Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P47 (02-25-20)
As we delve into Romans 12, let us review also what the apostle Paul is sharing concerning this gift of new life in Christ Jesus. He went to great lengths to explain how both the Jews and the Gentiles are both alike under sin and death. He explained how sin caused our death, that we were born dead in sin, having inherited that sin nature from Adam. God, seeing the fallen state of mankind, sent His only Son into the world so the world might be saved through him. See, we were condemned already, for not believing in God’s only Son.
Think about that. Anything that does not come from faith is sin. Faith is the basis of trust, of trusting someone completely. So what happened in the garden of Eden? Adam chose not to believe God, when He said if you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, if you decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil, then you shall surely die. Adam did what God warned him not to do and he died.
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
So why would God love his creation so much? When we think of all the evil of mankind, and in our own hearts too, we cannot comprehend how God would love us so much, that while we were yet enemies, He would die for us. But that is what he did. He died for the sins of the whole world so that the just penalty of death would be paid for us. Death is too great a price for us to pay. We have no power to raise ourselves from the dead. Sin has held us captive and caused our death. The next time we sin, we would die again. We are incapable of obeying the law perfectly and so are bound in sin and death. The only solution for us is for someone without sin to voluntarily lay down his life for us, for that debt to be paid in full. That is precisely what Jesus did. But just getting our sins forgiven is not salvation. That is preparation. That is what is necessary in order for life to be given, a restored relationship to God.
When Adam sinned in the garden, the Spirit of God left him because of sin. Every man born in Adam is born without the Spirit of God living in him. So until that Spirit of God is breathed back into man, man remains dead. So what man needs is life. Jesus is the only being who has life in his name. He is an eternal being, with no beginning and no end. With the cause of our death taken way, he is free to come to Jesus for life, His resurrected life, the Holy Spirit of God to be placed back into him. This is received by faith and faith alone. You come to realize you are a sinner, dead to God, a wretched man unable to fulfill the requirements of the law. You realize the loving kindness, mercy and grace of God, and come to God for Him. You want Him to be your life. So you allow Him to be your Lord, Savior and best friend.
When that occurs, you are born again, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3. So new attitudes form in your heart. You no longer want to do the sinful things you used to do. So Paul now is exhorting the believers at Rome, the Gentiles, to not boast that they received the gospel, and the Jews did not, for if God did not spare the natural branches, he would not spare you either. These new attitudes of the heart Paul is addressing. He appeals to us who are in Christ Jesus, to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, by allowing our minds to be renewed, or transformed, with truth revealed to us by the Spirit of God, who is now living in us. Come to understand who you are, a child of God, and walk in that new identity of who you are.
The word of God is truth. So, as Jesus taught us, abide in Christ, so that He can produce the fruit of the Spirit in you and through you. We never could live the Christian life. We were never designed to do that apart from a vital trusting relationship with the living God, in Spirit and in truth. The just shall live by faith, as scripture says. We never had any righteousness of our own. We were never designed to function knowing good and evil in independence from God, but to function in an abiding relationship with the living God, that has been restored to you. For now we still have sin-indwelling flesh that is overcome as we learn to walk by the Spirit. But one glorious day, we will be changed like the twinkling of an eye, and we shall see Him as He really is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.
Let us turn to Romans 12. We just completed the first eleven chapters of Romans. Look in your bible, for just a moment in Romans 11:32, you will see why God had to come and do what he had to do for us.
32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
All of us have sinned. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
All of our hearts were wicked and deceitful above all things, and who could know them.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
There is not one of us who would be able to stand in the presence of God in our own righteousness. You can go and work yourself to death, and study yourself to death, but no man will ever stand in the presence of the holy God in his own righteousness. God reduced all men to the position of disobedience so He could have mercy on us all.
To the Jew, as we discussed, particularly, the Jewish leaders, and those they taught, they thought you could obtain righteousness through good works and obedience to the law.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
They took the law God had given them, and instead of using it for its purpose, they made it a means for obtaining righteousness. Paul tells us the purpose of the law is to show us our disobedience so we will turn to Christ for our salvation.
19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.
21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Instead of using for that purpose, they used it as a means for righteousness, as if by their obedience to the law, they will be declared righteous in the sight of God, through their own works. They did not stop with the ten that God gave them. They ultimately came up with over 600 laws in addition to the original ten. They kept adding.
