Romans Chapter Twelve
The apostle resumes the thread of his instructions, by taking up-as he does in all his epistles-the moral consequences of his doctrine. He places the believer at the outset on the ground of God's mercy, which he had fully developed already. The principle of grace that saves had been established as the basis of salvation. The ground of all christian morality is now laid in this fundamental principle:-to present our bodies as a sacrifice, living, holy, acceptable to God-an intelligent service, not that of the hands, not consisting in ceremonies which the body could perform-a simple but deep-reaching and all-efficacious principle. This was for man personally. As to his outward relationships, he was not to be conformed to the world. Neither was this to be an outside mechanical nonconformity, but the result of being renewed in mind, so as to seek for and discern the will of God, good and acceptable and perfect; the life being thus transformed.
This connects itself with the end of chapter 6. It is not those sitting in heavenly places, imitators of God as dear children, but men on earth set free by the delivering power of redemption and grace, yielding themselves up to God to do His will. The exhortation follows the character we have seen to be that of the epistle.
Thus the christian walk was characterised by devotedness and obedience. It was a life subjected to the will of another, namely, to the will of God; and therefore stamped with humility and dependence. But there was absolute devotedness of heart in self-sacrifice. For there was a danger, flowing from the power that acted in it, of the flesh coming in and availing itself of it. With regard to this, every one was to have a spirit of wisdom and moderation, and to act within the limits of the gift which God had dispensed to him, occupying himself with it according to the will of God; even as each member has its own place in the body, and should accomplish the function which God has ascribed to it. The apostle passes on insensibly to all the forms which duty assumes in the Christian, according to the various positions in which he stands, and to the spirit in which he ought to walk in every relationship.
It is in chapter 12 only that the idea of the assembly as a body is thus found in this epistle; and that, in connection with the duties of the members individually-duties that flowed from their positions as such. Otherwise it is the position of man in his individual responsibility before God, and this met by grace, and then the delivered man, that is set before us in the Epistle to the Romans. The directions given by the apostle extend to the Christian's relationship with the authorities under which he is placed. He recognises them as accomplishing the service of God, and as armed with authority from Him, so that resisting them would be resisting that which God had established. Conscience therefore, and not merely force, constrained the Christian to obey. In fine he was to render to every man that which was due to him in virtue of his position; to leave nothing owing to any one, be it of whatever character it might-excepting love-a debt which never can be liquidated.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Romans》
Believers are to dedicate themselves to God. (1,2) To be humble, and faithfully to use their spiritual gifts, in their respective stations. (3-8) Exhortations to various duties. (9-16) And to peaceable conduct towards all men, with forbearance and benevolence. (17-21)
Commentary on Romans 12:1,2
(Read Romans 12:1,2)
The apostle having closed the part of his epistle wherein he argues and proves various doctrines which are practically applied, here urges important duties from gospel principles. He entreated the Romans, as his brethren in Christ, by the mercies of God, to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to Him. This is a powerful appeal. We receive from the Lord every day the fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we are, all we have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it for such very rich receivings? It is acceptable to God: a reasonable service, which we are able and ready to give a reason for, and which we understand. Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind; a change, not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. The progress of sanctification, dying to sin more and more, and living to righteousness more and more, is the carrying on this renewing work, till it is perfected in glory. The great enemy to this renewal is, conformity to this world. Take heed of forming plans for happiness, as though it lay in the things of this world, which soon pass away. Do not fall in with the customs of those who walk in the lusts of the flesh, and mind earthly things. The work of the Holy Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will, affections, and conversation, till there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Thus, to be godly, is to give up ourselves to God.
Commentary on Romans 12:3-8
(Read Romans 12:3-8)
Pride is a sin in us by nature; we need to be cautioned and armed against it. All the saints make up one body in Christ, who is the Head of the body, and the common Centre of their unity. In the spiritual body, some are fitted for and called to one sort of work; others for another sort of work. We are to do all the good we can, one to another, and for the common benefit. If we duly thought about the powers we have, and how far we fail properly to improve them, it would humble us. But as we must not be proud of our talents, so we must take heed lest, under a pretence of humility and self-denial, we are slothful in laying out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing; but, I am nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost, in the strength of the grace of Christ. Whatever our gifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselves humbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seeking our own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this world and that which is to come.
Commentary on Romans 12:9-16
(Read Romans 12:9-16)
The professed love of Christians to each other should be sincere, free from deceit, and unmeaning and deceitful compliments. Depending on Divine grace, they must detest and dread all evil, and love and delight in whatever is kind and useful. We must not only do that which is good, but we must cleave to it. All our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, love. This denotes the love of parents to their children; which is more tender and natural than any other; unforced, unconstrained. And love to God and man, with zeal for the gospel, will make the wise Christian diligent in all his wordly business, and in gaining superior skill. God must be served with the spirit, under the influences of the Holy Spirit. He is honoured by our hope and trust in him, especially when we rejoice in that hope. He is served, not only by working for him, but by sitting still quietly, when he calls us to suffer. Patience for God's sake, is true piety. Those that rejoice in hope, are likely to be patient in tribulation. We should not be cold in the duty of prayer, nor soon weary of it. Not only must there be kindness to friends and brethren, but Christians must not harbour anger against enemies. It is but mock love, which rests in words of kindness, while our brethren need real supplies, and it is in our power to furnish them. Be ready to entertain those who do good: as there is occasion, we must welcome strangers. Bless, and curse not. It means thorough good will; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at other times; but bless them always, and curse not at all. True Christian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of each other. Labour as much as you can to agree in the same spiritual truths; and when you come short of that, yet agree in affection. Look upon worldly pomp and dignity with holy contempt. Do not mind it; be not in love with it. Be reconciled to the place God in his providence puts you in, whatever it be. Nothing is below us, but sin. We shall never find in our hearts to condescend to others, while we indulge conceit of ourselves; therefore that must be mortified.
Commentary on Romans 12:17-21
(Read Romans 12:17-21)
Since men became enemies to God, they have been very ready to be enemies one to another. And those that embrace religion, must expect to meet with enemies in a world whose smiles seldom agree with Christ's. Recompense to no man evil for evil. That is a brutish recompence, befitting only animals, which are not conscious of any being above them, or of any existence hereafter. And not only do, but study and take care to do, that which is amiable and creditable, and recommends religion to all with whom you converse. Study the things that make for peace; if it be possible, without offending God and wounding conscience. Avenge not yourselves. This is a hard lesson to corrupt nature, therefore a remedy against it is added. Give place unto wrath. When a man's passion is up, and the stream is strong, let it pass off; lest it be made to rage the more against us. The line of our duty is clearly marked out, and if our enemies are not melted by persevering kindness, we are not to seek vengeance; they will be consumed by the fiery wrath of that God to whom vengeance belongeth. The last verse suggests what is not easily understood by the world; that in all strife and contention, those that revenge are conquered, and those that forgive are conquerors. Be not overcome of evil. Learn to defeat ill designs against you, either to change them, or to preserve your own peace. He that has this rule over his spirit, is better than the mighty. God's children may be asked whether it is not more sweet unto them than all earthly good, that God so enables them by his Spirit, thus to feel and act.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Romans》
 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
I exhort you — St. Paul uses to suit his exhortations to the doctrines he has been delivering. So here the general use from the whole is contained in the first and second verses. The particular uses follow, from the third verse to the end of the Epistle.
By the tender mercies of God — The whole sentiment is derived from Rom. i.-v. The expression itself is particularly opposed to "the wrath of God," Romans 1:18. It has a reference here to the entire gospel, to the whole economy of grace or mercy, delivering us from "the wrath of God," and exciting us to all duty.
Your bodies — That is, yourselves; a part is put for the whole; the rather, as in the ancient sacrifices of beasts, the body was the whole. These also are particularly named in opposition to that vile abuse of their bodies mentioned, Romans 1:24. Several expressions follow, which have likewise a direct reference to other expressions in the same chapter.
Holy — Such as the holy law requires, Romans 7:12.
Acceptable — Romans 8:8.
Which is your reasonable service — The worship of the heathens was utterly unreasonable, Romans 1:18, etc.; so was the glorying of the Jews, Romans 2:3, etc. But a Christian acts in all things by the highest reason, from the mercy of God inferring his own duty.
 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
And be not conformed — Neither in judgment, spirit, nor behaviour.
To this world — Which, neglecting the will of God, entirely follows its own.
That ye may prove — Know by sure trial; which is easily done by him who has thus presented himself to God.
What is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God — The will of God is here to be understood of all the preceptive part of Christianity, which is in itself so excellently good, so acceptable to God, and so perfective of our natures.
 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
And I say — He now proceeds to show what that will of God is.
Through the grace which is given to me — He modestly adds this, lest he should seem to forget his own direction.
To every one that is among you — Believers at Rome. Happy, had they always remembered this! The measure of faith - Treated of in the first and following chapters, from which all other gifts and graces flow.
 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
So we — All believers.
Are one body — Closely connected together in Christ, and consequently ought to be helpful to each other.
 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Having then gifts differing according to the grace which is given us — Gifts are various: grace is one.
