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 Romans Chapter 12 – Part Two

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PostSubject: Romans Chapter 12 – Part Two   Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:47 pm

Romans 12:11-12

Paul then provided a series of exhortations concerning a believer’s personal attitudes, attitudes that will make him more attractive to others. In Rom_12:11 the key thought is the last clause — serving (douleuontes; diakonian in Rom_12:7 is trans. “serving”) the Lord — and the first two clauses explain how a believer is to serve as the Lord’s “slave” (doulos; cf. Rom_1:1): never… lacking (“not shrinking, not hesitating, not being lazy”) in zeal (en spoudē, “diligence,” rendered “diligently” in Rom_12:Cool, and being fervent in spirit. Keep your spiritual fervor is literally, “being fervent, or boiling (zeontes, used only here and in Act_18:25 of Apollos) in the spirit” (either the Holy Spirit or one’s inner life). These two commands also balance each other as negative and positive commands (cf. Rom_12:9). As believers serve God as His slaves they should be enthusiastic and diligent. Whatever a Christian does in this life is worth doing with enthusiasm and care. Sloth and indifference not only prevent good, but allow evil to prosper.
To be Fervent in spirit means “to boil in spirit or boiling over.” This phrase suggests having plenty of heat to product adequate, productive energy, but not so much heat that one goes out of control.
The three exhortations in Rom_12:12 can be understood either as independent items or as additional descriptions of how believers should serve the Lord. They are to be joyful in hope, because their hope in Christ is the basis of their rejoicing (Rom_5:2-5; 1Pe_1:6-9). In affliction (thlipsei, “distress, trouble, pressure”; cf. Rom_8:35) believers are to be patient (hypomenontes, “being steadfast, having endurance”; cf. Rom_5:3). Also Christians should continue in prayer to God for wisdom, guidance, and strength (cf. 1Th_5:17). The hope that we are to rejoice in is the hope of the resurrection. Of Christ’s return and our ultimate redemption.. We are warned not to be like those that have no hope of the resurrection.
I Thessalonians 4:13-14 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
We, also, know that in this life there will be tribulation. Tribulation comes to make us strong.
John 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." We see from this that we certainly to face tribulation.
Romans 5:3 " And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;"
Ephesians 6:18 "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Prayer is the power available to the Christian. Prayer is so important that even Jesus went aside and prayed to the Father. The disciples that walked with Jesus saw the importance of prayer and asked Jesus to teach them to pray. When we pray, we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. We are told that anything we ask in the name of Jesus will be done.
John 14:13 "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
Being faithful, NIV’s translation of proskarterountes, should be rendered “persisting in” or “devoted to” (cf. Act_1:14; Act_2:42; Col_4:2).
Romans 12:13

Returning to Christians’ responsibilities to other believers, Paul exhorted them, Share with God’s people who are in need (lit., “sharing [koinōnountes, ‘having in common’] the needs of the saints”). This characterized the Jerusalem church (Act_2:44-45; Act_4:32, Act_4:34-37). This concern also motivated the church in Antioch (Act_11:27-30) and the Apostle Paul (1Co_16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8-9; Rom_15:25-27) to give to the church in Jerusalem. In the same vein the apostle commanded, Practice hospitality (lit., “pursuing friendliness to strangers”). Both ministries, meeting needs and being hospitable, involve helping others. “Distributing” comes from a Greek word that means commonality, partnership or mutual sharing, which is often translated “fellowship,” and “communion”.
“Given to hospitality” means the pursuing the love of strangers and not merely entertaining one’s friends. In New Testament times, travel was dangerous and inns were evil, scare and expensive. So the early believers often opened their homes to travelers, especially to fellow believer. Church leaders should be role models of the virtue.
Acts 9:39: "Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them."
We see that Dorcas had certainly fulfilled the lesson in the Scripture above. She saw a need and took care of it. Many believe that this same Dorcas paid for a great deal of Paul's necessities. We do know from this Scripture, that she was a very giving person. She was loved dearly by her sisters and brothers in Christ as you can see from Acts 9:39. I will include several more Scriptures here that will demonstrate how important it is to God for us to be concerned about the needs of the saints, and in this we can, also, see how important it is to be hospitable, as well.
Galatians 6:10 "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
I Timothy 5:10 "Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work."