What you do, folks, when you have a religion, it is like a high jumper. Once you get over that bar, what do you do? You raise the bar. What do you do when you get over that one? You raise it a little higher. So you keep raising it higher until you cannot get over any of it. So you either see yourself as a total failure or you hope nobody saw that you missed. That is what happens in religion. You keep raising the bar.
It is like a man who says, “If you guys come on Sunday morning, you are okay. But if you come Sunday night, then you are really holy. Then, if you come on Wednesday, then you are just about to make your ascension into heaven. And if you come to visitation, you are already there, but you do not know it yet.” That is what you do in religion. You just keep adding more and more to do until your tongue is hanging down to your knees, and you are burned out, and you say you do not want anything more to do with religion. I say, “praise God, I don’t either. I do not want anything to do with religion.”
God did not come to form a religion. God came to form a relationship between Him and yourself, that was brought about by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus.
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
A relationship to enter in personally as if only you are th only person on the face of the earth, and to be blessed by God, and has nothing to do with where you parked your car on Sunday or Saturday. It has to do with what you do with your body all week long. That is what Romans 12 is all about.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy
We just got through reading that God gave everyone over to disobedience so he can have mercy on us all, Jew or Gentile, slave or free. Then you see a “Therefore”. It is there for to explain something. If this is true, then this is what your attitude should be to the one who extended mercy to you.
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
Again, what you see is that everything that God says, Satan comes along, using man to water down the meaning. This is one of those terms, “worship”. We call it worship services. In other words, the only time you worship is when you come to the service? No! We call singing praise songs, “worship„? No! The issue is, is that God says that worship is making your body available to the living God who lives in you, to live His life in and through you. That is your reasonable act of worship.
Anybody can come and get goosebumps singing songs. Those are called “praising the Lord”, not a worship service, but “praising the Lord”. It isn’t that you could not make your body available to the living Christ as praising the Lord. But in and of itself, you could be singing, while lost, singing praise songs, can’t you? You can sing those songs and get teary eyed, can’t you? I did it for years before I was ever saved. The music moved me and the words to it moved me, but I was not saved.
But could I ever, before I was saved, make myself available to God, to live His life in me and through me? No. Why? He was not living in me. The only ones who can make themselves available to the living God, to live His life in and through them, are those who have the living God living in them, the born again people.
How do you get born again? Going to church? No. Tithing? No. You do not become a Christian sitting in church any more than you become a chicken sitting in a hen house, or a car sitting in a garage. You become born again when you understand your condition of being lost, of being a sinner, and of being dead. Folks, it is so vitally important that we understand what spiritual death is all about.
When Christ Jesus, and many of you saw the Passion, and I saw it the second time yesterday, and got more out of it the second time. But you see depicted what Jesus went through, the scourging that took place, which is no more and no less than Satan trying to get him killed before he accomplished for us, before he got to the cross. No one was beaten or suffered more than him. There is no man on the face of the earth who could go through torture he did prior to going to the cross. But he did so.
13 See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him –
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness –
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Why he did so is because the punishment that was due to you and me had to go on a sacrificial lamb. In the Old Testament, they killed a lamb, or a bull and a goat, and those sins were transferred onto them.
15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been.
32 “‘If someone brings a lamb as their sin offering, they are to bring a female without defect. 33 They are to lay their hand on its head and slaughter it for a sin offering at the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered.
The same thing had to be done for us. The only difference is the quality of the blood of God Himself was of such value that it was able to take away the sins of the whole world, back to Adam and forward to all eternity.
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining[b] eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
So we recognize that God came. That song, “Amazing Love, Why would my King die for me?”, I am not worth it, but to Him, I was. I am not even worth it to me, but to Him I was.