Whether it be prophecy — This, considered as an extraordinary gift, is that whereby heavenly mysteries are declared to men, or things to come foretold. But it seems here to mean the ordinary gift of expounding scripture.
Let us prophesy according to the analogy of faith — St. Peter expresses it, "as the oracles of God;" according to the general tenor of them; according to that grand scheme of doctrine which is delivered therein, touching original sin, justification by faith, and present, inward salvation. There is a wonderful analogy between all these; and a close and intimate connexion between the chief heads of that faith "which was once delivered to the saints." Every article therefore concerning which there is any question should be determined by this rule; every doubtful scripture interpreted according to the grand truths which run through the whole.
 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
Ministering — As deacons.
He that teacheth — Catechumens; for whom particular instructers were appointed.
He that exhorteth — Whose peculiar business it was to urge Christians to duty, and to comfort them in trials.
 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
He that presideth — That hath the care of a flock.
He that showeth mercy — In any instance.
With cheerfulness — Rejoicing that he hath such an opportunity.
 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Having spoken of faith and its fruit, Romans 12:3, etc., he comes now to love. The ninth, tenth, and eleventh verses refer to chapter the seventh; the twelfth verse to chapter the eighth; the thirteenth verse, of communicating to the saints, whether Jews or gentiles, to chapter the ninth, etc. Part of the sixteenth verse is repeated from Romans 11:25.
Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good — Both inwardly and outwardly, whatever ill-will or danger may follow.
 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
In honour preferring one another — Which you will do, if you habitually consider what is good in others, and what is evil in yourselves.
 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Whatsoever ye do, do it with your might. In every business diligently and fervently serving the Lord - Doing all to God, not to man.
 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Rejoicing in hope — Of perfect holiness and everlasting happiness. Hitherto of faith and love; now of hope also, see the fifth and eighth chapters; afterwards of duties toward others; saints, Romans 12:13 persecutors, Romans 12:14 friends, strangers, enemies, Romans 12:15, etc.
 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Communicate to the necessities of the saints — Relieve all Christians that are in want. It is remarkable, that the apostle, treating expressly of the duties flowing from the communion of saints, yet never says one word about the dead.
Pursue hospitality — Not only embracing those that offer, but seeking opportunities to exercise it.
 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Curse not — No, not in your heart.
 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Rejoice — The direct opposite to weeping is laughter; but this does not so well suit a Christian.
 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
Mind not high things — Desire not riches, honour, or the company of the great.
 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Provide — Think beforehand; contrive to give as little offence as may be to any.
 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Dearly beloved — So he softens the rugged spirit. Revenge not yourselves, but leave that to God. Perhaps it might more properly be rendered, leave room for wrath; that is, the wrath of God, to whom vengeance properly belongs. Deuteronomy 32:35
 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Feed him — With your own hand: if it be needful, even put bread into his mouth.
Heap coals of fire upon his head — That part which is most sensible. "So artists melt the sullen ore of lead, By heaping coals of fire upon its head; In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow, And pure from dross the silver runs below." Proverbs 25:21, etc.
 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
And if you see no present fruit, yet persevere.
Be not overcome with evil — As all are who avenge themselves. But overcome evil with good. Conquer your enemies by kindness and patience.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Romans》
In a church service one Sunday, the offering plate came to a little girl at the end of a row. She took the plate, put it down on the floor, and stood in it. When the usher asked her what she was doing, she responded, “In Sunday school I learned that I was supposed to give myself to God.”
Romans 12:1~2 confirms that she had the right idea.
Chapter 12. To Live for God
Those Who Rejoice
Mourn with Those Who Mourn
I. Sacrifices of Believers
II. Form One Body in Christ
III. Exercise Gifts in Love
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Twelve general Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To see the difference between conformation and transformation,
understanding the process involved in being transformed
2) To appreciate the diversity of service in the Body of Christ
Having concluded his discourses concerning the gospel (chs. 1-8) and
God's dealings with the nation of
(chs. 9-11), Paul now exhorts Israel
his readers to full service in the
. kingdomof God
He begins with a plea to present their bodies as living sacrifices and
to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, so that they can
demonstrate in themselves that the will of God is good, acceptable, and
perfect (1-2). He then encourages them to fulfill their proper place
in the Body of Christ with proper humility and zeal (3-8).
Finally, there are a list of commands which are to govern the
Christian's life and attitude towards love, good and evil, brethren in
the Lord, service to God, and response to persecution (9-21).
I. AN APPEAL TO CONSECRATION (1-2)
A. PRESENT YOUR BODIES AS LIVING SACRIFICES (1)
1. In view of the mercies of God (
2. Which is your reasonable (spiritual, NAS) service (1b)
B. BE TRANSFORMED, NOT CONFORMED TO THE WORLD (2)
1. By the renewing of your mind (
2. To prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will God (2b)
II. SERVE GOD AS MEMBERS OF ONE BODY (3-8)
A. WITH HUMILITY (3)
1. In all seriousness (
2. For what we are comes from God (3b)
B. WITH APPRECIATION FOR DIVERSITY (4-5)
1. Members do not have the same function (4)
2. But we are one, members of one another (5)
C. WITH ZEAL, NO MATTER WHAT OUR GIFTS (6-8)
III. MISCELLANEOUS EXHORTATIONS (9-21)
A. AS CHRISTIANS (9-16)
1. Concerning love, good and evil (9)
2. Loving and honoring brethren (10)
3. Fervent in our service (11)
4. Rejoicing, patient, prayerful (12)
5. Caring for saints (13)
6. Blessing our enemies (14)
7. Sharing joys and sorrows (15)
8. Humble in our relations together (16)
B. RESPONDING TO EVIL (17-21)
1. Do not repay with evil, be mindful of what is good (17)
2. If possible, be at peace (18)
3. Give place to the wrath of God (19)
4. Overcome evil by responding with good (20-21)
WORDS TO PONDER
the mercies of God - the many blessings alluded to in the first eleven
a living sacrifice - an offering that is living, not dead
conform - "to fashion or shape one thing like another... this verb has
more special reference to that which is transitory,
changeable, unstable" (VINE) - this word is different than
that found in Romans 8:29
transform - "to change into another form; [as used in Ro 12:2] to
undergo a complete change, which under the power of God,
will find expression in character and conduct" (VINE)
overcome evil with good - the goal of the Christian's response to evil
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) List the main points of this chapter
- An Appeal To Consecration (1-2)
- Serve God As Members Of One Body (3-8)
- Miscellaneous Exhortations (9-21)
2) Upon what does Paul make his plea? (1)
- The mercies of God; their reasonable service
3) How is a Christian to present himself before God? (1)
- As a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God
4) How is one transformed? (2)
- By the renewing of their minds
5) What is the purpose of such transformation? (2)
- To prove (demonstrate) what is the good, acceptable, and perfect
will of God
6) What illustration shows our dependence upon each other in the
- Members of a body
7) How are Christians to respond to evil? (19-21)
- In a positive way, with good
Do Not Be Conformed To This World (12:1-2)
1. In our text, we note the command: "And do not be conformed to this
2. What does the word "conformed" mean to you...?
a. Is it just a word that we quickly glance over?
b. How does it relate to your daily living?
3. We need to be very familiar with the concept of "conformity"...
a. Not just to understand what Paul is saying
b. But because this word plays a very important role in our lives,
whether young or old
[That we might properly apply the exhortation of the apostle Paul, let's
examine the concept of conformity...]
I. UNDERSTANDING CONFORMITY
1. To conform to another's pattern (RWP)
2. E.g., the desire to be like someone else
a. Do what they do
b. Say what they say
c. Wear what they wear
3. To accept the ideas, the fashions, way of walking and talking,
etc., that is popular
4. A conformist, therefore, is someone who:
a. Is afraid to be different
b. Feels a need to be like everyone else
B. CONFORMITY IN OUR SOCIETY...
1. There is tremendous pressure to conform to the standards of the
a. Even adults feel a need to conform
b. Also many young people (in their clothes, cars, etc.)
2. The pressure to conform is often strongest during adolescence
a. The young often have low-esteem
b. They want desperately to be accepted and esteemed by others
3. Advertisers often complicate the problem
a. Trying to market and sell their products
b. Trying to get people to conform to use their products (an
old ad campaign: "Wethead is dead!")
C. THE DANGER OF CONFORMITY...
1. It can easily lead you to do things you know are wrong
a. E.g., boys in a car for a joyride, and one begins popping
b. E.g., men at a business luncheon, where drinks are served
2. When others follow suit, the pressure to conform is great
a. Ridicule to conform is often applied
b. Once you give in, the next time conformity is easier
3. Conformity to the things of this world can separate us from
God! - cf. 1 Jn 2:15-17
a. By giving in to the lust of the flesh (immorality)
b. By succumbing to the lust of the eyes (materialism)
c. By yielding to the pride of life (arrogance)
[We now understand why Paul commands us "do not be conformed to this
world"! There are grave dangers in conforming to another's pattern.
How shall we deal with the pressures of conformity...?]