Romans 12:14-16

Paul’s exhortations in this section relate to a believer’s reactions to the actions and emotions of others, whether Christians or not. The hatred displayed in persecution usually evokes response in kind, but Paul commanded, Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (cf. Mat_5:44). Here we are told to treat enemies as if they were your friends.
One of the most important teachings on this particular subject is found in Jesus' own words in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:44
" But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"
A Christian's greatest desire should be to be like Jesus. The one thing that set Jesus aside from other people was that He loved us enough to die on the cross for us while we were yet in sin. He blessed us when we really deserved to be persecuted.
I Peter 2:23 "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:"
Perhaps Paul thought of Stephen (Act_7:59-60) and of Jesus Christ (Luk_23:34). They both modeled these words and responded to persecution even to death by praying for God’s forgiveness of their persecutors.
Christians should be able to empathize with others, both believers and unbelievers. Paul commanded, Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. One of the shortest verses in the entire Bible is a good example of weeping with those who weep. Jesus had great love for His friends, Mary and Martha, and His sorrow was sharing in their pain at the loss of their brother. Jesus knew that Lazarus would rise and He was not weeping for Lazarus.
John 11:35 "Jesus wept." The truth of the matter is that we need to share in the grief’s of our friends and, also, to rejoice with them in their victories. We must not be jealous of their victories. We need to be happy for them when they succeed.
I Corinthians 12:26 "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it."
To are told be glad in the blessings, honor and welfare of others, no matter what one’s own situation and to be sensitive or compassionate to the hardships and sorrows of others.
Related to this is the next command, Live in harmony with one another (lit., “having the same attitude toward one another”; cf. Rom_15:5; Php_2:2; 1Pe_3:Cool. Being in harmony with other Christians is basic to being able to empathize with them. This idea is then presented in negative and positive details: Do not be proud (lit., “not thinking highly” of yourself; cf. Rom_11:20; Rom_12:3) and be willing to associate with people of low position (cf. Jas_2:1-9). These orders are summarized in the command, Do not be conceited (lit., “Do not become wise concerning themselves”; cf. Pro_3:7; Rom_11:25), an attitude that makes empathy impossible. “Same mind” means to be impartial.
“Mind … high things” means not to be haughty with self seeking pride.
“Wise in your own conceits” tell us that Christians are not to have conceit or feeling of superiority toward fellow believers.
I Peter 3:8 "Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous:"
We see from verses 15 and 16 that we are not to have someone as a friend just because they are wealthy or highly thought of in the community. In other words, we are not to have them for a friend because of what good they can do for us, but perhaps because we might be able to help them. If we think too highly of ourselves, we think the world and its entire people owe us something.
We need to be thinking how we can help, rather than always wanting to be helped. The best Scripture that comes to mind pertaining to this is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. In this chapter speaking of charity, it is really speaking of great love for your fellow man.
I Corinthians 13:1-4 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." "And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." "And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." "Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,"
I Corinthians 13:8 "Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away."
What I see in this is, if what you are doing is being done for the wrong reason, even if it is a good deed, it will do you no good. God is more interested in why you are doing something than how much you do. Your heart must be in it to please God.