7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Jesus said there is not anybody good but God alone. Jesus said he has bound all men to disobedience so He can show mercy on you. That was what I was thinking through my mind as I was seeing this movie. Why would he do it for me? The only answer is love that we cannot enter into, a love of God looking down on His creation, that Satan had messed up, created death, and He said I will bring them alive. We, the Trinity, are going to do something to bring them alive. God developed a plan, that in order to give them eternal life, “I have to take away, eternally, the cause of spiritual death, and that means to take away sin, that means a sacrifice so far greater than any sacrifice that has ever been made, that even the angels look down in awe, in wonderment why he is doing this.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
That is what He did for us. When a man comes to understand his condition of spiritual death, now you know the meaning of the resurrection. Outside of that, you ask a man the meaning of the resurrection, I guarantee you, they do not know. He will reply, “Maybe it proves he was God. I do not know. The meaning of the cross is he died for sins. But the meaning of the resurrection? I do not have a clue.”, until he understands that death had to be cured, that man had a problem called spiritual death. The punishment, the wages of sin, is not a paddling, is not going to the woodshed, is not being out of fellowship. It is death.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus took that death for you and me so that we could go free, alive in Christ Jesus. That is the sacrifice He made for us. Why? He loved us. Why? You got me. Why he would love us that much? I do not know.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life
When you and I walk in that newness of life, and we take that truth, and internalize that, we are born again, when I recognize I am a sinner, that those sins had to be paid for, and Christ Jesus did it for me. There is no more sacrifice for sin. He ushered in a New Covenant.
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[Jeremiah 31:33]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[Jeremiah 31:34]
18 And where these have been [not will be] forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
Jews, put away your sacrificial system. Catholics, put aside your confession booth. Evangelicals, put aside your 1 John 1:9. There is no more forgiveness to be executed. He did it once. He did it for all, for all time, and He cried out on the cross, “It is finished”. Why do we call him a liar, when Jesus said it is finished?
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Does that make sense? They do not know what they are doing. Half the time, I do not know what I am doing. The staff will agree with that. The issue is, we did not know what we were doing. They thought they were just killing a rebel, but they were killing the Son of God. In essence, they were not killing him, for he laid down his life for us.
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
So when a man comes to understand the truth, he comes to understand there was a consequence to sin, called death, and the only cure for death is life. The only life available to us, folks, is the life of Christ Jesus. That is why Jesus was not just coming up with a fancy phrase of saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. He is the way. He is the only way. He is the truth. There is no truth apart from Jesus.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”
When he said that to Pilate, and said what truth is, Jesus said “I am truth. No man will ever come to the Father except through Me.” Not being narrow-minded or dogmatic, but being unbelievably realistic. You are dead and you need life and Jesus is saying, “I am the only life available to you.” You can do that without a religion. That is practical. If I am dead, I need life.
Somebody comes along and says, “I am the only life available to you”, then you have to be stupid to say, “I do not need you” unless you want to remain dead. Do you want to remain dead? Do you want to die and die forever? Or do you want to do as scripture says, “leave this body and go into the presence of God”. You never face death. You just go to sleep and wake up in the arms of Jesus. It is practical. It is not just “come and be wonderful” because we are not. How many of you were just totally wonderful last week? Can I see your hands?
9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one”[Psalms 14:3]
We have to understand folks, there is no one righteous. No, not one. We could not last even one hour apart from the mercy of God. This is what he is trying to teach us here, is our attitude toward ourselves and toward one another. He is saying your spiritual act of worship is not what you do out here, but it is making yourself available to the living God, who lives in you, to live His life in and through you. He gave His life for you, to give His life to you, to live His life through you. That is the goal of the Christian life, to let Jesus, who lives in you, to let Him loose. Let him do it? Do what? Live His life. Could you give the Christian life? Can you live the Christian life? No. How many of you found it tough to live the Christian life last week? It is not tough. It is totally impossible.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
You cannot live it any more than a branch can produce fruit. How dumb would it be for a branch trying to produce fruit? He can grunt and groan all day long. He is not going to get it out. The only way a branch is going to have fruit out of it, is by abiding in the life of the vine, and the power of the vine produces fruit in the branch and the branch bears fruit. You cannot do it. Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing.”
Yet, in our egotistical heart, we stick our chest out and say, “You just watch my smoke, Lord.” We will go out and build churches. We will just build these big edifices and even have Starbucks in them. We will do all kinds of stuff. “You just watch us, Lord.” Jesus says, “I am not interested in all those churches.” The church is born again believers and not people looking for an entertainment center. My church are people who have come to Jesus, who have an interest in walking in the newness of life and not being entertained. God says, “My church are my people.” We have churches that say “these are my people”. “You are not My people. You are his people.” Am I right or wrong? “You are not Mine. You are his.”