II. DEALING WITH THE PRESSURE TO CONFORM
A. BE A TRANSFORMIST, NOT A CONFORMIST...
1. A conformist (as used here) is one who...
a. Undergoes a superficial, shallow change
b. Becomes a cheap imitation, letting others do their thinking
2. A transformist is one who...
a. Undergoes a real change (like a caterpillar becoming a
b. Experiences a true "renewal"
1) That begins with conversion - Ti 3:5
2) That involves a renewal of the mind - Ro 12:2
3) That continues as we go through life - 2 Co 4:16
3. Becoming a transformist...
a. Addresses the reasons why many conform
1) A feeling of insecurity (yet we learn that God loves us,
we are special! - 1 Jn 3:1)
2) A desire to follow the crowd (yet we learn the ultimate
end of following the world - 1 Jn 2:15-17)
b. Marks the difference between...
1) Christians who are truly converted
2) Those who are shallow imitators of true disciples
B. BE A LEADER, NOT A FOLLOWER...
1. A transformist is a leader
a. Who "proves" to others what is good, acceptable and perfect
- Ro 12:2
1) Presents their bodies as living and holy sacrifices - Ro
2) Has the courage to say "no" to things that are wrong
b. Whose example helps others fight off the pressures to
1) Giving others the strength to say "no"
2) Encouraging others to do what is right - e.g., Joshua,
Josh 24:14-15; Judg 2:7
2. A conformist is but a simple follower
a. Letting others do their thinking for them
b. Letting others lead them into harm's way
1. Everyone experiences the pressure to conform to the standards and
practices of the world...
a. Especially the young who are so impressionable
b. But even those who older are persuaded by those in positions of
power and influence
2. We have a choice...
a. Either to buckle under and be led by those destroying their own
bodies, minds, and souls
b. Or look to Jesus, the true nonconformist, and allow ourselves to
be transformed by the renewing of our minds
3. If we are to conform, let us conform to the image of Jesus - cf. Ro
a. For that will require a true transformation of the inner man
b. And we can demonstrate what is the good, acceptable, and perfect
will of God!
Be Transformed (12:1-2)
1. In Ro 12:1-2, Paul makes the following plea regarding transforming
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that
you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to
God, [which is] your reasonable service. And do not be conformed
to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect
will of God."
2. As we consider this text, several questions come to mind...
a. What does it mean to be transformed?
b. What is the goal of transformation?
c. What should motivate us to undergo transformation?
d. What does one do in order to experience transformation?
[Starting with the first question ("What does it mean to be
transformed?"), let's consider . . . ]
I. THE DEFINITION OF TRANSFORMATION
A. THE WORD...
1. The Greek word is metamorphoo (met-am-or-fo'-o)
a. Lit., "to change into another form" (Vine's)
b. From which comes the word "metamorphosis"
c. Used to describe a change of form (e.g., when a caterpillar
becomes a butterfly)
2. In the NT, this word is used to describe:
a. What happened to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration - Mt
b. What is to happen to Christians in their service to God - Ro
B. THE CONCEPT...
1. The idea being commanded by Paul is this:
a. Christians are "to undergo a complete change, which under
the power of God, will find expression in character and
b. I.e., we who are "caterpillars" are to become "butterflies"
2. Note that Paul uses the passive voice
a. Indicating that "transformation" is something we allow to be
done to us
b. Not something we do by our own power alone
c. Rather, we submit to God's power and by His grace...
1) We are "changed into another form"
2) We become a "new creation" - cf. 2 Co 5:17
[But this leads us to our second question ("What is the goal of
II. THE GOAL OF TRANSFORMATION
A. TO BECOME LIKE CHRIST...
1. As expressed by Paul - 2 Co 3:18
2. As predestined by God - Ro 8:29
3. The purpose of being a disciple (to become like his teacher)
- Lk 6:40
4. The goal of Christian living - cf. Co 3:9-10
B. TO LIVE LIKE CHRIST...
1. To present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to
a. Is this not what Jesus did on earth? - cf. He 10:5
b. So we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices - Ro 12:1
2. To prove that God's will is good, acceptable, and perfect
a. Was this not Jesus sought to do on earth? - cf. Jn 6:38
b. So we are to demonstrate that God's will is right - Ro 12:2
[Such is the goal of being transformed; indeed, it is the goal of being
a Christian! Yet why do many never experience the transformation God
offers? Why do they remain "caterpillars"? Perhaps they lack the
III. THE MOTIVATION FOR TRANSFORMATION
A. THE MERCIES OF GOD...
1. In our text, Paul appealed to transformation based on God's
mercies - Ro 12:1
2. What mercies of God had Paul discussed earlier in his epistle?
a. Freedom from sin - Ro 6:16-18
b. Gift of eternal life - Ro 6:23
c. Peace with God - Ro 5:1
d. Access to the grace of God - Ro 5:2
e. Saved from the wrath of God - Ro 5:9
-- Should not God's mercy move us to repent and seek
transformation? - cf. Ro 2:4-5
B. THE LOVE OF CHRIST...
1. Elsewhere, Paul revealed the motivating power of the love of
Christ - 2 Co 5:14-15
2. Such love compelled him to live for Jesus - cf. Ga 2:20
-- Does not the love of Christ move us to live FOR Him and LIKE
C. THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE...
1. The alternative to being transformed is being conformed to this
world - Ro 12:1
a. The word conformed (suschematizo, soos-khay-mat-id'-zo) as
used here implies that which is "transitory, changeable,
b. I.e., at the most we can only be an imitation, a cheap copy
2. If not transformed, we will either be conformed to...
a. The world
1) Act like the world, be like those in the world
2) In which we will bring shame to the name of Christ
b. Other Christians
1) Outwardly we may act like Christians, appear like them
2) But it will be just a cheap "copy", which eventually
reveals its true nature!
-- Is that what we want? To bring shame to the name of Christ?
To be "plastic" Christians, or to be the real thing?
[Why not let the mercies of God and the love of Christ motivate us to
seek transformation? The process is not as difficult as one might
IV. THE PROCESS OF TRANSFORMATION
A. IN THE BEGINNING...
1. Remember, transformation is a passive process ("be
transformed") - Ro 12:2
a. We cannot change ourselves by our own strength or
b. As Paul vividly illustrated his dilemma prior to his
conversion - Ro 7:14-24
-- We must submit to God's working on us!
2. It begins when we are baptized into Christ!
a. For there we experience the working of God - Co 2:11-13
1) Spiritually circumcised as our sins are removed
2) Buried then raised with Christ
3) Made alive with Christ, forgiven of all trespasses
b. For there we experience the renewal of the Spirit - Ti 3:5
1) Saved by the mercy of God
2) Involving a washing of regeneration and renewal of the
c. For there we rise to walk in newness of life - Ro 6:3-8
1) Having been buried with Christ by baptism into His death
2) Having been crucified with Christ that we might be free
3) Having been raised to live with Christ
-- When joined with faith and repentance, baptism becomes the
starting point in which true transformation can take place!
- cf. Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38
B. RENEWING THE MIND...
1. The process of transformation continues as we renew the mind
a. As indicated in our text - Ro 12:2; cf. also Ep 4:20-24
b. Unless there is a renewing of the mind, any change in our
lives will be superficial
2. Renewing the mind is made possible by where we set our minds
a. Setting our minds on things above - Co 3:1-2
b. Setting our minds on the things of the Spirit - Ro 8:5
c. I.e., feeding our minds with the Word of God, prayer,
fellowship, etc. - Ac 2:42
3. With our minds "renewed" we can experience a true
a. By putting off the old man and putting on the new man - cf.
b. By living according to the Spirit - cf. Ro 8:5,13
4. The process of transformation is really quite simple
a. Set your minds on things above in order to renew your mind;
1) Meditate and contemplate on God and His Word
2) Keep your mind in communication with God via prayer
3) Involve your mind in spiritual worship via frequent
assembling with others
4) Center your mind on Jesus via the Lord's Supper
...and your mind will gradually be renewed!
b. With renewed minds, it becomes possible to put off the old,
and put on the new!
1) To put off the old man with its sins
2) To put on the new man patterned after the example of
5. Modern studies in self-improvement confirm this truth
a. We become what we think
b. We can change attitudes and behavior by filling our mind
with positive mental images
-- In our efforts, we are not alone; God is at work with us! - cf.
Ph 1:6; 2:12-13
C. WHAT HINDERS MANY CHRISTIANS...
1. If it is so easy, why do many Christians remain "caterpillars"?
a. Were they not regenerated at their baptism? (yes)
b. Don't they have the promise of God's help? (yes)
2. The problem is likely a failure to renew the mind
a. Can a mind be renewed on a starvation diet? (e.g., irregular
b. Can a mind be renewed on a junk-food diet? (e.g., trashy
movies and novels)
3. Why many Christians do not experience transformation...
a. They become what they think, and much of what they think
upon is not becoming!
b. They spend more time watching things of the devil than
reading things of the Spirit!
-- Our attitudes and behavior is but a reflection of what goes
into our minds!
