Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P60 (03-25-20)
As believers, we are being sanctified even as we are sanctified. Sanctified means that you are set apart for the purpose God created you. God made you into a new creation, a child of God, with His Spirit living in you. We have the mind of Christ so in our thinking we are to think differently than the world, who knows not God nor has the Spirit. So we are already sanctified. We are to walk by faith in accordance with who you are, a child of God.
God also wants us to grow, to allow ourselves to become sanctified in this world we live in. God wants to renew your mind so you live in accordance with His good purposes for you. So we are to think soberly and guard our minds.
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.
So we have the exhortation to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, to test and approve what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will of God is. We learn what true worship is, to allow our bodies to be available to God to live His life in and through us in order to bear fruit for God.
God also places us into the body of Christ, to encourage and edify one another, so we can learn and grow. Those gifted as teachers, serving as pastors or leaders, are to look after the flock of God under their care. Jesus Himself is the shepherd of the sheep. We are called sheep because sheep are the dumbest animals of all. If one jumps off a cliff, the rest follow right in behind him. So God looks after us day and night.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
God will not let us be tempted beyond what we are able to endure, and with the temptation He will provide a way of escape so you can endure it. We are under God’s sovereign care. God lives in us to will and to act according to His good purposes.
Now, we may not always know what God’s will is, but our desire would be to know His will and obey it. Then my prayer is, “I do not know what your will is, but whatever it is, that is what I want.” So my prayer is, “Whatever you want is good enough for me”. We get our prayer life so messed up. We get the idea that God is obligated to answer everything. Do you want your prayers answered or do you want God’s will for your life?
God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Instead of leaning on our own understanding, in all our ways we acknowledge Him and He makes our paths straight. So we read about the apostle Paul, hearing from the Spirit to go to Jerusalem, knowing that trials and tribulations await him. He knows the Spirit has spoken to him and that the saints will never see him again, but he goes on with those plans because that is what God has called him to, to preach truth in the midst of the enemies of God. People, even the saints, may even try to persuade you against carrying on with God’s will, but you may need to stand alone and carry on and finish the race God has laid out for you.
We will undergo many trials and tribulations in this life, a death of a loved one, a divorce or a pandemic, and God uses all our experiences. He turns that which is bad into good for us who love Him and are called toward His good purposes. One way he does this is so we can comfort others with the same comfort we received from God. So let us encourage one another daily, and all the more, as you see the day approaching, which you read about in Revelation. God wants us to be ready for trials and tribulations ahead, that we are not surprised by them, as if something strange is happening to us. He wants us to walk by faith and not by sight. He wants us to know His perfect love that casts out all fear. Satan uses fear to rob us of the joy we have in Christ, that does not depend on circumstances.
We have to start thinking soberly. You do not come to Christ to get giddy. You come to Christ to be sober-minded, to think soberly and to think correctly. You cannot think soberly when you are thinking giddily. You are to get your mind where it belongs, focusing on the author, on the giver. If there is something down here, fine, but that is not the big deal. The big deal is Him. That is the problem, the emphasis. The Christian world knows that Jesus is raised from the dead. But we do not put the emphasis there. We put the emphasis on the cross even though Paul said that without the resurrection we are to be pitied of all people and are still dead in our sins. We put the emphasis on the wrong place. We put the emphasis on what we are doing instead of what He has done. The minute you do that you are off. You have to be on guard. You have to guard your mind.
1 Corinthians 15:17-22
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
31 Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
Many times, when you warn people, they get mad at you.
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Again, sanctified does not mean you walk around with your bible under your arms with your head tilted and looking sick at your stomach. That is not what it means to be sanctified. Sanctified is a practical word. It means to use it for the intelligent purpose for which God created you. That light bulb is being sanctified right now. It is being used to produce light in this room. If you look at a wrist watch, to see what time it is, you are sanctifying your watch. You are using it for the purpose for which it was created. You have shoes on. You are sanctifying your shoes. You are using them for the intent for which they were manufactured. That is what sanctification means. It does not mean to walk around acting holy. It means to be who you are. If you are graduating medical school, then what do you do you after you graduate? You become a medical doctor. You do what you have been educated to do.
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
What sets us apart as Christians? Who are we indwelt by? That is Jesus. Does that set you apart from those who are not indwelt with Jesus? Absolutely! Then when you know the word of God, does that set you apart from the world? The world does not think like you. If the world ever starts thinking like you, you better check out what you are thinking. I guarantee you, you are not thinking thoughts of God if the world and you are thinking alike. So you are going to think differently. Why are you going to think differently? Because you know what truth is. Where did you learn it? From a Jew? From the apostle Paul? From the word of God. They taught us what truth is, over and against error. We know what truth is.
We cannot always obey truth, can we? Do all of you obey truth? I do not think so. But we know what it is, don’t we. When we do not obey truth, the Spirit of God lives in you and says, “Uh, oh”. “Bob, what did you do that for?“ Or, “Why are you thinking this?” What you did is a result of what you are thinking. “What are you doing with these dumb thoughts when you have My thoughts in you? You have the mind of Christ living in you. Why are you thinking with your own mind when you can be thinking with Mine?” But is that what we do? Yes. That is why He calls us sheep, the dumbest animal upon the face of the earth. The leader walks over a cliff, they just go walk right after him. We do the same thing. That is why He is always guarding us all the time.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.