Romans 12:17-18

The exhortations in Rom_12:17-21 relate primarily to believers’ relationships with unbelievers, speaking as they do of those who do evil toward believers (Rom_12:17) and are the “enemy” of believers (Rom_12:20). The Old Testament principle of justice was “eye for eye” (Exo_21:24), but Paul commanded, Do not repay anyone evil for evil (cf. 1Pe_3:9). On the positive side Christians are to do what is right (kala, “beautiful,” used here in the ethical sense of good, noble, and honorable). Recompense in this instance means to repay. We could see in this that God does not want us to get even for the things people have done to us. God wants us to turn the other cheek when we have been dealt a blow on one side.
Matthew 5:39 "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."
I Thessalonians 5:15 "See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among ourselves, and to all [men]."
We also see that the Old Testament law of an “eye for an eye”, “tooth for a tooth” was never intended to be applied by individuals in the Old or New Testaments, but it was a standard for the collective society to use to enforce good conduct among people.
Christians are to respect what is intrinsically proper and honest. “God” also carries the idea of visibly and obviously having the right behavior when they are around others, especially unbelievers.
Paul then commanded believers, Live at peace with everyone (cf. “live in harmony with one another,” Rom_12:16). We see from the Scripture above, that it is not always possible to live in peace with all men. Paul found this to be very true. He was stoned, whipped, and even left for dead when all he was trying to do was good. Sometimes it seems the more good you do the more you are attacked by your fellow men.
Although we should do everything possible to be at peace with others, it will not always come, because it also depends on others’ attitudes and responses.
Jesus is the King of Peace. If we are truly His followers, then we want to have peace, as well. There is a peace that we can have and it is a peace in our heart that no one can take away from us.
Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." This is a peace that we have within when in the world around us there is no peace.
But recognizing that limits exist, Paul included the words, If it is possible, as far as it depends on you. Harmony with others may not always be achievable, but believers should not be responsible for that lack of peace (cf. Mat_5:9).

Romans 12:19-21

Referring again to the negative (cf. Rom_12:17) Paul then exhorted his readers not to take revenge after they are misused. Instead they should leave room for God’s wrath (lit., “for the wrath”), because God has promised to avenge His people: It is Mine to avenge, I will repay (Deu_32:35; cf. Heb_10:30). In verses 18 and 19, we see that God will take care of those who are abusive to us. We do not have to fight someone who is out to destroy us; God will do it for us. A real simple way to say this is kill them with kindness.
David’s refusal to kill Saul on two occasions when it seemed that God had delivered Saul into David’s hands is a classic biblical example of this principle. In light of God’s promise to execute vengeance, a Christian should therefore feed his enemy and quench his thirst — in short, respond to his evil with Christian love. Heaping burning coals on his head, along with the first part of Rom_12:20, is a quotation from Pro_25:21-22. Heaping coals of fire on his head refers to an ancient Egyptian custom in which a person who wanted to show public contrition carried a pan of burning coals on his head. The coals represented the burning pain of his shame and guilt. When believers lovingly help their enemies, it should bring shame to such people for their hate and animosity.
This may refer to a sense of shame or remorse engendered when we treat an evildoer kindly. Paul is discussing personal, not national enemies. He is not teaching pacifism.
Proverbs 25:21-22 "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:" "For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee."
This is the very same Scripture we read in Proverbs.
Matthew 5:44-45 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
These Scriptures here in Matthew are the Lord Jesus speaking because these are printed in red in the Bible. If we are to be like Jesus, then we must love people who do not deserve our love. He loved us while we were yet in sin. He gave His body on the cross for you and me, not because we deserved it, but because He loved us. We must love in spite of, rather than because, to be like Him.
Helping rather than cursing an enemy may cause him to be ashamed and penitent. As Paul summarized, Do not be overcome by evil, giving in to the temptation to retaliate, but overcome evil with good (cf. Mat_5:44, “love your enemies”). Evil is of the devil. Christians are not of the devil, but of Christ. Jesus did not fight back. He submitted Himself to the humiliation of the cross. His goodness was so great that even in His pain on the cross, He said Father forgive them for they know not what they do. His goodness has lived on for thousands of years.
We must follow His example. In Jesus' own Words, we read how we are to handle those who oppress us in Luke 6:27-30.
"But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you," "Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." "And unto him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not [to take thy] coat also." "Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask [them] not again."
Again positive and negative commands are put together (cf. Rom_12:9, Rom_12:11, Rom_12:16-20).
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Romans Chapter 12 – Part Two
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