1. We have been called to be "transformed" into the image of Christ...
a. We have all the motivation we need (God's mercies and Christ's
b. We have the opportunity to start anew by the washing of
c. We must allow our minds to be renewed by setting them on things
-- Are we submitting to "brain surgery" by the Great Physician...?
2. God wants to give us a complete "make over"...
a. He has provided the means (Jesus' blood) to remove the deformity
b. He provides the tools (Bible study, prayer, fellowship) to fashion
a new person
-- Are we making good use of the mercies of God?
In light of God's wonderful grace, this is our "reasonable" service.
Shall we not prove to the world that God's will is "good, acceptable,
Finding Our Function In The Body (12:3-8)
1. In our text, we find Paul expressing several principles concerning
a. Christians are one body in Christ
b. As one body, we are individually members of one another
c. The members do not have the same function
d. We should serve in whatever function God has given us ability
2. The last two principles often cause one to ask...
a. "What is my function in the body of Christ?"
b. "How do I determine what function(s) I have?"
3. It may help to compare it to choosing a vocation...
a. There are principles used in determining one's aptitude and
b. These principles may help one determine what our functions might
be in the body of Christ
[For example, when people contemplate career choices, one thing they do
is acquaint themselves with job descriptions. So let's...]
I. EXAMINE THE FUNCTIONS
A. PROPHECY (Preaching)...
1. The Greek word propheteia is defined as "the speaking forth of
the mind counsel of God" - Vine's
2. Originally, this referred to the gift of the Spirit by which
one was inspired to reveal God's truth
3. Today, the service most akin to prophecy is preaching
a. Where one proclaims the counsel of God as already revealed
b. By expounding upon the Word of God, not through direct
B. MINISTRY (Serving)...
1. The Greek word diakonia means "to serve"
2. It is often used to describe any sort of service
a. E.g., the service offered by Timothy - 2 Ti 4:5
b. E.g., the service offered by Phoebe - Ro 16:1-2
3. In a more official capacity, it is used to describe those
qualified and appointed to serve as deacons (diakonos)
C. TEACHING (Instructing)...
1. Involves instructing others of the Word of God
2. There are variations of this function
a. Private teaching - e.g., Ac 18:26
b. Older women teaching the younger women - Ti 2:4
c. Teaching in more formal sense, which not all were to do
- cf. Ja 3:1
D. EXHORTING (Building up)...
1. The ability to build up and strengthen others
2. Some may do this publicly (e.g., preachers, teachers) - e.g.,
3. Others may be adept to it more privately and daily - He 3:12-13
E. GIVING (Sharing)...
1. Some people find themselves abundantly blessed
2. I.e., God has given them "seed for sowing fruits of
righteousness" - cf. 2 Co 9:8-11
3. Thus it is within their ability and responsibility to give and
bless others - 1 Ti 6:17-19
F. LEADING (Shepherding)...
1. This likely refers to the work of elders (pastors, overseers)
- cf. Ac 20:17,28; 1 Pe 5:1-2
2. They have the responsibility of watching out for our souls - He
3. They must meet specific qualifications to serve in this
function - cf. 1 Ti 3:1-7; Ti 1:5-9
G. SHOWING MERCY (Loving)...
1. Perhaps this service is best illustrated in Mt 25:35-36
2. Can involve visiting the sick, the dying, the bereaved;
ministering to those in prison, etc.
[I doubt Paul's list is meant to be exhaustive; but it illustrates that
there is a great variety of functions in the body of Christ. With an
understanding of the options of service available, how do we know which
one(s) we may be best suited for? Those in career counseling would
suggest that one...]
II. EXPLORE THE OPPORTUNITIES
A. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES...
1. E.g., training programs offered in teaching, preaching,
2. E.g., experienced brethren (going with them as they fulfilled
their service; "job shadowing")
3. Even if you prove not to have the potential for a certain work,
you gain understanding and appreciation for what others do
B. TRY SERVING IN ALL AREAS OPEN TO YOU...
1. Be willing to try everything you can
2. You may have a talent you did not know you had!
3. You may find yourself to have many talents!
C. DON'T GIVE UP AFTER THE FIRST FEW TRIES...
1. Failures may be due to inexperience, not lack of potential
2. Only with time and many efforts can we know what might be our
[As you explore the opportunities given you, be open to advice and
counsel from others...]
III. INQUIRE FOR ADVICE
A. OTHERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE OBJECTIVE...
1. Pride can get in the way - cf. Ro 12:3
2. Others may see our strengths and weaknesses more clearly
3. They may see where weaknesses are due to inability and not
B. ESPECIALLY MATURE CHRISTIANS...
1. Such as elders
a. Who must be multitalented men of experience
b. Part of their role as elders
2. Other older Christians are often very helpful
1. The more diligent one can be to...
a. Examine the functions of service in the body of Christ
b. Explore the opportunities to learn and serve in the different
c. Inquire for advice from others
-- The sooner one should be able to discern what is their function in
the body of Christ
2. Then the challenge becomes one of being diligent in utilizing our
a. As Paul admonishes his readers in our text - cf. Ro 12:6-8
b. As Peter admonishes his readers in his epistle - cf. 1 Pe 4:10-11
Brethren, there is much work to do. Let us be diligent to do it "with
the ability God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified
through Jesus Christ..." - 1 Pe 4:11
A Love That Can Hate (12:9-10)
1. In Romans 12, Paul discusses the practical side of the Christian life
2. In the first part of the chapter, he establishes the general
principle of self-sacrifice...
a. As the foundation of all goodness - Ro 12:1
b. Accomplished through a transformation - Ro 12:2
c. Manifested in humble service of one's abilities - Ro 12:3-8
3. Beginning with verse 9, we find a series of exhortations...
a. That continue to the end of the chapter
b. That at first glance, may at time seem disconnected
4. For example, consider the exhortations in our text (Ro 12:9-10)...
a. The first and last relate to love
b. But the intervening clause pertains to hate
-- But upon careful reflection, these exhortations may not be
[One way to connect these exhortations is to describe them as depicting
"A Love That Can Hate". To see how that is possible, consider that a
Christian must first have...]
I. AN HONEST LOVE
A. LOVE WITHOUT HYPOCRISY...
1. We are to have a love that is honest, sincere and genuine - Ro
2. Whereas a love that is faked is repulsive
a. In which someone claims to love you
b. But their actions speak otherwise
3. Yet sometimes our words do surpass our true feelings
a. We talk about love, sing about it
b. But don't always live up to it!
4. Making us feel guilty when we read a passage such as our text
-- How can we love sincerely and without hypocrisy?
B. DEVELOPING AN HONEST LOVE...
1. The position of this exhortation in Paul's writing may serve as
a. After discussing the need for being transformed by the
renewing of our minds
b. An honest love can't be experienced or shown without this
2. This transformation occurs the more we contemplate the love and
mercies of God - cf. 1 Jn 4:7b ("for love is of God")
3. Only as we let the mind of Christ be in us can we love as we
should - cf. Ph 2:2-5
[So we need to develop an honest love, one that comes by contemplating
God's love for us. But as we continue in our text, we see that it can
also be "A Love That Can Hate"...]
II. ABHORRING EVIL, CLINGING TO WHAT IS GOOD
A. ESSENTIAL TO HAVING AN HONEST LOVE...
1. A mutual hatred of evil and clinging to good is necessary for
an honest love - Ro 12:9b
2. Why? If not careful, love can easily lose its purity and depth
a. The lusts of the flesh are strong
b. They can easily pervert the nature of our love
c. Profession of love can easily become a cover for evil
3. Therefore the need to "abhor what is evil" - cf. Ep 5:2-5
a. Walk in love as Christ loved us
b. But eschew any perversion of love!
B. DEVELOPING A PROPER HATRED OF EVIL...
1. Comes by clinging to what is good, not vice versa!
2. Why do some hate evil?
a. There are those who very quick to hate evil (e.g., "hobby
b. Such are mostly negative and rarely positive in their
c. They hate evil, but do not cling to what is good, creating
d. Motivated by carnal desires (power, fame), not by the spirit
3. Hatred of evil should come from first clinging to that which is
a. As implied by the Psalmist in Psa 119:103-104
b. The powerful emotion of hate can then be properly balanced
by a love of good!
[So the love that is to characterize Christians is to be "A Love That
Can Hate" when that hate is properly motivated and directed. But now
let's consider how such love is to be manifested toward our brethren...]
III. AFFECTIONATE AND PREFERENTIAL
A. WITH GREAT TENDERNESS AND AFFECTION...
1. The expression "kindly affectionate" means "to love as family"
a. Just as you would your own family members
b. To stress the point, Paul adds "in brotherly love"
2. We are to have great feeling of love towards those in Christ
a. As Paul had toward the brethren at Philippi - Ph 1:8
b. As the Ephesian elders had toward Paul - Ac 20:36-38
-- Such is "A Love That Can Hate"!
B. DESIRING TO OUTDO ONE ANOTHER IN SHOWING HONOR...
1. This is the meaning of "in honor giving preference to one
a. "The word preferring means going before, leading, setting an
example." - Barnes
b. "Thus in showing mutual respect and honor, they were to
strive to excel; not to see which could obtain most honor,
but which could confer most, or manifest most respect."
