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.
In these three verses of Romans 12, we have 8 traits that are the practical expressions of the love and devotion which Paul set before us in verses 9 and 10. These are not just the character traits that belong to super-saints, but the traits that are to be embodied by every true child of God. In Christ, who is the perfect example of all of these, we are fully capable of manifesting all of them.
In this passage see a setting and question that provokes Jesus to one of the clearest proclamations of His deity, and of our safety in Him. Therefore, we first learn that the Bible teaches that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are the union of three distinct persons, who eternally exists in one divine essence, one nature and character; each person being fully God and the being of each Person is equal to the whole being of God. Then, we learn that the great doctrine of the perseverance, or eternal security, of the true believer means that those who are truly in Christ can neither totally nor finally fall from a state of grace.
In the fast paced, highly connected world in which we live it seems all too common for people to feel overlooked. This sense of falling between the cracks is even more profound when we are struggling with difficulties that overwhelm us with seemingly no explanation for our suffering. We learn from the opening verses of the ninth chapter of John’s gospel that in Jesus we have a savior who sees our struggles. Furthermore, we learn in this passage that the hardships and struggles in our lives are for a purpose that displays the glory and character of God. In healing a blind beggar in Jerusalem, Jesus shows his power over our circumstances and teaches us to fix our gaze upon the higher purposes of our circumstances.
At this point in Romans 11, Paul is explaining that God has an ultimate purpose in both the rebellion and restoration of ethnic Israel. In verse 22, he reminds us that we must vigilantly guard ourselves against pride and apathy by both loving and fearing God. If we see unbelief rising in our hearts, we must fear God and fly to Christ. Thus, we are to be people regularly in God’s Word, setting before ourselves the kindness and severity of God so that we are properly informed and motivated as we press on in sanctification.
Christ said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matt 20:28) In Christ, we are meant to be servants as well — never passive spectators, but active participants in His work. This sermon explores the role of the servant, the message of the servant, the caution of the servant, and the path of the servant, all with the goal of helping is realize that our greatest joy is in being servants of Christ and serving others in His name.
Believers are engaged in the ongoing process of sanctification, progressively becoming more and more like Christ. As we study the nature of Christ in Scripture we see traits that should increasingly characterize our lives. In this brief interlude, John shows us four characteristics of a faithful servant. Seeing how these traits are modeled by Jesus during a difficult season of ministry should serve to help in continue to grow in grace and Christ likeness.
Have you ever thought about abandoning your faith and leaving Christianity? Life brings many challenges to the heart of the believer but none match the words of Christ. When we read what Jesus requires of us in Scripture our hearts should despair for we do not have the means to meet the demand. But there is good news, all that God requires Jesus has satisfied. The words of Jesus are hard, but the word of Jesus are life. In this sermon we see how the apostles come to realize that Jesus was the only source of life as He is the Holy One of God. Their hope, as does ours, rests completely in Him.
Jesus is continuing to expound on what it means for Him to be the living bread from heaven. We are not to follow Christ because of what we get from him materially, as the Jews are doing in this text, rather we are to follow and believe in Christ in order to get Christ! He is our true manna from heaven. He is the only one who can nourish and satisfy our souls. It is also in Christ alone that we are saved, preserved through this life, and resurrected on the last day. So do you believe on this Jesus?
Enduring suffering and building a proven character have a way of making us understand what is really important and lasting on this life. Our trials do not lead us away from hope, but to deeper, more certain versions of our hope. Our tendency in our immaturity is to invest ourselves in so many fleeting and temporal things. It is through our trials and tribulations that we are made to see again and again that the things of this world offer no true comfort, no true fulfillment, and certainly no future. Through our trials, God build in us appetites that only heaven can satisfy.