In these final four verses of Romans 12, God instructs us through the Apostle Paul to be a people who strive for peace with all men. This does not mean we compromise the truth or hide from the world, but rather that we be active makers of peace by spreading the gospel of Christ wherever we go. As we intentionally strive to reflect the compassion of Christ, refusing to take vengeance on those who persecute us, we will (by the grace of Christ!) overcome evil with good.
The ideal of Christian ‘love’ is one of the church’s favorite subjects to expound, but it is too frequently the one where we fall the most short. In this sermon, we explore the character of Biblical love and how it is to be displayed within the Body of Christ. Biblical love originates with God, is marked by purity, and seeks all that is good and righteous for the beloved.
In this Ordination Service for Wes Bailey, we examine the qualification given for those who serve in the office of Deacon. Not only are these character traits necessary for men who would serve in this office, but they are character traits that every believer should strive to manifest as they are conformed to the Person of Christ.
“How can I know God’s will for my life?” Persons who ask this question usually think of God’s will in terms of a career, a mate, a school choice, a job choice, or a big financial decision. To rightly discern His will, we must go to Scripture to see how God reveals it to us. There we see two aspects of God’s will — His revealed moral will and His secret will of decree. Both of these aspects are a comfort to believers, and they guard us from thinking that we need a new revelation from God every time we face a big decision. As we ground ourselves in his Word and apply it to our lives, we will ultimately prove His will.
With the beginning of Romans 12, Paul makes a distinct shift in his letter to the Romans. Given the robust theology of the gospel expounded in the first eleven chapters, he now turns to the subject of how believers are to live the truth of the gospel in all their relational as societal spheres. Here in the fist verse, he exhorts believers, on the basis of God’s incredible mercies, to offer themselves as living and holy sacrifices. This is the only fitting response for those redeemed by Christ: to offer our whole self to Him is thanksgiving, praise, worship, and adoration.
Lee Dymond is the Baptist Campus Ministries Pastor at Auburn University Montgomery. In this Sunday evening sermon, he expounds Hebrews 12:1-2 to encourage believers to beware of drifting away in their walks of faith. To keep from drifting, we must lay aside all sin and encumbrance, and set our gaze upon Christ who is the author and perfecter of our faith.
The goal and natural result of all theology is doxology — In other words, the study of doctrine naturally leads to praise and worship and exaltation of the glory and splendor of God. Some have wrongly interpreted these verses to be Paul’s way of waving the white flag of mystery over the doctrines of election and divine sovereignty. A false view! God, through Paul, has clearly taught us the doctrine of sovereign election for all who will give it an honest reading. And having pulled back the veil to show us the sovereign purpose of God in exalting His mercy, even through the existence of sin, Paul is now marveling over what these doctrines have revealed about the eternal wisdom and transcendence of Almighty God!
As we near the end of Romans 11, we see that Israel’s rejection of the gospel was ordained by God so that the gospel would go forth in power among the Gentiles. Thus, in terms of the gospel, they are God’s enemies for our sake. Yet they are also beloved from the standpoint of God’s election. Though Israel has been unfaithful, because of God’s promise to their fathers, His love for them will ultimately be demonstrated and vindicated in their final restoration. This will all take place according to God’s sovereign plan to exalt His mercy in redemption.
In Romans 11:17, Paul likens the people of God to a lovingly cultivated olive tree and acknowledges that some of the branches of this tree were broken off. These broken off branches represent the Israelites who rejected Jesus and thereby forfeited their true spiritual heritage. The wild olive branches represent the Gentiles who “became partakers with them of the rich root.” Unfortunately, some Gentiles take this truth as an occasion to exalt themselves over their Jewish brethren, so Paul responds to such pride by reminding us all of the grace by which we stand.
In Romans 11:1-6, we saw that God has sovereignly maintained a believing remnant in Israel even through her worst times of apostasy. In verses 7-10, we saw that Israel’s rejection was not complete, but only partial. In this sermon on verses 11-16, Paul helps us understand that Israel’s rejection is not final, but only temporary. The rejection of God’s own chosen people has resulted in the Gentiles being reconciled to Him. If we receive this incredible blessing through Israel’s rejection, how much greater will the blessings be when Israel is once again accepted in God’s sight on the basis of their faith in Christ!