Monday, March 18, 2024

2024.03.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 12:1–8

Read Romans 12:1–8

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle now do to his readers (Romans 12:1)? By what? What does he call them? What are they to present? As what? What sort of sacrifice? Acceptable to Whom? What would this sacrifice be? To what are they not to be conformed (Romans 12:2)? What should be done to them instead? How? In order to prove what three things about God’s will? Through what does the apostle now speak (Romans 12:3)? To whom? What is each one not to think? How is each one to think? According to what? What do each of us have (Romans 12:4)? What don’t these many members of our body have? What are we believers (Romans 12:5)? In Whom? Of what/whom else are we members? What do we have that differ (Romans 12:6)? According to what? What should one do if he is assigned to prophesy (verse 6)? If he is assigned to minister (Romans 12:7)? If he is assigned to teach? If he is assigned to exhort/preach (Romans 12:8)? If he is assigned to give? If he is assigned to lead? If he is assigned to show mercy?

How do we fit into God’s plan of redemption? Romans 12:1–8 prepares us for the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God has given each one that He redeems special service in His church. 

Entrusting Ourselves to the Wisdom of the Perfectly Wise God. The “therefore” in Romans 12:1 ties us back to the doxology with which ch11 concluded. God has wisely determined how to justify and glorify His elect. And God has wisely assigned the role that each one will have in the history of how God applies that redemption. So, since God is so merciful, we are to give up our own will to Him and offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him.

God is the One Who has measured out to each of us our faith (Romans 12:3). Just as God’s “grace” to Paul was to make him an apostle who writes Scripture (verse 3a), so God’s “grace” given to each member is to give them for the sake of the church, Christ’s body (Romans 12:6a). God is the One Who has providentially assigned to each of us the function that we have in His body (Romans 12:6-8). So, we must not think that our function in the church is for ourselves, but instead remember that the gift is for the body (Romans 12:3b). For, we are not only members of Christ, but of one another. 

The worldly mind serves itself, but the new mind is determined to serve the church. This renewed mind looks at His will in things like what He’s doing with the Jews in chapter 11, and says, “that is good, and acceptable, and perfect”! This renewed mind looks at God’s will in what He’s doing in our own congregation, and in our part in it, and says, “that is good, and acceptable, and perfect”! The perfectly wise God has determined how to use each of us in His work in each of the rest of us. And we must trust Him with that. It is only reasonable to serve Him in this way; it is only logical to offer a life of worship to Him in this way.

Engaging Ourselves in Diligent Service of His Church. So, what are we supposed to do? Well, we are all supposed to serve (Romans 12:7a, NKJ translates “ministry”), give (Romans 12:8b), and show mercy (verse 8d). These are generally commanded to all Christians. So, when we come to do any of those things, we do not come as if it is optional, or as if it is our idea. We do those things as assignments from God and essential gifts from Him to His church. As such, we do it all with eagerness and zeal. The giving should be generous (“liberality”). The mercy should be cheerful. 

Then, there are others who had words from the Lord, but even these were to make sure only to prophesy that which was consistent with the faith (end of Romans 12:6; otherwise, he may be sure that he prophesies falsely). And there are those in whom God has done a gracious work that identifies them as teachers (Romans 12:7b), preachers (v8a, NKJ “exhorts”), and overseers (Romans 12:8c) in His church. These may be identified by the qualifications in Ephesians 4, 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, James 3, 1 Peter 5, etc. Thus, we see that it is God Who determines what the qualifications are, God Who works those qualities by grace, and therefore God Who assigns elders by His Word and providence. They must receive this calling as a grace from God and a gift for the church and fulfill their office with diligence. So, too, every man who is married or has children, as God has put him in a position of teaching, exhorting, and leading in his home.

From God, and through God, and to God are all things. From God, and through God, and to God is your own life: your role in your home, your role in the church. To Him be the glory in everything that you do! This is what it looks like to be shaped by the new mind that He has given us. And we may rejoice that He will use our service to fulfill His perfect plan for His glory in the salvation and glory of His church!

What role do you have in your family? What role do you have in your church? Who gave you these roles? For whose good do they exist? For Whose glory? How are you able to do each part? In what manner ought you to do each part?

Sample prayer:  Our gracious God, all things are from You and through You and to You. To You is all the glory forever. We thank You that You have given to each of us our part in Your plan. Grant unto us to serve in our household, and in the body of Christ, with all zeal, diligence, and cheerfulness, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP24 “The Earth and the Riches” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”

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