2. Thus we are to delight in exalting our brethren over ourselves!
a. As commanded in Ph 2:3
b. Freeing us from petty jealousies that can threaten true love
1. What is the kind of love that God desires for His children? "A Love
That Can Hate"!
2. Such is the love that God has shown toward us...
a. A love that is honest and sincere, demonstrated by the sending of
His Son to die for our sins
b. A love that hates evil and clings to what is good, revealed
throughout the Word of God
c. A love that is affectionate and delights in showing honor, as God
has done toward His children who obey Him!
If we are in Christ, is this the kind of love we display? If you are
not in Christ, won't you respond to this love in obedience to the gospel
Note: The main idea for this lesson came from a sermon by Alexander
MacLaren, in his Expositions Of Holy Scripture.
An Exhortation To Diligent Service (12:11)
1. The twelfth chapter of Romans contains many exhortations pertaining
to daily Christian living...
a. E.g., to be transformed by the renewing of our minds - Ro 12:1-2
b. E.g., to utilize what abilities we have as members of the body
- Ro 12:3-8
c. E.g., to love the brethren and hate what is evil - Ro 12:9-10
2. In our text (Ro 12:11), we find "An Exhortation To Diligent
a. Contained within a triad of simple commands
b. Which are worthy of careful examination
3. We might begin by asking: How is a Christian to act...?
a. In his or her service to the Lord?
b. In his or her business or job?
4. Sadly, the word "slothful" would apply to some Christians...
a. Who do as little as they can while at work
b. Who are similar in their service to the Lord
[As we take a close look at our text, let's first ask...]
I. WHAT DOES PAUL SAY?
A. "NOT LAGGING IN DILIGENCE..."
1. The KJV translates it "not slothful in business"
a. Which may give some the wrong impression
b. Some may conclude the exhortation is limited to our jobs
2. The word "business" in Greek is spoude (from which we get the
word "speed") and denotes "diligence, haste, earnestness"
3. The idea is that we should be diligent in all that we do - cf.
a. In secular work, yes - cf. Co 3:22-23
b. Also in the work of the Lord - cf. 1 Co 15:58
4. Areas of spiritual labor in which we are to be diligent:
a. In our efforts to enter the heavenly rest - He 4:11; 6:9-12
b. To found without spot, blameless - 2 Pe 3:13-14
c. In our handling of the Word of God - 2 Ti 2:15
d. In keeping our hearts pure - Pro 4:23; cf. Mk 7:21-23
e. Repenting of sins - 2 Co 7:10-11
f. Developing Christ-like character - 2 Pe 1:5-11
g. Keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace - Ep 4:
B. "FERVENT IN SPIRIT..."
1. This defines the enthusiasm or attitude of mind to have as we
2. Some are diligent, but begrudgingly so
3. The word "fervent" is zeo and means "to bubble, boil"
4. Therefore we are to do our work heartedly - cf. Co 3:23
C. "SERVING THE LORD..."
1. This is the motivation behind enthusiastic labor
2. We are motivated by the fact it is the Lord we serve, even in
secular work! - e.g., Ep 6:5-8
[Since it is the Lord we serve in both secular and spiritual work, we
are to labor with enthusiasm and diligent effort. But let's now ask...]
II. WHAT IS TOO OFTEN THE CASE?
A. DILIGENT IN OUR OWN PURSUITS...
1. Physical necessity often prompts diligence in secular jobs
2. Heightened interest often prompts enthusiasm in personal
B. SLOTHFUL IN THE LORD'S BUSINESS...
-- Some examples of the contrast:
1. Some work 40 hours a week (and more) for physical needs, then
balk at spending 4 hours a week in worship and Bible study!
2. Some get up early to work or play, yet complain about getting
up even later on Sunday to worship God!
3. Some will watch TV an average of 14 hours per week, but can't
find 3 hours a week to read the Bible!
4. Some will take courses at night to improve their skills, but
aren't willing to attend gospel meetings or Bible studies!
5. Some can learn the stats for their favorite team, but say they
can't memorize scripture!
6. Some let or even encourage their children to miss services for
a sports event or school function, but not vice versa!
7. Some will make their children brush their teeth, make the bed,
etc., but make them attend services...never!
C. CONSEQUENCES OF SUCH SLOTH...
1. Apathetic in attitude and service to the Lord
2. Of little use to the Lord in His fight against Satan!
[When such is the case, here's a third question to consider...]
III. HOW DOES THE LORD FEEL?
A. WE KNOW HOW JESUS FEELS...
1. He taught that those who put personal pursuits first would not
enjoy heaven - Lk 14:15-24
2. He taught the danger of sloth in the parable of the talents
- cf. Mt 25:24-30
3. He condemned the church of Laodicea for their lukewarmness - Re
B. WE CAN IMAGINE HOW GOD FEELS...
-- Lagging in diligence is:
1. A destructive hindrance to the work of His Son, who died for us
- cf. Pro 18:9
2. An ungrateful response to the mercy of God, destined for God's
wrath - cf. Ro 2:4-11
1. If after self-examination, we admit that we have been slothful in our
service to the Lord, then the final question might be:
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
2. Some will probably do nothing...
a. Being dull of hearing and hard of heart
b. Continuing on as before
3. Some might make an effort...
a. Because their hearts are still tender
b. Yet soon grow weary and return to a service of sloth
4. My prayers is that all will make whatever changes are called for by
a. Those who have yet to serve the Lord, will begin a new life of
b. Those who have been lagging in diligence, will now give the Lord
Shall we not take to heart this exhortation of the apostle Paul...?
The Key To A Joyful, Productive Life (12:12)
1. I suppose that we all have known Christians who go through life...
a. Looking like they were "weaned on a pickle"
b. Useless for any good work when things were going rough for them
2. But we have also known Christians who are the opposite...
a. Joyful, steadfast in doing good
b. Even though they are experiencing the same kind of hardships
3. Why the difference?
a. I believe that the joyful, steadfast Christian has found the
secret expressed in the Scriptures
b. One place this "secret" is found is in Ro 12:12...
"Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing steadfastly
[As we consider this verse, there are several observations we can make.
I. THE JOYFUL LIFE IS BASED ON HOPE
A. MANY HAVE THE WRONG CONCEPT CONCERNING "JOY"...
1. That joy is a matter of personal temperament (heredity)
2. That joy is a matter of circumstances (environment)
3. But how can that be when being joyful is enjoined upon us all?
a. It is a command, a duty - 1 Th 5:16; Ph 4:4
b. Commanded even when things are rough - 1 Pe 4:13
B. TRUE JOY IS ABLE TO RISE ABOVE THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF LIFE...
1. Seen in the example of the Hebrews - He 10:
2. Also in the example of Christians in Asia Minor - 1 Pe 1:6
C. THIS IS BECAUSE THE KEY TO JOY IS "HOPE"...
1. Notice our text: "rejoicing in hope"
2. It should be easy to see how hope is the source of joy in our
a. A student, in hope of enjoying summer vacation, is happy as
he thinks about it
b. Likewise, it was the strong hope of the Hebrews that gave
them joy despite the seizure of their property - He 10:34
c. Again, the source of the Christians' joy in Asia Minor was
their hope of salvation - 1 Pe 1:5-6
D. TO BE JOYFUL IN LIFE, WE MUST HAVE HOPE...!
1. If Christians are not joyful, it is because they are not full
a. And that is only because their minds are so preoccupied with
things of this life
b. I.e., they are just religious enough to be miserable!
2. If they spent more time contemplating the hope we have as
Christians, joy would automatically follow!
a. Of course, hope is based upon faith - He 11:1
b. And faith comes from the Word of God - Ro 10:17
c. But if people do not read the Word, their faith is weak,
their hope is shallow, and their joy is minimal
[But if we let God's Word produce the faith necessary for a strong hope,
then we too can have that joy which will help us no matter what the
circumstances. This leads us back to our text, where we wish to make
II. A LIFE OF JOYFUL HOPE WILL BE PATIENT IN TRIBULATIONS
A. FIRST, LET'S DEFINE OUR TERMS...
a. Means more than simply enduring, forbearing
b. It also takes in the thought of activity despite the
1) It is continuing to do good, regardless of the trials
2) Not just sitting there, refraining from doing something
a. These could be trials suffered for the cause of Christ
b. Or those common to all (sickness, death, etc.)
3. Paul is therefore talking about pressing on in doing good
B. THE KEY TO SUCH PATIENCE IS "JOYFUL HOPE"...
1. This can be illustrated in several ways...
a. The athlete
1) Why does he or she endure the hardships of training?
2) The joyful hope of attaining victory!
b. The Pilgrims
1) Why did they endure the hardships of sailing across the
2) The joyful hope of finding freedom from religious
c. The college student
1) Why does he or she endure the hardships of study and
2) The joyful hope of a successful career!
d. The early Christians
1) Why did they endure persecutions, pressing on in their
faithfulness to Christ?
