THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS

Complete Surrender to God

(Rom. 12:1-2)
Complete Surrender to God

Todayís lesson falls in the overall outline of Romans in the following way:

Theme: The Faithfulness and Righteousness of God (1:16-17)

I. The Need for God's Righteousness (1:18-3:20)

    General Statement Explaining Why Man Needs Godís Righteous Activity (1:18a)
    The Gentile Need for Godís Righteous Activity (1:18-32)
    The Jewish Need for Godís Righteous Activity (2:1-3:20)
II. Godís Gracious Provision of Righteousness (3:21-8:39)
    The Method of God Making Us Right with Himself (3:21-31)
    Abraham: OT Proof that God Makes Us Right With Him By Faith (4:1-25)
    Results of Being Made Right with God (5:1-6:23)
        (1) A Proper Relationship of Peace with God (5:1-2)
        (2) A Proper Understanding of Suffering (5:3-5)
        (3) Assurance in Judgment (5:6-11)
        (4) A New Race of Mankind (5:12-21)
        A Rejection of Lawlessness (6:1-23)
    Experiencing Godís Righteousness Daily (7:1-8:39)
        (1) The Way Not to Experience Godís Righteousness (7:1-25)
        (2) The Way to Experience Godís Righteousness (8:1-39)


III. Israelís Temporary Rejection of Godís Righteousness in Jesus Christ (9:1-11:36)

IV. Practical Applications of Godís Righteousness in Life (12:1-15:13)

     Complete Surrender to God (12:1-2)
     Proper Exercise of Spiritual Gifts (12:3-8)
     Love for the Church (12:9-13)
     Love for Persecutors (12:14-21)
     Christian Citizenship (13:1-7)
     Primacy of Love (13:8-10)
     The Nearness of the Day of the Lord Motivates Us to Live Righteously (13:11-14)
     Care for the Weaker Christian (14:1-15:13)


INTRODUCTION

When you come to Romans 12-15, you need to bear in mind the major teaching of Rom. 8:1-11. The way to experience the right kind of relationship with God and with others is by following the Holy Spirit on a daily consistent basis. Following the Law of Moses will lead only to disaster in your relationship with God and with your relationship with others. Now that Paul has proved that keeping Moses' Law does not produce God's life (the right kind of relationships), he does not substitute Moses' Law with other laws. If you are not careful, you will do exactly that when you read these 4 chapters. Rather in these chapters Paul is discussing the kind of life the Spirit lives whenever He encounters these different areas in your life. For example, in 12:3-8 Paul will discuss how the Spirit operates in our lives with regard to our relationship with the church, in 12:9-21 the way the Spirit operates in us whenever we are in relationship with people we get along with and with people who are against us. In 13:1-7 Paul will speak about the way the Spirit will guide us in our relationship with governments, in 14:1-15:13 the way the Spirit functions whenever we encounter people who get under our skin because they are ďtheologicallyĒ wrong. These are not new laws; rather they inform us of how the Spirit will guide us in these relationships. If we are following the Holy Spirit, then we will operate in those ways.

Although Paul does not come right out and say it, he is implying throughout this entire section that you are not to function these ways in your own strength and power. Keep in mind the futility of doing it in your own strength as described in Rom. 7:13-25. Romans chapters 12-15 not only describe for us the way the Spirit functions in various relationships in our lives; they also imply that we can live these ways only because the Holy Spirit empowers us. Unfortunately many of us are trying to live the Christian life in our own strength; these people are so frustrated. Remember that we are called to follow the Spirit on a daily consistent basis in His strength and power.


COMPLETE SURRENDER TO GOD (12:1-2)

In nearly all of his letters, Paul spends the first few chapters on theology and the remaining chapters on ethics (that is how to live). For example, while Eph. 1-3 speaks of theology, Eph. 4-6 speaks of the way the Ephesians are supposed to live. The Letter to the Romans is no exception. Chapters 1-8 concern theology, while chapters 12-15 concern morality, ethics.

Moreover, in many cases the chapters on ethics in Paul's letters relate directly to the theology in those letters. For example, in Eph. 1-3 Paul is giving the theological reasons why Christians should be unified; in chapters 4-6 he speaks of practical ways to be unified. In the same way, Romans 12-15, especially 14:1-15:13, relate directly to Romans 1-8.


Rom. 12:1ó"I urge you, therefore, 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."

According to Rom. 12:1, what does Paul urge the Roman Christians to do?

Why does Paul urge us to present our bodies as sacrifices? Didn't Jesus offer the one-time sacrifice so that we don't have to sacrifice ourselves? The answer to that is "Yes" and "No!" Yes, we will never have to sacrifice ourselves in order to pay for our sins because as sinners we cannot pay for our sins. Agnus Dei: ďLamb of God, You take away the sins of the world.Ē Only the completely pure and righteous sacrifice can pay for our sins. Only Jesus can make that sacrifice. In the Eucharist we appropriate the benefits of that sacrifice.

The answer though is also "No!" Why? First, because following Jesus means that we must go where He has gone. What did Jesus tell His disciples in John 12:26?