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Because you are His, we belong to one another. We belong to Him and we are relatives. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. That is Jesus church. He is the head and we are His body. But we confuse that. Satan comes along, saying, “Oh, that is not worship. Worship is what you do in service. Oh, you say, my church. Do not pay any attention to who you are in Christ. God says, ‘I make you a child of God ’. That is who you are, but do not pay any attention to that. Put a label on yourself. With a name like Smuckers, it has got to be good, so just put Smuckers on there.. It does not matter any difference what is on inside. Just let people see the label.”
So we put Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Charismatic, and all this stuff. What are those? Labels that man has stuck on the outside of the jar. So Satan says, “It does not make an ounce of difference what is on the inside. I do not care if you are saved. I do not care if you are empty as a pork barrel, just put a label on yourself, and tithe and come to church. That is all that matters.” That is the condition religion has gotten into. God says, “I care less what is on the outside, that jar of yours. It is what is on the inside that counts. What is on the inside is I have made you a child of God. That is the only identity we will only ever want.” God did not call me Baptist or Presbyterian. He called me “child of God” and that is what I will be throughout eternity. That is the good news of the gospel. This is not an organization. You are an organism. You are not an organization. He is the head and you are the body. We belong to Christ and we belong to one another.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world
What do we do? We bring the world into the church and say “praise God, we are politically correct.” So we bring into the church hair-brained music. It sounds just like the world. You play it on the radio. You cannot tell whether listening to a secular station or listening to Christian music. You cannot tell if you do not listen carefully to the words, which are normally mumbled. We brought the world into the church. You can attract people that way. It is a nice place to go. Nice people to meet. If in business, you can get lots of contacts. There are a lot of false motives conjured in hearts to go to church. God said the only reason I want you to be here is to not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as the habit of some are, but to fellowship with one another. You come to learn so you can go back home and put it into practice.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
He did not say to alter your mind but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. How do you get your mind renewed? What does he want it renewed on? On truth. Where are you going to find truth? Jesus. And where did Jesus say you will get truth from? His word.
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
His word is truth. So how do you get your mind renewed? In the word of God. If you never study it, you will not have a renewed mind. I have people I have talked to.
Christian: “Gee, I am all confused. I am a Christian.”
Bob: “Do you ever read the bible?”
Christian: “No, I never read it.”
Bob: “How in the world are you ever going to grow? That is like saying, ‘you are a plant. You put it in the ground. Do you ever water it?”
Bob: “Do you ever put fertilizer in it?”
Bob: “Then how do think it is ever going to grow?”
We have a phenomenal book He gave to us. He tells us to read it. You can read the gospel of John in 20 minutes. A lot of people have never read two paragraphs out of it. Read it. “Well, I do not understand it.” Well, if you really do not understand it, then you do not have the Spirit of God living in you. Or, you are trying to understand it in the energy of your own flesh. If that is the problem, then say to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, my ear cannot hear, my mind cannot see, my mind has not conceived, but it must be revealed by the Spirit, so I am going to count on you to reveal the meaning of the word of God to me.” So let Him do it, the renewing of your mind. When your mind is renewed, then you are able to bounce error off the truth. When you do not know what truth is, you have nothing to bounce error off of. Error bounces off of error.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10
9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[Isaiah 64:4] –
the things God has prepared for those who love him –
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Do you want to know what the will of God is? Have your mind renewed. In what? Truth. And He will reveal it to you. Then he says this. Let us listen carefully to this.
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 measure of faith God has distributed to each of you.
Do you know, folks, we can really think we are a somebody. This is what the Gentiles were doing. “We got this gospel more than the Jews do.” Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. There are really no big deals. There are people who live to get around big deal people. Martha Stewart was a big deal. I feel sorry for her, but not a lot of biggies around her if she has to go to jail. There are a lot of people who want to rub elbows with biggies. Those biggies put their pants on the same way you and I do. If they do not, they are just as offensive. And they need deodorant just like you and I do. They are just plain people who have been put into a certain position. There are no biggies.
So we should not be thinking of our self more highly than we ought. We can have that in families. People are bickering and arguing with each other. Why? Someone is thinking they are better than someone else. You are not better than anyone else. How many of you as a teenager, thought of how smart you were. Was there anyone smarter than you, as a teenager? Then when you get older, and look back, and say “I was a blithering idiot”. But why you are going through it, you think you are the smartest thing going.
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.