2) The joyful hope of their inheritance in heaven! - He 10:
2. Does this not explain why some Christians do not remain
steadfast when things get rough?
a. They do not have the "joyful hope" necessary
b. And why not? Their minds are so preoccupied with worldly
[One last observation I would like to make, based on our text...]
III. OUR LIVES WILL BE AS HOPEFUL, JOYFUL, AND PATIENT, AS THEY ARE
A. "CONTINUING STEADFASTLY IN PRAYER" IS ESSENTIAL...!
1. The relationship between prayer and the joyful life is implied
elsewhere in the Scriptures
a. Notice 1 Th 5:16-18
b. If we pray without ceasing, we can rejoice always!
2. For in proper prayer, we are constantly reminded of our hope
(the source of joy and patience)
a. In prayer, we should be made constantly aware of the reason
for our hope (forgiveness of our sins through Jesus' blood)
b. In prayer, we should be made constantly aware of the object
of our hope (to one day be with God eternally)
B. SO "PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!" BUT IS THIS POSSIBLE...?
1. Not if we mean formal words of supplication and petition
2. But prayer does not always have to be with formal words - cf.
1 Chr 5:20
3. Prayer can also be:
a. A mental attitude of devotion
b. An unspoken reference to God in all that we do
1. Are our lives as joyful and productive as they should be?
2. If not, then let God's Word sink into our hearts: "Continue
steadfastly in prayer"
3. Do this, and we will more likely "rejoice in hope" and be "patient in
Benevolence To Saints And Strangers (12:13)
1. As Christians we have the responsibility to...
a. Present our bodies as living sacrifices - Ro 12:1
b. Prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God - Ro
-- Made possible by the transformation that comes by renewing our
2. A remarkable transformation that characterized early Christians was
a. Toward their brethren
b. Toward those who were strangers
3. As commanded in our text (Ro 12:3), they...
a. Distributed to the needs of the saints
b. Showed hospitality even to strangers
-- Which was in keeping with God's good, acceptable, and perfect will
[What about us today? How is our benevolence to saints and strangers?
Perhaps we might do well to take a closer look at the two commands in
I. DISTRIBUTING TO THE NEEDS OF THE SAINTS
A. THE COMMAND EXAMINED...
1. Distributing - "The word used here denotes having things in
common, (koinwnountev). It means, that they should be
communicative, or should regard their property as so far common
as to supply the wants of others." - Barnes
2. to the needs - "That is, distribute to them such things as they
need -- food, raiment, etc. This command, of course, has
reference to the poor." - ibid.
3. of the saints - "Of Christians, or the friends of God." - ibid.
-- "Making the needs of fellow saints your own and helping them."
- B. W. Johnson
B. THE COMMAND EXEMPLIFIED...
1. By the church at Jerusalem (a church helping its members) - Ac
2:44-45; 4:32-36; 6:1-6
2. By the church at Antioch (a church helping other churches) - Ac
3. By the churches of Macedonia and Achaia (many churches helping
one church) - Ro 15:25-26; 1 Co 16:1-2; 2 Co 8:1-24; 9:1-15
C. THE COMMAND EXERCISED...
1. The collection on the Lord's day is designed for this very
purpose - 1 Co 16:1-2
2. If brethren are in need, we should not hesitate to use the
collection for this purpose
a. For needy saints in the local congregation
b. For needy saints in other places
-- Though there are some limitations - e.g., 1 Ti 5:9-16; 2 Th
3. Our assistance is based upon ability and opportunity
a. According to our ability - 2 Co 8:12-15; though note 2 Co 8:
b. According to our opportunity - Ga 6:10
[The Lord has provided a systematic method to meet the needs of His
saints. Of course, this does not preclude helping one another as
individuals (1 Ti 6:17-18). Nor does it mean we have no responsibility
toward those not saints, for we are commanded to be...]
II. GIVEN TO HOSPITALITY
A. THE COMMAND EXAMINED...
1. given to - "Pursuing (as if in a chase or hunt)..."
- Robertson's Word Pictures
2. hospitality - Love to strangers (philoxenia)
3. "This expression means that they should readily and cheerfully
entertain strangers." - Barnes
a. A duty often enjoined in the Scriptures - He 13:2; 1 Pe 4:9
b. A qualification for both bishop (elder) and needy widow
- 1 Ti 3:2; 5:10
4. "The 'hospitality' of today, by which is meant the
entertainment of friends or relatives, hardly comes within the
Biblical use of the term as denoting a special virtue." - ISBE
B. THE COMMAND EXEMPLIFIED...
1. By Abraham, extending hospitality to "three men" - Gen 18:1-8
2. By Lot, pursuing hospitality to "two men" - Gen 19:1-3
3. By Job, who left no stranger in the street - Job 31:32
4. By Jethro, who rebuked his daughters for neglecting Moses - Exo
5. In the support of early missionaries - Mt 10:11,42; 25:35; 3 Jn
C. THE COMMAND EXERCISED...
1. The principle of hospitality presumes ability and opportunity
a. Our responsibility is based upon ability - cf. 2 Co 8:12-13
b. Our responsibility is based upon opportunities - cf. Ga 6:10
2. The pursuit of hospitality is enabled through preparation
a. You are more likely to offer hospitality without grumbling
if prepared beforehand
b. Cheerful giving is made easier by purposeful planning - cf.
2 Co 9:7
c. Why not have a place in your personal budget for
3. The practice of hospitality can take various forms, if safety
or wisdom is a concern
a. Housing can be provided through arrangements with a local
b. Food can be given in the form of vouchers or gift
4. The potential of hospitality for good can be seen in regards to
a. Supporting those who travel to preach the gospel
b. Touching the hearts of those who may be in need of the
-- "The primitive Christians made one principle part of their duty
to consist in the exercise of hospitality; and they were so
exact in the discharge of it that the very heathens admired
them for it." - Cruden's Concordance
1. As we seek to "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect
will of God"...
a. Do not neglect to provide for the needs of your brethren
b. Do not hesitate to show love for those who are strangers
2. Let the words of Jesus Himself challenge us to a higher plane of
a. That we might be more like our Heavenly Father - cf. Lk 6:32-36
b. That we might be repaid at the resurrection of the just - cf. Lk
Speaking of such things as our Heavenly Father and the resurrection to
come, have you received the hospitality that God extends to all who are
lost...? - cf. Ro 5:8-10
To Bless And Curse Not (12:14)
1. In Ro 12:1-2, we are called to...
a. Present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God
b. Be transformed by the renewing of our minds
c. Prove (test, demonstrate) what is God's good, acceptable, and
2. Previous studies have examined how a transformed life includes such
a. Love without hypocrisy, while abhorring what is evil - Ro 12:9
b. Loving brethren with family affection, esteeming one another
highly - Ro 12:10
c. Serving the Lord diligently, with fervency of spirit - Ro 12:11
d. Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, steadfast in prayer
- Ro 12:12
e. Having fellowship in the needs of the saints, pursing hospitality
toward strangers - Ro 12:13
3. Another indication of transformation is how one responds to
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." (Ro 12:14)
[This certainly goes against "human nature", which seeks to respond in
kind. But as we consider what is revealed in the Bible regarding this
command, we might better understand why this is part of God's holy and
acceptable and perfect will for us. Let's begin with...]
I. THE COMMAND DEFINED
A. TO BLESS...
1. The Greek word is eulogeo; as defined by Strong's:
a. To praise, celebrate with praises
b. To invoke blessings
2. "The word bless here means to speak well of or to. Not to curse
again, or to slander, but to speak of those things which we can
commend in an enemy; or if there is nothing that we can
commend, to say nothing about him." - Barnes
3. "i.e., to pray for them, wish well to them" - Poole
4. We find this command given by Christ and Peter - Mt 5:44; Lk 6:
28; 1 Pe 3:9
-- Note that Paul gives the exhortation twice in our text; perhaps
implying the challenge of this duty
B. TO CURSE NOT...
1. The Greek word for curse is kataraomai, which Strong's defines
as "to curse, doom, imprecate evil upon"
2. "... to implore a curse from God to rest on others; to pray
that God would destroy them. In a larger sense still, it means
to abuse by reproachful words; to calumniate; or to express
one's self in a violent, profane, and outrageous manner."
3. "When he saith, curse not, he means, wish no evil to your
enemies." - Poole
-- "He who can obey this precept is a transformed man". - B. W.
[As challenging as this precept may seem, we have several examples to
show us it is possible...]
II. THE COMMAND DEPICTED
A. IN THE CHARACTER OF JOB...
1. Described by God as "a blameless and upright man" - Job 1:8
2. Who claimed innocence in reference to cursing others - cf. Job
B. IN THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS...
1. As He hung upon the cross, praying for those who crucified Him
- Lk 23:34
2. Though the object of abuse, mockery and blasphemy - Lk 23:
35-39; cf. 1 Pe 2:23
C. IN THE CONDUCT OF CHRISTIANS...
1. Such as Stephen, when he was being stoned - Ac 7:60
2. Such as Paul and the apostles, who were often abused - 1 Co
[So while the command may be difficult, we know it is possible to obey.