What command does Jesus give His disciples in Luke 9:23?


To claim to be a follower of Jesus the Sufferer and yet never suffer is a contradiction. Following Jesus the Sufferer means that I too must suffer. It is then by no means an accident that sacrifice forms a major theme in the entire Bible: Noah's sacrifice, Abraham's sacrifice, Moses' sacrifices, and the sacrifice on Calvary.

The second reason the answer is no is that there are more sacrifices than just the sacrifice for sin. In the OT we read about the whole burnt offering, the drink offering, the sacrifice of incense, and the thanks offering. These kinds of sacrifice still apply to the Christian today.

What kind of offering is Paul referring to here in Rom. 12:1? The sacrifice of the whole burnt offering, also known as the "holocaust." Whereas in many sacrifices, such as the Passover sacrifice, the people who offered the offering actually got to eat part of the sacrificed animal, in this offering the entire animal was consumed by the fire so that nothing was left to eat. This is the kind of offering Paul is referring to here, the total sacrifice of the entire individual: body, soul, and mind. All is given to God through Jesus.


Let's look at the different areas of your and my lives and see how we should sacrifice those areas to Jesus.

The Mind. According to Philippians 4:8, what kinds of things are we to let into our minds?


Are you following the Spirit in this area? For example, what do you do whenever something sexual comes up on TV or on the Internet? Do you change channels quickly? Do you exit out the pop-up on the Internet? Are places like Hooters something funny to joke about or something to teach your sons to avoid?


Your Vision. According to Heb. 11:6, what kind of perspective should you have on life? Can you please God if you do not have this perspective?


Are you following the Spirit in this area?


Your Tongue. According to Eph. 4:29, what kinds of words should proceed from your mouth?


According to 1 Pet. 4:11, what words should you speak?


Are you following the Spirit in this area?


Your Heart. According to Philippians 1:8, with what kind of love did Paul have for his friends, the Philippians?


According to Matt. 5:44, how should we treat our enemies?

Are you following the Spirit in this area?


Your Hip, that is, your wallet. The tithe is simply non-negotiable if you are going to show that Jesus is Lord over your money; however, God should not be Lord only just over the 10% we give Him. He should be Lord over all our money. According to 2 Cor. 9:6, 7, what should our attitude be towards our giving over and beyond the tithe?


According to Jesus (Matt. 6:21), how important is a man's attitude towards his wallet?

Are you following the Spirit in this area?


Your Feet. According to Rom. 10:15, what kind of activity should our feet be involved in?

Are you following the Spirit in this area?


Your Wrist, that is, the time on your watch. According to Eph. 5:16, what should we do with our time?

According to Heb. 10:24, 25, what should be our attitude towards times set aside for worship?

Are you following the Spirit in this area?


We are not setting up another set of laws. If the Spirit tells you not to give to a certain church project, don't! If the Spirit leads you to attend a family reunion instead of attending Bible study and worship, do it! You are ultimately accountable only to God; therefore, you should do as the Spirit leads. Once more, the answer is that we need to follow the Spirit on a daily consistent basis.

Before you and I start patting ourselves on the back because we are doing well in most of the areas, remember that if Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. Giving Him control over areas that don't matter to us is not what is important. It's giving Him control over the areas that we are holding onto so tightly is what matters.


What is a benefit of offering yourself to God as a sacrifice? Read Exodus 40:34 and 2 Chronicles 7:1-2. What happened after Moses offered sacrifices for the tabernacle and Solomon offered sacrifices in the new temple?


In the same way, we see God's presence in a dramatic way on the cross where Jesus sacrificed Himself. In fact it is at the cross where we see God most clearly. There we see that He is both a God of love and a God of holiness. He is so holy that He demands a death for sin. He is so loving that He Himself dies for our sins.


Rom. 12:2ó"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Paul commands us to not to "be ________________ to this world" but to "be _____________ by the renewing" of our minds. When you read Rom. 12-15, you will notice that people who are not led by the Spirit do not act the ways depicted in these chapters. We should relate to the government in a way different than the way the world relates. The same applies to our relationship with the church, other people (especially enemies), etc. We should relate to them the way Jesus Himself related to them.

According to Paul, what must take place before we can be transformed? How do you go about doing that?


Some people reduce the Bible to being a kind of spiritual OUIJA Board. For example, one time a person told me how God spoke to him through the Bible. He did not know if he should move to Hillsboro or not. Well, he sat down and read a passage in the Bible in which God told one of the Israelites to go up to the Hill country. On the basis of that verse, that Christian believed God was telling him to move to Hillsboro. Even though that move proved to be disastrous, he was so excited because he was sure God had "spoken" to him. When it is all said and done, we will know for sure if God spoke to him only on Judgment Day. The fact that the move was disastrous leads me to think that God did NOT speak to him.

Although God does speak to us directly through the Bible, in many ways Bible study is a way we can come into contact with the way God thinks. Continual exposure to the Bible will result in our being able to know when God is the One who is speaking to us and when somebody else is speaking to us. We may be thinking that we are obeying God all day long; however, if we are can't discern God's voice, we are probably obeying somebody else, ourselves or even Satan.