ROMANS 12:1-8 PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 14 JANUARY 2024
God is many things to His people – to Christians.
God is a giver. He constantly gives good gifts to those who love and serve Him
God gives us grace. He gives us mercy. God is a Forgiving God. His greatest gift to us, of course, is His Son, Jesus, along with the Holy Spirit.
God provides for us.
And as He gives all these to us, His expectation of us is that we will use what He has given us to bless someone else.
READ Romans 12:1-8
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Paul ends the 12th Chapter of Romans by saying this: “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”
Sometimes, we allow evil to conquer us. Has evil ever conquered you?
Each day, we fight all kinds of battles. How many battles have you fought in your lifetime?
Paul, who also wrote Ephesians, said it like this: “For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Jesus says He is the light in this dark world: “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness because you will have that light that leads to life.”
Most of us, almost every day, fight spiritual battles. Whether it is in our home, our workplace, or in the marketplace. Wherever we are, we are in the midst of a spiritual battle.
All of us suffer from a sinful nature. One of the reasons it is difficult to live in harmony is that we bring our sinful nature into our space.
It is impossible for us to be perfect. We battle many sins all the time. And the sad truth is sometimes we don’t recognize them as sins. For example – we become jealous of someone or something; We are greedy – wanting more. We eat too much. We want what someone else has. We experience lust of the eyes. We act out in an immoral or un-Christlike manner.
We get angry. We lose our temper. We judge people. We gossip. We lie.
We can go on and on listing our reactions to what life throws at us and call it just that – reactions. But, in reality, we have to understand that they are sins.
They are sins because they are the expected – or at least – accepted behaviors of those who are without Christ.
We may condemn people we see blatantly committing sin, but at the same time, we are battling with our own sinful nature.
Jesus had something to say about this, too. Paraphrasing here: He says you must “take the tree out of your own eye before you deal with the speck that is in the eye of that person.”
If you are like me and almost everyone you know, you, at times, feel that you lost some battles in your time. That will usually make us feel like we have been beaten up.
Maybe something terrible has happened to you. Maybe you made some terrible choices. Maybe you have out and out sinned and now you are suffering the consequences.
This is called old-fashioned Guilt.
But, if that is where you are right now, or at any time, there is something you need to know.
JESUS IS VICTORIOUS!
The truth is – evil will conquer you – but only if you allow it to do so.
The way you don’t allow evil to conquer you is to choose to follow Jesus.
Your faith in Jesus is the victory that overcomes the darkness of this world.
We sing the old Hymn – Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever. He sought me, and He bought me with His redeeming blood. Some of you are now singing that in your head.
That is why we must refuse to listen to the lies of Satan and those of the world.
Our faith in Jesus is indispensable because no matter what is going on around you or to you, your faith in Jesus is the victory over evil.
Paul teaches us in Romans 12 ways that help us to live a life victorious in Jesus.
First, use the gifts that God has given to you.
Zig Ziglar, an author, wrote in his book titled “See You at the Top” this story:
An Indian living in Oklahoma had lived in poverty all his life. But one day, oil was discovered on his land. He became a very wealthy man. He went out and bought himself a brand-new Cadillac.
He would dress up in his new clothes, and every day, he would take his Cadillac into the small town nearby. He wanted everybody, and he wanted everybody to see him.
He was a friendly fella, so as he rode through the town, he would wave at all the people as he drove by. Even with all his attention focused on waving to the folks on the street, he never ran into anyone or anything.
And there was a reason that he never hit anything, as he paid little attention to his driving.
Directly in front of that big, beautiful Cadillac were two horses harnessed to the car and pulling it. There wasn’t anything wrong with the car’s engine.
It was because the old Indian had never learned to drive. He had never even learned how to put the key into the ignition switch and turn it on!
Here he was with a brand-new Cadillac with more than 100 horsepower under the hood. That car was ready, willing, and able to go wherever the man wanted to go.
But the old Indian was content to use just the two horsepower he had hooked to the front of the car.
He didn’t use what was readily available to him for good.
Here is how Paul teaches the use of the gifts God has given us: Romans 12:6-18.
God is a Giver. He gives to us constantly. He gives us grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
He gave us Jesus, His Holy Spirit. He provides for us every day.
His expectation is that we will use what we have been given to bless others. He doesn’t want us to keep those gifts to ourselves.
He doesn’t want us to be like the old Indian who did not know the power was right there in front of him and failed to use it.
The power of God raised Jesus from death. We have that same power through Christ.
We must use our faith the way God intended it to be used. Love God and love others. Share Jesus with people. Show Jesus to people as you live your life reflecting Jesus Christ.
When we are gathered together as the Body of Christ, we share that faith and that love. We know the power we have in Christ. We enjoy praising God, thankful for His gift of our Savior.
It is easy to do when we are together. But when we separate and go our own way during the week, we are sometimes hesitant to share what we have in Christ with others who don’t know Him.
Paul also shares another reality that will help us live victorious in Jesus. And that is to live our faith for real.
We all know people who really are a bit fake. Apparently, Paul did, too, because he made a point to tell the church in Rome (and us) to be genuine.
He said not just to pretend to love others – but to really love them. He put it this way: “Love each other with genuine affection.”
When we can love people with genuine affection, we are also going to be available to those people.
You’ve heard it before – maybe even said it at times: “Let me know if you ever need help.” Is it genuine? I believe most of the time, it is. But we must be available when the need does arise. Being genuine means being available.
Paul also speaks about hospitality. By this, he means being ready to help those in need. Again, being available without excuse when there is a need
Let’s go back to verse one, Romans 12 – Paul pleads with the church at Rome to give their bodies to God because of all He has done for them. Be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind that He will find acceptable.
That is our true worship. We could easily copy the behavior and the customs of the world. But, as followers of Christ, we are transformed into a new person. We are transformed by changing the way we think. Is
When that happens, we learn to know God’s will for us – individually – and as the church. In God’s sight, that is what is good, pleasing, and perfect.
To grow spiritually, we need four things:
1. We need to serve and bless others.
2. As we pour out love and compassion, we need a refill. A refill of the Word of God.
3. As we pour out love and compassion, we need another refill. A refill of prayer.
4. As we pour out love and compassion, we need yet another refill. A refill with our church family.
I hope today that you are living with the power of Jesus today. I hope you are using the gifts He gives you. I hope that you are living in genuine faith.
There is no power on Earth or in hell that can steal your faith. If it wanes, it is because we choose to abandon it. Don’t allow evil to conquer you. Live victoriously in Jesus.
The power of faith in Jesus is readily available for those who will follow Him.