Why and how, then, should we seek to carry it out...?]
III. THE COMMAND DEPLOYED
A. IT IS OUR CALLING...
1. We have been called:
a. To follow in Jesus' steps - 1 Pe 2:21-23
b. To bless, that we might inherit a blessing - 1 Pe 3:9
2. We have been called:
a. To be partakers of the "divine nature" - 2 Pe 1:2-4
b. To be sons of our Father in heaven - Mt 5:44-45
-- It may be "human nature" to respond to evil with evil, but we
have a higher calling!
B. IT IS NEEDED...
1. At work, school
a. When employers or fellow employees malign us
b. When classmates make fun or otherwise hurt us
2. At home
a. When spouses say or do hurtful things to one another
b. When sibling rivalry raises its ugly head
3. With brethren - Ja 4:11; 1 Pe 3:8-9
a. When they say or write bad things about us
b. When they malign or misrepresent us
-- Not just when persecuted for Christ's sake, but whenever
mistreated by others!
1. But what about the example of...
a. Prophets like David and Elisha? - e.g., Psa 69:22,23; 2 Kin 2:24
b. Apostles like Paul? - e.g., Ac 8:20; 13:10,11; 23:3
c. Christ Himself? - e.g., Mt 23:13-33
2. Perhaps Poole stated it best: "These did it by a special vocation
and instinct of the Spirit"...
a. Such inspired men had the calling and the aid to administer God's
wrath and judgment
b. We have the calling to administer mercy, and to leave vengeance to
God - cf. Ro 12:19
May we therefore pray that God enable us to faithfully carry out our
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." (Ro 12:14)
"not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the
contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you
may inherit a blessing." (1 Pe 3:9)
Who knows? Perhaps by living such transformed lives, it may lead to the
transformation of others...!
The Empathetic Christian (12:15)
1. In the twelfth chapter of Romans, we find answers to questions such
a. What is indicative of a true transformation?
b. What constitutes God's good, acceptable, and perfect will for the
2. We have seen in previous lessons that it includes...
a. Fulfilling our function in the body of Christ - Ro 12:3-8
b. Love without hypocrisy, while abhorring what is evil - Ro 12:9
c. Loving brethren with family affection, esteeming one another
highly - Ro 12:10
d. Serving the Lord diligently, with fervency of spirit - Ro 12:11
e. Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, steadfast in prayer
- Ro 12:12
f. Having fellowship in the needs of the saints, pursing hospitality
toward strangers - Ro 12:13
g. To bless those who persecute us - Ro 12:14
3. Now we note the twofold exhortation...
a. "Rejoice with those who rejoice" - Ro 12:
b. "Weep with those who weep" - Ro 12:15b
[In this text we are called to display the virtue of "empathy" towards
one another. What this entails will be the focus of our study...]
I. DEFINING EMPATHY
A. COMPARED TO SYMPATHY...
1. Sympathy - An inclination to support or be loyal to or to agree
with an opinion
2. Empathy - Understanding and entering into another's feelings
-- One may be sympathetic while not empathetic; the latter
requires a deeper emotional involvement than the former
B. ITS PLACE IN THE CHURCH...
1. The Lord intended such connection between the members of His
Body ("if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it")
- 1 Co 12:26
2. "This command grows out of the doctrine stated in Ro 12:4,5
that the church is one; that it has one interest; and therefore
that there should be common sympathy in its joys and sorrows."
-- If we are truly one, members of the same body, then we will be
empathetic towards one another
[Our text commands two ways to demonstrate empathy; we have several
examples of individuals...]
II. DEMONSTRATING EMPATHY
A. REJOICING WITH THOSE WHO REJOICE...
1. Neighbors and friends of Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist
- Lk 1:58
2. Barnabas at Antioch, when he saw the grace of the Lord at work
- Ac 11:23
-- Two good examples of sharing in others' happiness and success
without envy or jealousy
B. WEEPING WITH THOSE WHO WEEP...
1. David with his sick friends - Psa 35:13,14
2. Jesus with the family and friends of Lazarus grieving over his
death - Jn 11:33-35
3. Paul with his weak and stumbling brethren - 2 Co 11:29
4. Christians with their brethren in prison - He 13:3
-- People of God truly understanding and entering into the
feelings of their friends and brethren
[The quality of empathy certainly prepares one to be of greater service
to those around them. How can we rise above simple sympathy for others
to truly become "The Empathetic Christian"...?]
III. DEVELOPING EMPATHY
A. TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF OUR MINDS...
1. We must submit to the transformation that comes by renewing our
minds - cf. Ro 12:1-2
2. Which will involve the development of such graces as:
a. Being kindly affectionate to one another in brotherly love
- Ro 12:
b. Giving preference to one another in honor - Ro 12:10b
-- Note how being affectionate aids in being able to weep, and
learning to give preference will enable us to rejoice
B. DEVELOPING THE MIND OF CHRIST...
1. Note the virtues that characterize the mind of Christ - cf. Ph
a. Doing nothing through selfish ambition or conceit
b. In lowliness of mind, esteeming others better than oneself
c. Looking out for the interest of others
2. Note the goal of having the mind of Christ - Ph 2:2
a. To be like-minded
b. To have the same love
c. To be of one accord, of one mind
3. Note what having the mind of Christ is necessary for to
experience - Ph 2:1
a. Consolation in Christ
b. Comfort of love
c. Fellowship of the Spirit
d. Affection and mercy
e. Fullness of joy
-- As one develops the mind of Christ, there will be no envy or
jealousy to prevent true empathy; with the mind of Christ, we
will be able to truly rejoice and weep!
1. It is God's good, acceptable and perfect will that Christians be a
a. Who are glad when others rejoice
b. Who are moved when others weep
-- For only then can we be useful in sharing the joy and comfort of
Christ with others
2. Are we truly an "empathetic" people? The development and display of
true empathy will greatly...
a. Increase our usefulness to the Master
b. Enhance the fellowship we have in the Lord
-- Simple sympathy is not enough; we must be able to understand and
enter into one another's feelings!
Develop the mind of Christ, be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
and you cannot help but become "The Empathetic Christian"...!
The Renewed Mind (12:16)
1. The Christian life is to be a transformed life...
a. One that does not conform to things of this world - Ro 12:
b. But seeks to prove (demonstrate) that God's way is better - Ro
2. The Christian life requires a renewing of our minds...
a. In which we learn what is God's will - Ro 12:2b
b. In turn making it possible to be transformed - Ro 12:
[What are some indications of a renewed mind? In Ro 12:16, we find the
mind or attitude that is to be found among Christians. Note first that
there is to be...]
I. SAMENESS OF MIND
A. WHAT THIS MEANS...
1. The NKJV reads "Be of the same mind toward one another..."
2. Literally, "thinking the same thing" - Robertson's Word
3. An exhortation frequently commanded of Christians
a. The Christians in Rome - Ro 15:5
b. The Christians in Corinth - 1 Co 1:10
c. The Christians in Philippi - Ph 1:27; 2:2-3; 3:16; 4:2
d. The Christians in Asia - 1 Pe 3:8
-- As Christians are renewed in mind, they will begin having
similar goals, aims, views
B. HOW THIS IS POSSIBLE...
1. Seek the mind of Christ - cf. Ph 2:5
a. Each should strive to develop and emulate the mindset of
b. The more we become like Him, the sooner we become "of the
2. Set our minds on things above - cf. Co 3:1-2
a. Each should focus their attention more on spiritual matters
b. Distracted by worldly matters and human opinions, will
destroy oneness of mind
-- Where there is not unity, someone (perhaps everyone) is not
setting their mind on Christ and things above!
[As we return to our text (Ro 12:16), we find that another indication of
"The Renewed Mind" is...]
II. LOWLINESS OF MIND
A. WHAT THIS MEANS...
1. "Do not set your mind on high things" (NKJV); other
a. "Do not be haughty" (RSV)
b. "Do not be too ambitious" (Goodspeed)
c. "Do not aspire to eminence" (Berkley)
d. "Don't become snobbish" (Phillips)
2. "but associate with the humble" (NKJV); other translations:
a. "but associate with the lowly" (RSV)
b. "but accept humble tasks" (Goodspeed)
c. "but willingly adjust yourselves to humble situations"
d. "but take a real interest in ordinary people" (Phillips)
-- A renewed mind makes a concerted effort not to be snobbish or
ambitious, and is willing to be associated with humble tasks
and lowly people
B. HOW THIS IS POSSIBLE...
1. By taking heed to what we learn from:
a. The attitude of David - Psa 131:1-2
b. The warning to Jeremiah - Jer 45:5
c. The teaching of Jesus - Lk 22:24-27
2. By noting what we learn from:
a. The example of Jesus - Ph 2:5-8
b. The teaching of James - Ja 2:1-5
-- When one has the mind of Christ, their lowliness of mind will
be manifested by the nature of their goals and the company they
[Finally, similar to lowliness of mind, "The Renewed Mind" also
III. HUMBLENESS OF MIND
A. WHAT THIS MEANS...
1. "Do not wise in your own opinion" (NKJV)
2. Some other translations:
a. "Do not think too highly of yourselves" (Twentieth Century
b. "Do not be conceited" (Goodspeed)
c. "And don't think you know it all!" (Living Bible)
3. Similar warnings are found elsewhere:
a. Given by Solomon - Pro 3:7; 26:12
b. Lamented by Isaiah - Isa 5:21
c. Cautioned by Paul - 1 Co 3:18
-- A renewed mind will maintain a strong sense of humility, an
awareness that one has much to learn from God and others
B. HOW THIS IS POSSIBLE...
1. Hopefully, by listening to the scriptures
a. Such as that found in 1 Co 8:2
b. The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God - 1 Co 1:20
c. Not many wise are receptive to the gospel - 1 Co 1:26
d. God has chosen to confound the arrogant in their wisdom
- 1 Co 1:27-29
2. Hopefully, aided by knowledge and experience
a. Often, the more you learn, the more you realize how much you
b. Often, the older you get, the more you realize how little
3. Hopefully, by the example of Christ
a. Who was willing to submit to the will of His Father - Jn 6:
b. Who did not think so highly of Himself that He viewed
equality with God something to be exploited - Ph 2:6 (cf.
