, trying to impress each other with how important you are. If you are worried about what people are thinking about you, forget about it. They are not.

Romans 12:17
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.

That is a hard one to do. We have the tendency that if someone hurt me, I am going to hurt him back.

Romans 12:18
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Now, here is the key.

Romans 12:19-21
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[Deuteronomy 32:35] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[Proverbs 25:21,22]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In other words, do not get even. Do not try to pay back. Guys, you can get into a lot of trouble with that. Leave it with the Lord. The Lord will take care of it. How many of you have been ripped off by somebody. To those who did not lift your hands, just give it time. Do not be impatient. It will happen sooner or later. We have the tendency to want to get back. No, let the Lord take care of it. If you let the Lord take care of it, He will do a lot better job with that than you would.

Romans 12:21
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

These are all attitudes of the heart. These are all attitudes God has given to us as a result of our marvelous relationship with Christ.

Now, let us go back to this heart of worshiping in Spirit and in truth.

John 4:24
24 “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

I want us to understand that God is Spirit. One of the reasons people have difficulty in understanding the Trinity is because they try to put flesh and blood on the Trinity. We try to bring God down to our level and in our perspective, and you cannot do that. God is Spirit. Have any of you seen the Spirit? We do not know how the Spirit exists or in what form they exist. We do not even know what they look like because we do not know if we could see Him if we did. When you talk about God being God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, three in one, we try to put three bodies on them, and then we say that does not make sense. Our problem is we are trying to put humanity onto God. God is Spirit and you must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

John 4:24
24 “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The truth of the matter is that God spiritually exists in three persons; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. So you say you cannot understand that. You do not understand Spirit. You cannot understand Spirit, so quit trying. A seminary professor once said, “Anyone who denies the Trinity will lose his soul and anyone trying to understand it will lose his mind.” And that is true, because you are trying to figure out Spirit and you have no point of reference for Spirit. Get out of that realm because you have no point of reference to even be talking about it. You can put words to it, but that is as far as you can go. The best you can do is say, “yes, that is true”, and forget about it. We live in time and space down here, don’t we? So He says, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”.

In closing, return back to the 40th chapter of Isaiah.

Isaiah 40:1-31
1 Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.

3 A voice of one calling:
In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord [in reference to John the Baptist];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

6 A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”

“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”

9 You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
13 Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord,
or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
14 Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
or showed him the path of understanding?

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless
and less than nothing.

18 With whom, then, will you compare God?
To what image will you liken him?
19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A person too poor to present such an offering
selects wood that will not rot;
they look for a skilled worker
to set up an idol that will not topple.

21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

That is the Lord! That is the Lord we worship! That is the Lord we love so much that He sent His Son into the world that we might live.

Let us close in prayer.

We thank you for the Lord Jesus Christ and His love for us. I pray that we will leave this room with different attitudes toward one another, toward You, to realize it is all You, and none of us. To realize that we are here for awhile and we grow and we die. We are not acknowledged anymore. We are not here. We are here for just a short period of time and then only one life will soon be passed, but is only what is done for Christ that will last. Let us remember that. Remember what You taught us, to love one another, to be patient with one another, to care for each other in a brotherly love. We are all part of the same family. Let’s quit criticizing one another, and learn to love one another with Christ’s love. I pray these things in Jesus name and for His sake, the one who loved us and gave Himself for us, who demonstrated the attitudes of servitude by washing the feet of his own disciples, the lowest of all servant’s jobs, and yet He did so. No one is greater than his master. So Father, teach us to serve one another and to love one another and to help one another, and to not hoard our resources, but to be willing to share and to give with an open heart and with a loving heart and to be overwhelmed in the grace of God that has allowed us to do these things. We thank you for all these things in Jesus name and for his sake. Amen.

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