We have to guard our minds. Satan is always there bombarding our minds with error. You cannot watch television without finding out what Satan is thinking. Most of it is bombarding your mind with error. If you do not know what truth is that is the only thing you have to grab a hold of is error. You have to grab a hold of something. So we get full of error and God has to come along and push all that error out. When you become a Christian and you begin to renew your mind, truth comes in and error goes out. You replace error with truth.
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.
Renewing of the mind is taking place. When you take in truth, it pushes out the error. You suddenly realize I cannot believe this and this. When I first came to understand the grace of God, I remember Ed Hecht and I talking. I was teaching this to people in a bible study, and all of a sudden I would hear Ed say something that was just dumb. Ed, did you hear what you just said? He looked and said to me, “that is not truth, is it?” “No, it isn’t.” I felt so good about myself. About 10 minutes later, he said to me, “Did you hear what you just said, Bob?” I had legalism and some legalistic thoughts that came from teaching in a denomination, and they were still there. They had not been pushed out yet.
That is what happens when you are not thinking, but just talking, and you know how that goes. I always think of the story my dad told. My dad was an attorney in Indiana. People in Indiana are funny anyway. You have some characters there, and maybe I am one of them. There was a lawyer there. They used to meet every Wednesday for lunch, to have fun together. There was this one lawyer who had a brother who was simple minded. He also had another brother. The simple-minded brother used to show up for the luncheons too. He liked to be around everybody. My dad was going to have a mock trial against these two brothers. This simple minded guy was sitting there. He said, “You know Frank, you will not have a chance of winning that trial.” His dad said, “that is interesting, why do you say that?” “Real simple. There are two of them and only one of you.’ Dad said, “What does that have to do with it?” “That is very simple. When Clint is a talking, Clem is sitting there a thinking. When Clem is talking, then Clint is a thinking. But when you are up a talking, aint nobody a thinking. ”
That is kinda the way we are. We are talking a lot and maybe nobody is thinking. When you are really not thinking and you are talking, you just grab up what you have been taught. That is why you can hear ministers who really have started getting a good grasp on the grace of God but still have garbage in there. They will speak 20 minutes of grace and then negate it in the last minute of preaching. They thought through the preaching of it, but did not think through the last part of it, so they just rely up upon what they just rely upon. You have to squeeze all the tooth paste out of the tube. You have to squeeze it all out. That is what the Spirit of God is doing, squeezing out the error until there is nothing left. That takes time. That is His goal for you and me. He pushes out the error so we can be set apart by what we know to be true, and proponents of what we know to be true. So he says to be on guard.
Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. 32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
There again, Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. We have a philosophy that it is more blessed to receive than to give. We talk all about what God has done for us and this type of thing, but are we givers? I am not just talking about financial giving. Are we givers of ourselves to people? Do we reach out to help people? Do we have the attitude that if someone is in trouble that I want to go out and help him? If I know someone who is hurting, do I want to be a comfort to him?
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
In Romans 12, Paul explains how we are all members of the body of Christ, how we belong to one another, how we are designed to function, what humble service in the body of Christ looks like and what love in action looks like.
I know a lot of people like that who have been given the gift of servitude. If you and I were to observe and watch them we will learn from them how to use that gift. We may not have that gift, but the reason God gives the gift to the body of Christ is to encourage the body of Christ so we can learn from one another. You may not have the gift of teaching but if you listen to someone who does, you will learn how to teach the word of God to others. Even though you may not have the gift, you will be able to communicate. I may not have the gift of giving but if I were to observe someone with the gift of giving and watch the faithfulness of God while they are giving, then I can learn to step out a little bit in faith and become a giver. If I see someone with the gift of encouragement, then I can watch people with the gift of encouragement and see the benefit of their gift to the body of Christ to see who this person with this gift of encouragement, what it does to build up the body and makes people feel good. I need to learn from that person.
All of those gifts are necessary. The reason God gives the special gift is to teach you and every one of you to use that for the purpose of the body, to observe you and learn how to function with that gift. It is an attitude of reaching out to people. When someone is hurting, you hurt with him. A lot of times, God uses experiences we have to bring compassion. Many of you have been through terrible trials and tribulations in life. We have been through things that we hope nobody knows about except God. We have been through things we are ashamed of. Has there been anyone who has never done anything to be ashamed of? We are all in that category. The issue is we can look at it like a woe is me or we can look at it that God has built compassion in me.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Some of you have been in some terrible crisis like death of loved ones and you have been comforted by the grace of God. Why did He do that? Number one, he wanted to comfort you. Number two, he does not want you to stop there. He wants you to be a comfort to others who are going through the same problems you are going through. Who is in a better position to reach out with that kind of comfort than someone who has been through it. When you have been through cancer and God has put that in remission or healed you, you are in a great position to reach out to the people who are sick like this and to be an encouragement to others. He does not want us to be an island to ourselves. Some of you have been through a divorce and know the heartahce of that, how it tears you up and tears up families and all kinds of things. You are in a better position because you have been through it. You are in a great postion to reach out to others who have been through it with the comfort you received from God. That is the whole idea of the experience we have, to take that experience and see it reach out to others. If you have been through that, you have had a heartache. So if someone else is going through it with heartache, it gives you compassion to reach out. I know how you feel and let me tell you what God has done in my life and is doing in my life.