-- Adopting the mind of Christ will go a long way to helping
maintain humility about one's self
1. Such are the qualities of "The Renewed Mind"...
a. Sameness of mind
b. Lowliness of mind
c. Humbleness of mind
2. The more we adopt the mind of Christ, and make it our own...
a. The more we will think the same
b. The less we will be snobbish, and ambitious over the wrong things
c. The more we will associate with the less fortunate
d. The less conceited and arrogant we will be
Such are the qualities of those who have the mind of Christ, and are
being transformed by the renewing of their minds. Are we setting our
minds on things above, where Christ is (Co 3:1-2)? If we have been
raised with Christ (via baptism, Co 2:12), that is our duty!
If we have not yet been raised with Christ, why not today? Render
obedience to the gospel in faith, repentance, and baptism, that you
might begin to walk in newness of life...! - Ac 2:38; Ro 6:3-4
Responding To Evil (12:17-21)
1. The twelfth chapter of Romans has much to say about what is expected
a. In general terms - Ro 12:1-2
1) They are to present themselves as living sacrifices to God
2) They are not to be conformed to this world
3) They are to be transformed by the renewing of their minds
4) They are to prove what is God's good, acceptable, and perfect
b. In more specific terms - Ro 12:3-16
1) They are to fulfill their function in the body of Christ - Ro
2) They are to love without hypocrisy, abhorring what is evil - Ro
3) They are to love brethren as family, esteeming one another
highly - Ro 12:10
4) They are to serve the Lord diligently, with fervency of spirit
- Ro 12:11
5) They are to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation,
steadfast in prayer - Ro 12:12
6) They are to share in the needs of saints, pursue hospitality
toward strangers - Ro 12:13
7) They are to bless those who persecute them - Ro 12:14
8) They are to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those
who weep - Ro 12:15
9) They are to be of the same mind, with humility and lowliness of
mind - Ro 12:16
-- Such behavior is certainly an indication of a transformation!
2. But perhaps one of the greatest signs of transformation...
a. Is how one responds to evil
b. Is how one treats their enemy
-- Human nature responds in kind, with vengeance; is this how
Christians are to respond?
3. In our text (Ro 12:17-21), we find what Barnes describes as...
a. "...probably one of the most difficult precepts of Christianity,
but the law of Christ on the subject is unyielding."
b. "It is a solemn demand made on all His followers, and it must be
[This "difficult precept" pertains to how one reacts when mistreated by
those who are evil...]
I. HOW WE ARE TO RESPOND TO EVIL
A. REPAY NO ONE EVIL FOR EVIL...
1. Thus Paul writes in Ro 12:
17aand elsewhere - 1 Th 5:15
2. He is not alone in this prohibition
a. Solomon's counsel in Proverbs - Pro 20:22
b. Jesus' teaching in the sermon on the mount - Mt 5:39
c. Peter's writing in his epistle - 1 Pe 3:9
-- Thus we are prohibited against responding to evil in kind
B. REPLY TO EVIL WITH GOOD...
1. Note first what our concern is to be - Ro 12:17b,18
a. To have regard for good things in the sight of others
b. To live peaceably with others if at all possible
2. Therefore, our response to evil is to reply with good - Ro 12:
a. As the Law of Moses instructed - Exo 23:4-5
b. As David exemplified in his dealings with King Saul - 1 Sam
c. As Solomon counseled, and Paul quoted - Pro 25:21,22
d. As Jesus taught in His sermon on the mount - Mt 5:38-44
-- Note carefully that the response is to be one of aggressive
good will and kindness
[People normally respond differently, depending upon their ability
(e.g., vengeance, self-defense, passive resistance, running away,
helpless victim). Yet Christians are taught to respond with love. Why?
II. WHY WE ARE TO RESPOND WITH GOOD
A. VENGEANCE BELONGS TO GOD...
1. Vengeance is a Divine prerogative - Ro 12:19
a. He certainly possesses the ability to administer it justly
- cf. Nah 1:1-8
1) He is slow to anger
2) He knows the hearts of men
b. He has the tools to administer vengeance
1) E.g., governing authorities - cf. Ro 13:1-4; 1 Pe 2:13-14
2) E.g., giving man up to the depravity of his sins - cf. Ro
3) E.g., the coming of the Lord in flaming fire - cf. 2 Th
2. Therefore we are to give place to wrath
a. The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God
- Ja 1:19-20
b. The wrath of man is more often a work of the flesh - Ga 5:
19-21; Ep 4:31; Co 3:8
-- It is a mistake to presume that every example of Divine conduct
means we can do the same!
B. VICTORY OVER EVIL IS MORE LIKELY...
1. Our goal is to overcome evil - Ro 12:21
2. How can we best hope to overcome evil and change the evil
a. If we react as:
1) Avenger, defender or passive resister
2) We only convince the opposition that might makes right
b. If we react as:
1) Runner or helpless
2) We may only confirm the opposition's view that we are
cowardly or weak
3. The most likely way to both overcome evil and change the evil
person is by reacting with active good will!
a. Is this not how God sought to change the world? - Ro 5:8; Jn
3:16; Ro 2:4
b. Is this not how Jesus sought to change the world? - 1 Pe 2:
4. Certainly Jesus' example demonstrates a better way to handle
conflict and evil...
a. His humility and sacrificial love has motivated many to turn
b. And we are called to walk in His steps!
5. Those who do follow Jesus' example often make a powerful impact
Kim Joon-gon has seen 2,000 out of 20,000 people on Chunnam
Island murdered by the Communists. They dragged his family to
a spot where 160 people from two villages had gathered to beat
the Christians. There Kim's father and wife were beaten to
death and Kim was left for dead. When he revived and sought
safety at an acquaintance's house, he was turned over to the
Communists. Only the sudden appearance of an American ship off
the island coast saved him this time, for the Communist
soldiers hurried away to battle.
He hid out in the countryside until the South Korean army
captured the island. The Communists who had killed his wife
and father were arrested. Because it was wartime, the police
chief had authority to execute without trial. But as the chief
prepared to kill the men, Kim pleaded, 'Spare them. They were
forced to kill.'
The police chief showed great surprise. 'It was your family
they killed! Why do you now ask for their lives?'
Kim replied quietly, 'Because the Lord, whose I am and whom
I serve, would have me show mercy to them.'
The Communists were spared execution because of Kim's plea.
News of his action spread among other Communist supporters in
the area. When Kim later ascended a mountain to preach to
Communists hiding out, he was not killed. Many of the
Communists became Christians, and when Kim finally left the
sland there was a flourishing church of 108 members.
- Dictionary Of Illustrations, p. 188
1. We may never be called upon to manifest the power of responding to
evil with good in such a remarkable way, but...
a. We can begin by how we respond to personal abuses we often receive
b. We can react to evil treatment even on a small scale with active
2. Reacting to evil with good will does not always convert the
a. Jesus was crucified on the cross, enduring hostility by sinners
- He 12:2-3
b. In such cases we must commit our cause to God, as did Jesus - 1 Pe
3. But there other reasons for responding to evil with good...
a. To be different than sinners - Lk 6:32-34
b. To be like our Heavenly Father - Lk 6:35-36
c. To receive a blessing (more likely to love life and see good days)
- 1 Pe 3:9-12
Do you desire to "love life and see good days"? Then be transformed by
the renewing of your mind and demonstrate that God's will for responding
to evil is indeed good, acceptable, and perfect...!
To Live for God
Rejoice with Those Who Rejoice
Mourn with Those Who Mourn
I. Sacrifices of Believers
1. Urge in View of Mercy
2. To Worship as Living Sacrifice
3. Transformed by the Renewing of Mind
II.Form One Body in Christ
1. In Proportion to Faith
2. Each Belongs to All the Other
3. Division of Labor
III. Exercise Gifts in Love
3. Overcome Evil with Good
－－ Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》