So everything God is doing is for the purpose of giving. It is more blessed to give out than to receive. If I have received encouragment and help from somebody, I appreciate that very much. How much more is it for me when I take that and pass it on to somebody else and see the results of that. That is what Paul is saying. Help the weak. We have people around us that need help. Remember the words of the Lord. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Another way we are to do that is in giving of our resources for the purpose of getting out the gospel. That is important too. There are people who literally will go to a church setting or to an assembly and never give a dime of their resources. That should not be. It should not be. I am not saying you should be tithing, but everyone should be giving. We are blessed and we should give. If we are stopping and just being blessed, we are like the dead sea. We will sit there and stagnate. If we take what we receive and give back so more people will receive, we get blessed by that. If you are not doing that, you need to learn to. God will teach you to say no to the unrighteouss feeling to hanging onto what you got.
39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
So step out by faith. There is a point in stepping out in faith. Nor does that mean that if I give God will bless me. It does not mean that. God has already blessed you. You do not give to get blessed. You are blessed already right now.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
So you give because you are blessed. So step out in faith. I encourage people to do that. It may be 5 dollars. If it is, nothing wrong with 5 dollars. Whatever it might be, start learning to give out of your resources, whatever you feel comfortable in doing. Why? You are blessed. God has blessed you.
Yes, but I give my time. I give of my time too. So do other staff members but we also give of resources. We give a lot of our resources. Why? We believe in what we are doing. We believe in this message. We believe this message has to get out into this legalistic world in which we live today. If you could take a look at the bondage that the average church member is in today, it would break your heart. It is there. All of the distortion of teaching that is out there today, it breaks your heart. If we are going to get a message out, it has to be supported. That is what he is saying. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
1 After we had torn ourselves away from them
That would have been such an emotional time of being with these people that you had led to the Lord, and saw grow in the Lord, and loved in the Lord. Here you are saying to them, somewhat similar to what Jesus said, when he said he was going away. You can imagine the redponse of his disciples when they heard Jesus say, I am going away. Yet it is good I am going away because I will send you my Spirit to be in you. I will have communication with you but it will not be eye ball to eye ball. It will be spiritual.
6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
Here is this man I love more than life itself and he is going away. We are going to go ourselves. And Jesus said, “No, you will not”. I will be with you. But still, the physical presence is what they are grieved about. It is like the loss of a loved one who has died. You know he is in heaven. You know there was a communication but they are not here. You miss that. So this emotional deal was there. Paul was saying the same thing, “I am going away and you will never see me again.”
we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
What would your normal interpretation of that be? Sounds like the Spirit God is telling you not to go on to Jerusalem. Did Paul pay any attention to this? Again, the Spirit told Paul, had he not? The Spirit already told Paul that you will run into problems there. That is why the people were urging him not to go to Jerusalem. They had a clue as to what was waiting for him. The Spirit was merely saying to them the same thing the Spirit was saying to Paul, and that is you are going to run into trials and tribulations there. So what would be your natural thing to say. Do not go. But Paul knew better.
5 When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.
They all returned home and I am sure very sadly.
7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
Here is another warning.
12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.
Again, they pleaded with Paul not to go to Jerusalem. This was the third time. This is a prophet now saying you are going to be bound up. So do not go. Is that the most natural thing you would do if someone is going to get caught and go to jail. Here is Paul’s answer, based upon what Paul knew about God’s plan, that nothing is going to stop me from proclaiming and finishing a race of proclaiming the message of God’s grace.
13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound,
Here is what Paul is saying. I know I am going to be bound up but I am ready for that.
but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
This is not a big deal for me. I know what is going to happen to me. That is okay. They are saying, “No, it sis not okay. We do not want you to get bound up. I do not want you to die.” I know you don’t but I want God’s will for my life and I know God’s will is going to be carried out. God knows these things will happen to me and I am ready to carry it out. There is only one thing I am ready for. I am ready for the will of God.
14 When he would not be dissuaded
Paul was hard headed.
14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
Was that not what Paul was saying all the time? His attitude should also be our attitude. We get our prayer life so messed up. We get the idea that God is obligated to answer everything. Do you want your prayers answered or do you want God’s will for your life? Do you want God’s will for your life or do you want your prayers answered? Anything we ask according to God’s will He hears us and answers us.
1 John 5:14
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
How am I going to know His will if I do not know His word. Sometimes I do not know His will. Then my prayer is, “I do not know what your will is, but whatever it is, that is what I want.” So my prayer is, “Whatever you want is good enough for me”.